Here’s my latest NFL mock draft. I know you don’t need a constant reminder that I’ve been more accurate with these things the last few years than ESPN’s own Mel Kiper, but it’s the truth. This time of year I drown myself in NFL Draft coverage and the following is a mock draft I put together that will likely change a lot before the actual draft arrives in about a month’s time.
So here we go…..
NFL Mock Draft V2.0
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett (DE), Texas A&M
This one is a no-brainer Cleveland. Garrett is the best player in this draft and is the kind of player that will have an immediate impact on your defense. The Browns really need a franchise QB, but there’s not one worth the top overall pick this year. Take Garrett, have another 3-13 or 4-12 season next year and then go get Sam Darnold out of USC next season who looks like the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas (DL), Stanford
The San Francisco 49ers have a lot of needs, but grabbing an elite pass-rusher like Solomon Thomas would be a huge get. With Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner playing well in SF, the addition of Thomas would help give the 49ers a nasty defensive line. This team needs to start rebuilding somewhere and the defense should be the focus. If you don’t have a franchise QB on your roster, the next best way to win NFL games is with an elite defense.
3. Chicago Bears – Jamal Adams (S), LSU
Chicago needs a lot of help in their secondary. The Bears could also use an offensive tackle, but there’s just not one worth this high of a pick so Chicago could definitely be a candidate to track back if need be. If they decide to stick with the third pick, the addition of Jamal Adams would be huge to their secondary. There are only a few players in this draft with what NFL experts consider to be “elite draft grades” and Adams is one of them.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette (RB), LSU
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in an interesting spot heading into next season. They have an extremely talented roster, but with a new head coach coming in, no one knows what to expect with these guys. What direction will they go in the draft? They could potentially add another superstar to their secondary in Marshon Lattimore, but if you ask me, they need to get Blake Bortles some help so they can see what they got there. Bortles has struggled a lot, but with a new coaching staff he could definitely get it turned around, especially if they draft him some weapons. The addition of either Leonard Fournette of LSU or O.J. Howard of Alabama would be a big one for the Jaguars offense and would help open up the playbook more. Jacksonville needs to give Bortles some weapons to help his development.
5. Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Allen (DT), Alabama
The Tennessee Titans are in a good spot. Thanks to a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, the Titans can pick the best player available considering they have another pick at #18 and can address further needs there. The addition of Jonathan Allen on the Titans defensive line would be enormous. You put Allen next to Jurrell Casey and the Titans defense is immediately better next season. This team is right there on the brink of contending for a playoff spot. Get a huge defensive piece with the 5th pick and get Marcus Mariota a weapon at #18.
6. New York Jets – Marshon Lattimore (CB), Ohio State
The Darrelle Revis era in New York is over. Now it’s time for the Jets to go out and get their next corner back of the future. The best corner in the draft is easily Marshon Lattimore and if the Jets can’t get a franchise QB with the 6th pick in the draft, go out and get a guy who can potentially cover any wide receiver in the league. Lattimore is a stud and if he can stay healthy, he will be a force in the NFL.
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Malik Hooker (S), Ohio State
Safety is arguably the biggest need on the Chargers roster. If somehow Jamal Adams slips to them here, the Chargers would be ecstatic. I don’t see that happening though as Adams is a surefire top 5 pick in my eyes. Malik Hooker is a hell of a consolation prize though. Hooker is a top 10 player in this draft and would be a great fit in the Chargers new revamped defense.
8. Carolina Panthers – Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan
The Panthers wide receiving core is pretty disgusting. Ted Ginn is gone now and all that’s left talent wise is Kelvin Benjamin, who has been good but not great. Carolina could really use a tackle, but this is a weak draft for offensive linemen. In this scenario, the Panthers would get the #1 wide receiver in the draft and a guy who could blossom into Cam Newton’s favorite weapon. Davis is a tall wide receiver who would give Carolina another big target to throw to downfield. Newton struggled last year and he needs to turn it around next season before the panic button gets hit.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Derek Barnett (DE), Tennessee
There are a number of way the Bengals could go with this pick. They could choose to address their wide receiving issue (they have A.J. Green and that’s it), they could look to take the best offensive lineman in what is considered a weak offensive line class, or they could bolster their pass-rush by adding a dominant player like Derek Barnett. In this scenario, I have them taking Barnett. Barnett is an all-around linebacker who can rush the passer or drop back in coverage if need be. He was a highly productive player at Tennessee who could end up being the steal of the draft.
