Here is my thinking when it comes to mock drafting:
- I put myself in the shoes of each General Manager, which means that I take a different approach to each pick depending on the team. Some teams are need-based and others are pure BPA (best player available), so that factors into my decision making.
- I don’t always agree with my picks even though that sounds very odd. For example, I don’t think the Texans should take Deshaun Watson in the first round, but I know Watson will end up going in the first round and Houston needs a quarterback so it makes sense.
- I try and research which teams have been interviewing certain players. If I find out a team has interviewed Player A, then I’m more likely to mock that player to that team than a similar player who did not visit with the team.
- These mock drafts do not necessarily reflect my player rankings. Team fit plays a big part in my process.
- NOTE: I project that the Malcolm Butler trade will happen, so the Patriots have the 32nd overall pick in this mock draft.
1st Overall Pick – Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett – Edge Defender – Texas A&M
Don’t screw this up Cleveland! Cleveland needs to start pressuring the quarterback and Garrett can be a 10+ sack guy immediately.
2nd Overall Pick – San Francisco 49ers
Rueben Foster – Inside Linebacker – Alabama
Foster is the best inside linebacker to come out of college since Luke Kuechly, and he’s someone you can build your defense around. The 49ers badly need help on defense, so teaming up Foster with Bowman can help turn that defense around.
3rd Overall Pick – Chicago Bears
Jonathan Allen – Interior Defensive Lineman – Alabama
The Bears don’t have much talent up front on defense, but Allen can change that pretty quickly. He’s deadly in one-on-one situations and he could get a lot of one-on-ones in that Bears defense with Goldman clogging up the middle.
4th Overall Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars
Malik Hooker – Safety – Ohio State
The Jaguars just lost their starting safety (Cyprien), so why not replace him with an aggressive, athletic and talented safety from a top school? Hooker is raw, but he has the tools to become a top 5 safety in the NFL. He and Ramsay can be deadly in that secondary.
5th Overall Pick – Tennessee Titans
Mike Williams – Wide Receiver – Clemson
The Titans are trying to create an explosive offense, so it makes sense to go with an explosive player in Mike Williams who is fantastic at hauling 50/50 balls. He often saved Deshaun Watson.
6th Overall Pick – New York Jets
O.J. Howard – Tight End – Alabama
The Jets desperately need a playmaker on offense. Their best (and only) playmaker, Eric Decker, is currently injured and his status for the beginning of 2017 is still up in the air. O.J. Howard is one of the best tight ends to come out in the last few seasons. He possesses a rare combination of athleticism and speed on top of having great blocking ability. He is one of the can’t-miss players in this draft (maybe the only can’t miss player).
7th Overall Pick – Los Angeles Chargers
Ryan Ramczyk – Offensive Tackle – Wisconsin
Ramczyk is the best offensive lineman in this year’s draft and the Chargers need offensive line help, so whether you believe this is a reach or not, this is a necessary pick for the Chargers.
8th Overall Pick – Carolina Panthers
Dalvin Cook – Running Back – Florida State
Jonathan Stewart is on his last legs and the Panthers need a new dynamic element on their offense. Enter Dalvin Cook who is a smart, patient and explosive runner who can easily break 1200 yards in his first season.
9th Overall Pick – Cincinnati Bengals
Tim Williams – Edge Defender – Alabama
Reach? Williams has top 12 talent, but many have questions about him off the field. Considering Marv Lewis’ history with selecting/signing players with attitude problems, I think Williams should fit in just fine.
10th Overall Pick – Buffalo Bills
Jabrill Peppers – Safety / Linebacker – Michigan
Peppers is a versatile player and is the type of player that Sean McDermott loves (look at the Shaq Thompson pick a couple of years ago). Peppers can be an immediate contributor as a safety or a linebacker.
11th Overall Pick – New Orleans Saints
DeShone Kizer – Quarterback – Notre Dame
Whether you believe Kizer is the best quarterback in this year’s draft, we’ve seen years where teams reach for quarterbacks based on that player’s fit with the franchise. Kizer fits well with the Saints offense and he could become Drew Brees’ heir once Brees is gone in a couple of seasons. Kizer has a strong arm and has experience in a pro style offense, which is a big bonus in the Saints’ system.
12th Overall Pick – Cleveland Browns
Soloman Thomas – Edge Defender / 5 Tech Defensive Lineman – Stanford
Thomas is not only the best player on the board (at this point in the draft), but he fills a big need for the Browns who need front 7 help. Thomas may be a tad undersized for the 5-technique position in the NFL, but he was a dominant force in college at that spot. If he gains a bit of muscle, he could be a dominant force at the 5-tech spot in the NFL too.
