Mock Draft 1.0
Following a successful spell in Chicago, the NFL Draft is on the move once again. Next stop Philadelphia where the draft will unfold in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Eakins Oval. The action unfolds throughout the 27th-29th April.
As you’ll notice within the mock draft, I’ve offered up my thought process in regards to the selections made by each team. Rather than in-depth analysis on each prospect.
#1 Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE: (Texas A&M)
Despite an abundance of holes to fill on a below par roster the Browns would be foolish not to select Garrett. Regarded as the number one prospect in the 2017 draft class Garrett adds a dynamic presence to the Browns defense. Would anyone be shocked if the Browns actually used Garrett as trade bait for a certain quarterback?
#2 San Francisco 49ers: Dalvin Cook, RB: (Florida State)
Hear me out, it makes sense. Kyle Shanahan’s 6-year contract means the 49ers are going to build over the next few years and fans need to remain patient. The selection of Cook should be viewed as a solid foundation to build from. History also tells us that Shanahan offense is largely based on the outside zone running scheme. We only have to look to Atlanta’s Devonta freeman and Tevin Coleman. Throw into the equation, the addition of fullback Kyle Juszczyk and it appears Shanahan will keep the likes of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley impact on games very limited.
#3 Chicago Bears: Solomon Thomas, DE: (Stanford)
With a talent rich draft in terms of defensive backs. John Fox and Ryan Pace can’t believe their luck as Thomas falls into their lap. The Bears could well be on their way to a top ten ranked defense in 2017 with the addition of Thomas (15th overall 2016).
#4 Jacksonville Jaguars: Derek Barnett, DE (Tennessee)
Despite an already loaded front seven, the Jags opt for strength on strength. The Jets did a similar thing with Leonard Williams 2 years ago. The presence of free agent acquisition Calais Campbell will provide Burnett with a great mentor.
#5 Tennessee Titans: (via LA Rams) Marshon Lattimore, CB (Ohio State)
A new look secondary for the Titans. A team who were ranked 30th against the pass in 2016. Along with the addition of Logan Ryan, Johnathon Cyprien and Brynden Trawick. The Titans defense looks set to be on the up in 2017.
#6 New York Jets: Malik Hooker, FS (Ohio State)
Similar to 49ers situation the Jets need to lay the foundations for the future. Thanks to Todd Bowles the Jets fans can look forward to one of the more disappointing quarterback battles of all time. Hopefully, Hooker will inject some moments of euphoria by showcasing his outstanding instincts.
#7 LA Chargers: Jamal Adams, S (LSU)
With offensive line talent lacking to warrant the seventh overall selection. The Chargers can add a playmaker to what’s fastly becoming one of the more talented young defenses within the NFL.
#8 Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB (LSU)
With the reigns now on Cam Newton, in regards to designed running plays coupled with the fact that Johnathan Stewart has hit the infamous 30-years old benchmark (the Achilles heal for a running back). Fournette’s tough physical running style will be a welcome relief for Newton, who’s undergone shoulder surgery this off-season.
#9 Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Ramczyk, OT (Wisconsin)
What was one considered one of the more talent-laden rosters, the Bengals have been decimated by free agency. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth signed with the La Rams and right guard Kevin Zeitler joined division rivals the Browns. Ramczyk would fill the void at left tackle.
#10 Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis, WR (Western Michigan)
Former Panthers defensive coordinator and new head coach Sean McDermott familiarity with Tedd Ginn’s speed and ability to stretch the field plays into the selection. Davis would be a welcome addition to a passing attack that was ranked 30th overall in 2016.
#11 New Orleans Saints: Jonathan Allen, DE (Alabama)
Despite the holes in the secondary. The Saints defense has struggled to get to the quarterback during the last two seasons. The defense recorded 31 sacks in 2015 and 30 sacks in 2016. Totals that have seen the Saints defense ranked within the bottom six.
#12 Cleveland Browns (via Eagles): Mitch Trubisky, QB (North Carolina)
With all the draft picks and no deal for Jimmy Garoppolo on the horizon why not take a chance on Trubisky. Whilst the limited sample size as a starter (13 games) will some concerns among fans. Those with doubts should consider the fact that last year’s second overall draft selection Carson Wentz. Threw just 40 more passes than Trubisky during his college career.
#13 Arizona Cardinals: Rueben Foster, ILB (Alabama)
With the loss of Tony Jefferson in free agency (Baltimore Ravens). Rueben will slot right into the starting lineup. Foster’s hard-hitting tough physical presence, along with excellent coverage skills. Will provide the Cardinals with some much-needed physicality in the middle of the defense.
#14 Philadelphia Eagles: O.J. Howard, TE (Alabama)
With Carson Wentz struggles throughout the second half of last year. Adding another weapon to the offense, provides Wentz with a talent safety blanket. Along with the addition of Alshon Jeffery in free agency the Eagles have surrounded Wentz with enough talent to further enhance his development during his sophomore year.
#15 Indianapolis Colts: Taco Charlton, DE (Michigan)
Protecting Andrew Luck is probably the mandate for the draft. However, the talent level of the offensive lineman class should persuade the Colts to go in another direction. In a division of talented quarterbacks, Taco Charlton’s presence could prove critical if the Colts are to return to the playoffs, in 2017.
