2017 NFL Mock Draft v 2.0
The biggest spectacle of the NFL draft passed just a few short weeks ago in the form of the NFL Scouting Combine, and with that we saw some players stock soar (John Ross, Christian McCaffrey, Garett Bolles, Obi Melifonwu) and some players saw their stock fall (Teez Tabor, DeShone Kizer, Jonathan Allen, Jaleel Johnson). Because of the big time or disappointing performances by these prospects, my big board has shifted somewhat dramatically. Those changes in my big board can be found here, and will be reflected in the mock draft as well. Are you ready? Let’s get into this mock draft!
NFL Mock Draft 2.0
- The Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This should be a no brainer for Hue Jackson and crew. Garrett was a one man wrecking crew for A&M for 3 straight years, recording 141 total tackles, 47 for loss, 31 sacks, 1 interception, 5 passes batted down, and 7 forced fumbles. This selection adds an immediate game changer that the Browns defense has been missing for years.
2. The San Francisco 49ers select Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
It’s a game of pick a need, any need for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers, which puts them in a position to pick BPA here at #2. The best player available here is lockdown corner Marshon Lattimore, a player that can step in and have a very good season from the jump, a la Jalen Ramsey. In 2–3 years, look out for Lattimore’s name to be thrown out into the top cornerback conversation.
3. The Chicago Bears select Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
Last year, the Bears hit on rookie Leonard Floyd, who recorded 7 sacks in 12 games. Why not add another young stud to the defensive line? Solomon Thomas has shot up draft boards this year, and for good reason, as he finished this past season with a top 15 ranking in the nation in both run defense and pass rush categories by Pro Football Focus. Pairing Thomas with Floyd gives Chi-town a potentially deadly EDGE combo in a few years.
4. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Jaguars have holes all over their team. It seems like they’re staying put with their offense under Doug Marrone, so the spotlight turns to the defense. I was wrestling between Malik Hooker, a free safety, and Jamal Adams, a strong safety. I decided on Jamal Adams, mostly because Cyprien, the Jags’ former SS, left the squad to join the Tennessee Titans in free agency. Adams is an extremely physical in the box safety that can also drop back and play deep and slot corner at a high level when asked to, making him a guy that can potentially change the entire complexion of an decidedly average Jacksonville defense.
5. The Tennessee Titans (via the Los Angeles Rams) select Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Titans need difference makers on defense, and with the 5th pick they land potentially the biggest difference maker in the draft (at least on the defensive side of the ball). Hooker is a true center fielder who has ridiculous range and great ball skills, making him a perfect candidate for free safety of the future for this quickly improving Titans squad.
6. The New York Jets select Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The current Jets QB depth chart looks like this: Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg. That’s uh, not good. Want a quick fix? Take Deshaun Waston. Watson has now twice (2 times) shredded the closest thing college football has to offer to a NFL defense, Alabama, in back to back national championship games, and has all the tools to become a very good QB at the next level.
7. The Los Angeles Chargers select Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
LA could really use an offensive tackle here, but this is way too high to take Cam Robinson or Ryan Ramczyk. The Chargers could also really use a safety here, but both Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker are gone. No sweat however, because San Diego gets their pick of the litter at wide receiver. Corey Davis or Mike Williams? Given their track history with bigger receivers, I’m gonna go Mike Williams here. They can’t really go wrong here, Mike Williams his a guy who can run the whole route tree effectively, who catches just about everything the comes within his vicinity, and makes big time, game changing plays in clutch time. Get Philip Rivers another weapon.
8. The Carolina Panthers select Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Quincy Wilson, Leonard Fournette, and Christian McCaffrey all get long looks here but the right selection is my RB1 in this draft, Dalvin Cook. We all know Jonathan Stewart is injury prone, so having him split carries with the dynamic, game breaking Cook would transcend the Panthers rushing attack and begin to bring the Panthers offense back to it’s 2015–16 glory. Ignore the bad combine, scouts are raving about Cook’s pro day efforts, reaffirming my belief that Cook is the best tailback in this loaded class.
