Part Deux of the NFL Mock Draft. A lot has happened since the end of February; the NFL Scouting Combine took place in Indianapolis and we could finally see these prospects, Garoppolo will most likely not be traded, Tony Romo announces he will “retire”, the Patriots and Saints swap Brandin Cooks for a first round pick. But most importantly there was a coin flip for the 14th and 15th overall picks (which got a lot more press than it should have).
This mock draft does not take into account any potential trades that could happen on draft night, but there will definitely be some jostling as we all get closer to the draft.
Be sure to comment with your own opinions and picks, and to follow along for future mock drafts by this author, and the other cohosts too.
1. Cleveland Browns – Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina
And here it is, Cleveland seems like they are about to Cleveland the first overall pick. Adam Schefter is reporting that the Browns have reopened their interest in the North Carolina quarterback. Will they actually follow through? Maybe not but don’t put it past the front office and ownership to try to make a splash.
Previous Selection – Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
2. San Francisco 49ers – Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
Ownership has “guaranteed” that the front office and Kyle Shanahan have long term support. If we can believe that, then the 49ers have a choice on who they believe is the best player available on their board. The fact that Myles Garrett may fall to them is an amazing thought for GM Jon Lynch and Shanahan. Garrett’s skill and playing across from DeForest Buckner would instantly improve one of many holes in the 49ers game. Look for the 49ers to try to trade back just to bring in more picks to help build the team.
Previous Selection – Mitch Trubisky, QB North Carolina
3. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen, DT Alabama
This pick is still being considered a landing spot for a team who needs a quarterback and is willing to give up some picks to get one. If Chicago keeps this pick then don’t be surprised by Jonathan Allen here. Allen performed well at the combine, and he can play tackle or edge in a 4-3 or a 3-4. Versatility is key in this part of the draft. Starting for multiple seasons against top tier offensive line talent has given him the experience to be an impressive day one starter.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Marshon Lattimore, CB THE Ohio State University
Another mock draft, another potential pick for the Jaguars. While writing this mock draft, I have changed this pick every time I sit down. Nobody knows exactly what the Jaguars will do here, but the best player available is Marshon Lattimore from Ohio State. Yes the Jaguars already have a great cornerback in Jalen Ramsey, but adding Lattimore to the other side will instantly make their secondary even more potent. With the moves across the team over the last two years via free agency have added some critical pieces, and if everyone steps up including their hot/cold quarterback then this pick could elevate the Jaguars to the postseason. How’s that for a hot take?
Previous Selection – Jamal Adams, Safety LSU
5. Tennessee Titans – Jamal Adams, Safety LSU
Rumors have the Titans going defense and then offense with their first two picks this year. Previously projected to take Lattimore, the Titans would be smart to keep targeting their secondary and take Jamal Adams from LSU. With great ball instincts, his playmaking ability is impressive. But he is just as comfortable dropping into coverage and playing deep or helping a corner. He also had success playing up and loading the box at LSU.
Previous Selection – Marshon Lattimore, CB THE Ohio State University
6. New York Jets – Quincy Wilson, CB Florida
While the Jets may need help at signal caller, the front office does not feel confident in any of the quarterback class being worth an early first rounder. That means the Jets need to target a hole in their current roster, and (un)fortunately there are many different directions to go. Losing Revis, while expected, makes a big need open up in the secondary, and this draft is loaded with secondary talent. Quincy Wilson is the better of the two University of Florida cornerbacks entering the draft this year, and can fill in as an immediate starter. Look for the Jets to be interested in trading back (if anyone does want to move up) to get more picks to fill in some of the numerous holes on the roster.
Previous Selection – DeShone Kizer, QB Notre Dame
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Malik Hooker, Safety THE Ohio State University
Like before, the Chargers need to replace Eric Weddle. His absence was notably apparent last season, and Hooker fills his spot wonderfully. He is a strong weapon out of Ohio State who has been projected as a top 10 pick since the fall of 2016. His playmaking style is aggressive, but he doesn’t give up open plays and makes calculated decisions when going for the ball. If he doesn’t run into contract issues like last year’s first round pick from Ohio State, then he’ll be an improvement for the team starting in training camp and OTAs.
