The 2017 NFL Draft is just over a month away. That means, among other things, that mock draft season is in full swing. Mock drafts can be interesting to think about, but are usually wrong and relatively pointless, which is OK. This is sports.
In that spirit, we’re going to give it the old college try. Before we get going, a word about process: No real rules apply here, but two factors are weighed heavily. The first is if there’s actual evidence — usually in the form of reports from beat writers or reputable national NFL reporters — that a team is interested in a particular player. The second is if a particular choice seems really, really fun. We’re supposed to be having fun here. Aren’t you having fun?
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M. Drafting Garrett at No. 1 overall is the obvious choice, and the smart choice. He’s a human wrecking ball. Sashi Brown and the rest of Cleveland’s leadership are committed to doing things the right way.
*scrolls back through Wikipedia page of Cleveland sports history*
2. San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU. San Francisco could trade this pick, but trades are complicated to think about so, in this world, they’re staying put and adding one of the best talents available to their blank-slate roster.
3. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU.
5. Tennessee Titans: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee. Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only twitchy pass rusher with excellent college production and a speedy three-cone drill I see.
6. New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State. Lattimore Island doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they can work on that.
7. San Diego Chargers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford. The Chargers are transitioning to a 4-3 and Thomas would pair nicely with Joey Bosa.
8. Carolina Panthers: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama. I bet the Panthers would be bummed the Chargers took Thomas ahead of them. Their consolation prize could be Howard and a lot of very fun 2-TE sets.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan.
10. Buffalo Bills: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson. Let it be known: If some team doesn’t prove me wrong by taking a quarterback in the top five, I will print out this article and eat it. Watson has proven that he’s a hard worker who embraces challenges and wins in the biggest moments, so forgive me if I’m not too worried about his unspectacular Pro Day. The AFC East could use another quarterback with great intangibles. We want Bama Brady!
11. New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama.
12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina. Good luck, buddy.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky. Besides having a phenomenal name, Lamp could help protect Andrew Luck, who needs protecting. Plus, think of the Anchorman references.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama.
17. Washington Redskins: John Ross, WR, Washington. The benefit of a deep draft of defensive players is that if DeSean Jackson 2.0 is still around at No. 17 other needs can be filled in later rounds.
18. Tennessee Titans: Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma. They probably would have preferred Ross.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin.
21. Detroit Lions: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State.
22. Dolphins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt.
23. New York Giants: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple.
24. Oakland Raiders: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State. Lots of teams would have to spook based on Cook’s injury history and off-field issues for him to fall this far. If he did, the Raiders could look back at their whole Latavius Murray hoopla and laugh.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech. Mahomes may need a couple of years to get the spread-offense stink off of him, but scouts seem to love the guy and Houston will need a quarterback down the road, Tony Romo or no Tony Romo. Tom Savage isn’t getting any younger!
26. Seattle Seahawks: Sanders Smith, WR, Eastern Illinois. Smith is one of the more underrated players in this draft class. Why is he underrated? Because I just made him up. He does not exist. We’ve come this far and I felt it was time for a healthy reminder that all of this is a thought exercise that the 24-hour sports news cycle has turned into a cottage industry. Instead of Smith, Seattle could go with Utah OT Garett Bolles and try to help that offensive line.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri.
29. Green Bay Packers: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State.
32. New Orleans Saints: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. This is a luxury pick from the Patriots that the Saints can use to try to find Drew Brees’ eventual replacement. They could wait another round, but taking Kizer in the first round means they’d have a fifth-year option on his contract.