Happy draft day! Say goodbye to the smoke screens and rumors, and say hello to players actually being drafted. I took one last stab at mocking the draft, this time up until the Bills third round pick (75th overall). If you’d like to go back and see how each of these final three mock drafts have evolved over the last few weeks, you can check those out here…
You’ll notice from the two-round mock, to this one, I’ve locked in on one player who I truly believe the Bills are fixated on in the first round. They may or may not stay at 10 to get him, but I think they know who they want and once they get him, it will set the stage for what needs they address in the second and third rounds.
Have at it!
1) Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M – Even hours before the draft, rumors continue to swirl that Cleveland is contemplating drafting Trubisky at No. 1. over Garrett, but he’s too much of a slam dunk for them to pass up. Cleveland makes the smart decision here and will look to snag a quarterback with their second pick, which could actually come sooner than 12.
2) Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford – San Francisco could go quarterback here or even trade back with another QB-needy team, but if they’re convinced Kyle Shanahan will lure Kirk Cousins to the Bay area within the next year, there are plenty other needs to address. Thomas is a pass-rushing talent they can’t pass up.
3) Jamal Adams, S LSU – The Bears have many holes of their own to fill, and quarterback could be an option here, but after signing Mike Glennon this offseason, they’ll hold off and instead snag Adams, a play making safety.
4) Leonard Fournette, RB LSU – Jonathan Allen could be in play here as well, but ultimately Jacksonville chooses to take some pressure off Blake Bortles with a complimentary running back.
5) TRADE (from Tennessee) Mitchell Trubisky, QB UNC – Cleveland knows; if they want Trubisky, they can’t wait around for him at 12. Now, with rumors that San Francisco is looking to trade out of the No. 2 spot, the Browns may have to jump up even higher. In this case though, the Browns are able make a deal with Tennessee – another team looking to trade back – and jump several QB-needy teams. They have to forfeit their 12th, 33rd and 145th picks in the process.
6) Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State – The Jets may consider a QB here, but after getting jumped for Trubisky, they’ll be perfectly fine taking the consensus, top cornerback of the class.
7) Jonathan Allen, DL Alabama – The Chargers got themselves a home run in Joey Bosa last year, now they bolster their defensive line further by adding Allen’s dynamic talent into the fold as well.
8) Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford – Trading up to snag Fournette could easily be in play here for Carolina. If they do, they’ll have to jump their biggest competitor for him, Jacksonville. That would require paying a lofty price to move up to the No. 2 pick. We’ll see if the Panthers are willing to pay up to get the top-rated running back in the class, but if not, they’ll turn their attention towards McCaffrey.
9) Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee – Cincinnati needs pass rushers. Easy decision here to grab Barnett.
10) Haason Reddick, OLB Temple – Tonight, there are so many directions the Bills could go at 10, including trading back. From a Bills standpoint this year’s draft may be more unpredictable than ever. I tend to believe Buffalo’s interest in the quarterback position is real, but, that they’re also in a situation where they brought back Tyrod Taylor in an effort to contend this year and want to address more pressing needs to make that possible. Given the fact that Sean McDermott is a defensive coach, and has a ton of holes to address on that side of the ball, going defense in the first round seems like the most logical decision. Of course, the draft doesn’t always play-out logically. Either way, I’ve zeroed in on Reddick as their guy in the first round, why? Because this year’s linebacker class is top heavy, while other positions the Bills need such as cornerback and safety, are deep. Over his 18-plus years as a defensive coordinator on multiple teams, McDermott has proven he can find talented defensive backs in the later rounds. Josh Norman for example was a fifth-round pick. With that in mind, Buffalo holds off on drafting a defensive back for now, and rolls with Reddick a versatile, rangey linebacker who could wreak havoc in the middle of McDermott’s defense.
11) Malik Hooker, S Ohio State – The Saints are looking to remake their defense and while there are a number of directions they could go here – they need pass rushers too – Hooker has fallen in their lap.
