Leading up to the start of the 2017 NFL draft, there’s been discussion about whether or not the Cleveland Browns will take quarterback Mitchell Trubisky over pass rusher Myles Garrett.
If that were to happen, it would be a desperate move by the Browns where they’re panicking to make sure they acquire a quarterback instead of taking the consensus top player in the draft.
With that said, the final 2017 first-round mock draft features four quarterbacks. A lot of teams need a developmental quarterback, and getting one in the first-round can ensure getting a fifth year on their contract.
But this draft is heavy on defensive talent, where seven of the first 10 players on that side of the ball are picked.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Browns chief personnel man Sashi Brown has known for two weeks what he wants to do with this pick. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t consider Garrett the top player in the draft. Although the Browns need a quarterback, the value just isn’t there.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
After considering running back Leonard Fournette and safeties Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker here, I stuck with Thomas in the end. He gives them a different type of pass rush presence on the defensive line.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
In the days leading up to the draft, there is some speculation that Adams could go second overall. If he’s here at three, the Bears should strike. He’s arguably the safest pick in the draft and could cure the team’s long-term issues at safety.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Despite there being a lot of buzz about a quarterback here – namely Clemson’s Deshaun Watson – I think they take Fournette and build their offense around him.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
I’m not doing trades in this mock draft, but I see the Titans swapping this pick with the Browns. There would be some danger they miss on Lattimore if they do, but issues with his hamstrings could impact his draft slot.
6. New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
This was a late change. If Fournette is there, he could be the choice, as could Adams. Hooker has the chance to be a superstar in the NFL thanks to his coverage ability and rare ability to close on the ball.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
With Hooker and Adams being gone the Chargers are in a tough spot. Allen isn’t a bad fall back. He’s a versatile defensive lineman who can push the pocket, stop the run and keep multiple blockers off Joey Bosa.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
This pick locked in recently and it will be a shock if it doesn’t happen.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
If the Bengals want pass rush production, Barnett makes sense. He’s not flashy or a super athlete, he just consistently gets into the backfield. Reuben Foster could still be under consideration.
10. Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
I haven’t bought into the quarterback hype for Buffalo. Howard is one of the surest players in the draft this year and would give Tyrod Taylor an excellent option in the middle of the field.
11. New Orleans Saints: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Reddick is the biggest winner of the offseason draft process. Before the Senior Bowl he was considered just a top 50 pick. Since then he’s developed into a top 15 lock.
12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Somehow I see the Browns finishing the first night of the draft with Trubisky. To trade up to the fifth pick they’re likely giving up pick Nos. 12 and 33 and maybe something else.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
After going with a quarterback for the Cardinals, this was changed to a cornerback at the last minute. Humphrey is a player who can help the Cardinals right now while a quarterback would sit at least a season.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
If you’re willing to trade several picks away to get Carson Wentz in 2016, why not give him some talent in 2017? Williams is the draft’s top wide receiver and can be the No. 1 the Eagles desperately need. They can get a cornerback in the second round.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
The Colts brought in Jabaal Sheard and John Simon this offseason but they’re not the big-impact pass rusher Harris can be.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Even after taking Ronnie Stanley in the first round last year, the Ravens still need talent on the offensive line. This could easily be a wide receiver or pass rusher, but Robinson can slot into the right tackle spot and give Baltimore a pair of bookends.
17. Washington: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
I still see Foster as a first-round pick tonight. He was too good at Alabama to drop that far.
18. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Getting a cornerback and wide receiver in the first round remains the dream scenario for the Titans. John Ross of Washington would be a consideration but Davis is the better all-around player.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami
This choice came down to Njoku and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Njoku can help further push Jameis Winston’s potential.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Denver seems bound to getting an offensive tackle here. They’d love it if McCaffrey were available, but if he’s not Ramczyk can be put in at left tackle in the starting lineup.
21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis might not provide the pass rush threat Detroit needs but they need linebackers badly. He is one of the smartest on-field players in the draft and would give the Lions a leader on defense.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
After considering switching this pick to a linebacker or a defensive end, I stood on the pick of Lamp for the Dolphins. He can play multiple spots on the offensive line.
23. New York Giants: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles likely has a spot secured in the top 30 thanks to his high level of athleticism for an offensive tackle. Giants fans will love the attitude he plays with on the field.
24. Oakland Raiders: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
This is a pick that happened in mock drafts months ago, and now it’s back for the final iteration. Cunningham is just wait the Raiders need thanks to his range to chase down the ball.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
It was a tough call going with Mahomes over Deshaun Watson, but Mahomes gives Texans head coach Bill O’Brien a quarterback he can develop.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King, CB, Washington
With the top four offensive linemen gone, this is a tough draw for the Seahawks. Ultimately they could drop out of the first round to a team that wants to get in front of Kansas City for a quarterback. If they stick here and the draft plays out like this, they could go after a cornerback like King who is a nice system fit.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Watson has spent much of draft week saying he’s more than happy to sit a year and learn, and that’s what would happen to him in Kansas City.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, Southern California
Jackson gives Dallas a high-upside cornerback who can really make an impact on special teams.
29. Green Bay Packers: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
This could be a running back or pass rusher, but the more pressing need for Green Bay is a cornerback. White is a player who can step right into a starting lineup thanks to his experience.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
There’s been a lot of speculation that Watt will end up being a first-round pick, and this is the last logical landing spot. He would give Pittsburgh a linebacker who can rush the quarterback and stay home and stop the run.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
There’s a lot of love for Derek Rivers of Youngstown State, but few are acknowledging him as a first-round lock. McDowell was a late change for Atlanta thanks to his ability to work inside and outside and create a pass rush.
32. New Orleans Saints: Davis Webb, QB, Cal
By the time this pick takes place it might not be New Orleans making it. Although you can argue a quarterback for them, they could trade this pick to a team that needs a quarterback and wants to ensure they can get a fifth-year team option on his contract.