Three. More. Weeks. The 2017 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and we will have one mock draft per week leading up to April 27th. The sports media is just starting to catch up to things, such as Christian McCaffrey going from borderline first-round pick to potential top-ten pick, so this mock will try to reflect how NFL teams are evaluating players, rather than media members.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Something that almost everyone has been on throughout the draft process is Garrett to the Browns. Cleveland gets a potential franchise-changer with the Texas A&M product.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
I prefer Malik Hooker, but Adams is one of the best leaders in the draft and could be a guy that GM John Lynch, a future Hall of Fame safety, falls in love with. Adams is better around the line of scrimmage than Hooker, and his 4.33 40-yard dash this week could make him the pick here.
3. Chicago Bears: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
A lot of draft analysts have Thomas as an EDGE, but he could be a dominant end in John Fox’s 3-4 alignment. Thomas has been given some extremely lofty comparisons, including Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle, J.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald.
4. New York Jets (projected trade with Jaguars): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Apparently enamored with Trubisky, the Jets could move up two spots to guarantee they get him, jumping anyone that was counting on making a deal with Tennessee for a quarterback. The Jaguars on the other hand, will pick up an extra second or third-round pick this year or next year and should still end up with who they wanted at #4.
5. Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Two safeties in the top-five has never happened, but both Adams and Hooker are worth it. The Titans signed box-safety Jonathan Cyprien this offseason, and the rangy Hooker would be the perfect complement to man centerfield.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (projected trade with Jets): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Assuming the Jags are sticking with Blake Bortles, this is a perfect scenario for them; they get a potential superstar at tight end while picking up another early draft pick, but don’t be surprised if they stick at their original spot and take Deshaun Watson.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Unless the Chargers want to take Watson here, the draft hasn’t played out favorably for them at all, as Malik Hooker or Jamal Adams would have been a perfect fit. Cornerback isn’t a need by any means with Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward already in the secondary, but they could decide to follow the example of the rival Broncos to get three potential shutdown corners.
8. Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette ran a 4.51 at 240 pounds at the Combine, and is reportedly down to 228, which is a scary thought for defenses if he can gain speed without losing a lot of strength.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Sub-par testing numbers along with injury concerns could cause Allen to fall out of the top-ten altogether, but the Bengals seem like a great spot for him, despite many thinking they will go wide receiver for some reason. Cincinnati would suddenly have a feared interior combination with Geno Atkins and Allen if he’s the pick.
10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Two former Clemson superstar wideouts on the same team? Bills fans should like the sound of that, as Williams and Sammy Watkins would make a nice duo on the outside. Buffalo could also lock at a cornerback, but there probably isn’t another that’s worth a top-ten pick.
11. New Orleans Saints: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Sean Payton’s interest in Watson has been well-documented, and this could end up being the perfect situation for him. I think Watson is ready to play and win now, but ending up with the Niners or Jets would put him on one of the worst rosters in the league. With the Saints, Watson would be able to learn behind Drew Brees, and hopefully the defense will be built up by the time he’s ready to take the reins.
12. Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan
The Browns front office wants to bring in productive players. They showed that last draft when they took Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Carl Nassib—all extremely productive players during their college careers—with their first three picks. Peppers was one of the best players in the country at Michigan, and the Browns could use him as a chess piece on defense.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Despite their subpar season last year, the Cardinals don’t have many holes on their roster. They could use some depth at multiple positions, but Conley is a potential upgrade at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey probably should be drafted in the top ten, but there aren’t many teams with huge running back needs. The Eagles, however, do have a need at running back. McCaffrey would slide right in as the Eagles’ number one back.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
While he might not be a cookie cutter, perfect fit in the Colts’ defense, Reddick is a very versatile player that would be able to play any of the Colts’ linebacker positions. Reddick can be disruptive as an edge player, but he could also step right in and fly around as an inside linebacker in the Indy defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington
Baltimore typically doesn’t use early picks on receivers—and they just drafted a receiver (Breshad Perriman) in the first round in 2015—but another dynamic weapon added to a receiving corps that includes Perriman and Mike Wallace would probably make Joe Flacco a happy guy. It’d be hard for defenses to keep up with Wallace, Perriman, and Ross paired with Flacco’s cannon arm.
17. Washington Redskins: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster would be a steal in the second half of the first round. The Redskins just signed Zach Brown, but Foster could be a difference maker for Washington. He may end up going earlier than this, if being sent home from the combine does not concern teams too much.
18. Tenneessee Titans: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL.)
With so much draft capital, the Titans might move around the board to get who they want (perhaps for receiver John Ross?), but Njoku could be an option if they stay at 18. The Titans like to run two tight end sets, and Njoku would form a scary combo with Delanie Walker.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Tampa Bay already have talented defensive ends on their roster, but Barnett would be a nice addition to that group. Dalvin Cook is also an option here, with Doug Martin’s future uncertain.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
John Elway improved the offensive line this offseason by bringing in some free agents. He may continue to build the offensive line in the draft, as it was a problem for the team last season.
21. Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Charlton would get to stay in the state of Michigan and play for a playoff team from last season. Charlton would form a potentially scary 1-2 combo with Ezekiel Ansah.
22. Miami Dolphins: T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
Miami’s front seven is already a solid group. Adding Watt would strengthen it even more. The Dolphins are a strong team up the middle.
23. New York Giants: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Eli Manning has a lot of weapons, but he could also use some better protection. Bolles would probably help in both pass protection and in the run game right away.
24. Oakland Raiders: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Raiders lost Malcolm Smith to the Niners, and so they need some help at linebacker. Cunningham is a very athletic linebacker that would add to an already athletic Oakland defense.
25. Houston Texans: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Bill O’Brien would probably love to have Deshaun Watson drop to 25, but that probably will not happen. Robinson has big upside at tackle, but he can also move inside to guard, if necessary.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King, CB, Washington
In terms of size, Kevin King seems like the perfect fit for the Seahawks. Especially with Richard Sherman possibly on the move, this makes a lot of sense.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Even after releasing Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have good players at running back, including Spencer Ware. However, Dalvin Cook would add some more explosion that they lost when they released Charles. He’d likely be a great fit in Andy Reid’s offense.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
The Cowboys drafted one versatile secondary member in the 2015 draft (Byron Jones), and they may draft another in Adoree’ Jackson. He took a draft visit to the Cowboys, so the interest is there.
29. Green Bay Packers: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Green Bay really needs some secondary help. Davon House returning to the team after he was released by Jacksonville should help, but they’ll probably looking for more players in the draft.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
With all the Ben Roethlisberger retirement talk, the Steelers need to be looking for a franchise quarterback. DeShone Kizer looks like a fit in terms of skill set for Pittsburgh, but his Brian Kelly (his head coach at Notre Dame) saying he should have stayed in school is a big red flag.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Cornerback isn’t a huge need for the Falcons, but they could use the depth. Humphrey is just 20-years-old and has a lot of potential.
32. New Orleans Saints: Budda Baker, S, Washington
Baker is an athletic and versatile defensive back that would be a welcome addition to a Saints defense that keeps putting pieces together.