2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.1 (Post-Combine/Pre-Free Agency)
17) Washington Redskins – Florida LB Jarrad Davis
The Redskins followed the trend of moving a safety to LB (Su’a Cravens) with mixed results and may end up moving him back to safety, leaving a hole at LB. Jarrad Davis is a real LB who specializes in coverage and could fill the hole left by Cravens.
18) Tennessee Titans – Alabama TE OJ Howard
Everyone can agree that the Titans need to get Marcus Mariota some more pass catching weapons this offseason and they’ve been rumored with Alshon Jeffery and Brandin Cooks. With the top 2 WRs off the board, the Titans get another big bodied receiver in OJ Howard. Delanie Walker can’t play forever and Howard is a very different player who actually would help their power run game as he’s also the best run blocking TE in 2017 NFL Draft.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Washington WR John Ross III
John Ross III may have moved himself even higher in the draft than this with his 4.22 run in the 40-yard dash, but he would be the perfect compliment to play opposite of Mike Evans. Bucs are rumored to be interested in DeSean Jackson but if he doesn’t sign with Tampa Bay, Ross won’t fall any farther than 19 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
20) Denver Broncos – Utah OT Garrett Bolles
Regardless of who the Broncos start at QB, their offensive line is going to hold back the passing game. John Elway is the guy that can look past the fact that Garrett Bolles will be a 25 year old rookie and make the selection to rectify that Left Tackle position after the failure that was Russell Okung.
21) Detroit Lions – Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
Ziggy Ansah would be a lot more effective if he had a running mate at DE to take some of the pressure off of him. The Lions defensive line has really fallen off after they had one of the top units in 2015 and the long term rebuilding process needs to start now.
22) Miami Dolphins – Missouri DE Charles Harris
The Dolphins look like they are starting to figure things out under HC Adam Gase. They tried to squeeze the last bit of gas out of Mario Williams’ tank, but that failed. Cameron Wake is at the end of his career and the Dolphins are in need of pass rush. Charles Harris was impressive at the NFL combine and could’ve moved himself up in the draft, but at 22 would be good value for the Dolphins.
23) New York Giants – Miami TE David Njoku
Eli Manning and the Giants offense has always been at it’s best when they’ve had a solid tight end, but they’ve been using band-aids for the last few years. David Njoku is the 2nd best TE in this draft and should solidify the position for the Giants.
24) Oakland Raiders – USC CB Adoree’ Jackson
Sean Smith turned his play around after a rough start, but he’s still not an elite CB. David Amerson has been a reclamation success, but the Raiders should still snag one of these CBs in the draft to add some youth, depth, and athleticism. Adoree’ Jackson is one of the more elite athletes in this draft and the ghost of Al Davis has to be begging for this pick. Jackson can be an instant contributor at CB and KR for the Raiders.
25) Houston Texans – Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
The QB position is a hole the Texans appear to be stuck with, so they need to win despite Brock Osweiler. With JJ Watt coming off back surgery, Vince Wilfork retiring, and Brian Cushing losing a step, the Texans should continue to add pieces to the defensive side of the ball. Zach Cunningham fits to mold of ILB for their defense and would be a value pick this late in the 1st round.
26) Seattle Seahawks – Western Kentucky T/G Forrest Lamp
The Seahawks seem to be sticking with their project at Left Tackle, George Fant, but the rest of the OL needs work. Jimmy Graham finally showed up in 2016, but they have to still be regretting their trade of Max Unger in 2015 because the OL has been a weakness ever since. WKU OT Forrest Lamp was one of the standout players of the Senior Bowl and has been compared to Zach Martin in that he could be kicked inside to guard and thrive from day 1.
27) Kansas City Chiefs – Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer
The Chiefs have been pretty boring and predictable in the draft since Andy Reid got there and could continue that trend and take a pass rusher or line backer. Honestly, taking a wide receiver in the 1st round would be stepping outside of their comfort zone here, but Deshone Kizer should probably get drafted in this area of the draft and he may remind Andy Reid of a more athletic Donovan McNabb. This would obviously be contingent of the Chiefs signing/trading for a veteran QB (*cough Romo cough*), but Alex Smith has taken the Chiefs about as far as he can and will be 33 years old this season.
28) Dallas Cowboys – UCLA EDGE Takkarist McKinley
I previously had John Ross mocked to the Cowboys as a BPA pick to fill the hole left by FA Terrance Williams, but after his record breaking 40-yard dash time, there’s no way he falls to #28. The Cowboys could still go BPA here if they find a suitable pass rusher in Free Agency (DeMarcus Ware), but EDGE rush will have be the pick until they fill that need. Takk McKinley might’ve gone higher in the draft if he didn’t require shoulder surgery, but the Cowboys have shown patience in their draft picks and could see the athletic freak as a bonus addition to their pass rush whenever he is healthy enough to see the field again.
29) Green Bay Packers – Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
The Packers moved Ty Montgomery to RB last season, but he’s not an every down RB; and neither is Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey might even be better suited to play WR in the NFL, but the duo of McCaffrey and Montgomery would give the Packers two RBs that can catch out of the backfield, with Eddie Lacy like out the door in free agency. And let’s be honest, Mike McCarthy would love another excuse to NOT run the ball.
30) Pittsburgh Steelers – Auburn EDGE Carl Lawson
Jarvis Jones was one of the worst 1st round picks in recent history for the Steelers. Jones will leaving in free agency and James Harrison can’t be and every down player at this point in his career. Bud Dupree should continue to develop and has proven to be a solid EDGE rusher. Adding Carl Lawson on the other side could help the Steelers move on from being “little brother” to the Patriots in the AFC.
31) Atlanta Falcons – Michigan DL Taco Charlton
The bad news is the Falcons are coming off one of the worst Super Bowl losses in NFL history, but the good news is that they were right there and a good draft might be all they need to get back to the Super Bowl. The Falcons need another pass rusher to play opposite 2016 breakout star, Vic Beasley, and Dwight Freeney shouldn’t be expected back as a main contributor. The Falcons play a unique 4-3 defense and need more of a run stopping DE opposite of Vic Beasley and Taco Charlton has a similar skill set to Justin Tuck and could play the edge or be kicked inside on obvious passing plays.
32) New England Patriots – Michigan LB/SS Jabrill Peppers
The Patriots love versatility and the only pick here that makes more sense than Peppers would be Christian McCaffrey, but the Packers beat them to the punch. Peppers went into the season as potentially a top 5 pick, but I think the attempt to get him Heisman recognition by moving him all over the field actually hurt his draft stock. Instead of showing that he can excel at one position, Peppers displayed he’s pretty good at a lot of different things. After the blows people away at the combine he might not be available at this point, but he’s not getting past Belichick.
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