It's the post-Super Bowl and Pre-Combine period, which is usually when Mock Draft season starts as we approach free agency.
Thus, allow me to submit my first mock draft of the year. And this one might be a bit different than the majority of the ones you see, as I am doing basically two first-round mock drafts: one if I were the team's GM making the choice and one based on what I am seeing/hearing about prospects as the process plays out.
There are people who will complain about the picks based on talent, need, passing on a "better" prospect or just plain not liking the guy someone mocks to your team.
And while I agree those are all facets, the big thing about mock drafts is that they are a "maybe" opinion based on a constantly changing landscape. Things change. Most combine mocks will look different not because the players have changed but because the perception has
With that lengthy introduction, let's get started:
My Pick: DeShaun Watson, QB
What I Think: Myles Garrett, DE
The Browns are in need of a lot of help, and I think it starts with the QB. Despite all of the negativity towards DeShaun Watson, I think he's proven himself a capable winner and QB the Browns can build around long-term, which is worth more than a potential franchise pass-rusher.
The alternative, is for Cleveland to take the top available player and then look to take a QB later around 12.
My Pick: Myles Garrett, DE
What I Think: Rueben Foster, LB
Niners will be going defense one way or another it looks, and if Garrett is there they snatch him up in a heartbeat. Otherwise, Foster appears to be the 2nd-highest ranked defender on the majority of Big Boards
My Pick: DeShone Kizer, QB
What I Think: Mitch Trubisky, QB
Bears need a QB. I like Kizer as perhaps the QB with the most upside in this class and think he'd have the ability to start right away. But while I like him more than Trubisky (who might fit the Bears' offense better I'll admit) personally, it does seem like that fit and Trubisky being viewed as the only "first round" QB in this class has me thinking he goes here.
My Pick: Jon Allen, DL
What I Think: Dalvin Cook, RB
Jaguars could use help on defense in addition to Jalen Ramsey, despite making huge progress last year especially versus the pass. Jon Allen would be a boon for them on the DL, but my gut tells me that the Jags will look to help stabilize their struggling Quarterback by giving him a true ground game. If they address the offensive line in free agency, I could see them taking a freak like Fournette to take pressure off Bortles.
5. Titans (via Rams)
My Pick: Jamal Adams, S
What I Think: Jamal Adams, S
This pick should be a no-brainer, as the Titans get help in the secondary and take one of the best safety prospects we've seen in years.
My Pick: Malik Hooker, S
What I Think: Marshon Lattimore, CB
Darrelle Revis's release by the team after his arrest might definitely have changed the Jets' needs, even if Revis's play had already fallen off. I would address the Jets needs at safety but think they'll draft Revis's replacement.
First off all, they need a Quarterback. But with the way this draft is shaping up (and with spending a second on Hackenberg last year) I think they find a veteran as a stopgap to simply get back to winning while looking long-term versus taking another rookie.
My Pick: Solomon Thomas, DE
What I Think: Jon Allen, DL
Chargers find an explosive partner for Joey Bosa either way here, giving them a pass-rusher who could replace a potentially departing Melvin Ingram.
My Pick: Leonard Fournette, RB
What I Think: Solomon Thomas
The Panthers need a new defensive end, badly. But Cam Newton's skill-set and the Panthers' OL scheme is a match made in heaven for Fournette as a runner to replace Jonathan Stewart in the long-term. We saw how adding a top running back changed Dallas's offense so much last year, I would do the same this year and take Fournette, even though spending high on a running back might be frowned upon.
The Panthers have shown in the past how important the position is to their team, but if not, I think they address their defense with a stud player.
My Pick: Rueben Foster, LB
What I Think: Garrett Bolles, OT
With Thomas off the board and needs at LB, the Bengals find themselves a playmaker. In my other scenario, with Foster gone to the Niners in my "what I think", they take the player I think is the best OT in this class to help protect Andy Dalton, in essence giving up on the project that was Ogbuehi and can find a long-term player to pair with Jake Fisher. It might not be the sexiest pick, but it helps them win now more than taking a receiver here.
My Pick: Corey Davis, WR
What I Think: O.J. Howard, TE
Sammy Watkins just can't stay healthy. The Bills will also be in the market for a Quarterback, and I could see Trubisky going here, but don't think that Tyrod Taylor was all that bad. He has a ceiling, but I think the Bills are expecting perhaps too much from their Quarterback and not giving him much talent surrounding him to help him win. Or, if not Taylor, whomever the Bills bring in to start in his place, will need the same.
