The Big Lead staff got together to do a mock draft, two weeks out from the real NFL draft starting. Rather than one mind, we combined nine different opinions, and had plenty of internal arguments when someone took a player that another was hoping would fall. Enjoy!
#1 CLEVELAND BROWNS SELECT MYLES GARRETT, DE Texas A&M [by Ty Duffy]
The Browns already have the No. 1 pick. So, they can’t trade three No. 1 picks to draft a quarterback No. 1 overall, find out the quarterback stinks, draft the linebacker they would have taken at a lower pick after finding a recommendation from the GM’s deceased father on a post-it-note, somehow fleece the panicking Jacksonville Jaguars for another Top 10 pick, then bluff a trade one slot down to get their No. 1 picks and get the running back the coach wanted. There is no No. 1 pick caliber quarterback. They have another pick at No. 12. No one made me a trade offer. Go with the hipster chic and hyper-athletic upside on the edge. Garrett it is.
We’ll celebrate at the Fancy Taco Bell, obviously.
#2 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS SELECT SOLOMON THOMAS, DL, Stanford [by Stephen Douglas]
The San Francisco 49ers should definitely swap the No. 2 Overall pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Patriots could then turn the #2 pick into a player on a cheap contract and multiple 3rd and 4th round picks. Or they should take Solomon Thomas out of Stanford who is #2 in every current mock draft I’ve seen. None of this really matters though – this team is bad and its unlikely this one pick turns them around. Sorry, that’s life!
#3 CHICAGO BEARS SELECT JOHNATHAN ALLEN, DE, Alabama [by Kyle Koster]
The search for a “franchise quarterback” will have to continue, since Mike Glennon appears to be the current “answer.” Allen is the best player on the board, a human highlight film who abused even top-quality offensive lineman. The Bears’ problems are plentiful, so selecting a can’t-miss defensive disrupter feels like the best of all available options.
#4 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS SELECT JAMAL ADAMS, S, LSU [by Jason Lisk]
There is a school of thought that you can’t take a [insert position not a quarterback, offensive tackle, defensive lineman, or cornerback] this highly. The actual history of the draft shows that when teams do go for those less likely positions, it’s because it is usually an elite prospect who was worth it. Seven of the last eight safeties taken in the top 10, for example, made at least one Pro Bowl. It’s also a position that can age quickly, and is valuable to get on the cheaper rookie deal.
Add in that safety is the position that has had the highest number of Pro Bowlers on teams that reach the Super Bowl, and when you think about the top ones that have played for the best teams recently, and the Jaguars can make a big move to make the next step with a young defense by adding a back-end stopper with great athleticism.
#5 TENNESSEE TITANS SELECT MARSHON LATTIMORE, CB, Ohio State [by Bryan Kalbrosky]
The Titans are a shining example of why, if you don’t need a quarterback, it’s always a good idea to trade down. With Marcus Mariota running the ship in Tennesse, the team was able to generate even more value for him in the draft last season — and this one as well.
I’ve seen a mock draft where Lattimore was selected as high as No. 2 overall. So this year, they could be getting a top talent while still adding an elite offensive lineman in the first round with their 2016 selection.
Last season, quarterbacks had a 31.9 rating when targeting his coverage and he allowed just 18 receptions. And as Pro Football Focus noted, the average quarterback rating on just throwing the ball away is 39.6.
It’s safe to say that Lattimore (who committed just two penalties last season) will help a team that desperately needs to improve their secondary.
#6 NEW YORK JETS SELECT MALIK HOOKER, S, Ohio State [by Jason McIntyre]
Is he Ed Reed? Probably not, but he sure played like the Ravens great last year at Ohio State. He’s more of a natural ball hawk than Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor, who is more of a thumper. The Jets need help everywhere on both sides of the football. Also, they’d love to trade down.
#7 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS SELECT MIKE WILLIAMS, WR Clemson [by Ryan Phillips]
Of course I get stuck picking for the Chargers, the franchise that ripped my heart out three months ago. Anyway, the Bolts were looking to add a safety, but with Adams and Hooker off the board, they turn their attention to adding another weapon for Philip Rivers. Keenan Allen is a legit No. 1 receiver when healthy, but he can’t seem to stay on the field. Tyrell Williams looks like an undrafted gem, but adding Mike Williams would give the Chargers insurance if Travis Benjamin and Allen can’t stay healthy. He’s big, fast and has fantastic hands.
#8 CAROLINA PANTHERS SELECT COREY DAVIS, WR, Western Michigan [by Ryan Glasspiegel]
Panthers select Corey Davis, a WR out of Western Michigan — Carolina was led in receiving by tight end Greg Olsen last season. Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn were decent [update: Ginn signed with the Saints this offseason], but Cam Newton could have a bounce-back year with a solid number 1 receiver.