After the release of my first and only Top 40 Big Board yesterday morning, I decided to use that big board and draw up a little mock draft based on its rankings. The vast majority of these picks will be wrong. Then again, so are most mock drafts. I am not attempting to predict what each team will do, but rather I am saying what I would do if I were the general manager for each team. With that, let’s get started.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Winston is the second best quarterback prospect of the last half decade behind only Andrew Luck. His presence on the Bucs' roster alone can make them an immediate threat to make the playoffs.
2. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DE, USC
Marcus Mariota might end up being the pick here one way or another, but Leonard Williams would be my guy if I were running the Titans. Williams can come in and pair with Jurrell Casey to instantly form a frightening interior pass rush duo.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
Randy Gregory – at least on tape – is a superior prospect, but Bud Dupree is cleaner off the field. If I am the GM of the Jaguars, the Justin Blackmon saga is still too fresh for me to want to spend the third overall pick on another possible headache when a comparable outside linebacker prospect with less baggage is also on the board.
4. Oakland Raiders: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Some personnel people within the NFL happen to think that Peters is one of the best corner prospects to come out in the last 15 years. Based on my own very high grades of him as a prospect on the field, I am inclined to agree. Seeing Peters team up with Khalil Mack and Sio Moore will be a treat.
5. Washington Redskins: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Gregory is one of the few blue chip prospects in this entire class. He and Ryan Kerrigan would make a hell of a pair of edge rushers.
6. New York Jets: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Breno Giacomini is an average right tackle at best and D’Brickashaw Ferguson is no spring chicken himself. T.J. Clemmings is another blue chip prospect who can provide a short term boost at the right tackle spot while giving the Jets an option at left tackle long term after Ferguson moves on. Considering how hard it is to find elite tackle prospects later in the first round, I might as well grab one while I’m here.
7. Chicago Bears: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE/OLB, UCLA
The Bears need more edge rush help even after the signing of Pernell McPhee, and luckily for me there is still one top tier pass rusher left on the board. "Diggy" can help get Chicago’s transition to a 3-4 off on the right foot with his explosive first step, great hand usage, and incredible run stopping ability.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Just like in Chicago, SOLB is already well taken care of in Atlanta with the signing of Brooks Reed. I do not want to reach for Dante Fowler or Vic Beasley here to fill the LEO spot, so Danny Shelton is the pick. He is a perfect fit for the cocked nose tackle position in Dan Quinn’s defense.
9. New York Giants: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
The Giants need offensive line help more than anything, and Peat happens to be one of the best players left on the board. He is a fantastic right tackle prospect that can start from day one as a tone-setting, run-game-amplifying, destroyer of men.
10. St Louis Rams: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Both of the Rams’ starting cornerbacks, Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, have expiring contracts after this season, which is not necessarily a bad thing considering that rookie E.J. Gaines outplayed both of them. That being said, Gaines could use another stud off-corner prospect across from him (assuming that Jenkins and Johnson do not return) to help St Louis’ monstrous front seven do their thing.
11. Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Vikings have their pick of the litter of wide receivers here after every single one of them dropped out of the top ten. DeVante Parker is an instant upgrade to the still way underdeveloped Cordarrelle Patterson, and he gives Minnesota a security blanket if they decide to move on from Mike Wallace at some point in the next couple of seasons. Parker is a true number one wideout prospect, and he should have instant chemistry with his former college quarterback.
12. Cleveland Browns: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
The Browns have addressed the wide receiver position sufficiently well in free agency, but they still don’t have any actual studs on the roster; Amari Cooper can fix that issue. I wish there were some defensive linemen around that are worth this pick, but unfortunately that is not the case.
13. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Saints are another team that could use some run-stopping defensive line prospects, but I think this is still a little early for Arik Armstead or Carl Davis. Instead, I’ll ensure that the future of the franchise is in good hands after Drew Brees’ career winds down in a few years. Mariota is not ready to play this season – not even close, actually – but in New Orleans he wouldn’t have to play immediately. It’s a win-win for everyone.
