For all those in mourning, football is not over. It’s just beginning.
The NFL Draft is just around the corner and the next wave of rookies will soon enter the league. This draft class is littered with defensive talent and an interesting blend of quarterbacks and skill position players.
With that being said, let’s jump right into it. The Cleveland Browns are on the clock.
1. Cleveland Browns: Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett
Myles Garret is the consensus No. 1 overall pick and has been for quite some time. Garrett is a physical specimen, standing at about 6 foot 5 and weighing around 262 pounds with the ability to disrupt the pocket play after play. The Browns need a player that can create an immediate impact on defense, and it doesn’t get much better than Garrett. Simple.
2. San Francisco 49ers: North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky
The 49ers recently hired Kyle Shanahan as the team’s next head coach, and it seems likely that the former Falcon offensive coordinator would like to start his regime with a quarterback of his own. Trubisky has the ability to expand the pocket and possesses a solid arm. He’s easily the safest quarterback to take for the 49ers.
3. Chicago Bears: Alabama DE Jonathan Allen
Allen, the 2016 Benarik and Nagurski Award winner, has the ability to line up anywhere across the defensive line. His size, speed and athleticism will translate into any defensive scheme, and his elite handwork and footwork set him aside from the rest of the pack.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: LSU S Jamal Adams
The Jaguars are in desperate need of a safety and Adams is the answer to their problems. Adding Adams to a secondary that already has Jalen Ramsey and Teshaun Gipson would create a potentially lethal secondary in Jacksonville.
5. Tennessee Titans: Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore
The Titans have several needs, but play in the secondary has been a glaring weakness for a while. Tennessee ranked 30th in the league in pass defense last season, and Lattimore–the most impressive defensive back prospect in this draft–will translate well into the NFL due to his athleticism and ball skill.
6. New York Jets- LSU RB Leonard Fournette
The Jets have bigger needs, but with an aged Matt Forte as the primary running back, it’s the perfect time for New York to take a running back. Fournette is an absolute stud, possessing great size, speed and the ability to mow down defenders with his power.
7. Los Angeles Chargers- Ohio State S Malik Hooker
With the loss of Eric Weddle last offseason, the Chargers felt a void at the safety position. The perfect player to fill that spot would be Hooker, whose ball skills helped him reel in seven interceptions last season for the Buckeyes.
8. Carolina Panthers- Alabama OT Cam Robinson
Carolina’s offensive line struggles last season after it failed to address the problem in the offseason. Although this draft is thin at tackle, Robinson is a safe pick. His massive frame–6-foot-6, 326 pounds–and unique quickness and footwork make him a worthwhile selection.
9. Cincinnati Bengals- Alabama LB Reuben Foster
Foster is an absolute beast and a great leader on any defense. He’s also a great athlete and his vicious tackling will give offenses nightmares for a long time. He’s just another versatile Alabama defender who has a tireless work ethic and elite athleticism.
10. Buffalo Bills- Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
It’s no secret the Bills have been looking for stability at quarterback for a long time. With Watson under center, that’s exactly what they’ll get. His ability to extend plays and throw the ball downfield, along with his winning pedigree at Clemson, makes him a solid choice for Buffalo.
11. New Orleans Saints- Florida QB Quincy Wilson
The Saints need a cornerback that can step up and start building toward a complete secondary. Wilson is a tough defender that stays glues to his receivers while in man coverage. In addition, his skills at the line of scrimmage and tackling ability make him a solid bet for New Orleans.
12. Cleveland Browns- Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
Whether or not the Browns opt to take a quarterback with their second pick in the first round, they still need to beef up an offensive line that struggled in protection. Ramczyk has the ability to be an instant impact player for Cleveland and help protect whoever takes the snaps next season.
13. Arizona Cardinals- Clemson WR Mike Williams
The Cardinals will need a receiver now that Michael Floyd is gone and Larry Fitzgerald is nearing retirement. Williams has the ability to develop into Arizona’s top pass target due to his size and athletic ability
14. Indianapolis Colts- Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
Grabbing a pass rusher should be one of the Colts’ top needs on defense. With Robert Mathis retiring, Indianapolis’ defense doesn’t have much of an identity at this point. Although many scouts point to his size as a potential problem, Barnett’s strength and technique give him a great nose for the quarterback.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Washington CB Sidney Jones
Philadelphia has been hurting for a cornerback. Luckily, Jones is athletic and fluid in his motions, making him one of the best pass defenders in this draft class. Jones would fit in with the Eagles well and receive plenty of playing time early on.
16. Baltimore Ravens- Michigan ATH Jabrill Peppers
With Eric Weddle moving closer to retirement and Matt Elam currently testing free agency, the Ravens may need to shift their focus to the safety position. At this point in the draft, Peppers would be the best pick. The versatile product out of Michigan has great speed and ball skills.
17. Washington Redskins- Stanford DE Soloman Thomas
The Redskins are solid at every position group not named defensive line, making Soloman Thomas a perfect fit for Washington. Thomas fits perfectly into the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme, and his speed off of the edge accents his big frame.
18. Tennessee Titans- Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
The Titans are looking for a franchise wide receiver to compliment Marcus Mariota, and Corey Davis could do wonders alongside budding Tajae Sharpe. Davis has great down field speed and presents the red-zone threat that Tennessee needs.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
The Buccaneers are struggling to rely on Doug Martin, and they need a consistent three-down back. Cook would be the ideal guy for Tamp Bay — his explosive speed and lateral quickness make him a deadly addition to the Bucs’ offense.
20. Denver Broncos- Utah OT Garrett Bolles
Denver is in need of an offensive tackle, and Garrett Bolles is one of the most athletic offensive lineman in this draft. Bolles is an older rookie at 25 years old, but he still has the talent to produce in the league for years to come.
21. Detroit Lions- Alabama LB Tim Williams
Detroit needs someone opposite defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to put pressure on quarterbacks. Tim Williams is a forceful edge rusher that fits well into the Lions’ system. Williams also adds effective run-stopping tactics from his time under Nick Saban at Alabama.
22. Miami Dolphins- Alabama TE O.J. Howard
Speaking of Alabama… the Dolphins have depth at receiver with Jarvis Landry and Davante Parker, but the Fins still lack a solid blocking and catching tight end. Howard could be a dependable target for Ryan Tannehill and add the final piece to Miami’s offensive puzzle.
23. New York Giants- Miami TE David Njoku
New York lacks targets outside of Odell Beckham Jr. and needs a solid run-blocking tight end, making David Njoku a good fit here. Njoku is one of the most athletic tight ends in the draft — he could be the fastest. Eli Manning would love to add him to the team.
24. Oakland Raiders- LSU CB Tre’Davious White
The Raiders have an elite corner in David Amerson, but adding another one could be essential to their defensive success. White has four years of college experience, quick feet and plays both man and zone coverage well.
25. Houston Texans- Western Kentucky OG Forrest Lamp
While the Texans’ quarterbacks have struggled lately, they could use an elite offensive lineman to protect the pocket. Lamp was a four year starter at Western Kentucky and has the versatility to play guard or tackle in the league.
26. Seattle Seahawks- Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
The Seahawks need more depth at cornerback to fully round out their secondary and start returning to “Legion of Boom” status. Humphrey is disciplined and aggressive at the line of scrimmage and would be a solid fit in Seattle’s scheme.
27. Kansas City Chiefs- Florida CB Jalen “Teez” Tabor
Despite having Marcus Peters and Eric Berry, Kansas City needs more secondary depth. “Teez” Tabor has impressive athleticism and the ability to match a receiver’s speed and jump off of the line, fitting in while with the Chiefs’ style of defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys- Michigan DE Taco Charlton
Taco Charlton has crazy athleticism and size. At 6 feet 6 inches tall and 272 pounds, he is one of the biggest edge rushers in the draft. Charlton has the length and speed to complement an already-athletic Cowboys’ defense.
29. Green Bay Packers- Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt
The Packers could use pass-rushing help from the linebacker position, and T.J. Watt would provide just that. The 6-foot-5 Watt uses his length to make disrupt offenses — he only played one year at Wisconsin, but Watt still has the ability to step in and make an immediate impact.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers- UCLA LB Takkarist McKinley
Pittsburgh has young talent at linebacker with Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree, but with James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons not getting any younger, they need more. McKinley has great speed and long arms that help him make tackles in the backfield.
31. Atlanta Falcons- Auburn DE Carl Lawson
The Falcons have Vic Beasley to key a young pass-rushing group, but good NFL teams can never have too many pass rushers. Lawson has quick hands and sheds blocks relatively easily with his explosiveness. Lawson may not be a big physical specimen, but he gets the job done.
32. New England Patriots- Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
The Super Bowl-winning Patriots could still use some help stopping the run. Cunningham proved himself to be one of the most consistent defensive players in the nation last year, a quality that fits exactly what Bill Belichick wants for the continuing dynasty.
Edited by Nathan Odom
Featured image by Ben Proffitt