9. The Cincinnati Bengals select Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Another no brainer in the top 10, Cincy should, and will, at least with me at the helm, take Reuben Foster here. The good people at Bleacher Report had a weekly grading system titled NFL 1000, where they graded every single snap for every player. Cincy’s starting linebacker, Rey Maualuga, ranked 62nd out of all linebackers graded. 62nd! He’s out of place in the NFL and needs to be replaced with a faster, nastier Mike linebacker, and that’s exactly what Reuben Foster is. Reuben is one of the best linebacker prospects in recent memory, as he excels against the run, in coverage, and as a blitzer. Cincy needs to take him here.
10. The Buffalo Bills select Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Buffalo Bills actually did something right in keep Tyrod Taylor in town, but the weapons that Taylor has to throw to is pretty pitiful. After the talented but oft-injured Sammy Watkins, the Bills receiver corps has Philly Brown, Andre Holmes, Walter Powell, Brandon Tate and Jeremy Butler. What the hell is that? The Bills have pigeonholed themselves to only afford to draft one position, and it’s wide receiver. Luckily for Buffalo, Corey Davis is still on the board here and he’s a stud. Don’t let the small school fool you into thinking that Corey Davis isn’t for real, because the dude is legit. Davis is 6'2", fast, has great hands, and runs extremely crisp routes.
11. The New Orleans Saints select Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The New Orleans Saints play in a division who’s QBs are 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, 2016 MVP candidate Matt Ryan, and 2014 #1 pick Jameis Winston. They absolutely can’t afford to have a subpar secondary, so enter Quincy Wilson, shutdown corner from Florida. Quincy is my CB2, falling just behind Ohio State stud Marshon Lattimore. Quincy is a long, physical, and athletic corner who matches up well with any kind of receiver NFL teams could put on the field. Jonathan Allen is intriguing here but the secondary is too bad to pass on Wilson.
12. The Cleveland Browns (via the Philadelphia Eagles) select Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Cleveland does not have their starting QB of the future on their roster right now, and Kizer is potentially that guy. He’s raw but he has all the tools that could be molded into a franchise QB, he has the size, the big arm, the athleticism, and has shown the ability to make every throw he would need to make in the league. That’s all QB guru and Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson needs to work with here. And honestly, I think Kizer’s struggles this year was a product of a extremely poor situation at Notre Dame. Look at his redshirt Freshman year, or the Texas game at the beginning of the year this year (which will eventually be turned into a Defining Moment piece), and you’ll see he’s plenty good right now. Cleveland becomes the third team to land a potential franchise QB in this draft. Jonathan Allen again is tempting here, but QB here has more value than another defensive lineman.
13. The Arizona Cardinals select Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
And the slide stops for big #93. A mix of a subpar combine performance and concerns over multiple shoulder injuries will spell a fall for Allen, and the Cardinals will reap all of the benefits. Allen spent the past two seasons absolutely terrorizing SEC offense in the run game and rushing the passer, making him a good starting piece to rebuild the Cardinals’ recently depleted defensive line.
14. The Philadelphia Eagles (via the Minnesota Vikings) select Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Eagles’ secondary is, uh, not good. It doesn’t help that they lost one of their starting corners to reigning NFC East champ Dallas Cowboys. As the result, the Eagles have to go corner here, and luckily for them there’s still studs to pick from the litter. The choice here is the #2 pick’s running mate Gareon Conley, a long corner who knows how to use to his length effectively and sports very good ball skills, notching 4 interceptions this past season.
15. The Indianapolis Colts select Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Ryan Grigson tried to get the Colts running game to be lethal to match with gunslinger Andrew Luck’s proficiency in the pass game throughout his entire tenure as Colts GM. I would assume that new GM Chris Ballard will attempt to do the same. Now they get to finally establish a scary running game with a scary and freakish running back in the form of Leonard Fournette. The mix of power and speed makes Fournette absurdly special and an instant game changer for the Colts’ offense and takes a huge load off of superstar QB Andrew Luck.
