2017 NFL Mock Draft Round 1
Here we are again. The 2017 NFL Draft is just a couple of days away. Here are my first round predictions for all 32 teams. Trades are not accounted for because they are too hard to predict. Here we go!
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M - There is no quarterback worthy of the number one pick this year. Although the Browns are giving Mitchell Trubisky "serious consideration", I think it's more likely they try to trade up later on to get him. They go for Myles Garrett, the consensus top player in the draft, here. He will provide a much needed boost for a defense that had just 26 sacks last season.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford - There is no area where the 49ers don't need help. Much like with the Browns, I see them taking the best player available instead of reaching for one of the top quarterbacks. They ranked dead last in both yards and points per game, so a force on the defensive line like Thomas would be welcome.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU - The Bears secondary gave up a little more than 220 passing yards a game in 2016. While that was good for 7th in the league, they forced just 8 interceptions and were terrible against the run. Enter Adams, who can do a bit of everything. While he doesn't have the cover or ball skills as Malik Hooker, the other top safety in the class, Adams has a clear edge in run defense and versatility. And that is just what the Bears are looking for here.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU - Blake Bortles looked poised for a breakout year after a strong finish to 2015, only to regress badly the following season. The Jaguars need to take some of the pressure off Bortles. Since they are already set at receiver and there is no offensive lineman worth drafting this high, that leaves running back. Leonard Fournette is the obvious choice if they go that route. He would make a great one-two punch combo with T.J. Yeldon.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State - The Titans got this pick from the Rams by trading the number one pick last year, which the Rams used on Jared Goff. Way to go, Rams. They'll have plenty of options to explore, as they also have their own pick at 18. I feel they'll take the best corner on the board. Lattimore only played two seasons at Ohio State, and he's a little on the small side. But he has the cover skills to be a shut down corner in the NFL, and he can take the ball away when opposing quarterbacks do challenge him.
6. New York Jets: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina - The Jets need a quarterback badly. They may also be looking to trade down, and other quarterback-needy teams like the Bills and Browns may be eyeing them as a trade partner. I think Trubisky ends up being the pick here no matter which team is making it. He's considered the top quarterback in this draft, but started only one season at North Carolina. There have been first round quarterbacks with similar limited experience at the Division I level, most notably Mark Sanchez and Cam Newton.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State - Philip Rivers got banged around a lot in 2016, a big reason why he led the league with 21 interceptions. But there's still no offensive lineman worth drafting this early, so the Chargers go with their second biggest need: safety. They should be more than happy if Hooker falls this far. He's easily the best cover safety in the draft and will provide a welcome addition to a secondary that had 18 interceptions last season.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford - Jonathan Stewart is entering his 10th NFL season and looks like he's starting to slow down. Carolina also lost secondary receiver Ted Ginn and have not gotten as much production as they would have liked from Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. They need a dynamic playmaker to take the burden off Cam Newton. McCaffrey racked up over 5000 yards from scrimmage in his college career to go with 33 total touchdowns. He's the type of playmaker the Panthers really need.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama - The Bengals need to add to the depth of both of there lines. As stated before, offensive lineman are scarce in this draft and it's still too early to reach for one. Their best bet is to go with the best defensive lineman available. Jonathan Allen is a great value pick here. He would have been a first rounder last year, but chose to come back to Alabama and turned into an even more dominant force in 2016.
10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson - The Bills could trade up for a quarterback. It would not surprise me. But going into 2017 with Tyrod Taylor as their starter is not the worst thing in the world. If they decide not to trade up, I see them adding another dynamic playmaker on offense to go along with Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy. A big, physical receiver with good speed and ball skills like Williams should work out perfectly for them.
11. New Orleans Saints: Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple - The Saints need help at every level of their defense. I'm tempted to put Reuben Foster here, but I think recent reports of a failed drug test at the combine cause him to tumble a bit. Plus, they have a more pressing need to upgrade their pass rush anyway. That's where Reddick comes in. The former walk-on put up 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss in his senior season with the Owls. He can play both inside linebacker and on the edge.
12. Cleveland Browns: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama - Not sure the Browns will be the team making this pick, but I think whichever team it is would love that O.J. Howard fell this far. He's the most complete tight end in the draft and showed off his playmaking skills in Alabama's consecutive National Championship appearances.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - Carson Palmer could be entering the final season of his career. The Cardinals have a decision to make on whether to plan for the future or go all in for this season. My guess is they try to set up for the long term. They have 6 more rounds to address immediate needs. Watson will probably need a transition year as a rookie to assimilate into Bruce Arians' vertical passing system.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State - The Eagles lost Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll to free agency. That leaves them with 2016 7th rounder Jalen Mills and Journeyman Patrick Robinson as their starting corners. Conley was one of the better shutdown corners in college football last year. He should be able to step in and make immediate contributions as a rookie.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah - We've seen what happens to the Colts when Andrew Luck is not at his best. Indianapolis has not done a good job protecting their franchise quarterback. That has to change now unless they want to be stuck in perpetual underachievement. Bolles is the best offensive lineman in a draft where quality is scarce at that position. This should be a no-brainer.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan - Steve Smith has retired. The Ravens need to find another receiver to fill the void. The college football's all-time leading receiver wouldn't be a bad addition. He's not a burner, but he's not exactly slow either. He also has great hands and runs routes very well. He's the complete package at receiver and would serve Joe Flacco and the Ravens well.
