The Jets could use an edge rusher to team with their interior talents.
In 2017, Ejiofor has six tackles with four a loss and one sack. He put together a big 2016 season with 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for a loss, 50 tackles, four passes batted, two forced fumbles and an interception. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder could be a solid base end in a 4-3 defense.
The 49ers have Carlos Hyde entering free agency, and he doesn't appear to be a great fit for Kyle Shanahan.
Guice is averaging 5.3 yards per carry in 2017, with 224 yards with four touchdowns so far. With Leonard Fournette in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury in 2016, Guice (5-11, 212) took advantage of a larger than expected workload to have a breakout season. As a sophomore, he averaged 7.6 yards per carry for 1,387 yards with 15 touchdowns. He had nine receptions for 106 yards as well. Guice put together some massive games with 252 yards versus Arkansas and 285 yards rushing against Texas A&M.
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The Bills grab a receiver to replace Sammy Watkins.
Cain has opened 2017 with four receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Despite catching 38 passes for 724 yards with nine touchdowns on a number of big plays in 2016, Cain (6-1, 210) didn't get as much attention among the Tigers' offensive weapons. His speed and athleticism were illustrated by his average of 19 yards per reception. He averaged 17 yards per catch as a freshman (34-582-5).
36.Chicago Bears:James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
The Bears grab a receiving weapon for Mitch Trubisky. Kevin White has a great skill set, but he just can't stay healthy. Here's more talent for Chicago's young quarterback.
In 2017, Washington has eight receptions for 243 yards and three touchdowns. He made 71 receptions for 1,380 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. As a sophomore, he snagged 53 passes for 1,087 yards with 10 scores.
I'm not sure that Washington will end up grading out as a first-rounder, but he could have that potential because he has been a big-play receiver for the Cowboys. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has decent size and can stretch teams vertically with his speed.
Richie Incognito has played really well for the Bills, but he turns 35 next summer and will be in the last year of his contract. Starting center Eric Wood is 31 and will be a free agent after this season, so adding some young interior offensive line talent would make sense for Buffalo.
Price (6-4, 315) broke into the starting lineup in 2014, and his play has steadily improved. In the ground game, he has helped open a lot of holes while becoming more reliable in pass protection. Price has versatile size and athleticism with the ability to play guard or center in the NFL.
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38.Cincinnati Bengals:Matthew Thomas, OLB, Florida State
Cincinnati has Kevin Minter entering free agency. Bengals could be in the market for some linebacker help even after extending Vontaze Burfict.
Team sources say that Thomas has a first-round skill set and a lot of upside to develop. In 2016, he recorded 77 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Thomas could be poised for a big 2017 season.
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The Browns have to get more cornerback talent after cutting Joe Haden.
To open 2017, Thomas had three tackles. The 6-foot, 192-pounder has good size and cover skills.
Thomas broke out in 2015 with five interceptions, four passes broken up and 46 tackles on the season. Thomas played pretty well overall in 2016, although he was beaten badly by Ohio State's Noah Brown. For the year, Thomas recorded 49 tackles with 17 passes broken up and two interceptions.
40.Arizona Cardinals:Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
The Cardinals need more receiving talent around Larry Fitzgerald, plus the future Hall of Famer may call it a career soon.
Samuel has been incredible this season. So far, he has 10 receptions for 128 yards with two receving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown rushing and two kick-return touchdowns. Samuel totaled 59 receptions for 783 yards and a touchdown in 2016.
The 6-foot, 205-pounder is a speedy receiver who also has solid size to him. Samuel has shown soft hands and great athleticism to make difficult catches as well as turn routine receptions into big plays.
The Colts need a difference-maker with an edge rusher to build their front seven around.
Davis (6-1, 203) is a good corner who has size, speed and length. He has nice quickness to run with receivers downfield and can battle big wideouts. Davis is a physical defender who really competes.
Davis has 12 tackles with two passes broken up in 2017. As a sophomore, he had 46 tackles, 10 passes broken up, one forced fumble and zero interceptions. Davis recorded three interceptions as a freshman with 56 tackles and eight passes broken up.
The Jaguars could use a young tight end. Marcedes Lewis is aging, and Julius Thomas was traded away.
