March Madness is quickly approaching, which has given NBA personnel almost a whole season to look at prospects. While the prospects have been playing, they also have been jockeying for position on NBA Draft boards. Here is the latest 2018 NBA mock draft.
1. Memphis Grizzlies- Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke
Not too many mock drafts have Bagley going this high, but he should be considered for number one overall. The biggest mistake teams make when picking this high is to reach and fill a need. The 6’11” big man is athletic and can do everything on a basketball court, which includes shooting from deep at 34%. While there have been some strains in the relationship between Marc Gasol and the organization, he should be on the team next season making Bagley fit in nicely next to him on the floor.
DeAndre Ayton (Photo by sportingnews.com)
2. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
The Suns have a nice crop of young wing players in Devin Booker and Josh Jackson, but they lack an inside presence. Ayton would give them that presence and then some. Ayton is a well-built and athletic big. He is a great rebounder, who often comes up with the ball with plenty of players around him.
3. Dallas Mavericks- Jaren Jackson, PF, Michigan State
Jackson has been a monster on the inside for Michigan State this season. Per 40 minutes, he is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. He also is a good rim protector. Dallas just drafted Dennis Smith Jr. to fill their need at point guard and need to pair him with a young big for the future.
4. Sacremento Kings- Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri
Porter has been injured since Missouri’s first game and had to have surgery on his spine. That is a serious injury, but Porter was a highly-coveted recruit and has the ability to play point forward. The Kings could bolster their lineup to include: De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Porter, Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein.
5. Atlanta Hawks- Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Spain
The Hawks just need to acquire talent on their roster in any way possible. Doncic projects as a wing player in the NBA, but actually plays on ball a lot for Real Madrid. He stands 6’6″ and is an excellent passer and playmaker. His three point shooting has gone down over the last few years, so Doncic will have to work on that.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers- Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Well LeBron James has already talked about how good Trae Young is. The Cavs just got George Hill, but he is aging and could help develop Young. They can also play Young off-ball. Young has been the best player in college basketball with his electrifying play. He drives, passes and shoots like Steph Curry, but does turn the ball over too much. He also has struggles on defense, but the offense should make up for it.
7. Orlando Magic- Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
The Magic trade Elfrid Payton to the Suns and need a new point guard of the future. Sexton is one of the best players available, who is able to drive and distribute the ball well.
8. Chicago Bulls- Mo Bamba, C, Texas
The Bulls have struck gold with Lauri Markkanen and now need to give him more support. While Markkanen is an offensive big, Bamba will be able to defend the paint. Bamba averages 5 blocks per 40 minutes. He has had a lingering toe injury, but should be perfectly fine by the time the daft rolls around.
9. New York Knicks- Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky
Knox is a big small forward that can shoot, but is inconsistent. The Knicks have decent guards, big men and a star in Porzingis, but need a small forward who can score.
10. Charlotte Hornets- Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke
Wendell has been a very solid player, who sometimes gets overshadowed by Bagley. He has limited athletic ability, but he is very effective. Carter even shoots the three at a solid clip of 46%. Charlotte has drafted a lot of wing players, but could focus on the interior here.
11. Philadelphia 76ers- Miles Bridges, SG/SF, Michigan State
Bridges is an athletic wing who already has an NBA body. He can shoot and drive and could feed off of Ben Simmons’ passing.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (photo by aseaofblue.com)
12. Los Angeles Clippers- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
He is a lanky point guard, who has a long wingspan, which helps him play good defense. SGA will need to work on his shooting and add some weight, but the length will get him selected early. The Clippers have Partick Beverly, but need a point guard of the future.
13. Utah Jazz- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova
The Jazz’s roster changed with the NBA Trade Deadline and could use a young wing. Bridges can shoot and play defense, which at least makes him a good three and D prospect.
14. Los Angeles Clippers- Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
The Clippers just traded away Blake Griffin and may want to replace him at power forward. Williams hasn’t had a very productive year at Texas A&M, but he is talented. His motor has been questioned, but if the Clippers get the most out of him he can be a good player.
15. Phoenix Suns- Tony Carr, PG/SG, Penn State
Not too many people are as high on Tony Carr, but the sophomore can play. He scores and distributes the ball well, but also can stretch the defense with his 46% on three point shots. Carr also has great size at 6’5″ and can fill a need for the Suns.
16. Milwaukee Bucks- Omer Yurtseven, C, N.C. State
Thon Maker isn’t developing as planned, so the Bucks may elect to go with another big. Yurtseven is 7’0″ and has taken a huge step forward this season for the Wolfpack.
17. Philadelphia 76ers- Lonnie Walker, PG/SG, Miami
With Markelle Fultz’s status being up in the air, the 76ers might want to get a player who can play both guard spots. He hasn’t produced a lot in his freshman year at Miami, but shows flashes of potential.
18. Denver Nuggets- Gary Trent Jr., SG/SF, Duke
The Nuggets have a few good young pieces and just need to keep adding quality players and maybe snag a key free agent. Trent is a good shooter, but needs to work on his defense.
19. Washington Wizards- Mitchell Robinson, C, USA
Robinson is a former five star prospect who chose to attend Western Kentucky, but it didn’t work out. He has since been preparing for the NBA Draft. If the Wizards can acquire a good interior player, they can compete even more in the Eastern Conference
Landry Shamet (Photo by draftexpress.com)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves- Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State
The Timberwolves have Jeff Teague, but might want another option in a few years. Landry Shamet is another lanky point guard which should help him on defense at the NBA level.
21. Indiana Pacers- Khyri Thomas, PG, Creigthon
Thomas has gotten better every year at Creighton and shoots the three a nice clip of 43%, but needs to work on his passing. The Pacers don’t have a great point guard on the roster and can develop Thomas.
22. San Antonio Spurs- Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Musa is 18 and only averages 10.5 points per game in Europe, but could be a good draft and stash if he develops. Given the Spurs nature to use the draft and stash effectively, this could be their pick.
23. Atlanta Hawks- Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky
Diallo is athletic enough to play in the NBA, but struggles shooting the ball and on defense.
24. Los Angeles Lakers- Grayson Allen, SG, Duke
The Lakers are going to try to make a splash in free agency. Taking Allen would give them a role player who can shoot the ball and bring energy off the bench.
25. Chicago Bulls- Troy Brown, SG, Oregon
The Bulls can use this pick to develop a wing player. Brown is an athletic wing, who needs to develop his outside shot more.
26. Portland Trail Blazers- Chimezie Metu, PF/C, USC
Metu has developed an outside shot this year and can benefit from playing with Portland’s talented guards.
27. Boston Celtics- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV
Boston can use a developmental big to pair with a bunch of their young players.
Daniel Gafford (Photo by arkansasonline.com)
28. Brooklyn Nets- Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas
With 12 points and six rebounds per game, Gafford has had a good freshman season for the Razorbacks. The Nets are thin on the inside.
29. Golden State Warrios- Trevon Duval, PG, Duke
Shaun Livingston can’t play forever and more depth is needed at point guard for the Warriors.
