2016 First Round Pick: Jalen Ramsey, Florida State (5)
2016 Offense Rankings: Total (23) Pass (20) Rush (22)
2016 Defense Rankings: Total (6) Pass (5) Rush (19)
2017 Projected Salary Cap Space: $26,652,399
Needs: (1)OL, (2)S, (3)43DE, (4)DT, (5)RB
GM: David Caldwell Head Coach: Doug Marrone
Offensive Coordinator: — Defensive Coordinator: —
Offensive Scheme: West Coast Defensive Scheme: 4-3
CBL: SS: FS: CBR:
(1) House (1) Adams (1) Gipson (1) Ramsey
(2) Amukamara (2) Sample (2) Thompson (2) Johnson
NFL.com Grade: 6.6 ESPN Grade: 93 NFL Comparison: Darren Woodson
Measurables: H: 6'1 W: 211 40:4.50
The son of a former NFL running back (George, who played at Kentucky and on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants team of 1986) looks like he's grown up with the game. Even in LSU's always-loaded secondary, the nation's top safety recruit got on the field a significant amount as a true freshman (two starts, 66 tackles, five break-ups, 10 special teams tackles). When given the chance to start as a sophomore, Adams garnered second-team All-SEC honors by making 67 stops, four interceptions and six pass break-ups. Coaches voted him second-team all-conference after his junior year (76 tackles, 7.5 for loss, one interception, four pass break-ups) even though the Associated Press put him on their first-team All-American squad due to his all-around impact for the Tigers' defense.
Interchangeable safety with a sheriff's mentality. Adams is a physical tone-setter who should thrive near the line of scrimmage or in a robber role. Should be a commanding presence in the locker room early on and his do-as-I-do play demeanor could be the catalyst for turning a struggling defense around quickly.
One Jaguars fan tweeted that he would burn down Jacksonville if the Jaguars brought back strong safety Jonathan Cyrpien after he regressed a lot in 2016. That should be a pretty clear indicator that the Jaguars are not bringing Cyprien back, but if they do I will change this pick to Leonard Fournette in a heart beat.
Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker are both much better in coverage than Jabrill Peppers. Peppers also missed his bowl game with an injury so now scouts are going to have durability concerns about Peppers as well. Jamal Adams has the versatility to play both safety spots at strong safety and free safety. Adams can play man, zone, or press coverage effectively. Adams is the most complete safety in this draft now.
My Take: I like both Hooker and Adams in this draft, but I think that Adams fits the Jags better here because he fits better as a SS. Hooker weighs in around 205, which is about the same as FS Gipson that the Browns brought in last year. This gives them a truer SS. Cyprien has had ups and down, but its to risky to pay him big $$$ and then he not produce.
2016 First Round Pick: Shaq Lawson, Clemson (19)
2016 Offense Rankings: Total (16) Pass (30) Rush (1)
2016 Defense Rankings: Total (19) Pass (6) Rush (29)
2017 Projected Salary Cap Space: $23,787,778
(1) Taylor ($27.5 M)
(2) Carpenter ($2.4 M)
GM: Doug Whaley
Head Coach: Sean McDermott
Offensive Coordinator: Rick Dennison
Defensive Coordinator: Leslie Frazier
Offensive Scheme: West Coast
Defensive Scheme: 4-3
Needs: (1) 43DE, (2) OT, (3) CB, (4) S, (5) WR
LCB: (1) Darby (2) Robey
SS: (1) Williams (2) Meeks
FS: (1) Peppers (2) Blanton
RCB: (1) Gilmore (2) Seymour
NFL.com Ggrade: 6.14 ESPN Grade: 91
NFL Comparison: Eric Weddle
Measurables: H: 6'1 W: 208 40: 4.40
A New Jersey kid who wanted to play for Michigan because of Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson, Peppers' home life wasn't easy. His father spent most of Jabrill's childhood in jail, and his brother was shot and killed seven years ago. Football seems to be his calling, though, as he was named the 2013 USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year while also starring on offense and in track (won 100 meters and 200 meters at state in both his junior and senior years.) Peppers' collegiate career was sidetracked due to a leg injury after three games (one start, eight tackles). He picked up the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award and first-team all-conference in 2015 (5.5 tackles for loss, 10 pass break-ups; 72 rush yards, 2 TDs; 27.9 kick return average, 11.4 punt return average). Last fall, he was the conference Linebacker of the Year and first-team honoree (72 tackles, 16 for loss, four sacks, one INT). He did not play in the Orange Bowl, however, due to a hamstring injury that flared up in practice.
The ultimate Swiss Army Knife on the collegiate level, and will likely play a hybrid role on the next level that allows him to blitz, cover and chase, Peppers' draft value will be helped by his return ability and that is a role he should maintain throughout the earlier stages of his career. While Peppers doesn't have the production teams expect from first-round defenders, he should benefit from a role that is more clearly defined on the next level.
One of the most intriguing talents in the draft, Peppers may be called a linebacker or a safety, but he brings an athletic presence to the defense. He’s strong in the run game, especially when allowed to chase and run, and he has the coverage ability to stick with tight ends. He fits well as strong safety in a single-high scheme where he can work downhill against the run and play close to the line of scrimmage but he could also fit as a nickel linebacker. Regardless, Peppers is one of the best movable chess pieces on the defensive side of the ball in the draft.
Peppers has started to fall down our board just a bit, as his play on the field as of late hasn’t quite lived up to his hype. While his elite athleticism and ability as a returner is blindingly apparent every time he steps on the field, his play on the back end has been less than stellar. When targeted in coverage this season, he yielded receptions on 20 of 27 targets and did not have a single pass defended when he was the primary defender (his lone interception against Ohio State was a case of him being in the right place at the right time off a pass tipped in front of him). He also lacks the size to consistently take on and shed blocks going forward, as the majority of his impact plays this year have come when he has been unblocked. Teams considering him will need sell themselves on the idea that his coverage struggles could be due to his hybrid role, but it may be difficult for some to come to terms with the thought that he may be a two-down player at the next level.
I'm pretty sure this is where most will close out this mock and move on, but for those of you that are here to read this.
I think that the Bills will find a way to work out a deal with Taylor. And he has expressed interest in staying. This is a player that I have thought about for a while, McDermott built a very good line-backing corp in CAR. He also selected one of my favorite players coming out in Shaq Thompson. Now, Peppers is not built like Shaq and does not have the weight Shaq did coming out. But I think He is a guy that you could play at S his first year and/or put weight on him over the next 2 seasons and eventually move him down to play SAM the same way Davis and Thompson both converted from Safeties down to Linebackers
The Saints cut Jairus Byrd, and this pick makes a ton of sense for what Melifonwu can do for their defense. With his size, speed, and ability to cover, Melifonwu could match up in man on Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin or Greg Olsen. Melifonwu also would be helpful in double-teaming Julio Jones, or walking down to be the eighth man in the box. The only question is if Melifonwu makes it to this pick. <br> <br>
Melifonwu has ideal size with length to help defend receivers. The 6-foot-4, 219-pounder had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl to ignite a buzz about him that he carried over into a tremendous performance at the combine. Melifonwu has a great combination of size and speed. He has the cover skills to play corner on big receivers, can be the deep free safety, and also is able to come down in the tackle box. In a matchup league, Melifonwu gives his defensive coordinator the solution to a lot of problems. <br> <br>
In 2016, Melifonwu totaled 118 tackles with three passes broken up and four interceptions. With his skill set, he could have a steady rise in the leadup to the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins signed T.J. McDonald and Nate Allen to 1-year contracts, but Allen may not even make the team. Miami could use another long-term safety to pair with Reshad Jones and has shown interest in Evans. <br> <br>
In 2016, Evans notched 87 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions. The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder created a real buzz with his Week 1 game against UCLA, and there was talk that he could be a first-round pick. In that game, he made eight tackles and two interceptions. Evans totaled 78 tackles with three pass breakups and one interception in 2015. Sources say that Evans has nice feel and awareness. They think he is a good hitter and tackler, but a little tight and more of a strong safety type for the NFL.
The Chiefs could use more safety talent next to Eric Berry, and that will be a huge need if Berry isn't re-signed. <br> <br>
Jackson recorded 24 tackles with two passes broken up, one interception that was returned 55 yards for a touchdown, and two punts returned for touchdowns in 2016 before a broken leg ended his season after eight games. The 6-foot, 194-pounder massively improved after a move to safety from cornerback for 2015. He had six interceptions, 46 tackles and two passes broken up there at the former that season. Jackson looked like a natural as a coverage free safety who can cover in man and play the deep centerfield. <br> <br>
As a sophomore corner, Jackson totaled 41 tackles with six passes broken up and one interception. He had 19 tackles with two passes broken up and a pick in 2013. Jackson needs to continue to add weight to play in the box and tackle in the NFL. <br> <br>
The Jets have done a great job in the draft for the most part lately because of their stance of selecting the best player available. That's exactly what they're doing here rather than reaching for need. Then again, the Jets do need everything, so... never mind.
At any rate, after seeing the Bears and Titans do something idiotic, the Jets are looking great with this selection. Adams was widely projected to be taken in the top three, and he probably should've been. The Jets aren't complaining, as Adams fills a huge need for New York and its atrocious secondary.
Rd. 1, Pk. 25
Jabrill Peppers, S
I'm going to factor in the trade a little bit here, which takes this grade from a "B" to a B+. I'll grade the actual draft trades later tonight. As for this actual selection, Jabrill Peppers definitely provides the Browns with the athleticism their new front office has been looking for with their analytics. However, Peppers doesn't have a true position, and some teams thought he belonged in the second round. This is a bit earlier than I expected Peppers to go, but I don't have a huge problem with taking him No. 25 overall, especially when taking the trade into account.
Rd. 2, Pk. 18
Justin Evans, S
See what I mean about talented safeties being available. Both Justin Evans and Obi Melifonwu make a ton of sense for the Buccaneers, who desperately needed to fill a hole at safety. Both are also extremely athletic, which fits what Tampa looks for. Evans makes sense in this range, and this appears to be a solid pick.
Rd. 2, Pk. 24
Obi Melifonwu, S
The only question I have is how the Raiders will plan on using Obi Melifonwu, as he's a Swiss Army Knife, capable of playing so many roles in a defense. He's extremely athletic and versatile, so I'm shocked that he lasted this long. I thought he could've gone as early as No. 21 overall! This is another great steal for the Raiders, who could have one of the top secondaries in the NFL if both of their draft picks thus far pan out.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Tedric Thompson, SS
Tedric Thompson was a fifth-round pick for me, so this is a slight reach, but we're in the third day, so that's not a big deal. Thompson is not a good athlete, but he has positive instincts, so he could pan out. It's not a surprise Seattle selected a safety here; I thought that could've happened much earlier.
Rd. 4, Pk. 5
Eddie Jackson, S
The Bears moved up five spots for this selection, and the Bears finally get their safety. Better late than never, I guess. Eddie Jackson is an instinctive safety who has special-teams ability. Unfortunately, he has injury concerns. He's worth the risk in the fourth round, however.
Rd. 4, Pk. 16
Montae Nicholson, S
This might be the best pick in the fourth round, though that award could go to the team that selects Desmond King. Siragusa could've been chosen in the second round. He's a tough, smart, productive guard with some great athleticism. It would not surprise me if he makes the Pro Bowl at some point.
Rd. 6, Pk. 7
Xavier Woods, SS
I had the Cowboys selecting Xavier Woods in the fourth round, so I love this value. Woods is an athletic player with great play-making ability, so he could start for Dallas at some point. He's not a great tackler, but that's his only real blemish.
Rd. 6, Pk. 34
Leon McQuay III, S
Secondary help is always welcome, especially in the form of an athletic player with upside. Leon McQuay has that, but he's also going to frustrate with his poor tackling ability. Still, he's worth a shot here, as he fits the range.
Rd. 7, Pk. 3
Shalom Luani, SS
The Raiders can say hello to a new special-teamer of theirs in Shalom Luani. The Washington State product struggled with tackling in college, and he doesn't have the great athleticism for it, so perhaps Oakland will be saying goodbye quite soon.
Rd. 7, Pk. 11
Adrian Colbert, SS
I had neither talked to anyone nor seen a report that Adrian Colbert would be drafted. He wasn't productive at Miami, but he did run a 4.38 at his pro day, so at least that's something. It's doubtful Colbert makes the 53-man roster.
Rd. 7, Pk. 12
Josh Harvey-Clemons, S
Had Josh Harvey-Clemons been clean off the field, he may have gone in the second round. Unfortunately, he has failed multiple drug tests throughout his collegiate career. Still, I had him in the fifth frame, so I think he offers very good value at this spot. Why not take a chance on him at No. 230?