Combine performances helps some, hurts others
The Scouting Combine came and went, and with it the board for the 2017 NFL Draft underwent a nice little shuffle.
Some other things went down that affected what follows. For one, a big trade happened as the Patriots sent the No. 32 pick to the Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. At this point, that leaves New England without a first-round pick, but with players like cornerback Malcolm Butler and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo potentially on the block, the Patriots could easily get back in.
There also were a few unfortunate injuries, including one for Washington cornerback Sidney Jones on his pro day. One can only hope for a full recovery for his Achilles. UCLA corner Fabian Moreau also suffered a serious injury that will likely affect his status.
Then, of course, there's the name change for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. The artist formerly known as Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina will henceforth be referred to as Mitchell. Mark the changes accordingly.
So with one month to go before the draft, here's our third version of how things will go down. Enjoy.
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
At the Combine, Garrett came in as the top overall prospect and actually boosted his stock, if that was even possible. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4, 272 pounds along with a 41-inch vertical leap and 33 reps on the bench. In other words, he killed it, and teams would kill to have him.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
One player whose stock has dramatically shot up in each of our mocks has been Thomas, and that's been across the board with nearly every evaluator. The more you watch his tape, the more you see a player who can affect the game in multiple ways. If the 49ers don't take a QB, watch Thomas.
3. Chicago Bears
Jamal Adams, S, LSU
This is a team that has been active in free agency in pulling in quarterbacks, but that does not mean the Bears will not take one here. That said, Adams is another player whose stock continues to rise, and his overall football intelligence and knack for finding the ball are going to be hard to turn down.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
It will be interesting to see what the Jaguars do here. The sense is that this is not an organization that is ready to bail on quarterback Blake Bortles just yet. Expect Tom Coughlin's influence to want to build from the inside out. Allen has dropped in some eyes, but he's a formidable force in the middle.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Rams)
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Titans are in a good spot here to take either a game-changer in the secondary or at wide receiver or tight end. The cornerback class is deep enough to grab someone later on, but Lattimore might be too good to pass up. In a deep cornerback class, at least in this opinion, Lattimore is the best right now.
6. New York Jets
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Although it could come earlier, the first quarterback to come off the board in this mock comes here with the Jets. In this scenario, it would be hard to pass up someone like Ohio State free safety Malik Hooker, but Trubisky's stock is still holding steady and the Jets may feel the need to grab him.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
A number of different options make sense here. Offensive line is still a need and it's a top-heavy draft for that position. The Chargers also could use a receiver. But Hooker, despite an injury late in the process, has incredible range and the ball skills to match. He could go even higher.
8. Carolina Panthers
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette's game has been picked apart quite a bit, as some questioned his preparation for the Combine when the 6-footer weighed in at 240 pounds. But he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. At that size, that's cooking, and he can run with power. There are other choices, but Fournette would be hard to pass up.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Yes, the Bengals signed linebacker Kevin Minter, but released reserve Ray Maualuga and could still benefit from someone of Foster's skill set. Some evaluators consider Foster the second-best defender in this draft. That might be pushing it, but he's still a worthy pick at this stage.
10. Buffalo Bills
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Bills have needs in a lot of places, but have decided to stick it out with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. He needs weapons, though, as there has been a mass exodus in that regard over the past few seasons. Howard destroyed the Combine and is a terrific receiver and blocker.
11. New Orleans Saints
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Saints now how two picks to try and upgrade their defense. There's still the chance that they trade this pick to the Patriots for Butler, but until then, we're going to predict Barnett to be the pick. No matter what, the Saints will be smart to grab one edge rusher and one corner in the first round.
12. Cleveland Browns (From Eagles)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
There are still a lot of doubters for Watson, particularly with his overall accuracy and ability to cycle through his reads. Still, he threw well at the Combine and has the resume of a winner coming off a national championship season with the Tigers. If the Browns go quarterback here, he could be the guy.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Cardinals lost quite a bit on defense in free agency, but also brought in a number of players to fill in those spots. This could be the year that the Cardinals look for Carson Palmer's successor. Head coach Bruce Arians was at Mahomes' pro day, so there appears to be legitimate interest here.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings)
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Eagles have been aggressive in free agency in revamping their wide receiver corps, but still need to add weapons for quarterback Carson Wentz. If they don’t take a receiver here, a running back with McCaffrey's multiple skill set is a natural choice. The Stanford back was outstanding at the Combine and can be a threat as a runner and receiver.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Colts can go a number of different ways here, and if they want to go with a cornerback, there are a ton of options available. Conley is someone who might not be quite as popular as his college teammate Marshon Lattimore, but still has the potential to be a top corner with his excellent ball skills.
