The NFL Draft starts tonight, which means many college football players are about to realize their dream of playing in the NFL. There will be teams looking for the next franchise player, while other squads will be looking for a role player that can help a team get to the next level. Let’s take a look at who your team might select.
1. Cleveland Browns–DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
The Browns front office and coaching staff is supposedly split between Garrett and quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Cleveland desperately needs a quarterback, but Garrett is probably the most talented player on the board. He’s a physical freak, and he’s the perfect building block for the lowly Browns. Cleveland should be able to take a quarterback when they pick again in the 12th spot of the first round. The Browns can’t pass up on Garrett, who could become Cleveland’s franchise player in a couple of seasons.
2. Trade: New York Jets (from San Francisco)–QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
The Jets haven’t had a consistent starting quarterback for a long time, and they could get a franchise quarterback in Trubisky. There’s some concern because he only started for one season in college, but it was an impressive season. He threw for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. With no starting-caliber quarterback on the roster, the Jets will hope that Trubisky will turn into a star.
3. Chicago Bears–S Jamal Adams, LSU
The Bears have a lot of holes on defense, but their biggest hole is in the secondary. Chicago could take a pass rusher with this pick, but Adams is too intriguing to pass up. Adams is a big-play safety that will provide Chicago the playmaker that they didn’t have in the secondary last year. Adams was phenomenal during his time with LSU, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t succeed in the NFL.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars–RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
The Jaguars can go many different ways with this pick, but Fournette seems like the best option. The Jags already solved their defensive problems, but they still desperately need a running back. Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon can’t produce for a full season, and that showed last year. Drafting Fournette will take a lot of pressure off quarterback Blake Bortles. The former LSU running back has some injury concerns, but his talent outweighs them.
5. Tennessee Titans (from L.A. Rams)–S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
Tennessee needs help in the secondary, and they can fix that problem by drafting Hooker. Hooker compiled 74 tackles and seven interceptions with the Buckeyes last season. He has some injury history, and he only started one season, but he’s shown that his ceiling is sky high.
6. Trade: San Francisco 49ers (from New York Jets)–DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
The 49ers had the NFL’s worst defense last year, and Thomas can improve their pass rush immensely. Thomas recorded 61 tackles, along with 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks last season.
7. Los Angeles Chargers–CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Chargers secondary was porous last season, and they are in need of an elite cornerback to shore up the secondary. Lattimore only started for one season, but he compiled 41 tackles and four interceptions. Lattimore has the speed and athleticism to be a top cornerback in the NFL.
8. Carolina Panthers–RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
The Panthers have a star quarterback in Cam Newton, but they don’t have a consistent running back to take pressure off him. McCaffrey is an excellent pass-catcher, and he can stretch the field for Newton. He also excels on special teams, which means he can be a Swiss army knife for Carolina.
9. Cincinnati Bengals–DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Allen has some shoulder problems, but he is too intriguing for the Bengals to pass on. Allen earned the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) last year. Allen had 69 tackles and 10.5 sacks, and he would fit in with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap in Cincinnati.
10. Buffalo Bills–WR Mike Williams, Clemson
Buffalo’s only big-play wide receiver is Sammy Watkins, who has struggled to stay healthy. Williams can catch almost anything, which makes him a prototypical red zone target. Buffalo has a lot of weaknesses, but wide receiver is perhaps the most glaring of their needs.
11. New Orleans Saints–DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
The Saints had the second-worst defense in the league, after the 49ers. Barnett recorded 19 tackles for loss and 13 sacks last season. Barnett can help fill New Orleans’ hole at pass rusher. New Orleans needs help in the secondary as well, but they need to take advantage if an elite defender like Barnett is available.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)–QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Cleveland has been a quarterback graveyard, as they had 24 different signal-callers start for them since 1999. Watson is a proven winner. He led Clemson to a national championship victory after torching Alabama’s vaunted defense.
13. Arizona Cardinals–QB Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
The Cardinals are hoping to get a couple seasons out of Carson Palmer before he retires, which makes Mahomes a perfect pick for the Cardinals. Mahomes will need some time to transition from the spread offense to a more traditional NFL offense. He threw for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns last season, while also scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)–CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
After trading Eric Rowe last season, the Eagles must address one of their biggest weaknesses: the secondary. Humphrey had 36 tackles and two interceptions last year, including one that he returned for a touchdown.
