For the second consecutive year, I’ve compiled my Composite Mock Draft on the eve of the NFL Draft. This is a way to predict the first round of the draft using the consensus picks from a select group of prognosticators rather than trying to sift through a large amount of individual opinions to pick and choose at random. This can paint a clearer picture of what to expect on draft night by limiting the effect of outliers and prioritizing conventional wisdom.
For the 2017 draft, I made each selection using mock drafts from 16 pickers representing eight different media entities. The final decisions were made using a combination of frequency, position of need, and a little common sense. Obviously, there are some flaws with the formula, but it was generally successful last season. Here’s how the mock draft shook out:
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
There are some lingering reports about Mitchell Trubisky going here, but that would be an outrageously misguided choice. Until Thursday, Garrett was the unanimous choice here. No reason to doubt that now.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The 49ers have a lot of needs, and they could go a number of ways here. Thomas is a big, thick defensive lineman without discernible weaknesses that could be a foundational defensive piece.
3. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama
The Bears could easily go with safety Jamal Adams from LSU here, but Allen gets the nod by the slimmest of margins. His pedigree and production speak for themselves.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
This is where rumors of Cleveland trading up should start picking up steam. If the Jaguars stay here, they could take an every-down impact skill player like Fournette to help out on offense.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Mike Williams could come off the board here, but the Titans’ need is more pressing in the secondary. Lattimore is the best cornerback available for the first of their two first round selections.
6. New York Jets: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
If the Browns trade up, it seems most likely to happen here. If the Jets stay at six, they need playmakers, and Howard is perhaps the most versatile weapon in the entire draft.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
Williams could go here, but it seems more likely the Chargers go defensive back. If Adams is still available, he’s an option, but they seem to really like Hooker.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Outside of Garrett, this is the clearest choice in the top ten. The Panthers get Cam Newton a weapon in the backfield that could impact the game in a number of ways.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals seem to favor addressing their pass rush needs with this pick. They’re reportedly with Barnett’s explosiveness off the edge.
10. Buffalo Bills: Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
It’s highly likely Adams doesn’t make it this far, but I don’t see a consensus building around him at any one spot. Because the Bills don’t have a clear direction and need secondary help, I’m slotting him here.
11. New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Foster’s issues notwithstanding, the Saints need toughness and downhill physicality at linebacker. Foster best fits the bill.
12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Trubisky will likely end up with the Browns on Thursday night. It’s just a matter of where in the draft his name will be called.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
I’m hesitant to believe in this pick because of the rumors that Bruce Arians favors Deshone Kizer. Still, Mahomes has been rising up draft boards, so if Arizona wants a quarterback, they can get him here.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: John Ross, WR, Washington
Ross is my third-ranked wideout in this draft, but the Eagles seem to prefer him over the other two. Philly could go a number of ways here, though, so this is nothing more than a hunch.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
The Colts are ancient on the edges and need some youth there. Reddick is a really good edge rusher that the organization appears to like a great deal.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Ravens have zero viable skill players currently on the roster to help out Joe Flacco. Williams would immediately be the go-to guy in Baltimore.
17. Washington Redskins: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Anyone who says they know what the Redskins plan to do with this pick is a liar. I’m going with Harris, but I have no real reason for it, except that he’s a super prospect on the edge.
18. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
If Williams is available here, the Titans will probably take him. Davis is a baller, though, and is probably the best all-around receiver in the draft class.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
This pick makes too much sense. Cook is from Florida, he played his college ball for the Seminoles, and the Bucs could pair him with Jameis Winston long term.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Up until a couple of days ago, Ramczyk was the near-universal lock to be taken here. Some of that has dissipated, but I’m not overthinking this one.
21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida
The Lions need help in the front seven, and Davis is perhaps the most physical presence available. This pick could change if a defensive lineman or cornerback slips, though.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
Lamp gives the Dolphins an interior line presence as the clear-cut leader at guard within this draft class. It’s not a sexy pick, but I support it.
23. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Eli Manning needs some young weapons as he enters the twilight of his career. Njoku is the best pass-catching option still available in my mock.
24. Oakland Raiders: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Raiders need defensive help at pretty much every position. The predictions for this selection are all over the map, so I’m going with King as a quality fit for Oakland.
25. Houston Texans: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
I think the Texans are looking quarterback here, but recent reports indicate they prefer Mahomes to Deshaun Watson. With him off the board, they may go for pass protection on the right side.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Garret Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles has some issues, but he actually seems to be a good fit for the Seahawks. If they need an offensive lineman, they won’t find a better one than this troubled specimen.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt
I don’t have a great feel for what the Chiefs plan to do here. Late information indicates that Watson could come off the board, but Cunningham may be a safer choice at this juncture.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Cowboys could use a pass rusher, and there could be better options than Charlton available. However, Taco is the best combination of power and speed still around late in the first round.
29. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Watt played his college ball in the state of Wisconsin. His brother has had a good career with the Texans. He fills the Packers’ greatest need. That’s quite the trifecta right there.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan
Peppers is the man without a position and the man with a diluted sample from the combine. Still, the Steelers seem willing to overlook those things if he’s still here.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
The Falcons’ only real needs are on the lines of scrimmage. Willis is a potential impact player on the edge that seems a good fit for Atlanta’s defensive culture.
32. New Orleans Saints: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
If nobody jumps back into the first round to draft him, the Saints would be crazy not to think about the future here. They could do worse than have Watson be the heir apparent to Drew Brees.