Thor Nystrom

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Mock Draft: Trubisky goes #1

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


 

 

 

1  Cleveland Browns – UNC QB Mitchell Trubisky

 

Rumors of Cleveland’s interest in Trubisky as the No. 1 overall pick have not abated. If the Browns do stun the NFL world by tabbing Trubisky over Myles Garrett, this is one guess as to how the board would shake out below.

 

2  San Francisco 49ers – Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett

 

GM John Lynch is trying like mad to trade down in order to accumulate picks to spray at his decimated roster. But if Myles Garrett falls into his lap, might he stay right where he is and take the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the class?

 

3  Chicago Bears – LSU S Jamal Adams

 

Recent reports suggest that the Bears may be targeting a quarterback here, but I wonder if that talk is a smokescreen to encourage trade offers. If stuck in this slot, Chicago takes perhaps the most surefire prospect in the class. Adams’ floor is a double off the wall. His ceiling is a grand slam.

 

4  Jacksonville Jaguars – LSU RB Leonard Fournette

 

Adding Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen to that sparse defensive interior might make more intuitive sense, but I'm getting the same feeling as many others in the NFL Draft community: Jacksonville wants an offensive focal point to help out (prop up?) Blake Bortles.

 

5  Tennessee Titans – Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore

 

The Titans will try their best to move down. Since we’re not projecting trades here, they’re stuck. With a big need at WR and CB and two first-rounders to work with, Tennessee takes the highest-rated corner on the board. They’ll target a receiver later when the value is better.

 

6  New York Jets – Ohio State S Malik Hooker

 

I believe an NFL Draft reporter who told me privately that the Jets won’t take a QB in Round 1. Reports have them zeroed in on defense here, barring a trade, and the ball-hawking, Ed Reed-comped Hooker would be a nice first step to fixing that secondary.

 

7  Los Angeles Chargers - Stanford DL Solomon Thomas

 

Shifting from the 3-4 to Gus Bradley's attacking 4-3 schema opens up the need for another starting defensive lineman. Thomas' unexpected drop would be a coup. Strong and quick with a non-stop motor and explosive hands, he'd start at DE for the Chargers from Day 1, shifting inside on passing downs.

 

8  Carolina Panthers – Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey

 

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and we’ve been reading reports of Carolina’s interest in McCaffrey for the better part of the last month. Not only does McCaffrey give the team the next-generation talent they’ve been looking for in the backfield, but he can moonlight in the slot between Carolina’s jumbo outside receivers to fill another one of the team’s biggest needs. Oh, and he'll immediately improve the Panthers' special teams.

 

9  Cincinnati Bengals – Temple LB Haason Reddick

 

Reuben Foster is another option for the LB-needy Bengals, but the fast-rising Reddick may be a better fit. Not only is he a high-character prospect and a big-time athlete, but his ability to move around the formation is versatility that the Bengals—who also need a DE—may highly value.

 

10  Buffalo Bills – Clemson WR Mike Williams

 

From the bottom of the organization all the way up to the owner, Buffalo has invested heavy resources during the pre-draft process to scouting quarterbacks. But credible reports from earlier this week suggest that the organization will put that position on the backburner... at least in Round 1. The Bills take Williams to pair with Clemson bud Sammy Watkins and wait until Day 2 to find a a signal-caller and a CB replacement for Stephon Gilmore.

 

11  New Orleans Saints – Alabama ILB Reuben Foster

 

The Saints need help all over on defense. Waiting to address the secondary until later in Round 1 would make sense, considering both the caliber of front-seven players on the board (Foster, Jon Allen), and the depth of this year's DB class.

 

12  Cleveland Browns – Alabama DL Jonathan Allen

 

After passing on Myles Garrett, Cleveland has the good fortune of having Allen fall into their laps. He’ll be a key defensive building block from Day 1.

 

13  Arizona Cardinals – Clemson QB Deshaun Watson

 

Reports suggest that Arizona may be the team highest on Patrick Mahomes. But I'm going to roll with the idea that management secretly likes Watson more.

 

14  Philadelphia Eagles – Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey

 

The pass rush needs help, but that’ll have to wait until Friday, It’s seeming more and more likely that the NFL may like Humphrey more than the draft media, which collectively ranks Humphrey as a late first-rounder. He'd fill a need in Philly.

 

15  Indianapolis Colts – Tennessee DE Derek Barnett 

 

New GM Chris Ballard desperately needs a pass-rusher as he seeks to rebuild the NFL’s No. 30 defense, and they don't come any more productive than Barnett.

 

16  Baltimore Ravens – Alabama TE O.J. Howard

 

The depth of this year’s TE class may set the stage for a mini Howard fall as teams in the top-15 put the position on the backburner. If that happens, Ozzie Newsome may bypass a receiver like Corey Davis and gleefully scoop him up.