15. Indianapolis Colts–LB Haason Reddick, Temple
Indianapolis needs help at linebacker, and besides Reuben Foster (see below), Reddick is the most talented linebacker in the draft. Sean Spence and Antonio Morrison are the Colts' top two linebackers, which means they could really use Reddick. He had 22.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks with Temple last season.
16. Baltimore Ravens–WR John Ross, Washington
With Steve Smith Sr. retiring, Baltimore is in desperate need of a wide receiver. The Ravens lack a big-play threat, and Ross has the speed to go deep. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds, a combine record.
17. Washington Redskins–ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Foster has already had issues off the field, including an altercation that got him sent home from the NFL Combine. Foster has shown some character issues, but if Washington can control his behavior, the Redskins would be getting a steal with this pick. Foster had 115 tackles last season, and he’s considered a top-10 talent.
18. Tennessee Titans–WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
The Titans showed they could compete for a playoff spot last season, but they need to provide quarterback Marcus Mariota with some weapons other than tight end Delanie Walker. The FBS’s all-time leader in receiving yards should be a solid go-to guy for Mariota.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers–RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
The former Seminole running back will stay in the state of Florida to fill Tampa Bay’s glaring hole at running back. Doug Martin has a long injury history, and Jacquizz Rodgers is not a long-term option, so picking Cook seems like the safe pick for Tampa. Cook rushed for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns last season with Florida State.
20. Denver Broncos–OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
The Broncos had an abysmal offensive line last season, which caused the running game to suffer. Denver will need to replace Russell Okung, and Ramczyk is one of the better tackles in the draft.
21. Detroit Lions–TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
The Lions could use a running back, but there are some intriguing rushers that will be available in the second round. Howard is the best tight end in this draft, and he can help make a good offense more dangerous.
22. Miami Dolphins–OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
After trading left tackle Branden Albert, and with Laremy Tunsil moving from left guard, the Dolphins will need to take a guard to fill those holes. Lamp played as an offensive tackle in college, but he can very easily move to guard. Lamp will open up the running game and protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
23. New York Giants–TE David Njoku, Miami
Larry Donnell has not panned out for the Giants, so Njoku should start right away at tight end. The former Hurricane would be joining receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard, which would make life easier for him and quarterback Eli Manning.
24. Oakland Raiders–CB Tre’Davious White, LSU
White was a member of the All-SEC Team last year, and he is also able to play on special teams. White scored at least one special teams touchdown every season during his time at LSU. Oakland needs cornerbacks as Sean Smith and David Amerson were both inconsistent last season.
25. Houston Texans–QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
Houston is in desperate need of a quarterback, as Tom Savage would be their starter if the season began today. Savage is a solid backup, but he’s not a long-term starter, which is why Houston should take Kizer. He probably won’t be ready to start in Week 1, but Houston can develop him to be the starter in the future.
26. Seattle Seahawks–OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
Pro Football Focus ranked Seattle's offensive line as the worst in the NFL last season. Everyone on the line was either inexperienced or inconsistent, except for center Justin Britt. Robinson will provide some protection for quarterback Russell Wilson, which he didn’t have last season.
27. Kansas City Chiefs–CB Kevin King, Washington
The Chiefs don’t have a dependable No. 2 cornerback to line up opposite of Marcus Peters. Kansas City also has only three cornerbacks under contract beyond 2017. King started in every game last year, and he posted 44 tackles along with two interceptions.
28. Dallas Cowboys–DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
McKinley has been dealing with a shoulder issue for some time, but he underwent surgery in the offseason. Dallas needs a lot of help on defense, and they especially need an edge rusher. McKinley recorded 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last year with the Bruins.
29. Green Bay Packers–CB Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Green Bay clearly needs help in the secondary after they were torched by Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game. Jackson will also add a big-play element to Green Bay’s special teams, as he compiled 2,141 return yards and four touchdowns during his time at USC.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers–LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
The Steelers lost Lawrence Timmons in free agency, which means they need a new linebacker to play alongside Ryan Shazier. Davis posted 60 tackles and six tackles for loss last season. Davis will have to fall a little in order to reach the Steelers, but assuming he’s available, he can fill a void for Pittsburgh.
31. Atlanta Falcons–DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
Atlanta might need a tight end, but there will be some tight ends available later in the draft. Atlanta will be looking for someone to play opposite of Vic Beasley, and Charlton seems to be the best defensive end available at this pick. Charlton had 13.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks with the Wolverines last year.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England)–CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
Wilson recorded 33 tackles and three interceptions with Florida last season. He could go higher, but the cornerback class is deep, so New Orleans can snag him at the end of the first round.
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