2017 NFL Mock Draft
Is Myles Garrett a lock at #1? Will Deshaun Watson fall out of the first round? Is this truly the year of the defensive back? These questions and more will be answered in Jack Bethel’s attempt at predicting perfection in this year’s NFL Draft.
#1 Pick: Cleveland Browns: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
After toying with the idea of pulling a Cleveland move in taking Mitch Trubisky here, newly appointed General Manager Sashi Brown comes to his senses and selects the best overall player in the draft.
#2 Pick: San Francisco 49ers: S Jamal Adams, LSU
The best defensive back in the class is taken for his talents and his natural leadership abilities. John Lynch, a former safety himself, knows the importance of a powerful secondary in this league.
#3 Pick: Chicago Bears: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Bears are in urgent demand at rebuilding their secondary. They take the best pure cornerback in the class to secure a cornerstone of their struggling defense.
#4 Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford
A slight drop happens for the Stanford product due to team needs, making the Jaguars thrilled to add a top talent to their up and coming defensive unit.
#5 Tennessee Titans (from LA Rams): DT Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Jonathan Allen benefited greatly from coming back for his senior season, as he improves his draft status from 2nd round to top-5 draft pick.
#6 New York Jets: TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
The offensive player hiatus comes to an end with the all around tight end out of Tuscaloosa. The Vernon Davis like player makes an immediate impact in the Big Apple.
#7 Los Angeles Chargers: S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
With no high enough graded quarterbacks to become the Phillip Rivers successor, the Chargers address their biggest draft need and take one of the best safeties of our generation in this loaded class.
#8 Carolina Panthers: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
The Ezekiel Elliot type back drops to 8th to a team in desperate need. Fournette makes immediate differences in the struggling backfield of Carolina.
#9 Cincinnati Bengals: LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Even with his abrupt departure from the Combine and diluted sampling, the raw skill set makes Foster the best linebacker in the class. Marvin Lewis is ecstatic to add some powerful speed to his lack luster defense.
#10 Buffalo Bills: WR Mike Williams, Clemson
Buffalo is the need of an exceptional wide out talent to compliment opposite of Sammy Watkins. With their two previous first round picks being former Tigers, don’t be surprised to see the exceptional skills player land here.
#11 New Orleans Saints: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
As the Malcolm Butler rumors are beginning to dissipate, the Saints need to address a critical need in their secondary. The former track star may not go this early, but has the potential to become a lockdown CB1.
#12 Cleveland Browns (from PHI): QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
Hue Jackson becomes as excited as the front office executives as the Browns get the best overall player and their franchise quarterback (maybe).
#13 Arizona Cardinals: LB Haason Reddick, Temple
I could just as easily see the Cardinals draft a big receiver like Corey Davis here to succeed in #11’s footsteps, but the defensive need draws a bigger value. Arizona gets a steal here with a hard working player who can bring a whole defense together.
#14 Philadelphia Eagles: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Conley was greatly overshadowed in his time in Columbus due to sharing the secondary with both Lattimore and Hooker. Luckily for Conley, the Eagles see his potential and athleticism and grab one of the top cornerbacks with the 14th pick.
#15 Indianapolis Colts: RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
The Stanford product falls into a perfect match with the Colts at 15. Indianapolis will pair McCaffrey with Canton bound Frank Gore for a crucial 1–2 punch running system. The Colts will utilize the back in all 3 phases of the game.
#16 Baltimore Ravens: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Pair the weak level of competition Davis faced with his potential injury concerns, and the fall to Baltimore makes perfect sense. When healthy, Davis has the separate skills and size to become a dominant force in the AFC North, giving Antonio Brown a run for his money.
#17 Washington Redskins: LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
Great size and smooth leg movement can move this Florida linebacker up into the first round. Overall, it seems that defense is the urgency in this draft making some players be higher drafted than would be in previous drafts.
#18 Tennesse Titans: WR John Ross, Washington
John Ross made a name for himself by breaking Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record at the Combine. Take out Corey Davis, his separate skill set is the best in the class. Pair that with his exceptional speed and he will become a weapon for Marcus Mariota in Tennessee.
#19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
It seems to be a very popular pairing due to reuniting former teammates in Jameis Winston, yet the combination makes perfect sense. Doug Martin has been a questionable back the past few years, making Tampa pick the FSU product to finalize their up and coming offensive powerhouse.
#20 Denver Broncos: OT Ryan Ramczyk,Wisconsin
It is almost no doubt that the Broncos will invest to promote their horrendous offensive line play in 2016, and in this scenario they will get their pick of the litter. Even if it is very unlikely no offensive lineman will go in the top 19 picks, the Broncos grab the Wisconsin product for an immediate upgrade. Within a year, Ramczyk could become one of the best tackles in the game.
#21 Detroit Lions: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Barnett could just as easily be a top 10 pick in this draft, making this a steal at #21 for the Lions. Barnett’s great size and talent will make for an immediate impact wherever he lands. The combination of Ziggy and Barnett would make for a lethal edge attack in Detroit.
#22 Miami Dolphins: G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
It may not be the sexiest pick of the draft, but Miami will get an immediate solid starter for their interior line. Getting two top-10 talent lineman two years in a row will pay off greatly for the Dolphins. Lamp will become a Zach Martin duplicate within two years of being in South Beach.
#23 New York Giants: TE David Njoku, Miami
Although I could see a top lineman prospect like Cam Robinson here, New York signed D.J. Fluker in free agency. Off that, I see the Giants taking their chances and addressing the lineman position in later rounds. Big Blue has not had a quality starting tight end since Jeremy Shockey. Drafting Njoku would fill that void as an all around tight end in the passing and blocking game.
