Jim Bay’s NFL Mock Draft
As a whole, people have a tendency to love mock drafts. They set expectations, potentially offer insight, and add a bit of excitement to the grind between free agency and the draft. We know that no one is ever going to have the perfect mock as NFL teams put out and use information like players in the World Series of Poker. There still will be plenty of rumors and smokescreens between now and draft day. The draft itself? Where else will each announcement send the gathered crowd of hundreds, many dressed in their favorite team’s gear, into a screaming frenzy? Leading up to that is the speculation, otherwise known as mock drafts, which also seems to fan the flames of this process. So let’s keep the process going and with research help from NFL.com, look at one possible way this draft may unfold.
1. Cleveland Browns — Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
When a player with this amount of talent says “if you don’t draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years”, you take him seriously and draft him.
2. San Francisco 49ers — Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3. Chicago Bears — Jamal Adams, S, LSU
With a long list of defensive studs coming up, would not be surprised if the Bears trade down to stockpile picks. If not, Adams would be a good fit as many consider him the best player in the draft.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars — Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette is a rare talent and would be an instant upgrade to help take some pressure off Blake Bortles.
5. Tennessee Titans — Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Titans have three clear needs: cornerback, wide receiver and inside linebacker. Lattimore may be the most talented cornerback in the draft class.
6. New York Jets — Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The mystery deepens here. A possible trading partner with the Bears if they are worried that he will go at #3? The Jets sent six representatives to the UNC pro day and also flew him in for a private visit. They would give him time to develop but may go elsewhere for an immediate impact.
7. Los Angeles Chargers — Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
I had a hard time typing “Los Angeles Chargers”. Hooker is the best center-field-type safety in this class and the Chargers missed Eric Weddle last season.
8. Carolina Panthers — Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Another of the movers and shakers possible here, but with some age up front, Allen is strong enough to play inside and agile enough to kick out to defensive end.
9. Cincinnati Bengals — Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
10. Buffalo Bills— O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The new head coach via Carolina remembers what a great TE like Greg Olsen can do for a team.
11. New Orleans Saints— Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
With many needs on defense, Foster will fly sideline to sideline and cover backs and tight ends. Nice to have an LB who can play all three downs.
12. Cleveland Browns — Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
With a national championship in hand, Watson is a proven winner, and that is something the Browns desperately need.
13. Arizona Cardinals— Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Davis has the ideal blend of speed, size and strength teams look for and would fit well in this offense.
14. Philadelphia Eagles — Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey could learn the ropes from the player he’s the most similar to in teammate Darren Sproles.
15. Indianapolis Colts — Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
Would love to have McCaffrey and may try to jump up in the order a bit. Even if they don’t, Awuzie can play both corner and safety, a need for the Colts.
16. Baltimore Ravens — Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Joe Flacco gets a new target as Williams is the most athletic receiver in the draft class.
17. Washington Redskins — Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Redskins have a big need at linebacker and Reddick would be the perfect player to fill it.
18. Tennessee Titans — John Ross, WR, Washington
John Ross ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the combine and gives the Titans the deep threat they need.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook is a solid pick here as he runs with power and speed, catches the ball well and is a solid blocker. Gets reunited with former teammate Jameis Winston.
20. Denver Broncos — Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
He will be set to play immediately coming out of a Wisconsin program that has offensive linemen NFL-ready.
21. Detroit Lions — Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas St
Taco Charlton of Michigan might be the more popular pick but Willis’ combine performance boosted his stock a bit and would make a good pairing with Ziggy Ansah.
22. Miami Dolphins — Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Dolphins need O-line help in a big way and Lamp, a tackle at WKU would be a shrewd addition inside at guard.
23. New York Giants — Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
A bit of a toss up for the G-Men to go offense or defense. Robinson will bring some badly needed attitude to the Giants O-line and should end up becoming a Pro Bowl left tackle.
24. Oakland Raiders — Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Conley can bolster a defense for a team that is close to being Super Bowl ready. He does a great job getting his head around and finding the ball.
25. Houston Texans — Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Mahomes could be a real difference-maker at the next level. He had to call out some complex plays at Texas Tech, and picking up an NFL offense should not be an issue.
26. Seattle Seahawks — Kevin King, CB, Washington
Love the local connection here, filling a need for the Seahawks should they keep this pick. Athletically, King is a gift from the football gods. He measured in at 6’3” and 200 pounds with long, 32” arms at the combine. He clocked an official 4.43 in the 40-yard dash.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Charles Harris, DL, Missouri
Keeping with the local theme, KC is pleased to find Harris here. He is an extremely athletic pass-rusher who can provide versatility.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Still a bit local here, White should start for Dallas, displaying his pedigree from DB university.
29. Green Bay Packers — Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Even with Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt and corners on the board, Peppers can be used as a safety, a nickel linebacker, over a slot receiver and as a return specialist. Helps the Pack cope with the loss of Micah Hyde, and may be an upgrade.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers — Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
In Pittsburgh, his natural gifts will allow him to grow into a special player.
31. Atlanta Falcons — Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
To help the 8th worst defense in the NFL, McKinley’s skill set would help pass-rushers like Vic Beasley avoid double teaming.
32. New Orleans Saints — Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Saints continue to help their defense with Humphrey, who is a hitter with perfect height, weight, and speed numbers. Plus, he is a low-risk pick at a position of great need.