It’s here! Months of anticipation, and the 2017 NFL Draft will finally take place from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made famous in the Rocky movies. The Draft will kickoff in just under three hours, and I am here with your 1st Round primer just in the nick of time!
This is less a mock draft, and more a look at what I believe teams will do tonight. I have it broken into three sections. First, what the team is most likely to do. Second, an alternative option that is probably also very likely. Third and finally, a sleeper option that a lot of people may not expect, but options that make a lot of sense for the teams involved.
Keep this pulled up as you watch the Draft tonight, see how many I hit on and ridicule me when I’m dead wrong! We’ll start with the Cleveland Browns and the #1 overall pick. The Browns are on the clock!
1 – Cleveland Browns
Most Likely: I cannot stress this enough Cleveland, please take Myles Garrett with this pick and STOP THINKING ABOUT IT! This is as slam dunk a pick at #1 overall as there has been in recent memory, probably since Andrew Luck to the Colts. This would be the Brownsiest thing the Browns have ever done if they take anyone other than Garrett.
Alternative Option: While I know I said they have to take Garrett or else face the mightiest of ridicule from just about everybody in football, it’s no secret that this league is driven by the quarterback position, so if the Browns convince themselves that Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson are going to be the QB that can turn this franchise around, then I guess it’s possible that they go quarterback with this pick.
Sleeper: There’s no way this pick is anything other than Garrett or Trubisky, but I think the Browns will stay open to a possible trade up until they make their selection. If some team makes them an offer they can’t refuse, I could see them making that move.
2 – San Francisco 49ers
Most Likely: This will be the first pick of the John Lynch era, and being a defensive player himself, I think it’s likely that the Niners will address the defense. Solomon Thomas is the player getting the most buzz for this pick, and Jamal Adams, who a lot of people believe is the second best player in this class behind Garrett, is also a possibility.
Alternative Option: Based on what I’ve read, it is looking like the 49ers will keep this pick, but they have been very much open to trading down, and I still believe that getting out of the #2 spot is their ideal scenario. If a team is in love with somebody not named Myles Garrett, I think the talent-starved Niners would be wise to accumulate some extra picks.
Sleeper: Leonard Fournette has been mocked to the Niners by some people, but I’m not sure if there are many in the know who believe this is a real possibility. Carlos Hyde is a talented back, but he has dealt with a ton of injuries during his time in San Francisco. If Lynch wants to make a splash with his first draft pick, Fournette could be that pick.
3 – Chicago Bears
Most Likely: Like the Niners, most expect the Bears to go defense with this pick, and there are a number of ways they could go. Whoever they would take here defensively would be an upgrade over what they have on their roster going into the Draft. I think the secondary is the area they are most likely to address with this pick, with safeties Adams and Malik Hooker or cornerback Marshon Lattimore the guys most likely to go off the board here.
Alternative Option: If they don’t go with a defensive back, improving along the D-Line is the next best option. If Thomas would slip past San Fran, I could see the Bears scooping him up. If he’s not available, Alabama DT Jonathan Allen would probably be next on their board. He’s versatile, and can really get after the quarterback. He’d be a fine pick.
Sleeper: You’re going to see me discuss a lot of trade scenarios here, and while the Bears have not been discussed heavily as a team likely to trade back, there could be a team looking to move up ahead of Jacksonville to grab Fournette or a quarterback.
4 – Jacksonville Jaguars
Most Likely: The Jags spent a lot of money this offseason to improve their defense, so the overwhelming belief is that they will go offense with this first pick, but I believe that’s only true if Leonard Fournette is available. If the Niners don’t take Fournette, the Jags will just have to hope a team doesn’t move ahead of them, and they’ll add Fournette to take some pressure off of Blake Bortles.
Alternative Option: Despite a free agency spending spree that focused on defense, they could certainly stand to add some more talent on that side of the ball. Jonathan Allen would be a great addition to the D-Line, while they are also rumored to really like Solomon Thomas if he would be available here.
