Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On The Clock, NFL Mock Draft 1.0: The Countdown Is On

By Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

After weeks of teasing and tons of speculation on Twitter, the NFL Combine has come and gone.  That means it is time for the release of Mock Draft 1.0.  Now before we go into revealing this, understand I’ve revised this so many times I’ve lost count at this point.  We took rumors from potential trades into effect, also personal projections of what teams will do in Free Agency in deciding what the picks would be.  For my fellow Browns fans at the end of this I’m revealing my ideal Browns draft that would make me exciting for the 2017 season.

A few notes, this cornerback class is extremely deep, I can see 5-6 CBs (maybe more) go in the 1st Round.  It was almost impossible for me to even think about what CBs could be in consideration for picks.  As for the Quarterbacks, Deshone Kizer really hurt his chances at the Combine as Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky clearly separated themselves from Kizer at the combine.  I would argue other QBs at the combine might’ve separated themselves from Kizer too.  In terms of talent as a whole, it’s one of the deepest I’ve seen in recent years.  Yeah there are some weaknesses with QB/WR/OL, but almost everywhere else there is talent all over the place.  I could see 5-10 players who I see as clear cut 1st Round players fall into the 2nd Round.  It’s an impressive class and I’m excited to reveal Mock Draft 1.0, let’s get into it.

Mock Draft 1.0

1. Cleveland Browns- DE/OLB Myles Garrett, Texas A&M- The Cleveland Browns sit in quite the predicament with the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft where there really isn’t a standout QB, 2 elite Safety prospects, and potentially an All-Pro pass rushing prospect.  I know some writers in Cleveland may obsess over the Quarterback, but this is practically a no-brainer.  Since last year Myles Garrett has been the #1 prospect in this draft, he has done nothing to change that.  His size and explosiveness are unmatched by anyone in this class and in recent drafts.  The Browns cannot overthink this, on one side, Emmanuel Ogbah (who had 5.5 sacks his rookie year), on the other…Myles Garrett.  Add that with Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, and Christian Kirksey and suddenly the Browns are building up one of the best young Front 7 groups in the NFL.

2. Washington Redskins (from San Francisco 49ers)- TRADE: San Francisco acquire QB Kirk Cousins, Washington acquires #2 overall pick, 2017 3rd and 5th Round pick, and QB Tony Romo Dallas acquires Washington’s 2018 2nd Round pick- DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford- In an unprecedented 3-Way Trade, the Washington Redskins trade their franchise QB Kirk Cousins for picks and Tony Romo.  Now let’s quickly analyze this…Ian Rapoport reported that a potential deal would have the #2 pick go to Dallas and just Romo to Washington.  I don’t buy this, instead Washington offered a 2nd Round pick in 2018 for Romo and gets the haul in picks necessary to trade Cousins.  They would then use the #2 pick acquired for Kirk Cousins the Redskins shock a lot of football fans by selecting Solomon Thomas.  Thomas is scheme versatile and can play inside and outside on the line.  His combination of speed and power off the line could make him a menace in the NFL.  When you watch the Stanford Defense, one thing stands out, Solomon Thomas is wrecking havoc every single play.  He doesn’t stop and players haven’t been able to contain him.  After a great combine, he’s solidified himself as a Top 5 pick and clearly the best pass rusher after Myles Garrett.  In this scenario, as long as Tony Romo can say healthy (and that’s a long shot to begin with), Thomas helps fortify the Washington Defense and potentially puts them in a situation to make a run at the Cowboys.