#16 Baltimore Ravens: Haason Reddick, OLB (Temple)
With the teams losing their leading tackler Zachary Orr via a shock retirement (neck/spine injury) the Ravens have a void alongside outstanding talent, C.J. Moseley. Reddick’s versatility adds a much-needed dynamic to an aging front seven.
#17 Washington Redskins: John Ross, WR (Washington)
Going into the 2017 season the redskins find themselves minus 2000+ yards on offense following the departure of Pierre Garcon (49ers) and DeSean Jackson (Bucs) in free agency. Ross, would fill the void left by DeSean Jackson as he has the ability to blow the top of defenses.
#18 Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR (Clemson)
The Titans are in need of bolstering a passing attack that was ranked 25th overall in 2016. After missing out on free-agent Alshon Jeffery the addition of Williams would provide Mariota with a substantial redzone threat.
#19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian McCaffrey RB (Stanford)
With Doug Martin suspended for the first three games of the season, and the team somewhat distancing themselves from the troubled former first-round pick (2012). McGaffery would provide the Bucs with a dynamic talent in both the ground and passing attack.
#20 Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OL (Alabama)
Deficiencies along the offensive line hindered the Broncos chances of returning to the big dance. With average play under center, protecting both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch is critical to further their development.
#21 Detroit Lions: Zach Cunningham, OLB (Vanderbilt)
A downturn in production, following a series of injuries spelled the end for linebacker DeAndre Levy, as the Lions parted ways with the 8-year veteran. Whilst the move creates additional cap space it leaves the Lions in a precarious position at linebacker.
#22 Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG (Western Kentucky)
Since entering the NFL Ryan Tannerhill has been under constant duress, and addressing the offensive line is vital if the dolphins are to keep Tannerhill upright. Regarded as the best guard in the draft, Lamp provides the Dolphins with plenty of versatility. Lamp has the ability to swing out to right tackle as well as moving inside to center.
#23 New York Giants: David Njoku , TE (Miami)
Head coach Ben McAdoo has been very vocal this off-season in regards to quarterback Eli Mannings erratic play. Adding a safety blanket for Eli could prove to a decisive factor if the Giants are to improve on last season, and keep Eli’s turnovers at a minimum. Njoku’s blocking capabilities will also be beneficial to an ailing running game.
#24 Oakland Raiders: TreDavious White, CB (LSU)
With a loaded offense and rumours of Marshawn Lynch ready to return to the NFL, the Raiders would be wise to shore up a passing defense that suffered with numerous coverage issues during 2016. Drafting White does nothing to address a glaring need at linebacker, but from a talent standpoint. White’s ability out shadows that of any linebacker left on the board.
#25 Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, QB (Clemson)
With Tony Romo retiring for a life in the broadcast booth, the Texans find themselves in somewhat of a pickle when it comes to the man under centre. Tom Savage looks entrenched as the starter at this moment in time, but the Texans plain and simply have to address the glaring need.
#26 Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles, OT (Utah)
The Seahawks have spent the last two seasons putting lipstick on a pig when it comes to protecting Russell Wilson. Bolles will start from day one at right tackle, bringing some much-needed toughness and ability to a subpar offensive lineman core.
#27 Kanas City Chiefs: Kevin King, CB, (Washington)
I feel the upside of Kevin King far outways that of a quarterback. Due to the talent of Marcus Peters, former seventh round pick, Terrance Mitchell has been the go-to guy from an opposing quarterbacks standpoint. The addition of 6ft 3″ King, provides the Chiefs with an instant upgrade at the position along with versatility.
#28 Dallas Cowboys: Jabrill Peppers, S (Michigan)
Free agency hasn’t been kind to the Cowboys with several starters leaving for pastures new. That aside Peppers brings quality and versatility to a depleted secondary. Peppers has featured at linebacker, corner slot and safety during his time with Michigan.
#29 Green Bay Packers: Marlon Humphrey, CB (Alabama)
A defense that was ranked 31st against the pass, proved to be the undoing of the Packers as injuries and lack of depth, derailed the Green Bays quest for another Super bowl title. Humphery is a fierce competitor and opportunist who’ll look to strip the ball.
#30 Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, OLB (UCLA)
Despite defying father time, James Harrison turns 39 next month. McKinney has a high, aggressive motor and can play from either side. Any concerns regarding, quiet phases in games and what’s described as a lack of bulk could easily be addressed by a certain James Harrison. What better mentor could a rookie ask for?
#31 Atlanta Falcons: Caleb Brantley, DT (Florida)
Getting to the opposing quarterback has been a thorn in the side of the Falcons defense for the last few years. Whilst Vic Beasley glossed over some of those concerns during the Super Bowl run. The Falcons require an extra dimension when it comes to creating pressure on the opposition’s quarterback. Brantley possesses a relentless motor, coupled with a never say die attitude, he’s excellent against the run.
#32 New Orleans Saints: (via New England Patriots) Gareon Conley, CB (Ohio)
With the fate of the Malcolm Butler trade up in the air. The Saints can bring to close day one of the draft having addressed two areas of need. Conley can play either corner position and is an immediate upgrade on the Saints passing defense that was ranked dead last in 2016.
Featured image via JW B Via Flickr.com