This is our eighth-annual backward mock draft. It's what it sounds like: What would the 2017 NFL Draft look like if the order were reversed? Who would the Broncos take with the first pick? My annual Backward NFL Mock Draft is listed below.
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Back to 2017 Backward NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
Baltimore Ravens: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
I've mocked Derek Barnett to the Ravens before. Barnett has almost identical measureables to Terrell Suggs coming out of college, and Baltimore obviously is in desperate need of pass-rushing help.
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Indianapolis Colts: Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR, Stanford
There are so many directions the Colts can go with this pick. Christian McCaffrey, Haason Reddick, Adoree Jackson, Gareon Conley, Takkarist McKinley among others make sense here. Of all the prospects, I think McCaffrey is the best one. He fills one of many needs the Colts have, as he'd be the perfect successor to Frank Gore.
Philadelphia Eagles: Adoree Jackson, CB/KR, USC
The Eagles obtained two receivers in free agency, so they'll have to use the draft to address their other needs, namely cornerback and running back. There are a ton of talented cornerbacks available, including Adoree Jackson, whom I've mocked to Philadelphia beforehand.
Arizona Cardinals: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The Cardinals are expected to use an early-round selection on a quarterback. I think No. 13 is too high for Arizona to take one, but not No. 20 - especially with Mitchell Trubisky being available. This is probably where Trubisky - as well as the other signal-callers - should be taken.
Cleveland Browns: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
If the Browns can't get Mitchell Trubisky at No. 12, they should trade down to this area and select one of the other quarterbacks. Pat Mahomes makes the most sense to me. Deshaun Foster has been speculated as a match for Cleveland, but I don't think he fits Hue Jackson's offense.
New Orleans Saints: Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
I've mocked Obi Melifonwu to the Saints at No. 32 overall in my real 2017 NFL Mock Draft. However, I think he'll be chosen earlier than that, as he's getting a ton of interest from numerous teams. New Orleans could obtain him at this juncture in a reverse order.
Buffalo Bills: David Njoku, TE, Miami
There are tons of options for the Bills, including one of the many cornerback prospects available. David Njoku also makes sense, as Buffalo is starved for offensive play-makers. Njoku qualifies, as he'd be a big upgrade at tight end.
Cincinnati Bengals: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Bengals have endured a rough offseason, losing two key offensive linemen in Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. They also could use a linebacker, and I have them selecting Reuben Foster in my real mock. Zach Cunningham makes sense here.
Carolina Panthers: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Speaking of teams that are desperate for offensive line help, the Panthers have needed a tackle for quite a while now. That's even more magnified now, with Michael Oher still battling his concussions and Mike Remmers no longer on the roster.
Los Angeles Chargers: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Speaking of teams that are desperate for offensive line help ... again. The Chargers need to protect Philip Rivers, especially now that he's in the twilight of his career. Russell Okung can't be counted on to stay healthy, while Joe Barksdale was a human turnstile last year.
New York Jets: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Jets tried to sign Dont'a Hightower this offseason, so they're obviously in the market for inside linebacker help. Haason Reddick has enjoyed a terrific pre-draft process and could definitely be chosen in the 20s. Reddick would make sense for the Jets at this juncture.
Tennessee Titans: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
The Titans have enjoyed a great offseason, as they made two upgrades to their secondary, acquiring Logan Ryan and John Cyprien. They still need another cornerback, and there are a number of talented players at this position still available.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
The Jaguars traded Julius Thomas to the Dolphins, so perhaps they'll use a second-day selection on a tight end who isn't constantly injured and lethargic. That's what I wrote in my real 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Jacksonville taking Engram in the second round makes just as much sense as it would here.
Chicago Bears: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I highly doubt the Bears select a quarterback at No. 3 overall. Taking one with the 30th pick is much more feasible. Deshaun Watson probably won't be available to Chicago in the second round of the real draft, but he makes sense in this situation.
San Francisco 49ers: Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB, UCLA
I have the 49ers selecting Solomon Thomas, as he's one of the top prospects in the class and happens to fill a big need, as San Francisco doesn't have a potent edge rusher. Takkarist McKinley would be an option for the 49ers with the 31st-overall pick.
Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan
The Browns got their quarterback at No. 21 in the backward mock draft. Here, they can address their woeful secondary. Jabrill Peppers was overrated as a prospect, and that's once again the case following the combine, but he provides solid value with the final pick in the opening round. He would be a much-needed upgrade for the Browns at safety.
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