With the draft less than a week away, I wanted to compile my final NFL Mock Draft before another player gets accused of domestic assault or diluted drug tests. It has been a pleasure doing these mocks and receiving your feedback along the way. I hope you enjoy the finale.
Just a heads up to start: I’ve included two trades in this latest mock. Both of which are for quarterbacks, which should be no surprise.
Panthers receive 12th and 65th and
Browns receive 8th and 98th
Texans receive 16th, 122nd and 2018 compensatory and
Ravens receive 25th and 57th
1. Cleveland Browns
Needs: EDGE, DB, QB
The Browns have plenty of positions of need, and the gluttony of picks they have collected should help them address most of the needs. I would expect them to draft pure BPA, since it would be an upgrade at most positions.
FA update: The Browns land 2 offensive lineman starters in Tretter (C) and Zeitler (G), while locking up Bitonio (G) to a contract extension. They also add a Pryor replacement in Britt (WR). This speaks volumes about the importance of OL and the relative weakness in this draft class.
Myles Garrett (EDGE), Texas A&M
What a combine. Myles Garrett had nothing to prove at the combine regarding his elite status and only cemented his BPA status in this draft. Whatever rumblings about the Browns taking Mitchell Trubs at #1 should have been dispelled.
There is consensus amongst the analytics and the scouting communities that Garrett is the best player of the draft, drawing comparisons to Von Miller and Jadeveon Clowney. It just so happens that the Browns are in desperate need of an EDGE. This is a perfect fit.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Needs: EDGE, DB, LB
Surprisingly, the 49ers’ secondary was the highlight of the team, grading in the 50th percentile of the league (according to PFF). The front-seven, on the other hand, ranked 31st in the league. The offensive line also ranked 28th. Obviously, there are many holes to fill, which is why a trade is not inconceivable here.
FA update: The ‘9ers swapped out a bunch of players this offseason, replacing Smith with Garcon (WR), Kaepernick with Hoyer and Barkley (QB), trading for Zuttah (C) and signing Mitchell (DT) and Smith (ILB).
Solomon Thomas (EDGE), Stanford
Solomon Thomas has played himself into consideration as a top-5 pick, the best EDGE rusher of an extremely deep class. While he might not generate the buzz surrounding Garrett and Allen (SEC Bias), he has the potential to be a game changer on the defensive line. Thomas has prototypical EDGE size (6-3, 273), and has the versatility to move to the inside on passing downs.
3. Chicago Bears
Needs: DL, OL, DB
The Bears’ defense played admirably given their amount of action and injuries to starters. The offense also looked serviceable at times, relying extensively on Jordon Howard and the power run game. I’m giving the John Fox regime the benefit of the doubt that they roll with Glennon this season, with the potential of drafting a prospect late and developing him.
FA update: The Bears land Mike Glennon at $15m for the next 3 years, even though they can cut bait after one season for 4.5m in dead cap. They also signed a couple of WR depth pieces (Wheaton and Wright) and augmented their secondary by adding Amukamara (CB).
Jamal Adams (S), LSU
Previous pick: Solomon Thomas (EDGE), Stanford
The Bears have plenty of options for this pick, either Allen (DE), Adams/Hooker (S) or Lattimore (CB). Of all the options, Adams has the highest upside and utility in their defensive structure. Jamal Adams have demonstrated his ability to make tackles in space, cover screen passes and create turnovers (5 INT and 2 FF as a 2-year starter). He also has been lauded as having exceptional leadership skills, both on the field and in the locker room.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Needs: EDGE, CB, OT
The Jaguars need to address the offensive line via the draft and/or free agency. The bright spot of the line was center Brandon Linder, who only allowed 13 QB pressures all season while posting a top-5 run blocking grade. The tackle position, on the other hand, was extremely disappointing.
FA update: The Jags burn cap for the second consecutive offseason, signing the top-ranked CB (Bouye) and DE (Campbell). They also replace Cyprien with Church (SS).
Leonard Fournette (RB), LSU
The Jags would love for Thomas or Allen to fall to them. Without an elite pass rusher on the board, the Jags look to go BPA. Yeldon and Ivory are serviceable RBs, but Fournette is on another planet. Some people may say that it is too early to draft a RB, while others will cite the success of the Cowboys with the addition of ‘Zeke.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
Needs: DB, WR
The Titans have rounded into form this past season, Mariota and the offense performed much better than many people expected. The focus of this draft is going to be on defense. With all the extra picks from the trade of the #1 pick to LA Rams last year, they should be able to retool their secondary and throw in a future weapon for Mariota as well.
FA update: The Titans upgraded their secondary with the 2nd best available CB (Ryan) and a young top SS (Cyprien). They also replaced Woods with Williams (NT).
O.J. Howard (TE), Alabama
Previous Pick: Jamal Adams (S), LSU
The first shocker of the draft is O.J. Howard going much higher than everyone anticipated. I have always had a TE mocked to the Titans in this draft, since Walker is turning 33 and has been plagued with injuries the past few seasons. O.J. is hands down the top TE prospect in the past decade, which is what has elevated his draft stock. The Titans also lack a second round pick, which means if they want a top receiving and blocking talent, they have to take him now or trade back.
6. NY Jets
Needs: QB, CB, EDGE
The Jets are in a weird spot this offseason. The QB position is a mess: Fitzpatrick is a goner, especially after the off-season holdout and terrible showing throughout the season. Geno Smith never developed into…whatever they thought he would develop into. Brice Petty and Christian Hackenberg are both raw and developmental prospects at best. This offseason the Jets acquiesced the request of Marshall to be released, signaling a rebuilding year(s) to come. The defense, in particular the secondary, was routinely torched by everybody.
Word on the street (via Walterfootball) is that the Jets are happy with the progression Hackenberg has made this offseason. With the release of multiple veterans the past few weeks, it is a clear signal that the Jets are entering full rebuild move.
FA update: Josh McCown (QB) was brought in for some reason, either to compete for a starting job or mentor their QB of the future. They also take on a reclamation project in Beachum, who looked like a promising LT in PIT prior to tanking in Jacksonville. They replaced Revis with Claibourne (CB), who is a solid cover corner when healthy.