3. Chicago Bears- QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina- The Bears could go numerous routes and I honestly think would take Solomon Thomas if he’s there at #3.  With Thomas off the board, the numerous concerns around Jonathan Allen, the Bears will look to find their Franchise QB.  Mitch Trubisky entered the combine as the Top QB in this year’s draft and did everything he needed to do to back it.  Trubisky may have his question marks with his mechanics, but the kid loves the game and would fit extremely well in Chicago.  While reports say Chicago might pursue Mike Glennon or Jimmy Garoppolo, I think the price tag for both will be too much for Chicago and Trubisky has as much talent as both.  He shows good accuracy, has a rifle arm, and showcased better athletic ability than some thought he would have at the Combine.  Since we’re not factoring into what happens in Free Agency/Trades here, we’re going to mock Trubisky here.  Don’t be surprised if by Mock 2.0 this pick changes.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars- SS Jamal Adams, LSU- The Jaguars were the favorites to be last year’s big turnaround team, but sadly for their fans were once again one of the worst teams in the NFL.  Now with new Head Coach Doug Marrone, they must address upgrading their defense in this draft.  While some may suggest going after a QB, Blake Bortles looked to thrive under Marrone’s leadership.  I think with that, the Jags don’t need to force finding a QB.  Their secondary was a mess last year and at this point with Jamal Adams on the board, this is a perfect fit.  Adams is an outstanding Safety who has great leadership skills on the defensive side.  He has good size for the SS position and his instincts from an all-around standpoint make him one of the best safety prospects I’ve seen in some time.  Some like to say he’s a bigger version of Tyronn Matheiu of the Cardinals.  If that turns out to be true, the Jaguars will have an anchor for their secondary set for the next decade.

5. Tennessee Titans (from LA Rams)- CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State- The Titans sit in a position in this year’s draft to significantly shift the balance of power in the AFC South.  With Marcus Mariota emerging as one of the NFL’s young stars before his season ending injury, the Titans have their young star QB and have a good O-Line, running game, and a solid passing game.  Their defense needs work, so with the pick they acquired from the Rams they end up filling their biggest need in finding a lockdown CB.  Marshon Lattimore without question is the top CB in this year’s draft.  He has the size and explosive speed that coaches dream about with CBs.  On top of that he has great ball skills and has plenty of upside, being only a 1 year starter for the Buckeyes.  The Titans will need to make major improvements in the secondary in order to make the next step and adding Lattimore would be a huge step in that direction.

6. New York Jets- WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan- My firm belief on the Jets is they are tanking for the 2018 NFL Draft to get their franchise QB.  No one would blame the Jets for drafting a Fournette/Foster/Hooker, but if they’re serious about tanking and finding a QB in 2018, they will need to have a weapon for that QB.  The Jets cut ties with Brandon Marshall and I wouldn’t be stunned if Eric Decker is next on the horizon.  This would give them Devin Smith and Quincy Eneuwa as their top WRs.  Corey Davis is a lot like Brandon Marshall where they won’t have big time speed, but they’re big physical WRs who can go up and make the tough catches.  Davis did come out of the MAC so there might be questions about the level of play, but he’s such a physical specimen that I’m not surprised he dominated.  He will have some growing pains with his route running and lack of quickness to separate, but over time his overpowering physicality and rare size/speed combination will make him a great target for whoever the Jets find as their QB in 2018.

7. Los Angeles Chargers- FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State- This pick almost seems like a no-brainer if Hooker can slip to this pick.  After the big time success of another former Buckeye the Chargers drafted in Joey Bosa, now the Chargers can replace the void that was left after the departure of Eric Weddle.  Hooker would provide them the ball hawk skills that they lacked this past year and with the pass rushing ability and continued development of Bosa, put Malik Hooker back there to intercept rushed passes and suddenly the Chargers could have a duo that will scare teams and make them think twice before rushing a pass.

8. Carolina Panthers- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU- The Panthers had a down year after losing in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos in 2016, but now they sit in a very enviable position to grab what looks to be the best RB prospect to come out of college since Adrian Peterson in Leonard Fournette.  Fournette is quite possibly one of the more gifted RBs I’ve ever seen with his rare combination of explosive speed and power, but to pair him with Cam Newton?  That’s scary to even think about right now.  The only problem I can see with Fournette is his dedication to the game, but more important his vision as a ball carrier.  He gained over 2000 total yards in 2015, but just rushed over 800 yards in 2016.  He’s been banged up over the years, which concerns me going forward, but the potential of a Cam Newton/Leonard Fournette is too good to pass on here and could make the Panthers offense lethal going forward.

9. Cincinnati Bengals- LB Reuben Foster, Alabama- I couldn’t think of a better fit in this year’s draft in terms of player, team need and scheme fit.  Vontaze Burfict is signed through 2017 and will be in for a massive payday in 2018, so adding an impact player that for a year will play along side him will help the Bengals try to win now.  Foster without question is one of the Top 5 prospects, but  I can’t see some of the teams in the Top 10 taking him because they have answers already at his position.  Foster’s ability to get from sideline to sideline and his nose for the ball is unlike anything I’ve seen for the position coming out of college in the past few years.  Foster is so aggressive and explosiveness as a player will make him an instant impact player for whoever drafts him.

10. Buffalo Bills- QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson- The Bills have made it clear that they are going to let Tyrod Taylor walk in Free Agency, once again opening a major hole at QB for the Bills.  The Bills have numerous needs, but the loss of Tyrod Taylor, who showed he can win some games with a depleted roster, especially at WR.  The Bills would then turn to Clemson’s QB Deshaun Watson, who probably had the best combine weekend of all the QBs.  He showed in the drills, he can make the throws and seemed to look comfortable dropping back and passing.  Add to that his athletic ability and intangibles that we all talk about to begin with, Watson has worked his way into the Top 10.  Watson would immediately give the Bills the leader at the QB position they’ve lacked since Jim Kelly.  He’s going work his tail off to become better and as long as the Bills fans can be patient with him, Watson has the work ethic and talent to be the QB that takes the Bills back to the playoffs.

11. New Orleans Saints- CB Sidney Jones, Washington- It’s still quite amazing to me that the Saints can never truly address their big problems in their secondary.  While it improved compared to their abysmal 2015 season, they don’t have that playmaking CB that can change the game for them.  The last big time Washington CB who was drafted was Marcus Peters and the Saints don’t have to look much further for another great CB.  Sidney Jones has good size (6’1’’), but he is lanky (170 lbs.), he will need to bulk up to handle bigger and stronger WRs he’s going to face in the NFL.  He has good speed, but his best ability is reading routes and jumping them.  He had 9 INTs in his career at Washington, plus he had 27 pass break ups, which are a testament to his ability playing the ball.  He could improve his footwork, but his ball skills and route reading ability make him a potential big play CB in the NFL.  For the Saints finding someone who can make plays in the secondary while facing Julio Jones/Mike Evans among the few talented WRs in their division must be a priority for the Saints in this year’s draft.

12. Cleveland Browns- TE OJ Howard, Alabama- By the time the Browns would be on the clock, the Top 2 QBs would be off the board, the question in their draft room would be to either overdraft for a QB, or get the best talent available.  If we go by what Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta think with their “Moneyball” approach, it would be to take the best talent on the board.  OJ Howard proved at the combine, he’s one of the few athletic freaks in this draft.  He ran a 4.51 40, showed he has the strength, size and athletic ability you want out of a potential star TE.  The best thing about this pick would be that Howard would get to learn from Gary Barnidge, who is a “Pro’s Pro” and will help in the development of Howard.  This would also give Hue Jackson the ability to use 2 TEs in formations, with Howard being a constant potential big play threat.  For whoever the Browns will go with at QB, having a duo of Howard/Barnidge will give defenses nightmares.

13. Arizona Cardinals- QB Pat Mahomes II, Texas Tech- From the outside looking in, one would think the Cardinals might jump all over Jonathan Allen at this point, but the Cardinals desperately need to find their future QB.  Pat Mahomes looks to be an extremely high upside prospect that would need some seasoning to tinker with his game.  For Mahomes this is a dream scenario.  Going to play for Bruce Arians is going to be huge as Arians would be the perfect coach to help him work on fixing his mechanics.  On top of that learning from an experienced veteran who has had success in Carson Palmer would be even bigger for him.  Mahomes has a cannon for an arm and although his mechanics are a mess, he’s an accurate passer too.  But in a nutshell, he’s the classic gunslinger Quarterback.  While I’d love to compare him to Brett Favre, I think he’s Johnny Manziel if Manziel had the work ethic.  He knows how to make plays and under this staff he’ll develop into their future star QB.

14. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Mike Williams, Clemson- The Eagles seem to have found their QB in Carson Wentz.  But it seemed that he still was lacking playmaking ability at the WR position.  Wentz seemed to have found a groove late in the year with TE Zach Ertz, but he will need a true #1 WR target as Jordan Matthews looks to be a good #2 possession WR.  The Eagles would be sitting very pretty here with Mike Williams still on the board.  While people are questioning him because of his lack of explosive speed, the guy showed at Clemson that whenever they needed a big time catch, he would come through.  Adding a big, physical WR that can make the big time catch would be great for Wentz’s continued development and if he’s on the board here, I don’t hesitate to run up to the podium with the pick.  The only way to get the best out of Wentz is to get as many weapons around him as you can.

