I know, I know. We’re all sick to death of these countless mocks and hypotheticals, so close to draft day. It’s been a solid three months straight of everyman and his dog projecting, analysing, mocking and trading potential picks and players.
But here’s the good news, the real thing is only a day away. The first round will commence tomorrow night at 8pm EDT live in Philadelphia, on NFL Network and ESPN and most fans and analysts couldn’t be more excited. So for the last time in 2017, here’s one final, first round mock draft, let’s see how it shapes up.
Pick 1, Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett, Edge Rusher, Texas A&M
This pick appears to be relatively straightforward. Garrett is the consensus number one player in the draft, at a position of need for the Browns. The pick almost makes too much sense, and Cleveland would be mad to go quarterback so early in the draft, with this blue-chip player available.
Pick 2, San Francisco 49ers, Jamaal Adams, Safety, LSU
Trading down would be the perfect scenario here, but finding a willing partner might be beyond them. So, the best fit here is taking safety Jamaal Adams, who is as safe a prospect as possible in a draft class. And that’s what the 49ers need more than anything else, safe, stable playmakers, as Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch look to turn round the dire state of this roster.
Pick 3, Chicago Bears, Jonathan Allen, Defensive Line, Alabama
The Bears could go a number of ways here, cornerback, edge rusher, or safety. But Alabama’s Jonathan Allen is an elite talent defensive lineman that offers strength against the run and a powerful pass rush from either the inside or outside. He led an impressive Alabama defence in sacks (13), and is scheme versatile.
Pick 4, Jacksonville Jaguars, Solomon Thomas, Defensive Line, Stanford
A magnificent physical specimen, Thomas is listed as a defensive end, but could very well make the move inside to tackle, such is his versatility and size. Although defence is not a priority need right now, Thomas could immediately help to fill a passing rushing need, with the jury still well and truly out on early round selections, Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue.
Pick 5, Tennessee Titans, Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
This would be the perfect scenario for the draft pick heavy Titans. Arguably their biggest need lies at the cornerback position, and Lattimore is this draft class’ best. Gaining a potential number one cornerback, via last year’s Jared Goff trade would be a real treat for the ascending Titans.
Pick 6, New York Jets, Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
This kid’s potential is something special. A rare combination of skill, speed, size and athleticism could see him having the highest ceiling of anyone in the draft. The Jets desperately need defensive reinforcements, and Hooker should give them an elite playmaker in the secondary.
Pick 7, Los Angeles Chargers, Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
An interesting choice here, but unless the Chargers trade down, it’s their best option. Keenan Allen is an excellent number one receiver, but he has missed far too much game time and Williams can either vill that void or join Allen in one hell of an dangerous combination for Philip Rivers.
Pick 8, Carolina Panthers, Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU
This could be an absolute steal of a pick. Fournette is a brilliant rusher, with all the attributes including speed, power and a supreme ability to gain yards after contact. With DeAngelo Williams ageing, and Cam Newton taking an absolute battering, Fournette would be a greatly sought after addition in Panther heartland.
Pick 9, Cincinnati Bengals, Derek Barnett, Edge Rusher, Tennessee
The Bengals really need offensive line help, but there’s no value for a player like that with a top ten selection. Derek Barnett, however, is value. Barnett is one of the draft’s best pass rushers, and could come in and fill in a desperate need opposite Carols Dunlap, for a Bengal’s defence that regressed awfully in 2016.
Pick 10, Buffalo Bills, O.J Howard, Tight End, Alabama
He might’ve been highly underused by Nick Saban’s offence in Alabama, but there’s no denying the supreme talent that is O.J Howard. The tight end would give Tyrod Taylor a sorely needed weapon on the inside, and would strengthen the Bills’ running game, already one of the league’s best.
Pick 11, New Orleans Saints, Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
Foster’s draft status has taken several hits since the Combine, but his on-field play cannot be disregarded or undervalued. Foster is an elite talent at the inside linebacker position, and for the Saints, who are desperate to rebuild large parts of their defence, Foster could be the key cog in that rebuild.
Pick 12, Cleveland Browns, Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
The Browns avoided taking a quarterback at the top and they’re rewarded here, with the top passer and Hue Jackson’s personal favourite, Mitchell Trubisky. The North Carolina product only had the past season starting at college level, but was by far the best quarterback in that time and he’s arguably the most ready to start week 1.
Pick 13, Arizona Cardinals, Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
Twelve months ago, no one could’ve predicted the Cards taking a pass catcher in the first round of this year’s draft. But the quality and depth of the Cards’ receivers has been compromised and Corey Davis in this situation is too good to pass up. Larry Fitz can’t do it all by himself forever!
Pick 14, Philadelphia Eagles, Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, LSU
Unless there’s a run on cornerbacks before this pick, the Eagles will surely select whomever is highest on their board. Tre’Davious White is a fantastic prospect, with great speed, aggression, ball playing awareness and with scheme versatility, he can play outside or in the slot.
Pick 15, Indianapolis Colts, Taco Charlton, Edge Rusher, Michigan
At 15, for Indianapolis it’s a simple case of picking the best defensive player available on their board. They have to ignore the noise and exciting running backs (Cook, McCaffrey etc). Taco Charlton is a possible top ten pick and he would be an enormous upgrade on the edge for the Colts, who are pass rush hungry.
