Noticed that i posted my Mock Draft here once ... back in 2011. lol
Six years later, here is my most recent mock. It's from before the Senior Bowl, right when the practices had started.
Not sure how many NFL fans are still left here (that aren't already on my FB and have already seen this), but ...
1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, OLB/DE, Texas A&M
Needs: QB, Edge, CB, RB, OL
Garrett is the currently the consensus #1 overall player and would finally give the Browns a pass rusher that other teams have to account for. They have a lot of needs with quarterback the usual concern, but I don’t think they will reach for one in a weak QB class. The current Browns regime seems to be more cautious and could also trade down since they do have two first round picks (again).
2. San Francisco 49ers - DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Needs: QB, WR, OL, DL, LB
This is a bad year to need a quarterback, but the Niners are one of the teams that finds themselves in that situation. The top signal caller in the draft is far from settled at this point, but the Niners should have their pick. Watson is currently riding high on his National Championship performance and while this will likely change several times, here in v1.0 I am sending him to San Francisco.
3. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama
Needs: QB, CB, S, OL, WR
The Bears also need a QB, but with head coach John Fox on the hot seat, I don’t see them reaching for one here. All the QBs in this class will need a lot of development and Fox simply doesn’t have the time. Instead, he will focus on the defense and take the best available defender which is hands down Allen who is a disruptive force that can play a variety of positions on the d-line.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Needs: S, RB, OL, Edge
After the success of the Cowboys many teams will be more apt to use a high pick on a running back, which was unheard of in previous years. The Jags, of course, need offensive line help more but there are no tackles worth taking this high. The team will definitely consider one of the highly touted safeties (Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker), but ultimately settle on Fournette in this mock. He is a rare blend of speed and power and should take some of the pressure off of young quarterback Blake Bortles.
5. Tennessee Titans - Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Needs: DB, WR, TE
The Titans will have two main focuses: their secondary and wide receivers. With two first round picks, they could conceivably fill both needs with their first two picks. Here in the Top 10, they will nab arguably the best safety in this year’s draft, Jamal Adams. Adams has been compared to future Hall of Famer Ed Reed and could anchor a revamped secondary for years to come.
6. New York Jets - Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Needs: CB, QB, OLB
This is a tougher pick than it should be. The Jets took quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the 2nd round last season, which was considered a reach at the time. Hackenberg ended up not even suiting up for a game until injuries forced the issue. Despite being out of contention and already knowing that Ryan Fitzpatrick was not part of their 2017 plan, the team still started Fitzpatrick over Hackenberg to close out the season. That speaks volumes about the level of confidence the team has in Hackenberg ... but do they give up on a second-round investment so soon? In v1.0, I am going to go with “no”.
While they will most definitely take another young QB in this draft, in the 1st round they will try and fix their leaky secondary. This is an extremely deep cornerback class and the pecking order is still up for heated debate. Some see Tabor as the #1 corner, others see him as a late 1st/early 2nd pick. He certainly has swagger though and if he lives up to the talk, could be just what the secondary needs.
7. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Hooker, S, OSU
Needs: OL, S, WR
The Chargers actually have some great young talent, especially on defense. CB Jason Verrett, Edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram (who I think will be tagged), and linebackers Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman form a very good young core. They definitely missed safety Eric Weddle though after letting him leave in free agency last season. Some of the team’s late game meltdowns might have been avoided with an intimidating presence in the middle. Malik Hooker is fast and a hard hitting player that would possibly give new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley his Earl Thomas.
8. Carolina Panthers - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Needs: OL, Edge, RB
The temptation to take running back Dalvin Cook will be there and most mock drafts agree. I certainly understand that and might ultimately come to the same conclusion. The team also desperately needs help on the offensive line (as usual) but again, there aren’t any players worth taking here. They could proceed anyway (and just might), but in this mock I am going to have them address the pass rush. Charles Johnson has lost a step, Kony Ealy has not developed as the team had hoped, and designated pass rusher Mario Addison might get overpayed in free agency. Aside from Myles Garrett, the team could potentially have their pick of the best pass rushers in this year’s draft. Barnett has been climbing, but there are questions about his speed and athleticism as he relies solely on strength to overpower blockers. That won’t work at the pro level, but some scouts feel he has more burst than some realize.
9. Cincinnati Bengals - Solomon Thomas, DE/OLB, Stanford
Needs: Edge, CB, ILB
Should the Panthers pass on Barnett, the Bengals will be tempted to snatch him up. They will also take a long look at linebacker Reuben Foster here, but simply cannot ignore their pass rush. Thomas is flying up draft boards and is extremely explosive but not very big. This calls into question whether or not he can play 4-3 end though some feel his long arms will make up for it. Either way, whoever drafts him will find a place for him to play and let him loose on opposing quarterbacks.
10. Buffalo Bills - DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Needs: WR, OT, DB, QB
In this mock the Bills have decided to let Tyrod Taylor go, which I think is a mistake. While the team has needs on defense, o-line, and receiver, this decision leaves a massive hole at quarterback and the team is almost forcing themselves to draft one. As we head towards the Combine and Pro Days, some of these quarterbacks will move up and be over-drafted out of desperation. In this mock though, that has not happened yet. So, the Bills will nab DeShone Kizer, who has all the tools but is extremely raw. Kizer is not a Day One starter though so the team will also be in the market for a veteran placeholder.
11. New Orleans Saints - Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Needs: Edge, ILB, CB
It seems like the Saints need a corner every season, but usually pass. This is a deep corner class, but the team can’t pass on a talent like Foster who might ultimately go even higher. Foster is a thumper inside who can also cover which is rare in college linebackers. He compares favorably to Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and can do a little bit of everything. The Saints will hopefully take advantage of a great CB class in round 2 but will pass here if Foster is available.
12. Cleveland Browns - Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC
Needs: QB, Edge, CB, RB, OL
Much like Kizer at #10, there is a good chance that Trubisky won’t actually be here when it’s all said and done. In this mock he is though and the Browns will feel comfortable taking a QB since they have a lot of picks. Physically, Trubisky is everything you want in a quarterback. He has good size, a good arm, and can throw on the run. The problem with Trubisky is that he only has one year of starting experience and that year was in a spread offense so he will need coaching. Head coach Hue Jackson will more than likely be content with RG3 and Cody Kessler at the top of the depth chart while Trubisky develops.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Marshon Lattimore, CB, OSU
Needs: CB, WR, QB, ILB
The Cardinals certainly need a quarterback to develop behind a rapidly aging Carson Palmer, but I think that Arians feels that they are not all that far away from competing again and won’t want to take one so early ... not that any are still available in this mock anyway. The team also has their pick of wide receivers and will be tempted to take one here. Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end, perennial disappointment Malcolm Floyd was released, and the rest of the roster is full of deep threats and slot receivers.
Tough call here, but I have the team getting help for a position that Bruce Arians publicly called out during the season. Special teams ace Justin Bethel was forced into duty and struggled, former college running back Brandon Williams has a ways to go, and while Marcus Cooper led the team in interceptions he was awful in coverage. Lattimore is not the fastest corner, but he is big, technically sound, and has all the tools to be a shutdown player if he can stay healthy.
14. Indianapolis Colts - Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU
Needs: OL, Edge, CB, RB, ILB, S
The Colts almost need an entirely new defense and they have never been good at keeping Andrew Luck upright and need O-line help. So, of course, they will take a running back.
While it is not their #1 need, it is definitely A need with the seemingly immortal Frank Gore finally seeing the end of the road and zero depth behind him. Cook is a dual purpose threat who would bring a new dimension to the Colt offense. He’s ultra quick, plays well in space, and has excellent hands.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Needs: CB, WR, RB
In my opinion, the Eagles need a corner more than a wide receiver ... though it is VERY close. With one of the (if not THE) best receivers in the draft staring them in the face, they won’t be able to pass on him. Nelson Agholor has been terrible and Jordan Matthews strikes me as more of a #2 (or #3) receiver than a go-to player. Williams has the sort of size/speed combination that offensive coordinators look for in a #1 receiver. He will have to adjust to the speed of the NFL, needs to polish up his route running, and has routinely out-muscled corners at the college level but is coachable and could become Carson Wentz’s favorite target.
16. Baltimore Ravens - Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
Needs: Edge, CB, WR
In order for the Ravens to truly get their defense back where it was in the past, they will need a better pass rush. Elvis Dumervil is no doubt done and Terrell Suggs is finally showing signs of age. McKinley is a name to watch heading into the draft. He has one of the quicker first steps in this year’s class, but is extremely raw. With some coaching and technique work, he could develop into a dominant pass rusher. Grades out as the perfect edge rusher for Suggs to eventually pass the torch to.
17. Washington Redskins - Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Michigan State
Needs: CB, S, DT, RB, ILB
For a team that nearly made the playoffs, the Redskins have a lot of needs. Potentially losing receiver DeSean Jackson to free agency, Washington could eye a speed receiver here with so many left on the board. They could also consider nabbing a member of this deep corner class with the rapid decline of young corner Rashaud Breeland.
With a high end prospect like Malik McDowell still here at #17 though, I think the Redskins will be hard pressed to let him pass by. McDowell has some issues with effort, but the physical skills are all there. He is ultra quick and strong, capable of playing end in both a 3-4 and 4-3 alignment, or at tackle in a 4-3.
18. Tennessee Titans - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Needs: CB, WR, TE
The Titans would be ecstatic to see Corey Davis here. After addressing the safety position with their first pick, they could go corner here as well. Davis is just too talented to pass up though, especially for a team that lacks an elite receiver.
Davis is fast, has a great work ethic, and is one of the better route runners I’ve seen coming out of college. It shouldn’t take him too long to acclimate to the pro game and he could actually go much higher than this in my final mock.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Needs: WR, S, Edge
Every year there is a player or two on defense who are labeled as “tweeners” with no true position which causes them to fall. That is starting to become less common as defensive coordinators are becoming increasingly adept at finding roles for players who are talented enough.
Peppers played safety, linebacker, corner, and returner at the college level. He’s a dynamic player with insane range. The knock on him is that he didn’t force many turnovers in college and didn’t defend many passes. Once he locks into a position at the NFL level though (which should be safety), the thinking is that that might change. The Bucs have safeties who are tough and solid tacklers but are slow and are not overly athletic. Peppers would fix that from day one.
20. Denver Broncos - Forrest Lamp, OG/OT, Western Kentucky
Needs: OL, TE, RB, WR
A lot of experts feel that the offensive struggles for the Broncos was due to a poor running game and quarterback play ... and they wouldn’t be wrong. Compounding those issues though, was the play of their offensive line. Free agent tackle acquisitions Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson ranged from mediocre to awful and guards Max Garcia and Micheal Schofield were merely serviceable.
