With the NFL Draft kicking off tonight, it’s time to present my final mock draft of the offseason! This draft does include trades, and the trades are based on draft slot value, per Pro Football Talk, so they may seem underwhelming, but I don’t have the insight to know what teams truly believe is worth giving up in order to trade up.
Note: The third round extends past the 96th pick with compensatory picks, but I kept this mock draft strictly to normal draft picks.
With that, let’s get to mocking!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Do I really need to explain why?
2. San Francisco 49ers: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
The 49ers need to upgrade pretty much every position on their roster, but with a Gus Bradley disciple as the team’s new defensive coordinator in Robert Saleh (who will be running a scheme fairly similar, if not identical, to Bradley’s) and a former NFL safety as G.M. in John Lynch, this team will be looking for an impact, center-field safety in this draft, and Malik Hooker possesses elite range and ball skills to be the guy they’re looking for.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, SS, Louisiana State
The Bears, like the 49ers (and Browns) need help just about everywhere on their roster, but especially in their secondary — They finished tied for an NFL record low in turnovers with 11 as a group. After signing Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in free agency to play cornerback, the Bears add Adams here to play strong safety and make an impact against both the pass and run game.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Is this all smoke, or is there a fire in Jacksonville? Just over the past week, the word has been the Jaguars are very interested in Watson, and in drafting him, the Blake Bortles era would likely be over in JAX, and considering he holds an 11-34 career record, it makes sense.
Watson is the most pro-ready QB in this class and will likely be ready to start week one. The Tom Coughlin-led Jaguars want to “Win Now”, and in selecting a QB here, we know that Coughlin isn’t going to be conservative in his team building as the Jaguars have been over the past several years.
5. **TRADE** Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
- Browns trade their 12th and 33rd picks to the Titans (who also hold the 18th overall pick)
The Browns need a quarterback badly, but they can’t skip out on Myles Garrett at 1st overall. The Titans, who have been rumored to be fielding calls for at least one of their first round picks, give the Browns an opportunity to jump the Jets — A team that is interested in Trubisky — and get their QB.
6. New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Jets miss out on their guy at quarterback, but with gaping holes in their secondary, they need to add a true CB1, as they have’t hosted one since Darrelle Revis was in his prime. Lattimore is the best coverage cornerback in this draft, and can be the CB1 they’re looking for.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
The Chargers would have benefited from a safety falling to the seventh pick, but with both top-tier safeties gone in the top three picks, the Chargers resort to another big need: A true defensive end opposite of Joey Bosa. Jonathan Allen is a high floor prospect as a strong-side defensive end who is an effective power pass rusher and run defender. A Joey Bosa/Melvin Ingram/Jonathan Allen-led pass rush would be a scary one, to say the least.
8. Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State
The Panthers need to add a weapon to take pressure off of Cam Newton, who gets beaten up by opposing pass rushes week in and week out. Fournette can be that weapon in the run game, who brings a true smash-mouth presence to the Panthers offense.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Bengals’ defense has begun to age, and they need to rebuild their once-dominant pass rush. Thomas is a project, as he was never a true defensive end at Stanford, and his NFL career is entirely based on projection, but putting him in Cincinnati gives him an opportunity to learn from defenders such as Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson as he transitions into the NFL.
10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Bills, who decided to keep QB Tyrod Taylor around, now need to provide Taylor with more weapons to build a true passing attack. Sammy Watkins was unhealthy last year, and Robert Woods left the team in free agency, so the Bills need to add a WR to p;lay opposite of a healthy Watkins, and Williams, who has a knack for making big plays with his hands and wins 50/50 balls, fits perfectly.
11. New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Saints, who hold two first round picks this year after trading Brandin Cooks to the Patriots for the 32nd overall pick and a 3rd round pick, need to focus on upgrading their defense. With cornerback being a pressing need, drafting Humphrey, who thrives in zone coverage and provides an uncanny physical dominance against the run as a cornerback, adds a ton of value to their secondary.