#24 Oakland Raiders: CB Tre’Davious White, LSU
I could see any of the three top corners remaining (Awuzie, A. Jackson, White) going here, but the former Tiger gets the edge with his versatility potential. White would most likely compete with David Amerson at CB, but could be used as a nickel option in Oakland.
#25 Houston Texans: OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
Quite possibly one of the most talked about picked, Houston decides to play it safe and take a solid starter from day one. While his 2016 play was not as exceptional as 2015, Robinson can quickly develop into a reliable tackle in the NFL.
#26 Seattle Seahawks: OT Garrett Bolles, Utah
Back to back tackles with essentially the same potential and skills. Seattle immediately upgrades their poor O-Line play of 2015 by adding the speedy Bolles to secure the right tackle position.
#27 Kansas City Chiefs: CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
Much like many teams, the Chiefs need defensive back help. The fluid motions and extreme athleticism of the former buffalo elevate him into the first round. Having a healthy Awuzie, Marcus Peters, and Eric Berry in a Kansas City secondary would be a force against any team.
#28 Dallas Cowboys: CB Adoree’ Jackson, USC
I may have a bit of a bias here being a lifelong ‘Boys fan, but Jackson makes perfect sense in Dallas. We lost 4 veteran starters in our secondary this offseason, making it an immediate need. Jackson could compete at nickel, cornerback, safety, and give Lucky Whitehead some competition in the return game. It is very likely the Jones family sees the great depth of defensive backs in this draft and addresses the defensive line position here instead, vowing for a secondary player in the later rounds. If that route is taken, Charles Harris out of Mizzou would make perfect sense here.
#29 Green Bay Packers: CB Kevin King, Washington
The secondary play in Green Bay last season was dreadful. Pair that with losing essentially their only decent defensive back, Micah Hyde, to Buffalo, and cornerback becomes a must early in the draft. Much like the Buckeyes, the Huskies could have three defensive backs taken in the first two rounds. Kevin King would provide immediate relief to the struggling Packer D.
#30 Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
The Steelers are in desperate need of a solid linebacker to pull their defense together. As Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree never lived up to all the hype, the raw talent of McKinley very well could be the answer in Pittsburgh.
#31 Atlanta Falcons: DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State
The top defensive tackle in the draft falls some due to team needs and the horrendous drop off of the 2016 Spartans. Atlanta improves their quality defense with a quality hole plugger who can make plays.
#32 New Orleans Saints (from NE): QB Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
With Drew Brees about to turn 38, the Saints need to address the QB position sooner rather than later. As they already got help in the secondary with their #11 pick, New Orleans drafts the QB of the future with the last pick in the first round.
Now that the first round of selections is in the books, let’s go over a few takeaways of my first mock draft of 2017.
#1 Surplus of the Secondary
With 9 of the 32 picks being defensive backs, it is safe to say that secondary players are in high demand this year. Not to mention a wide range of prospects with first round potential (Budda Baker, Jabrill Peppers, Obi Melifonwu, Quincy Wilson, Sidney Jones, etc.) being left out of the top 32, it is probable that many secondary rookie starters in this coming season will be 2nd and even 3rd day picks.
As a Cowboys fan myself, I breathe a sigh of relief. Although unlikely to be available when Dallas is up at #60, Obi Melifonwu, a safety out of Connecticut, is one of my favorite players of potentially the second round. Pairing his insane athleticism (Truly insane-check his combine results) with his former teammate in Byron Jones, and the Cowboys safety duo would be some excellent entertainment on Sundays.
#2 The Slide of Takkarist McKinley
Although my projection for McKinley at 30 to Pittsburgh is a drastic prediction, I would not be surprised. Look at what happened to his former Bruin teammate in Myles Jack just one year prior. Jack was a potential top 5 pick, but slipped all the way to the second round due to knee injury concerns. The same could happen for McKinley due to shoulder problems. Although shoulder problems are less impactful than that of the knee, NFL teams don’t take any chances. I would expect Haason Reddick out of Temple along with the Crimson Tide alum Reuben Foster to hear their names called well before that of McKinley.
#3 No Deshaun Watson
Potentially the most talked about player of this draft, Deshaun Watson, is left wondering where he will end up late Thursday night. Coming out of the college football season, the player seemed like the for sure top QB prospect. Some even went as far as Watson as the top prospect overall. So how did he drop out of the top 32?
In all honesty, I think Watson could sneak into the late first round due to the game today. Even if he has a lower grade than other prospects, the NFL today revolves around the quarterback position. That could lure a team like Kansas City or even Houston into snagging up the former Clemson star. Yet, going off grades alone I do not see him as a first round talent. I do not think Watson would be able to be a quality starter in the NFL right now. After a few years of grooming by a great predecessor, Watson could grow into a NFL starting QB. The second round of the draft is the place for him.
Boom or Bust Player Pick: LB Alex Anzalone, Florida
Quite possibly my favorite prospect of the draft, and not just cause of the hair, goes to Alex Anzalone. The linebacker has great movement and fluid motions. He could be a very reliable starter for many years in the NFL, maybe even developing into a Luke Kuechly type player. I say that with caution because Anzalone is a player riddled with injuries. Within four years at Florida, he only has one full season under his belt. Yet, when he is on the field, he is a first round talent. If healthy throughout college, Anzalone would be drafted where his former teammate Jarrad Davis will be drafted. He has the talent of an elite linebacker, but may not ever get to showcase it if he can not stay on the field.