Post-Combine Mock Draft
The combine has come to a close and with nearly a month since my last mock, a lot has changed. Players have helped themselves with solid combine performances (looking at you Alvin Kamara) and we got a little more clarity to the logjam at the top of the cornerback class. This mock will be “accurate” for only a day or so, as free agency begins on Thursday at 4:00 PM EST and there will be a new mock draft once most of the major dominoes have fallen.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Truthfully it wouldn’t have mattered what Garrett did at the combine (outside of maybe stab an assistant) to move him out of the top spot in my mock. But let’s talk about what he did at the combine. He did 33 reps on the bench press (second among defensive lineman), posted a 41" vertical (best among defensive lineman), he broad jumped 10'8" (tied for second), and to top it off he ran a 4.64 40-yard dash. In summary…he is good. Rumors have surfaced that the Browns are interested in Trubisky, but they can get a quarterback at twelve or even at the top of the second round. Garrett is a generational pass rusher and will be a major boost to a team that only managed 26 sacks last season.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
That’s right, he’s Mitchell now. And Mitchell ran a 4.67 40-yard dash and performed well in on-field drills on Saturday. He remains my top quarterback and has a sneaky running ability as well. The 49ers GM John Lynch seems to like DeShone Kizer, but I don’t buy it over Trubisky, and especially at second overall. However, there is plenty of time until the draft and we are about to enter smokescreen season, so we will have to sift through the lies and the actual truth in al the rumors.
3.Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
I had Mike Williams slotted here in my last mock draft, and the Bears need for a pass catcher may still remain if Alshon Jeffery does leave in free agency. However, Allen is too good of a talent to pass up and he can help the Bears continue to build their defense. Allen’s shoulders will be a big talking point between now and the draft. If everything checked out at the combine than he will stay in my top five. However, if teams are concerned about it, Allen could slide all the way out of the top ten. For now I will leave him here, but once team’s opinions start to trickle out, he could be in for a big slide. Also, with both Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley free agents and Jay Cutler seemingly on his way out of town, Trubisky could be an option if San Francisco passes or the Bears could even consider DeShone Kizer.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette’s combine was a roller coaster ride. After weighing in at 240 pounds, people were a tad surprised, then at the vertical he jumped a disappointing 28.5 inches. Nearly all the doubts were put to rest when Fournette ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. That number is impressive on its own, let alone at his size. Then in the drills he showed an ability to catch the ball, which is something that many have wondered if he could do. His performance solidified his spot as the top running back in this loaded class and the Jaguars should pounce on him (no pun intended). The Jaguars split carries between Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon last season, neither of which did a great job of taking the pressure off of Blake Bortles. Fournette can alleviate the attention on Bortles and hopefully allow for the Jags offense to finally begin to catch up with their defense.
5. Tennessee Titans (via LA): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Titans are in an interesting spot. After taking a big step forward last year, they still find themselves with some holes to address. The secondary needs help at both corner and safety and on the offensive side they need another weapon for Marcus Mariota. There are great options at both positions at either of their first round picks, so they may be tempted to just go best player available (BPA). Tennessee also has a decent amount of cap space, so expect them to make a serious run at a receiver in free agency. There is also a chance they trade one of their first round picks for Saints WR Brandin Cooks. The Titans have plenty of options and all seem to have a positive result, they just have to see how things shake out.
6. New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Jets are blowing it up and going younger after the team bottomed out last year, and that is the right move for them. They released Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and others may be on their way out as well. The Jets secondary was bad last year even with Revis and as they typically go BPA, Lattimore is the pick. He ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, jumped 11 feet on the broad jump, and registered a 38.5 inch vertical. New York now has a significant amount of cap space so expect them to make additions once free agency starts too.
7. San Diego Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Another team with a bad secondary is San Diego. Hooker is a perfect fit in their scheme and should he still be on the board at seven, San Diego should run the card to the stand. Hooker often draws comparisons to Seahawks All-Pro Safety Earl Thomas. Hooker recently had knee surgery so he did not participate in drills, but he expects to be ready by rookie minicamp. That injury could concern some teams, but he is too good of a fit in San Diego to pass up.
8. Carolina Panthers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Myles Garrett excluded, Thomas is the best edge prospect in this loaded class and the Panthers need to re-tool their defensive line after losing a number of guys over the last few years. Their secondary is also terrible so I wouldn’t be shocked to see a defensive back heavily considered should Lattimore, Adams, or Hooker fall to them at eight.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Foster had the strangest (and arguably worst) moment of the combine when he was sent home early for getting into a heated exchange with a hospital employee during his medicals. Obviously, this does not reflect well on him at all, but it is still unclear how it will affect his stock. For now he remains a top-ten pick who fits in great with the Bengals, but should teams be turned off by the incident he could begin to slide down draft boards. Here was what we know as of this writing:
10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The biggest question around Williams will be whether or not he can create separation in the NFL. That is still the question as he opted not to run the 40-yard dash at the combine. Buffalo need a another wide receiver though, and Williams is a good one. Depending on what the Bills do with Tyrod Taylor, they could be looking at a quarterback here or even a cornerback with the loss of Stephon Gilmore.
