RB#20's 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
Published at 3/20/2017 12:07:22 AM
3/20/17 - v2.0. All 4 rounds have been completed. This may be my final version, but if I have enough time or if something drastic like a trade happens, I will update my mock before the draft. I think I'm pretty much set for the most part if something does not happen. There are going to be a few players whose draft stock rises, become 2nd round picks, possibly even late 1st round picks (Akhelo Witherspoon, Chidobe Awuzie and Kevin King come to mind) but I'm content for now... enjoy.
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Nothing has changed about this pick. It should still be Myles Garrett, of whom had an outstanding Combine. The Browns are smitten with him and he instantly gives the defense a make-over. It's not going to be a QB with this pick. The Browns are so high on Garrett that they turned down the Patriots offer of Jimmy Garoppolo for the #1 overall pick. Jimmy G is better than any of the QB's in this draft class and they said no. That's how highly they view Garrett as a prospect. This could change in the weeks leading up to the draft, but it's unlikely. Garrett is their guy.
Man I really hate this pick. I honestly do. I would hope that the 49ers would get it right and maybe draft one of the Safeties, Derek Barnett, Solomon Thomas, anyone but a lackluster QB with this pick but sadly, I think that's what they do. It seems as if York and Lynch are in love with Kizer. Waiting another year for Kirk Cousins is still possible, but I don't see it as something to bank on. Brian Hoyer was signed, but he is probably not going to be the starter unless the 49ers are sure about passing on a QB until much later in the draft.
Safety play has been atrocious for Chicago. Really, they need a lot of help in the secondary. I'd like to go with Jonathan Allen here but honestly... he's really not the best scheme fit, contrary to popular opinion. They did sign Quinton Demps, but they can still use an upgrade over Adrian Amos. Now... this pick really comes down to Adams, Marshon Lattimore or Malik Hooker. It's a slim margin between the 3 players but I think Adams is overall the best player. Demps could move to FS while Adams plays SS, but Adams is such a playmaker that I believe he could possibly play FS in the NFL.
After all the moves made in free agency, it is almost a done deal that this pick is either A) Leonard Fournette or B) Trade back. With Tom Coughlin in the mix in the front office, I go with the former. Fournette is the starter in Jacksonville the minute he walks to the podium. He is instantly the best RB on the roster the moment Roger Goodell calls his name.
I briefly changed this one during the updates, but after his Pro Day, Mike Williams and the Tennessee Titans are about as good a match as any for the #5 pick. I don't care what the reports say about them using this pick on defense. There is NOTHING set in stone at the WR position for them, just complimentary pieces. They tried to trade the #18 pick for Brandon Cooks, as they should have, because he was already an NFL ready WR. After one of the best Pro Days a WR could have, Mike is officially a Top 10 talent.
Secondary play is a mess for NY, Malik can fix that. You could go CB here with Marshon Lattimore or Marlon Humphrey, but Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker are just too good to pass up on. It reminds me of the draft with Earl Thomas and Eric Berry all over again. Calvin Pryor is going to be a free agent next season, so it's an upgrade immediately and ensures they are not left with nothing at the position next year should they let him walk.
Laremy Tunsil, Warren Sapp, Dez Bryant, JJ Watt, Aaron Donald, Ray Lewis.... the list goes on of Elite/HOF players, or players that were expected to be drafted higher that fell. There is nothing wrong with Jonathan Allen sliding to 7 overall... but there is NO WAY - barring something stupid - that he slides further than the Chargers. Jonathan is a 4-3 DT. Scheme is very important, and is becoming almost important as talent. Much like international basketball has used precise ball-movement to compensate for lack of talent, scheme fit in the NFL is becoming almost equal to the talent being obtained. Jonathan Allen is not best utilized in a 3-4, of the teams selecting in the top 5, Jacksonville and Cleveland could be potential candidates if they weren't as high on the players that they have drafted with those picks.
