Here it is, my 2017 NFL Draft Preview! Last year,I had about 10 selections right and I hope I can get more right this year. What counts as a right pick? If I can get it right straight on, if the player goes to the team I chose him to go to,but at a different pick/round, or if that player goes to that number of selection (Example: If someone trades with Buffalo to nab the player I had mocked at the 10th selection). The Cleveland Browns are on the clock!
1. Cleveland- Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
This is the possibly worst kept secret that Garrett is going to be selected first overall by the Browns here, but let’s see what he’ll bring to the Factory of Sadness. He brings a great pass-rush ability and is productive in that category. He is also lightning fast against the run and excels in open-run pursuit. Garrett is by far the best talent at defensive end in this draft and in a place like Cleveland who needs playmakers,he’ll definitely fill a need.
2. San Francisco- Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
For the longest time I had Jonathan Allen of Alabama going to San Francisco,but Thomas getting picked here makes much more sense. Thomas,a junior,has a well-built frame and powerful size. He’s also very unpredictable on the pass rush and has relentless pursuit speed. Playing alongside Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner will give the 49ers a powerful young defensive line that will give opposing NFC West teams a hard time in seasons to come.
3. Chicago-Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio St.
The rebuilding Bears could use all the talent they can get,so why not start by drafting the best corner in this year’s class? A very explosive back,Lattimore has top speed and is a force on the open tackle. He works through blockers to not only disrupt the run,but also the pass. He can make plays in almost any coverage he’s assigned to as well. He does have limited starting experience as a college player,but what he brings to Chicago is a lot of talent and I think he’d be a great fit here.
4. Jacksonville- Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
The Jaguars haven’t had a star tailback since Maurice Jones-Drew and LSU’s Leonard Fournette could be their next great backfield star. Fournette has a lot of size at 6-0,240 lbs. and has the speed of a wide receiver. He’s a power runner who can accelerate around the corner leaving linebackers in pursuit behind. He’s also a very violent finisher with the ball. His stiff arm is nothing short of punishing. He also has great hands for the passing game,making him an extra pass catching option for Blake Bortles. Jacksonville has great weapons on offense and I think with Fournette that it won’t hurt to have one more.
5. Tennessee- Jamal Adams, S LSU
The Titans have two first round draft picks in 2017 and this pick needs to be spent on a game-changing safety,a position they need to fill. I think Adams would be perfect. He was a very productive player in college, he’s very urgent in getting to a ball carrier. He’s a great,intelligent field general as well as a player who doesn’t get himself penalized (had no penalties in 2016). I think he’ll be a great addition if Tennessee decides to draft him here, I know they need a wide receiver, but they can snag one at the 18th pick.
6. N.Y. Jets- O.J. Howard,TE Alabama
The Jets probably need to draft a quarterback more than anything,but talent like O.J. Howard at tight end is too good to pass up. At 6-6,250, Howard has great size for a tight end,but beyond that he has great ability to separate greatly from defenders to get into the open field. He’s also a natural pass catcher and has such a high ceiling as far as making plays goes. I originally had him going as high as 12, but he is talented enough to be the sixth choice and if he is,I think fans in New York will like him very much.
7. L.A. Chargers- Malik Hooker, S Ohio St.
The Chargers are in Los Angeles now and need to pick a player the fans will want to come see play (and they’re gonna need people to come out). OSU’s Malik Hooker has unbelievable instincts and quick to process while decisive on the field of play. Can read offenses very well and is a disruptive force with receivers. He does have average speed for a safety, but he makes up for it with his accuracy of game play. He did have two surgeries to repair a hernia and a torn labrum, but should be ready for the Bolts by the time the regular season arrives.
8. Carolina- Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford
While the Panthers,in my view,need help in the offensive line, I think adding another tailback to take a little pressure off of Cam Newton is also warranted. McCaffrey’s stock climbed up until press time and I can see why. He’s a very versatile back who does more than run the ball. He can return kicks, he can play as a slot receiver and as a wideout altogether. As a tailback,McCaffrey gets the ball where it needs to be and doesn’t dance around for yardage and is capable of making defenders miss. When you have a guy as versatile as this, it’s tough to not pass on him and I think he goes to Carolina and in the Top 10.
