We here at RCR have had a lot of fun over the last few weeks with our mock drafts of everything from breakfast foods to cartoons. Since the actual NFL draft is this week, why not take a stab at predicting the first round (since every other sports website out there is). Each drafter was responsible for a division, so the order is interesting. Here is how we see Thursday night transpiring.
1. Cleveland: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Browns are in dire need of talent and Garrett’s the most talented player in the draft. Garrett was a disruptive force from day one in College Station, accumulating 47 tackles for a loss and 31 sacks in his three seasons. The Browns ranked 31st in the NFL with a putrid 26 sacks so adding a pass rusher with a high ceiling makes a lot of sense. Garrett’s blend of explosiveness, agility, and brute strength is reminiscent of another former Aggie, Von Miller. Fox Sports’ resident village idiot, Skip Bayless, recently said he believes Garrett will be a bust, so Browns fans should be ecstatic about adding a perennial pro bowler to their franchise. I expect multiple double-digit sack seasons from this electric prospect.
2. San Francisco: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Niners are in a strange spot as a franchise, as within a span of two years they lost a top-5 head coach, had almost their entire starting defense retire and then cleaned house in the front office thanks in large part to those first two things. While San Francisco is firmly in the group of teams that desperately need a QB, it’s unclear whether any of the quarterbacks in this class are actually good. With that in mind, let’s bolster the defensive front with a prospect with the potential to be a dominant force in the trenches for years to come.
3. Chicago: Johnathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Bears need to get back to being the “Monsters of the Midway”. This could help.
4. Jacksonville: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette will provide the Jaguars with physicality and explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball. One of the truly elite athletes in this class, Fournette clocked a faster on-field speed than any player in the NFL in 2016. He’ll take a lot of pressure off of whoever is playing QB.
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5. Tennessee (from LA Rams): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
One of the safest picks in the draft. His ability to cover and play the run is extremely rare. But, he brings more than just highlight plays and a sub 4.4 forty to the Titans, he brings a culture that tolerates nothing less than a victory.
-Jordan de Lugo
6. NY Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Tempted to take a QB here, but they just can’t afford to pass on a very talented corner at #6.
7. LA Chargers: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
OJ Howard was so impressive during Senior Bowl week. He will be a very good player for a long time, and the Chargers get a surefire top-10 pick.
8. Carolina: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Can you imagine Cam Newton zone-read with McCaffrey?
9. Cincinnati: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals could look at add a WR to complement A.J. Green, but I believe Derek Barnett would be an excellent fit in the Queen City. Barnett had an unbelievably productive three-year career for the Vols; his 33 career sacks broke Reggie White’s school record and helped earn him First Team All-SEC honors in 2016. Barnett is adept at beating offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage with a myriad of impressive moves, which enable him to wreak havoc quarterbacks as well as running backs. While he may not possess the off the charts athleticism of Myles Garrett, Barnett’s tenacious style of play and relentless motor will most likely result in high-level production in the NFL.
10. Buffalo: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
They need a reliable receiver opposite the often hurt Sammy Watkins. This pick makes sense here.
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11. New Orleans: Ruben Foster, LB, Alabama
Value pick for a bad defense.
12. Cleveland (from Philadelphia): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Rumors are buzzing that the Browns are enamored with Trubisky and they will most likely attempt to trade up to draft him. We decided to conduct this mock draft without trades so the Browns are fortunate to have their potential franchise QB fall into their lap at number 12. Trubisky possesses excellent footwork and a quick, compact release with a rocket arm. He only started one season for the Tar Heels, but excelled, throwing for over 3,700 yards with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He was sensational in a road victory over Florida State, but followed that up with a truly awful performance at home vs. Virginia Tech. I’m not sure I can remember a top QB prospect ever looking that bad, but Trubisky rebounded and was terrific the rest of the season. The Browns haven’t had success drafting quarterbacks in the first round (Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel), but they have to keep trying. I prefer Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes at the position, but I do think Trubisky could be a solid starting QB in this league. As former Tar Heel and world-class orator Michael Jordan recently said, “The ceiling is the roof.” I’m still not sure what that means but I believe it applies to Trubisky.
13. Arizona: John Ross, WR, Washington
Carson Palmer likes throwing the football. While Larry Fitzgerald seems to get an IV from the Fountain of Youth every off-season, he won’t be around forever. Probably. John Ross ran a 3.75 40 (very unofficial) at the combine and seems like a perfect fit for the fast track at University of Phoenix Stadium.
14. Philadelphia (from Minnesota): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Philadelphia is in desperate need of a corner. The best available corner would be Conley and would be a big upgrade on the current corners on the Eagles roster. Conley and his teammate Marshon Lattimore were difficult to throw against while at Ohio State and Conley is an excellent coverage corner and would help with the great receivers in this division (Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant are no easy task).
