- Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett (Defensive End, Texas A&M)
The Browns have the first pick in the draft for a reason after narrowly escaping a winless campaign in the first season under head coach Hue Jackson. Cleveland will be switching to a 4-3 in 2017 after hiring former Rams DC, Gregg Williams. The defensive scheme change leaves numerous open holes including defensive end. Myles Garrett is the consensus number one pick for this class, and the Browns would be foolish to overthink this decision. Garrett has the freakish measurables which you look for in a defensive linemen especially as an edge rusher. At this stage in his career, he relies heavily on his athleticism as opposed to an array of pass rush moves. Williams should be a nice benefit to aid in the early development of Garrett after most recently working with Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald. The Browns have a ways to go on both sides of the ball, however the addition of Garrett should help the process in the interim. Garrett, Danny Shelton, and Jamie Collins are nice building blocks for the league’s worst team in 2016.
- San Francisco 49ers – Jamal Adams (Safety, LSU)
This will be the first draft under new general manager, John Lynch, as well as rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan. San Fran has stocked up on defensive linemen the past two first rounds with Oregon products Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Stanford’s Solomon Thomas has been a popular choice in published mock drafts to further strengthen the Niners defensive front. I see Lynch going a different direction with his first pick as general manager. Being a former All-Pro safety in the league I believe he recognizes the importance of the position in today’s NFL. Jamal Adams from LSU is widely considered to be the top safety prospect from this class. Adams paired with former LSU Tiger, Eric Reid, potentially gives San Francisco one of the better duos in football. Adams was praised for his physical style of play while at Baton Rouge along with his leadership qualities. He possesses a knowledge of the game which will stand out to Lynch, and also help align a struggling Niners defense in recent seasons. Antoine Bethea was released during the offseason so Adams will be able to slide into the starting role opposite Reid.
- Chicago Bears – Solomon Thomas (Defensive End, Stanford)
The Bears were a candidate to select a quarterback at this spot prior to the free agent contract they handed to former Buc Mike Glennon. With quarterback likely off the radar at pick number 3, I believe the Bears front office will shift their attention to the defensive line. As mentioned previously, Stanford’s Solomon Thomas is projected as the second defensive line prospect behind Myles Garrett. Thomas has the ability to play defensive end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme. Chicago currently operates out of 3-4 under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The likes of Akiem Hicks and Mitch Unrein should not roadblock Thomas being a starter in Week 1. The combination of power and athleticism stands out to scouts as it relates to Thomas, and a long term prediction of being a multiple time All Pro.