Draft day is finally here! Joe Malfa put together his final mock draft of the season. Let the countdown to 8:00 p.m. begin!
1 — Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M (Previous pick: No change)
Even Cleveland can’t possibly mess up this situation. The card should already be filled out.
2 — San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford (Previous pick: No change)
The Niners may trade down or opt to bolster the secondary, but the defensive front — with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead already in place — would be formidable for years to come.
3 — Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St. (Previous pick: No change)
There are concerns over Lattimore’s injury history, but he has a lot of upside and will be the first CB off the board. Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller are the top two CBs on a Chicago depth chart that doesn’t really have any depth.
4 — Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (Previous pick: No change)
The Jaguars quietly had a strong offseason and may be primed for a run at the AFC South crown. Adding Fournette would take a lot of pressure off Blake Bortles and provide the boost that T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory could not.
5 — *TRADE* Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC (Previous pick: No change)
I usually avoid predicting trades in my mock drafts, but I have a good feeling about this one. The Browns are torn between Garrett and Trubisky at No. 1. They have the ammo to move up in order to end up with both players, and the most logical trade partner is the Titans.
Why it makes sense for Tennessee:
Tennessee needs to draft a CB and a WR with their two first round picks (the other is No. 18). With this year’s player pool and the way this board seems like it is going to break, the Titans will still be able to satisfy both of those needs if they move back to No. 12. The icing on the cake will be the boatload of extra picks they pick up in the process.
Why it makes sense for Cleveland:
The Browns utilize some of the draft stock they have accumulated over the last couple of years to make sure they get the QB they want by sliding in front of the Jets.
6 — New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU (Previous pick: No change)
Adams is a tremendous talent and great character who will make an immediate impact on the defense. Outside of Garrett, I believe Adams is the safest pick in the draft.
7 — Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St. (Previous pick: No change)
CB and WR should be the top two priorities for the Chargers, but Hooker is an exception. He is a playmaker in the secondary who can fill the gaping hole left by the departure of Eric Weddle.
8 — Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (Previous pick: No change)
McCaffrey has put together a strong spring. He was once projected by many (myself included) to fall out of the first round, but now it seems unlikely that he will fall past No. 15 (Indianapolis) if he gets out of the top-10. The Panthers would be a great fit. Just thinking about McCaffrey’s speed and elusiveness in the same backfield as Cam Newton is scary.
9 — Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama (Previous pick: No change)
The Bengals get lucky here as a top-five talent, who also happens to be a perfect fit, slips to No. 9. Allen has the versatility to play inside and outside, and he is capable of getting to the quarterback from either position.
10 — Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama (Previous pick: Mike Williams)
There is a lot of buzz about the Bills possibly taking a QB, but they would be better suited getting a target for Tyrod Taylor. He is more than capable of leading Buffalo to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, but he needs a better arsenal of targets. Howard is one of the best all-around TE prospects to enter the draft in a long time.
11 — New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama (Previous pick: Reuben Foster)
The trade for Malcolm Butler never materialized so the Saints need to grab a CB early. They have been connected to Humphrey throughout the draft process. Now that Gareon Conley will likely slide due to rape allegations, Humphrey could be the second CB off the board.
12 — *TRADE* Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson (Previous pick: Gareon Conley)
The Titans need to take a CB and a WR with their two first round picks. Tennessee gets the best WR in the draft here and will shift its focus to CB at No. 18.
13 — Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech (Previous pick: O.J. Howard)
The Cardinals need a replacement for Carson Palmer. By many accounts, Bruce Arians is enamored with Mahomes — he gets his guy at No. 13.
14 — Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee (Previous pick: Marlon Humphrey)
The Eagles need to address their current situation at CB, but with the top two already off the board and the depth at that position in this draft, they can worry about drafting a CB later. They will shift their focus to their next major need — an edge rusher.
Barnett is a talented pass rusher who is hungry for success, as he made perfectly clear in this letter he posted to The Players Tribune.
15 —Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple (Previous pick: No change)
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. The Colts could use a player like that on defense.
16 — Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan (Previous pick: No change)
Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback (sorry Ravens fans), but he can produce at a high level with the right weapons in place. Davis is a strong route-runner with a big frame. He is capable of being a consistent starter and a major red-zone threat.
17 — Washington Redskins: John Ross, WR, Washington (Previous pick: Jabrill Peppers)
The Redskins lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency. They signed Terrelle Pryor, but they need another weapon for Kirk Cousins. He may not be around beyond this season, but they might as well make the most of what could be his last season in Washington by drafting Ross, aka DeSean Jackson 2.0.
18 — Tennessee Titans: David Njoku, TE, Miami (Previous pick: John Ross)
Remember when I said the Titans would grab the CB they needed later in the first round? Well, things change, and by “things” I mean Njoku sliding to No. 18. He has been tied to the Titans and the fit makes a lot of sense. He would provide a dangerous two-TE look with Delanie Walker and when the 32-year-old Walker’s days in Tennessee are over, Njoku would be able to emerge as a star at TE.
Going all offense with Williams and Njoku in the first round would be a bold move by the Titans, but they need to build around their young franchise QB. Given the depth at CB in this draft, they could find a CB capable of starting from day one with the 2nd round pick they would likely acquire through my predicted trade with the Browns.
19 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St. (Previous pick: David Njoku)
The tight ends are gone and the Bucs failed to add a running back through free agency. Cook would fill a need and fit the system in Tampa. He would also be able to stay in the state of Florida and reunite with his old QB, Jameis Winston.
20 — Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin (Previous pick: No change)
Ramczyk has the potential to develop into the consistent left tackle the Broncos desperately need.
21 — Detroit Lions: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (Previous Pick: Derek Barnett)
Injury concerns, the hospital incident at the combine and the report of his failed drug test will force Reuben Foster down the board, but that does not change the fact that he is, in my opinion, the fourth best player in this draft (Garrett, Adams and Fournette ahead of him).
The Lions need an inside linebacker that can start right away. Foster is the most pro-ready linebacker in the draft with the potential to develop into a perennial All-Pro. He will anchor this Lions defense for the next decade.
22 — Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky (Previous pick: No change)
Ryan Tannehill has proven he can be an above average starting QB when he has protection, and Jay Ajayi has showcased his ability to be a bell-cow back. Drafting Lamp helps solidify the offensive line, allowing both Tannehill and Ajayi to play to the fullest of their potential.
23 — New York Giants: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama (Previous pick: Dalvin Cook)
Their biggest need for the Giants is on the offensive line, and Robinson can step in and start on either side of the line right away.
24 — Oakland Raiders: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida (Previous pick: No change)
The Raiders are strong up front and have a few solid pieces in the secondary, but the linebackers are suspect. Davis reminds me a lot of Deion Jones. He may be valued as a second rounder, but he belongs in the first round and will immediately produce as a first rounder.
25 — Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (Previous pick: No change)
No chance the Texans pass on Watson if he falls this far. I actually think Houston may trade up into the teens if Watson slips past No. 13, but there is certainly a chance he makes it to No. 25. In the same way Russell Wilson was the last piece of the puzzle for the Seahawks, Watson has the ability to get the Texans over the hump.
26 — Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles, OL, Utah (Previous pick: No change)
Russell Wilson is officially the face of the franchise. It is time to make sure he is protected. He will be a lot more effective when he isn’t running for his life.
27 — Kansas City Chiefs: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame (Previous pick: Patrick Mahomes)
The Chiefs have expressed interest in moving on from Alex Smith and preparing for the future. The pre-draft buzz makes it sound as if Mahomes is Andy Reid’s preferred target, but Kizer wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.
28 — Dallas Cowboys: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St. (Previous pick: Tre’Davious White)
Conley presents an interesting dilemma for NFL teams amid the rape allegations that came out against him yesterday. Some teams have reportedly taken him off the board entirely.
If there’s anyone willing to take a chance on someone like Conley, given the fact that the situation is very murky and no charges have been formally brought against him, it’s Jerry Jones.
Jones has a history of taking chances, and he will come away with the biggest steal of the draft if the rape accusations turn out to be false. Conley is arguably the second best CB in the draft and he fills a major need for the Cowboys.
29 — Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin (Previous pick: Quincy Wilson)
The Wisconsin boy, who happens to be the brother of J.J. Watt, with a skill-set and playing style similar to Clay Matthew gets drafted by the Packers.
30 — Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri (Previous pick: DeShone Kizer)
The Steelers worked on improving the secondary in 2016, drafting CB Artie Burns in the first round and S Sean Davis in the second. This year, the focus will shift to the defensive front, more specifically finding someone who can be productive on the edge and eventually replace James Harrison.
31 — Atlanta Falcons: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan (Previous pick: Takkarist McKinley)
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 Charlton.
32 — New Orleans Saints: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA (Previous pick: Kevin King)
The Saints got the secondary help they needed by selecting Humphrey at No. 11. The next order of business is improving the pass rush, and McKinley would be an instant upgrade.