Hot Salad World 2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

-Written by Alec Baicher and Greg Zaharioudakis

After both Alec’s and Greg’s hearts and souls were crushed with the “unlikely” comeback of the Patriots*, it is now time to look forward to the NFL Draft...or as Alec and Greg call it, a time when players are FORCED to play for their favorite, yet horrid, football franchises. The guys take a look at the incoming draft class and give their take on how Round 1 will play out, which is to be held in Philadelphia, PA on April 27th.

Picks made by Alec are marked AB, picks by Greg are marked GZ.

1) Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE/EDGE, Texas A&M

Myles Garrett is the only choice the Browns have to make here. With the 1st and 12th overall picks in this draft, the Browns do not need to reach for a QB at one here. None of the QBs in this draft were sure fire number one picks to begin with. The same cannot be said about Garrett. He IS a sure fire number one pick. Garrett is a talent that we have not seen in quite some time. With size, strength, and speed, Garrett will instantly become a feared pass rusher in the league. The Browns are in desperate need of immediate game changers. Myles Garrett brings that potential to the defensive side of the ball (unless the Browns trade this pick for Tony Romo like Myles Garrett wants them too.)

AB

2) San Francisco 49ers - Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC

The Niners have so many needs that can be filled with this pick. One spot they do not is along the defensive line with young talent such as Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, which allows them to shy away from the likes of Jonathan Allen here. The Niners are in desperate need of a quarterback as Colin Kaepernick is not the answer and Blaine Gabbert would not even be a starter in the Arena Football League. It’s time the Niners solidified the most important position in sports and go with the number one overall QB.

GZ

3) Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen DE/DT, Alabama

With Trubisky off the board here, I have the Chicago Bears selecting Allen 3rd overall. Jay Cutler will be out of Chicago and Matt Barkley definitely isn’t starting QB quality. Instead of reaching on DeShaun Watson here, the Bears will select the best player on the board in Allen. The Bears need to build inside the trenches, starting with the defensive line. Allen registered 21.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for losses for Alabama in his last two seasons. He was arguably the most dominant college football player in his time at 'Bama. The Bears get an anchor for their defensive line here for years to come.

AB

4) Jacksonville Jaguars - Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Blake Bortles flat out forgot how to throw a football last year. Bortles could have had a receiving corp of Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Terrell Owens all in their prime and he still would have found a way to lose games. With that being said, new coach Doug Marrone has to feel he can get more out of Bortles and help him return to his 2015 production. Jonathan Cyprien is intending on testing the free agency market leaving a big hole at safety in an already vulnerable secondary. Adams is a great selection here as the number one safety prospect to pair up with Jalen Ramsey in the young Jacksonville secondary.

GZ

5) Tennessee TItans (via Trade With Rams) - Marcus Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

At 6 feet and 192 lbs, Lattimore is a big cornerback physically, He attacks the ball well and is extremely physical at the line of scrimmage. Ohio State is loaded with future NFL stars and Lattimore may have shined brightest during his time in Columbus. The Titans offense was prolific last year with Marcus Mariota making huge strides in year two, but a broken leg in the second to last game of the season last year puts a cloud of doubt on when Marcus will return to the field. The Titans won’t go QB here, and their offense is loaded with talent in DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews, and Tajae Sharp. The Titans get a cornerback here in Lattimore to go across the field from Jason McCourty and form a duo of CBs that opposing QBs will not want to throw against.

AB

6) New York Jets - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

As a Jets fan, I will be ELATED if Malik Hooker ends up being available at 6. Just like two seasons ago with Leonard Williams dropping to 6 overall in the draft after being discussed as a potential number one pick, Hooker would be a steal. At 6’2’’, 205 lbs, Hooker is a heavy hitter in the secondary. But that is not all Hooker does: he is an absolute ball hawk. 7 INTs last season with 3 being returned for touchdowns reminds fans of a guy named Ed Reed, ever heard of him? Hooker is slightly raw since he is coming out as a redshirt sophomore, but his play on the field this year spoke for itself. Hooker also has enough speed to possibly play CB at the next level, but the Jets select him here to pair him with Calvin Pryor to create a fast and hard hitting safety pair. The Jets secondary was horrendous last year, Hooker comes in and becomes an immediate impact for Gang Green.

AB

7) Los Angeles Chargers - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

It was really tough for me to have Robinson “fall” this far to 7. He is easily the best offensive lineman in this draft, IMO. Robinson is a MAN at 6’6’’, 310 lbs. A guy this big can turn into a stud with the help of NFL coaches. Robinson has been slipping down the board after his AWFUL National Championship game showing. There is no doubt he was bad in that game, but the rest of his tape speaks for itself. The Chargers are moving into a new home in LA, and while a flashy receiver would be nice for them here, they need to keep Phillip Rivers upright and healthy, and adding a formidable offensive lineman like Robinson will help out a lot.

