My first mock draft of the off-season. Looked mainly at teams biggest needs after the free agency period. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M
The Browns draft arguably the best player in this years class. Garrett is a freak athlete, with impressive speed and power, making him a disruptive force in rushing the passer. He’s got all the attributes to become an all-pro for many years to come.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
A close call between him and Malik Hooker, but even though he had a ‘mediocre’ combine, Adams is the more polished player. Adams is a ferocious tackler and a hard-hitter against the run. Similar to Landon Collins the way he soars around the secondary. Will be an instant game-changer for the 49ers defense.
3. Chicago Bears: Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
Possibly a slight reach at 3, but the Bears gamble on the raw safety Hooker. Has excellent play-making abilities, with 7 interceptions in 2016. Reads the QB’s eyes very well in coverage, but is more adept vs the pass than the run.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
The Jags continue to bolster their cornerback corps. Although lacking in experience, Lattimore possesses outstanding athleticism, running a 4.36 in the 40 yard dash at the combine. His inexperience may show early on in the NFL, but he’s got all the attributes to be a star for the Jags in years to come.
5. Tennessee Titans: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Titans get a boost upfront, with this powerful pass rusher who had an impressive combine performance. The Titans continue building their explosive, blitzing defense under Dick Lebeau. Thomas will fit right in.
6. New York Jets: Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama
The Jets replace Darrelle Revis with an extremely aggressive and competitive player in Humphrey. Has all the potential to be a lockdown No1 cornerback, who will dominate receivers who don’t come to play. Jets steal a gem at 6.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Philip Rivers will be happy throwing to Williams, who possesses great size and height. Is a natural pass- catcher and can compete with defenders in the air, with his long arms and big hands. Not the finished article, but very much needed for the Chargers, as star receiver Keenan Allen is coming off two back-to-back season ending injuries.
8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Very agile and athletic pass-rusher. Allen will give the Panthers defensive line some much needed youth, as he looks to find his feet in the NFL. Excellent pass rusher and more than capable run stopper, who can play inside or out.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Very explosive interior lineman, who can potentially play outside with the right coaching. Shows excellent strength and speed, which can overwhelm blockers. Another player who can inject some youth into an ageing defensive line.
10. Buffalo Bills: John Ross, WR, Washington
Incredible speed, which was shown in his 4.22 sprint in the 40 yard dash. Has a competitive nature about him that may put some teams off. Excellent route runner and good hands. Him and Tyrod Taylor may become a scary combination.
11. New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster brings a much needed swagger to the Saints lacklustre defense. Hard-hitter, who never skirts away from a tackle. Best linebacker in the draft who can play all 3 downs. Saints get a good one at 11.
12. Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
The Browns draft this year’s Swiss Army Knife. Peppers is a seriously talented player, who runs and tackles hard. Can play Safety, Slot or Linebacker, but needs to find his best position early. Has kick/punt return abilities that will excite the Browns. An excellent pick up for the Browns, although he’s no Charles Woodson.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Cardinals draft their future QB in Trubisky. Accurate, big arm and great pocket mobility. Has enough speed and agility to be a dual-threat in the NFL. Is nowhere near the finished article, but a season or two under Carson Palmer and he could be great.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Eagles get an upgrade in the secondary with White, although they probably would have wanted Sidney Jones, who falls out of the 1st round after suffering an injury on his pro-day. White is an experienced CB, having been a starter for the past 4 years. Very good in coverage and can play slot if needed. Will be an instant impact on special teams.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The first running back of this highly talented class comes off the board and heads to the Colts, who are in desperate need for a future All-Pro running-back, to take some heat off Andrew Luck. “Built like a linebacker with speed like a receiver” is my favourite quote on Fournette. He’s big, powerful and explosive. Excellent pick up for the Colts.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
His inconsistent production may hamper his draft value, but Charlton has the size and athletic ability to be a real force up front for the Ravens. Very talented player, who needs some coaching, which he will get in Baltimore. He’s only going to get better.
17. Washington Redskins: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
I changed my pick for the Redskins numerous times. They could go QB, S, LB, even WR. In the end I’ve gone for defense. Brantley plugs up a gap in the Redskins defense. He’s compact and strong with quick first step. Better pass rusher than many believe.
18. Tennessee Titans: Hasson Reddick, DE/LB, Temple
A very intriguing prospect, whose draft stock rose significantly after the combine. Explosive and quick athlete who needs coaching. The Titans will love his athletic ability. Needs to bulk up if he’s to play on the edge. Diamond in the rough?
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
A raw athlete, with an unbelievable work ethic that teams will love. Ran a 4.59 in the 40 yard dash, which is impressive for a guy weighing in a 250 lbs. Will be a welcome addition for the Buccs alongside Williams Gholston and Robert Ayers.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The best offensive lineman in the draft heads to the Broncos, where he’ll be an instant starter opposite newly signed Menelik Watson. A solid pick for Denver, who select an athletic, intelligent tackle. Injuries will be the only concern for John Elway.
21. Detroit Lions: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Lions add a pass rushing presence to compliment Ezekiel Ansah. Very productive collegiate career, Barnett possesses good hands and strength to compete in the NFL. Will have an instant impact for the Lions and should be a starter.
22. Miami Dolphins: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
The Dolphins would have loved to draft linebacker Rueben Foster and I feel Zach Cunningham would have been a reach at 22. Instead they get the best tight-end in the draft in OJ Howard. He’s near enough the complete TE, with outstanding speed and strength. Some question marks over his character, but the Dolphins give the ever improving Ryan Tannehill another weapon to throw to.
23. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Resisting the urge to draft Eli Manning’s replacement, the Giants happily settle for the 2nd best TE in the draft. Njoku is an incredible athlete with great speed for his size. Can be lined up anywhere on the field and is an accomplished blocker. Manning will have his TE he’s so desperately needed.
24. Oakland Raiders: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Raiders replace Latavius Murray in no time with this pick. Cook has great speed and explosiveness and is a good enough all round back to play every down. Injuries and character issues have effected his draft stock, but it will be to the Raiders gain. They add Cook to the already young and talented core of Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. AC/DC..DC???
25. Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Even if they acquire Tony Romo, the Texans need their QB of the future. Like last years No1 pick, Watson will need plenty of time to adjust to the NFL, having played out of the shotgun while at Clemson. Known for his excellent decision-making, athleticism and leadership, Watson has huge upside, if he is given the time to do so.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
Widely regarded as having the worst offensive line in football last year, the Seahawks draft a guard who could potentially play all down the line if needed. Strong and smart, Lamp is a great pick for the Seahawks, who upgraded their line with Luke Joeckel in free agency.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Very productive wide receiver, with great hands and excellent route runner. Redzone threat with his size, something which the Chiefs need having been one of the worst in the league last season. Will score a lot of touchdowns.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Tabor will add great size and athleticism to the Cowboys defense, who are in need of a cornerback. Not a lockdown corner, but very good in coverage. Poor showing at the combine, but don’t think the Cowboys will be put off.
29. Green Bay Packers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The multidimensional running back will be a welcome addition to the Packers offense, who lost Eddie Lacy in free agency. Aaron Rodgers will love throwing to McCaffrey coming out the backfield, or in the slot. This pick just fits.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
With uncertainty of the future of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers gamble of Mahomes. Could be a very good fit for Mahomes, who has a lot of Big Ben in him. He’s able to make all the throws and has the arm and confidence to hit the deep, sideline throws. Is mobile and big enough to handle himself in the pocket.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Very athletic tackle, with the ability to play either left or right. Had a great combine and showed off his speed with a sub 5 second 40 yard dash. Some question marks over his core strength and ability to sustain blocks. Nice addition to this Falcons explosive offense.
32. New Orleans Saints: Cam Robinson OG, Alabama
Although the Saints had one of the best offensive lines last year, it is an ageing offensive line, especially at the guard position. Robinson has great size and frame and is very powerful. His issues are balance and inconsistent pass blocking, but he’s a good pick up for the Saints at 32.