With the NFL Scouting Combine behind us, what better time to pump out my first full 3 round mock draft of the year? A lot can still change from now until April, but one thing will remain the same and that is the status of these NFL prospects. The Combine serves as that last ingredient necessary when gauging a prospect during the evaluation process. Just about everything is left at a team’s disposal – now comes the period where they start to rank their top prospects and compile their big boards. Speaking of Big Boards, check out my Post-Combine Top 100 Big Board!
A few things worth noting here. 1. I did not base this mock draft off my own big board. Those are my personal rankings. Of course, I’m not going to be in compliance with all 32 NFL teams (or even 1 for that matter). Therefore, each pick was selected after hard considering of what I think a team is most likely to do. The point of a mock draft is to try to predict the actual outcome to the best of your ability, not slot players to specific teams based on what you would do – otherwise, it’s not a mock draft. 2. I obliviously began this mock draft just before the NFL Free Agency period kicked off (don’t ask why), so some picks may seem out of whack. Just bear with me, and I’ll have a fresh, updated one out soon enough in order to accommodate to new-look teams.
In this mock draft I tried to switch things up a bit and make it a little more unique, so I added some trades into the 1st round to bring some pizazz. You’ll never see the 1st round of the NFL Draft without a few transactions, so I attempted to predict those as well, with short reasons included as to why it works for both teams involved.
Again, sorry for the inconvenience of the timing, but nonetheless I hope you enjoy my 2017 3 Round Post-Combine NFL Mock Draft V3.0. As I stated earlier, a fresh one will be out soon. Enjoy!
*Agree or disagree? Let me know what you would do for your team in the comments below!
1. Cleveland Browns: EDGE – Myles Garrett – Texas A&M
This pick is a no-brainer. The Browns might as well hand in their draft card now and spare us the suspense on Draft Day. Garrett is a revolutionary prospect due to his athleticism as he jumped off the charts at the combine, along with his elite pass rushing potential and stout ability against the run. He’ll provide a franchise player on defense for the Browns as they make strides in their rebuilding attempt.
2. San Francisco 49ers: QB – Mitchell Trubisky – North Carolina
Assuming the 49ers are unsuccessful in their attempt to land Kirk Cousins, I fully expect them to go QB with this pick. Trubisky did enough at the Combine to keep himself hovering in the top QB conversation. In my eyes, this pick is between Trubisky, and Deshaun Watson. Ultimately I believe Shanahan and co. will go with the preference of Trubisky as he’s a more natural throw and can fit the tempo of a Kyle Shanahan offense a la Matt Ryan or Kirk Cousins.
3. Chicago Bears: S – Jamal Adams – LSU
It looks like Mike Glennon is all but a Chicago Bear, so QB doesn’t even pass through the mind of Ryan Pace. Jamal Adams is #3 on my Big Board, and for good reason. He will provide a line of security for Chicago’s secondary and brings tremendous instincts along with ability back in coverage and up in the box against the run.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: DL – Jonathan Allen – Alabama
The Jaguars have made major strides in free agency the past couple of seasons, but that doesn’t negate the fact they need to get better building through the draft. Jonathan Allen is a slam-dunk top 5 pick in the eyes of the media, and while I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell on draft day, I would be more surprised if he wasn’t taken in the top 10. I had DeForest Buckner slated to the Jags last year, now they get a guy with a lot of similarities who can clog the middle and do a lot of things well.
(Note: Before Calais Campbell signing)
5. Tennessee Titans (RAMS): S – Malik Hooker – Ohio State
Tennessee owns the luxury of two picks inside the top 18 picks, they can afford to take a high risk/high reward top guy, which is the exact brand that Malik Hooker presents. Hooker awed scouts with his range and ball skills this past season. The Titans could really use a difference maker in the backend of their defense, and you could make the case that Hooker has even more potential than a guy like Jamal Adams. Wide receiver is tempting, but as it currently stands, I think Hooker is more attractive.
