We’re less than two weeks away from the 2017 NFL Draft, which means rumor and speculation are running high, as anonymous sources are sharing their brand of insider information with reporters and analysts across the league. How much is true and how much is merely ploy? We may never know—or we may find out in ten days time.
Depending on your perspective of putting together mock drafts, this is where the fun or the frustration really begins.
With that, here is my 2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0. These first-round projections are based on my impression of teams needs as of April 17 and do not reflect any potential trade scenarios. Thank you for reading and enjoy.
1) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Rumors are swirling that the Browns are divided internally as to whether they should draft Garrett or quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at #1 overall. Would they actually pass on the consensus best player available in favor of reaching for a potential franchise quarterback? As controversial as it would be, I think there’s a real possibility that it happens. But for now, Garrett remains the pick.
2) San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford
Thomas is the pick for San Francisco in practically every expert’s mock draft. I’m not necessarily on board, but I understand the reasons why it’s the prevailing opinion.
3) Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Is free agent acquisition Mike Glennon the answer at quarterback in Chicago? Recent reports suggest the Bears aren’t entirely convinced. If that is indeed the case, look for Trubisky to come off the board here.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
The Jaguars are the rare case of a team that is picking high without a real glaring need to address—at least in terms of positional value relative to the board. Medical concerns notwithstanding, Allen makes sense here.
5) Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
If Trubisky happens to still be available, look for the Browns to pursue a trade here. If the Titans stand in and make the pick, as they would in this scenario, they draft Lattimore to replace veteran cornerback Jason McCourty, with whom they recently parted ways.
6) New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Jets have major question marks at safety. Adams, a top-3 prospect on a number of boards, including Ringside to Sideline, is the selection based on need and value.
7) Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
A ball-hawking deep safety is a critical role in the Chargers new 4-3 defensive scheme. Hooker is exactly that.
8) Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
A popular player-to-team mock—and for good reason. Fournette just makes too much sense as the feature back in the Panthers power rushing attack.
9) Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett is a departure from what the Bengals prefer in their pass rushers, but after whiffing on a number of recent selections on the edge, they take proven production over the physical prototype.
10) Buffalo Bills: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
A proven playmaker in the passing game and a quality in-line blocker, Howard is gaining steam as the potential first-round selection for the Bills.
11) New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
With Garrett and Barnett off the board, taking the next highest-graded pass rusher may be a little rich for the Saints here. That said, an impact defender and tone-setter like Foster can help elevate the play across the entire defense.
Embed from Getty Images
12) Cleveland Browns: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
After missing out on Trubisky, the Browns draft Watson as they attempt to yet again find their quarterback of the future. That said, of all the quarterbacks in this draft, he just might be the most mentally prepared to bear the burden of changing the fortunes of a franchise.
13) Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Cardinals don’t have an imposing receiving threat opposite the ageless Larry Fitzgerald—let alone a suitable replacement. Williams has the physical tools and can learn the nuances of the position from the veteran wideout.
14) Philadelphia Eagles: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Eagles have a glaring need at cornerback. Humphrey isn’t the most polished prospect at the position, but is an elite athlete, versatile defender, and a scheme fit for their defense.
15) Indianapolis Colts: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Colts are full of holes, perhaps none deeper than in the secondary. Conley is a draft riser who could step in and start for their rebuilding defense.
16) Baltimore Ravens: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Ravens have taken some hits to their defense in the offseason, specifically the front seven. Reddick would make a ton of sense as an off-the-ball linebacker and situational pass rusher.
17) Washington Redskins: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Big enough to play down and athletic enough to play standing up, Charlton fits the physical profile for what the Redskins like in their edge defenders.
18) Tennesse Titans: David Njoku, TE, Miami
An incredibly athletic tight end like Njoku would be a match-up nightmare and dangerous red zone threat for a rising Titans offense.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Tampa Bay takes the first offensive lineman off the board, adding Robinson, the big, athletic anchor from Alabama, to shore up their offensive front.
20) Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Continuing their offseason overhaul of their offensive line, the Broncos select Ramczyk, who could prove to be the long-term solution at left tackle they’ve been chasing.
21) Detroit Lions: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
A do-it-all offensive weapon like McCaffrey would be downright dangerous in Detroit’s high-powered attack.
22) Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
With last year’s first-round pick Laremy Tunsil sliding out to tackle, the Dolphins have a hole to fill at starting guard. Lamp is the plug-and-play blocker for the job.
Embed from Getty Images
23) New York Giants: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
With Eli Manning currently in the headlines, the Giants may have even more reason to draft a successor at quarterback. Mahomes is raw as can be, but has off-the-charts athleticism, arm talent, and upside. And the Giants have taken notice.
24) Oakland Raiders: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
The Raiders are on a mission to improve their interior pass rush. McDowell has the physical tools and the flashes on tape to suggest he could be a dominant defender inside—but does he have the want to?
25) Houston Texans: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
DeShone Kizer is a possibility for a Houston team that’s seemingly desperate for a franchise quarterback, but they could also pass in favor of finding one in the later rounds. If so, the Texans resort to retooling their offensive line by drafting Bolles, the talented tackle from Utah.
26) Seattle Seahawks: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Legion of Boom isn’t what it once was, but a long, tall corner like King could help restore their reputation as one of the most feared defensive units in the league.
27) Kansas City Chiefs: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Chiefs have had to make do in recent seasons with a committee approach to their backfield, but Cook would give them a true lead back once more.
28) Dallas Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Recovering from shoulder surgery, McKinley may not be ready to practice, let alone play, until well into the preseason, but his pass rush ability and potential are too good for Dallas to pass up.
29) Green Bay Packers: TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Watt doesn’t have to travel far to continue his football career, as the Packers keep the Wisconsin product in-state to strengthen their pass rush.
30) Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri
The run on pass rushers continues with the Steelers, as they take Harris to get younger and more productive on the edge.
31) Atlanta Falcons: Budda Baker, S, Washington
Baker is undersized, but always around the football. Paired with last year’s first-round pick Keanu Neal, he would give Atlanta one of the better young safety tandems in the league.
32) New Orleans Saints: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
The Saints close out the first round with another defender, selecting the local product White to patrol the boundary.
My Mock Draft Process
This is my fourth consecutive year of scouting players and building mock drafts. This draft season, I started with a pool of 1300+ draft-eligible players, including declared underclassmen, post-season all-star bowl rosters and watch lists, and draftable college seniors. Using online draft resources and personal evaluations of tape, statistics and scouting reports, I pared down the list to compile an initial big board of 400+ prospects. From there, I examined rosters, depth charts, and free agents, along with team-specific draft content to determine and prioritize each team’s needs and identify potential player considerations. As we move through the draft process and offseason activities, I will make adjustments to both as players’ draft stock rises and falls and personnel changes impact team needs.
Last year, I correctly projected seven first-round players to their drafting teams in my final pre-draft mock and my personal big board accounted for 249 of the 253 selections. My ultimate goal this season is improve upon both, correctly projecting as many players as I can to their drafting teams, while accounting for every player drafted with my big board.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments and check back soon for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 and 2017 NFL Draft Super Mock!
Mock draft with my big board! Ringside to Sideline is now a selectable data option for the Fanspeak On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. Visit fanspeak.com/ontheclock and start drafting!