updated December 17
1. Buccaneers – Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon – Scouting Report
I strongly believe that Jameis Winston is the better prospect in terms of physical tools, and that seems to be the consensus around the league. But will GM Jason Licht have enough faith in Winston’s character to make him the No. 1 overall pick? I think that’s going to be a tough sell for anyone. Mariota is definitely the safer option.
2. Titans – Randy Gregory – DE – Nebraska – Scouting Report
The Winston debate continues at No. 2, as the Titans could roll the dice. But Zach Mettenberger showed some promise, so there’s no reason to gamble if they aren’t completely confident in Winston. Gregory has the tools to be an elite pass-rusher and should excel in Ray Horton’s defense.
3. Jaguars – Shane Ray – DE – Missouri – Scouting Report
The Jaguars pass-rush hasn’t been awful, but they’re lacking that one guy who can be a threat on every down. Shane Ray is a terror on the edge and should be able to make an immediate impact and change the way teams approach blocking the Jaguars front seven.
4. Raiders – Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama – Scouting Report
You can’t rule anything out when it comes to the Raiders, but I would assume Derek Carr has shown enough to make the Raiders pass on Winston. Adding an offensive weapon like Cooper would allow Carr to continue his development. He reminds me of Odell Beckham, and should be able to make a similar impact as a rookie.
5. Redskins – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State – Scouting Report
It looks like RG3 is done in Washington, which makes the Redskins a strong candidate to land either Winston or Mariota. Daniel Snyder has always been attracted to star power, so they’re definitely a candidate to look past his issues and fall in love with his talent. And as we’ve seen in the past, a trade up to make it happen is definitely possible.
6. Jets – Vic Beasley – LB – Clemson – Scouting Report
The Jets are a mystery at this point since we have no idea who will still be in New York. They definitely need a quarterback and a pass-rusher however, so we might as well start there. With Winston and Mariota off the board, they turn their attention to the top pass-rusher on the board. Beasley has some flaws, but as a pure pass-rusher he should excel immediately.
7. Falcons - Leonard Williams – DE – USC – Scouting Report
The Falcons have almost no legitimate talent or depth on the defensive side of the ball, so this pick needs to be the best available defender. Williams may be the most complete player in this draft, but don’t be shocked if he falls slightly. Players with his skill set don’t always make a smooth transition to the next level and don’t have the same immediate impact as a pure pass-rusher.
8. Giants – Ronnie Stanley – OT – Notre Dame – Scouting Report
If you’re not on the Ronnie Stanley bandwagon yet, you might want to check him out. He’s only a redshirt sophomore but has emerged as one of, if not the, best draft eligible offensive lineman. His addition in New York would allow the Giants to reshuffle a struggling offensive line.
9. Bears – Landon Collins – SS – Alabama
The Bears entire defense is a mess, but the most glaring holes are in the secondary. Landon Collins is the prototypical strong safety and would help bring some physical play and, hopefully, some leadership to the Bears defense. If he’s not on the board, a pass-rusher like Dante Fowler would also make sense.
10. Panthers – Brandon Scherff – OT – Iowa – Scouting Report
Injuries have played an unfortunate role in the Panthers struggles, but they still need to find some stability on the offensive line. There are linemen with more upside than Scherff, but he is as steady as they come. At worst, Scherff should be an immediate asset at right tackle or guard.
11. Vikings – DeVante Parker – WR – Louisville – Scouting Report
I’ve compared Parker to Randy Moss, so it would be fitting to see him land in Minnesota. Parker has the speed to be a legitimate deep threat but also the size to win the battle for jump balls. It’s a rare combination, and one that Moss had as well. His addition would certainly aid in the development of Bridgewater.
12. Rams – Kevin White – WR – West Virginia – Scouting Report
With a few minor improvements on offense, the Rams could probably plug in a decent veteran quarterback and become a playoff contender. If that’s the strategy they choose, a big playmaker on the outside who can win 50/50 battles like Kevin White would be the idea first-round target. An argument can be made that he’s more likely to have immediate success than Cooper.
13. Texans – La’el Collins – OT – LSU – Scouting Report
Duane Brown will continue to lock down the left side in Houston, but the right side has been an issue in recent years. Collins played left tackle at LSU but is probably best suited on the right side, or even at guard in the pros. He may lack the upside of an athletic tackle with more length, but he gets the job done and is ready to start immediately.
14. Browns – Benardrick McKinney – LB – Mississippi St – Scouting Report
The Browns lack a playmaker in the middle of the defense, and it’s forced them to get creative with how they use their linebackers which has pulled Barkevious Mingo out of position at times. McKinney is a perfect fit inside in the Browns 3-4 scheme.
15. Dolphins – Jaelen Strong – WR – Arizona State – Scouting Report
This could be a slight reach for Strong, but it feels like Ryan Tannehill needs a big receiver capable of making plays down the field. I think the Dolphins are close, and a player like Strong could help elevate their offensive immediately. The combination of Strong, Landry and Wallace would be one of the better trios in the AFC.
16. 49ers – Dante Fowler Jr. – DE – Florida – Scouting Report
The 49ers defense has taken a step back this year and struggled with the lack of depth. This is shaping up to be a very strong class of pass-rushers, so it would make sense for the 49ers to grab one even if he doesn’t have an immediate starting role. Fowler has good value in the mid-first round and could be insurance behind Aldon Smith.