6. New York Jets: RB – Leonard Fournette – LSU
Even though QB is a massive need for the Jets, they elect to instead go with the premier RB talent of the class. Fournette solidified himself as the top RB in the class (to most, not me) after running a 4.51 at a staggering 240 pounds. With no viable QB, this will at least give the Jets a bruiser out of the backfield who can carry the offense with his physical, imposing presence in the running game.
7. Cleveland Browns (TRADE w/ LAC): QB – Deshaun Watson – Clemson
CLE: 1st RD (#7), 6th RD (#190)
LAC: 1st RD (#12), 3rd RD (#65)
The Browns make the call to the Chargers and boost up 5 spots in order to secure their hopeful franchise QB, Deshaun Watson. On the other hand, the Chargers have an array of players on their radar who may not be the best value at this point, so why not trade down and pickup an early 3rd round pick. Cleveland has a handful of early picks in this year’s draft, so they can afford it.
As they grow nervous that Watson won’t be available at #12, the Browns work an affordable trade up. Watson comes with a winning pedigree – something the Browns have lacked for nearly two decades. I firmly believe that Hue Jackson is insanely high on him, and will try to draft him at all costs. First a defensive cornerstone in Garrett, and now a potential offensive cornerstone in Watson? Not a bad start for the Brownies.
I know what you’re thinking, “but they just traded for Osweiler”. Don’t fret, he won’t play a single snap in Cleveland. The Browns traded for him and got a 2018 2nd round pick back – a trade Houston was willing to make in order to take his contract off the books. Osweiler will more than likely be gone by next year.
8. Carolina Panthers: CB – Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State
Seemingly a lock to go in the top 6 of most mock drafts to this juncture, Lattimore scares teams off due to hamstring concerns – especially after re-aggravating it during the Combine. Sitting at #8, the Panthers are willing to overlook that as they snag the top cover corner in the draft with tremendous athleticism. While this pick adds youth to an already young corner unit, it gives them a true #1 guy on the outside who has the size, speed and skills to keep up with nearly every WR in the game.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE – Solomon Thomas – Stanford
As much as I want to slate Taco Charlton here as he fits the mold of a classic Bengal defensive end, there’s no justification in that. Solomon Thomas is a top 5 player on my board, and the Bengals are desperate to inject some youth up front. Thomas showed up at the combine, displaying tremendous strength and great agility. A high floor player, Thomas will be able to contribute from day one in Cincy.
10. Buffalo Bills: TE – O.J. Howard – Alabama
Perhaps the most surprising pick inside the top 10, is O.J. Howard to Buffalo. While a guy like Mike Williams seems like the more logical choice in this scenario, it wouldn’t surprise me if O.J. Howard is ranked higher on many teams boards. For what it’s worth, he’s my highest ranked offensive player in the class. Howard already looked like a top 15 pick, but after his elite showing at the Combine, he should go inside the top 10. He’ll provide an instant jolt to Buffalo’s offense as he can make an impact in a variety of ways.
11. New Orleans Saints: LB – Reuben Foster – Alabama
After his incident at the Combine, Reuben Foster very possibly could slide out of the top 10, and if he does, the Saints will be right there waiting for him. The Saints have been aching for a player on defense like Foster for sometime now. Foster is a do-it-all linebacker who will provide a tremendous presence and building block in the middle of the New Orleans defense. A very reliable tackler who can shoot the gaps, run sideline-to-sideline and make plays back in coverage.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (TRADE w/ CLE via PHI): OT – Cam Robinson – Alabama
Here the Chargers are 5 picks later along with a more vivid picture of who to select. With their offensive line unit a glaring weakness, they take the first offensive linemen in the draft with any player of choice. You could make the case that Cam Robinson has the highest ceiling of any offensive linemen in this draft. With his size and athleticism, he fits what the Chargers covet up front. They could start him out on the right side and shift him to the blindside once King Dunlap wears out his welcome.