Marshon Lattimore (CB), Ohio State
While the Jets miss out on the top RB target (Fournette) and defensive linemen, they have a few options. If they decide to go offense, they could snag the top receiver in Mike Williams or O.J. Howard. If they decide to go defense, they could replace Revis. Todd Bowles is a defensive-minded coach, so I lean towards the latter. Lattimore has graded as the top cornerback in the country by many metrics. He has the size (6-1, 195) and coverage skills to match up with the best of the AFCE receivers.
7. LA Chargers
Needs: OL, S
The Chargers have immense talent on offense, but the offensive line was one of the worst in football (31st). This was especially felt in the area of pass protecting, giving up 238 total QB pressures. If the Chargers have any intention of not wasting Rivers’ final years and Gordon’s first contract, they need to dedicate resources to the offensive line. The Chargers are also in desperate need of replacing Eric Weddle, who departed last offseason for Baltimore.
FA update: The Chargers have been less active than most this offseason, locking up Addae (S) and bringing in Okung (OT), who is coming off a down year in Denver.
Malik Hooker (S), Ohio State
If it wasn’t for his offseason surgery and combine absence, Malik Hooker might be going to the Bears instead of Adams. The Chargers are happy with either player, as both have demonstrated excellence at the safety position. While the rest of the secondary has played well, safety play has dramatically declined after losing Weddle last offseason. Hooker (6-2, 210) has the range to play in coverage and in the box, making 74 tackles and 7 interceptions this past year.
8. Cleveland Browns (via Carolina Panthers)
Mitchell Trubisky (QB), UNC
Here’s what we know about the Browns QB situation: They don’t have a QB of the future on the roster and some people in the FO like Trubisky to be that guy. They will absolutely not draft him #1, but they need to jump the Bills because they also really like him. The Bengals won’t trade with the Browns because they are divisional foes, and Carolina wants to move back.
Scouts and analysts alike are worried about the quality of this QB class, which has the makings of the 2014 draft. If you recall, Bortles was drafted by the Jags at 3 and the next QB taken was Johnny Manziel at 22. I think everyone is in agreement that Bortles was overdrafted, which hopefully serves as a warning to all teams this year. Trubisky is the consensus #1 QB, but his lack of starting experience and spread offense at UNC is concerning to teams. He might not have the highest ceiling, but he definitely has one of the highest floors.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Needs: OL, EDGE, S
The Bengals are in a strange spot right now. After winning the division and contending the past few seasons, they outright missed the playoffs this season (6-9-1). Several adjustments need to be made, especially along the offensive and defensive lines, but also in the secondary.
FA update: The Bengals had a mass exodus along the offensive and defensive lines, losing Whitworth (T), Zeitler (G), Hunt (DE) and Peko (DT). They bring back Smith (T), who was a decent RT during his previous tenure with the Bengals. They also add Minter, who is an under-rated LB.
Jonathan Allen (DT), Alabama
Previous Pick: Garrett Bolles (OT), Utah
Allen and Garrett graded demonstrably better than every other player at their position. While they have different roles within their respective defenses, Allen is a perfect fit as a defensive tackle. One of the demonstrable differences between the Bengals of this past season and previous years was the lack of any consistent pass rush. Dunlap and Atkins are very good players, but that is not enough against an average offensive line.
10. Buffalo Bills
Needs: DB, LB, WR
The Bills decide to restructure Tyrod’s contract and keep him around for another year, which is good news for continuity. They need to draft a replacement for Stephon Gilmore, as they will have a void alongside Darby. Safety play also needs to be addressed, with consideration to the Aaron Williams injury situation.
FA update: The Bills lost a promising CB (Gilmore) to a divisional rival, as well as three WRs (Goodwin, Hunter and Woods). They do upgrade their secondary by adding Hyde (S).
Mike Williams (WR), Clemson
If Trubisky is gone at this spot, the Bills look to fill their other holes. The Bills need to provide Tyrod with some help in the air. As much as Shady loves being the focal point of the offense, he cannot lead the team in receiving yards and rushing yards every year. Mike Williams looks like the second coming of Megatron, and will be a bright spot for them to build around.
11. New Orleans Saints
Needs: CB, DE, LB
The Saints defense has been atrocious the past several seasons. Even with the departure of Rob Ryan as DC, they have shown little improvement. The Saints Secondary ranked 29th, with a gaping hole at CB next to Breaux. The front-seven was 28th, with the only bright spots being Cameron Jordon and Nick Fairley.
FA update: The Saints trade Cooks (WR) for the last pick in the first round, and rumors surrounding Butler (CB) haven’t subsided. A point of emphasis has been adding depth along the linebacker core (Klein, Okafor and Te’o).
Derek Barnett (EDGE), Tennessee
Previous Pick: Reuben Foster (MLB), Alabama
They need to bolster the EDGE position and it just so happens Barnett graded similarly to Garrett (according to PFF). Barnett is a pass rushing specialist who broke Reggie White’s team record for career sacks (32).
12. Carolina Panthers (via Cleveland Browns)
Needs: OL, CB, EDGE
The Panthers sorely need to upgrade their offensive line, especially the tackle position. Remmers and Oher have been serviceable the past few years, but neither are suited to play the blind side (pun optional). After Oher’s injury forced Remmers to move to LT, he gave up 49 pressures and 9 sacks. Jonathan Stewart isn’t getting any younger, and given his injury concerns, running back is a high priority position for the offensive scheme they run.
FA update: The Panthers replace Remmers (T) with Kalil (T), bring back Peppers (DE) and Munnerlyn (CB). They also lost Ginn, but signed Johnson (WR).
Christian McCaffrey (RB), Stanford
McCaffrey had an amazing combine after two stellar CFB seasons (2019 and 1603 rushing yards and 645 and 310 receiving). He cancelled all his private workouts this week after rumors surfaced that he was offered a guarantee by a team that he would be drafted in the teens. The chatter this week is that he will be a top-10 pick, with the most natural fit being in Carolina. Ron Rivera looks for high character players, and McCaffrey would be a great leader on that offense.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Needs: MLB, QB, CB
The Cardinals are extremely talented at all levels, but were unable to put it all together this year. I fully expect them to be more competitive next year, and the addition of a blue-chip playmaker at MLB or CB could propel their defense back into the top-5. After the terrible regression of Palmer, one would expect the Cardinals to draft a developmental QB prospect at some point.
FA update: The Cardinals experienced a mass exodus of top 100 players, all on defense (Campbell, Jefferson, Minter, Okafor and Swearinger). They added Bethea to replace Jefferson (SS) and a couple depth LBs (Dansby and Jones).
Reuben Foster (MLB), Alabama
Previous Pick: DeShone Kizer (QB), Notre Dame
Foster hasn’t done himself any favors since the combine. Foster is legitimately the best inside linebacker in this draft class. He has been drawing comparisons to Ray Lewis, which is high praise. The altercation with the medical staff at the combine coupled with the diluted drug test will give teams some pause. Not to mention, the Cards have drafted several players with character concerns in the past (Nkemdiche, Mathieu).
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings)
Needs: CB, RB
The Eagles defense (especially the front-seven) played fantastic under Jim Schwartz, earning them the distinction of having the 2nd best front-seven. The secondary was a totally different story, as the Eagles have decent safety play but below average cornerbacks.
FA update: The Eagles lose a solid run-stuffing D-lineman in Logan (DT). However, they load up on two WRs in Jeffery and Smith.
Marlon Humphrey (CB), ‘Bama
He provides the size (6-1, 205), speed and coverage ability, who would easily take over as the #1 corner. As my co-author Joel would say, ‘you can’t go wrong with SEC defenders’. Humphrey matched up against top wideouts every week and only Mike Williams gave him any problems, which speaks volumes about his ability.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Needs: RB, OL, EDGE
The Colts need to invest money and picks into their offensive line and defense at all levels. The guard situation needs to be much improved, as well as upgrading the pass protection for their future QB is pivotal. The defense is a mess, they lack demonstrable pass rushing ability and the secondary has been routinely torched outside of Vontae Davis.
FA update: The Colts have been really active in the market this offseason, particularly on defense. They added several depth EDGE players (Mingo, Hunt, Sheard, Simon and Spence).
Taco Charlton (EDGE), Michigan
Even with the free agent pass rush acquisitions, the Colts still need dependable EDGE rushers and are in a great position to land Charlton here. Charlton has been lauded by analyst Mel Kiper as the 4th best defensive lineman available. He finished with 9.5 sacks and 10 QB hurries, while only playing in 10 games during the season.
16. Houston Texans (via Baltimore Ravens)
Needs: OL, QB, TE
With the news that Tony Romo was not going to be Bill O’Brien’s savior this year, they are forced to make a move. With only a few blue chip prospects in this draft class, coupled with them drafting 25, they make a deal to leapfrog all potential suitors. The Ravens need draft capital, so this suits them just fine.
The Texans main deficiency this season was from the 72-million-dollar man Brock Osweiler. The defense played spectacularly, even without JJ Watt for most of the season. Clowney is finally living up to his expectations when he went #1 overall. They have some minor holes on the offensive line and TE.
FA update: The Texans have not made any moves yet in free agency, only losing starters in the secondary in Bouye (CB) and Demps (SS).
Patrick Mahomes (QB), Texas Tech
The Texans will need to address the QB position, unless they plan on running with Tom Savage this season. Mahomes is the preference of the coaching staff/front office, and the cost of moving up would be much lower than Trubisky. Not to mention, Mahomes is the only QB that Houston has met with privately. Mahomes generated a lot of buzz during his tenure in the quick tempo spread Tech system. It remains to be seen what his pro prospects are, but with Bill O’Brien coaching for his job this season, expect him to be the starter.
17. Washington Redskins
Needs: DB, LB, QB
FA update: The Redskins re-signed several depth pieces (Davis, Hood and Painter), while losing several starters (Baker, Garcon and Jackson). They offset these loses with Pryor (WR), Swearinger (S) and McClain (DT). They also added MLB Zach Brown to fill a massive void.
Gareon Conley (CB), Ohio State
Previous Pick: Zach Cunningham (LB), Vanderbilt
Conley has the size to match up with top wide receivers (6-0, 195) and complements Norman extremely well. Overshadowed by Lattimore at OSU, Conley had an impressive 2-year starting career at Ohio State amassing 91 tackles, 6 interceptions and 15 pass deflections. Since the good combine performance, Conley’s draft stock has been on the rise.
18. Tennessee Titans
John Ross (WR), Washington
Previous Pick: Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan
I’m sure some folks have Ross ranked much higher after his record-breaking performance in the 40-yard dash at the combine. While that was impressive, he is plagued with the same criticisms of many other speed receivers: they can’t run NFL routes and they don’t have great hands. Another strike against Ross is his size (5-11, 188). He will need to put on some weight before he is going to be able to take NFL punishment. All that being said, somebody will overdraft him and the Titans are in a great position to do so here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Needs: S, RB
The Bucs have young talent throughout the lineup, but still have a few holes that need patching. The most immediate need is running back, especially if Doug Martin has entered rehab.
FA update: The Bucs beef up the defensive line with Chris Baker (DE) and add explosive playmaker Jackson (WR) to complement Evans.
Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State
Previous Pick: Christian McCaffrey (RB), Stanford
Call it the ‘Zeke effect coupled with the top end prospects: running backs are on the rise once again. With Doug Martin entering rehab, the Bucs will take a running back as an insurance policy. Cook is no boy scout, with some questionable character concerns, but talent trumps all else. He is a three down back who has explosive breakaway speed and is a natural backfield receiver.
20. Denver Broncos
Needs: OL, DL
The Broncos are loaded at multiple positions, but have faced attrition in the trenches. They need to protect their future QB better and get better push up front in order to utilize the pass rush.
FA update: The Broncos lose Okung (addition by subtraction?) and Williams, replacing them with Watson (T) and Peko (DT). They still need to address these positions through the draft at some point.
Cam Robinson (T), Alabama
Previous Pick: David Njoku (TE), Miami
The Broncos absolutely need to address the blind side of the offensive line if they want any chance of keeping their QB upright. There are a couple options for left tackles in this draft class. Bolles (Utah) and Ramczyk were one-year starters at the left tackle position. Ramcsyk had offseason hip surgery, which limited his ability to compete at the combine. Cam Robinson has some real variance in his trajectory as a pro: some view him as a potential franchise LT and others feel he is better suited as a RT or G, either one would fill a void along the line.
