Well, ladies and gentleman, here is my final First Round Mock Draft of the season. I hope you all enjoy. I have to say, this is probably the most difficult draft to project that I have encountered since I started following the NFL. We'll see tonight how accurate I really am. Have at it folks, and Happy Draft Day!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett – Defensive End – Texas A&M
Quick take: Browns have a serious pass rush need and Garrett is the unanimous top player in the draft. No need to overthink this one. While I may not be as high on Garrett as some other draftniks, he would undoubtedly present a huge upgrade in the pass rushing department for Cleveland from Day One.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas – Defensive End – Stanford
Quick take: John Lynch could easily take a safety like Jamal Adams to fortify the backend, but I think he opts for the local kid. As a former Stanford guy, I’m sure he knows Thomas real well already.
3. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen – Defensive End – Alabama
Quick take: This may be the toughest pick for me to project in the whole draft. The Bears have some interest in Solomon Thomas, but with Thomas off the board they grab the next best thing here with Allen. Allen may have been the better college player and would be an outstanding fit at the five technique in the Bears’ 3-4 front.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette – Running Back – LSU
Quick take: Tom Coughlin knows what a good running game can do for a team. The former Giants head man will look to fortify the running game and continue to build on this young emerging defense with his remaining picks.
5. Tennessee Titans: Jamal Adams – Safety – Louisiana State
Quick take: Tennessee has needs all over this defense, but in particular in the secondary. To me, Adams is the second-best player in this draft and would bring the leadership and playmaking ability this young defense sorely lacks.
6. New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore – Cornerback – Ohio State
Quick take: I remain skeptical that Lattimore will go this high with his injury history and lack of starting experience. That being said, the Jets definitely need the help in their defensive backfield and Lattimore is the consensus number one corner in this draft.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker – Safety – Ohio State
Quick take: The Bolts have been looking for an upgrade at safety ever since Eric Weddle departed in Free Agency following the 2015 season. Hooker is a true center fielder type and interception magnet. Some consider Hooker a top-5 player in this class.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Stanford
Quick take: Reports are that the Panthers are very high on McCaffrey and the overwhelming opinion is he will gone inside the top 10. Rivera eluded to changes coming in the offense, to make them more explosive in 2017. Ed’s son will certainly do that.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Haasan Reddick – Linebacker – Temple
Quick take: Reddick has aced this offseason and is starting to emerge as a legitimate Top 10-15 pick. The Bengals could use some speed at the LB position and Reddick comes with less baggage than fellow LB prospect Reuben Foster, who could also be considered here.
10. Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard – Tight End – Alabama
Quick take: The overwhelming opinion here is that they will look to add a playmaker here for Tyrod Taylor. With the Bills interest in FA tight ends this offseason, Howard seems to make the most sense here. He is a top 10 talent in this draft and will add another dimension to this offense.
11. New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster – Linebacker – Alabama
Quick take: While many believe Foster’s recent failed Combine drug test may keep him out of the 1st round, I believe the player is far too talented to pass up here. A drop out of the top 10 is almost certain; however, the value is too good at 11 for the Saints to pass up.
12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky – Quarterback – North Carolina
Quick take: This seems like a marriage that is likely to come to fruition on draft night. Trubisky is an Ohio native and the Browns have toyed with the idea of taking him #1 overall. In the end, I believe he ends up in Cleveland. Whether it be from trade or draft tumble is still to be determined.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams – Wide Receiver - Clemson
Quick take: Larry Fitzgerald is not getting any younger and John Brown’s health always seems to be in question. Adding a nice big weapon for what could be Carson Palmer’s final season would not be a bad idea. Williams can learn from Fitz and take over as the #1 receiver as early as 2018.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Chidobe Awuzie – Cornerback – Colorado
Quick take: This may be the first real surprise of the draft. While most media folks would be surprised by the pick, this may be a case of the NFL liking a player a bit more than the folks at home. Awuzie is a polished cover man with experience all over the secondary and Philadelphia sorely needs it.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Takkarist McKinley – Defensive End – UCLA
Quick take: New Colts GM Chris Ballard knows how important pass rushers are from his days in Kansas City. He will undoubtedly be looking to add one early in this draft. Charles Harris of Missouri will likely be considered here, but I like McKinley as a slightly better fit here.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson – Offensive Tackle – Alabama
Quick take: Baltimore would like to build a dominant offensive line ala the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. For my money, Robinson is best tackle in this draft and Ozzie has an affinity for Alabama players. Robinson would slide right in to replace the departed Ricky Wagner.
