College Football Metrics aims to remove bias from NFL Draft analysis. We want to objectively scout prospects, and we want to accurately analyze how the free market values prospects. Thus, CFM has partnered with Xavier Cromartie (Twitter @xaviercromartie / Gab @xm) to produce mock drafts and top 100 prospect boards based on his latest intel, research, and analysis. Xavier was the final grand prize winner of ESPN’s NFL Draft 1st Round Forecast contest, and he is the undefeated Play The Draft Champion Emeritus.
In 2015, we made our debut in The Huddle Report’s exclusive, experts-only NFL Draft contests. Our two-year average score in the mock draft contest is 42.5 (#12 two-year average out of 86 entries), and our two-year average score in the top 100 contest is 83.5 (#4 two-year average out of 43 entries).
Draft scenarios change as new information comes in during draft season, and so we will run updates here as often as Xavier makes adjustments to his mocks and boards.
Round 1 (team, position, player, school, change from last/last mock pick)
Top needs: QB, 7T, FS
Garrett will team up with Ogbah. Missing out on desired veteran QBs may mean that CLE needs to take a rookie later. CLE needs help at both safety spots especially but lacks talent at most positions.
Top needs: QB, CB, 9T
QB-desperate teams at the top of the draft have courted veterans aggressively, indicating that they don’t think very highly of this year’s QBs. Why take a franchise QB here when you expect to get Kirk Cousins next season? SF is not going to win this year anyway, so just take the best talent. They need a starting CB.
Top needs: 5T, RT, CB
Allen is an excellent scheme fit for CHI, who needs a partner for Akiem Hicks. CHI signed a pair of CBs in FA, but they could still do better at that spot. They would rather have popgun-arm Mike Glennon than a rookie QB.
Top needs: RB, G, 7T
JAX has loaded up on defense. Now it’s time to take the ball away from Bortles and establish the run. JAX will need blockers as well. JAX also could use another pass rusher since Fowler hasn’t done anything at LEO. (JAX passed on Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks last year.)
Top needs: FS, CB, WR
Safety is important in this defense, and Adams is the best talent available. Cyprien and Byard are both better off in part-time roles. TEN could also go with a CB, but why not wait? It’s a bit early for a WR, as well.
Top needs: CB, CB, 9T
NYJ is desperate for CBs but didn’t sign any in FA. Many other teams did the same thing. That’s a sign that everyone is looking forward to the CBs in the draft this year.
Top needs: FS, G, 5T
There’s still no good reason to change this pick. Dwight Lowery is nothing special. LAC got a LT (Okung). LAC still needs a G, but not here. Telesco gets another Ohio State guy.
Top needs: WR, RT, RB
CAR likes the big men. CAR vastly overpaid Matt Kalil to play LT, but some scouts think that Robinson would be better off at G or RT anyway. Gettleman filled every hole on the defensive side in FA. WR or RB don’t seem appropriate here unless Fournette were available.
Top needs: LT, G, RB
CIN lost quality players at both LT and RG. Bolles demonstrated phenomenal athleticism at the Combine. CIN doesn’t seem to mind older players. Later CIN will get a big RB to replace Jeremy Hill. Another 7T is also possible.
Top needs: WR, CB, SS
Here comes another Clemson 1st-rounder to BUF. There is literally no one behind Sammy Watkins with Woods and Goodwin already elsewhere. CBs and SSs will be available later, so there is no need to reach.
Top needs: CB, CB, 7T
Edge rusher is the more valued position, especially when it’s a pure 7T. NO needs more than Cameron Jordan. The CB situation is absolutely filthy, however. NO will need 2-3 CBs.
Top needs: QB, FS, SS
After all other QB options fail, CLE may take one here. Kessler would compete with Trubisky. Brock Lobster won’t be on the team. CLE will need safeties at some point.
Top needs: 5T, CB, FS
Keim appears to be determined to get a QB this year, knowing that Carson Palmer is almost done. Watson is probably going to be the guy, even though he has a weak arm. ARI is in rebuilding mode; don’t expect them to be competitive.
Top needs: CB, CB, RB
Jalen Mills, essentially the only CB PHI has at the moment, is White’s former teammate. PHI might be dumb enough to take Dalvin Cook here, but CB is a huge need and the more valuable position.
Top needs: CB, SS, ILB
Peppers could theoretically play every position that IND needs, maybe even RB. I think IND would avoid a potential headache in Reuben Foster. It might be too much of a reach for a CB here but they are another team with a big need at CB.
