1. Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Allen (DT) Alabama
While Myles Garrett is considered among the masses to be the best prospect in the class, I see it differently. Although Garrett does possess the most potential, Allen will be a dominate force for a decade, and the centerpiece of the Browns defense. Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib would man the DE spots, while Danny Shelton and Allen would form a fearsome duo in the middle. Allen may lack the upside of Garrett as a pure pass-rusher, but he is rock solid at everything you could ask from a DT. Instead of chasing what may be, the Browns should elect to go with the guy who was far and away the best defender in college football last year.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Myles Garrett (DE) Texas A&M
The Niners aren’t expecting Garrett to be there when they are on the clock, but they will love if he is. The upside is tremendous, and he would fit in nicely next to Arik Armstead and Deforest Buckner. With the QB class full of question marks, it would be smart for the teams picking at the top of the draft to focus on adding the most talent to their roster, instead of reaching for a specific position.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams (S) LSU
This isn’t my first rodeo, boys and girls. By May, all of these teams will be linked to QB’s. By the time the Combine and Pro Days are finished, QB’s will start to inch their way closer to the top of boards. At this point in the process I don’t feel comfortable putting any QB above Adams. He plays the run just as effectively as he plays coverage. The Bears are in desperate need of a playmaker in the secondary, and Adams fits the bill. He would be the best player on the Bears defense as soon as he puts the hat on.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Deshone Kizer (QB) Notre Dame
The Blake Bortles experiment is over. From flawed mechanics, to a lack of professionalism, Bortles has been a big disappointment. The Jags would be smart to bring in some competition for the present, and his replacement for the future. Deshone Kizer is not the most pro-ready guy in the draft but he does have the most to work with. He has an NFL arm, great eyes, and the mobility to extend plays. A year of competing with Bortles and learning the system will only benefit Kizer and the Jags organization
5. Tennessee Titans (From L.A.): Reuben Foster (LB) Alabama
Titans GM Jon Robinson put on a clinic in 2016, netting a top five pick from the Rams, while still selecting his right tackle of the future. CB and WR are two of the Titans major needs, but those positions are pretty deep in talent. Rueben Foster is far and away the best LB in the class, and maybe the best in some time. With another pick in the first round, the Titans can spoil themselves here and take the leader of their defense for the next decade.
6. New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore (CB) Ohio State
The Jets could go in a number of different directions here. My suggestion to Mikey Mac would be to trade down and accumulate picks. It will be easier to see which way they are leaning after free agency. Assuming they are not sold on any of the top QB’s, Lattimore offers a ton of upside at a position of need. Similar to Eli Apple, Lattimore shouldn’t find himself having to wait very long to hear his name.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker (S) Ohio State
Hooker is a true ball-hawking safety with incredible range and coverage ability. The Chargers left a massive void in their lineup when they let Eric Weddle walk in free agency last season but Hooker would be a terrific replacement. Hooker isn’t much of a run-defender, but his range as a single-high safety would allow Gus Bradley to put Jahleel Addae in the box to stop the run.
8. Carolina Panthers: Solomon Thomas (DE) Stanford
Dave Gettleman doesn’t pass up opportunities to get pass-rushers. The Panthers are in the process of getting younger on defense and Thomas would allow them to continue that movement. Thomas is a guy to keep your eye on through the coming months, as many see him as the guy with the most to gain in Indy.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Robinson (OT) Alabama
I personally don’t think Robinson is all that good but in one of the worst OT classes in draft history, his stock will start to soar over the coming months. The Bengals need an Andrew Whitworth replacement and Cedric Ogbuehi proved that he is not the guy for the job after a brutal 2016 campaign.
10. Buffalo Bills: Mitch Trubisky (QB) North Carolina
Trubisky has all the tools that you look for in a QB. Big-arm, strong pocket presence and a high football IQ. With Tyrod Taylor on his way out, it will be imperative for Doug Whaley to find a franchise QB. I’m not sold on Trubisky, but Doug Whaley was sold on EJ Manuel, so it can’t be ruled out.