Sleeper: I mentioned Blake Bortles before, and the jury is still out on whether he can be the QB to lead the next successful Jaguar team. The team has yet to pick up the 5th year option on his contract, meaning that they could be prepared to move on from him after this year. If that’s where they stand, I could see them shocking a lot of people and taking Trubisky or Watson with this pick.
5 – Tennessee Titans (from LA Rams)
Most Likely: I truly believe that the most likely option here for the Titans, who acquired this pick for the #1 overall pick last season, is to trade back with a team looking to jump ahead of the Jets to take either Trubisky or Watson (I’m looking at you Cleveland). They have two 1st Round picks, and have made it well known that they’d love to trade down and get back into the 2nd Round, after giving up their 2nd Rounder this year during the 2016 Draft.
Alternative Option: If they stay put at #5, they will probably look to go defense, as it’s possible that at least two of Allen, Lattimore, Adams and Hooker will be available to them. They could really use an upgrade at the cornerback position after cutting Jason McCourty, so I think Lattimore is the guy that would make the most sense.
Sleeper: With Marcus Mariota at the helm, the Titans’ offense is ready to join the ranks of the elite offenses in this league. For that reason, they could look to add another weapon with this pick. Early on in the pre-draft process, it was looking like Mike Williams or Corey Davis would be the ones the Titans could take here, but don’t be surprised if Alabama TE O.J. Howard comes off the board at #5 to Tennessee.
6 – New York Jets
Most Likely: The Jets are a team very far away from playoff contention in my opinion, and I think they are actually in a good spot to go with the best player available, regardless of position. In the middle of the Top-10, it’s looking like that’s likely to be a defensive player, with Jamal Adams, Marshon Lattimore, and Malik Hooker the players that have a chance to be available here. That would be fine with the Jets, as their secondary needs a ton of improvement.
Alternative Option: This could be a spot for a team to move up to get the player they covet, and the Jets have made it no secret that they are willing to field offers for this pick. If they aren’t in love with any of the players available, they’d be wise to trade back and accumulate some extra picks.
Sleeper: The Jets obviously think Bryce Petty could be their starting quarterback, and they took Christian Hackenberg in the 2nd Round last year, so they could be looking to give him a shot, but I think there’s a chance they could take a quarterback with this pick. I think Trubisky could be off the board by this point, but they could look at Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes as well.
7 – Los Angeles Chargers
Most Likely: The Chargers are another team that should be looking to improve their defense with this pick, and the secondary is the weakest unit on that side of the ball. I think the Chargers would sprint to the podium if Jamal Adams falls this far, but they’d be okay with Malik Hooker as well. They really missed Eric Weddle last year, so the best case scenario would be to get one of the two top safeties in this class.
Alternative Option: The defensive line had its struggles last season as well, outside of last year’s #3 overall pick Joey Bosa. There’s a chance Jonathan Allen could fall here, and I’d expect the Chargers to heavily consider him if that happens. Solomon Thomas is more of a pipe dream, but I’d fully expect him to be the pick if he’s available at #7.
Sleeper: Philip Rivers isn’t getting any younger, so this is another potential landing spot for a QB. If they really love the potential of a Mahomes, Watson or Kizer, they could use this pick to grab them and have them learn the system for a season or two behind Rivers.
8 – Carolina Panthers
Most Likely: If you would have asked me about what I thought the Panthers would do here as recent as a couple weeks ago, I would have told you something way different than what I’m about to. Christian McCaffrey to the Panthers is the popular pick as we inch closer and closer to the Draft, and I think it has gotten to the point where I’ll be shocked if anything else happens here.
Alternative Option: Panthers’ GM Dave Gettleman loves his linemen, so making an addition to their depth on the defensive line is certainly another way they could go. If Allen or Thomas would fall to here, I’d expect the Panthers to heavily consider either of those guys. Derek Barnett is another potential D-Lineman that they could go with here.
Sleeper: It is unlikely that Leonard Fournette will be available at #8, but if he is, I believe they would choose him over McCaffrey or a defensive player. I could also see them making the move to go up and get Fournette in the Top-5, because he fits their offense perfectly.