13th Overall Pick – Arizona Cardinals
Marshon Lattimore – Cornerback – Ohio State
The Cardinals need some help on defense and they should start by getting a good complimentary cornerback to Patrick Peterson. Lattimore is extremely athletic and is very good as a press cornerback, making him a perfect fit in the Cardinals’ defense.
14th Overall Pick – Philadelphia Eagles
Quincy Wilson – Cornerback – Florida
The Eagles desperately need to shore up their back end, especially the cornerback spot. Their offense is in a good place so they need to focus on their defense. Wilson may not be a #1 cornerback right now, but he can contribute immediately as a #2 guy for the Eagles.
15th Overall Pick – Indianapolis Colts
Takkarist McKinley – Edge Defender – UCLA
The Colts haven’t had a good pass rusher in a few years and they’ve invested a lot of money into their front 7 this offseason. It’s time to find an explosive pass rusher who’s quick to get out of his stance and who can terrorize backfields. He has a ton of potential and if he develops properly, he could become a perennial pro bowler.
16th Overall Pick – Baltimore Ravens
Corey Davis – Wide Receiver – Central Michigan
Davis is arguably the best receiver in this year’s class as he’s a fantastic route runner and has a great football IQ. The Ravens badly need a receiver and they need to start adding talented skill players, especially with Steve Smith gone.
17th Overall Pick – Washington Redskins
Leonard Fournette – Running Back – LSU
The Redskins probably don’t want to go with Rob Kelley as their starting running back in 2017 and with their quarterback’s future up in the air, they may need a running game sooner rather than later.
18th Overall Pick – Tennessee Titans
Teez Tabor – Cornerback – Florida
The Titans secondary was putrid last season and even with the addition of Logan Ryan, they should still use a draft pick on a cornerback. Tabor is, to some, the best cornerback in the draft and can be a great rotational, nickel package player to start his career.
19th Overall Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David Njoku – Tight End – Miami (Fla.)
Njoku stands out on tape as he makes a lot of impressive catches and breaks through every tackle. He sounds like a perfect complimentary player to Mike Evans and Desean Jackson as he can win a lot underneath in the short and intermediate areas of the field.
20th Overall Pick – Denver Broncos
Dan Feeney – Offensive Guard – Indiana
The Broncos need offensive line help and Feeney is a steady, consistent rock that can start and have an impact immediately. He is a phone-booth type of guard and will do his damage in the trenches, but not as a pulling guard. He should fit in well in Mike McCoy’s system.
21st Overall Pick – Detroit Lions
Jamal Adams – Safety – LSU
The more I watch tape on Adams, the more I realize he isn’t as good as Hooker or even Jabrill Peppers. Adams is a good player in the box and can be a big help in run support for the Lions, who could use a playmaker on defense.
22nd Overall Pick – Miami Dolphins
Haason Reddick – Inside Linebacker / Edge Defender – Temple
Reddick is too small to play on the edge, but he can definitely contribute as a WILL/weak-side linebacker who comes downhill a lot. The Dolphins need to add some playmakers on defense, so Reddick is a good start.
23rd Overall Pick – New York Giants
Forrest Lamp – Offensive Guard – Western Kentucky
The Giants don’t have many good offensive linemen. Richburg is great and Pugh can get the job done, but that’s about it. They need to start rebuilding that offensive line, otherwise their high powered offense will never get off the ground. Going with Lamp will allow their interior offensive line to excel.
24th Overall Pick – Oakland Raiders
Derek Barnett – Edge Defender – Tennessee
You can never have enough pass rushers! While edge defender may not be a big need on the Raiders due to the presence of Khalil Mack, they could still use a good complimentary edge defender. Barnett was extremely productive in college and is a perfect fit in the Raiders’ defense.
25th Overall Pick – Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson – Quarterback – Clemson
While I have a 2nd round grade on Watson, I have no doubt that he’ll be selected in the first round due to his popularity and the crazy demand for a quarterback. The Texans traded away Osweiler and I’m sure they’re not content with Tom Savage as their long-term starter. With Watson, they get their long-term option; all he needs is a couple of years of development and he could become a top 10 quarterback in the NFL.
26th Overall Pick – Seattle Seahawks
Garett Bolles – Offensive Tackle/Guard – Utah
It’s no secret that the Seahawks need help along their offensive line. They selected Germain Ifedi last year and they need to go with another offensive lineman this year. Bolles is a good, gritty player who can start immediately at right tackle for the Seahawks.
27th Overall Pick – Kansas City Chiefs
Mitch Trubisky – Quarterback – North Carolina
Trubisky isn’t ready to become a starting quarterback and will need at least 2 years of development. The Chiefs have the right staff to develop Trubisky and he can take over the starting job from Alex Smith in a couple of years if he progresses properly.
