Mock Draft 1.0: Pre-Combine

Welcome to the NFL Draft Club’s debut mock draft, featuring a trade-free full first round. 

Here are a few of the prospects hoping they will hear they name called on day one.

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Mock Draft 1.0

1. Cleveland Browns (1-15)

Myles Garrett – DE – Texas A&M

Yeah, Cleveland still need a quarterback there’s no doubt about that. But holding the first overall pick this year gives them the chance to draft an explosive edge rusher that will add an immediate presence on their defence. Garrett is one of the most NFL-ready prospects to come out of college in the past few years and would give the Browns something to build around.

2. San Francisco 49ers (2-14)
Reuben Foster – LB – Alabama
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With the ‘Niners giving Kyle Shanahan the head coaching position, the popular choice here is a quarterback. However, Jimmy Garoppolo via trade looks like the more likely option. Think of the impact that Luke Kuechly has had on the Panthers defence, and you’ll understand why this would be a sensible pick. Foster is the most pro-ready defensive talent in this draft.

3. Chicago Bears (3-13)
Mitch Tribusky – QB – North Carolina

Head coach John Fox must start this season stronger than the last or he could see his job on the line early. Giving him a shiny new playcaller, and possibly the best quarterback in this draft could boost the Bears win column next season. Sophomore back Jordan Howard should kick on from his strong rookie season, while Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White are good options in the air. QB makes sense here.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13)
Jamal Adams – S – LSU

Jacksonville fired head coach Gus Bradley last season after failing to kick on with the funds spent on his team last offseason, and new head coach Doug Marrone, along with GM David Caldwell, must address the defence. Jamal Adams has all the tools to become a perrenial Pro Bowler and would team up with rookie sensation Jalen Ramsey on the back end.

5. Tennessee Titans (9-7) via Rams
Quincy Wilson – CB – Florida

Titans’ GM Jon Robinson’s roster built for ‘smash mouth football’ showed plenty of promise in it’s 2016 debut, with the team only picking in the top five thanks to Robinson’s trading master-class. There are still some holes to fill, though, if the Titans want to turn their playoff dream into reality, and that starts with cornerback. Quincy Wilson is the best of a very strong bunch this season.

6. New York Jets (5-11)
Marshon Lattimore – CB – Ohio State

If 2015 was a dream for Jets fans, 2016 was a nightmare. Aging players on both sides of the ball could see the Jets go a number of ways with this pick, but their front office loves to go defence with the early picks. The play of long-time defensive cornerstone Darrelle Revis left a lot to be desired last season, so shaking up the cornerback position is something they will definitely look at. Lattimore is hot on the heels of Florida’s Quincy Wilson as the best in the class.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11)
Mike Williams – WR – Clemson

Keenan Allen’s two consecutive season-ending injuries have made moving the ball a struggle for Philip Rivers, and wide receiver has been a position the Chargers have neglected for some time now. Much has been made of Los Angeles’ (née San Diego) inability to win close games, so adding a big-bodied play-making receiver like Williams to throw it up to late on could get bums on seats in LA.

8. Carolina Panthers (6-10)
Leonard Fournette – RB – LSU

Now that all the paracetamol and aspirin pills have run out after the mother of all Super Bowl hangovers for the Panthers,  it’s time for them to refocus and re-energise to try and get back into the form that took them to SB50. Jonathan Stewart’s inability to stay on the field hurt Cam Newton last season, and while the offensive line needs a re-jig, the physical Fournette is a player that could get this offence back on track.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1)
Corey Davis – WR – Western Michigan

The Bengals only have to look at Andy Dalton’s play in 2015, when he had AJ Green, Mo Sanu and Marvin Jones as his receivers to understand why they dipped last season. Davis would fit straight into Cincy’s roster on day one: he’s consistently physical, a great route runner, and able to make plays with the ball in his hands.

10. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
Jonathan Allen – DL – Alabama
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New head coach Sean McDermott has a few important issues on offence to iron out before the draft, but he knows the importance of having strong interior defensive lineman after his education in Carolina. McDermott announced the team will be switching to the 4-3 defence he run with the Panthers, and Allen would slot in perfectly next to Marcell Dareus.

11. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
Malik Hooker – S – Ohio State

The play of the Saints defence was much improved in 2016, but that isn’t saying too much considering how God-awful they were in 2015. That said, they aren’t too far away from helping Drew Brees & co from turning some of those 9 losses into wins. Ohio State’s Hooker is a ball-hawking safety that would probably be a top ten pick had it not been for surgery to repair a torn labrum and hernia suffered through last season.