8. Carolina Panthers – Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
Jonathan Stewart signed a short term contract with the team, but he worked incredibly well when he was partnered with DeAngelo Williams. Adding a bruiser back can provide a starter to be on the field for two downs with Stewart being the third down option. Newton likes having running options, and the team does will when teams load the box, so bringing in Fournette should give Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen much better looks down the field.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
The Bengals are getting older, and their defensive line needs improvement. They were middle of the road in passing yards allowed, but gave up considerably more rushing plays, especially on the edge. This pick allows them to get edge pressure and free up Geno Atkins.
10. Buffalo Bills – Mike Williams, WR Clemson
The Bills did indeed pick up the option on Tyrod Taylor’s contract so spending a top 10 pick on a quarterback here doesn’t make too much sense considering the talent coming next year. Instead they’ll target another receiver. Sammy Watkins is a great number one receiver and adding Mike Williams will help with offensive balance in the receiving game. Williams’ speed and physicality is an amazing compliment to Watkins, and they both do provide big play ability. Adding him with Lesean McCoy and Charles Clay gives that offense many ways to get down the field.
Previous Selection – Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
11. New Orleans Saints – Teco Charlton, DE Michigan
Taco Charlton has been rising across many mock drafts around the country, and that could just as easily be self-inflation across the internet. But the Saints now have two picks in the first round so they have some flexibility. Charlton provides another edge presence across from Cameron Jordan. And when we include Sheldon Rankins, that defensive line becomes an impressive force that can get pressure on passers without having to blitz.
Previous Selection – Reuben Foster, LB Alabama
12. Cleveland Browns – Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State
After making a splash with Trubisky with the first overall pick, the Browns will continue to bring in playmakers to jumpstart the offense. The Browns are loaded with picks and are able to trade around to find the best talent for them, but taking a running back makes sense considering that many do not consider Isiah Crowell a long-term starting solution. Cook’s draft stock took a hit with his 40 time at the combine, and rumors of off-field issues and lack of production in some practices is causing the Florida State running back to fall down draft boards. If the Browns can keep him motivated then they will have drafted players who are arguably the top of their position in this draft.
Previous Selection – Quincy Wilson, CB Florida
13. Arizona Cardinals – Teez Tabor, CB Florida
Originally pegged to take a wide receiver, the Arizona Cardinals would be wise to look to keep adding defensive talent, especially in the secondary. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are both getting old, but there is considerable talent in later rounds. Partnered with Marcus Peters on opposite sides of the field, the Cardinals secondary would get an immediate boost. Tabor is the second of the Florida cornerbacks to go but that should not diminish his value. Tabor played well in school and played well as a second corner, which would be his roll in Arizona.
Previous Selection – Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan
14. Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee
The Eagles won their first battle of the offseason when the Vikings won the coin flip against the Colts, so they will pick 14th. The Eagles also picked up wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey on a one-year deal, which gives second year quarterback Carson Wentz another target. That means the Eagles would be most likely to target defense in the draft. Connor Barwin was unwilling to renegotiate his contract and became a salary cap casualty. That leaves an opening on their defensive line that could be easily filled with Derek Barnett. Barnett’s size and motor provides another important block on the defense.
Previous Selection – Mike Williams, WR Clemson
15. Indianapolis Colts – Reuben Foster, LB Alabama
What Colts fans don’t want to hear is that there are quite a few holes across the board, but if Reuben Foster falls to the Colts then they would be fools to pass. An immediate upgrade to their linebacking corps, and he can be a leader on that defense before the start of the preseason
Previous Selection – Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State
16. Baltimore Ravens – Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
Ricky Wagner left and the Ravens need a replacement for the line. Robinson is the most pro-ready offensive lineman in the draft, and is capable at both pass protection and run blocking. With no team before pushing for an offensive tackle, the Ravens will have their pick at tackles, and the Ravens’ front office trusts Nick Saban’s trench players.