21. Detroit Lions
Needs: DL, CB, LB
Most of the priority needs for the Lions are on the defensive side of the ball. They could stand to upgrade their RB situation, but the O-line picks the past couple seasons have begun to pay off. They need to generate push in the middle of the defensive line, which they have never replaced since losing Suh. Slay needs a running mate, and their front-seven has graded 30th overall, which is an immediate concern.
FA update: Musical chairs along the offensive line was the theme of the Lions offseason. They lost Reiff and Warford, replacing them with Lang (G) and Wagner (T). They also made several depth additions in the defense (Warrilow, Spence, Hill and Hayden).
Zach Cunningham (LB), Vanderbilt
Previous pick: Caleb Brantley (DT), Florida
This is a dream scenario for the Lions. They desperately need an upgrade at the linebacker positions and Cunningham is a super-underrated prospect, in part because he attended Vanderbilt instead of ‘Bama or LSU. Along with Foster, Cunningham is the only other MLB that excels at coverage and run defense, which are pivotal skills for a three down MLB. He played against SEC competition on a poor team, and still managed to lead the nation in run stops.
22. Miami Dolphins
Needs: OT, DL
The Dolphins need to make improvements along the defensive and offensive lines. The Mario Williams signing was a stop-gap, but they need to develop young pass rushing talent. The Dolphins finished with the 30th ranked offensive line, with standout tackles Ja’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil performing better than average. The interior of the offensive line, particularly the guards, was a major liability.
FA update: The Dolphins re-signed Stills, Jones and Branch. Timmons is a temporary solution, but provides valuable leadership qualities on the defensive side.
Hassan Reddick (OLB/EDGE), Temple
A much needed upgrade to a linebacker core that has been lackluster. Reddick has been skyrocketing up draft boards, with some experts grading him as a 1st round prospect. He was known as an outside pass rusher, but showed great ability to play coverages during senior bowl week. If utilized properly, Reddick will probably assume a hybrid OLB-EDGE role similar to Bruce Irvin.
23. NY Giants
Needs: LB, RB, OT
The Giants spent a good chunk of change overhauling their defense last season, which was money well spent. Their secondary was one of the best in the league, but the front-seven, linebackers in particular, could use some additional work. On offensive, they need to beef up their tackle positions and figure out the running back situation.
FA update: The Gaints replaced Cruz with Marshall (WR) to form a formidable three headed receiving monster.
Garett Bolles (OT), Utah
Garrett Bolles may have only been a one-year starter at Utah, but he was all Pac-12 in his debut season. Coupled with a fantastic combine and Bolles has played himself into the first round. The Giants need to replace Newhouse, who was a liability in pass protection to begin with.
24. Oakland Raiders
Needs: CB, DT, LB, RB
The Raiders spent FA and the draft shoring up the defense, bringing in veterans Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson, Bruce Irvin and drafting Karl Joseph. The offense took a big leap forward, but the defense still lagged behind. They absolutely need to upgrade the middle of their defensive line as well as shoring up the cornerback position. It remains to be seen what happens with AP or Marshawn, but with Murray gone, they need to draft a contingency early.
FA update: The Raiders lost several depth pieces to free agency, but replaced Watson with Newhouse (T) and Smith with Jenkins (OLB). They also augmented their receiving core with Patterson (WR) and Cook (TE).
Malik McDowell (DT), Michigan State
Previous pick: Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State
The Raiders are going to be looking to upgrade the DT position during the draft and with Brantley getting involved in a physical altercation with a female the week before the draft, they move to the next name on the board. Malik would be just the remedy for a pedestrian pass rush. He has played both DT and DE in college, demonstrating his ability to rush the passer and stop the run. The only concern is lowering his pad level, since he is 6-foot-6, but there is no question that he is talented.
25. Baltimore Ravens (via Houston Texans)
Needs: CB, WR, OL
The Ravens showed flaws this season, which were repeatedly exploited by opponents. They have been routinely beat through the air, and outside of Weddle, they lack playmakers in the secondary. Also, the news of the Steve Smith retirement put emphasis on finding a replacement number one receiving threat for Joe Flacco.
FA update: The Ravens re-signed DT Williams, but lost Guy (DE), Dumervil (EDGE) and Wagner (T). They provided a complement to Weddle by adding Jefferson and cutting Webb (S).
T.J. Watt (EDGE), Wisconsin
The Ravens need to fill multiple voids in the offensive and defense, which is why they acquire more picks through the Texans trade. They start by filling the EDGE void after cutting Dumervil. Watt would be a perfect replacement for him, as he has prototypical EDGE size (6-4, 255), can rush and set the edge in the run game.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Needs: OL, OL, OL
I cannot stress enough that this team NEEDS an offensive line. They graded as the worst offensive line in football and have committed the least amount of money to improving it. It is absolutely essential they draft at least two o-line, as it is the only thing holding them back from contending for another championship.
FA update: The Seahawks lose no starters to free agency, re-sign Shead (CB) and bring in Lacy (RB) to be the big running back.
Ryan Ramczyk (OT), Wisconsin
Previous Pick: Cam Robinson (T), Alabama
The Seahawks really wanted a LT in the first round, and they barely got their wish. Ramczyk would be a huge upgrade at left tackle as he has demonstrated the ability to protect and generate power in the run game. His commitment to the game has been questioned by some, but Pete Carroll is the perfect motivator.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: MLB, CB, EDGE
The Chiefs have some uncertainty in their linebacker core. They need to address the middle, filling the void that Derrick Johnson will leave. Additionally at EDGE, Hali is on the back-9 of his career, and Dee Ford is up for contract renewal next year.
FA update: The Chiefs lose one starter in Poe, but immediately replace him with Logan (NT).
Forrest Lamp (G), Western Kentucky
Previous Pick: Chris Harris (EDGE), Missouri
The Chiefs have several options at this juncture, but I don’t think they will let a top tier G slip through their fingers. If they have one weak spot along the offensive line, it is Zach Fulton. Lamp has been touted as one of the best interior prospects since Zach Martin, which is why the Chiefs pounce at this opportunity.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Needs: EDGE, WR, TE
The Cowboys need to address their pass rush along their front. The last couple DEs drafted have been unable to produce due to off the field issues. In order to generate pressure, it was necessary for them to blitz far too often, getting bailed out by Sean Lee all season.