Corey Davis would be a guy who fits Tyrod well, but a potentially elite TE prospect in O.J. Howard could help their offense even more. Either I could see happening.
My Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB
What I Think: Malik Hooker, S
Will McCaffrey go this high? Probably not....but I might like Christian McCaffrey's fit enough to put him here over other "better" running backs, I think McCaffreys a special player and could be a Reggie Bush to fit into Brees & Payton's offense, albeit with more realistic expectations. He catches out of the backfield, has incredible patience and burst and, like Ezekiel Elliot's fit with Dallas last year, I think McCaffrey in New Orleans could have the same "sneaky" impact.
Otherwise, the Saints need big-time help on the defense and take the ball-hawking safety that they never got out of Jairus Byrd.
12. Browns (via Eagles)
My Pick: O.J. Howard, TE
What I Think: DeShone Kizer, QB
I could see the Browns double-dipping on offense with Hue Jackson, finding a receiving threat for their new Quarterback to pair with Pryor and Coleman as they build toward their goal of being a competitive team. And Howard's potential is unreal at the next level, despite production questions.
If the Browns do take Myles Garrett first, I think they will look hard at Kizer and Watson and, currently, it seems like Kizer might be a better fit for Hue and might be available at this range.
My Pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB
What I Think: Jarrad Davis, LB
The Cardinals are in a difficult position. I could see them looking to strengthen their defense by taking a stud linebacker in Davis or even a starting corner in Sidney Jones, but I think that building for the future with a Quarterback who could sit for a year is the direction for Arizona to take. Mahomes has the talent, quick processing and mobility Arians desires and he'd get to sit and learn for a season to adjust to a pro scheme.
And it's no guarantee he's there in the 2nd round.
But will the pick happen? I am skeptical. The last time Arizona was in a similar position, they had a first-round grade on Blake Bortles (6'5) and a 2nd rounder on Derek Carr (6'2) and it's known Arians likes size in his quarterbacks. I think the Cards might have a 2nd round grade on Mahomes (maybe all these quarterbacks) and pass in the first round for a player who can help them win now and aim for a guy in the 2nd.
Jerraud Davis, on the other hand, is the beast linebacker no one is talking about, who'd be a perfect middle linebacker in Arizona's system with his raw athleticism and tackling. He'd free up Bucannon to roam and holds his own in coverage as well and would be an instant impact starter that AZ hasn't had the last two drafts in the first.
My Pick: John Ross, WR
What I Think: Mike Williams, WR
No surprise, Eagles go wide receiver. I have Ross ranked higher, but the trade for Green-Beckham last season showed that the Eagles brass likes size in their receivers and scheme, and Williams could catch a lot of 50-50 balls.
My Pick: Takkarist McKinley, DE
What I Think: Taco Charlton, DE
I love McKinley as a pass rusher, and the Colts just need a total rehaul outside of Henry Anderson in their front-seven. Charlton seems to currently be ranked higher, however, but that may change with the combine performances.
My Pick: Sidney Jones
What I Think: Quincy Wilson
Sidney Jones is a prototypical NFL cornerback with ball skills. While Lattimore's athleticism is unreal, Jones might still be the best true cover corner in the class (I wouldn't be beyond Arizona taking him at 13 potentially) and the Ravens need this. Currently, the Florida corners seem to be ranked much higher, and I might be too low on Quincy Wilson and his raw potential myself.
My Pick: Malik McDowell
What I Think: Malik McDowell
No question the Redskins need pass-rushers. Despite losing some starting wide receivers, with the majority of the top 3 off the board, they wait until Day 2 in a deep class for help for Kirk Cousins....assuming Kirk is still in Washington of course.
My Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB
What I Think: John Ross, WR
The Titans double dip into the secondary and find an athletic freak who will pair with Adams and give them an identity on defense. Alternatively, finding a true #1 receiver for Mariota will be very tempting and I think they pull the trigger here.
My Pick: Curtis Samuel, WR
What I Think: Sidney Jones, CB
Curtis Samuel should be going much higher than he currently is being mocked. I think he's a perfect RB/WR hybrid who can catch the ball and make an impact and run with it as a change of pace back more than people think. The Bucs would find in him a true underneath man to complement Mike Evans.
On the other side, Corner is a need and Sidney Jones is a great fit here.
