NFL Mock Draft 1.0: 4/18/17

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Magazine

You may not realize it, given that the NBA and NHL Playoffs are currently in full swing, but the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia is just over one week away! With that in mind, now seems like a good time for the first of two NFL Mock Drafts you will see here on We Love Sportz!

For the first edition, I will go through the 1st Round of the upcoming Draft and tell you who I think the teams should take, as if I were their general manager. With that being said, a fair amount of this will include my personal opinion, so you have been warned.

I will not be projecting any trades in this mock, but I will note some places where I could see some trades happening. Version 2.0 will come at some point prior to the Draft, and there I will mock some trades and give you a better idea what I think actually will happen. Read this mock as what I think should happen, not what will happen.

Let’s not waste any more time, here is Version 1.0 of We Love Sportz’s NFL Mock Draft!

1 – Cleveland Browns

garrett

Pick: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

There is no quarterback in this class worthy of the #1 overall pick, so despite Cleveland’s gaping hole at that position, they need to get the best player available, considering they have needs just about all over the field. Garrett has been compared to some of the best defensive ends in the league, and ESPN’s Todd McShay has him graded one point below where he had Khalil Mack graded coming out of college in 2014. You know, Khalil Mack, who in three seasons has been an All-Pro three times (at two different positions) and is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Garrett is a game-changer on the defensive side of the ball, and he is the slam dunk #1 pick in this year’s draft. There are rumors that Leonard Fournette is still in play for the Browns at this pick, but if they are smart, they’ll take Garrett. Hang on, the Browns rarely do the smart thing. Seriously, I can’t stress enough how hard this will be to mess up. But if anyone can do it, it’s the Browns! *Update: They are trying to screw it up…*

2 – San Francisco 49ers

thomas

Pick: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford

The 49ers are in a very similar situation to the Browns, in they have a big need at quarterback, but can take the best player available given all of the other holes on their roster. I could very easily see the Niners trade out of this spot to acquire more picks, but if they stay put, Thomas should be the pick. He put on a show in the Sun Bowl against Mitchell Trubisky and North Carolina, sending his draft stock toward the moon. He is a very good pass rusher, something the 49ers sorely lacked last season. He is also scheme-versatile, with the size to slide inside in a 4-3 alignment. There are a number of players that would make sense for San Francisco here, but Thomas fits the bill best.

3 – Chicago Bears

adams

Pick: Jamal Adams, S, LSU The Bears addressed their quarterback issue by moving on from Jay Cutler and signing former Buccaneer Mike Glennon to a contract that will pay him $15 million a season. Yeah, you read that correctly. I don’t believe that Glennon is even close to the answer under center for this team, but you don’t spend that kind of money on a quarterback if you don’t think you can win with him. With that in mind, I believe that Jamal Adams is the best defensive back in this class, and he could end up being the centerpiece of the next great Chicago defense. He is the smartest, most versatile safety in this class. He can play centerfield, or he can play in the box. He even has skills that allow him to slide into the nickel if absolutely necessary. Scouts also say that his team leadership skills are second-to-none. The Bears addressed the cornerback position in free agency by adding Prince Amukamara, B.W. Webb and Marcus Cooper for depth, so I think they can wait there given the deep class at corner. Jamal Adams would be a great pick for the Bears.

4 – Jacksonville Jaguars

fournette

Pick: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

I think Blake Bortles is an extremely mediocre NFL quarterback, but the Jaguars are giving him yet another season to prove that he can lead them to the promised land. With that in mind, they need to give him some help. The Jags spent a boatload of money on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, signing DL Calais Campbell, CB A.J. Bouye and S Barry Church. That leads me to believe that they will lean offense early in the draft, and if you want to take some pressure off of a struggling quarterback, give him a really good running back. The top back in this class is Leonard Fournette. He was considered a slam dunk Top-5 pick at one point, but now there are weight and durability concerns. That being said, he has Adrian Peterson-level talent, and if he reaches his ceiling, he’ll be one of the best backs in the league in no time.

 

5 – Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 31 CFP Semifinal - Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Clemson Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State The Titans traded the 1st overall pick last season to the Rams, and it was a brilliant move. They have already begun to reap the benefits, and that will continue in this year’s draft, as a team on the brink AFC title contention gets a Top-5 pick in a great draft. They have a few needs on offense, but having the top corner in this class fall to them at 5 is something that I would expect them to jump all over. Lattimore is extremely athletic, and has great coverage and ball skills. The weakness of this defense was the secondary last season, and after adding Johnathan Cyprien and Logan Ryan in free agency, getting a #1 corner in Lattimore has them on the way towards turning it from a weakness to a strength.

