As we sit about a month away from the 2017 NFL Draft, things certainly haven’t taken to form at all. Nobody really has a solid clue of what Cleveland is thinking at number one, and therefore it has the rest of the draft in limbo. I am here to attempt to sort this mess out and put together my mock draft for a draft that is sure to have it’s share of surprises.
1. Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M
Garrett seems to be a slam dunk pick here at one. He had a monster combine that showed he was a freak of nature athletically, and it makes perfect sense despite how desperate the Browns have been for a franchise quarterback. This sets up a defense that would have Jamie Collins, Carl Nassib, Emanuel Ogbah, Joe Haden, and Myles Garrett. You know what they say, defense wins championships. But perhaps in Cleveland, maybe defense can win more than one game next season.
2.San Francisco 49ers, Soloman Thomas, Defensive End, Stanford
I will preface this pick with this, Ihave the 49ers trading this pick to the Washington Redsikins, but for the sake of this mock draft, we won’t enact any trades that haven’t occured yet. Thomas would team up with last year’s first round pick, DeForest Buckner, to form a potentially formidable combo on the defensive line for years to come. The case can be made to have the 49ers also take a quarterback at two, but once Cleveland passes on one to take Garrett, there is no need for the 49ers to force the issue and I can see them going BPA (Best Player Available) here with Soloman Thomas.
3. Chicago Bears, Jonathan Allen, Defensive End, Alabama
Another team that originally I had taking a quarterback, but once they made the move to sign Mike Glennon, there is no longer an immediate need, at least for the 2017 season. Allen, until the combine, was a lock to be one of the top two picks in the draft. While it is not a major fall, he did have an average combine and I feel it may have hurt his draft stock a bit, but it only costs him one pick as he falls to the Bears who, like the 49ers, choose the BPA as they have a lot of holes to fill.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars, Leonard Fournette, Runningback, LSU
Tom Coughlin has done a great job this offseason with fixing some of the moves made last offseason to try to turn the Jaguars into winners overnight. He signed Calais Cambell for the defensive line and signed AJ Bouye away from the Texans, which Coughlin can tell you a million times that he is better than Prince Amukamara. The last mistake to fix would be the massive contract the Jaguars handed out to Chris Ivory last offseason, and while he is not necessarily going away, getting Fournette gives the Jaguars a legitimate three down back, and a very good reason for Ivory to take a seat on the bench.
5. Tennessee Titans, Mike Williams, Wide Reciever, Clemson
This pick is my first stretch so far. Williams is an absolute stud, he has size, speed, and solid hands, all things you want in your number one reciever. The Titans thought they may have been on to something when they selected Marcus Mariota and Dorial Green-Beckham in the same draft, but Green-Beckham never panned out and was sent away to Philadelphia. Williams gives the Titans the opporitunity to have something special on offense for the future, and I think this pick is a no brainier for the Titans as a reward for trading the first overall pick last season.
6. New York Jets, Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
The New York Jets have more holes in their team than any other team in the NFL, and that includes the Cleveland Browns. The Jets made too many moves to win quickly, and now the team is decaying because of it. Here I have the Jets taking the BPA in Adams, and hopefully if Calvin Pryor can have a bounce back season, the Jets can show signs of life in the secondary, because there won’t be a whole lot to cheer about otherwise.
7.Los Angeles Chargers, Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
Yes, this still feels very weird to type “Los Angeles” and not “San Diego” any longer. Regardless, the Chargers his a home run in last year’s draft, scooping up Ohio State’s Joey Bosa with the third overall pick. Now, it is time for the Chargers to replace Eric Weddle, something they never did last season after his departure. Hooker can replace what Weddle brought to the team and gives them yet another cornerstone to build the defense around in addition to guys like Bosa, Denzel Perryman, and Jason Verrett.
8. Carolina Panthers, Derek Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee
There are four potentially premiere pass rushers in this draft class, Derek Barnett, Jonathan Allen, Soloman Thomas, and Myles Garrett. With the Panthers choosing to move on from Kony Ealy and adding yet another veteran pass rusher in Julius Peppers, it makes sense for the Panthers to replace the youth they lost with a higher upside guy like Barnett. Peppers and Charles Johnson are not going to play forever, and the Panthers have to begin to plan for it accordingly.
