The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine takes place from February 28 through March 6, and a few days later, the league’s annual free agency period kicks off. Players will see their stock change dramatically based on how they test and interview at the combine, and team needs will shift as they sign and trade players. Everyone likes to say that they take the best player available no matter what, but we know that isn’t true.
So in all likelihood, we’re all going to have to blow up our mock drafts several times over the next few weeks. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking in on where things stand as of now. This is Mock Draft 2.0.
Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M: It’s difficult to imagine this particular pick changing between now and draft day. Garrett is the best player in the draft, and the Browns badly need an injection of talent at a premier position.
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: Kyle Shanahan’s team has a lot of needs, but his offense won’t work without the right kind of signal-caller under center. Trubisky doesn’t have a ton of experience, but he’s accurate, he moves well in the pocket and he showed at North Carolina that he can manipulate the defense and make the right throws.
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama: We had DeShone Kizer in this spot last week, but with the Bears emerging as heavy betting-market favorites to land Jimmy Garoppolo, we’re pivoting and giving them some badly-needed help along the defensive front this week.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: Whether or not Darrelle Revis is back in New York, the Jets need to add a corner. Lattimore is the best in the draft at that position, and the Jets are in a good spot to nab him.
Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State: If the Chargers retain Melvin Ingram in free agency, get Jason Verrett healthy again, and draft Hooker, they can sneak up on people with one of the best defenses in the league next season.
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: I’m not all that enthused about high-pick running backs (Ezekiel Elliott notwithstanding), but there’s enough buzz around this fit that it makes sense to go running back here. I just wanted to see Cam and Fournette run poeple over anyway.
10. Buffalo Bills
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: There have been rumblings that the Bills might surprisingly retain Tyrod Taylor, but until the drop-dead date passes and they go through with guaranteeing him $30.75 million, we’re sticking with Watson in this spot.
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: The Saints will almost definitely get mocked a defensive player by pretty much everyone. It’s just a matter of at what level that player resides. This week, they snag Tabor for some help on the back end.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: With Kizer falling out of the top 10 this week, the Browns pull the trigger on a QB. Hue Jackson has worked with less talented passers in the past and gotten a lot out of them.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: New week, same pick, same reasoning: Michael Floyd is already gone. Larry Fitzgerald is back for one more year, but might retire at the end of the season. John Brown is great when he’s on the field, but he’s small and slight and the Cardinals don’t yet know how his sickle-cell trait will affect his play. J.J. Nelson is a burner but hasn’t shown much else yet. If the Cards can add the draft’s top receiver at No. 13, that’s a great get.
14. *Indianapolis Colts
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: It’s about time the Colts add some explosion next to Andrew Luck in the backfield. Cook can not only take some offense-carrying pressure off Luck by working well in the run game, but can contribute as a pass-catcher as well.
15. *Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: The best way to ensure that a young quarterback has success is by putting him in position to succeed, both with scheme and surrounding talent. The Eagles schemed well for Carson Wentz last season and they have a solid offensive line. They badly need to upgrade Wentz’s receiving corps.
16. Baltimore Ravens
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Baltimore has cycled through a lot of different tight ends during the John Harbaugh era, but none have been nearly as talented as Howard. Making this pick would give Joe Flacco a rare passing-game weapon of the kind he’s never really had.
Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt: We had Takkarist McKinley here last week but with his looming surgery and Washington’s dire need for help against the run, we’re pivoting to Cunningham, the SEC’s leading tackler in 2016.
18. Tennessee Titans
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida: One of the most prudent things the Titans can do is double-dip in the secondary and upgrade the team’s worst unit. They could add a piece in free agency and it would still be a good idea. Wilson would be a nice addition to a sagging group of corners.
John Ross, WR, Washington: The Bucs have had a thing for bigger wideouts with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson playing across from each other, but adding some balance with a speed guy like Ross could give their offense a different dimension.
20. Denver Broncos
21. Detroit Lions
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: When you sack the quarterback only 26 times in a season, it’s safe to say you need help getting after the passer. Barnett consistently put the quarterback on the ground during his time at Tennessee and would be a great fit.
22. Miami Dolphins
David Njoku, TE, Miami: The Dolphins just traded for Julius Thomas, so this pick might not seem to make much sense on the surface, but remember that: a) Thomas has played just 57 of a possible 96 games in his career; b) Thomas has zero guaranteed money on his contract beyond the 2017 season; and c) Adam Gase likes two-TE sets. Passing on a player like Njoku just because Thomas is on the roster now isn’t a prudent move.
23. New York Giants
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: There may be no greater need in the draft than the Giants figuring out their offensive line.
24. Oakland Raiders
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: Oakland began a secondary makeover last offseason with the signings of Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson and the drafting of Karl Joseph. Adding Humphrey to that group would complete the two-season process of upgrading a big weakness.
25. Houston Texans
Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA: McKinley is getting surgery after the combine, sure, but just imagine how difficult it would be to deal with a Houston defense that has J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, McKinley, and a re-signed John Simon on the field at the same time.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: Reddick would be a good fit as a triple-threat linebacker that can come off the edge, drop back in coverage, and stay sturdy against the run. KC’s linebacker corps is aging and injured and could use an infusion of young talent.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: Even if Dallas adds a pass-rusher in free agency, they should snatch up Charlton if he makes it to the 28th pick. He’s a crazy physical specimen that truly broke out once he was finally able to play in a 4-3 defense. Rod Marinelli could help him progress even further.
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington: With all their injuries in the secondary, the Packers should thank their lucky stars if a player like Jones drops all the way to the tail end of the first round. He’s not very big but he makes up for it by moving as fluidly as any corner in the draft. He can stick with any kind of route.
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan: Peppers isn’t necessarily a natural safety, but he’s a crazy athlete and he makes plays. The Steelers need someone that can play at all levels of the field defensively to give their defense a boost.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Tim Williams, DE, Alabama: It would be so perfectly Belichick to grab one of the most explosive defenders in the draft with the final pick in the first round because he dropped due to the dreaded “character concerns” and a lack of consistent production.
*Picks 14 and 15 to be determined by coin flip.