CHICAGO—Let’s be honest, Thursday night’s first-round festivities weren’t as entertaining as expected. Trades were held to a minimum (two) and the curveballs thrown just weren’t as dramatic as some in recent drafts. Maybe it was a byproduct of returning the draft to Chicago, where that solid Midwestern sensibility prevails, but the first round left us wanting more in terms of sizzle factor.
So here you go, more draft fodder, and an attempt to mock out Friday night’s second round, hours before it will go down. Look for the run on offensive linemen to continue, and some high-profile names like Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, Alabama’s Landon Collins and Baylor’s Bryce Petty to come off the board early on in the proceedings.
If you’re wondering—and even if you’re not—my final first-round mock was fairly respectable. I had eight direct hits of linking a team with the player it actually drafted (albeit with trade partners San Diego taking Melvin Gordon and San Francisco selecting Arik Armstead in different slots than their original positions), and 28 of the 32 names I put forth as first-rounders actually went in the round. If near misses count, and they don’t, I had seven other prospects just a single slot away from where they actually went. Something tells me I will not be boasting about my second-round mockage, but who really knows?
1. Jake Fisher, OT
Right tackle has been an issue in Nashville, and to give Marcus Mariota the best possible chance to succeed as a rookie quarterback, you’ve got to protect him. Might as well add another ex-Duck and have Ken Whisenhunt channel his inner-Chip Kelly. (Or does Kelly try to trade up for Fisher? Oh, never mind). Either Fisher or Pitt offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings are there for the taking.
2. T.J. Clemmings, OT
RS Senior, Pittsburgh
Much like Tennessee's situation, the Bucs would be wise to buttress the offensive line that will be asked to keep a highly-prized rookie passer upright. If anything, Tampa Bay's need at OL is even greater than the Titans'.
3. Randy Gregory, OLB/DE
RS Junior, Nebraska
Getting a matching book-end pass-rush threat opposite Khalil Mack should make both players that much more effective. The Raiders upgrade their play-making on defense after giving quarterback Derek Carr a play-maker at receiver in first-rounder Amari Cooper.
4. Tevin Coleman, RB
Developing a dependable running game would be one of the best ways to further quarterback Blake Bortles's second-year development. I like Coleman more than Miami’s Duke Johnson or Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah.
5. Bryce Petty, QB
RS Senior, Baylor
Petty isn’t likely to get past the Saints at No. 44; they reportedly consider the ex-Baylor Bear the best pure passer in the draft. Petty in the second round helps push 2013 second-rounder Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job in New York—at least eventually.
6. Jalen Collins, CB
RS Junior, LSU
The top-rated cornerback remaining on the board gives Jay Gruden’s team some secondary strength, after Washington focused on its offensive line with the Brandon Scherff pick at No. 5. With no slam-dunk pass-rushing option (Virginia’s Eli Harold?) to pick from near the top of the second round, Collins represents solid value.
7. Eli Harold, OLB/DE
Harold’s not a finished product and may not provide instant impact, but the Bears need to find ways to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback, and Harold's athleticism and potential are worth investing in.
8. Landon Collins, S
I’m not sure how the safety-poor Giants could pass on Collins, who suffered late-draft season slippage from his first-round expectation level but is still one of the elite players available in the secondary. Tom Coughlin nabs a player Alabama coach Nick Saban raves about.
9. A.J. Cann, G
RS Senior, South Carolina
After their somewhat surprising pick of running back Todd Gurley at No. 10 in the first round, the Rams are even more likely to address their offensive line needs in the second stanza. A run on offensive tackles has done them no favors, but Cann is the top remaining interior lineman and he’ll play right away in St. Louis. Sorry, Rams fans, but the quarterback pick is going to have to wait for now.
10. Maxx Williams, TE
RS Sophomore, Minnesota
As expected the Falcons boosted the pass rush in the first round with their pick of Clemson’s Vic Beasley. Now it’s time to find the next Tony Gonzalez. O.K., how about just the draft’s top-rated tight end and we’ll leave it at that, without the hyperbole?
11. Devin Smith, WR
Senior, Ohio State
The Browns still need a receiving threat after addressing both lines in the first round. I don’t think the Browns, with their recent history, can roll the dice on a red-flagged talent such as Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, but the home-state star Smith would seem a solid double, rather than the potential swing-and-miss that DGB might represent.
12. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR
RS Junior, Oklahoma/Missouri
The Saints went offensive tackle and linebacker in the first round with Stanford’s Andrus Peat and Clemson’s Stephone Anthony, but with quarterback Bryce Petty already gone to the Jets at No. 37, the monstrously talented Green-Beckham is a risk worth taking in the middle of the second round.
13. Denzel Perryman, LB
Senior, Miami (Fla.)
The Vikings have a need at middle linebacker and Perryman should be an ideal fit, with UCLA inside linebacker Eric Kendricks representing another tempting option.
14. Eric Kendricks, LB
RS Senior, UCLA
The inside linebacker depth chart took an obvious hit this off-season with the retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland. Kendricks had a first-round grade on some team boards, and he’d provide an instant upgrade in San Francisco.
15. Benardrick McKinney, LB
RS Junior, Mississippi State
Another team, another need at middle/inside linebacker. The Dolphins miss out on Perryman and Kendricks, but land McKinney, a legit play-maker who solidifies a position of major need in Miami.
16. Eddie Goldman, DT
Junior, Florida State
The middle of the Chargers' defensive front needs some beef, and Goldman and Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips should be available to choose from. Here, I lean toward the FSU product.
17. Donovan Smith, OT
RS Junior, Penn State
I could make a strong case for a receiver like Arizona State's Jaelen Strong (sorry), but the offensive line issues are even more pressing in Kansas City. So I’m giving the nod to the versatile Smith after the Chiefs surprised some by addressing the cornerback position with the Marcus Peters pick at No. 18 in the first round.
Not a ton of great options for Buffalo’s first pick of the draft (you traded this year's No. 1 for Sammy Watkins, remember, Bills fans?), but I don’t think Doug Whaley and company will go quarterback in the second round, especially with Petty off the board. That moves me in the direction of adding another quality cover man, and Rowe had some first-round buzz at times this draft season.
19. JAELEN STRONG, WR
RS Junior, Arizona State
The Texans went cornerback in the first round, taking the very clean Kevin Johnson of Wake Forest. Now it’s time to find a receiving threat who can fill the void left by Andre Johnson's departure to Indy.
20. P.J. WILLIAMS, CB
Junior, Florida State
Williams has those recent off-field headlines knocking him down some draft boards, but the Eagles have a crying need for help in pass coverage.
21. OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA, DE
RS Senior, UCLA
The Bengals would lock up the title for most difficult draft names to say and spell with this pick, having added Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi in the first round at No. 21. Finding another potential pass-rushing threat is always on the to-do list in Cincy.
RS Sophomore, Oklahoma
The Lions need more than just newly acquired veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata—who’s in the final year of his contract—to help replace the departed Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the defensive interior.
The Cardinals didn’t get their running game help in the first round, missing out on both Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon by a long shot. Bruce Arians is thought to be enamored with the ex-Cornhusker who can add some power running to the Arizona ground game.
24. RONALD DARBY, CB
Junior, Florida State
Need pick, nothing but a need pick. The Steelers got their pass-rushing help in the first round with Kentucky outside linebacker Bud Dupree at No. 22, and now it’s time to find some cover help for a secondary in transition.
Senior, Mississippi State
As much as the Panthers could use an upgrade at offensive tackle, they can’t take a chance on LSU’s La’el Collins at the moment. Not with Carolina’s Rae Carruth history. That’s just reality. The Panthers could take a running back like Miami’s Duke Johnson, but Smith is a solid and versatile prospect who can add more depth to the Carolina defensive front.
The Ravens got receiving help in Breshad Perriman in the first round at No. 26, and while cornerback remains a need, so does supplementing the pass rush. Hunter is the right value at a position the Ravens always want to replenish.
27. TRE’ JACKSON, G
Senior, Florida State
The Broncos need bodies to give them versatility on the offensive line. Denver went for pass rush in the falling Shane Ray in the first round at No. 23, trading up with Detroit for the right to take the Missouri Tiger. But Jackson adds to the puzzle on the offensive front and should help offset the loss of the just-traded Manny Ramirez.
Junior, Miami (Fla.)
The Cowboys need to give themselves another frontline backfield option other than the perennially injured Darren McFadden. Yes, the Cowboys offensive line can make most backs look good. But they can’t keep them healthy.
RS Senior, Fresno State
The Colts surprisingly didn’t go for a safety like Arizona State’s Damarious Randall or Alabama’s Landon Collins in the first round, opting for Miami speed-threat receiver Phillip Dorsett. But somebody’s got to play the last line of defense in Indy, and I nominate Smith for the job.
The Packers get their much-needed upgrade at inside linebacker, which should allow Green Bay to shift Clay Matthews back into the outside slot that best utilizes his edge-rush capabilities.
RS Senior, Oregon
The ex-Duck knows the Pacific Northwest and should walk into the lineup as the replacement for veteran Max Unger, who was shipped to New Orleans in the blockbuster Jimmy Graham deal.
The Patriots fortify their offensive line with a prospect who plays in the tough, battling style they most admire from their grunts up front.