 

6 – New York Jets

allen

Pick: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama

I had a tough time with this one, as the Jets have a whole lot of needs, number one on that list of needs being quarterback. If they fall in love with one of the top quarterbacks in this class (Trubisky, Kizer, Watson, even Mahomes), I could easily see them going that route, and I wouldn’t see an issue with it. I do not particularly like any of the top QB prospects this year for a variety of reasons, and I do not think the Jets would be best served going that route with this pick. Therefore, they go with the best player on the board, which I believe is Allen. He is versatile and he is great against the run and rushing the passer. Sheldon Richardson’s days in New York are numbered, and Allen is a great talent to add to this front seven. There are concerns about his shoulder, and his workout results weren’t fantastic, but watch the game film, and you could argue that he’s the most talented player in this class.

 

7 – Los Angeles Chargers

hooker Pick: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State This would be best case scenario for the Chargers. A very talented team that was riddled with injuries and bad luck, they have a chance to compete in the best division in football if things swing back their way in their first season in Los Angeles. They lost Eric Weddle to free agency last season, and it was clear that he was missed. Hooker has some of the same qualities as Weddle, as he has better ball skills and instincts than any defensive back in this class. The Chargers have a very good run defense, so they can live with Hooker’s limitations against the run. Hooker is a ball hawk, and he will completely change the Chargers’ defense. This pick would be a home run.

 

8 – Carolina Panthers

robinson

Pick: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

I really struggled making a pick here for Carolina. I think if Fournette were available, he’d be the pick no question, but I don’t see them going with McCaffery or Cook here. Cornerback is a huge need, but they have shown in past years that they do not value that position enough to take one in the Top-10. They are also very old at the defensive end position, and could use an infusion of youth, but I don’t think any of the pass rushers available at this point are deserving of a Top-10 pick. That leaves one true need position, and that’s the offensive line. I also do not believe there is an offensive lineman in this class that should go in the Top-10, but the Panthers need to do something about Cam Newton’s protection, and Robinson has the highest ceiling of any O-lineman in the class. He will go through some growing pains, and the Panthers will need to be patient, but he has the size and the potential to be their left tackle of the future. There have been rumors that teams could reach for offensive line help this season. There might not be a team that needs the help more than Carolina.

 

9 – Cincinnati Bengals

foster Pick: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama Linebacker is not an obvious need for the Bengals, but they cut Rey Maualuga, replaced him with Kevin Minter, who is not a long-term solution, and it seems like Vontaze Burfict’s Bengal career could end at any moment, since that guy appears to have rocks in his head. For those reasons, I think Reuben Foster will be very attractive to Cincinnati here at #9. He is not without his issues, as he had an incident at the Combine which resulted in him being sent home, and some scouts have said there are concerns with the company he keeps. Seems like he’ll fit right in with the rest of the Cincinnati defense! All jokes aside, Foster is an every-down linebacker, and if he can keep his head straight and stay healthy, he’ll be a fixture in the middle of this defense for a very long time.

 

10 – Buffalo Bills

howard

Pick: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Word on the street is that there are people in the Bills’ organization who love Deshaun Watson. I think this is too early for him, and after re-signing Tyrod Taylor, the Bills do not necessarily have a need at the quarterback position. If they want to make it work with Taylor, it would be best to give him another weapon, and I believe Howard is the biggest offensive weapon in this draft class. He was criminally underutilized at Alabama, and many scouts are excited for Howard’s potential in the NFL. Charles Clay is a good, not great tight end, so Howard is a clear upgrade. He has the size, athletic ability and skills to be one of the top tight ends in the league, and along with LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, Howard could help turn the Bills’ offense into one of the best units in the AFC.

