We’re two weeks away from the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of hype and speculation with this draft class, and it’s one of the few draft classes I’ve really tried to do the most homework on. Without further adieu, let’s look at how the first round will shake out come April 27th. Please note I have all teams staying put in this one as getting into trade ideas would get to be too much for now.
- Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett- Defensive End (Texas A&M)
There have been reports of the Browns passing on Garrett to take their quarterback, which in my mind, would be silly actually. Getting Garrett on this defense, with some of the young pieces the Browns have, would give them a freakish pass rusher for the next decade and beyond.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas- Defensive End (Stanford)
Like Garrett, Thomas is a freakish pass rusher and pairing him with DeForrest Buckner and Arik Armstead would solidify the Niners defensive line for years to come. GM John Lynch is a defensive minded guy and most likely wants to bring back that nastiness to the Niners defense.
3. Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore- Cornerback (Ohio State)
The Bears have a solid, young defense that really, if given some more pieces, could really begin to come together as a top unit. I like what the Bears have on offense despite losing Alshon Jeffery. Get Lattimore here and the Bears have a true, shut down corner to mold their secondary once and for all.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette- Runningback (LSU)
The Jags nailed it in free agency with their defensive additions. I love their direction but one thing is missing, well two things. The O line can be addressed later but getting Blake Bortles a guy who could run the ball 20-30 times a game would limit his turnovers and the hits he takes. Just remember how dangerous the Jags were with Fred Taylor years ago; Fournette is astronomically better and would be the spark the Jags need.
5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis- Wide Receiver (Western Michigan)
The Titans released longtime veteran cornerback Jason McCourty but they could address that later with the draft being as deep as the ocean with corners this year. Getting Marcus Mariota and legit, bonafide wide receiver has to be the play here. Pairing Davis with Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker immediately ignites the Titans aerial attack and takes the pressure off of their run game.
6. New York Jets: Mitchell Trubisky- Quarterback (North Carolina)
The Jets need just about everything and that’s why I argue they should trade back and stockpile more picks but for the sake of staying as is, I’ll have them finally answer their quarterback issues. Trubisky is a great prospect and I’m really high on him. He needs some time so maybe taking a year behind Bryce Petty and allowing the Jets to add more talent in the draft and next year would really pay dividends for Trubsiky. Maybe it’s a tad of a reach but the Jets need a franchise QB and Trubsiky could be just that if the Jets use the rest of the draft to build back their O line and defense.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams- Wide Receiver (Clemson)
The Chargers defense is surprisingly young and talented and I’m sure they’ll want to add to it but I’m concerned about Keenan Allen’s longterm health. He’s had some injuries over the last few years and Philip Rivers and the passing game has suffered because of it. Getting a playmaker in Williams would really ignite the Bolts passing attack and if Allen stays healthy, a young duo in Allen and Williams would really bring out the old slinger in Phillip Rivers.
8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen- Defensive Tackle (Alabama)
Allen has been falling in some recent mocks and if he falls here, you’d have to expect Carolina to pounce. I’d like to see Carolina get a back to take the heat off of Cam Newton, but their bread and butter is their defense which was lousy a year ago. Getting a force like Allen to pair with Kawann Short would really help bring back the bite in the Panthers offense.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett- Defensive End (Tennessee)
The Bengals defense was atrocious a year ago. Bad. Just bad. They do have holes to fill but one that stands out to me is another pass rusher to go with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. Both have incredible success in their careers but both have had some injuries. If they can stay healthy, adding a speed rusher like Barnett would really give the Bengals a fearless pass rush.
10. Buffalo Bills: Malik Hooker- Safety (Ohio State)
The Bills haven’t gotten much production from their safeties in the last few years and the team lost cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency. To see Hooker drop this far might be a shock but if he indeed does, Buffalo has to get him. Hooker has Ed Reed written all over him and with the pieces Buffalo has on defense, they would really begin to start building a top defensive unit with defensive minded head coach Sean McDermott who did wonders in Carolina.
11. New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster- Linebacker (Alabama)
I LOVE Reuben Foster. If you’ve listened to our podcast, I really want the Eagles to take him but I don’t see him falling to 14 or the Eagles taking him given their other needs. Foster is a nasty, game changer at linebacker and is a tackling machine. He would go a long way in bringing a new era to the Saints defense. This would be a beautiful pick for a team that needs a new identity on defense.
