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The Simple Scouting Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda Mock Draft 1.0
In the world of Draft Analysis, mock drafts are everywhere. From now until the 2017 NFL Draft happens, the internet will be loaded with them. Then, once this year’s process is finished, people immediately start looking at next year. Mock drafts are fun for fans to look at, and for us to write.
In this mock draft, and ones to come, just to add some spice, I’ll break down the selections into three categories: who I think each team will draft, who I think they should draft, and an unlikely scenario that probably won’t happen, but would make this draft a lot more interesting. So, I’m giving you three mocks in one article. These picks will change greatly as the draft process moves along, but that’s part of the enjoyment. With that in mind, enjoy.
1. Cleveland Browns
The Pick Will Be: Myles Garrett, Edge: The best player in the draft seems destined to be the first player selected, and that doesn’t always happen. Garrett is big, fast, and knows how to get to the quarterback. The Browns will make the right pick.
The Pick Should Be: Myles Garrett, Edge: What do you know? The Browns get one right.
The Pick Might Be: Deshaun Watson, QB: It’s a quarterback driven league, so a case could be made that the Browns should take the one they like the most at this spot. There’s also a lot of pass rush depth. If they really like Watson, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see this one.
2. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick Will Be: Mitch Trubisky, QB: The 49ers literally don’t have a quarterback for 2017 at this point. The top quarterback spot is still up for grabs, but Trubisky has the tools to succeed in the NFL.
The Pick Should Be: Corey Davis, WR: It’s the ghost of Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington, and a bunch of prayers right now in San Francisco. Whoever is throwing the ball next season could use somebody to throw it to.
The Pick Might Be: Myles Garrett, Edge: Obviously, if the Browns pass on him, Garrett would be snapped up by the Niners.
3. Chicago Bears
The Pick Will Be: Deshaun Watson, QB: Jay Cutler seems destined to be cut, and they have no other legitimate options. Watson has the poise and skill set to succeed in the NFL, and his stock could soar after workouts.
The Pick Should Be: Jamal Adams, S: Taking the best available player is often the smartest move, rather than forcing a quarterback. Adams is a game-changer.
The Pick Might Be: Reuben Foster, LB: The Bears are accustomed to having great linebackers, and Foster has that kind of potential. He’s one of the top players, at any position, in the entire draft.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick Will Be: Jonathan Allen, DL: The Jaguars keep using high picks to fix the defense, and they keep having bad defenses. They were in the bottom half of the league in sacks in 2016, so adding Allen, who can rush the passer from both outside and inside, is logical.
The Pick Should Be: Solomon Thomas, DL: The Simple Scout has Thomas rated above Allen, so that would be the pick. Allen has the higher floor, but Thomas has the higher ceiling.
The Pick Might Be: Leonard Fournette, RB: Dalvin Cook is my highest rated running back, but Fournette is bigger and more powerful, and could tempt a team at the top to grab him, especially if he runs well in workouts.
5. Tennessee Titans
The Pick Will Be: Malik Hooker, S: Assuming he checks out medically, Hooker is a big-time playmaker that instantly upgrades Tennessee’s secondary.
The Pick Should Be: Malik Hooker, S: Either Adams or Hooker are good picks here. Hooker would be my choice.
The Pick Might Be: Mike Williams, WR: The Titans could certainly use a receiver, and Williams will be at the top of many teams’ boards.
6. New York Jets
The Pick Will Be: Marshon Lattimore, CB: The Jets have several issues, so anything goes with this pick. The cornerback position is especially weak in New York, so they’ll take the best one available.
The Pick Should Be: Marshon Lattimore, CB: We’re on a roll, with another team making the right pick. Lattimore is really good.
The Pick Might Be: Jamal Adams, S: Adams would likely be the best available player at this point, and there’s nothing wrong with picking a guy that talented.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick Will Be: Jamal Adams, S: The back-end of the Chargers defense needs an upgrade, and with Adams on the board, they might run to the podium with this pick. He’s a big hitter who knows how to lead a defense.
The Pick Should Be: Jonathan Allen, DL: Since both safeties are off the board in this scenario, they should go with the highest rated player, which is Allen at this point.