 

11 – New Orleans Saints

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Music City Bowl - Nebraska v Tennessee Pick: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee I have to believe that Drew Brees’s days in this league are numbered, but for right now, he is still one of the top QB’s, and as long as he’s under center, the Saints have one of the top offenses in the NFL. They traded Brandin Cooks to New England this offseason, so they may look to add an offensive weapon here, but I think they’d be much better served adding more talent to one of the weakest defenses in the league. Cameron Jordan is fantastic, and the middle of the line is set with Nick Fairley and last year’s 1st Round pick Sheldon Rankins, but they do not get much production on the other side of that line. This is where Derek Barnett fits in. Some scouts believe Barnett is the best pure pass rusher in this draft class, and the best way to take pressure off of a struggling secondary is to get after the quarterback. Drafting Barnett gives the Saints one of the scariest D-line’s in football.

 

12 – Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles)

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 01 Western Michigan at Ball State

Pick: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

After taking Myles Garrett with their first pick (Seriously, Browns, don’t be stupid. Take Myles Garrett), I would expect them to switch over and look to add a weapon on offense, and with Leonard Fournette and O.J. Howard off the board, two players that I would definitely expect them to take here if available, the Browns could have their choice of wide receiver. There have been rumblings that they like Corey Davis a lot, and it just so happens that I too believe he is the top receiver in this class. Level of competition is a concern, as is durability, as he missed the Combine due to injury, but look at the tape, and you can see why this guy is a no-brainer 1st Round pick. He’s a great route-runner, has strong hands, and he can win the jump ball, making him a nice red zone target. Terrelle Pryor is in Washington and nobody knows what the situation will be with Josh Gordon, so getting a #1 target here in Davis makes a whole lot of sense. But then again, when have the Browns ever done the sensible thing?

 

13 – Arizona Cardinals

kizer Pick: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame Carson Palmer isn’t getting any younger, folks. With that in mind, I really believe it would best serve the Cardinals to draft his eventual successor, and while this is a weak quarterback class, Kizer has loads of upside. His ceiling is higher than any of the quarterbacks in this draft, and he seems like a Bruce Arians-type of quarterback. There is a lot of work that will need to be done for Kizer to reach that ceiling, but the Cards are a team that can afford to be patient with Kizer, given that they’ll have at least one more season of Carson Palmer. There are other positions they could address here that would help keep the team competitive in the short-term, but I think it’s time to start thinking about the future, specifically post-Carson Palmer.

 

14 – Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings)

wilson

Pick: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

If you know me, you know I despise everything Eagles. That makes it very difficult to give them credit where it’s due, but they made a couple fantastic trades before last season’s draft. Moving up to #2 to take Carson Wentz appears to be a great decision, as does getting back into the 1st Round this year by moving Sam Bradford to Minnesota. There are a number of different ways the Eagles could go with this pick, including running back or wide receiver to give Wentz another weapon, but I think they’d be best served addressing the secondary with this pick. Quincy Wilson has terrific ball skills, and if you were to design the perfect cornerback based on size and speed, he’s it, measuring over 6-1 and 211 pounds, running a sub-4.50 40-yard dash. His cover skills are not up to par with some of the other top corners in this class, but he has the tools to become a shutdown corner, and the Eagles could definitely use one of those.

 

15 – Indianapolis Colts

ramczyk Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin For a team picking in the middle of the 1st Round, the Colts have a crazy amount of needs to address. With 14 players off the board, you could argue that anything other than a quarterback makes at least some kind of sense for this team. The most glaring weakness on defense is at the linebacker position, and that makes Haason Reddick really hard to pass on here, but priority #1 for the Colts has to be protecting their franchise QB Andrew Luck, something that they have not been able to do, despite addressing the O-line early in the last few drafts. They need to keep doing it until they figure it out, and while there are some big concerns with Ramczyk, he is believed to be the best pure pass protector at the tackle position in this draft class. He will slot in immediately at right tackle and hopefully help keep Luck upright and healthy.

 

16 – Baltimore Ravens

NCAA Football: UCLA vs BYU

Pick: Takkarist McKinley, OLB/DE, UCLA

In my opinion, the Ravens have two major needs, one on each side of the ball. With Steve Smith’s retirement, one need is at wide receiver, and specifically, finding Joe Flacco a true #1 target. Mike Williams could turn into a #1 receiver, but when the Ravens have been successful, it has started with defense, and unfortunately, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil aren’t getting any younger. An infusion of youth on the edge is the other big need, and that is where McKinley comes in. The pass rush skills need some work, but there might not be a better guy for him to learn under than Suggs. When Suggs decides to retire, McKinley will seamlessly slide right into that spot in the Ravens’ defense.

