NFL Mock Draft 2017: Edition 3 (Combine Edition)
|Malik Hooker to the LA Chargers|
The Combine this past week did not change my opinion on what will happen with the Draft's first selection. Myles Garrett blew away scouts with his impressive measurements and crazy athleticism, which only further locked him in as the top prospect in the Class. The Browns have to improve anywhere, and what better way to start than Garrett, who should solidify the pass rush for years to come.
Previous Selection: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
New general manager John Lynch could go any number of ways with the No. 2 pick, from quarterback to running back to defensive line. Rumors continue to swirl about the Niners trading for Jimmy Garoppolo or Kirk Cousins to fix their quarterback situation, but no matter what happens, improving a stagnant defense should also be on the priority list. Thomas seems like a great fit; the impressive pass rusher out of local Stanford has the right mind for the game and a great Combine continues to improve his skyrocketing stock.
Previous Selection: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
3. Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
There is no chance Jay Cutler returns as quarterback in the Windy City next season, none. The Bears could attempt to pick up a veteran to replace him, but the smart choice would be selecting a new, young signal-caller. Trubisky still has a lot to go to prove himself as a top-tier quarterback, but his accuracy and feel for the game would immediately be an upgrade over the turnover prone Cutler.
Previous Selection: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
After a promising 2015 and a good off-season, Jacksonville was a huge letdown in 2016, struggling to get any momentum and lacking the offensive explosiveness they had in '15. While the defense could use some upgrades, it is the offense the Jags must continue to retool, and Fournette would be a welcome addition. The Jaguars may have T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory at the moment but Yeldon is injury-prone and Ivory is aging, so this move could make a lot of sense.
Previous Selection: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Even though Tennessee has an abundance of options to choose from here, I think the Mike Williams selection still makes the most sense. Marcus Mariota has done great considering the lack of much receiver help, and could really begin to take the next step if the Titans can add an athletic, reliable wide out, a mold Williams certainly fits.
Previous Selection: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Jets are clearing house at the moment, cutting veterans Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis this past week to gain some wiggle room in the cap, but also to get younger at many key positions. Once an elite-level secondary, the defensive backfield needs work, and although he has declined, cutting Revis does not help. Adams is the best safety in this class, with his impressive versatility and range, and head coach Todd Bowles will be creative with how he uses him.
Previous Selection: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The fact Hooker is going to miss significant time due to injury hurts his stock slightly, but he is still a superb prospect who deserves to go in the Top 10. The Chargers hit on defensive end Joey Bosa last season, and adding his former Buckeye teammate could only upgrade a quickly improving defense.
Previous Selection: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
8. Carolina Panthers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
A great Combine has only helped Marshon Lattimore ascend to the top of this year's cornerback crop. The former Ohio State corner has excellent size and strength, and should be a good fit in the modern NFL. Considering Carolina's pass defense fell apart after letting Josh Norman walk, this move needs to happen.
Previous Selection: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Well others greatly helped their NFL stock with a great Combine, Allen's stock is likely heading in the opposite direction, following a mediocre showing. Yet, Allen has proven he is an elite-level pass rusher, and the Bengals are looking for guys that can make an impact right away. If he lasts this far, this would be quite the pick-up for Cincy.
Previous Selection: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
10. Buffalo Bills: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Bills have recently agreed to bring back Tyrod Taylor after restructuring his contract, but Taylor is merely just an okay NFL QB, something not too popular at an organization that has been so mediocre for so long. Taylor may be the answer for the short term, but Buffalo could get their long term answer in Watson. Turnovers could be an issue, but Watson's athleticism and poise indicate the traits of a successful quarterback.
Previous Selection: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
11. New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Desperate for help on defense, New Orleans has been dangling wide receiver Brandin Cooks' name out there, surely indicating just how terrible the situation on defense truly is. Even if they do get somebody for Cooks, more help on the D-Line should be paramount, and Barnett was a beast throughout his time with Tennessee.
Previous Selection: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Joe Haden still remains one of the top cornerbacks in football, but Cleveland has long lacked much help in the secondary for the veteran, which must change. Humphrey is a big, physical cornerback who should be able to handle the great receiving weapons that play in the AFC North, and should eb a great pick if the Browns don't want to reach on a signal-caller here.
Previous Selection: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Cardinals still have enough on their roster to make one more run at a Super Bowl, but there is no denying Carson Palmer is nearing the end of the road, as a poor 2016 indicated. They would love to draft a quarterback here that they can develop behind Palmer, and Mahomes' name is shooting up boards. The former Texas Tech gunslinger has an amazing arm and is a great decision-maker. When paired with talented back David Johnson, Arizona could have an absolutely terrifying offense in a few years.
Previous Selection: Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
There is no denying Philadelphia needs to upgrade their receiver corps for youthful Carson Wentz, the question is which prospect to take here. There are a number of speedsters available, but Davis fits a different mold. His wonderful leaping ability and ideal size makes him a scary red zone threat and incredibly reliable, both traits the Eagles covet.
Previous Selection: Adoree Jackson, CB/WR, USC
15. Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Just last year the Colts invested a first-rounder on an Alabama offensive linemen in Ryan Kelly, but the offensive line still needs to improve and protect franchise centerpiece Andrew Luck. Robinson has been a three-year starter in one of the toughest and most physical conferences in college football, but off-the-field issues could threaten to drop him. Even so, the Colts should be more than willing to take the risk on the versatile linemen.
Previous Selection: Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
16. Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington
Breaking the 40-yard dash record at the Combine only affirmed John Ross as a first-round prospect, and one that could desperately help out Baltimore. With Steve Smith now retired, the Ravens have no top receivers for Joe Flacco to throw to, opening the door for the explosive playmaker to make an impact right away.