15. Indianapolis Colts- RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State- If you’re a Colts fan, this is a perfect scenario for them to finally get the young RB to pair with Andrew Luck going forward.  After an extremely productive career at FSU, Cook looks to be the more polished and Pro ready RB out of the Fournette/Cook debate.  The only concern is his fumbling problems.  Outside of that, Cook has shown the explosiveness and power that you look for in a RB.  The Colts should probably look at the same time to improve their O-Line to give him the best chance for success.  With Cook’s ability as a ball carrier and even as a receiver to go with his outstanding vision as a runner, it should take a lot of pressure off of Andrew Luck and the Colts with their Head Coach Chuck Pagano on the Hot Seat.  So if you want to return to the playoffs, the formula is simple for Indy in the AFC South, improve the O-Line and draft Dalvin Cook.

16. Baltimore Ravens- CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama- The Ravens shook off a down 2015 season and rebounded nicely in 2016.  The Ravens seemed to get their offense back and will probably target secondary help with their first pick.  We all know Ozzie Newsome loves to go through the Alabama route, and will do so again to fill a need for the Ravens by taking Marlon Humphrey.  Humphrey is a big physical corner with better speed than I originally first thought.  He has the ability to keep up with receivers, but does much better as a physical corner.  He’s a good tackler and a big time competitor.  Those are things that are going to be music to Baltimore’s ears.  Put him on the other side of Jimmy Smith and the Ravens will have a strong CB duo for years to come.

17. Washington Redskins- WR John Ross, Washington- One of the biggest losses that Washington fans are bracing themselves for Desean Jackson leaving them in Free Agency.  If that is to happen, Washington is left without a home run threat WR.  Ross looks to be this year’s explosive WR having an outstanding 2016 catching 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 TDs.  He has top end speed that allows him to be a deep ball threat and even an open field threat.  That was proven at the combine when he ran a 4.22 40 yard dash (though I think it was 4.25)  He has okay hands, not great but better than Will Fuller coming out of Notre Dame last year.  The biggest concern is his injury history, he’s had major injuries to both his knees.  Teams will need to do their homework on him.  While they drafted Josh Doctson in the 1st Round last year, injuries ended his season after Week 2 and Washington has been overly cautious with his recovery.  If Doctson comes back healthy and they can have a core of Doctson, Ross, and Jordan Reed, as long as all stay healthy Washington looks to be set up well going forward.

18. New Orleans Saints (from Tennessee Titans)- TRADE: New Orleans acquires the 18th Overall pick from Tennessee in exchange for WR Brandin Cooks- DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama- The Saints could seriously walk out with Sidney Jones and Jonathan Allen.  If Jonathan Allen is slips out of the Top 3, he could be in for a serious downfall.  There are concerns about his shoulders and people are wondering if they’ll hold up.  I think it’s mostly the medicals teams are reviewing at the combine which are scaring them away.  On the tape, Allen is a Top 5 talent.  He can play in any system at almost any position.  He’s good against the rush, but at his size he can rush the passer.  If for some reason this were to happen, the Saints should sprint to the podium with the pick.  To trade Bradin Cooks for a potential defensive playmaker who might slip in the draft and pair him with Sidney Jones would put the Saints Defense back on track to get the Saints competing in 2017-2018.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee- The Buccaneers took another step forward in 2016, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get them back into the playoffs.  The Bucs look to have a talented young offense that could really use a RB, but at this point with what is on the board, there really is only one pick.  Derek Barnett was one of the most productive pass rushers in Tennessee history and the Bucs should add him to their pass rush.  Barnett won’t blow anyone away athletically, but he does everything well.  In a lot of ways I see a lot of Jabaal Sheard in him and for the Bucs adding someone like that would really improve their defense that was towards the bottom in the NFL.  With as deep as this RB class looks to be, the Bucs can afford to pass on the more pressing need for the best player available to improve a weakness on this team.

