College football finds itself in a perilous position on the eve of the 2020 season.
The 2017 NFL Draft is not far away now – here’s my mock of the first 32 picks.
Needs: OLB, QB, WR
Myles Garrett OLB Texas A&M
The outside linebacker figures to bring pressure and stop the outside run like former Texas A&M alumni Von Miller has for Denver. There are rumours that they could select Trubisky here but they will at least trade back into the top 10 for that.
Needs: OLB, QB, WR.
Jamaal Adams, Safety LSU.
Adams is an incredibly impressive leader, whose statistics read as a more athletic and powerful version of the Giants year 2 wonder safety, Landon Collins.
New GM Lynch is a former safety, and the new ‘Seattle’ defense is built from the back end in.
Adams isn’t as tall as the 6’3” Kam Chancellor in Seattle, and the 49ers have Eric Reid, but I think the 49ers new regime wants to start anew at the safety position, (they’re moving CB Jimmy Ward to FS) and will make history selecting a safety this high in the draft.
Needs: CB, QB, DE.
Soloman Thomas DE/ DT Stanford.
Along with Adams, Thomas considered is the best leader in the draft. His best spot to me from the tape is the 3-4 DE, which he could play in the Bears main defense and a DT in the nickel, as 70 per cent of his pass rushing actually came from the DT spot.
Needs: OL, RB, DE.
Leonard Fournette RB LSU
The Jaguars’ biggest need is the offensive line but unless they trade back there’s no-one worthy here. Fournette is the pounder they’ll need in addition though.
Needs: DE, CB, FS.
Jonathan Allen DL Alabama
The Titans biggest need is the defensive line and they finally get a highly rated player to help the under rated Jurrell Casey.
They could be tempted to select CB Lattimore and move Logan Ryan to his best spot in the slot or even trade down if someone is after Trubisky, but Casey will hopefully be paired with someone that eases the load.
Needs: QB, FS, CB.
Malik Hooker FS Ohio State
The Jets will be tempted to select Trubisky but after drafting Hackenberg in the second round last year and drafting up to select Bryce Petty in 2015, drafting Trubisky would be an admission they don’t know what they’re doing at QB.
Instead they should improve a secondary that was terrible last year. They need starters at CB and FS. Hooker’s speed can’t be taught so they take him over Ohio teammate Lattimore.
Needs: OL, FS, WR.
Mike Williams, WR Clemson.
Is it still too early for a lineman to be taken? Do the Chargers trade back? If they stay put, The Chargers would love Hooker to fall to them (will they trade up to No.5 pick?) but failing that, they select a WR after Keenan Allen’s injuries the past 2 years. Williams made DeShaun Watson look good the last 2 years at Clemson; he’s a stud going for 50/50 balls.
Needs: DE, CB, OL.
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State.
I think he’s a steal if he makes it out of the top 5. I think his tape is the best from any CB I’ve looked at in 5 years of preparing for the draft, including that of Jalen Ramsey’s from last year.
Clemson stayed well away from him in the Fiesta Bowl and won the game decisively. The Panthers secondary struggled with the late release of Josh Norman last year.
Needs: ILB, DE, RB.
Reuben Foster ILB Alabama
The Bengals need to get younger on defense, and are not the type of team to be perturbed by off-field incidents.
Foster is a very talented MLB who excels in run coverage and is still has the speed for pass coverage.
He was once being spoken of as going as high as No.2 until talk of shoulder injuries, concussion and off field issues saw his stock drop.
Needs: CB, TE, WR.
OJ Howard TE Alabama
The Bills over paid badly for Charles Clay. Howard is the prototypical TE who runs like a wide receiver and will hopefully give Taylor the red zone threat they lack.
Needs: DE, ILB, CB.
Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford
The Saints would love to pick McCaffrey at the end of the first round and should focus on defense here, but a RB with this much talent (he can play on all 4 downs) will be too much for HC Sean Payton to overlook.
Needs: QB, CB.
Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina.
Trubisky has the traits that most critics believe are best suited to transferring to the NFL. He goes through his progressions, is fairly accurate and athletic, although doesn’t flee from the pocket.
The Browns may need to trade back into the top 10 to select him, as the Texans or even the Cardinals and Saints may also be interested in selecting him.
Needs: SS, WR, OL.
Corey Davis WR Western Michigan
Davis is another big bodied receiver who is a more polished route runner than Mike Williams. With Fitzgerald near the end of his stellar career and Michael Floyd being cut last year, Davis fills a huge need that they should fill before looking at QB.
