The NFL Draft’s first round is this Thursday, April 27th in primetime on ESPN and the NFL Network.
Many are wondering if the Cleveland Browns will take who we all assume is the best player in the draft, DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M, or go with a quarterback like Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina…or go completely off the rails with another choice. We would probably not wonder so much if any other team than the Browns held the first overall pick.
How many quarterbacks will be taken in the first round? Any surprises?
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett – DE – Texas A&M Aggies – He’s the best player in the draft. It’s a no-brainer, but we are talking about the Browns. I still think they will end up selecting Garrett. They have another first round pick to experiment with if they want.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas – DE – Stanford Cardinal – The Niners need a lot to be competitive again, but they need to put pressure on the quarterback. It’s crazy how much a defense can improve when you add a pass rush.
3. Chicago Bears – Marshon Lattimore – CB – Ohio State Buckeyes – Like the Niners, the Bears also need help in many areas. It would probably be in their best interest to trade down and get more picks. If they keep this pick, I think Lattimore is a nice choice.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette – RB – LSU Tigers – T.J. Yeldon is a horrible NFL running back and the Jags got nothing from that position last year. Blake Bortles needs a running game to help open up the passing game. I usually don’t condone picking a running back this high, but I love Fournette in this situation.
5. Tennessee Titans – Mike Williams – WR – Clemson Tigers – The Titans need another offensive weapon for Marcus Mariota. They could go with Alabama TE O.J. Howard here, but I think a wideout is a bigger need.
6. New York Jets – Jamal Adams – S – LSU Tigers – This is a ‘best player on the board’ pick. The Jets would love to have Leonard Fournette here, but I doubt the Jags pass on him. The Jets secondary was poor and when you’re in a division with Tom Brady, you will always be in need of secondary upgrades.
7. San Diego Chargers – Malik Hooker – S – Ohio State Buckeyes – Joey Bosa turned out to be a stud once he stepped on the field (not a surprise). It would be nice to get Hooker here to have a stud in the secondary. The Chargers defense could be very good in a hurry if they keep making smart picks.
8. Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Allen – DE – Alabama Crimson Tide – It would be a good idea to improve Cam Newton’s protection, but there aren’t many blue chip offensive tackles in this draft. This draft has plenty of defensive line options and Allen would be a nice choice for the Panthers. They have some old edge rushers and Panthers can start to build for the future.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Taco Charlton – DE – Michigan Wolverines – The Bengals need to put pressure on the quarterback. They have struggled in doing that over the last two seasons. Tennessee’s Derek Barnett is another option here, but I think Charlton will be a better pro.
10. Buffalo Bills – Mitchell Trubisky – QB – North Carolina Tar Heels – I’m never a fan of college quarterbacks that seem to come out of nowhere in their last year in college. Trubisky was probably a borderline late-round pick at this point last year. There have been success stories, but guys like Joey Harrington and Akili Smith come to mind. I don’t have faith in Tyrod Taylor being a franchise quarterback, so maybe it’s time to roll the dice on fresh blood. Fox Sports Colin Cowherd thinks Trubisky should be the #1 overall pick, but not me.
11. New Orleans Saints – Reuben Foster – LB – Alabama Crimson Tide – Foster failed a drug test at the NFL Combine, so he could slide down the board a bit. I still think the Saints will take him at #11. He could be a very good NFL inside linebacker for them.
12. Cleveland Browns – O.J. Howard – TE – Alabama Crimson Tide – If Howard slides down this far in the draft, I don’t think the Browns will be able to help themselves. His talent is difficult to ignore and even though they have Gary Barnidge doing well at tight end, it would be nice to be able to play in two-TE packages (i.e. New England Patriots).
13. Arizona Cardinals – Corey Davis – WR – Western Michigan Broncos – Arizona cut ties with former first round pick Michael Floyd late last season and Davis could be a nice second-option after Larry Fitzgerald, or even an heir apparent to him. Davis was a machine at Western Michigan with 331 career receptions and 5,278 yards, which broke the NCAA Division-I record.
14. Philadelphia Eagles – John Ross – WR – Washington Huskies – Ross broke Chris Johnson’s 40-yard record at the NFL Combine and clocked in at 4.22 seconds. He’s not a flash in the pan either, he’s a good receiver, catching 17 touchdowns last season. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, but Ross could be a nice replacement for Jordan Matthews, if he gets traded before the season.
15. Indianapolis Colts – Christian McCaffrey – RB – Stanford Cardinal – The Colts have other needs and new GM Chris Ballard has even eluded to trading out of the first round. The Colts love guys from Stanford. At one point two years ago, they had six young guys from Stanford starting on their team. The Colts also need a running back with good hands. I think McCaffrey is a perfect fit for the Colts. If he’s there, they shouldn’t trade out of the first round.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Derek Barnett – DE – Tennessee Volunteers – If Barnett falls past #11, this will probably be where he falls. A lot of offensive needs from those teams selecting before the Ravens would cause him to drop. The Ravens need another Terrell Suggs-like edge rusher and Barnett could develop into one.
17. Washington Redskins – Haason Reddick – LB – Temple Owls – The Redskins could go secondary here, but I think they need an upgrade at linebacker. He can cover tight ends and running backs. I’m kind of going out on a limb here since he’s never been tied to the Redskins, but I’m going with my gut.
