Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M. The Browns will take the best player in the draft with the top pick. It would be plainly unwise to reach for a QB here with a generational talent like Garrett on the board, and I think even the Browns FO would realize that.
San Francisco 49ers: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. Kaepernick and Gabbert are both likely done in San Francisco and the team will have its pick of QB at this spot. Shanahan and John Lynch don’t have a body of work to predict a draft pick from, so this is a rough pick to project, but Kizer probably has the most physical talent of the QBs. With Shanahan coming from ATL, I’d predict a bridge year with Matt Schaub, while Kizer gets ready.
Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU. Chicago needs a game changer on defense. Jamal Adams is a complete safety who can make an impact against both the run game and the pass game. Adams is a rare safety prospect with a high floor and the Bears need a better secondary in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama: Allen is probably the second-best player in this draft. I think he can play every position on the line for Jacksonville, but will provide the Jaguars with a more consistent pass rush than Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler can provide. I think that Jonathan Allen will develop into a Michael Bennett-like player and can be a staple on this defense for years to come.
Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: Corey Davis has a remarkable body of work on the college level and I believe his hype will pick up closer to the draft and he’ll pass Mike Williams to become the first receiver taken in this draft. He is a tremendous route runner and is savvy in the open field- reminding me of Amari Cooper coming out of Alabama.
New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: Darrelle Revis is no longer an above average cornerback and his days in New York are likely finished. Buster Skrine does not have the talent to be anything more than a solid number two corner. Lattimore is a plus corner with great man coverage skills who could make an immediate impact in the Jets’ secondary. Christian Hackenburg is likely to get a shot next year, so that takes QBs off the table. Maccagnan is a smart GM who will recognize Lattimore’s value at this pick.
Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: The second Ohio State DB comes off the board here. The Chargers have a lot of talent in their secondary, but nobody has been able to fill the hole that was left by Eric Weddle. Hooker is a playmaker with great instincts and despite his health concerns, I still expect him to go in the top 10 of the draft.
Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Ron Rivera explicitly stated the need to have a rushing option to surpass Cam Newton as the team’s leading rusher. Fournette has the most hype of any running back in this draft and Dalvin Cook’s injury concerns will likely put him below Fournette on most teams’ boards.
Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: Barnett is a powerful rusher with a great motor and will do great work for the Bengals in their pass rush rotation. I was tempted to mock Reuben Foster here, but I think that the Bengals feel confident in guys like Vincent Rey and Nick Vigil going forward if Maualuga and Burfict have any more issues.
Buffalo Bills: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: If Rex is still around, I’d mock Deshaun Watson to Buffalo, but he is not, so I’m putting the best player available in this spot. It’s hard to tell what Buffalo plans to do in free agency, so I won’t confidently try to assert what player goes here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade down from this spot for Buffalo however.
New Orleans Saints: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida: New Orleans cannot afford to have the terrible secondary that plagued their defense this year again. Quincy Wilson has the tools to be a lockdown corner in the NFL and will likely be forced into an immediate starting role if he ends up in New Orleans. There will be some headaches, but Wilson can be a solid corner in the league.
Cleveland Browns: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: The Browns take the Cleveland-native with the 12th overall pick. Trubisky has a tiny body of work and won’t be ready to takeover the starting role immediately. Trubisky fits the mold of QBs that Hue Jackson seems to like- he’s smart and generally very accurate, but won’t make as many “wow” throws starting out in the league.
Arizona Cardinals: David Njoku, TE, Miami : I do not think that there is a single position (outside of RB or CB) that the Cardinals would be okay passing on. The team has a lot of free agents about to hit the market, and an uncertain future at QB with Carson Palmer reportedly considering retirement. Assuming that Palmer stays and some key players like Shipley, Calais Campbell, and Chandler Jones end up back, I’m putting Njoku here. Njoku is a physical stud with a huge ceiling who I expect to have a great combine and a late rise up the draft board.
Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: If Williams lasts this long, there is no way that the Eagles will pass on him. The Eagles are sore for a legitimate number one receiver- Jordan Matthews is a better slot guy, Dorial Green-Beckham has not been incredibly impressive and Nelson Agholor is a bust. Williams will be a bona fide number 1 receiver who will give Carson Wentz a great weapon to develop alongside.
Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: Rest assured- a couple years of Andrew Luck getting murdered on the field will lead to a reach for a lineman here. Ryan Grigson’s successor will not make the same mistakes he did. No matter what the Colts do, they will not be a genuine competitor until their glaring OL problems are addressed. Ramczyk is the best pass protecting tackle in this draft and can be a top-level right tackle in the NFL.
