Mock Drafts

A Thousand Mock Drafts Can’t Be Wrong


This is a grueling time to be a football fan. Hardcore fanatics spend all their spare time sorting through dozens and dozens of mock drafts, trying to get a feel for who their team will select next week. Fans of some teams — like the Jets, Falcons, Texans and Eagles — can read 10 mock drafts and come across 10 different projections. The mocks for others teams, though, are far more predictable. The mock draft community has come to a consensus on what will happen with a handful of picks; here is a look a them.

No. 1: Buccaneers Select QB Jameis Winston

It would be a major shocker if Winston is not selected with the top overall pick. He is far from a surefire prospect — his off-field issues are well documented and his slow delivery and mechanical issues are concerns, too — but he is a pro-ready quarterback with enormous upside. The Buccaneers have already cleared the way for Winston by releasing last season’s opening-day starter, Josh McCown, earlier in the offseason.

Said Bucs coach Lovie Smith of WInston: “I believe in second chances, after I’ve done my research. We feel very comfortable with who Jameis Winston is, what he’s done, and what he can become.”

No. 9: Giants Select OL Brandon Scherff

Other than Winston, this is the most likely pairing in the draft. Scherff is the best offensive lineman in the draft. He would likely start at right tackle in New York, giving the Giants a strong pair of bookend tackles in Scherff and Justin Pugh. But Scherff could also slide inside to guard, with free-agent signee Marshall Newhouse playing right tackle. Either way, Scherff would add a physical presence and nasty demeanor to an offensive line in desperate need of both attributes.

“I’m pretty versatile,” Scherff said. “I can play guard or tackle, whatever they need.”

No. 12: Browns Select NT Danny Shelton

Early mock drafts had Shelton going even higher than this, but nose tackles are prone to sliding on draft day (just ask Louis Nix, a potential first-round pick in last year’s draft who fell all the way to the third round). Mock drafts across the web seem to agree that Shelton’s slide will stop in Cleveland, where the Browns need a big body in the middle of their defense to replace the departed Ahtyba Rubin. The powerful Shelton gives the Browns a fighting chance during their twice-a-year match-ups against Le’Veon Bell and Jeremy Hill.

“I’m a dominant player, able to take on double-teams and shed guys,” Shelton said.

No. 17: Chargers Select RB Melvin Gordon

The Chargers made no effort to replace Ryan Mathews in free agency, ramping up the speculation that GM Tom Telesco would address this position early in the draft. A pairing with Gordon makes a lot of sense, as it would be a good example of need meeting value. Todd Gurley would make sense for a lot of the same reasons, but the vast majority of mock drafts have shown Gordon’s name here instead — likely because they Chargers cannot afford to gamble on Gurley’s surgically repaired knee.

“The  running game as a whole has to get better, there’s no doubt,” Telesco said. “I mean, we saw  16 games (averaging 3.4 yards per carry), so that’s pretty easy to see. That’s all part of the offseason. That is something we do have to work on moving forward, no question.”

No. 18: Chiefs Select WR Dorial Green-Beckham

Each of the above four pairings has been popular since early February. This one at No. 18 is more of a “Johnny Come Lately” projection, but it has been popping up on seemingly every mock draft over the last month or so. The Chiefs vowed to remake their receiving corps this offseason after a historically bad showing in 2014, a process that started with the addition of Jeremy Maclin. Green-Beckham is a risk given all his off-the-field baggage, but if he can keep his head on straight, the Chiefs will suddenly have one of the most explosive receiving groups in the league.

“The past is the past,” Green-Beckham said. “I’m ready to do one thing and that’s take care of business.”

No. 28: Broncos Select OL Cameron Erving 

The further you go down the draft board, the more difficult it is to make a projection with any confidence. Despite that, a significant portion of mock drafts have the Broncos adding the versatile offensive lineman from Florida State. It makes sense, as the Broncos could use upgrades at left guard, center and right tackle; amazingly, Erving can play all three positions. He is also athletic enough to fit in well with new coach Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme.

“I’m the type of player that does whatever the team needs, so whatever position a team needs me to play, I’ll play,” Erving said.

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About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has spent more than 10 years as a team expert at, primarily covering the Chargers, Cardinals and Panthers. He has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and other venues.