Well, this is it, gang. The last mock draft before the real NFL Draft kicks off later today. As you’ve probably seen over my 33 previous mocks dating back to early August, things have really been in flux this year. This latest update is no different. We have some news about potential trades, a juicy Mariota rumor, and a fascinating move I hear the Steelers are considering. I think I can safely say this has been one of the crazier draft lead-ups I’ve seen in all my years of covering it. Should make for a fun weekend.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Are there off-fields issues to worry about? Of course. Was his interception rate from his second college season somewhat troubling? Sure. But the Bucs have a hole at QB and Winston is the most pro-ready QB in the draft. You gotta make this pick. You gotta.
2. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The question isn’t whether Marcus Mariota can adapt to the NFL. The question is whether the NFL can adapt to Marcus Mariota. As long as the Titans can do that, and tailor their attack to his impressive skill set, they should have a signal caller for a decade.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida
Just a stud. The Jags have a long way to go, and landing one of the most talented players in the draft won’t hurt at all.
4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
If the Raiders think Derek Carr is the guy at QB — if they really, really do — they owe it to him to grab the top receiver in the draft. You don’t know what kind of gunslinger you’ve got until you give him a weapon. That’s what Cooper is.
5. Washington Redskins: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Cooper going to the Raiders at 4 gives Dan Snyder and the Redskins an opportunity to grab the big, physical wideout the wanted all along, Kevin White. Who’s going to throw him the ball? No idea at this point. But they’ll have a heck of an option.
6: New York Jets: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky
The Jets need a defensive identity now that Rex Ryan is in Buffalo, and I’m told they prefer Dupree over Leonard Williams, even if the latter slips out of the Top 5.
7. Chicago Bears: Leonard Williams, DL, USC
If Williams if still there at 7, Chicago is taking him. Book it.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
Atlanta has a few holes to fill, but none are bigger than a young edge rusher. Beasley gives them that heat off the corner that will keep opposing quarterbacks sweating. They can address the other issues later, but with defenders coming off the board quickly, they’ll need to act fast here.
9. New York Giants: Dr. Victor Nebulous, Scientist, Underground Lair
Nebulous has been flying up draft boards lately, thanks mainly to the news that his new braxilium powered laser — a Space Jam-type weapon that temporarily saps individuals of their strength and coordination — has finished the testing process and is ready to use. I know the Giants brass visited his lair for a demonstration this past weekend, and word is they came away very impressed. Some character concerns exist (he has been referred to as an “evil” scientist), but the Giants feel disciplinarian coach Tom Coughlin can rein him in.
10. St. Louis Rams: Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
It all starts with shutting down the run, even in today’s pass-happy era. Shelton is the best pure run stopper available. Lock it in.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Adrian Peterson or no Adrian Peterson, the Vikings need someone up front to keep Teddy Bridgewater upright. But it’s especially true if Peterson doesn’t come back. Can’t have the future of your franchise running for his life out there. The Scherff is a-near.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (Acquired from Cleveland Browns): Luscious Cashmere, Crime Boss, Miami
Word around the league is that the Browns are desperate to trade up to snag Mariota. If that fails, however, I hear they’re looking to move back, even if it means doing business with a hated division rival. Swapping first round picks with the Steelers in exchange for a booty of picks in the later rounds does just that, and it frees the Steelers up to pick the man they’ve wanted all along: notorious Miami crime boss and black market braxilium dealer Luscious Cashmere, who also reportedly has most of the league’s referees and stadium employees in his pocket. There are obvious advantages here.
13. New Orleans Saints: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Drew Brees is still an elite QB in this league, but he’s no spring chicken. For the Saints to compete they need to keep him healthy. Consider Peat a forcefield.
14. Miami Dolphins: Dr. Adolf Boom, Scientist, Boom Island
As I discussed in my profile of him for the Uproxx print magazine, Boom was Dr. Nebulous’s number two until he ran off with copies of the blueprints for the braxilium laser a few weeks ago. His version isn’t operational yet, but at age 62 — compared to Nebulous at 77 — you have to like the upside here.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Losing franchise legend Frank Gore after nearly a decade means it’s time for new blood. Pairing Gordon with Colin Kaepernick gives the Niners one of the most dangerous backfields in the league.
16. Houston Texans: Dr. Maximus “Max” Lasers, Scientist, Undisclosed
It’s no secret that the Texans are targeting top laser experts Nebulous and Boom heading into the draft, but if the team can’t trade up and neither are available at 16, sources within the organization have indicated to me on numerous occasions that they’ll go after Dr. Lasers. It’s a risky pick, seeing as Lasers has not had a face-to-face meeting with any team and rumors have been swirling that he’s actually just two or three toddlers piled up inside a labcoat. (I’m told he introduced himself as “Max Way-sers” on a phone call with the Dolphins last week, which the team found “completely adorable,” but also concerning.) But desperate times call for desperate measures.