17. Washington Redskins: Jarrad Davis – Linebacker - Florida
Quick take: Davis appears to be one of the fastest rising players in this draft. Washington needs linebackers and Davis could be a bull in the middle of this defense. Safety and running back are also areas of need but Davis may be too good to pass up here.
18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross – Wide Receiver – Washington
Quick take: Ross has professed his admiration of Titan’s signal caller Marcus Mariota and the pair would make a great match here. After the Combine, Ross appeared headed for a Top 10 selection, but his injury history causes him to slide a little and settle in right here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook – Running Back – Florida State
Quick take: Of all the first round projections this year, this one just seems to make the most sense. Pairing Cook with his college teammate Jameis Winston and giving the Bucs a replacement for inconsistent RB Doug Martin would make a lot of sense for Tampa.
20. Denver Broncos: Garrett Bolles – Offensive Tackle – Utah
Quick take: The Broncos would love to grab Christian McCaffrey here, but I sense he will be long gone by this pick. Bolles also makes a lot of sense here. The Broncos need to get bigger and more talented on the offensive line. This kid is tenacious with a ton of upside that Elway will love.
21. Detroit Lions: David Njoku – Tight End – Miami (Fla.)
Quick take: The Lions need to add more offensive weapons for Matt Stafford. Former top ten pick Eric Ebron has been slower to develop than expected, so Detroit adds some competition in the form of this athletic specimen from Miami. Njoku’s upside is monstrous and he could become the Calvin Johnson of tight ends in short order for the Lions.
22. Miami Dolphins: Derek Barnett – Defensive End – Tennessee
Quick take: Barnett’s limited athleticism could cause him to slide a little on draft day. That works out just fine for Miami. They have preached BPA and all this guy does is produce. The fact that he broke Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee speaks volumes to that production.
23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk – Offensive Tackle – Wisconsin
Quick take: The Giants need to improve on the offensive line and in the run game. Ramczyk is solid in all areas and gives the Giants a slightly more athletic complement at bookend to former first rounder Ereck Flowers. Adding a RB & TE in this draft will also be a priority.
24. Oakland Raiders: Kevin King – Cornerback – Washington
Quick take: The Raiders love long press corners and their big FA addition of Sean Smith last season left much to be desired. Depth is also important here and King would be a nice addition here. The former Huskie has been a big riser ever since his outstanding combine.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes – Quarterback – Texas Tech
Quick take: The Texans need a Quarterback, plain and simple. Mahomes has stated that he believes Coach Bill O’Brien is very interested in his services and I would be inclined to agree with that. The former Red Raider may have the most upside of any QB in this draft.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Forrest Lamp – Offensive Guard – Western Kentucky
Quick take: It is an exercise in futility to try and guess what Pete Carroll will do on draft day. However, no one can argue against Seattle’s need on the offensive line. Many experts project Lamp as the top OG, maybe even the top OL in this entire draft and he would make a lot of sense for Seattle right here.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson – Quarterback – Clemson
Quick take: Another match made in NFL Draft Heaven here. Many question Watson’s upside and arm strength, but no one can argue his toughness, athletic ability and leadership. This is just the type of QB Andy Reid looks for and he will do well to sit and learn from Alex Smith for a year or two.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre’Davious White – Cornerback – LSU
Quick take: Much like departed former tiger Morris Claiborne, White is a long, athletic corner with lots of starting experience in the SEC. The Cowboys were ravaged by free agency in the secondary and need reinforcements badly. While White may not carry the most upside, I believe he is the most pro-ready corner in this entire draft.
29. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt – Linebacker – Wisconsin
Quick take: The Pack need pass rushing help, so they keep the hometown kid in-state. JJ’s little brother is just scratching the surface of his potential and learning next to a great pass rusher with similar traits like Clay Matthews could do wonders for Watt in Green Bay.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeShone Kizer – Quarterback – Notre Dame
Quick take: Kizer is projected to the second round in most mock drafts these days, but he makes way too much sense as the heir apparent to Big Ben in Pittsburgh. He is the big, strong-armed Quarterback type that the Steel Town has grown to love and would get the proper time and seasoning he needs in Pittsburgh.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Charles Harris – Defensive End – Missouri
Quick take: Atlanta is looking to add pass rushing help to their front seven. Harris could be the target by either staying put or an aggressive trade up. This young defense was very impressive last year but wore down late in the Super Bowl and could use some more guys to get to the Quarterback.
32. New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey – Cornerback – Alabama
Quick take: Another Saints pick, and another Alabama player chosen. Humphrey may very well be long gone by this pick, but if he is on the board, he would add some much needed talent to this Saints’ secondary. He is technically sound on the outside and is great in run support.
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