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NFL Draft Predictions

Joe Stafford, Sports Editor

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Round 1


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


If the Browns seriously manage to take Trubisky (or Watson) first overall, they are helpless. Garrett provides freakish athletic ability combined with a surprising amount of football knowledge making Sashi Brown a happy man. While Hue Jackson will not be thrilled with this selection, he may try to trade back up into the top ten to select a Quarterback prospect.


  1. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford


The 49ers must realize that the market for trading up into the top two is minimal, if existing at all. At least 6 of the top 10 teams have been rumored to be trying to trade down, why would a team trade for the second overall pick when they can pick the prospect they want at a lower pick? The 49ers take the best prospect available which is Thomas.


  1. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU


Solomon Thomas will be hard to pass up, but the Bears will address the backside of their secondary with Adams. While Malik Hooker and MarShon Lattimore are in play at this pick, Adams gets the nod for his physicality, helping build back up the hard nose defense the Windy City once had.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, HB, LSU


Tom Coughlin has legitimately left his mark on the Jaguars already and the season has not even began. A close to perfect offseason highlighted by the signings of Calais Campbell and A.J Bouye, and is capped off with the selection of Fournette. If Solomon Thomas was available, they may select him. However, there’s a good chance Thomas is gone by this point. When the Giants were successful under Coughlin, they had a strong run game headlined by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. The Jags recreate this tandem with Fournette and T.J Yeldon.


  1. Tennessee Titans: MarShon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State


Lattimore is a legitimate shut down corner, ready to start at the NFL level. Possessing an impressive 4.3 40 yard dash and unbelievable ball skills, Lattimore may be the best value player in the draft. The Titans avoid a pass catcher to further bolster their defensive unit after the signing of ex Patriot Logan Ryan.


  1. *Projected Trade* Cleveland Browns (from New York Jets): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina


The Browns got their guy! Hue Jackson is thrilled the Jets traded this pick away, as he gets his shiny new Quarterback. The Browns now have two of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. Trubisky will be thrown into action fairly early in the season, whether he starts from week one or if he relieves a struggling Cody Kessler or Brock Osweiler.


  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State


The Chargers need this selection. Joey Bosa seems to have been a home run pick winning defensive rookie of the year this past season. The Chargers will add on to this young defense with Hooker, who will help close the hole that Eric Weddle left in his departure to Baltimore.


  1. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama


Christian McCaffrey a possibility here, but the allure of Allen draws the Panthers in. A force on the defensive line, Allen offers versatility and an extremely high ceiling that entices any organization. His only drawback is his injury history, but Carolina looks past that and snatches him at number eight.


  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin


Many expect the Bengals to target a defensive lineman or linebacker such as Alabama’s Reuben Foster or Tennessee’s Derek Barnett. However, after taking heavy losses on the offensive line (losing both Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler) they take Ramczyk. Watch for the Bengals to take a step back this year after suffering significant free agency losses for the second straight season.


  1. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson


It’s a match made in heaven. A second Clemson wideout finds his way to Buffalo. This helps lift pressure off of Sammy Watkins’ shoulders and allow him to truly recover from injuries he has been plagued with the last couple of seasons. Deshaun Watson (or Mitchell Trubisky) in play here, but Williams to Buffalo makes too much sense.


  1. New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee


NFL analyst Bucky Brooks was quoted on saying Derek Barnett will lead the league in sacks before Myles Garrett. Pretty high praise, and well deserved. Barnett is a dominant pass rusher that gets to the quarterback regularly. New Orleans pairs Barnett with Cam Jordan to create the best pass rush duo in the NFC South.


  1. *Projected Trade* New York Jets (from Cleveland Browns): J Howard, TE, Alabama


Howard may the best overall prospect in this class. Boasting an impressive 4.5 40 yard dash, developing blocking skills, and a knack for scoring, Howard may become the focus of the Jets offense this season after the loss of Brandon Marshall.


  1. Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan


Corey Davis is a big time receiver from a small time college. Davis is an intelligent player, something that Bruce Arians loves. This pick will allow the Cardinals to look into a future without Larry Fitzgerald and give Carson Palmer another weapon.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, HB, Stanford


McCaffrey’s stock has risen and fallen throughout the draft process. It is rumored that he has draft guarantees from multiple teams, Philadelphia being one of them. Carson Wentz loves this pick because it takes the pressure off of his offense and gives him a great pass-catcher out of the backfield.


  1. Indianapolis Colts: Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple


The Colts need to protect Andrew Luck. Plain and simple. After years of drafting weapons for Luck, they finally smarten up and take a position of need. Dawkins is one of the best interior lineman in this draft class, and will secure the Colts offensive line for the next ten years.


  1. Baltimore Ravens: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State


Conley drops into the mid teens because of a accused sexual assault. Conley is a fantastic cornerback that will make Baltimore very happy if they use him correctly. A third Ohio State defensive back is off the board within the top sixteen picks.