As I have talked about scheme and talent... make no mistake about it... the Chargers are getting BOTH with Jonathan Allen. 1 player upgrades SEVEN positions at once. Sure, they could go with one of the CB's, but no one is going to have an immediate impact on multiple players like Allen will. LA has switched to the 4-3 Under scheme, which combines 4-3 and 3-4 elements into one system. Jonathan Allen would step in and play the Under Tackle role, thus pushing Corey Liuget to the Jumbo DE spot and allow Melvin Ingram to play Otto. Now... Ingram is a bit over-sized for what would be considered the Otto, however, he already has NFL experience playing OLB. This is crucial for this scheme. Allen makes every single player, from day 1, better. Working with Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget on the line and allowing Melvin Ingram to remain an every-down LB is HUGE for their defense. It will take pressure off the other LB's, it will help alleviate a lot of responsibility in the secondary, it improves the defense as a whole and has them trending towards elite status. This is much more important than any CB can offer at this point.
The Panthers seem a bit smitten with Christian McCaffrey. It's certainly not a smoke-screen as the way they are crushing on the guy is similar to Shaq Thompson before they drafted him. Nobody is considering drafting McCaffrey in front of them and he could go well within the next few picks after them so I'm going to bite and say this is not a smoke-screen and McCaffrey is the BPA on their draft board at #8. He put in a solid Combine, and has his Pro Day coming up on the 22nd. Provided everything goes smoothly, it should all but lock up this pick. Christian is arguably the safest RB prospect in this draft, even over Leonard Fournette. I personally had him as a Top 15 prospect before the Combine and don't see anything wrong with Carolina drafting him at #8.
This draft choice comes down to 3 players, Marlon Humphrey, Garett Bolles and O.J. Howard. Cincinnati usually drafts by BPA by position of future need. They manage their cap well, draft to replace players leaving in free agency the following season, and bring back their core players. We have seen them follow this process for the last few seasons now. William Jackson and Andrew Billings to replace Dre Kirkpatrick and Domata Peko, Cedric Obuehi to replace Andre Smith, and Tyler Eifert to replace Jermaine Gresham. (There are plenty more, these are just a few.)
Speaking of Eifert, his contract expires after this season. He has been one of the best TE's when healthy, but has never played a full season. In 4 years, Eifert has only played 37 games, just 5 games shy of missing 2 full seasons. It's tough to part ways with a player of Eifert's caliber, but it's equally difficult to pass on the potential of replacing him with a player of O.J. Howard's abilities. I feel that Marlon Humphrey is a distant 3rd choice now after the Dre' Kirkpatrick signing, but Garret Bolles is definitely closing in on making me consider him over Howard.
I have mixed feelings about this pick. See... John Ross is my favorite WR in this draft class. I feel that John Ross is the BEST WR in this draft class and predicted about 6 weeks ago that he would blow up the Combine and that no mock would have him listed outside of the 1st round. (check the messages on Walt's main page.) The guy is just a pure burner and defensive nightmare. He has drawn admiration from Antonio Brown even before he ran his 40. Let that sink in... he drew the admiration of the game's best WR. Antonio Brown is who I see in John Ross, I just hope he stays healthy enough to meet his potential...
...but why do I have mixed feelings you ask? Because there are bigger long-term areas to address than WR on this team. I can't really hate the pick because I view John as an elite talent and you always have to take the elite talent regardless of need if they are their... but there are other top talents that fill bigger holes on defense for Buffalo. We are dealing with the same FO and GM that gave up a future #1 pick to draft Sammy Watkins based on his Combine and Pro Day so what are they going to do when they see a WR run a 4.22 40? And that being said... I can't really fault them for drafting the guy because I would probably do the same thing too in this spot if I were them. As the old saying goes- speed kills.
The Saints pretty much do as they say. 2 years ago they said they were going to upgrade the OL, they drafted Andrus Peat. Last year they said they would address DT early, they drafted Sheldon Rankins. This year they say they are looking for passrushers early, Taco Charlton is still on the board. I give the slightest of EDGE's (pun intended) to Taco over Derek Barnett. I think he is better for New Orleans as a traditional 4-3 DE. I personally like Barnett better, but this draft is not about what I would personally do.