30. Atlanta Hawks- Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri
Porter has had a good freshman season at Missouri with the absence of his brother. The Hawks already have drafted two back court players in this mock, so will need to get more depth on the interior.
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It’s NFL Combine week, which means every analyst is going to over-analyze these prospects based on interviews and workouts in shorts. Either way the draft is now under two months away. Here is the latest 2018 NFL mock draft:
1. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
A running back number one? If Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns it might happen. Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.
2. New York Giants- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Yes, Rosen has voiced his displeasure over playing for the Browns, so he may fall to pick number two. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season. The Giants may be without Eli Manning next year and even if he does stay, will need a quarterback of the future.
3. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State
Josh McDaniels has decided to return to New England and the Colts countered with the hire of Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Reich will be looking forward to work with Andrew Luck. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.
Baker Mayfield (Photo by nflspinzone.com)
4. Cleveland Browns- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Baker Mayfield to the Browns rumors have started to heat up. Baker has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic enough to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class.
5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Boise, Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team. If they don’t get a player like Kirk Cousins in free agency they need to draft a quarterback.
6. New York Jets- Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making needs to improve. The Jets did well this season for the talent they had on the roster, but need a franchise quarterback.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. Fitzpatrick will have to help improve a bad Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in the league in passing yards allowed.
8. Chicago Bears- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Ward is the best cover corner in the draft. He had to really make his way this season, as he had to sit and wait his turn to get playing time for the Buckeyes. The Bears could use some help in their secondary and taking a weapon for Mitchell Trubisky would be a reach here.
9. San Francisco 49ers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them. The arrests of linebacker Reuben Foster are concerning, so keep an eye on that going forward, as it could change what they do with this pick.
10. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. With Jon Gruden taking over, he is going to need a Derrick Brooks-like linebacker.
11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon.
Derwin James (Photo by sportingnews.com)
12. Cincinnati Bengals- Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Bengals do need a lot of offensive linemen, but if Nelson doesn’t fall to them, there isn’t one necessarily worth taking at 12. They could trade down, but if they don’t they could vastly improve their defense with the selection of James. He has fallen down mocks after being thought of as a top ten prospect, but is slowly moving up boards again. He is athletic, but doesn’t necessarily have a set position, which is turning some teams off. At the end of the day he plays well and some team will give him a shot.
13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL.
14. Green Bay Packers- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. The Packers need to make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.
The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL.
16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
A player that went to Alabama that fills a need? Slot him to the Ravens. The Ravens won’t be getting rid of Joe Flacco, so they need to get him some better targets to throw to. Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and produced in college even without the best quarterback play.
17. Los Angeles Chargers- Vita Vea, NT/DT, Washington
The Chargers’ defense is young and promising, but need to get better at stopping the run. Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, depending on the scheme a team runs, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds, which makes him disruptive.
18. Seattle Seahawks- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Brown has great size for an offensive tackle and his father played in the NFL. Seattle, as always, needs offensive line help. They seem to believe in their coaching to mold their players. With Brown’s size, if the Seahawks can do that, he could be a great lineman.
19. Dallas Cowboys- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do. Taven Bryan or Maurice Hurst could be the pick here if they decide to go this route.
20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State
Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.
Rashaan Evans (Photo by nfldraftdiamonds.com)
21. Buffalo Bills- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Bills are thin at linebacker and this selection is an immediate upgrade. Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. While he went to the same college as other linebackers that haven’t worked out for the Bills, Reggie Ragland, Evans is a completely different player.
Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.
23. Los Angeles Rams- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA
Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers. Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do.
24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.
25. Tennessee Titans- Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Johnathan Cyprien has been bad for the Titans this year, in one of their lone weak spots on the roster. Reid took a huge leap this season in terms of production and has put himself on the map for a first round selection.
26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.
27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Their defense was much improved so they can afford to look to the future. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class. Sean Payton reportedly loves backup Taysom Hill, but he was more of a running quarterback in college than a thrower.
Ronnie Harrison (gridironnow.com)
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside. Jacksonville really doesn’t have too many needs and have said they are sticking with Blake Bortles at quarterback. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers, but they rarely stay healthy.
30. Minnesota Vikings- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better.
McGlinchey would’ve been a first round pick last year had he left school early. If he doesn’t work out at left tackle, he has experience playing right tackle at Notre Dame and may be a more natural fit there.
31. New England Patriots- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU
Arden Key has some off the field issues, but he won’t get away with anything under Belichick. He is very talented and would have gone in the top ten without teams doubting his off the field issues.
32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas
They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.
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The 2017 NFL Draft is just under a month away, so it is time to get ready for one of the biggest events of the football season.
1. Cleveland Browns- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Browns need to take the best player available, instead of reaching for a quarterback. Garrett is the premier pass-rushing prospect. He has a solid jump off of the ball and then uses his athleticism and speed to get to the quarterback. Garrett is great at containing opposing quarterbacks in the pocket. He is good against the run and even makes teams run to the other side of the field like Alabama did against him. His good gap integrity on running plays will help him transition to playing against NFL offenses. He had a good NFL Combine, so the Browns should feel very comfortable picking Garrett.
2. San Francisco 49ers- Solomon Thomas, DE/DT, Stanford
There is a new regime in San Francisco, but all visible signs show them not taking a quarterback with the number two pick. That may change, or maybe they are protecting their real thoughts. Jonathan Allen is a premier talent, but may not be the greatest fit as they have drafted two different five-technique defensive linemen the last two years. Whether John Lynch wants to keep these guys or draft his own people remains up in the air. As the team currently sits Solomon Thomas is the best fit. They need pass rushing help and Thomas is a well rounded defensive end, who is as good at stopping the run as he is rushing the passer. He’s very quick at the snap of the ball. His best quality is his versatility. He can play almost any position on the defensive line and be successful.
3. Chicago Bears- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
If Allen falls to three and the Bears aren’t worried about his shoulder injuries, they will run to the podium to pick Allen. He is a good fit in their 3-4 defense and can start from day one. Allen could not be blocked with one blocker consistently and continuously disrupted plays. He doesn’t always have the best gap integrity, but does have great play recognition skills.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette can do everything required as a running back and can handle a heavy dose of carries. He played this last season with a lingering ankle injury and still averaged 6.5 yards per carry. His combination of speed, size and vision makes him an elite running back prospect. The Jaguars have other needs, but Fournette is too good to pass up. Jacksonville will likely give Blake Bortles one more season to figure things out, and a good running game will help his chances. The Jaguars flirted with signing free agent running backs, but elected not to, which may show where they are leaning with this pick.
5. Tennessee Titans- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
In the National Championship Game, Mike Williams was the difference maker for Clemson. Williams is the best red zone threat in college football from the wide receiver position. He is tall and lanky, but athletic enough to make great catches. Mariota needs a go to receiver to throw to and the Titans may have to take one earlier than expected.
6. New York Jets- Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
The Jets don’t have a quarterback worthy of starting for the long haul currently on their roster. Josh McCown is capable of bridging the gap between now and a franchise quarterback being ready. Trubisky only has one year of starting experience, which is concerning, but he is very accurate. He also rarely makes bad decisions, which is a rarity for quarterbacks in this draft class. On top of all that, Trubisky is an athlete that has above average speed and can throw well while on the move.