 

17  Washington Redskins - Florida LB Jarrad Davis

 

The Redskins desperately need to improve their run defense, and they specifically need a tone-setter at inside linebacker. How about grabbing a guy whose intensity has been compared to Ray Lewis’? Davis will start from Day 1.

 

18  Tennessee Titans – Western Michigan WR Corey Davis

 

The Titans addressed their corner need earlier. Now, they turn there attention to receiver and take the best on the board.

 

19  Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FSU RB Dalvin Cook

 

More and more reputable reporters are beginning to buy into talk that Cook will drop into Round 2, but I just can’t get there. The Bucs have been connected to Cook throughout the process, and you know Jameis Winston will be lobbying for his good friend. Tampa Bay stays local and grabs the explosive playmaker they need.

 

20  Denver Broncos – Wisconsin T Ryan Ramczyk

 

Denver can’t afford to come out of this draft without having improved the offensive line. In this scenario, the Broncos would have the good fortune of taking their pick among the class’ top-three tackles.

 

21  Detroit Lions – Miami TE David Njoku

 

Young, raw and as athletic as they come, Njoku’s ceiling is as high as any offensive player in this class.

 

22  Miami Dolphins – Missouri DE Charles Harris

 

Miami Herald Dolphins beat reporter Armando Salguero wrote Tuesday that “barring the collapse of the Dolphins draft board and Western civilization, sources insist picking a guard in the first round is not what Miami wants to do.” We’ll audible off WKU G Forest Lamp and fill the DE position the plugged-in Salguero believes the team is targeting in Round 1 instead.

 

23  New York Giants – Utah T Garett Bolles

 

New York sniffed around the top tackles last year, and their need is just as pressing this time around.  The Giants hosted Bolles for a pre-draft visit, and the Utes’ enforcer is precisely what they need: A bully of a right tackle who will improve the team’s run blocking in the short term and may be a left tackle solution in the long term.

 

24  Oakland Raiders –  Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham

 

This is a natural marriage for a team that needs a heady, versatile inside linebacker for its adaptable defensive fronts. Cunningham is a three-down, sideline-to-sideline rover.

 

25  Houston Texans – Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes

 

Houston has needs at right guard and right tackle, but those will have to wait if Mahomes falls to No. 25. The organization has been linked to him throughout the process. This is the right price for Mahomes, a prospect of endless talent who comes with a high degree of risk. If you're going to roll the dice, this is right time in the draft to do it, and this is the right type of prospect to do it on.

 

26  Seattle Seahawks – Alabama T Cam Robinson

 

If one of the class’ top three tackles falls to the Seahawks, you’d assume that they’d shelve their cornerback need until Day 2. This year’s CB class is loaded and deep, whereas there’s a precipitous drop after Robinson to the next tier of bookends.

 

27  Kansas City Chiefs – Washington CB Kevin King

 

Quarterback is a need, but the top three are gone. Running back is a need, but it’s hard to see Kansas City taking Joe Mixon in Round 1 one year after navigating the tricky P.R. situation the Tyreek Hill pick put them into. Ditto for Gareon Conley, who would fill a pressing need but seems likely to fall out of Round 1 after he was accused of rape earlier this week. King is a strong value at this point.

 

28  Dallas Cowboys – USC CB Adoree’ Jackson

 

Dallas has a huge need at corner, so Jackson or LSU CB Tre’Davious White will be tempting. Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline reported earlier in the week that the Cowboys are targeting Jackson here, and that makes sense: Jackson is a twitched-up, dynamic athlete who could also become one of the league's best return men. He's small, but is willing to crash down on running plays.

 

29  Green Bay Packers – Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt

 

This pick makes itself. Green Bay stays local and takes Watt, a versatile, athletic pass rusher who will be the Packers’ first step in the draft towards improving its No. 31 pass defense. There will be plenty of strong corners to choose from on Day 2.

 

30  Pittsburgh Steelers – Washington WR John Ross

 

Pittsburgh could look to address its outside linebacker need with a prospect like Houston’s Tyus Bowser, or they could take Ben Roethlisberger’s heir (Pittsburgh is rumored to like DeShone Kizer), but if Ross and Evan Engram are on the board, it’d be a hard sell to pass in order to take a developmental project. Along with the potential return of Martavis Bryant, Ross would team with Antonio Bryant to give Big Ben a scary trio of receivers.

 

31  Atlanta Falcons – UCLA DE/OLB Takkarist McKinley

 

If McKinley falls this far, the Falcons, who need another pass-rusher, will be ecstatic.

 

32  New Orleans Saints – Connecticut S Obi Melifonwu

 

The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Melifonwu is an athletic freak who showed at the Senior Bowl that he could play cornerback if needed. New Orleans could use him all over the field to negate matchup advantages presented by modern offenses.

 



Thor Nystrom is a former MLB.com associate reporter whose writing has been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to Rotoworld's college football writer on Twitter @thorku.
Email :Thor Nystrom



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