9. Cincinnati- Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama
I think the best thing for the Bengals to do is bolster their defensive line and drafting Jonathan Allen would do that. He’s an excellent both outside and inside and his ability athletically is superb. He is also nasty against with the pass rush and strong on the edge. He can also run in the open field if necessary. He would be great in Cincinnati if he is selected here.
10. Buffalo- Mike Williams, WR Clemson
As much as I think the Bills may want to snag a quarterback here, I think getting a star receiver to play opposite Sammy Watkins would also be a good decision and Mike Williams of Clemson is quite possibly the best one in this year’s draft. He has great height and is great at using his hands to get separation on vertical throws. He also works well in the middle of the field and has a habit of making the secondary miss after he catches the ball. He would make a great top wideout for Buffalo if they choose to select him or he falls here. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went earlier, but I don’t think he will given other team’s needs in the draft.
11. New Orleans- Haason Reddick, LB Temple
Probably the biggest rising star I’ve seen in the draft so far, Temple’s Haason Reddick has shown his ability to be a star at linebacker,even if you’re undersized. His athleticism speaks for itself and his coverage is phenomenal. He’s very agile and reacts to change-of-direction play very efficiently and also difficult to handle on the tackle. I think the Saints will enjoy having a player like this on their roster, especially since their defense has been lackluster the past few seasons. He will for sure shine in New Orleans.
12. Cleveland- Mitchell Trubisky, QB No. Carolina
Let’s face it,the Browns need a quarterback. Hell,they’ve needed one since their rebirth in 1999. So,why not draft the guy who’s been on your radar for a while? That guy is Mitchell Trubisky. He’s a throw-first on the run quarterback who has a quick delivery and has solid throwing mechanics in the pocket and is poised back there. He has a solid arm and is able to get good velocity on his throws. What concerns me,however,is his limited experience in college as a starter. He didn’t have a lot of starting time at UNC, but in his time as one,he showed some great flashes of what he can be in the future at the next level. I think Cleveland is sold on having him as their next quarterback and hopefully their only signal caller they can count on for years to come.
13. Arizona- Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
The Cardinals might have to think about life after Carson Palmer,and if so,they’ll need to do it fast. Why not get a proven winner (albeit in college) in Deshaun Watson? He’s already had big time games in championship settings. Not to mention his great mobility in the pocket and is accurate on the move and throws with great anticipation. He’s been compared to Dak Prescott,but the latter has had the benefit of having an outstanding offensive line. I think he would do well in Arizona and he’ll probably hold a clipboard for a year or so to learn from Palmer.
14. Philadelphia- Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama
The Eagles definitely need to do something with their secondary and getting a guy like Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey is a push in that direction. This guy has the body type you want in a corner and he is well-versed in many types of coverage. A very aggressive and competitive player, he doesn’t let a receiver even try to block him or challenge him and will try to strip the ball whenever he can. Some may think he goes later in this round,but I think he will fit in perfectly with Philadelphia at this spot.
15. Indianapolis- Reuben Foster, LB Alabama
The Colts could go a number of ways at this selection,but I think they should go after a guy who is skilled at his position and is tough as nails. Reuben Foster is their guy in my opinion. He is explosive and alert at his position and carries a lot of swagger. His tackling technique is only getting better and his coverage ability is a plus. I originally had him going as high as ninth until it was revealed that he had a positive drug test at the combine and it’s very possible that he falls further than this,but I think Indianapolis looks past this and brings in Foster to a position they definitely need.
16. Baltimore- Corey Davis, WR W. Michigan
The Ravens definitely need some playmaking receivers for Joe Flacco to throw to and one guy that fits that mold is Corey Davis of WMU. He had a competitive four years in college and is not afraid of a challenge. He can track the deep ball as well as anyone and can run under it efficiently. He is also very dominant in the red zone and doesn’t drop many passes. I think if the Ravens are going to draft anyone,and I mean anyone,it’s gotta be Davis. I won’t be surprised if he does go sooner, but if he doesn’t,he’ll be great here.