10. Buffalo Bills – Mike Williams (WR), Clemson
The Buffalo Bills might have the worst receiving core in the NFL. They have Sammy Watkins and a bunch of scrubs. That is definitely not an ideal situation for QB Tyrod Taylor. The Bills need to add some depth at WR and Williams would be a huge addition to the offense and could eventually overtake Watkins as the team’s top target. The Bills also could surprise everyone and be the first team to take a QB in this draft as well as they aren’t sold on Tyrod Taylor’s future.
11. New Orleans Saints – Taco Charlton (DE), Michigan
The Saints have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL the last few seasons. They need an influx of talent on the defensive side of the ball in the worst way. They should target the best defensive player available who will fit into their system and can become a day one starter the moment he walks on to the team facility. In this scenario, Taco Charlton is the man for the job. He’s the best pass-rusher avaliable here and something tells me Cameron Jordan would really appreciate another good edge rusher to help take the heat off of him.
12. Cleveland Browns – Mitchell Trubisky (QB), North Carolina
OK Cleveland. Now it’s OK to go out and grab the guy a lot of people feel is the best QB in this weak class. I highly doubt Trubiskly is ever going to be a top-tier stud in the NFL, but he has the potential to turn into a pretty good player in the league with the right fit. Will that be with the Browns? History says it will be ugly, but we will definitely all go along for the ride if it happens.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Tre’Davious White (CB), LSU
Arizona really needs a replacement for DE Calais Campbell who left the team in free agency. If any of the defensive ends that are already off the board are available here, the Cardinals should jump all over it. Unfortunately that’s not the case here. In this instance, the Cardinals could decide to go after a guy like John Ross out of Washington to potentially replace Larry Fitzgerald, who will likely retire after this season. Personally though, I believe the Cardinals should look to improve their secondary. They already have Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Matheiu back their disrupting QB’s, the addition of a guy like Tre’Davious White could potentially give the Cardinals the best secondary in the league and it won’t be long before these guys make a return to the playoffs.
14. Philadelphia Eagles – Malik McDowell (DT), Michigan State
With the loss of Bennie Logan in free agency, the Eagles have a massive hole on their defensive line and they need to improve that area immediately. Malik McDowell is one of the top defensive tackles in the draft and would be a fantastic get for Philly. The Eagles also are in desperate need of a pass-rusher, so if any of the top defensive ends are available, the Eagles should snatch them quickly as Brandon Graham is the only good DE on the Eagles roster.
15. Indianapolis Colts – Reuben Foster (LB), Alabama
The Indianapolis Colts need defensive talent like I need a million dollars. You guys don’t know me or my financial situation, but trust me when I say….I could REALLY use a million dollars. The Colts get really lucky in this scenario. Reuben Foster’s stock is probably going to drop a bit following the situation at the combine where he got into an argument with a doctor and got sent home. Some teams are going to hesitate picking a guy who could eventually be a concern. However, some times you need to gamble on those guys because it pays off in ways you can’t explain. Talent-wise, Foster is probably a top 5 player in this year’s draft. For the Colts to get a player like that with the 15th pick in the draft would be huge. If he’s here, this one is a no-brainer.
16. Baltimore Ravens – John Ross (WR), Washington
Joe Flacco needs some weapons. If the Ravens have any kind of post-season hopes and would love another Super Bowl run anytime soon, they need to get their franchise QB some weapons. Right now, all he has is Mike Wallace (a guy who’s good at one thing and one thing only…..deep routes) and Breshad Perriman (a guy who can’t stay on the field). That’s not enough. Baltimore needs to be able to put up some points next season if they want to make a return to the playoffs. Grabbing a guy like John Ross who just set the record for the fastest 40 yard dash ever at the combine and lining him up opposite Wallace could end up being a nightmare for opposing defensive backs. I would like to see that happen.
