Myles Garrett has been the consensus number 1 pick from the beginning. Some people question Garrett’s production and whether he has the attitude to be an elite pass rusher. When you watch him play his athleticism sticks out. His burst off the snap is electric.
The pick: Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
2. San Francisco
I think the recent buzz on SF considering a QB is them realizing their pick is more valuable if the teams below them think they might take a QB. Solomon Thomas is the second best non QB player in this class. He has the potential to anchor their defense for years to come.
The pick: Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
The Mike Glennon signing doesn’t guarantee they don’t go quarterback here, I have a hard time believing they don’t try to sure up their secondary. Malik Hooker is raw, but makes plays on the ball in the air that not many people can make. I was more impressed with his run defense than I was expecting. He flew to the ball and attacked ball carriers more like what I expected from Jamal Adams based on the hype. Hooker’s tackling technique could be improved. Laying a shoulder into guys to tackle them might not work as well in the pros.
The Pick Malik Hooker, S Ohio State
Not that any of these picks other than Garrett are sure things, but trying to predict this pick is particularly dicey. When in doubt, go with the best players available. Injury concerns, inexperience, and their own depth chart scare them off Marshon Lattimore. The next best guy is O.J. Howard. Howard is the rare college TE prospect with the athleticism to cause matchup problems and the physicality to block.
The Pick O.J. Howard, TE Alabama
That makes it easy on Tennessee. Marshon Lattimore has hamstring concerns, but he moves different than everyone else. Lattimore could eventually challenge for CB1 status. Not CB1 on the Titans. CB1 in the league.
The Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State
6. N.Y. Jets
The Jets are the first team to take the QB plunge. Wait until next year and try your luck again in a quarterback class that might or might not be better than this year? Or take now what they think is a clutch player with the will to win? Deshaun Watson doesn’t have the same upside as the other guys in this class, but he has the guts and grit to face the pressure of N.Y.
The Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
7. L.A. Chargers
The Jets drew first blood and now the teams that want a QB are on the phones. L.A. can’t get an offer it likes. They want to stay and take a tone setter for their defense. When I heard about Jamal Adams I was expecting a good pass defender and an absolute missile on run defense. I didn’t quite see that in the games I watched. He seemed slow to the ball and he often got caught up in trash as he tried to come up in run support. I would like to drop him down a little lower, but it sounds like his leadership skills are off the charts. L.A.C won’t want to pass up a plug and play captain for their defense during turbulent times.
The pick: Jamal Adams, S LSU
A lot of people have an RB here. I’m not buying it. My next thought was speed at WR with John Ross. I just can’t see Dave Gettleman doing that. He likes to invest in the big “hog mollies” up front. They seem fairly set at d-line. They seem fairly NOT set at O-line. Garrett Bolles looks like surest OT starter in this class. All of the other first round type names either look like projects at OT or guard converts. Bolles is good in pass protection and a beast against the run.
The pick: Garrett Bolles, OT Utah
Here it is! My annual Bengals pick. With the 9th pick in the NFL draft we have a trade! The Bengals relationship with their old pal Hue Jackson comes in handy again. Bengals trade the 9th pick and the 41st pick for the 12th pick and the 33rd pick. It helps both teams. The Browns take matters into their own hands and step up to take their guy. Beyond QB, they don’t necessarily need specific players, they just need players. Dropping down 9 slots in the second doesn’t really hurt them. Cincy on the other hand gets their pick of whatever talent falls out of the first round and a valuable trade chip if they decide to move back down. Anyway, I’ve gone on too long about a fake trade that will never happen.
The Bengals could have rolled with Jonathan Allen here, but if you are looking for pass rush, I don’t know how much Allen actually upgrades what they already have. They can presumably still get a player they like at 12 and they improve their position in the second round in the process.
TRADE: Cleveland via CINCINNATI
The Browns go with Mitchell Trubisky here. There’s no guarantees if they try to hold out for someone better and cheaper. They’ve constructed a formidable offensive line. It’s not a bad idea to show some urgency here.
