Every season heading towards the draft, draft geeks across the internet and across the world put together mock drafts as they try to guess who NFL teams might pick on draft day. Although every mock draft is an exercise in futility, and every pick has the potential to change the outcome of an entire draft, I've paid close attention to the rumors surrounding each team, and have compiled what might be a pretty accurate mock of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. What do I see happening on Thursday night? Here are my predictions. Mike B.
1. Cleveland Browns. Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M. Garrett should be the first player selected in this year's draft. Both the draft analyst community and the Browns coaching staff agree on this, even if Browns ownership might not. I think Garrett is this year's first overall selection.
2. San Francisco 49ers. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU. Apparently the 49ers are interested in Fournette, although they already have the injury-prone Hyde on their roster. The team should upgrade their defense here or trade back and grab a wr, but assuming they don't, and assuming they don't do something foolish and take Trubisky with the 2nd overall pick, Fournette could be the guy.
3. Chicago Bears. Jamal Adams, S, LSU. The Jets want Jamal Adams but don't think he'll be available with the 6th overall pick. The Bears could draft Adams, Solomon Thomas, or Marshon Lattimore here. I think Adams is the pick.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State. The Jaguars wanted Fournette but he fell off the board. Maybe they'll snag Mixon on day two? However, Hooker comes in and immediately upgrades the Jacksonville secondary with this pick.
5. Tennessee Titans. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State. Lattimore is the best db left on the board here, and the Titans allegedly want defensive help with their first pick in the first round. Lattimore could be their guy.
6. TRADE. Cleveland sends the 12th overall pick, a 3rd round pick, a 5th round pick, and a future 7th round pick to the Jets for the 6th overall pick. Cleveland Browns. Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina. The Browns are in love with Trubisky and ownership wants another QB. The Browns have also been in trade talks with the Jets. This move could happen, since Jamal Adams and Fournette were the Jets targets in the 1st round.
7. LA Chargers. Solomon Thomas, Edge, Stanford. The Chargers could go a number of different directions with this pick, but with Solomon Thomas available at pick 7, they dive in and continue to shore up their defensive front seven. Thomas makes a scary addition to a unit already boasting Joey Bosa and Denzel Perryman.
8. Carolina Panthers. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford. This is the year of players from the same school being drafted in bunches apparently. That being said, the Panthers are high on McCaffrey, and he could be the answer at pick 8. He's apparently the top RB on their board.
9.Cincinnati Bengals. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama. I think that Foster was the Bengals target here before his positive drug test at the combine. I also think that this is a team that has taken chances on players with character issues before. While the team has shown interest in John Ross as a potential pick, and while Barnett could be an answer here, I'm going with Foster with this selection.
10. Buffalo Bills. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. While there has been a ton of speculation that the Bills want to go QB in the first, the team apparently doesn't. Williams would immediately boost a WR corps led by often-injured Sammy Watkins.
11. New Orleans Saints. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama. The Saints need help on defense, and Allen would make the Saints defensive line deadly. I'm going Allen here, although the team could have interest in Gareon Conley (who was just mentioned in a rape case and therefore might see his stock fall). Barnett could be a target here too.
12. New York Jets. OJ Howard, TE, Alabama. The Jets traded back and netted some extra picks. Now they net an offensive playmaker in Howard to help whoever their starting QB of the future might be (Patrick Mahomes in round 2?).
13. Arizona Cardinals. Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. The Cardinals have met with Kizer three times leading up to the draft, suggesting some legitimate interest in him as a prospect. The Cardinals could snag him here and then groom him for a few years behind Carson Palmer in a move to build for the future.
14. Philadelphia Eagles. Charles Harris, Edge, Missouri. The Eagles have narrowed their options down to five players, Derek Barnett, Charles Harris, Gareon Conley, Christian McCaffrey, and John Ross. Conley is dealing with legal issues as we speak, McCaffrey is off the board, and John Ross has injury issues in his past. This narrows it down to Harris and Barnett. The Eagles were allegedly picking between Harris and Conley, and with Conley's legal troubles, Harris could be the pick.
15. Indianapolis Colts. Haasan Reddick, LB, Temple. I don't understand how the Colts front office operates. Neither does anyone else. That being said, Reddick has been commonly associated with the Colts over the past few months, so I'm going to go with the crowd on this one. Dalvin Cook could be an option here as well.