12. Tennessee Titans (from CLE): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
- Titans received 12th and 33rd overall picks from Cleveland in exchange for their 5th overall pick
The Titans are very close to being a legitimate playoff contender, they just have to give Marcus Mariota a supporting cast in the passing game and tweak their defense. Davis, who was one of the most productive WRs in college football history, finally provides Mariota with a WR1, and adds electricity to an already up-and-coming offense.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
With Gareon Conley’s rape case dropping his stock, there isn’t a cornerback worth taking at 13th overall for the Cardinals to target and play opposite of Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals’ need to draft Karlos Dansby’s future replacement early on, and Foster, who is one of the most talented defensive prospects in this class, can work his way into being the Cardinals’ MIKE linebacker for years to come.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Eagles, in some way, shape, or form, have to give Carson Wentz a dependable running game and an extra weapon in the pass game in order to ease his development, and in selecting McCaffrey — the shifty, speedy, and at the same time durable weapon as a running back and receiver out of Stanford — the Eagles kill two birds with one stone.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
If the Colts ever want to win with Andrew Luck, they have to build around him, especially on the offensive line. Luck is one of the most sacked QBs in the league, and even after the Colts added an offensive lineman in the first round last year, Luck was still sacked 41 times, tying his career high. With Luck entering his 6th season, it’s time to begin protecting him and giving him an offense he can succeed with. Lamp has often been compared to Zack Martin as a guard prospect, and considering Martin is a top guard in the NFL, it’s fair to say the expectations for Lamp are high.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Derek Rivers, EDGE/OLB, Youngstown State
Rivers is a dominant pass rushing prospect who doesn’t carry many negatives as a prospect besides the fact that he played at an FCS school in college. Rivers, who recorded 40 sacks and 54.5 tackles for loss in his college career, is the perfect replacement at pass rushing OLB for Elvis Dumervil, whom the Ravens released after the regular season.
17. Washington: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Washington needs a versatile linebacker like Reddick who can offer support against the run and rush the passer. Plug and play Reddick inside in their 3-4 scheme and place him at outside linebacker in pass rushing sub-packages, and like that, Washington has another pass rusher to scare quarterbacks besides Ryan Kerrigan.
18. Tennessee Titans: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
Another weapon on offense for the Titans? Yep, and in adding Howard and Davis, the Titans suddenly have an elite offense on paper, assuming Marcus Mariota has/will fully recover from his broken leg.
Howard, who was mainly used as a blocker at Alabama, also possesses great hands and precise route running that was simply under-utilized in college. Howard can be used both in-line and outside as a receiver, and adds another reliable target for Mariota.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Reuniting Cook with Jameis Winston — two former Florida State Seminoles — would be a dream come true for both of them, and after a rough draft process for Cook, the dream might become a reality. On tape, Cook is a first round RB, and in my opinion the best back in the draft, but he didn’t perform well at his Combine and has some off the field concerns that stem from his youth through the start of his college career.
However, the Buccaneers need to add a running back in this draft with Doug Martin being such a liability. Cook has previous chemistry with Winston as they played one season with each other at FSU, and would help balance the Buccaneers offense, one in which already possesses a solid and growing passing attack.
20. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Broncos need to upgrade their offensive line in order to provide Paxton Lynch (or Trevor Siemian if he remains the starter at QB) a chance to succeed in Denver. They have receivers for the QB to target, but they get little time to let plays develop before they are facing pressure. Drafting Robinson automatically stabilizes the left side of the Broncos offensive line and protects the quarterback’s blind side for years to come.
21. Detroit Lions: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Lions have one of the worst linebacker units in the NFL. Cunningham can help change that — The play-making LB finished his career at Vanderbilt with 36 tackles for loss. He can both stop the run and be trusted in man coverage, and he provides quickness that any LB core will value, specifically Detroit’s.
22. Miami Dolphins: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
With Laremy Tunsil moving to left tackle after the team trading Branden Albert to the Jaguars, the Dolphins suddenly need a guard. Feeney, the two-time consensus All-American right guard at Indiana, is a mauling run blocker who also provides solid pass protection, can plug and play at guard in Miami and further build the Dolphins’ new-look offensive line.
23. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Giants haven’t hosted a successful tight end since Larry Donnell had his one-year-wonder of a season with 63 catches for 623 yards and six TDs in 2014. While the offense now has Brandon Marshall in addition to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shephard at receiver, adding Njoku will give the Giants yet again a scary passing game, and will only help Eli Manning as he begins to age.
24. Oakland Raiders: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
The biggest red-flag in the draft: Joe Mixon. Are teams willing to bite on his talent with the risks off-the-field that he carries? I wouldn’t, but I’m no general manager.
Oakland is in dire need of establishing a run game to take pressure off of Derek Carr and their pass attack that really took off last year. If Oakland believes they can trust and keep Mixon clean, perhaps even give him an opportunity to look like a changed man since his altercation with a woman that led to him punching her and breaking four bones in her face, then I certainly would get this pick. Mixon is special on the field.
However, Mixon off the field is a giant risk.
25. Houston Texans: Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Tom Savage is currently QB1 in Houston, and that can’t last: The team is simply too talented to be held back by a true backup starting at QB.
Kizer is an athletic, deep-ball quarterback who still has a bit to go in his progressions as an accurate passer. He will take time to adjust in the NFL, but with Bill O’Brien working with him and a good team around him, the Texans offer a chance for Kizer to find success.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Moton, OL, Western Michigan
Corey Davis stole the spotlight at WMU, but Moton was a huge factor in the team’s offensive success. Playing both right guard and tackle, Moton is a versatile offensive lineman that team’s will experiment with in the NFL. The Seahawks can start him out at guard and eventually move him to right tackle as he develops.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Chiefs are a playoff team with the roster they’ve built, but if they want to truly contend in this AFC, they need a better QB. Alex Smith is serviceable, but if developed right, Patrick Mahomes will be a winner. With Smith ahead of him as a starter for at least a season and a great coach in Andy Reid there to develop him, gunslinger Pat Mahomes can be brought along nice and slowly to teach him the discipline he needs to find success as and NFL QB. He has all the tools to be great, but his discipline will be his downfall if he can’t correct it.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
The Cowboys still lack a true pass rushing threat, as Randy Gregory clearly has a drug abuse problem that has led to multiple suspensions. Drafting Harris gives them a quick pass rusher with an elite spin move to at least get something going for their pass rush. Last year, their team leader in sacks was Benson Mayowa, who had six sacks.
29. Green Bay Packers: Tre’Davious White, CB, Louisiana State
White is a prototypical cornerback who can play both zone and man concepts, and created six interceptions and 34 defended passes in his career at LSU. The Packers desperately need a cornerback after releasing Sam Shields, and White provides a young, versatile body for the Packers’ secondary to move around.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Steelers need to finish building their defense to get it to par with their offense and become a true threat to the Patriots in the AFC. In drafting King, a bigger-framed CB with ball skills and scheme-flexibility, they get someone to play opposite of Artie Burns and further build a respectable secondary.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
McDowell is a top 10 prospect with effort and character concerns that will cause his stock to dip. However, whether you have him at 3-technique or 5-technique, McDowell is crazy good against the run and knows how to disrupt the pass game. You can plug and play McDowell around the defensive line, but his home is 5-technique as an end, and with Ra’Shede Hageman being disappointing so far in Atlanta, so McDowell could come right in and take his spot on the defensive line.
32. New Orleans Saints (from NE): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Saints, with their second pick in the first round, address their EDGE rush and grab a complementary pass rusher to play opposite of Cameron Jordan in Barnett. Barnett is one of the most productive pass rushers in SEC history, but has some issues with speed and snap jumping that will hurt him in the NFL if he can’t fix the issues. However, the Saints need more help in rushing the quarterback, and Barnett can help with that.
33. Tennessee Titans (from CLE): Budda Baker, FS, Washington
- Titans received 12th and 33rd overall picks from Cleveland in exchange for their 5th overall pick
The Titans add a play-maker to their secondary with Baker, who can play everywhere as a safety but is best suited as a center-field free safety.