7. Los Angeles Chargers- Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Chargers needs secondary help and luckily, this class is loaded with it. Adams is a hard-hitter, who helps in run support. He has shown the capability to guard elite college level tight ends like Evan Engram, which will help him a lot at the NFL level.
8. Carolina Panthers- Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Lattimore is a shut-down corner, who has good ball skills. Even though Ohio State got blown out by Clemson, he only gave up one catch and it was to Mike Williams on a screen pass. Lattimore is decent in run support too. Carolina didn’t fully recover from losing Josh Norman last season and will need to get a corner to compensate.
9. Cincinnati Bengals- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
When Cincinnati was at their best, they rushed the passer well. Barnett is one of the best pass rushers in the class, but does not do much against the run. He uses his speed to get around the tackle blocking him, but rarely uses pass rushing moves to get to the quarterback.
10. Buffalo Bills- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Bills desperately need safety help and would be overjoyed if Hooker fell to them. He would be an immediate upgrade for their lackluster secondary. Hooker has the best range of any safety in the class. He is a ball-hawk, who isn’t afraid to come up and help in the run.
11. New Orleans Saints- Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
New Orleans needs defensive help badly. They can start by getting a pass rusher across from Cameron Jordan. Charlton has great size at 6’6″ tall and can get to the quarterback with 10 sacks last season. The Saints have started to put together a defensive line with Jordan, Nick Fairly and Sheldon Rankins from last year’s draft.
The Browns already have Myles Garrett on board and now can get their quarterback of the future. Kizer has the size and arm strength to be a franchise quarterback. He has some issues with being consistent with the accuracy of his passes, but for the most part is decent. If he wants to be successful he should work on putting passes in areas for wide receivers to run after the catch. His mobility is good enough to get him out of jams.
Arizona could go for a quarterback to be a long term solution or defensive help here. Humphrey guarded Mike Williams well in the National Championship game, but Williams made some crazy catches through the good coverage. Humphrey is a good man to man corner, who can get confused while playing zone.
14. Philadelphia Eagles- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook is an elusive, speed back who is hard to catch. He is a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. There are some concerns with the amount of injuries he has had, but when healthy Cook is an elite running back prospect. Philadelphia addressed their wide receiver needs via free agency and can now help out Carson Wentz by providing him with a good running back and receiver out of the backfield.
15. Indianapolis Colts- Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster was the best player for Alabama in the National Championship Game. He was all over the field and showed great closing speed on ball carriers. In addition to that, he was a very effective when blitzing, knocking down Deshaun Watson plenty of times. He is also good in coverage, which doesn’t leave many holes in his game. The Colts have a lot of defensive holes to plug and Foster is the best defensive player available.
16. Baltimore Ravens- Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Baltimore needs to get some offensive weapons, as Joe Flacco doesn’t have many good players to throw to. Davis is a premier talent at wide receiver. He is big, at 6 feet 3 inches, but his skills match that of a smaller receiver, making him a unique prospect. Davis knows where to go on broken plays and fights for the football with resiliency.
17. Washington Redskins- Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Cunningham is tall and lanky, but makes plays. He is a tackle machine that can vastly improve the run defense. The Redskins have a lot of needs on the defensive side of the ball they could go after, but Cunningham can have an impact immediately.
18. Tennessee Titans- Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
The Titans will take a wide receiver here if they don’t get one with their first pick. If not they will try to improve their defense. White is a good team leader, who is very athletic. He doesn’t have the best size for a corner, but can cover with the best of them. His added value comes in the return game, where he did a solid job for LSU.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Tampa Bay signed Desean Jackson so they likely won’t draft a wide receiver. Howard is a great receiving tight end, who didn’t get the chance to produce much at Alabama due to play-calling and quarterback issues. He can be another good target to help Jameis Winston.
20. Denver Broncos- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Robinson can slide right in and start on a team that doesn’t have good tackles. He did a solid job pass blocking Myles Garrett in their match-up. Before the Broncos give up on Trevor Siemian they need to protect him to give him a fair shot.
21. Detroit Lions- Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
Detroit needs linebackers badly and Reddick is changing positions to become one. He was an edge rusher in college, but has looked good in the events leading up to the draft. The Lions will need to work with Reddick, but if they see his potential, they may elect to try and develop him into a good pro.
22. Miami Dolphins- Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson has all of the capabilities necessary to be a lock-down corner for many years in the NFL. He can play both sides of the ball and also help in the return game. His ability to play both ways and to bait quarterbacks into throwing passes, just so he can intercept them, shows his likeness to Deion Sanders. The Dolphins have Byron Maxwell at corner, but don’t have much else.
23. New York Giants- David Njoku, TE, Miami
Njoku is a fast tight end who should be a good receiving threat in the NFL. He may be able to develop into a good blocker as well. The Giants have solidified their offense by signing Brandon Marshall, but could use a decent tight end threat over the middle.
24. Oakland Raiders- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Raiders lost Latavius Murray in free agency and have not signed Adrian Peterson or brought Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Their offense is predicated on big plays and McCaffrey can provide that in a variety of ways. His impressive showing at the combine solidified his first round status. Behind Oakland’s offensive line and with Derek Carr at quarterback, McCaffrey could have a season of greater than 2,000 all purpose yards.
25. Houston Texans- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
If the Texans miss out on the Tony Romo sweepstakes and don’t get a free agent signal caller, they will be forced to pick a quarterback in the draft. Watson doesn’t have great accuracy and consistently relied on receivers to make plays for him. The most alarming thing about Watson is his decision making, as he makes throws that have no chance of being completed. His arm strength has also been called into question by only throwing 49 mph at the combine. The accepted low for an NFL quarterback is 55 mph. (Dak Prescott threw 54 mph last combine, but had a hurt shoulder) Watson has shown flashes of greatness, particularly against Alabama, but needs to be more consistent. One thing is for sure, Watson steps up in the clutch.
26. Seattle Seahawks- Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Seattle’s offensive line problems have been well documented. Any lineman prospect near this range should be considered. Bolles is an athletic tackle prospect, who uses his mobility to his advantage. He may need to add some strength to be successful in the NFL.
27. Kansas City Chiefs- John Ross, WR, Washington
Kansas City doesn’t have too many needs, but could be better with another offensive weapon. They do have Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill, but could become more explosive with another guy who can burn a defense. A lot of people are overvaluing Ross because of his 40 time at the NFL Combine. The hope for him is that NFL teams also overvalue him. His speed is apparent and helps him be productive in the return game.
The Cowboys lost Barry Church to the Jaguars in free agency. They will need a safety to go alongside Byron Jones. Peppers can be successful at any position in the back seven of the defense, but will be the safety that Dallas needs. Peppers’ downside his his ball skills. He has all the fundamentals down, but had only one career interception in college.
29. Green Bay Packers- Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Conley has risen up draft boards, partially because of injuries and bad 40 times by other corners. He does have good play recognition skills that he uses to his advantage.The Packers had terrible corner play last season and need to take one early in this loaded draft class.
