With the 2017 NFL combine officially in the books, we’re now transitioning into what is considered by some to be mock draft season. The only boxes left to check before the clock officially begins to tick on the first pick are Pro days and team visits, so now is a great time to look ahead two months at the draft’s first round.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This pick seemed to be a mortal lock even prior to the combine, but now after the showcase saw Garrett post biblical numbers, it seems all the more likely to take place.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Of all the franchises currently stuck in limbo, the 49ers appear the one that is the most wayward of the group. Trubisky isn't a perfect prospect by any stretch, but Kyle Shanahan is an excellent offensive mind, and is likely confident in his ability to develop the admittedly green-as-grass passer.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Bears are currently in the midst of a rebuilding project that goes back a few years. As a result, they may be tempted to take a quarterback here. With Trubisky gone, I have them taking the battering ram Adams who could step into a pretty toothless defensive backfield and immediately provide it with a shot in the arm.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The second straight LSU Tiger coming off the board could also be described as a battering ram, just on the offensive side of the football. This would be a great investment into Blake Bortles, and would help in his attempt to get his career back on track.
5. Tennessee Titans (From LA): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Titans could be tempted by a few wide receiver prospects here, but considering they have another pick in the first round, they'll have a tough time passing on a guy who has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed.
6. New York Jets: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Similar to Trubisky, this is likely a reach on Watson, but it wouldn't be crazy to see a team like the Jets fall in love with him. He had a nice showing at the combine, and is pretty clean both on and off the field.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Like Adams to Fournette, two teammates again come off of the board consecutively, with these two guys being the pair that was last seen slicing and dicing Alabama’s vaunted defense in the National Championship game. Williams would pair nicely with Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin, and give Phillip Rivers a huge target to work with.
8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, EDGE, Alabama
A leader of that aforementioned vaunted Alabama D, the front-seven fixated Panthers would likely be ecstatic to see Allen fall this far, which has been hinted as something that could potentially happen.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
This would be a Bengals pick in a nutshell; they stand back and let one of the absolute best players fall right to them, who they will use to get right back into the mix in the AFC North.
10. Buffalo Bills: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Bills defense suffered a pretty big collapse in 2016, despite the presence of Rex Ryan. This was due in part to some bad luck with injuries to their younger players, who would look nice lined up next to the dynamic Foster.
11. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Saints are publicly in an aggressive rebuild of their defense, going so far as to openly talk about trading wideout Brandin Cooks as a channel for doing so. I have them taking Lattimore who as one of the best corners available would help them to bolster their back end.
12. Cleveland Browns: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
This may be yet another reach on a signal caller in this first round, but the Browns are absolutely desperate for one, and with Mahomes’ stock rapidly rising, he could make sense in this spot.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
With Calais Campbell likely to depart in free agency, this pick makes a sneaky amount of sense. The Cardinals lacked any sort of identity in 2016, and a player like Barnett may be able to help them get back to having one on defense.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (From MIN): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Eagles are another team that lacked any kind of identity on offense, and pairing up Cook with a promising young passer in Carson Wentz is a nice first step towards finding one.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Can you honestly list five players on the Colts defense not named Vontae Davis? A good remedy for the fact would be to pick the player with one of the absolute best names in the draft. He's a pretty good pass rusher too, which the Colts do not currently possess.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
This pick could come down to Davis and Takkarist McKinley with so many high end pass rushers and cornerbacks already gone, and I have them settling on the former. Breshad Perriman needs room to grow, and Mike Wallace is best utilized as a sidekick to the number one receiver position that Davis would immediately fill.
17. Washington Redskins: Takkarist McKinle, EDGE, UCLA
The Redskins defense could end up costing them big if they don't improve it in the draft or free agency. A player who could quickly help their front seven is the wrecking ball McKinley. He would look great across from Ryan Kerrigan in 2017.
18. Tennessee Titans: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Having already picked up the rangy, athletic Hooker, the Titans now choose to pickup a hammer at the strong safety position in Peppers who is a plus on special teams.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
With Vincent Jackson about to depart in free agency, the Bucs could go wide receiver here, but I'd except them to fill that gap in free agency. Instead I have them taking Howard, who would provide a massive and athletic target for Jameis Winston to utilize as a foil to Cameron Brate.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Broncos have been looking for offensive line help for years, and may finally find their future at left tackle after the departure of Russell Okung with this pick.
21. Detroit Lions: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Lions could use some help at linebacker next to Kerry Hyder and a regressed Deandre Levy. Reddick has drawn some comparisons to Darron Lee, meaning he would provide a highly athletic presence in the middle of a defense.
22. Miami Dolphins: John Ross, WR, Washington
The Dolphins need some serious defensive help, but a flashy player like Ross just screams of a wideout that is too tempting for them to pass up if he were to fall this far.
23. New York Giants: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Giants are again in the market for offensive line help for what feels like the 27th consecutive season, and Bolles would be a nice pickup for them to keep Eli Manning upright.
24. Oakland Raiders: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Latavius Murray is about to leave, and likely isn't worth the investment he's seeking. McCaffrey had a strong combine performance and would make a great addition to one of the most explosive offenses of 2016.
25. Houston Texans: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Texans don’t seem prepared to pony up the cash needed to retain A.J. Bouye, and Conley is talented enough to provide a competent replacement in the back end of their defense.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
This is yet another team that needs offensive line help once again, and they would probably be happy to take Robsinson here if he slid to this spot.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Chiefs are a pretty stacked squad, and could go several different directions with this pick. Cunningham could be a pretty good addition to an already very strong defensive unit.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Budda Baker, S, Washington
The Cowboys are a loaded operation, but need help on defense, particularly in the secondary. Baker could give that to them, and provide a nice replacement for Barry Church in the process.
29. Green Bay Packers: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The Packers are another team that could use help on the defensive side of the ball. Wilson would certainly give it to them, immediately stepping in as a starting cornerback.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
The Steelers are a franchise that places great value on the front seven. Despite some of Williams’ off-the-field issues, he would be worth the risk to help round out their linebacking corps.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
The Falcons came within a few fluke plays (self inflicted and otherwise) of hoisting the Lombardi trophy. They don't have too many tangible weaknesses, but more depth to a cornerback group that includes Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford would turn that position into even more of a strength.
32. New England Patriots: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
If you want to talk about a franchise without many tangible weaknesses, look no further than the reigning World Champions. This pick would compensate for the potential loss of Martellus Bennett and give them more talent behind Rob Gronkowski.