Who Goes Where?
Final Mock Draft
***This article originally appeared in the April edition of Three Point Stance Magazine. To subscribe to the magazine visit https://3psmag.com/subscribe/
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston QB Florida St.
Is there really any question now as to who the Bucs are going to take with the number one overall pick? Winston is the obvious answer, the team has a solid receiving core, good running back, decent defense, all they are missing is the quarterback to right the ship. Winston is their guy.
2. Tennessee Titans – Dante Fowler Jr. DE/OLB Florida
The Titans believe they have found their quarterback of the future in late round selection Zach Mettenberger from last year’s draft. Talks of a potential trade partner to move up and take Mariota have its merits. If they do decide to stay at number two Dante Fowler Jr. makes the most sense. He’s my best pass rusher on the board, and Tennessee could use someone to hit the QB.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Williams DE/DT USC
The Jaguars did a lot of offensive building last year, Gus Bradley and company will most likely turn their sights towards the defense within the first few rounds of the draft. Leonard Williams isn’t my highest rated player left on the board, but he is a top notch prospect, and he makes a lot of sense for what the Jaguars want to build on the defensive side of the football.
4. Oakland Raiders – DeVante Parker WR Louisville
When do the Raiders ever do what you expect them to do? The answer to that question is never. Kevin White is my number one receiver but I do have Parker as my number three receiver. His size and athleticism will sway the Raiders his way.
5. Washington Redskins – Randy Gregory OLB Nebraska
A lot of pass rushers and defensive linemen will be selected within the first round, including Gregory. The Redskins, like most teams this day in age, need someone to get to the quarterback and rack up some sacks. Whomever they deem to be the best edge rusher left, will be the player they select. I just so happen to have that player as Randy Gregory.
6. New York Jets – Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
This is a “what I’ve heard will happen” as opposed to what I think should happen. Mariota is my 3rd overall quarterback and I have him as a late 2nd to early 3rd round grade, but from what I hear if he falls to six, he will be wearing green. The Jets still have Geno Smith, they signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, and then they will have Mariota. If they do select Mariota, I would expect Geno Smith to be moved for a pick in the middle rounds.
7. Chicago Bears – Danny Shelton NT Washinton
The Bears would owe the Jets a thank you letter if they took Mariota and passed on Danny Shelton, who I have as my number one overall prospect in this entire class. This kid is a huge imposing force, a freak of nature, whatever you want to call him, just know he is an absolute freak! He does everything well, my early pick for Defensive ROY.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Trae Waynes CB Michigan St.
The Falcons desperately need help in the secondary, and Trae Waynes would be the guy to get the job done. He’s a natural press corner who has the skills to be on island and play man defense and shut guys down. When you look at the receivers in their division, they need a player like Waynes.
9. New York Giants – Shane Ray DE/OLB Missouri
I would argue that the biggest need for the Giants is a pass rusher. If a guy like Shane Ray is still there, I would think the Giants would run to the podium to get him. It would either come down to Ray or Clemson’s Vic Beasley, I think Beasley is the better player, but my crystal ball told me the Giants like Ray more.
10. St. Louis Rams – Brandon Scherff OT/OG Iowa
Some people think he can play tackle, I have him pegged as a guard, either way he’s still the best offensive linemen left on the board. The Rams did a good job trading for Nick Foles, now they need to protect him, the only logical solution is to take the best O Lineman. Some fans will be screaming for White or Cooper, but receivers are more easily found in this year’s draft than top linemen.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Marcus Peters CB Washington
They added Mike Wallace with a trade with the Miami Dolphins, so I think that takes them out of the race for a wide receiver in the first round, No one questions Peter’s talent on the field, it is his off the field that bothers many scouts. Word around the combine was that he did well in his interviews. Mike Zimmer will love coaching Peters, he’s too good to pass on, especially when corner is a huge need in Minnesota.
12. Cleveland Browns – Kevin White WR West Virginia
Kevin White is the best receiver in this draft. With the questions surrounding Josh Gordon’s future, and even with Gordon their receiving core was less than average, if Kevin White is here at #12 there is no doubt the Browns will select the West Virginia product.
13. New Orleans Saints – Vic Beasley DE/OLB Clemson
It will be very hard for Sean Peyton and Mickey Loomis to pass on Amari Cooper if he is still here at number 13. If they want us to believe that they are all in on building a defense, they must take Vic Beasley. He is a terror for opposing quarterbacks and fits Rob Ryan’s system to a tee.
14. Miami Dolphins – Jalen Collins CB LSU
I have my questions about Jalen Collins ability to start as a number one corner on day one, but the Dolphins will undoubtedly be looking for secondary help in the first round. In limited playing time at LSU Collins did well, the Dolphins will be hoping he lives up to his potential.
15. San Francisco 49ers – Alvin “Bud” Dupree DE/OLB Kentucky
A lot of changes going on in San Fran these days, the defense will look a lot different next season. I have Dupree as the best defensive player left, pairing him up with Aldon Smith, would make them one of the best teams at rushing the passer. Maybe not a huge need, but when rebuilding a defense, you go with the best player available.
16. Houston Texans – Amari Cooper WR Alabama
What a story line this would be, they release long time receiver Andre Johnson, only to select Amari Cooper with what most would consider a steal at this point in the first round. Maybe it’s too good to be true, but I have my suspicions that this will be where Amari lands.
17. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon RB Wisconsin
The Chargers will be looking to replace the production lost with Ryan Matthews leaving for Philadelphia. Melvin Gordon is the best running back in this draft, and would be a perfect addition to go along with Phillip Rivers and company.
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Landon Collins SS Alabama
With the unfortunate diagnosis of Eric Berry with Hodgkin Lymphoma and the addition of Jeremy Maclin in free agency taking them out of the receiver hunt in the first round, this would be the best case scenario for the Chiefs. Collins can step in and start at strong safety on day one and make an impact.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) – Arik Armstead DT Oregon
The Browns are one of the few teams with multiple first round picks, this one is a little more tough to project than the first. Armstead is very raw, would need some level of coaching to get to where his ceiling is. If they feel as if he’s the best d lineman left, he will be the selction
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Eli Harold OLB Virginia
Pass rushers are at a premium in this draft, I feel as if I’m late to the Eli Harold party, but this kid is really good. Philadelphia addressed its cornerback need in free agency with the addition of Byron Maxwell. Eli Harold could be the pass rusher that defense so desperately needs.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Dorial Green-Beckham WR Missouri
If the Bengals were to land DGB, my number two receiver in this class, they would undoubtedly have one of, if not the best one two punches at receiver in the entire NFL. If DGB can stay out of trouble, he has the highest ceiling of any receiver in this class. The Bengals have there shied away from taking players with off the field questions.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
I’m not as high on Kevin Johnson as most analysts, but there is no doubt that the Steelers need secondary help, and if they see Kevin Johnson as the best corner left they will probably select him.
23. Detroit Lions – Malcom Brown DT Texas
With the departures of Suh & Fairley the Lions will be looking to replenish that defensive line. The Haloti Ngata trade will go along way in helping the cause, Brown is a big kid with an impressive skill set, still developing. Will be a great fit in Detroit.
24. Arizona Cardinals – Paul Dawson LB TCU
Linebacker is a need for the Cardinals, Paul Dawson just so happens to be my number one overall inside linebacker. He has great football instincts and a sure tackler. Smart kid, don’t know where exactly the Cardinals will go with this pick, Dawson could/should be their guy.
25. Carolina Panthers – La’el Collins OT LSU
No quarterback seems to get hit more than Cam Newton in Carolina, that needs to change. I personally do not have Collins as my number one overall offensive tackle, but the buzz around the league is that scouts are falling in love with this kid, wouldn’t be surprised to see him on stage in a Carolina hat if he’s still available at 25.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Jaelen Strong WR Arizona St.
Steve Smith Sr. will be staying in Baltimore this season, Torrey Smith though has moved on, Joe Flacco needs a big target, enter Jaelen Strong. Strong is a big strong receiver, would work well with Flacco and Smith.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Todd Gurley RB Georgia
With the departure of DeMarco Murray in free agency to division rival Philadelphia, the Cowboys should obviously look to fill that void early. They already signed free agent Darren McFadden but that won’t get the job done. Gurley is coming off a torn ACL, will Jerry roll the dice?
28. Denver Broncos – Andrus Peat OT Stanford
The Broncos must keep Peyton Manning healthy if they want to compete for a Super Bowl next season. Andrus Peat is my number one overall ranked offensive tackle, how much easier could it get?
29. Indianapolis Colts – Cameron Erving C Florida St.
How the Colts are able to be successful with such a god awful offensive line or any kind of a running game, is just a testament to Andrew Luck’s skills. Cameron Erving is the best center available in this draft, he would immediately help keep Luck off the ground, and help Frank Gore in the run game.
30. Green Bay Packers – Eddie Goldman DT Florida St.
The Packers aren’t a team of any needs, defensive line help never hurt anyone. Eddie Goldman is one huge guy, who plays great against the run. Not that great at getting to the passer, perfect spot for him to go in Green Bay.
31. New Orleans Saints (From Seattle) – Maxx Williams TE Minnesota
I would prefer the Saints to take Clive Walford considering he is my number one overall tight end, but many think Williams is the best tight end in this year’s class. Also you couldn’t fault them on selecting him if he lasts all the way to 31.
32. New England Patriots – Duke Johnson RB Miami
The departure of Shane Vereen leaves a hole at running back for the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. I believe Duke Johnson is immensely underrated in this class and the genius of Bill Belichick will shine through once more.