Picks and following italicized analysis was written by the stated GM for each pick. Intro and Peyton/Eli conversation was written by Colin Chiles
WELCOME to the Dive 35’s First Annual First Round Mock NFL Draft Smorgasbord!
In this article, we have split up all 32 picks and given the job of GM to 16 different people, some picking for multiple teams. Their task was to envision that they are the GM/Owner of the team whose pick they have, they were to look at team needs and draft combining what they think might happen with what they would do if they were actually the GM/Owner of that team.
We are calling this league the MNFL (Mock NFL) and we will go through this draft as if it’s unfolding right before you. I will unveil each team’s pick followed by a short blurb from the GM explaining why they made that particular pick. We did not allow trades since projecting who teams will draft is difficult enough without trying to predict who will trade with whom. If a GM believes a team is looking to trade up or down in this draft, it will be stated in their explanation.
I will be acting as Commissioner for this mock league, the MNFL, and I will also be selecting for the Saints and the Broncos in this draft. I can assure you there will be no conflict of interest and all picks will be made with complete objectivity for the situation.
In unrelated news, Khalil Mack and Ezekiel Elliot have just been traded to the Saints for an old treadmill that only works half the time and a football signed by Drew Brees.
This article contains picks 1-16. Tomorrow we will release picks 17-32. Enjoy!
Onto the draft, which is oddly enough, hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning. We join them mid-sentence it appears, just before the first pick has been made:
Peyton: “-ost complicated decision I can think of involving sixteen pounds of lemon cake”
Eli: “You said it best brother, I can’t see how I could disagree with you there.”
Peyton: “Let’s toss it to Overlord Commissioner Chiles who is about to begin his world renown opening speeches.”
Colin: “Football….is good. Lets sports the fucking hell out of this draft!”
Peyton: “Wow, just chills, that guy just knows how to command a room.”
The GM for the Cleveland Browns, Ryan Knoblauch, has stepped to the stage:
With the 1st pick in the MNFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns Select – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Peyton: It appears all of the GM’s (Beginning with Ryan Knoblauch) will provide us with an instant analysis on their selections selection, which we will put on screen after each pick:
The value of a QB makes teams reach for them way before they should ever go, but in this draft the talent and hype of a franchise QB just isn’t there.
The Browns need help anywhere and everywhere they can get it. Best case for them would be to trade back if someone wanted to give them what the Rams gave for Jerod Goff last year. They could load up on a deeply talented draft. However, this deeply talented draft isn’t deep in elite talent. Myles Garrett is the one exception, but most teams don’t salvage the future for a DE, especially one that some people question his motor and love of football. However Garrett has Power, speed, size, and has produced at the highest level of competition in college football . He checks all the boxes. No brainer for the Browns here.
::Camera cuts to Myles Garret just as he’s beginning to vomit::
Peyton: “Let’s see if we can get a quick interview with Garret, who seems to have become suddenly ill”
Eli: “Myles, you’ve just been selected by a franchise that’s won four games in the past two years and hasn’t won a playoff game since 1994, are you excited to be the turnaround this team badly needs?”
Myles Garrett: “This was my worst fear. I actually tried to tank my own draft stock so I wouldn’t go #1. I even told the 49ers I would waive my two year’s salary if they traded up to get me. I can’t decide if I should be crying or vomiting. I feel like my career is over”
Peyton: “Well there you have it folks, the first pick in the MNFL draft. He seems optimistic; I wish him the best.”
The GM for the San Francisco 49ers, Darin Stroot, has walked up to the stage
With the 2nd pick in the MNFL draft, the San Fransisco 49ers Select: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The two most ideal situations with this pick are drafting Myles Garrett or trading back. Unfortunately, the Browns selected Myles Garrett and there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for trading back. Marshon Lattimore is quite a consolation prize though. The 1st team all Big 10 selection has the athleticism, footwork, hip fluidity and mental makeup to become a lockdown corner in the League. On the flip side, Lattimore has a history of hamstring issues that limited him to only one full year at Ohio St and limited experience for such a high pick. Other needs for the 49ers (there is quite a bit right now) include Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Safety and Linebacker. I personally don’t think there is a QB worth selecting this high and I foresee Jimmie Ward sliding over to Free Safety from Nickelback to fill that role. Pairing Marshon Lattimore with surprise 2016 rookie standout Rashard Robinson for the next 10+ years will be a smart and safe choice to usher in the John Lynch/Kyle Shanahan era.