The Steelers need to draft more secondary help and Melifonwu has been rising up draft boards with his outstanding combine. Melifonwu played safety, but could also play some corner in the NFL. At 6’4″ with a 4.4 40 yard dash time, the Steelers can get a star at the end of the first round.
31. Atlanta Falcons- Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Harris is a good pass rusher, who is also solid against the run. He doesn’t have great length for a edge rusher, but does have good strength. The Falcons had Vic Beasley last season, but need to get more pass rushers around him to have a better defense.
32. New Orleans Saints- Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Saints have already addressed their pass rushing need and can now focus on coverage. King is a big corner who can cover big receivers, but also possesses speed to keep up with the faster ones.
33. Cleveland Browns- Budda Baker, S, Washington
Cleveland needs secondary help badly. Baker makes plays in the passing game, but isn’t afraid to come up and help in the run either. He isn’t the biggest safety, but is productive.
34. San Francisco 49ers- Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
John Lynch is going to want to sure up the offensive line and can get Ramczyk with good value here. Ramczyk is a solid left tackle, who is a good run and pass blocker. He did a pretty good job blocking Taco Charlton when the Badgers played the Wolverines. He doesn’t have good mobility and athleticism and can be beat by fast rushers and blitzers.
35. Jacksonville Jaguars- Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Engram is a good receiving tight end that will help the Jaguars because they traded Julius Thomas to the Dolphins. If this truly is the last year for Blake Bortles to prove himself, Jacksonville will give him plenty of weapons to use to be sure.
36. Chicago Bears- Zay Jones, WR, ECU
The Bears lost Alshon Jeffrey to free agency and now have to get someone for Mike Glennon to throw the ball too. Zay Jones may be overlooked because of the wide receiver prospects ahead of him, but he is a talented receiver himself.
37. Los Angeles Rams- Forrest Lamp, OG/C, Western Kentucky
Lamp played tackle in college, but will likely be kicked inside in the NFL. The Rams do need other positions, but in order for this team to be successful, they need to open up some holes for Todd Gurley.
38. Los Angeles Chargers- Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
With the Chargers already getting Jamal Adams, they can work on protecting Phillip Rivers for a few more years. Feeney would be a great value to them at this point.
39. New York Jets- Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Wilson is a tall corner, who has good speed. He is a good man to man cover corner, but is susceptible to pass interference calls. He doesn’t offer much in terms of run support and sometimes looks as if he doesn’t want to tackle anybody. The Jets can use another corner or two, as Morris Claiborne will likely get injured at some point this season.
Brantley only had 2.5 sacks on the season, but did a great job of getting pressure on quarterbacks and disrupting the pocket. He is very good at run-stopping and is quick at the snap of the ball. The Panthers need to get some more interior linemen.
41. Cincinnati Bengals- Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Bengals signed Kevin Minter to a one year deal, but could still use linebacker help. Davis is a strong linebacker who is decent in coverage. His willingness to make plays in the running game can really help the Bengals defense.
42. New Orleans Saints- Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
New Orleans needs more offensive weapons, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a wide receiver. Kamara can be a nice change of pace back, who can thrive with Drew Brees throwing him the ball out of the backfield.
43. Philadelphia Eagles- Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
The Eagles need to focus on improving their secondary and can get quality players after the first round in this draft. Witherspoon has speed, but needs to add strength for the NFL.
44. Buffalo Bills- Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Smith-Schuster was once thought of as one of the premier wide receivers in this draft class, but he lacks the speed necessary to go round one. The Bills need to get a receiver across the field from Sammy Watkins.
45. Arizona Cardinals- Pat Mahommes, QB, Texas Tech
Bruce Arians loves big, strong-armed quarterbacks and can get one for the future in round two. Mahommes has the chance to prove that system quarterbacks can make it in the NFL if they have talent.
46. Minnesota Vikings- Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
The Vikings have addressed some of their line problems via free agency, but they still need some upgrades there. Moton at the very least can provide depth, which is not something Minnesota had last year.
47. Baltimore Ravens- T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin
Baltimore only had 31 sacks as a team last season. Watt may not be as good as his brother, but makes plays and can help rush the passer.
48. Indianapolis Colts- Chris Wormley, DE/DT, Michigan
Foster is a good add for the first round, but the Colts need to upgrade a lot of positions in this draft. Wormley can play defensive end and help with the pass rush.
49. Washington Redskins- Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Washington has other needs, but McDowell could really bolster their defensive line and be a great value pick. McDowell can rush the passer, but his main impact will be helping out a bad Washington run defense.
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
Samuel had a good combine and can help a team as a slot receiver or running back. Jameis Winston will love all these new weapons.
51. Denver Broncos- Montravious Adams, DL, Auburn
Jared Crick should not be starting for Denver. Adams may not be the best fit in this defense, but Denver will make the most of him.
52. Cleveland Browns- Cooper Kupp, WR, EWU
Cleveland can now get another target for whoever their quarterback might be. Kupp did not run well in his 40 yard dash, but is a solid receiver and the stats don’t lie.
53. Detroit Lions- Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Jalen Tabor has shown that he doesn’t have great speed, but he is physical and has a high football IQ. The Lions still need to upgrade their secondary.
54. Miami Dolphins- Tim Williams, DE/OLB, Alabama
Cameron Wake is still a very good player, but the Dolphins need more pass rushers. Williams is very good and has a quick first step, but some have brought up character concerns with him.
55. New York Giants- Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
The Giants got their tight end in the first round and can now get some offensive line help. Dawkins wouldn’t regularly go this high in the draft, but the lack of good offensive linemen will work out for him.
56. Oakland Raiders- Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson
The Raiders have some pass rushers, but need interior defensive lineman. Watkins is a good pass rusher for a defensive tackle and finished with 10.5 sacks last season.
57. Houston Texans- Ethan Pocic, G/C, LSU
Pocic has a lot of experience and is a solid interior offensive linemen. The Texans have a terrible offensive line and need to protect whoever ends up being their starting quarterback.
58. Seattle Seahawks- Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Jones tore his Achilles at his pro day, but is optimistic about his return to football. The Seahawks can bring him on slow and reap the rewards for years.
59. Kansas City Chiefs- Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa
The Chiefs could use a guy like King who can play multiple positions in the secondary. His best position will likely be safety, due to his good run support and lack of speed.
60. Dallas Cowboys- Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
McKinley has fallen down in mocks because of his shoulder injury, but he is a good pass rusher. He should be ready for training camp. The Cowboys have a desperate need for pass rushers and will love McKinley’s value.
61. Green Bay Packers- Marcus Williams, S, Utah
Green Bay doesn’t have much of a secondary. Williams can play beside Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He is a safety with range, but isn’t the greatest tackler.
62. Pittsburgh Steelers- Demarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Pittsburgh needs to get to the quarterback more often. James Harrison led the team in sacks last season and he is aging. Walker is good at rushing the passer and disrupts passes by sticking his hands up into the passing lane.
