2017 NFL Mock Draft

Well, here we are. It’s draft season. A time for the media and fans to be completely wrong about most prospects, and find out what teams really are looking for while preparing the 2017 season. It will be an interesting couple of months as prospects prepare for their professional careers, and people start to look for possible fits for them. Here is what I, personally, with no connection to NFL scouts or upper management, believe could happen in this year’s NFL Draft.

  1. Cleveland Browns – EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

    This pick is virtually a lock. Garrett is an incredible athlete on the edge, and he can fit in the Browns’ new scheme perfectly. While facing some of the best tackles in college football this season, Garrett posted 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in just 10 games. He’s the consensus top player in the draft, and Cleveland would be smart to select him first overall.

  2. San Francisco 49ers – LB Reuben Foster, Alabama

    This is the pick where things start to get a little murky. San Francisco is a bit of a wild card wherein they have plenty of needs, and they became even more of a wild card when they brought in a new head coach and GM. While many people may be thinking of a quarterback here, it would be safer to select Foster, who is one of the best inside linebacker prospects to come out in some time.

  3. Chicago Bears – QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

    It’s no secret that Jay Cutler is a bad quarterback. He will likely be gone sometime in this offseason, and the Bears should not be moving forward with Matt Barkley as their starting quarterback. In just 6 starts last year, Barkley compiled a 1-5 record while throwing 14 interceptions, which is scary to say the least. Trubisky only started for a year, but he showed some strong traits that would translate well to the NFL. If he was put in an offense with a strong offensive line and a stud young running back, he would likely do well in his rookie season and the years to come.

  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama

    Allen is likely the number 2 prospect in this draft, but he falls to #4 due to bigger needs above. He fits in well either on the outside or the inside, and would be a strong addition to the Jaguars’ defensive line under new leadership. He can play almost any position on the line in a 4-3 or 3-4, and adding Allen to a talented front seven would be a fantastic choice as Jacksonville tries to recuperate after having a terrible down year.

  5. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams) – CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

    Titans GM Jon Robinson made one of the smartest moves of the 2016 draft last year, where he traded down to pick up a first round pick this year, which ended up being this pick. Here they select the best cornerback in the draft in Lattimore. He is a legitimately special athlete, and addresses a need that is drastic for Tennessee. While Marcus Mariota and the offense start to improve even more than last year, the defense improves as well with the addition of Lattimore, who can possibly be a #1 corner at the next level.

  6. New York Jets – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

    As much as the Jets needs a quarterback, they seem averse to selecting one here at #6. Their main need would be an offensive lineman, but there isn’t one that is deserving of a top 15 or 20 pick this year. Trading down is a viable option, but here they can get a great running back to replace Matt Forte after 2017. Fournette is a special player, and ever since he stepped into Death Valley he has been a star player for the Tigers. Expect him to be a great back at least, and work to make his own yardage behind that offensive line.

  7. Los Angeles Chargers – S Jamal Adams, LSU

    The Chargers certainly missed Eric Weddle last year. After Jason Verrett went down due to injury, the only capable member of that secondary was Casey Hayward. The addition of Adams, who has been a capable player in run support and coverage, and is agreed upon as the best safety in this class, would be helpful to a team that is trying to succeed in the twilight years of Philip Rivers’ career.

  8. Carolina Panthers – RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

    Again, there is no offensive lineman worthy of being picked here, and that is the main need the Panthers have, as Cam Newton was bombarded in 2016. Cook is another college superstar at running back, who collected almost 4,500 yards and 46 touchdowns on the ground in his Seminole career. While Jonathan Stewart has been great for the Panthers, he is going into his age-30 season, which is normally a large barrier for running backs. Cook will be 22 at the beginning of the season, so that gives him at least 8 years to make his mark in the NFL, which he will do easily with his skillset.

  9. Cincinnati Bengals – DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State

    The Bengals had a terrible year in 2016, ending up in the top 10 for the first time in a while. Marvin Lewis is coming towards the end of his coaching tenure in Cincinnati if he doesn’t improve, and here he gets a defensive talent that may be able to help him. The Bengals love guys who are “long,” and at 6-6, McDowell is a solid pick who can work inside and outside to benefit a strong 4-3 defense. A cornerback could also fit here, but the team should still be banking on William Jackson recovering from his injury and enjoying his first season.

  10. Buffalo Bills – WR Mike Williams, Clemson

    The Bills have seen that Sammy Watkins cannot be relied on for 16 games, so here they can pick another big receiver from Clemson. Williams has been an amazing player, and likely would have been in the 2016 draft if not for a terrible neck injury suffered in the season opener. He recovered well and had a strong season in the Tigers’ offense, working with Deshaun Watson, Artavis Scott, Hunter Renfrow, and Wayne Gallman. Williams collected almost 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016, and a crazy 13.6 yards per reception is a great number for the 6-3 pass catcher. Working with (Tyrod Taylor/Cardale Jones/other) would be a decent landing point on a Bills team who could possibly get into the playoffs soon.

  11. New Orleans Saints – DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford

    The Saints’ defense has been scary the past few seasons, and here they can work to fix it. Thomas’ size is close to Cameron Jordan’s, who he would be working across from in New Orleans’ 4-3 scheme. While Thomas is a bit of a projection and he is not a set defensive end or tackle, but in the best case scenario, he becomes a star player across from Jordan and next to Sheldon Rankins and Nick Fairley.

  12. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia) – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State

    The Browns stick to defense here instead of picking a rookie QB they may have doubts about. If they choose a veteran option, they can bolster their secondary with one of the top safety prospects in the class. As more of a “free” safety compared to Jamal Adams’ “strong” safety type, Hooker is a great prospect that starred in the Buckeyes’ scheme. Cleveland’s defense was not as bad as their offense, but there can be huge improvements made with two picks in the first 12 selections. Hooker would be a plug-and-play starter from the go, and significantly change the look of the defense.

  13. Arizona Cardinals – QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson

    Here the top quarterback in the draft is selected to play backup to Carson Palmer in his final season. After Palmer leaves, Watson will take over an offense that has a good-not-great line and a superstar running back in David Johnson. While scouts worry about his accuracy and decision making, his interception percentage is close to that of Jameis Winston, who was drafted first overall and was the Rookie of the Year in his first season. Watson is still a star quarterback that will likely do well in the pros, and he ends up in a great situation on a winning team.

  14. Indianapolis Colts – RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

    The Colts’ improved after a rough 2015, and with a new GM in place, they may finally make a smart decision in the first round. McCaffrey is a perfect do-it-all kind of back, and Indianapolis needs to move on from the aging Frank Gore. This can also improve their kick return game, where he excelled in his time at Stanford. This would be a dynamic addition to Andrew Luck’s offense, and would make teams have to respect their running game as well as their passing attack.

  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota) – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

    The Eagles have their next quarterback in Carson Wentz, but his receivers were absolutely terrible in 2016. The only wideout that is good enough to be considered as a starter for the team is Jordan Matthews, who is better as secondary target instead of a #1. Corey Davis has the skills to be a team’s top receiver, and he is a great fit for the Eagles. In 2016 alone he collected 98 balls for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. Those are preposterous numbers, and serving as Zach Terrell’s top target allowed him to put them up. He is a great choice for Doug Pederson and would be great to fit in with Wentz and Matthews.

  16. Baltimore Ravens – CB Teez Tabor, Florida

    The Ravens’ starting cornerbacks in 2016: Jimmy Smith (who can be a starting-caliber player), Shareece Wright (who shouldn’t be a starter), and Tavon Young (who may be a solid slot corner, but doesn’t have the athletic ability with his size to play on the outside). With the addition of Tabor, they get a corner with great size for the perimeter and the physicality to fit in with a classic Baltimore defense. His 20 passes defensed in the past two seasons showed his strong ball skills, and he is a strong choice for the first round after coming out of one of the strongest defensive backfields, playing with Quincy Wilson and Marcus Maye, as well as Vernon Hargreaves in the year prior.

  17. Washington Redskins – QB Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech

    This choice is entirely based on Kirk Cousins leaving after not receiving the franchise tag from the Redskins. If they lose their quarterback, Mahomes is a very good prospect who could end up as the best prospect in this class. While people will knock him as coming from an “air raid” offense, Mahomes has shown the ability to work through progressions and make changes to plays, which people assume air raid quarterbacks can’t do. While he may still need some time to work on his abilities, him and his arm would be a great fit that features an offense with Desean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and Jamison Crowder.

  18. Tennessee Titans – WR John Ross, Washington

    Speaking of Desean Jackson, John Ross is virtually the same player Jackson was coming out of Cal, and may even be a better prospect. They have a similar build, and run at a similar speed. Ross was an incredible receiver for the Huskies, and his returning ability is hardly matched by anyone in college football right now. After the Titans plug up their holes on defense earlier, they can add Ross to be another dynamic threat with Tajae Sharpe, Rishard Matthews, and Delanie Walker.

  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TE OJ Howard, Alabama

    Jameis Winston has been a great quarterback for the Buccaneers. Just two years after being selected first overall, he was on the verge of leading the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. He has his star receiver in Mike Evans, and a good running back in Doug Martin, but he needs another threat somewhere on the fied. While tight end Cameron Brate has been a good enough player, the chance to add Howard to the team would be too good to pass up. He is an amazing prospect, showing the ability to block almost as well as he can catch passes. With the selection of Howard, the Bucs add a prospect who has the chance to be the top tight end in the league after coming in.

  20. Denver Broncos – OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

    A year after the Broncos lost their two quarterbacks, they fell to 9-7 for the season. While it cannot fully be blamed on the quarterback situation with Trevor Siemian, the offensive line was a major problem that needs to be addressed. Denver was hoping for Russell Okung to be the answer, it didn’t pan out as expected, and John Elway and co. should be looking for a new bookend. Ramczyk is the best tackle prospect in this draft, and while that isn’t saying much, he is the best fit for the Broncos to fix their woes. It won’t end here, as they really need replacements at almost every spot on the line, Ramczyk is a great fit for the team.

  21. Detroit Lions – EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri

    The Lions have a great defensive end in Ezekiel Ansah, but they need someone strong across from him to get after the quarterback. Devin Taylor and Kerry Hyder are not the right players for that spot, but Charles Harris would be a great fit for the team. He has a great first step and initial burst to get off the line, and he has been able to beat some good tackles with his technique. He collected 9 sacks and 12 tackles for loss on the year, and he was really the only threat on the Tigers’ defense. Harris would be a great fit across from Ansah, and would be able to put up some strong numbers with another presence on the line with him.

  22. Miami Dolphins – LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

    The Dolphins reached the playoffs for the first time with Ryan Tannehill, and while they were blown out, it was a good first step for a team with a young quarterback and budding offense. One of their weaknesses was their linebacker core, with Jelani Jenkins, Kiko Alonso, and Koa Misi. While Alonso is a good fit that will be able to stick around, Jenkins and Misi are two that will likely not be starting or even on the Dolphins’ roster in the 2017 season. With the addition of Cunningham, who has been a great player on the Commodores’ defense, they get a linebacker that can play at any of the three spots, and he is an instant upgrade over the two incumbents. He is a solid cover man, and he can rush the passer when asked to. Look for Cunningham to aid the Dolphins in a push for the AFC East title next year.

  23. New York Giants – OT Garett Bolles, Utah

    The Ereck Flowers’ experiment clearly failed in New York, and the Giants should look to move on from using him as a starter as soon as possible. The former first round pick has not panned out, and while he was athletic, he wasn’t a great fit and never was able to enhance his technique. Enter Bolles, who is the top *healthy* tackle prospect. He played with a mean streak for the Utes this year, and he was a strong presence on the line. Bolles could help fix the line and help the Giants get back on track before Eli Manning retires.

  24. Oakland Raiders – CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

    The Raiders were an amazing team this past season, all to have everything come crashing down when Derek Carr broke a bone in his leg. The main problem Oakland had while everything was working for them was their abysmal defense. The offense was able to carry the load, and it worked well until they put Connor Cook at the helm. While Sean Smith and David Amerson were lacking, the Raiders can add a great prospect in Humphrey, who was a great player for the Tide this season. After replacing Cyrus Jones, he was able to be a #1 corner on a great defense. He would be a great fit to work his way up to being a dependable defender for the team, whether it be in Oakland or Las Vegas.

  25. Houston Texans – QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

    The Texans really gave $37 million to BROCK OSWEILER. I’ll need a second to wipe my tears of laughter off of the screen. Now that that’s over, they should look to cut bait with that terrifying contract as soon as possible, which can be done after the 2017 season. That would be an ideal situation for DeShone Kizer, who might need some time to sit behind another starter and fix some inconsistencies he showed in 2016. While he may have had some struggles, and he was often at odds with coach Brian Kelly, he is still a great prospect that would fit in well with the Texans’ strong offense and a terrific defense. He has great arm talent and is a fantastic prospect coming from Notre Dame. Expect him to be a top 10 quarterback in the NFL in the coming years.

  26. Seattle Seahawks – OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

    This is a pretty obvious pick no matter what. The Seahawks had easily the worst offensive line in the NFL last season, and they need to invest early on instead of taking undrafted former basketball players and making them left tackles. They need a new player at every spot on the line, and they start here with the choice of Forrest Lamp. While he played for Western Kentucky, he is still a great prospect at either the tackle or guard spot. He is a bit of a projection at the left guard position, but he was a great left tackle. People question his length, especially with his arms, but his technique may be enough to overcome that problem. If his length is still seen as an issue, he can move inside to guard and succeed at the next level.