In 2017, Andrews has nine receptions for 157 yards with one touchdown. He totaled 31 receptions for 489 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016 after making 19 catches for 318 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder is receiving threat as a tight end with good athleticism, route-running, quickness and hands. Andrews might be the top receiving tight end for the 2018 NFL Draft. He could end up being a prospect similar to Hunter Henry or Austin Hooper.
The Vikings grab a safety upgrade to go next to Harrison Smith.
Whitehead (5-11, 190) is a physical safety who has good instincts. He broke out as a freshman with 108 tackles, six passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble. In 2016, Whitehead had 65 tackles with two breakups and an interception while missing multiple games with an arm injury. He hurt his draft stock with a suspension to open the 2017 season.
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44.Denver Broncos:Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
The Broncos grab a bookend to go with Garett Bolles. If they draft a right tackle, they could upgrade a guard spot by moving Menelik Watson inside.
The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Rankin had a strong 2016 season as a run blocker and pass protector for Mississippi State. He received a second-round estimation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board for the 2017 NFL Draft, and he could definitely push that higher with a strong 2017 season.
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45.Carolina Panthers:Marcell Frazier, DE, Missouri
The Panthers could use two young edge rushers as Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson aren't long-term starters at this point in their careers.
Missouri has been a factory for NFL defensive line talent in recent years, and Frazier could be the Tigers' model for the 2018 NFL Draft. Frazier has opened 2017 by recording four tackles with .5 sacks. With Charles Harris on the other side, Frazier was able to do some damage as a junior. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder came on strong at the end of the 2016 season. On the year, he notched 7.5 sacks with 33 tackles. He had two sacks as a backup in 2015. Frazier could be poised for a big 2017 season as it looked like the light came on for him late in 2016.
The Ravens could use help on the interior and a right tackle to replace Ricky Wagner. Here's a blocker who should fill one of those needs.
Jones (6-5, 310) is a smooth player who is balanced as a run blocker and pass protector. He is not a twitchy athlete who is especially powerful or heavy handed, so he isn't a first-round talent. Still, Jones has been a solid blind-side protector for the Buckeyes throughout his time with Ohio State. He allowed a sack in the 2017 season opener against Indiana.
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Kansas City could use a young replacement for Tamba Hali.
Hayes is fast off the edge and has some natural pass-rushing skills to him. He has a knack for producing sacks in the clutch. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder will have to add weight and strength while moving to linebacker in the NFL. To open the 2017 season, Haynes has nine tackles with .5 sacks.
In 2016, Haynes had 53 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, three passes batted, one interception and seven sacks. He was impressive against Florida State left tackle Roderick Johnson and Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson. Haynes notched 43 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes batted in 2015. He recorded 31 tackles with nine tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks as a freshman.
Previous Mock Selections: 9/8-James Hearns, DE/OLB
48.Cleveland Browns:Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
The Browns grab an understudy for Joe Thomas.
Hyatt broke onto the field as the Tigers' starting left tackle during his freshman year in 2015. Over his first two seasons, he was a good blind-side protector for Deshaun Watson. Hyatt (6-5, 295) is a smart technician with some athletic ability, but he could use more weight for the NFL.
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This is a huge year for Ameer Abdullah to show that he is the starting back for the Lions. If he doesn't break out, Detroit could target a running back early in the 2018 NFL Draft. Adding a bigger back would make sense for the Lions.
In 2017, Freeman is averaging 5.8 yards per carry for 303 yards with six touchdowns. He has five receptions for 59 yards as well. A thickly built back who has some quickness and athleticism, Freeman has served as the bell-cow back for the Ducks the past few seasons. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2016 for 945 yards with nine touchdowns. As a junior, he had 23 catches for 144 yards as well.
Freeman impressed as a freshman by averaging 5.4 yards per carry for 1,365 yards with 18 touchdowns while also picking up 16 receptions for 158 yards and a score. He was even better as a sophomore, averaging 6.5 yards per carry for 1,836 yards with 17 touchdowns. Freeman added 26 receptions for 348 yards and two scores as well.
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50.Tennessee Titans:Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Sources with the Titans said they loved O.J. Howard and that he was under serious consideration for both of their 2017 first-rounders. Delanie Walker also didn't finish last season as well, so Tennessee could look to get a new tight end in the next year or two.
Hurst has four receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown in 2017. He also has a rushing touchdown. Team sources have raved about Hurst and think that he has a first-round skill set. They say he might slip to the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, but they love the physical talent of the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder. Sources say they hear Hurst will skip his senior year to enter the 2018 NFL Draft because he is a bit older at 24 years old. Hurst played professional baseball in the minor leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization out of high school.
In 2016, Hurst had 48 receptions for 616 yards with one touchdown. A lack of production from not many opportunities is another factor that could force him down.
51.Tampa Bay Buccaneers:James Hearns, DE, Louisville
The Bucs could use an edge rusher to go across from Noah Spence.
Hearns has seven tackles in 2017. In 2016, he totaled 42 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, two passes batted and five forced fumbles. Hearns could produce a big 2017 season.
Sources say that Hearns (6-3, 249) is a bigger version of Devonte Fields. They say that Hearns is loose, limber, quick and fast to close. He needs to be more consistent, but his pass-rush talent is already developed.
Unless Paul Perkins breaks out this year, the Giants will need a feature back for their offense
Wadley has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2017 for 234 yards with one touchdown. He has four receptions for 72 yards. In 2016, he averaged 6.4 yards per carry for 1,081 yards with 10 touchdowns. Wadley also showed receiving skill with 36 receptions for 315 yards and three touchdowns.
Team sources have already said that Wadley has impressed them and is a talented running back. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder could use more weight on his frame, but he is dangerous with the ball in his hands.
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This was the Saints' second-round pick of the 2017 NFL Draft before dealing it to San Francisco. The 49ers signed Elvis Dumervil, but he's not a long-term answer as an edge rusher for them.
To open 2017, Gustin has 11 tackles with a sack. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder may end up growing into a defensive end, but he showed some edge skills as a freshman and sophomore. In 2015, he totaled 5.5 sacks, plus chipped in 25 tackles with 6.5 for a loss. It was an impressive season from a freshman, and he was only a rotational player with two starts. As a sophomore, Gustin had 68 tackles with 5.5 sacks and four passes batted. He started at outside linebacker and could be a good fit for a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
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The Cowboys could use more interior defensive line talent after losing Terrell McClain.
Vea has six tackles and a sack so far this year. The 6-foot-5, 332-pounder was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016. He totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble and two passes batted on the season. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack.
The Raiders could use an inside linebacker upgrade.
Jefferson has 16 tackles to open 2017. In 2016, he recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. Jefferson (6-3, 238) was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackle with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Jefferson was a bigger presence than the stats illustrate.
The junior possesses a nice combination of size and speed, plus a ton of athletic upside. However, Jefferson needs to start producing up to his skill set. Some sources have said they've heard that Jefferson doesn't love football. They say that can be seen in his work ethic, preparation, and lack of production.
The Dolphins could use an end to go across from Charles Harris.
Hurst has eight tackles with one tackle for a loss in 2017. As a sophomore in 2015, he had 35 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Hurst improved as a junior with 34 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
The 6-foot-2, 282-pounder is a quick defender at the point of attack that can cause a lot of disruption. If Hurst were a few inches taller with more length, he could be a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Hurst could play end or tackle in the NFL, but his best fit likely would be in a 4-3 defense that plays him at end on rush downs and moves him inside for passing situations.
The Chargers cut Brandon Flowers and may have a big need at corner after this season.
Brown has three tackles and one pass broken up in 2017. The 6-foot, 198-pounder played well for Alabama to close out the 2016 season as he formed a nice tandem with Marlon Humphrey. Brown totaled 32 tackles with two interceptions and looked like he was just scratching the surface. Brown was a backup in 2015, plus was suspended briefly for fighting with a teammate.
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58.Washington Redskins:Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State
The Redskins could franchise Kirk Cousins again next offseason, and if Cousins continues to refuse to sign a long-term contract, they could take a young quarterback to prepare in case Cousins eventually leaves.
Fitzgerald has completed 60 percent of his passes in 2017 for 363 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He has three rushing touchdowns as well. In his first year as the starter after Dak Prescott moved to the NFL, Fitzgerald completed 54 percent of his passes for 2,423 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for 16 touchdowns.
Fitzgerald (6-5, 230) has pro size and will need to develop his accuracy and pocket passing. Some team sources like Fitzgerald and feel he has potential.
The Browns grab a linebacker to go with Jamie Collins.
In 2017, Baker has recorded 10 tackles and two passes broken up. There has been a lot of media hype about Baker (6-1, 225), but in speaking with scouts who did advance work on the 2018 class, they weren't overly impressed with him. They said that Baker runs around more blocks than he takes on and has the speed to get away with that against average offensive lines in college. They thought was more of a second-day- to early third-day-level player. They said Baker is a good player, but not complete and wasn't anything exceptional. They felt Baker was a good, solid, instinctive guy who, in the right system, will play in the NFL, but over time, they're a dime a dozen.
After Darron Lee was taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Baker won the job to be Lee's replacement as Ohio State's fast run-chase linebacker. He had a quality debut with 83 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.
Baker is a highly athletic linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed. His fit comes as a Will (weak side) linebacker in a 4-3 defense or being a run-and-chase inside linebacker in a 3-4.
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Atlanta grabs a free safety to pair with Keanu Neal.
In 2017, Watts has 19 tackles with two passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He was impressive against UCLA in the season opener with 13 tackles, two passes batted and a forced fumble. Watts is an instinctive defender who was all over the field. However, he struggled in man coverage on Bruins tight end Caleb Wilson.
In 2016, Watts made a lot of clutch plays for the Aggies. He had 56 tackles with six for a loss, two forced fumbles, three passes broken up and two interceptions on the year. Watts totaled 126 tackles with two passes broken up and one interception in 2015. Like teammate Myles Garrett, Watts was an impressive freshman who was impossible to ignore in 2014. He totaled 59 tackles with nine passes broken up and three interceptions that season.
Watts (5-11, 195) has displayed some instincts and play-making skills, but needs to improve his tackling.
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The Steelers grab a linebacker to pair with Ryan Shazier.
Smith (6-1, 225) is a linebacker who has impressed some scouting sources as they have compared him to the Falcons' recent second-day picks, the LSU duo of Deion Jones and Duke Riley. Smith is a fast and physical linebacker who flies around the field.
Smith has 13 tackles with one sack so far in 2017. Last season, he led Georgia in tackles with 95. Smith also had five tackles for a loss, one pass batted, and two forced fumbles.
This was the Seahawks' second-rounder dealt to New York for Sheldon Richardson. The Jets signed Morris Claiborne to a "prove it" contract and could use more long-term answers at corner.
Ward has six tackles with five passes broken up and an interception in 2017. In the season opener against Indiana, he notched an interception, four tackles and five passes broken up. Ward also was beaten for a touchdown and some other receptions by big Indiana receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. While primarily a backup in 2016, Ward (5-10, 191) totaled 23 tackles with nice passes broken up.
While Ward has some hype suggesting he's as good as his former teammates Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, he's significantly smaller than them and had issues with a big wideout in Cobbs. In the NFL, Ward might get placed as a nickelback.
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The Packers grab a feature back for their offense, and this one could be a big steal.
Chubb has averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 159 yards with two touchdowns this season. In 2016, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry for 1,130 yards with eight touchdowns. He had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown as well. Chubb didn't quite have the speed and explosion that he had before his 2015 knee injury. Considering it was only about a year since he was hurt, that was understandable.
Prior to his season-ending knee injury in 2015, Chubb had picked up where he left off as a freshman. The sophomore averaged 8.1 yards per carry for 747 yards and seven touchdowns in his shortened 2015 season. In 2014 while splitting time with Todd Gurley, Chubb averaged 7.1 yards per carry for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 18 receptions for 213 yards and two scores.
Chubb is akin to a human bowling ball, rolling over tacklers and and being a physical force in the SEC. The 5-foot-10, 220-pounder is a powerful runner who also has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks. He also is an explosive track competitor.
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64.New England Patriots:Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The Patriots could use more cornerback talent as they are likely to let Malcolm Butler leave in free agency.
Alexander (5-11, 188) was very good for Louisville in 2016. He had 39 tackles with nine passes broken up and five interceptions. He also is a dangerous punt returner. There is a lot of upside for Alexander to develop.