28th Overall Pick – Dallas Cowboys
Charles Harris – Edge Defender – Missouri
The Cowboys need pass rushers if they want to make a Super Bowl run. Harris is an explosive, 4-3 defensive end who should in perfectly in the Cowboys’ defense. He could/should start right away for the Cowboys.
29th Overall Pick – Green Bay Packers
Ryan Anderson – Edge Defender – Alabama
Anderson is an intelligent player who reads plays extremely well. He doesn’t possess the best body and isn’t a super athlete, but he gets the job done and can be very effective in the NFL in the right system. He should fit in well in the Packers’ 3-4 system as the strong-side outside linebacker.
30th Overall Pick – Pittsburgh Steelers
Raekwon McMillan – Inside Linebacker – Ohio State
The Steelers lost Lawrence Timmons (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but they need to find someone to replace him. McMillan is an underrated inside linebacker who could serve extremely well in a complimentary role to Ryan Shazier. The Steelers love picking front 7 players in the first round, so McMillan fits that bill!
31st Overall Pick – Atlanta Falcons
Taco Charlton – Edge Defender – Michigan
Vic Beasley broke out last season, but he needs a friend on the other side of the line. Charlton has been a big contributor for the Wolverines the last few seasons and could become a very good complimentary player for the Falcons.
32nd Overall Pick – New England Patriots (via trade)
Malik McDowell – Interior Defensive Lineman – Michigan State
The Patriots love taking risks in the draft and McDowell is definitely a risk. He is a super talented player who dominated in one-on-one matchups. The problem is his effort level is inconsistent and he needs to have a fire under him to perform. He should do well with Bill Belichick…
33rd Overall Pick – Cleveland Browns
Zach Cunningham – Inside Linebacker – Vanderbilt
34th Overall Pick – San Francisco 49ers
Tre’Davious White – Cornerback – LSU
35th Overall Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars
Caleb Brantley – Interior Defensive Lineman – Florida
36th Overall Pick – Chicago Bears
Cam Robinson – Offensive Tackle – Alabama
37th Overall Pick – Los Angeles Rams
Zay Jones – Wide Receiver – East Carolina
38th Overall Pick – Los Angeles Chargers
John Ross – Wide Receiver – Washington
39th Overall Pick – New York Jets
Gareon Conley – Cornerback – Ohio State
40th Overall Pick – Carolina Panthers
Jordan Willis – Edge Defender – Kansas State
41st Overall Pick – Cincinnati Bengals
Carlos Watkins – Interior Defensive Lineman – Clemson
42nd Overall Pick – New Orleans Saints
Budda Baker – Safety / Cornerback – Washington
43rd Overall Pick – Philadelphia Eagles
Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Stanford
44th Overall Pick – Buffalo Bills
Evan Engram – Tight End – Ole Miss
45th Overall Pick – Arizona Cardinals
Carl Lawson – Edge Defender – Auburn
46th Overall Pick – Indianapolis Colts
Jarrad Davis – Inside Linebacker – Florida
47th Overall Pick – Baltimore Ravens
Alvin Kamara – Running Back – Tennessee
48th Overall Pick – Minnesota Vikings
Joe Mixon – Running Back – Oklahoma
49th Overall Pick – Washington Redskins
Brad Kaaya – Quarterback – Miami (Fla.)
50th Overall Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Montravius Adams – Interior Defensive Lineman – Auburn
51st Overall Pick – Denver Broncos
Sidney Jones – Cornerback – Washington
52nd Overall Pick – Cleveland Browns
Patrick Mahomes – Quarterback – Texas Tech
53rd Overall Pick – Detroit Lions
Dawuane Smoot – Edge Defender – Illinois
54th Overall Pick – Miami Dolphins
Marlon Humphrey – Cornerback – Alabama
55th Overall Pick – New York Giants
Jordan Leggett – Tight End – Clemson
56th Overall Pick – Oakland Raiders
Cordrea Tankersley – Cornerback – Clemson
57th Overall Pick – Houston Texans
Dion Dawkins – Offensive Guard – Temple
58th Overall Pick – Seattle Seahawks
Joe Mathis – Edge Defender – Washington
59th Overall Pick – Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Williams – Running Back – BYU
60th Overall Pick – Dallas Cowboys
Adoree’ Jackson – Cornerback – USC
61st Overall Pick – Green Bay Packers
Desmond King – Safety – Iowa
62nd Overall Pick – Pittsburgh Steelers
Obi Melifonwu – Safety – Connecticut
63rd Overall Pick – Atlanta Falcons
Bucky Hodges – Tight End – Virginia Tech
64th Overall Pick – Carolina Panthers
Cooper Kupp – Wide Receiver – Eastern Washington