After pro days and predraft workouts, personnel executives start buzzing about who they like and which prospects helped themselves late in the evaluation process. Whether it’s real or fabricated, perceived rising draft stocks create intriguing dialogue leading up to April 27.
In-person workouts can either confirm what’s seen on college film or bring weaknesses to light. For one prospect in particular, the NFL Scouting Combine and subsequent visits have certainly boosted his draft stock. Who’s the new name within the top 10 picks?
In rebuild mode, the San Francisco 49ers can address a number of positions with the No. 2 overall selection. Three draft gurus have a consensus agreement on the projected pick. Should we consider this a definitive behind edge-rusher Myles Garrett?
Despite mediocre grades for this year’s quarterback class, a fourth passer has crept into first-round projections. Who is it? Which team might be interested in him?
|NFL Mock Draft—Round 1|
|1||Cleveland Browns||Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford|
|3||Chicago Bears||Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin|
|5||Tennessee Titans (via Rams)||Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State|
|6||New York Jets||Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford|
|7||Los Angeles Chargers||Jamal Adams, S, LSU|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee|
|12||Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)||Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)||Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||Mike Williams, WR, Clemson|
|17||Washington Redskins||Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State|
|18||Tennessee Titans||Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Garett Bolles, OT, Utah|
|20||Denver Broncos||O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama|
|21||Detroit Lions||Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt|
|22||Miami Dolphins||Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan|
|23||New York Giants||Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State|
|24||Oakland Raiders||Haason Reddick, LB, Temple|
|25||Houston Texans||Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Teez Tabor, CB, Florida|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs||Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama|
|28||Dallas Cowboys||Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU|
|29||Green Bay Packers||Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson|
|30||Pittsburgh Steelers||John Ross, WR, Washington|
|31||Atlanta Falcons||Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi|
|32||New Orleans Saints||Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech|
|Draft order via NFL.com|
Is Solomon Thomas Sure-Fire No. 2 Pick?
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, as well as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, have Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas penciled into the No. 2 spot. Maybe it’s a coincidence or the fact that none of the quarterbacks have a high enough grade to warrant the second overall pick.
According to CSN Bay Area reporter Matt Maiocco, the 49ers will operate under a new defensive alignment under Robert Saleh. In the report, general manager John Lynch feels Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner will adjust to the new system in place. The roles remain unclear, but the two 6’7” linemen may shift inside, which would indicate Thomas lining up on the outside.
At 6’3”, 273 pounds with 33-inch arms, it’s not clear where the Stanford product fits best between a 3-4 and 4-3 alignment. One AFC scouting director told NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein that Solomon projects as a productive tweener:
"He's damn good. I don't think he gets drafted as early as you do because he's not big enough for inside, and he's not as long as you like on the outside," said the scouting director. "You have to figure out where you will play him, but he won't stop. He's going to be really productive."
As the 49ers transition from a 3-4 scheme, the decision to add Solomon would stockpile three top-20 picks along the defensive line. San Francisco may not have a clear-cut quarterback for the future in place, but the decision to go with a defender at No. 2 would keep the team in games with a competitive front line.
Christian McCaffrey Reaching Top-10 Status
While everyone talked about LSU tailback Leonard Fournette and his weight, running back Christian McCaffrey climbed into top-10 status among discussion circles, per NFL executives via FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager:
According to Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue, the Carolina Panthers hosted the Stanford product for a predraft workout. In the same report, it’s noted Fournette will visit in the following week.
Initially, Fournette and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook projected as the one-two order for this year’s running back class. Now, McCaffrey has generated enough buzz to potentially come off the board at No. 8 with the Panthers. Don’t forget the New York Jets hold the No. 6 selection with a 31-year-old tailback leading their backfield in Matt Forte.
While the quarterback crop doesn’t look as impressive, two running backs could be selected within the top eight picks. Whether it’s Fournette then McCaffrey or vice versa, the latter offers a more reliable skill set as a receiver out of the backfield.
Patrick Mahomes Rising to First Round?
After all the talk about a lackluster quarterback class, a fourth passer has emerged as a first-round option over the past few weeks. Miller, Kiper and McShay projected Texas Tech prospect Patrick Mahomes as a Day 1 selection:
|Patrick Mahomes Draft Predictions as of April 8|
|Mel Kiper Jr.||No. 13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Matt Miller||No. 25||Houston Texans|
|Todd McShay||No. 32||New Orleans Saints|
Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain foresees the Houston Texans taking a quarterback with the No. 25 overall pick. Interestingly, he believes the team could miss out on Mahomes:
The Texans listed as a primary landing spot for Tony Romo, per NFL Network's Jeff Darlington, but he decided to hang up his cleats for a CBS broadcasting career:
In disagreement with McClain, despite Mahomes’ soaring stock, teams may opt to draft quarterbacks who are not quite ready to start in the second round. As a result, the Texas Tech passer along with Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer or Mitchell Trubisky should be available late in the first round.