Every year there are always players that don't go where many expect them to. Most of the time it's a quarterback however, there is always players from other positions as well. Here is a mock draft from this writer that tries to predict these surprise picks. Every teams needs are listed and why this outcome could happen.
1st Overall: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: QB, OL, DE, S
This Writer's Pick: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State.
Alternative Pick: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Analysis: At this point, it seems like Tampa will select one of the two quarterbacks that sit atop of the draft board. Despite several needs throughout the roster the Bucs need that quarterback whether it be Winston or Mariota. Tampa Bay going in a direction other than Winston or Mariota is too big a shock to predict, and it doesn't seem likely just a few mere days away from the draft. With Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson at receiver, as well as a capable running back in Doug Martin, the Bucs should be set on offense next year with Winston at QB.
2nd Overall: Tennessee Titans
Team Needs: QB, WR, RT, DT/DE, OG/C
This Writer's Pick: Leonard Williams, DT/DE, USC.
Alternative Picks: Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper, Kevin White, Trade.
Analysis: The Titans would surprise some by taking Marcus Mariota however, it seems likely that Tennessee will look for a quarterback in the later rounds or through a trade. One suggestion is Jay Cutler, a first round pick, and more for number two overall pick (Bears would take Mariota). If any team trades up, they will take Mariota. The Titans may also take a wide receiver here as they need a wide receiver to help their new quarterback. This is why it makes sense to trade down, as Tennessee would still likely have six or seven wide receivers to choose from.
3rd Overall: Jacksonville Jaguars
Team Needs: RB, OG, DE, OLB, upgrade at QB.
This Writer's Pick: Donte Fowler Jr., OLB/DE, Florida.
Alternative Picks: Kevin White, Amari Cooper, Marcus Mariota, Vic Beasley, Trade.
Analysis: Jacksonville goes with Dante Fowler here as a Florida pro team takes another kid from a Florida school. Unless the Jaguars like Beasley more than Fowler, it seems as though Fowler is the obvious pick as the Jaguars number one need is defensive end. Their number two need is outside linebacker where Vic Beasley would be a nice fit.
4th Overall: Oakland Raiders
Team Needs: WR, OG, DE, DT, S.
This Writer's Pick: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Alternative Picks: Kevin White, Amari Cooper, Vic Beasley, Landon Collins, Danny Shelton.
Analysis: This is the first bold prediction. The Raiders almost always do something most don't expect from them, and if they don't believe in Derek Carr to be their franchise QB they should take Mariota. At the very least, Oakland could use Mariota in a trade for someone else they want, and make a trade later after other selections have been made. However, if they don't believe Carr is their guy you should always build around a quarterback and not a wide receiver.
5th Overall: Washington Redskins
Team Needs: DE, DT, OLB, OT, DB,
This Writer's Pick: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia.
Alternative Picks: Amari Cooper, Brandon Scherff, Trade
Analysis: The Redskins need almost every single position this year, which is why they make the most sense to trade down to Cleveland for their two first round picks they possess. If Washington can't pull off a trade, it is likely they go with best player available and it will almost certainly be a wide receiver, in this case Kevin White.
6th Overall: New York Jets
Team Needs: CB, QB, DL, LB.
This Writer's Pick: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama.
Alternative Picks: Trae Waynes, Trade.
Analysis: The Jets will also likely go with best player available as they need help at almost every position as well. In this Mock Draft, Amari Cooper is a big faller, and either him or White will fall out of the top five.
7th Overall: Chicago Bears
Team Needs: WR, RT, DT, LB, S, Pass Rusher
This Writer's Pick: Bud Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky.
Alternative Picks: Brandon Scherff, Danny Shelton, Vic Beasley, Landon Collins.
Analysis: The Bears are a wildcard team at this point, and could go in many different directions. The positions they need are where the leftover talent remains, so they may end up trading back. However, Bud Dupree, if used at linebacker, may be the best pick here.
8th Overall: Atlanta Falcons
Team Needs: FS, OG, CB, DT, LT
This Writer's Pick: Landon Collins, FS, Alabama.
Alternative Picks: Brandon Scherff, Danny Shelton, T.J Clemings
Analysis: The Falcons, unlike the Bears, have little talent available at their positions of need. However, they have the best talent at two of their biggest needs in the draft. It will likely be a coin flip decision between Collins and Scherff, but Collins seems like a perfect fit for Atlanta.
9th Overall: New York Giants
Team Needs: OL, DB, Pass Rusher
This Writer's Pick: Brandon Scherff, LT, Iowa.
Alternative Picks: Danny Shelton, Trae Waynes, T.J Clemmings.