9 – Cincinnati Bengals
Most Likely: It’s looking more and more like this is the spot where we’re going to see our first linebacker come off the board. Haason Reddick is gaining a lot of steam in draft circles, and he would fill a need perfectly for the Bengals. Reuben Foster is another option, as long as they are okay with his medicals and his attitude.
Alternative Option: If not a linebacker, defensive end would be the spot I’d expect them to look, with Derek Barnett being the most likely option. I doubt Solomon Thomas gets here, but I believe they’d take him if he did. Taco Charlton could be another option, but they would probably look to trade down if they coveted him.
Sleeper: The Bengals spent a 2nd Round pick on Tyler Boyd last season, but when A.J. Green was hurt, wide receiver became a weak position for them. They are likely to have their pick of the litter if they go receiver here, with Mike Williams and Corey Davis being the probable targets.
10 – Buffalo Bills
Most Likely: Speaking of pass catchers, I get the feeling that the Bills are most likely to address that part of their offense with this selection. Williams and Davis are again likely choices, but I think tight end O.J. Howard would bring the most to this Bills offense, and I think he’s the guy they will probably choose if they keep this pick.
Alternative Option: I could see the Bills trading up or down from this pick, but they’ve made it known that they would like to move down and get an extra pick or two later in the draft. I’m not sure what team would move up to here, but the Bills will be motivated to trade this pick if possible.
Sleeper: They brought back Tyrod Taylor, but I could see this as another landing spot for one of the top quarterbacks. Bills’ brass is rumored to love Deshaun Watson, so if that’s true, I could easily see them going that route.
11 – New Orleans Saints
Most Likely: With Drew Brees still under center, the Saints are again going to have a terrific offense. That is why they are most likely to go defense with this pick, and I think they will go front seven with this pick. Derek Barnett, Haason Reddick and Reuben Foster are the guys I would expect them to be choosing from if available
Alternative Option: They have needs all over their defense though, so secondary is certainly an option as well, more specifically at cornerback. If Lattimore would fall, the Saints could scoop him up. I believe they’ll also consider guys like Tre’Davious White, Marlon Humphrey and Gareon Conley (as long as they are comfortable with his potential off-field issues) are possibilities.
Sleeper: There are a lot of teams who could take a quarterback in the 1st Round this year either due to struggles or aging. The Saints fall under the latter category. They could very easily draft a developmental quarterback to learn under a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Drew Brees.
12 – Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
Most Likely: The Browns got this pick as part of the package for the #2 overall pick last year. That pick was Carson Wentz, and I think the Browns will try to use this pick to go back up into the Top-10 and get Mitchell Trubisky. It is rumored that they’ve had discussions with at least four teams in the Top-10 about potentially trading up, and it makes all the sense in the world.
Alternative Option: If they keep this pick, I am to assume that they would have taken Myles Garrett #1 overall, which would lead me to believe they go offense here. Mike Williams, Corey Davis or O.J. Howard would be the most likely choices, with John Ross or a falling Christian McCaffrey also possibilities.
Sleeper: Joe Haden really struggled last season, and opposing offenses had a field day throwing against the Browns’ secondary. They could double down on 1st Round defenders and go with a Lattimore, Adams or Hooker if they fell. I don’t think they’d do it unless one of those three were available though.
13 – Arizona Cardinals
Most Likely: The early teens seems like the linebacker sweet spot, as everything I’m seeing leads me to believe the Cardinals are most likely to go linebacker in this spot. Reddick or Foster are the usual suspects, with Jarrad Davis being a reach, but a possibility. They could also look for an edge rusher like Charlton or Takkarist McKinley.
Alternative Option: If they want to make one last run at a title with Carson Palmer at QB, getting him a receiver to play opposite Larry Fitzgerald would be a smart move. Williams, Davis or John Ross would all be solid picks at this spot.
Sleeper: Another team with an aging quarterback, I’ve felt all along that DeShone Kizer and Bruce Arians are a match made in heaven, and if the Cards go quarterback here, I still, despite evidence to the contrary, believe Kizer is the one they’d go for.
