What if you earned draft position? This week’s 2017 NFL draft mock went weird again and explored the possibility of what could happen if the Super Bowl winner got to pick first overall.
Is it fair? Probably not. Is it ridiculous? Of course. Will there be a normal mock draft next week? Absolutely. And to make up for the absurdity below, it will even be two rounds.
For now, the exercise is to see what would happen if we enter the draft Upside Down. (This would make Roger Goodell The Monster, aka Demogorgan, aka go watch Stranger Things if you have no idea what I’m talking about right now)
There are actually some things to legit ponder in this up-is-down mock draft. In the future, it can help explore why teams may want to trade up in the draft, and who they could be targeting. You can also rest assured knowing that some of the players being viewed right now as top-10 picks could end up landing on the teams where they’re slotted below in April.
1. Dallas Cowboys: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
David Irving has shown flashes of being a real piece for the Cowboys, but imagine what they could do with Garrett, a surefire stud pass rusher.
2. New England Patriots: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Patriots are about to fleece a team by trading backup Jimmy Garoppolo. Imagine what they could get by trading a player rated as high as Watson. (Spoiler: Probably at least two first-round picks from some desperate team that happens to have two first-round picks).
3. Oakland Raiders: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Just think what pass rushers like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin could do if an interior disruptor like Allen was playing in the middle.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Vic Beasley has had a breakout year with 14.5 sacks. Adding another edge rusher to the mix going into next season will keep some of the attention off him. Barnett can be the power rusher to complement Beasley’s speed play.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
This would be such a perfect fit for the Steelers. Slot Williams into the role of being a 3-4 pass rusher and you have James Harrison 2.0.
6. Detroit Lions: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
From week to week, the position for Detroit in the first round could stay the same, but the player may be different every time. Obviously the way this week’s mock works out, the Lions would get potentially the best cornerback in the draft.
7. Seattle Seahawks: Jabrill Peppers
In the Earl Thomas retires doomsday scenario, the Seahawks could be looking safety early in the draft.
8. Houston Texans: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
No team benefits from this silly scenario more than Houston. Bill O’Brien has managed to turn the Texans into a playoff team despite having eight different starting quarterbacks in three years. That’s more than the Browns! Imagine what he could do with a potential true franchise signal caller like Trubisky.
9. Kansas City Chiefs: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
In the Eric Berry leaves doomsday scenario, the Chiefs could be looking safety early in the draft.
10. New York Giants: Reuben Foster, MLB, Alabama
This is an interesting thing to think about. Almost every year in the draft the best middle linebackers tend to fall. It’s unlikely that if the Giants end up in the mid-20s that Foster will even be there, but it shouldn’t totally be out of the question even though he’s a slam dunk pick at No. 10.
11. Miami Dolphins: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
The Dolphins are good at getting after the quarterback, but they have three free-agent defensive ends. Lawson is a player that can work at end and linebacker.
12. Green Bay Packers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
You can argue that the Packers shouldn’t take Fournette because he’s been banged up much of the season. The counter argument is that he is Leonard Fournette.
13. Denver Broncos: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
There will be plenty of talk about the Broncos needing help on the offensive line, but the talent doesn’t match the draft position in this case. Instead, a playmaker running back like Cook could push players like Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson into backup roles.
14. Washington: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are free agents after the season, and Washington could find an upgrade in this year’s draft. Williams the best player at the position, so he’s the pick by default.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Pairing Davis with Mike Evans is unfair. Evans has been targeted an unbelievable 164 times this season. Bringing in a secondary star outside receiver could lower that number, and also limit how much help defenses can use on Evans’ side of the field.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
This is the area of this mock draft where draft position is about the same as it would normally be. For the Ravens, their BPA need in April could be a pass rusher. If so, McKinley makes sense. He’s a productive and athletic player who fits the scheme perfectly.
17. Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
How similar is the draft position in this upside-down mock draft? The Titans are the only team with a repeat pick from last week. Wilson is a size/speed prospect who projects as potentially being a superstar.
18. New Orleans Saints: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
There is a moral conundrum if a top quarterback happens to fall to the Saints. It’s true Drew Brees was signed to a contract extension before the season that has him locked up through 2020. But his deal becomes cap friendly after the 2018 season. If Sean Payton leaves the Saints, could Brees be far behind him?
19. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota): Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Here’s where things start getting messy for teams. If the Eagles were at their current position of 14, they could get a true No. 1-type of wideout like Davis or maybe Williams. If they’re off the board, targeting a top cornerback like Tabor makes sense.
20. Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Only one team has given up more quarterback hits this season than the Colts. If they really want to become a consistent playoff team, protecting Andrew Luck remains priority No. 1.
21. Buffalo Bills: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
This is another team where it would be interesting if one of the top quarterbacks is still around. Since all three are gone, the attention goes to the stellar cornerback depth in the 2017 draft. Jones might not get the same attention as his East Coast peers, but he may be just as good.
22. Arizona Cardinals: Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
This may seem a little early for Feeney, but it should also speak to how good he is, and how great Arizona’s need at guard remains.
23. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
No team in this mock draft gets screwed worse than the poor Cleveland Browns. The Browns’ needs are many, and Thomas would fit in on a budding defensive line.
24. Carolina Panthers: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Similar to the Colts and Luck, the priority for the Panthers has to be keeping Cam Newton from getting hit. Ramczyk could be the answer at left or right tackle in Carolina.
25. Cincinnati Bengals: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
This is the range the Bengals normally pick in, so their front office should be used to quality talent in his portion of the draft. At this point, McDowell’s pure talent could be hard to pass up. The Bengals could work him inside or even outside in their scheme.
26. San Diego Chargers: John Ross, WR, Washington
There might be a little redundancy with Ross and Travis Benjamin, but the Washington speedster is too good to let slide further in the first round.
27. New York Jets: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
The Jets really lack a linebacker who can get after the passer, and that’s what Harris can provide. Only one team in the NFL has fewer sacks than the Jets, so bringing in a blitzer this offseason is a must.
28. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
A wide receiver like Ross would have been the perfect choice for Tennessee, but with him gone it’s hard to find another wideout worth a first-round pick. With a cornerback already picked, tight end becomes an early need considering Delanie Walker will be 33 at the start of next season.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Budda Baker, S, Washington
Tashaun Gipson has been a flop of a free-agent signing for the Jaguars. A new head coach could look to replace him with someone like Baker, who may actually be in play in the second round for Jacksonville.
30. Chicago Bears: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Zach Miller is on a short contract with the Bears, and finding a top tight end is a need for Chicago this offseason. Butt’s a top-50 talent because he’s such a good all-around player.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Zach Cunningham, MLB, Vanderbilt
If Cunningham happens to fall this far in the normal draft, you wonder if the 49ers would trade back into the first round to snag Cunningham, an impressive middle linebacker with smarts and speed.
32. Cleveland Browns: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
You have to wonder if Joe Haden will be back in Cleveland next season. If he’s not, the Browns will need to get a cornerback early. In this backward scenario, the Cleveland native Lattimore is the best one available.