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.
New England Patriots: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Patriots obviously would not have dealt the No. 1 overall pick for Brandin Cooks if the draft went in a reserve order, so I'm giving them their pick back. Sorry, Saints, no Myles Garrett for you!
I'm fairly confident that every single team would select Garrett if they had the top choice in the 2017 NFL Draft. This includes the Patriots, despite the Kony Ealy trade. Garrett is just way too good to pass up.
Atlanta Falcons: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama
There's some concern with Jonathan Allen's shoulders, but this may just be fake news in an attempt to get him to fall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Or, it could be real news, but the Falcons can afford to take the risk. They need a disruptive presence in the interior of the defensive line, so Allen would slide in perfectly.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
With Ross Cockrell heading for free agency next spring, the Steelers wouldn't be crazy to select two cornerbacks with consecutive first-round picks. Marshon Lattimore is a stud cornerback prospect, and he would provide the Steelers with the sort of top-level play at cornerback that they've been lacking for a while.
Green Bay Packers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
This is perhaps the most obvious pick in this Backward NFL Mock Draft, outside of the Patriots selecting Myles Garrett. The Packers obviously have a big need at running back, and Leonard Fournette is the top prospect at the position we've seen in a very long time.
Dallas Cowboys: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
I have the Cowboys taking Takkarist McKinley in the real 2017 NFL Mock Draft. They'd still take a pass-rusher here, and I'm sure they'd be thrilled with the superior Solomon Thomas, who could be chosen second overall in real life.
Kansas City Chiefs: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Chiefs are unlikely to be able to select one of the top three running backs in real life, but that's not the case in this Backward 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Dalvin Cook would be available for them, and I'd have to think that Kansas City would jump at the opportunity to select him. Jamaal Charles is gone, and while Spencer Ware did a decent job at times last year, he wore down during the stretch.
Seattle Seahawks: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Jamal Adams obviously wouldn't start right away, but he's way too good to pass up at this juncture. Adams would provide the Seahawks with some great depth at safety in 2017, and he'd start the following year, given that Kam Chancellor is set to become a free agent then.
Houston Texans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
If Malik Hooker somehow falls in real life because of injury concerns, the Texans could trade up for him. He'd be a perfect fit in their defense, as he'd be a replacement for the departed Quintin Demps. He's also the best player available in this scenario.
Oakland Raiders: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
In my real 2017 NFL Mock Draft, I have the Raiders selecting Haason Reddick, who would inject some talent into a poor linebacking corps. Jelani Jenkins was signed, but that was to a short-term deal. Reddick would be a solution for the long haul. Reuben Foster would obviously be even better.
New York Giants: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
This pick came down to one of two Alabama players: O.J. Howard and Cam Robinson. Both would fill enormous needs for the Giants. Ultimately, I decided on Howard because he's just a superior talent. New York desperately needs a stronger intermediate threat, and Howard would be a colossal upgrade over what the team has at tight end.
Miami Dolphins: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Dolphins have some nice pass-rushers available for 2017, but that may not be the case next year. Cameron Wake is due to regress soon, while William Hayes will be hitting free agency next spring. Both Taco Charlton and Derek Barnett are options here, and I get the feeling that more teams have Charlton rated above Barnett.
Detroit Lions: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Lions have two terrific cornerbacks in Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson, but there's very little depth behind the two, which is not good when trying to defeat the Packers. Plus, Lawson is entering his contract season. Marlon Humphrey is one of the top prospects available, so he makes sense here.
Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Broncos are absolutely desperate for offensive line help. Their best offensive tackle is Menelik Watson, who was an Oakland Raiders reject. They're unlikely to land Cam Robinson in real life, but he would be a realistic option at No. 13 overall in the Backward NFL Mock Draft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
I wanted to slot Mike Williams earlier, but couldn't find a spot for him. The Buccaneers will take advantage of this circumstance in this fake mock draft. They signed DeSean Jackson, but they need another receiver. Williams would start across from Mike Evans, while Jackson would be in the slot. Tampa Bay's offense would be so explosive with this lineup.
Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington
And now we've reached the boring portion of the backward mock draft, as the Titans would select the same player at No. 15 as they would at No. 18. Bear with me for a few selections here. John Ross obviously makes a ton of sense for the Titans, who tried to acquire Brandin Cooks this offseason.
Washington Redskins: Forrest Lamp, G/C, Western Kentucky
Here's another identical pick. The Redskins need an upgrade over Shawn Lauvao, which Forrest Lamp could provide. Lauvao and center Spencer Long are impending free agents in 2018, so Lamp would also provide insurance in case the latter departs.