14 – Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
Most Likely: There are a number of ways the Eagles could go with this pick, but I think addressing the cornerback position appears to be the best bet. If they are comfortable with Gareon Conley’s off-field issues, it has been said that they really like him as far as on-field goes, so I could see them taking him. Marlon Humphrey is another likely choice.
Alternative Option: Their pipe dream would be for Christian McCaffrey to fall here, and I could see them entertaining the idea of moving up to get him, but I think they stay put, and getting an offensive playmaker is an option. They are known to like John Ross and Dalvin Cook, while Corey Davis and Mike Williams are also certainly potential picks for the Eagles.
Sleeper: Connor Barwin struggled at times last year, so I could see the Eagles trying to improve their pass rush with this pick. Derek Barnett is the most likely choice, but I could see them taking a guy like Taco Charlton as well if available. I won’t rule out Haason Reddick either if he falls to them.
15 – Indianapolis Colts
Most Likely: It’s a very weak offensive line class, but the Colts need to do a better job protecting their franchise quarterback, so being able to potentially grab one of the top offensive linemen in this class should be too good to pass up. Some think it’s Cam Robinson, others Ryan Ramczyk. Some like Garret Bolles, while Forrest Lamp has gotten some buzz as well. Regardless, I think it’s most likely one of those guys ends up in Indianapolis.
Alternative Option: If they don’t go offensive line, I would expect them to move to the other side of the ball and make an addition to their front seven. Haason Reddick is again a possibility, as are pass rushers Derek Barnett and Takkarist McKinley.
Sleeper: There is word today that the Colts are talking to teams in an attempt to move up into the Top-10, and their reported target if they do that would be Christian McCaffrey. Frank Gore won’t play much longer, so it makes sense that they would covet a player like McCaffrey.
16 – Baltimore Ravens
Most Likely: I had trouble trying to figure out what this team is most likely to look for with the 16th pick in the 1st Round, but I settled on getting Joe Flacco some help offensively with a playmaker. I think Mike Williams would be their ideal pick, but John Ross would be another good option.
Alternative Option: They have plenty of needs on the defensive side of the ball too, so I could easily see them going that route. Infusing some youth on the edge is where I think they’d go, with Barnett and McKinley, as well as Taco Charlton and Charles Harris being potential targets there.
Sleeper: While I mentioned that it is a weak offensive line class, Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome loves to draft linemen, and they lost Ricky Wagner and Jeremy Zuttah this offseason. Cam Robinson to the Ravens has been mocked by a few experts, so don’t be surprised if that happens on Thursday night.
17 – Washington Redskins
Most Likely: The Redskins are mostly set on offense, so I expect them to focus on defense early in this draft. Linebacker is their weakest position on defense, so I think that would be their main focus with this pick. I doubt Haason Reddick would get past them here, and Reuben Foster is another option if he is falling. If those two are taken, Jarrad Davis could be the pick. There’s another rumor floating around that they are enamored with the potential that Jabrill Peppers has. That could be an option as well.
Alternative Option: There’s been a lot of talk about the Skins looking to trade back in the 1st Round, and that makes sense for a team very talent starved on the defensive side. If a QB is falling, maybe a team jumps up into this range to grab them.
Sleeper: I said they are mostly set on offense, but they could use an upgrade in the backfield to take some pressure off of Kirk Cousins. If Christian McCaffrey slips to them, I believe they would think long and hard about him. Dalvin Cook is another possibility, and he is likely to be available.
18 – Tennessee Titans
Most Likely: The Titans are a good team that could move into great team territory with two 1st Round picks this year. I mentioned that their most likely option at #5 is to trade back into the early teens, so if that happens, it all depends what they do with that pick in order to determine what they do here. I think this ends up being the offensive pick for them, with players like Mike Williams, John Ross, Corey Davis and tight end David Njoku likely being the selection.
Alternative Option: If they would go offense with their first pick, I’d expect them to address the secondary with this pick. Marlon Humphrey and Tre’Davious White are a couple corners that I believe they’d be interested in here, and it wouldn’t shock me to see them take a versatile weapon like Jabrill Peppers.
