Joe B: NFL Mock Draft No. 1 (3/7/17)

Joe B: NFL Mock Draft No. 1 (3/7/17)
Posted at 3:14 PM, Mar 07, 2017

The NFL offseason is in full swing, and now that the annual Scouting Combine is through, teams are starting to execute their strategies to improve their rosters enough for 2017 and beyond.

The biggest way to do that in the offseason is with an influx of young talent through the draft, which the Buffalo Bills and all other 31 teams in the league will attempt to do in a deep class.

As free agency continues along, some of these needs will be filled by veteran players -- which in turn will take the need to draft at that position away. For now, before free agency really takes hold of some of these rosters, here's a look at the entire first round of the NFL Draft, going all the way up to the Bills' second selection:

(*Note: Mock Drafts are, and always should be, for entertainment purposes only. No trades this time around)

Round One

1)  - EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

2)  - EDGE Solomon Thomas, Stanford

3)  - QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

4) - RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

5)  (from LAR) - S Malik Hooker, Ohio State

6)  - CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

7)  - S Jamal Adams, LSU

8)  - DE Taco Charlton, Michigan

9)  - DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama

10)  - S/OLB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

- ::Gasp:: Not a quarterback? Yes, I've seen all the other mock drafts out there that pencil Deshaun Watson into the 10th overall selection, and while I can see the merits of it... at least for now, I'm just a tad skeptical that they'd actually take a first round quarterback this year. Whenever Sean McDermott has spoken to the media, it never came across as though he felt this team was one that is dedicated to a deep rebuild mode, and essentially starting over. He's alluded to taking both a short-term and a long-term approach with the roster, which indicates that the Bills are convinced they can take a crack at it in 2017. And really, it makes sense. He's on more solid footing than GM Doug Whaley at the moment, so he can afford to give it their best shot this year, and if it doesn't work out, then that's when the rebuild ideally would commence, and McDermott would still be here. With this pick, the Bills are satisfying a need at one of Peppers' positions, and gives McDermott something he covets defensively: versatility. I recall back in 2015 when the Carolina Panthers shocked quite a few people by taking the hybrid Shaq Thompson in the first round to fit McDermott's defense. Here's this year's version of Thompson, but even more of a blue-chip prospect than the Panthers' first round pick from 2015. Peppers can play linebacker on third down, he can play safety, and he's quite the punt returner, too. This fit, for a defense that disappointed and needs to rebuild in a few spots, needs players like Peppers.

11)  - ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama

12)  (from PHI) - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama 

13)  - WR Mike Williams, Clemson

14)  (from MIN) - CB Sidney Jones, Washington

15)  - EDGE Derek Barnett, Tennessee

16)  - WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

17)  - WR John Ross, Washington

18)  - TE David Njoku, Miami (FL)

19)  - RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

20)  -  OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

21)  - LB Haason Reddick, Temple

22)  - G/C Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

23)  - QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson

24)  - CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

25)  - OT Garrett Bolles, Utah

26)  - S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut

27)  - QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

28)  - EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri

29)  - EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

30)  - CB Adoreé Jackson, USC

31)  - DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State

32)  - RB Christian McCaffery, Stanford

Round Two

33)  - QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

34)  - ILB Tim Williams, Alabama

35)  - G Dan Feeney, Indiana

36)  - S Budda Baker, Washington

37)  - OT Cam Robinson, Alabama

38)  - WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

39)  - EDGE T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

40)  - RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

41)  - LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

42)  - CB Tre'Davious White, LSU

43)  - WR Chris Godwin, Penn State

44)  - WR Zay Jones, East Carolina

- With the top four quarterbacks gone before their second round pick, the Bills shift to the offensive side of the ball and pick up a wide receiver that lands in a perfect situation. Zay Jones has been superb since the season ended, standing out during both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He showed that he can win a one-on-one battle repeatedly, and being the second receiver to Sammy Watkins, that's all they need. The tie-in is pretty obvious, too. The Bills just hired Phil McGeoghan as their wide receivers coach, and he just so happened to work with Jones at East Carolina all last season. It's a major position of need, with basically no one behind Watkins at this point in time. The Bills could go with a cornerback here, but the depth at that position makes it so they can find a solid player at that spot in the third round.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia