*** 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT (4 rounds) updated Feb. 25. This mock draft will be updated occasionally. Check out old versions of this 2017 NFL Mock Draft in the archived mock section. Follow @walterfootball for NFL Draft updates. ***
Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
As it stands now, the three candidates or the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft are Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen and Mitch Trubisky. The Browns obviously need a quarterback, and I believe Trubisky is what Hue Jackson is looking for. Trubisky has his flaws, but he's very accurate and has a quick release. Jackson may envision Trubisky as his new Andy Dalton.
However, Adam Schefter has reported that the Browns have an "astronomical grade" on Garrett, which is interesting. Cleveland needs a pass-rusher as well, and Garrett would be an enormous upgrade.
The question is, would the Browns take Garrett over Trubisky when they're desperate for a franchise quarterback? Well, there is precedent for this, as the Texans picked Jadeveon Clowney when they really needed a signal-caller in the 2014 NFL Draft. Houston simply had Clowney way above all the quarterbacks, and that could be the case with Cleveland and Garrett. Plus, there are NFL Free Agent Rumors that the Browns could target Tyrod Taylor.
San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama
I slotted a quarterback here for a while, but it's being speculated that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will go hard after Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom Brady's backup could be dealt, and Shanahan previously said that he likes him a lot. The No. 34 pick in this draft should seal the deal. Meanwhile, trading for Kirk Cousins is a realistic option as well.
If the 49ers acquire Garoppolo or Cousins, they'll likely target the best player available, and that would easily be Jonathan Allen. It sounds like the 49ers will be moving to a 4-3, which would explain why they'd take Allen when they've selected DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead in the previous two drafts.
Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
I've previously avoided mocking a quarterback to the Bears because they have a veteran coaching staff and front office in place, so I'm not sure they'd want a raw, rookie signal-caller in control of the offense.
However, two things have happened since that previous update. First, I moved Jonathan Allen into No. 2, so he's no longer available. And second, based on conversations I had in Houston, I've heard that the Bears like Mitch Trubisky. This is not directly sourced; it's second-hand information, but I found it interesting nonetheless. If Chicago likes Trubisky enough, it'll take him, and perhaps it'll view him as a potential Carson Wentz/Dak Prescott quarterback; two rookie signal-callers thrived right away last year, so maybe recency bias will prompt this selection.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Despite their six sacks of Andrew Luck in the London game, the Jaguars don't pressure the quarterback consistently. They have some promising edge rushers in Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue, but neither was very effective this past season.
I don't think Jacksonville will go out of its way to select an edge rusher, but in this case, one of the best players available happens to be one. I've been slowly moving Solomon Thomas up my mock draft each week, and I think he could definitely be chosen in the top five. He's that good, and if you saw his bowl game, you'd agree, as he was completely unblockable.
This pick, by the way, is the toughest for me. I asked around in Houston, and everyone was equally befuddled. Jamal Adams makes the most sense, but not if the Jaguars re-sign John Cyprien. Cam Robinson once filled a need, but he was a major reach anyway. Marshon Lattimore could be considered the best player available, but the Jaguars spent last year's first-rounder on a cornerback. If Thomas blows up the combine, as expected, perhaps he'll be the favorite.
Tennessee Titans: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Titans made great strides in 2016, and they figure to keep improving, thanks to this selection. Owning the No. 5 overall pick because of the Rams' incompetence, Tennessee wouldn't be in a position to snatch a blue-chip safety prospect if they never moved down last year. That, however, is the case, as the Titans won one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history.
New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
I previously slotted Mitch Trubisky here, citing some news story that the Jets had interest in him. Charlie Campbell squashed those reports in his Senior Bowl Rumor Mill. The scuttlebutt is that Christian Hackenberg has developed well behind the scenes, so perhaps the Jets won't give up on him without seeing him play after all.
If this is true, Leonard Fournette suddenly becomes the favorite for this pick. The Jets don't have a viable starting running for the future, and Fournette is a stud. Fournette is considered the top running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, as he's received higher grades than Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. He was slowed by an injury in 2016, but his tape in 2015 was some of the best a running back prospect has ever displayed.
Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Charlie Campbell was the first to report that Malik Hooker is out 4-6 months after two surgeries. I considered dropping him out of this slot, but I'm going to hold off for now. The Chargers like Hooker, and it doesn't sound as though he'll miss any regular-season action, so it's not like they won't have him for his rookie campaign in the wake of this news.
Besides, Hooker fills a huge need. The Chargers were already weak at safety in the wake of Eric Weddle's departure, and now Jahleel Addae happens to be an impending free agent.
Carolina Panthers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Carolina likes to take the top player on its board, and I speculated that it would be Dalvin Cook recently. However, the Panthers also value character very highly, and there are concerns about Cook and the company he keeps, so he could slide a bit in the 2017 NFL Draft. The next prospect on the big board might just be one of the cornerbacks, Marshon Lattimore or Marlon Humphrey.
