Today is the NFL Draft. And just hours before the Browns are put on the clock GamdDaySportsBlog.com has their final mock draft.
- Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
The Browns are seemingly still undecided on who to draft #1 overall, and whenever there is a doubt, you take the best player. And that’s Myles Garrett. He absolutely killed the combine. According to the combine Garrett is taller than Julio Jones, weighs more than Rob Gronkowski, quicker than Devonta Freeman, and faster than Jarvis Landry. Basically the combine proved what we already knew; Myles Garrett is the most can’t miss player in this year’s draft. And the Browns will do something we already knew, by drafting Garrett 1st overall.
- San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas DL Stanford
Given his pass-rushing moves, high-character wiring and the potential he brings to the table as a redshirt sophomore entry, Thomas was sure to be a first round pick. But the show he put on at the combine made him a lot of money by moving him well up draft boards of many teams.
I list Thomas as a D-lineman because he plays every position along the line. Some “experts” may see Thomas as a 3-technique tackle, while others see him at strong side end. He played all over the line at Stanford and at 6’3″ and 275 pounds he is powerful and athletic as Ryan Kerrigan defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. With the tools he’s bringing to the league, Thomas could be a Michael Bennett-type who moves up and down the line to create matchup nightmares, and with 49ers D-coordinator having worked with Bennett and that Seahawks defense, this might be a perfect fit for the D-lineman.
- Chicago Bears – Jamal Adams S LSU
The Bears just signed Mike Glennon so it looks like they have found their quarterback of the next few years. And with the Bears biggest need possibly met, and their biggest anchor, Jay Cutler, cut, Chicago can look to improve in other places in the draft.
So instead of QB, Chicago can focus on its defense. And although I’ve had Jonathan Allen slotted here for a while now, I’ve moved on from that selection. Instead I believe the Bears grab the best defensive back in this very deep DB class. And with Jamal Adams in the back end the Bears will grow into one of the better defenses in the league.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Jonathan Allen DL Alabama
The Jaguars will do what they have been doing in recent drafts by getting solid defensive players, and with Jonathon Allen along with Dante Fowler Jr. the Jaguars are building a solid D-line. Allen was the best player in college football last season, and had the Heisman Trophy been given to the most outstanding player in college football rather than the flashiest, then the versatile, well-rounded, and absolutely dominant defensive lineman from Alabama would have won it. He reminds me of Ndamukong Suh, just without the mental problems. And he is exactly what the Jaguars need to get back in the hunt for the AFC South.
- Tennessee Titans (from Rams) – OJ Howard TE Alabama
First off, let’s not forget to point out just how stupid the Rams look right now for trading this and many other picks for Jared Goff. Secondly, let’s look at just how well set up the Titans are for success in the near future. All they need is a little more help on the offense around Marcu Mariota and their power running game.
OJ Howard is the best tight end in the draft and one of the best overall athletes on the offensive side of the ball, making a perfect fit for the Titans to fill their open tight end spot. The only problem with Howard was his lack of production despite being one of the best athletes in college football. Still, Howard’s athleticism and potential puts him well into the 1st round and maybe even good enough for the #5 pick.
- New York Jets – Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina
I said it before the season started that Ryan Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be able to repeat the year he had in 2015, and after last season it is clear to Jets fans and hopefully front office people that the Jets need a quarterback. Mitch Trubisky is the best quarterback in this draft because he can run and offense and has the arm to get the ball to his receivers. And not only does he have the size, the arm, and the smarts not to turn the ball over (less than 2% of his throws were picked off last season), but if there is an answer to what the Jets need it’s Trubisky, and he should be available here.
- Los Angeles Chargers (Breaks my heart just to write that) – Malik Hooker S Ohio State
SCREW THE CHARGERS FOR LEAVING SD!!! THAT IS ALL.
- Carolina Panthers – Leonard Fournette RB LSU
Fournette has been the most talented and physically dominant player in college football the past two seasons. The bruiser is more than just your normal big running back. He plays as physically savage as Adrian Peterson and has footwork that you never see from a bigger running back. That is something the Panthers need to take the focus, and hits, away from Cam Newton.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster LB Alabama
You rarely see inside linebackers go this high in the draft. But I said this when Foster was in high school that he was the best defensive prospect I had ever seen. And he could have a Luke Kuechly like impact for a team that desperately needs one. Not to mention the Bengals need to strengthen a front seven that faces the best running back in football, Le’Veon Bell, twice a year.
