DALLAS - NFL Drafts are difficult to predict because of trades, medical records, and background checks that only teams know about. As fans, we can only hope good players fall to our favorite teams.
This exercise is to create scenarios that could happen in the draft. As well as attempting to get inside the head of the decision makers for all 32 teams.
This is one of the strongest classes in the last few years and several potential future pro bowlers and longtime NFL starters will more than likely come from the 2017 NFL Draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett – DE – Texas A&M
- Unless Cleveland trades this pick, this is a no brainer. Elite pass rushers are hard to find and when you have a chance to draft a player with Myles Garret’s skillset you don’t pass that up. Arlington’s own Myles Garrett is the best player in the draft and should be the #1 pick.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Marshon Lattimore – CB – Ohio St.
- This is really where the draft starts. The 49ers are going defense with this pick, the question is if they are going pass rusher or cornerback? They take the best defensive back in the draft in Marshon Lattimore, who has lockdown potential.
3. Chicago Bears: Solomon Thomas – DL – Stanford
- The Bears took an athletic edge rusher last year to help the defensive line in Leonard Floyd, and this year they take local kid Solomon Thomas (Coppell High School). Now, Bears have two cornerstone pass rushers along the defensive line for the next several years.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen – DL – Alabama
- Super Bowl winning head coach Tom Coughlin makes the personnel decisions for the Jaguars. He knows all about having a defensive line that can carry a team deep into the playoffs. Jonathan Allen does just that with his versatility, power, and technique as a pass rusher and run stopper.
5. Tennessee Titans (via the LA Rams): Malik Hooker – FS – Ohio St.
- The Titans need help in the secondary and adding Malik Hooker will give them an explosive, ball hawking cover safety. He is still young and extremely raw as a safety, but the upside is undeniable as an Ed Reed type of safety.
6. New York Jets: Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson
- The first quarterback taken in the draft is Deshaun Watson. Josh McCown is in New York now, which means Watson doesn’t have to start right away. He has the potential to be a franchise quarterback which is extremely hard to pass up on if you are starving for a quarterback. Also, they need to make up for the mistake of drafting Christian Hackenberg in the 2nd round of last year’s draft.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jamal Adams – S – LSU
- Another local kid (Hebron High School), Jamal Adams is a do it all safety. He is physical against the run, can cover down the field, and brings an edge and leadership quality that the Chargers desperately need on defense.
8. Carolina Panthers: Forrest Lamp – OG – Western Kentucky
- The Panthers could go WR, but they should be looking to keep Cam Newton off the ground. Cam took a beating last year and he wasn’t the same player he was in 2015 when he won the NFL MVP. Forrest Lamp is the best offensive lineman in this draft -- even as a guard -- and Cam Newton will appreciate the Panthers doing what they can to keep him healthy.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster – LB – Alabama
- The Bengals are thin at linebacker this year and they need a playmaker in the middle of the defense. Rueben Foster is a do it all linebacker who will match up perfectly alongside Vontaze Burfict. Not only does this pick fill a need, but the Bengals receive great value as Foster is a top 10 player in this draft.
10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams – WR – Clemson
- The Bills could use a cornerback but there will be plenty to choose from in the 2nd round. Outside of Sammy Watkins, the Bills don’t have much else at wide receiver. Pairing a potential #1 receiver in Mike Williams alongside Sammy Watkins makes for a very dangerous duo of receivers for quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
11. New Orleans Saints: Tim Williams – DE – Alabama
- Even though he has off the field concerns and had a subpar combine, Tim Williams is a special pass rusher. The Saints are trying to build their defense to the level of their offense and have done a nice job over the last couple years drafting defensive players early. Now they add a blue chip talent who will improve their pass rush immensely. Tim Williams has double digit sack potential.
12. Cleveland Browns(via Philadelphia): Mitchell Trubisky – QB – North Carolina
- No matter how many picks the Browns have in the next few drafts, they will not go anywhere without a potential franchise quarterback. A one year starter at North Carolina, Trubisky is a dual threat quarterback with a rocket of an arm. He isn’t a finished product by any means, but the talent is there and the Browns can afford to be patient with his development.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis – WR – Western Michigan
- The Cardinals have a plenty of talent on defense and they could draft a quarterback here as a replacement to Carson Palmer. However, they choose a #1 type of receiver to play on the other side of Larry Fitzgerald, and eventually be his replacement. The Cardinals have plenty of smaller receivers, but Davis gives them a big target threat with all-pro potential.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota): Leonard Fournette – RB – LSU
- The Eagles have glaring needs at running back and cornerback and luckily for them, the draft is loaded with both this year. Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey would be tempting here, but they need a bell-cow running back to take the pressure off of young quarterback Carson Wentz. Dalvin Cook could be the pick here, but the idea of Fournette on 1st and 2nd down, and Darren Sproles on 3rd down is very intriguing.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Zach Cunningham – LB – Vanderbilt
- Zach Cunningham has excellent size, speed, strength, and playmaking ability. He is a run and hit LB and would be one of the few blue chip talents on the Colts defense. I can see them going offensive line to help protect Andrew Luck, but on a defense with no real strength, the Colts take the best defensive player available.
