Yesterday I released a mock draft on Twitter and I thought it would be my final of the 2017 process. I slept on it last night and didn’t like it, so below you’ll find my truly final mock of the season. A few thoughts about it:
- I won’t believe Cleveland is taking Myles Garrett until I see Roger Goodell call Mitchell Trubisky’s name. I do believe there’s likely some internal conflict within the organization about this pick and the first round in general, but eventually clearer heads will prevail and Myles Garrett will be a Brown.
- After that, I could see Cleveland taking Trubisky, but I really believe Patrick Mahomes is still in play and here’s something that isn’t discussed enough: If the Bears and Jaguars are vying for Deshaun Watson, and other team is being heavily tied to a quarterback, then who are the Browns worrying about getting ahead of? I find it very unlikely that a team is trading over Cleveland for Trubisky (or Mahomes), so they could very likely get their guy at #12 or even after by trading down. Nothing is certain and I don’t have inside info, but it seems this late narrative about them going all-in on a quarterback is simply a ton of smoke and hyperbole.
- I do believe Watson will be either a Bear or Jaguar either by those teams staying put or trading down. If not those two, Watson could be in for a long wait until teams like the Texans or Chiefs are on the clock.
- I continue to believe that any trades in the 1st round will feature below-market capital compared to what it historically takes to move up. Teams wanting to move down are going to accept less because the talent level after Myles Garrett and a handful or others is marginal between the teens into the forties. It takes two to tango, and it seems unrealistic to believe all the teams rumored to want to move down can do so, but this is an advantageous buyer’s market for teams looking to come up and get their guy.
- There’s five players who you could play roulette with in mock drafts and each spot you chose would make sense. Solomon Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, O.J. Howard, Haason Reddick, and Jonathan Allen are all wild cards. I believe all end up in the top 15, but good luck guessing where each ends up. Those five players will decide how the top half of the 1st round plays out more than any other cluster of players.
- I’ve went back and forth on when and where Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey end up. I feel more confident in McCaffrey going in the Top 12 than I do Fournette – a slide into the late teens wouldn’t surprise me at all, with Leonard being more scheme limited than McCaffrey is. Currently I have Fournette in Cincinnati due to a late, big cloud of smoke surrounding that spot.
- The four biggest wildcards after the midway point of the 1st are Reuben Foster, Malik McDowell, Dalvin Cook, and Takkarist McKinley. I don’t have Takk in my final mock, but he’s been tied to teams as high as Indianapolis at #14 and the Ravens at #16. McKinley’s raw tape, somewhat disappointing testing, and opting to have shoulder surgery after the Combine probably has teams all over the place on him. Dalvin Cook seemed inevitably a 1st rounder for much of the draft process, but then he tested poorly at the combine and it seemed like average to below average numbers caused the narrative on any off-field issues to grow as well. Once thought of as a lock for the top 14, I didn’t mock him in Round 1 and would be more surprised than not to hear his name called tonight. Reuben Foster has been mocked as high as #2 overall, but didn’t even make Bob McGinn’s final mock draft last night. The medicals and news of a diluted drug test at the Combine could have been sliding him lower than his on-field talent warrants. Similarly, Malik McDowell is a top 12 talent on tape with some freakish athleticism for a man his size, but there’s a large consensus that he’s an unmotivated player and with question marks like that, he could slide down and out of Round 1. Ultimately, I see Foster and McDowell’s talent to be too great to pass up, but I won’t be surprised at all if or when they are.
- Everything begins and ends with a quarterback, and my final thought is about that position. DeShone Kizer didn’t make my final mock because I don’t predict trades, but I believe he finds his way into the tail end of the first night. Too many teams need a quarterback for him to slide and the ability to lock him up on a five-year contract should be very appealing to the Texans (Super Bowl contenders), Chiefs (perennial playoff team with an aging quarterback), and 49ers (rebuilding team with a general manager and head coach on six-year contracts). Somehow, I believe four quarterbacks end up in the first round tonight.