|NFL Mock Draft: Perfection
|1. Cleveland Browns
DE – Solomon Thomas: Stanford
As an immediate point of contention in this year’s version of ‘perfection’, Myles Garrett is not the top rated defensive end on our warboard. That ranking goes to the bulldog known as Solomon Thomas. This pick has the type of ceiling that you want at #1 overall and we view it as the safer option over Garrett based on a couple of important factors in our scoring system which revolve around tenacity and motor.
|2. San Francisco 49ers
QB – Patrick Mahomes: Texas Tech
The 49ers need a quarterback and although Kirk Cousins may become that signal caller in 2018, right now San Fran has nobody to bank their future on. Patrick Mahomes is our top option at the position and a top 10 ranked player in this draft class.
|3. Chicago Bears
DE – Myles Garrett: Texas A&M
Myles Garrett is our top 3-4 OLB in this draft class and this is kind of a dream scenario for the Bears. If for some reason the Browns and the 49ers both pass on Garrett to go after quarterbacks the Bears would immediately be in the envious spot of having a player/scheme fit with an uber-athlete fall right to them.
|4. Jacksonville Jaguars
TE – O.J. Howard: Alabama
Jacksonville may have other needs that can be addressed here, but Howard is a top 5 player in this class and would immediately change the way defenses would have to prepare for the Jaguars. This is a high value pick that I can see playing out in the real world.
|5. Tennessee Titans
S – Jamal Adams: L.S.U.
The Titans will have plenty of options to choose from on draft day but adding a future all-pro to the defensive secondary makes too much sense to pass on.
|6. New York Jets
LB – Haason Reddick: Temple
All the talk for the Jets this off-season feels like its been geared towards quarterback and secondary, but the linebacking group in New York really needs an infusion of big time play-making talent. Haason Reddick has all the makings of a monster in the pro game and if he were drafted in the top 10 come Thursday night I would not be shocked.
|7. Los Angeles Chargers
CB – Marshon Lattimore: Ohio State
The Chargers need some insurance against Jason Verrett’s health, along with future options at the corner. This part of the Los Angeles’ defense gets glossed over by many because of the projections made for a healthy Verrett and the 2016 version of Casey Hayward, but passing on Lattimore here would be a mistake.
|8. Carolina Panthers
RB – Leonard Fournette: L.S.U.
He’s a top 10 player, the Panthers have a need a the position and unless I place Gareon Conley here I cannot see the rational to go in another direction. Since Fournette is higher on our warboard I feel extremely comfortable with this pick and I suspect the Panthers would as well.
|9. Cincinnati Bengals
DL – Jonathan Allen: Alabama
The Bengals need to add some talent to the defensive line and Jonathan Allen fills this spot nicely. He’s a top 10 player in this class (ranked 6 overall) at a position of need for Cincinnati.
|10. Buffalo Bills
TE – David Njoku: Miami
Njoku will be a force of nature as a professional and the Bills offense is in need of deadly play-makers. It’s smart to upgrade the position and attempt to add a missing a red zone threat and game changing piece on offense.
|11. New Orleans Saints
ILB – Reuben Foster: Alabama
This was originally Gareon Conley’s spot, but with Gareon being wiped completely off the board for round one there is a bump up for Foster. Reuben comes in at #15 overall on my warboard so this is within a good value range while helping the Saints take care of one defensive issue early in the first round.
|12. Cleveland Browns
WR – Zay Jones: East Carolina
Mitch Trubisky is the name that most people will want to jam in here and I’m sure there will be a sizeable degree of head shaking over this one, but Zay Jones is out top rated receiver for this draft class and it is a definite need for the Browns. Trubisky is ranked 23rd overall on our warboard and is too far of a reach to give the Browns here at #12 overall.
|13. Arizona Cardinals
QB – Mitchell Trubisky: North Carolina
Oddly enough, taking Conley out of the first in the ‘perfection’ version of our mock makes life more difficult for Arizona than it does for New Orleans. I could simply bump another interior linebacker up to this spot but it breaks from the intention of this version, which is to try and lock the best value in on the board for each pick at a true position of need. This is the farthest reach so far and teeters on the edge of comfort, but the other options within striking distance do not make enough sense to warrant their selection. The Cardinals get their future signal caller and Mitchell goes to a situation where he can sit for a season. It’s actually one of our ideal landing spots for young quarterbacks this season but the original pick of Foster in this spot was better value.
|14. Philadelphia Eagles
DE – Charles Harris: Missouri
The Eagles could look at defensive line early in this draft. Charles Harris ranks in our top 16 so this is a good match for quality and need. Although a lot of analysts have driven Harris down their warboards, we still view him as a top 3 option for a 4-3 DE and expect him to go earlier than what many are predicting.
|15. Indianapolis Colts
RB – Christian McCaffrey: Stanford
The Colts may have other needs but Christian McCaffrey would instantly change the dynamic of the Indy offense and solidify the position for the long term. Indianapolis would do well to follow through on this pick come Thursday.
|16. Baltimore Ravens
DE – Derek Rivers: Youngstown State
The Ravens add a pass rushing demon to their defense in Derek Rivers. He’s the #2 overall 3-4 outside linebacker based on our scoring metric and even though this pick would look rich too some, if it came to pass on April 27th I would be the first person to stand and applaud it.
