It’s just about that time. With the 2016 NFL and college football season winding down, it is time to take release our first mock draft. The NFL Draft isn’t until April 27th, but it’s never too early to start thinking mock draft. I repeat this will change in the coming weeks. I form most of my opinion on players during the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine. That means I haven’t done my homework on every player heading into the 2017 NFL Draft yet. My first mock draft will occur based on needs. Again these will change once free agency takes place. I stress this mock draft is far from a finished product. For the most extensive NFL Draft coverage questions can be answered by tweeting at me @treydaubert.
1. Cleveland Browns: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
There is no secret that Cleveland needs a quarterback. It appears that they prefer Trubisky at this early juncture. I’ve done my homework on Tribisky and, it appears the Browns are set to make another colossal mistake (Shocker, Not!). Here’s an excerpt from my article earlier in the season.
2. San Francisco 49ers: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Chip Kelly is not going to go another season with Kaepernick or Gabbert as his starter again. There is no way he doesn’t draft a quarterback in round one. The Notre Dame signal caller fits that Mariota replica Chip is looking for. As of now, it appears Kizer is another sure-fire quarterback to go in the top of the draft. Again I’m not a fan Kizer either. If you can’t complete 60 percent of your throws in college how in the world can you be a productive pro quarterback? Here’s an excerpt from my opinion of Kizer.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, HB, LSU
Gus Bradley is going to get fired in favor of an offensive coach. I’m almost certain he will be replaced with an offensive mind with the goal of building Blake Bortles confidence. In previous years the Jags have beefed up the defense. The Jags take Fournette, the draft’s most talented prospect. Ezekiel Elliot went 4th overall last year so there is no reason this is too high.
4. Chicago Bears: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Maybe this is a possibility for Tony Romo next season? If not the Bears are going to get their quarterback. Watson is having a down year thus far but he is a gamer. I assure you his stock will rise following the college football playoff games. He fits that Dak Prescott model.
5. New York Jets: Myles Garrett, OLB-DE, Texas A&M
The Jets get a gift with the 5th pick. Garrett is the best defensive player in the draft and almost a clone of Von Miller. There isn’t much more to say, this guy is a freak.
6. Tennessee Titans via LA Rams: Adore Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson might not be the top rated corner right now, but he is going to test off the charts. Jackson could be a true shutdown corner in the league. The Titans also desperately need secondary help.
7. Carolina Panthers: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Humphrey is had a terrific year at Alabama. Teams almost refuse the ball to his side. After the Josh Norman departure last year I expect Carolina to target a corner like Humphrey.
8. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DE-DT, Alabama
Allen is a mammoth and is in serious contention for the number one overall pick. Allen is the anchor of Alabama’s run unbelievable defense. Can you imagine plugging this guy next to Geno Atkins?!?
9. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
This defense is a dumpster fire. The Saints secondary would seem to have problems covering a sloth. Tabor has been a great corner for the University of Florida and gives the Saints a great starter opposite of Delvin Breaux.
10. San Diego Chargers: Jabrill Peppers, S-LB, Michigan
The loss of Eric Weddle still stings this organization. Peppers could be the perfect replacement. I still think he probably works better as an undersized linebacker but that’s just me.
11. Cleveland Browns via Philadelphia Eagles: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Cleveland uses the Carson Wentz pick on defense this time to get themselves some secondary help. Joe Haden needs some help on the opposite side. Browns take the Ohio State product.
12. Arizona Cardinals: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
While Florida isn’t a powerhouse this season, they have a tremendous defense. Wilson probably has a higher ceiling than his counterpart Tabor. Both are first round picks. Pat Peterson needs a side-kick, right?
13. Buffalo Bills: Derek Barnett, DE-DT, Tennesee
Barnett would be a great addition to the Bills defense. Rex Ryan covets guys like Barnett. The weird situation with Marcel Dareus could prompt this pick.
14. Tennesee Titans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Titans double dip in the secondary. Hooker gives them the roaming free safety they desperately need. Every team needs a guy like Hooker to cover up for mistakes.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook, HB, Florida State
Andrew Luck hasn’t had a reliable ground game to work with during his entire career. Frank Gore is also somehow still in the league despite being born around the same time as dinosaurs. Cook is a real home run hitting back that should go top 15.
16. Philadelphia Eagles via Minnesota Vikings: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Eagles receiver core is down right terrible. Improving the offense is priority number one. Carson Wentz needs a true number one target. Williams appears to be that guy. Clemson, wide outs are always dependable (Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant).
17. Green Bay Packers: Malik McDowell, DE-DT, Michigan State
The Packers need that interior line pressure that has been missing since the days of B.J. Raji. Packers take a tough Big 10 defensive tackle for the middle of their defense.
18. Washington Redskins: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Adams is a playmaking safety the Redskins desperately need. Washington has good corners but virtually no over the top help. Taking a safety from LSU usually turns out ok.
19. Miami Dolphins: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
While the Dolphins acquired Byron Maxwell last year, he isn’t the long-term answer. Jones gives the Fins the number one corner they really need.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taco Charlton, OLB-DE, Michigan
James Harrison is old and other guys like Bud Dupree and Jarvis Jones haven’t developed into reliable pass rushers. Charlton is a safe bet commanding double teams regularly on the Michigan defensive line. Steelers need a pass rusher to bring some fright back in that defense.
(Picks 21-32 are determined by finishing order in the playoffs. Teams currently in line for postseason bids are not included.)