- The purpose of this mock is mainly to highlight the big time players that are viewed at the moment as first or second round draft picks next April.
- I determined this draft order based on how I personally see teams finishing this season in terms of playoff seeding. I highly doubt the actual draft order will look like this.
- Picks are based on what I perceive as either team needs, and who’s the best player available.
- I still have to watch film on these guys and see how they do this season, so there will absolutely be changes coming in the future.
1. Cleveland Browns
- The Pick: Deshaun Watson QB Clemson
- RGIII has just been named the 25th starting quarterback for the Browns since 1999, so it’s a safe bet to say that Watson will become the 27th (I expect rookie Cody Kessler to get a few starts this year). New HC Hue Jackson is known as a quarterback guru and he won’t be able to pass up a chance to take this year’s Heisman trophy favorite as his potential franchise QB. For Watson’s own sake hopefully he struggles and falls to a better team.
- The Pick: Brad Kaaya QB Miami
- Doesn’t matter whether Kaepernick or Gabbert starts for the 49ers this season, their QB situation is a mess, and Chip Kelly will likely want to get his own guy in to run his system, and with comparisons to Jared Goff and Teddy Bridgewater, Kaaya seems like the guy for Chip. His production in college hasn’t been great, but he’s got the physical traits to make teams want to take a chance on him.
3. Tennessee Titans
- The Pick: Myles Garrett DE/OLB Texas A&M
- The Titans addressed their offense this offseason, adding Jack Conklin to protect Marcus Mariota and giving him new running backs in Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Now it’s time to address the defense, and it starts with Garrett, the best talent in this draft. The Von Miller comparisons will be there, as both are Aggie products.
4. Cleveland Browns (Via the Philadelphia Eagles)
- The Pick: Leonard Fournette RB LSU
- Cleveland fans will thank the Eagles for trading up to take Carson Wentz, as it all but guarantees Cleveland 2 top 10 picks in 2017. After getting their franchise QB in Watson at number 1, they will get him a running mate in Fournette, the most talented tailback to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. In years past, he likely would have given Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley competition for the first running back off the board.
5. San Diego Chargers
- The Pick: Cam Robinson OT Alabama
- This pick only happens if Robinson interviews extremely well after the season and keeps his nose clean. A starter at left tackle for the Crimson Tide since his true freshman season, Robinson is a monster and looks like a franchise left tackle, but an arrest for guns and marijuana possession in May (though the charges were later dropped), will scare teams. The Chargers are desperate for an upgrade on the offensive line, and Robinson would be ideal baring they don’t view him as a risk.
6. Detroit Lions
- The Pick: Jalen Tabor CB Florida
- “Teez” is only a junior but may challenge Iowa’s Desmond King as the best corner in college football. The Lions secondary has Darius Slay, but no one opposite of him.
7. New Orleans Saints
- The Pick: Derek Barnett DE/OLB Tennessee
- Tennessee’s defense may boast 2-3 first round picks in next year’s draft, with Barnett leading the pack. In his first two seasons with the Vols, he’s totaled 33 tackles for loss and 19 sacks, exactly the pass rushing production the Saints defense so desperately needs.
8. Tennessee Titans (Via the Los Angeles Rams)
- The Pick: Jamal Adams S LSU
- As a result of trading down with the Rams to allow them to get their franchise QB, the Titans will have two very good picks in next year’s first round, and not only get the best talent in Garrett, but arguably the best defensive back in Adams. He reminds me of another former LSU product, Tyrann Mathieu, or better known as, the Honey Badger.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- The Pick: Charles Harris DE/OLB Missouri
- The Bucs may be one year away from making the jump to the playoffs, but one thing holding them back still is their defense. Adding Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence will be big upgrades, and adding Harris, one of the SEC’s best pass rushers to go opposite Spence should give them a strong pass rush for years to come, which is critical in a division featuring Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
10. Miami Dolphins
- The Pick: Dalvin Cook RB Florida St.
- Miami is so desperate for a running back they signed Arian “Can barely stay on the field” Foster. Cook is as explosive as any back in college and can be a workhorse in the NFL.