18. Tennessee Titans – Tre’Davious White – CB – LSU Tigers – Here’s another cornerback that should go in the first round this year. There are some good secondary players there will be a run of them. White is solid, but the Titans could also go with Florida’s Jerrad Davis here too.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dalvin Cook – RB – Florida State Seminoles – This pick just makes sense, right? Jameis Winston gets his old running back from college. It’s a nice story, but Cook fills a huge need.
20. Denver Broncos – Cam Robinson – OT – Alabama Crimson Tide – The Broncos need offensive line help and this draft isn’t loaded with a lot of first-round talent at that position. Robinson could be selected higher than this, but like I said before, there are a lot of quality pass rushers in this draft.
21. Detroit Lions – Takkarist McKinley – DE – UCLA Bruins – The Lions would probably prefer Haason Reddick here, but I have him going a few picks higher. McKinley could be a solid book-end for Ziggy Ansah.
22. Miami Dolphins – Jarrad Davis – LB – Florida Gators – I think a lot of people have Davis going to the Dolphins. He can do just about everything well for a linebacker and can play inside and outside. The Dolphins will be crossing their fingers on Thursday that he’s available at #22.
23. New York Giants – Garett Bolles – OT – Utah Utes – I think if the Giants don’t pick Bolles here, the Raiders will swallow him up with the next pick. The Giants offensive line is getting older and Bolles will be a nice young tackle for them.
24. Oakland Raiders – Ryan Ramczyk – OT – Wisconsin Badgers – The Raiders had one of the best offensive lines in football last year with center Rodney Hudson, guard Kelechi Osemele and tackle Donald Penn making the Pro Bowl. The Raiders may want to add a little depth in case one of their guys goes down with an injury. If they don’t pick an O-lineman here, they will go cornerback.
25. Houston Texans – Deshuan Watson – QB – Clemson Tigers – It’s really hard to pinpoint where quarterbacks will be selected in any NFL Draft. Teams like to trade up to pick them, so I will hedge my bets and think the Texans will take Watson here. They will go with either Watson of Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes with this pick. Houston needs a quarterback of the future.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Kevin King – CB – Washington Huskies – The Seahawks have watched King a lot throughout his college career. They need to replenish the ‘Legion of Boom’ with some new faces. They will lose a few of their star secondary players in the coming years to free agency and via trade.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes II – QB – Texas Tech Red Raiders – Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will always push his West Coast offense onto his teams, Mahomes has a huge arm, but the dude passed A LOT in college. Not all his passes were deep and was quite accurate in the flat and in intermediate ranges.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Adoree’ Jackson – CB – USC Trojans – Dallas have some young studs on offense and it’s time to have a few studs on defense. Jackson is liked by many teams, so he could even be drafted in the top-15, but if he falls this far down, the Cowboys will sweep him up.
29. Green Bay Packers – Joe Mixon – RB – Oklahoma Sooners – It’s no secret that the Packers are in need of a playmaking running back. It seems that every year they have to rely on their second or third-best options due to injuries. I know Mixon isn’t a popular pick since he was caught on video knocking a woman out while in school a few years ago. He wasn’t even invited to the NFL Combine. This is one of those ‘talent supersedes public relations nightmare’ situations for NFL teams. Mixon is a really good running back and will no doubt help the Packers, but can they stand the heat from picking a confirmed woman batterer?
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – T.J. Watt – LB – Wisconsin Badgers – T.J. Watt is the younger brother of Houston’s J.J. Watt. T.J. is a very good linebacker, but he would probably be a third-round pick if he wasn’t J.J.’s brother. The Steelers love good linebackers and could take Watt here.
31. Atlanta Falcons – LB Charles Harris – Missouri Tigers – Like many other pass rushers and linebackers, Harris has a range from #16 through #31 he could be selected. Harris is loved by a few teams, but who knows, someone who they never thought would drop to them, drops to them and Harris is skipped. If Harris is here, the Falcons would thank their lucky stars. He’s the kind of linebacker they are in need of and would have loved to have in the Super Bowl.
32. New Orleans Saints – Obi Melifonwu – S – Connecticut Huskies – The Saints could pick between Melifonwu, Ohio State’s Gareon Conley, Michigan’s Jabril Peppers or Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie with this selection. I think they will take Melifonwu due to his size and the ability to cover both wide receivers and tight ends. Even though he’s big (6’4), he’s really fast and can cover ground.
Notable Talent Not In First Round
Marlon Humphrey – CB – Alabama Crimson Tide
Gareon Conley – S – Ohio State Buckeyes
Chidobe Awuzie – CB – Colorado Buffaloes
Jabrill Peppers – S – Michigan Wolverines
Forrest Lamp – G – Western Kentucky
DeShone Kizer – QB – Notre Dame Fighting Irisha
Jordan Willis – DE – Kansas State Wildcats
Dion Dawkins – OL – Temple Owls
David Njoku – TE – Miami Hurricanes
Malik McDowell – DT – Michigan State Spartans
Quincy Wilson – CB – Florida Gators
Josh Jones – S – NC State Wolfpack
Evan Engram – TE – Ole Miss Rebels
Dan Feeney – C – Indiana Hoosiers
Zay Jones – WR – East Carolina Pirates
Davis Webb – QB – California Golden Bears
Budda Baker – S – Washington Huskies
Zach Cunningham – LB – Vanderbilt Commodores
Justin Evans – CB – Texas A&M Aggies
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.