To some, mock drafts are the bane of human existence.
I fall in the other category.
I have been looking at mock drafts since the midway point of the college football season, and now that it is April, have finally put together my first mock draft of the year. So without further ado, let’s get to the picks.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Garrett not only fills a hole, but he’s the best player in this draft. Cleveland doesn’t have to draft a quarterback at No. 1 because there is a good possibility one falls to them at 12. The same can’t be said for Garrett.
2. San Fransisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The 49ers need a quarterback, but they shouldn’t reach for one. They’re not going to even be close to contending this year, so drafting someone in the second round and riding with Brian Hoyer for a year will suffice. Thomas allows the team to kick Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner inside to tackle for their new 4-3 defense.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Bears have needed a safety ever since Mike Brown was released, and Adams is the best safety in the class. He can be a cornerstone for a defense lacking young stars. Jonathan Allen (Alabama) would make sense here, but his arthritic shoulders drop him.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jags spent a lot on defense in free agency and look as if they want Blake Bortles to be their quarterback, so they get him a running back to carry the load. They really need some offensive linemen, but there are none that should be drafted this early.
5. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
If not for some injuries, Hooker could be the top safety in the class over Jamal Adams. He’s a playmaker and could assume a center-field role while Johnathan Cyprien plays closer to the line of scrimmage.
6. New York Jets: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Josh McCown is nothing more than a stopgap, while Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg haven’t shown much. The team could go cornerback here, but since the draft is so deep at the position, opt for a signal caller.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Chargers need a safety since they foolishly let Eric Weddle walk in free agency a year ago, but there isn’t one worth this spot. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has shown he likes bigger corners, and Lattimore fits that bill.
8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Allen’s slide stops here. The Panthers needed pass rushers last year, but opted to extend their own players instead of getting new blood. The team needs a stud defensive end, and signing a 37-year-old Julius Peppers probably isn’t the answer to that problem.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR, Washington
Do I think John Ross will actually go here? Maybe. Cincinnati struggled last year when A.J. Green went down and don’t really have a true deep threat. Ross would provide a good No. 2 receiver for Andy Dalton.
10. Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Bills return less than 50 wide-receiver receptions from their 2016 season after Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin left in free agency. Sammy Watkins is good, but he’s had trouble staying on the field. The argument can be made that Davis is the best receiver in this draft class.
11. New Orleans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
New Orleans’ defenses have been historically bad. One way to fix that is to draft pass rushers, while the other is to add to the secondary. The Saints opt for the latter by taking Wilson. He’s an upgrade over almost every corner the team put on the field last year.
12. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
If head coach Hugh Jackson wants to find his Andy Dalton, look no further than Watson. Both lack top-tier arm strength, but are athletic and accurate in the short- to mid-range passing game.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Larry Fitzgerald has been amazing. However, age catches up to everyone and the Cardinals find his replacement in Williams. Maybe he can be the receiver the team thought they would get when they drafted Michael Floyd years ago.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Eagles fans are familiar with Darren Sproles. Now imagine a player that’s five inches taller and 13 pounds heavier and you have McCaffrey. He’s a dynamic player who can score from anywhere on the field at any time.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Inside linebacker may not be the biggest concern for the Colts, but Foster is the best defensive player available. The team signed some young pass rushers in free agency, and drafting Foster will give them a stud on defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
The Ravens cut Elvis Dumervil, and Terrell Suggs is in the back end of his career. Harris could provide a boost to a pass rush that struggled to get to opposing quarterbacks a year ago.
17. Washington Redskins: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Peppers is a freak athlete who could play some safety, corner or nickel linebacker. The NFC East is loaded with offensive talent, so having a utility player like Peppers on defense could come in handy.
18. Tennessee Titans: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Tennessee would’ve loved to grab one of the top receivers, but all the first-round talent is off the board. In Howard, the team is grabbing the best-available player who can contribute right away. Howard and Delanie Walker could provide some mismatches in the passing game.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
If Cook was clean off the field, he would go a lot higher. However, animal abuse, along with shoulder issues and fumble problems, exist. Regardless, Cook is a talented runner and provides an upgrade over Doug Martin.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Whoever Denver’s quarterback is next year, they won’t be able to do anything without protection. The team signed Menelik Watson to play right tackle but still need someone to play the blind side.
21. Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Ziggy Ansah is a good defensive end, but outside of him, the Lions don’t have much. Charlton would provide the team with a viable option across from Ansah. If Detroit wants to unseat Green Bay in the NFC North, they must get to Aaron Rodgers.
22. Miami Dolphins: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Dolphins rightfully released Mario Williams, so here’s someone that could replace him. Miami could add an offensive tackle, but they’ve shown an affinity for using guards in that spot.
23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Ereck Flowers is a right tackle or a guard, but he definitely isn’t a left tackle. Ramczyk played left tackle for Wisconsin last year and excelled. It seems like the Badgers have a lineman go in the first round every year.
24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Oakland’s offense is set for years to come, sans running back. However, those can be found in later rounds. At this point, it’s hard to pass on Conley. The Raiders defense ranked in the bottom third of the league when it came to yards allowed last year.
25. Houston Texans: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Houston is built to win now. All they’re missing is a quarterback. Mahomes is raw as a QB, but is athletic and has a cannon for an arm. He probably isn’t ready to start right away, but given head coach Bill O’Brien’s reputation as a quarterback whisperer, Mahomes fits.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Eventually Seattle is going to have to invest in their offensive line. Cam Robinson is an upgrade at either tackle position and should be penciled in as the starter if he’s drafted here.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
I don’t know if any player has been talked about more during the pre-draft process than Joe Mixon. If any team were to take him this early, it would be Kansas City, which could use a replacement for Jamaal Charles. The team took a risk on Tyreek Hill last year and it paid dividends. The same could happen with Mixon.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB, UCLA
The team absolutely needs help in the defensive passing game, whether it’s at corner or defensive end. Randy Gregory cannot stay on the field and might not be on the team much longer. Unless a corner falls here, expect a pass rusher to be the pick.
29. Green Bay Packers: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
In back-to-back offseasons the Packers have lost their starting guards. T.J. Lang opted to sign with Detroit, so Green Bay must find his replacement. Adding help in the secondary should be considered, but the draft is deep at corner.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Somehow, James Harrison is still playing in the NFL at age 38. However, he will be 39 by the time the season starts, so Pittsburgh should find someone who can play across from Bud Dupree.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Budda Baker, S, Washington
Keanu Neal had a great rookie year and is a very good enforcer in Atlanta’s secondary. The team could use someone opposite of Neal who can play center field and cover the slot if needed, too. Baker could be head coach Dan Quinn’s version of Earl Thomas in Atlanta.
32. New Orleans Saints (via New England): Jordan Willis, DE/OLB, Kansas State
New Orleans closes out the first round with more defensive help, this time in the trenches. One way to help a weak secondary is to get to the opposing quarterback.
If you’re dying to share your opinion on this mock draft, make sure to leave some comments. Or you could wait until April 27 to see just how wrong all of my picks were.