Jared's Final 1st Round NFL Mock Draft
The NFL Draft is Thursday and I know most/all Cleveland Browns fans can't wait for it. Because of Browns fans' passion, NFL Mock Drafts have become a regular thing that they look forward to. Mock Drafts give fans an idea of where players might go, what might happen and lets us start looking forward to next season. I have written a number of other NFL Mock Drafts on my previous site, this is my 1st and Final here on the OBR.
There are generally two ways NFL Mock Drafts are completed. Some people are able to do Mock Drafts based on information they are hearing about what they expect to happen. Others create their NFL Mock Drafts based on how they would draft if they were the GM for that team. My NFL Mock Draft will be a combination of both. A little bit of what I think I know, a little bit what I know about the team picking and a little of what I would do if I were the GM.
There will not be any trades in this NFL Mock Draft. Far too complicated, even though they are interesting. Being upfront, I think there is far too much smoke surrounding a bunch of teams wanting to trade up for Marcus Mariota for it to be true. Feels more like teams trying to pump up the value of their picks for trades.
One last thing before we go on to our picks. Here is what I actually think will happen on Thursday for the Browns: Draft Marcus Mariota in a small trade up (12, 111 & 2015 2nd Rounder) and Danny Shelton at 19, or in another small trade up. Some of that is just my hopes, some of it is reading the cards and understanding the talent on the board.
On to Jared's Final 1st Round NFL Mock Draft:
- Tampa Bay- Jameis Winston - Think this one is pretty clear. Top QB talent that can play right away. Off the field issues are concerning and on the field his windup and decision making is not perfect. Still the right pick for the Bucs.
- Tennessee- Leonard Williams - Williams is considered a lock selection at the top of the draft. The Titans need some identity, somewhere and Williams can help provide it like Albert Haynesworth once did.
- Jacksonville- Dante Fowler - Fowler is the best pass rusher, with the least concerns, in the draft. The Jags were nondescript getting after the passer last year, winning by scheme instead of talent, Fowler changes all of that for Gus Bradley.
- Oakland- Brandon Scherff - Most believe that Scherff is the best offensive lineman in the draft even though they think he will play guard. The Raiders need to protect Derek Carr so he doesn't develop happy feet, Scherff helps with that. Not a sexy, Raiders type pick but a solid one.
- Washington- Marcus Mariota - They could go in a number of directions but I have heard Mariota is possibly their pick here. I also think this is where the Browns might start to look to trade up. Jay Gruden wants his guy and RG3 isn't the one. Could the Browns target the former #2 pick if this happens?
- New York Jets- Vic Beasley - Many would mock Mariota here if he falls but I think they go defense or wide receiver with this pick. Beasley is a NASCAR pass rusher: full of speed. His first step makes him dangerous and helps complete the Jets defense.
- Chicago- Kevin White - This was a coin flip between White and Amari Cooper. Both would work well for the Bears here. John Fox could go with an interior defensive lineman but with the switch to the 3-4 that may wait as they replace Brandon Marshall.
- Atlanta- Alvin Dupree - I expect a pass rusher here and many are high on Dupree. The Browns are not happy with this pick as he would have been their selection at 12 had he fallen. He has a lot of upside; he can rush the passer and play in coverage. A unique talent.
- New York Giants- La'el Collins - The Giants could go in a number of directions. Another receiver seems all the rage but with Victor Cruz coming back, I don't see it. A corner or defensive lineman would really help but Collins versatility to protect Eli Manning is key.
- St. Louis- Amari Cooper - This is the spot I think the Browns would be worried about losing Mariota to the most. Instead Jeff Fisher gets a ready made playmaker for Nick Foles at 10. Cooper can do it all. He may not wow with his size/speed combination but he gets separation easily with his footwork and skills.
- Minnesota- Trae Waynes - Mocking DeVante Parker here makes sense but with the addition of Mike Wallace I'm not sure they go in that direction. Instead the Vikings add the best corner in the draft for Mike Zimmer's defense.
- Cleveland- Danny Shelton - With Dupree off the board, Shelton is the pick. If the Kentucky OLB was still here, fans of Shelton would likely be disappointed. Shelton fills a big need at the nose tackle, 0 technique position. He is stout and should help improve our last place run defense. He can also push the pocket some which will help on pass plays. He played a ton of snaps last year, much more than any other nose in CFB. He will be great. Because of he is a true nose tackle, he could fall farther than this, no question.
- New Orleans- DeVante Parker - An off the radar pick but I could see the Saints adding Parker after trading Jimmy Graham and Kenny Still. With another pick later in the 1st, the Saints can get the best player available to help Drew Brees.
- Miami- Andrus Peat - The Dolphins spent a good deal of money this off-season, mostly on Suh, but still need to get better in the trenches. Peat is the type of high talent that the 'Phins seem to like. Peat is huge and gives the Dolphins options on their offensive line to help their young QB develop.
