After exactly 364 days of breathlessly waiting, the 2017 NFL Draft is officially here. You know, that time when all the shitty NFL teams pretend they have hope for a weekend, before minicamps start and they realize they just drafted the next Jared Goff instead of the next Dan Marino. They still have this weekend, though, and that’s what makes it great. Let the games begin…
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett – DE, Texas A&M
If GM Sashi Brown picks Mitchell Trubisky here, he’ll also be picking up all of his belongings and leaving the team’s premises. The Browns need anyone who’s willing to play for them, let alone a future cornerstone like Garrett. Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp’s absurd comments on Garrett are a product of desperate analysts and networks, not fact. Garrett’s a specimen that comes along once every decade. The Browns can’t screw this up, but they can also definitely screw this up.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Jamal Adams – S, LSU
Since 1992, there’s only been one safety drafted in the top five: Sean Taylor (Jalen Ramsey is a CB). But in terms of leadership and overall grit, that’s exactly who Jamal Adams is. He’d be the highest safety ever drafted, but worth the premium. The 49ers would be taking more of a defensive captain in Adams than a safety. Leadership ability is as overrated as a SoulCycle class when it comes to the draft, but there’s never been such a consensus on one player. And if there’s anyone who knows the impact a leading-safety can have on a team, it’s new 49ers GM John Lynch.
3. Chicago Bears
Solomon Thomas – DL, Stanford
The Bears will be devastated to lose out on Jamal Adams, but Solomon Thomas is a fantastic consolation prize. Leonard Floyd showed shades of dominance last year, and getting the most versatile D-lineman in the draft to team up with him could bring a dominant defense back to Chicago. Thomas is a guy who can play any position on the line. He’s leaps and bounds stronger and faster than his 6’3″, 273 pound frame suggests. His motor is unmatched in this year’s draft class, but his differentiator is his character. He has the intelligence and temperament you’d want to bring home to mama, let alone to your team.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette – RB, LSU
This will be a stupid pick by the Jags, but they won’t be able to help themselves. Yes, Fournette will take a huge load off of Blake Bortles’ shoulders and he will immediately boost the run game. But the Jaguars don’t and won’t understand that the success of Ezekiel Elliott last year was due in large part to an All-Pro offensive line, which Jacksonville certainly doesn’t have. They’d be better off trading down, taking an O-lineman, and drafting an offensive weapon later on, or taking the best CB available to go along with Ramsey. But Shahid Khan needs to put people in the seats, which is an insane problem in the first place because what else do people do in Jacksonville on a Sunday?
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
Mike Williams – WR, Clemson
The Titans will be just one of many teams in the top ten looking to trade down from here. But if they end up staying put, Mike Williams will be their guy. They’ll use the riches of one of the dumbest trades in NFL history, courtesy of the Rams, to pair Marcus Mariota with his go-to guy for years to come. This is without a doubt higher than Williams should go, but the Titans want to start winning now after making great strides in 2016, and what better way than to give the guy holding the keys to the franchise a little NOS for the vehicle?
6. New York Jets
Deshaun Watson – QB, Clemson
Yes, the Jets will love to trade down. But if they’re forced to pull the trigger, I think GM Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles look at each other in the waning seconds and realize they could be unemployed by the offseason and need to throw this Hail Mary. Watson at 6 to the Jets shouldn’t be the pick, but remember, the Jets only do things they shouldn’t do. Maccagnan claims to be a staunch BPA (Best Player Available) drafter, as is evidence by the Leonard Williams pick, but Watson’s character and winning ability alone are enough to have him sitting atop any franchise QB-less team’s big board.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker – S, Ohio State
There have been intense rumors for months of the Chargers wanting Hooker BAD. So much that they’re willing to trade up for him. Some consider Hooker to be a better prospect than Jamal Adams, with his Ed Reed-type playmaking ability. He’d be a great replacement for Eric Weddle, whom the Chargers so desperately miss.
8. Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffrey – RB, Stanford
The Panthers need to add as many ball carriers as possible to the roster to prevent Cam Newton from having an 8-year career. No QB in the history of the NFL has taken the pounding Newton has. McCaffrey dazzled scouts at the combine and his pro-day, and would immediately take pressure off Cam with his playmaking ability and ball catching skills. He’d also add a ton of diversity to the backfield. Ya know, cause he’s not a power runner.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Jonathan Allen – DL, Alabama
The Bengals are in great position to land someone who falls. Come Thursday, that man will be Jonathan Allen. His stock has been volatile as of late due to concerns about his playmaking ability. Any and all Allen doubters need to look back on his career at Bama and they’ll see a player who DOMINATED the SEC for two years. You simply can’t argue with Allen’s production.
10. Buffalo Bills
Marshon Lattimore – CB, Ohio State
There are some people who genuinely believe Lattimore is the top prospect in the NFL Draft. If it wasn’t for his hamstring problems, Lattimore would be locked into the top five. After losing Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots, the Bills desperately need cornerback help. This is a great value pick and a solid BPA pick for Buffalo.
11. New Orleans Saints
Taco Charlton – DE, Michigan
The Saints have always been in desperate need of an edge rusher to play across from Cameron Jordan. They would love it if Taco Charlton fell to them at 11. Like you at 11 (AM), the Saints would have a hard time passing up on Taco.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles)
Mitchell Trubisky – QB, North Carolina
If the Browns can pull this off, they’d be having their cake and eating it too. He fits Hue Jackson’s offense perfectly because it’s unclear what Hue Jackson’s offense really is, just like Trubisky’s skill level. There have been a ton of rumors of the Browns trading up for the Jets’ No. 6 pick. If this happens, assume Trubisky will be taken there. Out of all the first rounds picks this year, Trubisky has the highest probability of being a bust, something Cleveland has always valued in a player.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Reuben Foster – ILB, Alabama
The Cardinals are already loaded on the defensive side of the ball, but took a big hit when Calais Campbell departed this offseason. Reuben Foster could immediately replace Campbell’s intensity and physicality for Arizona. They have a big need at inside linebacker, as Karlos Dansby can’t be counted on to start next to Deone Bucannon. Foster tested positive at the combine, and there’s been some speculation that his stock could fall. However, the Cardinals have selected Robert Nkemdiche and Tyrann Mathieu in the past, so if anything, Bruce Arians values guys who can party.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings)
O.J. Howard – TE, Alabama
O.J. Howard may seem like an odd selection, considering Zach Ertz and Brent Celek are still very much competent. However, if Philadelphia will subscribe to the BPA model it says it does, Howard will be the choice here. He’d be more of a playmaker than any of the receivers on the current roster. He’ll be selected much lower than his top ten projection.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Derek Barnett – DE, Tennessee
With the retirement of Robert Mathis, the Colts will desperately be looking for his replacement in this year’s draft. Barnett would fill in nicely as a pass rusher with a ton of upside and a chip on his shoulder. He could help to dominate opposing teams’ QBs while opponents dominate theirs… #PrayForLuck
16. Baltimore Ravens
John Ross – WR, Washington
With the retirement of Steve Smith Sr. and his seeming infatuation for Ross, Baltimore’s offense will be desperate for playmakers in 2017. John Ross is the fastest player EVER to enter the draft per his ridiculous 4.22-40, and arguably the best WR in the draft. He would be a Day 1 weapon for Flacco on a team that typically carries many weapons… #BaltimoreConvicts #RayDidIt
17. Washington Redskins
Jourdan Lewis – CB, Michigan
The defensive back who consistently outshone Jabrill Peppers on tape rightfully gets selected before him. That doesn’t mean this pick isn’t ten slots too high, though. You just can’t expect much from a brain-dead owner who just axed his best personnel evaluator.
18. Tennessee Titans
Marlon Humphrey – CB, Alabama
With the release of Jason McCourty, the Titans have a big gap in their secondary. Although this draft has a deep secondary, Humphrey has the upside to be a dominant NFL corner. The problem is, he’s made out of delicate China, similar to former fragile Bama corner Dee Milliner, but you can’t argue with his production and the talent he kept at bay in the SEC.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dalvin Cook – RB, Florida State
Well wouldn’t this be just swell? Two Florida State studs reunited in Tampa in the same backfield. Something Hollywood couldn’t even come up with, but definitely could. Cook’s stock is plummeting because he tested horribly for a projected first round back, but the combine doesn’t measure excellent vision. Cook could be another weapon for a young and budding high-powered offense, and any “focus” issues should be held at bay by Jameis Winston’s leadership.
20. Denver Broncos
Haason Reddick – LB, Temple
The Broncos desperately want to address their heinous tackle situation, but can’t pass up a talent like Reddick still available at 20. Denver needs someone to cover tight ends, who are targeted frequently with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. patrolling the outside. Reddick could start Day 1 and contain the middle for a team that dominates the edges.
21. Detroit Lions
Jarrad Davis – ILB, Florida
The Lions can afford anyone who’s a high-character, intelligent football player. They have arguably the worst linebacking core in the NFL and are desperate for consistency there. Jarrad Davis would bring intangibles, skill, and hopefully a nice fruit platter to a defense that needs help.
22. Miami Dolphins
T.J. Watt – OLB, Wisconsin
Word is that Miami wants to start drafting as many character players as possible, as opposed to drafting a bunch of genuinely bad people. Groundbreaking draft strategy! If this is true, and if T.J. is anything like his almost insufferable high-character brother and DPOY J.J., the Dolphins would jump at the chance to snag the other Watt.
23. New York Giants
Cam Robinson – T, Alabama
This year’s draft is peculiar in the sense that it doesn’t really have many good tackles. This doesn’t bode well for a New York Giants team desperate for good O-linemen. That being said, The G-men would be content with a four year stud out of Bama. Robinson has better technique, better balance, and better stamina than probable disaster Ereck Flowers. His character concerns are being blown out of proportion, but given the way OBJ behaves and how the G-men handled Josh Brown, the Giants don’t give AF about character.
24. Oakland Raiders
Zach Cunningham – ILB, Vanderbilt
Oakland would love to land a talented ILB who could help their up-and-coming defense. Reggie McKenzie is looking for his defensive QB in a team that plays both 4-3 and 3-4 base defenses. The Raiders would love to pair an ILB with 16.5 tackles for loss with their Khalil Mack truck.
25. Houston Texans
Patrick Mahomes – QB, Texas Tech
Houston lost out on every free agent QB and the Romo sweepstakes, which went defunct. Mahomes is someone who’s shot up the draft boards over the past few weeks. Some believe he’s better than Trubisky. Houston is arguably the most QB-desperate team in the league, and yet is a playoff contender. If Houston goes with Mahomes and strikes gold on a guy loaded with potential, they can dominate the AFC South for years to come.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Kevin King – CB, Washington
The Seahawks might lose Richard Sherman for reasons no one can really explain. Regardless, their secondary has taken some serious blows due to injury and old age and could use cornerback help. King has the length Seattle loves in their corners, standing at 6’3″ with 32-inch arms. He’d also be right at home in Washington, where the state already loves him.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Forrest Lamp – G/C, Western Kentucky
Rumor has it that the Chiefs still get night terrors from picking a lineman in the first round after the Eric Fisher debacle. Andy Reid would love to add a big body to the trenches, as a guy who values building inside to out. Forrest Lamp would immediately add athleticism and versatility to a stale Chiefs offensive line.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Adoree’ Jackson – CB, USC
Adoree’ Jackson could kill two birds with one stone for the Cowboys, with secondary and playmaker needs.
29. Green Bay Packers
Jabrill Peppers – ?, Michigan
There are few organizations that can be trusted to fix Jabrill’s debacle. Green Bay is one of them, and knows it. They’d love to unravel Jabrill’s All-Pro potential.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
David Njoku – TE, Miami
One way to keep Big Ben interested in football is to shower him with gifts. This one comes in a 6’4″ 250 pound frame.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Jordan Willis – OLB, Kansas State
Vic Beasley, Jr. accounted for a league-high 46 percent of his team’s sack total. Willis is similarly relentless and can take the load off his shoulders.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots)
Corey Davis – WR, Western Michigan
Replacing Brandin Cooks with Corey Davis would be a godsend for the Saints.