Peyton: Wow, thank goodness I got out of the league before this defensive backfield came to be. Just kidding, I’d fucking tear them apart.
Eli: I would too Peyton!
Peyton: Sure you would, Eli, sure you would.
The GM for the Chicago Bears, Dan Buchfink, has stepped to the stage.
With the #3 pick in the MNFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select: Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
The way I see it, here are the Bears team needs: QB, CB, FS, WR, K
The Cutler Era has officially ended and seats are getting hot as Chicago starts year three of their rebuild. While GM Ryan Pace’s philosophy has always been taking the best player available, his failure to draft a quarterback during his tenure in Chicago will force his hand early in this year’s draft. Pace will do everything he can to trade back, but with no clear 2nd or 3rd best prospect the market will be slimmer than in years past. With Cutler out of the picture Mike Glennon will take the reigns to start 2017. Glennon’s front loaded contract was made specifically to buy their young quarterback time as he gets accustomed to life in the NFL. Their future signal caller will not be asked to start until late 2017 at the earliest, giving the team a full season to groom their young arm.
Why Watson? In numerous offseason interviews Pace has stressed the importance of consistency, leadership, and extensive experience as the most important attributes a college quarterback must have to be successful. He also stated that their quarterback needs to be able to elevate his program. No one fits these criteria more than two-time Heisman finalist and reigning National Champion Deshaun Watson. Watson showed everything you could ask for in college by carrying Clemson to back to back National Title games. While Watson isn’t a perfect NFL quarterback prospect, he carries a winning pedigree with video game statistics making him irresistible to a front office that is 9-23 through two seasons. Pace will elect not to overcomplicate things and take the QB with the best track record.
If Chicago elects to go best player available with the 3rd overall pick look for them to address their secondary before trading back into the first round if they don’t feel their quarterback will be available when they pick again at 36.
Peyton: “Eli, did you see the ass on that Jay Cutler in that weirdly artistic picture of him naked on a boat, looking out into the distance, presumably for cornerbacks he could throw his balls to?”
Eli: “You know I did Peyton, I only texted it to you a dozen times that day. I love a good ass”
The GM for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jon Brogan, walks up to the stage
With the 4th pick in the MNFL Draft, The Jacksonville Jaguars Select: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jaguars are selecting Leonard Fournette with the belief that he will become their franchise running back for years to come. This choice was made due to the lack of trade options and of talented available at areas of need. Their primary need is with their 2016 22nd ranked offensive line. However, there is a lack of OL options this early in the draft and the Jaguars cannot not justify the fourth pick on Cam Robinson. Since Mitch Trubisky is still available and the Jets at #6 are looking to draft a QB, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags look to trade down to a team that may want to jump in front of them.
This team needs to make a splash in the draft and Leonard Fournette is the perfect choice to bring enthusiasm back into Jaguars football. Dalvin Cook is another talented running back they may look at, but his skill set is similar to TJ Yelden’s and Cook’s upside is not close to as high as Fournette’s. Using Leonard Fournette as the early down back and TJ Yeldon for passing situations would provide the Jags a dangerous combo that defenses will need to prepare for. This should also take the pressure off garbage time all-star, Blake Bortles and provide him more 3rd and short opportunities.
Eli: “Boy that Blake Bortles sucks, doesn’t he Peyton?”
Peyton whispers something to Eli
Eli: “That Blake Bortles, he just needs time! Don’t give up on him Jags! Keep him in the league as long as possible”
The GM for the Tennessee Titans, Alex Cannata, has walked up to the stage:
With the 5th pick, in the MNFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans Select: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
For the first time in a while, the Titans are in a good spot heading into the draft. They are set up well at most places on their roster. The biggest concerns to me heading into their offseason were clearly WR and secondary. Nothing was done at WR in Free Agency, but they did add Logan Ryan to the secondary.
The 2017 draft class has a lot of good players, but there isn’t much separation between each from a pure value perspective. As a result of that, my goal is to fill some of those same-value players into my most important spots. With two of the first 18 picks, my plan was to get one WR and another secondary player. I saw a bigger potential drop off at WR, so I chose to go in that direction first as long as Mike Williams was there.
Mike Williams stepped into the #1 WR role with the Clemson Tigers during his sophomore year and then proceeded to dominate whenever he was on the field. He’s tall, built, and has flexible body control. He knows how to adjust to the ball with defenders around him, and he runs good routes. His huge catch radius and good hands make him a target suitable for most QBs. His physical profile would compare favorably to a current star like A.J. Green. Williams should help to take advantage of Marcus Mariota’s last cheap years on his rookie contract.
