With the East-West Shrine Game in the books, we now shift our focus to the annual Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama. Nothing really beats Senior Bowl week. Aside from the NFL Combine, this is the biggest chance players will get to showcase their talent and set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. Year after year we see players put up a strong performance, and even catapult their draft status into the 1st round.
The coming of Senior Bowl week means it’s time for another mock draft here at Breaking Football. This time it’s a bit special though, as our lead NFL Draft writer, Jesse Fritsch and I put together out first collab mock draft of the season. We made it a point of emphasis to provide some “shocker” picks, as we like to call it, and go against the grain in this installment. Based on the fact that the NFL Draft is unpredictable, and teams shock us every year with some of their selections.
Don’t like who your team selected? Tell us who you would rather have in the comments below!
1. Cleveland Browns: EDGE – Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)
Is there any need to even explain this pick? Myles Garrett is the consensus #1 prospect in the draft, and the Browns would be foolish to pass on him. Garrett is a generational talent coming off the edge who can emerge as one of the game’s best pass rushers sooner rather than later. The Browns elect to go BPA and pass on a QB with none worth taking at the top selection.
2. San Francisco 49ers: QB – Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina)
With Kyle Shanahan likely coming in as the new head coach, he’ll be looking for his franchise QB. Mitch Trubisky is the guy with the best pure arm among the 1st round graded QBs, and Shanahan feels he has the most to offer under center. You saw how Matt Ryan exploded in Atlanta this season under the tutelage of Shanahan, imagine the possibilities for Trubisky in the future.
3. Chicago Bears: S – Malik Hooker (Ohio State)
We don’t think the Bears are high enough at this juncture to pull the trigger on a QB, nor do we think the heavily mocked Jonathan Allen will be the pick either. Vic Fangio has great influence on the Chicago Bears’ personnel as one of the top defensive coordinators in the league. He’ll be pounding his fists on the table for a chance to bring in a player like Malik Hooker. Hooker is still very young and raw, but already offers a tremendous skillset. He will be a cornerstone to their secondary with his absurd ball skills and playmaking ability.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: RB – Leonard Fournette (LSU)
Here we see the first “shocker” of the draft. While some may have Dalvin Cook slated over Leonard Fournette, that doesn’t defeat the fact that most NFL guys/front offices are higher on Fournette. He’s a guy who put together an insane highlight tape at LSU. He runs with a terrific blend of size, speed, power and physicality. The Jaguars need a jolt to their running game, and that’s exactly what Fournette will bring, and then some.
5. Tennessee Titans via Rams: S – Jamal Adams (LSU)
The Titans are the most intriguing of picks in the top 5 as they also have another top 20 1st round pick. It’s extremely hard to predict what route they will take early on. However, Jamal Adams could be the best player on the board here and also fills a need at safety as they look to build up their secondary. Adams is a great athlete with tremendous instincts who brings a solid, all-around game at safety. The Titans now have a leader coming out of their defensive backfield.
6. New York Jets: CB – Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State)
I can already see it now, your obnoxious New York Jets fans come down to Philly and flood along the Ben Franklin parkway. With a clear need at QB, they’ll be calling for Deshaun Watson. However, the front office is smarter than that and opts to take their selection of any corner in the class, ultimately going with Marshon Lattimore. This marks the 2nd consecutive season the Jets take an Ohio State defender with their 1st round pick. Darrelle Revis is washed up, and the Jets are desperate for youth. Lattimore is arguably the best cover corner in the draft and a stellar athlete on the outside.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: WR – Mike Williams (Clemson)
At first I introduced the idea of the Chargers shaking things up here and drafting Philip Rivers successor at QB. In a different draft class, that very well could be the case. Instead, the Chargers add more excitement to their offense in their transition to Los Angeles. Mike Williams is a good athlete with size who can win the 1-on-1 battles on the outside. Williams and Keenan Allen could be among the best WR tandems in the league, assuming Allen’s health becomes reliable.
8. Carolina Panthers: DL – Solomon Thomas (Stanford)
With Leonard Fournette off the board, who seems to be their top target at the #8 slot, the Panthers elect to re-tool their defensive line as both Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei are both set to his the free agency market. Thomas has steadily risen up draft boards ever since his dominant performance against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. Thomas is very young at only 21 years old and brings a well-polished skillset to the table. He’s versatile and provides Ron Rivera with a lot of flexibility in the trenches, even if they are unable to bring Short and/or Lotulelei back to Carolina.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE – Taco Charlton (Michigan)
Here comes arguably the biggest shock of the top 10. The Bengals are in a position where they don’t mind reaching for a player who is very high on their board. Taco Charlton has gained a lot of steam in the past month or so and he fits the prototype of what the Bengals look for in their ends: size, power, strength and speed. Charlton displayed ability to take over games down the final stretch for Michigan.
10. Buffalo Bills: DL – Jonathan Allen (Alabama)
Finally we see Jonathan Allen go off the board… you guys were probably starting to think we forgot about him. That’s not the case, however, as we feel he’s a guy who received too much hype early and often, and has seen his draft stock decrease slightly as of late. Allen likely won’t test well and we simply think teams ahead will prefer other prospects. The Bills will take it, however, as they let Allen slip right into their lap to round out the top 10. Buffalo lacks a true standout on that defensive line, and Allen is an anchor with brute power and strength. Watson surely is in the mix here, but it looks like Tyrod Taylor is set to return in 2017.
11. New Orleans Saints: LB – Reuben Foster (Alabama)
Another Alabama defender that fell a little bit, Reuben Foster is the best pure linebacker in the draft. He fills a need for the Saints and provides a much needed leader in the middle of that defense, something they’ve been longing for. Foster is a tackling machine and brings ability back in coverage as well. He brings a much needed identity to a bland Saints defense.
12. Cleveland Browns via Eagles: QB – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)
After going with Garrett at #1, the Browns are pleasantly surprised to see Deshaun Watson fall into their laps at #12 as they have him as their top graded QB prospect. Watson’s film doesn’t always jump out at you, but it’s hard to ignore his winning nature, and that is a factor that will be sure to attract the Browns. Watson possesses good arm talent with feared running ability. The Browns have done pretty well in the past year or so as they try to build a prominent team, they now add their franchise QB into the mix.
13. Arizona Cardinals: QB – DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)
The QB with the most upside in this class is undeniably DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame. The Cardinals play it smart here and nab their QB of the future, giving Carson Palmer another year or two to take command. Kizer has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, but still has some kinks to workout at a young age. He finds himself in a good fit and perfect situation with the guidance from Palmer and Bruce Arians. Kizer is a dynamic athlete and has a rocket arm which will prove to be cohesive in that Arizona offensive scheme.
14. Philadelphia Eagles via Vikings: WR – Corey Davis (Western Michigan)
As an Eagles fan, I wouldn’t know how to react with both Dalvin Cook and Corey Davis on the board here. Ultimately, I think providing weapons for Carson Wentz in the passing game will prove to be priority #1. Davis runs crisp routes and has tons of burst after the catch with reliable hands. A complete receiver who will be the top target for Wentz on the outside for years to come.
15. Indianapolis Colts: DL – Caleb Brantley (Florida)
This was Jesse’s pick all the way. I thought it would be more beneficial for the Colts to add a guy like Dalvin Cook, or select their choice of any offensive linemen in the class. Jesse sold me on Brantley, however. Brantley is the prototypical defensive linemen you’d see in a Chuck Pagano defense. The Colts are desperate for defensive help and Brantley provides them with some identity and toughness up front.
16. Baltimore Ravens: CB – Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)
The Ravens are thin at corner, so they go with arguably the best corner in the draft. Marlon Humphrey is a physical scrapper on the outside with size and athleticism. Fits the bill for what Ozzie Newsome looks for at the position. Perhaps has the most upside of any corner in the draft class.
17. Washington Redskins: RB – Dalvin Cook (Florida State)
Perhaps an uncharacteristic pick here by the Redskins, but they will be desperate to re-tool the offense with playmakers as they watch DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon leave in free agency. Hell, they’re even shopping Kirk Cousins at the moment. Both Robert Kelley and Matt Jones aren’t long-term solutions out of the backfield, and both bring the same type of running style. Cook is a slasher with killer speed and agility who offers skills as a downfield receiver. Cook is tremendous value here and adds a huge spark to the Washington offense.
18. Tennessee Titans: OL – Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky)
Why would the Tennessee Titans draft an offensive linemen? Simple, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have built themselves a tremendous offensive line with early investments in guys like: Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin – the Titans will look to follow suit, and why not do so when you have so much flexibility with a capitol of draft picks? Lamp is the top offensive line prospect in the draft, and adds an immediate starter on the inside alongside bookends Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Lamp fits the stereotype of a player/system that Mike Mularkey likes to run.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR – John Ross III (Washington)
Adding a playmaker for Jameis Winston opposite Mike Evans in the offense should undoubtedly be priority #1 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. John Ross III has blazing speed and that alone could see him drafted in the 1st round. Couple his killer speed with his playmaking ability when the ball is in his hands, you have yourself someone who will make a ton of plays in a rising offense. Ross compliments Evans greatly on the outside.
20. Denver Broncos: OT – Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin)
While O.J. Howard will be extremely tempting here for the Broncos, they elect to play it smart and select a player to shore up their offensive line. Ryan Ramczyk is widely considered the top pure offensive tackle in the class, someone you can plug in at the left or right side. Ramczyk is as equally good as a pass blocker and run blocker and a very reliable presence in the trenches. Protecting Paxton Lynch is something the Broncos front office will emphasize after a down year from their offensive line.
