Daniel Jeremiah probably thinks this is really dumb. But he won't be laughing on Draft Day.
Los Angeles Rams
I can rarely make promises about the outcome of the draft. But I can promise you that this pick will be either Goff or Carson Wentz. Of the two, I'm going with Goff, in part because of his maturity and field smarts. Wentz is stronger and bigger, but the Cal QB is definitely the safer prospect. The Rams may become contenders under him.
Wentz is, without a doubt, the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft. He fits the Chip Kelly mold perfectly. However, I wonder whether he is a good fit for Doug Pederson's offense. (Speaking of which, I have serious doubts about the new head man in Philly. His parents spelled Peterson with a d, and the apple never falls…you know the rest). But speaking seriously (a first for me), Wentz may be able to bring the Eagles to the top tier of NFL teams. You know, Denver, Carolina, Green Bay, Jacksonville…
San Diego Chargers
I almost put DeForest Buckner here. But Tunsil is too good to pass up and maybe should not have fallen to number 3. While they aren't in great need of an offensive lineman, San Diego may be a good entry point into the league, where a rookie may face the Denver defense twice a year.
Bosa is an excellent player who would have been picked first if the Titans had not traded their pick. However, there are some questions about his character. He was ejected from a playoff game this year. So he's not exactly a "safe" prospect, but if he stays clean and doesn't bust, he will be an explosive piece of a mediocre Dallas defense.
It's between Jack and Jalen Ramsey here. Both are at positions of need for Jacksonville. Both are great prospects. However, I think the UCLA defender will be a better fit for Gus Bradley's scheme. Myles Jack is a playmaker who will complement Dante Fowler well.
Let's all say it together now: DUH! Ramsey is an excellent player-possibly the third-best player in the draft. The Ravens need defensive backs. That's a euphemism for they couldn't pick off Jay Cutler. Naturally, the Ravens are desperate for Ramsey to fall to number 6, and if he does, the opportunity to take him will just be too good to pass up. But I'm still pretty mad at them for winning that playoff game, and stealing Elvis Dumervil, and signing a bunch of players like Joe Flacco and Steve Smith and Ray Rice.
San Francisco 49ers
Okay, I have an admission. This is not my usual unconventional self here. Almost every draft I have seen has Lynch going right here, which kind of stinks for the Browns. But, the Niners need nothing more desperately than a QB. With Colin Kaepernick about to get his pink slip and Blaine Gabbert still being Blaine Gabbert, they have a gaping hole at the game's most vital position. Besides, Paxton Lynch seems to be a safe player, as far as passers go.
Obviously, their biggest need is a general manager. Although I must say, I'm not exactly ecstatic to be moving to Cleveland.
The Real Pick: Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
Now that they have RGIII, their next biggest need is a running back. Elliot is one of the best prospects in the draft, and a real fan favorite with college football followers. When the Browns draft him, I predict the communal groan of exasperation rising up from Columbus will be heard in Cleveland. Hope they won't be insulted.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I am now ashamed. This may be the most conventional thing I have ever said. But before you ask what's going on, let me explain why the conventionalists got it right. The Bucs have a very pressing cornerback need. Hargreaves is an exceptional cornerback. Thus, they should pick Hargreaves. Simple, but ingenious. The other option is DeForest Buckner, who is definitely the best player available.
New York Giants
At long last, Stanley goes off the board! The Giants take the second-best player available while solving their offensive line need. Eli will be safer this season. Stanley will enter the league and soon become a renowned player. It's a perfect pick.
The best player available usually goes to a fairly solid team. This is the exception. A dysfunctional team with a few major holes, the Chicago Bears could use Buckner. The Oregon prospect is already a solid defensive line piece that could really change the tides for the Chicago defense. If the rest of their draft goes well, they could be on track to have a pretty good season.
New Orleans Saints
I think the Saints have their eye on Buckner. He would have really made their defense better. But Smith is a fine player, the best one available at this point. He also fills a position of need for Nawlins. Their defense, slowly but surely, is beginning to improve, and Smith will accelerate that improvement greatly. Plus, as he played for the Fighting Irish in college, he should already know two words in French: Notre Dame.
I must admit that I know next to nothing about this prospect. However, Miami needs an offensive tackle. I decided that if I was going to talk about a prospect, I better have some description. So here's what Rob Rang of CBS has to say:
"Conklin is a favorite among scouts due to his blue-collar work ethic and powerful, no-nonsense style. He isn't as agile as some of the other top tackles on this board and may be pushed inside at the next level. He's long, powerful and tenacious, however -- traits that make him one of the nation's best run blockers. Conklin was one of the few Spartans to play well against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl."
Yeah. I'll go with that.
Lawson is one of the best prospects in this draft; certainly the best available. The Raiders don't have many holes, but a good pass rusher to pair with Khalil Mack would definitely make their defense stronger. Lawson is considered one of the most explosive prospects in the draft, and Oakland loves young, explosive players. This is a good pick, all ways.
Obviously, when you get to these later parts of the draft, you have to start doing best-player-available things. This is one of those cases. However, Lee should do a decent job covering up for the Tennessee defensive end hole. A solid linebacker is always a good pick for a team that has either too few needs or too many. He's not a defensive end, but he should provide some depth on the front seven.
Wow! The fourth Buckeye taken! Apple broke onto the scene at the combine, impressing the scouts with a remarkable showing. The Lions, who have a noticeable vacancy at cornerback, should make good work out of him. (They play Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Teddy Bridgewater two times each this season.) Anyway, the Ohio State prospect should be an excellent addition to an already-deep Detroit roster.
The national champions have their first player picked! The Falcons aren't in desperate need of a lineman, but Reed is versatile enough to try being a pass rusher. He isn't really a sack machine, but as the Falcons would be hard-pressed to fill any major positions of need with this pick, they must go with the BPA.
This guy could really catch on in Indianapolis. He is an inside linebacker, which sources tell me the Colts don't need, but forget them. He could be the final piece for an already deep roster.
The Bills have room for improvement in several areas. Defensive line is a good place to start. Rankins is a well-grown player who could start immediately. He has been compared by many scouts to Los Angeles star lineman Aaron Donald. Donald, like Rankins, isn't very big but has potential for the near future.
New York Jets
Ever since Todd Bowles came to town, New York has been on the lookout for high quality defenders. Leonard Williams, last year's first round pick, has impressed. now they select another Leonard, one with an edge-rushing specialty. The Jets will have a solid defense for years to come, thanks to the new players they're drafting. However, this pick would be easy to trade away if they wanted to, as their are several receiver-needy teams in the next few picks who could get ahead of the pack with this pick.
The Redskins, known far and wide for their politically incorrect name, need a lawyer and a center. While Kelly is unable to fill the former position, the latter is his specialty. (Admittedly, it's hard not to pick Laquon Treadwell here. But stay tuned.)
Again, I almost picked Laquon Treadwell here. But Houston's most pressing need is of a defensive end. The combination of Dodd, Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Brian Cushing will form an explosive front seven. (Fascinating Texans fact: I may be wearing an Osweiler jersey next year. Fortunately, it is orange.)
The best receiver prospect in this draft is going to Minnesota. The Vikes need a receiver to pair with Stefon Diggs, and Treadwell fits the bill. Cordarrelle Patterson is a good slot receiver, but if the Vikings expect to win their division, they need one more capable pass catcher. By the way, I'm picking them to win the division and maybe go all the way to the NFC Championship.
Having just lost Mohamed Sanu, Cincy needs a hand at the WR position. Josh Doctson is just that-a hand, and a good one for that matter. Receiver is their only major need, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to compete in the AFC North. Doctson and Treadwell are on track to become two of the NFL's best wideouts, although first their teams will have to make it in the playoffs.
Yes, a bit of a reach, but so what? The Steelers can't stop the pass and WJIII is the best defensive back available. As stated earlier, it's important to stock up on players and take calculated risks if you expect to win the AFC North. It's an aggressive battlefield of a division made all the more insane by the train wreck that is the Cleveland Browns. And the risk Pittsburgh takes on Jackson may pay off by Game 16.
It took me forever to decide to put Decker here. I wanted him to fall to the Broncos. But my job is to be right, not conventional and happy-ever-after. And I would be wrong if I said that the Seahawks would pass up on a player like Decker. Some drafts have him going as early as number 6. I don't see that happening, but with the loss of Russell Okung, Seattle has no choice but to take an excellent tackle.
Green Bay Packers
With no players worth the pick at their positions of need available, the Packers must take the best player on the board. Neither he nor Decker should have fallen this far, but it is good for them because they will join good teams. Good defenders are helpful in case of an injury and also for special teams, so it seems that Nkemdiche is a good choice.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs, who have long been plagued by wide receiver troubles, will find a long-term solution this year. Maclin is quite good, but he cannot beat the secondary all by himself and another receiver will help the team immensely.
The Cards have a reputation for picking under-the-radar prospects and this is no exception. The top tight end in the draft, Henry fills a need for the Cardinals. NFL.com says their biggest need is a safety. That's right. The team with Deone Bucannon and Tyrann Mathieu. Their biggest need is a safety. I think Arians is too smart to take another safety at this point.
Whoa! Here's the draft's first late-round twist. Henry was an unexpected pick-some pundits will say he should've gone in the second round. Jonathan Stewart will likely see this pick as his eviction notice, but will it be so? I think Henry and Stewart will compete for the starting job, but if the starter is not injured or benched this year, the backup may have to look somewhere else. Consistently underrated in the draft, Henry is being ranked below players who never won a Heisman or a National Championship.
I bet you second-guessed yourself when you read this. After all, nobody expects this to happen. Cook in the first round? No way! But what do the Broncos need but a quarterback? Minor defensive line issues can be handled later. Now, it is important that we pick another option for quarterback of the future. If Siemian beats him for the starting job, he can stay in as a backup for a few years and eventually one of them will feel the need to leave. If he wins the job, the Broncos will be able to win with him.