Welcome to the 2017 NFL *mock* draft. The official draft takes place April 27th to the 29th. Before than, 32 NFL teams do their diligence scouting college prospects to see who can improve their team. NFL teams will get a chance look at the prospects on Feb. 28 through March 6at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Congratulations to the New England Patriots on their Super Bowl victory. Now it is time for the 32 NFL teams to prepare for the 2017-2018 season in hopes to winning the Super Bowl. Lets take a look at college prospects teams can end up taking.
1) Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Earlier in February, Garrett pleaded with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett to trade QB Tony Romo and a couple picks to the Browns so the Cowboys can take him at number one. It is a 99.9 percent chance that does NOT happen, so Garrett is most likely headed to Cleveland.
Garrett is someone the Browns absolutely cannot pass on. His pass rushing ability improves this team dramatically and is a type of player the Browns need to turn their franchise around.
2) San Francisco 49ers
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama: The Kyle Shananhan era has started and it makes a lot of sense for the 49ers to take a QB to go along with their offensive minded head coach. Allen is a player a team should not pass on. If the 49ers select Allen, it will be the third consecutive year the 49ers have taken a defensive lineman in the first round after taking Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two drafts.
Allen terrorized college quarterbacks in his final year at Alabama. He was awarded the Chuck Bednarik Award for the best defensive player in the NCAA and SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Allen recorded 10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2016 while playing both the defensive end and defensive tackle positions.
3) Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: Bears fans rejoice, the Jay Cutler era in Chicago appears to be over. The team is actively looking for trade partners for the 11-year quarterback. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported retirement is an option for Cutler, but either way the Bears win if Cutler is not on their roster in the upcoming season.
In 2016, Trubisky spent his first season as the full time starting quarterback at North Carolina and impressed scouts enough to be to be drafted this high. He showed accuracy completing 68 percent of his passes, which ranked fifth in the country. Trubisky has good pocket presence and is athletic enough to hurt a defense with his feet. Standing at 6’3” and 220 pounds, he has the proper frame to withstand NFL punishment.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jamal Adams, S, LSU: Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien is headed to free agency as soon as March 9th hits and is considered to draw a sizable market. Cyprien is good, but Adams can become a All-Pro safety for years to come. Adams is a freak athlete and provides a defensive impact in the secondary from day one.
By taking Adams, the Jaguars save money and get a freakish athlete at the safety position. He is not afraid to tackle and looks to set the tone for the defense with his hard-hitting ability.
5) Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams)
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: Applaud the Titans for the moves they have made since last season. They traded for RB Demarco Murray who finished third in rushing in 2016 with 1,287 yards. They traded the number one overall pick to the Rams and took OT Jack Conklin who was named first team AP All-Pro as a rookie. They found their running back of the future in Derrick Henry in the same draft. And now they have two first round picks.
Williams makes sense here. The Titans have a strong running game, but do not have a number one receiver for QB Marcus Mariota. Williams becomes that guy with this pick. Williams does not serve as a good route runner, but uses his 6’3” frame to shield defensive backs and go up for the football.
6) New York Jets
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: Watching CB Darrelle Revis play last year was just sad. He was constantly beat on deep routes and showed Revis Island is now a resort where everyone can visit. With Revis losing a step or two, insert Lattimore.
The 2017 NFL Draft is deep at the cornerback position and Lattimore probably serves as the best cover corner. He was targeted 35 times and only allowed 14 catches to go along with four interceptions in 2016. At 6’1” and 192, Lattimore is able to cover bigger receivers and is not afraid to stick his nose in there and tackle.
7) Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: Two Ohio State secondary players are taken back-to-back here with Hooker being selected by the Chargers.
When the Chargers let Eric Weddle walk last season it left a big hole at the safety position. Hooker was a big time playmaker for Ohio State intercepting seven passes and returning three for touchdowns. He has great range and can be an impact starter for years to come.