Pick 16, Baltimore Ravens, Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
The offensive line class is certainly the weakest draft position in 2017, but Ryan Ramczyk is the premier tackle of that class. The former Wisconsin Badger is a reliable pass protector, and even better in the run game. The Ravens are in need of a future right tackle, opposite last year’s first round pick, Ronnie Stanley.
Pick 17, Washington Redskins, Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford
McCaffrey has become one of the most popular and sought after players in the entire draft. His four down value cannot be overstated, an effective and elusive inside runner, brilliant and explosive in the passing game and a dynamic punt and kick returner. Who wouldn’t want him?
Pick 18, Tennessee Titans, John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington
If the real draft falls this way on Thursday night, Titans management will be jubilant. Get a corner early, and back it up with the frighteningly fast receiver John Ross here at 18. Ross is a home run threat like no other player in this draft, and he gives Marcus Mariota an exciting weapon on the perimeter.
Pick 19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
Linebacker, Haason Reddick was arguably the biggest winner from the NFL Combine, as his draft stock has risen to a point where he’s now a surefire first round pick. As an off-the-ball linebacker, Reddick has flourished with his athleticism, speed, coverage ability and his ability to go after the passer, a useful benefit for the Bucs.
Pick 20, Denver Broncos, Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Alabama’s Cam Robinson is still a project in the making, with issues that he’ll need to iron out before he can be trusted to protect an NFL quarterback’s blindside. Fortunately for the Broncos, Robinson has enormous talent. Talent that Denver are in desperate need of at the tackle position.
Pick 21, Detroit Lions, Takkarist McKinley, Edge Rusher, UCLA
The Lions priority need is definitely pass rusher, and Takkarist McKinley is the best rusher on the board at this stage. Most of the Lions front-seven requires work and McKinley could add a stable and effective pass rusher as the defence evolves.
Pick 22, Miami Dolphins, Forrest Lamp, Offensive Guard, Western Kentucky
Dolphins could go a few different ways here, cornerback, linebacker, possibly tight end, but guard Forrest Lamp might just be the draft’s best lineman and a steal down here at 22. Miami took Laremy Tunsil in the first round last year, where he played guard in his rookie year, but having now switched outside to tackle, there’s a starting position available for Lamp.
Pick 23, New York Giants, Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
Cook’s draft status has fluctuated over the past two months, between the top ten and the bottom of the first round. There’s no doubting his pedigree though, a brilliant runner, with unreal big play potential, who is also a threat in the passing game. He would instantly improve the Giants’ offence and take pressure off Eli Manning.
Pick 24, Oakland Raiders, Malik McDowell, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
The Raiders need defensive line reinforcements, and McDowell is a powerful and explosive interior player who is still far from his ceiling as a player. McDowell does have some red flags off the field, but the talent is too much to ignore at the bottom of the first round.
Pick 25, Houston Texans, DeShaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
So for the moment the Texans have missed out on Tony Romo, and Tom Savage just doesn’t cut it as a starter. DeShaun Watson is a proven winner at Clemson, and with such a competitive roster in Houston he’ll have time to grow and develop, without the onus of having to win it all by himself.
Pick 26, Seattle Seahawks, Garrett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah
Garrett Bolles has the makings of a very good player in the NFL, and should he end up in the north-west, he’ll certainly get his chance. The Seahawks are desperate for improvement on the o-line, the performance of this group has crippled their Super Bowl runs the last two years.
Pick 27, Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech
This is certainly more of a projection pick for the Chiefs than an immediate need. The Chiefs’ roster is pretty strong, but there’re fair concerns that Alex Smith can’t take them over the top. Young Mahomes is a super aggressive playmaker, with an enormous ceiling, but he’s not even close to being ready to start in the pros.
Pick 28, Dallas Cowboys, Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State
Free agency dented an already sub-par Cowboys defence, particularly in the secondary. Ohio State’s Gareon Conley is a high class cornerback who could go a long way to bringing it back up to standard in a super competitive NFC.
Pick 29, Green Bay Packers, Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama
The Packers’ defence was humbled (again) in humiliating fashion by the Falcons in last year’s championship game. The focus this draft has to be defence, and in particular the cornerback position. Humphrey is the best corner available at this stage, but the Packers will have to double up later in the draft.
Pick 30, Pittsburgh Steelers, David Njoku, Tight End, Miami
Pittsburgh struggled mightily last season when Antonio Brown was the only decent receiver on the field. Martavius Bryant can’t be relied upon right now, so the Steelers can address that by drafting an athletic, dangerous pass catching tight end who can help take pressure away on the inside.
Pick 31, Atlanta Falcons, Charles Harris, Edge Rusher, Missouri
Fortunately, the Falcons don’t have any glaring needs on their roster, but they would like a second pass rusher opposite 2016 sack leader, Vic Beasley. Charles Harris, although not a noted run defender, is an excellent pass rusher and could make a challenging and frightening combination with Vic Beasley.
Pick 32, New Orleans Saints, Teez Tabor, Cornerback, Florida
Saints have to double up on defence in this hypothetical mock draft. The cornerback depth cannot be ignored, especially combined with the Saints desperate need at the position. Tabor would almost certainly be a day one starter, a physical, fiesty presence on the outside.