Today is the day all NFL fans have been waiting for since the New England Patriots lifted the Super Bowl. Draft Day.
Yesterday, I released my first five selections for this year’s draft.
This right here is the remaining 27 selections.
I now declare my mock draft OPEN!
New York Jets: O.J. Howard
Tight End - Alabama Crimson Tide
The New York Jets are one of those teams that rarely uses a tight end in their offense. Next year would be a good time to change that philosophy. Right now, the Jets have three quarterbacks on their roster, Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty. One thing all NFL fans know is that young NFL quarterbacks love to throw to tight ends, take a look at Mariota in Tennessee or even Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay. On top of that, McCown has a history of making his tight end his favourite target, just like he did with Gary Barnidge in Cleveland who had a career year (1043 yards) with McCown behind center. The addition of Howard will make it much easier for their quarterbacks to gain some confidence and win some games.
LA Chargers: Jonathan Allen
Defensive Line - Alabama Crimson Tide
Since driving safety Eric Weddle out of town, the Chargers have had a hole they’ve needed to fill. Unfortunately for them, neither Hooker or Adams will be available at this stage. With that being the case they should go with the best player available, Jonathan Allen. Allen won the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender on the nation’s top defense in 2016 (69 tackles, 16 TFL, led the team with 10.5 sacks). Allen is an elite talent with the ability to play both inside and outside. Having played in the same front seven as Joey Bosa, the Chargers will have two tremendous pass-rushers.
Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey
Running Back - Stanford Cardinals
Now, McCaffrey isn’t exactly the power back that you’d expect the Panthers to want, but he is a superb talent that’ll be hard to pass on. He’ll give Cam Newton a key weapon to throw to and hopefully prevent him from getting hit so much. McCaffrey will bring some speed to the Panthers backfield that Jonathan Stewart simply does not have.
Cincinnati Bengals - Solomon Thomas
Defensive Line - Stanford Cardinals
The Bengals need to get younger on the defensive line and luckily for them, Solomon Thomas is likely to be available. Geno Atkins is getting closer to 30, as is Carlos Dunlap. They do have Andrew Billings, their fourth-rounder from last year, who was injured all of the last year. With all these veterans around the organization, now is a great time to bring in youth to learn from those guys. Plus, Thomas can give them explosiveness on the edge for years to come.
Buffalo Bills - Mike Williams
Wide Receiver - Clemson Tigers
The Bills are in need of the quarterback of the future, however, when that player eventually comes he’s going to need someone to throw the ball to. Sammy Watkins has struggled with injuries his whole NFL career, Robert Woods signed with the L.A. Rams this off-season, and Marquise Goodwin has signed with the 49ers. With those guys gone, the Bills have been left with just Sammy Watkins and, like I said, he can barely stay on the field. By bringing in Williams you’re giving your receiver a top target who can dominate this league for years to come. They could potentially grab DeShone Kizer in the second round which would be an excellent pick.
New Orleans Saints - Reuben Foster
Linebacker - Alabama Crimson Tide
Every single pick in this draft for the Saints should be a defensive player. With their first pick, they should select hard-hitting Alabama linebacker, Reuben Foster. Foster is one of those players who can set a tone on a game with his hard hitting ability. Yes, Foster has had his off the field concerns recently but that shouldn’t stop the Saints from picking him. The Saints need some personality on defense and Foster can be the guy to bring that.
Cleveland Browns - Deshaun Watson
Quarterback - Clemson Tigers
Plenty of conversations have been going around involving Mitch Trubisky being drafted by the Browns. That would be the wrong move in my eyes. By drafting Watson you’re getting yourself a quarterback that knows how to win games, something that the Browns don’t know how to do. Watson has been in back-to-back National Championships and only lost one game last season. The former Tiger can help bring a winning mentality to the Browns organization, something that has been missing for a while.
Arizona Cardinals - Pat Mahomes
Quarterback - Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Cardinals have got to start looking to the future at the quarterback position, especially after the decline of Carson Palmer last season. Arizona looks to have a QB with a huge arm and Mahomes definitely has one. He’ll have the opportunity to sit behind Palmer next season, or until he returns, giving him time to figure out what the Cardinals need him to do. This would be a perfect fit for him and Arizona.
Philadelphia Eagles - Marlon Humphrey
Cornerback - Alabama Crimson Tide
The Eagles really need a cornerback. Actually, they need two cornerbacks. Many thought Gareon Conley would be selected here, but with all that is going on with him off the field it now seems unlikely that he’ll even be drafted at all. The Eagles should change focus and select Humphrey instead. He’s fast and tall which most teams will be looking for at corner. Humphrey isn’t fully developed yet and it may take a while for him to become a stud corner in the NFL. In the end, it’ll all be worth it for the Eagles.
