2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.1 (Post-Combine/Pre-Free Agency)
This is my Post-Combine/Pre-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft. You can see the previous mock draft here to compare the previous picks and see where my thinking/predictions have evolved from.
The NFL Combine has come and gone with guys like John Ross III, Myles Garrett, Evan Engram, and Haason Reddick making themselves millions of dollars with strong performances.
While the NFL Combine shouldn’t have such a drastic impact on where players are selected with countless hours of film to watch, it’s impossible to ignore players that physically separate themselves from the rest on a level playing field.
I adjusted my mock draft to include some of the risers in the NFL Draft, but things are going to change again very quickly with NFL Free Agency starting up soon.
1) Cleveland Browns – Texas A&M EDGE Myles Garrett
This pick isn’t changing until the draft. The Browns continue to have a need at QB, but you could argue that they also have a need at RB, WR, TE OL, DL, LB, CB, and Safety. This draft reminds me of the 2014 NFL draft where there was a clear-cut #1 player (Jadeveon Clowney) and the team with the #1 pick (Texans) needed a QB and everyone expected them to reach on a QB. Scouts are not (that) dumb and I don’t expect the Browns to miss out on a talent such as Myles Garrett, especially with another 1st round pick. Don’t forget that Hue Jackson was a part of turning Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton into serviceable quarterbacks, so he likely believes he can spend a later 1st round pick or even the 1st pick of the 2nd round on a QB.
2) San Francisco 49ers – Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
NFL Mock drafts are all about stock and trends, but I’m trying to actually predict what I think happens, or should happen in my opinion, come April. Right now, Deshaun Watson’s stock is on the rise after a solid NFL Combine, and I believe that he had fallen victim to being overanalyzed. He would have been the top QB in the 2016 NFL Draft, but for some reason winning the National Championship didn’t maintain he stock and he’s being viewed as a lesser prospect than a guy with 1 year of film in an offense in which he had a very underrated supporting cast. I still believe that Watson is a legit NFL QB in the right system with the right coaching. In fact, falling in the draft would only benefit his long term success because he will land with a better team with a better supporting cast, and we all saw what that did for 4th round pick Dak Prescott in 2016. Ultimately I think that the surplus of film outweighs the lack of film on Mitch Trubisky. Even if you disagree with the player here, there’s no question the future of the 49ers hangs with this pick and the need to hit on a franchise QB.
3) Chicago Bears – LSU SS Jamal Adams
The Jay Cutler era is over and the Bears need a QB. There’s rumors surrounding a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or, more likely, signing Mike Glennon. BUT… John Fox did make it to a Super Bowl in Carolina with Jake Delhomme at QB and he might have found something in the reclamation project, Matt Barkley, so I don’t see them reaching on a QB at #3. The Bears should draft a QB at some point early in the draft, but Jamal Adams is the best safety prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. I previously had Alabama DL Jonathan Allen slotted here, but the further concerns regarding his shoulder problems drop him deeper into the 1st round, despite his talent being top-3 worthy in this draft.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars – LSU RB Leonard Fournette
After going into 2016 as one of the trendy picks for an up-and-coming team, the Jaguars are STILL a mess. They will be starting over with a new coach (Doug Marrone) and probably should start over with a new QB. The Jaguars will probably get an offensive minded guy to try and salvage Blake Bortles’ career, so a QB likely won’t be the pick here. The Jaguars have put a lot of resources to improving the defense recently and GM David Caldwell stated that he wants to get the offense and defense playing at the same level after seeing the offense and defense moving in opposing directions this past season. The NFL is a copycat league, and after seeing the Cowboys taking a RB early in the draft translate into success on the field, I think the Jaguars will take an impact player on offense to reduce the pressure on Bortles. TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory never established themselves as a lead RB as both are better suited as a change of pace back, while Leonard Fournette has the potential to be the next Adrian Peterson.
5) Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams) – Ohio State FS Malik Hooker
The Titans are fortunate the Rams continued to suck after the blockbuster trade for the rights to the #1 overall pick in 2016 and they landed a top 5 pick in 2017. The Titans made huge strides in their 2nd season with Marcus Mariota and their 1st full season with Mike Mularkey as the HC and DeMarco Murray as their #1 RB. The Defense played surprisingly well down the stretch and is in position to take the BPA with this Rams pick and maybe reach to fill a need with their later 1st round pick. The secondary needs help and Malik Hooker is the best Free Safety in this class and a rare prospect worthy of a top-5 selection at the position. Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore is another potential pick here, but safeties of Hooker’s caliber are harder to come by than cornerbacks, especially in this CB-rich draft.