17. Washington Redskins – Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State
What will Washington do during the draft this year? No one knows. They don’t even have a general manager right now. However, if I’m in charge of the Redskins, I’m going to try to do everything in my power to keep Kirk Cousins happy. Get the guy some help and try to convince him that he’s the long-term solution in Washington. What’s the other option? Drafting a guy like DeShaun Watson and hoping he turns out to be better than Cousins? Cousins isn’t a top 10 QB in the NFL, but he’s still a very serviceable QB who will get you to the playoffs. Washington would be stupid to let a guy like that walk. The Redskins could be the most interesting team to watch in the upcoming draft.
18. Tennessee Titans – O.J. Howard (TE), Alabama
Remember earlier when I said the Titans should get Marcus Mariota a weapon with the #18 pick? Here you go. O.J. Howard is the top tight end in this year’s draft and he has the potential to blossom into the best tight end in the league in no time at all. Welcome to the playoffs Tennessee.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Garrett Boles (OT), Utah
Offensive tackles are never an exciting pick, but it’s the Buccaneers biggest need and they have the chance to grab the best one in the draft here. This would be a no-brainer. The Bucs picked Donovan Smith in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but he’s been extremely inconsistent. With Jameis Winston looking like he could blossom into a top 5 NFL QB, the Bucs would be wise to do their best to give him some protection. The guy has weapons, now he just needs to be given some more time in the pocket to help elevate his game even more.
20. Denver Broncos – Forrest Lamp (OG), Western Kentucky
The Broncos had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year and they need to make some improvements if they plan on making a return to the playoffs anytime soon. If the rumors are true and Denver is going to bring in Tony Romo as their QB next year, you really think he’s going to last longer than 3 games with Denver’s current offensive line? Hell no! He couldn’t even manage to stay healthy behind Dallas’ offensive line and they are one of the best in the league. If the Broncos have plans on going after Romo, they had also better plan on spending some top draft picks on fixing that offensive line. Because it’s garbage right now.
21. Detroit Lions – Takkarist McKinley (EDGE), UCLA
The Lions were a sneaky good team last year in the NFL. However, this team is still in need of a lot of improvements, mainly on the defensive side of the football. The Lions could go a number of different ways here, but the focus should be on the defense. Detroit needs some pass-rushers in the worst way. Ezekiel Ansah played in only 13 games last year and he’s really their only effective pass-rusher. The Lions also have arguably the worst set of linebackers in the NFL. You know how you fix both those problems? By taking Takk McKinley out of UCLA who I think could blossom into the best pass-rusher not named Myles Garrett in this draft.
22. Miami Dolphins – Charles Harris (EDGE), Missouri
Miami has a huge need at both the defensive end and linebacker positions as they desperately need to add some youth and talent there. If Forrest Lamp slips to them here, they should grab him though as offensive guard is probably the biggest need they have. This isn’t a strong draft for guards though and I honestly think Lamp will be off the board. In that case, the Dolphins need to get younger pass-rushers who could potentially be a long-term solution for the team. Charles Harris fixes that problem immediately.
23. New York Giants – Haason Redick (LB), Temple
The New York Giants defense was one of the most improved units in the NFL last season. However, the one position where they are still lacking top talent is the linebacker position. The Giants haven’t had a stud linebacker in some time now, which makes the selection of Haason Redick in easy one in my opinion. Redick was one of this year’s “NFL combine studs” and he also had an amazing showing at the Senior Bowl. The guy is going to be a first-round pick and if the Giants are able to grab him, the defense will improve even more next season.
24. Oakland Raiders – David Njoku (TE), Miami
The Oakland Raiders are in a great spot here. They don’t have a lot of needs and are in a position to grab the best player available and continue to make a run towards a return to the playoffs. The Raiders already have a tremendous offense, but they need some improvement at tight end and running back. The selection of either Christian McCaffery or David Njoku would be a big one for Oakland. I have them taking Njoku though. He’s a top 15 player in this draft and if he slips to Oakland due to not many teams needing a tight end, that would be a massive get for the Raiders and Derek Carr.