16. The Baltimore Ravens select Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
A lot of prospects got looks here. Haason Reddick, Derek Barnett, Malik McDowell, Taco Charlton, and John Ross all were considered but the selection here is Marlon Humphrey, a long, physical corner with good ball skills to match up with top corner Jimmy Smith. Ravens fans everywhere, including myself, are probably still experiencing hallucinations from seeing Shareece Wright as our #2 corner getting destroyed on a down to down basis, Humphrey is an instant upgrade.
17. The Washington Redskins select Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
The Washington Redskins need a talent injection into their defensive line, so why not draft one of the most talented defensive lineman the draft has to offer? Malik comes with “baggage,” as he is allegedly a headache in the locker room and is tagged with having an inconsistent motor. But when you turn on the tape you can not miss the ridiculous talent he possesses, he’s able to play all up and down the defensive line very well and wrecks havoc against anyone when he puts his mind to it.
18. The Tennessee Titans select John Ross, WR, Washington
I strongly considered doubling down on defense here, taking a corner to bring even more help to a subpar secondary, but instead I opted to give Marcus Mariota a fun weapon to throw to. John Ross lit up the combine with his 4.22 40 yard dash, but Ross doesn’t just bring speed to the table. Ross’ route running and releases off the line is on par with any receiver in this class, making him a potential versatile matchup nightmare at the NFL level. Also, just possessing a guy with 4.22 speed opens up the run game and short to intermediate stuff Mariota excels at, as defenses will have to play deep to respect Ross’ burners.
19. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Budda Baker, S, Washington
Back to back Huskies off the board here, as the Bucs look to fill a big need at safety here with Budda Baker. He’s not a big guy, but he’s speedy (4.45 40) and makes his presence known around the line of scrimmage, shedding blocks and making plays. He’s also good playing deep and in the slot, making him the uber talented, versatile guy the Buccaneers have been missing in the back end of their defense.
20. The Denver Broncos select Garett Bolles, Tackle, Utah
The pick here in the last mock draft was Ryan Ramczyk, but he has since fallen to my 3rd rated tackle behind Garett Bolles and Cam Robinson. However, the Broncos’ tackle situation is so bad that it’s next prospect up for the selection. If Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch are going to be productive next year for the 2016 Super Bowl Champs, they need to stay upright, and Bolles will be significantly better at his job than his incumbent.
21. The Detroit Lions select Haason Reddick, LB/EDGE, Temple
The Lions need talent injected into their front 7, so why not snag a guy that can play in space and on the line? Reddick excelled as an edge defender this past season for Temple, using his pure athleticism and strength, also showed at the Senior Bowl that he is capable of playing stand up linebacker very well. The Lions will have the luxury of choosing which weakness they want to fill with Reddick.
22. The Miami Dolphins select Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
With Mario Williams being axed as a result of cap space and Dion Jordan being axed for being a mix of being an idiot and injuries, the Dolphins are left with 35 year old Cameron Wake as their primary source of pass rush. That’s not the best long term plan, so the Dolphins should absolutely be eyeing a pass rusher here, and why not catch a falling Derek Barnett with this pick? Derek Barnett was a sack machine in college, breaking Tennessee’s school sack record previously held by Reggie White with 33 sacks, getting 10 his freshman and sophomore year, and 13 his junior year. He is also stout in the run game, and he will prove to be a very welcome addition to a talent starved defensive line.
23. The New York Giants select OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
Well… it’s mock draft 2.0 and OJ Howard is still exactly where I had him the first time around. Oops. I’m sure the Giants wouldn’t mind adding this WMD to their already loading passing attack however. Don’t let his stats fool you, OJ was barely ever used in Alabama’s run first offense for whatever reason, but he’s a great combination of size, speed, route running, and hands like glue. Just watch the 2016 National Title game vs Clemson if you want to see the full OJ Howard experience.