Analysis: The New York Giants have needs all over their defense, but it seems unlikely that they would reach for a defensive prospect when the top offensive lineman in the draft is sitting right in front of them. Scherff seems like a good protecting Eli Manning, and the Giants can then focus on defense the rest of the draft.
10th Overall: St. Louis Rams
Team Needs: QB, WR, OL, DT, MLB
This Writer's Pick: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Alternative Picks: DeVante Parker, T.J Clemmings, Trade.
Analysis: Given their trade history and what is left on the board at this point it seems likely the Rams would attempt to trade back. However, it may be a better decision for the Rams to do the opposite and that's to take Shelton now and try and trade back into the first round for Eric Kendricks, who is not projected to be taken until much later in the first round if at all.
11th Overall: Minnesota Vikings
Team Needs: Best Defensive Player
This Writer's Pick: Shaq Thompson, LB/S/DE, Washington
Alternative Picks: Vic Beasley, Trae Waynes
Analysis: Vic Beasley is the first falling prospect after the Vikings pass on him for a different defensive player, despite him being the top player on the board at this time along with Trae Waynes. Shaq Thompson is the first significant reach prospect in this draft, but a team like the Vikings might like his versatility on the defensive end where they can put him at any position. He is best suited for linebacker, but he could potentially play safety or alongside defensive line.
12th Overall: Cleveland Browns
Team Needs: MLB, DT, WR, RT, FS
This Writer's Pick: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Alternative Picks: DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, T.J Clemmings.
Analysis: The Browns have a lot of needs to fill in the draft this year, so while they may trade up. Ideally it would be better for them to trade up for Leonard Williams or one of the top two wide receivers. However, the Browns need to bolster their defensive tackle spot here with Brown, another reach prospect, and pass on Devante Parker as the Browns think he may fall to their next pick later in the first round.
13th Overall: New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: OL, CB, Pass Rusher, Backup QB
This Writer's Pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Alternative Picks: Vic Beasley, Trae Waynes
Analysis: Beasley and Waynes continue to fall as the Saints are prioritizing on the offensive line in the first round of this mock draft. The Saints believe they can get defense in the later rounds after they find an offensive line upgrade or two as they need help all across the line.
14th Overall: Miami Dolphins
Team Needs: WR, OG, LB, CB, S
This Writer's Pick: Vic Beasley, OLB/DE, Clemson
Alternative Picks: Trae Waynes, Shane Ray, DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, Breshad Perriman
Analysis: The Dolphins get to choose between two solid defensive prospects in Trae Waynes and Vic Beasley. If they decide to improve their front seven the selection of Beasley is a slam dunk. Waynes continues his free fall, as teams have a hard time drafting cornerbacks after the failures of recent first round corners including Justin Gilbert, Dee Milliner and others that have been average such as Dre Kirkpatrick.
15th Overall: San Francisco 49ers
Team Needs: WR, OL, DL, LB, DB
This Writer's Pick: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Alternative Picks: Shane Ray, Trae Waynes, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Jaelen Strong, Ereck Flowers.
Analysis: Trae Waynes falls past San Francisco as well as they look to bolster their pass rush instead of their secondary. Without Patrick Willis and the uncertainty of Aldon Smith playing a full season, the 49ers hope to take Gregory and fix his off the field problems in a better way they did Smith.
16th Overall: Houston Texans
Team Needs: WR, QB, OT, OLB, CB
This Writer's Pick: Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri
Alternative Picks: Trae Waynes, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Jaelen Strong, Arik Armstead
Analysis: Houston also passes on Trae Waynes, who is easily the biggest fall in this mock draft. Houston, like the teams before them, would rather improve the pass rush than their secondary. Ray would help assist Clowney and Watt rushing the passer with some rush packages that he could focus in on.
17th Overall: San Diego Chargers
Team Needs: QB, RB, WR, DL, LB
This Writer's Pick: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon
Alternative Picks: Melvin Gordon, Brett Hundley, DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, Todd Gurley, Trade
Analysis: The Chargers officially start to mark DeVante Parker as a sliding candidate, instead choosing to bolster their defense by selecting Arik Armstead to help stop the run. If the rumors about Phillip Rivers being traded for Mariota are true, that eliminates the need for a quarterback and the Chargers would then focus on bolstering the talent around him in the rest of the draft,
18th Overall: Kansas City Chiefs
Team Needs: DE, WR, OG, LB
This Writer's Pick: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Alternative Picks: Breshad Perriman, Jaelen Strong, Eric Kendricks, Carl Davis, Cameron Erving
Analysis: While Kansas City needs an uprgrade at the guard position, they desperately need wide receivers, likely more so. DeVante Parker seems to be a good fit for the Chiefs who can afford to take on the injury risk he endured in college. Kansas City ends Parker's slide down the board, as they choose the possession wide receiver over the speedster Perriman.