9. Cincinnati Bengals, OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama
The Bengals have a lot of holes to fill on a team that is aging quickly and lost two big time weapons last offseason in Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones Jr. While the Bengals already have Tyler Eifert, Mike Williams is already gone and despite being a Tight End, Howard may be the second best pass catching talent in this draft. Adding Howard would enable the Bengals to run twin Tight End sets very similarly to the New Engalnd Patriots with two elite Tight Ends. They would also help the run game with having two guys that are above average blockers aiding a line that lost Kevin Zietler to the Browns and Andrew Whitworth to the Los Angeles Rams.
10. Buffalo Bills, Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
The only thing that is certain is Buffalo is the uncertain. All we know for sure is that the Bills are bringing back Tyrod Taylor for this year at least, and they still have one of the best running backs in football in Shady McCoy. Other than those two and Sammy Watkins, there is not much too root for in Buffalo. The biggest hole, however, is that left by Stephon Gilmore when he left town to join the rival New England Patriots. Drafting Lattimore at ten would net them the draft’s top corner, fill the hole left by Gilmore, and begin what I feel will be a string of cornerback picks in the first round after Sidney Jones fell out of the first round due to injury.
11. New Orleans Saints, Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan
After the trade that sent Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots, the Saints have two first round picks. While I feel as though the Saints may use their second round pick to acquire Malcolm Butler, I still feel that the Saints need to use both picks on defense in the first round. In Charlton, not only do the Saints acquire one of the better names in this draft class, they also acquire one heck of a pass rusher to put on the other side of Cameron Jordan, which when in a division with Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, and the defending MVP Matt Ryan, that can go a long way.
12. Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
Surprise, surprise! The Browns need a quarterback. While I feel as though this pick may be dealt to New England to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo in the long run, for now I have the Browns selecting a rookie to lead their franchise. Watson helped in building Clemson’s program from the ground up, and he is the perfect man to do something similar in Cleveland. Watson has the potential to be a game changing superstar that I just do not see in Mitchell Trubisky, and that goes a long way for me in selecting a rookie for a franchise that needs something to cheer about.
13. Arizona Cardinals, Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
Foster would be an absolute steal if he falls to the Cardinals at 13. Some Mock Drafts have Foster as a sure fire Top 10 selection, but given his medical concerns from the combine, I feel we may see a slight fall for Foster. That is of course until the Cardinals pick and draft the heir apparent to Daryl Washington.
14. Philadelphia Eagles, Dalvin Cook, Running back, Florida State
This offseason for Philadelphia has been committed to building an offense around Carson Wentz going into his second professional season. The Eagles acquired Alshon Jeffery from the Chicago Bears, signed Torrey Smith after he was released by the 49ers, and we’re trying to trade for Brandin Cooks before he was ultimately traded to the New Engald Patriots. However, they still have a glaring need at running back. The Book is out on Ryan Mathews, he is not a starter in the National Football League. Darren Sproles is just too small and old to be an every down back as well, and second year back Wendell Smallwood looks to be panning out as just another backup running back that is a spark plug when he comes into games. Adding Cook would give the Eagles a legitimate 3 down running back and would allow them to be able to control the clock while working on developing players to replace who they have lost on defense.
15. Indianapolis Colts, Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama
While BPA is a common strategy for teams that have either a lot of needs or are just looking to add promising young players to give their success some longevity. Here, I have the Colts selecting the BDPA (Best Defensive Player Available). As long as the Colts have Andrew Luck and TY Hilton, they are going to be able to put up points with the best of them. They need a running back but with Cook gone a pick prior, another running back would be a reach at this point. Adding Humphrey would give the Colts a future cornerstone to build their secondary around alongside Vontae Davis. While I get the argument that Andrew Luck needs some help, any offensive skill position player would be a stretch here, Colts need to go with a safe pick and take a defensive player because they still have to contend with receivers such as DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, and according to the mock draft, Mike Williams two times a year each.
16. Baltimore Ravens, John Ross, Wide Reciever, Washington
The Ravens are in a very peculiar situation. Their top reciever from the last three seasons, Steve Smith, hung up his cleats after a successful career. Additionally, they saw Kamar Aiken leave Baltimore to head to Indianapolis and join the Colts. That leaves the Ravens with Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace on the roster. While Wallace caught lightning in a bottle last season, Perriman has not stayed healthy since being drafted two years ago. Ross make a whole lot of sense here for Baltimore. Adding Ross would give the Ravens two absolute speed demons alongside Perriman. Additionally, it would allow Wallace to settle in as an insurance policy for Perriman who has had trouble staying healthy. Lastly, having receivers who can take off with the ball can do a heck of a lot more of the Ravens. What it comes down to is Joe Flacco is awful, and he would be able to five yard dump passes and let his receivers run with it to get him off the hook.