- San Francisco- Marcus Peters - The 49ers have blown, or had things blown, up their team this off-season. Lots of changes but one things remains the same: They need someone to cover. Bringing in Peters seems like a risk but he is highly talented and fits a huge need.
- Houston- Randy Gregory - The Texans can go in a number of directions but they go with the best player that also fits their scheme. Gregory has the marijuana history that scares some teams, possibly the Browns, off but Bill O'Brien is confident in his ability to work with players.
- San Diego- Todd Gurley - The Chargers need to win ASAP as the move to LA has created some issues with their Franchise QB. Gurley could go much earlier or slide. The Chargers would be the team the Browns would be worried about taking Shelton between picks 12 and 19 as well. Gurley gives the team a home run hitting back finally replacing LT.
- Kansas City- Jake Fisher - Andy Reid is known to do some interesting things in the Draft. He keeps it simple here with Fisher who can play 4 spots on the OLine and has the feet to get out in front of screens, a staple in Reid's offense. If the Chiefs trade down, I could see Brett Hundley as an option.
- Cleveland- (Thought first) - Arik Armstead, Landon Collins, Shaq Thompson, Preston Smith and Cameron Erving all intrigue the Browns here. If the board falls this way, they likely look to trade back some. With no trades in this NFL Mock Draft, the Browns select - Cameron Erving. Erving can compete on the right side and gives the team insurance if Alex Mack walks in free agency.
- Philadelphia- Byron Jones - Anyone who thinks they know what Chip Kelly is doing is also crazy. He is too smart to just want all former Oregon Ducks but would have loved Jake Fisher. Unless it is one of the creative 3 team deals involving players, I don't see Mariota getting to Philly. Instead Chip continues to upgrade his defense with Jones, a corner flying up people's boards.
- Cincinnati- Malcom Brown - A pick I don't want to see for the rival Bengals means it is bound to happen. Shaq would also be an option here. Brown can pair with Geno Atkins to really cause problems from the middle of their defense.
- Pittsburgh- Landon Collins - Thankfully I the Browns aren't picking 22 because I think the rule is they have to take a QB if they were. Instead the Steelers get their safety replacement for Troy and a player they can mold with a lot of upside talent.
- Detroit- Arik Armstead - Why not? The Lions lost both of their interior defenders and Armstead is a physical marvel. Pairing him with Haloti Ngata for a year will be fun for Detroit.
- Arizona- Melvin Gordon - The Cardinals could go in a number of directions but Gordon's game breaking speed is hard to pass on. Gordon should help keep Carson Palmer healthy and open up the field for all their wide receivers.
- Carolina- Donovan Smith - An offensive lineman or three would be helpful for the Panthers. While there are other name guys on the board, Smith has been rising up and seems like a Panthers kind of player. Cam Newton needs some people to block for him and Michael Oher was not the answer, no matter the question.
- Baltimore- Dorial Green-Beckham - Devin Smith is a popular pick here, and who I think the Browns target at 43, but DGB has the skills that make him dangerous. With Steve Smith Sr. there to mentor him, the Ravens take a chance on the "next Randy Moss" this late in the 1st.
- Dallas- Shaq Thompson - The Cowboys could go in a number of directions with this pick but the versatile Thompson has to draw their attention. With a deep class of running backs, and the top 2 off the board, Shaq gives them a player they can put at multiple positions to help their defense against division foe Eagles.
- Denver- T.J Clemmings - The Broncos are a difficult team to peg but protecting Peyton Manning, and preparing for the future, with an offensive lineman is never a bad idea.
- Indianapolis- Eddie Goldman - While the Colts have done a ton to improve their roster, they need to add to both of their lines. They need to be able to run the ball and stop the run, and they couldn't do much of either last year. Goldman may not be the Shelton stud but he can plug some holes.
- Green Bay- Eric Kendricks - The Pack want to move Clay Matthews back outside and adding an interior linebacker will help with that. Kendricks is a bit undersized but can run all over the place and is just a smart player.
- New Orleans- Shane Ray - Not everyone is convinced about Ray's ability at the next level, and the foot injury news is also concerning. The Saints, after getting a top flight receiver at 13, now get a pass rusher to work in the Rob Ryan defense.
- New England- Preston Smith - The honest answer here is "Trade" since that is what they do most. Instead we have Smith who can play a variety of positions in the Patriots hybrid scheme. Adding Jaelen Strong was also a strong possibility.
I know there are tons of things about this NFL Mock Draft that you do not agree with and am looking forward to the conversation. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did taking the time to put it together.
Look forward to my Cleveland Browns 7 Round NFL Mock Draft later today or early tomorrow morning.
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