19th Overall: Cleveland Browns
Team Needs: MLB, WR, OT, FS, TE
This Writer's Pick: Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
Alternative Picks: Jaelen Strong, Maxx Williams, Eric Kendricks
Analysis: Cleveland needs some receiving targets for whoever their quarterback is next season. Breshad Perriman seems to be a good fit opposite Josh Gordon. He's one of the fastest players in the draft, and while this pick may get traded (to Oakland who seem like an even better fit for Perriman), he should be a big help for Cleveland's QB's.
20th Overall: Philadelphia Eagles
Team Needs: WR, LT, LB, CB, S
This Writer's Pick: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Alternative Picks: Trae Waynes, Jake Fisher, Eric Kendricks.
Analysis: Trae Waynes continues to fall down draft boards, as Philadelphia continues the run on wide receivers and selects Jaelen Strong from Arizona State. Waynes could be a fit here, but the Eagles desperately need help at wide receiver, and can afford to wait for help at cornerback.
21st Overall: Cincinnati Bengals
Team Needs: LT, WR, OLB, CB, FS
This Writer's Pick: Jake Fisher, LT, Oregon
Alternative Picks: Trae Waynes, Jalen Collins, Andrus Peat, Dorial Green-Beckham, Ereck Flowers, Eli Harold
Analysis: Cincinnati makes Trae Waynes' fall even worse as the Bengals also elect to go with their top need in the draft by selecting offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who was starting to get close to falling himself. The Bengals fix their biggest problem on offense by selecting one of the better players available and instantly improve their offense.
22nd Overall: Pittsburgh Steelers
Team Needs: CB, S, OL, DE, OLB,
This Writer's Pick: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Alternative Picks: Ereck Flowers, Jalen Collins, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Eli Harold, Andrus Peat, La'el Collins
Analysis: Trae Waynes' fall finally ends in Pittsburgh as the Steelers get one of the best defensive prospects in this year's class. The Steelers have the coaching to get him game ready by the end of the preseason, and he will help fill the void in the secondary left by Troy Polamalu when he retired recently. While it is likely someone (maybe Pittsburgh) would trade up for Trae Waynes before he fell this far, a draft day fall can't be ruled out for anyone, especially the cornerbacks and offensive lineman.
23rd Overall: Detroit Lions
Team Needs: RB, WR, OL, DL, Secondary
This Writer's Pick: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Alternative Picks: Todd Gurley, Ereck Flowers, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Andrus Peat, Jalen Collins, Eddie Goldman, La'el Collins, Jordan Phillips, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Peters, Carl Davis, Trade.
Analysis: Almost every first round draft prospect is in play here for the Lions, who barely missed out on hometown hero Trae Waynes, the run on wide receivers, and OT Jake Fisher to help bolster their line. The Lions always follow their strict best-player-available policy, and not only fill a big need but drastically improve their offense with Big-10 running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon would share some time with Joique Bell and Theo Riddick while he learns the offense, and would thrive instantly in Detroit taking pressure off Matthew Stafford. The reason the Lions take Gordon over Gurley is due to Gordon's lack of an injury history, and the fact Gurley is coming off an ACL injury. While the Lions have shown they don't view injuries as a major turn off, and were the first NFL team to examine Gurley's injury at a private workout in Allen Park, the Lions are much better off not having another injury prone running back (Jahvid Best, Reggie Bush).
24th Overall: Arizona Cardinals
Team Needs: QB, RB, DL, LB, CB,
This Writer's Pick: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
Alternative Picks: Todd Gurley, Jalen Collins, Brett Hundley, Trade
Analysis: The Cardinals decide to improve their pass rush like many other teams in this mock draft by selecting Owamagbe Odighizuwa from UCLA. This writer made this pick for the Cardinals in the VAVEL USA Mock Draft a couple of weeks ago as well, as it seems like a good fit. The Cardinals decide to pass on Todd Gurley hoping Andre Ellington can carry the load, but the Cardinals may look at running back in the second round instead.
25th Overall: Carolina Panthers
Team Needs: WR, OT, CB, FS, SS.
This Writer's Pick: Jalen Collins, CB/FS, LSU
Alternative Picks: Ereck Flowers, Andrus Peat, La'el Collins, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Peters.
Analysis: Jalen Collins looks to be a perfect fit for the Carolina Panthers defense. He will have good support at linebacker and defensive line, and will be able to shine in the secondary whichever position he plays. The Panthers can decide where in their sets he will have the most impact. While the Panthers could reach for Green-Beckham or select an offensive lineman, it makes more sense to make the strong stronger and improve the cornerback or safety spot.
26th Overall: Baltimore Ravens
Team Needs: Best Player Available
This Writer's Pick: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Alternative Picks: Any remaining players projected to go in the first round.
Analysis: Ozzie Newsome loves to go best player available, and any player he gets this year would help his team as the Ravens have no immediate needs. They have plenty of minor ones, one of which is at DT/DE with the departure of Haloti Ngata to the Lions. Eddie Goldman has experience winning big games at Florida State. He or Jordan Phillips would probably make the biggest impact their first year on the squad, and with a win now attitude, Goldman looks to be the type of player the Ravens are looking for.
27th Overall: Dallas Cowboys
Team Needs: RB, WR, DL, MLB, CB
This Writer's Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
Alternative Picks: Marcus Peters, Eric Kendricks, Jordan Phillips, Todd Gurley, Carl Davis
Analysis: The Cowboys don't have any problem taking on players with character issues, especially at wide receiver, as long as they can contribute to the team. The Cowboys are more likely to take Green-Beckham than Marcus Peters due to his behavior outside of the team whereas, Green-Beckham's issues lie mostly with his lazyness and locker room behavior. Todd Gurley also makes sense here, which is why he is now being considered a sliding prospect, mostly in part because of his injury concerns.
28th Overall: Denver Broncos
Team Needs: RT, MLB, FS, OG, RB
This Writer's Pick: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Alternative Picks: Todd Gurley, A.J Cann, Eric Kendricks, La'el Collins, Ereck Flowers
Analysis: The Broncos address their number one need by picking up a sliding prospect in Andrus Peat, who has been mentioned as early as ten picks earlier. La'el Collins and Ereck Flowers are now considered falling prospects. Andrus Peat seems to be the best fit for the right side of the line, and has the potential to move over to the left side over time, but should start at Denver's biggest need at right tackle.
29th Overall: Indianapolis Colts
Team Needs: OL, DL, S, CB
This Writer's Pick: La'el Collins, OT, LSU
Alternative Picks: Jordan Phillips, Carl Davis, Eric Kendricks, Ereck Flowers, Marcus Peters, Eli Harold
Analysis: The Colts will likely have to decide between Ereck Flowers and La'el Collins on draft day, unless they decide to go defense in the first round. Collins seems to be the better fit for the Colts due to his superior pass protection skills. While Flowers has slightly better run blocking, Collins is quite better at pass protection and has fallen further than Flowers.
30th Overall: Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: DL, LB, CB, WR
This Writer's Pick: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Alternative Picks: Jordan Phillips, Eric Kendricks, Carl Davis, Eli Harold
Analysis: The Packers could always use help at corner in the NFC North, especially considering the Lions, Vikings and Bears could all go wide receiver on draft day. The Packers could add a receiver themselves however, with Todd Gurley and Marcus Peters easily the two best talents on the board, Mike McCarthy hopes he can help resolve Peters' off the field issues, and turn his talent into on-field production.
31st Overall: New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: WR, TE, Defensive Players
This Writer's Pick: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
Alternative Picks: Jordan Phillips, Carl Davis, Eli Harold, Kevin Johnson
Analysis: The Saints went offense picking up OT T.J Clemmings with the 13th pick, so they decide to keep addressing offense and replace Jimmy Graham, whom this pick was acquired for, by taking Maxx Williams. Williams will look to fill the same type of role Jimmy Graham did for New Orleans and he should help Brees continue to produce for the rest of his career. If New Orleans can find some more offensive line help and another wide receiver, New Orleans offense could get back to unstoppable levels once again.
32nd Overall: New England Patriots
Team Needs: Best Player Available, WR, DT, CB, TE
This Writer's Pick: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Alternative Picks: Trade, Jordan Phillips, Eric Kendricks, Carl Davis, Eli Harold, Kevin Johnson, Byron Jones, Sammie Coates, D.J Humphries (All falling prospects)
Analysis: The New England Patriots will likely trade out of the first round, as they don't have any significant needs other than replacing Darrelle Revis and adding more weapons for Brady. Todd Gurley is not only by far the best player available, but he's a very competitve player when healthy. He would be able to bring some consistency to the Patriots running game, and would also be a viable option out of the backfield in the passing attack. While it is unlikely Gurley falls all the way to the last pick in the first round, he will likely fall due to injury concerns, and the Patriots may benefit from this fall.
Overall it may be hard to predict who rises and who falls on draft day, especially when teams have different draft philosophy's. Some choose to go best player available (Patriots), some go by need (Vikings), and some are lucky to get both in one pick (Steelers). It should make for an exciting first round on Thursday night, and it will surely be interesting to see who rises and falls on draft night.