The pick: Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina
I don’t know if this pick is going to be Buffalo or not, but someone is going to step into this slot intoxicated with some Mahomes fever. Will Mahomes polish into a fine diamond or crumble like a lump of coal? This is a good move. The potential is too high to worry about price. Bring him in, tighten up some of his footwork/habits, and reap the rewards.
The pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech
11. New Orleans
The Saints are desperate to upgrade their defense and they stumble into one of the more pro-ready prospects in the class. Most mock drafts have Allen going higher. Decent value for the Saints.
The pick: Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama
12. CINCINNATI via Cleveland
The Bengals missed on Allen, but maybe they can kill two birds with one stone. Haason Reddick is a college DE that projects as a LB in the pros. He’s athletic enough to play linebacker, but big enough to rush from the edge. If the Bengals are going to try to improve the pass rush with their first pick. This is their best bet.
The pick: Haason Reddick, LB Temple
13. Arizona (Buffalo??)
Call this a tentative trade. Somebody snags Corey Davis in this slot. He’s the top WR in this class. I tried letting him slide down the board a little, but it just didn’t feel right. Davis hasn’t worked out in the pre-draft process due to injury, but his play proved enough. If you are ranking the potential for players in this class to make all-pro, I think it would be a mistake not to consider Davis in the top 10 and he has a decent floor as well.
The pick: Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan
The Eagles add another weapon to their free agency hull of targets they added. Christian McCaffrey has been compared to Brian Westbrook. He’s a perfect outlet option for Carson Wentz and he’s good enough as a runner to use all 3 downs without limiting the offense. As long as he stops trying to imitate Le’Veon Bell’s magician-like hesitation moves, he will be a nice addition.
The pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford
Indy used free agency to bandage up their defense a little bit to give themselves some flexibility here and I think they are going to use every bit of it. O-line would make more sense if they like the guys left on the board. This is going to be a little bit of a splash: Dalvin Cook goes to Indy with Leonard Fournette still on the board. Some have Cook falling for durability and off-field concerns. From what I watched, I have Cook as the best RB in this class. To me, Cook and Joe Mixon forced the issue a little more on their runs. They were creators. McCaffrey and Fournette are more opportunists than creators. If a defense makes a mistake or leaves a small opening they will make you pay. Cook and Mixon have a little more ability to make something out of nothing.
The Pick: Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State
The Ravens inject a little talent back in their O-line with a small school OT/G prospect. I’ve seen Forrest Lamp projected all over the board, but most seem to agree he is solid prospect with a low floor.
The pick: Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky
Joe Mixon’s off the field incidents have been well documented. I don’t want to minimize what he did, but he’s an elite offensive prospect in this class. People keep saying if teams haven’t taken him off their board, why does it matter what round they pick him? It’s about investment and whether you think he is a risk to relapse. Washington’s owner insists on keeping a racial slur as his mascot. I don’t think he cares about the moral/PR side of it. Does the talent outweigh the risk? Washington votes yes.
The pick: Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma
There has been all kinds of smoke around Reuben Foster. I considered dropping him down further, but I think 15 to 20 is about the range he’ll end up landing.
The pick: Reuben Foster, LB Alabama
19. Tampa Bay
Leonard Founette’s wait finally ends! Some will take this as knock on Fournette. But I think he’s really good, and placing him in the first round as a RB is an indication of that. He can punish defenses for their mistakes while simultaneously wearing them down. Some criticize his receiving abilities. I liked what I saw from him catching the ball. He’ll be just fine. Fournette falls and Tampa rejoices.
The pick: Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
The Broncos will keep their eyes on Foster if he slips, but instead they stay put and land a versatile TE prospect. David Njoku’s has great athleticism and has the chance to develop into a great two-way TE which is becoming more and more valuable in the NFL. Offensives around the league crave the scheme flexibility, and college football isn’t producing enough of these guys to quench their thirst.