VERY close here between Deshaun and Marlon Humphrey. Very close... I have the Browns taking Watson over Trubisky because Watson wore orange in college so he has experience over Trubisky in that department.
Joking. I have Deshaun as the QB they actually want, rather than Mitchell Trubisky of whom they "say" they want. This is the same thing as last year when they feigned interest in Carson Wentz when they actually had Jared Goff over him the whole time... oh and who was the first person to bring this to light? Oh yeah... it was me. :) *pats self on the back*
What is still unclear is *How Much* do the Browns like Watson? I know they are extremely high on Marlon Humphrey and have spoken to Nick Saban personally and at great lengths about the Corner. Hue wants a QB for his system - spoiler alert - it's not Cody Kessler. It depends on if they want to run with a developmental talent in the later rounds by drafting Josh Dobbs or Jerod Evans, or do they pass on a CB that they may have given a better grade to and take the QB that's #1 on their list? This is a tough choice for me, but in a QB driven league I'm going to give the edge to the QB that Hue wants.
The Cardinals seem to do this a lot and just have great talent fall to them in the draft. Marshon Lattimore is someone that I can see being drafted #3 overall and yet here he is at #13. He's such a great CB prospect and it's so rare to see great CB prospects fall outside of the Top 10 like this. I can only think of Darrelle Revis and Marcus Peters that did so in recent memory. Peters was due to off-field issues while Revis was in a DEEP draft that produced 5 future Hall of Fame players being drafted aheah of him, or players with tremendous upside that either turned out to be complete busts, or had moderate success. This is something that I can see happening with Lattimore. Revis went 14th overall in the 2007 draft, Lattimore goes 13th here, and there is really nothing wrong with that.
I think Lattimore will become an All Pro CB. Combine him on the outside with Patrick Peterson and having help overtop from the Honey Badger and he is going to be a very successful player for a long time.
I've mentioned his name a lot, but Marlon Humphrey is finally off the board. I had this as an offensive pick for awhile but after bringing in two WR's in free agency, I can't really see Philly using this pick on another one. I think they want to go defense. CB is a big need, there were a couple of rumors out there that they were shopping Malcolm Jenkins, and while I don't think there was anything serious about these rumors, I don't think it is entirely false either. Taking Humphrey here makes sense. He's a physical Corner, has some solid cover skills, a little green but he's a good worker. They lost Nolan Carroll in free agency and all they really have at CB is Jalen Mills, and I think Humphrey's upside and potential ceiling is much higher. Could be another potential All Pro CB drafted in back-to-back picks.
Man... I once said that it could be possible to draft offense with this draft pick, but highly unlikely since they will more than likely want to build up their defense. I even went so far as to use David Njoku as an example to pair with Dwayne Allen... well Dwayne Allen was traded to the Patriots and this draft is deep on TE. As crazy as it seems, my theory of an improbably possibility has now become the front-runner for the 15 pick. Indy could still turn in a solid draft as there is plenty of defensive talent available, but they run 2 TE sets, only have 1 starting caliber TE at this time, and there are few TE's that have come around in the draft as talented as O.J. Howard and David Njoku. Well, Howard isn't available here in this mock, and probably never will be as I think he's a sure thing to Cincy... but even if he was... I kinda like Njoku as a better option for Indy. It's almost surreal how something I was semi-joking about a couple of weeks ago is looking like it's coming to fruition.
Many teams have Solomon Thomas as a mid-to-late 1st-round draft choice, not so much a Top 3 talent, and the Ravens snatch him up. This is a team that was strongly considering drafting Joey Bosa over Ronnie Stanley if he were to be available. They get Thomas here, who should fit like a glove for any 3-4 scheme, but is absolutely perfect for Baltimore. He is a relentless, persistent, violent player that never stops attacking. It fits Ozzie Newsome's motto to build within the trenches.