12) TRADE (from Cleveland) O.J. Howard, TE Alabama – After trading back once, the Titans consider doing it again with Houston, who wants to jump Arizona for a QB, but can’t pass up adding Howard to to Marcus Mariota’s arsenal.
13) Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech – Mahomes being the second quarterback off the board may be a bit of a surprise, but if Arizona views him as their guy of the future, they’ll pull the trigger.
14) Mike Williams, WR Clemson – The Eagles were hoping McCaffery was available here, but they’ll hold off on RB for now and instead focus on getting Carson Wentz that No. 1 receiver he desperately needs.
15) Garett Bolles, T Utah – Andrew Luck just revealed that he had shoulder surgery back in January, to repair an injury from two seasons ago. With that fresh in their minds, the Colts aren’t messing around anymore when it comes to protecting their biggest asset. Bolles has been dubbed the most athletic lineman of the class and can help solidify Indy’s offensive line.
16) Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan – The Ravens need weapons for Joe Flacco and Corey Davis is arguably the best receiver in the class. Easy choice here.
17) TRADE (From Houston) DeShaun Watson, QB Clemson – To ensure they get Watson, Houston sends Washington their 25th and 57th overall picks, to move up to 17.
18) Reuben Foster, LB Alabama – Tennessee already went offense at 12, snaring Howard, now it’s time to address the defense. Talent wise, Foster is arguably the best linebacker of the class. He’s a steal at this point.
19) Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State – The Bucs added DeSean Jackson as a speedy receiver opposite of Mike Evans, now they get themselves a reliable running back out of the backfield and a fellow Seminole of Jameis Winston.
20) Ryan Ramczyk, T Wisconsin – Ramczyk’s hip surgery is concerning, but not enough to scare away the Broncos, who need to bolster the O-line.
21) Taco Charlton, DE Michigan – The Lions defense was second to last in the league last year in sacks. Charlton should help change that.
22) Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky – The Dolphins allowed five sacks on Matt Moore in their AFC Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh. They’ll prioritize protecting the quarterback.
23) David Njoku, TE Miami – It’s no secret that the Giants were a pass first team in 2016. With that in mind, they select Njoku to give Eli Manning a new, big weapon to throw to.
24) Jarrad Davis, LB Florida – Marshawn Lynch fills their RB void, which leaves their most pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball. Davis fills one
25) TRADE (from Houston): Jabrill Pepper, S Michigan – Washington trades back and still gets themselves the LB/S hybrid, Peppers.
26) Cam Robinson, T Alabama – Strengthening that O-line is priority number one for Seattle.
27) Jarrad Davis, LB Floria – With the 34-year-old Derrick Johnson coming off an Achillies tear, Kansas City needs to start thinking about the future at the position.
28) Charles Harris, DE Missouri – The Cowboys top priority is finding themselves a pass rusher. Fortunately, they have a solid class of them to choose from and snag Harris in the first round.
29) T.J. Watt, OLB Wisconsin – This is a match made in heaven and fills Green Bay’s need for a pass rusher.
30) Budda Baker, S Washington – Maybe a bit of a reach here, but they Pittsburgh a safety, and there’s no way Baker is available when they pick again at 62. Wouldn’t be surprised if they went WR or TE here.
31) Malik McDowell, DT Michigan State – Adding a disruptive force along the defensive line will be great for Atlanta.
32) John Ross, WR Washington – After going defense at 11, the Saints use the last pick of the first round, which they acquired as part of the Brandin Cooks trade to New England to replace Cooks with a new speedster in John Ross.
33) TRADE (from Cleveland) Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama – It’s back to addressing defense for the Browns in round 2.
34) DeShone Kizer, QB Notre Dame – I’ve said that one of night one’s blockbuster deals could be San Francisco pulling off a trade for Kirk Cousins that includes the second overall pick. That could change the first round a lot as Washington would move up and possibly select a QB, while the 49ers wouldn’t even need to draft Kizer. Assuming that madness doesn’t happen, I think they go QB here.
