This mock draft will change. Frequently.
The process is still young. The full list of underclassmen declarations is still not finalized. The All-Star circuit has not started. Free agency is months away. So as of now, I’m focusing more on current team needs and possible changes in the coming months. Future iterations will be more fleshed out.
Picks 14 and 15 will be decided by a coin toss at the NFL Combine.
1. Cleveland Browns - EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M - Likely viewed as the draft’s top prospect. Reportedly dealt with a high ankle injury this season. NFL teams have to rush the passer, and drafting players like Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib don’t prevent you from adding Garrett.
2. San Francisco 49ers - EDGE Derek Barnett, Tenn - This is a difficult one. The 49ers likely won’t draft Jonathan Allen after adding Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner over the last two years. Maybe they like a quarterback. If not, Barnett could be viewed as the second-best edge rusher.
3. Chicago Bears - QB Mitch Trubisky, UNC - If you think previous years included conflicting quarterback opinions, just wait on the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky was a starter for one season. It is vital to evaluate his play when pressured and forced outside of structure, since so much of UNC’s offense is about rhythm.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama - This would be a great selection, and many teams might view Allen as the No. 1 player in the draft. The Jaguars invested cash and picks into the defensive line, but a team can never have enough disruptors.
5. Tennessee Titans (via LA) - FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State - Some might render football down to turnovers and big plays. Hooker can create big plays and turnovers thanks to his extreme range from his safety spot.
6. New York Jets - LB Reuben Foster, Alabama - Yes, back to back linebackers in the first round for the Jets. But this allows the Jets to have both types of backers as Foster is an aggressive missile.
7. San Diego Chargers - S Jamal Adams, LSU - I could see the Chargers going with an offensive lineman, but instead I’ll choose a safety who many view as a top 10 talent in this class.
8. Carolina Panthers - RB Leonard Fournette, LSU - The head coach has said the offense needs to evolve. That likely means fewer slow-developing downfield shots. For a team that emphasizes the run, the Panthers have invested very little at running back in the last four years. Jonathan Stewart’s current contract is winding down.
9. Cincinnati Bengals - EDGE/DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford - Thomas is a really, really, really good football player. For the Bengals, he can immediately fill their edge to tackle role. He wins as a pass rusher most often from the guard spot.
10. Buffalo Bills - QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson - If Doug Whaley identifies a target, he goes out and gets them (see E.J. Manuel and Sammy Watkins). All signs point to the Bills moving on from Tyrod, which I view as a mistake.
11. New Orleans Saints - CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama - The Saints ended the season with corners like B.W. Webb, Sterling Moore, De’Vante Harris and Taveze Calhoun out on the field with a number of others on I.R.
12. Cleveland Browns (via PHI) - QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame - I’m not done with evaluations, but I think I like Kizer the most of these quarterbacks. There are inconsistencies, but there are also stretches of quarterback play that are exactly what you want to see, even when pressured.
13. Arizona Cardinals - LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt - Everyone wants to find the “next Deone Bucannon,” but Bucannon can fold against the running game. Cunningham is going to be a draft favorite and would be a solid addition next to Bucannon.
t14. Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Tim Williams, Alabama - Talent wise, Williams could go much earlier. Some will classify him as just a just a pass rusher, and some would be wrong. Williams can stay on the field in any scheme.
t14. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIN) - RB Dalvin Cook, FSU - I love Dalvin Cook’s game. The Eagles offense can shift with any “type” of running back. They showed that in 2016. Cook is a big play threat who also wins after contact.
16. Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA - The Ravens need to inject youth at their edge spots. Takk will be at the Senior Bowl.
17. Washington Redskins - DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State - Scot McCloughan had a target in last year’s draft. Many believe it was Ryan Kelly or Karl Joseph, both selected before the Redskins’ pick. McDowell would really help Washington’s defensive front.
18. Tennessee Titans - WR Mike Williams, Clemson - The Titans could go a few ways at receiver. Add a true yards after catch threat in CoreyDaviss or JuJu Smith-Schuster, a vertical player in John Ross or maybe a contested catch receiver like Mike Williams.
19. Tampa Bay Bucs - T Cam Robinson, Alabama - Robinson is not a clean prospect on the field. He does have an aggressive mentality and wants to move his man off the ball. I doubt Bucs fans are content with their tackle situation.
20. Denver Broncos - OL Forrest Lamp, WKU - The Broncos seem to be a team that wants to “put their best five” offensive linemen on the field. Teams could view Lamp as a tackle or guard.
21. Detroit Lions - CB Teez Tabor, Florida - As we saw last year, corners might go much earlier than listed here. The Lions need to add one.
22. Miami Dolphins - EDGE Taco Charlton, Michigan - Cameron Wake is still getting it done, but the Dolphins certainly need more talent at the edge spot.
23. New York Giants - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama - Giants fans have been calling for a tight end since the Lions elected Eric Ebron one spot ahead of them, allowing Odell beckham to go to New York (that one worked out, huh?). Howard is an easy evaluation.
24. Oakland Raiders - CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State - I know some list Lattimore as the top corner in the draft. The guarantees on both Sean Smith and David Amerson’s contract are coming to an end.
25. Houston Texans - S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan - I’ve blurbed some anonymous scouts saying Peppers is a top 10 pick. I think that statement will be picked apart during the process. He likely fits best as a true safety.
26. Green Bay Packers - WR Corey Davis, WMU
27. Seattle Seahawks - T Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
28. Pittsburgh Steelers - EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn
29. Atlanta Falcons - DL Jaleel Johnson, Iowa
30. Kansas City Chiefs - LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
31. Dallas Cowboys - EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri
32. New England Patriots - LB Jarrad Davis, Florida