Movie quote of the day:
“Wait! You may be wondering why the red suit? Well, that’s so bad guys can’t see me bleed. This guy’s got the right idea! He wore the brown pants.”
– Wade Wilson, “Deadpool” (2016)
The combine is over, and we’re now almost two weeks into NFL free agency – which means it’s time for a new mock draft. There have been a lot of moves the last week or so in the NFL, which has led to a shakeup in my mock draft.
1. Cleveland Browns (1-15) – Edge Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
6’4″ 272 pounds
If I’m Cleveland, Myles Garrett’s name is already written on my card for the No. 1 overall selection. He’s a physical freak and he really put on a show at the combine. He’s as close as it gets to a lock to be a future All-Pro player at the next level. The Browns need to bolster their roster before picking a quarterback, and picking Garrett is the first step in doing that.
2. San Francisco 49ers (2-14) – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
6’0″ 240 pounds
San Francisco has been adamant that it doesn’t like any of the quarterbacks in this draft, and after signing veteran free agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, I wouldn’t plan on the 49ers drafting a quarterback early in this draft. The 49ers could eye an edge rusher at this spot, but I think they should consider Leonard Fournette instead. Carlos Hyde was considered the replacement to Frank Gore, but he’s battled a ton of injuries and hasn’t exactly panned out so far. Fournette is believed to be a future All-Pro player, and I think drafting him would be a great start for San Francisco’s new head coach Kyle Shanahan.
3. Chicago Bears (3-13) – S Jamal Adams, LSU
6’0″ 214 pounds
Despite signing Mike Glennon, it’s still possible that Chicago could take a quarterback with this pick to develop behind Glennon for a few years. However, I don’t think that’s going to happen. John Fox and Ryan Pace need to start winning now and show that the Bears are heading in the right direction. A good way to start showing that is getting more help for Chicago on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears’ pass defense is mediocre right now and could really use a playmaker at strong safety and Jamal Adams is exactly that. He’s a very physical safety that isn’t afraid to play inside the box.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
6’3″ 286 pounds
I realize that Jacksonville has spent money to acquire interior defensive linemen Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell the last two years, but the Jaguars lack depth outside of those players. Plus, Campbell will turn 31 this season and Jacksonville only signed him to a one-year deal. Jonathan Allen is the best player available at this spot, it fills a need for Jacksonville, and adding him would create a solid defensive line rotation for the Jaguars.
5. Tennessee Titans (8-8; from Los Angeles Rams) – CB Marston Lattimore, Ohio State
6’0″ 193 pounds
For the longest time I had Tennessee taking a wide receiver with this pick, but the receivers are starting to fall on the draft board and this cornerback class is too good. Taking a cornerback still fills a need for the Titans. They really need to bolster their secondary and add a playmaker opposite of Jason McCourty. Marston Lattimore is starting to emerge as the top cornerback in this class. He’s an incredible athlete and has the physical tools to be a lockdown cornerback in the NFL.
6. New York Jets (5-11) – QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
6’2″ 222 pounds
Finally a quarterback comes off the board, and the Jets really need one. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s time with the Jets is likely over, and Geno Smith just signed with the Giants. That leaves just Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty as the quarterbacks on the Jets’ roster – and the Jets don’t seem to be sold on either player. Todd Bowles is probably going to have to figure out the quarterback situation if he’s going to keep his job as the Jets’ head coach. Trubisky had a strong combine, and the scouts love his potential. He’d probably be a week one starter for Jets.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
6’1″ 206 pounds
The Chargers are set at cornerback, but they lack safeties after the departure of Eric Weddle last offseason. Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery are serviceable but the Chargers need to make an upgrade – and it showed last year because the Chargers ranked No. 19 in passing yards allowed per attempt. Hooker has missed time this offseason to impress the scouts even more because of surgeries to repair a torn labrum and hernia. However, his tape doesn’t lie, he can play. Hooker is a ballhawk free safety with great instincts and always finds a way to be around the ball when it’s in the air.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10) – Edge Solomon Thomas, Stanford
6’3″ 273 pounds
Carolina has lacked an edge presence since Greg Hardy and it just traded away Kony Ealy to New England – so now the Panthers have an even thinner rotation of mediocre pass rushers. Charles Johnson and an aging Julius Peppers aren’t going to cut it in a division that is full of great quarterbacks. Solomon Thomas had a really strong performance in the Sun Bowl back in December and the combine earlier this month. He’s started to get consideration for a top-five pick and would be a perfect addition to Carolina’s defense.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) – LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
6’0″ 229 pounds
I’m sure my readers are tired of me saying that Cincinnati needs get younger defensively, but it’s true. The Bengals’ defense isn’t as menacing as it used to be a few years ago – especially at the linebacker position. Vontaze Burfict is good, but is a head case and Rey Maualuga’s play has declined in recent years. Foster is the best linebacker in this class and could possibly be a top-five pick at next month’s draft.
10. Buffalo Bills (7-9) – WR Mike Williams, Clemson
6’4″ 218 pounds
With Tyrod Taylor returning to Buffalo, the Bills need to get him some playmakers to throw to – especially with Robert Woods going to the Rams. Now all Buffalo has at wide receiver is Sammy Watkins – who has dealt with injuries the last two years. Mike Williams is just the type of player the Bills need. He’s a prototypical NFL wide receiver – he has great size and vertical jump ability to be a No. 1 receiver. Williams would make an excellent compliment to Watkins in Buffalo’s passing attack.
11. New Orleans (7-9) – WR John Ross, Washington
5’11” 188 pounds
I know that New Orleans needs a lot of help defensively, but after trading away speedy deep threat Brandin Cooks to New England, what better way to replace him by selecting John Ross with this pick? Ross just broke Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash at the combine by running a 4.22. He’d be the perfect replacement for Cooks in the Saints’ offense.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia) – QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
6’2″ 221 pounds
Every football fan knows that Cleveland has been desperate for a quarterback since 1999, and I’d be shocked if Cleveland doesn’t take one with this pick. Watson is a player that is slowly starting to become my top quarterback in this class. His on-field traits speak for itself, but he proved to be a great leader and a winner in college, and I think he’s mature enough to be a face of a NFL franchise. His performance at the combine was impressive and I think he’s now solidified himself as a top-15 pick.
13. Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) – CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
6’1″ 211 pounds
Arizona has had some key losses defensively, but I think the Cardinals’ top priority should be to draft a cornerback this year. The NFC is stacked with great quarterbacks and Arizona really needs to get another playmaker at cornerback. Patrick Peterson is barely effective anymore because opposing teams rarely attack his side of the field. The Cardinals need to get a quality cornerback on the opposite side of the field. Wilson would be a great addition to Arizona’s defense. His size makes him a very physical cornerback, and he’s just as good against the run as he is defending the pass.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9; from Minnesota) – CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
6’0″ 195 pounds
After the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith offensively, I think Philadelphia should turn its attention to defense in this first round – and there is no greater defensive need for the Eagles than cornerback. In a division with Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, and Kirk Cousins, the Eagles need help defending the pass. In any other year, Gareon Conley would probably be the top cornerback in the class. He has a long body and plays tight man-to-man coverage with receivers.
15. Indianapolis Colts (8-8) – LB Haason Reddick, Temple
6’1″ 237 pounds
Indianapolis has ranked in the bottom half of the league in run defense every year since 2007. There’s some good running backs in the AFC South – Lamar Miller and DeMarco Murray – the Colts have to get better in that area if they’re going to get back to winning that division. Haason Reddick has been a fast riser up the draft board since the Senior Bowl. He’s a very athletic linebacker that can cover a lot of space, and is explosive at the line of scrimmage. Draft experts think he’d fit best as a 3-4 inside linebacker – which is exactly what the Colts need to improve their run defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) – Edge Derek Barnett, Tennessee
6’3″ 259 pounds
Baltimore released Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs will turn 35 in October, and Kamalei Correa and Za’Darius Smith have disappointed. The Ravens need to get a young edge rusher to replace Dumervil, and eventually Suggs. Derek Barnett tallied 32 sacks in 39 total collegiate games, and he looks to be a solid edge-rushing presence at the next level.
17. Washington Redskins (8-7-1) – S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
5’11” 213 pounds
Washington’s pass defense ranked No. 25 in the league last year. That number has to be better in the pass happy NFC. A cornerback wouldn’t hurt, but with Josh Norman already in Washington, I think the bigger need is safety or even an inside linebacker – and Jabrill Peppers will be able to play both positions. He’s a very versatile player that can play all over the field as a cover safety, in-the-box safety, nickel cornerback, or an inside linebacker. He’s the type of player that the Redskins need defensively.
18. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
6’3″ 209 pounds
I thought for sure Tennessee would try to make a push for a veteran wide receiver during free agency, but fell just short of acquiring both Brandin Cooks and Alshon Jeffery. Tajae Sharpe had a decent rookie year and should develop into a solid receiver in Nashville, but the Titans really need to get Marcus Mariota some more weapons around him. Corey Davis is probably the most complete receiver in this class. He has size, speed, and excellent hands, he’s also a vertical threat and is a very polished route runner.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) – TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
6’6″ 251 pounds
After releasing Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Cameron Brate really developed into a solid tight end and one of Jameis Winston’s favorite targets in the red zone last season. However, I don’t think he’s a future No. 1 tight end in Tampa Bay. Many draft experts agree this is probably the best tight end class of all time, and O.J. Howard is the clear leader. Having Mike Evans, Brate, DeSean Jackson, and Howard in the same offense would be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
20. Denver Broncos (9-7) – OT Garett Bolles, Utah
6’5″ 297 pounds
Denver’s offensive line was already one of the worst in the league, but it’s now worse after the departure of tackle Russell Okung. The Broncos’ offensive line gave up 43 sacks last year, and ranked No. 28 in rushing offense – they need to make an upgrade. Adding a left tackle to help protect either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch and to improve its run game would be an excellent start. In a weak offensive line class, Garett Bolles has started to emerge as the top tackle in this class. He’s very athletic, has great footwork, and is one of the few offensive linemen in this class with Pro Bowl potential.
21. Detroit Lions (9-7) – Edge Taco Charlton, Michigan
6’6″ 277 pounds
Detroit doesn’t have much a pass-rushing presence outside of Ziggy Ansah – and his play really went downhill last year because of it. Plus, Ansah’s contract is up after 2017. If the Lions can’t lock him up, they’re really going to be hurting on the defensive line – which isn’t going to be good for them because some of the Lions’ success in recent years has come from having a good defensive line. Taco Charlton would be a good fit in Detroit. He played college ball at Michigan, and was a defensive end in a 4-3 system – which is the same as Detroit. The scouts also like Charlton because he has a rare combination of size, length, and athleticism which gives him a high ceiling as an edge rusher.
22. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – TE David Njoku, Miami (Fla.)
6’4″ 246 pounds
Even though Miami just traded for tight end Julius Thomas, I don’t think the Dolphins can go wrong with adding another tight end in the draft. Mostly because Thomas has regressed as a player since leaving Denver – playing in just 21 games and collecting 76 receptions for 736 yards and nine touchdowns the last two years. David Njoku would be a great backup plan for Miami in case Thomas isn’t able to get back to his old self. He’s a very athletic pass-catching tight end that is going to make plays down the seam and on the run. He’ll be a playmaker in Adam Gase’s offense.
23. New York Giants (11-5) – RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
5’11” 202 pounds
The Giants really struggled last year offensively in just about every category – ranking in the bottom half of the league in total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, and points per game. They made a ton of defensive upgrades last year, and I think they should do the same on offense this year. The Giants really need to get Eli Manning a run game right now. They haven’t ranked in the top half of the league in rushing offense since 2012. Christian McCaffrey would make a great fit in Ben McAdoo’s offense. He had a very strong combine and proved himself to probably be the most complete running back in this class. McCaffrey is an incredibly versatile player. He can run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield.
24. Oakland Raiders (12-4) – RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
5’10” 210 pounds
Oakland needs help defensively, but I think the top need for Oakland right now is running back. Latavius Murray left for Minnesota and the Raiders haven’t added a running back to their roster to replace him yet. Derek Carr can’t carry Oakland’s offense forever and he needs a playmaker at running back to take some heat off him. Dalvin Cook has fallen down the board in recent weeks, but he’s still a talented running back. He has great balance, footwork, and is very elusive. His speed also makes him a home run hitter. If he can get behind Oakland’s offensive line, I think he’ll be a fantastic player in the NFL.