63. Atlanta Falcons- Pat Elflein, OG/C, Ohio State
The interior of the offensive line could use some upgrades for the Falcons. Elflein is versatile enough to fill in at multiple positions.
64. Carolina Panthers- Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
Dupre didn’t have great quarterback play, but was productive at LSU. The Panthers need some wide receivers to step up for Cam Newton.
This mock draft will factor in team needs heavily rather than who is the best player. The draft order won’t be set in stone until the lottery takes place, but the talk is already starting on who will go number one overall.
Many scouts and experts are picking Markelle Fultz to go first, but it depends on who wins the lottery. Right now these predictions will be based solely off current standings and will continue to be until the draft lottery takes place. Here is Hagan’s Haus 2017 NBA mock draft.
1: Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn): Josh Jackson sG Kansas
(Photo Credit: Allen Kee / ESPN Images)
The Boston Celtics do not need a point guard. Fultz may be the best player in the draft, but Isaiah Thomas isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Thomas is also a proven player while any player coming out of college is unproven.
Fultz may be the best player in the draft but doesn’t fit what the Celtics need. The Celtics play great team defense and need a scorer to take the load off of Thomas.
Josh Jackson could prove to be a valuable scoring option for Boston as he averages 16.7 points per game. Jackson in a two-way player capable of becoming a superstar. Boston would be smart to add him to their core.
2: Los Angeles Lakers: Markelle Fultz pG Washington
Picking what the Lakers will do is extremely difficult. They just spent the 2015 second overall pick on a point guard. The Lakers issue is veteran leadership. They have a core of young players who just need time to develop. L.A. could trade this pick for a star player, but if they do keep it expect them to take the best available player.
That would be Washington guard Markelle Fultz. Fultz is averaging 23.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and six assists per game. Fultz also has a player efficiency rating (PER) of 28.6 and is clearly the best player in the draft. The Lakers can not pass on that just to fill a position of need.
3: Phoenix suns: Jayson Tatum Sf duke
Jayson Tatum has a well-polished iso game that is NBA ready. The Suns have a star in the making with Devin Booker and need to find a player to grow alongside him.
Tatum could grow to be a solid second option in the NBA. He can score anywhere on the floor due to his ability to create off the dribble.
One of his biggest weaknesses is his shot selection. Due to his height and ability to shoot over defenders, Tatum tends to settle for difficult shots. Shot selection will improve over time and the Suns may be able to find a Robin for their Batman.
4: Orlando Magic: Lonzo Ball Pg UCLA
Everyone is talking about LaVar Ball’s opinions rather than the play of Lonzo Ball. Ball can ball. It is as simple as that.
His father may be onto something when talking about how good his son can be. However, talking so openly may hurt his son’s draft stock.
Sticking strictly to Lonzo and his basketball ability, it is clear that he is a top prospect. Ball is a great passer with a high basketball I.Q. In the NBA Ball will be a floor general capable of running the team from the court.
Many scouts compare him to Jason Kidd, which is a pretty accurate comparison. Having a Kidd-like career would be an amazing accomplishment for anybody. Orlando needs a franchise player and that is exactly what Lonzo Ball will be.
5: Philadelphia 76ers: Malik Monk Sg Kentucky
Trusting the process hit yet another bump in the road this season. Joel Embiid suffered another injury after appearing in just 31 games. If that wasn’t enough, last year’s first overall pick, Ben Simmons, will not make his debut this year either. The 76ers still believe those pieces will result in playoff appearances and maybe even titles.
Interestingly enough, reports came out that Philadelphia brass believes Simmons will be the point guard. That is why they will use this top-five pick on Malik Monk.
Monk has proven to be a flat-out scoring machine and that will translate to the NBA. Drafting Monk will allow the Sixers to develop Simmons as their point guard while putting a scorer in the backcourt beside him.
Creating a powerful backcourt could be the key to a deep postseason run. They already have a great frontcourt player in Embiid.
6: New York Knicks: Dennis Smith Pg N.C. State
(Photo Credit: William Howard/Icon Sportswire)
The Knicks need a young explosive point guard who will grow alongside Kristaps Porzingis. Carmelo Anthony is on the back half of his career and will most likely be out of the picture soon. Derrick Rose has been very respectable in New York, but he is not the same player that won the league MVP.
Dennis Smith is a top-five talent who will fall a bit due to some of the other needs teams have. Not all are looking for a point guard.
The Knicks would get a Russell Westbrook type of player by drafting Smith. He can score, pass and rebound with the best of them in college. He also has insane athleticism that allows him to posterize defenders.
Smith would be a great pick here if the Knicks want to take steps towards becoming a playoff team.
7: Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Issac PF Florida State
The Kings need to start from scratch. Buddy Hield seems to be the guy that Sacramento will build this team around. It looks like Willie Cauley-Stein will be the man up front with DeMarcus Cousins now out of the picture.
Jonathan Issac would be a great fit with this team. Issac is a great rebounder and can run the floor well for a big man. He also shoots well from all areas of the floor. He could play at small forward or power forward in today’s NBA style. The Kings would find a great player with lots of potential.
8: Sacramento Kings (Via Pelicans): De’Aaron Fox PG Kentucky
The Kings can afford to be risky with one of their two top-10 picks. Buddy Hield will need a backcourt partner in crime, and Fox could fit that mold.
Fox is unique because he is left handed. It is sometimes hard to defend left-handed players because defenders are used to right handed defenders. He is also extremely quick and defenders may have trouble keeping up with him.
Fox will need to work on shooting with more consistency. With Hield alongside him, all Fox needs to do is run the offense.
9: Dallas Mavericks: Lauri Markkanen PF Arizona
(Photo Credit: http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu)
Dallas got their center when they traded for Nerlens Noel. The guard positions seem to be held down as well with the emergence of Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry. That makes Lauri Markkanen a perfect option for the Mavericks.
Dirk Nowitzki will be going into his final season and the Mavericks need to find his future replacement. Markkanen is a 7-foot stretch big who will be able to shoot the three in the NBA. He has all the intangibles to replace the greatest European player in NBA history.
Drafting Markkanen will allow him to develop in his first season before Dirk rides off into the sunset.
10: Minnesota Timberwolves: Harry Giles PF Duke
The Minnesota Timberwolves are right on the cusp of becoming a great NBA team. Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins are continuing to grow and will be one of the most dangerous duos in the NBA in the coming years. They have already begun to show signs of it. Point guard is not an issue as they have Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn. Picking Giles would be a shock here at number 10, but could be a huge steal.
Giles was considered the best player coming out of high school and was projected to be the number one overall pick before he began having injury problems. We have not seen what Giles is fully capable of, but his potential is through the roof. He is an athletic finisher who can be molded into a great defender under Tom Thibodeau.
This pick could be a bust, but it will more likely create a young core in Minnesota capable of winning championships.
11: Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges SF Michigan St.
(Photo Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)
The Hornets need a solid wing player and Miles Bridges would be a good fit.
Bridges is a dunking machine and plays with an extremely high motor. One of Bridges’ weaknesses is that he has no true position. Shooting guard, small forward and power forward are all in play for Bridges. Charlotte would likely play him at small forward.
