The Combine is complete. Free agency is all but wrapped up. The draft is a month away.
That means it is time, once again, to take a look at the mock draft to see who will be going where.
It seems like we have come to a consensus on the top prospects in the draft. Names like Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas and Marshon Lattimore are all but guaranteed to be top ten picks. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks continue to be a fiery discussion as to where they will land.
How far will the running backs fall? Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook are the best guys available, but neither are Ezekiel Elliott from a year ago. Finally, how many defensive backs could we see in the first round? This seems to be one of the best secondary classes in recent memory and we could see a run on them early in the draft.
Without further ado, here is version 1.0 of the mock draft project.
In lieu of a breakdown of each pick, let’s dive into some of the more interesting picks and trends in this mock draft.
A total of three quarterbacks come off of the board in the first round. San Francisco takes Deshaun Watson second overall, the most pro-ready of all of the quarterbacks and a centerpiece for Kyle Shanahan to build an offense around. Cleveland sits tight and takes Mitch Trubisky at No. 12. Trubisky might have some work to do, but he lands in a good scenario seeing as Cleveland just spent massive money to revamp their offensive line.
Meanwhile, DeShone Kizer comes off of the board at No. 25 to the Texans. Even if they land Tony Romo, there’s still a good possibility the Texans take a QB early in the draft. Romo isn’t going to play for much longer and Kizer would benefit from the one or two years he could learn behind the veteran.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have spent a lot of money in free agency as they attempt to rebuild their defense. As such, taking a defensive player like Solomon Thomas makes little sense. So the pick here is O.J. Howard, the freak tight end from Alabama who could help Blake Bortles as the quarterback enters the final stretches of his rookie contract. A tight end has not been drafted this high in recent memory, but the Jaguars are really forced to take an offensive player here.
The three best defensive backs come off the board back-to-back-t0-back. The Titans land the best cornerback in Marshon Lattimore, a position of desperate need for Tennessee. The Jets begin their rebuild of their secondary with Jamal Adams and the the Chargers get Malik Hooker, who should be healthy by the time the season rolls around.
While this offensive tackle class is not as good as year’s past, it doesn’t stop teams for reaching if there is a big enough need. Despite spending big money on Matt Kalil in free agency, the Panthers take Ryan Ramcyzk to help shore up Cam Newton’s protection. Is this a big early for a guy like Ramcyzk? Yes, but the Panthers realize that they cannot afford to waste Newton’s prime. If they can’t get protection around him, Newton will continue to take unnecessary hits like he did last season.
Meanwhile, Forrest Lamp comes off of the board at No. 22 to Miami and Cam Robinson falls to Seattle at No. 26. Lamp might be the best offensive lineman in the draft, but his pro position is likely guard so this limits his draft ceiling. Seattle is pretty much shoehorned into drafting a lineman given the poor situation they have surrounding Russell Wilson.
Arizona taking Mike Williams might seem strange at first, but with Larry Fitzgerald rapidly approaching his limit, the team has to think about the future. Whether it’s Carson Palmer or someone else taking snaps in two or three years, they’ll need a dependable receiver to throw to.
The running backs fall a bit in this scenario. Leonard Fournette is taken by the Colts at No. 15, a perfect situation for him. Andrew Luck has lacked a dependable running back and Fournette will thrive with defenses focused on stopping Luck’s aerial attack. Dalvin Cook reunites with his old teammate Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay at No. 19. Between Mike Evans, Desean Jackson and Cook, Tampa Bay’s offense could be among the best in the league.
The New York Giants pull a stunner and take Christian McCaffrey at No. 23, who would be a perfect compliment to the passing attack that the Giants are building. He won’t be relied upon to take 25-30 carries a game, simply because the Giants will be wanting to throw to the plethora of receiving talent they have out wide. This also means McCaffrey will be able to work his magic in the open field and help their offense out in a variety of ways.
With the draft around a month away, there is still a lot of time left for craziness to happen. Heck, the Los Angeles Rams traded for the No. 1 overall pick last year with less than two weeks remaining until the draft. As always, we have no idea what is going to happen. Myles Garrett is almost certainly going to be the top pick, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens after that.