Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Post Pro Day

Here is my Post Pro Days 2017 NFL Mock Draft. It will be followed by updates heading into the NFL Draft on April 27, 2017.

This is not a mock draft where I substitute my judgement for that of the teams. I try to research the opinions of those who most closely follow NFL teams like scouts, insiders and beat writers from all of the NFL cities. I then try to make the most educated prediction as to which way each team will go in the draft.

I start out by targeting each team's most obvious need, and then try to home in on the most logical pick based upon value and need as roster cuts and free agency transpires.

My mock draft has been linked by DC Pro Sports ReportWalter Football, The Huddle Report, and EDS Football, in their Mock Draft Databases, so click their links to check out all of their draft related content!

1st Round

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

It's not a great year to own the No. 1 overall pick if you need a QB. Despite some recent smoke screens about liking Mitch Trubiski, Cleveland seems locked in to keeping the top selection and taking Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett.

2. San Francisco 49'ers– Solomon Thomas, DE/DT, Stanford: 

If San Francisco is sold on one of the QB's in this year's draft class, they need to pull the trigger. Otherwise, they should look into trading down for additional picks. Local product Solomon Thomas of Stanford, a high character talent, seems to be the consensus pick at No. 2 for the 49'ers. With that said, it looks like San Francisco is the team that is the most willing to trade down when it comes to those who hold top five picks. 

3. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama: 

The Bears would be ecstatic if DL Jonathan Allen of Allen of Alabama is still available at pick No. 3. While he might not have the upside of Myles Garrett, Allen not only has the ability to play any position on the defensive line in any type of scheme, but he's probably the best player heading into the draft when it comes to current skill set as opposed to upside. 

4. Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

After a few up and down seasons the jury is still out on Blake Bortles. Bortles probably can't be judged until the Jags put together a legitimate running game, and Leonard Fornette of LSU is the type of game changing back that could transform the way a defense schemes against an offense, thereby freeing things up for Bortles to show his true worth, or lack thereof. 

5. Tennessee Titans (from the Los Angeles Rams)– Jamal Adams, S, LSU: 

The Titans have needs at both safety and cornerback. After signing Logan Ryan in free agency, safety is probably the biggest priority. Jamal Adams of LSU is probably as talented as OSU safety Malik Hooker, but is a bit more polished and NFL game ready at this point.  

6. New York Jets - Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: 

This year does not offer a great QB class, but the Jets really have no option but to find a franchise signal caller going forward, as they flat out wasted a second round pick on Christian Hackenberg last year. Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina seems to the be most polished and pro ready QB in this year's class. 

7. Los Angeles Chargers – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: 

The Chargers could give themselves one of the top cornerback groups in the NFL with this year's top prospect, Marshon Lattimore of Ohio State. 

8. Carolina Panthers - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford:

Despite inexplicably extending Jonathan Stewart's contract (yet again), the Panthers still need a quality running back. Assuming Stewart will be doing the grunt work if healthy, a game changer like Christian McCaffrey coming out of the backfield could help out Carolina's passing game as a nice contrast to Cam Newton's bigger, yet slower and phalangeal challenged receiving targets. 

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama:  

Releasing Rey Maualuga should allow the Bengals to move away from being big and slow at linebacker. Reuben Foster of Alabama would keep them just as big at the point of attack, but add some much needed athleticism to the mix.

10. Buffalo Bills – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

If Mitchell Trubisky is off the board by the time the Bills pick, they will have to determine if they have a high 1st Round grade on a secondary option like Deshaun Watson of Clemson. If not, a big time receiving target who can also help out in the run game like O.J. Howard could be the best player on the board at a position of need.

11. New Orleans Saints – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: 

The Saints need a defensive end to potentially replace free agent Paul Kruger.  Derek Barnett of Tennessee may not be a freek athlete, but he was one of the most productive defensive ends in SEC history, which means he's pretty good.

12. Cleveland Browns, from the Philadelphia Eagles – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: 

After beefing up their offensive line in free agency and accumulating picks the past few years, the Browns need to find a franchise QB. However, they also seem enamoured with local product, Malik Hooker of Ohio State. In this scenario I have Cleveland trading their 1st Round pick in 2018 to New England for QB Jimmy Garoppolo, which probably stands to end up being somewhere between picks No. 1 and 12, representing a happy middle in between what New England seems to be looking for and Cleveland is willing to give up.

13. Arizona Cardinals - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson:

The Cardinals have several needs, but secondary is perhaps the biggest. However, they also seem to be looking to the future when it comes to QB, and rumor has it that they are very interested in Deshaun Watson of Clemson. If he's still available when Arizona picks at No. 13, look for Watson to be the pick. If not, a defensive back is the likely choice. 