17. Washington- Dalvin Cook, RB Florida St.
The Redskins could go in several directions with this pick,but I think they’ll get a feature tailback here and Dalvin Cook fits that mold. Cook is a steady back who has great downhill strength and his style allows him to escape defenders who aren’t quickly committed to the gap. He is at home with one back settings or two, take your pick. He’s also dangerous in the backfield. I think he would be a great pick for Washington and it gives the other teams behind them rethinking their draft strategies once Cook is off the boards.
18. Tennessee- John Ross, WR Washington
This is where the Titans get a receiver who is not only fast,but can make big plays. While he is undersized, he has enough size to work from the slot or on the outside routes. He’s shown he can be productive and that he can track the ball well and can catch it deep. He can also be used to return kickoffs, something he did at least once per year during his time at Washington. If Tennessee doesn’t surprise everyone and take a receiver at their fifth selection, I think they’ll select one here and Ross should be that guy for Marcus Mariota to throw to. He would be great here.
19. Tampa Bay- Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee
Tampa is where I think Derek Barnett lands and why not? I think they could use a player to compliment Gerald McCoy and Noah Spence and I think he fills that role nicely. He’s a great attacker on the edge and works hard to get to the quarterback and can deliver crushing tackles and sacks when given a chance. He also has a great motor and shows great hustle in addition to his great awareness on the field with play-actions and screens. It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes earlier in the draft as he’s been projected to do,but if he doesn’t,I think he’ll be a Buccaneer.
20. Denver- Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin
I think the Broncos’ top draft need is at the tackle position and to me,the best one in the draft is Ryan Ramczyk of Wisconsin. He’s an easy mover with great athleticism and has that punch-and-extend drive ability that teams like. He’s able to re-set if a defender with long arms get in the frame as well as rarely breaking down early when it comes to lunging or leaning on the edge. I also like his blocking abilities downfield. He would be a great addition to Denver’s offense as I’m sure their passing game and running game would benefit from his style of play.
21. Detroit- Taco Charlton, DE Michigan
The man with the most delicious first name in the draft,Charlton has a great combination of size, strength,and athleticism for a pass rusher,and his frame is only getting bigger. Avery versatile end, he is able to sweep around the corner to get to the ball carrier effectively and his length gives him the ability to make plays to stop the run. I think Detroit stays local with their first-round pick and gets their Taco for their defense,it’s one they hope feasts on opposing NFC North offenses.
22. Miami- Takkarist McKinley, DE UCLA
The Dolphins hope to continue to be a playoff-caliber team and I think in order to do that,they should improve defensively. I think UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley will be a fantastic addition. He is always looking for the ball and more importantly,the ball carrier and in the Pac-12, he brought as much effort as anyone in making plays. He’s a little raw,but his pass rushes come complete with extra power. A lot of mock drafts have him going later in the first round, but I think he would be great in Miami. He’s going to be a productive NFL player.
23. N.Y. Giants- Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
Eli Manning is 36 and not getting much younger and if he’s to play a few more years for the Giants, they’re going to need to protect him. Cam Robinson can do just that. He has a combination of thickness and athleticism and fights hard and plays until the whistle. He has a knack for uprooting his defenders to be a effective drive blocker. Some think he’s the best tackle in the draft, I think he’s a close second and why I have him going to New York at this selection. Could he go earlier? Sure, but I think he would be a nice addition here.
24. Oakland- Gareon Conley, CB Ohio St.
The second Buckeye corner to come off the board in the first round, Conley has great size for a pro. He’s great at challenging the throwing lanes to target and his timing is excellent. He’s also very disciplined in his technique on his verticals and his curls. Understandably,the Raiders probably need a tailback and if they’re not getting Marshawn Lynch, they’ll trade up for one. Other than that,I think they would be better off nabbing a great piece for their secondary,and Conley would be great for them here.