Baltimore Ravens: Sidney Jones IV, CB, Washington: The Ravens learned very quickly this season that they need a cornerback desperately. If the Ravens draft Jones, that would allow Tavon Young to move into the slot where his instincts and size would suit him better than playing on the perimeter.
Washington Redskins: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: This is a huge fall for what I consider to be a great prospect. The Redskins have been very shrewd lately in the draft, and have been quite disciplined about avoiding reaches. Solomon Thomas is probably a 5-technique in the Redskins defense, with the potential ability to provide a Bosa-like pass rushing impact.
Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: The Titans, despite their success, are going to need a better secondary if they want to make the push into the playoffs next year. Humphrey is not as polished as an Alabama player would be expected to be, but is a tremendous physical specimen who could be coached up in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, HB, Florida State: Doug Martin is done in Tampa Bay and will likely be released shortly. Charles Sims is a receiving back who shouldn’t be counted on to handle the majority of the Bucs workload. Dalvin Cook is arguably the best back in this class and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball.
Denver Broncos: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri: This is a great value/need pick. The Broncos have had their greatest success with a staple of great pass rushers. Demarcus Ware was a huge part of that rotation and with his likely departure, someone will need to step up. Charles Harris is a high quality edge talent who can make an impact in a rotation.
Detriot Lions: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: Reddick is a wild-card for me in this draft, but after the Senior Bowl performance he had, his stock couldn’t be higher. Reddick brings a lot to the table and could be the answer for the Lions linebacker and pass-rushing woes.
Miami Dolphins: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Howard is the best player available at this pick and the Dolphins do need a tight end with Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims both headed for free agency. Jordan Cameron can’t stay healthy and Dion Sims is not on the same level as a guy like Howard. Howard could take Miami’s offense to the next level and put them as a perennial wild-card contender in the AFC.
New York Giants: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: JPP is leaving and the Giants are going to need someone to fill that spot. Charlton is raw, but fits the same mold as a large, physically imposing rush end.
Oakland Raiders: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State: McDowell falls under my current scenario because I have trouble honing in on what exactly he brings to the table. Oakland’s defense is diverse enough that I think McDowell will find a niche early and eventually develop into a full-time starter.
Houston Texans: Garrett Bolles, OL, Utah: The Texans for better or worse are married to Brock Osweiler for the foreseeable future, their best course of action would be to provide him the help he needs to be as successful as he possibly can. Derek Newton’s horrifying injury unfortunately creates a substantial need at right tackle. Bolles is a well-balanced tackle who has a terrific mean streak and good footwork.
Seattle Seahawks: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky: No matter what happens, the Seahawks should take the best OL available at their draft position. Between a left tackle that hadn’t played the position since pop warner, the journeyman swing tackle, the first round bust and whatever college gymnast/fireman/nose tackle was scooped up as an undrafted free agent, there is not a competent lineman in the bunch. Lamp is a college tackle who best fits in the left guard spot for Seattle. Although almost any OL prospect available could upgrade a position on the Seattle line.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: I don’t think Kansas City has many needs, so I expect them to take the best player available. Dee Ford has been a disappointment for the Chiefs and won’t be relied upon to give Tamba Hali or Justin Houston a breather. I also don’t think that the Chiefs are as likely to be scared off by Williams’ off-field issues.
Dallas Cowboys: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State: A third Ohio State DB comes off the board here. The Cowboys are going to be out Morris Claiborne and aren’t going to have enough cap space to bring in a suitable replacement. Conley is a bit of a reach here, but Dallas will need to keep a stocked secondary if they want to keep building on their recent success.
Green Bay Packers: Jabrill Peppers, DB, Michigan: The Packers suffered all season because their defensive backfield had no depth. Peppers isn’t going to be a lock-down corner, but he does have the instincts to make an impact in the secondary and as a box safety. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of issues with Peppers play on defense, but Green Bay is a great situation for him to fall into.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama: The Steelers are going to take a linebacker in the first because they are the Steelers and that’s what they do. Anderson is not a bad pick, but won’t provide the Steelers with an elite pass-rush. Anderson is more of a utility linebacker who is more well-rounded than a great pass rusher.
Atlanta Falcons: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana: There isn’t a good need-based fit for the Falcons at this point, so I’m putting the best player available to them. Feeney would step in at Right Guard for Chris Chester and would keep the OL stable for Matt Ryan to maintain the success that he had this year.
New England Patriots: Budda Baker, DB, Washington: The Patriots are a hard team to mock for because they are always a wild card. Budda Baker is the kind of versatile, cerebral DB prospect that Belichick always seems to value.