Movie quote of the day:
“Aw, man, I shot Marvin in the face.”
– Vincent Vega, “Pulp Fiction” (1994)
Now that the NFL regular season has come to a close, it’s time for a mock draft. Now, you may ask “why are you only doing the first 20 picks?” Simple, since the playoffs are just starting this weekend, only the first 20 picks are locked right now and I don’t want to assume which playoff teams are going to lose before it happens. When the postseason ends, I’ll come out with a mock draft that has all 32 picks. (For the record, the fourteenth and fifteenth picks will be decided by a coin flip during the combine next month, but for now, those picks are considered ties between Indianapolis and Philadelphia).
1. Cleveland Browns (1-15) – EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
6’4 268 pounds
I feel like the Browns need to bolster their roster before even thinking about drafting another quarterback. Myles Garrett is the best player in this class and is a pass rushing freak. He also fills a need for the Browns because their defense ranked No. 30 in sacks this season. Cleveland already has Emmanuel Ogbah (who registered 5.5 sacks this season as a rookie) and drafting Garrett could give the Browns a future dynamic pass-rushing duo. In a division with Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andy Dalton, Cleveland needs to have quality pass rushers.
2. San Francisco 49ers (2-14) – QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
6’3 220 pounds
San Francisco has one of the worst rosters in the NFL and could use help at almost every position. However, I think quarterback has become the 49ers’ top need this offseason. They’ve had some good years with Colin Kaepernick, but it’s not working out with him anymore and he looks to be on his way out. Mitch Trubisky has emerged as the top quarterback in this class. With the 49ers getting a new head coach, it’d be wise to get him a quarterback to start off his tenure in San Francisco.
3. Chicago Bears (3-13) – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
6’5 222 pounds
Sure, Chicago has plenty of needs on its team but the biggest need for the Bears is quarterback. A good quarterback is what stands between this team being a bottom feeder or a borderline playoff team. Josh Allen is a name to watch out for as we get closer to the draft. He’s coming out of nowhere and having a very Carson Wentz-like rise up the draft boards. I’ve watched him play, he’s the real deal and deserves more attention.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
6’3 291 pounds
Jacksonville has done a great job of drafting good, young players on its defense, but the Jaguars need a defensive tackle to pair with Malik Jackson. Jonathan Allen is one of the best defensive tackles to come through the draft in a while, and many consider him to be the best player in the class. With Allen, Jackson, and Dante Fowler Jr., Jacksonville would have a very bright future at defensive line.
5. Tennessee Titans (9-7; from Los Angeles) – WR Mike Williams, Clemson
6’3 225 pounds
Tennessee has to get better weapons on the perimeter or in the back end of its defense. I could see the Titans taking a safety at this spot, but I think the Titans need to give Marcus Mariota some help and take a wide receiver. Mike Williams has always been considered the top receiver in this class. He’s a big-body receiver that will make plays on the outside and will be a No. 1 target for Mariota.
6. New York Jets (5-11) – EDGE Tim Williams, Alabama
6’3 252 pounds
It’s too early for the Jets to take a quarterback at this spot – plus, the Jets need to continue developing Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg before drafting another quarterback. The Jets have lacked an edge rusher for years, and really need to start addressing the position. Outside of Myles Garrett, draft analysts consider Tim Williams to be the No. 2 edge rusher in this class.
7. San Diego Chargers (5-11) – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
6’2 205 pounds
San Diego’s top need is offensive line, but it’s too early to draft one with this pick. After losing Eric Weddle during free agency last offseason, San Diego really needs a ballhawk at free safety. The Chargers’ pass defense ranked No. 20 and they also ranked No. 19 in passing yards allowed. Malik Hooker is the top safety in this class, and he’s also the best cover safety.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10) – RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
5’11 206 pounds
Jonathan Stewart is going to turn 30 next year – which is always the point when teams need to consider looking at other options at running back. Plus, Cam Newton is doing too much for Carolina’s offense and the Panthers need to take some pressure off him. Everyone considers Leonard Fournette the top running back in this class, but I think Dalvin Cook is better. He’s a more versatile player and will be able to do more things for Carolina’s offense than Fournette.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) – LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
6’1 236 pounds
Cincinnati has needed better players at linebacker for years and have neglected to address the issue. The Bengals ranked No. 21 in rush defense this season and is one of the reasons the Bengals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010. I’m not sure Reuben Foster will fall this far when the draft actually rolls around in April because he’s been considered the best linebacker to come out of Alabama in recent years.
10. Buffalo Bills (7-9) – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
6’3 213 pounds
If Buffalo is going to move forward with Tyrod Taylor as its quarterback, the Bills need to give him more playmakers around him because he isn’t the type of quarterback to make the players around him better. Sammy Watkins is a great player, but Buffalo needs someone else just as good to take the attention off him from opposing defenses. Davis is a big-body receiver and is the perfect addition for Buffals offense.