 

17 – Washington Redskins

peppers Pick: Jabrill Peppers, OLB/S, Michigan Could the Skins draft the eventual successor to Kirk Cousins here? Sure. Could they improve the offense by adding an every-down running back or another talented receiver? They could. Do I think they should do either of those things here? No, I do not. They need a difference maker on defense, and there might not be a bigger potential difference maker in this draft class than Jabrill Peppers. He doesn’t really have a position, as he’s not good enough in coverage to play safety on every down, but he’s not big or strong enough to be an every-down linebacker. However, we have started to see these tweener prospects have a fair amount of success in the NFL (Deone Bucannon and Mark Barron come to mind), and when it comes to athleticism and football IQ, Peppers tests off the charts. It’s an added bonus that he is a dangerous weapon in the return game, and if he doesn’t become a Pro Bowl defender, he should surely be a Pro Bowl special teamer.

 

18 – Tennessee Titans

williams

Pick: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

If it hasn’t already happened, I would be fully expecting teams to be calling the Titans to move up to take either Trubisky or Watson (if the Cardinals would truly take Kizer over these two). However, I am not mocking trades here (as that is a futile exercise), so the Titans, having made a huge addition to the secondary with their first pick, get Marcus Mariota another weapon as they look to become a threat to win the AFC. John Ross could be in play here as well, but I believe Williams is the more well-rounded receiver, and he probably has the highest ceiling of any receiver in this draft class. The Titans love Tajae Sharpe, but I have my doubts whether he can become a #1 wideout in the NFL. Williams can, and he will certainly take some pressure off of Mariota entering his third season in the league.

 

19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

mccaffrey Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford Jameis Winston, to my surprise, looks the part of a quarterback that can lead a championship team. He has a solid offensive line and a huge threat on the outside in Mike Evans. The one thing that Winston could use is an every-down running back, and in this draft class, that guy is McCaffrey. He is an absolute gamer, with a work ethic that is off the charts, and on top of that, he will instantly be one of the best receiving backs in the NFL. The Doug Martin situation is a huge question mark, but take McCaffrey, and the Bucs can just cut ties with Martin and line McCaffrey up behind Winston for many, many years. I am a big believer in McCaffrey, and I think he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl running back. The Bucs are really close, and I think this pick would get them even closer.

 

20 – Denver Broncos

NCAA Football: Washington at Utah

Pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

For a team just one year removed from a Super Bowl victory, the Broncos have a ton of holes to fill. New head man Vance Joseph does not have an easy task ahead of him. I’m sure John Elway and Joseph would love to add another offensive playmaker here, or get some help for the middle of the front seven (which was awful last season), but the biggest issue for this team in quarterback protection, and that is why they should go offensive line here, and Bolles is the best prospect at this juncture. Forrest Lamp may project as the better player, but he is better suited inside at guard. Bolles has the tools to be a future LT, and that is exactly what Denver is looking for. Whether it’s Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch under center, the Broncos need to do a better job protecting them. Bolles has some character concerns, and he only played one season of Division I football, but he has lots of potential, and it’s worth the risk for this team.

 

21 – Detroit Lions

reddick Pick: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple This is a match made in heaven, and I would be very shocked if this did not happen. DeAndre Levy was the only linebacker worth anything for Detroit last season, and they cut him. They also let Josh Bynes walk in free agency. They signed a couple new linebackers, but the guys they signed aren’t really going to improve the unit very much. Reddick will, though. He very much flew under the radar this past season, but put on stellar performances at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, skyrocketing up draft boards in the process. He is a former walk-on defensive back who transitioned to defensive end at Temple, but projects as an every-down linebacker at the next level. He had 22 tackles for loss and 10 ½ sacks last season at Temple playing on the edge, but he played some inside linebacker at the Senior Bowl and excelled. He has the athletic ability to play inside on 1st and 2nd down, and then slide outside to either drop in coverage or rush the passer on 3rd down. That makes him a 1st Round talent, and it makes him a perfect fit in a Lions’ defense that needs to improve.

