After months of preparation and debate, the NFL Draft is finally upon us. The draft begins this evening with Round 1, followed by Rounds 2-3 on Friday and Rounds 4-7 on concluding the festivities Saturday. In advance of the event, we present Brew Sports’ NFL First Round Mock Draft:
Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M
Garrett is the clear-cut best prospect in the draft. The Browns have made mistakes in recent years in trading down in the draft and don’t need to over think it this time around. A quarterback will still be available with their 12th pick so make the wise choice and take Garrett.
San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, Defensive End, Stanford
The 49ers need some help on the offensive side; however, Thomas can impact the defense right away. I would not be surprised if we see the team trade down and draft an offensive lineman but Thomas will help a defensive line that struggled last season against the run.
Chicago Bears – Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
The Bears already addressed their quarterback situation signing Mike Glennon, now they need a quarterback for the defensive side and Adams fills that hole. A team that typically is known for their defense, Chicago starts with first of many picks focused on defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU
Fournette finally fills the running back hole that Jacksonville has been experienced since Maurice Jones-Drew left the team. Despite drafting T.J. Yeldon a couple of seasons ago, Fournette brings a power running dimension that the Jaguars were hoping to see out of Chris Ivory last season.
Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
Because the Titans have two first round picks, (5th & 18th) pick number five seems likely to be traded. If not, Allen fills a need for a team looking for pass rushers. A wide receiver is expected with their next pick which focuses them to look on the defensive side of the ball.
New York Jets – O.J. Howard, Tight End, Alabama
The Jets need to test Christian Hackenberg, last year’s second round pick, before wasting a high pick on one. Howard fills a need for receiving threat on offensive with the loss of Brandon Marshall and is a solid blocker who will impact the Jets immediately.
Los Angeles Chargers – Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
The Chargers need to find a guy to fill the sizable shoes left by Eric Weddle. They could go with his teammate Marcus Lattimore if he falls; however, they defensive need right now is at safety with Casey Hayward fitting in nicely after signing last year.
Carolina Panthers – Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford
The Panthers need to find the replacement for Jonathan Stewart. Cameron Artis-Payne is too similar to Stewart and the Panthers need someone who can catch the ball out of the backfield. McCaffrey is a fast paced back that would complement Cam Newton’s playing style.
Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster, Inside Linebacker, Alabama
Despite some issues since entering the draft, Foster fills one of the team’s needs. The Bengals let Karlos Dansby and Rey Maualuga go during free agency, meaning that Foster can develop into a starter next to Vontaze Burfict.
Buffalo Bills – Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
How do you not love the combo of Williams and Sammy Watkins? Adding Williams provides another desperately needed deep threat for Tyrod Taylor. Putting Williams next to Watkins in the receiving core immediately makes Buffalo a better passing team that has struggled over the years.
New Orleans Saints – Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
Saints get a steal with Lattimore dropping out of the top 10. He helps fill a need for the Saints’ defense as a trade for Malcolm Butler is all but over. Now that the Saints added Adrian Peterson to the offense, it is time to focus up on the defensive side for the draft.
Cleveland Browns – Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
The Browns hope to hit gold, getting Trubisky to be their franchise quarterback. Who knows if he will get his chance this season though as Brock Osweiler remains on their roster despite rumors of his release. Expect a tight quarterback competition in training camp.
Arizona Cardinals – Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
After a terrible defensive year, the Cardinals attack the defensive side early. Reddick helps build the inside linebacking core for the future. A replacement for Carson Palmer can be identified on day two of the draft.
Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Tennessee
The Eagles need to put pressure on the quarterback and adding Barnett does the job. The offense could use a receiver; however, Barnett has averaged over 10 sacks a game the past three years. The Eagles think receiver but can’t pass on the former Volunteer.
Indianapolis Colts – Takkarist McKinley, Outside Linebacker, UCLA
After losing Robert Mathis and not signing Erik Walden, the Colts get their pass rusher of the future. McKinley is a feel good story, ascending from obscurity to being a first round pick. The potential is there in a draft that Indy focuses on defense after finishing 30th in the league this past season.