Previous Selection – Marion Humphrey, CB Alabama
17. Washington – Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama
Kirk Cousins is staying, but they have lost both wide receivers. Receiver depth is pretty good in the draft, and the best player available is Marlon Humphrey. Washington already has Josh Norman in the secondary, but with many teams playing three- or four-wide receivers most teams want to improve the quality of their cornerback corps.
Previous Selection – Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee
18. Tennessee Titans – OJ Howard, TE Alabama
Four straight Alabama players drafted? Is that really a surprise?
I talked before about how some people would be surprised by a tight end here, but OJ Howard is the best TE prospect in years. Delanie Walker is still 32 years old, and in the NFL, he is close to applying for AARP. The Titans loved running 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends, 2 wide receivers) and want ends who are also capable run blockers. Howard is an improvement across the board and will be one of the top offensive targets for Marcus Mariota, and in a few seasons then he will be ready to replace Walker.
Previous Selection – David Njoku, TE University of Miami
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – David Njoku, TE University of Miami
After OJ Howard comes off the board, teams will be quick to pick up his draft compliment. David Njoku would be a top tight end in many drafts, but this year is very deep in talent. The Bucs brought in Desean Jackson earlier in the offseason to replace Vincent Jackson. Quarterback Jameis Winston has stud targets at both wide receivers and at running back, so adding a top tier tight end makes the offense even more potent.
Previous Selection – Taco Charlton, DE Michigan
20. Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin
The Broncos still are projected for Ryan Ramczyk. The Broncos still need help in run protection, and there were too few options in free agency to adequately improve their line. Ramczyk has the ability to play both sides which can help him fit in with their current tackles Okung and Stephenson or even move inside to play some guard.
21. Detroit Lions – Charles Harris, DE Mizzou
Ever since Ndamukong Suh left for South Beach, the Lions have been looking for stud defensive linemen to improve their defense. Harris provides a powerful edge rush while being able to contain the interior run if necessary. Haloti Ngata is 33 years old and will be replaced eventually, but Harris can provide an edge presence immediately.
Previous Selection – Malik McDowell, DT Michigan State
22. Miami Dolphins – Forrest Lamp, OG Western Kentucky
Another draft, another offensive lineman to Miami. The Dolphins have invested first round picks in nearly their entire line (Tunsil, Pouncey, James), and the result was a running back with three 200 yard games in one season. Fixing the interior of their line should help protect the most hit quarterback since 2012, and allows Gase’s potent offense to get going and get back to the playoffs. Forrest Lamp is a capable guard who can play either side, as well as fill in for any injury across the line. With free agency pickups in linebacker, safety and re-signing defensive ends; the Dolphins have addressed many key offseason issues.
Previous Selection – Zach Cunningham, LB Vanderbilt
23. New York Giants – Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford
A name that keeps rising across the draft boards is Stanford’s Heisman finalist back Christian McCaffrey. The Giants’ defense was the target of their offseason and draft focus last year, and now after adding free agent Brandon Marshall (the wide receiver), Eli Manning and company need a three-down running back to help balance out their offense. McCaffrey is a genuine threat across the field. At Stanford, he could run between the tackles, had speed on the outside and he was a receiving threat when he came out of the backfield. His return abilities were also great, and can provide a great speed addition to spread the field.
Previous Selection – OJ Howard, TE Alabama
24. Las Vegas Raiders – Zach Cunningham, LB Vanderbilt
Derek Carr and the offense were running well last year, and the defense should be the first target for the future Las Vegas Raiders. While experienced, Oakland’s linebackers are getting older and Cunningham is a young talent who can learn behind Bruce Irvin and Perry Riley. And he can provide a cost-effective substitution and replacement during this season and in the coming seasons. And with Malcom Smith going to the cross-bay rivals (for now), then Cunningham can be a great piece in the defense.