24. The Oakland Raiders select Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Raiders have a huge, critical hole at Mike linebacker, one currently filled by the vastly overrated Malcolm Smith, and Jarrad Davis is the perfect candidate to replace him. He’s a tough, physical, truly Raiders-like backer who flies all over the field and matches his speed with great instincts to be a great run defender. His pass coverage definitely needs a bit of work, but he’s still young and has tons of time to improve in that category.
25. The Houston Texans select Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Texans admitted defeat on the Brock Osweiler experiment after just one horrid season, trading him to the Cleveland Browns to get him off of their books. That leaves Tom Savage behind as their starting quarterback. That is not, I repeat, IS NOT, any better than having Osweiler as their starting QB. That practically forces Houston’s hand to draft a QB, so why not take the most talented QB the draft has to offer? Mahomes has a lot of fine tuning to do with his mechanics and footwork, but he possesses all of the tools Bill O’ Brien needs to mold Mahomes into a very good starting QB.
26. The Seattle Seahawks select Cam Robinson, Tackle, Alabama
The Seahawks need this. Seattle’s offensive line was created with spit and scotch tape, and it fell apart immediately, and both Russell Wilson and the run game felt the impact. Cam Robinson is just step one of rebuilding a putrid O-Line and protecting Russell Wilson for years to come as a franchise cornerstone blindside protector. If Robinson somehow doesn’t work there, he projects to play guard at a high level, just as Laremy Tunsil did this year for the Miami Dolphins.
27. The Kansas City Chiefs select Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Jamaal Charles era is officially over in Kansas City. Out goes one game changing running back, and in comes another. Christian McCaffrey is really a complete package at the running back position, able to run inside, outside, power, zone, and able to catch out of the backfield all at a very high level. Hell, McCaffrey can even break out and play slot. McCaffrey was molded in a factory and perfectly crafted just for Andy Reid’s offense, as he would instantly become Alex Smith’s best friend in the offense.
28. The Dallas Cowboys select Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
Randy Gregory showed promise but he’s suspended for a year, maybe longer because he’s in Goodell’s personal doghouse now. So the Cowboys have to take a guy they can depend on to be at the edge spot, and McKinley is that guy. Takkarist uses his length and excellent hands to win the pass rush battle and shows ridiculous closing speed to finish the sack. A lack of a pass rush was the bane of Dallas’ existence against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional round, and they can use a guy like him to kick start their pass rush.
29. The Green Bay Packers select Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
There is no chance in hell the Green Bay Packers sat there and watch the NFC title game vs the Falcons, where this happened, and walked away with any conclusion other than that their secondary is horrible and needs to be fixed immediately. The Packers secondary got worse when they officially cut ties with the oft-injured Sam Shields, so Green Bay officially has to address this immediately. The answer here is Sidney Jones. Yes Sid ruptured his achilles at his pro day. But, the time table for the injury is 6 months, which means he will be back on the field in time for the 2017 season. If Jones gets back to his college form, the Pack will get a very good addition to a putrid secondary unit.
30. The Pittsburgh Steelers select David Njoku, TE, Miami
It’s a bit too early for the Steelers to draft for need here, as all their needs’ best player would be reaches here and remember, Shayne Williamson the GM does not reach. Enter David Njoku. The athletic freak adds another dimension to an already ultra dominant Steelers offense, combining 4.5 speed and an official 6'10" high jump during the Indoor track season at Miami. This would be an amazing pickup and a very welcome addition to an already explosive offense.
31. The Atlanta Falcons select Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Falcons are all good at center, left tackle, right tackle, and left guard. In case you weren’t aware, that’s four positions and an offensive line typically carries 5 offensive lineman. The pick here makes 100% sense, adding Lamp will give the Falcons a fearsome front five capable of duplicating the same success their offense had last year. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will both love this selection.
32. The New Orleans Saints (via the New England Patriots) select Tre’Davious White
New Orleans double dips on defense in the first round, this time selecting Louisiana native and LSU product Tre’Davious White. If the Saints are in win now mode like they claim to be, they have to restock a depleted secondary. The big and physical White is a step in the right direction, as he excels in man to man and also plays well in zone. His aggressiveness and ball skills will help him translate his game to the next level quickly.