Indianapolis Colts - Haason Reddick
Linebacker - Temple Owls
New General Manager, Chris Ballard, made some great moves this off-season, in doing so it now allows the Colts to select the best player available. That best player available in this stage of the draft is Haason Reddick. Reddick could go as high as nine in this year’s draft if the Bills pass on him, though don’t be surprised to see him fall to the Colts. The former Temple Owl is a solid player who can play anywhere in the front seven. He can rush, he can cover, he can do literally anything you want him to do. Not many players have worked as hard as Reddick has to get to this stage. He was a walk-on red-shirt in his first year at Temple, he’s an All-AAC first teamer and now a potential top-15 pick in the NFL. The Colts will be getting a stud in Reddick.
Baltimore Ravens - John Ross
Wide Receiver - Washington Huskies
Joe Flacco has a huge arm. John Ross has electric speed. What a perfect duo this could be. As we all know by now, John Ross is Mr. 40 after crashing the 40-yard dash time at the combine with a 4.22. Flacco has a good track record with speedy receivers like Torrey Smith, and Jacoby Jones from their Super Bowl winning team and more recently Mike Wallace. Breshad Perriman hasn’t panned out the way they wanted him to and Steve Smith has returned. By bringing in Ross you get a guy that is faster than everyone on the field and can cause plenty of damage.
Washington Redskins- Derek Barnett
Defensive End - Tennessee Volunteers
Washington needs some help on the edge, especially with Trent Murphy suspended for the first four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy and Junior Galette recently being arrested. Barnett led the way for the Volunteers beating the record for sacks in school history recently held by Reggie White. The Redskins are going to get a player that can start day one and make an immediate impact.
Tennessee Titans - Corey Davis
Wide Receiver - Western Michigan Broncos
Tennessee has everything in place to become an elite team in the NFL, everything besides a number one target for Marcus Mariota. Last season, Mariota had Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe who are both good receivers in their own right but not number ones. Davis is consistent, a touchdown beast (52 in four years), and exactly what the Titans need.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dalvin Cook
Running Back - Florida State Seminoles
Tampa could go edge rusher at this spot too, but after the success Cook and Jameis Winston had in college it would be great to see them reunited. Doug Martin’s time in Tampa seems to be up in the air, and it’ll be hard for the Bucs to lean on Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers for an entire season. Basically, it’s time to bring a new face to the position. Cook will give them another big-time threat on offense and hopefully help improve on their 24th ranked rushing attack.
Denver Broncos - Ryan Ramczyk
Offensive Line - Wisconsin Badgers
The Broncos line hasn’t been good for a while. If they want to be able to run the ball successfully and often then it has to get better. Last year, the Broncos finished 29th in rushing yards per game, which is mostly because of their weak offensive line. Ramczyk is the best run block in the draft and can play either tackle or guard. The former Badger is the perfect pick for the Broncos at this point if they want to get back to the Super Bowl.
Detroit Lions - Taco Charlton
Defensive End - Michigan Wolverines
Last season, the Lions struggled to hit the quarterback, finishing 30th in the NFL with only 26 sacks. Everybody knows how great Ziggy Ansah is, however, last year he was plagued by injuries and couldn’t stay on the field long enough to make a difference. Kerry Hyder did step up with eight sacks but it would be bold for the Lions to risk not bringing in a backup. Charlton is familiar with the Detroit area, after playing his college ball at Michigan, and could become a day one starter for the Lions. Throughout his four years at Michigan, Charlton racked up 28 tackles for a loss, 19 of those being sacks.
Miami Dolphins - Charles Harris
Defensive End - Missouri Tigers
The defensive line isn’t getting any younger in Miami. Cameron Wake recently turned 35 in January and William Hayes, who they brought in this off-season is on the wrong side of 30. By bringing in Harris now, it will give him time to develop and when he’s ready he can shine. Miami also finished in the bottom of the league in sacks last season with only 33, Harris finished his junior year at the Missouri with 9.
New York Giants - Garett Bolles
Offensive Line - Utah Utes
New York cannot survive another season with Ereck Flowers at left tackle. They did bring in D.J. Fluker in order to sort out that situation if that doesn’t work out though they can have Bolles sort out the mess. Bolles is a super athletic tackle who has had his fair share of off the field troubles. He brings a toughness to the position that not many other players at this position in the draft do. Bolles can also come in and help bring back life to the Giants running game.
Oakland Raiders - Malik McDowell
Defensive Tackle - Michigan State Spartans
In the past, when I have fooled around with mock drafts I have given the Raiders a running back whether is be Joe Mixon or Alvin Kamara. Now, there is no need for that after the recent acquisition of Marshawn Lynch. One big need for this team is actually to stop the run. In 2016, the Raiders defense ranked 23rd against the run average 117-yards per game. Bringing in McDowell will help fix that issue. McDowell will become another threat to hit the quarterback along with Khalil Mack. He is still a raw talent with the other great defensive players alongside him in Oakland his mistakes could be masked.
Houston Texans - Mitch Trubisky
Quarterback - North Carolina Tar Heels
It’s simple really, the Houston Texans only have two quarterbacks on their roster. There is no point in the Texans waiting until a later round to select a QB when they have a perfectly fine one fall on their laps in round one. Trubisky does lack game experience, after only starting 13 games in college, but I believe the Texans like Savage enough to give Trubisky time on the bench to learn. This is a great spot for him to fall, especially with Bill O’Brien as his head coach.
Seattle Seahawks - Forrest Lamp
Offensive Line - Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
You may remember last season’s draft when the Seahawks drafted Germain Ifedi to bolster their offensive line, well this year they’re doing it again. Seattle, much like Denver, needs to get back to being a dominant run-first offense, it’s what helped them in the Super Bowl. Forrest Lamp can play anywhere across the line and can create holes big enough that even Eddie Lacy can run through them. If all goes to plan, it won’t be long before Seattle gets back to its roots.
Kansas City Chiefs - Joe Mixon
Running Back - Oklahoma Sooners
Andy Reid has a great history of turning players with bad off the field records around, just take a look at what he has done with both Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill. Joe Mixon should be his next project. The Chiefs need to add another running back to their roster since they released Jamaal Charles. During his last season with the Sooners, Mixon ended up with over 1000 yards and 1800 all-purpose yards, he also had 26 touchdowns.
Dallas Cowboys - Tre’Davious White
Cornerback - LSU Tigers
Over the past few drafts, the Dallas Cowboys have come out on top with great talents like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, and Zack Martin. This offseason should give you a good idea of what the Cowboys will be doing this draft year after losing Barry Church, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne. White is a big need for the Cowboys, one at cornerback and two at kick returner. The Cowboys can kill two birds with one stone with this pick.
Green Bay Packers - Adoree’ Jackson
Cornerback - USC Trojans
Last season, the Green Bay Packers stunk at stopping the pass. They finished up the year first in yards per catch and second in yards per game. They have a couple of options at this position for a corner but Jackson is a big playmaker. He finished up 2016 with five interceptions for the Trojans and 55 tackles, six for a loss of yards. Jackson is also an excellent return man, finishing his college career with eight return touchdowns.
Pittsburgh Steelers - David Njoku
Tight End - Miami Hurricanes
The Steelers almost lost Big Ben (Ben Roethlisberger) to retirement this offseason, so to make him happy why not give him another weapon. Now, Pittsburgh does have Ladarius Green as their starting tight end but if he gets another concussion who really knows what will happen to him. Njoku will bring pure athleticism and add even more great blocking for the run game. Most scouts have compared Njoku to Carolina Panthers tight end, and former Hurricane, Greg Olson, we all know how well he turned out.
Atlanta Falcons - Cam Robinson
Offensive Line - Alabama Crimson Tide
Although the Falcons had a superb run game last season, helping get all the way to the Super Bowl, they still allowed their quarterback to get sacked 37 times. The Falcons could do with a guard at this point, unfortunately for them, a full-time guard isn’t available. It wouldn’t be difficult for them to convert Robinson into a guard for the time being until they find a solution. Eventually, they can toss him back outside. Who knows, maybe he’ll turn out to be a great guard for them.
New Orleans Saints - Take McKinley
Defensive End - UCLA Bruins
As I said earlier, the Saints need defense and plenty of it. They’ve already improved in the middle with Reuben Foster, now it’s time to move up front. Sacking the quarterback was practically non-existent for the Saints in 2016. They only managed to get 30 all season long with the most coming from Cameron Jordan with 7.5 sacks. By bringing in McKinley, it will create more gaps for the likes of Jordan allowing them to get the quarterback more often than not. McKinley also led the way for the Bruins with 10 sacks in 2016.
Any comments are welcome, good or bad, in the comment section or you can hit me up at Twitter @LiamHorrobin.
Thanks for reading.