- Buffalo Bills – Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State
With the loss of Stephon Gilmore and the re-signing of Tyrod Taylor at the quarterback position the Bills biggest need this offseason has quickly become cornerback, and they could not have asked for a better cornerback draft class. Marshon Lattimore is a solid cornerback and probably not the only DB the Bills will pick up in this year’s draft.
- New Orleans Saints – Haason Reddick LB Temple
The Saints need help on defense. There is no doubt about that. Haason Reddick is an athletic stud who dominated this past season with 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. After that the converted running back shined at the Senior Bowl. And then Reddick followed that up with a sensational performance at the NFL combine with a 4.52 40-yard dash. That speed at his size makes Reddick a top pass-rushing linebacker and something the Saints could use in a division that has Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan.
- Cleveland Browns (from Eagles) – Deshone Kizer QB Notre Dame
Nobody knows what is happening at the quarterback position for the Browns so they need to address that early in the draft, and luckily for the worst organization in football the Browns have two of the top 12 picks.
Trubisky will be gone at this point, but there is another strong armed quarterback whose biggest negative as a prospect is only one year of starting. DeShone Kizer is a physical stud with the arm and athleticism to get things done in the NFL. So while the Dawg-Pound needs more help than just Myles Garrett and DeShone Kizer, the 1st round will be very good to a very bad team.
- Arizona Cardinals –Quincy Wilson CB Florida
The Cardinals’ biggest need this year is maybe at quarterback where finding Carson Palmer’s eventual successor is needed but they also need help in the backfield in the desert. Tony Jefferson leaving in free agency creates a void at safety, but the Cardinals are also not that deep at cornerback.
Drafting the Gators’ Quincy Wilson could fix either of those problem at DB, as this big strong bodied defender plays the run like a safety and was arguably the best cornerback in college football last season. Wilson did well at the combine too, showing hips that allow for him to play corner at the next level despite having the strength and physicality to help at safety if need be.
- Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings) – Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford
The Eagles had some problems running the ball last season which put the weight of the offense on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, but this selection should help that.
Christian McCaffrey is a perfect weapon to take pressure off of Wentz with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and also break the big play on a handoff. And although Fournette was the most physically gifted back in college football the past couple of seasons, the former Stanford back was the nation’s most productive. In fact, no player has ever been as productive as McCaffrey was over the past two seasons.
- Indianapolis Colts – Mike Williams WR Clemson
Mike Williams won’t wow you with speed, but he’s a big presence (6’3″, 225 lbs) and plays with the power and has the same ability to go up and get a ball like Buccaneers star Mike Evans. Williams’ play against Alabama in the national title game showed what he can do against NFL coverage schemes and future pro talent at cornerback, too. And that solidified him as the best wide-out in this year’s class.
So while TY Hilton is a productive big-play wide receiver in the slot, Williams could very well become Andrew Luck’s favorite target this upcoming season. And another target for Andrew Luck could lead to the Colts making a run at a wide open AFC South next season.
- Baltimore Ravens – Dalvin Cook RB Florida State
The Ravens have quite a few needs for a team that hasn’t been very bad in a long time. They need a pass rusher because God only knows how much longer Terrell Suggs will be playing. They have needs at wide receiver and getting former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco some weapons. But what the Ravens need more than anything else is a running back.
I have already talked about Leonard Fournette being the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, and Christian McCaffrey being the most productive back in history, but Dalvin Cook was the best running back in college football last season. His feet are absolutely incredible as is his balance and his vision. Throw in his solid football speed and his ability to run the ball between the tackles and Dalvin Cook could become the best back in this class.
- Washington Redskins – Taco Charlton DE/OLB Michigan
Taco Charlton can be inconsistent and has been known to not go full speed all the time, but when he turns his motor on all the way, it’s an impressive sight to see. He’s long, athletic and has the ability to dip under a tackle’s reach to turn the corner and create issues for offenses. He’s not quite a Von Miller in terms of skill and strength, but at Michigan he has proved to be the type of force off the edge who can wreak havoc on passing downs. And facing young guns like Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz in your division, a pass-rusher is an absolute must.
- Tennessee Titans – John Ross WR Washington
The Titans need a playmaker to help Marcus Mariota’s development. And that is exactly what Ross is. The former Husky receiver is an explosive player and might be the fastest player at the combine.