  27. Kansas City Chiefs – RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee

    There is a distinct possibility that Jamaal Charles will be on a different team for the 2017 season and beyond. Here they have the chance to replace him with someone that could have a similar skillset. Kamara’s abilities are largely a projection, as he spent his time at Tennessee behind star back Jalen Hurd. He is a back that has the ability to catch passes as well as run between the tackles. Although he’s a little small at just under 200 pounds, he’s still a good inside runner, and works well as a slashing kind of back. He has great burst when he finds a hole, and also has shown some elusiveness that would make him attractive to teams in need of a running back.

  28. Dallas Cowboys – DE Taco Charlton, Michigan

    As much as Dallas fans and front office members were hoping that the Randy Gregory pick would pay off, it’s pretty clear that they should not be relying on him to bring the pressure. While they may have missed their shot with Gregory, here they have a chance to add a great edge rusher with Charlton. They have some great prospects on their line like Demarcus Lawrence and Maliek Collins, Taco Charlton would be a great fit on the edge as a 4-3 end, and could produce numbers while working with Rod Marinelli.

  29. Green Bay Packers – CB Sidney Jones, Washington

    The Packers should not have been in the NFC Championship with their defense and secondary. Ladarius Gunter, who runs a 4.7 40 yard dash, was their #1. They just cut Sam Shields, who was originally their top cover man, after being caught smoking weed and speeding while injured. Here they can really improve their secondary with the selection of Sidney Jones, who was a major part of Washington’s defense in 2016. He is a great prospect, and coverage ability is almost unmatched in this class. While he should go earlier in the draft, it would be moronic for the Packers to select anyone other than a cornerback or defensive prospect.

  30. Pittsburgh Steelers – EDGE Tim Williams, Alabama

    The best edge rusher in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense was the 38 year old James Harrison, who picked up 5 sacks, with Bud Dupree right behind him with 4.5. These numbers are very bad for a team that relies on its defense to push them over the edge in games with their impressive offense putting up crazy points. Williams is a very good edge player who has starred for Alabama’s defense. He was one of the best players on the defensive line, even on a team with high draft picks in the past two years. He is almost as good a run defender as he is a pass rusher. If the Steelers are able to select Williams here at #30, they would be extremely lucky, and he would be able to put up strong numbers for the team in the future.

  31. Atlanta Falcons – OG Dan Feeney, Indiana

    The Falcons’ offense was incredible last season, and they could build on that if the interior of their offensive line improved. Alex Mack is a great center, but the guards, Chris Chester and Andy Levitre, could be improved upon. Chester could retire soon, and Levitre is just an average guard. The addition of Feeney, who is a great guard prospect, would be a great improvement on a line that led to career years for Devonta Freeman and Matt Ryan. He is extremely athletic, has great playing strength, and is a nasty lineman, which is a trait that plenty of offensive line coaches covet. Wherever Feeney ends up, he will be a very good starter in the NFL.

  32. New England Patriots – LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

    In most cases, the Super Bowl champions will not have many holes to fill. This isn’t exactly the case with the Patriots, due to some uncertainty with free agency looming. Some starters that they may lose this offseason: Dont’a Hightower, Martellus Bennett, LeGarrette Blount, Malcolm Butler, and Logan Ryan. While Hightower will likely be back, they can bring in another linebacker in McMillan that can try to patch up the hole left by Jamie Collins. He is a strong run defender, and he has shown the ability to move around the field and cover decently. Playing with Hightower would be a good experience for McMillan, who has been a stud for Ohio State and the Buckeyes for a couple of seasons already. The duo would be the next best linebacker pair since Collins was traded early in the 2016 season.

Teams without a first round pick:

37. Los Angeles Rams – OT Cam Robinson, Alabama

The Rams have a terrible offensive line, bad wide receivers that are likely gone in free agency, and a young #1 pick quarterback that will struggle without having great talent around him. While Greg Robinson has been awful, Cam Robinson could help fix their problems at left tackle. He has been a very good player on the offensive line for the Crimson Tide, and was originally projected as the top tackle in this class before some struggles and off field issues. It should still be expected that he can be a good selection, and it’s best that he falls out of round one. If the Rams want to improve their offensive line, Robinson is a good start.

46. Minnesota Vikings – WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

While the Vikings could also use a major revamping of their offensive line as well, there aren’t many prospects that are worthy of the #46 pick at this point to help them. Another area of need they can address is the wide receiver position, where aside from Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (who?), the talent is barren there. The addition of Samuel, who is more of a “playmaker” than a true wide receiver, would be too good to pass up here. He has been highly efficient for the team, and posted 771 rushing yards and 865 receiving yards in 2016. Wherever he ends up, or if he stays as more of an athlete than having a defined position, he will be a very good player whose versatility will be valued as the NFL moves away from set specific positions.

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