For my final mock draft of the season I will break it down into 3 parts.
Projection – This is your basic mock draft. I take all the insider information, rumors and news that I have compiled over the last several weeks and make my best guess as to what might actually happen in the real draft.
Reflection – I use the same information for my projections to show why I may be wrong, what changes might happen and give some insight into why.
Perfection – I make the selections for every team based on my personal opinion of how the draft should go disregarding any and all opinions from other analysts and online publications by replacing it with my own player evaluations, team needs and potential return on investment.
This mock was updated at 5:30 on April 25th after news of Gareon Conley’s impending legal trouble broke.
|NFL Mock Draft: Projection
|1. Cleveland Browns
DE – Myles Garrett: Texas A&M
Cleveland has shown little to no indication that they are willing to move out of the first spot in the draft and have not backed away from their opinion of Myles Garrett being head and shoulders above any other prospect in this class. I’m inclined to take their apparent view point at face value and lock Garrett in as the #1 overall selection in the 2017 draft.
|2. San Francisco 49ers
QB – DeShaun Watson: Clemson
This is the first time I have mocked DeShaun Watson to the 49ers but it’s also the first time that there has been any real rumblings that it’s a possibility. With some concerns in San Fran that Kirk Cousins may end up elsewhere, or remain in Washington, the push for a quarterback in this draft has become more urgent. Watson appears to be the preferred option with Shanahan and Lynch so as unlikely as this seemed a few weeks ago it has become a real possibility in the few days leading up to the start of the 2017 draft.
|3. Chicago Bears
DL – Jonathan Allen: Alabama
The Bears appear set to make a decision between Jonathan Allen, Mitchell Trubisky, Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker. The player with the most chatter surrounding his name is Jonathan Allen. It makes sense to some degree if the Bears believe that Allen can be a full time 3-4 end, since he obviously would stay on the field in sub-package passing situations. I expect this to be the pick if they view Jonathan as an every down option on the line.
|4. Cleveland Browns (via JAC)
QB – Mitchell Trubisky: North Carolina
The Jaguars are rumored to be actively looking to trade down. This opens up the door for multiple suitors in Buffalo and Cleveland. I like the Browns to sweeten the pot enough to go after Mitchell Trubisky. This would be considered a huge get by most of the fan base and signal a true change in culture at the front office level in Cleveland as they will have drafted what many perceive as the top edge rusher and the top signal caller in one draft class.
|5. Tennessee Titans
CB – Marshon Lattimore: Ohio State
I originally had Tennessee moving down in a trade with Cleveland, but Gareon Conley’s potential legal troubles have shaken up my mocks and my warboard. Now, the Titans decide to stay put and go after Lattimore rather than wait to select a corner with their second pick in the first round. Marshon will be a day one contributor with extremely high upside.
|6. Cincinnati Bengals (via NYJ)
RB – Leonard Fournette: L.S.U.
The Bengals see the opportunity to move ahead of the Panthers to ensure that they can grab a player that they are rumored to covet, running back Leonard Fournette. Drafting Leonard makes a lot of sense for Cincinnati considering their options on the roster for 2017.
|7. Los Angeles Chargers
S – Jamal Adams: L.S.U.
The Chargers will have many options available at the seventh pick if all three big name quarterbacks actually do go ahead of them on the 27th. Jamal Adams is our #2 overall player in this draft class and would be a fantastic get for Los Angeles at this spot. It’s a position of need with filled by a player that will make an immediate impact as a professional.
|8. Carolina Panthers
DE – Solomon Thomas: Stanford
The Panthers are rumored to be still pursuing a trade partner in the top 3 picks to move ahead of what I presume to be Jacksonville with the intentions of drafting either Leonard Fournette or Solomon Thomas. If the top rolls down just right, Carolina could stay at the eighth spot and still get our top ranked player for 2017.
|9. New York Jets (via CIN)
QB – Patrick Mahomes: Texas Tech
The Jets move down and still end up selecting a quarterback in the top 10 picks of the 2017 draft. Patrick Mahomes is our top ranked player at the position and we would not be surprised to see him go this high on Thursday night.
|10. Buffalo Bills
TE – O.J. Howard: Alabama
The Bills will look to add some offensive weapons in this draft and at #10 overall they would have a lot of options to immediately make an upgrade on that side of the ball. Howard would be a day one factor in the red zone and an immediate help to take pressure off of wide receiver, Sammy Watkins.
|11. New Orleans Saints
DE – Takkarist McKinely: U.C.L.A.
New Orleans will likely look to add a talented pass rusher early in this draft and with two picks in the first I expect one of them to be on the line. Takk McKinley is a highly talented player with a high motor that can contribute early in his career on passing downs. In an NFC South that has some elite quarterback play, getting after the passer is part of surviving your division schedule.
|12. Jacksonville Jaguars (via CLE)
OT – Cameron Robinson: Alabama
This is the second time I have mocked a move down for Jacksonville to take Cameron Robinson. There is some smoke to this and it’s a tip that I got early on the process. There are some within the Jaguars front office that view offensive tackle as the highest priority in this draft. This is probably the same group that is rumored to be pushing for a quarterback somewhere in this class, beginning in the second round as insurance for the possibility of like after Blake Bortles.
|13. Arizona Cardinals
WR – Mike Williams: Clemson
Reuben Foster is a favorite to mock here but the obvious problem is his potential to fall all the way out of the first. The Cardinals would like to have another go to receiving option on the roster prior to Larry Fitzgerald’s retirement, which may be coming at the end of 2017.
|14. Philadelphia Eagles
WR – John Ross: Washington
There is a ton of evidence floating around that the Eagles are going after John Ross. My personal source in Philadelphia claims it’s all but a done deal if he’s available. I’m not a huge fan of this pick (Ross is our #4 ranked receiver) but I understand the desire to add elite speed to an offense. It creates an immediate situational mismatch and changes how the defense schemes against you. At this point I will be mildly shocked if Philly does not select Ross if he’s still on the board.
|15. Indianapolis Colts
RB – Christian McCaffrey: Stanford
I’m not getting a real strong read on what Indianapolis will do here, but I have a hard time believing that the Colts would pass on Christian McCaffrey if he is still available at pick #15. McCaffrey could change the focal point of the offense and create protection for Luck. Christian is dynamic as both a runner and receiver. With a little bit more strength in his upper body it would be easy to envision McCaffrey as an every down back that has 1,000 yard rushing and 1,000 yard receiving potential.
|16. Baltimore Ravens
S – Malik Hooker: Ohio State
The Ravens, staring down the barrel of what is considered a potential Ed Reed clone, may opt to take a safety that in three years time could be one of the best ball hawks in the league. Malik has some work to do before he becomes a well rounded safety, but playing with Eric Weddle would be an ideal aid to his development. Plus, the idea of the Ravens going into 3rd and long situations with the ability to put newly signed strong safety Tony Jefferson, Eric Weddle and Malik Hooker all on the field at the same time is an exciting proposition.
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|17. Washington Redskins
LB – Haason Reddick: Temple
The Redskins will look to bolster their interior linebacking group at some point, but finding Haason Reddick available at pick #17 would make their decision to go after one in the first pretty easy to make. Reddick is a top ten talent in this draft class and would represent the biggest steal in the first round of the 2017 draft if he were to slide to the Redskins.
|18. Tennessee Titans
WR – Corey Davis: Western Michigan
The Titans have done more research on Mike Williams, but taking Lattimore at the top will probably see them looking at another option for receiver at #18 overall. Davis has the upside of a wide receiver one and could be the missing weapon that Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense desperately needs.
|19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TE – David Njoku: Miami
We have a top ten ranking on Njoku, and our overall metric places a higher score on him than both of the receivers that have been mocked before him at this point. Possessing elite physical tools and an ability to create separation, David Njoku has the type of game changing potential that would open up the Buccaneers offense and turn them into a juggernaut in the South.
|20. Denver Broncos
OT – Ryan Ramczyk: Wisconsin
Another week, another selection of Ryan Ramczyk to the Broncos. If your a Denver fan and you’re following my mocks I’m sure you’re pretty bored with how this mock season has gone, but it just makes too much sense if Ryan is available here. If the Broncos are committed to developing one of the quarterbacks on their roster it’s imperative that they get adequate enough protection to create more pocket time. The quickest way to ruin a young passers potential is to get him beat up on a weekly basis.
|21. Detroit Lions
DE – Taco Charlton: Michigan
Taco Chalton could go as high as #11 overall or slide out of the first altogether. The Lions have shown a great deal of interest Charlton and this pick does make sound sense. There are a few other options that Detroit could consider but you can count everyone here is as fans of Taco’s game and hustle.
|22. Dallas Cowboys (via MIA)
DE – Derek Barnett: Tennessee
This is another of the pass rushers that seems to have a very fluid draft stock. In this mock, the Cowboys move up to snag what they perceive as a falling Derek Barnett. Jerry Jones has mentioned on more than one occasion that he wants a monster coming off the edge of his defensive line. Even with Barnett’s question marks regarding athletic ability, you cannot ignore his work ethic.
|23. New York Giants
OT – Garett Bolles: Utah
The Giants would appreciate finding Bolles available as they’ve made it pretty clear that offensive tackle will be somewhat of a priority in the early portion of the 2017 draft. Bolles has our top ranking for tackles this season along with the highest overall grade for an offensive lineman in this class.
|24. Oakland Raiders
CB – Chidobe Awuzie: Colorado
The Raiders have strong ties to Chidobe Awuzie and with corner being an area of concern I believe there is a strong possibility for this selection. Awuzie has some serious upper level potential and the Raiders appear a solid fit for the Colorado product.
|25. Houston Texans
CB – Adoree Jackson: U.S.C.
There is still some chatter of DeShone Kizer here but I would be quick to give Houston credit for passing on him at #25 to take a better option. Adoree Jackson has been linked to multiple teams with late first round potential with the Texans and the Cowboys being the most likely suitors if he lands on day one.
|26. Seattle Seahawks
S – Obi Melinfonwu: Connecticut
I envision Obi Melinfonwu as a bit of a new breed in the secondary and with a chance to develop into a solid safety with corner cover skills, that by the way happen to be a very large player for the position, the ceiling is very high for Obi. The Seahawks have shown a solid amount of interest and this is a good spot to start looking for Melinfonwu to come off the board.
|27. Kansas City Chiefs
LB – Zach Cunningham: Vanderbilt
This is another spot that DeShone Kizer could sneak into but with Cunningham available it would be just as easy for the Chiefs to pass on a questionable quarterback and look for a permanent solution for an aging and banged up Derrick Johnson with only one year left on his contract. Zach would provide the heir apparent to man the interior of the Kansas City defense.
|28. Miami Dolphins (via DAL)
S – Marcus Maye: Florida
Marcus Maye is an outsider for the first round but there is a real chance that he finds his way into the bottom of day one. The Dolphins have expressed a real interest in the safety from Florida and with the type of well rounded game Maye possesses he would most likely be a day one starter for Miami.
|29. Green Bay Packers
OLB – T.J. Watt: Wisconsin
The links between Green Bay and T.J. Watt are starting to build, and there is definitely a first round tilt to the conversation. Watt has continued to boost his stock throughout the pre-draft process and has done enough to lock himself somewhere in the bottom of the first round.
|30. Pittsburgh Steelers
OLB – Derek Rivers: Youngstown State
Derek Rivers is becoming a bit of a theme here but the Steelers have an honest interest in acquiring his skills with one source from Pittsburgh relaying to me that there is some desire to make a small move up to ensure he ends of playing home games at Heinz Field. Derek is ideally suited as a 3-4 OLB possessing a good first step, strength in his hands and an ability to bend around blockers in the pass rush. Working with veteran James Harrison would fast track Derek’s career.
|31. Atlanta Falcons
OG – Forrest Lamp: Western Kentucky
The Falcons will look to add talent in the middle of the line at some point in the draft, but it may prove to be too difficult to pass up on the best interior prospect in this class, Forrest Lamp. There’s a strong possibility that Forrest goes before this pick so the value here is high and the team need/fit makes this a solid return on the investment.
|32. New Orleans Saints (via NE)
LB – Reuben Foster: Alabama
This Saints pick is an interesting one to mock, as it appears New Orleans still has some interest in Foster at #11 overall and if he remains available at the bottom of the first he could get swept up quickly. I still lean towards him sliding out of the first because of the diluted sample, but there is some serious buzz here for Foster to the Saints.