Bridges has also shown consistent improvement in his shooting since high school.
12: Portland Trailblazers: Robert Williams PF Texas A&M
Robert Williams can jump out of this world. He can put anyone on a poster and loves to do so. There are countless highlights of him dunking on opponents.
Williams has a 7-foot-5 wingspan, and he knows how to use it. That wingspan allows him to excel as a rebounder and shot blocker.
One thing going against Williams is that he is raw as a big man. He lacks consistency like many raw prospects. The better competition gave him trouble, but with development from NBA coaches, he can turn into a solid NBA starter.
13: Miami Heat: Isaiah Hartenstein PF Germany
The Heat have been amazing in the second half of this season. Hassan Whiteside is a franchise centerpiece at center. Their guard play has been tremendous, and Justise Winslow is really coming into his own. That leaves the power forward position as their biggest need. The Heat need a power forward that can stretch the floor since Whiteside is the inside presence.
Isaiah Hartenstein would be a great fit in Miami. He is a versatile left-handed player who can not only score inside, but outside as well. Hartenstein is a great passing big man with a high basketball I.Q.
The downside with Hartenstein is his immaturity and lack of experience against tough competition. However, his potential makes him a lottery pick.
14: Chicago Bulls: Frank Ntilikina Pg France
(Photo Credit: https://hardwoodhoudini.com
One thing is clear in the NBA: teams need a franchise point guard. The Bulls do not have a franchise point guard on their roster and will be looking for one in this year’s draft. Drafting at the end of the lottery does not leave them with many options, but it will allow them to take Frank Ntilikina out of France.
Ntilikina has excellent size for a point guard. He is listed at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds. Ntilikina is a pass-first point guard with a high I.Q. He has developed a mid-range game and excellent floater, but is a really inconsistent shooter. Ntilikina also has great lateral quickness that makes him an elite defender.
All the skills are there for Ntilikina to become the franchise point guard the Bulls desperately need.
15: Denver Nuggets: John Collins Pf Wake Forest
Denver has a lot of young talent, and Collins is a bit of a project. If the Nuggets take a year or two to develop Collins, then he can become a valuable asset.
16: Milwaukee Bucks: Justin Patton C Creighton
There have been a lot of problems with Greg Monroe in Milwaukee. The Bucks have found a star in Giannis Antetokounmpo and need a big man inside to feed off of him. Justin Patton from Creighton can be that guy.
17: Detroit Pistons: Ivan Rabb C Cal
There have been swirling rumors that Andre Drummond was going to be traded just before the deadline. That still may happen in the offseason, and the Pistons need to prepare for that. Ivan Rabb would be a great fit with Stan Van Gundy.
18: Indiana Pacers: Luke Kennard SG Duke
(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
Kennard has been unbelievable in the second half of the season for Duke. Paul George is rumored to be on his way out of Indiana via trade or free agency in two years. Kennard may not become a franchise player, but will come into the NBA as a scoring machine.
19: Atlanta hawks: TJ Leaf PF UCLA
Drafting a power forward may not make sense with Paul Millsap around, but TJ Leaf is a bit of a project. Millsap will want to be on a contending team as his career unwinds. Everyone knows the Hawks are not winning a championship. Drafting Leaf now gives him time to develop until Millsap leaves.
20: Portland Trailblazers (Via Memphis): Justin Jackson SF North Carolina
Justin Jackson would be a great fit in Portland alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The two guards can focus on the scoring and Jackson can be the team’s wing defender. Jackson is capable of guarding multiple positions and would be a solid pick by the Trailblazers.
21: Oklahoma City: DILLON BROOKS SF OREGON
(Photo Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)
It is clear that Russell Westbrook needs help. He is an animal but can’t do it on his own. Dillon Brooks is one of the most underrated players in all of college basketball. Brooks is capable of being the second option to Westbrook and a true sidekick that Westbrook desperately needs.
22: TORONTO RAPTORS: DWAYNE BACON SF FLORIDA STATE
Toronto has one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Bacon can come in and be a solid rotation player allowing the Raptors to deepen their bench as they continue to chase a championship.
23: ORLANDO MAGIC (VIA LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS): TYLER LYDON PF SYRACUSE
Orlando is a tough team to gauge and need a lot. Lydon would be a head-scratching pick, but something they would do. Lydon won’t become an All-Star but will be a solid rotation player in the NBA.
Brooklyn needs anything and everything and is nowhere close to being a good NBA team. Josh Hart could bring a culture change to the franchise. He is a leader and a winner and the Nets could use some of that in their locker room.
Adding Bam Adebayo to pair up with Hart could be the start of turning things around. They won’t win many games, but the rebuild has to start somewhere. Adebayo is a solid prospect with lots of potential.
26: UTAH JAZZ: CALEB SWANIGAN PF PURDUE
The Jazz are in as good of a position as the Celtics. They will finish as the fourth or fifth seed in the tough Western Conference and have two first-round draft picks. Swanigan can come right into the NBA and contribute off the bench.
27: PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (VIA CLEVELAND): RODIONS KURUCS SF LATVIA
Kurucs is a project and Portland can afford to draft a developmental player this late in the first round. Kurucs is versatile and can be a valuable scoring option in the NBA.
28: LOS ANGELES LAKERS (VIA HOUSTON): DONOVAN MITCHELL SG LOUISVILLE
(Photo Credit: By Pat McDonogh, The CJ)
The Lakers have youth on their side and drafting Mitchell will allow them to continue to build assets as trading blocks so that they can get superstars back in Hollywood. Mitchell is a solid shooting guard who can be a solid sixth man in the NBA.
29: UTAH JAZZ (VIA GOLDEN STATE): JOHNATHAN MOTLEY PF BAYLOR
Utah needs some frontcourt athleticism. Derrick Favors has only had one really productive season and looks to be on the decline. Motley’s offensive I.Q. makes him a perfect fit in Utah to be a solid role player on a solid playoff team.
30: SAN ANTONIO SPURS: THOMAS BRYANT C INDIANA
The Spurs are like the Patriots. They know what they are doing and you don’t question them. LaMarcus Aldridge’s future is in jeopardy due to health concerns. With Kawhi Leonard being a two-way star, the Spurs need a big man who can protect the paint.
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Kizer has flown up draft boards since the season began due to his great play. He has the size, arm strength and accuracy to make all throws required of an NFL quarterback. His athleticism is also a huge plus and he doesn’t run recklessly, which will make Browns fans happy after the RGIII injury. Hue Jackson likes Cody Kessler, but Kizer fits more of what he had at quarterback before being successful with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
2. Chicago Bears- Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
Could there be two straight years of quarterbacks going number one and number two in the draft? The Bears need to move on from Jay Cutler. John Fox has said Cutler isn’t guaranteed the starting job back after he returns from injury, which means he is most likely on his way out after the season. Kaaya isn’t as athletic or big as Kizer, but he is great at knowing how much heat, or lack thereof, to get the ball to his receivers and is very accurate at making throws down field.