(Note: Before Russell Okung signing)
13. Arizona Cardinals: WR – Corey Davis – Western Michigan
With the fallout of Michael Floyd and inevitable Larry Fitzgerald retirement, the Cardinals address WR and select one who is somewhat similar to Fitz in Corey Davis. While Davis isn’t as good catching the ball in the air as Fitz, he is a refined route runner who can take short passes the distance to the house. He’ll provide an instant spark from day one and flourish under the tutelage of Fitzgerald.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: WR – Mike Williams – Clemson
There are multiple options here for the Eagles; do they go Dalvin Cook? A corner? Ultimately, I fully expect this pick to be a receiver. With their initial heavy pursuit of A.J. Bouye in free agency, it appears to me that they would rather address WR via draft, and their interview list at the Combine backs that up. Even after signing Torrey Smith, they lack a true #1 in the passing game. The most important thing they can do right now is provide Wentz with weapons to further his progression at a fragile state. Williams will provide a huge boost to what was one of the worst WR corps in the league last year. He brings size to the outside and the ability to win one-on-one battles with a high catch point and wide catch radius. Wentz will surely be happy after this.
(NOTE: Before Alshon Jeffery signing)
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TRADE w/ IND): TE – David Njoku (Miami)
IND: 1st RD (#19), 3rd RD (#84)
TB: 1st RD (#15)
This trade up comes as a surprise to many, but what isn’t a surprise is the fact that the Buccaneers realize they need to add weapons alongside Mike Evans on offense for Jameis Winston. Already they’re going strongly after DeSean Jackson in free agency. Assuming they land D-Jax, just imagine David Njoku added to that mix. That now gives you Evans, Jackson and now Njoku, plus a strong backfield with Doug Martin and a returning Charles Sims. Talk about explosive – I know who I’ll be using in Madden next year.
I expect Chris Ballard to make a splash during his first draft as General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts – trading down and acquiring a 3rd round pick in turn would be a tremendous start. The Buccaneers will play it aggressive in their hunt for more offensive explosion.
16. Baltimore Ravens: S/LB – Jabrill Peppers – Michigan
One of the biggest wildcards of the draft is answered in the top half of the 1st round. Jabrill Peppers lands in Baltimore to play under John Harbaugh, the brother of college coach Jim Harbaugh. John is an esteemed defensive backs coach coming straight from that position to head coach with no defensive coordinator experience. If anyone can coach up Peppers’ coverage skills, which is a huge knock on him, Harbaugh is the guy. The Ravens get a polarizing athlete and adapt to the new trend with an LB/S hybrid of their own.
(NOTE: Before Tony Jefferson signing)
17. Washington Redskins: RB – Dalvin Cook – Florida State
After the Combine, Dalvin Cook’s draft stock took a hit, but not enough to drop him outside the top 20. Even with the emergence of undrafted rookie Robert Kelley, the Redskins need to add a compliment – and they get a really good one with Dalvin Cook. Cook is as explosive as they come and runs with excellent vision, patience and burst. After losing Garcon and Jackson to free agency, they could more help in the passing game, and Cook has downfield receiving ability, and can be their 3rd down back as well. With Scot McCloughan dismissed as the team’s general manager, we could see them make a splash here.
18. Oakland Raiders (TRADE w/TEN): RB – Christian McCaffrey – Stanford
TEN: 1st RD (#24), 3rd RD (#88), 6th RD (#208)
OAK: 1st RD (#18), 2018 6th RD
While a guy like Cook hurt himself a bit after the combine, Christian McCaffrey won among all RBs at the combine and re-assured that he belongs in the 1st round. An RB needy team like the Raiders trade up for the in-state kid as they fulfill the void left by Latavius Murray in free agency. McCaffrey’s postings at the Combine were enough to vault him up draft boards, mine included. He will provide a great fit in Oakland’s offense which features plenty of youth. A dynamic weapon in both the passing game and running game.
The Titans move down and add even more draft capital with a good amount of tempting options still available, while the Raiders get anxious to add yet another young superstar to their offense.
