The combine is over, pro-days have begun, and free agency has already made its big splashes so it’s time to review once again, where each team stands as we prepare for the NFL Draft on April 27th. I think there could be a lot of movement on Draft day, but for now I will refrain from factoring in draft day trades and focus on the players that will fit each team. Let’s Dive In!
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett (OLB) Texas A&M
It’s becoming more and more apparent that the Browns are going to take Garrett at #1 overall and use their #12 pick to take a quarterback. They have plenty of ammo to trade back into the Top 10 if necessary if someone were to fall. Myles Garrett is one of the best prospects we have seen over the last few drafts and it would be a no-brainer to take him at #1 overall for any team. Stay tuned for the #12 pick ahead for the Browns.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Soloman Thomas (DL) Stanford
They are not taking a quarterback at #2 overall. Kirk Cousins will be a San Francisco 49er either in 2017 or 2018 depending on what the Redskins decide to do with him. Cousins and Shanahan are bound to be reunited again and there will be no need to take a quarterback this high to be your franchise guy. Brian Hoyer is a good stop-gap quarterback for a season as they rebuild their roster. Soloman Thomas is a perfect fit here as he will be their 4-3 defensive end as they transition from the 3-4. He is only 21 years old with a very high ceiling, which is perfect for a team firmly in rebuild mode.
3. Chicago Bears
Jamal Adams (S) LSU
The Bears are in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. If they ever want to compete in the division, they will need a decent pass rush and good secondary play. They drafted Leonard Floyd last year to help their pass rush but now need some solid secondary play to match. The Bears have a chance to help their defense get better right away and I think they take it. Look for the Bears to attack the quarterback position on Day 2 of the draft.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jonathan Allen (DL) Alabama
The Jaguars will be an interesting team to watch at #4 overall. Right now I think it is between Allen, Fournette, and Howard. We will have to continue to watch how they handle the rest of free agency and how it may impact their draft. It is a deep class of tight ends and running backs so it makes it a more difficult decision here at #4 if they stay here.
5. Tennessee Titans
O.J. Howard (TE) Alabama
This seems like a match made in heaven. A great blocking tight end for their pounding ground attack and an athlete in space for Mariota. Having two stud tight ends makes this offense more interesting moving into next season. Ultimately however, I think they will trade out of this pick to a team looking to take a quarterback before the Jets at #6 (I’m thinking the Browns at #12 will move up into this slot).
6. New York Jets
Marshon Lattimore (CB) Ohio State
I can’t see them taking a quarterback here at #6 even if other teams may try to jump ahead of them to get one. Are you telling me that a general manager that took Christian Hackenburg in the 2nd round last year will turn around and draft a quarterback in the first round of this year? Anything you hear about them taking a quarterback until the draft is a decoy to make somebody trade up in front of them to take another great player for them at #6 overall. They signed Josh McCown, a bad quarterback in charge of the Browns #1 overall pick, to lead them this year to tank for the year during their rebuild. Sam Darnold and Josh Allen will be top picks next year and the Jets know they are better than this year’s crop. Lattimore replaces Revis as their top cornerback in 2017.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker (FS) Ohio State
A ball hawk in the secondary would be great for the Chargers secondary. Joey Bosa coming around the edge forcing pressure, decent cornerback play by Verrett or Hayward forcing a tough throw, and Hooker’s range to get the ball. Seems ideal doesn’t it?
8. Carolina Panthers
Leonard Fournette (RB) LSU
No matter how I slice or dice it, I feel like they will invest in a play-maker early in the draft. It either has to be a running back or wide receiver to help Cam Newton. Cam Newton’s surgery makes his health a big question for next season and the Panthers need someone to take pressure off of Newton and Fournette can be that guy. This seems like a home run as Newton needs a running mate and the Panthers want to protect him from getting hit.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Takkarist McKinely (DE/OLB) UCLA
The Bengals haven’t invested in an edge presence since Will Clarke in 2014 in the third round. Before that it was Margus Hunt in 2013 in the third round. They need to develop a new talent at the position with a high ceiling and McKinely is that type of player for the Bengals.
10. Buffalo Bills
Haason Reddick (LB) Temple
McDermott is a defensive minded head coach and he wants to make sure he has everything he needs on the defensive side of the ball. He needs speed in his linebacking unit and Reddick can bring that to this defense.