Forrest Lamp played tackle in college but is probably more suited for guard in the NFL, but might be able to fill in at tackle if need be. Lamp gained attention in draft circles when he stone walled the Alabama pass rushers, who are NFL bound. He might never be an All-Pro, but has a high floor and limited bust potential.
21. Detroit Lions - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Needs: Edge, CB, RB, ILB
The Lions would love to have ILB Reuben Foster, but he is long gone. Instead, they could go for fellow ILB Zack Cunningham from Vanderbilt, but don’t pull the trigger here. Instead, they take advantage of the number of good to great corners and nab Sidney Jones from Washington.
The Lions already have Darius Slay on one side (who should have been in a couple of Pro Bowls by now) and like the progress that Nevin Lawson (2014, 4th round) has made but if you’re going to face Aaron Rodgers twice a year then you’re going to need all the corner talent you can get. Jones will need to add some muscle without losing his speed, but is technically sound, very athletic, and has all the tools to be a shutdown corner.
22. Miami Dolphins - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Needs: LB, Edge, TE, OL
Miami is about to have a big hole at tight end. Jordan Cameron is probably going to retire due to concussions. Dion Sims showed a knack for getting in the end zone this season (4 TDs) but is a free agent, and journeyman MarQueis Gray flashed some potential but is more of a backup.
Howard is already a phenomenal blocker in an era where pass catching tight ends typically struggle to do so. He was not used much as a receiver at Alabama but made plays when called upon. At Senior bowl practices he was practically unguardable and has the potential to be a great all-around tight end.
23. New York Giants - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Needs: Edge, RB, TE, LB
Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul is not going to give the Giants a team friendly one-year deal this time around and will no doubt hit free agency. While the Giants would love to retain him, they simply won’t be able to after already opening up the pocketbook last season to fix the defense. They will need to rely on the draft to fill some holes this time around.
Charlton was inconsistent, but is no doubt talented. He’s a freakish athlete who will initially struggle against the run, but is coachable and should already be a solid pass rusher.
24. Oakland Raiders - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Needs: ILB, CB, DT
A few minor issues aside, the Raiders are pretty set on offense and will need to improve their below average defense in order to take the next step as a team. They will no doubt have their eye on ILB Reuben Foster and DT Malik McDowell but since both are gone in this mock they will focus on corner where they will need to replace disappointing former 1st rounder, D.J. Hayden.
Humphrey looks the part. He has the size, speed, and athleticism that teams look for but needs to work on his ball skills. That’s not a deal breaker though because while you cannot teach speed or athleticism, you can teach technique.
25. Houston Texans - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Needs: DT/NT, OL, ILB, QB
Not that it matters since the top QBs are now off the board, but no, I don’t believe that the Texans are going to pull the plug on Brock Osweiler after one season. Sorry Houston fans, you’re probably going to deal with a Osweiler vs. Savage competition in 2017.
The Texans might be scouring the draft for a replacement for nose tackle Vince Wilfork who is all but certain to retire. They will also be in the market for a thumper a linebacker to line up next to Benardrick McKinney. Ultimately though, I think they will opt to solidify an offensive line that was troublesome in 2016. Unlike past seasons, there are no elite tackle prospects in this year’s class so, unless someone reaches, the Texans should have a shot at the top tackles.
Once upon a time, Robinson actually was considered an elite prospect but inconsistent play has dragged him down. Even still, he is massive and athletic which is a rare combination so he has the physical attributes to at the very least be a solid starter, at the most a Pro Bowl player. The bust potential is there though.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Needs: OG, OT, CB, DT
Seattle almost has to be locked in on offensive line for the first couple of picks in this draft. It is almost laughable watching their line, bereft of talent, try and block NFL pass rushers. Amazingly enough, the Seahawks are a perennial playoff team despite this deficiency. Imagine what they’d accomplish WITH a line?
Ramczyk is about as safe of a pick at tackle as it gets and could potentially go higher than this. Coming out of Wisconsin, he has already learned an NFL system and should be a Week 1 starter. His ceiling isn’t quite as high as other prospects, but his floor is much higher.
27. Kansas City Chiefs - Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Needs: ILB, WR, CB, OL
The Chiefs could not stop running back Le’Veon Bell in the playoffs during the first half, mostly due to the loss of inside linebacker Derrick Johnson weeks before. That position will need to be addressed in the first few rounds of the draft to either be a future replacement, or a current replacement for Johnson who will turn 35 next season and is returning from a second season ending injury. Kansas City will almost certainly look to add more weapons on offense as well at wide receiver and running back.
In this mock draft, however, they nab one of the better cover corners in this class. White is not known for his tackling skill and is not very big, but he is fast and is capable of eliminating a team’s #1 receiver at the college level. If he pans out, the Chiefs could have the best young corner tandem in the league. White is a rising prospect though who could ultimately land in the top 15-20 picks.
28. Dallas Cowboys - John Ross, WR, Washington
Needs: Edge, CB, TE, DT
No, receiver isn’t a top need for Dallas. I wouldn’t even put it in their top four, to be honest. Having said that, Ross’ game breaking speed is too much to pass up. Far too often, the Cowboy offense stalled due to lack of reliable targets. Dez and Witten are outstanding when healthy, but Terence Williams has simply dropped too many passes to be counted on.
Ross is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball and while he usually lines up in the slot (Cole Beasley’s territory), he has the ability to play outside as well and can be a deep threat that takes the top off of defenses.
29. Green Bay Packers - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Needs: RB, CB, Edge
For a playoff team, the Pack could potentially have a lot of holes. Several members of their vaunted offensive line are free agents, leading pass rusher Nick Perry (11.5 sacks) is also a free agent, veteran Julius Peppers is nearing the end of his career, Clay Matthews is rapidly declining, their young secondary was obliterated by Matt Ryan in the playoffs, and top corner Sam Shields still has not cleared concussion protocol four months after being placed on IR.
The team did draft corners previously (Damarious Randall 1st round 2015, Quinten Rollins 2nd round 2015), but they were pressed into more snaps than they were ready for in 2016. Last season proved that you can never have too many corners and this is definitely the year to add one. Wilson isn’t the most athletic corner in this draft, but he’s physical and tough. He is ideal as a nickel corner who can also slide to safety if needed, but should eventually push for a starting role.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers - Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Needs: WR, Edge, ILB, TE
A lot of mocks have the Steelers taking a wide receiver here, but they have had a lot of success finding pass catchers in later rounds and this season will likely be no different. They will be tempted to snag one of the tight ends from what is a very deep class, but ultimately I think they will shore up the position they are best known for: linebacker.
The team can’t possibly be interested in bringing back first round disappointment Jarvis Jones and while veteran James Harrison says he will be back for another season, he’s pushing 40 and an eventual replacement is necessary. Harris needs some work in run defense, but he is a talented pass rusher that would serve as a reserve/passing down specialist until he grows into the full time role.
31. Atlanta Falcons - Tim Williams, OLB, ALabama
Needs: Edge, OG, DT
As great as pass usher Vic Beasley was this season, the Falcons need more pass rushers in the worst way. Be it inside at tackle or an edge rusher, Atlanta needs to ensure that opposing offenses can’t neutralize Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks in 2016.
Aside from potential #1 overall pick Myles Garrett, there’s probably not a better pass rusher in this draft than Williams. He is explosive and insanely quick, able to completely disrupt an offense when he’s let loose. Unfortunately, that’s all he’s shown to be skilled at so far and is easily fooled by screen passes and misdirection. It’s possible that coaching can correct that, but if not then whichever team drafts Williams might just have to accept that he is a pass rusher and nothing more. An amazing pass rusher, but only a pass rusher.
32. New England Patriots - David Njoku, TE, Miami
Needs: OL, TE, S, Edge
It’s always difficult to write up a mock on the New England Patriots for two reasons: 1. Bill Belichick is unpredictable and 2. they routinely trade down. This season will probably be no different and the Pats will trade out of the 1st round. Since I do not do trades in my mock drafts, I am going to have to take a stab at this pick anyway.
Belichick is not afraid of doubling down on a position if he feels the talent and versatility is there. As great as Rob Gronkowski is, he does have a history of injuries. Fellow tight end Martellus Bennett played exceptionally well, but might cash in during free agency. Belichick likes employing two athletic tight ends to take advantage of mismatches but due to Gronk’s health and the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, he hasn’t been able to maximize that for awhile.
Njoku is possibly the most athletic and explosive tight end in this draft and the only thing keeping him behind O.J.Howard is experience. Njoku is a former wide receiver and high jumper, but is extremely raw and will need to work on the nuances of the game. New England would be a perfect place for that, if he’s still here after no doubt posting insane Combine numbers.
33. Cleveland Browns: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
A scout called starting corner Joe Haden the “oldest 27 year old in the NFL”. Haden can’t seem to stay healthy and when he’s on the field does not look like the shutdown corner from the past. He could bounce back and former Dolphin Jamar Taylor had a nice season on the other side, but the team needs more reliable DBs. Conley could sneak into the 1st round, but with so many top corner prospects some will fall into the 2nd and 3rd.
34. San Francisco 49ers: Caleb Brantley, DT/NT, Florida
The Niners have a lot of needs, so they can go several directions. A new head coach means a new coaching staff and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil was probably on the chopping block either way so it’s unclear what sort of alignment the Niners will use. Brantley can play nose tackle in a 3-4 as well as tackle in a 4-3.
35. Jacksonville Jaguars: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Running back in the 1st, offensive tackle in the 2nd. The Jags would be ecstatic if Boles were still here at #35.
36. Chicago Bears: Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
The Bears will look at quarterbacks again, but I have a tough time seeing John Fox put his faith and future in one. I would not be shocked if the Bears retain Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley and instead improve their defense. Jackson has 1st round talent in a loaded class.
37. Los Angeles Rams: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
The Rams sorely missed Janoris Jenkins after letting him leave in free agency. The team definitely has needs at wide receiver, offensive line, and tight end but Tankersley (who would be a sure-fire 1st rounder any other year) will be difficult to pass up.
38. Los Angeles Chargers: Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
The Chargers have serviceable tackles, but they need better to protect an aging Phillip Rivers. As I’ve said before this year’s tackles aren’t elite prospects, but solid starters can be found in the 2nd and 3rd. Dawkins is athletic and is a player who can start early and develop into something more.
39. New York Jets: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
Based on the idea that the Jets are content with developing Hackenberg and letting Bryce Petty/Journeyman QB keep the seat warm, I am going to once again have the Jets pass on a QB in a weak class. Kamara is a speedy back with good size who will share carries with Matt Forte until the 2018 season when he should be ready to carry the load himself.