The Pick Might Be: Malik Hooker, S: The Chargers could opt to take the rangier safety at this spot if he’s there. Either guy would be an upgrade.
8. Carolina Panthers
The Pick Will Be: Solomon Thomas, DL: The popular pick is Fournette right now, but if the draft plays out this way, the Panthers will see the value in Thomas to keep up Carolina’s pass rush.
The Pick Should Be: Dalvin Cook, RB: With the big three defensive ends off the board, giving Cam Newton a game-breaker at running back is the next best option.
The Pick Might Be: Jonathan Allen, DL: Some of the earlier, more surprising picks, would leave Allen dropping a little, right into the waiting arms of the Panthers.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick Will Be: Malik McDowell, DL: The Bengals love defensive ends with length and the ability to play the run. McDowell can play on the edge, but can also move inside, providing versatility on the line, something they also like in Cincinnati.
The Pick Should Be: Mike Williams, WR: Andy Dalton has limitations, and needs effective weapons to succeed. Williams, AJ Green, and Tyler Boyd would be a nice receiver corps.
The Pick Might Be: Derek Barnett, DE: If the Bengals decided to go with a different kind of pass rusher, Barnett could fit the bill.
10. Buffalo Bills
The Pick Will Be: Mike Williams, WR: A quarterback could be taken here if they cut Tyrod Taylor, but they also need receivers for whoever ends up under center.
The Pick Should Be: Deshaun Watson, QB: If things play out this way, the top receivers are gone, and they can try to get their quarterback.
The Pick Might Be: Marshon Lattimore, CB: Stephone Gilmore might be gone, so they could be tempted to draft his replacement. Lattimore has the potential to be an elite cornerback.
11. New Orleans Saints
The Pick Will Be: Reuben Foster, LB: Foster is one of the most talented players in the draft, at any position. He flies all over the field making plays, and will instantly improve a not-so-good Saints defense.
The Pick Should Be: Reuben Foster, LB: Yeah, a cornerback would be a good choice, but Foster’s potential is off the charts.
The Pick Might Be: Sidney Jones, CB: The Saints need defense, and a talented cornerback is just as likely as anything else.
12. Cleveland Browns
The Pick Will Be: DeShone Kizer, QB: The Browns quarterback history is well known. Eventually, they have to hit on one. Kizer is big, strong, and has a tremendous upside.
The Pick Should Be: Mitch Trubisky, QB: There’s almost no chance that Trubisky makes it this far, but if he’s available, the Browns should take him.
The Pick Might Be: Solomon Thomas, DL: If they take Watson with the first overall pick, getting Thomas here would be an ideal scenario.
13. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick Will Be: Sidney Jones, CB: The Cardinals are still trying to find a cornerback to play on the side of the field opposite Patrick Peterson, and Jones is the guy. He puts himself in the right spot more often than not, and has great ball skills.
The Pick Should Be: DeShone Kizer, QB: Carson Palmer is back, but they need a plan for 2018 and beyond. Palmer once sat and learned as a rookie. Now, he could mentor Kizer.
The Pick Might Be: Corey Davis, WR: If Davis falls, it’s easy to imagine the Cardinals selecting him. They need somebody to groom to be the top target when Larry Fitzgerald retires.
14. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick Will Be: Derek Barnett, Edge: The Colts have to find some pass rushers in this draft. Barnett sacked quarterbacks as well as anybody in this draft class, and his skill set translates well to the NFL.
The Pick Should Be: Derek Barnett, Edge: Seriously, David Parry had the most sacks in 2016 of anybody currently under contract, and he was just arrested.
The Pick Might Be: Dalvin Cook, RB: How much longer can Frank Gore be counted on to carry the load at running back? If Cook is available, he’ll be tempting.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick Will Be: Corey Davis, WR: This one might be a no-brainer. Eagles receivers dropped pretty much every pass thrown their way last year, and Davis is a potential All-Pro. They won’t over-think this.
The Pick Should Be: Sidney Jones, CB: The Eagles need cornerbacks just as much as they need receivers. With the top two pass catchers gone, Jones should be an easy choice.