17. Washington Redskins: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee - The Redskins are a mess. They need to absolutely nail this pick and bring in some good news. They would probably be happy in this situation to have Barnett fall to them here. There are concerns about Barnett's poor athletic testing at the Draft Combine, but he did break Reggie White's career sack record at Tennessee. You can't just ignore that.
18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington - Titans picked up a corner with the number 5 pick earlier. Now on to their other big need, wide receiver. Ross has big play ability - he scored a touchdown on one out of every six times (rounded up) he touched the ball in his career, including 17 receiving touchdown receptions last season. Marcus Mariota would be glad to have him aboard.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State - An all-Florida State backfield? It's certainly possible after Doug Martin battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2016. The Bucs can get out of Martin's contract after this upcoming season, and that's something they would probably like to do. Cook has an injury history - he's had surgeries on both of his shoulders - but the production and big play ability are there.
20. Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama - Anyone who watched the Broncos last year should know about their offensive line woes. Denver gave up 40 sacks in 2016, and their quarterbacks took a lot more hits. If they can protect Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, they might make a return to the playoffs in 2017.
21. Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan - Detroit managed just a measly 26 sacks last season. Luckily, they won't have to look too far to get some help. Michigan has a big group of NFL prospects, and Charlton seems likely to be the first Wolverine off the board rather than Jabrill Peppers. Charlton put up 9.5 sacks in 2016 despite missing two games. He should be a hit both with the team and the fan base.
22. Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri - The Dolphins need another pass-rusher to help out Cameron Wake. They should be more than happy to take Harris here, as he could potentially go much higher. Harris recorded 16 sacks and 30 tackles for loss over the past two seasons at Missouri. That was despite dealing with a scheme change in his last year that resulted in Missouri's defensive line coach getting fired in-season.
23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin - The Giants need to protect Eli Manning if they want to prolong his career. Wisconsin has a history of producing good lineman, so it's a good place to look. Ramcyzk does have injury concerns - he had shoulder surgery in the offseason that prevented him from working out at the Combine - but he showed himself to be more than capable when he played with the Badgers.
24. Oakland Raiders: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama - The Raiders need linebacker help and get it here. On talent alone, Foster is a top five player in this draft, but a recent report of of a failed drug test at the combine for a diluted urine sample causes him to fall. At this point, the reward far outweighs the risk.
25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech - The Texans are in win now mode, and teams in win now mode usually don't look at drafting a quarterback early. However, quarterback is the only serious need the Texans have going into the draft. They're just about set everywhere else. I doubt they really feel good about starting Tom Savage for the entire 2017 season. Mahomes is one of the more polarizing quarterbacks in the draft. The air raid system he played in at Texas Tech has never produced a viable NFL starter, and his wide-open playing style may remind many of Johnny Manziel (worth noting that Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury was Manziel's offensive coordinator in 2012). However, Mahomes has the physical attributes, and more importantly, the maturity that Manziel lacked heading into the NFL.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King, CB, Washington - In case you haven't heard, All-pro corner Richard Sherman is on the trading block. While a deal of draft day is highly unlikely, it does make it fair to wonder if Sherman will be on the Seahawks after 2017. If you feel like you're close to losing a player of Sherman's caliber, it's never too early to start preparing for the future. Like Sherman, king is a huge corner at 6'3". He's also got good speed and can play nickel and safety. Plus, he's a Husky. That's always good with this fanbase.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma - One of the biggest questions of the draft - where will Joe Mixon be taken? He's one of the top runningbacks along with Fournette and Cook, but his status is in limbo after video surfaced of him punching a woman in 2014. I'm inclined to think that if any team is going to take a chance on him is round one, it would be the Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid recently took a chance on Tyreek Hill, who came in with similar concerns. The Chiefs just lost Jamaal Charles, and Spencer Ware probably is not someone they can count on a feature back long-term.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU - The Cowboys lost Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne to free agency, and they were already shaky at corner to begin with. White had a good college career at LSU, breaking up 36 passes in 47 games as a Tiger. However, he also had just six career interceptions. That's something he'll need to work on at the next level.
29. Green Bay Packers: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama - The Packers' defense struggled down the stretch of 2016 as injuries in their secondary piled up, and we saw the end result when they looked helpless against the Falcons in the NFC Championship. More secondary depth is always a good thing. Humphrey is the type of cover corner they could use.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J Watt, OLB, Wisconsin - James Harrison led the Steelers in sacks in 2016, with just five. Put that together with Harrison's age, and the Steelers need to upgrade their linebacking corps. T.J Watt is J.J's younger brother, but he's determined to make a name for himself. He put up 10.5 sacks in his last season at Wisconsin.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA - 2015 first-rounder Vic Beasley emerged as a dominant pass rusher last year with 15.5 sacks to lead the NFL. Adrian Clayborn was second on the team in sacks with just 4.5. They could use another anchor on the defensive line. McKinley had 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2016 for UCLA and earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors.
32. New Orleans Saints: Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC - Will the Saints pull of the long-rumored trade with the Patriots for Malcolm Butler? Based on the latest reports, it doesn't look like it. If they can't get Butler, they could still get a corner with the 32nd pick. I thought about Michigan's Jabrill Peppers in this spot, but the Saints desperately need a playmaker in the secondary. Adoree' Jackson picked off five passes in 2016 alone (Peppers had just one for his career). Meanwhile, the Saints as a team intercepted just nine passes last season.
And that's it! Love your team's pick? Hate your team's pick? Sound off in the comments below!