Here we go folks! We are a little bit more than one month away from the 2017 NFL Draft! The big free agents have been signed, the combine is over, and now the private workouts have begun. Here’s my 8th attempt at a mock.
This is not a prediction, it is a statement. The Browns are going to take Myles Garrett with the first pick. He is the best player in this draft. He is the best prospect in years. He will wreak havoc on quarterbacks for years to come and become the face of the franchise. This is the easiest pick in years. They cannot mess this up.
2.San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, Defensive Linemen, Stanford
I’ve had Mitchell Trubisky slotted here for months now, but with the signings of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, and Trubisky’s stock sliding as he is clearly going to need a year or two to develop, Thomas makes sense as the pick here. A disruptive athlete, when combined with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead could form one of the fiercest defensive lines in the league for years to come. Quarterback can be addressed later in the draft, or possibly even next season.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
Chicago addressed its quarterback situation with the signing of Mike Glennon this offseason, so now they can use the draft to address other areas of concern, with their defensive secondary being one of the most notable. Adams is the ultimate field general in this draft, with fluid hips and great tackling.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU
The Jacksonville defensive got big time upgrades with the signings of cornerback AJ Bouye and defensive linemen Calais Campbell. Now it’s time to address the offense, and one focus should be improving their running game to take some pressure off of quarterback Blake Bortles. Despite his terrible vertical, Fournette ran a 4.51 at 240 pounds! This guy is a beast and will be running guys over for years.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
A 4.36 40-yard dash! A 4.36 40-yard dash! Lattimore is a one year starter but has all the physical tools and coverage skills to be an elite defensive back in the NFL for years. Oh, and he’s really fast! Tennessee needs secondary help and would be unwise to pass on a potential franchise corner.
6.New York Jets: Malik Hooker, Free Safety, Ohio State
Another Ohio State one year starter, Hooker seemed to be making picks and scoring touchdowns whenever you turned on the TV. A ball hawk and the ultimate center fielder, he’s the play making DB the Jets defense needs. Quarterback is an option here, but no QB in this class is worth a selection this high.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
I can’t tell is the Chargers are trying to win now or rebuild. If they want to win now, they need to give Phillip Rivers protection and weapons. Mike Williams is a straight up baller. You throw the ball up to him, he is going to come down with it. He isn’t going to separate from elite DB’s in the league with his speed, but he will win most jump balls, which is something Rivers and the Chargers need in the end zone.
8. Carolina Panthers: John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington
Setting the 40-yard dash record is going to help you climb a lot of draft boards, that is for sure. Ross is a homerun threat who also works well out of the slot. He’ll give Cam Newton a weapon multi-dimensional weapon that the Panthers offense desperately needs.
9.Cincinnati Bengals: Rueben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
The Bengals need to get younger at the linebacker position, and Foster is a heat seeking missile who can run a defense for years to come. An altercation with a hospital employee got him sent home from the combine, but there appear to be no other character issues with Foster.
10. Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
The Bills are brining Tyrod Taylor back, so now they need to give him more weapons to be successful. Davis hasn’t workout of much this offseason due to surgery, but he is a big target who can play inside and out and attacks the ball very well. Him and Sammy Watkins would form one of the better wideout duos in the league.
11. New Orleans Saints: Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan
The Saints need help on defense, and with two first round picks thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade, they’ll look to make some splashes on that side of the ball, starting with an edge rusher in Charlton.
12. Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
The QB desperate Browns won’t let a proven winner like Watson slide any further than this. While there have been questions about his accuracy and his ball velocity, I think this is the sort of QB Hue Jackson has always dreamed of having, and they’ll bet the franchise on him.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
Arizona has come out and said they are looking for a young QB to groom for the future behind starter Carson Palmer, and Trubisky is a guy who can thrive in a system if given time to learn it.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State
Wide receiver and corner were two areas Philly needed to address this offseason. They went out and got Alshon Jeffrey, the best pass catcher on the market, so now they’ll take one of the fastest rising defensive backs in the draft in Conley. A lanky DB who plays the ball extremely well, he put on a show at the combine and will look to continue his hot streak at Ohio State’s pro day, don’t be surprised to see him higher in other mocks.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, Offensive Guard, Western Kentucky
The Colts offensive line is trash. They improved last year by selecting center Ryan Kelly in the 1st round, so they’ll continue to build the interior offensive line with Lamp, who put up great numbers at the combine and has scouts and GM’s affection throughout the league. They signed Andrew Luck to a huge deal last year, they would be best off protecting their investment.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphreys, Cornerback, Alabama
Humphreys struggled with his ability to play the ball at times this season, but he is still physically what GM’s look for in a corner and very athletic. The Ravens will be looking for a boost in their secondary during this draft.
17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, Defensive Linemen, Alabama
Lingering injuries scare NFL teams, and the news of Allen having arthritis in his shoulders is concerning, especially when the phrase “doesn’t get any better” is uttered by anonymous sources. This will cause a likely top 5 pick to slide to the middle of the first round. The Redskins defensive line needs some serious improvement, and if Allen can stay healthy, he is the steal of the draft at 17.
18. Tennessee Titans: OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama
The Titans address defense with the Lattimore pick, now they’ll look to give young Marcus Mariota a big weapon in the passing game, especially with Delanie Walker getting toward the end of his prime. Howard wasn’t very productive in college, but has the athletic ability to and strength to become a top tight end.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford
The Bucs had a major area of need at wide receiver, but addressed that with the signing of Desean Jackson. Now they’ll turn to improving their running game, where Doug Martin is dealing with his own demons and the only other established runner is Jacquizz Rodgers. McCaffrey’s play making abilities will help Jameis Winston improve his game and give the Bucs a dangerous return man.
20. Denver Broncos: Garrett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah
Whether it’s Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian under center for the fighting John Elways, the Broncos need to protect their QB, especially after seeing Russell Okung leave in free agency.
21. Detroit Lions: Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee
Barnett is a steal at 21, and pair his power rushing abilities with Ziggy Ansah will give the Lions a pass rush duo that will be able to make even Aaron Rodgers uncomfortable in the pocket.
22. Miami Dolphins: Hasson Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
Lawrence Timmons isn’t the answer at linebacker for the Dolphins, who need a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, so adding the versatile Reddick should give them a young player to build the defense around as they continue to trend upwards.
23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
Erick Flowers hasn’t panned out like the Giants had hoped, so they’ll look to address the O-line and try to keep Eli Manning upright.
24. Oakland Raiders: Quincy Wilson, Cornerback, Florida
Often overshadowed by his now fast-sliding ex-teammate Jalen “Teez” Tabor, Wilson is a physical corner who shined against top competition, and should give the Raiders secondary the boost it needs.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech
Brock is gone, rejoice Houston! Mahomes is a physical specimen as a quarterback, with arguably the best arm in the draft. He can make every throw needed, and put up video game stats in college. Unfortunately, coming from an Air-Raid offense at Texas Tech, he will need time to learn how to run an NFL offense. Look for Houston to try to win now with a veteran and groom Mahomes for the future.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Robinson’s stock has been on the rise lately, and that combined with a weak tackle class and Seattle’s desperate need to improve their O-line lands him a spot in the first round. He is great in run blocking, which Pete Carroll will use to pound away at opponents in the NFC West.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
The Chiefs are one of the most talented teams in the NFL and are major contenders in the AFC, but they need to make improvements on the offensive side of the ball to take pressure off their elite defense. While another weapon in the passing game would benefit Alex Smith, the releasing of Jamaal Charles leaves a gap at running back. Cook had a disappointing combine but is still one of the most talented and productive college football running backs ever, and can be a top 10 back in the league for years.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Harris, Edge, Missouri
The Cowboys need help in the secondary, especially with Morris Claiborne leaving for the Jets, but with the depth at the corner and safety positions in this draft class, they should look to address their pass rush first with Harris, who’s quick burst off the edge will be much needed in Dallas, especially with Randy Gregory being so unreliable.
29. Green Bay Packers: Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma
I’m going to get some crap for this one, I know. Let me explain myself. First, the fact is that Mixon may be the 2nd or 3rd most talented back in this stacked draft class. Second, word is he has been doing extremely well in interviews with teams lately and concerns about him are lessoning. Third, he put on a show at his pro-day. With Eddie Lacy leaving for Seattle, the Packers are left with former wide out Ty Montgomery as their primary back, and while he can be explosive at times, adding a true, every down back like Mixon would make Green Bay’s offense even scarier.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: TJ Watt, Outside Linebacker, Wisconsin
While he’ll likely always be known as JJ Watt’s younger brother, TJ is a superior athlete who would be a perfect complement at outside linebacker opposite rising 3rd year linebacker Bud Dupree. The Steelers would have another pass rusher of the future to replace James Harrison, who yes, will at some point retire (although that probably won’t be for a while).
31. Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, Edge, UCLA
The Falcons went into this offseason without a lot of specific areas of need besides defensive line. They then went out and added Dontari Poe on a one year deal. Now they’ll look to add another young pass rusher to put opposite of NFL sack leader Vic Beasley with McKinley, who’s speed could make him a double-digit sack threat.
32. New Orleans Saints: Obi Melifonwu, Safety, Connecticut
If the Saints manage to add Malcom Butler to their secondary, adding the ultra-athletic Melifonwu to play safety behind him would be a wise choice.
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