  1. Washington Redskins: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple


The Redskins have been rumored to have “significant interest” in Reddick, and they get their match. Reddick, a walk on at Temple, has been one of the fastest risers in the draft process. A tireless worker, Reddick will slide into a injury prone linebacker rotation that already includes Ryan Kerrigan, Will Compton, and Junior Galette.


  1. Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Titans


Speed kills. The Titans should be the first to know this, their offense was centered around Chris Johnson for many seasons. The crazy part is that Ross broke Johnson’s 40 yard dash record at the combine, which was considered untouchable for many years. Ross steps into a youthful and impressive offensive Tennessee unit.



  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, HB, Florida State


This match also makes a lot of sense. Jameis Winston and Cook are former teammates, both attended Florida State University. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Doug Martin at the moment, so the Bucs play it safe and take the multi-faceted Cook.


  1. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama


The Broncos are shocked that predicted pick Ryan Ramczyk is off the board so early, but still draft offensive line with Big Cam Robinson. The Broncos need to protect Paxton Lynch/Trevor Siemian for this offense to be successful, Robinson provides much needed security.


  1. Detroit Lions: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama


Foster has slowly dropped down draft boards since the beginning of the draft. At one point being considered a top two selection, has slid down until the early twenties. A diluted urine sample and altercation at the combine has taken a hit on his draft stock. However, the Lions take the gamble after they released DeAndre Levy this offseason.


  1. *Projected Trade* Houston Texans (from Miami Dolphins): Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech


The Brockstar did not work out, but the Texans got rid of his cap hit. No harm, no foul? Mahomes and Houston, specifically Bill O’Brien, have been gushing over each other over the past few weeks. Houston trades up to avoid a surprise selection of Mahomes to the Giants. This move will only cost them a fourth or fifth rounder.



  1. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE, Miami


This offense is looking scary. Imagine if playoff Eli Manning actually showed up in the regular season, that would be ridiculous. Njoku immediately assumes the starting role in New York, adding even more versatility to an offense that already includes Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. This move also may entice free agent LeGarrette Blount to sign a lower salary contract to be apart of one of the most enticing offenses in the NFL.


  1. Oakland Raiders: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU


Sean Smith struggled mightily last season, eventually playing better in the latter parts of the season. White provides great length and speed, allowing him to cover and compete with the likes of players such as Demaryius Thomas, Keenan Allen, and Jeremy Maclin in the AFC West.



  1. *Projected Trade* Miami Dolphins (from Houston Texans): Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky


Lamp seems to be the guy that the Dolphins are targeting, and he drops right into their lap after a trade with the Texans. This is smart for two reasons, 1. Miami gets an additional mid round selection in this deep draft class, and 2. The Dolphins get their guy for a slightly less amount of money for the same amount of years they would have gotten him for if they selected him at twenty-two overall. If Mike Pouncey can stay healthy, the Dolphins may have a much improved offensive line.


  1. *Projected Trade* Atlanta Falcons (from Seattle Seahawks): Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA


The Falcons talk trade up when they see Takk McKinley begin to fall. After the draft success of Deion Jones last season, Atlanta does not hesitate to take a very similar player that boasts very impressive athletic ability. With the addition of Dontari Poe this offseason, the Falcons have taken the necessary steps to avoid a Super Bowl hangover. Let’s hope the departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has not doomed this upcoming season for Matt Ryan and company.


  1. Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson


The Chiefs are thrilled that Deshaun Watson is still on the board as they get the chance to groom an heir to Alex Smith. Watson is a proven winner, something Alex Smith has struggled to do in the playoffs. Watson sits behind Smith for a year or so, learning the offense and polishing his skills until he gets the opportunity to start, and , as he says “I’m chasing the goat, chasing Tom”.


  1. Dallas Cowboys: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC


A flashy player is drafted by Jerry Jones. Is anyone shocked about this? Jackson provides exciting playmaking ability both in coverage and in the return game. Dallas needs to address their glaring secondary needs after Barry Church, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne all signed somewhere else.


  1. Green Bay Packers: Kevin King, CB, Washington


The secondary of the Green Bay Packers was seriously battered last season and was the biggest reason for their failure to reach Super Bowl LI. Green Bay takes King to provide man coverage skill against some the less physical or big pass catchers in their conference such as Stefon Diggs, Golden Tate, and Kendall Wright.


  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame


This selection marks the fourth Quarterback taken in the first round. That’s a lot for any draft, but is especially large for a class where the position has been deemed underwhelming. The Steelers take Kizer to eventually replace Big Ben within the next two seasons.


  1. *Projected Trade* Seattle Seahawks (from Atlanta Falcons): Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah


The Seahawks get the second best (in my opinion) tackle in the draft in Bolles while acquiring an additional pick in the process.


  1. New Orleans Saints: Obi Melifonwu, S, UCONN


The Saints take one of the most athletic players in this year’s draft class. Melifonwu is a bigger and stronger version of Byron Jones, brining intensity and hard work into New Orleans defense. The Saints released Jairus Byrd, a failed free agent. Together, Melifonwu and Kenny Vaccaro will become the focal point of the Big Easy’s defense.



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NFL Draft Predictions