2017 End of CFB Mock Draft -- Matthew J. Brumbaugh
Published at 1/5/2017 2:00:43 AM
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Rumor has it that the Browns have an "astronomical grade" on Myles Garrett. While they need a quarterback, they cannot really go wrong whoever they draft at #1. Garrett is a physical specimen that possesses deadly speed and strength off the edge. If the Browns go wit h Garrett first overall, they may look to a quarterback with the #12 pick.
It is really a toss-up which quarterback will be the first selected. Kizer, Watson, and Trubisky all have a shot at being the first QB off the board. I think Kizer will impress in his interviews and will display his physical talents at the combine. He is a big body that is built to stay in the pockets and take hits, although he is deceptively athletic and can scramble when he needs to. He has struggled with decision making and accuracy at times, but he certainly has high potential to be a stand-out QB at the next level.
The Jay Cutler era in Chicago is over. In addition to his sub-par play, he has also battled injuries and Matt Barkley has not proven to be the answer that they need at signal caller. Trubisky is a very accurate passer. If he is given time, he can stand in the pocket and pick you apart, but he also has the ability to shed tacklers and throw on the run. If the Bears can snag a receiver later on in the draft, they could help build a talented offense for the future.
Jonathan Allen was arguably the best player in college football this past season. He is unblockable and he possesses rare physical abilities for a defensive tackle. He is a top three player in this draft class, and he could greatly improve Jacksonville's defense. Adding Allen to the mix of talented players such as Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler could make Jacksonville's defensive front scary for the future.
Malik "The Freak" Hooker is arguably the best safety prospect in years. He possesses tremendous range and speed in coverage, and he flies up to make tackles in the run game. He is dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands, returning three of his seven interceptions for touchdowns on the season. Hooker would be a tremendous addition to a talented Tennessee team that struggled against the passing game this season.
It is no secret that the Jets quarterback play was laughable this season. Fitzpatrick played awful all season, Geno Smith went down with an injury, and Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty did not impress. It would be wise for them to take a talented quarterback in Watson with this pick. Although he has struggled passing the ball at times this season, if he is surrounded by weapons such as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, he could have a good rookie season, and he has tremendous upside.
The Chargers offensive line has been average for just about as long as I can remember. Robinson is a monster with good feet that can simply overpower just about any defensive player. Selecting a lineman of his caliber would be wise investment for the future of the Chargers' franchise. Their window to make a deep playoff run with Phillip Rivers is slowly closing, and selecting a great offensive lineman would hugely improve their chances.
Jonathan Stewart's best days as a running back are surely behind him. Fournette would give the Panthers offense a huge boost and could help restore them to their greatness of last season. The backfield tandem of Newton and Fournette is a scary thought for any defense. He runs like a locomotive and he is also talented as a pass catcher and pass blocker. He could have a special rookie season if he can find a way to stay healthy.
The Bengals need youth and athleticism at the linebacker position. Who better to pick than the most athletic player in the draft class? While Peppers may be slipping down draft boards, I think he will continue to put on weight this offseason and impress at the combine. I could see him being a great outside linebacker at the next level and could really help a Cincinnati linebacking corps that struggled last season. Peppers may also be the first linebacker in NFL history to return punts and kick offs.
The Bills could draft a number of different ways in this position. I could see them being a possible team that could trade up to select a quarterback if they do not sign one in free agency. I could also see them selecting a DB, but for the time-being I think they will go with the top receiver in the class. Williams is a big target that wins almost every 50/50 ball. While he has drawn comparisons to Calvin Johnson, I picture him more as a Kelvin Benjamin type. Either way, he will be good at the next level and will help improve Buffalo's passing game.
The Saints defense has been below average for the longest time. Their offense is among the best in the league every year, but they still find a way to lose games. Drafting Reuben Foster would be a smart decision for New Orleans' front office. Foster is the leader of the best defense in the country. He is a skilled tackler and an elite run stopper. Foster would provide youth and leadership to a defense that greatly needs it.
While the Browns need a quarterback still, I don't think they will reach this high in the draft to select one, but rather draft a player like Kaaya or Mahomes in the second round if they are still there. Joe Haden is aging rapidly and the rest of their secondary is not impressive to say the least. Wilson is a talented corner that is physical and good in coverage. If Haden can somehow stay healthy, the Browns could have a pair of talented former Florida Gators starting at CB.
While the Cardinals defense is solid, there are a few positions they could improve upon. They could use another good cornerback and linebacker. This class is filled with good corners, so I think they will select one here at 13. Humphrey has been a stand out on the Alabama defense all season. He is a big corner that is not afraid to get up on the line and get physical with receivers. He would fit in nicely on Arizona's defense.
The Colts certainly have needs at offensive line but due to the lack of elite offensive line talent in this draft, I think they can address those needs later on in the draft. Dalvin Cook is a stud that could play under Frank Gore for a season and then take over the full-time work load when Gore retires. Cook has tremendous break-away speed and he is excellent catching the ball out of the back field. Having Cook next to him would help out Andrew Luck immensely in Indianapolis.
Carson Wentz was impressive in his rookie season, but he is still lacking a go-to #1 receiver. Both Agholor and Matthews have struggled with drops and have proven to be unreliable. Corey Davis is the all-time receptions leader in Division 1 football in the NCAA; in other words, he is very reliable. Davis is the best route-runner in the class in addition to being 6'3" and 215 pounds. I see him being great at the next level and even putting up OBJ-like numbers.
The Ravens' defense is not as great as it once was. Their pass-rush has been unimpressive the last few seasons, and Barnett could be just the guy they need. The all-time career sacks leader at Tennessee could be a huge addition to Timmy Jernigan and the rest of the defensive line.