Omaha! ...

Month: April 2017

With the 2017 NFL Draft under a week away (five days to be exact at the time of this writing), my second of three pre-draft mocks is here. The third and final mock will be unveiled during a special pre-draft podcast that will be available on Draft Eve. I try to bring a unique approach to these mocks. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is known for saying “Rankings are what I see, mock drafts are what I hear.” These mocks try to combine all of those aspects, which include a prospect’s game tape, insider buzz, and potential fits that I see personally. Without further ado, here is DKrom’s Mock 2.0

1. Browns: Myles Garrett (EDGE, Texas A&M)
-Football and sports hell will freeze over if the Browns don’t draft Garrett. Browns fans must tweet the snot out of the hash-tag #MylesGarrettNoMatterWhat over these next several days.

2. Panthers [from 49ers]: Solomon Thomas (EDGE, Stanford)
-San Francisco remains eager to trade down from this spot and the Panthers remain a prime candidate to be such a trading partner. Although buzz has Carolina linked to Fournette and McCaffery, they have a glaring need at edge pass rusher and Thomas is arguably the second-best overall prospect in this class.

3. Bears: Mitchell Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)
-Despite the off-season signings of Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez, neither are long-term solutions for the Bears under center. Speculation of Chicago drafting its QB of the future here is increasing and buzz from the Combine suggested HC John Fox was enamored with Trubisky.

4. Jaguars: Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)
-Jacksonville can go a lot of ways with this pick. Though I will say that the Jaguars need a solid running game to take pressure off both Blake Bortles and their very promising young defense.

5. Titans [via Rams]: Jamal Adams (S, LSU)
-Tennessee badly needs help in the secondary and Adams might remind defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau of a soon-to-be hall of famer he coached in Pittsburgh (Troy Polamalu). Adams is also an exceptional leader and can play either safety position.

6. Jets: Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)
-Gang Green also needs secondary help, especially at corner. Although taking the injury-prone Marcus Lattimore will be tempting given his ceiling, Conley is the safer prospect.

7. Chargers: Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)
-Hooker’s incredible nose for the football could add the dimension needed to make the Chargers defense go from good to great, if not elite. He will make the Bolts forget about Eric Weddle sooner rather than later.

8. 49ers [from Panthers]: Christian McCaffery (RB, Stanford)
-Once again, the 49ers can go a lot of different ways here given the massive number of holes on their roster. That said, McCaffery is the prototypical 21st-century NFL running back and can make game winning plays week in and week out.

9. Bengals: Forrest Lamp (G/T, Western Kentucky)
-The Bengals offensive line was absolutely decimated in free agency with the departures of LT Andrew Whitworth and G Kevin Zeitler. Lamp, the best OL in this class, may be projected by most at guard, but he also deserves a look tat LT given his world-class game tape against Alabama.

10. Bills: Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson)
-Buffalo has held intensive pre-draft interviews with the top QB prospects and I don’t think it’s a smokescreen given the attendance of owner Terry Pegula at those meetings. Watson tends to shine when the lights are the brightest, and those intangibles could be exactly what the Bills need to earn their first playoff berth of this century.

11. Saints: O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
-It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Saints spend both of their first round picks on defense. But with Drew Brees at 38 years old, he needs more weapons to play with and Howard has a very good chance to be an upgrade from Jimmy Graham

12. Browns [via Eagles]: Patrick Mahomes II (QB, Texas Tech)
-If Cleveland wants Trubisky as most reports indicate, they will certainly trade up to the fourth or fifth spot. But if he’s gone even earlier than expected, they would be wise to stand pat at 12 and select a worthwhile project in Mahomes.

13. Cardinals: Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan)
-My guess is that the Cardinals will go QB, WR, CB or LB here. If they choose to go for Larry Fitzgerald’s long-term replacement, they should go with Davis given his run-after-the-catch ability, route running and blocking skills.

14. Eagles: Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)
-Philly can opt for offensive skill position talent here, but they need a sure-fire shutdown CB to lock down Odell Beckham, Jr. and Dez Bryant for a total of four times per year. Lattimore, despite his troubling history of recurrent hamstring injuries, would be EXCELLENT value here.

15. Colts: Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
-It would be wise for the Colts to add to their offensive line or defense here. On the other hand, it would be equally wise to give Andrew Luck another playmaker; especially one who will give opposing teams hissy fits in the red zone.

