The order of this mock draft is determined by loosely predicting how the teams will finish this season.
- San Francisco 49ers- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
If the 49ers have a bad enough year to land the number one pick, they are going to need a new quarterback to run Chip Kelly’s offense, if he is still the coach. It is a weak class for quarterbacks, but they always are picked above value in the NFL Draft. Watson fits what Chip Kelly wants perfectly: He is mobile and accurate. With over 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards last season, Watson should be able to have an impact at the NFL level. Watson isn’t the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback and had a bad passing game during a deluge in a win against Notre Dame last season, so he needs to prove that his stature and hand size are capable of being the number one pick. He also needs to show more consistency on deeper throws, but will have a whole season to clear that up.
2. Cleveland Browns- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Browns may also be in the market for a quarterback, but haven’t had much luck drafting them in the first round. They have multiple first round picks, they acquired one from the Eagles, so they can afford to take the best player available. Fournette is a physical freak who is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. He is fast, strong and has good vision. LSU’s offense doesn’t allow him to have too much time playing in a passing attack, but he needs to work on his pass catching and pass protection to be more well-rounded.
3. Tennessee Titans- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Titans have a couple of good players on offense now, but still need to improve their defense. Myles Garrett is the best defensive player on the board. He may not fit the Titans 3-4 scheme, but will be able to adapt to it. Garrett should continue to break records for sacks this season and be the premier pass rusher in college football. He needs to continue to progress in his run defense, but should still be picked high without too many improvements in that facet of his game.
4. Detroit Lions- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Robinson can help a terrible offensive line in Detroit. The Lions did draft Eric Decker in last year’s draft, but that isn’t enough to fix that line. Robinson has the size and technique to be the top tackle selected and will have games against Garrett and Tennessee star defensive end, Derek Barnett to prove it.
5. Atlanta Falcons- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Atlanta desperately needs better linebacker play, but could also use pass rushing help. Barnett has over 20 sacks in his first two years of college football. He is a bitter shorter and slimmer than Myles Garrett, but produces almost as much.
6. Cleveland Browns- Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Missouri has a good recent history of producing good players from their front seven. Harris was second team All-SEC last season, which is no small feat considering the top of this draft. The Browns continue to take the best player available here and get a player that fits their defense.
7. Miami Dolphins- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
There is no doubt that it is the year of the running back. Dalvin Cook had a nagging hamstring injury last season, and still rushed for 1,691 yards. He reminds a lot of NFL minds of Reggie Bush because of his speed and elusiveness. The Dolphins have Arian Foster and Jay Ajayi, but Foster won’t be able to play much longer and Ajayi is unproven.
8. Chicago Bears- Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
With another bad year for Jay Cutler, it may be time to move on. Kaaya has a lot of the tools teams want in a franchise quarterback, but needs to continue to increase his efficiency. He completed 61% of his passes last season and NFL teams will look for him to show more accuracy.
9. San Diego Chargers- Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Johnson has good size and talent for a cornerstone offensive tackle. The Chargers desperately need offensive line help if they plan on Phillip Rivers being able to play for much longer.
10. New Orleans Saints- Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Tabor was just suspended for Florida’s first game for a violation of team rules. His former teammate, Vernon Hargreaves, got drafted eleventh overall, but some people think Tabor is better. New Orleans needs help everywhere defensively and get a player that can contribute immediately.
11. Tennessee Titans- Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
The Titans just traded away Dorial Green-Beckham, and they were already not great at the receiver position. Marcus Mariota needs someone else to throw to besides Delanie Walker, and Smith-Schuster is the best in the class. He is a polished receiver in every facet of the game and can help stretch the field for the Titans.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Tampa Bay needs to get better defensively to have a shot at winning the NFC South. They have decent safeties, but they can be upgraded. Adams is a play-maker who does a little bit of everything for the Tigers and could make plays for years.
13. New York Jets- Adoree’ Jackson, CB/WR, USC
Jackson is one of the best athletes in the class (he plays both ways and almost qualified for the Olympics in track in field), and quarterbacks are afraid to throw his way. His interception stats should go up considering the USC secondary is improved. The Jets could get a steal here and improve an average secondary.