14. Philadelphia Eagles (from the Minnesota Vikings) – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: 

No team has missed more on receivers in the NFL Draft in recent history than the Eagles. Corey Davis of Western Michigan may not be a big name, but he is big time player who might end up being the class of the draft at his position.

15. Indianapolis Colts – Haason Reddick, LB, Temple:

The Colts need to improve their pass rush, and Haason Reddick is projected as perhaps the best, and most versatile LB entering this year's draft.

16. Baltimore Ravens Mike Williams, WR, Clemson:

With Steve Smith retiring, the Ravens need another weapon at receiver. Mike Williams of Clemson is the possession receiver than they need to give Joe Flacco a go-to target. 

17. Washington Pigskins – Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Michigan State:

The Pigskins need help for their front seven on defense, with the line being their most glaring need. While Malik McDowell needs a forever home in terms of position after playing anyhwhere from nose tackle to base end in Michigan State's 4-3 defense, he may project best at the next level as a 5-technique in a 3-4 system.

18. Tennessee Titans – John Ross, WR, Washington: 

After addressing CB and S in free agency, the Titans should look to improve their offense in the draft. After pursuing DeSean Jackson in free agency, they seem to be looking for a speed receiver, and nobody in the history of the Combine has been faster than John Ross of Washington, who also matched his speed with production.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: 

With Doug Martin having fallen out of favor after getting suspended under the NFL drug program, the Bucs need a new weapon out of the backfield for Jameis Winston. Local product Dalvin Cook of Florida State projects as the type of three down option that has teams reconsidering running backs as 1st Round options, even if he has some legit character questions.

20. Denver Broncos
– Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin 

Denver is hemorrhaging on their offensive line, and could use talent at tackle and guard. Ryan Ramczyk is the best left tackle option on the board this year, which is exactly what the Broncos appear to be looking for. 

21. Detroit Lions - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan:

Detroit needs playmakers at every level on defense, but no need is more glaring than a defensive end to play opposite of Ezekiel Ansah. Whether it's Taco Charlton, Derek Barnett or Takkarist McCinnley, look for the Lions to take the best rush end still available on their board.

22. Miami Dolphins - Gabril Peppers, S, Michigan:

The Dolphins still need a temporary and long term option at safety after signing T.J. McDonald, who is suspended for the first 8 games this season. Gabril Peppers of Michigan not only can fill the newly coveted role of a hybrid safety/linebacker in today's pass happy NFL, but for some reason owner Stephen Ross seems to like University of Michigan products.

23. New York Giants - Takkarist McKinnley, DE, UCLA:

Whenever the Giants have won the Super Bowl, they've always had what seemed to be an abundance of pass rushers. Takkarist McKinnley of UCLA is currently a bit undersized, but has pass rush skills and the motor to make him a three down player once he bulks up a bit in the NFL.

24. Oakland Raiders Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State:

The Raiders are likely going to draft a corner with their first pick, and Gareon Conley of Ohio state, while a little light on experience, is one of the more physically gifted defensive backs in this year's draft.

25. Houston Texans Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Brock Osweiler flamed out in his first year in Houston. While the Texans appear playoff worthy aside from their situation at QB, they need to look to their future immediately with Tony Romo opting for the big broadcast booth in the sky and no other viable veteran options. At this point, their attention appears to be on local product Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech, who is quite raw, but has an NFL skill set.

26. Seattle Seahawks - Cam Robinson, T, Alabama:

The Seahawks are probably at point where they will take the best available offensive linemen, as they need to rebuild their once potent running game. Cam Robinson may or may not be a left tackle in the NFL, but even if he ultimately kicks to the right side, the Seahawks can't be choosy after only adding a few band-aids for the position in free agency. 

27. Kansas City Chiefs Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU:

If one of the top three QB's are still on the board, the Chiefs could very well go in that direction. In this scenario that is not the case, so they could look to find a cornerback capable of playing man coverage opposite of Marcus Peters.

28. Dallas Cowboys Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado:

The Dallas defense outperformed their talent last season. The Cowboys need a game changing defensive end, a 3-technique defensive tackle, a corner, as well as a safety. While defensive end seems like the biggest need, Dallas is rumoured to be all in on a corner, and Chidobe Awuzie of Colorado seems to be drawing their interest.