12. Cleveland Browns: OJ Howard- Tight End (Alabama)
The Browns have a ton of assets in this draft as well as next year’s draft. What I think is most important is that the Browns add the best player available and get immediate, day one talent seeing as they’ve been talent deprived for years. Getting their pass rusher and a “Rob Gronkowski” like tight end in Howard is an A+ first round for me. The Browns can still adress quarterback and for that quarterback to have Corey Coleman, Kenny Britt and OJ Howard; he might, just MIGHT succeed with that arsenal.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes- Quarterback (Texas Tech)
The Cardinals have a talented team, their issue a year ago was Carson Palmer really regressing. He’s older and it’s fair to question how much he has left. Why Mahomes over Watson? Mahomes seems to be a better pocket passer, something Bruce Arians really likes. Mahomes also has a strong arm and given the receivers the Cardinals have, a vertical passing game is prioritized.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Marlon Humphrey- Cornerback (Alabama)
The Eagles have needs but none loom more than cornerback. Humphrey is a day one starter and fits defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s style of man-to-man, physicality. He’s the guy who goes up against Odell Beckham Jr. Dez Bryant and Terrelle Pryror twice a year and limits them, something the Eagles clearly lacked a year ago.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook- Runningback (Florida State)
The Colts have had quietly had a strong offseason adding some much needed defensive help. Getting Andrew Luck and this offense a consistent running game is the go-to here. Cook easily can carry a 3 down work load and would take the pressure off of the passing game and defense as the Colts could manage the clock better. This wold be the equivalent of Peyton Manning having Edgerrin James over a decade ago.
16. Baltimore Ravens: John Ross- Wide Receiver (Washington)
Alec and I talked on the podcast last night about the Ravens always finding a way to have a top flight defense. What they’ve really been missing is a deep threat for Joe Flacco. Flacco might not be a top 10 quarterback, but he has a top10 arm and no receivers who can take the top off of the defense. Enter John Ross and his 4.22 40 yard dash time. Ross would be an unbelievable addition to a passing game that needs a “Flash” of sorts to give it life.
17. Washington Redskins: Taco Charlton: Defensive End (Michigan)
The Redskins lost Chris Baker to free agency and they really don’t have much else on their defensive line. Selecting Charlton who could start day one and give the Redskins a much needed pass rusher would do a lot for this defense. It would also take the double teams off of Ryan Kerrigan.
18. Tennessee Titans: Gareon Conley- Cornerback (Ohio State)
Conley is a day one starter at corner and would replace Jason McCourty nicely. For a team like Tennessee with as much draft capital as they have, they get their number one corner with the chance to give Conley even more help in the secondary later. Great picks in the first round by the Titans here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: JuJu Smith- Schuster- Wide Receiver (USC)
The Bucs have a solid defense and added more to it in free agency. They also added one of the league’s best deep threats in DeSean Jackson to go with Mike Evans but getting Smith-Schuster here at 19 would really, REALLY help Jameis Winston and this passing game. Think about it; teams have to worry about DeSean’s speed and have to worry about doubling Mike Evans. Give Jameis a solid, possession receiver in Smith-Schuster who can go over the middle and you’re looking at a Bucs team that could put up 30+ points a game.
20. Denver Broncos: Cameron Robinson- Offensive Tackle (Alabama)
The Broncos seem content with Trevor Siemian at quarterback. That’s fine, but they need O line help. They added Ron Leary at guard in free agency but they have a huge hole at right tackle. Grab Robinson here and inject some youth and talent to the line to protect Siemian for the long haul.
21. Detroit Lions: Zach Cunningham- Linebacker (Vanderbilt)
The Lions offense seems set especially with their offensive line additions in free agency. What they’re missing is a piece in their linebacker core. Cunningham is a playmaker and a machine and would really give the Lions a lot of flexibility at linebacker.
22. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Ramczyk- Offensive Tackle (Wisconsin)
The Dolphins saw major success with Laremy Tunsil at guard and I would highly suggest keeping him there and not moving him to tackle. Grab Ramczyk here and the Dolphins left side is young and unbelievably talented, with the key word being young as they would be around for a while protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. Not the sexiest pick but Miami needs to keep upgrading their line.