The Pick Might Be: John Ross, WR: This is a little early for Ross, but they really need somebody who can catch a football.
16. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick Will Be: Tim Williams, Edge: The Ravens were 25th in the league in sacks in 2016, and they’ll want to improve that. Williams is a pure pass rusher that coaches can just turn loose in passing situations.
The Pick Should Be: Taco Charleton, Edge: Williams is a flashier pass rusher, but Charleton is the better all-around player.
The Pick Might Be: Malik McDowell, DE: If the Ravens decide to strengthen the defensive line, McDowell could certainly be in play.
17. Washington Redskins
The Pick Will Be: OJ Howard, TE: The Redskins have Jordan Reed, but he has struggled to play in all 16 games. Howard would be another big target for Kirk Cousins, and is a matchup problem for defenses.
The Pick Should Be: Malik McDowell, DE: You can never have to many good players up front, and McDowell is a good player up front.
The Pick Might Be: Budda Baker, S: The pint-sized playmaker can play in multiple spots, and is as talented as any player in the draft.
18. Tennessee Titans
The Pick Will Be: Teez Tabor, CB: The Titans keep strengthening the secondary with Tabor. He has the pure cover skills to be a top corner in the league, and could wind up a steal at this point.
The Pick Should Be: OJ Howard, TE: The Titans are close to being a contender. Marcus Mariota is terrific, but needs more talent around him.
The Pick Might Be: Marlon Humphrey, CB: Humphrey has great size, and raw skills, but not as much speed.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick Will Be: Leonard Fournette, RB: The Bucs have said they support Doug Martin, but Martin is suspended for the first three games of 2016, and he has had health issues. Fournette is a potential monster, and has too much value to pass on here.
The Pick Should Be: Leonard Fournette, RB: There are concerns with Fournette, mostly concerning his footwork, but if he falls this far, take him.
The Pick Might Be: Taco Charleton, DE: The Buccanners might opt to address the defensive line, in which case Charleton would be a solid pick.
20. Denver Broncos
The Pick Will Be: David Njoku, TE: Njoku is about to blow up the combine, and he’ll keep rising up boards. He fills a need for the Broncos, and should contribute, immediately, to the offense.
The Pick Should Be: David Njoku, TE: Whoever starts at quarterback in Denver deserves a better tight end that Virgil Green.
The Pick Might Be: Ryan Ramczyk, OT: The Broncos need offensive line help too, and though I don’t have any graded this high, it’s certainly an option.
21. Detroit Lions
The Pick Will Be: Taco Charleton, DE: The Lions were 30th in the NFL in sacks last season, so drafting a pass rusher seems sensible. Charleton needs refinement, but has loads of potential, and has a solid combination of speed and strength.
The Pick Should Be: Teez Tabor, CB: With the top defensive ends off the board, the value is at cornerback, and thus, Tabor should be the pick.
The Pick Might Be: Haason Reddick, LB: Reddick is another tremendous athlete, and could develop into a star.
22. Miami Dolphins
The Pick Will Be: Haason Reddick, LB: The Dolphins are another team that could use defensive line help, but adding a dynamic linebacker, like Reddick, works just as well. He rushes the passer well, and has athleticism to spare.
The Pick Should Be: Haason Reddick, LB: His upside is simply too high to pass on at this point.
The Pick Might Be: OJ Howard, TE: Jordan Cameron seems to be out, leaving a spot open for a talented rookie like Howard.
23. New York Giants
The Pick Will Be: Dalvin Cook, RB: Paul Perkins is a talented ball carrier, but if Cook is available, they would likely snap him up. His combination of speed, agility, and pass catching ability is elite.
The Pick Should Be: Zach Cunningham, LB: The Giants defense can surely find a spot for the ultra-talented Cunningham.
The Pick Might Be: David Njoku, TE: The Giants tight ends were solid last year, but none have the kind of potential that Njoku has.
24. Oakland Raiders
The Pick Will Be: Zach Cunningham, LB: The Raiders are a Super Bowl contender when everybody’s healthy. Adding a linebacker they can plug in at the “Will” spot and play right away makes them even better.
The Pick Should Be: Quincy Wilson, CB: Wilson fills a need for an upgrade at cornerback, and as a bonus, he has the brash Raiders attitude already.