12. Cleveland Browns (1-15) via Eagles
DeShone Kizer – QB – Notre Dame

Now is the time a quarterback comes into play for Cleveland. The RGIII experiment ended how many believed it would with injury, while Cody Kessler didn’t look much more durable. Fighting Irish QB Kizer has ideal size, excellent arm strength, athleticism and with a bit of help from Hue Jackson – could be the QB we all need to see kick the curb on the Browns long-time misery.

13. Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1)
O.J. Howard – TE – Alabama
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Much like their NFC rivals Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals season ended with far less hope than it begun with. Head coach Bruce Arians has run plenty of offences in the NFL and would love the option of a player like O.J. Howard. Alabama didn’t overuse him during his collegiate career, but when they did he showed enough to make him the most complete tight end in this class.

14. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
Solomon Thomas – EDGE – Stanford

For the second consecutive offseason the Colts neglected their defence and it showed. Andrew Luck is a very good player but too much is asked of him by this franchise, which is why its time to start focusing on their defence. At #14, Stanford edge-rusher Solomon Thomas would be a steal, and a much needed playmaker on that side of the ball. Thomas is slightly undersized in comparison to what scouts look for, which is why he might fall out of the top ten, but he can make plays in a variety of different ways.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) via Vikings
Dalvin Cook – RB – Florida Statefsu_seminoles_svg

After a strong rookie season the Eagles have to build around quarterback Carson Wentz this off-season. Ask fans of most NFL franchises who they’d like to draft with their first round pick and the answer they’ll probably give you is Dalvin Cook. That’s thanks to his explosive speed, ability to avoid tackles and make highlight reel plays. All well and good, but there are ball security issues that will have to be ironed out before he takes a lead role in the pro game.

16. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
Derek Barnett – EDGE – Tennessee

The Ravens need to get younger on the defensive line if they want to compete with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati on a consistent basis, and they’d be very happy if Barnett was to fall to them at #16. Barnett is a sack machine and consistently gets in the face of the quarterback.

17. Washington Redskins (8-7-1)
Takkarist McKinley – EDGE – UCLA

Many believed the Redskins would address the defensive line in the first round of last season’s draft. They didn’t, and now we’re back at square one. McKinley is an interesting prospect for the Redskins at #17 as he might be considered a slight reach. That said, he possesses an excellent frame, long arms, great speed and the sort of motor that is simply un-coachable.

18. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
David Njoku – TE – Miami (Fl)

The Titans could well deal their #5 overall pick and stick with just this one, which could prompt a different selection. But the luxury of being able to give Marcus Mariota another weapon is, at present, the more realistic prospect. Njoku has flown up draft boards in recent weeks, with scouts noting his rare combination of size, speed, length and aggressiveness as reason for it. Njoku would be a matchup nightmare for defensive schemers.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
Jabrill Peppers – S – Michigan

After their meteoric rise up the power rankings in 2016, like Tennessee, the Buccaneers aren’t too far from turning the promise into playoffs. What is required is some pieces on the defence, including a safety. Peppers is a polarizing prospect whom many believe could go anywhere from top ten to early second round, mainly because scouts aren’t sure what his NFL position is. Most believe it will be free safety or slot corner, but there will always be a chance he picks off a pass and runs it back for six.

20. Denver Broncos (9-7)
Ryan Ramczyk – T – Wisconsin

One of the reasons why Denver couldn’t make a return to the playoffs was because they lost future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and heir-apparent Brock Osweiler. The other was because the two guys that replaced them, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, were knocked from pillar to post behind their shoddy o-line. Taking Ramczyk here would land them the draft’s best tackle and be good value at #20.
21. Detroit Lions (9-7)
Gareon Conley – CB – Ohio State

Head coach Jim Caldwell deserves a lot of credit for getting this team into the playoffs last season with his job on the line for much of it, with Matt Stafford showing why he is one of the better quarterbacks in the league. It’s hard to pinpoint where Detroit could go here, so best player available happens to be one of the draft’s strongest corners.

22. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
Taco Charlton – EDGE – Michigan

On paper it doesn’t seem like the 36-sack Miami Dolphins need any help on the edge, but if they want to continue putting up good numbers they need to add some young depth on the defensive line to take some of the strain off Cameron Wake & co. Miami would be the perfect situation for Charlton, a well-built prospect who could work on some of the finer aspects of NFL pass rushing from a couple of the league’s best.

23. New York Giants (11-5)
Charles Harris – EDGE – Missouri

The Big Blue of New York made great strides in 2016, but there are still some holes they need to fill. After Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended early through injury the Giants struggled to generate as much pressure on the quarterback as it did before, and they will be keeping an eye on the draft to help out in the position. Harris is a natural fit for this defence, with his fast release and strength allowing him to get to the quarterback.
24. Oakland Raiders (12-4)
Sidney Jones – CB – Washington

Oakland’s defence just didn’t have it in them to carry the team after the Raiders lost Derek Carr to injury late on in the season. Despite remaking the secondary with free agents Sean Davis and Reggie Nelson, and 2016 first-round pick Karl Joseph, the NFL’s 24th best passing defence seems to still need some reinforcements. Washington Huskies CB Sidney Jones has elite speed, and can make big plays thanks to his great play recognition.

25. Houston Texans (9-7)
Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson

Houston’s $72M gamble on Brock Osweiler hasn’t worked out as of yet, and the signs are that it simply won’t. That could lead to the Texans targetting Watson, who had a stellar collegiate career reaching two National Championships, winning one, showing the leadership and athleticism necessary to lead an NFL franchise. The national hype surrounding him, however, won’t change the fact that scouts are down on him because of often inconsistent and erratic throws, leading to a high volume of interceptions.


26. Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1)
Cam Robinson – T – Alabama
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Russell Wilson deserves a bucket load of credit for playing on when most quarterbacks would have sat out after the kind of pounding he took from the lack of protection his o-line afforded him last season. The hits will soon lead to more serious injuries if the Seahawks aren’t careful. ‘Bama tackle Cam Robinson would be a project for o-line coach Tom Cable, but he would definitely be an improvement on what they have, and a gamble well worth taking at #26.

 27. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Montravius Adams – DL – Auburn

Kansas City seemed set for a run at the Super Bowl last season but yet again stumbled in the playoffs, with one of the reasons being a lack of depth on the defensive line. Adams soared up draft boards after starring during Senior Bowl week and is a real option for the Chiefs who got good production from 2016 second-round pick Chris Jones. Adams would be a good fit alongside the aforementioned Jones and Dontari Poe.

 28. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
Ryan Anderson – LB- Alabama
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The one thing the Cowboys lacked last season was a consistent pass rush, and it ended up costing them against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the playoffs. While Anderson isn’t a natural 4-3 edge rusher, he does affect the quarterback in a variety of ways. His most natural fit would be at OLB in a 4-3, but is a very good blitzing MLB. Either way, Anderson is a good, versatile fit for a Cowboys franchise that could team up with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.

29. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Christian McCaffrey – RB – Stanford

While the main reason why Green Bay turned round their nasty start to the season was Aaron Rodgers, the emergence of WR-turned-RB Ty Montgomery was a factor. Stanford’s Swiss army knife Christian McCaffrey, however, has a skill set that not many other players in the NFL have. He can line up behind Rodgers and run or catch, catch passes from the slot, and be a factor in the return game. If Mike McCarthy got his hands on the back, McCaffrey could be a 1500+ scrimmage yarder.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
Tre’Davious White – CB – LSU

The secondary has been a problem for Pittsburgh for two seasons now, and have to address it this off-season to go that one step further. Tigers CB White showed at LSU he can cover and make plays on the ball, while he doesn’t shy away from tackles. The one knock on him would be whether he has the high-end speed required to cover speedy NFL receivers, but would be great value at #30.

31. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)

Caleb Brantley – DL – Florida

Within the Falcons demoralising loss to New England was a star performance for interior defensive lineman Grady Jarrett. Dan Quinn knows the importance of defence and will be looking to the draft to bulk it up after its exposition in Super Bowl LI. Florida Gators DT Brantley is a fast interior-lineman that can create pass rushing opportunities for himself and his teammates.

32. New England Patriots (14-2)
John Ross – WR – Washington

It almost doesn’t seem fair to hand Tom Brady another weapon on offence, but John Ross is a player the Patriots could definitely get the most out of. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan are all effective pass catchers, but Ross is a speedy slot guy with the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands.

Keep your eyes peeled for more mock drafts, player profiles, and off-season storylines on the NFL Draft Club.

Who do you want your team to draft? Disagree with any of my selections? Let me know via twitter @jakecbonnettNFL


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