FA update: The Cowboys have experienced a revolving door this offseason, losing several starting positional players. The secondary was the most affected, losing Claibourne (CB), Carr (CB), Wilcox (S) and Church (SS). The managed to retain Williams (WR) as their secondary receiver, although this shouldn’t discourage them from adding depth at that position through the draft.
Jabrill Peppers (S), Michigan
I know Jerrah has been spouting off about getting a “War Daddy” (which is ironically his nickname at the glory hole), so he jumps at the opportunity to take Peppers at 28. There is a major disconnect between the media sensationalism of Peppers and the actual production. Peppers was utilized in a variety of ways throughout his career, playing on both offense and defense. His natural position is a hybrid SS-LB, in the box during running downs, soft coverage on passing downs.
29. Green Bay Packers
Needs: CB, LB, RB, OL
The Packers cornerback situation has plagued them this entire season, forcing the offense to make spectacular comebacks far too often. The safety play, led by Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was above average, but they need to solidify the CB position this offseason.
FA update: The Packers have uncharacteristically lost more top-100 free agents than any other team this offseason. It has been across all major position groups as well, losing two offensive linemen (Lang and Tretter), two EDGE rushers (Peppers and Jones), Cook (TE), Hyde (SS), and Lacy (RB). The good news is that they managed to replace Cook with Bennett (TE), but still have major deficiencies in the other areas.
Charles Harris (EDGE), Missouri
Previous Pick: Gareon Conley (CB), OSU
Harris is a perfect linebacker compliment to Clay Matthews, who has struggled getting pressure consistently the past few seasons. Harris was 10th in the country last year in QB pressures. The combination of Harris and Matthews should benefit the pass defense (which looked abysmal last year) by applying constant pressure.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Needs: EDGE, DB
Pittsburgh’s offense is in full swing, the offensive line graded in the top 5, and the Ben-Brown-Bell show needs no introduction. Defensively, they have performed better week-to-week. All that being said, they need to begin to plan for the future after James Harrison retires, and could use support in the secondary.
FA update: The Steelers have experienced little movement this offseason, per usual. They resigned backup Jones (QB) and brought in several depth pieces.
Tanoh Kpassagnon (DE), ‘Nova
Previous Pick: Takkarist McKinley (EDGE), UCLA
It seems like every year that the Steelers overdraft a player that they really like and it turns out well for them. The player that they have most consistently been linked with and the only team to host Kpassagnon multiple times has been Pittsburgh. Kpassasgnon has made a name for himself at the senior bowl and combine, posting solid numbers and production.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Needs: G, DE
Atlanta’s major deficiencies are along the offensive and defensive fronts. They need to replace Chris Chester, who is the weak link along a stout offensive front. On the defensive side of the ball, they need a dynamic pass rusher to complement Vic Beasley.
FA Update: The Falcons re-sign their important depth pieces (Schaub, Ishmael and Toilolo). They also beef up their run defense through the acquisition of Poe (NT).
Dan Feeney (G), Indiana
Previous Pick: Forest Lamp (G), Western Kentucky
The Falcons might have missed out on a stud in Lamp, but thankfully there’s a great consolation prize in Feeney available.
32. New Orleans Saints
Tre’Davious White (CB), LSU
Previous Pick: John Ross (WR), Washington
If the Saints can’t pry Butler from the Pats, they will need to upgrade the position via the draft. White is a really physical corner, who just happened to play up the road. He would be a solid addition and with a healthy Breaux, they might not be the worst secondary next year.
33. Browns – Obi Melifonwu (S), UCONN
I don’t think the Browns mess around with their secondary this year. They need a deep coverage safety and they land someone with the size (6-4, 220) and versatility to play in the box as well. I’m seen Melifonwu going in some mock drafts in the late 20s, so if the Browns want him, they can’t wait until 52.
34. 49ers – Adoree Jackson (CB), USC
Previous pick: DeMarcus Walker (DE), FSU
The ‘9ers just released Brock this past month after domestic abuse allegations surfaced. Jackson falls because of his size (5-11), and might be suited in a slot role. He could still end up winning the an outside starting job and has the added bonus of being an explosive kick returner.
35. Jags – David Njoku (TE), Miami
Previous Pick: Antonio Garcia (OT), Troy
This draft is a referendum on Bortles’ future with the Jags. After two years of big FA and draft spending on D, they will make sure that Bortles has no excuses for being successful this season. Njoku is a fantastic receiver and decent blocker, which is a welcome sight after dealing with Thomas.
36. Bears – Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson
Previous pick: Dan Feeney (G), Indiana
The Bears have been the one team that is consistently linked with Watson. While there is much uncertainty for many organizations surrounding Watson’s transition to the pro game, the Bears have been a strong advocate for him. Even though they sign Mike Glennon, he has a low ceiling and could be a cap casualty next year.
37. Rams – Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan
Previous pick: Dede Westbrook (WR), OU
Davis (6-3, 210) is a big bodied receiver who would fill a huge void for the Rams, giving Goff a respectable target in the passing game. He will be knocked because of quality of competition in the MAC, but it is hard to deny his production. Davis was a four-year starter at WMU, who posted splits of 941, 1408, 1436 and 1500 yards per season.
38. Chargers – Kevin King (CB), Washington
Previous Pick: Malik McDowell (DT), Michigan State
Outside of Jason Verrett, who plays much bigger than his size (5-10), the Chargers don’t have much secondary depth. They can land a supplement in King that is 6-3, who demonstrated serious speed, quickness and lateral movement at the combine.
39. NY Jets – Takkarist McKinley (EDGE), UCLA
Previous Pick: Carl Lawson (EDGE), Auburn
The Jets need to be better at disrupting opposing quarterbacks. McKinley is best suited as a 3-4 EDGE rusher, a perfect fit for the blitzing scheme of Todd Bowles.
40. Panthers – Jordan Willis (DE), Kansas State
Previous Pick: Quincy Wilson (CB), Florida
The Super Bowl run of the Panthers was facilitated by the strength of the 4-man pass rush. They re-signed Charles Johnson to a 2-year deal, but one rusher isn’t enough in today’s NFL. Peppers and Addison are better suited to be rotation players; Willis would really anchor that line. Willis dominated the senior bowl with multiple sacks and a forced fumble.