 

22 – Miami Dolphins

lamp

Pick: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky

The Dolphins definitely outperformed expectations last season, especially down the stretch, nearly sneaking into the playoffs. They still have a very glaring weakness, and that is the offensive line. They struggle with health along the front, but even when healthy, the line could use some work. Some scouts believe Forrest Lamp is the top O-Line prospect in this class. He was a four year starter at left tackle for the Hilltoppers, but he projects as a guard at the next level, though one that will start from day one and be productive. Tackle prospects will always go higher, but Lamp is probably the most talented lineman that will be drafted this year, and he makes a ton of sense for the Dolphins. Linebacker is also a distinct possibility with this pick, but they signed Lawrence Timmons in free agency, so I think they can afford to address that spot later on in the draft.

 

23 – New York Giants

njoku Pick: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL) No contending team needs offensive line help more than the Giants. That is why this scenario might be the worst case for the G-Men, with the clear top four O-Line prospects off the board already. If the Giants want to look towards the future, jumping on a quarterback would be the move. However, I believe that the Giants are built to contend for a title right now, and getting Eli another weapon could give them the most explosive offense in the league. Njoku is a 6-4, 246 pound athletic freak, and we have seen in recent years how much a talented pass catching tight end can transform an offense. Njoku ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, which is absolutely unreal for a man his size. After adding Brandon Marshall in free agency, getting Njoku as well to go with Sterling Shepard and OBJ gives Eli no shortage of options in the passing game. NFC East secondaries should probably be concerned at this scenario.

 

24 – Oakland Raiders

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt

Pick: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

The Raiders are ready to be Super Bowl contenders, but outside of making sure Derek Carr stays on the field, the biggest thing keeping them from becoming a legit title team is an extremely poor linebacking corps. Head Coach Jack Del Rio has said that improving the interior pass rush is a must, but there are no defensive tackle prospects worth taking at this point in the draft. A true three-down middle linebacker is what this defense desperately needs, and beyond Reuben Foster, Cunningham is the prospect best served for that role. He misses a fair share of tackles, and that is something that will need to get better in the pros, but he has incredible range, and is probably better in coverage than any inside linebacker in this draft class. The Raiders have been downright awful covering tight ends the last few seasons, and Cunningham can certainly help them in that department.

 

25 – Houston Texans

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 17 James Madison at North Carolina Pick: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina Talk about best case scenario. I have a hard time believing that the Texans won’t take a quarterback in the 1st Round one way or another, whether it’s by trading up or waiting to see who’s available at this pick. I have a hard time thinking that Trubisky will actually still be on the board here come Draft day, but he is in this projection, and the Texans should certainly jump all over him. Most experts believe Trubisky is the best quarterback in this class, and he is certainly the most pro ready. The tools are there for him to succeed, but he didn’t show a whole lot in his time at UNC. The Texans could certainly do worse at this point in the draft. Trubisky would start immediately for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

 

26 – Seattle Seahawks

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington

Pick: Kevin King, CB, Washington

I think this is a pick that Seahawks fans could get behind. The cornerback isn’t necessarily a need position for Seattle, but will they trade Richard Sherman before or during the Draft? It certainly seems like both parties are interested in making that happen, and that would give the Seahawks a big hole in their defense. King is similar to Sherman, just more athletic, but probably a little less talented. King might be the most athletic cornerback in this draft class, and his stock has been rising rapidly of late. Many expect him to go in the 1st Round, and I think staying in Seattle would probably be the best possible landing spot for King.

 

27 – Kansas City Chiefs

watson Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson I mostly believe the Chiefs should do this because I have never been a believer in Alex Smith. I think the Chiefs could be so much more with a better QB, and no signal caller in this draft class has a higher ceiling than the National Title winner from Clemson. Watson has his deficiencies, specifically his accuracy, but he has great arm strength, he is extremely mobile in the pocket, and he is a winner. That last thing might be the most important thing. It will benefit Watson immensely to be able to stay on the sidelines for his first season to learn everything that comes with being an NFL quarterback, and when he is ready to step in, he will be doing it for a very talented team in Kansas City. Another best case scenario situation for a prospect and a team.

 

28 – Dallas Cowboys

charlton

Pick: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Dak Prescott was a complete revelation last season as a 4th Round rookie QB, so much so that Tony Romo will be calling games for CBS this season. The emergence of Dak and fellow rookie Zeke Elliott have the Cowboys looking like perennial NFC champs. They still need a lot of work on the defensive side of the ball though, and finding a pass rusher should be the top priority. In this scenario, they have a few edge players that they can choose from, and I see them favoring Taco here. Outside of Myles Garrett, there might not be an edge player with better game film in this class than Taco. He is extremely physical as a rusher, and he uses his size and length to absolutely bully offensive tackles. I think lining him up opposite DeMarcus Lawrence would give NFC East quarterbacks a lot of nightmares.

