by Andrew Weidman
The following article is a mock draft in which I paired ten of the top college graduates pursuing a career in the National Football League, with an NFL team. The actual draft will take place this April.
OT – Offensive Tackle
OLB – Outside Linebacker
DE – Defensive End
CB – Cornerback
WR – Wide Receiver
1. Tennessee Titans, Laremy Tunsil (OT) Ole Miss
Tunsil is an absolute freak athlete, standing at 6-5, 305 pounds. Tunsil is without a doubt the best draft prospect in the class, miles ahead of the next talented offensive lineman. Drafting Tunsil, the Titans would be able to move Taylor Lewan to his natural position of right tackle, replacing Byron Bell, and with Chance Warmack at right guard, the Titans will be able to run the ball with ease. The Titans would be a Center away from having the best offensive line in the NFL.
Second Choice: Joey Bosa
2. Cleveland Browns, Joey Bosa (OLB/DE) Ohio State
Bosa stands at 6-5, 275 pounds which would give him the ability to play as an edge rusher in Cleveland’s 3-4 defense and to line up as a 3-4 DE. Bosa’s college career was ended prematurely in the Fiesta Bowl, as he was ejected in the first half for targeting, but that does not take away from the fact that Bosa is the most talented defensive player in the draft.
Second Choice: Jared Goff
3. San Diego Chargers, Jalen Ramsey (CB) FSU
The Chargers desperately need an upgrade in their secondary. Brandon Flowers did not look impressive at all and will most likely be gone next season. Patrick Robinson, who took over for Flowers after he was put on IR, is a free agent and will also most likely not be retained.
Second Choice: Vernon Haregraves
4. Dallas Cowboys, Myles Jack (LB) UCLA
The Cowboys’ defense is awful, and even with a healthy Tony Romo, this team probably still misses the playoffs. Sean Lee and Rolando McClain are good players but can’t stay on the field. Jack reminds me of rookie Shaq Thompson with his play style. Jack is a hard hitter and enduring, something that the Cowboys need.
Second Choice: Jared Goff
5. Jacksonville Jaguars, Vernon Hargreaves (CB) Florida
The front seven for the Jaguars is fine, especially with Dante Fowler ready to go next season. However, the secondary isn’t good. Davon House and Aaron Colvin aren’t worthy of being a #1 corner in the NFL. If the Jaguars can shore up the secondary, they stand a better chance in the AFC South.
Second Choice: Eli Apple
6. Baltimore Ravens, Laquon Treadwell (WR) Ole Miss
Joe Flacco desperately needs a solid receiver. Steve Smith is recovering from an Achilles’ heel injury while Breshad Perriman did not play and was not an impressive prospect to begin with. If the Ravens are going to contend against the Bengals and Steelers, their offense needs an overhaul. Treadwell isn’t a freak athlete, only 6-3 and 216 pounds, but he’s a dynamic playmaker.
Second Choice: Ronnie Stanley
7. San Francisco 49ers, Ronnie Stanley (OT) Notre Dame
Whether it’s Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, or a rookie that is under center (in the shotgun) for the 49ers in Chip Kelly’s offense, he will need some protection. I believe Ronnie Stanley is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in the draft. He can slide in at left tackle immediately and move Joe Staley over to right tackle where he is better off. Stanley is a future All-Pro lineman.
Second Choice: DeForest Buckner
8. Miami Dolphins, Mackensie Alexander (CB) Clemson
Despite their needs on the offensive line, the Dolphins biggest hole on their team last year was finding a cornerback opposite of Brent Grimes. Bobby McCain shined at times, but was raw as a rookie, and Brice McCain and Jamar Taylor are complete garbage. Alexander will fit in nicely in the Dolphins’ defense, and when Brent Grimes is inevitably done, which could be in a couple years, Alexander will be the future of the Dolphins’ secondary.
Second Pick: DeForest Buckner
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DeForest Buckner (DE) Oregon
Bucker is the best defensive lineman in the draft, and the Bucs have a huge hole in their defensive line. Bucker could play anywhere on the line but will likely play as a DT in Tampa’s 4-3 defense. Lining Bucker up next to Gerald McCoy is a nightmare for any offensive line.
Second Pick: Taylor Decker
10. New York Giants, Shaq Lawson (DE) Clemson
The Giants pass rush is terrible. The Giants were dead last in total defense last year and were 30th in the NFL in sacks, recording just 23 total sacks as a team. Lawson is a huge playmaker and with the Giants facing some of the best offensive lines all year (Philadelphia, Dallas), Lawson is a must need for this Giants’ team.