Speculation, the NFL Scouting Combine, pro days and mock drafts. There is no better encore to the Super Bowl than the beginning of the offseason and the point where heads begin to turn toward free agency and the NFL draft.
As with any mock draft, particularly one less than two days after Super Bowl LI, every selection must be taken with a grain of salt.
For example, what if a team such as the San Francisco 49ers decides to splurge in free agency on a quarterback? Say, Kirk Cousins from Washington. That would drastically change every mock draft since the 49ers would be unlikely to draft a quarterback with the second overall pick after just signing one.
But for now, we will take things as they are. The NFL draft order is nearly complete, as the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles will toss a coin at the combine to decide who gets the 14th and 15th selections.
Let’s go over one thing first before analyzing this mock draft any further. It would be surprising to see quarterback Tony Romo leave the Dallas Cowboys and become the starter for the Denver Broncos. And even if he does leave for Denver, why shouldn’t the Broncos draft a quarterback like Deshaun Watson, who may be available?
Paxton Lynch didn’t shine last season, and Trevor Siemian handily beat him out.
Watson is the most dynamic quarterback in this draft. He deserves to go higher than 20th, but he will suffer a draft-day slide for reasons that don’t make much sense.
His film speaks for itself. His ability to adapt under pressure against premier defenses like Alabama prove that Watson is the most talented signal-caller in this draft.
Having said that, this is a weak draft class for quarterbacks, but Watson should be a top draft pick and shouldn’t fall past the Cleveland Browns’ No. 12 selection.
Speaking of the Browns, they can’t go wrong with selecting Myles Garrett first overall out of Texas A&M because he is a game-changer.
While he isn’t getting the hype that surrounded Jadeveon Clowney coming out of college, it’s hard to argue that Garrett wasn’t a more productive defensive end in college with a higher motor than Clowney ever displayed at South Carolina.
Standing at 6’5″, 270 pounds, Garrett can bring intimidation and presence to an underachieving defensive front in Cleveland that can finally begin to show some life in Hue Jackson’s second year in charge of the franchise.
The Browns have struck out on quarterbacks too often to select another one this high. They will go with the safe but right selection at the top of the draft.
Similar to Garrett, another top prospect at his position that can change a team’s dynamic on one side of the ball is LSU running back Leonard Fournette.
A team in need of some dynamic play on offense, the Carolina Panthers will be eager to get their hands on the LSU product and create a Cam Newton-Fournette duo in the Panthers backfield.
A year ago, Fournette was pegged as the next Adrian Peterson. And while he is still considered the best back in this year’s draft ahead of Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, it’s clear that the hype train that has surrounded Fournette since he was in high school has slowed down a bit.
Jonathan Stewart is a serviceable back for Carolina and can carry his team in certain parts of the game, but Fournette can do it all and then some. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him have a similar type of impact on the Panthers that Ezekiel Elliott had during his rookie campaign with the Cowboys.Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com