20. Denver Broncos- OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin- The Broncos are probably the one team in this year’s draft who will probably have the most predictable pick in this year’s draft.  New Head Coach Vance Joseph will have pressure to start QB Paxton Lynch next season over Trevor Sieman and will need to find a young LT to set the next foundation up for the Broncos for years to come.  Ramczyk is probably the safest LT prospect in this years’ draft.  He has the athletic ability to move around, footwork, and is a sound technician on the line.  While he has a Torn Labrum and will be the Combine and Pro Day that might cause some concern, teams will love his knowledge and love for the game, plus his film will show he’s held his own against some of the best pass rushers in the Big 10.  I could see the Broncos going after a different OT, but I think Ramczyk will be best for them to compete with right now.

21. Detroit Lions- RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee- The Lions have been searching for a RB they could rely on since the retirement of Barry Sanders, in this year’s draft there are plenty of RBs to choose from and honestly I can see the Lions making a play to move up to get Dalvin Cook.  If not, I think they will try to get Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara who if it weren’t for his injury history, he might give Dalvin Cook a run for his money as my top RB.  Kamara has amazing acceleration and explosiveness as a runner and has a little bit of power to go with it.  The big concerns are his knee injury history along with some character concerns while he was at Alabama.  His vision and ability to hold onto the ball can improve as well, but Kamara has all the natural talents to become the 3 down impact RB that Detroit has been searching for.

22. Miami Dolphins- OLB Haason Reddick, Temple- The Dolphins surprised a lot of teams in 2016 by making the playoffs in Year One under Adam Gase.  The Dolphins were boosted by the emergence of Jay Ajayi on offense and the Dolphins defense proved to be better than expected.  While the Dolphins have some needs, they really could use another athletic LB that can make plays all over the field.  Reddick was a RB/S in high school and clearly shows he has the athletic ability to do just that.  He has very good pass rushing ability, although he profiles more as a 4-3 LB or a 3-4 ILB.  I feel under the right coaching he could become a nightmare for offenses.  The talent on film doesn’t make him a first, but I’m getting the feeling Reddick is this year’s draft combine warrior that makes him a 1st Round pick.

23. New York Giants- TE David Njoku, Miami FL- For the Giants, the dream scenario would be if OJ Howard is sitting on the board, but he won’t be.  At this point the Giants could go a few different routes, but David Njoku has been considered by some as the best offensive playmaking TE in this draft.  He’s explosive and can make a big play at any time.  While his blocking might need some work, but for the Giants they need a TE that can go down the middle and make big plays.  Remember the last time the Giants went with a Miami FL TE in Round 1 it worked out well so why wouldn’t this.  But imagine if you will pairing Njoku with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and whoever they bring in at RB (Adrian Peterson?), it gives the Eli Manning the offensive firepower to potentially win at least one more Super Bowl before he hangs it up.

24. Oakland Raiders- CB Quincy Wilson, Florida- The Raiders had a great run last year until Derek Carr was lost for the year due to injury.  If Carr wasn’t hurt, the Raiders could’ve challenged the Patriots for the AFC Crown.  Now the question is where to improve the team at now.  The Raiders could use another CB and there are plenty to choose from at this point.  Quincy Wilson is one of the more intriguing CB prospects to me because physically he’s one of the most gifted I’ve seen, yet he needs a lot of work.  Reminds me of Eli Apple coming out of Ohio State last year.  All the physical traits are there, but he relies on them a bit too much and when it fails, he uses his hands.  He is a willing tackler, which I think will fit in nicely for the Raiders as well.  One big thing to remember with Wilson, he played on the other side of Teez Tabor, who should be a 1st Round pick as well.  I think teams will overdraft Wilson because of his size and athletic ability and as we’ve seen with other CBs in the past that can backfire.  I like the fit here for Wilson and if he can develop into a good cornerback, this would be huge for the Raiders with their already talented pass rush.  It could make them a Super Bowl contender for years to come.

25. Houston Texans- OT/OG Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky- Houston might be the most unpredictable pick in this year’s draft.  They could easily draft Deshone Kizer here because of what looks to be the failed experiment of Brock Osweiler.  They could try to improve the depth on their D-Line, but I think they will look more at the O-Line with this pick.  Forrest Lamp wowed scouts at the Combine probably being the biggest winner out of all the O-Lineman at the combine.  A lot of scouts see him as another Zack Martin, a Tackle who had plenty of college experience, but because of his athletic ability and lack of physical frame might shift him into the middle.  The Texans will need all the help they can get on the line to give Brock Osweiler a chance.  The line failed the running game as while Lamar Miller was good, he clearly wasn't the same back as we saw in Miami.  Lamp brings great run blocking ability that might open up the running game more and if that happens, it might make life for Brock Osweiler or whoever is Texans QB much easier.

