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2 Rounds w/ Trades UPDATE: Colin West
Published at 4/6/2017 11:36:43 PM
I'm taking another stab at this in the wake of some feedback, as well as some NFL news (Romo's retirement, Lynch's un-retirement, and so forth). I'm hoping to make this my final (or next-to-final) look at a realistic first 2 rounds with trades in the 2017 NFL Draft. As always, comments and opinions are welcome!
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Consensus #1 pick here, and although the Browns may move around the draft later on (and they certainly have the picks to do so), taking the clear-cut best player available in this draft at #1 with so many team needs is a no-brainer. I still don't believe Cleveland goes QB here, and I don't think any team is willing to pay the price for Garrett to trade up.
I've considered Marshon Lattimore here as well, but ultimately I think the edge/pass rush help is of more value to the 49ers at #2 overall. Much like the Browns, the 49ers are full of needs. Yes, QB is one of them, but unless San Francisco trades out of this spot I don't see them going QB at #2. I also don't see a team within the top 10 of the draft that MUST trade up for Solomon Thomas, so the 49ers stand pat and make their selection here.
Shoulder concerns or not, I am relatively confident this is Chicago's pick. Safeties just don't go in the top 3 picks of the NFL Draft (and rarely the top 5), and Allen plays the 5-technique the Bears need across their defensive front. He's an instant upgrade.
The Carolina Panthers love Leonard Fournette more than Jacksonville does. Point blank. The Panthers covet him enough to move up 4 spots and sacrifice their 2nd round pick to the Jags, who have multiple needs, can drop back to #8, get virtually any player they want (they don't need a safety or corner) and make out like bandits.
PANTHERS GET: #4 pick, 2017
JAGUARS GET: #8 and #40 picks, 2017
Say what you will about the Titans' need at WR - and yes, they have one - but their need to improve the secondary is just as great. And the Titans have their pick of 3 elite secondary prospects here (Lattimore, Hooker and Adams). Ultimately, I think the cornerback wins out and heads to a team on the rise.
IF the Jets go QB here, The Jets' front-office likely has Watson ahead of Trubisky for a few reasons - and don't under-rate "name value" as one of them. Still, the Jets have shown a propensity to go "Best Player Available" early in recent drafts regardless of position. Adams provides them with a playmaking safety they haven't had since Kerry Rhodes.
Not a sexy pick, but the right one for San Diego, who see a top-4 talent drop to them at #7 overall. The Chargers' defense is improving steadily, and while LA fans might want to see a flashier offensive pick in the 1st round, they'll come to appreciate the value of Malik Hooker - especially with Eric Weddle gone.
Julius Thomas is gone, and the Jaguars pick up perhaps the most versatile tight end to enter the NFL Draft in years. Howard would have been a mild stretch at #4, but his value works quite well here at #8, and gives Blake Bortles 3 things immediately: extra blocking, a safety valve receiver, and no more excuses.
I've mocked Foster to the Bengals several times now, and each time I'm sure it's the best selection for the team. Cincy needs a middle linebacker, and Foster's leadership, pedigree and talent are a bit too much to pass up here. I don't want to over-analyze it. If the draft progresses the way I have it laid out, and Foster's available, I think the Bengals would be smart to take him.
People seem to like OJ Howard to the Bills here, but two things make me doubt that selection. One, Buffalo NEEDS a dynamic WR to work with the oft-injured Sammy Watkins. Two, the Bills seem to draft every player possible out of Clemson. With that being said, we just so happen to have a talented Clemson WR early in this draft.
There's no consensus on who the Saints should take at #11. I don't actually think I've seen 3 mock drafts with the same selection. It's a "Best Defensive Player Available" situation for the Saints through Rounds 1 and 2... so why not trade back? Arizona leapfrogs Cleveland to ensure they get the QB they want - Trubisky, according to their GM, rates higher.
CARDINALS GET: #11 pick, 2017
SAINTS GET: #13 and #77 picks, 2017
The latest "new QB era" begins in Cleveland - is Deshaun Watson in a better position to succeed than his predecessors? There will be no lack of hype or expectation in Cleveland, but Watson possesses a trait that Browns QBs of the recent past have not - leadership. We shall see.
The Saints could go edge rusher or CB here, but it's a far deeper CB class so a premium will be placed on the front seven with this pick. I have Barnett slightly ahead of Taco Charlton in my rankings, and the Saints (who could have picked him at #11) snag an extra 3rd rounder with the deal and get him anyway. They still pick at #32.
I've mocked Dalvin Cook to Philly twice, and that is still a real possibility. But the true #1 need for the Eagles is another solid cornerback. Marlon Humphrey provides them with that at #14. The addition of Alshon Jeffery in free agency makes a selection like John Ross or Corey Davis here less likely, but not impossible.
The Colts are rumored to be looking for a trade-down partner, but don't find one in this mock draft. Still, Indy fills a real need in their pass rush with the underrated Reddick out of Temple. The pick isn't splashy, but it's effective.
The Ravens are ALL over the map in mock drafts. In my last mock, I had Baltimore selecting John Ross, and I'll keep it the same here. Although tackle is a position of some need, I think Baltimore ends up taking a speed threat to give Joe Flacco's huge arm the chance to get the ball downfield. John Ross is that guy.