2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cornering The Market
2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cornering The Market
With the 2016 NFL regular season coming to a close it's time for many NFL teams to begin focusing on the future.
With the 2016 college football bowl season wrapping up, it's time for the top college football players to do the same. Mock draft season is upon us. it the first installment of the 2017 NFL Mock Draft, Ben Standig unveils his initial list and explains why it could be a defense-heavy front of the NFL Draft come April.
1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Browns passed on Jared Goff and Carson Wentz last year.
Wise or not, their quarterback need remains clear depending on what one thinks of 2016 third round pick Cody Kessler.
That Cleveland skipped QB then and with a potential sack monster in Garrett atop many draft boards, the Browns stick with the plan.
2. San Francisco 49ers - Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
After attempting only 123 passes over the previous two seasons, Trubisky emerged as the likely first quarterback selected after impressing in his first full season starting. The 6-foot-3 signal entered North Carolina's bowl game with 28 touchdowns to only four interceptions while completing 69 percent of his passes. None of this means he's worthy of a top-5 pick, but passers are overvalued every year. Colin Kaepernick wasn't a trainwreck in 2016, but the 49ers can't go with him under center again, right?
3. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Another team that could consider quarterback since their top three are all entering free agency. Otherwise, the Bears would be wise to snag a needed defensive playmaker. The 6-foot-2, 295 pound Allen is a monster against the run and at getting after quarterbacks. He'll battle Garrett for the first defender selected. Allen also won't be the first Alabama player selected in round one.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
Perhaps the first potential landing spot for LSU running back Leonard Fournette, but who knows which direction Jacksonville heads after firing coach Gus Bradley. Instead, how about another LSU product, one who has Pro Bowl upside due to his coverage skills.
5.Tennessee Titans (via LA) - Jabrill Peppers, OLB, Michigan
Tennessee enters the offseason with two first-round picks, a scenario that affords the Titans a chance to take talent over need wth the selection acquired last year from the Rams. Whether at safety or as some hybrid outside linebacker, the instinct-rich defender would provide the Titans with a strategic weapon for the modern era.
6. New York Jets - DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
The Jets spent a second-round pick on Christian Hackenberg just last year, but signs point to utter disappointment. Considering the offensive weapons on the roster, a rookie could come in and have immediate success.
7. San Diego Chargers - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
San Diego likely needs an offensive tackle most of all, and perhaps a quarterback should Philip Rivers force his way out. Then there is wide receiver. Keenan Allen has Pro Bowl talent, but cannot stay healthy and the Chargers lack a clear standout on the outside otherwise.
8. Cincinnati Bengals - Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Inside linebackers aren't often selected among the top 10 picks, but an exception could be made for this tackling force. The Bengals need new bodies on the second level of their defense both inside and on the edge.
9. Carolina Panthers - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Consider this more of a holding pen for Fournette, who is considered a top-5 talent. Teams like Carolina, Cleveland and Detroit are among those who should consider trading up if they think the LSU standout could do for them what Ezekiel Elliott did for Dallas.
10. Cleveland Browns (via PHI) - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Browns *probably* should look for help elsewhere besides running back as Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson had their moments in 2016. However, Cook is a playmaking dual threat who averaged 6.0 yards per carry and had 30 receptions in the regular season. Assuming it re-signs free agent receiver Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland would actually have a dangerous attack in this scenario, with uncertainty at quarterback, of course.
11. Arizona Cardinals - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
We might be at the end of the Carson Palmer era and Drew Stanton isn't a starting QB in waiting. With the top quarterback options gone in this mock, Arizona takes advantage of the high-end cornerback depth.
12. Buffalo Bills - Cam Robinson, OL, Alabama
The Bills just fired head coach Rex Ryan and will reportedly bench starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the season finale. In other words, who knows what other changes are on tap, thus making any kind of projections tricky even with such a preliminary mock draft. The offense could certainly use a boost at tackle and Robinson, yet another Alabama prospect, is one of the few high-end options available in 2017.
13. Indianapolis Colts - Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
One of these years the Colts will add offensive line help so prized quarterback Andrew Luck isn't a sitting duck. Based on the OL prospects, this might not be that year in round one. Adding an athletic force like Williams would address their top defensive need.