16. Baltimore Ravens: John Ross – WR – Washington
- John Ross is the fastest player in this draft and a perfect fit to replace Steve Smith in Baltimore. The Ravens need help on offense and quarterback Joe Flacco will appreciate a receiver who is a big play waiting to happen.
17. Washington Redskins: Dalvin Cook – RB – Florida St.
- Not only do the Reskins fill a need, but they get great value in the best all-around back in this year’s draft. The Redskins will not have to depend on Kirk Cousins as much and can rely on a three down back to carry the load in the run game.
18. Tennessee Titans: O.J. Howard – TE – Alabama
- The Titans need to give young quarterback Marcus Mariota more playmakers at wide receiver and tight end. Pro bowl tight end Delanie Walker is getting older and his contract is up after the 2018 season. Howard will step in and help the Titans immediately, and become the tight end of the future in Tennessee.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Ramczyk – OT – Wisconsin
- Ryan Ramczyk is the closest thing to a 1st round offense tackle in this draft. I have my concerns about his play and injury history, but he is an athletic offensive tackle who can step in and start at right tackle for the Buccaneers. They need to protect their franchise quarterback Jameis Winston and this pick will help.
20. Denver Broncos: Garrett Bolles – OT – Utah
- The Broncos need to protect their young quarterbacks and they pick the offensive tackle with the highest upside in this draft. He is an older prospect with an interesting path to the NFL. Bolles is extremely athletic with left tackle feet and a mean streak you love to see from offensive linemen. He is still raw and not a polished player, but he has extremely high upside as a starting left tackle.
21. Detroit Lions: Takkarist McKinley – DE – UCLA
- The Detroit Lions need help at every defensive position, but they select a pass rusher with explosiveness and an extremely high motor. If defensive end Ezekiel Ansah can bounce back from a below average year last year, this can be one of the most dangerous defensive end tandems in the NFL.
22. Miami Dolphins: Derek Barnett – DE – Tennessee
- The Dolphins select the best pass rush available. Barnett relies on first step quickness, bend, and hand usage to be one of the best pass rushers in this draft. The Dolphins bolster their already solid defensive line with a pass rush specialist in Derek Barnett.
23. New York Giants: Hasson Reddick – LB – Temple
- The Giants desperately need help on offense, but they take one of the best players available as well as the only position of need on defense. They have a very poor linebacker group, but adding Reddick would give them a playmaking linebacker who can also add value as a pass rusher.
24. Oakland Raiders: Christian McCaffrey – RB – Stanford
- Adding Christian McCaffrey as their starting RB and a player who can lineup in the slot and create mismatches all game is a good way to go for the Raiders. This pick makes their dynamic offense even better and takes pressure off young quarterback Derek Carr. McCaffrey would be my front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year if he is selected by the Raiders.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes – QB – Texas Tech
- The Texans are a quarterback away from being a legitimate contender in the AFC. He has a lot to work on, but he reminds me of Matthew Stafford in terms of arm talent, athleticism, and competitiveness. He could very well be the best quarterback of this draft when it is all said and done.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Marlon Humphrey – CB – Alabama
- Humphrey is a big, athletic, and aggressive cornerback who would thrive in a zone cover system the Seahawks employ. The Seahawks have needed help on the other side of Richard Sherman since Brandon Browner left in 2013. Humphrey helps solidify the Seahawks secondary once again.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Taco Charlton – DE – Michigan
- The Chiefs don’t necessarily need help along the defensive line, but they also don’t have another glaring weakness. I have them taking the best available pass rusher who will eventually replace veteran Tamba Hali.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Kevin King – CB – Washington
- You might not know about Kevin King, but he is the cornerback the Dallas Cowboys need. Possessing length, speed, physicality, and surprising agility, Kevin King has the makings of a #1 outside CB. The Cowboys need a big cornerback who can cover bigger receivers in the NFL and make an impact from day 1 and I believe Kevin King is that type of player.
29. Green Bay Packers: Tre’Davious White – CB – LSU
- The Packers obvious weakness is their secondary. They improve their cover ability with versatile Tre’Davious White. White is a good all-around player who can cover all types of receivers. The Packers get good value at a position of need.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik McDowell – DL – Michigan St
- Malik McDowell has all the talent in the world, and based on his talent he should be a top 20 pick. He is a perfect 3-4 defensive end who can win with quickness and power, he just doesn’t show it on a consistent basis. If the Steelers can get him to play hard and up to his potential, the previous 29 teams will be kicking their selves for not making this pick.
31. Atlanta Falcons: David Njoku – TE – Miami
- The Falcons need help along their offensive line, but they can’t pass up on the very young and talented tight end from Miami. Njoku is a physical freak and is just scratching the surface.
32. New Orleans Saints(via New England): Budda Baker – FS – Washington
- If Budda Baker falls to the Saints at 32 then they should hand the card in as soon as their clock starts. He is an Earl Thomas type of safety who can cover slot receivers and play deep as a single high safety. He also plays with an edge and physicality you rarely see from a player that size and this pick could end up being the steal of the draft in the 1st round.
Agree with how the first round went in this mock draft? Share your hottest takes with Aaron on Twitter @AaronBunten.
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