Eli: “Mike Williams…names don’t get much more generic than that, do they Peyton?”
Peyton: “Aren’t we supposed to be analyzing each pick?”
Eli: “It doesn’t seem like whoever is in control of the teleprompter knows a whole lot about college football”
The GM for the New York Jets, Kane Rose, has walked up to the stage and is already yelling his pick for some reason:
WITH THE 6TH PICK IN THE MNFL DRAFT, THE NEW YORK JETS SELECT: JAMAL ADAMS, S, LSU
As the Jets face many problems with their team, the draft shows little mercy for their needs. However, in this draft class you can’t pass up raw talent which Jamal Adams presents. With starting FS Marcus Gilchrist expected to be released after tearing his patellar tendon, the team bottoms out with good secondary. Being the son of former NFL running back George Adams shows that he grew up with the game and sets the tone with hard hits. He’s an intelligent field general who gets his secondary aligned properly, recognizes patterns, and digests combinations with ease. I think Jamal Adams would be a great fit for the Jets defense and could eventually become a franchise player later in his career.
Eli: “Is there anything more sad than Jets fans, Peyton?”
Petyon: “Well… let me run through that real quick. The only Browns fans left are masochists so they enjoy the pain. Bills fans are extremely drunk all the time so they aren’t totally aware of reality anyway. Jags fans at least live in Florida…No. I don’t think there’s anything more sad than Jets fans”
The GM for the Los Angeles Chargers, Seth Slayden, has walked up to the stage:
With the 7th pick in the MNFL Draft, the L.A. Chargers select: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
First, let’s get this out of the way. This is why the name Ed Reed keeps popping up in the same sentence as Malik Hooker. It’s hard to believe any team could “steal” a player at pick seven, but that’s a testament to how good Hooker is. Widely considered the best safety prospect in this year’s draft he also grades out at number two on numerous NFL big boards, second only to Myles Garrett. NFL teams rarely value a safety higher than picks 5 – 10, which explains why he could be available to the Chargers at 7.
Hooker has all the physical attributes you could want in an NFL safety, and possesses special coverage skills you just can’t teach. With seven interceptions (three returned for a touchdown), you could feel comfortable giving him half the field to cover if you’re an NFL head coach. The cons with Hooker are his experience (he started only one season at Ohio State) and his tackling. Fortunately, those can be coached up in the NFL. Hooker has also undergone labrum and hernia surgery, but should be ready for the start of the NFL season.
Safety is a huge hole for the Chargers, but don’t be surprised if Hooker is drafted #2 by the 49ers. He’s that good, and the new regime in San Francisco knows the value of a good safety. If that happens, Jamal Adams would still be a great pick. Malik McDowell would also be a good fit for the Chargers defense, but would probably not be a good value at pick seven. Trading down might be the best option for the Chargers if Hooker and Adams are gone.
Eli: “Malik HOOKER…you know what that makes me think o-”
Peyton: “Don’t Eli. Just don’t”
The GM for the Carolina Panthers, Jake Bruch, has walked up to the stage
With the 8th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select: Jonathon Allen, DT, Alabama
Interior defensive lineman is not a huge need here for the Panthers, but I see Jonathon Allen as the best available at this point. I was targeting Leonard Fournette here, and I don’t feel comfortable taking any other RB this early. I believe Allen’s best position is going to be on the inside, but they could move him outside to help with the pass rush. He is a big, strong kid who will be successful wherever you put him on the line. Bottom line is Allen is a quality football player and an even better person. He will be a 10 year contributor to this league.
Peyton: “Maybe if they’d had a better DT when they played me in the Super Bowl, I wouldn’t have led my team to victory, resulting in this ringggggggg”
Eli: “You kinda sucked in that Super Bowl, Peyton. You kinda sucked all year long”
Peyton: “Exactly. Led them to victory. Two time Super Bowl Champ, Peyton Manningggggg”
Eli: “I have just as many Super Bowl rings as you.”
Peyton: “I will go to my grave not understanding how that happened.”
The GM for the Cincinnati Bengals, Alex Cannata, has walked up to the stage:
With the 9th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Bengals are a notoriously cheap franchise. They rarely make a splash in free agency, and don’t even bring back their own free agents when they have cap room. As a result, this roster has plenty of holes despite the success in recent years.
On offense, they are in an okay spot for the most part. The offensive line is straight up offensive due to losing quality starters in free agency and missing on players in recent drafts. There weren’t any offensive linemen I felt good about with the 9th pick in the draft though.