14. Miami Dolphins: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
If Kevin Johnson was still around, he would be the pick, but unfortunately he is a Ram. Gurley is the last remaining blue chip player left on the board, and I think he can truly transform the Dolphins offense from good to awesome. With Gurley and Lamar Miller handling the ground game, Kenny Stills acting as the deep threat, and Jarvis Landry constantly moving the chains, Ryan Tannehill might finally have a good enough supporting cast to make some noise in the AFC.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Byron Jones, CB, Conneticut
Byron Jones still has some developing to do, but he has immense upside as a prospect at both cornerback and safety. Even if he does not start right away, he projects as an impact player on special teams and in sub packages as a rookie.
16. Houston Texans: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
Melvin Gordon is still the top player left on the board, but running back might be a bit of a redundant pick after Houston signed the very talented Chris Polk a few days ago. Wide receiver still needs help despite the additions of Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington in free agency, and Agholor can be the answer. He provides excellent versatility as a polished slot receiver prospect and a punt returner, and he brings a hard working attitude that Bill O’Brien will love.
17. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Erving, C/OG/OT, Florida State
The Chargers are a disaster at center. Luckily for them, I’ve got arguably the most gifted center prospect in years available with the 17th pick.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
Ogbuehi is still recovering from a late season ACL tear in his bowl game, but his upside as the Chiefs’ right tackle of the future is enormous. He’s worth the risk.
19. Cleveland Browns (From BUF): Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
The Browns still need a lot of defensive line help if they want to fix their run defense, and Armstead fits in this range of picks. He can two-gap very well when he actually maintains his leverage against squattier offensive linemen, but I love his penetration ability as a pass rusher even more.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State
A perfect blend of scheme fit and matching talent level, Randall can step in immediately a starting safety, slot defender, and special teams ace for the Eagles.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
The Bengals quietly have a huge need at wide receiver. Marvin Jones and Mo Sanu might both be gone next season, and outside of A.J. Green, the Bengals really don’t have anyone else notable in the position group. Perriman might start his career primarily as a deep threat to scare safeties into rolling to his side rather than A.J. Green’s, but I think he is already further along in developing his route running ability than the comparably talented Kevin White. After a couple of seasons, I could see Perriman and Green talked about as one of the very best wide receiver duos in the league.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida
The Steelers need a corner in the worst way, but none of the remaining corners are worth this pick. Instead I’m selecting Dante Fowler to take over the Sam linebacker role as a complementary pass rusher and edge setter against the run.
23. Detroit Lions: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
The Lions have a short term answer at running back in Joique Bell, but after this season they don’t really have anything else to look forward to in that position group. Melvin Gordon can certainly be that future.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
The Cardinals do not have a lot of needs, but inside linebacker is one of them. I love Anthony’s combination of speed and instincts.
25. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
Humphries has the feet to be a very good left tackle in this league. The only reason he is even available this late is because of his checkered injury history and his seeming inability to sustain a lot of weight in the past. The natural talent, however, is worth the risk to me.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Torrey Smith left Baltimore in free agency, but fortunately for me, I’ve got a very fast and very talented deep threat sitting here at 26. Kevin White is not a top ten talent in my opinion, but I am more than happy to take a shot on him this late in the first round. He is probably a few years away from being anything other than a vertical receiver, but the physical potential is there for him to eventually become a monster.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
The Cowboys added Greg Hardy in free agency, but Preston Smith is way too good of a value to pass up at this spot. He can be a long term option at defensive end if Hardy’s one year deal does not work out.
28. Denver Broncos: Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
Brandon Scherff fell pretty hard in this mock, but this range is where he should have been projected all along. He’s a good prospect, just not necessarily an elite one.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
I can’t take watching Gosder Cherilus try to run block anymore. It straight up hurts my brain.
30. Green Bay Packers: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
The Packers have lacked a difference maker at the inside linebacker position for years now. Kendricks’ sideline to sideline chase speed and fluidity in coverage might just translate into being Green Bay’s long term answer for the middle of their defense.
31. New Orleans Saints (From SEA): Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
I wanted to add some beef to the Saints' defensive line at some point in the first round, and that is exactly what this pick accomplishes.
32. New England Patriots: La’El Collins, OG, LSU
I am not sure what is going in La’El Collins’ personal life right now, but he supposedly had no involvement whatsoever in the murder of his ex-girlfriend. I love him as a prospect on the field, and coaches praise his work ethic and leadership in the locker room. I am not going to drop him completely off the board until I know what the hell is going on.
What do you think, BRB? Does Nelson Agholor sound like a good pick at 16th overall, or would you have preferred someone else at that spot?