Needs: CB, DE, OL.
Tre’Davious White CB LSU
The Eagles could go for defensive line here – Chris Long must just be a stop gap. But they have a glaring hole at CB too and White formed a half of the LSU secondary that was feared last year.
Needs: OLB, MLB, OL.
Derek Barnett DE Tennessee
Barnett’s production in college is more impressive than Garrett’s but there are concerns about his athleticism.
His first step is noticeably slower and his arm length also cause concern about going against more athletic NFL tackles.
Needs: OL, WR, OLB.
Cam Robinson OL Alabama
The Ravens need help on the o-line, pass rusher and at WR. If they don’t address the o-line, then Flacco won’t have the time he needs to find a deep receiver. After letting right tackle Ricky Wagner go in free agency, finding his replacement is a priority.
Needs: NT, DE, CB.
Caleb Brantley DT Florida
The Redskins defensive line is a disaster. They should select the big man Brantley to assist as he has the versatility to play NT or DT, but given their personnel department is also a mess with interference from owner Snyder, they could well go a big name running back here.
Needs: CB, FS, WR.
John Ross WR Washington
Titans can now help out their offense with another pick in the first round. They get a speedster at WR that they are missing to take off top of the defense.
Needs: SS, RB, C.
Dalvin Cook RB Florida State
Bucs don’t care about off-field issues. With a dire need at RB they take the burner Cook who was an excitement machine while on the field at Florida State.
Needs: OL, OL, RB.
Ryan Ramczyk OL Wisconsin
The Broncos have a desperate need on the o-line. They’ve been long linked to Ramczyk who projects as one of the top linemen. They could also select Christian McCaffrey from Stanford here if he is still on the boards, with GM John Elway’s link to former alumni.
Needs: ILB, OLB, DT.
Zach Cunningham ILB Vanderbilt
The Lions defensive front 7 has fallen apart and couldn’t stop the run towards the ends of last year. Unfortunately Pro Bowler LB De’Andre Levey didn’t return to anywhere near his best last year after missing 2015, so the Lions draft Cunningham who can assist or even take over if required.
Needs: DE, CB, OL.
Taco Charlton, DE/ OLB, Michigan.
They select a pass rusher who is a better athlete and has a quicker first step than Derek Barnett. His overall production is not as inspiring, but last year’s performance means he’s trending up in a big way.
Needs: OL, LB, TE.
Forrest Lamp OL Western Kentucky
The Giants need some help at tackle and guard to help their abysmal running attack. Lamp is a powerful man who will help take the heat off of Manning by helping the ground game and can play Guard or Tackle.
Needs: LB, SS, DT.
Jabril Peppers LB / SS Michigan
The Raiders need help at safety and MLB, so they get a player here who has played both positions, and they can work out where he is best suited.
Needs: QB, CB, TE.
DeShaun Watson QB Clemson.
I think the Texans are a sneaky chance to trade up for Trubisky after not securing Tony Romo. They don’t have a 2nd round pick though so that will impact their ability to do that.
If they stay put, they hope Watson’s big game heroics translate to the NFL. They could do with a CB after losing Bouye in free agency, but the draft is deep with CB’s.
Needs: CB, OL, LB.
Kevin King CB Washington
The Seahawks want to get younger at CB and may trade All Pro Richard Sherman. Here they finally take a CB in the first round for the first time in years as King at 6’3” has the dimensions that they covet at CB for their defensive scheme.
Needs: ILB, OLB, CB.
Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple.
Roddick actually has the versatility to line up at inside or outside linebacker. I think his best spot is outside but the Chiefs would love his versatility as they have needs at both.
Needs: CB, DE, SS.
Takkarist McKinley DE UCLA
The Cowboys secondary took a hit in free agency, but if they don’t fix that pass rush with this year’s draft if McInley is available then fans and experts alike will be wondering what is going on.
Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama
The Packers were terrible on the right side of the field last year. Injuries played their part but they at least need more depth. They need help at MLB too but must fill this hole.
Charles Harris DE/ OLB Missouri
The Steelers need to find long term help at the pass rusher position. James Harrison turns 39 this year and is still their best pass rusher!
Needs: OG, DE, WR.
Garret Bolles OL Utah
The Falcons major need is at the guard position. They could also look to help out their decent pass rush.
Needs: CB, DE, LB.
Gareon Conley CB Ohio State
The Saints were trying to trade for the Patriots Malcolm Butler before the draft. Here they select Conley making him the third member of the Buckeyes secondary selected in the first round.