14. New York Giants- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
If Cook isn’t the next Reggie Bush, McCaffrey most certainly fits the name. He is elusive, quick, fast and is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. The Giants starting running back is Rashad Jennings, so an upgrade is needed.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars- Desmond King, CB, Iowa
The Jags picked Jalen Ramsey this year, but with the offense rolling, the defense still needs improvements. Jacksonville may move Ramsey to safety to make this work, but it would be well worth it. King had eight interceptions last season and was a huge part in the Hawkeyes having an undefeated regular season.
16. Denver Broncos- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Denver’s defense is amazing, but they do have some holes. Demarcus Ware is aging and a rookie, Adam Gotsis, is starting at defensive tackle. Allen is versatile and productive and would help the Broncos’ defensive line be even better.
17. Washington Redskins- Malik McDowell, DT/NT, Michigan State
McDowell would be a perfect fit for the Redskins’ 3-4 defense. He does a good job of taking up multiple blockers, which will free-up others to get to the ball-carrier and quarterback.
18. Buffalo Bills- Jabril Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
Peppers is a dynamic play-maker on defense. He is transitioning to linebacker, but will most likely be a defensive back in the NFL. With a player this good on the board, Rex Ryan won’t be able to pass him up.
19. Baltimore Ravens- Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
The Ravens have one of the worst secondaries in football. Their corners are the main problem and Lewis, an All-American, would be an instant improvement.
20. Oakland Raiders- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Nick Saban says that he thinks Howard can be the top tight end taken and a top 20 pick. Who am I to argue with Saban? Howard could block better, but is a good, athletic receiver. Alabama doesn’t always use him, which hurts his production, but it’s not because of his ability to get open. The Raiders can improve their young team by giving Derek Carr another great target.
21. Houston Texans- Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Houston does have some holes on their defense and they start at the linebacker position. Brian Cushing is a shell of his former self, and they need to find more depth. Davis is the best linebacker on what should be a top ten defense this season.
22. Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
Walker is the best linebacker in Northwestern, surpassing his head coach Pat Fitzgerald for that spot. The Colts need all the defensive players they can get and Walker can be a serviceable linebacker for a long time.
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Ethan Pocic, C/G, LSU
The Chiefs have issues on the interior of their offensive line and Pocic can help at center or guard for them.
24. Dallas Cowboys- Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Dallas has had the same issues for the past several years. They need defensive line depth and help in the secondary. White can be another key piece to help them shut down the pass.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers- Mike McGlinchey, OT, ND
McGlinchey is taking over at left tackle for the Irish this season, and has Ronnie Stanley’s big shoes to fill. He has to cut down on how many penalties he picks up, but otherwise is fundamentally sound. The Steelers still have holes on their offensive line and need to protect Ben Roethlisberger as he ages.
26. Minnesota Vikings- Connor Mcdermot, OT, UCLA
Mike Zimmer has the young Vikings’ defense playing really well, but their tackles did not play well last year. If they want to protect Teddy Bridgewater and possibly extend Adrian Peterson’s career, they will take a tackle here.
27. Cincinnati Bengals- Pat Elflein, C/G, Ohio State
Russell Bodine hasn’t been playing well at center for the Bengals and taking Elflein can help their only weakness on the offensive line.
28. Arizona Cardinals- Jalen Reeves-Martin, LB, Tennessee
Kevin Minter did not have a great season for the Cardinals last season. If he doesn’t rebound, an upgrade will be needed. Reeves-Martin was All-SEC second team last season and could be a key to a successful season for the Volunteers this season.
29. New England Patriots- Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
The Patriots need pass rushers desperately. Lawson has battled injury, but when healthy he has been a force for Auburn.
30. Seattle Seahawks- Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
Seattle’s offensive line issues have been well documented. Feeney is the best pure guard in the class and could be a ten year starter in the NFL.
31. Green Bay Packers- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Last year the Packers’ leading receiver was James Jones. If they take Mike Williams, they can put him and Jordy Nelson on the outside and move Randall Cobb to the slot.
32. Carolina Panthers- Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
The Panthers don’t have too many good corners after letting Josh Norman walk this offseason. If they can’t find another diamond in the rough they should get some help at the position here.
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