8) Carolina Panthers
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: After playing in the Super Bowl a year ago, the Panthers did not play up to expectations in 2016. It would not be a surprise if the Panthers get back to being Super Bowl contenders in the 2017-2018 and selecting Fournette would help their chances.
At age 29, RB Jonathan Stewart is not getting any younger. It is time to find his future replacement and add depth behind him. Stewart missed three games in 2016 and the Panthers lacked the talent behind to carry his workload. Fournette is a downhill runner that displays power when he runs. With QB Cam Newton, adding Fournette can give the Panthers a powerful backfield.
9) Cincinnati Bengals
Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama: Linebacker Rey Maualuga turned 30 earlier this year and it is no telling how his body will hold up in the future.
Foster has bad intentions when tackling ball carries. He lost 15 pounds before 2016 season, which gave him more speed and explosiveness. Ranges from sideline-to-sideline and has the ability to cover running backs out the backfield. Foster gives the Bengals a linebacker for the next 10 years.
10) Buffalo Bills
Deshuan Watson, QB, Clemson: The Bills have issues at the quarterback position with Tyrod Taylor contract situation. Taylor has proven he can play the quarterback position in the NFL, but the Bills do not want to pay him the $27.5 million he is due. Hopefully both sides get that situation handled and the Bills draft the quarterback of the future in Watson.
Simply put, Watson is a winner. In the last two years, Watson has a record of 28-2 as a starter and led Clemson to the National Championship both years. He was able to lead Clemson to victory in the championship against Alabama after losing the previous year. He puts on a show when the lights are the brightest. He combined for a total of 1,056 yards of offense and eight touchdowns in the two championship games.
11) New Orleans Saints
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington: There is no nice way to put it; the Saints are terrible at defending the pass. They ranked last in the NFL with 274 passing yards allowed per game. Quarterback Drew Brees often found himself in shootouts in 2016 because his defense could not stop the opposing offense.
Jones improves the Saints secondary in everyway. He uses great press technique to make it hard for receivers to get into their route and has great ball skills. He intercepted nine passes and was able to get his hand on the football 21.3 percent of the times over the last two years at Washington. Jones was named first team all Pac-12 and may be the best player on a talented Washington defense.
12) Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles)
DeShone Kizer, QB, Norte Dame: It is possible the Browns can trade this pick to the New England Patriots for QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but if they don’t Kizer is the next best option for them.
This could be a reach at 12, but the Browns need a quarterback in the worst way. They have had 26 different starting quarterbacks since 1999, the most in the NFL since and should look to stabilize the position this offseason. Kizer posses a big arm and can make all the NFL throws. He showed inconsistency in 2016, but has ability to Browns head coach Hue Jackson can work with.
13) Arizona Cardinals
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida: Whatever side CB Patrick Peterson was not on teams attacked the other side. The Cardinals tried both rookie CB Brandon Williams and CB Marcus Cooper, but Wilson gives the team a much-needed upgrade.
Wilson provides physicality at the cornerback position at 6’1” 213 pounds. Wilson is the typical size for a NFL corner and possesses the ability to cover top receivers. He showed the confidence and ability at Florida to do so.
14) Indianapolis Colts
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: The Colts have never had a 1,000-yard rusher since drafting QB Andrew Luck. Frank Gore is still a valuable running back, but at age 33, it is time to bring in some fresh legs.
Cook is an elusive running back who runs downhill. He is able to make his move and run for a huge gain. He is dangerous in the open field and is able to catch the football out the backfield. Cook is somebody Colts can use to take the pressure off Luck and his arm.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota Vikings)
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: Can the Eagles please get QB Carson Wentz some help at receiver? It was hard watching Wentz search for an open receiver to go along with the Eagles receiver dropping the football when Wentz threw a perfect pass.
Jordan Matthews is solid receiver, but he is more of a number two option. Davis gives Wentz and the Eagles a go to option. At 6’3”, Davis is a big body with a fierce attitude on the field and good hands. He dominated in his conference winning the 2016 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year and is the college football leader in receiving yards with 5, 285.
