Here’s my first look at the first half of the first round of the NFL Draft:
- Cleveland Browns
DE Myles Garrett – Texas A&M
The Browns need help all over the field. Garrett has the potential to be a special edge rusher (my comparison would be Von Miller), and really go a long ways towards impacting that defense. Even Cleveland shouldn’t be able to screw that pick up.
- San Francisco 49ers
DE Solomon Thomas – Stanford
Thomas’ ascension up draft boards continues. The 49ers are badly in need of an edge rusher, and Thomas fits the bill. He’s a great combination of size and speed and plays with a great motor.
- Chicago Bears
S Jamal Adams – LSU
As much as I want the Bears to take a QB, they just invested a ton of money in Mike Glennon. Glennon may be unspectacular, but he’s still young enough that they have to give him a chance. The Bears defense is a mess, and the highest rated player at #3 is DL Jonathan Allen. However, Allen has some shoulder concerns that may scare the Bears away. Adams could be an Earl Thomas-like Free Safety, and would go a long ways towards turning the Bears secondary around.
- Jacksonville Jaguars
RB Leanard Fournette – LSU
Jonathan Allen is a better value at number 4, but the Jags already have Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson at DT. Their running game needs a boost, and Fournette represents the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson.
- Tennessee Titans
CB Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State
The Titans need help all over their secondary. With Jamal Adams gone, and Malik Hooker looking at a lengthy recovery from two surgeries I think the Titans will go with a CB. Lattimore did not impress me on tape, but his athleticism is elite. If the one year starter continues to progress he can turn into a top corner.
- New York Jets
CB Marlon Humphrey – Alabama
The Jets need help all over the field, but getting the CB position solidified is a good start. Most teams prefer Lattimore to Humphrey, but I think Humphrey is going to be the better pro.
- Los Angeles Chargers
LB Rueben Foster – Alabama
This may not be a huge area of need, but Foster has the ability to be a terrific ILB in the NFL. He’s a great combination of instinctive and athletic, and would immediately help upgrade the Chargers defense.
- Carolina Panthers
S Malik Hooker – Ohio State
Hooker may slide because he won’t be available for any of the offseason. I believe he’s the type of player who can pick up the system quickly, and be a huge asset. Carolina loves getting defensive playmakers, and Hooker is one of the best in this draft.
- Cincinnati Bengals
WR Mike Williams – Clemson
On the surface this seems like a bizarre selection. The Bengals have been ravaged by free agency, and need help on the o-line, and most areas of the defense. However, the chance to pair the best WR in this draft with AJ Green has to be enticing.
- Buffalo Bills
DE Taco Charlton – Michigan
I’m sure the Bills would love for Mike Williams to fall to them and get someone to take the pressure off Sammy Watkins. Instead, they end up with a do-it-all defensive end who can replace they production they’ve been missing from Mario Williams’ departure.
- New Orleans Saints
DE Derek Barnett – Tennessee
The Saints have been desperate to find a way to stop opposing offenses since winning the Super Bowl. Barnett would help to bolster their pass rush.
- Cleveland Browns
QB Mitchell Trubisky – North Carolina
I would have to think that the Browns would be ecstatic if Trubisky fell to number 12. He’s not the top-notch prospect that past QBs have been, but he fits Hue Jackson’s offense perfectly. The Browns have to find a QB to build the team around, and taking one at 12 doesn’t hurt as bad because of the amount of picks they possess.
- Arizona Cardinals
CB Adoree Jackson – USC
This would be the first major reach of the draft. Jackson is a phenomenal athlete who needs to improve his coverage skills to be a top notch NFL CB. The Cardinals are desperate to find a 2nd corner to play opposite Patrick Peterson. Sidney Jones would have slotted here perfectly before his injury, but I think the Cards are a great fit for Jackson, having already groomed athletic playmakers in Peterson and Tyran Mathieu.
- Philadelphia Eagles
RB Dalvin Cook – Florida State
The Eagles have a need at RB with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles aging. Cook has the ability to be a special player, and can play on all three downs.
- Indianapolis Colts
RB Joe Mixon – Oklahoma
I never would have envisioned Mixon being considered in the first round. However, many teams seem to be looking past his off the field issues in college, and would consider drafting him early. The Colts have big need at RB, and Mixon has the talent to be an impact player in the NFL.
- Baltimore Ravens
TE O.J. Howard – Alabama
The Ravens have had really poor production out of the TE position for awhile. Maxx Williams has not panned out. Howard is a freak athlete who can stretch the field and dominate the red zone.
In this example, Packers fans would have several players to be watching as we near pick 29. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, Michigan S/LB Jabrill Peppers, LB T.J. Watt, LB Tak McKinley, and several CB options would all help the Packers get better. Next week I will continue with the rest of the first round. Feel free to leave your thoughts on who the Packers should take in the comments, and I will take that into consideration.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig