It’s draft day, ladies and gentlemen. The day we have all been patiently waiting for, some of us not so patiently, is finally here. For a lot of us Draftniks, this is our alternate Christmas, or as we like to call it, Draftmas. Even though I completed a 7 round mock draft this past weekend, a lot has changed since then, so it’s virtually worth throwing in the trash. Thus, a new mock draft was born – a special Draft Day Edition.
It’s a relief to say this is my last mock draft for the 2017 NFL Draft. We’ve all been looking forward to this day for quite sometime, and it is bound to be a fun one. I hope you all enjoy the day, and I sincerely hope your happy with the players your team picks (unless you’re a Giants/Cowboys fan). Nonetheless, it’s been a real pleasure putting out draft content for all of you this year, and preparation for 2018 starts Saturday!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Talk about Mitch Trubisky here all you want, but it’s not going to happen. Myles Garrett is a generational talent and would immediately become the top EDGE rusher in the AFC North. The Browns need building blocks throughout their roster, and where better to get one then in an elite pass rusher?
2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
This is where the draft really starts. As much as people want to point to a guy like Solomon Thomas here, I just don’t see it. The 49ers have spent their previous two 1st round picks on defensive linemen in DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, so I doubt they’re willing to go that route again. As much as John Lynch loves his safeties, I doubt they spend the #2 pick on a guy like Jamal Adams. Ultimately, I think they go QB. Give Kyle Shanahan the keys to the offense and bring in “his guy” under center. Trubisky’s ability to throw with anticipation and timing fits Shanahan’s system to perfection.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
With Solomon Thomas falling to the 3rd pick, he’ll be a heavy name during the broadcast. However, I don’t think the Bears would take him. To start, they already have a solid front 7 and drafted pass rusher Leonard Floyd in the 1st round last year. Plus, I don’t view Thomas as a sound fit in Fangio’s 3-4 scheme. They need a lot of help in the secondary, thus, they take the top defensive back in this year’s draft class. Jamal Adams sets the tone in the run game from the backend and is one of the most instinctive players in the entire draft. A vocal leader, he’ll provide that extra “pop” the Bears need on defense.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
If the Jaguars sit put here at #4, they need value. Solomon Thomas would be a tremendous pick, but they’ve already invested so much into the defense over the offseason, they I think now they will switch up the tempo a bit and give some help to Blake Bortles. I believe the NFL views Fournette as a generational talent at the running back position, the Jaguars included. A physical, punishing runner, Fournette gives the Jags a great weapon out of the backfield. He will add an extra dimension to the offense which could in turn, get Blake Bortles back to 2015 form.
5. Tennessee Titans: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
Not the best fit in a 3-4, and I’m honestly not quite sure where you play him. However, the Titans view Thomas as the best player left on the board, and with an extra pick in the 1st round, they can afford to go with a luxury pick here. Thomas has excellent athleticism and is an advanced technical pass rusher. Brings some youth in the pass rush department which the Titans could use.
6. New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Last season, the Jets’ secondary was torched on a consistent basis. Revis hit the end of the road and is without a job, so the Jets replaced him with Morris Claiborne in free agency. Still, they need a lot of help at the corner slot, and who better to fill that void than the top corner in the draft? With Sidney Jones tearing his Achilles a couple weeks back, and the recent surfacing of the whole Conley saga, top tier corners are few and far between in this year’s class. While Lattimore is a guy I think can fall on draft day due to his nagging hamstring injuries, the Jets take that chance as he can be a lockdown #1 corner in the league.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
In their move to Los Angeles, the Chargers also move to a 4-3 scheme implemented by Gus Bradley. While his run in Jacksonville was among the worst among head coaches in NFL history, there’s no denying his prowess as a top tier defensive coordinator. During his days in Seattle, Bradley’s defense revolved around the secondary as it would become known as the “Legion of Boom”. He had Earl Thomas as a single-high safety a lot of the time there, and now he gets Malik Hooker to play that same role. A high upside, rangy ball hawk with elite ball skills.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
As much as I feel Christian McCaffrey isn’t a good fit in Carolina, I guess I’ll buy into the rumors. After thinking about it a little bit more, it makes sense. The Panthers lack weapons in the passing game, and that is exactly what McCaffrey provides as he is one of the best pass catching backs we’ve seen in years. Jonathan Stewart is reaching the end of the line, so they’ll have his replacement ready with McCaffrey. This team flatout needs playmakers surrounding Cam Newton on the offense – he can’t do it all himself.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
This is perhaps the most surprising pick inside the top 10. There are tons of options on the board here for the Bengals, but with the chance lurking of them to provide another polarizing weapon on the offense alongside A.J. Green – I think that would be too hard to pass up. They can address defense later in a deep class.
10. Buffalo Bills: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Sean McDermott makes the jump to Buffalo as the team’s new head coach. Looking at the depth chart, the team really lacks linebackers who fit his scheme. While Rueben Foster’s draft stock is as good as anyone’s guess, pick 10 seems like a good spot. McDermott adds a linebacker with a game reminiscent of Luke Kuechly – whom he had in Carolina.
11. New Orleans Saints: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Bottom line, the Saints need help on defense, so they take the best defensive player left on the board. Jonathan Allen anchored the most prestigious defense in college football over the past two seasons. He slips a little bit due to his arthritic shoulders.
12. Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Cleveland Browns need to instill winners into their new program, and that is exactly what Deshaun Watson is. One of the most decorated college QBs in recent memory, Watson brings that leadership, swagger and moxie that Cleveland has been longing for. To me, he looks like the perfect fit in Hue Jackson’s offense.
13. Arizona Cardinals: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
A lot of people may expect QB here, but I don’t think Bruce Arians is willing to burn a 1st round pick on that position quite yet. Instead, they take the best available player on the board. O.J. Howard is a can’t miss prospect at the TE position, and my highest ranked offensive player in this entire class. When Arizona does bring in their young QB, he’ll have a polarizing weapon to work with.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The possibilities are endless here for the Eagles. Ultimately I feel that they will go with the offensive playmaker to implement into their offense along with new additions Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith – both of whom only signed one year deals. Davis is a polished route runner who is electric after the catch.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
With holes all across the roster, the Colts made some sound defensive signings over the offseason. While they still need some quality talent on that side of the ball, Chris Ballard is not going to pull a Ryan Grigson. With that being said, Ballard knows the top priority of this team is to build around Andrew Luck. Bolles is a nasty left tackle who plays with a mean streak. He provides an identity in the trenches for Indy.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens are infamous for going BPA in the NFL Draft, and the BANE project backs it up. Haason Reddick is an athletic freak who plays all over the defense – as he proved at both the Combine and Senior Bowl. The Ravens get a defensive playmaker with Terrell Suggs nearing the end of the line. The upside and possibilities are endless with Reddick.
17. Washington Redskins: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
The Redskins fall just short of seeing their top target fall right into their laps as Reddick goes the pick prior. Charles Harris is a guy the NFL likes a lot more than us “experts” on Twitter. Harris possesses a devastating spin move and gives Washington a young pass rusher.
18. Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
After going with Solomon Thomas at 5, the Titans continue to shore up their defense. In a class now lacking that premier corner talent at the top of the board, the Titans select the only other corner (along with Lattimore) that seems like a consensus 1st round prospect at this stage. Humphrey is an elite athlete and the best run support corner in the class. He provides a Cortland Finnegan type feistiness to the secondary.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
I strongly feel that the Buccaneers will focus on continuing to build the offense around Jameis Winston in this draft. After signing Desean Jackson in the offseason, they now add an enormous TE with insane athleticism. David Njoku has more potential than O.J. Howard, and gives this team the ultimate Madden offense.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The biggest need for the Denver Broncos is by far the offensive line. In his only year at the D-I level, Ryan Ramczyk was a brick wall at left tackle for the Wisconsin Badgers. He fits Denver’s scheme and fills their biggest need. They need to protect their young QBs.