26. Seattle Seahawks- OT Antonio Garcia, Troy- The Seahawks are still one of the biggest threats in the NFC, their biggest weakness though continues to be on the O-Line, especially at the OT position.  Antonio Garcia is the fastest rising OL in this year’s draft, getting a lot of love at the Senior Bowl.  Garcia is an athletic OT who was a former High School Basketball player, which is something we’re starting to see more in OT now a days.  He has good lateral quickness that allows him to mirror pass rushers.  The downside with Garcia is his size (6’6’’ 295 lbs.), but that’s something that can be developed.  I think Garcia has the highest ceiling out of all the OTs in this year’s draft and for a team like the Seahawks who have looked for a Franchise LT to protect Russell Wilson, they could very well reach a little bit here and take a chance to develop Garcia.  The talent is there for the kid that might allow him to reach his potential.

27. Kansas City Chiefs- QB Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame- The Chiefs look to have solved some of their biggest potential problems by re-signing S Eric Berry to a long term deal.  This allows the Chiefs to focus on other areas of need.  One of them is to find their next QB of the future.  If there was a perfect situation for Kizer to develop it’s under Andy Reid in Kansas City.  Here he would be allowed to develop behind Alex Smith and work on improving the areas he needs to improve on.  Kizer might be the most physically gifted QB in this year’s class and would provide an intriguing project for Andy Reid to build up before Alex Smith steps aside as Chiefs QB.  In a lot of ways I can see Reid seeing some shades of Donovan McNabb in Kizer.  Both have strong arms, are very good mobile QBs and with work, Kizer might become a more accurate passer for Andy Reid’s liking.  If everything works out in this scenario, Kizer could become of the games best QBs and completely change Kansas City’s offense in the future.

28. Dallas Cowboys- DE Taco Charlton, Michigan- Somewhere the Dallas Cowboys marketing team is gonna be having a party with this one.  The man with the best name in the draft is probably one of the most underrated prospects in the draft.  Overshadowed by fellow Michigan teammates Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers, Taco Charlton was probably Michigan’s best defensive player in 2016.  Everything finally came together with him getting 9.5 sacks and 13 TFL after being considered his first few years as inconsistent.  The consistency will remain a big question mark, but his size, length and athletic ability combined make him look like a Top 10 prospect.  He could add some more bulk, but Taco Charlton could become one of the steals of the draft over time.  Besides…could there really be a better fit for the guy?

29. Green Bay Packers- CB Teez Tabor, Florida- If this were to happen for the Packers, I’d be celebrating in the Packers war room.  The Packers are in desperate need of a potential lockdown corner and get one with their 1st Round pick.  Teez Tabor doesn’t have the bigger size/athleticism compared to other corners in this year’s class.  Tabor is probably one of the better technician CBs with ball hawk skills.  He’s not afraid to get into a WR at the line, although I think he might struggle with vertical WRs.  He has good hand-eye coordination and it shows breaking up 28 passes over the last 2 years.  For the Packers, they can get a potential lockdown corner to help fortify a Defense that got completely torched by the Falcons in the NFC Championship game.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers- OLB Tim Williams, Alabama- The Steelers are really at a crossroads as an organization.  Ben Roethelisberger is contemplating retirement, Le’Veon Bell is potentially going to be a Free Agent, and Antonio Brown might be the only one of their “3 B’s” left.  Quite honestly, I think Ben plays at least another year, Le’Veon Bell is extended and due to other impending FAs, the Steelers look for a pass rusher.  That would lead them to Tim Williams, who is probably the fastest of all the pass rushers, but he’s skinny as all get out.  In ways, he reminds me of Barkevious Mingo coming out of LSU.  Unlike Mingo, Williams has more experience in a OLB role and would fit into Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme.  If he can stay out of trouble (some character red flags) and build up some muscle when he enters the league, he could be a pass rushing threat for years to come.

