We are right in the heart of mock draft season and it’s about time that I threw my mock into the ring. It’s important to note what the point of this exercise is. This is more about examining the needs and scheme fits of every team and to see how the first round could potentially go.
More than anything this post is about who I see as the best prospects and the best scheme fits for a variety of teams, especially the Philadelphia Eagles who are n an interesting spot at 14th overall. They need a starting cornerback badly, but the value at corner in the middle of the first round isn’t great. So the Eagles are really in a take the best player available position with their first round pick. Tight end, wide receiver, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, safety and even running back are all in play depending on how the picks fall in front of them.
Here is how the first round would play it if I was the GM for each team(without trades):
1)Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett Edge/Texas A&M- This one is a no-brainer. Garrett is an elite athlete with a well-developed array of pass rush moves in an NFL body. He is an immediate starter and the heavy favorite to win defensive rookie of the year.
2)San Francisco 49ers: Marshon Lattimore CB/Ohio State- John Lynch’s first draft pick as a GM after making the move from tv is crucial. Nobody is going to immediately turn around the 9ers, but Lattimore gives the defense a physical corner with elite recovery speed. I see some Patrick Peterson in his game and at the very least they get a solid starter on a roster that has very few.
3)Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen DL/Alabama- A lot of people will expect a quarterback here but they did just sign Mike Glennon and the quarterback class next year will yield four better prospects than anyone in this year’s class. Allen is a versatile interior lineman already well versed in the 3-4 defense.
4)Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas DL/Stanford- Is he a defensive end or defensive tackle? The answer is yes to both and it’s obvious on tape. Line him up anywhere, it doesn’t matter. He can take over a game with his raw power and elite quickness at anytime.
5)Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker S/Ohio State- The best safety prospect since Eric Berry. In today’s NFL he is the ideal safety. He can cover, he has big time range and he will force a lot of turnovers every season.
6)New York Jets: Derek Barnett Edge/Tennessee- Every year I mock a pass rusher early to the Jets and every year they miss out on some serious pass rush help. They’ve been lacking one since the Rex Ryan days and they can finally get one this year, though they’ll probably let me down once again.
7)San Diego Chargers: John Ross WR/Washington- This would be a really fun pick for Phillip Rivers. I like the Chargers offensive weapons already, but Ross would add a whole other dimension. In a division with two average offenses(KC and DEN) and one pretty lousy secondary(Raiders) adding a player like Ross allows a healthy Chargers team to compete for a playoff spot.
8)Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette RB/LSU- Fournette isn’t a great fit everywhere because he is such a north-south runner who relies on straight line speed and power, but I love the ideal of him feeding off Cam Newton in the read option offense(and vice-versa).
9)Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster LB/Alabama- This pick would give the Bengals the nastiest linebacker duo in the league combining Foster with all-around asshole Vontaze Burfict. A little more nasty is exactly what this franchise needs that still can’t figure out a way to win one playoff game.
10)Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis WR/Western Michigan- The Bills actually have a pretty decent roster, but they still lack a franchise quarterback and playmakers on both sides of the ball. They won’t get a franchise quarterback in this draft, but they can get the best offensive playmaker in the draft in Corey Davis.
11)New Orleans Saints: Charles Harris Edge/Missouri- This Saints defense is just embarrassing and this draft should be about adding as many impact players on that side as possible. Harris is an athletic freak off the edge with a motor that never stops. He started playing football late in his high school career so this kid is still really raw, but man can he get after the quarterback.
12)Cleveland Browns: O.J. Howard TE/Alabama- This is the value pick of the draft. The Browns get a dynamic receiver who can stretch the field and a versatile blocker who will immediately upgrade the rushing attack.
13)Arizona Cardinals: Deshone Kizer QB/Notre Dame- Arizona is a vertical offense with a couple really good deep threats and an elite running back who greatly benefits from that. Kizer fits in perfectly here, he just needs to improve his footwork so his accuracy won’t be so up and down. Here, he can sit for a year behind Carson Palmer before he more than likely takes over in 2018.
14)Philadelphia Eagles: Jabrill Peppers S/Michigan- The Eagles here are in a tough spot. If they take a corner or pass rush they are really reaching for need. With Peppers the Eagles get a player that can do a lot of different things and eventually take over full time for Malcolm Jenkins, who I think Peppers is very similar too. Peppers is a versatile safety who can attack, play in the box and cover in the slot. He’s also a dynamic return man so you’re getting a ton of value out of this pick.
15)Indianapolis Colts: Garrett Bolles OT/Utah- The Colts need to keep taking offensive linemen early until we can guarantee the safety Andew Luck. I love Bolles for the Colts. He’s athletic enough to handle the left tackle spot and nasty enough to boost that run game.
