The draft order of this mock is determined by roughly estimating the NFL final standings.
1. Cleveland Browns- DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Notre Dame may be slumping right now, but people are still raving about how good Kizer is. He has all the tools you want in a franchise quarterback: arm strength, accuracy, build and football IQ. His build fits with Hue Jackson very well, as before he worked with Andy Dalton, he preferred big strong armed quarterbacks. The Browns are starting to build a roster, but need a quarterback to help them win games.
2. San Francisco 49ers- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
If Chip Kelly is still the head coach, he’s going to need some of his type of players to succeed. Watson is appealing because of his dual-threat abilities and should fit right into how Kelly wants to run his offense. At Clemson this season, Watson hasn’t looked quite as good as he did last season, but scouts have enough tape to see what he is capable of.
3. Chicago Bears- Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
Three quarterbacks in a row? If these three teams draft in the top three they will all be looking for quarterbacks. The Bears are going to move on from Jay Cutler. Kaaya is more inclined to stay in the pocket than the other two quarterbacks, but has decent mobility himself. He is accurate, has average arm strength and makes smart plays with the ball. One knock on Kaaya is that he doesn’t make the big plays that you would expect out of a highly touted quarterback. He also doesn’t have many impressive wins at Miami
4. New York Jets- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Jets have many issues on offense, including quarterback, but before a quarterback can be successful for them, they need the offensive line to step up. If the Jets can improve their offensive line play and get a running game going, it’s possible one of their young quarterbacks (Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty) can be moderately successful.
5. Carolina Panthers- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The defense hasn’t been great for the Panthers this season, but the running game has also been an issue. A backfield with Cam Newton and Fournette would be hard for any defense to stop. Fournette has been injured this season, but did come back and have a career day against Ole Miss. The Panthers can get a steal here, as Fournette is one of the two best players in this class.
6. San Diego Chargers- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Garrett is the best player in this class, but quarterbacks always rise on draft day. The Chargers got Joey Bosa in the first round this season, and can have one of the best young front sevens in football with Garrett and him paired together. Garrett is a better pass rusher than he is a run stopper, but is still good at stopping the run. He pursues plays very well and is a sure tackler.
7. Miami Dolphins- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Ryan Tannehill is taking baby steps under new head coach Adam Gase, so they will likely want to see how he progresses after another year in the system. Cook can run the ball in between the tackles, but can also be a valuable receiving weapon for Tannehill out of the back field. If Jay Ajayi continues his good play, the Dolphins may be able to address other needs.
8. Indianapolis Colts- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Alabama’s win over Texas A&M was highlighted by a scoop and score by Allen. He is a versatile defensive lineman who can stop the run and rush the passer at very high levels. He has six sacks in eight games for the Crimson Tide. Indianapolis needs to upgraded every position on defense, so they can take the best defensive player available.
9. Cincinnati Bengals- Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
The Bengals picked a corner with their first pick last season, William Jackson III, but Adam Jones’ play has been declining and Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t lived up to expectations. Jackson is a great cover corner, who is one of the most athletic corners in college football. He also can provide a spark in the return game for the Bengals.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jalen “Teez” Tabor, CB, Florida
Tampa Bay needs to improve their defense if they want to continue to grow in the NFC South. They are in the bottom half of the league in pass yards allowed. A lot of scouts have said that Tabor is better than his former Florida teammate Vernon Hargreaves III, who was selected 11th in last years’ draft by the Buccaneers and is having a good season thus far.
11. New Orleans Saints- Jabril Peppers, LB/DB, Michigan
Peppers is the best defensive player in college football this season. He is versatile enough to play corner, safety, linebacker and even return kicks and plays offense for the Wolverines. The only knock on Peppers defensively, is that he isn’t a ball hawk. He has zero interceptions in his career at Michigan, but is a sure tackler and hardly ever gets beat in coverage. The Saints will be happy to have someone so versatile on their defense, which is so bad.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars- Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
If Gus Bradley wants to bring a legion of boom feel to Jacksonville, he needs to bring a couple more players in. The Jaguars are doing better against the pass this season, but can continue to build in their secondary. Humphrey isn’t necessarily a shut-down corner, but makes plays on the ball when it is thrown his way.
13. Detroit Lions- Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Detroit doesn’t have the same defensive line depth they had a few years ago. All four players on the Lions’ defensive line have failing grades according to Profootballfocus.com. Harris follows a line of good pass rushers coming from Missouri, but is really good at stopping the run. He had 18.5 tackles for loss last season for the Tigers.
14. Tennessee Titans- Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Adams is the best safety in this class (if Peppers isn’t counted). He is really good at stopping the run, but proved he can cover elite tight ends, by holding Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram to 15 yards receiving. The Rebels tried to find Engram in the end zone a couple times, but Adams shut him down. The Titans have a solid pass rush, but can improve their secondary to make their defense more dynamic.
15. Baltimore Ravens- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Smith-Schuster had a slow start at the beginning of the season, but is picking it up as of late. He is the best receiver right now in a bad class of wide receivers and has good speed, but sloppy route running at times. The Ravens have Mike Wallave and Steve Smith at wide receiver so replacements will be needed.
16. New York Giants- Malik Mcdowell, DL, Michigan State
Mcdowell can play multiple positions on the defensive line and eats up multiple blockers. This will be great news for the Giants who have an NFL-low six sacks on the season.
17. Tennessee Titans (via Rams)- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Williams is tall and long with a lot of speed, making him a great target for Clemson. He is recovering nicely from his severe neck injury last season. Tennessee needs a good target for Marcus Mariota, other than Delanie Walker, to make their offense more potent.
18. Arizona Cardinals- Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida
The Cardinals do have Robert Nkemdiche from the NFL Draft last year, but Calais Campbell can’t play forever. Brantley can be a future replacement for him.
19. Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The future of Joe Thomas in Cleveland is in doubt, but to be honest the Browns have a lot of needs. McGlinchey has played both left tackle and right tackle in his college career, but will probably end up as a right tackle in the pros.
20. Kansas City Chiefs- Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Marcus Peters has played really well for the Chiefs, but the other corners have not played well. White is a very athletic corner, who is also a leader on the field for the Tigers. LSU awards the number 18 to a player who is a leader and White is in his second straight year with that number. He is a leader among leaders at LSU.
21. Green Bay Packers- Desmond King, CB, Iowa
King is the best corner against the run in this class. He is also a ball-hawk with eight interceptions last year. His athleticism is apparent on punt and kick returns. The Packers don’t have many good corners so upgrading is key for that position.
22. Houston Texans- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Texans don’t have too many glaring needs. Brock Osweiler is still up in the air, but for now he is still the quarterback. Houston could at the very least use some depth for their secondary. Hooker makes plays at safety, but is a little bit inexperienced.
23. Washington Redskins- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Washington already has a good pass-rush, but if their isn’t a chance to upgrade their offense with this pick, they should continue to build that defense. Barnett is one of the best pass-rushers in the class and can have an instant impact, but has been battling injuries this season.
24. Buffalo Bills- Tim Williams, DE/OLB, Alabama
Rex Ryan has the Bills getting to the quarterback this season, but they are in the same boat as the Redskins with this pick. Williams is almost exclusively a pass-rusher, but college football analysts and scouts are raving about the impact he can have at the next level.
25. Oakland Raiders- Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The inside linebackers for the Raiders have played awful. In order to become the elite team they want to be, Oakland needs to improve this position. Davis is one of the best players on one of the best defenses in the country. He is a solid player, but won’t have any elite qualities as a pro.
26. Denver Broncos- Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
At 20 years old, Johnson’s body is still developing, but he is already 6’7″ and 311 pounds. He has developed into a great tackle at Florida State, but can blossom in Denver. The Broncos might be relying on an unproven quarterback, so they will need to make his protection a priority.
27. Atlanta Falcons- Dawuane Smoot, DE/OLB, Illinois
The Falcons are another team that has a bad defense that needs improving. Smoot might appear to be a good pass rusher based on his DE/LB capabilities, but is actually a better run stopper.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Reuben Foster just feels like a Steeler. Pittsburgh’s linebackers aren’t that talented and they need inside linebackers to step up. Foster is a sure tackler who might be the most talented linebacker to come out of Alabama in the Nick Saban era.
29. Seattle Seahawks- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Christine Michael has been solid for the Seahawks, but they have a chance to take a guy who might be the most versatile running back in the class. McCaffrey can run in between the tackles, runs routes like receivers and is one of the best kick returners in college football.
30. Dallas Cowboys- Carroll Phillips, DL, Illinois
There has been one constant for the Cowboys in terms of needs and that is defensive line depth. Phillips has five sacks on the season and forced a fumble against Michigan.
31. New England Patriots- Marcus Maye, S, Florida
The Patriots don’t absolutely need safety help, but they will take the bst player available or trade the pick. Maye is the hardest hitting safety in the class and will deter receivers from going across the middle.
32. Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)- Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
The Eagles’ defense is having a great year, now that they aren’t on the field so much like they were under Chip Kelly. The weak spot for the defense is the corner back position. Tankersley had five interceptions last season, but isn’t getting thrown at as much this season, and thus has none this season.
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