41. Bengals –Jarrad Davis (OLB), Florida
Davis was a two-year starter at Florida, who has the size (6-2, 235) to play inside or outside linebacker in a 4-3 system. Davis is an instinctual run-defender, who can tackle well and finish plays. In the passing game, he has demonstrated the ability to play short and medium zone coverages.
42. Saints – Brad Kaaya (QB), Miami
Previous Pick: T.J. Watt (EDGE), Wiscy
The one name I keep hearing linked to the Saints is Brad Kaaya. Drafting a replacement for Brees would allow him to develop for several years before starting (e.g. Aaron Rodgers). While the early second round might be too rich for most teams, the Saints have a bevy of picks this year.
43. Eagles – Alvin Kamara (RB), Tennessee
Alvin Kamara is the perfect fit for the Eagles offense, drawing comparisons to Jamal Charles in his playstyle. He is a great runner (5.8 YPC) and receiver (40-392) who also has experience being utilized as a slot receiver. Kamara performed extremely well throughout his college career, but was limited in upside because of the timeshare with Jalen Hurd.
44. Bills – Chidobe Awuzie (CB), Colorado
Previous Pick: Teez Tabor (CB), Florida
The Bills are losing 2 of their 3 corners this offseason, making this a priority draft need. Awuzie had a productive college career as a 4-year starter, leading the team in tackles three of the past four seasons.
45. Cardinals – Deshone Kizer (QB), Notre Dame
Previous Pick: JuJu Smith-Schuster
After the garbage fire at QB last year, I don’t think they play any games early in the draft. Kizer is a big, strong QB with many similar qualities to Ben Roethlisberger (who was taken 11 overall), whom Arians developed very nicely. Palmer may start the 2017 season, but he may or may not finish it. The comments that Arians made about Kizer’s development makes me think that he would relish having that challenge.
46. Colts – Quincy Wilson (CB), Florida
Previous Pick: Adoree Jackson (CB), USC
The Colts need to do something to address the cornerback position. Year after year, it seems like the secondary keeps taking a step backwards. This offseason the Colts prioritized pass rushers, but Vontae Davis still lacks a dependable running mate. Wilson is a physical corner who has prototypical size (6-1, 210) to cover top wideouts. As a two-year starter, he amassed 81 tackles (4.5 for loss), 6 interceptions and 14 pass deflections.
47. Ravens – Chris Wormley (DT/DE), Michigan
Previous pick: Tre’Davious White (CB), LSU
The Ravens stay on the defensive side of the ball, replacing Guy and/or Jernigan with Chris Wormley. Wormley is a 300-pound monster, who has experience playing DT and DE for the Wolverines. He has great lateral quickness, especially considering his size, and can get off blocks with ease.
48. Vikings – Zay Jones (WR), East Carolina
This guy made some money at the senior bowl. Not even in the conversation prior to the senior bowl, he caught everything thrown his way during that game. It didn’t matter who was at the helm at QB or who was defending him, he routinely beat coverages and made contested catches.
49. ‘Skins – Joe Mixon (RB), Oklahoma
Previous Pick: Ethan Pocic (C), LSU
Mixon is the most controversial selection of this draft. In terms of pure talent, he is a first round pick, probably sandwiched between Cook and McCaffrey. However, whoever drafts him will have to deal with the baggage associated with the domestic abuse video. The Skins are no stranger to controversy and Robert Kelly is not the future at the position.
50. Bucs – Budda Baker (FS), Washington
Previous pick: Ahkello Witherspoon (CB), Colorado
The secondary of the Bucs could use an upgrade at FS. Baker would be an excellent pickup in the middle of the frame.
51. Broncos – Evan Engram (TE), Ole Miss
Previous pick: Chris Wormley (DT), Mich
The Broncos haven’t had a top receiving talent at TE since Shannon Sharpe. Whichever young QB ends up winning the job would be blessed with a quality target who has been drawing comparison to Jordan Reed.
52. Browns – Sidney Jones (CB), Washington
The Browns should strongly consider taking another cornerback with this pick. An interesting development was that Sidney Jones tore his ACL during Washington’s pro day. This has major implications on the draft, as he will not be joining the team for the 2017-2018 season. Before all the Browns fans go all Modell on me about taking a hurt prospect, this pick is totally contingent on there being no structural damage to the knee or foreseen future problems. If he gets a clean bill of health, aside from the torn ACL, the Browns will take a long-term strategic approach with him. They aren’t planning on competing until the 2018-19 season at the earliest, so there would be no rush for his rehab.
Sidney Jones is an extremely underrated prospect from the Pac-12, who doesn’t get much love. The unassuming Jones has been solid the past two seasons, putting up respectable numbers in interceptions (2), pass deflections (6) and tackles (39). While other cornerbacks may have better numbers, his size (6-0, 190) and coverage ability should not go overlooked.
53. Lions – Fabian Moreau (CB), UCLA
Previous pick: D’Onta Foreman (RB), Texas
The Lions need to give Slay a hand in the secondary.
54. Dolphins – Teez Tabor (CB), Florida
Previous pick: Tanoh Kpassagnon (EDGE), ‘Nova
The Dolphins secondary is nothing to write home about. Teez Tabor would be a first round pick if it wasn’t for multiple suspensions during his time at Florida. The Dolphins haven’t shied away from taking high upside players with questionable character (Pouncey, Suh).
55. Giants – Raekwon McMillon (LB), OSU
The Giants have some major deficiencies in the linebacker core, which McMillon would upgrade. McMillon has proven his versatility in coverages and against the run.
56. Raiders – D’Onta Foreman (RB), Texas
Previous pick: Jarron Jones (DT), Notre Dame
I’m going to assume that Marshawn isn’t going to be joining the Raiders this season. There was a lot of chatter, but until it is official, the Raiders don’t have a running back on the roster. Foreman is a downhill force, as he has power RB size (6-0, 235) who rushed for over 2000 yards as a Junior last year.
57. Ravens (via Texans) – JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR), USC
The trade with the Texans is the gift that keeps on giving. After addressing the defense, the Ravens add a big bodied receiver. JuJu started off the season slow, in particular because of the horrible quarterback play of Max Browne. Once switching to Sam Darnold, he exploded onto the scene, making contested catches and turning short yardage plays into big gains.