16)Baltimore Ravens: Haason Reddick Edge/Temple- I love Reddick in a 3-4 defense as a versatile edge rusher. He came into Temple as a defensive back and has since made the transition as a defensive end and linebacker hybrid player. He’s an outstanding athlete who should benefit from playing with a pretty veteran defensive group.
17)Washington Redskins: Mitch Trubisky QB/UNC- With how this franchise has treated Kick Cousins and with how poor their depth is behind him, you have to consider them drafting a quarterback early. I love the Trubisky fit here in Gruden’s west coast offense.
18)Tennessee Titans: Teez Tabor CB/Florida- While everyone else is freaking out over a 40 yard dash in a t-shirt and shorts, the Titans can really solidify their secondary with their second of two first round picks. The tape doesn’t lie and Tabor’s speed and movement skills were never in question on tape.
19)Tampa Bay Bucs: Taco Charlton Edge/Michigan- Tampa Bay is a playoff team right now. They fell just short last season with a very young roster and they’ve already added DeSean Jackson in free agency to really make this offense pop. Charlton is a day one starter who will their boost their pass rush right away.
20)Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk OT/Wisconsin- The Broncos are dealing with a tight salary cap and depth issues on the offensive line so this pick makes too much sense not to happen.
21)Detroit Lions: Mike Williams WR/Clemson- This is the best possible landing spot for Williams. He goes to a pretty good offense with a really good quarterback, but the opportunity to be a number one target is also available. Matthew Stafford already knows how to throw open a big wide out like Williams, even if Williams doesn’t separate like Calvin Johnson used to.
22)Miami Dolphins: Forest Lamp OG/Western Kentucky- With Brandon Albert being shipped out to Jacksonville and Laremy Tunsil moving from guard to tackle, this pick makes a lot of sense. He can start immediately at left guard and gives Tunsil a linemate he can grow with for the next decade.
23)New York Giants: David Njoku TE/Miami- An elite athlete at tight end that gives Eli Manning yet another weapon to throw to as he enters the end of the prime of his career.
24)Oakland Raiders: Fabian Moreau CB/UCLA- The Raiders were a horrid pass defense last year despite a pretty good pass rush. They need physical corners who can cover the opponent’s best wide out and I believe Moreau can do that from day one.
25)Houston Texans: Christian McCaffrey RB/Stanford- This pick is all about winning right now. Look, the Texans are eventually going to get Tony Romo. Jerry Jones can kick and scream all he wants, this is going to happen, and when it does Houston needs to surround him with as many weapons as possible. I realize that they already have Lamar Miller, but in this scenario McCaffrey can be the Deonvta Freeman to Lamar Miller’s Telvin Coleman and that is a very good thing.
26)Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson OT/Alabama- Robinson and offensive line coach Tom Cable is a bit of a scary combination, but if it works out Seattle gets a dominant tackle in the run and pass game. Robinson was the only tackle I saw on tape who contained Myles Garrett and he’s even better in the run game.
27)Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes QB/Texas Tech- Mahomes is everything the Chiefs are missing at quarterback. A big arm, the balls to attempt any throw and a swagger this offense desperately needs. Since Andy Reid became the Chiefs head coach in 2013 the team has made the postseason 3 times but has come away with a playoff win only once. Mahomes won’t change that in year one, but he has a chance to be the dynamic quarterback this franchise has been lacking since the days of Len Dawson.
28)Dallas Cowboys: Jamal Adams S/LSU- This seems a bit late for Adams, but this is a deep draft and safeties that don’t have great coverage skills shouldn’t be considered top 20 picks. Adams is a great deep safety who can also excels playing near the line of scrimmage. With all the losses the Cowboys have had this offseason in the secondary, they need all the help they can get
29)Green Bay Packers: Evan Engram TE/Ole Miss- Engram runs and jump like a wide receiver in a tight end’s body and letting him catch passes from Aaron Rodgers seems unfair for the rest of the league. I know Rodgers keep saying the Packers need a lot of help on defense, but I doubt he will have a problem with this pick.
30)Pittsburgh Steelers: Rasul Douglas CB/West Virginia- I love Douglas’s fit here because of his length, physicality and ball skills. He had 8 interceptions in 2016. I don’t love him playing on an island a ton, but in a heavy zone defense I think he can have a similar impact as Richard Sherman has had in Seattle.
31)Atlanta Falcons: Malik McDowell DL/Michigan State- His effort and playing weight(275 in college, 295 at combine) have come into question, but there is no denying this kid’s raw athleticism and ability at both defensive end and tackle. I love the idea of lining him up next to Grady Jarrett in nickel packages and letting both guys wreak havoc in the backfield. I still don’t know his role in base packages, but he can be a double digit sack player with his production on third down alone.
32)New Orelans Saints: Tre’Davious White CB/LSU- This pick is about bringing some attitude back to the Saints defense while also adding a corner that can cover from any spot in any defense. Put on the tape of White going up against LaQuon Treadwell and you see a corner who doesn’t back down to anybody.