40. Carolina Panthers: Zach Banner, OT, USC
The Panthers will still be looking at running backs, but once again hold of here to address their need at tackle. Banner is a mammoth tackle (6’8”, 361) who has had weight issues in the past. With good coaching and conditioning though, he can be a find. Few people his size can move the way he does.
41. Cincinnati Bengals: Zack Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
After addressing the pass rush in round one, the Bengals add an athletic thumper in the middle. Cunningham has flown under the radar so far, but that might change before the Draft. In this mock though, he is still here at #41 and the Bengals will run their selection up to the podium.
42. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
All defense early on for the Saints. Corner in the first, pass rusher in the 2nd. Jordan Willis made money in the Senior Bowl where he looked unblockable. Cameron Jordan will appreciate less double teams.
43. Philadelphia Eagles: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Thanks to a deep corner class, the Eagles can take a receiver in the 1st and still land a good cover corner in the 2nd. Lewis doesn’t possess the size you’d want, but has great coverage skills and is tenacious.
44. Buffalo Bills: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Michigan
Remember, in this mock the Bills let Tyrod Taylor walk and drafted a quarterback in the 1st. If that happens, he will need more targets than Sammy Watkins. Kupp’s stock has soared, especially after Senior Bowl practices where he caught everything thrown to him against this vaunted corner class.
45. Arizona Cardinals: Jarrad Davis, ILB Florida
The Cardinals need a playmaker in the middle and Davis is just that. As in the 1st round, I believe that Arians thinks that he is close to competing again and that 2016 was a blip on the radar and nothing more. So, I don’t see the Cardinals investing a high pick on a quarterback.
46. Minnesota Vikings: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
In this mock, the Vikings have moved on from Adrian Peterson and their lack of a running game sunk their offense last season. Asiata and McKinnon were not the answer and Foreman is a big, bruising runner with good speed for his size. While Minnesota would love to nab an offensive tackle, most of the players worth taking here are already gone.
47. Baltimore Ravens: Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
An inside linebacker to replace the suddenly retired Zack Orr will be a high priority, but the Ravens cannot go into the 2017 season with the receivers that they currently have. Darboh is not a burner, but is fast enough and has good size.
48. Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, OLB/ILB, Temple
Reddick is another player who made some money at the Senior Bowl displaying athleticism and speed from the outside during practices. Reddick might be too small to play OLB in a 3-4, but can possibly play ILB in the same scheme. Either way, he’s someone the Colts can move around to maximize his ability on a defense that desperately needs playmakers.
49. Washington Redskins: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Robert Kelly was a nice find but might not be an every down back. McCaffrey might not either (jury is still out), but he could excel in a shared backfield. McCaffrey is also an excellent pass catcher and would give the already potent Washington offense an added dimension.
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeDe Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
The Bucs need a deep threat to take some of the double teams off of stud receiver Mike Evans. Westbrook might not be a complete receiver, but he has an uncanny knack for getting deep and would fit well with the Buc offense.
51. Denver Broncos: Chris Wormley, DT/DE, Michigan
While the Denver defense is still formidable, the d-line (Derek Wolfe aside) isn’t getting it done. Wormley is a versatile player who can play end and tackle in a variety of alignments. He won’t offer much in the way of a pass rush, but he grades out to be a good run stopper who can occasionally collapse the pocket.
52. Cleveland Browns: Budda Baker, Safety, Washington
The Browns continue revamping their defense via the draft. Baker is a little on the small side but plays much bigger. He strikes me as an eventual emotional leader who just so happens to also be capable of big plays. Classic center fielder type safety.
53. Detroit Lions: Raekwon McMillan, OLB/ILB, Ohio State
The Lions need both outside and inside linebackers and McMillan might be able to play either position at the pro level, though he projects more on the outside in a 4-3 defense. McMillan is explosive and flies to the ball, but lacks the strength to take on blockers inside. He is, however, excellent in coverage which is rare for a linebacker coming out of college.
54. Miami Dolphins: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
This is a major steal for the Dolphins. So much so that I doubt things actually fall this way as Feeney is considered by many to be a 1st round pick. Having said that, if he is here then the Dolphins will definitely take him without a second thought.
55. New York Giants: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
New York’s tight ends have been a non-factor for far too long and it needs addressed. Everett is a natural pass catcher with great separation and speed. He is not a great route runner and has a lot to learn in that area, but is a willing blocker who could start right away.
56. Oakland Raiders: T.J. Watt, ILB/OLB, Wisconsin
The Raiders continue to go all defense, taking J.J. younger brother to fill a need at linebacker. Watt doesn’t look all that athletic but don’t let that fool you. He can go sideline to sideline and while it’s unclear if he’s a better fit inside or out, he’s capable of making plays wherever he lines up.
57. Houston Texans: Justin Evans, Safety, Texas A&M
The Texans got a solid year from journeyman safety Quinton Demps and while it’s not a bad idea to re-sign him in free agency, they need depth at the position. Evans is severely underrated but could be an impact starter in the NFL.
58. Seattle Seahawks (unless it is taken due to violations): Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
The Legion of Boom needs an infusion of talent. Deshawn Shead had a nice season, but tore his ACL in the playoffs. Jeremy Lane was given a long-term contract but is better suited as a nickel corner. Awuzie is not speedy, but s physical and tough which fits in with what the Seahawks do on defense.