16. Baltimore Ravens. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama. The Ravens want to build a dominant offensive line, and Robinson would help with that process. He's the highest rated tackle in this year's draft, and he could be a fit. They could also go WR or RB (Cook) here.
17. Washington Redskins. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State. Maybe the Redskins do some research on Conley and find out that his rape charges are simply empty charges. Conley could fall undrafted because of these charges, or they could come up as empty. If they're empty charges, then he may fall no further than the Redskins, a team who has shown significant interest in Conley as a player.
18. Tennessee Titans. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan. The Titans upgraded their defensive with their first first round pick this year, and will upgrade one of the biggest holes in their offense at WR here. They could also go with Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State. Both the Buccaneers and Cook want this to happen according to sources, and in this mock it does. Cook's the guy if he's available here.
20. Denver Broncos. Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin. The Broncos need offensive line help, and Ramcyzk is one of the best tackle prospects in this year's draft. Plus, the team's TE coach (Geep Chryst) is Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst's brother, so the Broncos likely have plenty of information on Ramczyk. He could be the pick here, as Wisconsin linemen often get overlooked in mock drafts and are selected higher than expected.
21. Detroit Lions. Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee. The Lions need pass rushers, and Barnett is falling down the board. He could be a perfect fit for a Lions defensive unit in dire need of playmakers. If Barnett is available here, he could be the pick.
22. Miami Dolphins. Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky. The Dolphins will either go Barnett, Lamp, or Charles Harris here. With Harris and Barnett off the board, this pick is easy; Lamp it is.
23. New York Giants. David Njoku, TE, Miami. Not sure if the Giants go Njoku here; they're high on Howard but he won't fall, and the Giants are always a tough team to mock. However, Njoku could be a definite option for them with pick 23 if he's available.
24. Oakland Raiders. Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida. The Raiders will go ILB or CB with this pick most likely. Davis is a reach here, but the team allegedly has a lot of interest in Davis as a prospect. Plus, if any team does weird things in the draft, it's Oakland. Davis could be the guy, and he could be a long-term difference maker at the position for Oakland.
25. Houston Texans. Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech. Sooner or later, the Texans need to draft a quarterback. This year they have the option of snagging either Mahomes or Watson. Watson has more upside as a playmaker, but Mahomes has more potential as a pure passer. O'brien apparently has lots of love for Mahomes, so he could be the selection here.
26. Seattle Seahawks. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut. The Seahawks are showing lots of interest in Melifonwu, and he's likely their target in the first round. If Forrest Lamp is still on the board here, expect a trade between the Seahawks and Falcons as they move up to target Lamp. Lamp's not on the board here, so Melifonwu is the pick at 26.
27. Kansas City Chiefs. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. The Chiefs recently released Jaye Howard, leaving a large hole in the middle of their defensive line. McDowell would fill this hole nicely. McDowell is the pick here.
28. Dallas Cowboys. Adoree Jackson, CB, USC. Jackson is a guy that the Cowboys are high on as a prospect. They could also go with Kevin King here, but the read I'm getting from most sources is that Jackson is the Cowboys biggest target, and he could be the pick at 28.
29. Green Bay Packers. T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin. Watt is a player who's stock is rising as we head towards the draft, and the Packers are showing a ton of interest in him. He could be a legitimate local fit at the 29th pick. I'm going with Watt at 29.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers. Jabrill Peppers, DB/LB, Michigan. The Steelers GM has a lot of love for Peppers as a prospect. While Roethlisberger wants the team to draft a TE in the first round, the top two options are off of the board. Peppers' drug test results will help him fall to the 30th pick, and the Steelers could snag him. Kizer would be an option if he fell as well, and Watson could be as well.
31. Atlanta Falcons. Takkarist McKinley, Edge, UCLA. The Falcons wanted to trade up with the Seahawks to get Lamp, but that failed. Instead, the team opts to go for one of the best pass rushers left on the board. McKinley is the pick here.
32. New Orleans Saints. Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan. Yes, the Saints got lucky and snagged Jonathan Allen with the 11th pick. However, they need continued help on defense, and snagging both Allen and Charlton in the first round would just be unfair. The Saints significantly upgrade their defensive line in just one night by taking both Allen and Charlton.
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