14. New Orleans Saints - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
With six divisional games against the likes of Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin, stocking up at corner is smart strategy. That the 2016 Saints ranked among the bottom teams in passing yards allowed provides further ammunition for taking a pass defender. Mel Kiper ranks the Buckeyes sophomore No. 1 among the CB prospects.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (Via MIN) - John Ross, WR, Washington
Where have all their playmakers gone? The Eagles haven't come close to replacing LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, though Jordan Mathews is nice. Until Jackson actually decides his next stop, let's give the Eagles a slot threat in the 5-foot-11 Ross, who enters the national semifinal with 76 receptions for 1,122 yards and 17 touchdowns.
16. Tennessee Titans - JuJu Smith-Shuster, WR, USC
Quarterback Marcus Mariota has several good receivers, but doesn't have a clear go-to option. Perhaps that becomes the 6-foot-2 target wth sub-4.5 speed. It's worth noting Smith-Schuster had no luck in the season opener going up against Alabama's corners, including Marlon Humphrey, but his overall body of work stood out.
17. Baltimore Ravens - Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
At some point the Ravens must find an edge pass rushing replacement for Terrell Suggs. McKinley, who had 10 sacks and forced three fumbles for the Bruins, is one of those types. Baltimore could also consider a safety in this spot.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
It's curious what the future holds in Tampa for running back Doug Martin and if the Bucs decided wide receiver Mike Evans needs a running mate on the outside. As for the defense, a playmaker along the line makes sense. The SEC is typically the gold standard among conferences in college football and the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Barnett led all those players with 12.5 sacks.
19. Denver Broncos - Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
Denver's offense fell apart late in 2016, costing the defending Super Bowl champions a playoff berth. Inexperienced passer Trevor Siemian receives much of the blame, but the Broncos' offensive line was perhaps the main culprit.
20. Detroit Lions - Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Look for another Florida Gators cornerback in the first round one year after Vernon Hargreaves heard his name called early. Tabor offers good size on the outside. Questions about off-field issues could determine if he goes top 10-15 or slides some.
21. Washington Redskins - Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Stop us if you've heard this before, but the Redskins need defensive line help above and beyond everything else, especially with Su'a Cravens headed to safety in 2017. The 280-pound McDowell isn't a nose tackle, but the athletic presence coud be a force as a 3-4 end or inside in 4-3 looks. He recorded 34 tackles -- seven for loss -- and 1.5 sacks in nine games before missing the last three games with an ankle injury.
22. Miami Dolphins - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
It's possible Mario Williams doesn't return to Miami next season, which would create a need at defensive end. Charlton might be better stopping the run than rushing the passer right now and yet he had nine sacks in 10 regular season games.
23. New York Giants - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Giants have some good enough pieces in the backfield -- Paul Perkins might be more than that -- but haven't had a true playmaker at running back in some time. McCaffrey showed that ability and then some at Stanford in all facets.
24. Kansas City Chiefs - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson's season-ending injury should have the Chiefs looking for a long-term replacement. Otherwise, here's another team who could take advantage of the many interesting cornerback prospects in the 2017 class.
25. Houston Texans - Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
There are severe concerns with Houston's offense involving the quarterback, but none likely fixed in this spot. What the Texans can do is shore up their offensive line.
26. Green Bay Packers - Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
Teams shredded Green Bay's secondary throughout the season and that was even with the NFC North not exactly armed with great passing attacks.
27. Seattle Seahawks - Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
If we're talking about a pure nose tackle, the quicker-than-you-would-think Brantley might be the best this year. Seattle needs help on both lines.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers - Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri
The 255-pound Harris led the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss in 2015 and tacked on nine sacks in 2016 as a junior. Pittsburgh pass rush, while effective, isn't exactly fearsome these days.
29. Atlanta Falcons - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Matt Ryan's offense scored plenty in 2016, but could use a tight end threat. The 6-foot-6 Howard poses problems as a receiver (37 catches in the regular season) and blocker. Teams like Denver, Detroit and Miami could view Howard as a possibility earlier in the first round come draft day.
30. Oakland Raiders - Desmond King, CB, Iowa
The Raiders have addressed their secondary early in recent drafts. More help is required. King might have been selected in the first round last year after his breakout sophomore campaign with eight interceptions.
31. New England Patriots - Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Bill Belichick is always on the look for pass rushers and perhaps more so this offseason after dealing Chandler Jones last year. Lawson' breakout junior campaign included 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss during the regular season.
32. Dallas Cowboys - Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan
Running away with the NFC East title with a rookie quarterback was shocking enough, but don't overlook the fact that the Cowboys also did so with a hodgepodge defensive line. The 302-pound Wormley, who had six sacks for Wolverines during the regular season, could play tackle or end depending on scheme.