Sleeper: There’s a good chance the Titans move back from #5, and they moved back from the #1 overall pick last year, so why not move back again? They could go from no 2nd Round picks to two or three 2nd Rounders with another trade back.
19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Most Likely: Dalvin Cook. It’s as simple as that. Some teams are concerned about Cook off the field, specifically the people that he surrounds himself with, but his college coach Jimbo Fisher says that Cook is one of the hardest working players he’s ever coached. The talent is evident as well. The Bucs’ running back situation is very cloudy, so Cook makes a whole lot of sense. It might be concerning to keep him in Florida, but for a team ready to fight for a playoff spot, it’s worth the risk.
Alternative Option: If they don’t go running back, I think their next best option is to get Jameis Winston another talented pass catcher. David Njoku would be who I believe best fits what they need, as he would immediately be an upgrade over Cameron Brate. If Mike Williams is still available though, I could definitely see them taking him to line up on the opposite side of Mike Evans. That would be a heck of a 1-2 punch at wide receiver. Who do you double-team?
Sleeper: Most experts believe the Bucs will go offense in the 1st Round, but they could use some upgrades on the other side of the ball as well. Grabbing a linebacker like Reddick or Foster is a possibility, and Derek Barnett would be a great pick if he fell to #19.
20 – Denver Broncos
Most Likely: Denver really needs to upgrade their offensive line, and they are in a good spot to do that here at #20, as they can take an offensive lineman and not be reaching for it. They’ve had a few of the top prospects in for visits, including Garret Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk. Cam Robinson could be enticing as well. I don’t think they take Forrest Lamp, only because he projects as a guard, and they really need the help at left and right tackle.
Alternative Option: With DeMarcus Ware’s retirement, the Broncos need to address the pass rush opposite Von Miller at some point in this draft. There are a number of talented pass rushers, including Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, Derek Barnett and Takkarist McKinley that could be potential choices at #20.
Sleeper: There have been reports today leading up to the start of the Draft that the Broncos are a team looking to trade up. Their likely target is unknown, but the speculation is that they love Christian McCaffrey, and besides the fact that he’s an extremely talented player, the family connection is right there, as his dad Ed won a couple Super Bowls with the Broncos.
21 – Detroit Lions
Most Likely: This 1st Round could be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory, but one team that appears to be taking one of a few specific players, rather than a position, is the Lions. I believe they are most likely to take Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis with this pick. The Lions struggled at linebacker last season, and they released their best one, DeAndre Levy, this offseason. Davis makes sense for the Lions for a whole lot of reason.
Alternative Option: Those that don’t have the Lions taking Jarrad Davis have them going offense and taking Miami tight end David Njoku. The Lions drafted Eric Ebron #10 overall a few years back with the idea that he would become one of the top pass catching tight ends in the league. It’s safe to say that Ebron has been a bust thus far, so adding a tight end who plays a similar style to Ebron coming out of college would be the Lions hitting the reset button and trying again. And if you’ve watched Ebron play, you certainly wouldn’t blame them.
Sleeper: It’s not a pressing need, but I could definitely see the Lions adding to their depth at the cornerback position. Their top two played extremely well last season, but if they get hurt, there is next-to-nothing behind them. Quincy Wilson makes a lot of sense, as he has the ability to play inside or outside. This would probably be a slight reach if they took him, but he fits what they’re looking for.
22 – Miami Dolphins
Most Likely: I fully expect the Dolphins to upgrade their offensive line with this pick, and Forrest Lamp is the guy that I believe they would target. They’re most pressing need on the line is inside at guard, and that is where Lamp, who many experts believe is the most talented offensive lineman in this class, projects best in the pros. If the Dolphins prefer a tackle prospect, Cam Robinson or Garret Bolles make sense.
Alternative Option: The weakest position on the defensive side of the ball for the Fins last year was linebacker, so it’s certainly possible that they’d look for an upgrade there with this pick. Jarrad Davis makes sense, as does Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt.