- The Pick: JuJu Smith-Schuster WR USC
- Robert Woods is one of the worst number 2 pass catchers in the league. The Bills need another stud opposite Sammy Watkins in order to open up their passing game.
12. Baltimore Ravens
- The Pick: Desmond King CB Iowa
- Here’s a list of wide receivers the Ravens face twice a year; AJ Green, Antonio Brown, Martavious Bryant (when he’s not suspended), Josh Gordon (when he’s not suspended), Corey Coleman (I know he’s a rookie but he’s looking really good in training camp). The Ravens need a stopper on the outside to attempt to slow these guys down.
13. Washington Redskins
- The Pick: Malik McDowell DL Michigan St.
- I was stunned when the Redskins (yes I’m calling them the Redskins) took TCU wide out Josh Doctson last year, seeing as they already had so much talent at receiver, and their defensive line was such a weakness. They won’t make the same mistake this year. McDowell looks like the most explosive interior defensive linemen in the nation, and would be a huge upgrade for a team that’s going to have to face a dominant Cowboys defensive line twice a year.
14. Chicago Bears
- The Pick: Roderick Johnson OT Florida St.
- I believe Jay Cutler can be great when given the weapons and some belief. He has the talent, it’s a matter of attitude at this point. One thing that would help his confidence is having a solid offensive line, so the Bears will look to Johnson, the Florida State star, to solidify one side of the line.
15. Denver Broncos
- The Pick: Jonathan Allen DL Alabama
- After losing Malik Jackson to Jacksonville in free agency, the Broncos will look for his replacement in order to build back their championship defense, which will have to carry them this year as they trot out either Mark Sanchez or a rookie QB week 1.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
- The Pick: Zach Banner OT USC
- Jacksonville got arguably the 2 best defensive players in this year’s draft in Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, so next year they’ll turn back to the offensive side of the ball. Blake Bortles already has weapons, now he needs some protection. Insert Banner, a monster of a tackle out of USC. At 6’9, 360 pounds, he’s one of the biggest humans in college football, and a big reason why being a quarterback at USC is a pretty nice gig right now.
17. Atlanta Falcons
- The Pick: Carl Lawson DE/OLB Auburn
- Lawson has all the talent in the world to be an elite NFL pass rusher, it’s just a matter of staying on the field. He missed the whole 2014 season and a good chunk of last season with a hip injury. Atlanta needs someone opposite Vic Beasley to get after the quarterback, and Lawson would be a steal for them at this spot if he can remain healthy.
18. New York Jets
- The Pick: Tre’Davious White CB LSU
- Darrelle Revis is getting old and may be moving to safety in the near future, and Antonio Cromartie is gone. It’s time for the Jets to go out and find their next great corner, and White has all the tools to be that guy for them.
- The Pick: Raekwon McMillan LB Ohio St.
- The Giants defense made some big time additions this offseason with Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins, but their linebacking core may be one of the worst in the league. McMillan is a sure tackler who will be a day one starter in the league on any team, just like a lot of other former Ohio State linebackers.
20. Houston Texans
- The Pick: Jabrill Peppers S/LB Michigan
- Peppers is a big time two-way player for the Michigan Wolverines, and while he may not play on both sides of the ball in the NFL, he’s a guy who can play multiple positions on defense. He’s going to play more linebacker this season, and that combined with his athleticism from playing defensive back make him the perfect hybrid linebacker right now for a Texans team with an aging linebacking core.
21. Minnesota Vikings
- The Pick: OJ Howard TE Alabama
- Teddy Bridgewater has taken the Vikings from the bottom of the NFC North to a playoff contender. After Adding Laquan Treadwell this year, they’ll look to give him an upgrade at tight end over current starting Kyle Rudolph. OJ Howard, at 6’6 and 242 pounds, is a slightly smaller version of Jimmy Graham, and runs a 4.57. You won’t see much production during his college career, being a tight end at the often running the ball University of Alabama, but he has the athleticism to be a matchup problem for any defense.
22. Kansas City Chiefs
- The Pick: Mike Williams WR Clemson
- Had Williams not suffered a season ending neck injury after colliding with a goal post on Clemson’s first drive of the season (a touchdown catch I may add), that game against Alabama may have gone much differently. The Chiefs still desperately need another receiver to pair with Jeremy Maclin, and Williams will be too good to pass up at this spot. There is the chance they look for Alex Smith’s successor here as well.
23. Indianapolis Colts
- The Pick: Tim Williams DE/OLB Alabama
- The Colts did what they needed to do this year and addressed their atrocious offensive line, now they need to address the other side of the ball. Williams has been used specifically as a pass rusher for the Crimson Tide so far, but this year he’ll get a chance to show his all-around game.
24. Dallas Cowboys
- The Pick Adoree Jackson DB/WR/KR USC
- The Cowboys need help in a lot of areas, so they’ll take the one guy who can basically everything. Jackson is an incredible athlete and one of the best defensive backs in the country, and can also be an explosive kick returner and receiver, catching 27 balls for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns as a sophomore. He is also a 2-time PAC-12 long jump champion.
25. Oakland Raiders
- The Pick: Jalen Reeves-Maybin LB Tennessee
- The Raiders are my pick as the team to make the biggest jump in 2016, and as a result of that I have them winning the AFC West. Based on who was available and the current roster, I saw linebacker depth as a priority for the Raiders going forward. Reeves-Maybin leads Tennessee’s strong defense along with Derek Barnett and cornerback Cameron Sutton. He was the team’s leading tackler the last two seasons as the starting weak side linebacker, and has crazy athleticism, which he showed as a freshman when he played defensive back as well as linebacker.
26. Seattle Seahawks
- The Pick: Pat Elfein OL Ohio St.
- Elfein is not only one of the best offensive linemen in college football, but also one of the most versatile. This year he will make the move from guard to center for Urban Meyer’s Buckeye squad. The Seahawks offensive line situation is a mess, and if they can move their 2016 first round pick, Germain Efedi of Texas A&M, from guard to tackle, then Elfein would fill their guard slot perfectly.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers
- The Pick: Jourdan Lewis CB Michigan
- To put it simply, the Pittsburgh secondary is atrocious. Even after adding Artie Burns, the former Miami Hurricane corner in last year’s draft, they will still be looking for another corner to pair with him, and Lewis is one of the best athletes in college football. He’ll be a 3-way player for the Wolverines this season, but his future is as a shutdown corner in the NFL.
28. Green Bay Packers
- The Pick: Devonte Fields DE Louisville
- The Packers need pass rushing badly with Julius Peppers set to retire soon. Fields, the former TCU Hornfrog and Big 12 freshman of the Year, has all the talent in the world, but after being accused of punching his ex-girlfriend and threatening her with a gun, his time at TCU ended. He was able to resurrect his career at Louisville, but those off field concerns will still affect his draft stock.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
- The Pick: Jarrad Davis LB Florida
- Rey Maualuga and Karlos Dansby are both getting up there in age, and Vontaze Burfict can’t be relied upon to stay on the field, so the Bengals will look to add linebacker depth with Davis, a tackling machine out of Florida.
30. Carolina Panthers
- The Pick: Eddie Jackson S Alabama
- This pick was tough for me, and after looking at the roster, I decided that for the moment, safety would be a good position for the Panthers to address. I figured the returning starting safety for the National Champs would be a safe pick.
31. Arizona Cardinals
- The Pick: Chad Kelly QB Ole Miss
- The Cardinals have one of the most talented rosters in the league, as a result of great drafting. As Carson Palmer enters the final years of his career, the birds will look to find his successor, and the grandson of Jim Kelly is one of the most talented signal callers in the land.
Saved the best for last...
32. New England Patriots
- The Pick: Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford
- I admit, this is a dream scenario for me. I absolutely expect McCaffrey to go earlier, but if by some stroke of luck, he landed in New England’s lap, he’s just the type of playmaker Tom Brady will need late in his career.