With the NFL Scouting Combine in the rear-view and the dust clearing in free agency, Joe Malfa put together his third mock draft of the season.
1 — Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M (Previous pick: no change)
The Browns should have already filled out the draft card. Garrett is a freak.
2 — San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford (Previous pick: Reuben Foster)
Thomas has put together a strong draft season and appears to be a lock for the top five. Drafting Thomas gives the Niners a formidable defensive front with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead already in place.
3 — Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU (Previous pick: Deshaun Watson)
In the previous edition of my mock, the Bears did not have Mike Glennon. The QB situation is taken care of (for now, at least), so the focus can shift to fixing up a dismal secondary. Adams is a tremendous talent and leader capable of anchoring the secondary for years to come.
4 — Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama (Previous pick: no change)
Tom Coughlin has always focused on building team’s from the inside out. One of the few defensive holes for the Jaguars is on the interior defensive line next to Malik Jackson. Allen plugs that hole and has the versatility to play outside if necessary.
5 — Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St. (Previous pick: Mike Williams)
The Titans boosted the secondary with the signings of Jonathan Cyprien and Logan Ryan, but they still have no depth at corner. Lattimore will provide depth and allow either Ryan or McCourty to slide into the slot. Tennessee will worry about getting a receiver with their second pick of this first round.
6 — New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St. (Previous pick: no change)
The Jets really have not done anything to fix the secondary in free agency. Hooker has the range and ball skills to be an All-Pro safety in the NFL, though it may take a year or two to reach his full potential.
7 — Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson (Previous pick: Marshon Lattimore)
The Chargers need to draft either a wide receiver or a cornerback in the first round this year. Rivers needs a new toy because Keenan Allen is always broken, and Williams is the best target avaialable this year.
8 — Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (Previous pick: no change)
It is scary to think about the Panthers offense with the addition of Fournette. Cam Newton and Fournette will occupy the same backfield while Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen will stretch the field.
9 — Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (Previous pick: Derek Barnett)
The Bengals needed to address their situations at linebacker and pass rusher. They added Kevin Minter to improve the linebacking corps, but they could still use another. The edge rusher can be addressed later in the draft, but there will not be a linebacker like Foster available on Day Two of the draft.
10 — Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan (Previous pick: Jamal Adams)
The Bills decided to bring back Tyrod Taylor. Now it is time to show a committment to him by adding a weapon like Davis.
11 — New Orleans Saints: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC (Previous pick: Solomon Thomas)
Finding an edge rusher and a corner should be the focus of the Saints in this draft. However, now that they have another pick in the first round and the draft is loaded at both of those positions of need, they can begin to plan for life after Drew Brees.
12 — Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (Previous pick: DeShone Kizer)
The Browns will pass on the quarterback at No. 1, but they will still make sure to grab one in the first round. I envision Hue Jackson falling in love with a prospect like Watson.
13 — Arizona Cardinals: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame (Previous pick: Mitchell Trubisky)
In the same way the Saints will plan for life after Brees, the Cardinals will prepare for life after Carson Palmer. The 2017 season will probably be Palmer’s last in the desert. Kizer is a good fit with Bruce Arians and he will have the ability to learn from Palmer for a year.
14 — Philadelphia Eagles: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St. (Previous pick: Dalvin Cook)
The Eagles are in desperate need of a corner. Conley has shot up draft boards after his combine performance and there is a good chance he is the second corner off the board behind Lattimore, his teammate at Ohio St.
15 —Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky (Previous pick: Ryan Ramczyk)
Offensive line is still a point of emphasis for the Colts after drafting center Ryan Kelly in the first round last year. Lamp was a tackle in college but will shift inside in the NFL. He is the top interior offensive lineman in this draft, capable of playing either guard spot.
16 — Baltimore Ravens: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama (Previous pick: Taco Charlton)
Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback but he can produce at a high level with the right weapons in place. Adding a tight end like Howard will provide a major boost to the offense. The Ravens already have Dennis Pitta, but he has had his fair share of injury issues. There is nothing wrong with having two productive tight ends, and Howard has the potential to be great.