The pick: David Njoku, TE Miami
Derek Barnett is one of these prospects with great college production, but there’s no consensus on where he projects because it’s uncertain if his skills will translate to the NFL. He reminds me of Shaq Lawson from last year. Great college player, but probably a mediocre pro. Barnett wins mostly when he rushes around the edge. He only could get penetration on an inside move when the blocking scheme messed up. He bends well, but I don’t know if his speed will get him around the edge against better talent.
The pick: Derek Barnett
Marlon Humphrey provides Miami with an opportunity to get tougher at CB. He’s young, big, and strong. He needs some help on deep routes, but he is excellent in run support.
The pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama
23. N.Y. Giants
Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk would likely go higher if not for offseason surgery. The league is starved for OT talent so I still think he’ll go round 1, but he has more question marks than I’d like with a first round pick. Maybe he’s a guard?
The pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin
As long as the Raiders are owned by a Davis, I think they are obligated to take the fastest player available. As the fastest player EVER, the Raiders have to go with John Ross right? If he wasn’t an injury risk Ross would go higher. He’s a better receiver than most ultra-fast guys. He flashes small guy hands sometimes. That’s not necessarily a reason to drop him, just something to keep in mind.
The pick: John Ross, WR Washington
Houston Has O-line needs at multiple positions. Luckily this draft class has plenty of OT’s that probably should play guard in the NFL. If you are a glass half full kind of person that means they are versatile! Cam Robinson can plug a hole at guard or fill in at tackle in a pinch.
The pick: Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
With the thin OT crop dried up, Seattle turns to CB. Tre’davious White is an interesting prospect. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say anything bad about him yet he never really seemed to gain much momentum throughout the process. Gareon Conley would probably be in the mix here or earlier. I’m not really sure what to make of the recent accusations against him. I just dropped him out of the first round all together.
The pick: Tre’davious White, CB LSU
27. Kansas City
The Chiefs finally wave the white flag on the Alex Smith era. He’ll still have the reins for a couple of years, but K.C. picks his heir apparent here. Deshone Kizer has all of the tools to be great. He has a low floor, but if anyone can get the most out of him it’s Andy Reid. This could be Donovan McNabb 2.0. Fittingly, McNabb’s tutor gets to teach Kizer too.
The pick: Deshone Kizer, QB Notre Dame
You’ll see a wide variety of opinions about Adoree Jackson. Some love him. Some think he’s strictly a return man. He is electric with the ball in his hands. Some think he should just play offense. The answer is somewhere in between. He is a decent corner and an elite return man. Dallas will see the upside.
The pick: Adoree Jackson, CB USC
29. Green Bay
Green Bay could keep the CB run going here, but their offense seems a little too reliant on the health of Jordy Nelson. Mike Williams is expected to go higher, but I struggled to find a spot for him. This might work out better for him anyway. What do you think Aaron Rodgers will do with a player that excels at contested catches?
The pick: Mike Williams, WR Clemson
Pittsburgh jumps at the opportunity to draft a name that sounds like Polamalu. They sprint to the podium for Obi Melifonwu because GM Kevin Colbert is that dumb. Just kidding. I don’t really think that. But Pittsburgh has targeted a specific type of athlete the last few years. Melifonwu and his eye-popping combine numbers certainly qualify as their type.
The pick: Obi Melifonwu, S Connecticut
Atlanta didn’t have enough depth on their defensive line last year and it came back to bite them in their Super Bowl collapse. Malik McDowell falls because of his personality and inconsistency, but he will look awfully nice as a penetrating DT next to space-eating free agency acquisition Dontari Poe.
The pick: Malik McDowell, DT Michigan State
32. New Orleans
There’s quite a bit of defensive talent for the Saints to go after here, but instead they can’t resist taking another toy for Drew Brees to play with. Evan Engram probably won’t ever line up as an inline tight end, but he will be a matchup nightmare in the slot.
The pick: Evan Engram, TE Ole’ Miss.