By Nick Beare
Full disclosure: I am not an NFL insider. I don’t pretend to try and predict trades. I don’t have connections with teams or front-office executives. I didn’t interview any players for this piece. I am no more qualified to predict what will happen on April 28 than any other basement-dwelling braggart. That said, my intentions are pure. Mock drafts are a guilty pleasure of mine and I know I’m not the only one. So, using a combination of film study, team needs and rumours from real analysts, I’m diving in to try and predict what I think will happen with the small caveat that the specific players I choose are less relevant than the position, or, more specifically, the type of player chosen (Ex. a speed receiver vs a big-bodied possession guy). Enjoy:
Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
The consensus number one choice for months now. There have been rumours Trubisky is the pick. I think it would be a huge mistake, but it’s the Browns. It could happen.
Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
Garrett would be the pick if the Browns go with a QB at 1. Many insiders have Adams here and although it could easily be Thomas or Lattimore, this seems like a logical, solid, can’t miss pick for new Niners GM John Lynch. He can’t afford to miss on this one.
Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
The player many think will be the second pick falls to Chicago at 3. Thomas is a versatile player that can win on the outside and kick inside on passing downs. Solid foundational piece for John Fox’s defense. Adams could be the pick if Trubisky goes number 1.
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
Leonard Fournette has been mocked here for months. That’s why I don’t think he’ll be the pick. Tom Coughlin has no ties to Blake Bortles, and getting a new QB SHOULD be Coughlin’s top priority. This team can’t make the leap we’re all predicting until they fix that position. Watson may not be a superstar, but he can evolve into a league average QB, and that’s a big upgrade for this team.
Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
The Titans have stated they are trying to trade this pick. Now, if Trubisky isn’t the top pick, this is a prime spot for Cleveland to move up from 12 to take him here. According to reports, the Titans are looking to add both a corner and a receiver early in the draft and I believe this pick could quite easily be either. It’s the big-bodied Williams for now.
Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
The top talent at corner falls to the Jets and they promptly sprint up the the podium to make their selection.
Malik Hooker, Free Safety, Ohio State
This pick just makes so much sense. It’s almost so obvious that I don’t want to predict it. There are whispers of Christian McCaffrey going here.
Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford
As a Bucs fan it pains me to make this selection, but it really is a great fit. The Panthers need to keep Cam Newton healthy, and putting the ball in McCaffrey’s hands is a great way to do that. And yes, I think he can be a primary ball carrier between the tackles.
Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU
People pretty connected with the Bengals have been saying for a while the team will not pass on Fournette if he’s there at 9. I don’t see Foster going here. It could be an edge rusher is the backs go early.
Jonathan Allen, Defensive End, Alabama
Trubisky is a legitimate option for the Bills here. The owner doesn’t take a private jet to see a player unless the team is serious about him. That said, I think the Browns likely jump in front to grab him, and Allen falling here is too good to pass up. Allen could easily go in the top 3.
Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
The Saints need defensive help in the worst way. There’s a lot of talk that character concerns will push him down or out of the first. I’m not buying it. Foster is one of the top five prospects in this draft an will be a star in the NFL at middle linebacker.
Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
The Browns finally get their guy. It’s no secret they covet Ohio-native Trubisky, the question is whether he actually be available at 12. I think they will have to trade up to get him. But in this scenario, they get him while staying put.
Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech
Cardinals GM Steve Keim must be looking at his roster and seeing what the rest of us do. An aging Quarterback, a Head Coach who has hinted at retirement and a star receiver in the twilight of his career. All that said, he needs to set up this team, that already fields a defense set to win now, with it’s future signal-caller. Pat Mahomes has the arm talent to be that guy.
Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
Corner is a clear need for the Eagles, as is running back. This would have been a great landing spot for Gareon Conley, but with sexual assault allegations hanging over his head, Philly turns to a pass rusher in the first. Harris is one of several options just outside the top tier that would be available. It just depends on how the Eagles rank them.
Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
Another pass rusher goes here. I don’t think a guy like Lamp is out of the question in an attempt to finalize their O-Line, but Barnett, who many have going earlier than this, is too good to pass up. I’m scared by his relative lack of athleticism, but he’s a true sack artist who knows how to reach the QB. The Colts don’t have a guy who can do that.
Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
I’m so tempted to put Corey Davis here. And I think O.J. Howard falling to this point would be a little shocking and would be a great pick for Ozzie Newsome. But there are a lot of well-connected people who are saying the Ravens quietly covet Robinson. He has the highest ceiling of any of the tackle prospects.
Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
Reddick’s workout at the combine boosts his draft spot into the late teens. He’s a freaky athlete who can rush off the edge, but projects as an off-the-ball linebacker in the NFL.
Forrest Lamp, Offensive Guard, Western Kentucky
Maybe the best offensive lineman in the draft, Lamp is a ten-year starter who solidifies an already stout group up front for the Titans.
O.J. Howard, Tight End, Alabama
Probable? No. Plausible? Well, are any of the above picks unrealistic? I don’t think teams are thrilled with taking a tight end in the top ten, and although his fall would likely induce someone to jump up to grab him, I don’t think the Bucs could pass this up. Howard is a fantastic prospect who can quite literally do it all.
Garrett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah
Don’t be fooled by the additions of Menelik Watson and Ronald Leary. The Broncos still need long-term help along the O-Line, especially at tackle. Bolles may not have the ceiling that a couple other prospects have, but he’s the most NFL-ready.
Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
Ziggy Ansah is entering his contract year and the Lions are lacking talent across their front seven anyway. An upgrade is needed and Charlton would be a solid addition.
Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
The Dolphins need to help their aging pass rush. McKinley is a clean prospect with the length and traits to develop into a solid rusher.
David Njoku, Tight End, Miami
OBJ, Brandon Marshall and David Njoku stretching the seam? Whew. What an addition this would be for Eli Manning and co. A man that big should not be able to move that quickly.
Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida
The Raiders don’t have a ton of holes to fill. An upgrade at corner is a possibility, but the Raiders are pretty weak in the middle of their defense.
Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
The Texans would love to add a tackle here and one falls to them in this scenario. If the top QB’s slip, this is a definite landing spot.
Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State
The Seahawks need tackles. In this scenario, however, none happen to be available. I think they’re next choice is a pass rusher.
Kevin King, Cornerback, Washington
Many are predicting a Chiefs trade up to grab a Quarterback, namely Pat Mahomes. If that doesn’t happen, I think adding another long, athletic corner across from Marcus Peters makes a lot of sense.
Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC
This is such a Jerry Jones pick. Jackson is a track star who is focusing on football for the first time. His cover skills need work but, he’s a great athlete than will at minimum make an impact in the return game as a rookie.
Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama
The Packers desperately need help at corner. Ted Thompson has a ‘type’ of player he likes to draft, and Humphrey fits that mold.
Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Kentucky
This would be a huge get for Pitt in my opinion. He could easily go much earlier than this, but what an add it would be for Big Ben & co.
Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
I think this is a good spot for Rivers and it adds another rusher for the Falcons who suddenly boast a beastly defensive front.
(from Patriots) Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, LSU
The Saints add to their putrid defense with White. You could easily flip the two picks I have here for them (in terms of position) and I don’t think anyone would be surprised. They need to go defense heavy in this draft.