29.  Green Bay Packers - T.J. Watt, LB/DE, Wisconsin

Despite re-signing Nick Perry, the Packers could still use another playmaker at OLB, which would allow the declining Clay Matthews to be more flexible and move from outside to inside on passing downs. Haason Reddick of Temple, who can also play both inside and outside, is just an elite football player who fits perfectly in the Packer mould.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama:

Pittsburgh always needs tweener pass rushers at the key OLB spot in their 3-4 defense, and Tim Williams of Alabama projects as an ideal on field fit. 

31. Atlanta Falcons Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri:

Whether it's DE, DT, or CB, the Falcons Super Bowl debacle showed their need for playmakers on defense. An elite edge rusher, whether it's from strongside linebacker/defensive end like would be ideal, and T.J. Watt of Wisconsin fills both of those descriptions with his versatility.

32. New Orleans Saints (from the New England Patriots) - DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame:

Whether he plays inside or outside, Zach Cunningham of Vandy would help New Orleans replenish their defense with elite players at a position of need. 

2nd Round

33. Cleveland Browns - Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC: 

The Browns can use all the talent they can get. Adoree' Jackson of USC is raw, but he's also a 1st Round talent who is just as versatile and probably a better football player than his more hyped counterpart, Gabril Peppers. 

34. San Francisco 49'ers - Zach Cunningham, LB, Vandy

With the 49'ers having signed a serviceable option at QB in Brian Hoyer, San Francisco appears to be all in on pursuing Kirk Cousins as their signal of the future come free agency next year given the connection he has with new coach, Brian Shanahan. With the team clearly building for the future, Zach Cunningham would help solidify the middle of the 49'er defense for years to come.

35. Jacksonville Jaguars - David Njoku, TE, Miami:

The Jags cut ties with Julius Thomas, and are once again in the market for a pass catching tight end. David Njoku of Miami is an athletic freak who could make up for some of Thomas' deficiencies in the route running and effort department.

36. Chicago Bears - Budda Baker, S, Washington:

The Bears could use an upgrade at safety. While he might be undersized, Budda Baker of Washington is simply a football player, which would make him a value pick if he drops into the 2nd Round. 

37. Los Angeles Rams - Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina:

After losing their best receiver in Kenny Britt to free agency, who is truly just a mediocre receiver, the Rams now have no viable wideout options for whoever their QB is. Zay Jones of East Carolina is a small school kid, but played well against big time competition at the Senior Bowl. 

38. Los Angeles Chargers - Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State

"L.A.C." could use a 3-4 OLB to play opposite of Melvin Ingram, and Jordan Willis might be the most underrated defensive player/pass rusher in the draft. 

39. New York Jets - Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida:

David Harris isn't getting any younger, and Jarrad Davis of Florida, despite some history of injury, is a gifted athlete for someone who can play the inside linebacker position.  

40. Carolina Panthers - Garrett Bolles, T, Utah:

Garrett Bolles is a nasty tackle, but could see his draft stock slide just a bit given a lack of upside due to his age (27), having served a Mormon mission before attending college, which means that Bolles is already on par in terms of age with players entering their second contracts in the NFL. 

41. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

Jeremy Hill appears to be on the outs in Cincinnati, and the Bengals are rumored to be the floor for the troubled yet talented Oklahoma running back, Joe Mixon. 

42. New Orleans Saints - Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA:

The more solid defensive players the Saints can add the better. Fabian Moreau is an athletic corner who could slide a little given a ruptured pectoral muscle that he suffered at his UCLA Pro Day. 

43. Philadelphia Eagles - Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn:

Obi Melifonwu is the athletic freak of this year's draft, and is versatile enough to play either corner or safety given his size, speed and strength. 

44. Buffalo Bills - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama:

Marlon Humphrey of Alabama should be able to start at corner  for the Bills come day one, and would represent a 1st Round talent in the 2nd Round in an extremely deep CB class. 

45. Arizona Cardinals - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida:

If the Cardinals elect to go with a QB for their future in the 1st Round, they need to go with a CB of the present in the 2nd Round. Quincy Wilson of Florida would make a nice option to play opposite of Pro Bowler, Patrick Peterson. 

46. Minnesota Vikings - Ryan Anderson, ILB, Alabama:

The Vikings need to replace both Chad Greenway at linebacker and Sylvester Floyd at defensive tackle. Ryan Anderson of Alabama should be able to step in and fill Greenway's shoes relatively quickly at weak-side linebacker. 

47. Baltimore Ravens - Taylor Moton, T, Western Michigan:

Taylor Moton of Western Michigan would provide the Ravens with a bookend for Ronnie Stanley at right tackle.  