11. New Orleans Saints (7-9) – S Jamal Adams, LSU
6’0 211 pounds
Jairus Byrd hasn’t panned out since New Orleans signed him to a 6-year/$54 million contract in 2014, Roman Harper is going to be a free agent this year, and Kenny Vaccaro will be a free agent next year. Also, New Orleans had the worst pass defense in the league this season. Needless to say, the Saints need help in the back end of their defense. Adams looks to be a strong safety in the NFL, which helps with Harper and Vaccaro soon to be free agents.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia) – QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
6’4 230 pounds
I know I said Cleveland should bolster its roster before drafting another quarterback, but I never said the Browns shouldn’t make an upgrade at quarterback. They’ve had 26 different starting quarterbacks since 1999, the Browns are desperate for continuity at the position. DeShone Kizer has a big body and an even bigger arm. I think he’s a great fit for Cleveland. He grew up in northern Ohio and played at Notre Dame, so, the cold weather shouldn’t affect his arm strength.
13. Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) – EDGE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
6’3 265 pounds
Arizona has a great edge-rushing duo with Chandler Jones and Markus Golden – both players tallied 23.5 sacks combinedin 2016. However, Jones is going to be a free agent this offseason and it’s uncertain if the Cardinals will be able to re-sign him. Even if they franchise tag him, that only puts off re-signing him another year. For now, Arizona needs to prepare for life after Jones and this draft class is deep with pass rushers.
14 (tie). Indianapolis Colts (8-8) – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
6’1 230 pounds
Indianpolis really needs help along the offensive line, but this offensive line class is pretty weak and I don’t the Colts should draft an offensive lineman this early. Since Frank Gore is going to turn 34 next year, the Colts really need a young, talented running back to take the pressure off Andrew Luck. Now, I highly doubt Leonard Fournette will fall this far in the draft but it’s just the way the board worked out. Many draft analysts once considered Fournette to be the best player in this class, but I don’t think he’s even the best running back in the class because of his lack of versatility. That being said, he’s still an extremely talented running back who should have a great career in the NFL.
14 (tie). Philadelphia Eagles (8-8; from Minnesota) – WR John Ross, Washington
5’11 190 pounds
I went back and forth on this pick for a while, but I’ve come to the decision that Philadelphia needs to get Carson Wentz some help offensively. I think he’s a future elite quarterback, but he has subpar weapons around him right now – the Eagles have two receivers (Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor) that are in the top 30 in the league for dropped passes this season. John Ross is the playmaker that Philadelphia needs. He has lightning-fast speed and will be a terrific deep threat for Wentz.
16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) – EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
6’2 258 pounds
Baltimore edge rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil will be a combined 68 years old in 2017 and neither player has recorded double-digit sacks since 2014. The Ravens need to bring in some youth at the position. When Baltimore has had great teams, it’s been because of playing outstanding defense. I think Takkarist McKinley would be a great addition for the Ravens and he could help them get back on track to being Super-Bowl contenders.
17. Washington Redskins (8-7-1) – DL Montravius Adams, Auburn
6’4 309 pounds
Washington hasn’t fielded a top 20 run defense since 2014. The Redskins lack playmakers on their defensive line after neglecting the unit last year during the offseason. If they’re going to be a serious threat in the postseason, Washington needs to get better at slowing down opposing rushing attacks. Outside of Jonathan Allen, Montravius Adams is probably the most complete defensive lineman in this class. He has the ability to stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback.
18. Tennessee Titans – CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
6’1 213 pounds
Again, Tennessee needs to get playmakers on the perimeter. After addressing wide receiver with its first pick, the next team need is to get a lock down cornerback. Jason McCourty is a pretty good corner for the Titans, but they lack someone on the opposite side of the field. In a class deep with cornerbacks, Quincy Wilson has emerged as the best one. He’s a physical corner that can get off blocks and stop the run, and is also excellent in coverage.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) – S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
6’1 208 pounds
I could see Tampa Bay drafting an interior defensive lineman or wide receiver at this spot, but the Buccaneers’ pass defense ranked No. 28 in the league this season. After taking cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III in the first round last year, I think Tampa Bay needs to improve its safeties. Right now, the starting safeties for the Buccaneers are Brad McDougald and Chris Conte – neither are quality, long-term solutions. Jabrill Peppers needs some developing, but I think he’s going to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
20. Denver Broncos (9-7) – OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
6’6 310 pounds
Plain and simple, Denver’s offensive line needs improvement. I’m not sure I’d say the Broncos have one of the top-five worst offensive lines in the league, but it’s far from being good. The unit gave up 40 sacks this season and Denver struggled getting its rushing offense going (No. 27 in the league). Cam Robinson has had off-the-field issues, but his ability to block still makes him the best offensive tackle in this draft class. Robinson is a complete tackle, but he’s particularly excellent in pass protection. He’s an ideal player to take over left tackle duties for the Broncos and protect Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch’s blind side.
Thanks for reading
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