34. San Francisco 49ers: John Ross, WR, Washington
Another Husky off the board, the 49ers need to build an offense for Brian Hoyer (and the QB they take in the first round in 2018). Ross is a speedster who can play vertically and in the short game with his quick routes.
35. Jacksonville Jaguars: Pat Elflein, OL
The Jaguars must address their offensive line early on, and Elflein is a versatile prospect along the interior OL. The Jaguars could play him at center and move Brandon Linder back to guard, or play Elflein at guard, where he started his college career — starting 15 games as a guard before moving to center.
36. Chicago Bears: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Bears have a great interior offensive line, but nothing to show for at tackle. Adding Ramczyk solidifies the left side.
37. Los Angeles Rams: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
The Rams need to give Jared Goff every and any kind of weapon they can in order for him to find success, and a potential No. 1 receiver like Godwin is something the Rams have been looking for for years.
38. Los Angeles Chargers: Jabrill Peppers, FS, Michigan
The Chargers need help at safety, especially because defensive coordinator Gus Bradley values safeties quite a bit. Peppers is an incredible athlete, and Bradley could use his range as a center-field free safety.
39. New York Jets: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
The Jets need to give Christian Hackenberg any weapon they can as he will be playing his first snaps in 2017. Engram is an athletic tight end who can play the “big slot” receiver as well.
40. Carolina Panthers: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Panthers re-signed Kawann Short and brought back Julius Peppers to help with their pass rush, but they need a future piece at defensive end as Peppers and Charles Johnson are aging. Charlton is a big end who can rotate outside early in his career before taking over as the team’s No. 1 pass rusher.
41. Cincinnati Bengals: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Bengals continue to rebuild their defense in adding Davis, an incredibly athletic linebacker who can play essentially any LB position on the field in the Bengals’ 4-3 scheme.
42. New Orleans Saints: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Saints went defense-heavy with their two first round picks, and now address their weak spot at left tackle on the offensive line in drafting the near-25 year old.
43. Philadelphia Eagles: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
The Eagles added an all-around skill player in McCaffrey in the first round, and now get a lengthy cornerback to shore up the Eagles’ pass defense in Tankersley at 43.
44. Buffalo Bills: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
The Bills lost Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots in free agency, and need to rebuild their secondary. I’m not sure if Awuzie’s size will work too well outside in the NFL, but measurables aside, Awuzie is an incredible cornerback and athlete. Immediate upgrade at cornerback for the Bills.
45. Arizona Cardinals: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Conley is a top-15 lock if he isn’t accused of rape just days before the draft, but here we are. However, his defense team has released a statement and as the story develops, his accuser’s story has become murky. If Conley is able to convince teams he is an innocent man, then he shouldn’t fall far. However, at this point, there isn’t enough time for the case to be settled, and Conley will fall, perhaps even go undrafted.
If Conley can get his story straight with teams, Arizona might bite. They desperately need a cornerback opposite of Patrick Peterson, and Conley would give the Cardinals an elite tandem.
46. Indianapolis Colts: Takk McKinley, EDGE/OLB, UCLA
The Colts need to add a pass rusher early on in this draft, and McKinley will fall due to his shoulder surgery. He’s a first round pass rushing prospect on tape.
47. Baltimore Ravens: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The Ravens need a corner to start opposite of Jimmy Smith, as Brandon Carr is nothing special and is at best a rotational piece. Wilson is an excellent man coverage cornerback that further upgrades the Ravens pass defense.
48. Minnesota Vikings: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
The Vikings must find the heir to Adrian Peterson to take any and all pressure off of Teddy Bridgewater when he returns from his horrific knee injury from 2016. Kamara is an explosive back who can split carries with Latavius Murray early on, and eventually be “the guy”.
49. Washington: Marcus Sanders-Williams, FS, Utah
Washington takes another defender here in Sanders-WIlliams, and they get a ball-hawk to play the back end of their secondary.
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
The Buccaneers need to find Brent Grimes’ heir to play opposite of Vernon Hargreaves, and adding the nation’s leader in defended passes in 2016 (23) has shot up draft boards. Witherspoon can be developed into a starter in Tampa Bay for 2018 and get solid playing time his rookie year.
