In Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft, he goes three full rounds and makes each pick based on what each team really needs. Kiper approaches the whole mock draft with choices that would earn each team an A, and we’re inclined to disagree on some of his selections. We give this mock a B.
This is a slightly different approach from Kiper, because it ignores the rumors about players each team may be interested and focuses solely on needs. Still, we have a pretty good idea of how each team can win or lose on draft day, and Kiper made some picks we didn’t necessarily agree with.
Kiper believes the Browns should draft Myles Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky. Both players have the potential to be franchise cornerstones. Jourdan Lewis and Josh Jones have the speed and athleticism to bolster Cleveland’s mediocre secondary, and Kareem Hunt can use his size and speed to wreak havoc out the backfield.
Piper has the 49ers selecting Solomon Thomas with the second overall pick. Thomas is a relentless pass rusher with speed and power. Drafting quarterback Patrick Mahomes II in the second round is a great idea because he has a huge arm and can make plays with his legs. Quincy Wilson is a physical cornerback who can line up against bigger receivers.
The Bears have a lot of needs, and Kiper addressed three of them with these picks. Jamal Adams would be an instant upgrade for Chicago at safety, and defensive end DeMarcus Walker has the versatility to be an impact player right away. Cornerback Damontae Kazee is a bit of a surprise in the third round, and he may be a reach there.
Kiper has Jonathan Allen going to Jacksonville in the first, and notes how disruptive Allen would be next to Malik Jackson. He’s right, and it’s a great pick, as is tight end Evan Engram in the second. Engram would fill the void left by the team’s decision to trade Julius Thomas to the Dolphins. Versatile offensive lineman Aviante Collins fills a need, but he’s a developmental prospect and a reach in the third round.
Kiper thinks Rueben Foster should go to Tennessee. That would be a great selection for the Titans because he is an every-down linebacker who can cover tight ends and track down running backs. Tennessee recently released Jason McCourty, so drafting Marlon Humphrey would be a great move because he can step in and start immediately. Mack Hollins and Bucky Hodges would give Marcus Mariota two big-bodied targets on the perimeter.
O.J. Howard is a good tight end and should have a great career in the NFL, but Kiper has the Jets using the sixth pick on him. He’s a reliable pass-catcher, but this selection would be a huge reach. DeShaun Watson can come in and line up under center in Week 1. He’s a dual-threat quarterback who could immediately bolster the Jets’ offense. Dan Feeney is a solid offensive lineman who can carve out space in the run game. Alex Anzalone’s collegiate career was plagued with injures, but he’s an athletic linebacker.
Kiper thinks Los Angeles should draft Mike Williams in the first round, which would give Phillip Rivers a huge target to throw to. Keenan Allen is a great receiver, but he’s missed a lot of games in his career due to injuries. Dion Dawkins was a solid left tackle in college, but he’ll likely move to guard. He’s a solid pass protector and should help keep Philip Rivers upright. Jaleel Johnson could help Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram rush the passer.
Christian McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in this draft, and Kiper thinks he’ll end up in Carolina. This wouldn't be a bad selection because he has the athleticism to take handoffs and run routes as a receiver. However, he isn't an every-down back. Jordan Willis can rush the passer with speed. Taylor Moton played left tackle at Western Michigan, and Adam Bisnowaty played right tackle at Pittsburgh. Both are decent linemen.
Haason Reddick is a talented pass rusher, and Kiper thinks Cincinnati should use its first-round pick on Reddick. Chris Wormley is another great pass rusher who can get to the quarterback with ease. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a physical receiver who can line up in the slot, on the perimeter, and deliver bone-crushing blocks. He could take a lot of pressure off of A.J. Green.
Jabrill Peppers is arguably the most versatile player in the draft, and Kiper has him going to the Bills in the first round. Yes, the Bills do have a solid tight end in Charles Clay, but he hasn't lived up to expectations. Drafting David Njoku would make sense, but he needs time to develop. After the Bills lost Robert Woods to the Los Angeles Rams, they desperately need another receiver. Cooper Kupp, like Woods, is an excellent route runner who can play in the slot.