Previous Selection: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
17. Washington Redskins: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
Washington's rush defense was among the worst in football last year, and upgrades are needed in their front seven. McDowell never quite lived up some of the hype surrounding him in East Lansing but he has NFL size and impressive lateral agility. He would immediately add some ferocity to a defensive line that needs it.
Previous Selection: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
18. Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Already upgrading their offense by selecting Mike Williams, the Titans should work on the defensive side of the ball, where they are aging in the back. Wilson is viewed by many as one of the best corners in this year's class, and he can do it all.
Previous Selection: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
I had Cook all the way up at eight going to Carolina in my last mock, but a poor Combine hurt the former FSU tailback, and he could slip significantly. Cook's explosiveness in the open field and powerful body still display a future feature back, but some are worried about issues off-the-field or poor measurements. Yet, Tampa wants more help at RB, and pairing Cook back up with his former QB, Jameis Winston just feels right.
Previous Selection: Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles is far from a conventional first-rounder. He has only played one season of FBS football and is going to be a 25-year-old rookie, but teams still love the former Utah Ute. He is a great teammate and superb run blocker, which will be huge for a Denver team trying to reinvent a rushing attack that has lagged behind in recent years.
Previous Selection: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
21. Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
While Ndamukong Suh hasn't been quite worth the massive price tag Miami gave him a few seasons ago, there is no denying Detroit has missed his pass rushing prowess. The D-Line is in serious need of upgrades, and staying inside the state by selecting Charlton is a wonderful start. Charlton put together a great Combine and scouts love his quick first step.
Previous Selection: Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan
22. Miami Dolphins: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Few players boosted their stock at the Combine quite as much as Haason Reddick, whose impressive measurements and impressive athleticism blew scouts away and has made him many people's top linebacker. The former Temple Owl is raw in many aspects, but he could bring plenty of upside to a Miami linebacker corps that needs support for the recently-resigned Cameron Wake.
Previous Selection: David Njoku, TE, Miami
23. New York Giants: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Giants just snagged star receiver Brandon Marshall to give Eli Manning even more weapons to pass to, so why not double down? The Giants are really thin at tight end, and Howard had an impressive Combine. Many believe the tight end wasn't used properly in Tuscaloosca, and is the best TE in the Draft.
Previous Selection: DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
24. Oakland Raiders: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
It is clear the Raiders have a bright future, but they aren't ever going to take the next step without improving their terrible defense, especially in the secondary. While Budda Baker got much of the attention of the UW defensive backfield, it was Jones that locked down elite receivers every Saturday. With good size and ball skills, Jones would be a very welcome addition in Oakland.
Previous Selection: Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
25. Houston Texans: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Here is a little tip to NFL general managers: don't pay a guy 72 million over four years who has played less than one season. Yet, Houston did that last off-season and Brock Osweiler was terrible in 2016. There is a chance Houston keeps him around for at least one more year or acquires another veteran QB, but this franchise has been so bad at the position for too long. They need to strike on a young signal-caller and while he is raw, Kizer's huge arm indicates a first-round talent.
Previous Selection: Dan Feeney, OL, Indiana
26. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Seahawks still are a power in the NFC, but there is no denying they've taken a step back, and a porous offensive line has something to do with it. The free agent pool is extremely thin for offensive linemen, so they have to capitalize in the Draft. Ramczyk was a great run blocker while at Wisconsin, which will help put some ferocity back in Seattle's ground game.
Previous Selection: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster did not have himself a great Combine, actually being kicked out of it for yelling at reporters. It may hurt his draft stock slightly, but he is still one of the best linebackers in the Draft Class. Derrick Johnson is recovering a torn Achilles so Kansas City is thin in the middle, putting them in a perfect spot to snatch up the former Tide 'backer if he slips a bit.
Previous Selection: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
28. Dallas Cowboys: Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
With Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the charge, Dallas has a bright future, but the defense still has some work to do. Dallas is extremely thin at pass rusher, and there are a number of options available here. Williams may have off-the-field concerns but Jerry Jones has never shied away from that and Williams explosiveness off the edge could remind the 'Boys of a young Demarcus Ware.
Previous Selection: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
29. Green Bay Packers: Takkarist McKinley, DL, UCLA
Much like Dallas, Green Bay has a major need for a young pass rusher considering Julius Peppers is reaching the end of his impressive career, and Nick Perry is aging. McKinley is a physical freak who is raw, with significant potential. Pairing him with last year's first-rounder (and fellow former Bruin) Kenny Clark could form an imposing front for the Pack.
Previous Selection: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
Once a fearless and terrifying force, Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense has eroded over the past couple seasons. They are thin at linebacker and in the secondary, so drafting a defender is a priority. Jabrill Peppers may scare scouts because he is a tweener and undersized, but he is immensely talented and can help you in so many ways. It has been awhile since a player of his skill set has entered the NFL, so it is hard to imagine him slipping out of the first round.
Previous Selection: Charles Harris, DE/LB, Missouri
31. Atlanta Falcons: Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida
With a wonderful offense still intact, Atlanta knows it is the defense that must require some adjustments for them to return, and win a Super Bowl. The D-Line took some big strides in 2016, but could use some reinforcements. Brantley is an athletic, imposing player in the heart of the group, and could give the pass rush much more juice.
Previous Selection: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
32. New England Patriots: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Perhaps it is just a little boring to project a running back in McCaffrey's mold to go to New England, but the fit would be seamless. McCaffrey impressed at the Combine and could fall anywhere in the first round, but this is a great RB class, which could cause him to slip slightly. If he does, the Patriots would get a steal in typical Patriots fashion.
Previous Selection: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford