2017 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo

This mock is after all teams have gone through most of the free agency period, and have their mind set on who they want to draft. Let’s take a look at this mock 2.0.

Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: The Browns have needs all over the roster, but can’t pass on the most polished player in the 2017 NFL draft. Garrett, who has produced 32.5 sacks in three years, is the cornerstone type of talent you build a defense around.

San Francisco 49ers Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: The 49ers are in a great position to trade down with a team interested in landing one of this draft’s elite talents because San Francisco has so many needs. Solomon is a bit raw, but he’s versatile enough to play end and could be groomed as a standup pass rusher.

Chicago Bears – Jamal Adams, S, LSU: The Bears should consider trading down from this spot because Chicago isn’t one player away from being respectable. Adams, a three-year starter at LSU, has top-notch athleticism and tremendous awareness, which will help Chicago’s secondary tighten up.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: No disrespect to T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory, but Fournette is the type of talent who can change the course of a franchise. He also fits the mold of what Jacksonville’s top executive Tom Coughlin is looking for in a featured back.

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Leonard Fournette carrying the football. Fournette is considered top RB in class. Photo courtesy of creativecommons.com

Tennessee Titans – Malik Hooker, S, OSU: Five years from now people might look back at the 2017 draft and wonder why Hooker wasn’t taken earlier because of his range and ball-hawking skills. Pairing Hooker at safety with free-agent addition Jonathan Cyprien changes Tennessee’s entire defense.

New York Jets – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: The Jets have wasted a ton of picks on quarterbacks the past few years, so why not add one more by taking a Trubisky, whose physical gifts and upside will lead to him being drafted 10-20 spots higher than he should be taken.

Los Angeles Chargers – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama: New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is leading the switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, which means the Chargers need to fortify the trenches. Allen’s a powerful, productive four-year starter who is versatile enough to play inside and outside.

Carolina Panthers Marshon Lattimore, CB, OSU: Lattimore might only be a one-year starter, which could lead to a slow start in the NFL, but he’s athletic enough to play just about any style of coverage. The Panthers, which finished 29th in passing defense in 2016, could use a player with his upside.

Cincinnati Bengals – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: Taking Williams, who has a knack for bringing down contested catches, should help an offense that ranked 24th in the NFL in scoring last season. His presence would take some of the attention away from A.J. Green, and give Andy Dalton a dynamic duo of big targets.

Buffalo Bills – John Ross, WR, Washington: Goodwin has not panned out  to what we expected. Putting Ross across from Sammy Watkins could give the Bills one of the best receiving cores in the league.

New Orleans Saints – Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: New Orleans’ defense weighs this team down like an anchor, so picking Foster, the best playmaking inside linebacker in the draft, should help the unit tighten up. Foster should be able to unseat Craig Robertson or Dannell Ellerbe for one of the starting linebacker spots.

Cleveland Browns – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Watson is a winner. No one in the NFL is more desperate to win than the Browns. If Watson is there at 12, Cleveland could have a huge first round in the best player overall, and arguably the best QB in the draft.

Arizona Cardinals – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Howard is the total package as an NFL tight end. He’s a fluid athlete who can threaten the seams, has broad shoulders, and the size needed to be a physical in-line blocker. His athleticism and big-play ability should make him a rookie starter despite Jermaine Gresham’s presence.

Philadelphia Eagles – Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU: Some experts believe Cook’s versatility makes him this draft’s best tailback because he’s deadly in space. A shoulder injury could drop his draft stock a little, but Philadelphia’s the perfect landing spot for this Seminoles standout, who should easily unseat Ryan Mathews.

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Dalvin Cook speeds away from Louisville defender. Photo courtesy of creativecommons.com

Indianapolis Colts Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: Some scouts around the NFL say he is the best pure pass rusher in the NFL. Although this franchise needs to protect their franchise QB Andrew Luck, Barnett is too good to pass up at this point. 

Baltimore Ravens – Takkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA: McKinley is a high-effort pass rusher who possesses an impressive combination of length and speed. He’s a perfect fit in a 3-4 defense like the one the Raven use. His limited experience dropping into coverage might lead to a slow start in the NFL.

Washington Redskins – Jabril Peppers, S, Michigan: Washington has very little to work with at safety, so adding a natural playmaker like Peppers would provide a weak secondary some bite. Peppers gambles a lot, but he’ll make more big plays at strong safety than he allows.

Tennessee Titans – Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt: The Titans were one of seven NFL teams to allow opposing tailbacks to average more than 25 receiving yards per game. Cunningham has the range and movement skills to become an immediate starter in Tennessee.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: The Buccaneers already have Doug Martin, who averaged a paltry 2.9 yards per carry last season and will have to sit out the first four games due to a suspension. Adding McCaffrey immediately provides Tampa Bay a change-of-pace runner, a slot receiver, and a dynamic return specialist.

Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: He has the size to play LT in the NFL, and that’s where the Broncos need him. With the departure of Rusell Okung, Ryan would be a nice replacement to rejuvenate that offensive line.

Detroit Lions – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: The Lions are still trying to adjust to life without Calvin Johnson. Davis has a good blend of size and speed, and he effectively tracks deep balls, which should make Matt Stafford happy. The Lions might go another route if they decide to re-sign Anquan Boldin.

Miami Dolphins – Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky: Lamp’s athleticism and toughness stands out, but many think this college left tackle should move inside to guard in the NFL because of his short arms. That could lead him to fall to the Miami Dolphins.

New York Giants – David Njoku, TE, Miami: It has been years since the Giants have had a good tight end. A dynamic seam threat like Njoku, who accelerates quickly and glides on the field, could extend Eli Manning’s career.

Oakland Raiders – Gareon Conley, CB, OSU: The Raiders have had bad luck with cornerbacks the past few years, and as a result they were one of three teams to surrender more than 7.8 yards per passing attempt. Conley offers scheme versatility and can be groomed for a starting role.

Houston Texans – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: The Texans are searching for Duane Brown’s heir apparent, and will kick Robinson inside for a season or two, or have him play on the right side at tackle. A few character red flags could cause Robinson’s stock to drop.

Seattle Seahawks – Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana: Seattle’s offensive line had a ton of issues last season, and center Justin Britt is the only untouchable starter. Feeney, who allowed just one sack in 37 starts, will come in and compete for a starting spot at guard immediately.

Kansas City Chiefs – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: This selection would purely be taking the best available player on the board. Taco could learn from the studs already in Kansas City, and be a key piece in that defense.

Dallas Cowboys – Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: The cowboys had one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL last year despite their great year. This pick could solidify that weak run defense.

Green Bay Packers Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: The Packers have a knack for selecting the best player on the board in the first round, so taking McDowell, who is viewed as this draft’s best defensive tackle, makes plenty of sense. He’s viewed as a boom-or-bust prospect because of his attitude and questionable motor.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple: Reddick is probably one of the best pass rushers in this draft, but he lacks the ideal length and size to play end in a 4-3 scheme. However, he should thrive in a 3-4 scheme, and might even be able to play on the inside.

Atlanta Falcons – Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida: The Falcons could use a chase-and-tackle defender like Davis, whose college film showcases excellent awareness. However, some medical red flags could make Davis slide into the second round.

New Orleans Saints – Kevin King, CB, Washington: The Saints need a cornerback who has size to match up against the bigger receivers in the NFC. King moves fluidly for a 6-foot-3 cornerback, and has quick enough feet to play the nickel spot. The Saints might also trade this pick back to New England for cornerback Malcolm Butler, a restricted free agent the Saints had in for a visit.

 

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