11. New Orleans Saints: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Coming into the year, Wilson’s teammate Jalen Tabor was tagged as the top corner in the class. A season later and Wilson is not only the second best corner in this draft, but Tabor is stuck in the middle of the pack with a number of other talented guys. The Saints offense is fine behind the immortal Drew Brees but the defense is still one of the worst in the league. The Saints gave up the most yards through the air last season, allowing on average 273 yards a game and only snagging nine interceptions. Wilson can start from day one and probably be their best corner out of the gate.
12. Cleveland Browns (via PHI): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Browns offense was not as bad as you think last year, but they weren’t necessarily good either. The fact remains they need a real quarterback (Sorry, Manziel, Kessler, RG3, Weeden, Quinn, Campbell, and so on and so forth) and Watson could be the guy. He took Clemson to back-to-back national championships and won the most recent one. There are still questions about his decision-making and deep passing but every quarterback has flaws in this class.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
I REALLY want to put OJ Howard here after his fantastic combine but Corey Davis is highly regarded still, for good reason! He is the second best wide receiver and could end up the top wide receiver by the end of the process, but since he missed the combine with an ankle injury he will stay at two. This should do little to deter teams from taking the player who scored 46 touchdowns in three seasons. The Cardinals receiving corps is going to lose Larry Fitzgerald any season now so they need to be prepared for whenever he does decide to call it quits.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIN): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Eagles would be happy with either Davis or Cook here, as they both would be reliable targets for Carson Wentz. Cook is the one still on the board and should fit nicely into Doug Pederson’s system. He did not have a great combine, and questions about his run-ins with the law in the past could turn some teams away. With McCaffrey and Kamara closing in after strong combines, Cook could be supplanted as the number two running back. The Eagles can go after a corner or a receiver in the later rounds as the draft is very deep at those spots.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles’ biggest questions were off the field, but he crushed his interviews and showed that he has turned his life around after a troubling childhood. His interviews already had his stock on the rise…and then he did his drills. He ran a sub-five second 40-yard dash (4.95) and jumped an impressive 9'7" on the broad jump, which was the best among offensive lineman. The Colts probably wouldn’t mind adding Cook, but they can get a running back in the second round due to the depth. However, the Colts allowed the fifth most sacks in the league last year, so they need to focus on keeping Andrew Luck upright and healthy.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan
The Ravens took two edge rushers early last year but neither of them were Taco Charlton. The Ravens were in the bottom half of the league in sacks last year and may lose a guy or two in free agency. The Ravens are one of the five best drafting teams in the league so Ozzie Newsome will make magic happen regardless.
17. Washington Redskins: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey was another of the running backs who had a really good day at the combine on Friday. He showed good pass-catching abilities and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. He looked fluid during on-field drills as well, helping his stock considerably. The Redskins are in need of a running back to pair with Rob Kelley and it wouldn’t hurt to add another receiver, lucky for them McCaffrey is both of those things. Should Foster’s blow up cause him to slide, Washington would be more than happy to see the Alabama linebacker fall to them.
18. Tennessee Titans: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
OJ Howard is the best tight end in this draft by a healthy margin. He graded out as the best run blocking tight end in college last year by Pro Football Focus and was underutilized in the passing game. Howard ran a 4.51 second 40-yard dash and jumped over 10 feet in the broad jump. This tight end class is special, and quite possibly the best ever, and Howard is still the consensus number one. He would be a fantastic addition to the receiving corps in Tennessee and is a good enough blocker to help them run their “exotic smash mouth” offense.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: John Ross III, WR, Washington
The Buccaneers need someone to pair with Mike Evans in the passing game. Tight end Cameron Brate had a breakout year but the receiving corps needed a boost even before the departure of the rapidly aging Vincent Jackson. Ross is the perfect compliment to Evans, and Evans is the perfect compliment to Ross. Oh and did I mention that Ross broke Chris Johnson’s long standing 40-yard dash record? Ross ran a 4.22 on his first attempt Saturday, all while dealing with cramps! Unfortunately, said cramps kept him out of the other drills but that shouldn’t matter as he was able to flash his best asset.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Broncos need to protect whoever is taking snaps for them next year, whether it be Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, or even Tony Romo. After not picking up Russell Okung’s option, the Broncos have some holes to fill on an already porous offensive line. Pre-combine, many had Ramczyk pegged as the top tackle in a “meh” class, but after Bolles’ aforementioned success and Forrest Lamp’s good day, Ramczyk was lost in the shuffle after not participating in drills. He should not be forgotten though, as he could help a team that allowed 40 sacks last year.
