This year is going to be wild folks. I have a feeling that we are going to see some major trades and many surprises. It is the weak quarterback class that will cause chaos that will ultimately make this draft hard to predict. Get excited people, this is going to be a fun adventure on Draft Night. Let’s Dive In!
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett (DE/OLB) Texas A&M
When all the smoke clears, there is a clear #1 overall choice and it is Myles Garrett. He will be the cornerstone of this defense as Cleveland tries to rebuild their persona as a losing team and a poor drafting organization. This is a home run pick as we should be discussing if Garrett is the best pass rusher in the NFL in about 5 years. Cleveland tries and gets a quarterback with their #12 pick either by staying put or moving up in the draft.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Solomon Thomas (DL) Stanford
Here is where the draft will get very interesting. I don’t think they will choose a quarterback as they view Brian Hoyer as a 1 year rental while they wait for Kirk Cousins to be in a 49ers uniform next season. I think when it comes down to it, I see John Lynch going with a player with an already high floor, extremely high ceiling, and a prospect that he has familiarity with to start his tenure in San Francisco with Kyle Shanahan. I can’t see anybody willing to trade up to this spot, but anything is possible on draft night.
3. Chicago Bears
Jamal Adams (S) LSU
Here is another team that I really struggle seeing taking a quarterback at #3 overall. I know that Mike Glennon is basically on a 1 year “prove it” deal and can be let go after this season with minimal loss. I don’t think it is worth taking one this high when they can take one very early in the 2nd round and still have a young competitor against Mike Glennon for the short term. They need to regain the idea of that Bears’ tough defense and Jamal Adams is the perfect fit to help that process.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette (RB) LSU
I just feel like Tom Coughlin makes a splash in his first year as decision maker for the Jaguars. Leonard Fournette gives some explosiveness to the offense and helps Coughlin and Marrone evaluate Blake Bortles this season. Fournette’s size to athleticism ratio is too good to pass up here for the Jaguars at #4 overall. Coughlin saw what Ezekiel Elliott did to the Giants last season from afar and hopes the Jacksonville offense can get the same kick start from Fournette.
5. Tennessee Titans
Mike Williams (WR) Clemson
I think the Titans trade down on draft night to a team wanting to jump in front of the Jets. I think that team is the Browns wanting to jump up and get their quarterback and that the Titans still get Mike Williams when they trade down. They have done extensive work with Williams and fits what they need for Mariota and the offense.
6. New York Jets
Mitch Trubisky (QB) North Carolina
Their options are Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty. The Jets know if they want to move forward in a true rebuild process, they need to have young quarterback options with potential. Trubisky gives them an option with development behind the 1 year rental of Josh McCown.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker (FS) Ohio State
He is the perfect fit for the Charger’s defense with Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator. Malik Hooker can be his Earl Thomas during his tenure at Seattle. Hooker will be the safety that Bradley can count on to create turnovers in the back end of the defense. I think this is one that both the team and prospect should be extremely excited about come draft night.
8. Carolina Panthers
O.J. Howard (TE) Alabama
When I evaluate the Panthers and what they need an offense, I have come to the conclusion that if this is how the board shakes out, Howard makes the most sense at #8 overall. He would bring more protection to Cam Newton than a running back would because of the ability to have two explosive tight ends with above average athleticism. A two headed monster of Greg Olsen and O.J. Howard will create mismatches and force the second level of the defense to be aware of where they are creating a safer environment for Cam Newton. A player like Curtis Samuel would then be their target in the second/third round to play slot receiver and running back.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Jonathan Allen (DL) Alabama
A perfect fit for player, team needs, and scheme fit. A versatile defensive lineman that can help them with their pass rush and interior pressure. The Bengals would be excited to have a player to help fill multiple voids left from departed players.
10. Buffalo Bills
Haason Reddick (LB) Temple
An athletic linebacker and edge player that can be a versatile weapon for Sean McDermott. They needed athleticism at linebacker and more pressuring the quarterback and Reddick can do both of those very well. He will need some coaching and work, but McDermott has done a great job with linebackers and Reddick fits the mold.
11. New Orleans Saints
Marshon Lattimore (CB) Ohio State
The Saints will be ecstatic to have Marshon Lattimore fall to them at #11 overall. His injury concerns drop him to this point and will be exactly what the Saints need on defense. They need a starting cornerback and Lattimore has the highest ceiling in the Draft.
12. Cleveland Browns
Deshaun Watson (QB) Clemson
I really think Watson is the guy for Hue Jackson and I’m going to stick with it for this Final Mock Draft. I think he fits the idea of wanting to get a proven winner in Cleveland to help change the perception of the franchise. He also could be seen as a quarterback with similar traits to Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell who Hue Jackson coached in previous years. As mentioned before, I think the Titans at #5 would be good trade partner to move up and get Watson so he doesn’t have a chance to go to New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, or New Orleans Saints.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Patrick Mahomes (QB) Texas Tech
I’ve had this pick since early February and I’m going to stubbornly stick with it. Mahomes should be hoping to get a chance to learn under Bruce Arians and become his next franchise quarterback in Arizona. Carson Palmer would be a good role model for Mahomes and his transition to the NFL game. It is a great situation for a quarterback with a very high ceiling with coaching and development.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
Christian McCaffrey (RB) Stanford
A player that can do multiple things in an offense with a young quarterback will get the Eagles excited. He can take some runs out of the backfield, but be a player that makes his money out of the backfield as a receiver. Carson Wentz would have a player that he can count on for a check-down or in the slot.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Reuben Foster (LB) Alabama
I really think the Colts look to trade down in the draft and pick up some more mid-round picks to have more players compete for starting jobs. So this pick will be interesting as I think a team moves up to get a player here in the Colts’ spot. If the Colts take a player here at #15, I would imagine they take a prospect that can be a leader for their defense. Reuben Foster can be that guy if the Colts stay put. I would also not be surprised to see the Colts take a little safer route and take a player like Jarrad Davis at linebacker to lead the defense.