Baltimore Ravens – Forrest Lamp, Guard, Western Kentucky
Joe Flacco needs protection after losing Rick Wagner in free agency and then trading Jeremy Zuttah. Lamp has the size to play any spot on the line and is the clear-cut best lineman in the draft. Protect Flacco and get the Ravens back in the playoffs with drafting offensively this year.
Washington Redskins – Charles Harris, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Missouri
Washington already has a solid offense but needs to find some help on defense. Harris fills a hole in the team’s pass rush with the potential for immediate impact. The Redskins can now get Kirk Cousins the ball more but getting stops on third down.
Tennessee Titans – John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington
After focusing on defense with the fifth pick, Tennessee grabs much-needed help on offense. The Titans need to supply Marcus Mariota with receiving threats and Ross’s blazing speed will go nicely with a Tennessee team looking to get back into the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
Doug Martin’s suspension puts his future with the Bucs in the air. Cook has an NFL body and will fit nicely with former Seminole Jameis Winston. Even when Martin returns, he and Cook will be a nice one-two punch that can propel the Buccaneers into the playoffs.
Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
The Broncos need to help protect whomever will be under center for them this upcoming season. Along with helping out a rushing attack that struggled to maintain consistency, Ramczyk will be the best available lineman on the board at the time.
Detroit Lions – Jarrad Davis, Inside Linebacker, Florida
Stafford and the offense seem to be in good shape, which allows defense to be an early focus in the draft. Having linebacker issues with DeAndre Levy the past couple of years means they need to help fill that void. Whether he plays right away or not, Davis helps stop the run.
Miami Dolphins – Malik McDowell, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
Miami ranked near the bottom against the run this past season and need to pair someone with Ndamukong Suh. McDowell is one that can compete right away and help push the Dolphins into consistency that lacked the Dolphins at points throughout last season.
New York Giants – Garett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah.
The Giants have continued to struggle with the run game in the past couple of years and need a guy that can open holes for the running backs. With Manning aging, it’s also important to protect him with an infusion of solid talent.
Oakland Raiders – Zach Cunningham, Inside Linebacker, Vanderbilt
Cunningham has the size (6ft. 3in.) that will make teams cringe when they face him. He can be a nice combo with Khalil Mack and that help keep Oakland near the top of a scary good AFC West.
Houston Texans – Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech
I do not trust Tom Savage lasting a full season as a starting as he has been injured the past two seasons. Mahomes has enough talent to be the best quarterback in the draft but still needs to develop. The Texans finally get their quarterback of the future with Mahomes.
Seattle Seahawks – Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The issue with Seattle’s offense last year was the inconsistency from both tackle positions. Seattle needs to protect Russell Wilson because without him, this team goes nowhere. Protecting Wilson is priority number one despite concerns with Richard Sherman potentially being traded away.
Kansas City Chiefs – Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson.
Drafting Watson is a win-win scenario for both sides. The Chiefs draft their quarterback of the future and Watson gets to learn to control his interceptions behind Alex Smith. Watson has the skills to play right away but having a year or two of backup experience with be best for him.
Dallas Cowboys – Kevin King, Cornerback, Washington.
Dallas needs help defensively and picking a corner is the best move to improve the secondary. Losing Barry Church makes the secondary a top priority in a draft that will focus the Cowboys on defense.
Green Bay Packers – T.J. Watt, Outside Linebacker, Wisconsin
Green Bay has uncertain spots to fill at running back and linebacker. The Packers will address both needs eventually in the draft but they will not pass on Watt, who will not have to travel that much since he played at Wisconsin. Watt also plays with a mentality that propelled him into a first-round selection.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan
Pittsburgh has enough offensive weapons, especially with the return of Martavis Bryant. The defense needs to find a pass rusher to help bring back the old tough and rough Pittsburgh defense. Charlton had numbers that never went down at Michigan and can provide a spark.
Atlanta Falcons – Jordan Willis, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End, Kansas State
After coming so close to a Super Bowl win, Atlanta needs to find a complement to Vic Beasley Jr. He improved the Falcon defense last year but needs more help in the pass rush.
New Orleans Saints – Jabrill Peppers, Safety/Linebacker, Michigan
Peppers’ diluted sample is a non-issue and he will still be a first round pick. Peppers is a hybrid play maker that can spark a team and will help fill a void on defense while also being a dynamic return man who can help Drew Brees get back into the playoffs.