It's the first and ultimate question of the NFL draft: Fill a need or take the best player available? As the Cleveland Browns hurtle themselves to an 0-16 season and the first overall pick next year, they'll spend a lot of time and resources answering that question.
That question gets answered in the latest mock draft, which features three quarterbacks going in the first 10 picks. Any mock draft at this point could include one or two more quarterbacks, but that's not to say this is a great class at the position. It's a quarterback class that's been up and down for the entire season. For now, Clemson's Deshaun Watson is at the top of it, but his position is shaky. Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer has all the tools, but he's been as inconsistent as the Irish have been this season. The riser at the position this season has been North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, who has exploded into national prominence as a junior.
Quarterback is the most noteworthy position in any mock draft, but in this one cornerbacks are the most popular position. Five go in this edition of the mock, and a few more could have been squeezed in. In general, the 2017 draft appears to be a much better one on defense than offense, and that's proven right from the start.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
This draft could turn out to be a lot like the 2014 draft where the Houston Texans passed on a quarterback with the first overall pick and took the player who was perceived as being the best prospect. That could happen with the Browns with Garrett looking like the most dominant eligible player. With a core of Garrett, , Danny Shelton, and , Cleveland could load up on young talent up front on defense.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The 49ers are hurtling toward having their first top-five pick in over a decade. That last happened in 2005 when the franchise took Alex Smith first overall in 2005. Drafting this highly again, they're in a position of needing a quarterback and having their choice of the bunch. The early season narrative about Watson's play being down compared to last year is finally starting to erode into nothingness. What is left after stripping away that concern is a quarterback with experience and athleticism that the other top signal callers don't possess. His interceptions this season are still concerning, and leaving some doubt about whether he'll be the first quarterback picked.
3. Chicago Bears: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
The Jay Cutler era in Chicago appears to finally be grinding toward a divorce. Like the 49ers, the Bears haven't been prone to taking quarterbacks high in the draft, and will be well-positioned to do so in April. With Watson gone, it comes down to a debate between Kizer and North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky. Kizer offers a little more size and pure skill, so for now he's getting the nod. The quarterbacks could come off the board in any order, and it would be conceivable.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
This is where things get interesting. Surely if the Jaguars are picking in the top five for the sixth consecutive years, the team will have moved on from head coach Gus Bradley. Whoever replaces him will get a roster that has a good amount of talent. One spot that could be improved is safety where Jonathan Cyprien is in the final year of his rookie deal and hasn't exactly developed as expected. Peppers is narrowly behind Garrett as being the best player in the daft. He's a do-it-all player with high football IQ and effort that matches his limitless talent. He's a special player, no matter how you use him.
5. New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The quarterback situation for the Jets is a crowded mess of mediocrity and simply throwing more bodies at it might not be the best solution. Instead, the Jets could opt for Fournette, giving them a guaranteed star player on offense. That's the theory, at least. Fournette is a brute of a running back who has played through injuries for most of this season. When he's healthy, he's a can't miss bulldozer of a prospect.
6. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Stop if you've heard this before, but this could be the draft where Tennessee adds the final pieces needed before making a serious playoff push. With two first-round picks, the Titans can acquire franchise players in 2017. Allen is an NFL-ready 290-pound defensive lineman who should really be playing in the NFL right now. Few players in next year's draft appear as safe as him.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Buccaneers wisely picked Vernon Hargreaves this year, but still need talent on defense. The safety play in particular could be improved, and that's what Adams provides. He's like a better version of Landon Collins, and would give the team a player in the secondary who can thump.
8. Carolina Panthers: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
It would be ideal to go with an offensive lineman here, but currently there doesn't appear to be one worth a top-10 pick. Instead, the Panthers could get a quality pass rusher like Barnett if they end up in this range. Barnett is as true of a 4-3 end as you'll find, and would slot in perfectly for Carolina.
9. Arizona Cardinals: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Trubisky is a bit of a tough sell. He hasn't been a starter for North Carolina until this season, and he could ultimately choose to return to school for another season. If he decides to come out, though, he would fit perfectly in Arizona's offense. Trubisky has an impressive arm, so he can work the vertical throws Bruce Arians likes, but he's nimble enough to maneuver around inside the pocket. If he closes the season strong, his draft stock could skyrocket.
10. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, MLB, Alabama
The play of Rey Maualuga has been average, and Vontaze Burfict has been involved in numerous issues on the field. Foster could be an instant upgrade in the middle of Cincinnati's defense.
11. Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Titans could have their choice of wide receivers in the draft, and they could use a true No. 1 to go along with solid players like Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, and Kendall Wright. Williams could be that player. He's had a very good bounce back season after suffering a devastating neck injury in 2015. He has size and good body control to make difficult receptions at the high point.
12. Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Frank Gore has been solid for the Colts, but at 33, he can't be expected to maintain a high level of play for long. Cook is a superstar. He's a great all-around back with game breaking speed.