23. New York Giants: Garrett Bolles- Offensive Tackle (Utah)
The Giants line is okay, not great, with their biggest weakness being the left tackle spot which is responsible for Eli Manning’s blindside. Bolles immediately comes in as the starter and with free agent running back Adrian Peterson waiting until after the draft to sign with a team, an improved O line might be the bargaining chip for him to come into the Big Apple.
24. Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders: Tre’Davious White- Cornerback (LSU)
The Raiders have really no weakness on offense especially if they land Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. They do have some issues at corner and White would negate those issues right off of the bat. He’s a number one corner who excels in man-to-man coverage and can play well in zone. He also has great size which plays well into the fact that Denver, Kansas City and LA have big bodied receivers.
25. Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson- Quarterback (Clemson)
Head coach Bill O’Brien would have to be going crazy if Watson fell to 25. He’s a winner and has the chance to be really special in this league. For the Texans to completely botch the Brock Osweiler signing a year ago and not bring in Tony Romo, getting Watson here and having the defense and offensive weapons that they do would immediately make them AFC South contenders in 2017 and beyond.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King- Cornerback (Washington)
Rumors have surfaced that All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is available for trade. If they move him, they’ll definitely get a king’s ransom in return and have a need at corner. Even if they don’t adding King to go with Sherman would be an unbelievable move. King is 6’3″ and has incredible speed for his size. This move really brings back the LegionOfBoom feel that gave Seattle a championship.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Haason Reddick- Linebacker (Temple)
The Chiefs need to find some youth at the linebacker position and Reddick’s stock has risen dramatically since the combine and his pro day. He’s a player who is all over the field, can rush the passer, play in coverage and stuff the run. Whether the Chiefs try him in the middle to eventually take over for Derrick Johnson or the outside for the same reason of Tamba Hali, Reddick gives the Chiefs a strong and young linebacker who could be the new face of the defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley- Defensive End (UCLA)
McKinley dropping this far might be a stretch but if he does, Dallas HAS to grab him. Their pass rush has been anemic in the last few years and remember when they selected Demarcus Ware? Ware became a force in the league and McKinley has a lot of Ware’s traits. Dallas could look at corner but like I said, they need a pass rush especially to keep up in the tough NFC East division.
29. Green Bay Packers: Chidobe Awuzie- Cornerback (Colorado)
The Packers made the NFC Championship game last year because their offense took off and was hard to stop. They got thwarted by the Falcons because their secondary was abysmal. Awuzie’s stock has risen a ton in the last few months and has all the traits you want in a starting corner. With the passing attacks in the NFC North and NFC alone, the Pack NEED a shut down corner, something Awuzie immediately gives them.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jabril Peppers- Cornerback/Safety/Linebacker (Michigan)
Okay the reason I like Peppers here for Pittsburgh is one reason and one reason only; Troy Polamalu. Polamalu was a safety in his name BUT he had the range, speed and cover skills to play anywhere in the secondary. Sounds like Peppers right? Peppers is a playmaker and would give the Steelers a ton of flexibility on defense. If he’s inside with Ryan Shazier, covering a tight end or receiver, or dropping back in coverage, Peppers make so much sense for the Steelers here as he really is Troy Polamalu 2.0
31. Atlanta Falcons: Malik McDowell- Defensive Tackle (Michigan State)
The Falcons don’t have a ton of needs but more D line help can’t hurt. McDowell pairing with Grady Jarrett gives the Falcons stability to stuff the run as well as rush the passer. More bodies on the D line for a team that really improved defensively under Dan Quinn.
32. New Orleans Saints: Charles Harris- Defensive End( Missouri)
Plain and simple the Saints need defensive help. I had them get their linebacker with Reuben Foster so here, let’s grab another pass rusher in Harris who takes the double teams off of Cam Jordan. More defensive help for a team that is beginning to rebuild their defensive identity as I mentioned prior.
Check back to see Alec and Louis post their final mock drafts. Remember, the draft starts April 27th at 7pm in Philadelphia. It’s sure to be a wild one with shocking trades and selections!
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