21. Detroit Lions: CB – Sidney Jones (Washington)
While they could use a pass rusher alongside Ziggy Ansah, the top talent there went off the board early and fast. Instead, the Lions shore up their corners and take one of the best in Sidney Jones. A physical corner on the outside, Jones has the size, athleticism and cover skills to be a reliable #1 on the outside.
22. Miami Dolphins: TE – O.J. Howard (Alabama)
I very well could see O.J. Howard going as high as the top 15, especially if he puts together a strong Senior Bowl week which is very likely. However, with the way the board falls he slides all the way down to the Dolphins at 22. The Dolphins would be overjoyed if Howard is available when they go on the clock. A complete TE who excels as a blocker and is a pure mismatch as a receiver.
23. New York Giants: OT – Cam Robinson (Alabama)
The Giants front office catches a tough break as they were crossing their fingers for O.J. Howard. Nonetheless, they’re happy to select his teammate, Cam Robinson. You can make the case that Robinson is the most talented offensive tackle in the entire draft class. Ereck Flowers has been a bust, but the Giants are hoping Robinson can fill his slot at the blindside.
24. Oakland Raiders: S/LB – Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)
I would absolutely love this pick. Jabrill Peppers brings that Oakland Raiders swag to the table and seems like the perfect fit. The Raiders are in need of a linebacker, and while Peppers isn’t a full-time linebacker, he is a good tackler with elite athletic tools who can play in the box. He gives the coaching staff tons of flexibility in the back 7.
25. Houston Texans: CB – Jalen “Teez” Tabor (Florida)
The Texans could use some help in the trenches, but don’t see anyone worth drafting at this spot with better value on the board. With A.J. Bouye set to hit the free agent pool, Houston could be in the market for a corner. Jalen Tabor could be the best value on the board. Tabor plays with tons of instincts and has a playing style reminiscent of Kansas City’s Marcus Peters. The Texans go with a playmaker on the outside here as they are known for drafting 1st round corners.
26. Seattle Seahawks: OT – Antonio Garcia (Troy)
The Seahawks are desperate for help on the offensive line, if they don’t address that area in the 1st round, they’re doing something wrong. Antonio Garcia has gained a lot of buzz in the past couple weeks. He plays a strong game with a lot of toughness at the blindside position. A strong showing in the Senior Bowl can launch him into the end of the 1st round.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: CB – Quincy Wilson (Florida)
The Chiefs decide to take advantage of the strong corner class here. Alongside Marcus Peters, the Chiefs have dealt with inconsistent corner play, but the selection of Quincy Wilson gives them a player with lockdown capabilities on the other side of the field. Wilson has displayed legitimate flashes at Florida and will fit right in with Kansas City’s defensive scheme.
28. Dallas Cowboys: DE – Derek Barnett (Tennessee)
The Randy Gregory experiment has failed, and the Cowboys need viable pass rushers. Derek Barnett has been mocked much higher, but I think this is the range he’ll end up being selected in. Barnett comes off the edge with good power and strength. Prototypical 4-3 defensive end for the Cowboys.
29. Green Bay Packers: EDGE – Charles Harris (Missouri)
After missing out on the top tier secondary talent, the Packers settle for a top edge rusher. The Packers have holes all over the defense, as they were exposed in the NFC Championship game, they need as many defensive pieces as possible. With lack of pass rush other than Clay Matthews, Charles Harris is an ideal pick for the Pack here at 29.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: S – Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut)
This may be the most unrecognized name of any player in this 1st round. However, Obi Melifonwu is another player who has recently soared up draft boards and can solidify himself as a 1st round pick with a strong Senior Bowl display. Melifonwu has great size in the 6’3”/6’4” range and shows good closing range and speed on the ball. He picked off 4 passes this past season as his ball skills improved. The Steelers have some tremendous pieces in place, but they need to get stronger on defense, especially in the secondary.
31. Atlanta Falcons: DL – Malik McDowell (Michigan State)
The NFC champions get an absolute steal here at 31. Malik McDowell is #2 on my overall big board, but he will likely fall in the draft due to character concerns and inconsistency issues. McDowell is a towering presence on the interior at 6’6”, and is as disruptive as they come when his game is clicking. The Falcons get even stronger and even more physical on defense with a possible defensive cornerstone in McDowell.
32. New England Patriots: TE – David Njoku (Miami FL)
Year after year, the Patriots stand as the toughest team to gauge in the NFL Draft. Coming off a Super Bowl win, they can afford to go with a luxury pick here. With Martellus Bennett likely to hit the free agent market, they’ll be eager to keep their strong 2-TE sets going. Njoku will test incredibly well at the combine which will likely set himself up for a 1st round draft position. Just imagine a healthy Gronk and Njoku lining up opposite of each other…