The 2017 NFL Draft could potentially disrupt a great deal of long-standing, old-school draft logic. League trends, both offensively and defensively, have changed how players are deployed on the field – and in doing so have altered positional value, a draft logic mainstay for some time. Players who would have been penalized in the past for being "tweeners" may now present greater value than ever.
Ok, on to the mock. As usual, no trades are included. Be sure to check out Walter Football for more great mock drafts.
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford
3. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
I’m seeing a lot of Fournette here, but not sure I buy it. The Jags collected defensive linemen in free agency, are about to lock down Telvin Smith long term, and now feature Jalen Ramsey as a shutdown corner. Save for reaching on an offensive lineman, I see the Jags adding a playmaking safety to what could become a scary defensive unit.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Rams) – Marshon Lattimore, DB, Ohio State
6. New York Jets – Jamal Adams, S, LSU
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
Surprise? Call it a homer pick, but I think Peppers is being overanalyzed to a ridiculous degree. Peppers has elite athleticism, instincts, and football intelligence. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands and snuffs out the short-screen game better than any college defender I’ve ever seen. Gus Bradley would be a great coordinator fit, easing some of the concern around integrating such a polarizing player. [EDIT: This was written about two hours before the diluted sample report. Welp. Still betting strongly on him going in the first round.]
8. Carolina Panthers – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
10. Buffalo Bills – Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Sean McDermott gets the sideline-to-sideline linebacker that’s been so essential to his scheme in Carolina. Reddick has enjoyed one of the best draft seasons in recent memory, culminating in a top-ten selection in this mock.
11. New Orleans Saints – Derek Barnett, DL, Tennessee
Barnett’s evaluation reminds me a lot of Derrick Morgan’s heading into the 2010 draft. Highly productive pass rushers with similar frames, but athleticism concerns keep them out of the top ten.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Eagles) – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13. Arizona Cardinals – Gareon Conley, DB, Ohio State
[EDIT: This was clearly written before the news broke about Mr. Conley.]
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings) – Kevin King, DB, Washington
15. Indianapolis Colts – Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
16. Baltimore Ravens – Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
17. Washington – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
I’m a fan of Fournette, but with McCaffrey going first I wasn’t able to find a great value fit higher than this. With an earlier-than-expected run on offensive linemen, Washington ends Fournette’s slide and adds another element to what should be a strong offense.
18. Tennessee Titans – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
20. Denver Broncos – Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
21. Detroit Lions – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Taco seems like an ideal fit for Teryl Austin’s closed end position opposite Ziggy Ansah. While his frame has many analysts projecting him to a 5-tech role, I think he is better suited to play outside in a four-man front. His size, athleticism, and strength holding up against the run make this a great value from both scheme-fit and need perspectives.
22. Miami Dolphins – Chidobe Awuzie, DB, Colorado
Awuzie is a blast to watch and would add some needed playmaking ability to Miami’s secondary.
23. New York Giants – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
24. Oakland Raiders – T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
25. Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
26. Seattle Seahawks – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston
28. Dallas Cowboys – Tre’Davious White, DB, LSU
29. Green Bay Packers – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The possibility of Cook catching passes out of the backfield from Aaron Rodgers terrifies me as a Lions fan.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
31. Atlanta Falcons – Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
32. New Orleans Saints (from Patriots) – Marlon Humphrey, DB, Alabama