Omaha! ...

Author: sportskrunch

With the free agency frenzy pretty much in the rearview mirror, many assumed more certainty as to how round one of the 2018 NFL Draft will pan out would arrive by now. Wrong! With even more trades sending shockwaves through draft boards around the league (especially the Jets moving up to three overall and the Giants sending Jason Pierre-Paul packing for Tampa), many doing mock drafts have had to delete them entirely and start over. Some have even refused to continue doing them until the final days before the draft. But as I have said all along, mocks are only exercises in the hypothetical. And especially in a draft as unpredictable as this one, we all have to be prepared for every possible scenario. That’s why I will continue to do them in these final four weeks leading up to the big night on April 26. Without further ado, here is my second of six mock drafts. Have at it…

 

  1. Browns: Sam Darnold (QB, USC)

-Unless he implodes from now until April 26 [spoiler alert: he won’t], Darnold is more than likely to be the first overall pick in this draft.

  1. Giants: Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)

-The fact the Giants didn’t accept the Jets offer to trade down SCREAMS to me that they will draft Rosen as the heir to Eli Manning.

 

  1. Jets [from Colts]: Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)

-While many, if not most, believe Josh Allen will be the pick in this scenario, I strongly believe Mike Maccagnan would prefer the more efficient and accurate Mayfield instead, especially given how epically the Christian Hackenberg experiment failed.

 

  1. Browns [from Texans]: Bradley Chubb (EDGE, North Carolina State)

-A defensive front with Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi and Chubb might be too difficult for the Browns to say “no” to.

 

  1. Broncos: Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)

-Allen’s jaw-dropping arm talent will likely be too much for John Elway to pass over.

 

  1. Colts [from Jets]: Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)

-Drafting the best offensive linemen (if not overall prospect) in this draft class would be the best possible “welcome back present” for Andrew Luck.

 

  1. Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)

-Barkley will be at his best in an offense like Tampa’s, which has an abundance of weapons that will take the attention of defenses away from him.

 

  1. Bears: Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)

-The Bears have had a revolving door at linebacker since Brian Urlacher retired, and Smith will likely put a stop to that for the next 6-8 years, if not longer.

 

  1. 49ers: Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)

-Drafting arguably the best corner in the draft will likely do a lot more to solve the 49ers’ issues at the position than signing Richard Sherman would.

 

  1. Raiders: Derwin James (S, Florida State)

-The Raiders desperately need more playmakers on defense aside from Khalil Mack, and the freakishly athletic and versatile James would provide such an impact immediately.

 

  1. Dolphins: Vita Vea (DT, Washington)

-After releasing Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins would be wise to go with the best DT in this draft, especially if they are unable to move up and select a quarterback.

 

  1. Bills (from Bengals): Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)

-If the Bills are unable to trade up for a QB and are forced to stay at 12 (which seems likely at this juncture), Edmunds would be hard for Sean McDermott to pass on given his love for freakish athletic linebackers.

 

  1. Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S, Alabama)

-Fitzpatrick isn’t the special, top-five talent some say he is, but his versatility would be more than welcome in Washington, especially given the high-powered NFC East passing attacks the Redskins have to face twice a year.

 

  1. Packers: Harold Landry (EDGE, Boston College)

-With an aging Clay Matthews and an inconsistent Nick Perry as their main weapons off the edge, the Packers have to be hoping the second best pass rusher in a talent-poor class falls to them here.

 

  1. Cardinals: Connor Williams (OT, Texas)

-The Cardinals will try to trade up and select a quarterback, and if they are unable to, they will possibly opt to select the athletic Williams, an ideal long-term replacement for Jared Veldheer at right tackle.

 

  1. Ravens: James Daniels (C, Iowa)

-After losing Ryan Jensen in free agency, the Ravens could opt for an immediate upgrade at the pivot with the pro-ready Daniels.

 

  1. Chargers: Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)

-The Chargers have few holes on their roster, but drafting Alexander to play the slot would add an extra dimension to their talented young secondary.

 

  1. Seahawks: Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)

-After jettisoning Richard Sherman, the Seahawks would be hard-pressed to find a better replacement than the lengthy Davis.

 

  1. Cowboys: Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)

-With Dez Bryant’s future beyond 2018 up in the air, the Cowboys are one of the most likely teams to draft a wide receiver in round one.

 

  1. Lions: Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)

-Many expect the Lions to draft a running back early, and some teams have the powerful Guice ahead of the much-ballyhooed Saquon Barkley on their draft boards.

 

  1. Bengals [from Bills]: Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)

-After upgrading the OT position by acquiring Cordy Glenn from Buffalo, the Bengals could choose to upgrade the guard position with Hernandez, whose nasty playing style is tailor-made for the AFC North.

 

  1. Bills [from Chiefs]: Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)

-Word has it the Bills love Jackson more than one of the other “big four” QB’s, and they might have to trade up to pick 14 or higher to nab him in this scenario.

 

  1. Rams: Marcus Davenport (EDGE, UT-San Antonio)

-Although very raw, Davenport is the kind of athletic freak Wade Phillips believes he can mold into something special.