AB

8) Carolina Panthers - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

Let me preface this by saying I love Jonathan Stewart; he has been a mainstay on 90% of my fantasy teams over the past 5 years. However, he is not getting any younger and has a nagging injury every year. I could see Carolina going with a receiver here to pair with young star Kelvin Benjamin to give former MVP Cam Newton some more weapons through the air, but I feel the value of Fournette is higher than both Mike Williams and Corey Davis at this junction. Fournette comes in on day one as a weapon for the Carolina O and takes pressure off of Newton as a goal-line rusher as well as putting less wear-and- tear on the oft injured Stewart.

GZ

9) Cincinnati Bengals - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Starting linebacker Vontaze Burfict can be slotted to miss 2-4 games almost every year for some reckless play/attempted murder on the field, which leads to his suspension. At the same time, Rey Maualuga’s tackle total from 2015 to 2016 dropped from 75 to 27, leaving reason for concern. Foster was named college football’s best linebacker this year, winning the Butkus Award. With 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks, Foster was a dominant force and leader on arguably the best defense in the country.

GZ

10) Buffalo Bills - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

The Bills stink. I couldn’t be happier that Rex Ryan and his foot fetish are far away from Western New York. I am still FURIOUS with this past season...make that furious with the past 17 seasons with no playoffs. Being a Bills fan is the most demoralizing thing in all of sports and if you disagree, I have to just let you know that your opinion is wrong. Now that my obligatory Bills rant is over, back to the draft. Buffalo has GLARING needs this offseason, including WR, Safety, RT and CB. With WR Robert Woods most likely testing free agency, the #2 WR spot is up for grabs. The decision between Mike Williams and Corey Davis was a tough one, but after Davis’ historic run at Western Michigan (all-time leader in receiving yards in college football history), it’s hard to pass on him. At 6’2, 205lbs, Davis has incredible route-running ability and is an absolute competitor who gives the Bills an immediate threat through the air opposite of Sammy Watkins.

GZ

11) New Orleans Saints - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

We all know how dangerous the Saints offense is. Brees has a ton of weapons in Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Mark Ingram, Josh Hill, Brandon Coleman, etc, etc the list goes on. The Saints have 0 problems putting the ball in the end zone. Their problem is, they can’t stop the other team for matching them score for score. The Saints defense did get better later in the season, but Thomas fits in so well here at #11 as a dominant pass rusher to line up across from Cameron Jordan and Paul Kruger. The Saints could go CB here, since they were torched through the air all season by opposing QBs, but having an edge rusher like Thomas who can disrupt timing of opposing QBs is vital for New Orleans.

AB

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12) Cleveland Browns (via Trade With Eagles) - Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

The RG3 experiment was a fail from the start for Cleveland. With the luxury of having 2 early first round selections, the Browns were able to snag the best player in the draft in Myles Garrett AND get their potential QB of the future in Kizer. With the prototypical size of an NFL QB (6’4, 230lbs) and the ability to make virtually all the throws, Kizer has the potential to become a dominant QB at the highest level. That being said...this is the Browns we’re talking about...it’s almost a guarantee this pick doesn’t work out for them.

GZ

13) Arizona Cardinals - Ryan Rymczyk, OT/OG, Wisconsin

Ryan Rymczyk is the best offensive guard in this draft, albeit not a very deep one for the big guys inside. Rymczyk comes from WISCOOOOO (University of Wisconsin), so you know they play gritty ass football up there in the rugged weather. Luckily for Rymczyk, I am sending him down to Phoenix, Arizona to the Arizona Cardinals here at pick #13. Listen, Carson Palmer was horrible last season, and his offensive lineman did not help. Palmer was constantly on his backside and even missed a few games due to injury because of the punishment he took. Rymczyk comes in and instantly becomes and anchor for this offensive line that will help Palmer disrupt to his wealth of weapons he has on the offensive side of the ball.

AB

14) Indianapolis Colts - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

I haven’t checked the actual number, but I’m pretty sure Frank Gore is 75 years old. Since I have been a conscious human being, Frank Gore has been playing football. And the scariest part about this: HE RAN FOR 1000 YARDS LAST YEAR. Even with this incredible feat at his age, I’m still concerned Frank Gore may apply for AARP any given day, so it’s time to draft his replacement. With some analysts touting him as the best RB in the class, Dalvin Cook is a supreme talent and gives Andrew Luck and that talented Colts O another threat out of the backfield.