The Pick Might Be: Teez Tabor, CB: Tabor doesn’t necessarily fit what the Raiders like to do as well as Wilson, but he could be targeted as well, if he’s still on the board.
25. Houston Texans
The Pick Will Be: Pat Mahomes, QB: When all is said and done, Mahomes could wind up the best quarterback from this class. He could also be a bust. His footwork is atrocious, but if he develops, the Texans are a Super Bowl team.
The Pick Should Be: Pat Mahomes, QB: The Texans defense is superb, but they badly need a quarterback.
The Pick Might Be: Cam Robinson, OT: The other area of concern for the offense is at the tackle spot. Robinson has some concerns, but the Texans might take the chance.
26. Seattle Seahawks
The Pick Will Be: Ryan Ramczyk, OT: The Seahawks offensive line isn’t good, and they have to know that by this point. Ramczyk. He has good technique to go with his strength and movement skills.
The Pick Should Be: Ryan Ramczyk, OT: They absolutely have to help their offensive line with this pick.
The Pick Might Be: Forrest Lamp, OL: Say it with me again. The Seahawks have to help the offensive line. Lamp might be a guard, but anybody up front helps.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick Will Be: Takkarist McKinley, Edge: McKinley is a little more raw than many of the other edge prospects, but he has potential, and has proven he knows the way to the quarterback.
The Pick Should Be: Tim Williams, Edge: They should take a pass rusher here, but my grades have Williams rated higher.
The Pick Might Be: Mitch Trubisky, QB: The Chiefs continue to support Alex Smith, but if Trubisky falls this far, they’d have to at least consider him.
28. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick Will Be: Quincy Wilson, CB: A lot of people are predicting a defensive end here, and they do need one, but they need cornerbacks just as badly, and the value is better there. Wilson would play early on.
The Pick Should Be: Gareon Conley, CB: Conley doesn’t get the amount of hype that his former teammate, Lattimore, does. However, he’s good in his own right. He can press, and has nice ball skills.
The Pick Might Be: Charles Harris, DE: If the Cowboys go with a defensive end, Harris is likely the highest rated one on the board.
29. Green Bay Packers
The Pick Will Be: Tim Williams, Edge: The defense killed any chance for the Packers to finish a Super Bowl run last year. The secondary was abysmal, but injured. Pass rushers are needed as well, and with edge guys flying off the board, they grab Williams now.
The Pick Should Be: Cordrea Tankersley, CB: The Packers secondary was a black hole in 2016. Send. Help. Please.
The Pick Might Be: Takkarist McKinley, Edge: Again, the Packers need to improve the defense, in a bad way.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick Will Be: Gareon Conley, CB: The Steelers offense is among the league’s best, but they are still trying to figure out the secondary. Conley would be their most talented cornerback as soon as he hit the field.
The Pick Should Be: Marlon Humphrey, CB: They should take the highest rated cornerback on their board. I have Humphrey at this point.
The Pick Might Be: Zach Cunningham, LB: If the Steelers go with a different position, Cunningham still being available could be hard to pass on.
31. Atlanta Falcons
The Pick Will Be: Charles Harris, DE: The Falcons biggest need is at defensive end, and Harris is just sitting there waiting. He’s not as refined as some of the pass rushers above him, but he has good upside.
The Pick Should Be: Charles Harris, DE: Sometimes picks just make too much sense.
The Pick Might Be: Evan Engram, TE: If the Falcons decide that their offense just needs to be even more ridiculously good, they could add a top-flight pass catching tight end, like Engram.
32. New England Patriots
The Pick Will Be: Evan Engram, TE: The Patriots love having two weapons at tight end, and Rob Gronkowski’s injury history is concerning as well. Engram is a wide receiver in a tight end’s body.
The Pick Should Be: Christian McCaffrey, RB: This is a popular pick, because it’s a logical pick. He’s the shifty, versatile back they like, but bigger.
The Pick Might Be: Joe Mixon, RB: This would surprise, and anger, a lot of people, but if they believe he’s a better person than he was at the time of his incident, they would be adding one of the draft’s best backs.