As I write this the 2017 NFL Draft is just two sleeps and (about) 15 hours away. The end is in sight and the endless speculation about who the New York Giants will select and parade of mock drafts will give way to the real thing.
But we still have some time left for a final mock draft. In what has become an annual tradition here at Big Blue View, Ed, Invictus, and I will all take one last stab at guessing how the first round of the draft will go.
Personally, I am expecting the first round of the draft to be a wild one. I don’t think we will have long to wait before some team makes a trade or completely unexpected move and blows an entire Inter-Google’s worth of mock drafts to smithereens.
But until then, here’s my mock (in which I go off-script as well):
- Cleveland Browns - Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina) - Last year the Browns learned the cost of not getting a quarterback. They also learned the price of moving up to get one. Is Myles Garrett better than they players they would have to give up to move up to get Trubisky later? Moneyball may say no.
- San Francisco 49ers - DeShaun Watson (QB, Clemson) - Rumors persist that the 9ers want a quarterback. Shanahan might want a reunion with Kirk Cousins, but that might never work out. Watson has top-notch intangibles and is a good fit for the kinds of schemes Shanahan likes to run.
- Chicago Bears - Myles Garrett (DE, TAMU) - John Fox probably can't believe his luck here. He might want a QB, but he won't turn down Garrett.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU) - Giants fans can probably hear Tom Coughlin now. “We're going to be committed to running the ball and playing great defense.” The Jags have yet to commit to Blake Bortles, but Fournette will help to take some load off his shoulders.
- Tennessee Titans - Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State) - The Titans are a popular trade candidate here, but since I am not mocking trades, they will get a boost to their secondary.
- New York Jets - Garett Bolles (OT, Utah) - The Jets could add a DB here, but they don't have a left tackle on the roster. They don't know who their QB will be, but it won't matter if they can't protect him.
- Los Angeles Chargers - Jonathan Allen (DL, Alabama) - The chargers are transitioning to a new defense and Allen can play a variety of techniques. There are concerns about his shoulder, but on the field he might be the best player in the draft.
- Carolina Panthers - Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford) - Cam Robinson and Derek Barnett are in consideration here, but ultimately McCaffrey does too much to not take.
- Cincinnati Bengals - Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford) - The Bengals defense was feared just a couple years ago. Thomas is undersized by their standards, but adds a great burst off the line and an ability to put the QB on the ground.
- Buffalo Bills - O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama) - Howard gives the Bills a boost in the passing game and helpsmake their running game even better.
- New Orleans Saints - Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee) - The Saints desperately need help on their defense. Barnett is steady and productive, not to mention solid in the run game as well as a good pass rusher. Adding him to Cam Jordan and Nick Fairly could make for a disruptive front
- Cleveland Browns - Jamal Adams (S, LSU) - The Browns passed on Garrett with the first overall pick, but still come away with one of the best players in the draft. Adams is a do-it-all safety in the mold of Landon Collins.
- Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Mahomes II (QB, Texas Tech) - The Cards would probably like to take a QB later, but the top two going early might force their hand. Palmer is 37 and they need to plan for the future. Mahomes has more than enough arm strength for Bruce Arians’ vertical attack.
- Philadelphia Eagles - Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama) - The Eagles don't really have a choice here. With Odell Beckham, See Bryant, and Terrelle Pryor in the division, they need to add talent to their secondary.
- Indianapolis Colts - Forrest Lamp (OL, WKU) - Andrew Luck has been beat up the last few years, and the Colts need to protect their franchise. Lamp is the best offensive line prospect in this draft, and should have the versatility to slot in wherever he is needed most.
- Baltimore Ravens - Mike Williams (WR, Clemson) - The Ravens lost Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman has yet to live up to his draft slot. Williams is a bit more of a known quantity right now than Corey Davis, and Baltimore needs that.
- Washington Redskins - Reuben Foster (ILB, Alabama) - Foster is touted as one of the best football players in the draft, but concerns about a diluted urine sample, a shoulder surgery, and a history of concussions have him dropping down the draft board.
- Tennessee Titans - Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan) - The Titans don't have a true number one receiver and the top one on many boards falls into their laps. Davis’ ankle is reportedly close to 100%, so he should be ready for training camp, perhaps mini-camp.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - David Njoku (TE, Miami) - The Buccs continue to build around Jameis Winston. Adding Njoku to Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson gives him three big targets with unreal catch radii.
- Denver Broncos - Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin) - John Elway might even move up to ensure that he gets the offensive lineman he needs in this draft. In this case one of the top three OTs falls to him.
- Detroit Lions - Haason Reddick (LB, Temple) - A popular pick here, Reddick fills a hole at linebacker while also upgrading the Lions’ pass rush.
- Miami Dolphins - T.J. Watt (LB/EDGE) - Watt can step in and help shore up the Dolphins’ linebacker corps while also giving more pass rush help to Cameron Wake after the Mario Williams debacle.
- New York Giants - Tyus Bowser (OLB/EDGE, Houston) - Jerry Reese has never taken a linebacker in the first round. He hadn't taken a running back in the first before David Wilson, and the Giants hadn't drafted an offensive lineman in the first for years before Justin Pugh. What Reese has done, more often than not, is take prospects who have rare athleticism for the position but aren't being tied to the Giants and are perceived as reaches by people without access to the Giants’ draft board. Bowser’s measurable profile compares to Khalil Mack, and he has the ability to drop into coverage as well as be an explosive pass rusher. Bowser needs to be coached up on certain aspects of his game, but he should be able to step in as a SAM linebacker in Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 Under (based) defense and contribute in a variety of the subpackages Spags employs.
- Oakland Raiders - Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida) - If it weren't for Davis’ extensive injury history, he might be a top 15 talent. The Raiders are going to take the chance to improve the middle of their defense.
- Houston Texans - Davis Webb (QB, Cal) - The Texans need to come away with a quarterback, and with them going early, can't wait on better value. Bill O’Brien gets a big-armed passer with sky-high intangibles.
- Seattle Seahawks - Dion Dawkins (OT, Temple) - Dawkins isn't generally mocked in the first, but the Seahawks’ OL is in desperate need of help. Dawkins has upside and is a tough, hard-nosed player who would be at home in the Seahawks’ locker room.
- Kansas City Chiefs - Malik McDowell (DL, Michigan State) - The Chiefs have shown a remarkable tolerance for risk the last couple years. McDowell is more of the same, but if it pays off they could have a steal.
- Dallas Cowboys - Charles Harris (DE, Missouri) - Harris isn't one for run defense, but he is a talented pass rusher. He falls thanks to a mystifyingly bad combine, but his talent shines on tape.
- Green Bay Packers - Derek Rivers, (EDGE, Youngstown State) - The Packers lost Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews is getting up in years. Rivers is a versatile and twitchy athlete who can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt.
- Pittsburgh Steelers - Raekwon McMillan (LB, Ohio State) - The Steelers lost Lawrence Timmons in free agency and could use somebody to help bolster the middle of their defense. Pairing McMillan with Ryan Shazier could make for a dynamic linebacking corps.
- Atlanta Falcons - Jordan Willis (DE, Kansas State) - The Falcons could have, should have, won the Super Bowl. Getting another athletic edge rusher to go along with Vic Beasley will help balance a defense and take advantage of their high-powered offense.
- New Orleans Saints - Evan Engram (TE/WR, Ole Miss) - The Saints traded Brandin Cooks, which creates a big opportunity for a pass catcher. Engram is exactly the kind of versatile and hyper-athletic weapon Sean Payton would love to unleash on the NFL.