19. Indianapolis Colts (TRADE w/ TB): OT – Garett Bolles – Utah
After trading down, the Colts are still able to grab a player who was even previously towards the top of their list. As it’s been well-documented, they have been desperate for a personality up front, and that’s exactly what Bolles provides. Bolles is a bully in the trenches, the type of player you hate to play against. He’s an imposing force, intimidating presence and the type of player who will always have the back of their QB – something Andrew Luck has been without for his entire career.
20. Denver Broncos: OT – Ryan Ramczyk – Wisconsin
My instincts are telling me that Romo ends up in Denver, with that their whole focus shifts into “win-now” mode. Assuming Romo does end up a Bronco, you know their top priority transitions to building up that offensive line. They can’t afford another devastating injury happen to the seasoned veteran. With Russell Okung out, Ryan Ramczyk is picked to fill the vacancy at left tackle and protect Romo’s blindside. The Broncos signed Ronald Leary, and now continue to bolster their offensive line.
21. Detroit Lions: CB – Sidney Jones – Washington
After Darius Slay, the Lions really lack a premier starting corner alongside him on the outside. Sidney Jones, arguably the best corner in the draft falls right into their laps at 21. He brings a feisty competitor with tremendous man cover skills and sound instincts. The Lions secondary has progressed each year, but still remains a liability on that defense. Not anymore.
22. Miami Dolphins: LB – Haason Reddick – Temple
After re-signing both Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, the Dolphins can shift their focus to the LB corps where they have a whole at weakside linebacker. Reddick has improved his stock the most of any player following tremendous showing at both the Senior Bowl and Combine. Reddick is extremely athletic and presents 3-down capabilities as a versatile weapon who can cover, play on the ball and rush the passer. Miami adds some much needed youth to their LB corps.
23. New York Giants: QB – DeShone Kizer – Notre Dame
This could go down as the most polarizing selection of the 2017 NFL Draft. DeShone Kizer slips all the way to the Giants at 23, and they select him to be the heir apparent to Eli Manning under center in East Rutherford. Kizer has all the physical tools including arm strength and athleticism to be a franchise QB at the next level. However, his accuracy is alarmingly bad at times, and his overall game just requires more polish. In the past I’ve said he has the most upside of any QB in this draft class, which I continue to stand on. Sitting behind Eli for 2-3 years is the perfect situation for him to succeed.
24. Tennessee Titans (TRADE w/ OAK): WR – John Ross – Washington
After breaking the NFL Combine 40-yard dash record, John Ross is a lock to go in the 1st round. The Titans need a boost to their mediocre WR corps, and Ross will provide a lot of that. He has burner speed (obviously) to beat corners over the top, and he has the elusiveness in open field to take a screen to the house. The Titans will covet his dynamic playmaking ability, especially after missing out on Brandin Cooks.
25. Houston Texans: QB – Patrick Mahomes – Texas Tech
Assuming Tony Romo goes to Denver over Houston – as I’m predicting, they will be looking at a QB in this year’s draft – especially after cutting ties with Brock Osweiler. After Mahomes, there is a pretty wide drop-off to the next tier of QBs, so the Texans pounce while they still can – this choice is a no-brainer for Houston. First let me start by saying that Mahomes to Houston would be insanely fun to watch. With his play style sprinkled in to an offense which features DeAndre Hopkins, then speedsters like Will Fuller and Braxton Miller… wow. At least they’ll be fun to play with on Madden. In all seriousness, I think Mahomes is the type of guy Bill O’Brien would love to have under center. He’s entertaining and can make big time throws.
26. Seattle Seahawks: OL – Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky
This pick is a no-brainer. The Seahawks are desperate to rebuild their offensive line, and what better way to start than with Forrest Lamp? Lamp is my top overall offensive linemen in the draft, but slips a bit due to his projection on the interior at the next level. Still, the Seahawks will take it late in the 1st round and get themselves a guy who can have a Steve Hutchinson type impact on the inside.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: DL – Malik McDowell – Michigan State
With all the top flight QBs off the board, Andy Reid and John Dorsey go with a high upside/high risk pick here. Malik McDowell is the #2 ranked player on my Big Board, but character concerns remain an enormous concern. However, you could make the case that McDowell presents the most upside of any player in this draft class. If he were to pan out, that would give them a young tandem of Chris Jones and McDowell up front – yikes. With Jaye Howard set to his free agency next year, they address a 2018 need. You know how Andy Reid loves his defensive linemen.
28. Dallas Cowboys: EDGE – Taco Charlton – Michigan
The Cowboys are desperate for a premier pass rusher coming off the edge. Guys like DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and David Irving are all decent in their own right, but a guy like Taco Charlton brings size, athletic ability and upside to Dallas’ defensive front. Charlton is the BPA on my Big Board, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys felt the same way.
29. Green Bay Packers: CB – Gareon Conley – Ohio State
As we saw in the playoffs this past year, the Packers field an abysmal secondary unit. They decide to take advantage of the deep corner class at #29 with their selection of Gareon Conley. Conley fits the mold of your typical Dom Capers defensive back with his size and athleticism. Conley displayed tremendous cover skills at Ohio State and will be an instant upgrade in Green Bay’s defensive backfield.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: EDGE – Charles Harris – Missouri
With the secondary finally taking form in Pittsburgh, now lies a big issue up front, that being edge rushers. Is James Harrison still playing? Regardless, the Steelers need youth alongside Bud Dupree, and they get tremendous value at the end of the 1st round in Charles Harris. Prior to the season, Harris flashed top 10 potential on film, but then his role changed a bit this past season. With that being said, he remains a well-rounded pass rusher who possesses one of the most lethal spin moves in the entire draft. A good fit in Tomlin’s defense.
31. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE – Derek Barnett – Tennessee
It’s apparent that the Falcons could use some push in the defensive front, especially off the edge. Barnett enters the draft as Tennessee’s all-time leader in sacks with 33, a number that even out produced #1 pick Myles Garrett. Barnett is a strong overall player who will provide consistent 6-8 sack production at the next level. He brings the consistent pass rusher off the edge the Falcons have been longing for along with Vic Beasley.
32. New England Patriots: S – Budda Baker – Washington
This is a typical Patriots pick right here. Budda Baker is among the most instinctive players in the draft, and plays far bigger than his 5’10” size would indicate. While not the most pressing of needs for New England, Baker fits the Patriots mold with his versatility, chippy competitiveness and overall game. You know Belichick will find ways to get this guy on the field.
33. Cleveland Browns: CB – Tre’Davious White – LSU
34. San Francisco 49ers: WR – JuJu Smith-Schuster – USC
35. Jacksonville Jaguars: RB – Alvin Kamara – Tennessee
36. Chicago Bears: QB – Brad Kaaya – Miami (FL)
37. Los Angeles Rams: WR/TE – Evan Engram – Ole Miss
38. Los Angeles Chargers: S – Obi Melifonwu – UCONN
39. New York Jets: CB – Marlon Humphrey – Alabama
40. Carolina Panthers: RB – Joe Mixon – Oklahoma
41. Cincinnati Bengals: LB – Jarrad Davis – Florida
42. New Orleans Saints: CB – Quincy Wilson – Florida
43. Philadelphia Eagles: CB – Cordrea Tankersley – Clemson
44. Buffalo Bills: CB – Teez Tabor – Florida
45. Arizona Cardinals: DL – Caleb Brantley – Florida
46. Indianapolis Colts: LB – Raekwon McMillan – Ohio State
47. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE – Takkarist McKinley – UCLA
48. Minnesota Vikings: G – Dan Feeney – Indiana