17.Washington Redskins, Zachary Cunningham, Linebacker, Vanderbilt
The Washington Redskins have some major problems going on right now within their organization. Their quarterback is unhappy, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are on different teams, and the only thing they really have going for them is their secondary with Josh Norman, DeAngelo Hall, Breshaud Breeland, and now second year pro Kyle Fuller. On the front 7 however, it can be described by one name, Ryan Kerrigan. Junior Galette has failed to stay healthy in two years in Washington and Cunningham can patch up that hole immediately. Additionally, his ability to play both inside linebacker and outside linebacker could prove to be a huge plus for a Washington team that is looking for anything to cling on to in these uncertain times.
18. Tennessee Titans, Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
I have the Titans taking Mike Williams with their first pick that comes as a product of allowing the Rams to trade up and select Jared Goff. With the heir second pick, they get to build up some depth on the defensive side of the ball. Drafting Reddick gives the Titans a young linebacker as an insurance policy as guys like Brian Orakpa and Derrick Morgan begin to get older.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Christian McCaffrey, Runningback, Stanford
The Tamps Bay Buccaneers are in an interesting spot. They missed the playoffs last year, barely. They replaced the oft-injured Vincent Jackson with the still effective DeSean Jackson. And if anything is for certain, Tampa Bay will still have it’s defense. The question is, what do they need to take in the draft? Here I have them taking Christian McCaffrey from Stanford because he can really help spell one of the major issues Tampa has had since drafting Jameis Winston, production out of the backfield in the passing game. Having a two back set of Doug Martin and Christian McCaffrey can balance itself out and really produce for a Tampa Bay team that, with guys like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Cameron Brate, are going to be able to pass the football.
20. Denver Broncos, Caleb Brantley, Defensive Tackle, Florida
The Broncos have a lot of holes despite having won a Super Bowl just one year ago. Their receivers are phenomenal, their cornerbacks are top notch, and they have their future quarterback on the bench in Paxton Lynch. However, the Broncos are still recovering from last offseason. Brantley fills one of those major holes that was left by Malik Jackson when he went to the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason.
21. Detroit Lions, Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC
The Lions have a good group of cornerbacks centered around Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson, but if anything I certain in the NFC North, it’s that when you play in a division with the Packers, you have to be able to cover Nelson, Adams, and Cobb at all times. With Sidney Jones’ injury, Jackson becomes the third best corner available and I have him here at 21 to the Detroit Lions.
22. Miami Dolphins, Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
If the Dolphins made anything clear during the draft last year, it is that they are willing to take a chance on a player with character issues if it means getting a productive player. With that said, last year Laremy Tunsil gave the Dolphins everything they could have hoped for and more. Now, why mess with a good thing? The Dolphins moved on from Brandon Albert and sent him to the Jaguars with eyes on moving Tunsil from Left Guard to Left Tackle, but if Robinson is still available, why not take him and leave Tunsil at Left Guard where he was a perfect fit for Miami?
23. New York Giants, David Njoku, Tight End, Miami
Despite being my personal favorite team, even I could not have Cam Robinson fall past Miami to get to the Giants. With that said, despite the need at offensive tackle, Ryan Ramczyk would be a reach at 23, he seems to be more of a mid-second round pick. Njoku makes a whole lot of sense here because the Giants don’t have a Tight End with both size and hands on the roster right now. Rhett Ellison is more of a blocker and Will Tye is an undersized pass catcher. Njoku would give the Giants offense a strong combination of both, and add that to an offense that already gives Eli Manning weapons at reciever in Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard.
24. Oakland Raiders, Alvin Kamara, Runningback, Tennessee
As I right this article, the Raiders have rumors swirling around them about a potential return for Marshawn Lynch. However, as the roster looks now, Latavius Murray is playing in Minnesota and the top running back on the Raiders’ roster right now is Jalen Richard. While it is a stretch, so was Karl Joseph last year and that panned out pretty well. Kamara fills the hole for the Raiders at running back despite not having Fournette, Cook, or McCaffrey still on the board.