25. Houston- Patrick Mahomes II, QB Texas Tech
Let’s face it,the Texans go through quarterbacks faster than I go through shoes,and the Brock Osweiler experiment wasn’t going as planned,so we’re back to square one here. I think a player like Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II is exactly what they need for a quarterback. For one thing,he’s accurate with his throws,he’s also incredible at threading the needle into a tight window with great velocity. When he’s on the move, he’s nothing but relaxed and in control. Getting that first down is a priority to him,even if he has to get it on his feet. I think Houston would be a great home for this guy,he may even be ready to start on Week One.
26. Seattle- Kevin King, CB Washington
With the future of Richard Sherman on the team up in the air, the Seahawks may try to add to their secondary and they won’t have to look far to do that. King has great height for this position and is very willing to get physical with receivers. He’s also very patient with press coverage. The best thing about him,however,is his versatility. He has and is able to play all four spots in the secondary and is capable of playing in the slot. If there’s been a cornerstone for Seattle as of late,it’s their secondary and I think they’ll want them to be as good as ever and I think drafting Kevin King achieves that.
27. Kansas City- Tre’ Davious White,CB LSU
The Chiefs can use their first round pick in a number of directions,but I think they might bolster their secondary here and possibly the best corner available here is LSU’s Tre’ Davious White. He’s a very patient guy in the press and is a great pattern reader that can jump the path and attack. Also good as isolating recivers on the slot. He can also return punts on special teams. Kansas City would be a good home for White and we’ll see if he goes there.
28. Dallas- Charles Harris, LB Missouri
Dallas’ linebacker core could use an upgrade and I think the man you do that with is Missouri’s Charles Harris. He’s an explosive player who plays with great energy. His lateral quickness makes him a difficult defender to get to. His early speed makes creating movement easy on the attack. He can even be called upon to play in space if the need comes. I think he would play well with Sean Lee on that linebacking core for the Cowboys. Harris is going to be a pretty good pro in my opinion.
29. Green Bay- Adoree Jackson, CB USC
Green Bay has long needed to upgrade their secondary and I think they need to do it in the first round. I think a guy who would compliment them well is USC’s Adoree Jackson. One of the best athletes in all of college football,Jackson can maintain pattern coverage and is able to adapt to playing in various coverage techniques. He is also a very consistent tackler. Where he also shines is when he returns kicks and punts and is a high-end talent for the return game. I think the Packers will get an exciting young player if they draft him here and I think fans will like his style of play.
30. Pittsburgh- Jarrad Davis, LB Florida
The Steelers should probably get younger with their linebackers since James Harrison is 39. I think a great fit would be Florida’s Jarrad Davis. He’s a gifted pass coverage guy and is also a tough run defender. He’s very much able to play in 3-4 or 4-3 coverage,take your pick,and he’s very good in zone coverage. Beyond that,he’s a great team leader and is very passionate about the game. I think he fits the Pittsburgh mold well and he’ll be in a good spot here and a productive player for seasons to come.
31. Atlanta- Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky
The Falcons are in need of help on the interior of the offensive line and WKU’s Forrest Lamp has been scouted at this pick for a while. While his build is a bit compact,his athleticism is far from lacking. A great technician on the field who plays with good leverage, Lamp plays well in a power-man blocking scheme and is also a pretty flexible player. He’s also a guy who very rarely gets bull-rushed. He’s got great feet and is a smart player on the field. Atlanta can do a number of things with this pick,but I think they’ll improve greatly with Lamp on their roster.
32. New Orleans- Jabrill Peppers, S Michigan
Our final pick of the first round belongs to New Orleans and with this pick I think they should upgrade their secondary. Peppers is a talented jack of all trades. Not only can he play safety,but also linebacker and cornerback. He can run down plays from sideline to sideline and can be aggressive in re-routing a receiver. He’s also capable with the blitz from all angles. His slide in the first round is courtesy of a failed drug test at the combine,otherwise I would have him in the early 20s. Either way,this pick of Peppers is the Saints’ gain.