After trading Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots, the Saints have two first-round picks, and Kiper believes they should use those selections on cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Adoree' Jackson. Lattimore is a big corner who likes to get physical with receivers. Jackson has the speed and coverage skills to play in the slot. Curtis Samuel is a dynamic receiver who can make plays from anywhere on the field. Joshua Dobbs is a project quarterback, but he has the potential to develop into a starter. Derek Rivers is a lethal pass rusher with 41 career sacks.
The Cardinals need another game-changer on offense, so Kiper thinks they should draft speedster Corey Davis. Davis is deep threat with excellent acceleration. Arizona’s defensive backfield consists of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, but adding Desmond King to the mix would be a good idea. King is a playmaker with 14 career interceptions. Raekwon McMillan must improve his coverage skills, but he’s a reliable tackler at the linebacker position.
The Eagles’s front seven is strong, but their defensive backfield has holes. Nolan Carroll walked in free agency, so Kiper thinks Philadelphia should select cornerback Gareon Conley. Conley is a press-corner who can play outside and in the slot. Marcus Maye is physical, bid-bodied safety who can play in the box to stop the run. Tanoh Kpassagnon is a huge defensive end who can produce right away.
The Colts emphasized defense in free agency, and Kiper uses two of Indy’s picks on offensive players in this mock. He has the Colts taking running back Leonard Fournette at No. 15, and guard Jermaine Eluemunor in the third. Malik McDowell, Kiper’s second-round pick for the Colts, is talented but inconsistent, primarily because of his effort.
The Ravens get Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar’s top guard with Forrest Lamp at No. 16, and then fill a need with outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the second. Kiper rounds things out for Baltimore with tight end Jake Butt and wide receiver Carlos Henderson in the third. Butt would be a great value in the third. He’s likely to fall because he’s coming off of a torn ACL.
Smart picks all around for Washington. Kiper has them taking Ohio State’s Malik Hooker in the first, and he would be a fantastic addition. Running back Dalvin Cook is a great choice in the second round, and Kiper rounded out Washington’s picks by filling a need with defensive tackle Montravius Adams in the third.
John Ross is an interesting player, and giving Jameis Winson a wide receiver trio of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Ross is an intriguing option, but it seems unnecessary to use a first-round pick on a receiver when that’s not a huge need for the Bucs. Safety is a need, and the Budda Baker pick is a good one, even though he’s undersized. Taking tight end Jordan Leggett instead of a running back or a defensive lineman in the third is questionable, too.
Kiper’s picks for the Broncos may be his best of this entire mock draft. He fills a glaring need at tackle with Ryan Ramczyk, who Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar sees as the top tackle in the draft. Ramczyk isn’t a reach at No. 20, either. Athletic tight end Adam Shaheen goes to Denver in the second, and the Broncos pick up defensive end Trey Hendrickson and wide receiver/return specialist Isaiah McKenzie in the third.
Kevin King would be a solid addition in the first for Detroit, and he and Darius Slay would make a formidable cornerback tandem. Joe Mixon has first-round talent, but he was caught on video punching a woman in the face, and that’s going to keep him off of plenty of teams’ draft boards, so he should be available for the Lions here. Tarell Basham is a talented defensive end who would be a smart pick in the third.
Miami Dolphins: A
Kiper hit all of the Dolphins’ biggest needs with linebacker Jarrad Davis, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and offensive lineman Zach Banner. Awuzie in particular is an interesting prospect for the Dolphins because of his aggressive style of play. If he’s available at No. 54, he’d be a great pick up for Miami.
Tackle is probably a bigger need, especially with Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon on the roster. But Kiper gives the Giants defensive end Charles Harris in the first. Safety Marcus Williams would make a great tandem with Landon Collins, and Samaje Perine would be a wise choice in the third for the Giants.