48. Indianapolis Colts - Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky:

With Andrew Luck at QB, the Colts simply can't get enough help on their offensive line. Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky may not have the physical attributes to play tackle in the NFL, but at the worst case scenario he projects as a high end offensive guard, which would give Indianapolis options on their line.

49. Washington Pigskins - Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida

By taking back to back defensive linemen, but Pigskins could turn a weakness into a strength by selecting a stout interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida. 

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State: 

The Bucs have a lot of mid level talent at DE, but no true impact players. DeMarcus Walker of Florida State may not be projected as a 1st Round pick, but there's been no better collegiate pass rusher than he was the last two seasons. 

51. Denver Broncos - Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi:

The Broncos need a playmaking target at tight end in their run based, play action offense. Evan Engram very well may be the best pure receiver at the tight end position in this year's draft, but he should slide to the 2nd Round because he's purely a receiver out of the slot, and not an in-line blocker. 

52. Cleveland Browns (from the Tennessee Titans) - Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

The Browns just need to keep accumulating talent, and Alvin Kamara of Tennessee is a three down back who could give Cleveland a strong running game when coupled with their revamped offensive line. 

53. Detroit Lions - Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State:  

Detroit needs a playmaker at middle or weak-side linebacker. Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State is a gifted athlete and productive college player who could allow current MLB Tahir Whitehead to either move on, or move back outside to where he once flourished. 

54. Miami Dolphins - Dan Feeney, G, Indiana

Anthony Steen is a decent back-up at C/G, but is too injury prone to rely upon as a starter. Dan Feeney might be the best overall draft prospect at G in this year's draft, and should become a starter from day one. 

55. New York Giants - Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland:

Adam Shaheen of Ashland could kill two Eagles with one stone for the Giants. He's a massive tight end who would be a plus as a blocker, but also has elite skills as a pass catching tight end for a player of his size. 

56. Oakland Raiders - Chris Wormley, DE/DT Michigan:

Oakland is getting better quickly, but they still need to add some run stoppers to their defensive line. Chris Wormley could be a run stopping defensive end in the NFL, or a disruptive defensive tackle, and would provide value to a 4-3 system team looking for a base end who can kick inside on passing downs. 

57. Houston Texans - Roderick Johnson, T, Florida State:

The Texans desperately need a right tackle. At 6'7, Roderick Johnson of Florida State played left tackle in college, but probably protects to the right side in the NFL as a better run blocker than he is in pass protection. 

58. Seattle Seahawks - Kevin King, CB, Washington:

Even if Seattle doesn't trade Richard Sherman, they are still in the market for another corner. At 6'3, Kevin King of Washington is just what Pete Carrol and the Seahawks look for in a cornerback to fit their system. 

59. Kansas City Chiefs - Davis Webb, QB, Cal:

Kansas City is definitely looking for a developmental QB to ultimately replace Alex Smith in this draft. If they can land one of the top three signal callers in the 1st Round, I think they might go in that direction. Otherwise, they will be content to land a longer term prospect like Davis Webb of Cal.  

60. Dallas Cowboys - Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M:

After losing J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church in free agency, the Cowboys need immediate help at the safety position to play opposite of Byron Jones. Justin Evans of Texas A&M is a free safety like Jones, but in Dallas' Tampa Two defense, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is ideally looking for two free safeties to assume duties in deep coverage. 

61. Green Bay Packers - Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

Small in stature or not, Jourdan Lewis is probably the best cover CB in this year's draft. In a worst case scenario where Lewis' size doesn't translate to the NFL, he still locks down a team's nickle spot for years to come. The other concern about Lewis is a recent domestic violence charge, although his girlfriend at the time may have been the initial aggressor

62.  Pittsburgh Steelers - Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa:

Pittsburgh has slowly been rebuilding their secondary. Desmond King of Iowa is a bit undersized, but he's a ball hawk with elite return skills. He probabably projects as a nickel in NFL, or even as a safety. Either way, the Steelers are a team that will find a way to use a true football player like King at one of their areas of need. 

63. Atlanta Falcons - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington:

Atlanta could use some play makers in their secondary, and while Sidney Jones suffered an unfortunate injury at his Pro Day that may keep him out of the 2017 season, he was projected by some to be one of the two best corners in a very deep draft class at that position. 

64. Carolina Panthers (from the New England Patriots) - Cooper Kuff, WR, Eastern Washington: 

The Panthers need an option at wide receiver who can gain seperation from opposing defensive bcks, and despite playing against inferior competition at Eastern Washington, Cooper Kuff showed he can play with the big boys and get open on a regular basis at the Senior Bowl. 

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't be very excited using a high pick on a RB for Cleveland. I doubt they go that way, JMHO.