Now that the holiday and college football bowl seasons are in full swing, I decided to release my first mock draft to spread some cheer. I waited a little longer than usual to create mocks drafts so I can assure readers value that they may not receive from other mocks. The below content breaks down how I believe the first round should play out along with some analysis with each pick. Merry MockDraftmas!
1. Cleveland Browns- Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This pick is a no-brainer for the Cleveland Browns, all Garrett has to do is check all the boxes at the combine. He and Emmanuel Ogbah will be a fierce tandem on the edge for years to come.
2. San Francisco 49ers DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Chip Kelly might surprise some people here, but this maverick decision should definitely pay off. Watson is mobile, has a strong arm, and within the confines of Kelly’s system should see some easier reads and flourish.
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3. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
After previous moves in the draft as well as free agency, the Jaguars might find that last piece to help them to create a great pass rush. Jonathan Allen’s tape shows a blend of power and technique that’s pretty rare within this class.
4. Chicago Bears- Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
Bears fans must remember that there is no growth in the comfort zone. This selection comes as a bit of a surprise, but picking Falk is a high floor and fairly high ceiling move. His tape features outstanding accuracy and the arm strength to maximize play action opportunities from Chicago’s emerging rushing attack.
5. New York Jets- Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Trubisky and Mahomes will probably fluctuate within my top two or three quarterbacks in this class. The Jets would immediately draft Trubisky if he’s available; his decision-making ability and accuracy should finally bring stability to that position.
6. Tennessee Titans- (via St. Louis Rams) DeDe Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Despite the fallout regarding his past, he’ll be taken high. After drafting Dorial Green-Beckham in 2014, I don’t think Tennessee is afraid to pull the trigger. Westbrook is a huge threat after the catch and he has a firm understanding of locating soft spots in zone coverage.
7. Cleveland Browns- (Philadelphia Eagles) Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
This scenario gets interesting if the pick falls a spot or two, but for now, it works out. The Browns have a host of quarterbacks to start if they need time for Kizer to develop, otherwise expect them to lean on their rushing attack and be patient with him.
8. San Diego Chargers- Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
Ramcyzk’s core strength and bend made him one of the best left tackles in the nation this season. An added incentive for him might be blocking for another former badger, Melvin Gordon.
9. Arizona Cardinals- Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Raekwon McMillan and Reuben Foster, but Cunningham is the best linebacker in the country and it’s not very close. His functional strength, agility, and physicality make him a great value in the top ten.
10. Cincinnati Bengals- Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Bengals gain some defensive line versatility here. Thomas is powerful and explosive and should steal some reps on the edge in their base defense and possibly on the inside in nickel.
11. Carolina Panthers- Erik Magnuson, OT, Michigan
Everyone should know by now that Cam Newton has taken a beating this year, I expect the Panthers to do a little remodeling to support him. Magnuson is severely underrated, but agile and powerful enough to be the second tackle to come off of the board.
12. New Orleans Saints- Charles Johnson, DE, Missouri
The Saints need an edge rusher and I think a high-upside player like Johnson can flourish there. His length and technique set him apart from other candidates at the pick.
13. Buffalo Bills- Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
Jamal Adams is a downhill missile and I have the feeling if the Bills retain Rex Ryan that this is the direction they’ll go in.
14. Indianapolis Colts- Jabrill Peppers, SS/LB, Michigan
The Colts need linebackers and as of right now I’ll give them a guy who, at the very least, proved he can follow the ball and successfully shed blocks on tape. Most defenses are in nickel for about half the game, it’s not a reach at all to believe Peppers can excel as a nickel linebacker.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU
If available, I’d be shocked if the Eagles passed on him. Cook is a dynamic, versatile playmaker who should take some pressure off quarterback Carson Wentz.
16. Washington Redskins- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Redskins have enjoyed some mild success with lower-tier free agent running backs, but I think they use this pick to bring some stability to the position. Fournette is a little bit of a reach here, but I get the feeling they’d like a straight-line, stiff-arming, destroyer at running back.
17. Baltimore Ravens- Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Davis is lower on my board than most, but as we get closer to draft day, I feel like a team will certainly take him in the first round. The Ravens are as good of a candidate as any to take him. Currently, they are invested in a few slot and number one receivers, but they’ll see Davis as the reliable Z, or possession receiver.
18. Tennessee Titans- Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
The Titans fill a hole at corner and are slowly building a great football team. Jones is explosive and has great ability in man coverage, he should be the top corner on everyone’s board.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- John Ross, WR, Washington
Ross is the speedy and technically sound complement to Mike Evans the Buccaneers need.
20. Denver Broncos- Brian Allen, OG/C, MSU
Allen is a versatile player with a blend of agility and power that makes him a first round lock if he declares.
21. Green Bay Packers- Corn Elder, CB, Miami
The Packers may bolster the corner position with an athletic corner with impressive ball skills.
22.Miami Dolphins- Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
Feeney hasn’t seen too much hype by draft pundits due to spending most of the year either hurt or playing right tackle. The Dolphins have a need at guard, his strength and success as a pass blocker make him a welcome addition.
23. New York Giants- Jarron Jones, DT, Notre Dame
Jones is another player who has been completely overlooked by some analysts. He had a great season at Notre Dame this year and has the technique and athleticism to give the Giants some help on the interior.
24. Kansas City Chiefs- Tedric Thompson, FS, Colorado
As of right now, it’s a little unclear regarding how the Chiefs may handle the safety position. He’s not the best tackler, but Thompson’s ball skills and coverage instincts make him an appealing prospect.
25. Houston Texans- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Coach Bill O’Brien is finally seeing the light regarding Brock Osweiler, and it wouldn’t be wise to assume Tom Savage is going to be his long-term starter so soon. Mahomes has the arm talent and accuracy that should intrigue O’Brien.
26. Detroit Lions- Demarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Walker was shifted from the edge to the interior during games too much at Florida State and it’s hurt his perception. His technique as a pass rusher and power versus the run make him a good candidate to succeed as a strong-side defensive end for the Lions.
27. Atlanta Falcons- Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa
Johnson’s ability to disengage may be the best in this class, Falcons land a playmaker with this pick.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Pat Elflein, OG/C, Ohio State
Elflein is great as a run blocker and can contribute as a starter if he continues his improved pass protection.
29. Seattle Seahawks- Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
With many top guards off of the board, expect the Seahawks to re-tool their secondary. Tabor has length and explosiveness, I’ll trust Seattle to develop him.
30. Oakland Raiders- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
I chose to give the Raiders the best player left on my board with this pick. McCaffrey should be an immediate contributor and receive the bulk of their carries in 2017.
31. New England Patriots- Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
Whether the fallout from the Michael Floyd signing causes them to shy away from him or not, Ford is a solid possession receiver they can rely on. He’s a smooth route runner and plays bigger than his size.
32. Dallas Cowboys- Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
McKinley is explosive and does a solid job setting the edge versus the run. He’s a little raw which pushes him lower on my board than most, but working with Rod Marinelli will help him immensely.
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