25. Houston Texans – DeShaun Watson (QB), Clemson
Houston needs a QB. They were able to trade Brock Osweiler in the off-season and dumped his ridiculous contract. However, who’s going to take his place? I honestly think Tony Romo is going to end up in Denver (the pull of John Elway will be too much) and Houston will be left scrambling. The next best option for the Texans would be to gamble on DeShaun Watson at this point. I’m iffy on Watson’s NFL potential. I think the guy could end up being a decent NFL QB, but he also has big-time bust potential. At this point though, the Texans don’t have a lot of options. It’s time to gamble again.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Ramczyk (OT), Wisconsin
The Seattle Seahawks need a lot of help on the offensive line. That’s not a surprise to anyone who’s watched this team play the previous two seasons. If Ryan Ramczyk falls to them here (and he very well could get selected a lot earlier in this draft), Seattle should jump all over him and count their blessings.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Christian McCaffery (RB), Stanford
If Mitchell Trubisky or DeShaun Watson falls to them here, I could see the Chiefs taking either one of them as Alex Smith’s potential replacement. In this scenario though, the selection of Christian McCaffery to the Chiefs could end up being a fun one. The Chiefs need running back help now that Jamaal Charles is gone and Spencer Ware & Charcandrick West have taken a step back. Adding McCaffery to the Chiefs offense would help open up the playbook more for Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs could potentially have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL next season. Who would see that coming? No one.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Quincy Wilson (CB), Florida
Dallas lost two corners in free agency and they need to replace them. The good news for the Cowboys is that this is a pretty strong draft for corners and they will likely get a good one in the first-round. Wilson is one of the tallest corners in this draft and he’s also a top 5 player at the position. Some things just make too much sense.
29. Green Bay Packers – Marlon Humphrey (CB), Alabama
Green Bay’s corners were absolutely atrocious last season. An improvement is needed immediately and like I just said with the Cowboys, it’s a pretty deep draft for corners and the Packers can get a day one starter in the end of the first-round. Which one do you like the most Packers?
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tim Williams (OLB), Alabama
The Steelers need some youth at the edge position. Bud Dupree is a good player, but he’s going to need some help eventually as James Harrison isn’t going to play forever. This would be a great spot for the Steelers to find Harrison’s replacement and Tim Williams is the guy for the job.
31. Atlanta Falcons – T.J. Watt (OLB), Wisconsin
Atlanta needs some defensive help, namely some more pass-rushers. T.J. Watt (the brother of J.J. Watt) has seen his stock shoot through the roof during the draft process and his blood lines certainly don’t hurt his reputation either. If the Falcons take Watt and he looks anything like the other Watt that is currently playing in the NFL, the Falcons will be making another appearance in the Super Bowl.
32. New Orleans Saints – Jabrill Peppers (S/LB), Michigan
Like I said earlier, the New Orleans Saints need a lot of defensive help. By selecting a player like Jabrill Peppers, they would have the option of playing him at either linebacker or in the backfield….two positions that they are weak at already. Plus, Sean Payton is a smart enough coach that he would also factor in ways to get Peppers involved on offense as well. This is a pick that I would love to see happen.
And that’s it for round one! Here is the best talent still available in my eyes….
-Budda Baker (S), Washington
–Alvin Kamara (RB), Tennessee
-Obi Melifonwu (S), Connecticut
-Teez Tabor (CB), Florida
-Zay Jones (WR), East Carolina
-Jourdan Lewis (CB), Michigan
-Marcus Maye (S), Florida
-Cam Robinson (OT), Alabama
-Gareon Conley (CB), Ohio State
-Evan Engram (TE), Ole Miss
-Adoree Jackson (CB), USC
–Caleb Brantley (DT), Florida
-Curtis Samuel (WR), Ohio State
–DeShone Kizer (QB), Notre Dame
And that’s it for this mock draft! The next time I see you for a mock draft will be RIGHT BEFORE THE ACTUAL NFL DRAFT!!!! I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!