Tonight, April 27, will be life-changing for 32 former college-football players. When the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off at 7 p.m., every team with a first-round pick will hope that theirs will become a future Hall of Famer and not end up on a list of the biggest draft busts.
Here are a few things to know before the draft begins: This is a deep defensive draft, as teams are going to be able to stock up on defensive linemen, linebackers and secondary players. Quarterbacks and offensive linemen are lacking, and offensive skill positions are deep as well.
Here is my first round mock draft.
- Cleveland Browns—Myles Garrett, defensive end, Texas A&M University
Normally the first pick of the draft is a quarterback, but this quarterback class is weak, and if Garrett will play with a high motor, he could be special. He isn’t perfect, but he’s the best player in this draft.
- San Francisco 49ers—Solomon Thomas, defensive end, Stanford University
The 49ers have plenty of holes, and this draft won’t fix everything. San Francisco gets a player who played down the road and will excite fans right away.
- Chicago Bears—Forest Lamp, offensive guard, Western Kentucky University
Chicago has plenty of holes to fill and just signed a new quarterback. Giving its new quarterback some protection might be the best start to this drive.
- Jacksonville Jaguars—O.J. Howard, tight end, University of Alabama
The offense in Jacksonville has struggled, and the Jaguars quarterback needs more weapons. Howard could become his new quarterback’s best friend with his receiving and blocking abilities.
- Tennessee Titans—Haason Reddick, linebacker, Temple University
The Titans’ main needs are on defense. A starting linebacker who jumps off the film is a nice beginning.
- New York Jets—Reuben Foster, linebacker, University of Alabama
Only the Jets would use a top-10 pick on a player who might have issues down the road. Most of the time, the Jets are gonna Jets.
- Los Angeles Chargers—Mike Williams, wide receiver, Clemson University
Williams is one of the best wide receivers in this draft. He is an instant playmaker and will get fans to show up after the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles.
- Carolina Panthers—Leonard Fournette, running back, Louisiana State University
It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Panthers go with a wide receiver here if Williams or Corey Davis is on the board. Fournette’s bruising running style will fit in great in Carolina.
9.Cincinnati Bengals—Jonathan Allen, defensive end, University of Alabama
The Bengals need defensive ends, and Allen isn’t a bad choice at with the ninth pick. Cincinnati could go wide receiver or linebacker with this pick as well.
- Buffalo Bills—Marshon Lattimore, cornerback, Ohio State University.
The Bills begin a run on cornerbacks with this pick. Buffalo gets what could be the top cornerback of this draft.
- New Orleans Saints—Tre’Davious White, cornerback, LSU
The Saints get one of the top corners in the draft to help fix their defense. New Orleans will have to fight the urge to go offense with this pick with several skilled players on the board.
- Cleveland Browns—Marion Humphrey, cornerback, Alabama
This pick could be White if New Orleans picks up Humphrey. Either way, Cleveland’s defense gets a lot better day one of the draft.
- Arizona Cardinals—Corey Davis, wide receiver, Western Michigan University
Arizona gets the replacement for Larry Fitzgerald. Davis should be able to come in and help on day one.
- Philadelphia Eagles—Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford
The Eagles get a player who can do a little of everything on offense. McCaffrey can catch the ball, run it and help out on special teams in the return game.
- Indianapolis Colts—Cam Robinson, offensive tackle, Alabama
Andrew Luck gets some protection early in the draft. Robinson’s selection means that all the top tackles are just about off the board.
- Baltimore Ravens—John Ross, wide receiver, University of Washington
Joe Flacco is at his best when he has a speedy deep threat to throw the ball. Ross ran a 4.22 in the 40 at the Combine, so he should do fine.
- Washington Redskins—Dalvin Cook, running back, Florida State University
Cook is a threat to take every handoff to the end zone. Washington needs a more dynamic rushing game, and Cook fills that need with ease.
- Tennessee Titans—Adoree’ Jackson, cornerback, University of Southern California
Tennessee continues to fix its defense with Jackson in the secondary. A surprise pick would be JuJu Smith-Schuster at wide receiver.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Malik Hooker, safety, OSU
Tampa Bay would be as happy as a lark if Hooker is still on the board at this point. The Buccaneers get one of the top safeties in this draft.
- Denver Broncos, Garett Bolles, offensive tackle, University of Utah
Denver needs to fix its offensive tackles, and Bolles is the best top tackle left. The Broncos could go with a defensive end or linebacker with this pick.
- Detroit Lions—Taco Charlton, defensive end, University of Michigan
Charlton will give the Lions a pass-rusher, and that is the team’s biggest need. Detroit could go with a tight end with this pick.
- Miami Dolphins—Takkarist McKinley, defensive end, University of California, Los Angeles
Miami needs an edge-rusher in a draft full of edge-rushers. McKinley might not be the best defensive end, but he does fit a need for the team.
- New York Giants—David Njoku, tight end, University of Miami
The Giants can give Eli Manning a quarterback's best friend in a tight end. The team could also use this pick on Evan Engram out of the University of Mississippi.
- Oakland Raiders—Malik McDowell, defensive tackle, Michigan State University
Oakland will be more than happy to snap up McDowell this late in the first round. The Raiders get one of the best defensive tackles in the draft.
- Houston Texans—Mitch Trubisky, quarterback, University of North Carolina
The Texans are going to use this pick on a quarterback. It might be Trubisky, Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. It depends on which quarterbacks are left.
- Seattle Seahawks—Jamal Adams, safety, LSU
Seattle could use this pick on the best defensive player left since all the first-round talent at offensive tackle is gone.
- Kansas City Chiefs—Jabrill Peppers, safety, Michigan
Kansas City needs some secondary help, and Peppers could help in several areas. The Chiefs could get one of the more dynamic players when the ball is in his hands.
- Dallas Cowboys—Tim Williams, outside linebacker, Alabama
This might be a stretch, but Williams could give the Cowboys a pass-rusher they need in this draft. If Williams can bulk up to play with his hand in the dirt, he is a perfect pick.
- Green Bay Packers—Gareon Conley, cornerback, OSU
The Packers need help at cornerback, and if they believe Conley is telling the truth about his legal issues, the team could snatch him up. This is one of the tricky picks in the draft.
- Pittsburgh Steelers—Evan Engram, tight end, University of Mississippi
Pittsburgh would be giddy to see Engram still on the board at this point. He would help the Steelers stretch the field even more.
- Atlanta Falcons—Budda Baker, safety, University of Washington
The Falcons get a playmaker in the secondary. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them trade down to get more picks if they don’t like what is left on the board.
- New Orleans Saints—Derek Barnett, defensive end, University of Tennessee
Saints get secondary help with their first pick and a pass-rusher with their second first-round pick. Barnett broke Reggie White’s UT record for sacks and can get after the quarterback.