I have never been a big fan of weekly mocks. While they may be fun to read, too many things can happen between that mock, and the mock in the next week. That has been highlighted this offseason, with several projected first round picks either being arrested, or failing drug tests. I’m on the same boat as Mike Mayock, who releases his mock the day before the NFL Draft.
We currently sit in the lying days of the Draft. Smokescreens are being thrown up daily. Teams are pushing out rumors that they want to trade back, or trade up, in the hopes of hearing the phone ring. Agents for the prospects are playing the same game. They throw out rumors that their guy is going higher than he really is, trying to earn their player some extra money.
It’s a GMs job to look past these rumors and smokescreens. Today, I play the role of all 32 teams. I’m looking to address the teams needs, while also not missing out on some of the best players left on the market. Perhaps there will be a trade or two, who knows.
The 2017 NFL Draft is officially open!
Cleveland Browns - 1st Overall
Myles Garrett - DE - Texas A&M
There’s been a lot made over recent weeks. Whether or not Garrett should or should not go first overall. Whether or not the Browns should select a Quarterback with that first pick. Garrett has drawn some criticsm recently, notably from Warren Sapp and Skip Bayless. I don’t view their criticsm as legitimate. Garrett may take plays off, but no player can give 100%, 50 plays a game. His upside is undeniable, and Garrett is well deserving of the top spot.
San Francisco 49ers - 2nd Overall
Jamal Adams - S - LSU
For a moment, I wanted to go Solomon Thomas. But with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner manning the edges, Thomas would have trouble finding the field. The 49ers new Defensive Coordinator, Robert Saleh, will run a 4-3 defense, with elements of a 3-4. Thomas could very well fit into that scheme, he has the ability to track the ball and play coverage, the 49ers will need help deeper in the secondary.
In 2016, the 49ers allowed eight yards a pass attempt while only recording 10 interceptions. The defense finished 19th against the pass. So who better to select than the best Safety in the Draft? Adams ran a 4.56 40 at the combine, but redeemed himself at his Pro Day, racking up a 4.33 at his Pro Day. The addition of Adams is scary for the NFC West, but will continue the tradition of tough physical defenses.
Chicago Bears - 3rd Overall
Marshon Lattimore - CB - Ohio State
The Bears addressed many of their offensive needs via Free Agency. That leaves them to fill the holes in a Defensive heavy Draft class. That does not mean they are set offensively, but moreso they can build their Defense and hope their Offense does enough to compete in 2017.
Lattimore addresses one of their biggest holes Defensively. They have 18 Defensive Backs on their roster, and none inspire much confidence. Adding the best Corner in the Draft helps sooth some of those concerns. Another guy who could be a pick here is Solomon Thomas, but the team runs a 3-4 Defense, which would force him to transition to Outside Linebacker.
Jacksonville Jaguars - 4th Overall
OJ Howard - TE - Alabama
The Jaguars have to focus on the Offense. They have built a talented Defensive unit, but between Blake Bortles struggling to live up to his Draft status, and just a poor Offensive unit, the Jaguars know where to go with this pick.
After departing with Julius Thomas this past offseason, the Jaguars have left a hole at the position. Who else to fill it than one of the best Tight End prospects of the decade? Howard was a 5 star recruit coming out of High School, who did not really live up to that billing in a system that did not heavily feature the Tight End. What brought Howard into the national spotlight was two massive National Championships.
In 2015, Howard recorded a five catch, 208 yard game with two touchdowns. In 2016, he recorded four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. While he is an electric pass catcher, Howard does need to work on his blocking ability. His 6’6, 251 pound frame has many teams licking their chops.
Tennessee Titans - 5th Overall
Malik Hooker - S - Ohio State
Ohio State DB’s come off the board early. Hooker will be excellent in Dick LeBeau’s Defense. LeBeau can add a physical, rangy Safety to play with in one of the most aggressive Defenses in Football.
Hooker has been sidelined by Shoulder and Hernia surgeries the past few months, but his talent is undeniable.
New York Jets - 6th Overall
Leonard Fournette - RB - LSU
The first Runningback off the board is the obvious choice. If Howard lasts to the Jets, Fournette could be waiting a few more picks, but the Jets need all the Offensive help they can get.
Currently, their projected starter is the 31 year old Matt Forte. Behind him is Bilal Powell, a younger alternative but likely not a full time starter. Drafting Fournette will not solve the Jets Offensive woes. But his addition gives their Quarterback (whether Drafted or not) a solid receiver out of the backfield, and someone they can turn to on short yardage situations. Not an aging runningback with very little left to offer.
Los Angeles Chargers - 7th Overall
Solomon Thomas - DE - Stanford
Thomas finally gets drafted. New Defensive Coordinator, Gus Bradley, is implementing a 4-3 Defensive front. Thomas gets to stay in California, and gets to be partnered with reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, Joey Bosa.
The thought of Bosa and Thomas together has to have Bradley licking his chops, as the Chargers need to revamp their Defense, a unit that ranked 17th overall, 13th against the pass, and 23rd against the run. Thomas has the ability to drop into coverage, get to the Quarterback, and plug the holes to prevent runningbacks from breaking through. What more can you ask for?
Carolina Panthers - 8th Overall
Derek Barnett - DE - Tennessee
With the top two safeties off the board, the top corner gone, and Solomon Thomas going a pick early, and Fournette to the Jets, the Panthers could trade back. They could also go Corner.
But with this secondary group having talent deep into the third, the Panthers can avoid to pick a Defensive Back too early. That’s why Derek Barnett goes off the board here. The Panthers have Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson penciled in as their 2016 starters. Both players are old, but still perform. Adding Barnett allowes him to learn behind two fantastic players, while also gives him a chance to play, as both will need breathers. After the 2017 season, Barnett will be given the reigns and will have a lot to offer.
Cincinnati Bengals - 9th Overall
Jonathan Allen - DT - Alabama
‘Bama has two guys inside the top 10 picks. At 6’3, Allen is fantastic against the run, and is capable of getting the job done against the pass. There really are not any names, besides Geno Atkins, that inspire confidence at the Defensive Tackle spot.
Adding Allen gives the Bengals a day one starter, and someone who fans won’t be worried about being a liability.
Buffalo Bills - 10th Overall
Reuben Foster - LB - Alabama
And another ‘Bama product. Foster will enter the league in the Drug program, following his “Diluted” sample at the NFL Combine. The Bills currently have Reggie Ragland as one of their Inside Linebackers, another former Alabama talent. If the Bills can pair Foster and Ragland, Sean McDermott would have yet another talented Linebacking duo like he did in Carolina.
I cannot see Foster slipping because of the diluted sample. He’s too talented, and will offer a lot to the Bills Defense.
New Orleans Saints - 11th Overall
Haason Reddick - LB - Temple
Reddick has become a hot topic since the Senior Bowl. He is currently making the transition from the Defensive Line, to Inside Linebacker. During the Senior Bowl, he looked like he had played there his whole career.
Reddick is a project. But he also comes off as a player that isn’t too far off from being an impact player. If the Saints take him at 11, they fill a need and snag a guy who can be very good for years to come.
Cleveland Browns - 12th Overall
Mitchell Trubisky - QB - North Carolina
The Browns get their guy. And don’t have to trade the farm like some rumors have been saying. Trubisky has one season of film under his belt. He has 571 throws for scouts to evaluate and make their decisions on.
Trubisky will be gone before the Cardinals get to their pick. Whether he lasts until 12, or unless another team is willing to take the risk sooner.
Arizona Cardinals - 13th Overall
Patrick Mahomes - QB - Texas Tech
And there’s the QBOTF. This was a difficult pick to make. With this years Quarterback class being so weak, do you pass up on Mahomes talent and go with a Defensive prospect?
This time, the Cardinals go with their guy. Mike Wiliams and Corey Davis are still on the board, but Bruce Arains talent for finding a receiver late in the draft and devoloping him into a star cannot be ignored. This will be a defensive heavy draft for the Cardinals anyway.
Philadelphia Eagles - 14th Overall
Marlon Humphrey - CB - Alabama
It’s probably the best known need in the NFL. The Eagles need secondary help. They have tried countless Veterans to fill the position, but none have worked. This year it’s expected for the Eagles to go heavy on the Defensive side of the ball. With such a talented class of secondary players, this is the year the Eagles can find a lot of talent to fill their holes.
Additionally the Eagles could go Runningback, with both Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey still on the board.
Indianapolis Colts - 15th Overall
Forrest Lamp - G/T - Western Kentucky
Defensively they need a lot of help. But they also need someone who can protect their 122 million dollar man. Lamp is widely regarded as the best Offensive Line prospect in this years weak group. The addition of Lamp would help Luck who is coming off a shoulder surgery, and help out the run game.
Charles Harris is still available, and would help fill one of their Defensive gaps.
Baltimore Ravens - 16th Overall
Corey Davis - WR - Western Michigan
The Ravens lost their top two receivers from 2016. Steve Smith Sr. retired, and Kamar Aiken went to Indianapolis. The Ravens were unable to fill the need through Free Agency, so they need to find their guy in the Draft. With a talented group of receivers in the Draft, they could address a Defensive need here. But with the top two Receivers sitting at their pick, Davis makes a lot of sense.
Washington Redskins - 17th Overall
Dalvin Cook - RB - Florida State
The second best runningback in the class is off the board. Cook offers the Redskins a threat out of the backfield, and someone who can fight for extra yardage. With the top two Inside Linebackers gone, the only other position that truly makes sense at 17, would be a Cornerback.
Tennessee Titans - 18th Overall
Mike Williams - WR - Clemson
The Titans get a talented receiver to help out Marcus Mariota. They could add John Ross with this pick, but Williams being here would quell that thought. Williams has some things to clean up, but his ability to win 50/50 balls and make insane circus catches, will ultimately help the Titans decision
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 19th Overall
Charles Harris - DE - Missouri
The Buccaneers are in a division full of talented Quarterbacks. From Drew Brees, to Cam Newton, to Matt Ryan. The Buccaneers have a good one in Jameis Winston too. If you had asked me prior to Free Agency who this pick was, I would have said John Ross. The Bucs addressed that speed need with Desean Jackson.
That means the Defensive side of the ball will be their focus. Adding Harris adds a one two punch with Gerald McCoy, the only player opposing Offenses have to worry about on the Defensive front.
Denver Broncos - 20th Overall
Garett Bolles - OT - Utah
The Broncos most notable need is on the Offensive Line. Bolles is perhaps the best Tackle in the draft, beating out Forrest Lamp who will be a Guard most likely. Bolles will fill in for the departure of Russell Okung, and will be a welcome replacement. If they can get steady play out of the Quarterbacks, and find a Runningback in rounds two or three, the Broncos should be on their way to the Playoffs in 2017.
Detroit Lions - 21st Overall
Jarrad Davis - LB - Florida
Davis has been brought up as a First Round pick on several occasions. Davis seems to be the perfect fit in Detroit, as they will field one of the ugliest groups in 2017. As of today, Tahir Whitehead is a projected starter, and Whitehead was graded as one of the worst coverage linebacker in 2016.
Besides him are two guys who didn’t play the full season in Paul Worrilow and Antwoine Williams. Williams was a rookie in 2016 and struggled. Worilow lost his job to Williams. Adding Davis, an athletic linebacker, can help the rebound from their Wild Card loss to the Seahawks.
Miami Dolphins - 22nd Overall
Taco Charlton - DE - Michigan
The addition of Charltons speed off the edge would take a lot of pressure off of Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. Charlton is a better Defensive End than teammates like Andre Branch and Terrence Fede, giving the Dolphins a fantastic trio of starters.
New York Giants - 23rd Overall
Christian McCaffrey - RB - Stanford
McCaffrey will make the Giants instantly better. He offers receiving out of the backfield, and speed in the run game. The Giants offensive system, would best utilize McCaffreys playmaking ability. He can flex to receiver when the Giants go five wide, or run it up the middle and make guys miss to get some good yards.
Oakland Raiders - 24th Overall
Kevin King - CB - Washington
A 6’3 corner would help in a division with tall receivers like Keenan Allen and Demaryius Thomas. While the Raiders do need help in their front seven, King helps to lockdown one side of the Defense, allowing Khalil Mack and company a little extra time to pressure the Quarterback.
Houston Texans - 25th Overall
Deshaun Watson - QB - Clemson
It’s crazy to think Watson has fallen this far. Theres only the 49ers, Jacksonville, and the Jets that make sense going quarterback with their picks inside the top 5. Cleveland can wait until the 12th pick. From there, no one truly needs a Quarterback until Houston.
Adding Houston provides competion for the quarterback room in 2017, but also provides them with their only quarterback past this season. Watson is a winner, and while he does not have an absolute cannon of an arm, he has the weapons to get the job done in Houston.
Seattle Seahawks - 26th Overall
Fabian Moreau - CB - UCLA
Moreau is 6’0, 206 pounds. He would make the heaviest corner the Seahawks have, but also the shortest. With the tension between Richard Sherman and the Seahawks front office the Seahawks could look to find a safety valve if that relationship turns even more south.
Moreau has two red flags on his resume. At 23, he’s already older than most rookies in the draft, and he is coming off of a torn pectoral doing the bench press at his pro day. Moreau would continue the tradition of excellent corners in Seattle
Kansas City Chiefs - 27th Overall
Adoree’ Jackson - CB - USC
The Chiefs need another starter in the secondary. Not just a starter, they need depth. No one knows if Terrance Mitchell is the answer as their No.2 cornerback, and they have questions behind him. Adding Adoree’ gives you a guy to compete, as well as another electric returner.
Dallas Cowboys - 28th Overall
Obi Melifonwu - S - UCONN
My draft crush falls to the Cowboys. Well... He does not really fall. He goes roughly where he should. The Cowboys need a lot of secondary help, which would help balance the team. They were lead heavily by their offense, and had some corners play better than they actually are.
Adding Melifonwu gives them a a slight project, as he still has work to in zone coverage. He allowed 15 touchdowns in his collegiate career, most of those due to playing overly agressive, and not too smart. His talent is undeniable however.
Green Bay Packers - 29th Overall
Zach Cunningham - LB - Vanderbilt
Cunningham fits in very well with the Packers. He recorded 56 solo tackles in 2016, which lead all Power 5 linebackers. Cunningham showcased his coverage abilities on a consistent basis at Vanderbilt.
Scouts biggest area of concern with Cunningham is the fact that he missed 34 tackles in his last two seasons.
Pittsburgh Steelers - 30th Overall
David Njoku - TE - Miami
Njoku doesn’t fall anymore. He’s a perfect fit for the Steelers, and gives Ben Roethlisberger another weapon to throw to. He’s a fantastic receiver, with questions surrounding his blocking abilities.
Rumors are floating around that Roethlisberger has asked Steelers brass to draft a tight end, adding to the Njoku pick.
Atlanta Falcons - 31st Overall
Cam Robinson - OT - Alabama
Chris Chester retired this offseason, leaving a hole at his guard position. Much has been made about Robinson’s ability to play tackle at the next level. Adding Robinson to the Falcons means he would have to make the switch the guard, which should be fine.
The Falcons could also go defensive here, as that was one of the key reasons of their Super Bowl 51meltdown.
New Orleans Saints - 32nd Overall
Tim Williams - DE - Alabama
The Saints will double down on Defense with the final pick of the First Round. Williams has become somewhat of an afterthought during the Draft process, primarily because he has not tested well. While his process has not been impressive, his college stats speak volume.
He pressured opposing quarterbacks 26% of the time, beating the NCAA average by 16%. Williams is only a situational player to start his career, but has the tools and talent to become a full time, every down starter.
That wraps up the first round of the 2017 Draft. Any of these picks dont make sense? We’re 24 hours away from the Draft, so we will finally see an end to the Mock Draft craziness!
Please Note that at the time of writing this, Gareon Conley was being investigated for possible Rape Charges. New Information has arisen in the case, pointing towards his innocence. Conley was a possible Day 1 selection, and with the new information having come out, it is likely he returns to going Round 1