Sleeper: I haven’t seen many mocks with the Dolphins taking a cornerback or safety, but I believe they could stand to improve at both of those positions. Marlon Humphrey is like a better Byron Maxwell, so that appears to be a fit. I think they could consider UConn safety Obi Melifonwu or Jabrill Peppers in this spot as well.
23 – New York Giants
Most Likely: This is another team that is likely to address their poor offensive line. The Giants would love to see one of Garret Bolles, Cam Robinson and Ryan Ramczyk available with this pick. I truly believe they would take any of those three guys if available.
Alternative Option: Another popular pick among mock drafts for the Giants is David Njoku. Will Tye is not a starting tight end in this league, and a threat at tight end is exactly what this offense needs to become nearly unstoppable after adding Brandon Marshall in free agency. Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram has been gaining some 1st Round buzz, and I think this is a spot where he could go.
Sleeper: Eli Manning is not only getting older, but he’s dealing with some off-field issues as well right now (alleged to be part of a fake memorabilia scheme). Don’t be surprised if the Giants snatch a QB like Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson if they see a Draft Day slide.
24 – Oakland Raiders
Most Likely: The Raiders got their man in Marshawn Lynch, so they can really focus on defense early and often in this draft. Linebacker is the weakest position on the roster, and even though GM Reggie McKenzie has not drafted a linebacker before the 4th Round during his tenure with the Raiders, now is the time to get a potential star at that position. I believe this is the floor for Reuben Foster if he slides, while Jarrad Davis and Zach Cunningham are the other two guys I would expect the Raiders to take if available.
Alternative Option: There are lots of holes in the Raiders’ defense, so if they choose not to go linebacker, getting a cornerback or defensive tackle are options as well. Kevin King or Gareon Conley (if they are okay with his off-field issues) would be good picks at corner, and Malik McDowell, while a risk, could turn out to be a great defensive tackle in this league.
Sleeper: If any of the top quarterbacks fall in the 1st Round, the Raiders could be sitting in the sweet spot for a trade back. The Texans are expected to take a QB early, and they pick next. There are no shortage of teams picking late in the 1st (Kansas City, Pittsburgh, New Orleans) or early in the 2nd (San Francisco, Chicago, NY Jets, Jacksonville) who could look to move ahead of the Texans to grab a Mahomes or Watson.
25 – Houston Texans
Most Likely: The most likely scenario for the Texans is to take a quarterback. This team is ready to compete for a Super Bowl, and the only thing they are missing is a QB. They will probably pray that Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson is available here, but I could see them taking DeShone Kizer as well.
Alternative Option: If the top QB’s are all off the board, the Texans could look to improve their offensive line while drafting a developmental quarterback in one of the next couple rounds. Forrest Lamp or Garret Bolles would be great picks here late in the 1st Round.
Sleeper: The Texans lost A.J. Bouye to Jacksonville in free agency, so I could see them using their 1st Round pick to replace him. I think they would target a guy like Quincy Wilson or Kevin King if they go that route.
26 – Seattle Seahawks
Most Likely: There’s a common theme among teams picking in the 20’s, and that is their need to upgrade along the offensive line. Unfortunately, there are only four offensive linemen in this class that are worthy of being 1st Round picks. I believe the Seahawks would pounce if Cam Robinson lasts this long, but Garret Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk would be good picks for them as well.
Alternative Option: Seattle would love to trade out of this spot, and there are already rumors that they are planning a swap with the Atlanta Falcons that would give Seattle an additional 4th Round pick. So look for the Seahawks to trade out of this pick.
Sleeper: The Seahawks have been shopping Richard Sherman this offseason, so they could look to add his potential replacement at corner with this pick. Kevin King is a hometown guy, and he fits their defense perfectly.
27 – Kansas City Chiefs
Most Likely: Derrick Johnson suffered an achilles injury near the end of last season, and their defense suffered mightily without him. He could never be the same guy, and he’s getting up there in age anyway, so I expect the Chiefs to go linebacker with this pick. I think they’d love if Jarrad Davis fell this far, but Zach Cunningham is the more likely selection.
Alternative Option: Can Alex Smith be a Super Bowl winning quarterback? I don’t think so, and I think there are people within the Chiefs’ organization who feel the same way. If Patrick Mahomes is available here, I think the Chiefs take him.
Sleeper: Marcus Peters is one of the top cornerbacks in the league, but they could use an upgrade on the other side of the field. Kevin King, Marlon Humphrey and Tre’Davious White are all potential picks for KC.
28 – Dallas Cowboys
Most Likely: The Cowboys always seem to be tough to predict, and that is even more difficult this year given the uncertainty all across the 1st Round. I think Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett will look to upgrade the secondary, and it might be a reach, but USC corner Adoree’ Jackson just seems like the type of prospect the Cowboys would take here.
Alternative Option: If they don’t address the secondary, I think they’ll look to upgrade the pass rush, and Taco Charlton would be a slam dunk pick if he lasts this long.
Sleeper: I said that Dallas was most likely to upgrade their secondary, and a player that hasn’t been mocked to them by many, but that I believe they would love to have, is Jabrill Peppers. I think Garrett and D-Coordinator Rod Marinelli would figure out exactly how to use him.
29 – Green Bay Packers
Most Likely: T.J. Watt. This is another player-team combo that I feel really good about happening. The Packers need to improve on the edge, and Watt played at Wisconsin, just like brother J.J. It almost seems to perfect to actually happen, but I think it does.
Alternative Option: I like the idea of the Packers improving in the secondary, especially after losing Micah Hyde in free agency. Tre’Davious White and Adoree’ Jackson make a lot of sense for Green Bay if they are available.
Sleeper: They can’t really go into the season with Ty Montgomery as their starting running back, can they? If Dalvin Cook slides, I could see the Packers being a nice landing spot for him. Joe Mixon and Alvin Kamara are getting some 1st Round buzz, so they could be options as well.
30 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Most Likely: For a second consecutive season, I expect the Steelers to use their 1st Round pick to upgrade their secondary. I think safety makes the most sense, with Jabrill Peppers being a fantastic pick if he’s available. Obi Melifonwu and Budda Baker are options as well.
Alternative Option: The Steelers would like to upgrade their pass rush as well, as James Harrison can’t possibly play very much longer, and Jarvis Jones left in free agency this past offseason. Taco or Takkarist could be options, as could T.J. Watt if he gets past the Packers.
Sleeper: Ben Roethlisberger contemplated retirement this offseason, so it’s definitely possible that they could look to draft his eventual successor. DeShone Kizer has drawn comparisons to Roethlisberger, so I like that pick a lot.
31 – Atlanta Falcons
Most Likely: I mentioned that the Falcons have had discussions with the Seahawks already about moving up in the draft, so I think it’s very likely that they make that move. They’ve made it known that they want to improve their pass rush, and it’s believed that Missouri outside linebacker Charles Harris is their target.
Alternative Option: I believe they could stay put and still have a chance to get Harris. Another pick that has been popular in mock drafts is Jordan Willis from Kansas State. Most scouts have him as a 2nd-3rd Round talent, but he has been gaining steam as a potential 1st Rounder.
Sleeper: I could see the Falcons adding an offensive lineman here as well if any of the top four guys (Bolles, Ramczyk, Robinson or Lamp) falls to them here.
32 – New Orleans Saints (from New England)
Rather than tell you what the Saints might do with their second pick in the 1st Round in the fashion I have with the other picks, I’ll tell you what I think they’ll do based on what they might do with their first pick.
D-Line at #11: If the Saints go with an edge player at #11, I think they’ll look to upgrade their secondary here, with a number of talented safeties likely to be available here. Tre’Davious White or Quincy Wilson at corner are options as well. They could also go wide receiver here if John Ross or Corey Davis would fall.
Linebacker at #11: Same as above, but throw in edge rushers like Takkarist McKinley, Taco Charlton and Jordan Willis as possibilities.
Secondary at #11: They will likely go edge rusher or wide receiver here if they grab a corner or safety with their first pick.