The best way to think about the weirdness of this draft is this: There’s a gulf between the first player on the vast majority of NFL boards—Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett—and the second player on those boards. And there is no consensus on who that second player is. That’s why this mock draft will probably be like every other one in the mediasphere before Thursday night: wrong.
Giving it our best shot here, on the eve of the 2017 draft. Notes: I don’t have Dalvin Cook in the first round because teams are worried about him off the field, but he certainly could go between 15 and 32 … I really wanted to put Davis Webb late in the round, because there is buzz on the Cal quarterback for his play and his leadership, and he may go 32 to a team wanting the fifth-year option on a quarterback … Seattle (26) and New Orleans (32) would love to move down to pick up an extra third-round selection … Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis is gaining loads of steam in the last few days, and it’s pretty solid he’ll be a first-rounder now.
1. CLEVELAND Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M Getting serious about picking the best player, and not just a Hail Mary QB, at No. 1.
2. SAN FRANCISCO Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford Niners could go in four or five directions—Garrett if Browns pass. Would love to deal down.
3. CHICAGO Jamal Adams, S, LSU Bears also big Solomon Thomas fans but will be happy with generational safety.
4. JACKSONVILLE Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU Jags’ needs (T, QB) do not match this draft. Watch for Deshaun Watson here too.
5. TENNESSEE Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State The Titans will be in play to trade down. In fact, most every team in top 10 is too.
6. CLEVELAND (from N.Y. Jets) Browns trade 12th, 33rd and 181st picks for No. 6 overall. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina Could divide the building, but owner hired DePodesta to make ballsy calls like this.
7. L.A. CHARGERS Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State This pick scares me, because GM Tom Telesco would love more of a sure thing.
8. CAROLINA Christian McCaffrey, RB/Slot/Returner, Stanford Five more completions a game, and easy ones at that, for the needy Cam Newton.
9. CINCINNATI Haason Reddick, LB, Temple After Garrett, Reddick is the best athlete on the defensive front seven in this draft.
10. BUFFALO Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee Day one pass-rusher more important than 2018 quarterback for Sean McDermott.
11. NEW ORLEANS Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama Might be best to physically distance Foster from his past, but he’s too good at a Saints need spot.
12. N.Y. JETS (from Cleveland) O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama Jets get sixth-pick value by trading down … and get a tremendous weapon too.
13. ARIZONA Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama Cards want a day one starter, and they luck into the falling Allen here.
14. PHILADELPHIA Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State Watch for WR Mike Williams and McCaffrey here too, if they are around.
15. INDIANAPOLIS Takkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA New GM Chris Ballard desperate to find a pass-rusher. McKinley’s his best shot.
16. BALTIMORE Mike Williams, WR, Clemson Ravens like Reddick and Conley too, but they’re content to get this big WR for Flacco.
17. HOUSTON (from Washington) Texans trade 25th and 57th picks for No. 17 overall. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson Probably right where Watson should go. Texans need to trade into the teens to get the QB they want.
18. TENNESSEE Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan Titans wanted a starting CB and WR in the first round. In my mock, they get both.
19. TAMPA BAY Cam Robinson, T, Alabama Only day one LT in the draft, most scouts think, and here he is. Bucs thrilled.
20. DENVER Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin Hip surgery soured some on this Division III transfer, but he dominated Big Ten in ’16.
21. DETROIT David Njoku, TE, Miami Lions might not sign former TE wunderkind Ebron to second contract. Thus Njoku.
22. MIAMI Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU Position of desperate need when you play Tom Brady eight quarters a year.
23. N.Y. GIANTS Garrett Bolles, T, Utah Three tackles have a chance to play as rookies. Giants really hope to get one of them.
24. OAKLAND Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama Eternal quest for next Willie Brown or Charles Woodson continues.
25. WASHINGTON (from Houston) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida I hear Washington is divided on Dalvin Cook; Davis is the pick over Charles Harris here.
26. SEATTLE Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky GM John Schneider overlooks Lamp’s short arms because he thinks he can start day one.
27. KANSAS CITY Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech Not what Andy Reid planned, but the talent is too good to pass up. Alex Smith heir.
28. DALLAS Charles Harris, LB, Missouri Lots of interest in Harris late in round. Late bloomer has played football just five years.
29. GREEN BAY T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin Just too perfect, a Wisconsin kid with Clay Matthews motor helping Matthews on rush.
30. PITTSBURGH Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan I’ll be honest here: I just want Peppers in the first round. The nickel/LB/PR is a star.
31. ATLANTA Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State Atlanta wants fastest, most productive pass-rusher/safety … and Willis is a 4.57 hustler.
32. ARIZONA (from New Orleans) John Ross, WR, Washington Arizona trades 45th and 77th picks for No. 32 overall. Had to get Ross into the first round. Cards get the fastest guy in the draft, and a good WR.
Now, your turn. Create your own mock draft and see how your picks stack up against those of Peter King and other fans, in our Mock Draft Challenge.