The Panthers missed Josh Norman last year. James Bradberry performed on a high level at cornerback this past year, but Carolina is still in need of help at the position. In a recent NFL Draft Stock Report, it was discussed why Lattimore could be the top cornerback in this class.
Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Bengals signed Karlos Dansby to be their second linebacker last offseason. Dansby wasn't horrible, but his play from 2015 definitely declined, and he's now a free agent anyway. Cincinnati could definitely target Reuben Foster at No. 9 overall, especially if it thinks he's the best player available.
Foster is obviously a stud linebacker worthy of being a top-10 selection. A couple of concerns though; one is that he has suffered multiple concussions already, but Marvin Lewis has repeatedly stated that he doesn't believe in concussions, so I don't think the Bengals will care. The second is that Foster will undergo surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, but he'll be ready to go by the season opener.
Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
I've been slotting a quarterback to the Bills for a while, but it's time for a change. A recent report speculated that Buffalo would like to go with a pedestrian signal-caller like Nick Foles so that it can bottom out and snag a franchise quarterback in 2018. There's great talent at the position next year, as you can see in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
So, if this pick isn't a quarterback, what will the Bills do? My guess is that Mike Williams becomes the top option. Buffalo has nothing at receiver outside of Sammy Watkins, who has trouble staying healthy. Williams is a stud. He dominated the national championship, and he has drawn comparisons to Andre Johnson. The Titans and Buccaneers have strong interest in Mike Williams, but he won't make it to their picks (Tennessee's No. 18; not No. 5).
Pick change; previously Pat Mahomes, QB
New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Saints are in desperate need of an edge rusher to play across from Cameron Jordan. I have to believe they would love it if Derek Barnett would fall to them at No. 11, as I've had him as high as fourth overall. That may have been a bit optimistic, but Barnett provides tremendous value at this spot.
Barnett is an absolute stud, as he just set Tennessee's all-time record for sacks over a career.
Cleveland Browns: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Browns have some of the worst secondary play in the NFL. In fact, it's probably the absolute worst. There are problems both at cornerback and safety. Regarding the former, one of my readers called Joe Haden the "oldest 27-year-old on the planet" because of all the injuries he's incurred over the years. Haden is no longer reliable, so Cleveland will have to think about finding a new No. 1 cornerback.
Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
I had a difficult time deciding between the top receiver (Corey Davis) and best cornerback (Sidney Jones?) available. The deciding factor was the question mark at the end of Jones' name. Teams have spoken highly of Jones, but it's not clear if he's the No. 1 corner on the board. Davis, meanwhile, is securely stationed as a top-two receiver in this class, so I've opted to go with him with this pick.
Larry Fitzgerald hasn't announced his plans as far as returning to the NFL next season. He could very easily retire this spring, and if not, this upcoming year might be his last as a pro. Meanwhile, Michael Floyd was released for being an idiot. Arizona is suddenly in dire need of a receiver.
As you can see in the scouting report, the Davis comparison is Demaryius Thomas, except he has better hands.
Pick change; previously Mike Williams, WR
Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Colts have a number of positions that they need to address on defense, and they also have some holes to fill on the offensive line. However, the top prospect on the board is Dalvin Cook, and he also fills a big need. Frank Gore is about to turn 34, and he's not going to be very effective in the near future. Having a dynamic player like Cook in the backfield would be a huge boost for Andrew Luck.
There are some character concerns with Cook, but new general manager Chris Ballard was with the Chiefs when they selected Marcus Peters, who also had off-the-field concerns. Peters worked out, so perhaps Ballard will ignore Cook's issues.
Philadelphia Eagles: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
The Eagles are kicking themselves that they've missed out on Dalvin Cook and Corey Davis, who were taken in consecutive picks prior to this one. Either one, as well as Mike Williams, would offer a much-needed massive upgrade to Philadelphia's offense. It wouldn't surprise me if the Eagles opted to move up for either Cook or Williams.
This, however, is not a bad consolation prize, as the Eagles get to take a talented cornerback prospect. As mentioned in the Arizona write-up, teams have spoken very highly of Sidney Jones, and it seems as though he'll be the third cornerback chosen off the board after Marshon Lattimore and Marlon Humphrey. Adoree Jackson is still in play, too.
Pick change; previously Corey Davis, WR
Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Ozzie Newsome loves his Alabama prospects, so I don't think he'd hesitate to select Cam Robinson, if given the opportunity. This would make for two consecutive first-round picks on offensive tackles, but the position will need to be addressed if Ricky Wagner leaves via free agency, as expected. The Baltimore Sun reported that the Ravens aren't likely to re-sign Wagner, so this is a logical replacement.
Cam Robinson has battled some off-the-field issues, and there are mixed opinions about him amongst scouts and decision-makers. However, he's talented, and he's a bargain at No. 16 overall.
Please tell us your source who states that Philip Rivers is playing his last season. He has not said that. His agent hasnt said that. His family hasnt said that. Sports reporters havent said that, the Chargers front office has said that. Where the F*** do you have the right to publish FAKE NEWS??? Type liberal FAKE NEWS slime.