GZ

15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Trade With Vikings) - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Let me start out by saying this (as much as I hate to give Philly credit): Carson Wentz is the TRUTH. The guy is big, strong, and has the arm strength and mobility to be an absolute stud in this league. The problem for Carson Wentz last year was, his receivers STUNK. The receivers the Eagles threw out there for Wentz were horrific. Dropped balls after dropped balls. Zach Ertz was a great target at tight end, but their receivers couldn’t catch a cold on the outside. Luckily for them, I have Williams dropping to them at 15. Williams is a bonafide star coming out of Clemson. He missed basically all of the 2015-2016 season for Clemson after tearing his ACL in game 1 of that season, but 2016-2017 was an incredible year for DeShaun Watson’s favorite target. Williams is coming off a massive National Championship game where he made countless receptions that kept Clemson in the game. He is a freak athlete that should have a ton of opportunities to find the end zone with Wentz throwing him the deep ball.

AB

16) Baltimore Ravens - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Cornerback has to be a top need for the Ravens and they can desperately use some help opposite of Jimmy Smith. Jones shines in man-to- man coverage and is not afraid to come down and help out against the run. Jones was one of the least targeted CBs in the pass-happy Pac-12 this past season, and if that doesn’t depict what kind of talent Jones has, I don’t know what will.

GZ

17) Washington Redskins - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

The Redskins solidified one side of the field with the signing of Josh Norman last season. Norman was worth the money. He’s a shutdown corner that legitimately takes away a full side of the field. The problem for the Skins this year was that whoever they lined up opposite of Norman was basically nonexistent. The R Words (just so the PC police don’t come after me) fill this need with Humphrey. Humphrey is a big, physical corner at 6’1’’ and 198 lbs. He was a hard hitting ball hawk at ‘Bama. However, Alabama cornerbacks don’t seem to translate smoothly to the league and he is only 20 years old. However, Humphrey is too good of a talent to pass up here for Washington.

AB

18) Tennessee Titans - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Barnett is most likely the purest pass-rusher in the draft this year. To make my case, I’m going to rattle off some stats for you here. 2014: 10 sacks, 20.5 TFL. 2015: 10 sacks, 12.5 TFL. 2016: 13 sacks, 19.5 TFL. These stats alone show how dominant Barnett was in college with no reason to believe he cannot continue his success at the next level. Tennessee gets one of the biggest steals of the first round here as they keep the University of Tennessee product in his home state.

GZ

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Oh you really thought a Jets fan and a Bills fan would have McCaffrey fall to the Patriots right? WRONG. McCaffrey is a stud that should not fall below pick 23. At pick 19, we have the Buccaneers selecting the 2016 Rose Bowl MVP. The Buccaneers backfield will be shaken up with the likely release of Doug Martin, Even if Martin is not released, he will be suspended the first 3 games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. McCaffrey will play running back, can line up in the slot, and return punts and kickoffs. He is an absolutely electric player that will help Jameis Winston and the Bucs, who are in need of playmakers to line up with Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. McCaffrey aka White Jesus fills this spot here.

AB

20) Denver Broncos - OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama

The Broncos are more than set on defense and still remain one of the best in the business, meaning it’s time to improve on the opposite side of the ball. Although the offensive line needs to be addressed, the talent remaining is quite slim and Denver decides to not reach on an OL prospect. Instead, they take the number one Tight End on the board in OJ Howard to give whoever is playing quarterback (Siemien, Lynch, or even Romo) an immediate weapon in the passing game. While Howard’s numbers may not jump out at you (45 catches, 595 yards in 2016), Howard has great size at 6’6 250lbs and has improved his blocking every year at Alabama, warranting his first round selection here.

GZ

21) Detroit Lions - Qunicy Wilson, CB, Florida

Man, there are a ton of big cornerbacks in this draft. Wilson is no different. At 6’1’’, 214 lbs, Wilson was highly regarded as the best CB in the Nation this year. Florida’s defense the past two season has been outstanding besides the SEC title games played against Bama, and Wilson was a huge part. Detroit made the playoffs last season and have a really good defense. However, you can’t ever have too much defense. Darius Slay is a lock down corner on one side of the field, but he had trouble with some injuries this past season. Wilson can come in and immediately start and make an impact to try to help Detroit win their first playoff game since Greg and I were born.

AB

22) Miami Dolphins - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Just this week Miami announced the re-signing of Cameron Wake, keeping him in Miami for 2 more years. Opposite of Wake, the Dolphins released Mario Williams who has been nothing more than smoking hot garbage since his last year in Buffalo; it’s time to fill that void for Miami. With his athletic frame of 6’6, 270lbs, Charlton has the speed and power to set the edge on defense and get after the quarterback. Pairing him up with Wake and Ndamukong Suh sets up a rather formidable defensive line in the tough AFC East.