Previous Selection – Teez Tabor, CB Florida
25. Houston Texans – DeShone Kizer, QB Notre Dame
At the time of writing this, CBS has won the Tony Romo battle and now the Texans are looking for a quarterback. Trading away the Brock Lobster lets the team actually explore for a target. And while DeShone Kizer may not be the most polished prospect, many scouts like his mechanics especially his footwork. Bill O’Brien has worked well with quarterbacks in the past, and this was a playoff team even with Osweiler’s attempts to stop them from going. Kizer is a project with some risk for failure, but a definite upside.
Previous Selection – Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
26. Seattle Seahawks – Garrett Bolles, OT Utah
It seems that the Seahawks are still in need of offensive line help, and with Ramczyk, Robinson and Lamp off the board; then the Seahawks need to grab Garrett Bolles. Bolles can play across the line and is another inexpensive (compared to their defensive contracts) player who can be brought in to improve the protection for Russell Wilson.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Gareon Conley, CB THE Ohio State University
Marcus Peters and Eric Berry highlight a good secondary, but Gareon Conley can fill in the second corner spot. Many project that a quarterback may go here, but there will probably be a push for them earlier in the draft and Alex Smith is consistently consistent. Look for the Chiefs to reinforce their defense and take a flier on a late prospect like Brad Kaaya.
Previous Selection – Charles Harris, DE Mizzou
28. Dallas Cowboys – Adoree Jackson, CB Southern Cal
Now that the Tony Romo saga is over, it’s time for the Dallas Cowboys to focus on their biggest issue; defense. Nobody will argue that the Cowboys offense was incredibly effective. Jason Witten is getting older, but he signed a contract extension so expect Jerry Jones and crew to work on the secondary that Aaron Rodgers exposed in the playoffs. Adoree Jackson is a very fast, physical cornerback who excels in man coverage but can perform decently in zone coverage.
Previous Selection – TJ Watt, LB Wisconsin
29. Green Bay Packers – Haason Reddick, OLB/DE Temple
Originally a day two/day three prospect, Haasan Reddick put up an impressive Combine and showed off his raw speed and lateral movement. Current OLB Nick Perry is in his prime for the Packers, but Clay Matthews is getting older. Drafting Reddick lets the team work on his overall fundamentals and giving him time to get used to the caliber of NFL players while he learns behind a great backer like Matthews.
Previous Selection – Sidney Jones, CB University of Washington
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
There are questions to whether or not Ben Roethlisberger was serious about his retirement talk, but the Steelers cannot sit around and wait for him to decide. Drafting Watson late in the first round gives the Steelers the option for fifth year option much further down the line, but also lets him sit behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback whose game plays similarly to Watson. Many old Steelers fans still resent the team for not drafting Marino when Bradshaw was getting older in 1983, so look for them to not make the same mistake twice.
Previous Selection – Tim Williams – OLB Alabama
31. Atlanta Falcons – Jabrill Peppers, Safety? LB? Michigan
Jabrill Peppers is the ultimate ‘tweener’ in this draft. There aren’t many who doubt his motor, but nobody is too sure where he will fit on the field. It would make the most sense to play him in nickel packages, and with the NFL going to more pass-heavy then he can play a safety or nickel role which can keep him around the field.
Previous Selection – Dan Feeney, OG Indiana University
32. New Orleans Saints – Tim Williams, LB Alabama
Jumping back into the first round with the trade sending Brandin Cooks to New England, the Saints have an option to pick up another first round player or trade it away for a team that wants the ability to pick up a fifth year option (see; Denver Broncos and Paxton Lynch in 2016). If they keep the pick then they’ll be looking to shore up their defense especially after picking up a top 10 player earlier. Tim Williams is a stud linebacker who can help reinforce an emaciated linebacking corps. Williams can start and lead the defense as a young but well respected voice in the locker room.
Previous Selection – Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford (Previously New England’s selection)
Well there you have it; another mock draft down as we all inch closer to the 2017 NFL Draft opening in Philadelphia in less than two weeks. Check back in often to see what changes have been made, as well as who some big risers and fallers are in this year’s draft class.