Just one day away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft, it is officially time for anyone who’s done any type of draft work to release their final mock draft.
Though I have close to no idea what is going to happen Thursday night after the first selection of Myles Garrett, I gave it my best shot to project the first 32 picks. To keep things simple, I stayed away from making trades, though it is unlikely each team will stay put on draft night.
While my first mock draft on Slant Sports was a bit more of a “what would I do” exercise, this is meant more to be a projection of what could happen in the first round.
So, without further adieu, let’s get into the picks.
R1/1 – CLE: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Myles Garrett is the best EDGE prospect since Jadeveon Clowney to most people, and deserves to go first overall. The Browns will have a chance to move up into the top 10 again to grab their quarterback, but they should still take Garrett first overall.
R1/2 – SF: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
This is where the draft really starts, right? The 49ers can go a lot of directions here, but I think they fall in love with strong safety Jamal Adams. I don’t love drafting a strong safety this high at all, but the 49ers will add a tone-setter to their defense.
R1/3 – CHI: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
Salivating because the 49ers passed on Thomas, the Bears jump in and grab him third overall. I’m not “as” high on Thomas as others, but still believe he could be worth the early first round pick. If the pick isn’t Thomas, I’d expect either a quarterback or Ohio State corner Marshon Lattimore to go to Chicago.
R1/4 – JAC: Deshuan Watson, QB, Clemson
This is where things get a little weird. The Jags need to move on from Blake Bortles sooner rather than later, and I just have a feeling Tom Coughlin really likes Watson’s intangibles. Just a hunch. Plus, I think if any of these quarterbacks are worth a high pick, it’d be Watson.
R1/5 – TEN: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
With the Jaguars passing on some impressive defensive talent to take a quarterback, the Titans get the pick of the litter here fifth overall. Lattimore is a top five player in this class to me, and the Titans pick up a number one corner.
R1/6 – NYJ: Mitchell Trubisky , QB, North Carolina
And with the sixth overall pick, the second quarterback domino falls. Mitchell Trubisky isn’t my favorite QB in this class, but he fits what the Jets front office tends to look for in the draft. While they have other holes, and there are better players on the board, if you don’t have a quarterback what chance do you really have in this league?
R1/7 – LAC: Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
The best safety in this class to me is clearly Malik Hooker. Drafting him the Chargers get SAF1 and DB2 to me in this class, and find a single-high center-fielder for years to come.
R1/8 – CAR: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Falling to the 8th overall pick, Leonard Fournette finds a home beside Cam Newton in the NFL. The Panthers offense needs to start providing Cam some more help, and Fournette is the power running back to do just that.
R1/9 – CIN: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
The two most pressing needs for the Bengals are probably running back and defensive end. Barnett isn’t my favorite EDGE remaining, but he’s the most likely of the bunch to go in the top ten.
R1/10 – BUF: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Bills made the smart decision to maintain Tyrod Taylor this offseason, and it’s time to draft him some weaponry to work with. The Bills love ACC players, and Mike Williams is a legit WR1-type.
R1/11 – NO: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Saints desperately need secondary help, and Marlon Humphrey might be the next-best corner in this draft class behind Marshon Lattimore. With another pick at the end of the first round, they should be able to address their other defensive needs as well.
R1/12 – CLE: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
The Browns miss out on the two consensus favorites at quarterback, but add two incredible defensive line prospects. Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen? Sign me up.
R1/13 – ARI: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Cardinals have some more needy holes to fill, but I’d love to see Mahomes with Bruce Arians. Give Patrick Mahomes a year to develop and learn, and you could have your next starting quarterback in 2018.
R1/14 – PHI: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
A running back like Christian McCaffery or Dalvin Cook would make sense here, but the Eagles can add an explosive young defensive end to their rotation in Charles Harris.
R1/15 – IND: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Possibly the best wide-out in this class falls to the Colts here, and Indianapolis gives Andrew Luck the best target he’s ever had.
R1/16 – BAL: John Ross, WR, Washington
Completing a mini-run on first round receivers, the Ravens add speedster John Ross and immediately improve their weak passing game.
R1/17 – WAS: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
In my opinion, Malik McDowell would be worthy of the second overall pick in this draft if not for “non-football” reasons. Washington needs some serious defensive line help, and McDowell brings that for sure.
R1/18 – TEN: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
Though they missed out on the top receivers, the Titans give Marcus Mariota a legit offensive weapon in OJ Howard. Howard is deserving of a top ten pick, and the Titans would rejoice if he falls to 18th overall.
R1/19 – TB: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
With both Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffery falling, the Bucs have an incredible opportunity to draft one of the top backs in this class. They decide on Dalvin Cook, and add to an already impressive offensive unit.
R1/20 – DEN: Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford
The Broncos do need to add some offensive line help, and could take the first tackle off the board. But if McCaffery falls to them, they should draft him. With the way things are going, however, I doubt McCaffery falls this far in real life.
R1/21 – DET: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The fall of Reuben Foster continues, as the Lions decide to go with Reddick instead of the Alabama stud. Reddick brings versatility and athleticism to a defense which could use both.
R1/22 – MIA: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
And finally, the first offensive line domino falls. Forrest Lamp is my favorite offensive lineman in this class, and will be a much needed addition to the Dolphins offense who so badly needs guard help.
R1/23 – NYG: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Cam Robinson is the best tackle in this draft class, and the Giants biggest need is at tackle. This makes too much sense. The only other legit option I see for them here would be Miami tight end David Njoku.
R1/24 – OAK: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Raiders have a dire need at inside linebacker, and Reuben Foster is the best of this bunch. If not for a diluted drug sample, he’d certainly be a top 15 selection.
R1/25 – HOU: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Texans need a quarterback badly, but there isn’t one remaining that makes sense for them in year one. Instead, they work on protecting whoever their QB will be, bringing in arguably the most NFL-ready tackle in the draft.
R1/26 – SEA: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
I don’t know if any team needs offensive line help like the Seahawks do. Garrett Bolles has some position versatility, though he should be a day one tackle for Seattle with a high upside and low floor.
R1/27 – KC: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Chiefs already have a solid defensive unit, but could really use some linebacker help. Zach Cunningham would be a good pick as well, but I see Davis as the better prospect.
R1/28 – DAL: Tyus Bowser, EDGE, Houston
Tyus Bowser has been a riser over the last few months, and could be just the pass rusher the Cowboys need to take their defense to the next level. They could go with Takkarist McKinley here, but his shoulder issues may push him down their board. TJ Watt is also a fan-favorite, but I am partial towards Bowser personally. I also considered going with Washington corner Kevin King here, but I think the depth of this corner class forces Dallas to go EDGE in the first round.
R1/29 – GB: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Missing out on Tyus Bowser, the Packers will certainly be tempted to make TJ Watt the pick here. They could also look towards Kansas State’s Jordan Willis or maybe even Youngstown State’s Derrick Rivers. However, they might think that round two is a better spot for those players, and instead take a first round corner off the board in Tre’Davious White.
R1/30 – PIT: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
With the Cowboys passing on Takk, the Steelers add the 3-4 OLB they need to replace James Harrison down the line. McKinley might be the second EDGE player off the board if it weren’t for his shoulder issues.
R1/31 – ATL: Budda Baker, S, Washington
After drafting Keanu Neal, the Falcons now must add a free safety who can takeover Ricardo Allen’s role. Budda Baker is exactly that player, and can be Dan Quinn’s new Earl Thomas prototype.
R1/32 – NO: TJ Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
With their second first-round pick, the Saints address the other part of the defense. They got secondary help in Humphrey early, and get a solid pass rusher/linebacker late in TJ Watt.