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|17. Washington Redskins
S – Malik Hooker: Ohio State
The Redskins are the second team to be affected by the removal of Conley as Trubisky was originally slotted here. It’s not as severe of a value push as it was for Arizona earlier on and this doesn’t jump the shark so much to give it an uncomfortable feel. There’s an obvious need for a DB that can cover a lot of ground in D.C. so this is a pretty solid section by Washington.
|18. Tennessee Titans
WR – Mike Williams: Clemson
Mike Williams to the Titans is something that I believe will happen on Thursday if they trade down to #12 overall with Cleveland. It makes more sense for us here at #18 overall as it’s one spot higher than where Williams is actually ranked on our warboard.
|19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
OT – Garett Bolles: Utah
Everyone believes that edge rusher, safety or perhaps a running back will be in play for the Bucs in the first round, but I have David Njoku is there main target followed by the possibility of selecting an offensive lineman, specifially Garett Bolles, if David is already off the board. This is a solid match between the value on our warboard and team need.
|20. Denver Broncos
OT – Ryan Ramczyk: Wisconsin
At this point, after repeatedly mocking Ryan Ramczyk to the Broncos and now having it match up in the ‘perfection’ mock, I am absolutely convinced that Denver will not draft Ryan. All kidding aside, this feels like the perfect day one pick for Denver.
|21. Detroit Lions
WR – Corey Davis: Western Michigan
The Lions’ offense would get an immediate boost from a dominant wide receiver and Corey Davis has the ability to become that as a professional. This is an ideal fit for player and franchise.
|22. Miami Dolphins
DE – Takkarist McKinley: U.C.L.A.
Takkarist McKinley is ranked a little higher than this on our warboard but he ends up with Miami due to team needs dropping him three spots. The Dolphins need edge rushers and Takk’s high motor and athleticism should have him chasing quarterbacks from the moment he steps on the field.
|23. New York Giants
OT – Cameron Robinson: Alabama
I just can’t see the Giants going anywhere but three directions on day one, with those three being offensive tackle, linebacker or tight end if Howard or Njoku falls. Cameron Robinson ranks at #25 overall on our warboard and is a nice get for New York at #23.
|24. Oakland Raiders
CB – Fabian Moreau: U.C.L.A.
The Raiders will likely address the cornerback situation on Thursday and all signs point towards Chidobe Awuzie, but Fabian Moreau scores higher on our metric and we view him as having a higher ceiling.
|25. Houston Texans
ILB – Zach Cunningham: Vanderbilt
The Texans could use some coverage ability and range in the middle of their defense. Cunningham will be a versatile interior linebacker and would make a nice fit for Houston.
|26. Seattle Seahawks
DB – Obi Melinfonwu: Connecticut
Everybody is listing Obi Melinfonwu as a safety, but many teams are trying him out as a corner. I believe he is going to be something of a modern hybrid that plays all over the backfield. His size and athletic profile lend towards the ability to match against whichever offensive weapon is the largest. He can become a dynamic chess piece with the right defense.
|27. Kansas City Chiefs
DL – Chris Wormley: Michigan
The Chiefs will need to add some depth and talent to the defensive line at some point in this draft. Wormley is our top rated 3-4 defensive end for the 2017 draft class and ranked #30 overall on my warboard.
|28. Dallas Cowboys
DE – Derek Barnett: Tennessee
The Cowboys will definitely add defensive lineman in this draft but many people will shake their head at Derek Barnett being available for pick #28. Barnett sliding down the first on Thursday would not surprise us in the least as his athletic question marks were never answered prior to the start of the draft.
|29. Green Bay Packers
OG – Forrest Lamp: Western Kentucky
Forrest Lamp is the only interior lineman to crack our top 30, yet oddly enough he barely edges out Pitt’s Dorian Johnson for guard prospects. This is a need/player fit that makes too much sense not to mock.
|30. Pittsburgh Steelers
S – Josh Johnson: North Carolina State
Josh Johnson scores higher on our metric as a pure safety than both Malik Hooker and Obi Melinfonwu. In fact, Johnson has the type of totals that made us do a comparative review of his tape against Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker, Obi Melinfonwu and Marcus Maye. There is a lot to like about Johnson’s game and to the sure surprise of many, when locking Josh and Maye’s numbers into a complete safety standard (non-specialist), both he and Marcus have higher scores than Obi and Malik.
|31. Atlanta Falcons
OLB – Tyus Bowser: Houston
Tyus Bowser’s name is buzzing in draft circles after crushing the combine, but the concerns we have with his game were never based on his athletic ability. This is not only a good place for Bowser to land as he would be afforded the ability to get a lot of clean pass rushing match-ups, but it’s a good fit for the Falcons as well.
|32. New Orleans Saints (via NE)
DE – Taco Charlton: Michigan
Taco Charlton is our favorite of the prospects with underwhelming test scores from Indy. He’s a high level player and a constant, driving force off the edge that will carve out a strong career as a professional.