My Pick: Ryan Ramzyck, OT
What I Think: Leonard Fournette, RB
Boy, the Broncos sure do need help on offense. I think they might sign a free agent tackle, but Ramzyck might be the most solid OL in this draft, either at tackle or moved inside to guard.
Fournette with the Broncos gives their starter (be it Lynch or Siemian or another free agent) a back who can pound the rock and take pressure off while they develop, and if he can stay healthy, Leonard might carry the Broncos back to the playoffs.
My Pick: Derek Barnett, DE
What I Think: Derek Barnett, DE
The Lions need defensive linemen. Barnett is a great fit and great character guy who was productive in college and I think will be the next productive Lions pass-rusher.
My Pick: Jaleel Johnson, DL
What I Think: Raekwon McMillan, LB
The Dolphins have plenty of needs, mostly on defense. Perhaps I'm crazy for giving them a defensive lineman over a pass-rusher at DE or an inside linebacker, but I love Johnson at the next level and think here would be a great spot for him to pair with the returning Cameron Wake after the Dolphins lost Olivier Vernon to the Giants last offseason. He's a name you'll probably start seeing in the first round a lot more often coming up...
McMillan is another solid inside linebacker prospect who i could see them taking as well if they have doubts about Kiko Alonso (or even if they don't)
My Pick: Garrett Bolles, OT
What I Think: Cam Robinson, OT
The Giants think Eli has 2-3 years left. Maybe they're stretching it some but they'll want to protect him and have had poor line play. Getting Bolles or an Alabama tackle will be an instant upgrade as they push for one more ring before looking for his replacement.
My Pick: Raekwon McMillan, LB
What I Think: Jalen Tabor, CB
Defense, defense for the Raiders. I have "Teez" Tabor going here even though I personally don't have him in the first, not due to grade, but due to how many good corners this draft actually has.
My Pick: Mitch Trubisky, QB
What I Think: Jabril Peppers, LB/S
The Texans need to upgrade from Osweiler. Trubisky gives them a level of consistency and accuracy that Osweiler has never shown, and this is the range I would be comfortable taking Mitch.
On the other hand, Jabril Peppers as a moveable chess piece on a defense with a healthy Clowney and returning J.J. Watt? Scary good if Peppers can find a role where he can thrive (though I'm not quite sure where that is yet)
My Pick: Forrest Lamp, G
What I Think: Ryan Ramzyck, OT
The Seahawks offensive line was just that last year...offensive. Finding help wherever will be big for Seattle, even if I think they trade out of this pick for yet another season.
My Pick: Jabril Peppers, LB
What I Think: Hassan Reddick, LB
I could see Mahomes going here but it's more likely the Chiefs get a replacement (and good value) for Derrick Johnson leaving the team (or at least long term) after a terrible injury.
My Pick: Tim Williams, LB
What I Think: Tim Williams, LB
Lot of CB's. I think Dallas might have a pass-rusher in mind and go with Tim Williams here because, quite simply, Jerry Jones has shown that he's willing to take on troubled players in order to win.
My Pick: Hassan Reddick, LB
What I Think: Gareon Conley, CB
The Packers' linebackers are getting up there in age. Adding a new toy in Reddick who's got all the tools to be great and could learn from Matthews and Peppers.
If not Reddick, I could see the Packers taking a cornerback as they don't spend premium picks on offensive line, wide receiver or running backs, despite drafting one in the first recently.
My Pick: Ryan Anderson, DE
What I Think: Ryan Anderson, DE
Ryan Anderson's grade will be all over the place
My Pick: Montravius Adams, DL
What I Think: Montravius Adams, DL
Grady Jarrett's coming out party at the Super Bowl and the Falcons' defensive collapse proved that they still need help on the defensive line. With Anderson off the board and pass rushers available later, I'm grabbing Adams and right now think the Falcons follow suit.
My Pick: Zach Cunningham, LB
What I Think: Zach Cunningham, LB
You know, I don't know about you, but despite the Patriots trading Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins and STILL winning a Super Bowl, they could still probably use a linebacker. Cunningham is a solid tackler who Belichick could turn into a stud and even shows top-notch coverage skills as well. i like Cunningham a lot and think that if anyone could make people forget about Jamie Collins in New England, it'd be Bill and Cunningham.
What did you think? Did you prefer one pick to the other? Disagree with me? Sound off in the comments!
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