The 2017 NFL draft is right around the corner, which means mock drafts are as prevalent as ever.
My futile attempt at projecting the first round is below, but the real purpose of this piece is to identify which fantasy-relevant positions each team could be looking to address on Thursday night.
1. Cleveland Browns
Best bet: QB Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina)
Potential fantasy-relevant targets: Trubisky
The Browns are not only considering Trubisky, but I’m told he’s the likely first pick overall. Head coach Hue Jackson may want Myles Garrett, but expect the front office to instead bring in competition for Cody Kessler and a potential long-term answer to the franchise’s quarterback woes. Trubisky is a raw prospect and unlikely to have much rookie-season fantasy appeal.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Best bet: Edge Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)
Potential fantasy-relevant targets: QB
The 49ers will be ecstatic if Garrett falls to second overall. The former Aggie would provide them with much-needed help on the edge opposite 33-year-old Ahmad Brooks. If Cleveland switches gears and goes with Garrett, my guess is the pick here would be Trubisky. Brian Hoyer simply can’t be asked to hold down the fort for long. Cornerback is also a major need, so Marshon Lattimore is a name to watch.
3. Chicago Bears
Best bet: DL Solomon Thomas (Stanford)
Potential fantasy-relevant targets: QB, TE
The Bears have several holes, but were aggressive about adding cornerback competition during the offseason, including Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and B.W. Webb. I don’t necessarily think that’s enough to stop them from going with Lattimore, but Thomas is likely to be the top player on nearly every team’s board at this point. I’m leaning “BPA” (best player available) over fit here, as Chicago has a lot of talent in the front seven, including 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd. Zach Miller turns 33 this year, so TE O.J. Howard makes sense as a target if they trade down. I don’t believe they’ll take a quarterback after signing Mike Glennon.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Best bet: RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)
Potential fantasy-relevant targets: Fournette, TE O.J. Howard
The Jaguars are absolutely loaded defensively, but the offense remains a major concern. It would be hard to fault them for picking potential superstar Fournette in order to lean heavily on their defense and running game, while also limiting Blake Bortles’ impact. Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon would steal the occasional touch, but wouldn’t be a threat a massive rookie-season workload for Fournette. The Jaguars traded Julius Thomas to Miami, so Howard is a sneaky option here, too.
5. Tennessee Titans
Best bet: CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State)
Potential fantasy-relevant targets: WR
Wide receiver is a big need for the Titans, which absolutely puts Mike Williams, Corey Davis and even John Ross in play here. Of course, with Jason McCourty gone, last year’s fifth-round pick LeShaun Sims is penciled in as the team’s second perimeter corner opposite Logan…