Eagles

Eagles

It wasn't until I finished my Round 1 mock draft that I realized how heavily this draft is weighted toward defense. This is the best cornerback draft I've seen -- good news for the Eagles, who need help there desperately -- but it is also deep in safeties and pass rushers.

Eight of my first nine picks -- and 13 of the first 16 -- are defensive players. I have two safeties being drafted before the first quarterback (Deshaun Watson). I have three Ohio State defensive backs being drafted in the top 14, including -- spoiler alert -- Gareon Conley going to the Eagles.

Mock drafts usually wind up looking pretty foolish when the real draft gets underway, but everybody does them so here goes: I'm sure there will be trades on draft night but I won't even try to predict those. I'll just make the 32 picks as they stand right now.

1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M (6-4, 272)
I would say this is a sure thing but it is the Browns picking so who knows? Garrett was the consensus No. 1 even before his great workout at the combine.

2. San Francisco 49ers - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford (6-2, 273)
Actually looks lean at 273. Probably will add 10 to 15 pounds, which will allow him to slide inside.

3. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama (6-3, 304)
The Bears could go in several directions but coach John Fox thinks defense-first, and Allen is a dominating run defender.

 

4. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (6-0, 240)
New coach Doug Marrone likes to play power football and Fournette will provide it.

5. Tennessee Titans - Jamal Adams, S, LSU (5-11, 215)
Intense and physical, he will be a tone-setter for the Titans' defense.

6. NY Jets - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State (6-0, 193)
Tough, press corner with quick feet and instincts.

7. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State (6-1, 205)
Good size and elite ball skills. Will be an impact player right away.

8. Carolina Panthers - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee (6-3, 270)
It would be nice if Barnett slid to, say, the 14th spot (he would be a great fit for the Eagles), but I don't see him getting past Ron Rivera, who needs to improve his pass rush.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (6-0, 229)
The more I studied Foster, the more I liked him. Tough, explosive hitter. Uses his quickness to beat blockers and get to the football.

10. Buffalo Bills - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson (6-3, 218)
Great size and uses it to overpower defensive backs. Not a burner (4.6 speed), but plays to his strength on slants and fades.

11. New Orleans Saints - Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU (5-11, 195)
Saints stay close to home with this fast-rising corner.

12. Cleveland Browns - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (6-2, 220)
More than anything, the Browns need someone who knows how to win. Watson knows how.

13. Arizona Cardinals - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama (6-0, 198)
Mixed opinions on Humphrey. Some scouts love him, some question his ball skills. Seth Joyner likes him. That's good enough for me.

14. Philadelphia Eagles - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State (6-0, 195)
His stock has risen with an excellent showing at the combine, which included a 4.44 in the 40. Solid package of size, speed and smarts. Good in press coverage, fluid in turn and transition. Lone weakness is tackling, where he needs to be more consistent. Day 1 starter.

What about Dalvin Cook? I still think Cook is the best running back in this class. As a combination runner and receiver, he is a better version of Warrick Dunn, another Florida State back who had a very good career. A month ago, I wrote a piece suggesting the Eagles use the 14th pick on Cook and draft secondary help later. That was all based on film study and my evaluation of him as a player. Since then, I've done more research on Cook's off the field troubles and I've changed my mind. There are just too many red flags for me.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan (6-5, 275)
Good pass rusher. Needs to improve defense against the run.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens - Charles Harris, DE, Missouri (6-2, 255)
Can play either as DE or standup LB. Either way he gets to the quarterback.

17. Washington Redskins - John Ross, WR, Washington (5-10, 188)
His 4.22 speed (a combine record) will make him the new DeSean Jackson.

18. Tennessee Titans - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan (6-2, 209)
The Titans need to put more playmakers around Marcus Mariota.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (5-10, 210)
He is the highest-rated running back on my board. Yes, I rank him ahead of Fournette because of his versatility and receiving ability. Off-the-field issues are a concern, but a reunion with Jameis Winston is too good to pass up.

20. Denver Broncos - Garett Bolles, OT, Utah (6-5, 297)
This draft is deep in some areas but not the O-line. Twenty picks in and we finally see one come off the board.

21. Detroit Lions - Haason Reddick, LB, Temple (6-1, 237)
Some mock drafts have Reddick going in the top 10. I think that's a little high, but his strong showing at the combine (he ran 4.52 and broad jumped 11-foot, 1-inch) created a lot of buzz.

22. Miami Dolphins - David Njoku, TE, Miami (6-4, 246)
Still raw in some areas but his athletic skills and versatility (he can line up inside or split wide) appeal to the Dolphins.

23. NY Giants - Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State (6-6, 295) 
With Johnathan Hankins unsigned, the Giants will be looking for muscle on the D-line.

24. Oakland Raiders - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama (6-6, 322)
Has the tools to be a dominating O-lineman but the effort isn't always there.

25. Houston Texans - Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin (6-5, 310)
Played only one season at Wisconsin (he transferred from Wisconsin-Stevens Point), so is he ready for the jump to the NFL?

26. Seattle Seahawks - Kevin King, CB, Washington (6-3, 192)
This makes five corners off the board in the first round. King's size makes him a perfect fit for the Seahawks' defense.

27. Kansas City Chiefs - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (5-11, 202)
Andy Reid loves smart, versatile backs (Brian Westbrook, Jamaal Charles) and McCaffrey is in that mold, although he projects as more of a receiver than a running back.

28. Dallas Cowboys - T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin (6-4, 252)
The Cowboys' defense needs to improve its pass rush and Watt, while not the force his brother J.J. is, has a quick first step and plays hard every snap.

29. Green Bay Packers - Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky (6-3, 309)
Not a sexy pick but Aaron Rodgers will be happy to have him.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - Takkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA (6-2, 250)
The Steelers' defense is all about pressure off the edge and McKinley (4.59 speed) brings it.

 

31. Atlanta Falcons - Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan (5-10, 213)
Played all over the field and both sides of the ball in college, but projects as a strong safety -- and very good one -- in the NFL. The Falcons' defense is in need of playmakers.

32. New Orleans Saints (trade from New England) - Tim Williams, LB, Alabama (6-3, 245)
Combines size with a variety of pass rush moves. Gets pressure from the outside but also can spin and go inside.