16) Baltimore Ravens
Taco Charlton, DE/OLB, Michigan: Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are getting up there in age. Suggs, 34, and Dumervil, 33, the Ravens need to bring in a pass rusher for the future.
In 2016, Charlton lead Michigan in sacks with 9.5 to go along with 13 tackles for lost. Charlton serves as a long athletic player at 6’6” 272 pounds. If a team can get him to play at a consistent, he may become an at least a pro bowler for years to come.
17) Washington Redskins
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: In 2016, the Redskins ranked 24th in stopping the run. They gave up 119.8 yards on the ground and need to get better in that department if they want to get back to the playoffs.
Thomas is well built and can beat blockers with power or quickness. At 6’3” 273 pounds, Thomas is able to get in opposing offenses backfields by making himself skinny and uses a variety of moves to get off the block.
18) Tennessee Titans
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: The Titans took care an offensive need with their first selection in the first round, now it is time to sure up the defense. In 2016, they were tied second to last in the NFL with 269 yards given up through the air.
Tabor formed a formable duo along with Quincy Wilson at Florida. When the football was in the air, Tabor was at his best. Over the last two years, Tabor defended 28 passes and finished his collegiate career with nine interceptions.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Outside of Mike Evans, the Buccaneers do not have a valuable option. Somebody coming in and helping relieve some of the load off Evans can be beneficial for QB Jameis Winston and this offense.
At 6’6” 249 pounds, Howard is another big body for Winston to go along with Evans. Howard causes mismatches for both linebackers and safety with his speed. His two best games in college both came in the National Championship so he knows when to turn it on when the lights are bright.
20) Denver Broncos
David Njoku, TE, Miami: The Broncos can easily draft an offensive lineman with this pick, but this years draft class lacks talent at the position. It is assumed they will take care of the line in the offseason, so it will be nice to get an offensive weapon with this pick.
In 2016, the Broncos lacked a valuable third receiving option. Njoku can fill that role at the tight end position with his athleticism. He is able to play from the slot and on the line. Njoku still needs to learn the position, but shows the ability to be a future pro bowler.
21) Detroit Lions
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: When a team has only 26 sacks throughout the season, they typically do not win. Thanks to QB Matthew Stafford late game heroics the Lions found a way to win, but need to find a pass rusher to ease their chances.
Barnett notched 13 sacks in 2016 at Tennessee and gives the Lions a pass rusher they desperately need. His hands are his best asset when getting off blocks and plays with good leverage. Barnett can form a nice pass rushing duo with DE Ezekiel Ansah who battled injuries last season.
22) Miami Dolphins
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: The Dolphins made great strides last season finishing 10-6 and making the playoffs, ending an eight year drought. In the AFC East, the New England Patriots reign supreme. In the last 15 years, the Patriots have won the division 13 times. The Dolphins can try to take them down and it starts on defense.
Humphrey comes from the great Alabama defensive scheme that comes with a competitive edge. Physicality is not a weakness for him as he is very aggressive from the press. Forced three fumbles in 2016.
23) New York Giants
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt: The Giants bolstered their defensive line and secondary prior to the 2016 season. Their linebacker core lacks an impact player. Cunningham gives the Giants star potential with his tackling ability.
In 2016, Cunningham led the SEC in tackles and was given first team AP All-American honors. Cunningham is a rangy linebacker who is a three down player. He is like a magnet to the football and has enough athleticism to cover running backs and tight ends.
24) Oakland Raiders
Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida: 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year DE Khalil Mack and LB Bruce Irvin make up one of the best pass rushing duos, but the team still ranked last in sacks with 25. The lack of interior pressure is the reason for that.
Brantley can give the Raiders the interior pass rusher the team needs. Even though he only notched 2.5 sacks in 2016, Brantley is a better pass rusher than the numbers show. His quick punch allows him to close the pocket for the quarterback.
