I‘ve never been a fan of mock drafts, but football fans love them. So here’s my first effort at predicting what will happen later this month in Philadelphia. The Packers pick 29th, and while general manager Ted Thompson always talks about taking the best player available, the reality is he’s going to try to fill a major need – just like he did in 2012 with Nick Perry and in 2013 with Datone Jones and in 2014 with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and last year with Kenny Clark. That means expect yet another defensive player to be the choice when Roger Goodell steps to the podium.
1. Cleveland – MYLES GARRETT (DE/Texas A&M)
2. San Francisco – SOLOMON THOMAS (DE/Stanford)
3. Chicago – MARSHON LATTIMORE (CB/Ohio State)
4. Jacksonville – LEONARD FOURNETTE (RB/LSU)
5. Tennessee – JAMAL ADAMS (S/LSU)
6. Jets – DESHAUN WATSON (QB/ Clemson)
7. San Diego – MALIK HOOKER (S/Ohio State)
8. Carolina – CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (RB/Stanford)
9. Cincinnati – JONATHAN ALLEN (DL/Alabama)
10. Buffalo – MITCHELL TRUBISKY (QB/North Carolina)
11. New Orleans – DEREK BARNETT (DE/Tennessee)
12. Cleveland – O.J. HOWARD (TE/Alabama)
13. Arizona – COREY DAVIS (WR/Western Michigan)
14. Philadelphia – GAREON CONLEY (CB/Ohio State))
15. Indianapolis – REUBEN FOSTER (LB/Alabama)
16. Baltimore – MIKE WILLIAMS (WR/Clemson)
17. Washington – JABRILL PEPPERS (DB/Michigan)
18. Tennessee – JOHN ROSS (WR/Washington)
19. Tampa Bay – HAASON REDDICK (LB/Temple)
20. Denver – GARETT BOLLES (OT/Utah)
21. Detroit – JARRAD DAVIS (ILB/Florida)
22. Miami – FORREST LAMP (OL/Western Kentucky)
23. Giants – RYAN RAMCZYK (OT/Wisconsin)
24. Oakland – DAVID NJOKU (TE/Miami)
25. Houston – QB PATRICK MAHOMES (QB/Texas Tech)
26. Seattle – KEVIN KING (CB/Washington)
27. Kansas City – TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE (CB/LSU)
28. Dallas – TAKKARIST MCKINLEY (LB/UCLA)
If the board falls this way, a logical list of possibilities at 29 would include edge rushers Taco Charlton (Michigan), Charles Harris (Missouri), T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) and Jordan Willis (Kansas St.) and corners Adoree’ Jackson (USC), Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) and Quincy Wilson (Florida). Wild cards would be disruptive defensive end Malik McDowell (Michigan St.) and explosive running back Dalvin Cook (Florida St.).
I also like corner Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado), who can play inside and outside and is an absolute beast on special teams, and edge rusher Carl Lawson (Auburn), who could develop into a more explosive Nick Perry. But the question is what will Thompson do, and to be honest, I’m not sure of the answer. Watt is a popular choice in mocks, and he does look like a Ted kind of linebacker. But if I have to make a guess right now – and since I’m writing this post, I do – let’s go with Harris.
While my gut – not to mention many hours of film study – tells me Charlton will be the better pro, Harris is a more natural fit for a 3-4 and he’s more explosive. I wish he were tougher vs. the run, but he’ll be able to pressure the QB from day one and that’s what this defense needs most. The fact his school has produced a number of good pass rushers in recent years is another plus.