@joshcameron Mock Draft 4.0 (2 rounds w/ trades)
Published at 2/17/2017 12:18:39 PM
A lot of my picks are based on what I think the team should do, not necessarily what I predict they will do. Please leave your comments!
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1) The Browns need a quarterback as much as anyone. But, there is not an Andrew Luck in this draft class. Reports show the Browns are considering trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. Tyrod Taylor is a free agent option, and the Browns have the #12 pick as well.
2) The Browns should at least listen to trade offers for this pick. In recent years, teams have been willing to trade a ton of picks for the #1 or #2 picks. If they can get the same return as Rams got from Redskins for selection Robert Griffin III, they got to consider it strongly. Unfortunately, I doubt they'll get that offer because there is no Andrew Luck. If there were, they'd be selecting the QB not trading the pick.
3) Though there isn't a QB worth taking here, Myles Garrett is not a bad consolation prize. He's a stud, and the Browns need an edge rusher in a division that features some of the league's best quarterbacks. Browns can address QB through another avenue.
1) I don't see new head coach Kyle Shanahan rushing to select a QB with this pick. He got a six-year contract. Therefore, there is time to rebuild. There's also rumors he pushed for trading for Garoppolo while he was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland. If this year and next year's second round selections will get Belichick to make the deal, I think he does it. Otherwise, Jay Cutler or Matt Schaub could be temporary solutions.
2) The 49ers have spent two consecutive first-round selections on defensive linemen in Arik Armstead (17th in 2015) and DeForest Buckner (7th in 2016). The 49ers arguably have more roster needs than anyone. Drafting a third consecutive defensive lineman may seem questionable. Therefore, new General Manager John Lynch should field offers on trading out of this spot to address more roster needs.
3) The Robert Saleh hire as defensive coordinator suggest they are switching to a 4-3 defense similar to the Falcons under Dan Quinn. It values physical defensive backs and a relentless pass rush from the line. Jonathan Allen is rightfully a possibility here, but I got a hunch the 49ers will go with the local Stanford prospect in Solomon Thomas. He's rising on draft boards, and I predict he will have one of the best days at the combine. He can either play on the edge or between Buckner and Armstead to give the 49ers as the defensive line that compares to divisional rivals Rams and Seahawks. Thomas has even drawn comparisons to Michael Bennett and Aaron Donald.
1) Most Bears' beat writers are hoping Jonathan Allen falls to this selection. In this scenario, he does. Alongside Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman, the Bears will have one of the league's best front seven if their linebackers corps stays healthy.
2) Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker is a rational consideration. With the division facing the Packers and Lions passing attacks, adding these types of playmakers could have an enormous impact on their defense. However, the Bears may look content in continuing to develop the talent they already have in their young secondary.
3) Alike the two teams selecting before them, there in need of a quarterback. It's pretty clear they'll be moving on from Jay Cutler. Leading up to the draft, I think Ryan Pace will try and acquire one of his fellow Eastern Illinois alumni Tony Romo or Jimmy Garoppolo. However, I believe he strikes out on both leading to selecting Mitch Trubisky. He's not as good as Andrew Luck (but really, how often are we going to see that), but I think he's better than Jared Goff and only slightly behind Carson Wentz. I believe he's ahead of DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes.
Bengals trade 9th pick plus a 2nd rounder to Jaguars for the 4th pick plus 3rd rounder.
1) Jonathan Allen falls to the 4th pick is almost a lottery win. The Jaguars will get close to selecting him. But, Tom Coughlin in the new sheriff in town. The defense line does need more talent. But, I think he will recognize adding extra picks to his arsenal will allow him to address more needs. Plus, they've got money to go after his former player defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who may want to return to his home state in Florida.
2) Bengals surrendering a 2nd rounder is a bit of steep price to pay. Receiving the 3rd rounder should help compensate the loss. Ultimately, Marvin Lewis and general manager, Mike Brown will be ecstatic if Allen falls to the 4th pick. Pairing him with Geno Atkins would not only terrorize divisional quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but it would also set up a better wall against Le'veon Bell. The Bengals dropped from 42 sacks in 2015 to 33 sacks this 2016 season. Adding Allen alongside Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, and Michael Johnson would form one of the leagues best pass rushing units. Trading up with worth the price for Allen.
1) The Titans are 2016's most improved team. Mike Mularkey third time as a head coach is producing results. He did right in hiring Dick LeBeau as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Plus, last year's last place finish landed them two picks in this draft because they traded back with the Rams who selected Jared Goff #1 overall. They may even trade back again this year because they don't have a second-round pick.
2) Dick LeBeau might advocate for Jamal Adams here. He'd have a hell of a case too because Adams show playmaking abilities similar to what Troy Polamalu did for him in Pittsburg. They wouldn't be wrong in selecting him here. A cornerback selection can be a later pick.
3) To ensure Marcus Mariota's progression, keep surrounding him with weapons. They've got one of the leagues' best offensive lines. A great running game. A top-three tight end. But, the wide receiver position lacks an elite weapon. Rishard Matthews improved and is a quality starter. However, he's not elite. Mike Williams can give Mariota a third down option other than Delaine Walker. They ranked in the bottom of the league in passing completions on third down while Williams ranked as one of the best in college football. The last two receivers out of Clemons selected in the first round, DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, have proved to be quality NFL starters.
1) The Jets need a quarterback. They're not going to land a good one via free agency because of cap space constraints. They even look content with giving Christian Hackenberg a try next season. DeShone Kizer and Deshaun Watson are the popular picks here. But, I don't think the Jets talk themselves into using this pick on one of them.
2) Leonard Fournette is going to be tempting here and is the favorite pick among draft analysts. But, Jets have a lot of guaranteed money in Forte ($6 million) and Powell ($4.25) for their 2017 books. While they can make some cap savings in cuts such as Darrelle Revis, trading Sheldon Richardson, and potentially restructuring Brandon Marshall, that cap space needs spending elsewhere.
3) Defensive minded coach Todd Bowles needs more talent on defense. If Darrelle Revis agrees to take a massive pay cut and move to free safety, then the Jets can add Lattimore to fill his role at cornerback. If he doesn't, then cut him and consider Malik Hooker to play free safety and address cornerback with your later picks because this draft class is deep at the position.
1) Until the Chargers adequately protect Philip Rivers, they may never even win another playoff game in his career. It's justs just sad. I'll give the front office credit, though. They've tried. The signed tackle King Dunlap in 2013 while drafting guard D.J. Fluker the same year. In 2015, they proceeded with signing guard Orlando Franklin and tackle Joe Barksdale. Even drafted center Max Tuerk in 2016 in the third round. King Dunlap regressed this year and was arrested earlier this morning. But, there isn't an offensive tackle worth taking here.
2) The Chargers suffered losing safety Eric Weddle to free agency last offseason. I wished they would've just paid him, but I understand their cap space is started to get limited. Adams will fill this need and is worthy of the #7 selection. I think Gus Bradley will see some Kam Chancellor in him. He has the ceiling to be even better.
1) How do you go from a 15-1 record and Super Bowl appearance to one of the bottom ten NFL teams? Inadequately protect your quarterback. I felt awful for Cam Newton this year. There was one game in particular versus the Broncos in which I thought they might knock him out of the game. Michael Oher got injured, and even if he returns, an upgrade is needed. But, I'm not high on this year's draft class options at offensive tackle in the top 10. The second round and third round will feature some options, and the Panthers should make bids on free agents.
2) A ton of people is mocking Fournette to this pick. Understandably. Jonathan Steward is over 30 and on the decline. They were 15-1 in 2015 because they were running the ball well. This year, not so much. Partly due to the line, but also do to Steward regressing. Fournette has been given the fairest comparison to Adrian Peterson in recent years. Running backs selected this high is becoming uncommon, but the Cowboys took Ezekiel Elliott last year in the top 5 and reaped the benefits to the best record in the NFC. Taking Fournette here to pair with Cam through the rest of his career would give the Panthers offense prominence to return to the Super Bowl.
Bengals trade 9th pick plus a 2nd rounder to Jaguars for the 4th pick plus 3rd rounder.
1) I explain in the Bengals draft points why the Jaguars make this trade. It's primarily to acquire more picks to address more roster needs. They could still address their defensive line here with defensive end Derek Barnett on the board.
2) If Johnathan Cyprien departs, Malik Hooker is certainly in play. But, I think they would be wise to resign him which would allow them to address other needs in the draft.
3) The Jaguars have developed a pattern of selecting in-state prospects such as Blake Bortles (Central Florida), Dante Flower (Florida), Jalen Ramsey (Florida State), and Johnathan Cyprien (Florida International). So why not keep the theme going with selecting Florida State's Dalvin Cook? For Blake Bortles to even flirt with reaching his potential, he not only needs better protection, but the Jaguars have to run the ball better. T.J. Yeldon looks more like a complimentary back with Chris Ivory just representing depth. Some argue that Cook is even rated higher than Fournette. He along with receivers Hurns/Robinson/Lee would give Bortles plenty of weapons.
1) Aaron Williams neck injury is unfortunate. He's an NFL talent that should have quite a few years left of play. But, it's possible he doesn't recover from this in time for next season. He may even consider retirement at just 26 years old. The Bills may have to find a replacement, and Malik Hooker happens to still be on the board in this mock.
