The draft is fast approaching now, with only three weeks remaining before the big event starts. This will be the first of four final mock drafts leading into the end of April. While it is often interesting to explore mysterious scenarios, this week’s edition will be pretty straightforward.
Here is the best move each team could make in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
1) Cleveland Browns (1-15) – Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
No surprises here from the Browns. Cleveland needs to bring in a quality quarterback, but taking one here would be a big mistake. Myles Garrett is the best player in this class, and he could take Cleveland’s pass rush to the next level. He could do far more for a team with a struggling defense than a rookie quarterback with limited weapons could. It would be a huge shocker to see this team take anyone else with the first-overall pick. The Browns have probably already made their minds up, so feel free to tune in ten minutes late on draft night.
2) San Francisco 49ers (2-14) – DeShone Kizer QB Notre Dame
The 49ers can plan ahead for Kirk Cousins all they want, but there are no guarantees in the NFL. There is simply no guarantee that Cousins will come to the Bay Area in free agency next season. San Francisco would be much better off taking DeShone Kizer here, as he is the top passer in this class. Kizer tried to do a little too much at Notre Dame last season, and he paid for it by making big mistakes. A genius like Kyle Shanahan could get the most out of him, and build this team into a contender sooner than expected.
3) Chicago Bears (3-13) – Jonathan Allen DE Alabama
The Bears might be concerned about Jonathan Allen suffering from potential shoulder injuries down the line, but they cannot let that deter them from taking him. Allen is the second best player in this class, and he could be the final piece in a dominant Chicago defense. While the team has struggled to get value out of Kevin White because of injuries, they cannot let that affect their decision with Allen. He is a tremendous player, and could really turn things around in Chicago.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) – Leonard Fournette RB LSU
The Jaguars took care of business on defense in free agency, but did little to improve their offense. It is possible that Blake Bortles will get better just by seeing improved play calls, but that is a risk this team cannot afford to take. Leonard Fournette can take a lot of pressure off Bortles, and open up throwing lanes for the young passer. Bortles has shown he can succeed in the past, but he needs to be in the right situation to do so. Taking Fournette would create and environment where the young QB can find success again.
5) Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Mike Williams WR Clemson
The Titans have to find a number-one receiver for Marcus Mariota. They struck out in both the trade market and the free agent market, leaving them with only one option here with the fifth pick. Mike Williams is the type of receiver Mariota can force the ball to in a tough situation. Williams has dominant hands and ball skills to bring down the tough passes, which is exactly what a young quarterback needs. He is also a solid blocker, which would not hurt in Tennessee’s run-heavy offense.