Defense Leads The Way In Baker’s Dozen Mock NFL Draft
Mitchell Trubisky - Quarterback, North Carolina
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The needle on some of the NFL’s top draft prospects has moved. Combine workouts are complete. Pro Days have shown speed and agility. Scouts and general managers now have new tape to watch. There are 25 days until the NFL Draft and we still don’t know how some teams will lean when it comes to picking talent.
Myles Garrett secured the first pick in the draft at the Combine and further made his case at his Texas A&M Pro Day. After that, the top 10 is really a crapshoot. Will teams trade up for the plethora of talent at defensive end or secondary help? Will Leonard Fournette cause teams to panic and mortgage the team’s future for one player?
Look for there to be plenty of wheeling and dealing as we get closer to the first round. Surprisingly, teams are going to bite on this quarterback class and hold hope a few defensive stars fall back to the second half of the first round.
I bit the bullet and mocked two quarterbacks in the top 13 picks. There are teams in desperate need of signal-callers, but I am still not crazy about this crop of passers. So with that, here is a look at my Baker’s Dozen picks for the first round of the NFL Draft.
Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M
This one is signed, sealed and delivered. After Garrett’s Pro Day performance, there is a better chance of being struck by lightning than the Aggies defensive end not being chosen with the top pick. This kid is a stud.
San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, Defensive End, Stanford
The thought here is the 49ers still need a quarterback, but can’t afford to pass up a DeMarcus Ware-type pass rusher who could also play some outside linebacker in my opinion. Thomas is just one piece in the new blueprint for success in San Francisco.
Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
The Bears have their quarterback in Mike Glennon. They have a strong running game and now need to fill holes on defense. Allen is versatile enough to play inside at tackle and move outside as a pass rusher. He should also help with the Bears porous run defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU
The Jaguars get another playmaker to help the offense. Fournette is the bruising back Tom Coughlin likes and immediately makes the passing game better by becoming a focal point of opposing defenses. The Jaguars get the best running back in this draft.
Tennessee Titans (From Los Angeles Rams) – Jamal Adams, Defensive Back, LSU
Even though the Titans signed Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien in the offseason, passing up the best player in this draft is hard to do. Jon Robinson knows what he is doing, taking a page from the New England Patriots playbook of bringing in solid players who work hard and excel.
New York Jets – Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
First quarterback off the board. There isn’t a single passer on the Jets’ roster that scares anyone. Watson will have the pressures of starting as a rookie in New York but should adapt well. Watson could be the best quarterback on this roster since Vinny Testaverde.
Los Angeles Chargers – Malik Hooker, Defensive Back, Ohio State
Hooker is on par with Adams in terms of ability. I think in time, he becomes the best defensive back in this draft. The Chargers are still looking for the player who can replace Eric Weddle in the secondary. Hooker has some injuries concerns, but he is well worth the pick.
Carolina Panthers – Derek Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee
The Panthers are trying to trade up to get Fournette and may have a partner in San Francisco. If not, Ron Rivera adds a versatile pass rusher in Barnett. The Panthers need speed on the outside. Barnett may not get the accolades of Garrett and Thomas but he is a productive player out of the SEC.
Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
The Bengals get the best linebacker in this draft. Foster is a 10-year veteran waiting to happen and will help Cincinnati stuff the run. Foster is quick enough to cover a tight end over the middle or come up and shadow a running back out of the backfield.
Buffalo Bills – Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
Davis is a solid, thick pass catcher who will team with Sammy Watkins to give the Bills to deep threats in the offense. Davis has been a top 15 selection for most of the offseason. He could actually become Tyrod Taylor’s top target in this offense by season’s end.
New Orleans Saints – Marlon Humphrey, Defensive Back, Alabama
The Saints go for defense with their first of two first-round picks. In fact, Humphrey is a cover corner who will help the Saints cover wideouts from Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Carolina twice a season. He could also be a valuable asset on special teams as well.
Cleveland Browns (From Philadelphia Eagles) – Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
I grappled with this one because Watson would be a perfect fit here. Trubisky was impressive at his Pro Day, per former NFL quarterback David Garrard. He has a strong arm and shows maturity in the huddle.
Arizona Cardinals – John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington
I just can’t pull the trigger on the Cardinals taking a quarterback at this selection when they need another wideout and defensive help. Ross is a stud from Washington who could be the best of this draft in three seasons. Larry Fitzgerald’s replacement will have a chance to work his way into the lineup.