 

  1. Panthers: D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)

-Moore tore up the Combine and he would give Cam Newton that second “run-after-the-catch” threat he needs outside of Christian McCaffrey.

 

  1. Titans: Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)

-With Quinton Spain’s contract expiring at the end of this season, Wynn, a perfect fit for new OC Matt LaFleur’s zone blocking system, would be tremendous value here.

 

  1. Falcons: Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)

-After losing Dontari Poe in free agency, the Falcons could turn to Payne, who will likely provide an immediate replacement in run defense and added upside as a pass rusher.

 

  1. Saints: Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)

-If the Saints are unable to land Ndamukong Suh and are satisfied with Hurst’s medical re-checks before the draft, they would be wise to add the latter’s elite get-off to their pass rush.

 

  1. Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)

-With Ryan Shazier sidelined for the entirety of 2018 and his playing future in question, the Steelers are expected by many to target the speedy, instinctive Vander Esch if he falls into their lap.

 

  1. Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame)

-McGlinchey is the old-school tackle that fits best in the Jaguars run-oriented offense and would be the ideal bookend to Cam Robinson.

 

  1. Vikings: Billy Price (G/C, Ohio State)

-After giving $84 million in full guarantees to Kirk Cousins, the Vikings have to beef up his protection and what better way to do so than an NFL reunion between Price and his college teammate Pat Elflein.

 

  1. Patriots: Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)

-Hubbard is the kind of blue-collar player Bill Belichick covets, and he will likely get rave reviews on Hubbard from his good friend and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

 

  1. Eagles: Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)

-With Michael Bennett indicted on felony charges, the Eagles would be super smart to add the raw, but promising Bryan to their talented defensive line rotation.

 

As of this writing, the 2018 NFL Draft is less than 10 weeks away, but the combine and free agency are fast approaching. This promises to be an “offseason” unlike any other given the rather unprecedented game of quarterback musical chairs that is about to commence. Not only could we see four quarterbacks taken in the top six picks this April, the quarterback free agent market (likely to be headlined by Kirk Cousins) will be as robust a market as we have seen in years. Since Cousins’ ultimate landing spot, which is still unknown, is likely to play a huge factor in how the first round shakes out, I was initially hesitant to do my first mock draft prior to free agency. However, all my friends are doing them now, so I decided to join in on the fun. Because of the fluidity of this QB situation, I outlined all possible scenarios that are still in play for QB-needy teams (particularly those who have been mentioned as top candidates in the Cousins sweepstakes) in my explanations. So without further ado, here is my first mock draft of 2018.

  1. Browns: Sam Darnold (QB, USC)

-While the current expectation is that the Browns will select Darnold, do not rule out the possibility of Baker Mayfield being their choice here one bit. Former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan, who the Browns recently hired as a consultant for the 2018 draft, has stated publicly that the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner is his favorite quarterback in this class…and GM John Dorsey HIGHLY values McCloughan’s opinions.

  1. Giants: Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)

-If the Browns do indeed decide to go with Darnold, look for the Giants to tab Rosen as the long-term successor to Eli Manning, who is on his last legs. On the other hand, if Cleveland selects Mayfield, don’t be surprised if the Giants roll with Darnold, whose size/athleticism combo will wow GM Dave Gettleman.

  1. Colts: Bradley Chubb (EDGE, North Carolina St.)

-The Colts are arguably the most likely candidate to trade down in this draft. They can trade down a few spots with the loser of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes (Broncos or Jets) and still get the guy they need to re-ignite their pass rush.

 

  1. Browns [from Texans]: Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S, LSU)

-The Browns have quietly built a rather stellar defensive front seven. Fitzpatrick would give them a sorely needed playmaker on the back end.

 

  1. Broncos: Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)

-If the Broncos land Kirk Cousins as several currently expect them to, look for them to land arguably the best (and safest) overall prospect in the draft or trade down. Should they fail to sign Cousins, they will almost certainly try to trade up and select a quarterback.

 

  1. Jets: Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)

-The Jets will also be major players for Kirk Cousins thus the possible scenarios listed for the Broncos above also apply to them. In this case, Mayfield could provide the Jets the long-term stability they have lacked for so long at the most important position in sports.

 

  1. Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)

-Barkley could be the final piece that will make the Buccaneers a top-five NFL offense.

 

  1. Bears: Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)

-In 2017, the Bears were quietly the NFL’s seventh best pass defense. If they retain Kyle Fuller and draft Denzel Ward, the Chicago secondary could only be a bigger nightmare for opposing quarterbacks in 2018.

 

9*. 49ers: Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)

-Given Reuben Foster’s recent legal troubles, it wouldn’t hurt the 49ers to select another top-tier linebacker prospect from the SEC. Also, if Foster matures, he and Smith could give Niners fans memories of the Bowman/Willis days.

 

9*. Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)

-Sans Khalil Mack, the Raiders are still lacking talent on the defensive side of the ball. Edmunds, arguably the most freakish athlete in this draft, can both be an off-ball linebacker and rush the passer from the edge.

 

  1. Dolphins: Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)

-With Jarvis Landry likely headed elsewhere in free agency, the Dolphins select his more-than-ideal replacement in Calvin Ridley. A big, speedy route-running maven, Ridley will provide a security blanket for Ryan Tannehill or whoever the Dolphins trot out at QB in 2018.

 

  1. Bengals: Orlando Brown (OT, Oklahoma)

-This year’s OT class does not have a consensus favorite. Whether they think it’s Brown, Connor Williams, or Mike McGlinchey, expect the Bengals to upgrade their tackle situation early in the draft.

 

  1. Redskins: Vita Vea (DT, Washington)

-Teaming the 344-lb. athletic freak with 2017 first-round pick Jonathan Allen will give the Redskins one of the most terrifying defensive fronts in the league.

 

  1. Packers: Josh Jackson (CB, Iowa)

-The Packers need more playmakers on defense and they will get one with this ball-hawking corner who tallied 27 pass breakups and eight interceptions for the Hawkeyes last year.

 

  1. Cardinals: Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)

-The Cardinals are another team to watch out for in the Kirk Cousins derby. If they don’t land him, they might have to trade up and select Allen.

 

  1. Ravens: Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame)

-Reuniting McGlinchey with his former college teammate Ronnie Stanley would go a long way in making the Ravens offensive line a respectable unit again.

 

  1. Chargers: Derwin James (S, Florida State)

-The Chargers have an amazing young defense, but they still haven’t found a long-term successor to Eric Weddle. James can be that guy.

 

  1. Seahawks: Connor Williams (OT, Texas)

-Seahawks have needs at both RT and guard, and Williams will end up satisfying one of them regardless of where he ends up position-wise at the pro level.

 

  1. Cowboys: Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)

-The most important position in Rod Marinelli’s defense is the three-technique defensive tackle. Hurst fits this role and system to a T.

 

  1. Lions: Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)

-The Lions have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush in 2013. Guice and his nasty, powerful running style can end that drought immediately.

 

  1. Bills: Billy Price (C, Ohio State)

-Bills center Eric Wood recently had to announce his retirement due to a neck injury. Price would be THE ideal long-term replacement at the pivot in Buffalo.

 

  1. Bills [from Chiefs]: Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)

-Much of the success of Sean McDermott’s defense hinges on having reliable, three-down defensive tackles. Payne is already a force against the run and has untapped potential as a pass rusher. Also, do not rule the Bills trading up into the top five for a quarterback given the ammunition they have in this draft.

 

  1. Rams: Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)

-Alexander has been compared by friend of the show Jonah Tuls to Broncos All-Pro corner Chris Harris, Jr., who Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips coached for two years in Denver. If Alexander’s medicals at the Combine check out fine, don’t be surprised if Phillips bangs on everything in sight for this kid.

 

  1. Panthers: Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)

-With Andrew Norwell likely headed elsewhere in free agency, this would be a good spot for the Panthers to snatch his replacement. Hernandez is a perfect fit for the Panthers power blocking system, and has incredibly light feet for his approximately 340-lb. frame.

 

  1. Titans: James Daniels (C, Iowa)

-The Titans will be switching to more of a zone-blocking system under new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, and Daniels is the perfect center for such a scheme.

 

  1. Falcons: Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)

-The Falcons had a hard time replacing Chris Chester at right guard last season. His long-term replacement can likely be found right up the road with the versatile, athletic Wynn, who was one of the big stars down at the Senior Bowl.

 

  1. Saints: Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)

-Landry would have been projected higher had it not been for an injury-riddled 2017 campaign. He would make an ideal pass rushing partner for Cameron Jordan on the opposite edge.

 

  1. Steelers: Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)

-With Ben Roethlisberger closer to the end than the beginning of his career, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Steelers to get the 2016 Heisman winner and groom him as Big Ben’s long-term successor for a few years.

 

  1. Jaguars: Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)

-Jacksonville is a team with very few holes. That said, with Paul Posluszny set to turn 34 this year, this would be a great spot for the Jaguars to nab his replacement.

 

  1. Vikings: Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)

-Stefon Diggs’ contract expires at the end of the 2018 season. Should the Vikings decide to give Kirk Cousins a big contract in free agency (a strong possibility), they will likely be short on the cap space needed to pay Diggs, thus selecting the polished Kirk would be the best possible move in this situation.

 

  1. Patriots: Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)

-With Gronk contemplating retirement and Dwayne Allen seemingly on the way out, it should behoove the Patriots to give Tom Brady another big target down the seam. Brady and Belichick would love having Hurst and his fearless mentality.

 

  1. Eagles: Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)

-The Super Bowl LII champions are still looking for more help at corner. Jackson, who could break the record for fastest ever 40-yard dash time at the Combine, could give the Eagles a long term three-headed monster at the position alongside 2017 rookies Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas.

 

*-The order in which the 49ers and Raiders pick will be determined by a coin toss at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place February 27-March 5 in Indianapolis

 

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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