We’re inside of one week until the Cleveland Browns go on the clock for the first pick in the NFL Draft, so it’s time to make the final predictions on which players go where.
Things have changed quite a bit since the first mock back in February, and even since the most recent one two weeks ago, especially where the Bengals are concerned.
Without further adieu, here is the predicted top 32 with Mock Draft 4.0:
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Browns executives said it without saying it during their pre-draft press conference this week.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Teams in need of a quarterback panic at the last minute all the time, but the 49ers will stick to their plan.
3. Chicago Bears
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Buckeyes ball hawk will instantly upgrade a defense that forced a league-low 11 turnovers last year.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
After taking defensive players with their first five picks last year the temptation to add help on offense will be strong, but the Jaguars go with the best player available.
5. Tennessee Titans
Jamal Adams, S, Tennessee
Similar to the Jaguars, the Titans could really use some help on offense – especially at receiver – but they can’t pass on a player as talented as Adams.
6. Cleveland Browns (trade with the New York Jets)
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Trubisky might have still been there at 12, but the Browns aren’t willing to take any chances, giving up a third and fourth-round picks to swap spots in the first.
7. San Diego Chargers
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Keenan Allen can’t stay healthy, and Philip Rivers isn’t getting any younger.
›› RELATED: Roundup of mock drafts from national analysts
8. Carolina Panthers
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Jonathan Stewart will be 30 in March, which is ancient for NFL running backs. And the Panthers don’t have much behind him.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Since 2011 the Bengals have a pattern of taking offensive players with their first pick in odd years and defensive players in even years. And they have an even longer-standing philosophy of taking the best player available regardless of need.
Had Reuben Foster stayed put with two strikes (Combine ejection, shoulder injury), he would have snapped the every-other-year trend and fulfilled BPA. But Foster reportedly failed a drug test at the Combine, which is as big of a red flag as there is because every player knows it’s coming and millions of dollars are riding on it. And you still can’t stay sober for one month ahead of it?
But back to Howard. When it comes to positional need, tight end falls pretty far down the list. But Tyler Eifert is entering the final year of his contract and it’s going to be really hard for the Bengals to pull the trigger on what will be a very expensive extension for an oft-injured player who has appeared in 21 of a possible 48 games the last three years.
Tight end is one of the deepest positions in the draft this year, so there’s value to be had later. But no one else comes close to possessing the game-changing potential Howard has. And if Eifert is able to stay healthy in 2017, the idea of two dynamic tight ends dominating the middle of the field while A.J. Green does A.J. Green things on the edge should excite Bengals fans … and quarterback Andy Dalton.
10. Buffalo Bills
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Bills would be thrilled to see Lattimore fall this far after losing Stephon Gilmore in free agency.
11. New Orleans Saints
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
No matter how many red flags a guy has, he can only fall so far before a team takes a chance.
12. New York Jets
Hasson Reddick, LB, Temple
Cornerback is a bigger need but it’s also a deeper position, and the Jets added great depth with those extra picks in the second and third from Cleveland.
13. Arizona Cardinals
DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Carson Palmer is 37, and would be a great mentor for Watson as part of a succession plan.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
John Ross, WR, Washington
Like the Jets, the Eagles have a greater need at corner but there are still 10-12 cover guys on the board with at least second-round grades.
›› Bengals draft prospect previews:
- Running backs
- Offensive line
- Wide receivers
- Tight ends
- Defensive tackles
- Defensive ends
- Defensive backs
15. Indianapolis Colts
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Protecting quarterback Andrew Luck might be a bigger need for the Colts, but a pass rusher is still a high priority.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Taking Breshad Perriman in the first round in 2015 has yet to pay off for the Ravens, so they again to find a No. 1 receiver for Joe Flacco.
17. Washington Redskins
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Redskins need playmakers, and McCaffrey is one of the most electric guys available.
18 Tennessee Titans
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Titans completely revamp their secondary just 18 picks into the draft.
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook is reunited with his college quarterback, Jameis Winston, and will have a chance to win the starting job while Doug Martin serves a three-game suspension for PEDs.
20. Denver Broncos
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
It’s a down year for offensive linemen, but the Broncos have a glaring need for a left tackle.
21. Detroit Lions
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Lions fill their biggest need with a player who is sure to be a fan favorite with great pass-rushing skills to go along with his unique name and UM roots.
22. Miami Dolphins
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
McDowell will help a Miami defense that ranked 30th against the run last year.
23. New York Giants
David Njoku, TE, Miami
A departure to Miami was the big story the week the Giants’ season ended, and now an arrival from Miami will help free Odell Beckham from the extra attention opposing defenses are showing him.
24. Oakland Raiders
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
With 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden leaving for Detroit, White slides into the starting role.
25. Houston Texans
Pat Mahomes, QB, Houston
With Tom Savage set to the start for the Texans this year, there’s not an easier pick to be made in the first round.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Seahawks are shopping Richard Sherman, so it would behoove them to find his replacement sooner rather than later.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Takkaris McKinley, LB, UCLA
A perfect fit for a Chiefs team that has one of the oldest linebacker corps in the league.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Jabril Peppers, S, Michigan
The Cowboys secondary had mass defections in free agency. And while there is still a question as to whether Peppers is a linebacker or safety, Dallas seems like a good landing spot for him.
29. Green Bay Packers
Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
The first first-round pick in WKU history fills the only need the Packers have greater than running back.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
Watt not only has a knack for getting to the quarterback, he’s versatile enough to play inside, which will make him a great fit in Keith Butler’s scheme.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
The Falcons certainly could have used another pass rusher in Super Bowl LI.
32. New Orleans Saints
Budda Baker, S, Washington
A team in desperate need of defensive playmakers gets another one to go with Foster.
›› Agree or disagree with Jay’s picks? Join the conversation at our Cincinnati Bengals News Now Facebook page
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