Super Bowl Sunday is finally here and unfortunately that signals the end of the NFL season as we know it. For the next seven months we will have no football on our television screens. Instead, we will all be forced to debate how good our favorite teams will be next season after the work they do in free agency and the NFL Draft.
As most of my long-time readers know, I like to do about 4 or 5 mock drafts a year. I like to do a pre-NFL combine mock. A post-NFL combine mock. A post-NFL free agency mock. And of course, a mock draft right before the actual draft itself. This is the very first mock draft of the year so don’t be surprised to see a big change from my final version in two months time.
Let’s not beat around the bush any longer….
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett (OLB), Texas A&M
The Browns need a QB. That isn’t a mystery to anyone. However, it’s my opinion (and the opinion of a lot of NFL draft pundits) that there’s not a QB worth taking in this spot. Instead, Cleveland could look at trading out of this spot and drafting a QB in the later part of the first-round, or they could take Myles Garrett, a guy who other NFL QB’s are going to grow to hate. If you don’t have a QB, you have to stop the other teams QB. And how do you do that? By having excellent pass-rushers. It’s not rocket science.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Mitch Trubisky (QB), North Carolina
The 49ers have a ton of needs and could go a million different directions. Someone at the top of the draft is going to end up reaching for one of these QB’s though. New head coach Kyle Shanahan will likely target one of these guys as a guy he’s going to personally groom into his own franchise QB. Even though I personally like DeShone Kizer more as a prospect myself, NFL teams are falling in love with Trubisky.
3. Chicago Bears – Marshon Lattimore (CB), Ohio State
The Bears are another team that need a lot of help. They could reach for a QB here or even take a look at Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. However, Chicago has spent a good amount of picks on the defensive line lately and it’s time to shore up that awful secondary. Lattimore is the draft’s top corner and would definitely immediately fill one of the Bears’ biggest needs.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Malik Hooker (S), Ohio State
The Jaguars were one of the sexy teams to pick heading into this season and they ended up shitting all over themselves. With another solid draft though, the Jaguars might finally get over that hump. Taking Malik Hooker at #4 would be a dream. Hooker is one of the top 3 players in the draft and he fills an immediate need for Jacksonville.
5. Tennessee Titans – Mike Williams (WR), Clemson
The Titans have their franchise QB on their roster already. How many teams can say that? What the Titans don’t have is weapons for said franchise QB. The addition of Mike Williams to the Titans would be amazing. Williams has the talent and the ability to blossom into a #1 NFL WR and would instantly give the Titans a much-needed upgrade.
6. New York Jets – DeShone Kizer (QB), Notre Dame
The Jets are a mess and the position were they are really hurting at also happens to be the most important position on the football field. I personally think DeShone Kizer is the best QB in this class and would likely be the starter from day one. Tom Brady is on his last legs as a professional QB. The AFC East is about to be wide open in the next few years and the Jets need to capitalize on it. Won’t happen unless they have a franchise QB.
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan
The Chargers may be the NFL team without a home, but they have something not a lot of other teams have. A franchise QB. With a guy like Phillip Rivers on the roster, the Chargers will at least have a shot at the playoffs. You know what the San Diego Chargers have lacked for some time? An elite NFL WR. Drafting a guy like Corey Davis with the 7th overall selection would give San Diego that guy.
8. Carolina Panthers – Leonard Fournette (RB), LSU
The Panthers could take a look at Jonathan Allen here, who would be a great selection for them. However the selection of a guy like Leonard Fournette could end up turning magical for a team like Carolina. NFL experts are in love with Fournette and think he could have a better season than Ezekiel Elliott just had for the Cowboys. Cam Newton is coming off a horrible year and the Panthers need to fix the offense to avoid that disaster again. Just ask the Cowboys how nice it is to have a young running back who can give the offense a shot in the arm that it needs.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster (LB), Alabama
This pick just makes WAAAAYYYYYYY too much sense to pass up. The Bengals need linebackers and Reuben Foster is the best linebacker outside of Myles Garrett in the draft. In a perfect world, this is the exact pick that Bengals fans should be wishing for.
