Now that we are closing in on the NFL combine it is time for my first mock draft of the offseason. Now let’s remember this is not only my first mock draft of the season, it is also my first solo mock draft. I followed along the lines of what is every teams biggest needs were and the rankings of the players at those positions. We also must remember that this is pre final cuts, free agency, and the combine so things could change in a major way between now and the draft. I did not account for trades that will be made either. There are many teams with many needs and there are also a lot of good players at major positions in this year’s field. So without further ado, here is my first mock draft.
- Cleveland Browns- Myles Garret, DE Texas A&M
Yes the Browns need a quarterback, but let’s be real they need a lot of different things. Myles Garret is a premiere talent that no team should pass up no matter how many pass rushers you have. With the addition of Jamie Collins, the addition of Garret gives the Browns some really nice pieces on the defense. That second first round pick gives them a lot of flexibility here.
- San Francisco 49ers- Mitch Trubisky, QB North Carolina
With the addition of the offensive minded Shanahan I feel like it is a no brainer they will match him with a quarterback to work with. Trubiski is being touted as the top quarterback in the class and he is extremely accurate. With rumors about the 49ers bringing in a veteran quarterback like Schaub taking Trubiski here could still happen. Schaub can teach him the position and maybe go into the season as the starter to allow Trubiski to learn the offense.
- Chicago Bears- DeShone Kizer, QB Notre Dame
Even with Deshaun Watson’s dominant college career, many have Kizer as the second best quarterback. Kizer fits in Chicago having played in the mid-west at Notre Dame and can play in the cold. He also has a strong arm to cut through the wind at soldier field. With the Bears contemplating moving on from Cutler, Kizer is the perfect quarterback to take his spot. Maybe having him learn from seasoned vet would help Kizer in the long run though.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Jonathan Allen, DT Alabama
With a big need along the defensive front and Allen being the highest ranked defensive tackle makes this fit a match made in heaven. With Allen’s ability to be productive both in the run and pass game he can really make it difficult for offensive linemen alike.
- Tennessee Titans- Mike Williams, WR Clemson
The Titans clearly want to do whatever they can to help their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariotta. They fixed the offensive line and went out and traded for Demarco Murray and drafted Derrick Henry. What the offense is really missing is a play maker out at receiver. With their first pick it is a no-brainer to go out and draft the best receiver in the class. Williams is polished and show cased his elite ability to go get the ball in the National Championship.
- New York Jets- Malik Hooker, FS Ohio State
With a lack of talent in the secondary the Jets should go after the best defensive back in the draft. They allowed thirty-five passes of more than twenty-five yards last season ranked them 30th in that category. They have an elite defensive line, they need to start adding talent to the back end to make the defense elite again.
- Los Angeles Chargers- Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan
The Chargers do have needs on the offensive line, but none of the tackles in this draft are worthy of a top ten pick. With questions looming about the future of Keenan Allen and his health drafting a game breaker at receiver would be a great move for the Chargers. With elite size, speed, and athleticism Davis could take the Charger’s offense to the next level.
- Carolina Panthers- Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
With the Carolina offense missing the explosiveness it had a year ago, Leonard Fournette’s explosive ability will add a dynamic that Carolina just hasn’t had. Jonathan Stewart has been productive but he is injury prone and has begun to decline. Fournette will not only enhance the ground game, but it will open up the pass game and hopefully rejuvenate Cam Newton
- Cincinnati Bengals- Reuben Foster, LB Alabama
With the top play makers at receiver off the board the Bengals can really bolster the middle of their defense with Foster. With Mauluga on his way out they have a major hole to fill next to Burfict who has had issues staying on the field. This guy is a crazy athlete who has the ability to go sideline-to-sideline. Brings a toughness to this team that they may be lacking.
- Buffalo Bills- Jamal Adams, SS LSU
The Buffalo Bills used eight different safeties throughout last season. Aaron Williams may not be able to come back after suffering a pair of neck injuries. Adams will immediately make that secondary better. He is a great leader and will be a real asset in that category. He also is a great tackler he can deliver the boom. He also is good in coverage against tight ends. This is a no brainer for me.
- New Orleans Saints- Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
A team that has struggled defensively as long as I can remember really needs a game breaker on that side of the ball. While Cameron Jordan is a really good defensive end, the rest of the line was not very good. The end position across from him may be their biggest weakness. Drafting Thomas could really tighten up that line and allow them to really get after the quarterback. In that division they will need to do that as much as possible. Thomas has a phenomenal motor and can line up in multiple positions. This is exactly what the Saints need to rebuild their defense.
- Cleveland Browns- Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
With Cleveland having the luxury of two picks in the first round they can address multiple needs. Deshaun Watson has the big game ability to succeed in the NFL. He has that clutch gene that is difficult to measure in athletes. Cleveland hasn’t hit on a quarterback in the draft ever, but with Watson falling to their second pick they would be dumb not to take him. Pairing the gritty and athletic Watson with Hugh Jackson’s system could be a match made in heaven…one day…maybe.
- Arizona Cardinals- Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State
With the way this draft breaks this is the best option for the Cardinals. Patrick Peterson is a good corner, but they struggled across the field. Although Harlan Miller had a really good final game there was no consistency throughout the season. Lattimore is crazy athletic and really physical. He is at his best when he can get up at the line and jam the receiver. A guy like this would be perfect for the Cardinals secondary.
- Indianapolis Colts (TIE)- Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee
The Colts have been desperate for an edge rusher for a very long time. Robert Mathis is going to retire and Erik Walden and Trent Cole are set to become free agents. Even with those guys they had a tough time getting after the quarterback. Barnett has great pass rush moves and secures the tackle or sack when he gets there. He doesn’t just set the edge he makes the play every chance he gets.
- Philadelphia Eagles (TIE)- Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State
When the Eagles were able to move the ball on the ground they were the most successful offensively. It was actually more so when Sproles was in the lineup. Sproles body can’t handle the full workload of a running back. Cook has even more explosiveness than Sproles and he is big enough to handle the work load of an every down back. His strength and speed will be a real asset for Carson Wentz. As much as they need a receiver, Cook is the best player for them at this draft position.
- Baltimore Ravens- Tim Williams, DE Alabama
The Baltimore Ravens have a plethora of needs. I think getting an edge rusher is possibly one of the biggest with where they sit. The difference maker at receiver is not here in my mock. Suggs and Dumervil are in their mid-thirties and the defense needs a young pass rusher to revitalize their front. Williams can win both on the inside and the outside. He is as pure a pass rusher as there is in this draft.
- Washington Redskins- Malik McDowell, DE Michigan State
The Washington Redskins only had one good defensive lineman last year in Chris Baker. He was one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league to be quite honest. Outside of him they had nothing and on top of that he will be a free agent this off season. Even if they can resign him they need to add a major player to the other side of their line. McDowell has a great combination of size and athleticism. He is extremely explosive and has even more untapped potential that can be recognized within the right defensive scheme.
- Tennessee Titans- Teez Tabor, CB Florida
The Tennessee Titans secondary is brutal to say the least. The only two that are worth keeping around from last year’s secondary are Jason McCourty and LeShaun Sims. With that in mind Tabor would fit in perfectly with the Tennessee Titans secondary. He has good size and athleticism and is very good at mirroring routes. He will make an immediate impact on this defense. The Titans just got significantly more competitive with their two first round picks.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- John Ross, WR Washington
With the lack of weapons at receiver John Ross would be a major choice at the 19th pick. The Buccaneers have a future star in Winston at quarterback, an elite receiver in Evans, an explosive tight end in Cameron Brate. They need to get Winston another weapon and they do not have a number two receiver. He is a home run hitter out at receiver, he has crazy top end speed. He also runs phenomenal routes and tracks the ball very well. Ross would make this offense that much more explosive.
- Denver Broncos- Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin
The Broncos were tied for 20th overall in blocking last season according to Pro Football Focus. Russel Okung did not live up to expectations at left tackle and Donald Stephenson ranked 60th out of 61 qualifying tackles last season according to Pro Football Focus. With young quarterbacks and an offense that relies heavily on the run game they need a major upgrade at the tackle position. Ramczyk is very athletic, strong, and is great mechanically, and fires out of his stance. He is also a strong run and pass blocker. In order to fix the offensive woes from last season they need to address the offensive line.
- Detroit Lions- Jabrill Peppers, DB Michigan
With Detroit needing versatility in the secondary and linebacker, why not go with a versatile defensive weapon who could fill that need. Outside of Darius Slay at corner back the Detroit secondary is very young with Nevin Lawson, Tavon Wilson, and Miles Killebrew. Their line backing corps is not great either. Peppers is the jack of all trades. He can cover the slot, play safety, or linebacker in certain packages. He is also a phenomenal hitter. A team with a need in a lot of places on defense why not add a guy who can play multiple positions?
- Miami Dolphins- Takkarist McKinley, OLB UCLA
The Dolphins biggest need is at the linebacker position. They were torn up in the pass game over the middle toward the end of the season and only two teams gave up more rush yards per game in 2016. With a good defensive line they should get better at the linebacker position to help support them. On top of that Jenkins, Butler, and Paysinger are set to become free agents. McKinley gives them that explosiveness at linebacker they are missing. This guy has an unstoppable motor, doesn’t take plays off, and is a bully to blockers. He isn’t just a good player, he is a play maker.
- New York Giants- O.J. Howard, TE Alabama
This is a no brainer. The Giants haven’t had a legitimate tight end since Kevin Boss left. The Giants three tight ends last season combined for 609 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants lack any legitimate threat over the middle and on top of that these tight ends aren’t great blockers either. With Manning coming to the end of his career and the need for another weapon on offense O.J. Howard fits the billing. He is a natural receiver with great acceleration. Has the toughness to catch the ball over the middle and can adjust well to poorly thrown balls. He also has very good technique when it comes to blocking.