17 — Washington Redskins: Jabrill Peppers, S/OLB, Michigan (Previous pick: Corey Davis)
Peppers boosted his stock at the combine. I believe he is a lock for the first round now and the Redskins would be a good fit. They could use a dynamic playmaker in the secondary that can also get to the line to defend the run like Peppers.
18 — Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington (Previous pick: Quincy Wilson)
Remember when I said the Titans would grab the receiver they needed later in the first round? Here it is. Ross and his 4.22 speed will help take this offense to the next level.
19 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami (Previous pick: O.J. Howard)
Njoku is an athletic freak with the tools to be a top-tier tight end in the NFL. He could have a lot of success in Dirk Koetter’s system with Jameis Winston throwing him the ball.
20 — Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah (Previous pick: Cam Robinson)
Bolles 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 to help protect whoever lines up at quarterback for the Broncos.
21 — Detroit Lions: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee (Previous Pick: Teez Tabor)
Barnett is a threat to get to the quarterback on every snap. With Ziggy Ansah rushing from the other side, quarterbacks will be forced to get rid of the ball in a hurry. The Lions can worry about drafting a corner in the second round.
22 — Miami Dolphins: Haason Reddick, DE, Temple (Previous pick: Marlon Humphrey)
Reddick is listed as a defensive end but I see him as an outside linebacker who can stop the run, get after the quarterback and drop back in coverage. He reminds me a lot of Ryan Shazier.
23 — New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin (Previous pick: David Njoku)
The Giants were hoping Ereck Flowers would be the answer at left tackle, but he has not lived up to expectations to say the least. He will be a lot better off transitioning to right tackle, and the Giants will place their faith in Ramczyk to be the answer on the left side.
24 — Oakland Raiders: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida (Previous pick: Sidney Jones)
Raiders need a cornerback and Wilson is the next man up on my list of the top cornerbacks.
25 — Houston Texans: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama (Previous pick: Garett Bolles)
The Texans need to improve the offensive line for whoever lines up at quarterback and Robinson will have an immediate impact as a starter. He can line up inside at guard or outside at right tackle.
26 — Seattle Seahawks: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU (Previous pick: Forrest Lamp)
The ‘Legion of Boom’ is on life support because the Seahawks have had trouble finding consistent play from a corner not named Richard Sherman. White has the ability to fix that. He has some issues tackling, but he excels in coverage.
27 — Kansas City Chiefs: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida (Previous pick: Haason Reddick)
The Chiefs have a gaping hole to address in the middle of the defensive line after Dontari Poe’s departure to Atlanta. Brantley has the power and quickness to be a force on the inside.
28 — Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan (Previous pick: Takkarist McKinley)
Charlton has prototypical size, length and athleticism for an edge rusher, and he finally put it all together in his senior season. His best football is in front of him and a Cowboys defense in desperate need of an edge rusher will reap the rewards.
29 — Green Bay Packers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St. (Previous pick: Alvin Kamara)
Cook’s stock is falling, but I still view him as the second-best running back in this draft class. I thought he would be a top-10 pick before the draft process started and I still see him as that top-10 talent, but some reports have suggested he may fall to the second round. I simply cannot see him falling past a team the Packers, who played 2016 with a converted wide receiver lining up at running back.
30 — Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA (Previous pick: Caleb Brantley)
James Harrison’s days in Pittsburgh are numbered even though he just signed a two-year contract extension. McKinley can line up with his hand in the dirt or standing up as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He is an optimal replacement for Harrison.
31 — Atlanta Falcons: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri (Previous pick: Tim Williams)
The Falcons had two holes on the defensive line heading into the offseason: a nose tackle and a pass rusher opposite Vic Beasley. The first need was addressed with the signing of Dontari Poe and the second will be addressed with the selection of Harris.
32 — New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama (Previous pick: N/A; belonged to New England)
The Saints get the corner they need after drafting the heir to Brees earlier in the round.
Photo Credit: TexasA&M.com