Ed. Note: This selection was made before the accusations of rape surfaced on Tuesday.
15. Indianapolis: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
This pick is just to torture all the FSU/Jaguar fans out there. But in all seriousness, Cook is a rare running back who shows the ability to do everything on the field. He’ll need to improve as a blocker to become a true every down threat, but in the meantime he will provide Andrew Luck and the Colts some big play potential at running back.
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16. Baltimore: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Ravens recently added Tony Jefferson at SS to team with FS Eric Weddle, but Malik Hooker is the best available player and too talented to pass up at this spot. Moreover, Weddle is 32 years old so it’s smart to invest in his successor. Hooker had a fantastic sophomore season for the Buckeyes, earning first-team All-America honors from multiple publications, displaying the ball hawking safety skills that NFL defenses covet (he returned three picks for TDs; sounds like Blake Bortles’ worst nightmare). I expect Hooker to go in the top ten, so the only way the Ravens land him will be through a trade. He has some injury concerns (torn labrum in his hip), but it’s easy to see his Ed Reed-esque skillset. I believe Hooker will be a superstar in this league, but most likely in a different team’s uniform. Western Michigan’s WR Corey Davis would be a steal at this spot, too.
17. Washington: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
Washington needs a linebacker since Junior Galette is dealing with legal issues and is recovering from an Achilles tear in the 2016 offseason. He hasn’t played football in almost 2 years. In addition to that, LB Trent Murphy is suspended for the first four games of 2017 due to PED’s. They need to find someone that can help Pro bowler Ryan Kerrigan.
18. Tennessee: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The most NFL ready receiver makes for a nice fit with the Titans, who need to give Marcus Mariota every tool possible in order for them to be this years version of the Raiders.
-Jordan de Lugo
19. Tampa Bay: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The biggest weakness of the Bucs offense is up front. This should help fix that.
20. Denver: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
I had in mind OT for the Broncos the whole time. They’ll need to protect their QB of the future. Ramczyk (or I like to call Car Ram Rod) will fill an immediate need.
21. Detroit: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Offense proved it could survive without Megatron last year, now the defense needs playmakers to match.
22. Miami: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Graded as one of the best inside linebackers in this draft, Cunningham will add some nastiness to that linebacking core.
23. NY Giants: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan
The Giants need to find a pass rusher on the interior line. McDowell fits that and then some. He would be paired with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul and form a very athletic front line. This pick solidifies the d-line and pass rush for the future for the G-men.
24. Oakland: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Jamal Adams gets almost all of the media coverage, but I liked what I saw from Tre’Davious White at LSU. If the Raiders want to compete for a Super Bowl, they need plenty of corners.
25. Houston: Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
The Texans are in desperate need of a franchise QB. Watson has some warts in his game, but he’s a proven winner with nice athleticism, great touch and a tireless work ethic. Watson could be the QB the Texans have been looking for.
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26. Seattle: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Seattle is good. Their offense line is absolute trash. Garrett Bolles is an offensive lineman.
27. Kansas City: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
How many Crimson Tide folks go in Round One? I decided to make it five for our mock by taking Marlon Humphrey for the Chiefs. Marcus Peters is a great player and still on the rise. Humphrey can provide more secondary help, and odds are in your favor when taking SEC defenders.
28. Dallas: Kevin King, CB, Washington
Dallas pretty much lost its entire secondary to this past free agency, and need to rebuild. In a deep secondary class, I expect the Cowboys to go after this strength. This division is stacked with receivers (most notably Beckham Jr, Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery), so they need to start loading up on corners. King is the perfect start as he can play any position in the secondary and is extremely versatile.
29. Green Bay: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Can you tell I watched a lot of the Gators this year? Wilson is one of the names trending down before the draft, but the Packers need secondary help and I think they get a steal late in the round here.
30. Pittsburgh: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
OLB James Harrison is 39 years old and I believe Lawson is a good fit to be his heir apparent as a pass rushing OLB in the Steelers’ 3-4 scheme. Lawson had a breakout junior season for the Tigers in 2016, creating constant pressure while accumulating 13 tackles for a loss and nine sacks. However, durability is a concern, as he missed all of 2014 with a knee injury and half of 2015 with a hip flexor issue. Additionally, he struggled at times against the run, but he’ll improve as he gains more strength and experience. Lawson represents great value at the end of the first round and he’ll make an instant impact for Keith Butler’s defense.
31. Atlanta: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
Defense was better last year, but can never have too much of a pass rush.
32. New Orleans: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
This would not be a surprise pick. The Saints need defense, but Drew Brees is not getting any younger. He could sit and learn from a great, similar to Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.
What do you think NFL fans? Let us know on twitter at @rivercityrogue or in the comments.