Sensible choices for Oakland. The Raiders have some great pieces on defense to build around, and adding cornerback Tre’Davious White in the first and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins in the second is smart. In the third round, running back D’onta Foreman can contribute now, and assuming the Raiders do get Marshawn Lynch, Foreman can take on a heavier workload the next time Lynch retires.
Tackle Cam Robinson is a good player who has the versatility to play guard, too, if necessary, but taking him in the first ignores the fact that the Texans need a quarterback. It’s not the strongest quarterback class, but ignoring the need altogether in the first and giving Houston Pitt’s Nathan Peterman in the second isn’t ideal. Wide receiver Taywan Taylor doesn’t make sense in the third round, either.
The Seahawks need tackles, and they get a good one in the first round with Garrett Bolles. Taking Ahkello Witherspoon in the second with other, more pressing needs, seems less than ideal, but Witherspoon does have the length and frame Pete Carroll covets in a cornerback. The rest of Kiper’s selections — defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, outside linebacker Tim Williams, and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson — are smart choices for Seattle.
The Chiefs’ defense is a strength, but with Derrick Johnson coming off of a torn Achilles, taking inside backer Zach Cunningham in the first is a smart play. Kiper gives Alex Smith some playmakers to work with in the second and third rounds with wide receiver Chris Godwin and running back Alvin Kamara. The Chiefs grab Smith’s eventual replacement in the third, also, with DeShone Kizer. If Kizer falls that far, landing in Kansas City where he can develop behind Smith for now would be an ideal situation.
Pass rusher, cornerback and tight end are the Cowboys’ biggest needs, and Kiper fills them all with good fits in this mock. Tennessee’s Derek Barnett was a force in college and can disrupt the passer. Cornerback Fabian Moreau would be a welcome addition after the departures of Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr in free agency, and tight end Gerald Everett can develop while Jason Witten’s still around.
Takkarist McKinley is a solid player and a good fit in Green Bay, but he doesn’t fill a pressing need for the Packers. Otherwise, Kiper’s selections are sensible. Cornerback and running back are more pressing needs for the Packers, and Sidney Jones and James Conner would fill those needs well.
Kiper picked players for Pittsburgh who would be great fits for the Steelers. Martavis Bryant’s suspension makes Zay Jones an interesting pick in the first. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, cornerback Rasul Douglas, and inside linebacker Kendell Beckwith are all well suited for the Steelers defense.
Some analysts have been mocking a cornerback to the Falcons at No. 31, but that’s not actually a need for Atlanta. The Falcons are likely to target an edge rusher early, and safety and guard are also priorities. Kiper gives the Falcons defensive end Taco Charlton at No. 31, and he’ll fit in nicely with Atlanta’s defense. Obi Melifonwu would be a great addition to the Falcons’ defensive backfield, and guard Dorian Johnson in the third makes sense for Atlanta.
Los Angeles Rams: A
The Rams are missing a first-round pick thanks to the trade up to select quarterback Jared Goff first overall last year. Kiper uses Los Angeles’ second and third-round picks wisely here, getting Goff some protection with tackle Antonio Garcia in the second and a playmaker in wide receiver ArDarius Stewart.
The Vikings don’t have any need more desperate than offensive line, and because of the way Kiper’s board shook out, he doesn’t have any to give them here. Still, it’s Minnesota’s biggest hole. Caleb Brantley has promise, but was inconsistent in college. Linebacker Duke Riley is inexperienced, and wide receiver Amara Darboh needs to develop, too.
New England Patriots: A
The Patriots don’t have any first or second-round picks this year because of trades, but they do have two third-rounders, and Kiper used them well. Defensive end Carl Lawson out of Auburn is a solid player, and Alabama’s Ryan Anderson is a complete linebacker who can rush the passer and stop the run.