59. Kansas City Chiefs: Anthony Walker, Jr, ILB, Northwestern
Chiseled but undersized, Walker projects to a 3-4 ILB at the pro level. With the future of star linebacker Derick Johnson in doubt, the Chiefs need to look for an eventual replacement. Should Johnson return for one more season, he’d make a great mentor for the raw Walker who probably declared for the draft a year early.
60. Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Walker, OLB/DE, Florida State
The Cowboys have misfired multiple times in their quest to find a pass rusher. Walker is definitely a work in progress who might only be able to function as a designated pass rusher initially. To be honest, that might be all the Dallas needs him to do at this point.
61. Green Bay Packers: Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
Anderson is a very good player who falls to the end of the 2nd because he doesn’t jump out at you like other players do. That might change during the evaluation process as he is a technically sound player with versatility. Early on, he will no doubt be a rush ‘backer which is just what the Packers might need. In time, he could develop into a solid all around starter.
62. Pittsburgh Steelers: Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi
Ladarius Green simply could not stay on the field and while Jesse James made some clutch catches, he’s more of a secondary tight end. Engram possesses wide receiver speed and while he is not very big for a tight end, is a capable blocker. He will definitely be more of a weapon in the passing game though with the ability to stretch defenses, create mismatches, and turn small plays into large ones.
63. Atlanta Falcons: Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa
After getting pass rush help in round one, the Falcons continue improving the defense by landing a penetrating defensive tackle to replace the aging Johnathan Babineaux. Johnson will be more of a rotational player for his first season or two, but should be a solid starter in the up front in time.
64. New England Patriots: Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa
The Patriots love versatile players and King fits that description. He’s compact and physical, but might not be fast enough to be an every down corner and some feel he will make a better safety at the pro level. He’s a solid defender though and is just the type of player that Bill Belichick gets the most out of.
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson
Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
Dawuane Smoot, DT, Illinois
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Tanoh Kpassagnon, DT, Villanova
Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee
Roderkick Johnson, OT, FSU
Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, OSU
Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pitt
Antonio Garcia, OT, Temple
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
Elijah Qualls, DT, Miami
Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU
Damontae Kazee, CB, SDSU
Rasul Douglas, CB, WVU
Corn Elder, CB, Miami
Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska
Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
Marcus Maye, S, Florida
Pat Elflein, C, OSU
Dorian Johnson, OG, Pitt
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Chad Hansen, WR, Cal
Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
Davis Webb, QB, Cal
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
Chad Kelly, QB, Mississippi
Nathn Peterman, QB, Pitt
I got too busy and couldn't do the position-by-position breakdown that I wanted to do. Instead, I will post my finalized mock draft for round one and two.
Keep in mind that these picks aren't the picks that I would necessarily make, but are the picks that I think each time WILL make. We all get to see just how wrong I am in about four and a half hours.
1. Carolina - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. Denver - Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama
3. Buffalo - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
4. Cincinnati - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
5. Arizona - Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
6. Cleveland - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
7. San Francisco - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
8. Tennessee - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
9. Dallas - Tyron Smith, OT, USC
10. Washington - Jake Locker, QB, Washington
11. Houston - Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
12. Minnesota - Prince Amukumara, CB, Nebraska
13. Detroit - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
14. St. Louis - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
15. Miami - Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
16. Jacksonville - Da'quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
17. New England (via Oakland) - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
18. San Diego - Cam Jordan, DE, California
19. New York Giants - Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
20. Tampa Bay - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
21. Kansas City - Corey Liuget, DT/NT, Illinois
22. Indianapolis - Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
23. Philadelphia - Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
24. New Orleans - Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
25. Seattle - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
26. Baltimore - Cam Heyward, DE, Ohio State
27. Atlanta - Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
28. New England - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
29. Chicago - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
30. New York Jets - Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
31. Pittsburgh - Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
32. Green Bay - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
33. New England (via Carolina) - Akeen Ayers, OLB, UCLA
34. Cincinnati - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
35. Denver - Mason Foster, ILB/OLB, Washington
36. Buffalo - Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
37. Cleveland - Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
38. Arizona - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
39. Detroit - Bruce Carter, ILB/OLB, North Carolina
40. San Francisco - Colin Kaerpernick, QB, Nevada
41. Tennessee - Martez Wilson, ILB/OLB, Illinois
42. Dallas - Rahim Moore, CB/FS, UCLA
43. Washington - Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
44. Houston - Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
45. Minnesota - Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
46. Denver (via Miami) - Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
47. St. Louis - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
48. Oakland - Rashad Carmicheal, CB, Virgina Tech
49. Jacksonville - Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
50. San Diego - Jabaal Sheard, OLB, Pittsburgh
51. Tampa Bay - Greg Jones, OLB, Michigan State
52. New York Giants - Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
53. Philadelphia - Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
54. Kansas City - Rodney Hudson, OG/C, Florida State
55. Indianapolis - Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson
56. New Orleans - Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
57. Seattle - Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh
58. Baltimore - Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
59. Atlanta - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
60. New England - Titus Young, WR, Boise State
61. San Diego (From NY Jets) - Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington
62. Chicago - Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
63. Pittsburgh - Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
64. Green Bay - Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
Orlando Franklin, OG, Miami
Ben Ijalana, OG/OT, Villanova
Stefen Wiesniewski, OG/C, Penn State
Jordan Todman, RB, UConn
Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
Randall Cobb, WR/KR, Kentucky
Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State
Johnathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt
D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas
Lance Hendricks, TE, Wisconsin
Johnathan Barksdale, OT, LSU
Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU
Sam Acho, OLB, Texas
Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College
Dontay Moch, OLB/DE, Nevada
Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina
Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State
Ras-I Dowling, CB, West Virginia
Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma
DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson
Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
To be honest, this year's crop of quarterbacks is pretty underwhelming. There isn't a stand alone slam dunk signal caller that is going to make teams salivate. What you do have is a lot of "maybe", "could be", and "has the potential to be" than you usually see in the first few rounds of a draft. In fact, there isn't a whole lot of separation from #1 to #7 on my list and I moved several of them up and down numerous times before settling on an order. No sir, there is no Sam Bradford in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Note: These rankings are not the order in which I think they will be drafted. Also: the commentary gets much shorter the further down the list I get ...