11. New Orleans Saints: Sidney Jones (CB) Washington
Jones is a star in the making, at a position that the Saints are dying for. It’s realistic to think that if they could ever manage to hold opposing offenses under 30 PPG, Drew Brees would have them in the playoffs annually. Jones would offer an immediate upgrade over Ken Crawley.
12. Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson (QB) Clemson
Watson entered the year as most people’s #1 pick. Surprisingly, his stock has plummeted, despite his Clemson Tigers winning the National Championship. Watson didn’t show the mental development many expected from him in his senior season. He struggled to read coverage and lacks consistent accuracy. He still possesses the potential to change a franchise, but the questions are mounting.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Ramcyzk (OT) Wisconsin
Carson Palmer took a beating in 2016, leading him to consider retirement. If he does retire, obviously this pick could go many different ways. Assuming he gives it one more go, the Cardinals need to upgrade his protection or he wont make it through the season.
14. Indianapolis Colts: Leonard Fournette (RB) LSU
This is a dream scenario for newly minted GM, Chris Ballard. The Colts have been looking for a featured back since Edgerrin James and Fournette is that guy and more. The most physically dominant RB to enter the league since AP, Fournette would make Andrew Luck’s job a whole lot easier. While it has become cool to hop off the Fournette hype train, not only am I staying on, but I’m the conductor.
15. Philadephia Eagles: Mike Williams (WR) Clemson
The Eagles have the worst receiving core in the league and it probably isn’t that close. Mike Williams will be an impact receiver from day one, thanks largely in part to his ability to high point the football and win contested battles. The Eagles need to surround Wentz with more playmakers and Williams is one of the best available.
16. Baltimore Ravens: OJ Howard (TE) Alabama
Dennis Pitta was a great comeback story, but OJ Howard is in a different league as far as athletic profiles go. Getting faster on offense should be the Ravens main objective this offseason, and landing Howard would be an ideal start. Howard should be one of the elite tight ends in football sooner than later.
17. Washington Redskins: Dalvin Cook (RB) FSU
Cook is considered by many to be the one of the best prospects in the whole class. Had the RB position not been devalued over the years, Cook would be going much higher than this. The Redskins are a team that needs to start valuing the position more. Matt Jones, Rob Kelley, Keith Marshall and Chris Thompson is a humorous combination for an NFL backfield.
18. Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey (CB) Alabama
Corey Davis makes some sense here, but defense should be the priority for the Titans. In this exercise they elect to pair Marlon Humphrey with his former Crimson Tide teammate, Rueben Foster. Adding two members of college football’s most fearsome defense, would be another great draft for Jon Robinson.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Corey Davis (WR) Western Michigan
Even prior to Vincent Jackson’s knee injury, it was apparent the Bucs offense lacked a compliment to Mike Evans. Davis is a perfect fit as the #2 in Tampa Bay’s vertical offense. With Evans dictating coverage to his side of the field, Davis would have plenty of opportunities to make an early impact. Winston, Evans and Davis would all be 24 or younger when the season started.
20. Denver Broncos: Forrest Lamp (OL) Western Kentucky
The Broncos need a versatile, tough offensive lineman. That’s where Mr. Lamp comes into play. The FCS product has been gaining steam throughout the draft process, and he’s the type of guy that gets John Elway excited. Lamp projects best at guard, but can play tackle if necessary.
21. Detroit Lions: Derek Barnett (DE) Tennessee
Barnett isn’t a twitchy athlete, but he is solid in all aspects. His motor is always running, making him dangerous in the late stages of a game. Kerry Hyder emerged as a really good pass-rusher for Detroit, but they need more. With Ziggy Ansah, Hyder and Barnett on the defensive line, the Lions may finally find the consistent pass-rush they’ve been searching for since Ndamukong Suh left.
22. Miami Dolphins: Teez Tabor (CB) Florida
Tabor was my #1 CB heading into the 2016 season, but he did slide a little. His off the field concerns are well documented, but his play still warrants a top-25 pick. Tabor is known as a bit of a risk taker, which leaves him vulnerable to the big play. However, his speed when breaking on the ball is tops in the class, and any QB throwing his way knows they better be careful. Similar to Marcus Peters, Tabor will give some up, but he’ll get a ton back.
23. New York Giants: Malik McDowell (DT) Michigan State
There have been questions about whether or not McDowell has the work ethic and attitude to be a great NFL player. If he interviews well at the combine, he probably wont get past the 20’s. McDowell is as talented as just about anybody, it’s just matter of whether or not he wants to put in the work. With Johnathan Hankins set to get paid in free agency, McDowelll would replace him as a 4-3 DT. He will need to learn to play with a lower pad-level to win inside.
24. Oakland Raiders: Takkarist McKinley (DE) UCLA
The Raiders are building a Super Bowl contender. Upgrading the defense needs to be Reggie McKenzie’s main objective. Adding Takk into a rotation that already features Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Mario Edwards and Jihad Ward allows for McKinley to develop and learn behind some of the best. It also allows the Raiders to have fresh legs rushing the QB, deep into December.
25. Houston Texans: Jabrill Peppers (S) Michigan
Peppers is the most difficult evaluation in the entire draft. I have him pegged as a strong safety, who could play the run in the box, and also cover tight ends in the seam. The Texans defense is a play-making safety away from being the best in football. Peppers would give Romeo Crennel freedom to get even more creative.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bolles (OT) Utah
The Seahawks lack of focus on their offensive line was one of the more underrated stories of 2016. They rely on Tom Cable to work miracle after miracle, and Russell Wilson to run for his life. George Fant was well below average as a pass protector fon Wilson’s blind side. Bolles offers a ton of potential at a position of desperate need in Seattle.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham (LB) Vanderbilt
Cunningham is a fit to replace Derrick Johnson, who ruptured his Achilles once again in 2016. It would be foolish for the Chiefs to be counting on DJ to contribute his normal snaps in 2017. Cunningham was a star for Vandy this past season, recording 125 total tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre’Davious White (CB) LSU
White is my second favorite corner in the draft behind Sidney Jones. His feet and change of direction are very quick, making him the perfect nickel CB. Dallas is going to lose one, if not both of their starting CB’s this offseason. White is a natural leader, who had the honor of wearing #18 at LSU. Dallas would be stealing him this late in the first.
29. Green Bay Packers: Taco Charlton (DE) Michigan
With Julius Peppers and Nick Perry possibly moving on, the Packers are going to need more pass-rush. Charlton came on strong at the end of the season, finishing with 10 sacks for the Wolverines. His frame makes him a natural fit as a 3-4 DE in Dom Capers system. If the Packers can even slightly improve their defensive woes, they will be in a position to play in the NFC championship again next season.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Carl Lawson (OLB) Auburn
James Harrison can’t be your best pass-rusher at 38 years old if you want to get past the Patriots. Lawson’s bend reminds me of Harrison a bit, although his frame isn’t quite the same. Lawson displayed the burst and bend you look for in a 3-4 OLB, and has the gritty attitude the Steelers organization prides themselves on. The medical portion of the process will be the most important for Lawson, who has fought injuries most of his career.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Ryan Anderson (OLB) Alabama
Anderson is a better player than his more hyped counterpart, Tim Williams. Anderson was the unsung hero for the Tide’s defense in 2016, finishing with 8.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. His approach to the game is disciplined and studious, making him the type of guy that coaches want on their team.
32. New England Patriots: Adoree Jackson (CB) USC
With Logan Ryan likely headed out of New England, Bill Belichick will be looking for a new CB. Quincy Wilson and Gareon Conley would also make sense here, but Jackson has more natural ability. He also offers scheme versatility and elite kick/punt returner upside. The Patriots love guys who can do multiple things, which gives the edge to Jackson.