21.Detroit Lions: John Ross, WR, Washington
This is a pick that seems to be re-occurring in my most recent mock drafts. Even though receiver isn’t necessarily a need for the Lions, teams in the NFL aren’t going to ignore that 4.22 speed – especially in the 20s range. Put Ross in the slot alongside Marvin Jones and Golden Tate and you now have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
Offensive linemen are slim pickings in this draft class, and the Dolphins realize that. While another edge rusher or a safety may be higher on their list of needs, they want to take a linemen before all the good ones run out. Forrest Lamp is arguably the safest pick in this entire draft and gives them a plug and play on the interior of that offensive line.
23. New York Giants: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
While some Giants fans entering enemy territory as they attend the draft in Philly may be calling for a guy like Mahomes or Kizer here, the Giants make the sound decision to improve their offensive line. Cam Robinson was the staple of Alabama’s offensive line at left tackle and you could even say he has the most upside of any linemen in the draft. Giants fans, you no longer have to endure the struggles of Ereck Flowers “blocking” for Eli Manning’s blindside.
24. Oakland Raiders: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
With the recent acquisition of Marshawn Lynch, the possibility of Dalvin Cook is ruled out here. Jarrad Davis is a physical presence on the inside and the epitome of a MIKE linebacker in today’s NFL. The dude loves to hit people, and his play style and swagger fits perfectly in Oakland.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
As much as the reports say the Texans have ruled out QB in the 1st round, and while I do think Bill O’Brien is higher on Tom Savage than anyone else, Patrick Mahomes is the pick here. Savage is a bit bland on the field, but Mahomes adds that extra element. Last season the Texans focused on adding speed and explosiveness to the offense at the skill positions, now they get that under center.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, S, UCONN
With no first round caliber offensive linemen left on the board, the Seahawks address the secondary. With Earl Thomas’ future in jeopardy, Pete Caroll takes a chance on the athletic freak that is Obi Melifonwu. We saw him blowup the combine – the combination of his athleticism and size will likely land him in the 1st round, despite what we saw on film. If anyone is going to get the best out of him, it’s the Seahawks.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
The Chiefs have an extremely well-built roster, so they’re in a position where they can go after their future franchise QB. Andy Reid takes a liking to Kizer as he reminds him a bit of Donovan McNabb. Kizer has the most upside of any QB in the draft, and will give Kansas City a change of flavor under center as he has top tier athleticism, size and tremendous arm strength.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
“America’s Team” was beaten and battered over, so we all know they need to add defensive pieces throughout this year’s draft. Derek Barnett enjoyed an extremely productive career, and the Cowboys are pleased when he falls into their laps at the end of the 1st round. Barnett is a high floor player who will be a consistent 6-8 sack contributor.
29. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
The Packers are desperate for defensive help in every phase on that side of the ball. T.J. Watt is a bit raw, but he offers tremendous versatility and upside as he is still new to his position after converting from offense. Watt gives them a chess piece for their LB corps – a tad similar to Clay Matthews.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
With James Harrison likely in his last season, the Steelers need to add a jolt, and youth to their pass rush department. Taco Charlton brings tremendous size and upside, along with a devastating combination of athleticism and power. A future tandem of Bud Dupree and Charlton would be scary.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Budda Baker, S, Washington
Reportedly, the Falcons are looking to implement more 3 safety looks, so Budda Baker makes a lot of sense here. Baker scares some teams due to his lack of size, but he makes up for it with his instincts and ability to lay the wood. A versatile weapon who could also play in the slot. A Keanu Neal-Baker tandem in Atlanta’s secondary will be among the best for years to come.
32. New Orleans Saints: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
After adding Jonathan Allen earlier, the Saints now address the secondary. Quincy Wilson is one of the few outside corners in this class. He has the size, athleticism and lockdown potential on the outside.