10. Buffalo Bills – Jamal Adams (S), LSU
The Bills use to be loaded in the secondary, but times have changed. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bills potentially take a QB here if they decide to let Tyrod Taylor walk, but as of right now….he’s still on the roster. If he’s still around, Buffalo would be lucky to grab Jamal Adams, who could end up being a top 5 player in this draft.
11. New Orleans Saints – Sidney Jones (CB), Washington
If you’ve watched the New Orleans Saints play football at all over the last few seasons, you know exactly where their biggest weakness is. In the secondary. They’ve been awful in that aspect of the game for as long as I can remember now. New Orleans would be wise to target a CB or a S in the first-round and if Sidney Jones is sitting there, take him. Remember the last Washington Husky CB to go in the first-round? His name was Marcus Peters and he’s one of the best CB’s in the NFL at the moment.
12. Cleveland Browns – DeShaun Watson (QB), Clemson
OK Cleveland. I still don’t like it this early, but now you can pull the trigger. I know DeShaun Watson is the darling of the draft this year, but I’m telling you guys, he’s far from a sure thing at the next level and it starts and ends with his accuracy issues. QB’s with those kind of issues are rarely successful in the NFL. But since Watson played really well against Alabama, everyone is in love with him. Buyer’s beware folks.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Tre’Davious White (CB), LSU
The Cardinals are kind of a rare team drafting this high. I still think Arizona is a very talented team with the potential to make a deep playoff run and they don’t have a whole lot of needs. If Kizer or Trubisky falls to them here, I would take them in a heart beat. If those options aren’t available, I would take a CB in a draft that is deep at that position. If Arizona can find another elite CB to play alongside Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu…yikes. Good luck to any QB facing this team.
14. Indianapolis Colts – Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State
The Colts have one of the worst rosters in the NFL. Luckily for them, they just hired Chris Ballard from the Kansas City Chiefs as their new general manager and that guy has one of the best eyes for talent in this business. Dalvin Cook is going to be a stud in the NFL. Pair him up with Andrew Luck in the AFC South and watch those two dominate that division for the next 10 years. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Teez Tabor (CB), Florida
In a perfect world for Eagles fans, one of the two WR’s would fall here. Philly would love it if either Mike Williams or Corey Davis was available to them at the #15 spot. That’s highly unlikely to happen though. I mentioned earlier that this is a deep draft at the CB position and a lot of teams should look to capitalize on that. Philly should be one of them. The Eagles have been looking for a true shutdown corner for years now and Teez Tabor out of Florida would give them their best bet yet.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Solomon Thomas (EDGE), Stanford
This would be a great selection for the Ravens. Thomas is widely considered a top 10 talent in this draft and if they could nab him at #16, that would totally be a “Ravens” thing to do. Drafting elite defensive talent that everyone else passed on is Baltimore’s forte. The Ravens could also target a wide receiver if one falls to them, but that’s highly unlikely.
17. Washington Redskins – Jonathan Allen (DT), Alabama
What a pick for the Redskins. Jonathan Allen is likely a top 5 talent in this draft who falls to Washington at #17. Sometimes these things just happen and there’s always a team that lucks out due to other NFL’s teams incompetence. I highly doubt Allen would be available here in the real NFL draft, but never say never Washington fans.
18. Tennessee Titans – Quincy Wilson (CB), Florida
The Titans addressed their need at WR with their first draft pick. Now they need to turn some attention to their defense and add some depth to their secondary. Don’t look now, but the Titans are one of the hottest young teams in the NFL.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derek Barnett (DE), Tennessee
The Buccaneers were one of the surprise teams in the league this past season. They should continue to improve going forward. However, the one thing that the Buccaneers were really lacking on a consistent basis last season was a formidable pass-rush who could disrupt the QB on a regular basis. Derek Barnett would help solve that issue.
20. Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk (OT), Wisconsin
Did you watch the Denver Broncos play football this past season? If you did, it’s pretty obvious that these guys need a lot of help on the offensive line, especially at the tackle position. Ryan Ramczyk is the best offensive tackle prospect in the draft and would likely be a starter from day one in the “Mile High City”.
