Movie quote of the day:
“Well be careful, man. Be careful. Wear shoes in the house. Safety. Safety first, then teamwork.”
– Saul, “Pineapple Express” (2008)
The NFL draft is finally upon us! As I’ve done every year, I created my own mock draft, but unlike last year and some points this offseason, I’m only going to do one round. Mostly because I didn’t have time to do more rounds yesterday and because I’m currently on my way to Philadelphia for the draft (look for me on TV), and I don’t have enough phone battery to write and edit a long blog post. I’d love to do more, but I think just one round is plenty sufficient because that’s really the only round that most NFL fans care about.
1. Cleveland Browns (1-15) – Edge Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
6’4″ 272 pounds
There’s been talk that Cleveland is still considering Mitchell Trubisky with this pick. However, I think the Browns have to go with Garrett. They have need of a pass rusher and Garrett is a transcendent player that I think is as close to a lock as it gets to being an All-Pro player in the NFL.
2. San Francisco 49ers (2-14) – Edge Solomon Thomas, Stanford
6’3″ 273 pounds
San Francisco is another team that has needs all across its roster. After signing Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in the offseason, I think edge rusher becomes the bigger need for San Francisco. The 49ers have lacked a quality edge-rushing presence for years and Ahmad Brooks just turned 33. They need to get a younger pass rusher and Thomas is that player.
3. Chicago Bears (3-13) – S Jamal Adams, LSU
6’0″ 214 pounds
Chicago really needs to get better in the back end of its defense. The Bears definitely need to find a No. 1 cornerback, but I think they go with Adams. He’s considered one of the top five players in this draft, and Chicago has need of a strong safety.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
6’0″ 240 pounds
Running back isn’t one of the biggest needs for Jacksonville, but it could definitely use an upgrade. The Jaguars have to get Blake Bortles some more playmakers around him, and an every-down back to take some of the pressure off him would be perfect. Fournette is that type of player. The offensive line isn’t great in Jacksonville, but his running style should be good enough to make plays for the Jaguars.
5. Tennessee Titans (9-7; from Los Angeles Rams) – CB Marston Lattimore, Ohio State
6’0 193 pounds
Tennessee has to get better on the perimeter. A wide receiver or tight end is very much in play with this pick, but this draft class is incredibly deep at cornerback – which is a position that the Titans need (even before they released Jason McCourty). Lattimore has been considered the top cornerback in this class and should be a solid player at the next level.
6. New York Jets (5-11) – TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
6’6″ 251 pounds
It doesn’t sound like the Jets want to take a quarterback with this pick, and when was the last time the Jets had a dynamic tight end? I don’t remember either. Drafting a playmaker like Howard would be huge for the young quarterbacks on the Jets’ roster.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
6’1″ 206 pounds
After losing Eric Weddle last year, the Chargers need to add a free safety on defense. Hooker has drawn comparisons to Ed Reid because he’s the definition of a ballhawk and is excellent in coverage.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10) – RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
5’11” 202 pounds
Carolina’s love for McCaffrey is real. The Panthers need to bring some youth to the running back position because Jonathan Stewart is getting up there in age, and they need to get Cam Newton as many offensive playmakers as possible. I think McCaffrey’s change-of-pace style would be an excellent pair with Newton.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
6’3″ 286 pounds
Rumors are swirling that Cincinnati is looking to take a pass rusher with this pick. An edge rusher is a possibility, but I don’t think the Bengals can pass on Allen. He’s a top five player and is the most complete defensive tackle in this draft. Allen and Geno Atkins on the same defensive line would be bad news for other AFC North opponents.
10. Buffalo Bills (7-9) – WR Mike Williams, Clemson
6’4″ 218 pounds
Buffalo could go quarterback with this pick, but I think they’re going to find a playmaker for Tyrod Taylor instead – mostly because Sammy Watkins has had injury problems and Robert Woods left in the offseason. Williams has been considered the top wide receiver in this class from the beginning. His ability to go up and grab the ball vertically is unreal. He’s just the type of weapon that Taylor needs in Buffalo.
11. New Orleans Saints (7-9) – Edge Derek Barnett, Tennessee
6’3″ 259 pounds
New Orleans really needs to get another pass rusher on its defensive line other than Cam Jordan. The Saints’ defense has been atrocious the last few years because of lack of a pass rush. Barnett can really help the Saints get after the quarterback. His speed isn’t great, but his technique is terrific.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia) – QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
6’2″ 222 pounds
Cleveland is in its annual search for a quarterback. The rumor is that Hue Jackson and the Browns love Trubisky and they’re looking into even trading up for him from this spot. (I don’t think that’s necessary though. I’ve said for awhile that I don’t think a quarterback goes in the top 10). Trubisky has plenty of talent and I think Jackson would be able to coach him up and make him a competent NFL quarterback.
13. Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) – QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
6’2″ 225 pounds
This probably shocks a ton of people. Mahomes isn’t considered to be the second best quarterback in this class, but Arizona apparently loves him as Carson Palmer’s replacement, and is considering taking him with this pick. I think this is a nice fit for Mahomes. There would be no pressure for him to start right away, and he can be coached by Bruce Arians – who is one of the best quarterback coaches in the league.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9; from Minnesota) – CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
6’1″ 211 pounds
Philadelphia did a good job of signing some good offensive weapons this offseason for Carson Wentz. Which makes me believe the Eagles are going to go defense with this selection, and there’s no greater defensive need for Philadelphia than cornerback. Wilson is a physical corner with excellent coverage skills – which will be a great counter to the good quarterbacks in the NFC East.
15. Indianapolis Colts (8-8) – Edge Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
6’2″ 250 pounds
Indianapolis could go in a lot of different ways with this pick, but I think they go defense. With Robert Mathis retiring, I think the Colts’ top defensive need is edge rusher. McKinley has great pass-rushing skills, and is an ideal fit for Indianapolis’ 3-4 defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) – Edge Charles Harris, Missouri
6’3″ 253 pounds
I think Baltimore goes edge rusher with this pick – I really don’t see it going any other way. The Ravens need one because Terrell Suggs is getting old, and Za’Darius Smith and Kamalei Correa haven’t quite panned out. Harris is the next best edge rusher on the board. I’ve seen him play, and he just looks like someone who would play for the Ravens in the NFL.
17. Washington Redskins (8-7-1) – LB Haason Reddick, Temple
6’1″ 237 pounds
It sounds like Washinton has a huge man crush on Haason Reddick – and rightfully so. Reddick is probably the most complete linebacker in this class. He’s crazy athletic and has good pass rushing skills, but he’s likely to play 3-4 inside linebacker in the NFL – which is what the Redskins need.
18. Tennessee Titans – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
6’3″ 209 pounds
I’ll be shocked if Tennessee doesn’t pick a pass catcher in the first round. The Titans have to get Mariota more weapons offensively, and Corey Davis would be a fantastic player for the Titans to get. He has size, speed, good hands, and is excellent at creating separation from defensive backs.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) – CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
6’0″ 203 pounds
Tampa Bay had the No. 22 pass defense last year. That has to improve in 2017 if the Buccaneers want to make a run for the NFC South division title. The Buccaneers have a subpar secondary, and Awuzie is a versatile defensive back that can play every position.
20. Denver Broncos (9-7) – T Garett Bolles, Utah
6’5″ 297 pounds
To simply put it, Denver’s offensive line is atrocious. The Broncos have to start protecting their quarterbacks if they want to make it back to the postseason. The offensive line class this draft is mediocre, but Bolles is one of the few players that has a bright future in the NFL.
21. Detroit Lions (9-7) – TE David Njoku, Miami (Fla.)
6’4″ 246 pounds
According to what I’ve read, Detroit really likes Njoku. I think he would be an excellent fit in the Lions’ offense too. He’s an athletic tight end that can make plays down the seam, and will make plays on the run. Which works well with Matt Stafford because he has the arm to get the ball to him.
22. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
6’4″ 309 pounds
Miami has some needs defensively, but the top priority should be to protect Ryan Tannehill. With Laremy Tunsil moving to left tackle, that opens a starting spot at guard. Personally, I think Lamp is the best offensive lineman in this class and Miami could really use him.
23. New York Giants (11-5) – T Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
6’6″ 310 pounds
The Giants have to find a left tackle to protect Eli Manning. It almost hurts me to watch him play sometimes because of his lack of protection from the offensive line. Ramczyk is an athletic lineman that has Pro Bowl potential. He could almost certainly step in day one and start at left tackle for the Giants.
24. Oakland Raiders (12-4) – LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
6’0″ 229 pounds
I expect Reuben Foster to fall tonight because of the suspicion around the diluted sample in his drug test at the combine. However, he’s still crazy talented and this is where I think he ends up. Oakland’s defense ranked No. 23 in rush defense last year. The Raiders could really use a run-stopping linebacker that also is the voice of the defense.
25. Houston Texans (9-7) – T Cam Robinson, Alabama
6’6″ 322 pounds
Houston is desperate for a quarterback, but I just don’t get the vibe that the Texans will take one in the first round tonight. Houston’s coaching staff really seems to like Tom Savage. If that’s the case, Houston is going to have to keep him upright if he’s going to make plays, and Robinson is the best lineman available.
26. Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) – CB Kevin King, Washington
6’3″ 200 pounds
Seattle really needs some help on the offensive line, but they’re all off the board at this point. Another need for the Seahawks is cornerback because they’ve struggled to find someone to pair with Richard Sherman that can cover the other side of the field. You could argue that there are better cornerbacks than King still on the board. However, he’s physical with receivers and has a big body – which fits exactly what Seattle wants in its secondary.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
6’2″ 221 pounds
Alex Smith isn’t getting any younger and Kansas City has shown interest in finding his replacement in this draft. The Chiefs have also voiced interest in Deshaun Watson as that replacement. I think that would be an excellent fit because I think Watson has what it takes to be a solid quarterback in the NFL, and Andy Reid has always found a way to make the best of mobile quarterbacks.
28. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) – CB Tre’Davious White, LSU
5’11” 192 pounds
Yes, Dallas really needs an edge rusher but there’s been talk that the Cowboys are wanting to go with a cornerback in the first round instead. I don’t think that’ll be the worst decision because Dallas lost almost every starter from last year’s secondary this offseason. White’s coverage skills are some of the best in this class – which will really help Dallas’ subpar pass defense.
29. Green Bay Packers (10-6) – CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
6’0″ 197 pounds
Given the way the NFC Championship turned out back in January, I don’t see Green Bay going in any other direction than cornerback. The Packers’ cornerbacks were slow and abysmal last year and they really need to improve the unit if they want to get back to the Super Bowl. Humphrey’s coverage skills need to improve, but he has terrific speed and should be able to hang with fast receivers.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) – LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
6’1″ 238 pounds
Pittsburgh has always prided itself for its defense, but the run defense could use some improvement – especially after the departure of Lawrence Timmons this offseason. Also, Ryan Shazier’s contract is up after this season, so, the Steelers are going to have to find a run-stopping linebacker regardless. Davis is the best player on the board and is athletic enough to play inside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 style defense.
31. Atlanta Falcons (11-5) – Edge Taco Charlton, Michigan
6’6″ 277 pounds
I’m not crazy about Charlton after he posted a 4.92 40-yard dash at the combine. However, his tape speaks for itself and I think Atlanta’s top need is to find an edge rusher in this draft to play on the opposite side of Vic Beasley. Charlton’s pass-rushing skills could really help the Falcons’ defense take the next step.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England) – WR John Ross, Washington
5’11” 188 pounds
Ross is probably the toughest player to try to guess where he’ll end up in this draft. His speed has me think he’s a lock for the first round, but it’s hard to tell which team will draft him. One team that I think is very possible is New Orleans. The Saints just traded away Brandin Cooks this offseason and Ross would be the perfect replacement for him. Him and Cooks have a similar playing style and I think he’d make an excellent fit in New Orleans’ offense.
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Shane Price – @priceisright53