2017 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Free Agency Edition)
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.
Derek Barnett falling to no. 21 would be one of the more surprising storylines in the 2017 NFL Draft, but the Lions wouldn’t take long to get their card up to the commissioner.
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 may have moved himself higher in the draft, but at 22 would be good value for the Dolphins.
23) New York Giants – Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
The Giants offensive line has been in shambles for a few years now and Ryan Ramczyk is the best OT prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. If not for a hip injury, Ramczyk would likely be a top-20 pick and the 1st OT taken. Assuming his medical reports check out, the Giants would be wise to finally give Eli Manning more protection.
24) Oakland Raiders – Ohio State CB Gareon Conley
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. There are multiple schools with a duo of 1st round cornerbacks and Gareon Conley rounds out the trio of secondary standouts from Ohio State. Conley has great size and athleticsm for the position and doesn’t come with the injury concerns that plagues Marshon Lattimore.
25) Houston Texans – Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
The Texans were smart to unload that Brock Osweiler contract as quickly as possible. They seem to be the best and most likely landing spot for Tony Romo in 2017, so as of right now they don’t go QB just yet. 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 the mold of big LBs 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 depth. Jimmy Graham finally showed up in 2016, but they have to 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. With Eddie Lacy as the new RB, the Seahawks will need to open up some BIG holes for him.
Western Kentucky OT Forrest Lamp Scouting Report pic.twitter.com/A4vO1cgh02
— 2017 NFL Draft (@DraftRT) March 3, 2017
27) Kansas City Chiefs – North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky
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 linebacker. Honestly, even taking a wide receiver in the 1st round would be stepping outside of their comfort zone here, but these QBs should slip in this draft. If someone doesn’t trade up to get one earlier, one could fall in Adny Reid’s lap and it’d be hard to see him passing at this point.
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. It’s time to look towards the future a bit.
28) Dallas Cowboys – UCLA EDGE Takkarist McKinley
The Cowboys could go BPA on defense here, but EDGE rush is almost too great of a need to pass on initially. 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 – Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt
The Packers re-signed Nick Perry but Julius Peppers has returned to the Panthers, leaving a hole in the pass rush. This marriage makes too much sense to pass on for the Pack. Drafting the local NFL-pedigree pass rusher, T.J. Watt, has ‘Ted Thompson’ written all over it. Watt is a great athlete and can play LB or rush the passer from the edge.
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 DE Taco Charlton
The bad news is the Falcons are coming off one of the worst Super Bowl losses in NFL history. 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 with addition of Dontari Poe inside should free up the guys on the edge to wreck havoc on opposing QBs. 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 Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots) – LSU CB Tre’Davious White
The Saints have been trying to lure Malcolm Butler from the Patriots, but it seems like they would have to pay him a sizable contract AND give the Patriots this 1st round pick back. Instead, the Saints can be patient and grab a younger CB in the draft in Tre’Davious White.