25. Houston Texans, Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
Similar to the Raiders, I expect the Texans to make a move to fill this hole on their roster. In the Texans case, I expect Tony Romo to be under center in Houston. However, even with Romo potentially coming in, the case can be made to take Trubisky at 25. We saw how Dak Prescott played when Tony Romo was injured last season, it is the reason I feel Romo will be in Houston. As the Texans, we can’t leave ourselves prone to a Romo injury and being back to Tom Savage. Taking Trubisky gives the Texans that insurance policy as well as a quarterback to develop under Romo until the time comes for Romo to hang it up.
26. Seattle Seahawks, Garett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah
The Seahawks have already acquired Luke Joeckel and plan to play him at his natural position of Left Tackle. However, all we need to do is look at the last five seasons in Jacksonville to see that this probably won’t pan out. Adding Bolles would allow the ‘Hawks to play Joeckel either at the less stressful Right Tackle or to where he played last year in Jacksonville, Left Guard. Overall, the Seahawks are still rebuilding their offensive line after the trade of Max Unger to the Saints two years ago, and Bolles along with last year’s first rounder Germain Ifedi can get the Seahawks back on that track.
27. Kansas City Chiefs, Deshone Kizer, Quarterback, Notre Dame
In the 2nd round of the 2007 Draft, Andy Reid selected Kevin Kolb 36th overall to eventually replace Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. Fast forward ten years later, and Reid has established himself with the Chiefs. However, Alex Smith is going into his age 33 season and still can not throw more than a twenty yard pass. The Chiefs could ultimately choose to select Kizer and begin to groom him as the heir to Alex Smith and eventually take over for him. Some may say that Kizer could be an upgrade over Smith right now, but with the way things go in the NFL, Kizer can grow into the next franchise quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.
28. Dallas Cowboys, Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State
The Cowboys lost both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne within hours of each other and are left with Orlando Scandrick and the newly signed Nolan Carroll from the Eagles. Problem is, Dak Prescott may have been as good as he was because. He had to face Nolan Carroll twice a year. Adding Gareon Conley would give the Cowboys a young corner to build around to allow Carroll to play in the nickel.
29.Green Bay Packers, TJ Watt, Linebacker, Wisconsin
Everybody knows his brother JJ from the Houston Texans, but TJ Watt is just as good in his own right. In Green at, Nick Perry is a free agent, Clay Matthews isn’t getting any younger, and Julius Peppers went back to Carolina to finish our his career. While it would make sense for the Packers to sign a veteran to replace Peppers or PErry, they are still the Packers and will insist on taking someone in the draft. That person could be TJ Watt. Watt could play either outside linebacker position, and if he pans out to be anything close to his brother, the Packers could have a very special player on their hands.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers, Jabrill Peppers, Safety/Linebacker, Michigan
If he was available, I would have had TJ Watt go here to Pittsburgh. Let’s face it, the Steelers have been buoyed in the past two seasons by the resurgence of James Harrison, that will not last forever by any means. Why I went with Peppers here is because the Steelers have not had a legitimate playmaker in the secondary since Troy Polamalu retired years ago. Peppers could provide that and more, the reason I have him this low however is because a lot of scouts are not sure of where he will play. The same happened with Darron Lee last year with the Jets, as a pure linebacker Lee could have gone before Leonard Floyd, but there was questions around his size and what position he would play in the NFL, and he fell to 20. Peppers does everything at an okay level, and he should be a nice fit in Pittsburgh so long as another team doesn’t jump the gun to bite on his potential.
31. Atlanta Falcons, Forrest Lamp, Offensive Guard, Western Kentucky
The Falcons are going into this year with Chris Chester as their starting right guard on a line full of guys that otherwise would have made the Pro Bowl had they not been playing a week later. While Lamp may not replace Chester right away, at 34 years old, it is probably not a bad thing to look to replace him with the younger Forrest Lamp.
32. New Orleans Saints, Obi Melifonwu, Safety, Connecticut
With two first round selections, the Saints can afford to take a chance on a guy like Melifonwu. He blew up to combine and skyrocketed up draft boards around the league. I still feel as though the Saints will acquire Malcolm Butler from the Patriots, and adding Melifonwu to a secondary with Vonn Bell and Delvin Breaux along with a front seven that will have added Taco Charlton with the eleventh pick according to this mock draft, the Saints could finally have a defense again for the first time since the Bounty-gate scandal, along with Johnny Manziel maybe backing up Drew Brees!
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