NICK: While this may be The Miami Student’s first mock draft, it certainly isn’t ours. We did three just to arrive at this one. Going through your own mock draft combines the intrigue of a puzzle with the power trip of pretending to be in charge of the entire league.

MITCH: Mock drafts, at their core, are one of the stupidest practices that flood the internet today. Every year so-called “analysts” start attempting to predict the landing spots for the season’s next top batch of recruits in February, and every year the “unprecedented” happens and hardly any analysts end up being close to correct. It’s akin to having hundreds of bloggers post about their March Madness picks… in December.

All criticism aside, mock drafts are still a fun way to measure the talent in a given year’s draft class and are a good way of identifying a specific team’s needs. While these picks may be far from the actual results of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, these are the choices that we feel would best benefit each of the respective teams. Without further ado, we’d like to present the first ever Miami Student NFL Mock Draft:

1. Cleveland Browns: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Garrett has once-in-a-generation talent and is one of the most freakish athletes in the draft. The closest comparison I’ve seen for Garrett is either Wolverine or a grizzly bear. Honestly, any player who can vertically jump 41-inches and run a 4.6 40-yard dash at 271 pounds probably deserves those comparisons. -MH

2. San Francisco 49ers: SS Jamal Adams, LSU

The 49ers have enough holes on their roster that they could take any of the next eight players selected in this mock draft and it would be a good pick. That is usually an indication that a team should trade down, but absent any trade partners, Adams would be a superb pick. He’s the best defensive back in this class. It would be fitting for first time GM John Lynch to spend his first ever draft pick on his old position. -NS

3. Chicago Bears: DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Solomon Thomas is an animal on the outside and will be able to supply constant pressure for a Bears’ defense that hasn’t quite had the same tenacity since the days of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. In another year, Thomas would be talked about as a potential No.1 pick, so the Bears should be thrilled to have the chance to add him to their front line. -MH

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys selected Ezekiel Elliott at this spot. The Jaguars surely noticed how much pressure it took off the Cowboys’ young QB and look to do the same by drafting Fournette. -NS

5. Tennessee Titans: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

Lattimore’s combination of length and speed make him one of the most tantalizing prospects in what looks to be a very deep class of corners. His high upside and great coverage skills should be a great addition to a Tennessee team whose secondary should be loosely referred to as a pass “defense.” -MH

6. TRADE: Houston Texans (from NYJ): QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

Despite playing the fewest games among the top available QBs, Trubisky is the most pro-ready. The Texans are now built to win everywhere except QB, so they take the plunge and trade for their quarterback of the present and future. -NS

7. San Diego Chargers: FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State

Anyone who watched an OSU game last year knows that Hooker has elite ball skills and has a knack for making big plays after an interception. The Chargers struggled to fill the gap Eric Weddle left behind last year, so Hooker should be a no-brainer here. -MH

8. Carolina Panthers: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Barnett is possibly the most underrated player in the draft.  His production actually exceeds Myles Garrett’s over the last three years — especially in the SEC. While he cannot run or jump as well as Garrett (join the club), he should defend the edge just as well. -NS

9. Cincinnati Bengals: DT Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Allen came into draft season being hyped as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but questions about his long-term health have caused his stock to slip. However, Allen was among the best defensive players in college football last year and his mammoth presence on the interior should greatly help a Bengals defense that was carved in the running game last season. -MH

10. Buffalo Bills: WR Mike Williams, Clemson

Close call between Williams and Corey Davis, but the connection with the Bills WR and Clemson alumni Sammy Watkins was the tie breaker. Williams is suited to fill the gaping hole at WR2 for the Bills. His physicality downfield will prevent teams from double teaming Watkins. -NS

11. New Orleans Saints: ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama

Character concerns have caused Foster, one of this year’s best overall players, to fall in the draft. That being said, I’d be very surprised to see the Saints pass on a potential franchise cornerstone in Foster. Comparisons to Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis shouldn’t be taken lightly, and his nastiness may be just what the Saints need to toughen up a very porous defense. -MH

12. Cleveland Browns (from PHI): CB Tre’Davious White, LSU

The Browns are another team with needs top to bottom. With Trubisky off the board and an enticing crop of QBs in next year’s class, the Browns should continue to build their young defense. After Sidney Jones’ achilles injury, White became the second ranked corner on my board. -NS

13. Arizona Cardinals: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

Larry Fitzgerald can’t play forever, and Corey Davis has the talent and skills to be a more than capable replacement. The all-time NCAA leader in receiving yards, Davis had a long and productive career at Western Michigan and should be a great fit in the Cardinals’ offense. -MH

14. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN): RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

The theme of the offseason so far for the Eagles has been adding dynamic playmakers for Carson Wentz. This pick is no different as Cook made a living breaking long runs for the Seminoles. The Eagles can afford to wait at CB because of a deep class. -NS

15. Indianapolis Colts: OLB/DE Haason Reddick, Temple

Haason Reddick is one of the most versatile players in the draft this year, which should come in handy for the Colts considering they need help at almost every defensive position. Reddick wowed scouts at the NFL Combine back in March, and would be the Colts’ best pass-rushing prospect since Dwight Freeney. -MH

