Patrick projects the NFL Draft's first round and who's headed where tonight!
It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for: draft day.
Last week, I simulated the first round and made what I thought was the best possible pick for each team. This week, I’ll do my best to project the draft’s first round amid all the (usually false) rumors flying around.
Since this is a projection, not every prospect’s draft slot reflects my actual opinion of them (that’s last week’s mock). Players who I personally wouldn’t take in the first round will go in the first, and players who I think should go in the first won’t go in the first. But that’s just my opinion.
Here’s my best guess as how the first round plays out. I don’t mock trades, but we will inevitably see a lot of them. So I’ve highlighted a couple spots where teams could look to move up to.
I’ll be surprised if Mariota is selected anywhere other than No. 2. The Titans are no lock to pick here, but my money is on them staying put and taking Mariota and finding their quarterback of the future. Titans general manager Ruston Webster said he sees only 16 or 17 players with true first-round grades (an opinion shared by a fair amount of scouts), so I wouldn’t expect him to jump at an offer to move down below that range, if he elects to move down at all. Like I said, his team seems the most likely pick here.
Jacksonville will have its pick of a few great prospects with Cooper, Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler likely available here. Cooper to the Jaguars has gained steam in the last week or so. Jacksonville adds him to a receiving corps already featuring young weapons Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee.
I highly doubt Fowler gets past this spot, whether it’s the Redskins or another team picking here. A team in the bottom half of the top ten could elect to trade up at a not-too-expensive price for an impact talent like Fowler. Or, Washington takes Fowler doesn’t regret anything.
Something tells me Scherff is the pick if he’s here. If not, the Bears get another playmaker to add to their receiving corps and feel just as satisfied. There’s no such thing as “too many playmakers” for any team trying to keep up with the Packers and Lions.
This is tough one to call, since both the top offensive lineman and pass rusher are gone. Atlanta’s pass rush has been positively awful the last couple seasons, but pass protection hasn’t been much better. They grab Peat, who’s gaining steam as a top 10 pick.
There’s no rusher here that fits, or an offensive lineman worth taking. So the Giants go with the next best option to take pressure off Eli Manning: give him a powerful running back to hand off to. Gurley is already sprinting after a November ACL tear and seems likely to be healthy by opening day.
This is popular across mock drafts, and while I’m not the biggest fan of it, Armstead is still a pretty good fit in the 49ers’ defense. Jim Tomsula has a defensive line background and will get the most out of Armstead, who’s raw but possesses Calais Campbell-like length.
Adding extra pass-rush seems like a luxury for the Texans, but in fact, it’s actually a fairly big need. Whitney Mercilus’ option is unlikely to be picked up, Jadeveon Clowney’s contribution is uncertain after microfracture surgery. Having any hole across from J.J. Watt is a scary thought, so Houston elects to add the athletic Dupree.
Perriman would have fit nicely here, but the Browns can get a solid receiver (or two) later on. Flowers can start at right tackle and kick Mitchell Schwartz in to guard. The Browns would have one of the league’s better lines and a friendlier situation for any QB to step into.
This is high for Dorsett and personally I’m not enamored with it, but he still has Chip Kelly’s favorite element: speed. Dorsett’s sub-4.3 speed and dependable hands will likely make him a first-round pick.
Ray could very well fall out of the first round despite the health and off-field concerns, but the Bengals would do well to add his explosiveness to a pass rush that racked up an NFL-worst 20 sacks last season.
Another pick that’s popular in mock drafts, but for a good reason. The Steelers desperately need secondary help, and while Johnson isn’t a great tackler, he has the coverage skills needed to start right away.
Collins could replace the departed Rob Sims at left guard, or push LaAdrian Waddle for the starting right tackle job. He’s ready to go right away. (Note: I put Collins here before the off-field situation arose. I wouldn't be surprised if he falls out of the first round because of it).
I won’t be shocked to see Melvin Gordon go here at all, but skill-wise he’s a little similar to Andre Ellington. That could make the Cardinals look elsewhere. Humphries has some weaknesses, but is a solid pass protector and has potential to grow into a good tackle.
Once considered a top 10 prospect, Ogbuehi had an inconsistent senior season and an ACL tear hurt his stock even more. But now he’s rising and could end up in the first round to a needy team like the Panthers.
It’s anyone’s guess where Gregory will go. He has issues, but I can’t imagine a player this talented falls out of the first round. Rod Marinelli could be exactly what Gregory needs to get his head straight and fulfill his potential. He and Demarcus Lawrence off the edge would be a lot for opponents to handle.