49. Washington Redskins: DL – Montravius Adams – Auburn
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB – Adoree’ Jackson – USC
51. Denver Broncos: LB – Zach Cunningham – Vanderbilt
52. Cleveland Browns: (TITANS): S – Marcus Williams – Utah
53. Detroit Lions: EDGE – Carl Lawson – Auburn
54. Miami Dolphins: OT/G – Dion Dawkins – Temple
55. New York Giants: RB – D’Onta Foreman – Texas
56. Oakland Raiders: CB – Jourdan Lewis – Michigan
57. Houston Texans: S – Justin Evans – Texas A&M
58. Seattle Seahawks: EDGE – Tim Williams – Alabama
59. Kansas City Chiefs: CB – Kevin King – Washington
60. Dallas Cowboys: CB – Fabian Moreau – UCLA
61. Green Bay Packers: RB – Jamaal Williams – BYU
62. Pittsburgh Steelers: RB/WR – Curtis Samuel – Ohio State
63. Atlanta Falcons: DL – Dalvin Tomlinson – Alabama
64. New England Patriots: DE – Derek Rivers – Youngstown State
65. Los Angeles Chargers (TRADE w/ CLE): EDGE – T.J. Watt – Wisconsin
66. San Francisco 49ers: CB – Chidobe Awuzie – Colorado
67. Chicago Bears: WR – Zay Jones – East Carolina
68. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT/G – Taylor Moton – Western Michigan
69. Los Angeles Rams: C – Ethan Pocic – LSU
70. New York Jets: QB – Davis Webb – California
71. Los Angeles Chargers: WR – Chris Godwin – Penn State
72. Carolina Panthers: WR – ArDarius Stewart – Alabama
73. Cincinnati Bengals: OT – Antonio Garcia – Troy
74. Philadelphia Eagles: EDGE – Joe Mathis – Washington
75. Buffalo Bills: WR – Carlos Henderson – Louisiana Tech
76. New Orleans Saints: WR – Cooper Kupp – Eastern Washington
77. Arizona Cardinals: S – Marcus Maye – Florida
78. Baltimore Ravens: OT – Roderick Johnson – Florida State
79. Minnesota Vikings: RB – Wayne Gallman – Clemson
80. Indianapolis Colts: DL – Chris Wormley – Michigan
81. Washington Redskins: QB – Nate Peterman – Pittsburgh
82. Denver Broncos: WR – Chad Hansen – California
83. Tennessee Titans: CB – Rasul Douglas – West Virginia
84. Indianapolis Colts (TRADE w/ TB): G/C – Pat Elflein – Ohio State
85. Detroit Lions: LB – Vince Biegel – Wisconsin
86. Minnesota Vikings (DOLPHINS): OT – Adam Bisnowaty – Pittsburgh
87. New York Giants: EDGE – Jordan Willis – Kansas State
88. Tennessee Titans (TRADE w/ OAK): CB – Cam Sutton – Tennessee
89. Houston Texans: EDGE – Dawuane Smoot – Illinois
90. Seattle Seahawks: CB – Corn Elder – Miami (FL)
91. Kansas City Chiefs: RB – Samaje Perine – Oklahoma
92. Dallas Cowboys: WR – K.D. Cannon – Baylor
93. Green Bay Packers: G – Dorian Johnson – Pittsburgh
94. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB – Anthony Walker – Northwestern
95. Atlanta Falcons: CB/S – Desmond King – Iowa
96. New England Patriots: EDGE – Tyus Bowser – Houston
97. Miami Dolphins (COMP): TE – Jordan Leggett – Clemson
98. Carolina Panthers (COMP): EDGE – Daeshon Hall – Texas A&M
99. Baltimore Ravens (COMP): CB – Ahkello Witherspoon – Colorado
100. Tennessee Titans (COMP via Rams): TE – Adam Shaheen – Ashland
101. Denver Broncos (COMP): DL – DeMarcus Walker – Florida State
102. Seattle Seahawks (COMP): DL – Elijah Qualls – Washington
103. New England Patriots (COMP via Browns): TE – Gerald Everett – South Alabama
104. Kansas City Chiefs (COMP): QB – Jerod Evans – Virginia Tech
105. Pittsburgh Steelers (COMP): DL – Larry Ogunjobi – Charlotte
106. Seattle Seahawks (COMP): WR – Isaiah Ford – Virginia Tech
107. New York Jets (COMP): WR – Amara Darboh – Michigan