This mock draft will change. Frequently.
The process is still young. Free agency is weeks away. The Combine has not kicked off. So as of now, I’m focusing more on current team needs and possible changes in the coming months. Prospect positioning becomes more clear as the process moves along. Future iterations will be more fleshed out.
Picks 14 and 15 will be decided by a coin toss at the NFL Combine.
1. Cleveland Browns - EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M - Likely viewed as the draft’s top prospect. Reportedly dealt with a high ankle injury this season. NFL teams have to rush the passer, and drafting players like Emmanuel Ogbahand Carl Nassib don’t prevent you from adding Garrett.
2. San Francisco 49ers - EDGE/DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford - Thomas is a really, really, really good football player. It is impossible to predict what the 49ers will do, since they will have a totally new group of decision makers and coaches. Thomas can rush from the edge or possible work inside. In this scenario the 49ers end up with Jimmy Garoppolo, perhaps for a 2018 first round pick.
3 .Chicago Bears - QB Mitch Trubisky, UNC - If you think previous years included conflicting quarterback opinions, just wait on this year. Trubisky was a starter for one season. It is vital to evaluate his play when pressured and forced outside of structure, since so much of UNC’s offense is about rhythm.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama - This would be a great selection, and many teams might view Allen as the No. 1 player in the draft. The Jaguars invested cash and picks into the defensive line, but a team can never have enough disruptors.
5. Tennessee Titans (via LA) - FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State - Some might render football down to turnovers and big plays. Hooker can create big plays and turnovers thanks to his extreme range from his safety spot.
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6. New York Jets - LB Reuben Foster, Alabama - Yes, back to back linebackers in the first round for the Jets. But this allows the Jets to have both types of backers as Foster is an aggressive missile.
7. San Diego Chargers - S Jamal Adams, LSU - I could see the Chargers going with an offensive lineman, but instead I’ll choose a safety who many view as a top 10 talent in this class.
8. Carolina Panthers - EDGE Taco Charlton, Michigan - For better or worse, Dave Gettleman has a size fetish at multiple positions. Despite producing a high number of sacks the Panthers defense needs plenty of edge rushing help so they can get to the quarterback with four men on a consistent basis.
10. Buffalo Bills - QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson - If Doug Whaley identifies a target, he goes out and gets them (see E.J. Manuel (assistant GM) and Sammy Watkins). All signs point to the Bills moving on from Tyrod, which I view as a mistake.