On defense, the Bengals have a lot of questions except for superstar defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Even though they seemingly draft a cornerback in the 1st round every year, it’s still a weakness.
My goal with the Bengals pick was to just get the best available. Trading down would clearly be a great option and I expect they will explore that possibility. I ended up going with Solomon Thomas from Stanford. He can play all across the defensive line, has few weaknesses, and should be a clear contributor for the downward-trending Bengals defense.
The GM for the Buffalo Bills, Kane Rose, walks up to the stage
With the 10th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select: Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC
After being voted one of the worst general managers in the NFL, I think Doug Whaley will once again make a bad decision. In the 2017 NFL draft we see strong groups in just about every other category other than the QB position. This leaves Trubisky being one of the best among his position, however, many of these QB’s do not deserve a first round pick due to no outstanding qualities. He is comparable to a Mark Sanchez by his build, while at the same time he expresses Matthew Stafford arm strength. He is going to need time to develop in the NFL. Throughout college, Trubisky started 98 percent of his drop backs from the shotgun position which means it’s going to take more time in the NFL to develop the footwork needed for under the center plays. Overall Tribusky is a really good prospect but I predict the Bills will biff their first round pick and create a bust of a player on their team that they don’t need in the first place.
Eli: “Whoa, I predict some passive-aggressive tweets coming from Tyrod Taylor in 3…2…1..”
Peyton: “What’s a tweet?”
Eli: “Odell showed it to me, I don’t really understand it”
The GM for the New Orleans Saints, Colin Chiles, walks up to the stage
With the 11th pick in the MNFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
It’s well known that the Saints have been a tire fire on defense the last few years. In fact, they’ve been one of the worst tire fires of all time, breaking the types of NFL records you don’t want to break. Believe it or not, they were markedly better on D last year, it’s just when you markedly upgrade a piece of poop, it’s still a piece of poop. In my mind, the biggest need for Saints is a good corner but my top pick came off the board already.
A solid DE could do wonders for a team that struggled to get any pressure on opposing QB’s last year. Paired with DE Cam Jordan, DT Nick Fairley and last year’s first rounder, DT Sheldon Rankins, the Saints defensive line is all the sudden pretty formidable. If they target a corner with their second first round pick and avoid the awful injury bug they had last year (they lost 5 of their top 7 corners to injury) they could be on their way to having a good defense for once.
Eli: “Hey Peyton, do you remember that Super Bowl you played against the Saints?”
Eli: “You pretty much had them on the ropes there at the end”
Eli: “But then you threw it to Tracy Porter…why’d you do that? Seems like that was a bad idea.”
Peyton: “Eli, so help me god, I will end you.”
Back up to the podium comes the GM of the Browns, Ryan Knoblauch
With the 12th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
As stated with the #1 pick, Cleveland needs help anywhere and everywhere. Ideally this would have been a Mitch Trubisky pick. He’s supposedly high on their board (perhaps as high as #1) and is compared to an Andy Dalton or Carson Palmer, who was also developed by head coach Hugh Jackmon.
With Trubisky off the board the Browns select do-everything athlete, Jahbrill Peppers. A tad too small for a linebacker, without the true experience of a safety, Peppers will be a versatile player that can play in most formations. He’s big enough to cover tight ends and a quick enough athlete to play nickel and cover most receivers. He even has been known to be a fierce blitzer. Cleveland’s safeties are arguably their weakest position so this was a huge need area.
Peyton: “You know, I hate to say it but with Peppers and Garret on defense, the Browns could be…be….ahhhh I can’t get through it without laughing. The Browns are in for another shit year, see you at the top of the draft next year Browns fans!”
The GM for the Arizona Cardinals, Caleb Edelman, walks up to the stage
With the 13th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Booing or cheers from the crowd, which is it? Both. With Deshaun Watson already gone to the Bears at #3 and Mitch Trubisky to the Bills at #10, Kizer is the best QB on the board and the Cardinals desperately need a franchise QB to take the reins from Carson Palmer. However, #13 overall is a steep price to pay for a QB with raw mechanics, poor ball security and a lack progressive reads. Still, Kizer could end up being the best QB in this draft if he can pull it all together at the NFL level. At 6’4 and 233lbs and cannon for an arm, he has the physical size and ability to be an upper tier NFL QB. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ current starter is Carson Palmer who is 37 and one injury away from the end of an up and down career. The Cardinals’ already potent offense, thanks to standout running back David Johnson, will regain its place among the NFC playoff contenders with Kizer at the helm. While some will consider this pick a reach, it could just end up being the best pick of the whole draft.