35) Carl Lawson, DE Auburn – Dante Fowler hasn’t lived up to the hype, so Jacksonville grabs some insurance at defensive end.
36) Takkarist McKinley, OLB UCLA – After missing out on the top 4 quarterbacks entirely, Chicago goes defense again. McKinley is a value pick at this point. Best player still available.
37) Zach Cunningham, OLB Vanderbilt – The Rams draft for the first time, adding Watt, who – like his brother – can get after opposing quarterbacks.
38) Dan Feeney, G Indiana – In the second round, Los Angeles prioritizes protecting Phillip Rivers.
39) Evan Engram, TE Ole Miss – This time the Jets get a weapon for the offense. Josh McCown loves throwing to tight ends.
40) Kevin King, CB Iowa – Carolina’s secondary was abysmal last year without Josh Norman, so they make sure to grab a CBthat can start immediately.
41) Chris Goodwin, WR Penn State – Cincy got a pass-rusher in the first round, now they focus on getting Andy Dalton some wide receiver help. Offensive line could be in play here as well.
42) Jordan Willis, DE Kansas State – If the dominoes fall the way they have in this draft, New Orleans is having a great weekend. Willis is so quick off the edge with that 4.53 forty speed.
43) Chidobe Awuzle, CB Colorado – A value pick and fills a need for the Eagles. Again, Conley continues to free fall.
44) TRADE (from Buffalo) Gareon Conley, CB Ohio State – The Raiders went linebacker in the first round, but can’t resist the chance to move up and draft Conley who is dropping like a stone following these recent rape allegations. Eventually, talent trumps character concerns, and between the Lynch deal and these first two picks, Oakland has added plenty of it this week. Meanwhile after deciding against moving back from 10 in the first round, Buffalo does it here, acquiring the Raiders second rounder (56th), fourth rounder (129th), plus a 2018 fourth rounder, in the process.
45) Tre’Davious White, CB LSU – Arizona was thinking about Conley here themselves. Instead they settle for White.
46) Marcus Maye, S Florida – Indianapolis solidified the O-line in round one, now they turn their attention towards repairing the defense.
47) Tim Williams, OLB Alabama – A young outside linebacker/edge rusher is the right move here for Baltimore.
48) Dorian Johnson, G Pittsburgh – The Vikings run game was non-existent last year, improving the O-line is more than necessary.
49) Raekwon McMillan, LB Ohio State – Washington goes defense again, grabbing a much needed inside linebacker.
50) Chris Wormley , DT Michigan – They got their running back in the first round, now they strengthen the defensive line.
51) Tyus Bowser, OLB Houston – Denver hopes Bowser can provide a solid pass rush opposite of Von Miller.
52) Obi Melifonwu, S Washington – After getting everything they wanted out of the first round – Garrett and Trubisky– the Browns go defense again with the second round pick they held on to.
53) Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma – Like Conley, someone is going to take Mixon eventually. A one-two punch of Ameer Abdullah and Mixon sounds fun for Detroit.
54) Duke Riley, LB LSU – The Dolphins grab a linebacker in round two, looking to add some depth at the position.
55) Dion Dawkins, T Temple – New York goes offense again, prioritizing protecting Eli Manning and improving their rushing attack.
