2017 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 by Keve
Published at 2/19/2017 8:31:10 PM
My criteria for this mock is what I would do at each pick, not what I think will actually happen. I still try to tie the picks to reality as much as possible, but this far out, it just isn't realistic to try and make predictions. When the rumor mill really starts plugging away, I'll make some real guesses.
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It's rare to be so certain about a selection this far out, but Garrett is a phenomenal talent at one of the most important positions on the field. Add to that the non-stop reports about the Browns obsession with the pass rusher, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Browns sign him before draft day and put the 49ers on the clock early.
Kyle Shanahan just saved Matt Ryan's career. It's easy to forget that only a few years ago, the league MVP had bottomed out and wasn't even a certain franchise quarterback. Deshone Kizer is a brilliant tactician with elite arm talent and great mobility. His age and inconsistent tape could indicate that he won't succeed right off the bat, but it's not like the 49ers will compete for a title this year anyway.
The Bears will replace Jay Cutler with a similar caliber arm in a pick that could easily be called a reach. Trubisky's inconsistent tape and limited experience make him an equal risk to Kizer, but he hasn't shown the same great decision making that elevated the Notre Dame star. Making a mediocre football program relevant certainly helps his resume, however.
Adams is the best defensive talent in the draft from where I'm sitting, but he plays one of the least valued positions. A top five pick at strong safety is exceedingly rare in the NFL, but Adams ability to play in the box or as a single high ball hawk would immediately make him the best player on the Jaguars roster. As a Titans fan, I certainly hope the Jaguars go elsewhere at #4.
Corey Davis was too good for college football, let alone the MAC. Playing at Western Michigan didn't allow him to showcase his world beating talent, but catching passes from developing star Marcus Mariota would be a very different environment. Davis' unbelievably smooth routes, soft hands and ability with the ball in the air make him the clear #1 receiver in a talented group.
Much the same of what goes for Davis could be said about draft-board-riser David Njoku. He's more athletic than most receivers in the 2017 class, and his tape says he's the next elite flex tight end in the NFL. With the Jets receiving group quickly aging, drafting Njoku could allow Brad Kaaya (spoiler alert) to develop more effectively into the first franchise QB the Jets have seen this decade.
Allen is a top 5 talent in the 4-3, but his bum shoulder will give teams a major headache about his long term viability. Allen's combination of power and closing speed are unmatched in this draft class, and pairing him with Joey Bosa would give Los Angeles the best pass rushing duo in the NFL if Allen reaches his potential.
There were a lot of reasons for Carolina's early-season collapse, but the passing game was the most visible. More importantly, a great young redzone threat in the Kelvin Benjamin mold has fallen to Carolina at #8. Williams is a much more complete receiver than Benjamin of course, but the two play a similar role for their teams. Adding Williams to an offense with Benjamin and Greg Olsen could bring Carolina back to the super bowl sooner than later.
Foster has been widely compared to Boston College's Luke Kuechly, but I don't think he has the rare coverage instincts that Kuechly did. Foster is less of the cover 2 specialist and more of a lethal threat against the run or as a pass rusher. The Bengals are very thin at all three linebacker positions, and Foster could man any one of them depending on what Cincinnati does in free agency.
Indianapolis ignores the offensive line in round 1 and spends their third round pick to move up just a few spots to land a generational talent at runningback. They franchise made a similar move for Trent Richardson, and it's not unbelievable to think they would do it again for an even better prospect.
Soloman Thomas is another huge draft riser who is coming out ahead of a deep pass rusher class. Thomas' strength and ability to bend on the edge make him a great fit in the 4-3, and would give them the pass rushing threat that Paul Kruger was supposed to deliver.
It's not often the top corner in the draft lasts this long, especially not in such a loaded cornerback class. But since no one name stands above the rest, all the teams correctly feel they can get a round 1 talent on day 2, and they're right. But Wilson is the best in the group for his size, his press skills, and his knack for the ball in zone coverage. Besides that, Wilson is the best or second best run defending corner in the whole group, and the Browns have no answer at all on the roster to stop opposing receivers.
Larry Fitzgerald is coming back for one last hurrah, and even though the Cardinals could replace him with Zay Jones, a guy who is drawing comparisons to the hall of famer, I like Howard instead here. First round talents at the in-line tight end spot are like a needle in a haystack recently, but Howard delivers.
via Colts. Hooker seemed like a top-10 lock after declaring early from Ohio State. The redshirt sophomores ball-hawking ability is undeniable, but he's still quite raw and a recent injury will force him to miss the combine. Anytime a prospect is mostly selling himself on athleticism, missing the combine is particularly devastating.
The committee approach in Philadelphia didn't do Carson Wentz any favors, and Florida State runningback Dalvin Cook was nothing if not productive through his career. The elusive threat is like the best of Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles combined into one player.
Jones hold the all time NCAA record for most receptions at East Carolina, where he was the focal point of the offense. He was labeled a possession receiver early in the process, which would have been incompatible with a strong armed QB like Joe Flacco, if not for Jones' excellent red-zone play in the Senior Bowl. The receiver was arguably the best player in Movile Alabama, and shot his grade up to the middle of the first round.