+ = on the rise
- = on the decline
Z = Sleeper
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri - It is difficult to put Gabbert at the top of the heap, but I do so by default. He has all the tools and certainly looks the part, but as someone who watched every game of his MU career I was shocked that he decided to come out. Sure, financially it is obviously the right choice since he is probably going in the ten or five. But, with the holes in his game he probably should have stayed one more year.
At 6'5" 235, he has perfect QB size. He doesn't have a cannon, but his arm is strong and he can make all the throws. On top of that, Gabbert is surprisingly athletic and can run if he needs to. He reminds me of Aaron Rodgers in that regard. A guy that you don't think has wheels, but then pops off a 30 yard scamper.
Where Gabbert struggles the most is consistency. He is one of the streakiest college QBs that I have possibly ever seen. He will have three amazing series that you watch in awe, but then his next two will make you wonder how he ever won a starting QB job. When Gabbert is off, he is WAY off.
Having said that, his flaws are correctable and Gabbert is extremely coachable. Any other year and he'd be a mid to late round prospect and a solid sleeper. But in 2011, with no Andrew Luck, he is the best QB in this class.
2. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (-) - Dan Marino's arm ... Ryan Leaf's maturity. If it weren't for the off the field issues and the lack of leadership, Mallett would be that slam dunk that I said this draft was missing.
Mallett has a flipping howitzer for an arm, can put the ball anywhere, and played in a pro style offense while at Arkansas. Sadly, he ran a 5.75 40 time and I think that even I might be able to beat that. In today's NFL with complex blitz schemes and ultra quick pass rushers, a QB this slow might not have any success in the league.
However, Mallett does have a super quick release on that cannon of his and seems to make his reads quickly. That will help since his feet are encased in concrete.
The lack of speed and athleticism isn't what keeps Mallett from being a top 10 pick though. What is holding him back are the rumors of drug use, problems with alcohol, and an attitude that makes it difficult for others to follow him on the football field. These issues will cause Mallett to fall to the end of the first at the earliest, and possibly into the late second round.
3. Cam Newton, Auburn - Physically Newton is the perfect QB. He has Brett Favre's arm, Micheal Vick's feet, and Ben Roethlisberger's size.
Why is he #3 on my list? Because he opened his mouth.
You see, Newton has already proclaimed himself to be an "entertainer" and an "icon" and that didn't rub future coaches and players the right way. It is great to have confidence, but in the NFL you have to pay your dues. Newton has pretty much anointed himself a superstar without playing a single down. Historically, when it comes to the NFL Draft, that signals trouble ... especially when there were already questions about Newton's character and work ethic.
Compounding things is the fact that Newton played in a very vanilla offense at Auburn. It was not complex and Newton was not asked to make many actual decisions. That won't fly in the NFL. In fact, when Newton was interviewed by John Gruden last week, he seemed confused by simple questions and football jargon.
However, the sky is the limit for Newton. He is a specimen and an absolute freak. If he can get his head together and submit to proper coaching, he could be something special. That alone will get him drafted in the top five, and perhaps #1 overall.
4. Andy Dalton, TCU (Z) - This is bold of me to say, but Dalton could potentially end up with the best career in this draft class. He doesn't have Mallett's arm, Newton's athleticism, or Gabbert's ideal frame ... but he is intelligent, a winner, and does all the little things correctly.
Two things hold Dalton back. First is his frame - 6'2", 213. That is ultra thin and sometimes it looks like a defender will be able to snap him in two. Second is the fact that you can't plop Dalton into any offense and expect results. Sure, he will give it his all and try to will you to victory ... but Dalton will really only be successful in a West Coast style offense. Short dropbacks, quick reads, and timing patterns ... those things will make Dalton a great starter one day. If a coaching staff gets too cute and tries to rely on a vertical passing attack with him, they will potentially ruin him.
5. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (Z) - Kaepernick put up gawdy numbers in his career at Nevada, but the level of competition wasn't the greatest. He also seems to be a run first QB, and that is a problem. On the plus side, he is a good kid who will strive to be great. He reminds me of Vince Young, but without the mental issues.
6. Jake Locker, Washington (-) - Like Gabbert, Locker looks like he was born to play QB. He has the perfect size, has an NFL arm, and can take off and run if he needs to. Unfortunately, he is probably the most inaccurate college QB I have seen in some time. The combine, Senior Bowl and his Pro Day did nothing to erase those concerns either. His raw talent will get him drafted in the early 2nd at the latest, and in the mid 1st at the earliest.
