By: Stefan Krüger (@jav95_)
First (and last) mock draftMy initial idea was just to furiously mock the idea of mock drafts, but I thought I’d do a 100 percent correct prediction of what is going to go down tonight. Let’s start.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett
There were reports the Browns were seriously considering Trubisky here, but that would not fit the profile of what the new regime did so far. Garrett will be the first overall selection of the 2017 NFL draft.
2. New York Jets: Mitchell Trubisky (trade with the 49ers)
Even though the Jets take a QB high every single year, they still have no franchise QB on the team. As of now, Josh McCown would be the starter. Sure, they could do the #ScamForSam, but who really knows how he will develop next year. Rumor has it they like Trubisky and they don’t want to gamble here.
3. Chicago Bears: Solomon Thomas
The Bears have several positions to address, among them defensive line and secondary and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, one of the most respected guys in the business, just said it’s basically him or Jamal Adams for the Bears.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette
This is another team that could go a variety of ways. Jonathan Allen makes sense, but so does Leonard Fournette. TJ Yeldon hasn’t become the player the Jaguars hoped he would become after investing in him early two years ago. Fournette is a beast at running back and could help take some pressure off Blake Bortles who will try to regain 2015 form. The Jaguars for some reason haven’t given up on Bortles and will try to help him as much as possible.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore
With a lot of wide receiver talent in the AFC South and need at that position, Lattimore is the pick here. He will make an instant impact and help solidify the defense. With another pick later in the first round, a playmaking wide receiver can be found there.
6. San Francisco 49ers: Malik Hooker (trade with the Jets)
Hooker’s tape is impressive, even though he started only for one year. I don’t think this is a fluke, those skills he showed just don’t come and go. He would play the important Earl Thomas role in the new defensive scheme under Robert Saleh.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams
Malik Hooker would be the perfect fit here. It’s too bad the 49ers beat them to it. Since there is a massive need for wide receiver, though, Mike Williams will be the choice
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey
The Panthers absolutely need a running back; Ron Rivera loves to run the ball. Jonathan Stewart was injured for some weeks last year and he is also not getting any younger. McCaffrey provides a 4 down skill set, but could also be part of a two-headed monster together with Stewart.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Haason Reddick
Haason Reddick rose up the draft board since the Combine. Now he’ll be the first linebacker taken in this draft. It just makes too much sense. My initial pick was Reuben Foster here, but he fell due to what happened at the Combine and with his rotator cuff surgery.
10. Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard
Everyone says the Bills want to upgrade at QB and like Trubisky. Well, he is off the board. Also, to me at least, neither Trubisky nor any other of the top QBs in this draft provide and upgrade over Tyrod Taylor. So they’ll come to their senses and take their TE of the future. Howard is a monster at position. He possesses great measurables, is fantastic at both blocking and pass catching. He can be a top weapon in the NFL and the Bills need that.
11. New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster
The Saints at 11 are a wild-card; there are so many options here. The team’s perennial weakness is the defense, though, and both the secondary and the linebacker corps need improvement. Foster’s slide was a short one. He has all the potential in the world which is why I think the Saints will look past the injury concerns and little series of unfortunate incidents at the Combine and take him here.
12. Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson
The Browns are fascinating to me. Last year, they got a new head coach, rid themselves of a lot of players and started fresh. Now they have a young roster, draft capital every GM would kill for and, at least it seems, a competent front office. I don’t think it is in anyone’s interest, to go into the season with Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and Brock Osweiler at QB. Trubisky is already off the board, so Watson makes a lot of sense here. Just an FYI: since Tom Brady was drafted by the Patriots in 2000, the Browns played 29 different quarterbacks. Stability there is a top priority.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes
Just two years ago, this team was loaded on defense. Since then, a lot of starters left. Bruce Arians knows that, but Palmer won’t play forever. Finding a QB who can take over from him in the future is imperative. It is easier to find quality defenders than a viable NFL QB. Also, Arians needs time to build a quarterback around Mahomes’ arm. They’ll take the gamble here.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Dalvin Cook
Get Carson Wentz some help. Last year’s skill position players were depressing to watch. They added Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery through free agency, which helps a bit, but they are still missing a workhorse running back. With the addition of Cook the offense suddenly looks pretty good.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Charles Harris
New GM Chris Ballard has a lot of holes to fill on this roster, most importantly on the defensive side of the ball. Harris would be an immediate impact player and even fit in another system, should the Colts finally fire Chuck Pagano after this season.
16. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis (trade with the Ravens)
This just is a perfect fit from every point of view, so the Titans make it happen with all the draft capital that they have.
17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen
He was widely seen as the number two overall prospect in this draft. Then everyone found out he had arthritic shoulders. Once a top 5 lock, he’ll slide to the mid of the first round. The Redskins need a player like him and think he can produce at a high level still.
18. Baltimore Ravens: Derek Barnett (trade with the Titans)
Ozzie Newsome, one of the NFL’s best GMs, has built a roster without many weaknesses. One, though, is pass rush, or at least will be in the near future. They can’t bank on Terrell Suggs forever, so they’ll prepare themselves for when father time comes to get him.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku
Another monster tight end of this loaded positional group this year. Just imagine Njoku, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson on the field together. Jason Licht did the same, and he liked what he saw.
20. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson
Russell Okung in Colorado didn’t really work out. Cam Robinson is arguably the best O-Line prospect here. They need to solidify this line and a guy wo can hold his own against Myles Garrett is a solid point to start.
21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis
Another perfect fit. He’s a freak athlete and would be a major contributor come week one.
22. Miami Dolphins: Zach Cunningham
Another wild card in this draft. Although Forrest Lamp would help make their offensive line a really, really good one, the needs on defense shouldn’t be overlooked. Hence the selection of Zach Cunningham. He might not be a finished product just yet, but he has immense upside and let’s be honest, another year of Kiko Alonso as the number one guy would be awful.
23. New York Giants: Garrett Bolles
With Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard Eli already has insanely good weapons. If he just had an offensive line to throw from behind, the league better watch out. Bolles could really help with that.
24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley
Do the Raiders dare to pull the trigger on Conley, after the rape accusations a few days ago? I think they believe in his pledge of innocence and take one of the most talented corners here.
25. Houston Texans: DeShone Kizer
First Tony Romo denies every Texans’ fan’s wish and retires. Then both QBs they hoped would fall to 25 get taken early. Do they dare going into a season of the National Football League with Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden? I don’t think so, not after the Brock Osweiler disaster.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Quincy Wilson
He’s a very good fit here for what the Seahawks do defensively. He could help bring back the feared Legion of Boom.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Marlon Humphrey
I believe the Chiefs would love for a QB to fall to them, but that didn’t happen. They’ll draft Marlon Humphrey instead who makes a good partner to All Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre’Davious White
Surprise,surprise. After letting go of several starters of the secondary, the Cowboys reload here in the first round. White is a prospect some see even go much earlier, but this is a weird draft on so many levels. The Cowboys will be very happy.
29. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt
Pass rush was already an issue last season, and since then Julius Peppers left to go home to the Panthers. Watt, brother of 3 time DPOY J.J., is immensely intriguing and will help take some pressure of the secondary.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley
The Steelers offense has the potential to be the best in the NFL, especially with Martavis Bryant returning, but that defense needs to improve. McKinley would immediately be the best player opposite Bud Dupree.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Taco Charlton
This was a toss-up between Charlton, Carl Lawson and Malik McDowell. Pass rush was the top priority and all three would have been a fit. I went with Charlton here and since this will be 100 percent accurate, book it.
32. New Orleans Saints: John Ross
Payton will probably rave for some minutes when he realizes that Ross fell this far. He’ll replace Brandin Cooks who the Saints traded to the Patriots. Him paired with Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead? Watch out.
This was a nice exercise for me. Since time difference makes it almost impossible to watch the draft, I thought I’d spoiler the results now. You’re welcome.