This week’s mock draft features a few new names in the first round who could be rising throughout the draft process. It also features new quarterbacks for two new head coaches, and the teams with two first-round picks doubling on defense and taking advantage of the strength of this year’s draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The closer we get to the draft, the more this is starting to feel like a formality. It would have been interesting to see if things changed had Deshaun Watson chosen to play in the Senior Bowl and be coached by the Browns. For now, let’s assume the Browns get a new quarterback via a trade or free agency.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
With Kyle Shanahan expected to be hired in San Francisco, the 49ers could give him a quarterback in Trubisky to launch his career. Although he started just one season at North Carolina, Trubisky’s tools are impressive.
3. Chicago Bears: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
The Bears are another team that is likely hitting the reset button at quarterback. Kizer needs coaching up, but he has as much talent and potential as any quarterback in the draft this year.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DT/DE, Alabama
The Jaguars have a situation up front on defense that is worth monitoring over the next several weeks. Sen’Derrick Marks may not be back, and after a breakout season Abry Jones could look to cash in with a new contract. If both players are gone, Jacksonville could target a player like Allen who is as pro ready as anyone in the draft this year.
5. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
A strong argument could be made for Ohio State star Malik Hooker here, but Adams seems like a better option to put next to Kevin Byard. If the two players carry a similar grade, the better fit is Adams.
6. New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Although few NFL offenses are built around a strong running game, Fournette has the pure talent to make the Jets an exception.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Hooker is a rangy safety who has game-changing ball skills. His talent for tracking down the ball and closing on it is rare. The Chargers would have an immediate impact in the passing defense by adding a player of Hooker’s caliber. If he’s gone, Adams fits just as well.
8. Carolina Panthers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
There are few players in the draft who come close to Cook in terms of pure talent. He can be for the Panthers what Devonta Freeman has become for the Falcons — an excellent running back who will contribute a lot in the passing offense.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, MLB, Alabama
Like many of his Alabama teammates in this year’s draft, Foster is a player who could be dropped into a starting lineup straight away. He would give the Bengals a rangy linebacker on the inside to go along with Vontaze Burfict.
10. Buffalo Bills: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Tyrod Taylor’s time in Buffalo appears to be coming to a close, and this could be another situation where a new head coach gets paired with a rookie quarterback.
11. New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
New Orleans needs pass-rush help, and Barnett is a powerful rusher who gets a good first step off the line of scrimmage. He’s not a flashy pass rusher, but he’s effective with 33 career sacks and 52 tackles for a loss.
12. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Some Browns fans may be tiring of seeing this pick, and see Peppers as a player who is sliding. However, he’s a perfect fit in Gregg Williams’ defense which often calls for a safety to work close to the line of scrimmage.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Michael Floyd busted out of Arizona, leaving the Cardinals needing a big wideout to go along with the aging Larry Fitzgerald and smaller players like John Brown and J.J. Nelson. Williams excels at going up and pulling down jump balls and relying on his size and power.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota Vikings): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Lattimore is a player who will rise throughout the draft process thanks to his sheer athleticism and foot speed. He’s not going to push a lot of receivers around, but his timing is excellent and he’s fast to locate the football.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Some may view Williams as a pass-rush specialist only, but if that’s truly his role he fits it very well. He has length, athleticism, and burst, all requirements to win the edge as a 3-4 pass rusher.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Humphrey is the type of player who can thrive in Baltimore thanks to his size ability to be physical with wide receivers. The Ravens could work him as a cornerback or a safety.
17. Washington - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
If Washington chooses to go after a defensive lineman with the No. 17 pick, the team will have options with players like Thomas, Taco Charlton of Michigan, and Malik McDowell of Michigan State. From a pure size standpoint, you can argue that Charlton and McDowell are better system fits. Thomas’ draft grade, however, is much higher. He’s a powerhouse defensive end who is comfortable coming off the left edge or working inside.
18. Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Wilson is built like a safety but he has the foot quickness and press skills of a cornerback. With that said, though, he’s proven to be adept at zone coverage as well. That versatility could be attractive for Tennessee.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Davis is too good of a player to let slide further than this pick. He’s a big wideout that can be used all over the field. Davis can work outside or even in the slot. By the time the draft comes, he and Williams will likely carry a similar grade.
20. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
As a run blocker, Robinson is an impressive talent because of his pure power to drive defenders backward. You have to project his pass blocking some, but he has the size and talent to do so.
21. Detroit Lions: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
For Detroit, McDowell could be a versatile pie who can play inside and outside. His stats don’t back it up, but he can be an effective pass rusher thanks to his quickness and ability to slip off blocks and create disruption.
22. Miami Dolphins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
It’s critical that Miami gets better at linebacker this offseason, and Cunningham is a player who be used inside or outside. As we see more and more defensive formations featuring just two linebackers, that is critical.
23. New York Giants - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
While the momentum for Miami tight end David Njoku is growing, Howard is more capable as a route runner and blocker. He would be a great check down option for Eli Manning, and a player who can keep him upright in the pocket.
24. Oakland Raiders: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
The way this mock has played out, the top defensive tackles are gone, and so is Cunningham. That leaves the Raiders to take advantage of a talented cornerback class that could see a player of Tabor’s quality slide some.
25. Houston Texans: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Houston pick gets interesting if one of the quarterbacks happens to drop in the first round. If they’re all gone, and the better coverage linebackers and safeties are off the board, they could turn to a solution at right tackle. Over the next couple of weeks, a player like Ramczyk could rise, which will put Houston in an even more difficult position.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles feels sort of like a fall back option for Seattle, but he’s not a bad player to fall back on. He only played a season at Utah, but stood out as a nasty left tackle who rarely gave up pressure.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
The outlook on this pick is seriously dependent on what happens with defensive tackle Dontari Poe and safety Eric Berry. If both are brought back, the Chiefs will weigh positions like wide receiver, quarterback, middle linebacker and cornerback early. Considering the depth of cornerback this year, the Chiefs could land a top 20 talent like Jones with this late of a pick in the first round. He would finally give them a top talent at corner opposite Marcus Peters.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
After whiffing on Randy Gregory, the Cowboys could look early in the draft this year for a pass rusher. Charlton has the size the Cowboys generally like in an end, and he’s a player who can play the run and the pass.
29. Green Bay Packers: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
The status of Sam Shields in Green Bay is up in the air because of a concussion suffered in Week 1 this year, and if he’s not able to return the Packers will need to sink another early pick into a cornerback. White is an experienced press coverage cornerback who knows how to be scrappy against big receivers – something Green Bay sorely needed while Julio Jones torched them for 180 yards and two scores on Sunday.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
Jarvis Jones just isn’t working for Pittsburgh, and James Harrison has to retire at some point. Fortunately for Pittsburgh there is an excess of 3-4 outside linebacker prospects in this year’s draft. McKinley is a player who could slot in opposite a rapidly improving Bud Dupree.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
While it’s tempting to give the Falcons a player on the defensive line, it seems like Dan Quinn could find a player in the middle of the draft who fits the scheme. If they don’t go after a defensive lineman early, a player like Lamp could come right in and plug into the right guard position.
32. New England Patriots: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey in New England would be like an upgraded version of James White. He’s a do it all player who can be an asset in the run and pass games, as well as special teams.