21. Detroit Lions – Takkarist McKinley (EDGE), UCLA
Detroit needs an elite pass rusher to go alongside Ezekiel Ansah. The Lions were one of the surprise teams in the NFL this past season and they can’t afford to revert to their old ways. They were THIS close to their first division title in 25+ years. With a solid draft, the Lions should be able to pick up that elusive playoff win. The only way that’s going to happen is if the Lions add some much-needed playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
22. Miami Dolphins – Forrest Lamp (OG), Western Kentucky
Yes, picking guards in the draft is boring. However, to win in the NFL, you need to have a good healthy QB and what’s the key to having a healthy QB? Keeping him upright. The Dolphins need some help at the guard position and Forrest Lamp is widely considered the best prospect in the draft at that position. Some things just make sense.
23. New York Giants – Taco Charlton (DE), Michigan
Jason Pierre-Paul has been a great player for the Giants, but he’s likely going to command a big price tag in free agency and it’s time the two part ways. This draft is pretty loaded on the edge and the Giants should be able to find a suitable replacement in the first-round.
24. Oakland Raiders – Gareon Conley (CB), Ohio State
The Raiders are another team that is in need of help in the secondary. Like a lot of other teams in this draft, they are lucky it’s a deep draft at that position. Conley has some work to do defending the run, but as far as coverage goes, he has elite skills in that area.
25. Houston Texans – Garett Boles (OT), Utah
Houston fans are probably quietly wanting one of the QB’s to fall to them here so they have someone who can push the awful Brock Osweiler next season. That’s probably not going to happen though. What’s probably likely going to happen for Texans fans is….Brock is going to be your starter next season. Just face the music already. Since Brock is likely going to be your QB, give the guy some help. Garett Boles may not be a sexy pick, but perhaps he could help Osweiler take his game to the next level? No? Well, it’s worth a shot.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Adoree’ Jackson (CB), USC
Seattle needs help in the secondary. The once powerful “LEGION OF BOOM” has taken a hit the last few years. If Earl Thomas is serious about his retirement, the Seahawks should target Budda Baker with the 26th spot in the draft. If Thomas comes back though, the Seahawks should target a CB. And hey….look who’s available! Adoree Jackson out of USC, a school that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is more than familiar with.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Jarrad Davis (LB), Florida
The KC Chiefs have a monster defense, but that monster defense has a glaring hole. They couldn’t stop the run. Le’Veon Bell ate them up in the playoffs with Derrick Johnson out with an injury. KC needs to find a replacement for DJ, who could end up being a cap casualty this off-season. Jarrad Davis is one of the best run-stoppers in the draft and would be a day one starter for the Chiefs and would help ease the loss of DJ, if that happens.
28. Dallas Cowboys – O.J. Howard (TE), Alabama
The rich get richer. O.J. Howard has been considered the best tight end prospect for the last two years, but has decided to stay in college to refine his game. Well, he’s available now and the Cowboys need a tight end. This would be a dream situation for Dallas. There is a great chance that Howard is taken sooner in the draft, but the tight end position’s value has dropped in the draft the last couple of years.
29. Green Bay Packers – T.J. Watt (LB), Wisconsin
Doesn’t this seem like a Green Bay pick? They quietly land the brother of J.J. Watt in the late part of the first-round to fill a position of need. With Green Bay’s luck, Watt will blossom into a player that’s even better than his brother. Some people are so damn lucky…..
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – David Njoku (TE), Miami
Pittsburgh fans would love if O.J. Howard fell to them here, but I have some good news for you. There are some NFL Draft pundits who think David Njoku will have a better NFL career than Howard. Either way, they are both better than any TE currently on Pittsburgh’s roster.
31. Atlanta Falcons – Charles Harris (DE), Missouri
The Falcons don’t need any offensive help. Surprise. They need to add some more elite defenders to make sure that this year’s Super Bowl run isn’t just a fluke.
32. New England Patriots – Gerald Everett (TE), South Alabama
Rob Gronkowski is one of the best players in the NFL at his position. The only problem with him is, he has a hard time staying healthy. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl today, it wouldn’t shock anyone to see New England move on from Gronkowski and potentially target a different TE in the draft. You think Bill Belichick is afraid to drop players who are in the prime of their careers? Please.
And that’s it for the first mock draft of the year at THE ULTIMATE SPORTS BLOG! I hope you all enjoy the Super Bowl today and I’ll see you back here once the NFL Combine wraps up in a month to see how much this damn thing has changed.