Ravens

NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Combine, free agency alters projections

Ravens

We're just a handful of days removed from the NFL Combine and only beginning free agency, yet so much as changed when it comes to the 2017 NFL Draft. Some of those changes are reflected in my latest mock draft. On this page, let's take a look at why some of those changes occurred. 

* Jaguars get defensive: Jacksonville didn't mess around at the start of free agency, throwing big bucks at Calais Campbell, the best defensive lineman available. Never say never, but adding the interior pass rusher likely takes Alabama's Jonathan Allen and Stanford's Solomon Thomas off the table at 4 if they keep the pick. A.J. Bouye covers their need at cornerback and safety help came in the form of Barry Church. The agents for heralded defensive back prospects Jamal Adams, Malik Hookeer and Marshon Lattimore probably aren't thrilled. Add it all up and does this mean Jacksonville goes for offense with say LSU running back Leonard Fournette? End the Blake Bortles era by selecting Deshaun Watson?

* John Ross roars: There are speed receivers and then there is this guy. Ross set the Combine record with a staggering 4.22 40-time. The thing, this 5-foot-11 dynamo also wowed with other athletic feats in Indianapolis. Of course, Ross isn't just an athlete. He's a playmaker. Anyone who watched him dominate for Washington last season knows. USC cornerback Adoree Jackson also turned heads at the Combine. Just remember Ross torched Jackson and others with 154 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions last season against the Trojans. Mike Williams and Corey Davis might end up battling for first receiver selected honors, but Ross certainly threw his hat into the ring.

 

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* Eagles receive help: Philadelphia clearly needed receiver help. Just look at what happened in free agency. Philadelphia, with Jordan Matthews already in the mix, agreed to terms with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on the first day of free agency. Somewhere, quarterback Carson Wentz is uncontrollably giddy. Elsewhere, mock drafters are eliminating receiver from the Eagles needs list, which means cornerback moves into the top slot. Good news: This draft is loaded those types with the likes of Sidney Jones, Teez Tabor and Tre'Davious White in the likely mix at 14.

* Risers and fallers: The Combine seemingly helped Temple LB Haason Reddick, Washington WR John Ross, USC CB Adoree Jackson, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara and Connecticut S Obi Melifonwu. On the other side, those few days in Indy raised questions about Alabama ILB Reuben Foster, Florida CB Teez Tabor, Alabama OLB Tim Williams and Florida State RB Dalvin Cook.

* Kirk Cousins: We're just talking about the mock, not the potential implosion in Ashburn, and about future mocks at that. If you believe the Redskins, their two-year starting quarterback will remain in town and with a long-term. If you believe other reports, Cousins is begging for a trade. If the latter happens, then Cousins likely lands in San Francisco, which would mean no Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky at No. 2 but perhaps DeShone Kizer or Pat Mahomes at 17? Then again, if the Redskins land that second overall pick, would they take a quarterback or a defensive line monster like Jonathan Allen? If the 49ers end up with 17, would they target tight end David Njoku or offensive tackle Garett Bolles? How are other quarterback situations and options (Jets, Browns, Cardinals, Jay Cutler) affected by this possible outcome? This is what you call a fluid situation.

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