16. Ravens: Haason Reddick (LB/EDGE, Temple)
-With Terrell Suggs on his last legs and Kamalei Correa an unproven entity, Baltimore needs to find its edge pass rusher of the future. Charles Harris or Derek Barnett would be appropriate choices for the Ravens here, but Reddick’s immense versatility will make it very tough for Ozzie Newsome to pass on.

17. Redskins: Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)
-Foster, regarded by most as a top-10 talent, could experience a draft day fall given his lingering shoulder issues plus the fact he failed a drug test at the combine. The Redskins, sorely in need of linebacker talent, should still not pass on him if he’s available here.

18. Giants [from Titans]: Garrett Bolles (OT, Utah)
-In a thin, talent-poor offensive tackle class, expect OT-needy teams like the Giants to reach on one of the top-three OT’s earlier than expected. If the G-Men are interested in landing the athletic, nasty Bolles, they are almost certainly going to have to trade up here given Denver’s strong interest in him.

19. Buccaneers: Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)
-You can never have too many pass rushers and many believe Harris is the best prospect from Mizzou’s defensive factory in years. Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Drew Brees won’t like going against a pass-rushing trio of Harris, Gerald McCoy and Noah Spence twice a year.

20. Broncos: Jonathan Allen (DL, Alabama)
-As disastrous as the Broncos OL has been recently, their run defense cratered big time in 2016 after the departures of Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan. If Allen falls this far due to concerns about arthritis in his shoulders, Denver would be wise to pounce.

21. Lions: Derek Barnett (EDGE, Tennessee)
-As 2016 showed, Ziggy Ansah is talented, but he needs somebody to help him hunt down quarterbacks. Barnett is an outstanding technician and will make life for Ansah and the rest of the Lions defense easier right away

22. Dolphins: Cam Robinson (G, Alabama)
-The Dolphins need to bolster the interior of their offensive line. Robinson, who played LT at Alabama, is a much better fit at guard where his superb run blocking will shine the most.

23. Titans [from Giants]: David Njoku (TE, Miami)
-Marcus Mariota needs more playmakers to get the ball to, especially with Delanie Walker aging. Njoku has the biggest upside of all tight ends in the deepest class at the position in a decade.

24. Raiders: Kevin King (CB, Washington)
-The Raiders need to upgrade what was the league’s 24th-ranked pass defense last year. King’s height (6-3) and ability to play the ball in the air better than some receivers might remind defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. of Richard Sherman, who he worked with in Seattle.

25. Texans: Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)
-With Patrick Mahomes (who Houston LOVES) off the board, the Texans would be wise to invest elsewhere here. They need to find a long-term replacement for CB Johnathan Joseph (33) and Humphrey brings the physicality Romeo Crennel wants in a corner.

26. Seahawks: Quincy Wilson (CB, Florida)
-While it wouldn’t be surprising to see Seattle further address its woeful offensive line here, do NOT be shocked if they pick another corner, especially considering the Richard Sherman trade rumors. Like Sherman, Davis is a fantastic tackler, and would be tremendous value here.

27. Jaguars [from Chiefs]: Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin)
-Jaguars LT Branden Albert is almost washed up and is holding out of OTA’s for more guaranteed money. Should Ramczyk fall due to concerns about his recent hip surgery, this would be a great spot for Jacksonville to trade back into the first round to get their left tackle of the future.

28. Cowboys: Chidobe Awuzie (CB, Colorado)
-If the top-four edge rushers are off the board here, expect the Cowboys to address its depleted CB corps. The versatile Awuzie has the speed and tackling skills that are mandatory in a Rod Marinelli defense.

29. Packers: Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
-Green Bay’s pass defense was absolutely atrocious last season and they lost versatile DB Micah Hyde to Buffalo in free agency. White’s elite coverage skills will be a more-than-welcome addition for the Pack.

30. Steelers: Takk McKinley (EDGE, UCLA)
-It has been known for weeks that Ben Roethlisberger is banging the table for the Steelers to draft a tight end in the first round. But if Howard and Njoku are off the board, Pittsburgh ought to find a long-term successor for the ageless James Harrison. McKinley’s life story symbolizes what it means to be a Steeler.

31. Falons: T.J. Watt (EDGE, Wisconsin)
-The NFC Champions are building a very promising young defense. Adding the uber-athletic Watt to hunt down QB’s with Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett should be very appealing to Dan Quinn.

32. Cardinals [from Saints]: DeShone Kizer (QB, Notre Dame)
-Should the Cardinals want to find their QB of the future in this draft, trading back up into one of the final slots could be on the table if someone they really like is still on the board at that time. Many draftniks believe that Kizer is the best possible fit for a Bruce Arians passing attack among this year’s quarterback crop.

With the 2017 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, I begin the annual tradition of writing my first of three pre-draft mocks. I try to bring a unique approach to these mocks. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is known for saying “Rankings are what I see, mock drafts are what I hear.” These mocks try to combine all of those aspects, which include a prospect’s game tape, insider buzz, and potential fits that I see personally. Without further ado, here is DKrom’s Mock 1.0

  1. Browns: Myles Garrett (EDGE, Texas A&M)

-Garrett is far and away the best prospect in this draft class. Hopefully for Browns fans, GM Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson have notes in their pockets reading “Myles Garrett no matter what.”

  1. Panthers [from 49ers]: Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)

-San Francisco would LOVE to trade down from this slot, and the Panthers are rumored as a likely trading partner. Teaming Fournette and Cam Newton together in the backfield would go a long way in helping Carolina’s offense regain their 2015 form.

  1. Bears: Solomon Thomas (EDGE, Stanford)

-If Thomas is available here, the Bears should absolutely SPRINT the card to the podium. Arguably the second best prospect in this draft class, Thomas brings a tantalizing combination of versatility and athleticism.

  1. Jaguars: Jamal Adams (S, LSU)

-Adams brings extraordinary leadership gifts that can help mold this talented young defense into an elite unit sooner rather than later.

  1. Browns [from Titans via Rams]: Mitchell Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)

-With the Browns front office and coaches reportedly split on taking either Garrett or Trubisky at #1 overall, they must realize they have the draft capital to get both. Selecting Garrett at the top and trading up to this spot is the way to do it.

  1. Jets: Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)

-Todd Bowles needs a shutdown corner of the future to help make his blitz-heavy scheme work to perfection. However, Lattimore may slide outside of the top 10 due to concerns about his chronic hamstring issues.

  1. Chargers: Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)

-Hooker may as well be the final piece that makes the Chargers defense into a top-five unit for years to come. He is a PERFECT fit for new DC Gus Bradley’s scheme.

  1. 49ers [from Panthers]: Christian McCaffery (RB, Stanford)

-The 49ers can go a lot of different ways here given the massive number of holes on their roster. Trading down from #2, getting an additional 1st-rounder in 2018 and selecting this draft class’s most versatile playmaker will be more than an ideal scenario for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan.

  1. Bengals: Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)

-The Bengals need fresh teeth in the middle of their defense and Foster is THE man to provide them. Cincinnati may also look to bolster their offensive line here starting an early run on OT’s.

  1. Bills: Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson)

-With Buffalo only extending Tyrod Taylor for two more seasons and owner Terry Pegula sitting in on the team’s visits with QB prospects, you get a strong indication the Bills want to find their long-term signal caller in this draft. If Watson sits behind Taylor for two years while learning the nuances of the pro game, he can be special given his intangibles and championship pedigree.

  1. Saints: Jonathan Allen (DL, Alabama)

-I fully expect the Saints to use both of their first-round draft picks on defense. A nickel pass rush with Allen, Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins can be super juicy.

  1. Titans [from Browns via Eagles]: O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)

-With Delanie Walker getting old, Marcus Mariota needs a new go-to guy in the passing game. Not only can Howard be such a target, he also brings amazing blocking skills that can take the Titans’ “exotic smashmouth” offense to even greater heights.

  1. Cardinals: Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)

-The Cardinals have to start preparing for life after Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. I think they should choose Fitzgerald’s long-term successor here since their QB of the future is more likely to be found in next year’s draft class.

  1. Eagles: Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan)

-Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery are solid upgrades for Carson Wentz and the Eagles aerial attack, but I doubt that either of them are long-term solutions. Davis may wind up being the best WR in this draft class when all is set and done.