16. Baltimore Ravens: OLB/DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

The Ravens lost Elvis Dumervil this off-season, and Terrell Suggs can’t play forever. McKinley steps in right away to “affect the quarterback” — which has to be the most popular phrase in football right now. -NS

17. Washington Redskins: RB/WR Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

The Redskins lost DeSean Jackson this offseason and will need to revitalize their offense if they plan on keeping Kirk Cousins, their $24 million man, in town and happy. McCaffrey’s elite rushing and receiving ability would add another dimension to Washington’s offense and his returning ability is a bonus as well. – MH

18. Tennessee Titans: WR John Ross, Washington

The NFL’s new fastest man goes to play with its fastest QB. Usually players with Ross’ speed have problems with drops (see: Will Fuller last year) or route running, but he has neither. He’ll be the difference maker on the perimeter Mariota has been needing. -NS

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S/LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Peppers, one of the most controversial prospects in the entire draft, is a nice fit for a Tampa Bay defense that would be able to accommodate his ability to play defense essentially without a position. Peppers is a high ceiling prospect, and if the Bucs are able to get the most out of his talents, he could prove to be one of the best players in this draft. -MH

20. Denver Broncos: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

The Broncos missed the playoffs a year after winning the Super Bowl largely because of porous offensive line play. Currently there are no left tackles on the Broncos’ roster. A player like Ramczyk who comes from a pro-style scheme and can start at left tackle immediately is a must. -NS

21. Detroit Lions: DE/DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State

McDowell is another high-ceiling prospect, but he comes with a bit of a lower floor. At MSU, he showed flashes of being an elite defensive force, but his skills are still somewhat raw. The Lions are in need of a strong interior presence on their defensive line and, if he pans out, McDowell could be just what Detroit’s defense needs. -MH

22. Miami Dolphins: TE OJ Howard, Alabama

This is the steal of our draft so far. Howard is faster, stronger, taller, quicker, and heavier than a widely heralded freak in David Njoku. He is also the top run-blocking tight end in the class. It is an unfair combination which means HC Adam Gase will never have to take him off the field. -NS

23. New York Giants, TE David Njoku, Miami (FL)

Njoku has been rising on draft boards in the past few weeks after a freakish combine performance, and the Giants’ current tight ends could be modestly described as less than freakish. Njoku would make an already dangerous Giants’ passing attack even more lethal and should be a key piece on what should be a title-contending team in 2017. -MH

24. Oakland Raiders, CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State

The third member of Ohio State’s incredible secondary is a perfect fit for the Raiders. Conley fills the position of greatest need and is the best player available. Conley allowed an NFL passer rating of 14.0 on throws into his coverage last season — 25.6 points worse than throwing the ball out of bounds every play. -NS

25. TRADE: New York Jets (from HOU): CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

The Jets benefit greatly from their hypothetical trade earlier in the draft. Humphrey has been discussed as a top-10 pick after a great season at Alabama and there have been rumors that the Jets would even consider taking him at No. 6. While they do not end up with their quarterback of the future in Round 1, this still leaves them the option of exploring alternatives later in the draft. -MH

26. Seattle Seahawks: OT Garrett Bolles, Utah

This is one of the best fits in the draft. Bolles’ skillset lends itself to the zone-blocking scheme the Seahawks run. Bolles’ says he wants to put people in the dirt, and the fiery Seahawks’ OL coach Tom Cable will encourage that attitude. -NS

27. Kansas City Chiefs: ILB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

Cunningham is a rangy middle linebacker who is capable of making plays all over the field — the new prototype for inside linebackers in the NFL. A sure tackler and surprisingly decent in coverage, Cunningham would be a welcome addition to an already stellar Chiefs defense. -MH

28. Dallas Cowboys: SS Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut

Another case of pairing old college teammates at the same position, Melifonwu would join fellow UCONN alumni Byron Jones in the Cowboys’ secondary. After losing four starting defensive backs, the Cowboys should look to draft corners and safeties early and often. Melifonwu is a nice start because he can probably play both. -NS

29. Green Bay Packers: OG Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

The Packers had arguably the best offensive line in football last season, but lost two key pieces this offseason in guard T.J. Lang and center J.C. Tretter. Picking a guard in the first round is not a sexy pick, but Lamp is a solid blocker and would play an essential role in protecting the Packers’ most prized asset — QB Aaron Rodgers. -MH

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: ILB Jarrad Davis, Florida

At his pro day, he showed off outstanding athleticism for the position and would replace Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker for the Steelers. Davis and Ryan Shazier would be the fastest young pair of linebackers in the league. -NS

31. Atlanta Falcons: DE Vidauntae “Taco” Charlton, Michigan

Charlton has been teased as a potential top-10 pick, and if he manages to slide to Atlanta, they will not hesitate to call his name. Charlton had a very productive season for a relentless Michigan defense last season and offers upside for a Falcons team that needed help rushing the passer in this year’s Super Bowl. -MH

32. New Orleans Saints (from NE): CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado

This is where I’m predicting the real run on CBs starts. The Saints pass defense has been lost at sea for several years, and they should look to this class as a Land Ho! of sorts. Awuzie’s excellent slot coverage is a hot commodity in the age of three WR sets. -NS

Questions, comments, or just think we have no clue what we’re talking about? E-mail Mitch and Nick at hausfemj@miamioh.edu and schletna@miamioh.edu.

 

Comments