58. Seahawks – Ethan Pocic (C), LSU
Previous Pick: Eddie Vanderdoes (DT), UCLA
The Seahawks double down on offensive lineman.
59. Chiefs – Tim Williams (EDGE), ‘Bama
Previous Pick: Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson
The Chiefs always land a troubled prospect that Andy Reid is able to redeem. They revitalized Marcus Peters and turned him into a #1 CB after his stock slid. Tim Williams is an amazing pass rusher, but has a fair share of baggage. He had admitted to failing multiple drug tests as well as being charged with weapons possession this past year. He’s a huge risk, but he could also be Hali’s replacement.
60. Cowboys – Carl Lawson (EDGE), Auburn
Previous Pick: Tanoh Kpassagnon (DE), ‘Nova
The Cowboys need to address the defensive line, in particular the defensive end position. They have drafted and signed a fair share of talented pass rushers that can’t make it onto the field because of suspension problems. There are still plenty of question marks surrounding his abilities against the run, but there is little doubt he can rush the passer. Lawson elevated his stock during the combine weekend, showing serious lateral quickness and burst.
61. Packers – Ahkello Witherspoon (CB), Colorado
Previous Pick: Pat Elffein (C/G), OSU
The Packers reload their pass rush in the first round before addressing the most dire need in the second. Witherspoon is a tall corner (6-3) who posted good combine numbers, playing much faster than expected. This past season he was matched up against a much smaller and faster John Ross and performed extremely well in coverage.
62. Steelers – Davis Webb (QB), Cal
Previous Pick: Cameron Sutton (CB), Tenn
I’m reading the tea leaves a bit here. Ben threw a tantrum and threatened to retire after losing in the AFC championship. He has also been injury-prone throughout his career and turned 35 this offseason. Laundry Jones hasn’t filled in very well in his absence. Davis Webb is the only remaining QB that has met privately with the Steelers. I don’t think they let him slip past them here.
63. Falcons – DeMarcus Walker (EDGE), Florida State
The Falcons get a big EDGE pass rushing and run stuffing force, similar to Michael Bennett. Walker is a physical specimen (6’4, 280) who has played both DT and DE at Florida State. He has the athleticism and strength to play any position on the defensive line, utilizing a wicked spin move. He isn’t a pure pass rusher either, as he has proven he can track the run and make tackles in space.
64. Panthers – Curtis Samuel (WR), Ohio State
With Ginn gone, the Panthers need to replace his speed and athleticism. Curtis Samuel is a dynamic playmaker who can be used in the slot, outside or in the backfield.
65. Panthers (via Browns) – Desmond King (S), Iowa
The Panthers stay with the secondary, upgrading the deep safety position with a falling stud. In a division with Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas, it is imperative to have a quality centerfielder in the backend of the defense.
66. 49ers – Chris Godwin (WR), PSU
The 49ers are really shallow at the WR position after losing Torrey Smith this offseason. Godwin has been trending upward after a really solid combine.
67. Bears – Cordrea Tankersley (CB), Clemson
The Bears are in extreme need of cornerback depth. Fuller hasn’t realized his full potential and has no complement. Tankersley has played in multiple CFB playoff games, matching up against WR1 and doing a respectable job shutting them down.
68. Jags – Antonio Garcia (T/G)
Previous Pick: Garrett Everett (TE), South Alabama
The Jags offensive line has been a total mess the past few seasons. After adding Beachum and drafting Joeckel, they were still in disarray. Beachum is now gone, which means that Joeckel is moving back to LT. Garcia is a tackle/guard prospect that could fill either void along the line.
69. Rams – Ryan Anderson (EDGE), Alabama
Previous Pick: Tim Williams (EDGE), Bama
The Rams upgrade their pass rush with a quality edge setter.
70. Jets – Dede Westbrook (WR), Oklahoma
Westbrook, a Heisman Trophy finalist, might be slightly undersized for today’s NFL at 6-0, but he is a crisp route runner who can get yards after the catch. With the release of B-Marshall earlier this offseason, this would be a prudent move.
71. Chargers – Dion Dawkins (G/T), Temple
Previous pick: Taylor Moton (G/T), Western Michigan
The Chargers had the 31st ranked offensive line last year, according to PFF. Regardless if Dawkins is a better fit at guard or tackle, it would be a substantial upgrade.
72. Patriots – Marcus Williams (S), Utah
The Pats secondary was one of the best in the entire league, rating 3rd (according to PFF). However, Patrick Chung took a major step backwards, rating 81st out of 91 safeties this past year. With Devin McCourty handling run-defense duties, Williams would provide the Pats with a true centerfielder. The analytics guys love Williams, who has the speed and quickness to fill the deep safety role.
73. Bengals – Cooper Kupp (WR), Eastern Washington
Outside of Green and Eifert, the Bengals lack any sort of playmakers on offense. Kupp had a great senior bowl and backed it up with an average combine.
74. Ravens – Carroll Phillips (EDGE), Illinois
The Ravens already landed Watt in the first round, but they don’t stop here. Dumervil was a cap casualty this offseason and Suggs (who will be 35 this season) might be next on the chopping block. They have no depth at pass rusher, so they use the pick they acquired from Philly to fix this problem.
75. Bills – Gerald Everett (TE), South Alabama
Previous Pick: Budda Baker (S), Wash
The Bills need to draft some receiving weapons for their QBs. Since there are no good WRs here without overdrafting, they snag one of the best receiving TEs.
76. Saints – Anthony Walker, Jr (LB), Northwestern
Previous Pick: Rasul Douglas (CB), WVU
The Saints have little depth at linebacker, Walker Jr. would be a huge asset. He has demonstrated his ability to cover on short routes as well as being a stout run defender.
77. Cardinals – Jaleel Johnson (DE/DT), Iowa
Previous Pick: Howard Wilson (CB), Houston
The Cardinals have lost quite a few starters this offseason. They replace Campbell with Johnson, who has the skillset to shed blocks and apply pressure the quarterback. He would be an immediate upgrade to the run defense and make the pass rush even more potent.
78. Ravens – Howard Wilson (CB), Houston
The Ravens could use an upgrade at cornerback, but miss out on all the top-tier options. The draft advisory board recommended that he return to school for another year. Nonetheless, Wilson is more of a developmental option, but has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL.
79. Vikings – Cameron Sutton (CB), Tenn
Previous Pick: Jordan Lewis (CB), Mich
Newman was re-signed, but turns 39 this year, and they lost their slot corner in Munnerlyn to the Panthers. Sutton is a physical press corner who will fit Zimmer’s defensive scheme well.
80. Colts – Dorian Johnson (G), Pitt
The Colts bolster the middle of the offensive line with a great value pick.
81. Redskins – Dawuane Smoot (EDGE), Illinois
Smoot is a pass rushing specialist who only had 5 sacks last year, but contributes in many other ways. His style of play makes the players around him better, such as Jihad Ward and Carroll Phillips.
82. Broncos – Nazair Jones (DT), UNC
The Broncos need to bolster the defensive interior. After losing Malik Jackson last offseason, they were gashed against the run.
83. Titans – Brandan Langley (CB), Lamar
Previous pick: Ryan Anderson (EDGE), Bama
They signed Logan, but could always use additional depth at the position.
84. Bucs – Julie’n Davenport (T), Bucknell
Davenport is an interesting prospect who has high upside, but got embarrassed at the Senior Bowl. He should at least compete for the starting RT position.
85. Lions – Kareem Hunt (RB), Toledo
Previous pick: Anthony Walker Jr. (LB), Northwestern
The Lions need to figure out the running back position as Abdullah can’t stay healthy. Hunt has been on the radar of the Lions since the senior bowl.
86. Vikings – Nico Siragusa (G), San Diego State
Previous Pick: Jordan Morgan (G), Kutztown
The Vikings addressed the departures of their starting tackles, but could use some help in the interior of the offensive line. Willie Beavers might not be a long-term option at guard, so drafting a challenger wouldn’t be out of the question here.
87. NY Giants – Carlos Watkins (DT), Clemson
The Giants lost Hankins in FA and replace him here.
88. Raiders – Adam Bisnowaty (T), Pitt
Previous Pick: Chris Godwin (WR), PSU
Donald Penn will be 34 at the start of the season, and I’m not totally sold on newly acquired Marshall Newhouse.
89. Texans – Taylor Moton (OT), Western Michigan
Previous Pick: Vincent Taylor (DT), OSU
The Texans spent their first two picks on acquiring the QB of the future, now they turn their attention to protecting him.
90. Seahawks – Caleb Brantley (DT), Florida
Previous Pick: Nico Siragusa (G), SDSU
The Seahawks only defensive liability is the interior of the defensive line. Brantley could have been a first round selection, but falls because of a recent domestic abuse allegation. The Seahawks are no strangers to rehabilitating the tarnished image of players in the past. If it works out once again, they might have a gem right here.
91. Chiefs – Nathan Peterman (QB), Pitt
Previous Pick: Chidobe Awuzie (CB), Colorado
The Chiefs draft an heir (or challenger) to Alex Smith.
92. Cowboys – Jake Butt (TE), Michigan
Previous pick: Dawuane Smoot (EDGE), Illinois
Witten is going to be turning 35 this season. With a young QB like Dak, having a safety net is bigly important. Jake Butt tore his ACL during the Orange Bowl, which means he may or may not be available for the season opener. This obviously hurts his draft stock; the Cowboys have already demonstrated in the past that they are willing to draft high-upside players who are injured.
93. Packers – Pat Elffein (C/G), OSU
Previous Pick: Marquel Lee (MLB), Wake Forest
After losing J.C. and Lang, the Packers need to restock the cupboard.
94. Steelers – Tyus Bowser (EDGE), Houston
The Steelers eventually get around to drafting a replacement for Harrison.
95. Falcons – Marcus Maye (FS), Florida
Previous pick: Marcus Maye (S), Florida
Ricardo Allen played well in the playoffs, but Maye might be a slight long-term upgrade. He seems like a natural fit for the Earl Thomas role on the defense.
96. Patriots – Steven Taylor (OLB), Houston
Previous Pick: Carroll Phillips (EDGE), Illinois
The Pats have relied extensively on castaways and free agent signings to bolster their defensive line the past few seasons. Taylor had a good senior bowl and combine and might have played himself into the first three rounds.
97. Dolphins – Justin Evans (S), A&M
The Dolphins need a complement to Rashad Jones. Evans is a perfect box safety who can also play well in coverage.
98. Browns (via Panthers) – Adam Shaheen (TE), Ashland
Previous pick: Julien Davenport (OT), Bucknell
Barnidge is over 30 and the Browns really seem to like this kid.
99. Eagles – Derek Rivers (EDGE), Youngstown State
Rivers made a name for himself when he ran a 4.61 at the combine, the fastest time among EDGE rushers. With the loss of Barwin, they make a low-risk move at replacing him here.
100. Titans – Daeshon Hall (EDGE) A&M
Previous Pick: Tyus Bowser (EDGE), Houston
The Titans are making luxury picks at this point in the draft, having addressed all their major needs.
101. Broncos – Isaiah Ford (WR), V-Tech
Previous pick: Cooper Kupp (WR), EWU
Denver doesn’t have much receiving depth behind Sanders and Thomas.
102. Seahawks – Marquel Lee (LB), Wake Forest
The Seahawks could use some depth at linebacker.
103. Saints – Samaje Perine (RB), Oklahoma
Ingram and the Saints have a real love/hate relationship.
104. Chiefs – Rasul Douglas (CB), WVU
Previous Pick: Nazair Jones (DT), UNC
The Chiefs need to replace Smith and supplement Peters. Douglas matched up against top receiving talent week-to-week in the BIG12, one of the most pass heavy conferences.
105. Steelers – Jourdan Lewis (CB), Michigan
The Steelers’ secondary improved over the course of the season, but they still need an insurance policy on it. Lewis was a highly touted physical prospect that would be perfect for their zone—blitzing scheme. He does have pending domestic violence allegations against him, which has dropped his value significantly.
106. Seahawks – Lorenzo Jerome (S), St. Francis
Some insurance after what happened last season.
107. Jets – Tyler Orlosky (C), WVU
With the release of Mangold, they need to consider a replacement here.