 

29 – Green Bay Packers

conley Pick: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State As long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, the Packers will be Super Bowl contenders. That is why they should look to fill the biggest hole on their roster here, and that is in the secondary. I think I might’ve been able to throw for 300-plus yards against the Packers last season. That’s obviously an exaggeration, but it gives you an idea how poor their secondary was last year. I think they would be thrilled to see Conley fall here. There are rumors that some teams have Conley as the top cornerback on their boards, and that is in one of the best cornerback classes we’ve ever seen. The athleticism is there, and he has all the skills in the world, but there is concern with him matching up with the big, physical wideouts that are all the rage in the league right now. That might not be too big an issue in the NFC North now that Calvin Johnson is retired and Alshon Jeffery is in Philadelphia, and he is clearly the most talented corner available at this juncture. I think Green Bay would be thrilled to take Conley here.

 

30 – Pittsburgh Steelers

mahomes

Pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Hear me out on this one. The Steelers, as they sit right now, have to be considered one of the favorites to take the Super Bowl next year. They have some areas on their roster that they’d love to address with this pick, including at safety, cornerback, edge rusher and wide receiver, but Ben Roethlisberger surprisingly entertained the idea of retiring this offseason, which makes me believe that he may have one foot out the door. He has also dealt with a rash of injuries over the course of his career, and when he’s been out, they have struggled mightily. Landry Jones is one of the worst backups in the league, and he’s most certainly not the guy who should be Big Ben’s eventual successor. For those reasons, I think Patrick Mahomes to the Steelers makes almost too much sense. Mahomes has the best arm strength in this quarterback class, and he is a fearsome competitor. He’s a little smaller and quicker than Roethlisberger, but other than that, they have a lot of similarities. Mahomes will have some growing pains in the league having played in an Air Raid system at Texas Tech, but that is why being able to sit behind and learn from Roethlisberger could be so beneficial. The Steelers have other picks to address their current needs, so with Mahomes falling to this point, they absolutely should take him and start grooming him to become the eventual replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. This makes too much sense for it to actually happen.

 

31 – Atlanta Falcons

harris Pick: Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri We should absolutely be talking about how the Falcons built a 28-3 lead on the Patriots, and were able to withstand an epic comeback attempt to knock off Tom Brady and win Super Bowl 51 in Houston last season. Instead, the Falcons enter this offseason with major question marks after squandering a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, suffering one of the worst losses in NFL history. There aren’t a whole lot of holes on offense, so I expect the Falcons to address their defense early and often in this draft, and it starts with giving Vic Beasley some help on the edge. Charles Harris is very much built in the mold of Beasley, and putting him on the other side would give opposing quarterbacks a lot to worry about. An ESPN scouting report describes Harris as a “Tasmanian devil type” pass rusher. I think adding a guy like that should be at the top of the Falcons’ wish list.

 

32 – New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots)

ross

Pick: John Ross, WR, Washington

The Saints acquired this pick when they traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Pats this offseason. After taking a pass rusher in Derek Barnett with their first pick, why not grab a potential Cooks replacement here in John Ross. I believe some teams will have Ross as their top wide receiver, so getting him with the last pick in the 1st Round could be a huge steal. He is just 5-10 and 188 pounds, but he has elite speed and acceleration, with the ability to make defenders miss after the catch or take the top off on a vertical route. Despite his size, he lined up in the slot a fair amount and Washington and was fearless going across the middle. It might be best to limit that in the pros to keep him healthy, as he does have some durability concerns, but he is a gamer and a big play just waiting to happen. Sounds a lot like the guy the Saints gave up to acquire this pick. I love John Ross a lot, and pairing him with Michael Thomas would keep the Saints’ offense among the best in the league.

 

Best Players Available:

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Adoree’ Jackson, CB/WR, USC

TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

Curtis Samuel, WR/RB, Ohio State

Budda Baker, S, Washington

Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

Josh Jones, S, NC State

Dion Dawkins, OL, Temple

Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina

Note – I have 15 players listed there that would go in the 2nd Round in this scenario, and I have seen all of those players on at least one mock draft leading up to the Draft, which goes to show how deep this draft class really is.

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