21. Detroit Lions: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
While Barnett may be disappointed to see himself fall this far, the Lions certainly won’t. In need of serious pass rush help after being second to last in sacks last year, Detroit will be thrilled to add the man who broke Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee. Barnett also has shown the ability to drop into coverage. Barnett dealt with a virus during the combine but still competed in on-field drills. He still looked good and I’d expect him to improve on his numbers at his pro day. Barnett has the talent to go earlier but questions about his fit in a 3–4 defense will cause him to slip a little bit. But again, Detroit will not mind in the slightest.
22. Miami Dolphins: David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Dolphins were able to lock up Cameron Wake for another couple years with an extension this offseason. They still could use a pass rusher but the draft is deep here (tired of hearing that yet?) and they can wait until the second round. Meanwhile, their depth chart at tight end would make anyone sad, and after Njoku’s decent showing on Saturday, he can help Miami.
23. New York Giants: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
As previously mentioned, Kamara showed out very well in the drills. He nearly jumped out of the building with a 39.5" vertical (tops among running backs) and a 10'11" broad jump (also best among running backs and 7th best since 2003). He then ran a 4.56 40-yard dash and showed natural pass catching abilities in the on-field drills. He could wind up challenging McCaffrey for the third best running back in this class and the Giants would be thrilled to nab him. The Giants were bottom four in rushing last season and released Rashad Jennings, their top rusher. Watch Kamara in the second half of the season and tell me he is not a first round pick.
24. Oakland Raiders: Sidney Jones IV, CB, Washington
The Raiders were last in the league in sacks last year, so someone like Charles Harris or Malik McDowell could be an option. After just missing out on Kamara and McCaffrey, Oakland will likely wait to add a running back until later in the draft. Jones was a guy I pegged to rise at the combine and his decent day saw him rise a few spots. He had the potential to rise even higher but Oakland will have no complaints adding Jones to a secondary that allowed the ninth most passing yards in the regular season.
25. Houston Texans: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
This pick depends entirely on what Houston decides to do with Brock Osweiler. If they decide to accept their losses and move on, then the Texans could choose a quarterback, like Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. Should they opt to give Osweiler another chance, than protecting him and adding to the run game should be a priority. Robinson has some off-field questions and some on-field questions as well, but 26th is pretty good value for the guy many pegged as a top-10 pick coming into the year. He is a great run blocker, and probably the less times Osweiler throws it, the better.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
I expect Seattle to address the offensive line in free agency so they can focus on rebuilding their once vaunted secondary here. When DeShawn Shead went down with a serious knee injury in the playoffs, Seattle were forced to turn to UDFAs to play across from Richard Sherman. Conley had a fantastic day on Monday, which caused him to jump up in my cornerback rankings. He ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and looked very smooth in workouts. Conley could very well continue to move up and could jump in front of Sidney Jones by the time the draft rolls around. Seattle will not complain though if Conley is available here, as he gives them someone who can start right away with Shead likely to miss the start of the year.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Haason Reddick, Edge, Temple
This was the hardest pick for me to figure out in this mock draft. Budda Baker could have been an option but re-signing Eric Berry made that need less important. The Chiefs could also use a LB, but it is unclear who the next best one is behind Reuben Foster. I would like to say Florida’s Jarrad Davis but he did not compete in any drills at the combine due to an ankle injury. Reddick blew up at the Senior Bowl and he was great again on Sunday. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.52 seconds) among defensive lineman and looked really smooth during drills. I still am not sure if he can play exclusively on the line in the NFL but he is continuing to rise and could go even higher than this. It should also be noted that the Chiefs spoke with both DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes at the combine, so they could potentially be after a quarterback of the future here.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley, Edge, UCLA
The Cowboys are set on the offensive side of the ball, but questions remain on the defensive side. The defensive line especially has some question marks, but fortunately for Dallas this is a very deep edge draft. McKinley had a good day on Sunday (including a 4.59 40-yard dash) and is great value at 28 for the Cowboys. The baggage with McKinley is a shoulder injury that will sideline him for a reported 4–6 months. Should Dallas want more of a sure thing, they could turn to Charles Harris from Missouri. Dallas can go about finding Jason Witten’s replacement in the second round due to the absurd tight end depth and there are a number of good options expected to be available.
29. Green Bay Packers: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Packers need secondary help badly. I waffled back and forth between Humphrey and Tabor here. As previously mentioned, Tabor was the top corner coming into this draft cycle. Inconsistent play and disciplinary issues saw him fall behind in a loaded class and nearly out of the first round. But after his underwhelming combine and the other baggage, Humphrey seems to be the way to go for Green Bay. As expected Humphrey crushed the measurables, running a 4.41 40-yard dash and jumping 10'5" in the broad jump. No one questions Humphrey’s size and athleticism, but he could use some work on his technique. Should the Packers be confident in there locker room to right the ship for Tabor, than they could go in that direction and he could end up being a steal, but as of now I just don’t see it.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris, Edge, Mizzou
Big Ben is not going to retire after all, so Steeler Nation can exhale for the time being. Their defense still needs some help and their pass rush was a no-show against New England. Harris is the next pass rusher in a long line to come out of Missouri, and Pittsburgh would welcome him after a good day on Sunday. Roethlisberger is here for now but with his injury history and Landry Jones potentially on his way out in free agency, Pittsburgh could add a quarterback here or in the second round where I expect a run on the middle tier of quarterbacks.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Jalen “Teez” Tabor, CB, Florida
There are no issues with the Atlanta offense that was one of the best in history, but the defense still has some holes. Malik McDowell probably would be the no-brainer pick here if there weren’t effort questions with him. Instead we will go to the secondary that is good but could still be better as they gave up the fifth most yards through the air last year. We have covered Tabor’s fall a lot so far, but he is still a first round talent. The other corners having excellent days has a lot to do with this slide, but there are other problems to address. The question then becomes if Atlanta will deal with Tabor’s baggage, than who is to say they wouldn’t put up with McDowell’s? This is where the interview process comes in, and from the rumors so far, McDowell did not interview very well so Tabor is the pick.
32. New England Patriots: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan
I originally had Forrest Lamp here after his strong performance on Friday. Then I changed it to Haason Reddick, but after Reddick’s strong performance Sunday he moved up the board. Now we have Peppers who also had a great day Sunday with the linebackers AND Monday when he worked out with the defensive backs. Peppers’ positional ambiguity originally had him falling out of the first but after his performance I just can’t justify it. He makes things happen and he looks fluid moving in space. If anyone can figure out what to do with Peppers, it’s Bill Belichick. I really do think he is more of a safety than a linebacker, but with the lines becoming blurred on many positions, it probably doesn’t hurt to have a versatile player of your own.
On the bubble:
Forrest Lamp, OT/G, Western Kentucky
Outside of maybe Garrett Bolles, Lamp had the best day among just about anyone on Friday. Lamp was second in the bench press (34 reps), third in broad jump (9'3"), and tied for fifth in the three-cone drill (7.55 seconds). Most assume he will move inside in the NFL, but regardless he helped himself on Friday and could sneak into the end of round one if a team like Seattle or New England opt to address the offensive line.
Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
McDowell is a player whose stock is hard to peg down. When he is “on,” he is a top-20 player. The drawback on him though is inconsistency and times where he seems disinterested in the game. The interviews with teams were way more important to his stock than anything he did on the field this weekend. From the sounds of it though, his interviews with some teams did not go great. One team even said McDowell’s was the “worst interview we did.” I would not be surprised to see him go in the first round at all. Teams like Oakland, Kansas City, or Atlanta could all be possible landing spots, but it all depends on how he interviewed with them.
The #3 quarterback
Your guess is as good as mine as to who the third quarterback off the board is (and when) in this draft. Most have assumed it was DeShone Kizer, but Mahomes and even Davis Webb have been making strong pushes in the last couple weeks. Kizer played well on Saturday but there are still questions about his accuracy and his throwing motion is wild. There are a few teams that could be looking for quarterbacks in the latter part of the first round, so that will be something to watch.
Budda Baker, S, Washington
Many have compared Baker to Tyrann Mathieu. And he could very well find himself in the first round. There are a few teams that could use a safety and I would expect him to rise in the coming weeks. Should he not be taken in the first, I don’t see him falling past Jacksonville with the third pick in the second round. Baker’s combine was pretty good. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and had a solid workout overall. There are still questions about how well he can do out in coverage but for now he is a fringe first rounder.
The Spandex Olympics have ended and now we move into the next league year. Some trades and surprise releases will vastly change the needs for teams, meanwhile other teams will opt to address needs in free agency. Look for big changes in the next mock towards the end of the month. Mock drafts rile people up, so feel free to strike up a conversation on Twitter (@Rookie_Rhino) and let me know your ideas.