56) TRADE (from Oakland): Zay Jones, WR East Carolina – It’s unlikely that Jones makes it to the third round, let alone when the Bills pick next at 75, and as you’re probably well aware, wide receiver is a massive need for them. Jones contributed in all four years of his college tenure at East Carolina, which culminated in an eye-popping senior season where he hauled in a FBS-best 158 receptions for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s just the 19th player in FBS history to eclipse the 4,000-yard career receiving mark. With the loss of Robert Woods, Jones could easily step into the number two receiver spot and contribute. I love his upside and I think he has a bright future in the NFL. Ultimately, as I mentioned, McDermott and the Bills may hold off on grabbing a wideout until later on, they may even have a different WR in mind. But ultimately, I think it’s a logical option here. The Bills still have some dire defensive needs moving forward, but plenty of opportunities to address them coming up, especially with that newly acquired fourth round pick. We continue on…
57) TRADE (From Houston): Curtis Samuel, WR Ohio State – Lose a speedy receiver in Desean Jackson, draft his replacement. Samuel is a value pick at this point and can do it all.
58) Adoree’ Jackson, CB USC – Even if they hold onto Richard Sherman, Seattle could use some cornerback depth.
59) Davis Webb, QB Cal – The Chiefs offense is extremely limited with Alex Smith. Time to groom his predecessor.
60) Josh Jones, S NC State – Dallas lost two safeties this offseason, so Jones is a no brainer here.
61) Quincy Wilson, CB Florida – Another defensive pick for the Packers. Their secondary was awful in 2016.
62) Adam Shaheen, TE Ashland – At 6-foot-8, 275 pounds, Shaheen is being called “baby Gronk.” Pittsburgh opted to go defense in the first round, so in round two they add a weapon for Ben Reothlisberger.
63) Marcus Sanders-Williams, S Washington – Atlanta knows their offense is loaded, so using each of their first two picks to deepen their defense for another run at the Super Bowl is not surprising.
64) Derek Rivers, DE Youngstown State – There’s a case to be made for a receiver here. Carolina could use some young pass rushers though.
65) TRADE (From Cleveland): JuJu Smith-Schuster – The Titans have now added a tight end and a wideout to Mariota’s repertoire.
66) Antonio Garcia, T Troy – Still a lot of needs for San Francisco at this point, but they need someone who can hold down the fort opposite of Joe Staley.
67) Nate Peterman, QB Pittsburgh – They went defense twice, now they snag a potential future quarterback.
68) Jake Butt, TE Michigan – Yes, he’s recovering from a torn ACL, but after trading away Julius Thomas, Jacksonville needs a tight end. They also need to give Bortles all the toys they can, to determine whether he’s the long-term solution at quarterback.
69) Isaac Asiata – The Rams could use a guard Asiata is the best one remaining at this point.
70) Desmond King, S Iowa – It’s back to defense for the Jets as they’ve revamped the secondary with two of their first three picks.
71) Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Colorado – The Chargers bolstered both the offensive and defensive lines, now they focus on improving the secondary.
72) Ryan Anderson, LB Alabama – New England’s biggest weakness last year, was their underwhelming pass rush.
73) Taylor Morton, T Western Michigan – The Bengals can’t ignore their need for a tackle anymore.
74) Pat Elflein, C Ohio State – Baltimore traded away Jeremy Zuttah so it’s time to find his replacement.
75) Sidney Jones, CB Washington – The Bills double up on the Joneses here. Listen, if Sidney Jones really does fall this far, it could be the steal of the century for Buffalo. He’s a perennial first-round pick, who has fallen into your lap in the in third round after suffering a truly unfortunate torn Achillies at the NFL Combine. Regardless, the latest reports indicate that Jones is on track for a return in September. Sure he’ll have to get up to speed, similar to what first-rond pick Shaq Lawson went through last year, but once he comes out on the other side of his recovery, the Bills will have added an immediate starter to the backend of their defense. Cornerback is an obvious need for the Bills after losing Stephon Gilmore to New England via free agency, and Jones is more than capable of filling his shoes. He and Darby could form a new dynamic duo in the Bills secondary over the next few years.
So through three picks the Bills have addressed their needs at linebacker, wide receiver and cornerback. What remains are massive holes still at tackle, quarterback and safety, plus could use some depth along the defensive line.
Share your thoughts on this mock with Spencer: @Spencito_