25. Houston Texans (9-7) – QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
6’4″ 233 pounds
Houston’s top need is quarterback. The Texans just traded away Brock Osweiler (rightfully so). That leaves just Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden on Houston’s roster. The Texans seem to like Tom Savage a lot, but he isn’t the future in Houston, and we know Weeden isn’t any good. Houston has been in talks to make a trade for Tony Romo, but that hasn’t happened yet. Even if the Texans did make that deal, I still think they should consider drafting a quarterback early this year. DeShone Kizer has the tools that NFL teams like in quarterbacks. He has great size, mobility, and arm strength. I think Bill O’Brien would be able to turn Kizer into a quality starting quarterback in the NFL – especially if he can take a backseat and learn from Tony Romo for a few years.
26. Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) – T Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
6’6″ 310 pounds
Seattle’s offensive line has been really suspect for the last few years. Russell Wilson has been sacked 205 times in his five years as the starting quarterback for the Seahawks – who knows how high that number would be if Wilson wasn’t mobile and could avoid pressure. Seattle has to start protecting him if the Seahawks want to get back to the Super Bowl. Ryan Ramczyk is the type of offensive lineman that could really help improve Seattle’s offensive line. He’s very athletic and has great technique. Ramczyk is a complete tackle that could make a living on the left side of the offensive line – he can also make a difference in the pass and run game.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – CB Tre’Davious White, LSU
5’11” 192 pounds
Bringing back Eric Berry is huge for Kansas City’s defense. However, the Chiefs could still use more improvements in their secondary. Marcus Peters is a very good cornerback, but I think Kansas City needs to add someone opposite of Peters after losing Sean Smith during free agency last year. Tre’Davious White is an ascending player on the board that has plenty of skill. He’s not quite a press cornerback that most teams are searching for in today’s league, but he has great instincts in coverage and excellent closing speed to defend passes.
28. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) – Edge Charles Harris, Missouri
6’3″ 253 pounds
Dallas has lost a lot of defensive playmakers this offseason from a defense that wasn’t that great to begin with. The Cowboys have some serious reloading to do. It’s best to start that type of process from the ball out – which just so happens to be Dallas’ top need. The Cowboys have a below average defensive line and virtually no pass rush right now. NFC teams have to have a good pass rush because the quarterback play is really good in the NFC. Charles Harris is a born edge rusher. His hands and footwork are top notch and he’ll be an immediate contributor in Dallas.
29. Green Bay Packers (10-6) – G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
6’4″ 309 pounds
Green Bay used to have one of the best interior offensive lines in the NFL with Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, J.C. Tretter, and T.J. Lang. Well, Sitton, Lang, and Tretter are now gone and Linsley’s contract is up after this season. Green Bay must really like Jason Spriggs enough to let some of those players move on, but the Packers still need to add depth to help bolster their running game – which ranked No. 20 in the league last year. Forrest Lamp is a versatile lineman that can play every position, but will likely end up as a guard in the NFL – which is what Green Bay needs.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) – Edge Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
6’2″ 250 pounds
Pittsburgh needs to make some upgrades at linebacker in this draft – particularly on the edge. Bud Dupree hasn’t quite panned out and James Harrison will turn 39 this year, and there’s not a ton of depth at that position outside of those players. Takkarist McKinley has been rising up the draft board since the football regular season. He has a raw skill set who has the potential to rack up a ton of sacks at the next level. He would be perfect fit in a 3-4 defense – which is what the Steelers run.
31. Atlanta Falcons (11-5) – CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
6’0″ 197 pounds
Atlanta’s defense is the team’s biggest weakness – even though I feel like that defense over performed down the stretch last year. The Falcons’ defense ranked No. 25 in total defense and No. 27 in points allowed per game. This draft is loaded with defensive talent and Atlanta can take a huge leap with a great draft class. The Falcons should target a cornerback early. Desmond Trufant’s contract will be up after this season, and the Falcons don’t have very many playmakers at cornerback outside of him. Marlon Humphrey’s technique might take some time to develop, but he has terrific speed and his coverage skills are impressive.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England) – LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
6’2″ 240 pounds
After acquiring this pick from New England in exchange for Brandin Cooks, I think New Orleans needs to add depth at linebacker. The Saints had a decent run defense last year, but there’s definite room for improvement. Hau’oli Kikaha is a bright spot in the Saints’ linebacker unit, but Stephone Anthony has been on and off the last two years and the rest of the Saints’ linebackers are mediocre. Raekwon McMillan is a very athletic linebacker and really boosted his stock at the combine. He’s very active with great instincts and always finds a way to be around the ball.
Teams without a first round pick:
Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
Thanks for reading
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