- Oakland Raiders- Zach Cunningham, LB Vanderbilt
The Raiders need to get better at the linebacker position. Malcolm does not appear to be the guy to man the middle out there. A guy that fits their system is the play maker that is Zach Cunningham. He is a play making machine. He is quick when it comes to reading and reacting. He is rangy and is very good at avoiding blockers. Putting him in the middle for that defense could set him up for success and make that defense much better.
- Houston Texans- Cam Robinson, OT Auburn
On top of the struggles from their quarterback, the Texans offensive line was not great last season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Texans ranked 18th in the league overall along the offensive line. Although their left tackle ranked the highest on the team in overall blocking their right tackle, Chris Clark, was the league’s worst pass protector. Their regular starter, Derek Newton, tore both patellar tendons and may never play another down. Robinson is super athletic and fires off the ball with a ton of power. He can make an immediate impact on the right side with his great footwork and balance. HE could eventually move to the left side if the opportunity presents itself.
- Seattle Seahawks- Garett Bolles, OT Utah
This could be the most obvious team need for any team at any position. According to Pro Football Focus, the Seattle Seahawks offensive line ranked dead last overall. Their highest rated blocker was Justin Britt and he only got an 80.5. The rest of the line is the graded out in the 50s. Since the traded away Max Unger and let Okung lost their offensive line has been abysmal and it is their own fault. Bolles is a perfect fit for the Seahawks and a good piece to start rebuilding their line. He has elite athleticism and has the best feet of all of the tackles in this draft. He can make every block and has the ability to get to not only the second, but the third level. He is a perfect fit and could help rejuvenate this once elite offense.
- Kansas City Chiefs- Jarrad Davis, ILB Florida
With Derrick Johnson getting older and struggling to stay on the field it is time to get younger at the position. With the amount talent on this defense they need to continue to reload at major positions. Davis is a high character guy who has great leadership skills and top notch work ethic. He is a great hitter who can both play the run and the pass equally well. He would make this already great defense even better.
- Dallas Cowboys- Taco Charlton, DE Michigan
The Cowboys have a couple of needs on this side of the ball, but they truly struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. They have decent pieces there like David Irving and Maliek Collins, but they need a home run hitter. He has an awesome combination of size and athleticism. He is explosive off of the snap and has an array of moves to get to the quarterback. He improved greatly in the run game by the end of his career. This is a guy who can make a substantial difference on the Cowboy defense.
- Green Bay Packers- Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama
It is an understatement to say the Packers secondary is a mess. They just cut Same Shields and Hyde will be a free agent. Ladarius Gunter showed some strides at the end of the season, but they need to address this position. With Humphrey dropping in my mock he is a great fit for this secondary. Humphrey is phenomenal in coverage. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the eighth best cover corner back. He also graded well against the run. Even though Green Bay has invested a lot of early picks on this position of late it has not worked. They have to get better and you can’t pass up this talent in this position.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- Haason Reddick, OLB Temple
The Steelers biggest need is the linebacker position. With Harrison in his late thirties and both Timmons and Jones probably walking at the end f the year they need to add some more young talent. Reddick could fit that billing. He can play both inside and outside and with 10.5 sacks last season he can get after the quarterback. This guy fits the billing of Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers. He has playmaking ability in space and has great red and react skills. He started off as a defensive back and has experience at all three levels. He is a perfect fit.
- Atlanta Falcons- Caleb Brantley, DT Florida
While Grady Jarret had a nice showing in the Super Bowl and Ra’ Shede Hageman made some nice strides they need to add not only depth but a play maker on the inside. When you think that Jonathan Babineaux looking to retire and Tyson Jackson probably leaving this becomes possibly their biggest need. Brantley is really good at shedding blockers and making plays in the backfield. He is good at timing the snap and had one of the best motors I have ever seen. Adding a guy like this will only make things easier for not only their young line backers, but their pass rushers as well.
- New England Patriots- Charles Harris, DE Missouri
Trey Flowers really stepped up in the second half of the season and looks to be a top teir pass rusher in the future. Outside of him though the Patriots don’t have much in the edge rusher department. Their two veterans Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard will be free agents and Rob Ninkovich is getting up there in age. Adding a guy like Harris can give them a really nice pass rush for years to come. He can play with his hands in the dirt or standing. He is excellent against both the run and the pass. This is a prototypical New England Patriots football player. This would be a great addition.
Now I understand many people may be happy sad, or indifferent to who I picked for their favorite team. Obviously things are going to change guys will rise and guys will fall throughout this draft process. Some teams also make irrational decisions. There may also be trades especially with quarterbacks like Jimmy G and AJ McCarron being shopped around. The possibility of Romo being cut is also intriguing to quarterback needy teams. In my opinion I think there will be a lot of trades this year with all of these teams that have draft picks and quarterbacks that they can flip into top tier young talent. These next couple of weeks are going to be a lot of fun.
Let me know in the comments below what you guys think, I hope you enjoyed.