He was the best kick returner in college football last year, which just gives the playmaker even more ways to effect the game. He is the perfect fit for what Tennessee and Mariota need. And it is possible that this pick could catapult the Titans into the playoffs in a wide open division, especially if he is teamed up with TE OJ Howard.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derek Barnett DE Tennessee
Just like the Titans the Buccaneers are a borderline playoff team that is a piece or two away from the postseason.
Barnett’s production at Tennessee was eye-opening, but he won’t show well at the combine with a lack of twitch and elite athleticism that will push him down the board as we get closer to the draft. Barnett is still capable of a long, productive, and more than solid NFL career, and starting out alongside Gerald McCoy gives him the one-on-one looks from offensive lines he’ll need to produce.
- Denver Broncos – Garett Bolles OT Utah
Garett Bolles is one of the most interesting stories in the 2017 draft class. After a rough upbringing, he was run out of five schools as a teenager, arrested in high school, dabbled in drugs and was homeless all before he found a mentor who put his life back on track. Now the 25-year-old monster left tackle looks like a first-round pick.
Bolles is a bit raw, and his age may be an issue for some teams, but in a weak offensive tackle class, he may be the best there is protecting the blindside. With excellent length and a mean streak that is much needed along the ever-softening Broncos offense, Bolles has the goods to step right into Denver’s starting lineup and show he belongs.
- Detroit Lions – Malik McDowell DL Michigan State
The Detroit Lions invested heavily in their offensive line at the start of free agency, and now that it’s draft time they need to concentrate on the defensive line. Detroit tied for 30th overall with only 26 sacks last season. Ziggy Ansah needs help, and he’s going to get some.
Some teams will stay far away from McDowell, but it’s very easy to see clubs being tempted by his size, athleticism and the flashes he’s shown as a defensive lineman for the Spartans. But the Redskins need help on D, and with a front-office as jacked up as the one in D.C. there is a chance the Redskins are the team about to pick this gamble of a prospect.
McDowell has moments where he looks worthy of a top-10 pick, but he also has games where he’s near invisible. An injury in the 2016 season didn’t help with clearing up the perception that his motor doesn’t run high enough. But the Redskins defense needs help, and although safety is a major need it is a deep DB class so they will pick one up later. And with a perfectly physical beast of a strongside defensive end like McDowell, the Redskins can improve their defense drastically.
- Miami Dolphins – Tre’Davious White CB LSU
The Dolphins aren’t in a division full of dominant QB’s but if they want to win the AFC East they need to be able to slow down the greatest quarterback of all-time, Tom Brady. One way to do that is with a pass-rush, and the other is to draft a better corner to help out a struggling defensive backfield.
LSU places quite a few corners in the NFL and Dolphins will be hoping that White is a little more like Patrick Peterson and a little less like Morris Claiborne. White is big and physical but he is far from the best corner in the draft and the Dolphins would be fine even if he didn’t pan out, because this is a deep DB class.
But if he does play well for the Dolphins they could make a serious run at postseason contention because the offense in Miami is getting much better after focusing on the run game.
- New York Giants – Ryan Ramczyk OT Wisconsin
A torn hip labrum has the stock of Ryan Ramczyk in question heading into the draft season. Ramczyk has the production at Wisconsin and the technique to impress scouts and eventually push him into the top 15 if his health checks out at the scouting combine. But right now, it’s too much of a question mark to take early in Round 1.
Outside of the hip injury, Ramczyk will be questioned about his length and how fluid he is in space and even against the better edge rushers. Some scouts suggest he’ll be a better guard or right tackle because they see his arms as too short for the left tackle position.
In New York Ramczyk will probably play left tackle in an offense that should favor the run game now that they are trying to become more physical and take some pressure off of Eli Manning.
- Oakland Raiders – Jarrad Davis LB Florida
Khalil Mack can officially be listed as a beast and arguably the best outside linebacker in football. That certainly helps in terms of affecting the pass game with a pass-rush, but the Silver & Black still need help in the middle.
This year’s linebacker class has some very good prospects, and one of them is Jarrad Davis, who was the heart & soul of Florida’s extremely stout defense over the past few years. His toughness mixed with is physical nature and athleticism makes him one of the best defenders in this entire draft. Him alongside Mack could make the Silver & Black deadly again.
- Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson QB Clemson
Deshaun Watson played amazingly in the last two National Championship games giving the world a glimpse of just how good this dual threat quarterback is. He torched a Nick Saban Alabama defense twice, granted, so did Johnny Manziel, but there is a different look about Deshaun Watson. And it’s a look that is needed in Houston.
Houston’s most obvious need is under center where Watson might not be able to pick up a true pro-style offense right away, but he is the best quarterback at this point in the first round and the Clemson quarterback should have impressed Coach Bill O’Brien with his performance over the past two college football seasons.
- Seattle Seahawks – Cam Robinson OL Alabama
Cam Robinson is a good offensive tackle with the physical ability to be great. He was the most talented linemen for the dominant Crimson Tide offensive line that owned college football over the past few years. But he wasn’t the best linemen for the Tide even though his talent said he should have been.
The Seahawks have become a good passing team, but Coach Pete Carroll’s team needs to get back to being the physically tough and dominant group it needs to be. Now the running game is tied to the fat-man that is Eddie Lacy. So drafting Robinson might be the best way to keep Russell Wilson upright and keep Lacy running his slow ass well enough to keep winning the West.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Kevin King CB Washington
At 6’3″ and 200 pounds with 32-inch arms, the Washington cornerback finished top five among defensive backs in the vertical jump, three-cone, short shuttle and 60-yard shuttle at the combine. What’s even more amazing are the numbers he posted in change-of-direction drills.
King topped everyone at the combine with a 6.56-second three-cone and 3.89-second short shuttle. Those are baffling numbers for a cornerback with his length.
The California native isn’t just a workout warrior, though. He played well as an outside corner during his senior campaign and even played nickel corner as a junior. The Kansas City Chiefs can pair him with his former teammate Marcus Peters to create a dynamic cornerback duo that may be able to slow down division rival Oakland’s high flying offense.
- Dallas Cowboys – Takkarist McKinley DE UCLA
The Cowboys have a GLARING hole, and it’s along the defensive line. If the Cowboys could find a pass-rusher capable of the production they got with DeMarcus Ware when he was in Big D then they are legitimate contenders for the Super Bowl. Well, they will get the closest thing they can with this pick late in the 1st round.
UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley is an explosive edge defender. At 250 pounds, he may not be able to handle teams running right at him to start his career, but his quickness off the snap provides the potential to become a dynamic pass-rusher, which is exactly what the Lions need.
After a breakout senior campaign where McKinley registered 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, he provided an impressive combine workout with a 4.59-second 40-yard dash.
- Green Bay Packers – TJ Watt OLB Wisconsin
Yes, running back is a need, but again that’s a position of strength in the 2017 draft, and the Packers can get a quality player later in the draft. Cornerback is strong too, so expect the Packers to get a talented DB later. Until then, the Packers will draft some front-7 help. And the fact that they get to draft a Wisconsin product from down the road in Madison who is related to the best defensive player we have seen since Reggie White is something the Packers could only dream of at pick #29.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Corey Davis WR Central Michigan
Corey Davis is a good sized wide-out and the Steelers are very much in need of a wide receiver opposite of Antonio Brown. And it’s not that Brown can’t handle the entire passing game going through him as he is the game’s best receiver, but Big Ben could use another threat on the outside instead of relying on Brown and Le’Veon Bell to be the only weapons.
- Atlanta Falcons – Forrest Lamp OG Western Kentucky
The Falcons are in need of a pass-rusher, but getting Adrian Claiborne back should help, and head coach Dan Quinn knows his stuff on that side of the ball. The other need for the reigning NFC champions is along the offensive line.
Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp is one of the best available in a very weak offensive line class, and his ability to shift around and play whatever position is needed will be a big asset for Matt Ryan’s offense. And if he can dominate the way he did in college the Falcons have a decent chance at repeating as NFC South champions, something that is rarely ever done.
- New Orleans Saints (from Patriots) – Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama
We all know that New Orleans needs defensive backs, and basically every position on defense, and the next big corner coming out is Marlon Humphrey from Alabama.
Humphrey isn’t a flawless cornerback coming out of college, but like Eli Apple last year, he has the height, length and speed teams will die for, and technique that can be developed on the go by NFL coaches.
Now there is some risk to drafting Nick Saban cornerbacks, who tend to struggle some in man coverage, but the Saints need help in man, zone, and against the run. Basically the Saints will improve their defense no matter who they select so they might as well get a big physical corner.