25) Houston Texans
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: With lousy quarterback play, the Texans offense struggled. Tony Romo is an option for the Texans if they decide to go that route. If so, it would not hurt to add an offensive tackle to help the injury prone quarterback.
Ramczyk becomes the Texans started right tackle from day one and the future replacement for LT Duane Brown if they choose to select him. He was given AP All-American and All Big Ten honors in 2016. If it were not for hip surgery, Ramczyk might be selected higher.
26) Seattle Seahawks
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah: Quarterback Russell Wilson was seen running for his life throughout the season due to poor offensive line play. The Seahawks surrounded 42 sacks, sixth most in the NFL. They will need to get better on the offensive line and keep their quarterback better protected.
Bolles will be 25 years old when fall camp rolls around, but is talented enough to warrant a first round selection. At Utah, he showed quickness and nice footwork when blocking. The mean streak he plays with gives him an advantage over defenders.
27) Kansas City Chiefs
Hasson Reddick, LB, Temple: Linebacker Derrick Johnson ended his 2016 season after rupturing his Achilles. At age 34, it is an appropriate time for the Chiefs to look for his replacement.
Reddick played at defensive end at Temple, but his skill set allows him to lineup at inside linebacker at the NFL level. In the 2017 Senior Bowl, Reddick flashed brilliance and moved up to a no name to a first round prospect. He is still learning the position, but all he needs is more reps.
28) Dallas Cowboys
Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan: The Cowboys hit the jackpot in the 2016 NFL Draft with RB Ezekiel Elliott and 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott. They are still waiting on LB Jaylon Smith to hit the field, a top talent who missed the season due to a knee injury. They continue their luck with Peppers falling to them at 28.
Peppers is one of the well-known players in this draft, but his lack of a position hurts him. Michigan lined him up at safety, linebacker, cornerback and even played on offense. He will most likely transition to the safety position. Safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox are free agents this offseason, so selecting Peppers makes a lot of sense here if they choose not to bring them back.
29) Green Bay Packers
Christian MaCaffrey, RB, Stanford: All hail QB Aaron Rodgers. He showed his greatness this season as he got his team one game away from the Super Bowl despite finishing the season with a receiver as the Packers starting running back.
McCaffrey could be another weapon for Rodgers to use in this offense, not just at running back. At Stanford, he was used all over the field. In 2015, McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a season.
30) Pittsburgh Steelers
Adoree’ Jackson, CB/KR/PR, USC: If the Steelers want to get back to the Super Bowl before QB Ben Roethlisberger retires, they need to sure up the defense. That starts with getting a playmaker in the secondary.
Jackson is able to cover opposing teams best receiver and severed as a return man for USC. In 2016, Jackson was awarded with the. He intercepted the football fives times as he went on to win the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation top defensive back. He also ran a combined four kickoff and punt returns back for touchdowns. He is a playmaker indeed.
31) Atlanta Falcons
Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State: It is going to be really hard for the Falcons to overcome their Super Bowl LI loss to the New England Patriots, but they need to find away to do so. Twelve year DT Jonathan Babineaux is no longer with the team and they need to find his replacement.
After a strong 2015 season, McDowell’s production fell off in 2016 due to an ankle injury. He is still one of the best interior players in the draft. McDowell forces pressure from inside the pocket with his powerful bull-rush. Maybe he can help the Falcons finish the job next time.
32) New England Patriots
Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: The Patriots just find ways to win. They completed the largest comeback and Super Bowl history to give the franchise their fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy. With this selection, the Patriots keep winning.
Due to off the field issues, Williams falls to the last selection in the first round. In September 2016, Williams was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a permit. His talent on the field is not up for question. He finished 2016 with nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Williams fills the role of OLB Chandler Jones after the Patriots traded him to the Arizona Cardinals prior to the 2016 season.
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