51. Denver Broncos: Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
The Broncos add a weapon who they can utilize in the run game and as a slot receiver for whoever is taking snaps in 2017 in Samuel here.
52. Cleveland Browns: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
The Browns add a special zone cornerback in Jones here, who will miss some time due to injuring his Achilles during his Pro Day. The injury has caused his stock to drop, but he should be back in the 2017 season, so I don’t expect him to fall overly far.
53. Detroit Lions: Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan
Lions continue to upgrade their front seven in selecting an interior DL in Wormley here.
54. Miami Dolphins: Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
The Dolphins need to add another pass rusher in this draft, and Bowser is a special standing pass rusher that can step in and be an immediate impact player on Miami’s defense.
55. New York Giants: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
The Giants lack a strong run game and need an RB to split carries with Paul Perkins. Hunt is a dual threat back who the Giants can rely on on third downs and in power situations.
56. Oakland Raiders: Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State
The Raiders address their need at linebacker in adding McMillan, who is a dominant run-stopping LB.
57. Houston Texans: Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
The Texans need an upgrade at right tackle desperately, especially after drafting Kizer in the first round. Dawkins was a three year starter at left tackle with potential to play right tackle and guard at the next level. Build that offensive line.
58. Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
The Seahawks add an incredibly athletic safety to the Legion of Boom, which has lost a bit of swagger over the past two seasons. Melifonwu can bring it back.
59. Kansas City Chiefs: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
The Chiefs grab a strong high-zone cornerback in Tabor, who likes to get physical with receivers, and gives the team a true CB2 across from Marcus Peters.
60. Dallas Cowboys: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, Southern California
The Cowboys need to focus this entire draft on upgrading their defense, especially in the secondary. Jackson is a gifted athlete who has some sharpening to do in coverage, but his flaws are fixable. The Cowboys find their replacement for Brandon Carr.
61. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Wisconsin holds onto one of the Watt brothers as T.J. heads to Green Bay to upgrade the team’s pass rush and hopefully match his brother, J.J.’s, dominance in the NFL.
62. Pittsburgh Steelers: Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
The Steelers need more consistency in their pass rush, and somehow Lawson falls to 62 in this mock — The Steelers get a steal and draft him to transition to and rotate at outside linebacker.
63. Atlanta Falcons: Ethan Pocic, OL, Louisiana State
The Falcons can plug Pocic in at right guard to fill a need immediately, and eventually move him back to center when Alex Mack is ready to step back, as he’s currently 31.
64. Carolina Panthers: Josh Jones, SS, NC State
The Panthers don’t have much to offer at safety besides the 14 year veteran Mike Evans. Time to add some (youthful) talent.
65. Cleveland Browns: Eddie Jackson, SS, Alabama
66. San Francisco 49ers: Davis Webb, QB, California
67. Chicago Bears: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, Southern California
68. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State
69. Los Angeles Rams: Justin Evans, SS, Texas A&M
70. New York Jets: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
71. Los Angeles Chargers: Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh
72. New England Patriots: Tarell Basham, EDGE, Ohio
73. Cincinnati Bengals: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
74. Baltimore Ravens: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
75. Buffalo Bills: Tim Williams, EDGE/OLB, Alabama
76. New Orleans Saints: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
77. Arizona Cardinals: Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
78. Baltimore Ravens: Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
79. Minnesota Vikings: Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah
80. Indianapolis Colts: Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
81. Washington: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
82. Denver Broncos: ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
83. Tennessee Titans: Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
84. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Demarcus Walker, DL, Florida State
85. Detroit Lions: Duke Riley, OLB, Louisiana State
86. Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Tomlinson, NT, Alabama
87. New York Giants: Alex Anzalone, OLB, Florida
88. Oakland Raiders: Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte
89. Houston Texans: Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
90. Seattle Seahawks: Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa
91. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
92. Dallas Cowboys: Corn Elder, CB, Miami
93. Green Bay Packers: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
94. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Maye, FS, Florida
95. Atlanta Falcons: Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
96. New England Patriots: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
That concludes my final mock draft for the 2017 NFL Draft! Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment with your reaction!