Eli: “Wow, some pretty complimentary analysis from their own GM”
Peyton: “I got along just fine with a wet noodle for an arm, so we’ll see how much his cannon helps him”
The GM for the Philadelphia Eagles, Alex Cannata, comes up to the stage for the third time
With the 14th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select: Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU
The Eagles are in really good shape going into 2017. They have their franchise QB with Carson Wentz, a solid offensive line, and plenty of good players on defense. They had an obvious hole at WR, but that was quickly filled when they brought in Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith. At running back, they have Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, and Wendell Smallwood. Throughout Mathews’ career he has always been good when healthy, but he just can’t stay on the field. As the last piece of this offense, I was happy to grab Dalvin Cook for the Eagles.
Dalvin Cook was a monster in college. In three years at Florida State he had over 4,400 rushing yards and 48 TDs. Take that for data. He has great lower body control, glides when he runs, is an elusive athlete, and gets to top speed quickly through a hole. He should be an immediate contributor for this up and coming team.
Eli: “I’m not sure but I think that Cannata guy has been up here three times already with three different teams!”
Peyton: “He’s a real up and comer, apparently none of the teams are aware he’s also working for other teams. He’s real good with a mustache and coming up with alternative names to be hired under…which gives me an idea….”
The GM for the Indianapolis Colts, Weston Mills, walks up to the stage
With the 15th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select: Meyton Panning, QB, Middle Tennessee
Wait wait wait…that’s not going to work. Let’s try that again
With the ACTUAL 15th pick in the MNFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
To understand the Indianapolis Colts draft strategy, you need to know General Manager Chris Ballard. Before joining the Colts he served as the Director of Football operations for the Kansas City Chiefs. Ballard, along with current GM of the Chiefs John Dorsey, is a big believer in the “best player available” draft strategy. If Foster, a unanimous first-team All-American, falls to 15, it is an absolute no-brainer for the Colts. Aside from Foster being a ferocious hitter and elite playmaker, he will immediately step into a defense that ranked 25th against the run. With that being said, within hours of me making this choice the Colts signed veteran LB Jon Bostic. However, Bostic had 2 tackles for the Patriots in 2015 and missed all of 2016 with a foot injury. This is probably a minor concern for my selection. I also highly doubt that Foster’s “diluted urine sample” will be a concern to Ballard as he drafted Marcus peters in 2015 and Tyreek Hill in 2016. Other possible picks: Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsion) or Takkarist McKinley (OLB, UCLA). *Also of note, If O.J. Howard was still on the board, like he was in The Dive 35 Mock Draft, I think that Ballard would seriously consider giving Luck another weapon on offense.
Eli: “Man, I think they messed up, that Meyton Panning guy looked pretty good”
Peyton: “You really don’t know that was me, do you?”
Eli: “Stop kiddin around Peyton, that guy had a mustache.”
The GM for the Baltimore Ravens, Brad Wandell, walks up to the stage
With the 16th pick in the MNFL Draft, and the last one being posted on the Dive 35 today, the Baltimore Ravens select: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Picking at 16, there are a number of different needs that the Ravens can fill. Baltimore could elect to for a pass rusher to replace Terrell Sugg. They could take a wide receiver to replace Steve Smith, Sr. They could take an interior lineman, or what I went with, a corner. What stuck out to me last year was the lack of depth in the Ravens in the secondary. Jimmy Smith is more than serviceable, and Tavon Young had a solid rookie year covering the slot. The Ravens also added veteran free agent Brandon Carr. All of these additions should help to upgrade the Ravens secondary. However, after the injury to Jimmy Smith last year, a glaring hole opened up for the Ravens. In stepped Shareece Wright, and suddenly the Ravens defense from the top rated defense to one of the worst. With that in mind, I selected Marlon Humphrey as a long term solution. Humphrey projects as a top 20 pick out of Alabama, and would give the Ravens plenty of depth at corner. When Jimmy Smith went down last season, the season was over. With Marlon Humphrey able to lock down half of the field, the Ravens can now afford some more wiggle room at corner, and set a foundation for the future.
Peyton: “Well folks that is it for today. We had to turn this into two separate pieces because much like the NFL tries to squeeze every single penny out of the draft, the Dive 35 is going to try to squeeze every single click they can from the MNFL Draft. Plus Eli can’t go much longer than this without a nap or he’ll start to get grumpy. Thanks for reading and make sure you check back tomorrow for picks 17-32!”