  1. Colts: Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)

-The Colts beefed up their edge-rushing depth in free agency through solid value signings in Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and Barkevious Mingo. However, Reddick, unlike the former three, can only be an all-around stud whether it’s chasing QB’s, covering tight ends or meeting runners in the backfield for a loss.

  1. Ravens: Forrest Lamp (G/T, Western Kentucky)

-Ravens football starts up front, and they have lost two significant OL pieces in as many years (Kelechi Osemele and Ricky Wagner). Lamp is the best OL in this class by far, and he can replace either one of them.

  1. Redskins: Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)

-Linebacker help is SORELY wanted in our nation’s capital. Cunningham brings a super-advanced nose for the football, but will need to clean up his tackling mechanics.

  1.  Titans: Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)

-The Titans need to urgently improve their secondary, and Conley would be outstanding value here. Many scouts believe that in the long term, he will be a better player than his more-hyped college teammate Marshon Lattimore.

  1. Buccaneers: Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)

-Barnett can go higher than many think. If he lands in Tampa though, he will form a very promising three-headed pass rush with Noah Spence and Gerald McCoy.

  1. Broncos: Garrett Bolles (OT, Utah)

-Denver needs to find a long-term solution at left tackle and they are really high on this kid. Although Bolles is 25 years old and still has issues with core strength and technique, teams are enticed by his freakish athleticism and nasty playing demeanor.

  1. Lions: Taco Charlton (DE, Michigan)

-The Lions will find Ziggy Ansah a much-needed pass rushing partner just a few hours up the road. It also won’t be surprising to see Charlton eventually become the most feared defensive player in Motown.

  1. Dolphins: Takk McKinley (EDGE, UCLA)

-Cameron Wake is almost on his last legs and the Dolphins should be behooved to find his successor in this deep EDGE class. If medical re-checks on McKinley’s shoulders turn out fine, Miami would be wise to take him here.

  1. Giants: Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin)

-Ereck Flowers doesn’t only not fit at left tackle, he might even be better suited at guard. Ramczyk arguably has the highest floor of all the OT prospects this year, and if the medical re-checks on his hip are fine, he could go much higher.

  1. Raiders: Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)

-Oakland (soon-to-be Las Vegas) needs to quickly improve a pass defense that will be playing with a lead quite often. White is one of the best cover corners in this draft class and would thus fit perfectly into the Raiders’ defensive strategies

  1. Texans: Patrick Mahomes II (QB, Texas Tech)

-With Tony Romo retired (at least for the time being), the Texans have only Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden on their roster, and neither are viable long-term options. Mahomes may need to sit a year or two, but teams love his rocket arm.

  1. Seahawks: Cam Robinson (G/T, Alabama)

-The Seahawks can use help ANYWHERE on their offensive line. Robinson will unlikely grow into an elite pass protector, but his jaw-dropping strength and power as a run-blocker will help Seattle’s ground game become a vaunted attack again

  1. Chiefs: Chidobe Awuzie (CB, Colorado)

-Outside of All-Pro Marcus Peters, the Chiefs need better corner play. Awuzie can play both in the slot and on the boundary.

  1. Cowboys: Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)

-Dallas may opt for secondary help here, but they can afford to wait until round two to address it given the immense depth of this DB class. Improving the pass-rush is arguably an even more important objective for the Cowboys in this draft, and Harris is a top-five EDGE prospect.

  1. Packers: Dion Dawkins (G, Temple)

-Ted Thompson needs to fortify protection for Aaron Rodgers up the middle since Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are no longer there. Many believe Dawkins will sneak into the late first round.

  1. Steelers: David Njoku (TE, Miami)

-Ben Roethlisberger is reportedly lobbying Steelers GM Kevin Colbert to draft a tight end. This would be the perfect place to take a chance on Njoku, who many scouts believe has the highest ceiling in this deep TE crop.

  1. Falons: T.J. Watt (EDGE, Wisconsin)

-In order for Vic Beasley to remain an efficient force off the edge, the defending NFC Champs need to get him an effective partner to line up opposite of him. Watt (J.J.’s youngest brother) has the athletic upside that makes Dan Quinn’s mouth water.

  1. Saints: Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)

-Jackson will give the Saints porous pass defense a sorely needed playmaker. He can also return kicks and might be THE most athletic prospect in this draft regardless of position.

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