16. Baltimore Ravens
John Ross, WR, Washington
With the retirement of Steve Smith Sr., the Ravens have lost a number of targets for quarterback Joe Flacco over the years. Ross set the official Combine record for the 40-yard dash with a blazing 4.22. In some eyes, Ross is the best receiver in the draft, and he could be an immediate deep threat.
17. Washington Redskins
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Just like last season, you could see a run on receivers toward the late-middle area of the first round. The Redskins lost speed merchant DeSean Jackson to the Buccaneers, so a receiver would make sense here, as would someone along the middle of the front seven. Davis can be an immediate contributor.
18. Tennessee Titans
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Marcus Mariota could still stand to use another weapon or two on the outside. Depending on who you ask, Williams is either the best receiver in this class or close to it. If the Titans grab a defensive back of Lattimore's caliber early on, it only makes sense to go offense here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David Njoku, TE, Miami
Adding DeSean Jackson was a nice step to help a developing Jameis Winston, but the Buccaneers are also in position to add to his arsenal here if Njoku is available. The tight end did not blow up at the Combine to the point that some expected, but his film shows an elite pass catcher from the position.
20. Denver Broncos
Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Broncos are still in limbo at the quarterback position, but the other main issue right now is with an offensive line that took a nosedive last season. Bolles put up 34 reps on the bench and ran a 4.95 40 at 6-foot-5, 297 pounds at the Combine and might be the best tackle in the draft.
21. Detroit Lions
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The edge rusher class is a lot like the cornerback one this draft in that there are a ton of quality players and there isn't exactly a consensus on where they will go. The Lions will likely go defense here and grabbing a pass rusher of Charlton's caliber would be a smart choice.
22. Miami Dolphins
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Even though the Dolphins re-signed Kiko Alonso and grabbed Lawrence Timmons, linebacker remains a position they could use some help. Reddick's stock has steadily risen throughout the process and can rush the passer, drop in coverage and defend the run.
23. New York Giants
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
If Hasson Reddick is still around, he would be a nice choice here, as would Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham or Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp. But Ramczyk, along with Garrett Bolles, is highly-regarded as one of the top offensive tackles in the draft, and the Giants are still hurting up front.
24. Oakland Raiders
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
When Latavius Murray left in free agency, it created a void at the position for the Raiders that remains unfilled at the moment. Unless Adrian Peterson or, as the rumor goes, Marshawn Lynch, materializes as a realistic option, Cook would be a nice fit if he's still around at this spot.
25. Houston Texans
DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
With the trade of Brock Osweiler to the Browns, the Texans could stand to add another quarterback to the roster. Maybe Houston is fine with Tom Savage for now, but someone like Kizer or Mahomes might be worth the risk here, even though the Notre Dame quarterback did not do well at the Combine.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
A cornerback might be where the Seahawks go here, but the offensive line still needs to be addressed. Robinson's stock has dropped compared to where it was about a year ago, but he is a viable candidate to be an immediate starter and could improve things in Seattle right away.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
With the loss of Dontari Poe to the Falcons, even with the signing of Bennie Logan, someone like Auburn's Montravious Adams would be an interesting choice here. Still, it would be tough to pass up on someone like Wilson, who some like to go much higher.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Another player who can very well go much higher is Harris. He makes sense for the Cowboys, who could really use a pure pass rusher. Harris has some question marks when it comes to defending the run, but he can get to the quarterback, and that's what the Cowboys need.
29. Green Bay Packers
Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Packers could use cornerback help, but might feel content to wait until the second round to take one. The loss of T.J. Lang hurts along the interior of the offensive line. Lamp, who had an excellent Combine, separated himself as the top guard in the draft and could step right in.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB, UCLA
The Steelers don't need to do much to improve the offense, so look for a defensive pick at this stage. McKinley could very well be off the board by this point, but if he is around, he is someone they should target. Despite some concern over a shoulder injury, McKinley is a fairly safe pick.
31. Atlanta Falcons
T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Even with Dontari Poe coming in, another defensive tackle would not hurt, and if Forrest Lamp is still around, he also would be a smart pick. But adding another young pass rusher to pair with Vic Beasley should also be a priority, and Watt looks like a potential star on the edge.
32. New Orleans Saints (from Patriots)
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Tabor is the classic example of a player who shines on film but had an underwhelming Combine performance. If the Saints don't find a way to lock down New England’s Malcolm Butler, a cornerback here or at No. 11 is the most logical choice. Tabor, despite his Combine performance, is still considered a strong prospect.
— Written by Adam Kurkjian, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and is a reporter for the Boston Herald. He has covered the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Marathon and Little League World Series, among other events from the high school, college and pro ranks. Follow him on Twitter @AdamKurkjian.