13. San Diego Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Ohio State has a loaded group of young defensive backs, and Hooker might be the best of the bunch. He could fill a need that was left by the departure of Eric Weddle and give San Diego a playmaker in the secondary.
14. Miami Dolphins: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Miami brought in cornerback Xavien Howard in the second round of this year's draft, but could use another corner. Humphrey gets the nod over Florida's pair of talented cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor, but just barely.
15. Buffalo Bills: Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Michigan State
The talent McDowell possesses warrants a top-five pick. He could drop to this range, though, because he hasn't always been a consistent player. For the Bills, this type of hybrid pass rusher might be too good to pass up at No. 15.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Williams' draft position is really hard to gauge at this point. He's been a productive player for Alabama, registering seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss this season. But he's been a rotational player throughout his career. For the Steelers he'd hopefully be the pass rusher they've long sought.
17. New Orleans Saints: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
There were some reports that the Saints were poking around for a trade for Joe Haden of the Browns. Considering that, they could be hot after a cornerback this offseason. Wilson gets the nod over his teammate Teez Tabor, largely because he's a bigger safety with somewhat better technique.
18. Green Bay Packers: Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
It's probably strange to see a guard being the first offensive lineman taken in the draft, but the need for Green Bay is real and Feeney is an extremely talented player.
19. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles): Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
The Browns are in the midst of deciding whether Cody Kessler is their quarterback of the future. If they pass on a quarterback with the first pick, would the fourth one picked but that great of an upgrade? Potentially, but given Cleveland's vast amount of needs, a player like Tabor would be attractive, too.
20. Detroit Lions: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
White has put together a solid season for LSU, and projects being even better in the NFL. He has the type of length and athleticism that the Lions desperately lack at the position.
21. Washington: Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
Playing at Vanderbilt, Cunningham doesn't always earn the nation praise he deserves. But he's the type of linebacker who can do everything from play the run to drop back in coverage. His playing style is exactly what Washington needs on defense.
22. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Before the season, many projected Robinson to rise into the top 10 and be the stud left tackle this draft needs. That hasn't quite happened, and that's why he could slide to this point in the draft. If he does, a team like the Broncos should pounce. He's a high upside blocker who could develop into a franchise edge blocker.
23. New York Giants: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
After stumbling for a couple of weeks, McCaffrey is looking like his old, all-purpose superstar self. Given the struggles the Giants have had with running backs in the past few years, McCaffrey could be the solution. He can be a factor running the ball, be utilized in the passing game and contribute on returns. Adding a defensive tackle who can create pressure on the passer will also be a priority for New York.
24. Kansas City Chiefs: Budda Baker, S, Washington
The Chiefs potentially face the difficult offseason departure of star safety Eric Berry. Should he leave, Baker is well-suited to fill his role. Baker is a semifinalist for pretty much every major award a defensive back can earn this season thanks to his ballhawking style and sure tackling. If Washington keeps winning, Baker's draft stock could continue to rise.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Carl Lawson, DE/OLB, Auburn
This seems like the obvious choice for Baltimore considering the age ofand Elvis Dumervil. Lawson is a sudden pass rusher who knows how to play with power. He'll have to transition to more of a stand-up role, but he's athletic enough for it.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota Vikings): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Southern California
Smith-Schuster has been inconsistent this season, but he has superstar potential.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The 2017 offensive line class was dealt a blow when Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey announced he'd return for his final season. The benefactor could be a player like Ramczyk, who has helped his draft stock as much as any player this season. Ramczyk is a tough left tackle who is hard to move off his spot.
28. Houston Texans: Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Considering the age of, the Texans could add talent to the middle of their defense with Lotulelei. The younger Lotulelei may not have as much hype as his older brother, but he's the type of player who could immediately contribute for Houston.
29. Atlanta Falcons: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Atlanta is going to do everything it can to re-sign Desmond Trufant in the near future, and that could come at the cost of losing Robert Alford. If they go after a cornerback here, Jones is arguably the best one available. He's a physical cornerback with length, but he's a good enough athlete to keep up with quicker receivers.
30. Oakland Raiders: Raekwon McMillan, MLB, Ohio State
The Raiders have done a masterful job of working the draft in the last few years, but they still need a star middle linebacker. McMillan can be that player. He's a big-bodied linebacker with enough athleticism to make plays in space.
31. Dallas Cowboys: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Veteran Jason Witten has just a year left on his deal, and who knows if he'll continue playing after it expires. The play at the position behind him hasn't exactly been great – former second-round pick Gavin Escobar caught his first pass of the season on Sunday. Dallas could find Witten's replacement in Butt, a player who compares favorably to him.
32. New England Patriots: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Suddenly with the trade of Jamie Collins, the Patriots could use a linebacker. Sure, players like Elandon Roberts or Kyle Van Noy will get an opportunity, but Davis would be an upgrade. He's not quite on Collins' level as a pass rusher or coverage player, but he's a highly athletic player with easily coachable traits.