With the NFL Scouting Combine coming up later this week, Joe Malfa put together his second mock draft of the season.
1 — Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
When you are coming off a 1-15 season and the best player available fills a need, you draft him without hesitation. Worry about the quarterback later or next year.
2 — San Francisco 49ers: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
My gut tells me the duo of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will wait on a quarterback. They both inked six-year contracts which will allow them to fill out the rest of a depleted roster before forcing the issue at quarterback. There have already been some rumblings about Foster to the Niners and I think it makes perfect sense. Landing a linebacker that can anchor the defense for the next decade would be a great start to the rebuild.
3 — Chicago Bears: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The murky situation at quarterback will probably get much clearer after the combine, but for now this is a total shot in the dark. Watson is my top quarterback and I can see John Fox falling in love with the proven three-year winner.
4 — Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
I view Allen as the second best player available in the draft. The Jaguars get lucky here as he falls to the fourth pick, similar to the way Leonard Williams fell to the Jets two years ago. Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Jonathan Allen will give the Jaguars the pieces to have a great defense for years to come.
5 — Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Titans offense is a big-time wide receiver away from being scary. They have a franchise quarterback, one of the best offensive lines in the league and two solid running backs. Williams can take them to the next level.
6 — New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
Between free agency and the draft, it is time for the Jets to hit the reset button in the secondary. Hooker is raw but has the athleticism and play-making ability to be an All-Pro.
7 — San Diego Chargers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
The Chargers need to draft either a wide receiver or a cornerback in the first round this year. Rivers does not have enough weapons and the defense has issues stopping big-time receivers. I have not seen enough out of Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis to move him into the top-10 (though the combine can change that), so I will go with the athletic corner that has a lot of upside with this pick.
8 — Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette in the same backfield as Cam Newton is a matchup nightmare and opposing defenses cannot load the box because Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen can stretch the field. They could be dangerous.
9 — Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
This pick is pretty simple. The Bengals need fix their pass-rushing situation and Barnett is the second-best pass rusher in the draft behind Garrett.
10 — Buffalo Bills: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Bills are in the same boat as the Jets when it comes to needing to revamp the secondary. Adams is a physical safety who can crowd the line or drop back in coverage, and by all accounts he is a fiery leader who can breathe some life into a bad defense.
11 — New Orleans Saints: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Saints’ defense ranked 25th against the pass in 2014, 31st in 2015, and 32nd in 2016. They desperately need to upgrade the secondary and pass rush, and Thomas can help immediately with the latter.
12 — Cleveland Browns: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
I believe the Browns trade this pick before the draft, but if they keep it, this is where I can see them taking a shot at a quarterback. Kizer has all of the physical tools you look for in a franchise quarterback but his game needs refining — the perfect project for a coach like Hue Jackson.
13 — Arizona Cardinals: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The Cardinals need to start looking to the future at quarterback with Carson Palmer likely heading into his final season in the desert. I would be afraid to draft Trubisky and ask him to play right away considering he was a one-year starter in college, but the Cardinals would have the luxury of sitting him behind a proven veteran for at least a year.
14 — Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Andrew Luck will never bring the Colts a championship without an offensive line and a defense. The Colts took the first step towards getting him a consistent offensive line by drafting center Ryan Kelly in the first round last year. The next order of business should be getting Luck a competent left tackle. Current left tackle Anthony Castonzo may be better suited on the right side and drafting Ramczyk would allow the Colts to make that move. All of a sudden, that offensive line does not look so bad.
15 — Philadelphia Eagles: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Eagles have holes to fill at wide receiver and in the secondary, but I think those needs will be addressed in free agency. If Cook is on the board, the Eagles should run the card up to the podium. He has a little Jamaal Charles in his game and he would thrive in Doug Pederson’s system the same way that Charles did.
16 — Baltimore Ravens: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Terrell Suggs is not going to be around forever and he is coming off a torn Achilles in 2015 and a torn biceps in 2016 (though he played through this injury). It is time to find his replacement and Charlton can be a premier pass rusher in the NFL.
17 — Washington Redskins: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Redskins may lose Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson when free agency begins. If they are going to give Kirk Cousins a mega-deal, they need to find him a new target.
18 — Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Outside of Lattimore at the top, the cornerbacks in this draft are all bunched together and it will probably take combine performances to create any sort of separation. From what I have seen, I like the size and physicality of Wilson which is why I have him as the second cornerback off the board.
19 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Howard has the tools to be a top-tier tight end in the NFL and he could have a lot of success in Dirk Koetter’s system.
20 — Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
It is a relatively weak offensive line class, but Robinson looks like the best prospect after Ramczyk. Robinson can play immediately at right tackle or move inside. The Broncos offensive line needs work and it can benefit from Robinson’s versatility.
21 — Detroit Lions: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Darius Slay has been great for the Lions, but they lack a solid starter on the other side and depth. Tabor is another strong cornerback prospect in a loaded draft class. Coincidentally, the NFL.com draft profile for Tabor has Slay as his pro comparison — I am sure the Lions would like to have two Darius Slays.
22 — Miami Dolphins: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Dolphins need a cornerback and Humphrey is the next man up on my list of the top cornerbacks.
23 — New York Giants: David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Giants have about a three year window to win another Super Bowl with Eli Manning so the focus in this draft should be surrounding him with as much talent as possible. Njoku is the most athletic, best pass-catching tight end in the draft.
24 — Oakland Raiders: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Raiders need a cornerback and Jones is the next man up on my list of the top cornerbacks.
25 — Houston Texans: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Texans need to improve the offensive line for whoever lines up at quarterback, and Bolles has the potential to develop into a solid starter. He is inexperienced having only played one year of FBS football and needs to bulk up in an NFL strength program, but the talent is there.
26 — Seattle Seahawks: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Seahawks should honestly consider using their first three picks on offensive lineman — the unit needs that much work. Lamp is capable of starting inside immediately and playing all five positions, which is a major plus considering the Seahawks have holes all over the line.
27 — Kansas City Chiefs: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Chiefs are becoming a bit long in the tooth at linebacker, but Reddick can fix that. He is in the mold of a Ryan Shazier — an athletic, fast linebacker who can play inside in a 3-4 or WILL in a 4-3.
28 — Dallas Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
Since things did not really wok out with Greg Hardy or Randy Gregory, the Cowboys need to find an edge rusher. McKinley has the speed, athleticism and mechanics to be an effective edge rusher.
29 — Green Bay Packers: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
The Packers cannot enter the season with their top running back being a converted wide receiver (sorry, Ty Montgomery). Aaron Rodgers, while superhuman, still needs someone to ease the burden. Kamara has the skill set to play all three downs and an overlooked plus is the fact that he only had 284 touches at Tennessee — not much wear on those tires.
30 — Pittsburgh Steelers: Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida
The Steelers defense is still a far cry from the ‘Steel Curtain’ of years past, but it is improving. The next area to improve is the interior defensive line and Brantley has the size, strength and quickness to be an impactful starter as a rookie.
31 — Atlanta Falcons: Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama
Dan Quinn gets his Atlanta version of Bruce Irvin. Williams saw his stock drop after an underwhelming performance on the big stage against Clemson, but his floor is that of an above average third down pass rush specialist.
32 — New England Patriots: Jabrill Peppers, S/OLB, Michigan
I shudder at the thought of Matt Patricia adding this versatile playmaker to a defense that ranked 1st in points allowed, but it may become a reality.
Photo Credit: OSU.com