Top needs: CB, RT, ILB
Come on, folks; if OJ Howard gets to Ozzie Newsome, Newsome is going to take him. Newsome has never been obligated to positional need, anyway. BAL has a lot of positional needs to fill on both sides.
Top needs: 5T, SS, ILB
Will Compton might be better off as a backup. WAS could really use interior d-linemen, but none are worth taking here. Cravens probably cannot handle SS by himself.
Top needs: CB, WR, ILB
Either Ross or Corey Davis are likely choices here. Rishard Matthews is TEN’s only serious WR. Ross would be a nice ‘surprise’ speed option on a smashmouth team.
Top needs: RB, C, CB
All the scouts continue to shout “MUH TAPE” with this guy. 9th percentile athlete. Not an inside runner. Fumbler. Injury history. Gangbanger posse. Yet TB is hoping he gets here.
Top needs: LT, RB, TE
Similar to Ozzie Newsome and OJ Howard, I find it hard to believe that John Elway would pass on Christian McCaffrey. The NFL is relationship based. DEN upgraded their o-line somewhat in FA, although they still need a better LT.
Top needs: 7T, ILB, CB
Ansah and Hyder are not really getting the job done on the edge. Thomas goes in this range because he’s a tweener, although some people might instead call him versatile. People mocking him to SF at pick 2 are delusional. DET might go ILB here instead.
Top needs: FS, G, CB
MIA doesn’t have a starting FS after cutting Abdul-Quddus. Marcus Williams is an all-around sensational player and athlete who has been overlooked in a deep safety class.
Top needs: LT, 3T, TE
NYG would love to move Ereck Flowers to RT. There’s buzz about taking one of the 2nd-tier TEs here (Njoku, Engram, or Everett). But it seems like a reach to get a pass-catching TE with 3 solid WRs on the team. And Shane Vereen, remember him?
Top needs: ILB, 3T, RB
Reddick would be a fantastic scheme fit as a blitzing LB. He also fills OAK’s most glaring need. 3Ts are still kind of a reach here and there is RB depth for a big banger later.
Top needs: QB, SS, RT
Regardless of what happens in the draft or FA, Tom Savage will probably start at QB this season. But HOU still needs to get another QB who has the potential to become their long-term starter. (Kizer isn’t that guy, though. He’s terrible.)
Top needs: CB, LT, RB
SEA is all over this guy. Insane size/speed combo. There’s an opening at CB with Shead gone, and that’s where I would play him, because CB is more valuable than SS. But he could also be prepared as the successor to Kam Chancellor, who could be in his last season with SEA.
Top needs: CB, ILB, 1T
Wilson is a big SEC CB/S. KC usually has 5 DBs on the field. He could bump either Gaines or Sorenson out of a role. KC also needs to find a future ILB and replace Dontari Poe.
Top needs: CB, SS, RT
He’s small, and that will turn off some teams. DAL really needs a CB here, but SS and RT are needs as well. Of course, DAL could move Byron Jones to CB where he belongs but DAL would still need another CB. Nolan Carroll is not a serious CB.
Top needs: CB, CB, RB
GB needs 3 CBs, but of course Thompson will never sign one in FA. Awuzie has CB/S versatility. He also, critically, plays in the Pac-12, where GB drafts all their players. This pick is almost certain to be a CB. GB has very terrible CBs.
Top needs: 9T, ILB, WR
There should be some 3-4 OLBs available in r2. PIT needs an ILB with Timmons gone to MIA and Shazier frequently injured. Cunningham is unlikely to slip out of r1. PIT also needs a WR alternative to Brown with Martavis in exile.
Top needs: 3T, G, 7T
Barnett was overrated before the Combine. But he can play the LEO spot in ATL’s defense. ATL really needs a 3T but they would all be a reach here. RG is a position of need, so someone like Forrest Lamp could go here.
Top needs: CB, CB, LB
Regardless of whether pick 11 is a 7T or CB, this pick should be a CB. NO cannot have Breaux and PJ Williams as their only CBs. NO still needs better LBs though, so Jarrad Davis would be a consideration if there’s a major run on CBs.
Dropped out: CB Sidney Jones (11), 9T Charles Harris (14), CB Teez Tabor (15), 9T Takkarist McKinley (29), 3T Caleb Brantley (31), 9T Tim Williams (32)
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