2) It's undeniable the Bills want to move on from Tyrod Taylor. It's even part of the reason Rex Ryan got fired. Plus, cutting him as a June 1st cut saves the Bills $12 million. Reports state they are asking him to stay on a reduced contract, but I think even Taylor is ready to move on because of the cold shoulder they've given him. So, this creates a need at quarterback.
3) Deshaun Watson gets mocked all over the place from draft evaluators. You see him anywhere between the 1st and 45th pick. But, I think new head coach Sean McDermott will see Watson as his Cam Newton. Cam was more polished coming out of college, but Watson has both the playmaking ability and leadership qualities. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has to create game plans to help him succeed as Scott Linehan did for Dak Prescott. Watson did just defeat college football's best NFL type defenses back to back in Ohio State and Alabama. He's got the heart of a champion. Tyrod Taylor is efficient, but he's not going to take over games to get the Bills past the Patriots in the AFC East. It will take a lot of development to get Watson to that level, but he has the ceiling Taylor doesn't have.
1) The Saints did not consistently pressure the quarterback in a division facing Jameis Winston, former MVP Cam Newton, and MVP Matt Ryan. If they want to return to prominence in Drew Brees final years, they have to improve on defense, especially the pass rush. Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett is available here.
2) Linebacker is also a need for the Saints. They need a leader on defense who can play all three downs plus cover tight ends and running backs. Enter Nick Saban linebacker product Reuben Foster. He's a top 5 talent and will be the Saints best defensive player the end of the season.
1) Quarterback is considered an option here after the Browns take Myles Garrett #1 overall. In this mock, only DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes are available. I don't see Hue Jackson going for either. I think he will try Tyrod Taylor for a year or two and see what's available next season.
2) Malik Hooker falling to the 12th pick is just as must as a miracle as Jonathan Allen falling to the 4th pick. Maybe even more. The Browns happen to have a huge hole at safety. Adding Hooker in the backfield to help cover the speedy divisional receiver Antonio Brown would have a significant impact. He's considered the closest thing to Ed Reed and Earl Thomas that's entered the NFL draft. Adding Hooker and Garret in the first round will be one of the most successful double first round pick selections in years.
1) They have a few needs on defense in replacing the likely departed Calais Campbell, safety if Tony Jefferson signs elsewhere, cornerback across from Patrick Peterson, and a more talented inside linebacker.
2) If even both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald return, it's likely their last seasons this go around. Therefore, a new franchise quarterback and receiver pair will be required. The needs on defense are more pressing for the following season, but I think quarterback is the most pressing need of their franchise future. DeShone Kizer has been compared to Carson Palmer by multiple scouts in his physical abilities. He also has the mobility Palmer doesn't. Drafting Kizer here would give me at least one season to sit back and learn from a relatable quarterback and guru Bruce Arians. They could consider trading back since a QB won't need to be selected by another team until the Texans at the 26th pick.
1) Jim Irsay finally gets an A+ grade for a decision since drafting Andrew Luck in firing Ryan Grigson. It's a true shame how poorly the organization has surrounded Luck. Surely, Chris Ballard will do a better job. Luck needs better offensive line protection. But, I think they will address it via free agency rather than the draft.
2) Every single position on the defense has a need rather for an immediate starter or just depth. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis recently tweeted, "pass rush is a cornerback's best friend." Robert Mathis is retiring. Erik Walden and Trent Cole are likely let go via free agency. So, the Colts have nothing. Derek Barnett had 23 sacks in this past two seasons at Tennessee. The last prospect the Colts took in the first round turned out to be a Hall of Famer. Maybe they'll strike luck again.
1) I thought the Eagles gave up way to much by trading up for the #2 pick last year. But, I was wrong for two reasons. First, Wentz showed he could be a franchise quarterback in his rookie season. Second, they struck gold by getting the Vikings to give up this first rounder for Sam Bradford. Clearly, it all worked out. However, the Eagles need to surround Wentz with a more consistent running back (Ryan Matthews is hurt to much) and another receiving option. Corey Davis is an option here.
2) They're fragile at cornerback. As in, I think Marlon Humphrey can start on day one. I think the Alabama prospect is better than some of their recent cornerback prospects such as Kareem Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick. He fills a better need and is a better prospect than alternatives.
1) Ravens fans, cross your fingers Dalvin Cook falls this far because they have got to get better at running the ball to return to the Super Bowl. The offense and Joe Flacco haven't been the same since the Ray Rice situation.
2) Cornerback depth is needed.
2) They were smart not to overpay Arthur Jones a few offseasons ago. But. he hasn't been adequately replaced and it has hurt both their edge rushers and run defense. Chris Wormley can set in right away and start.