7. Christian Ponder, Florida State (+) - Ponder looks the part when he drops back and he stands in the pocket well. He is accurate on short passes, but does tend to sail the deep ball. He doesn't throw a lot of picks, yet doesn't read a defense all that well ... which is just downright odd. This inability to adjust to what the defense is doing hurts his draft stock. Throw in injury concerns and Ponder is a late first rounder at best ... with bust potential.
8. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa (-) - Extremely inaccurate in college, but damn it if he doesn't look good doing it. Stanzi is tall with great mechanics and delivery ... this will get him drafted as a developmental prospect, but I wouldn't expect too much.
9. Pat Devlin, Delaware - Future caretaker backup and spot starter right here. Went to the same college as Joe Flacco, but that is where the comparison ends. Devlin has solid size, but a weak arm and isn't athletic at all running just under 5.0 in the 40 at the combine. Having said that, he absorbs a playbook well and is exceptionally smart. He'll have a career in the league as long as there aren't any expectations.
10. T.J. Yates, North Carolina - Similar to Dalton, but lacks the prototypical size. He has the intangibles, but lacks the tangibles to be a starter in the NFL.
11. Greg McElroy, Alabama (-) - McElroy scored a near perfect on the Wonderlic and will probably make a solid coach one day. He will have a difficult time making an NFL roster though. He was a winner in college, but he doesn't have the talent to last.
12. Nathan Enderle, Idaho (Z) - At 6'5" 245, Enderle will get some love in the draft. He doesn't have ideal arm strength, but could end up being a decent game manager. But he won't make it far if he can't cut down on the picks.
13. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech - Taylor will be a gimmick player in the NFL. Think Brad Smith.
14. Adam Weber, Minnesota (Z) - If Weber threw less interceptions for a struggling Minnesota program, he'd be considered a third round prospect. As it stands, he'll be a free agent pick up (once FAs are able to be signed) who could work his way onto a roster as a backup and future starter. His arm strength is decent and he has great mechanics, but he is a tad on the short side ... listed as 6'1", but I have read that that is being generous.
15. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin - Probably won't get drafted, but could have a future as a clipboard holder.
Yeah, I got busy and am late doing this. I realize the Butler game is over, but you'll just have to trust me.
4. Kentucky over 2. UNC (Only game I can still get points for.)
3. UConn over 5. Arizona
1. KU over 11. VCU
8. Butler over 2. Florida
3. UConn over 2. SDSU
1. Duke over 5. Arizona
3. BYU over 2. Florida (No points)
8. Butler over 4. Wisconsin (No points)
1. KU over 12. Richmond (No points)
11. VCU over 10. Florida State (No points)
2. UNC over 11. Marquette (No points)
4. Kentucky over 1. Ohio State
3/8 for the Elite Eight is the best I can do. This year's bracket was probably my worst ever.
XX = Cannot get points for this game no matter what.
1. OSU over 8. George Mason
3. Syracuse over 11. Marquette
2. UNC over 7. Washington
1. KU over 9. Illinois
3. Purdue over 11. VCU
2. Notre Dame over 10. Florida State
1. Duke over 8. Michigan
5. Arizona over 4. Texas XX
XX = Cannot get points for this game no matter what.
4. Kentucky over 5. WVU (W)
12. Richmond over 13. Morehead State XX (W)
2. SDSU over 7. Temple (W)
3. Uconn over 6. Cincy
7. UCLA over 2. Florida (L)
1. Pitt over 8. Butler (L)
11. Gonzaga over 3. BYU
5. K-State over 4. Wisconsin XX
1. Ohio State over 16. UTSA (W)
8. George Mason over 9. Villanova (W)
11. Marquette over 6. Xavier (W)
3. Syracuse over 14. Indiana St. (W)
7. Washington over 10. Georgia (W)
2. UNC over 15. Long Island (W)
1. DUKE over 16. Hampton (W)
9. Tennessee over 8. Michigan (L)
12. Memphis over 5. Arizona (L)
13. Oakland over 4. Texas (L)
1. KU over 16. Boston (W)
9. Illinois over 8. UNLV (W)
6. Georgetown over 11. VCU (L)
3. Purdue over 14. St. Peters (W)
7. Tx A&M over 10. Florida State (L)
2. Notre Dame over 15. Akron (W)
NCAA picks today:
5. WVU over 12. Clemson (W)
4. Kentucky over 13. Princeton (W)
8. Butler over 9. ODU (W)
1. Pitt over 16. NC-Ash (W)
2. Florida over 15. UCSB (W)
3. BYU over 14. Wofford (W)
4. Wisconsin over 13. Belmont (W)
7. UCLA over 10. Mich St. (W)
11. Gonzaga over 6. St. Johns (W)
12. Utah St. over 5. K-State (L)
4. Louisville over 13. Morehead (L)
12. Richmond over 5. Vanderbilt (W)
7. Temple over 10. Penn State (W)
2. SD State over 15. N Colorado (W)
3. UConn over 14. Bucknell (W)
11. Mizzou over 6. Cincy (L)
A couple late games killed me. 13-3 ... not bad, but I thought I'd end up 15-1 after the start I had.
... but have nothing else to do CN-wise and decided to give it a shot. I'll have a lot to say and promise that my entries will be far more hard hitting than this one in the future.
For now, I leave you with my NFL Mock Draft v1.0 instead.