31. Atlanta Falcons- LB Jarrad Davis, Florida- If you’re looking for a 4-3 OLB, probably there might not be a better prospect for that role than Jarrad Davis.  Rumors have been that although a lot project him as a 2nd Round talent, there’s 1st Round buzz on him right now.  Davis was considered a great leader for the Gators citing his work ethic and character being off the charts.  He has the athletic ability to cover TEs, but more importantly for the division, he’s great as a spy LB to mirror mobile QBs.  For the Falcons, they need to be able to hold off a young, talented and improving Tampa Bay with Jameis Winston AND a more than likely resurging Carolina team with Cam Newton.  A guy like Davis fills a hole on the team and helps them attempt to continue to reign supreme in the AFC South.

32. New England Patriots- S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan- Quite possibly the most overhyped prospect in this year’s draft (this is coming from a Michigan fan too), Peppers needs to go to the perfect situation for him to develop him.  If Peppers is here at 32, Bill Belichick might actually smile over this.  With Peppers pure athletic ability and the ability of the Patriots coaching staff to develop players make this the perfect fit for Peppers.  With Duron Harmon entering Free Agency, there’s no guarantee with the amount of teams with money and under the cap that the Patriots bring him back.  If Harmon leaves, Peppers could fit in his spot very nicely.  With Devin McCourty more of the ball hawk, this allows Peppers to be more of what he was at Michigan, a S/LB hybrid.  He will need to improve his ability in coverage in order to survive as a safety, but if he went to New England, I think l do just fine there.

Bonus: Ideal Browns Draft

33. S Budda Baker, Washington
52. TRADE: Browns trade #52, CLE and PHI 2018 2nd Round picks to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo
65. WR Zay Jones, East Carolina
108. C Pat Elfein, Ohio State
142. QB Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech
177. WR Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech
183. OT Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell
187. CB Channing Stribling, Michigan

Browns Draft Analysis

The Browns would end up getting in Round 1 two of the most physically gifted players who are clearly the best for their position in this year’s class in OJ Howard and Myles Garrett.  It sets a foundation that the Browns will have extremely athletic and talented players.  At 33 the Browns finally get a Safety for the secondary to help in Budda Baker who would make an immediate impact and in my opinion is a 1st Round talent.  The Browns would then deal for Garoppolo on a much more reasonable deal when the list of suitors for Bill Belichick goes down over time.  Sending 3 2nd Round picks for Garoppolo is a bit high, but much more reasonable for the Browns if they’re looking to win now.  Zay Jones showed he had better speed than advertised at the Combine and already has the size to play at the next level, if the Browns can resign Terrelle Pryor they could have a passing attack of Pryor/Jones/Corey Coleman/Barnidge/Howard (WOW).  Pat Elfein would be a welcome addition for Browns fans because he’s from Ohio State, but more importantly he would immediately fill a major need at Center for the Browns.  Jerod Evans could be viewed by the Browns as a potential high upside project and worst case scenario is a future backup QB (maybe one that one day can dealt like Jimmy Garoppolo).  Carlos Henderson is one of my favorite late round WR steals, he’s quick and has big play ability.  Julie’n Davenport would also be a nice addition as a high upside Tackle to develop.  The Browns would end taking Channing Stribling, who is a big CB (6’2’’) and who knows, maybe he’s the next Richard Sherman (wishful thinking I know).

With Free Agency and the new season year getting ready to begin, things are going to start to take more shape in the next month before Mock 2.0.  The Big Board has really started to take shape now and the next step will be the Pro Days.  The thing about the Pro Days is you’re really running fairly similar drills, so the only thing to keep an eye on is if any players improve their agility drills.  Other than that outside of maybe someone failing the infamous, “Idiot Test” (drugs in system at the combine) teams have a good idea of what their boards look like.  With that said teams will look to fill other needs in Free Agency and for Mock 2.0 we’re going to give teams a chance to make their big moves to give a better idea of what position they’re going to be looking at in the draft.  Over the next few weeks expect quite a few of these picks to change and potentially more trades.  This is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory that it was hard to leave some players off of this mock.  We may be done with the Combine in Indy, but that means we’re less than two months away from the draft…a lot of things are going to happen from now until we get to Philly for the draft, all I know is I can’t stand much more of the madness that’s already happening. 

In closing, I’ll end with a message to Browns fans again… TAKE MYLES GARRETT #1, THIS ISN’T A DEBATE.

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