GZ

23) New York Giants - David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)

The Giants have had a need at TE for a while now and the combination of Larry Donnell and Will Tye isn’t gonna cut it anymore. Njoku is the next best TE available after OJ Howard and will provide much needed relief to Odell Beckham on the outside as well as giving Eli another weapon in the passing game. The Giants could also address running back or linebacker at this spot, but the thought of an elite TE paired with Odell is too good to pass up.

AB

24) Oakland Raiders - Adoree Jackson, CB, USC

QUICK! Name a cornerback on the Oakland Raiders!..........Yeah I couldn’t do it either. I’d say It’s time to change that. Oakland has a prolific young offense with Derek Carr at the helm behind a stout offensive line and weapons like Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Oakland finished 12-4 this past year, and if they want to repeat this impressive feat in the toughest division in football, they need to improve their secondary. Jackson has the speed to play CB in the NFL and also adds the ability to return kicks and punts.

GZ

25) Houston Texans - John Ross, WR/KR, Washington

If the Texans truly want to move on from Brock Osweiler and that OUTRAGEOUS contract they gave him, they have options at quarterback here with both Deshaun Watson and Deshone Kizer available. I’m under the impression they will stick with Osweiler for at least one more year, so why not give him another receiving weapon. Ross has drawn comparisons to Desean Jackson for over a year now; if he is anything Jackson is, this will be a steal for Houston. Pairing him with Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller immediately takes Houston to the next level of receiving talent.

AB

26) Seattle Seahawks - Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

Seattle’s offensive tackles were essentially turnstiles this year that just kept getting replaced and replaced. They cannot hope to get deep in the playoffs again without finding a solution. Bolles has had his fair share of off-field issues, but has overcome them and was selected 1st team All-Pac12 this past year. The only knock on Bolles other than his off-field history is that he only played 1 year of FBS college football. However, his elite athletic ability and quickness are enough to push him into the back end of Round 1.

GZ

27) Kansas City Chiefs - Curtis Samuel, WR/RB/KR, Ohio State

Kansas City’s D is top notch and can be avoided here in round one. However, the Chiefs needed help at receiver even before this recent news of them potentially cutting Jeremy Maclin came out. Samuel has game-breaking speed and any time he is on the field demands respect from opposing players and coaches. Samuel also lead the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game this past season, which is no easy feat in one of the top conferences in college football. Just imagine the speed on the Chiefs O combining Samuel with Tyreek Hill…

AB

28) Dallas Cowboys - Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

Can you think of a more ‘Cowboys’ move than this?! Peppers has more hype than almost every other player in this upcoming draft and has the skillset to back it up. Most likely transitioning to safety, Peppers provides an upgrade over both Barry Church and Byron Jones (pending on if the Cowboys like him at FS or SS). The match here almost makes too much sense, and if Peppers is available at pick 28 come April 27th, Jerry Jones may run to the podium himself to make this pick.

GZ

29) Green Bay Packers - Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Mizzou

Giving up the 4th most points per game this past year, Green Bay can use some help on the defensive side of the ball. With edge rusher Nick Perry and the never-aging Julius Peppers likely to test free agency, the Packers will be in the market for a pass rusher, and Harris is the best available. The 2-time second-team all-conference star has improved his sack numbers from 7 in 2015 to 9 in 2016 and has the ability to get to the quarterback at the next level. The only area of concern with Harris is his run defense, which can be worked on with NFL coaching.

AB

30) Pittsburgh Steelers - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Seeing his stock rising as of late, Conley may be able to sneak into the end of the first round. Exhibiting great size at the cornerback position at 6’1, Conley will add security to the CB position opposite of Artie Burns and lock down the CB spot for the future in Pittsburgh. Conley started on the Ohio State D since his freshman year in a heavy man-coverage scheme which should translate well to the NFL.

GZ

31) Atlanta Falcons - Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana

With starting RG Chris Chester set to test free agency, there is a hole that needs to be filled. Feeney is one of the top guards available and he can step in on day 1 in Atlanta and pave the way for Devonta Freeman and his old college running back Tevin Coleman. Feeney was a 4 year starter at Indiana and has the technique and intelligence to excel at an NFL level.

AB

32) New England Patriots - Ethan Pocic, OG, LSU

It seems every year the Patriots have a plethora of injuries all along their offensive line. Lucky for them, Pocic has played all 5 positions along the line at LSU. It’s very rare a versatile talent like Pocic enters the draft and I cannot think of a better team for him than New England. Pocic has the intelligence of a center and can step into any other spot along the line when the first lineman of New England inevitably goes down.

GZ