6) New York Jets – Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore
It’s been sad to see Revis just completely fall off/give up this season, but don’t feel too badly for him because he’s made his money and won a Super Bowl; now he’s just earning money to pay for his grandchildren’s grandchildren to go to college. Marshon Lattimore is the consensus #1 CB in the draft and is a legit top 10 player. I don’t see any scenario where the Jets allow Lattimore to fall past them at #6. I don’t see the Jets giving up on Christian Hackenberg just yet after giving him a redshirt year in 2016 but, if he fails in 2017, the Jets could be in the running to select USC QB Sam Darnold in the 2018 NFL Draft.
7) Los Angeles Chargers – Clemson WR Mike Williams
The Chargers had a great draft in 2016 and can afford to use this pick on a luxury position. They needed a compliment to Keenan Allen going into the 2016 season and hoped Travis Benjamin would fill that role. Now they need a WR because Keenan Allen has the worst luck imaginable when it comes to injuries and you don’t know what you’re going to get from him when he comes back. The Titans could take the 1st WR off the board, so expect the Chargers to pick whomever they didn’t take between Corey Davis & Mike Williams. Either way, they need some weapons in the passing game to take some pressure off Philip Rivers in the passing game and it would help to have a star WR to attract fans in LA.
8) Carolina Panthers – Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
The biggest difference between the 2015 Panthers and the 2016 version is the protection Cam Newton got from the offensive line and their ability to run the football. The top offensive tackles are not worthy of a top-10 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft and hopefully the Panthers don’t reach for one to fill a need. Bama OT Cam Robinson is overrated and Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk is coming off a hip injury. Jonathan Stewart is getting up there in age and health is always a concern with him. Getting Dalvin Cook is a luxury pick for the Panthers, but they were at their best when Cam didn’t have to shoulder the offense and re-establishing a run-first identity could get their offense back on track.
9) Cincinnati Bengals – Alabama LB Reuben Foster
The Bengals can’t rely on Vontaze Burfict anymore and their defense wasn’t that much improved once he returned from suspension. If football is a chess match, consider Reuben Foster as the Queen piece. You can move him around all over the field would actually be a steal at #9 because Rueben Foster has Patrick Willis potential. Despite getting dismissed from the Combine for acting a fool, Foster should still be a top 10 pick.
10) Buffalo Bills – North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky
The Bills are a mess right now and will be moving on from Tyrod Taylor. The Bills need to start over and Trubisky is talented enough to go early in the 1st round, but if the Bills go into 2017 without a legit QB prospect, then they may also be heading into the 2018 draft looking to draft USC QB Sam Darnold.
11) New Orleans Saints – Stanford DE Solomon Thomas
The Saints defense was better under new DC Dennis Allen, but still needs a lot of work to give the Drew Brees era another run at this thing. The with to a 4-3 helped, but they still need to generate a better pass rush to help the secondary out. Solomon Thomas could end up being long gone by the 11th pick in the draft, but at this point he makes too much sense for the Saints looking to improve the defensive production.
12) Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles) – Alabama DL Jonathan Allen
Poor Jon Allen. Shoulder injury concerns cost him millions in draft slotting and he still gets drafted by the Browns…
Regardless of how football evolves, games will forever be won in the trenches. If the Browns land the top two defensive lineman in this draft, it would go a long way to establishing a solid foundation to build around defensively. Despite concerns about a shoulder injury dropping him in the draft, Jon Allen has Richard Seymour/Ndamukong Suh potential. Ignoring the obvious needs on offense, Allen is just too good of a talent at this point.
13) Arizona Cardinals – Florida CB Quincy Wilson
At lot of mocks have them taking a QB of the future here, but Arizona will continue to be a destination for old QBs trying to get that elusive ring in 2017. Carson Palmer announced that he is returning in 2017, Tony Romo is still linked to them, so either way the Cardinals remain in win-now mode and won’t waste a 1st round pick on a non-contributor for the upcoming season.
14) Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings) – Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
The Eagles are early favorites to land Alshon Jeffrey (and every other WR) in free agency, but if they can’t land him WR would be their biggest need in the 1st round and Corey Davis would be a great young playmaker for Carson Wentz. Eagles could fall in love with John Ross III if they can’t bring DeSean Jackson back to Philadelphia, but Davis is the better all around WR.
15) Indianapolis Colts – Temple EDGE Haason Reddick
The Colts defense is a wreck and the lack of pass rush was already an issue. With Robert Mathis retiring, they have an even bigger need at EDGE rusher and Haason Reddick is probably the most explosive pass rusher you haven’t heard of in the 2017 NFL Draft. Before the combine Reddick’s stock was on the edge of the 1st round, but he’s solidified himself as one of the top pass rushers in the draft with his NFL Combine performance (4.52 40-yard dash; 24 reps on Bench Press).
16) Baltimore Ravens – Washington CB Sidney Jones
With Steve Smith retiring, the Ravens could look at a WR here, but they’ve got to be hoping that Breshad Perriman takes the big step that 3rd year WRs are expected to make. Cornerback has to be the next biggest need and Washington CB Sidney Jones has all the tools you could hope for in a corner and could stay in purple in gold in the NFL.
Next Page: Picks 16-32
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