3. New Orleans Saints- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
New Orleans has a chance to be the worst defense in the history of football…again. If they draft this high they need to take a guy who can be an elite player for years. Garrett is one of the best pass rushers to come into the league in the past few years. He has great speed and power, but more impressively he is able to set up his opponent to get where he wants to and make a play. He needs to work on his run defense, but the Saints can’t pass up on his pass-rushing abilities.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jags aren’t thrilled with T.J. Yeldon’s production and Chris Ivory certainly isn’t a long term solution. Blake Bortles is accused of being a garbage-time quarterback, because he and his talented receivers are putting up numbers when the game is already lost. One way to help fix this problem is to run the ball early to open things up. Fournette is a physical freak and can do just about anything asked of him. With Fournette, Jacksonville could have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
5. San Francisco 49ers- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Watson hasn’t played great this season, but last year more than makes up for his slow start this year, so far. Watson can run the ball, but hasn’t done so effectively this year. His passing has been off and he locks on his best receiver Mike Williams a lot. If Chip Kelly is still with the 49ers next year, Watson would be a good fit for his system and would give the 49ers more help on offense.
6. Miami Dolphins- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
If Ryan Tannehill doesn’t start playing well, the Dolphins could go after a quarterback. For now they can get a talented running back, which fills a need. Cook is elusive as a runner and is a great receiver out of the backfield. He is not great as a pass protector, but could improve in time.
7. San Diego Chargers- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The left side of the Chargers’ offensive line hasn’t played well. Phillip Rivers can play for several more years if he has the proper protection. Robinson is the best offensive tackle in the class by far, making this an easy pick for the Chargers.
8. Tennessee Titans- Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson is one of the best athletes in this draft class and can do a little bit of everything. The Titans will need him at corner, but he will also help in the return game and could also help out on offense as a receiver. The defense has been awful for the Titans and Jackson can start immediately in their secondary.
9. Detroit Lions- Malik McDowell, DT, MSU
The Lions don’t have great players on the interior of their defensive line. McDowell has great size and athleticism and uses his talents to get through blockers to make plays in the running game. He won’t put up huge numbers as a pass rusher, but he does take on double teams to free up other players on defense to get to the quarterback.
10. Buffalo Bills- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Rex Ryan is a defensive guru, but his players can’t get to the quarterback. The Bills offense may never be too dynamic, so they need to get to the opponent’s quarterback to help keep their team in the game. Allen had 12 sacks last year and already has three this season.
11. Washington Redskins- Jabril Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
Josh Norman is the only player on the Redskins’ defense who has played great this season. If they want to continue being competitive they need to upgrade a lot of positions, because their offense won’t win them too many games. Peppers may be the best all-around defender in this class. He has the versatility to play linebacker or safety in the NFL. He is a sure tackler who is always in great position. One knock on him is that he doesn’t have an interception in his college career, so he needs to show the ability capitalize when quarterbacks throw his way. His ability to return kicks will be highly coveted.
12. Indianapolis Colts- Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Indianapolis has two options in the draft: 1. help protect Andrew Luck or 2. improve the defense. There aren’t many great offensive lineman in this draft, so the selection should be easy. Harris is a great pass rusher, with three sacks on the season for the Tigers. He can also help stop the run behind the line of scrimmage, he totaled 18.5 tackles for loss last season.
13. New York Jets- Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Darrelle Revis hasn’t played well all season. The Jets’ other corners haven’t been the greatest either. Jets’ fans may not like taking another corner from Alabama (they just cut Dee Milliner, a former Alabama player), but Humphrey is certainly talented enough to be selected in the first half of the first round. Humphrey is young, but has already made a lot of great plays for the Crimson Tide. He should continue to grow and get better as this season goes on.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett is a great pass rusher, who is overshadowed by Myles Garrett. His 21 career sacks are amazing for playing on an SEC team, but he needs to stop the run better to be an elite prospect. The Bucs need better defensive line play to help Jameis Winston take this team where they want to go.
15. Carolina Panthers- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Another team that could use offensive linemen, but there isn’t one worthy of being picked. The Panthers can upgrade over Kurt Coleman, who has been a below average player so far this season. Hooker has been a ball hawk this season and has great size and speed.
16. Arizona Cardinals- Caleb Brantley, DE, Florida
The Cardinals have had a need on defensive line for a long time, but it has been better recently. Calais Campbell can’t play forever though. Brantley is one of the best players on a great collegiate defense at Florida.
Before week four of the NFL season the Bengals had given up the most sacks in the NFL. Right tackle and center need to be upgraded so Cincinnati can fill one of those void here. McGlinchey plays left tackle at Notre Dame now, but has extensive experience at right tackle in previous seasons.
18. Tennessee Titans- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Williams is a tall lanky receiver who is capable of making plays. He isn’t the fastest guy, but uses his size to make grabs over defenders. The Titans’ best receiver is Tajee Sharpe, who has potential, but another good receiver is needed for Mariota’s development.
19. Houston Texans- Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Jonathan Joseph has played horrible this year. The Texans look to have a decent offense now, but upgrading the secondary can make their defense elite.
20. Oakland Raiders- Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
Oakland has a terrible defense and needs upgrades everywhere. Even Khalil Mack hasn’t played well this season. Williams has impressed as a pass rusher who has athletic ability this season.
21. Atlanta Falcons- Desmond King, CB, Iowa
The Falcons also has an awful defense and need help just about everywhere. King is a ball-hawk who can turn an interception into a touchdown quickly. He is also a sure tackler who can help in the running game.
22. Dallas Cowboys- Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
White is not only an athletic corner who makes plays, but is also a team leader. He has worn the number 18 at LSU for two years now, which symbolizes that leadership. The Cowboys still need pass rushers, but taking a corner here would fill a need as well.
23. New York Giants- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey may be the most complete back in this class. He can return kicks, catch passes and run the ball inside the tackles. He would bring a whole new dimension to the Giants offense and make it better.
24. Kansas City Chiefs- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Kansas City really only has Jeremy Maclin as a viable receiver. Smith-Schuster has disappointed scouts this season, but still has the necessary size and speed to be molded into a good NFL pass-catcher.
25. Green Bay Packers- Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Packers have a talented roster as always, so they can take the best player available. Adams is the most accomplished safety in the class as he has started at LSU for multiple years now.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Jesse James hasn’t played great yet and Ladarius Green isn’t reliable. Howard can make the Steelers’ offense even more dynamic. He is very talented, but is underutilized at Alabama.
27. Seattle Seahawks- Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Russell Wilson needs to be protected and he hasn’t been for the last two years. Johnson has fallen in most mock drafts, but should produce good value at the end of the first round, while also filling the Seahawks’ biggest need.
28. Cleveland Browns- Dawaune Smoot, DE, Illinois
Smoot is an underrated player because he goes to Illinois, but he can get after the quarterback. The Browns need help across the board to help their young team. They picked Kizer with the first pick and can now address the pass rush.
Sutton has been hampered by injury this season, but is still a great shut down corner. The Ravens upgraded their safety position by adding Eric Weddle, but can now get some corners to go with him.
30. Philadelphia Eagles- Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Carson Wentz has looked great despite not having a great running game. If Chubb can overcome his injuries, he can be a workhorse back in the NFL.
31. Denver Broncos- Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
The Broncos lost a few linebackers from their Super Bowl winning team last year and can now get some young guys to help out at that spot. McMillan will fit nicely next to Brandon Marshall, if he is still with Denver next season.
32. New England Patriots- Devonte Fields, DE/OLB, Louisville
Fields won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year when playing at TCU. There are some concerns about his character, as he was kicked out of TCU, but his on-field play has been great. The Patriots have taken players with questionable backgrounds before and made them into stars.
Laquon Treadwell is a top level talent, however, he’s free falling in some mocks. (Photo By: Michael Chang, Getty Images)
The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to be one of the teams in competition for the AFC North title in 2016. A year after watching the Bengals implode against arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers, the team looks to follow-up and make greater strides this season.
We’ll know more about the future of the team after the first round of the draft is completed. Will they go “all-in” for 2016, meaning, do they select what would amount to an impact receiver? Or do they pick a long-term project player as they’ve been known to try?
With the losses of Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons) and Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions) in the offseason, the Bengals are a few receivers short of the depth they’ve grown accustomed to. With that being one of the glaring holes the team is at a small crossroads. Do they select a receiver early and expect him to put up incredible numbers in his rookie season? Or, do they favor a later round receiver (like Jones and Sanu) and expect him to slot in as the third or fourth option behind A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert?
These questions will be the first of many that the Bengals “War Room” has to debate heading into the draft. They’ll also have to battle the question of picking a receiver with the idea of drafting a project player.
Last season we saw the Bengals select Cedric Ogbuehi, an offensive linemen that would’ve probably been a top five pick before a season-ending injury pushed him to the bottom of the first round. Ogbuehi has since regained strength and learned under the likes of Andrew Whitworth and company, and developed into a bright star moving forward. He’ll be a starter next season and should be a mainstay for the rest of his career. That project worked out well.
They’ve also selected guys like Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Kevin Zeitler and allowed them to work their ways into the starting lineup, not pressuring them to be stars from day one. This method has worked well and has allowed the team to be called “the deepest team in the NFL” or “the most talented team 1-53, in the NFL” from NFL luminaries all over network TV.
With these things in mind, there seem to be a few options for Cincinnati in the first round.
Draft a receiver that fits the bill as a top tier target on Andy Dalton’s offense.
Draft a longer term project that has fell down the board due to injury.
Draft a depth player that will eventually fill a pivotal role. However, this pick won’t make an immediate boom.
These are the essential choices the Bengals have laying at their feet ahead of the draft that is now, right at our doorstep.
If Marvin Lewis dives down the first rabbit hole, he’ll likely please the fan base that believes next season should end with a Super Bowl championship. The fan base is in outcry mode after losing beloved options Jones and Sanu. They want an immediate replacement that will play a fundamental role in the offense.
What options are out there?
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Will Fuller may be considered the top receiver on the board with the fall of Treadwell. (Photo By: Walter Football)
Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Michael Thomas, WR, OSU
These are really the five guys we’re going to talk about. Ideally, Laquon Treadwell falls to Cincinnati. You may wonder why that’s an ideal thing? If he’s falling, something has to be wrong, right? People don’t like the leg injury he suffered two years ago. It was a nasty play and leaves question marks everywhere. But for the most part, this point is overplayed. He isn’t the greatness route runner and likely won’t burn many corners with his 4.63 40-yard dash. That’s a lot slower than Green’s 4.5 he ran in 2011. These things do appear to dampen the expectations for Treadwell. But that’s why he isn’t going to be a top 10 pick. He’s falling into the 20’s; there’s a big difference between a can’t miss receiver and a mid-20’s pick. He’s not Green or Julio Jones; he’s Anquan Boldin. A receiver that wins jump balls and outmuscles most corners. He’s a possession guy that’s going to be a great second option opposite of Green.
Should Treadwell fall, he should be the pick.
Fuller and Coleman would both be great number two picks. I’m just a tick lower on them than Treadwell, so both would be home runs for different reasons. Fuller is a blazing fast (4.32) outside threat that looks like a burner that could take the top off of a defense. He could become Green’s best friend in week one. Coleman, much like Fuller, is a blazer. A 4.37 40-yard dash time at his pro day make him a viable option for Cincinnati. He’s a little less polished, and I worry about production inflation in the Big 12. Taken aside, he’s a great route-runner and can burn just as well as Fuller. I would grade Fuller slightly ahead of Coleman, and I assume the Bengals would do the same.
Doctson is the only other receiver I would consider. He ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and is a bit taller than both of the aforementioned receivers (6’2”). He is the least polished of the big four and wouldn’t turn as many heads. But he fits the bill as a number two beside Green. Thomas is off my board as a first round pick. Should the Bengals trade down (as if that would ever happen), he becomes a much better option in the second round.
Taking option two for the Bengals wouldn’t be as popular as the first choice, at least immediately. Ogbuehi wasn’t a popular pick on the first day, but fans are starting to see why the pick happened and seem to love it.
The main topic of discussion, Notre Dame linebacker, Jaylon Smith, suffered a devastating knee injury to end last season. How has this changed things? Well, he was a consensus top five pick last season, now? He’s in danger of falling into the latter part of the first round. A significant change that opens up a window of opportunity for the Bengals.
Jaylon Smith fell down draft boards after a Fiesta Bowl knee injury derailed his final college football game. (Photo By: Sporting News)
New information came out today that some doctors are saying his knee is a ticking time bomb with all of the nerve damage. This is a major concern. It could be career jeopardizing. Or, he could come back and be fine. That’s where the gamble comes in. You truly have no idea what you’re going to get from him. He could be the best player from this draft or he could be out of the NFL after two seasons.
The Bengals love their pass rush and you can never have enough solid linebackers. Would they consider this pick? Yes. For sure. Would they pull the trigger? Probably. Will they? Who knows?
The last option would be for the Bengals to select some interior line help on either side of the ball, or maybe some secondary help. The Bengals and Lewis himself, love having depth. They do have holes that could be addressed, but they also have possible fillers on their roster. They can also fill these holes later in the draft.
Some of the names to watch for. . .
Noah Spence, DE, EKU
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
These two have floated around on the Bengals radar. Sure, there are several other options (most of which we haven’t even connected to the Bengals) but these two are the main options to think about.
Spence and Billings will both fill gaps on the Bengals D-Line. Spence could become a great pass rusher and Billings would fill in the gap that Domata Peko is starting to leave. He’s got age and will need a full-time replacement.
If I had to lay down a solid prediction, it would be at the wide receiver position. There have been grumblings that the Bengals aren’t sold on Lewis as a Super Bowl winning coach while also giving him a one-year extension, go figure. With that in mind, this year should be an all-in type of season for the Bengals. For Marvin Lewis to keep his job, 2016 must be a good season. That means they’ll likely try and find the most impactful player in the draft. That will probably come from a receiver.