NFL mock draft: Expect Myles Garrett to go first, five from Alabama to be taken in first round
Assembling a mock draft before the NFL scouting combine is a risky proposition.
Many players rise and fall with their performance at the league’s annual evaluation event, their campus pro days, and depending on how deeply teams weigh into the free-agent market. Still, who can resist a little fantasy football?
This pre-combine mock has just one quarterback going in the first round, one player each from UCLA and USC, and a whopping five from Alabama.
The landscape will shift between now and the end of April, perhaps significantly, but here’s one snapshot of how the opening round could unfold:
1. CLEVELAND — Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: A blue-chip pass rusher has eluded the Browns just as much as a franchise quarterback has.
2. SAN FRANCISCO — Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: This pick could be Jonathan Allen, but 49ers have used top pick on a defensive lineman the past two years.
3. CHICAGO — Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: The Bears go for the best available defensive player because there’s no value at quarterback here.
4. JACKSONVILLE — Jamal Adams, SS, Louisiana State: If the Jaguars don’t re-sign Johnathan Cyprien, they might grab a replacement for him here.
5. TENNESSEE — Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: Titans don’t have a second-round pick, so they might try to trade out of this spot. But Davis would help.
6. N.Y. JETS — Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: The Jets, who need help at corner, haven’t used their top pick on an offensive player since Mark Sanchez in 2009.
7. CHARGERS — Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: The Chargers need to keep building their pass rush, and Thomas would be an disruptive bookend to Joey Bosa.
8. CAROLINA — Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Panthers want to reduce the number of hits on Cam Newton, and adding a dangerous running back would be one way.
9. CINCINNATI — Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: The Bengals are still in search of a No. 2 receiver to replace Marvin Jones. A welcome move for A.J. Green.
10. BUFFALO — Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State: Bills could go quarterback or receiver here, but Sean McDermott prioritizes safeties in his defense and Buffalo needs to get younger and better there.
11. NEW ORLEANS — Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: Sean Payton has said getting an edge rusher is “a must” for Saints. Charlton’s size (6-6, 273) is a good fit for scheme.
12. CLEVELAND — Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Browns could pick up a quarterback in a trade (paging Jimmy Garoppolo) or free agency, but if not… Hue Jackson likes the dual-threat Watson.
13. ARIZONA — Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: The Cardinals are still looking for an able sidekick to cornerback Patrick Peterson. Receiver is a possibility too.
14. INDIANAPOLIS — Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA: The Colts don’t have a pure pass rusher under contract. The explosive McKinley would address that need.
15. PHILADELPHIA — Sidney Jones, CB, Washington: The Eagles are looking for a cornerback who could step into a starting role right away, and Jones is capable of doing that.
16. BALTIMORE — Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: The need for an elite edge rusher is more pressing than for a receiver, although the Ravens would like both.
17. WASHINGTON — Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: The Redskins want to fortify the interior of their defensive line. McDowell is quick enough to cause problems in the backfield.
18. TENNESSEE — Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: Again, the Titans are likely to bail out of one of their first-round picks. They want a corner, and probably could more easily address their receiver need in free agency.
19. TAMPA BAY — Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State: Fournette could also wind up in Carolina. Regardless, the Buccaneers need a running back, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding Doug Martin.
20. DENVER — Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: The Broncos could go tackle, tight end, or defensive line. But this would be an intriguing landing spot for the multi-purpose McCaffrey, although it could be early for him.
21. DETROIT — Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: If one of the running backs were to slide, Lions could go in that direction. But they need help in their front seven, and Harris would provide that.
22. MIAMI — Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt: It’s too early for the Dolphins to address their need at guard, so they go for a linebacker who can shore up their run defense.
23. N.Y. GIANTS — O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: The Giants haven’t gotten enough production out of their tight ends. Howard would give them a big boost, as would Miami’s David Njoku.
24. OAKLAND — Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida: Despite the outstanding performance of Khalil Mack, the Raiders still finished last in the league in sacks (25). They need interior pass rush.
25. HOUSTON — Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin: The Texans could take a quarterback here, but right tackle might be a safer pick. They’ve done pretty well with big guys from Wisconsin.
26. SEATTLE — Garrett Bolles, T, Utah: The Seahawks have made do on the offensive line for long enough. They need to turn their attention to need there, and Bolles has the nastiness to succeed.
27. KANSAS CITY — Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State: The Chiefs are going to have to find an eventual replacement for Derrick Johnson. Don’t rule out a quarterback here.
28. DALLAS — Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC: The Cowboys are in need of help in the secondary and should wind up taking the best player available. Jackson’s speed and ability to make an immediate special teams impact are enticing.
29. GREEN BAY — T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: The Packers will be taking an especially hard look at the outside linebackers and cornerbacks. Watt’s pedigree is compelling.
30. PITTSBURGH — Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: Williams, who plays around 235 pounds, is a little on the light side, but he would fit the Steelers’ scheme as an edge rusher.
31. ATLANTA — Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn: Lawson would be the next brick in the rebuilding process for the Falcons’ defensive line. He’s a physical specimen who can get to quarterbacks.
32. NEW ENGLAND — Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan: Peppers has the kind of versatility that Bill Belichick likes, a hybrid who can line up at either safety or linebacker. He needs to run well at the combine.
Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer
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