Last update: Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
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The order of this 2017 NFL Mock Draft is based on the 2017 NFL Draft Order
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*** 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT (4 rounds) updated Jan. 12. 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 four candidates or the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft are Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen, DeShone Kizer 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.
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San Francisco 49ers: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Unless Myles Garrett is available, the 49ers are almost certain to pick a quarterback. DeShone Kizer seems to be the No. 1 quarterback for most teams, based on some conversations we've had with team sources. However, not every franchise has Kizer at the top, as there is one that prefers Trubisky. It's not necessarily the 49ers, but I thought that Trubisky would be a better fit for San Francisco because he was more of what Chip Kelly was looking for in a quarterback.
Kelly was fired, of course, so I'm going to slot Kizer to the 49ers. It's worth noting that team sources have Kizer rated higher than Deshaun Watson. They like Kizer because of his arm strength, mobility and upside.
Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama
A quarterback like Mitch Trubisky is definitely a possibility at this juncture, but given that the Bears have a veteran coaching staff and front office in place, I'm not sure they'd want a raw, rookie signal-caller in control of the offense. I think it's more likely that they trade for Tony Romo or sign Tyrod Taylor.
With that in mind, the Bears can take the best player on the board, and that would be Jonathan Allen, who would make Chicago's defensive line dominant. Allen starting along with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman would give the Bears one of the top defensive lines in the NFL.
Allen is currently in the top five of our 2017 NFL Draft Big Board, as he has been dominant this year. In fact, he should have won the Heisman over Lamar Jackson, as he was the best player in the country.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
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. Derek Barnett is an absolute stud, as he just set Tennessee's all-time record for sacks over a career. Considering how good Jacksonville's secondary is, this defense would become very scary with Barnett putting heat on opposing quarterbacks.
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.
It's going to be a tight race between Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker to see who the No. 1 safety prospect will be. I had Hooker here last week, but it seems like Adams is a bit ahead of him right now. That could change soon, however.
Pick change; previously Malik Hooker, S
New York Jets: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
I've had Leonard Fournette slotted here for a while now, but only because neither of the top two quarterbacks were available. There have been reports that the Jets are high on Mitch Trubisky, and I don't think there would be any smoke screens prior to the end of the regular season. Trubisky is accurate and happens to release the ball quickly, so he'll appeal to some teams who will look past his flaws. Perhaps New York will be that team, and understandably so, given how much the Jets need a quarterback.
San Diego Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Chargers could go in a number of directions at No. 7. I've had Cam Robinson slotted here for a while. However, I think Malik Hooker can be considered the superior prospect. Plus, he 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.
Hooker has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed for his instincts and play-making ability, and he would be a welcome addition to a Tennessee defense that struggled mightily against the pass in 2016.
Pick change; previously Jamal Adams, S
Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
If the Panthers are truly serious about taking the best player on their board - and they've utilized that strategy so far - then they'll surely pick one of the two running backs. In this case, it's Leonard Fournette. Jonathan Stewart is still a quality runner, but he turns 30 this March, so Carolina might envision Fournette as Cam Newton's backfield partner for the next 8-10 years.
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.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Cincinnati's offense sputtered in 2016 for a variety of reasons. An early injury to Tyler Eifert hurt, and then A.J. Green was knocked out of several games before ownership decided that he wouldn't see the field at all. An issue that was prevalent throughout all of this past year was the massive hole the Bengals had at right tackle. Cedric Ogbuehi struggled terribly, which doesn't bode well for the future at all because Andrew Whitworth won't be around much longer.
Cam Robinson has battled some off-the-field issues, but he's talented, and he could serve as an instant upgrade at right tackle before moving to the blind side on a full-time basis.
Buffalo Bills: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Bills have run Tyrod Taylor out of town, thanks to ownership incompetence, and now they're stuck at quarterback. What do they do? Sign Brian Hoyer? Accelerate Cardale Jones' development so he's the 2017 starter? Wait until the second round, hoping the quarterback they like is still available? None of those sound like great options, so Buffalo could be forced to pull the trigger at No. 10.
Many have the national champion quarterback here, and he could certainly be the pick. However, Deshaun Watson has graded poorly, and most of the teams we've spoken to see Pat Mahomes as the superior prospect. Mahomes has drawn comparisons to Derek Carr, and a couple of teams we've spoken to have him as a second-round prospect. But given that Mahomes is a quarterback, he's likely to be chosen earlier than most anticipate. The NFL Draft Advisory Committee apparently agrees, as they gave Mahomes a Round 1-2 grade. Thus, it only seems logical to slot Mahomes into the first frame, and this is a very logical spot for him, given how desperate Buffalo is at quarterback.
Pick change; previously Marlon Humphrey, CB
New Orleans Saints: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Saints have tons of issues on defense. One major problem is their inability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the edge, outside of what Cameron Jordan does. They need a bookend pass-rusher across from the Pro Bowler.
Solomon Thomas would be a great addition to New Orleans' roster. He single-handedly dominated his bowl game, as he was completely unblockable.
Pick change; previously Quincy Wilson, CB
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.
Pick change; previously Marshon Lattimore, CB
Arizona Cardinals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Cardinals have a very good defense, but they have a couple of liabilities. One happens to be at inside linebacker, which they'll have a great opportunity to fill because there are two dynamic inside linebacker prospects who could be chosen in the top 15.
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.
Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
A week ago, I wrote that I had a difficult time deciding between Mike Williams and Adoree Jackson at this selection. Williams ended up being the pick, and he'll remain even though better cornerbacks (Quincy Wilson, Marshon Lattimore) are available in the wake of the Bills and Saints going elsewhere with their picks. Williams, who has drawn comparisons to Andre Johnson, would be the No. 1 receiver Carson Wentz desperately needs. He was amazing in the national championship, and I wanted to move him up, but teams in the 10-14 range didn't need receivers (excluding the Cardinals, and I just like Reuben Foster there), and there just happen to be so many great prospects in this stacked class.
Baltimore Ravens: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
I'm sure the Ravens would like to pick an edge rusher or a defensive lineman here, but the top prospects available are cornerbacks. Besides, they could use help at corner. Jimmy Smith is a talented player, but he has missed 13 games the past three years. Tavon Young did well as a rookie, but he's a nickel. Baltimore needs an upgrade across from Smith.
Quincy Wilson doesn't have much starting experience, but he was one of the nation's top cornerbacks in 2016, so I have to imagine that some team in the top half of the first round will fall in love with his upside.
Pick change; previously Malik McDowell, DE/DT
Go to 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-32
Sorry for cutting this into two halves; I've received complaints about load times and putting the mock draft on two pages saves bandwidth.
Go to 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Round 4 | Go to 2018 NFL Mock Draft
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