Based off some information, I think Washington's pick could come down to Reuben Foster, Marlon Humphrey, Adoree' Jackson, Haason Reddick or Charles Harris. If Foster gets to the Redskins' pick, I think they would be thrilled as he is their first choice. After Foster, I think there will be a big debate between the others. I think the decision would then come down to Harris or Jackson. This is a deep cornerback draft, so Washington could lean toward the rusher with its first pick. Additionally, Harris is loved by teams for his football character, but he is the Plan B, I believe. I think the Redskins want Foster more than anyone else though and character concerns could push him down to them.
In 2016, Foster amassed 115 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two passes broken up. The 6-foot, 229-pounder came on strong late in the 2015 season for Alabama and had the game of his life in the National Championship against Clemson. He totaled 73 tackles with eight for a loss, two sacks and nine passes batted for the year. The light looked like it clicked on for Foster toward the end of the 2015 season as he was suddenly a different player. He carried that over into his senior year, when he was a physical force. Foster is a fast, athletic linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline while also dishing out punishing hits when he gets there.
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I believe that minus a trade, Tennessee's plan is to draft a weapon for Marcus Mariota at No. 5 and find a potential No. 1 corner with the 18th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. I think Marlon Humphrey is the Titans' first choice. If he is off the board, I think they would take Jackson.
Jackson notched 55 tackles with 11 passes broken up and five interceptions in 2016. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, and made a 52-yard touchdown catch. Jackson had an awesome game against Alabama as he shut down star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He held Ridley to only two receptions for nine yards on the night. Jackson has given the NFL proof that he is a serious cover corner prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Jackson played on offense and defense in 2015. He had 35 tackles with eight passes broken up and one interception at corner. As a wide receiver, Jackson had 27 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also returned punts and kicks.
Jackson became a starter in 2014 and was a sensation who also contributed as a wide receiver and returner/coverage defender on special teams. Defensively, the freshman had 49 tackles with 10 passes deflected. He also caught 10 receptions for 138 yards with three touchdowns on offense. On special teams, Jackson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 30 yards per kick return. For the NFL, the 5-foot-10, 186-pounder fits best as a cover cornerback. He is a fast corner to prevent separation, but can struggle with size and defenders making receptions over him.
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After the signing of DeSean Jackson, I think it is unlikely that John Ross is headed for Tampa Bay. I think this pick will then come down to Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, O.J. Howard or Corey Davis. Via sources, I know the Bucs like all of those players. I think Howard and one of the running backs will be gone, which usually leaves Davis and a running back to consider. Running back is a bigger need on the roster given the Doug Martin situation, and there is depth at wide receiver on Day 2 for the Bucs to land an outside No. 2 receiver to platoon with Mike Evans and Jackson. There are lots of rumors of Dalvin Cook sliding. I've reached out to teams and gotten mixed feedback on that possibility. However if he slides, I don't think the Bucs would pass on him after speaking with Tampa Bay sources.
In 2016, Cook averaged 6.0 yards per carry for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also had 33 receptions for 488 yards. Cook (5-10, 210) is well-built and has the speed to slash through a defense; however, he has some strange ball-security issues. Cook also has some power to him, but he seems to use it selectively as he runs out of bounds often and is consistently looking to bounce runs to the outside. In the passing game, Cook is a tremendous receiver out of the backfield and will be a weapon there. He reminds me of Marshall Faulk at times.
Teams do have some off-the-field concerns about Cook. They say he isn't a bad kid, but worry about his associates. He escaped some legal issues last year, and teams say that Cook has an entourage of gang-bangers that could put Cook in the wrong place at the wrong time.
With Jameis Winston in the NFL, Cook carried the Florida State offense in 2015. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry on his way to 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns. The sophomore also had 24 receptions for 244 yards and a score. As a true freshman in 2014, Cook averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He caught 22 passes for 203 yards, too.
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The Broncos could use a left tackle to protect Paxton Lynch, and Bolles could be the target of teams trading up for him.
In his one season at Utah, Bolles (6-5, 297) showed that he is really talented with quick feet and athleticism on the edge. He also is tough in the ground game and plays with a physical mean streak. Bolles had a rough upbringing and some off-the-field issues, but a number of teams say he interviewed well at the combine and they feel he has matured. Some do have concerns about his ongoing mental health, however.
Bolles will need to work on pass protection for NFL speed rushers. He will also be significantly older than most rookies as he turns 25 a few weeks after the 2017 NFL Draft.
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The Lions need to improve their linebacking talent and add an edge rusher to pair with Ziggy Ansah. Watt could play linebacker on run downs and rush off the edge in passing situations. Thus, he would help Detroit's defense in two spots.
Watt was one of the breakout players of the 2016 season. He is good at setting the edge in run defense and also is a terror in the pass rush off the edge. Watt recorded 63 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles in 2016. The 6-foot-4, 252-pounder could be even better as he gains experience. Watt isn't the fastest or most explosive edge defender, but he is tough with advanced technique and a great motor.
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I think Miami wants to find an edge rusher most of all, and Harris would be a fit for the organization as a speed rusher who also has great football character. The Dolphins also could use a linebacker upgrade, so if Harris off the board, I think Jarrad Davis is their Plan B. Miami wants smart defenders with great football character, and both Harris and Davis fit those criteria perfectly.
Harris started off the 2016 season with underwhelming performances against West Virginia and Eastern Michigan, totaling five tackles in those games. However, he exploded versus Georgia with three sacks and seven tackles. In November, Harris grew red hot, racking up 4.5 sacks over two games. He totaled 61 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two passes batted and two forced fumbles on the year.
Harris is a speedy edge rusher who broke out in 2015 with 56 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. He was a backup as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and notched two sacks. The 6-foot-3, 253-pound Harris is a fast edge rusher who puts a lot of heat on the quarterback. He is very similar to Vic Beasley and Shane Ray.
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The Giants wanted Jack Conklin last year, and he didn't make it to their pick. I think the same thing could happen this year with Garett Bolles. If Bolles is off the board, I think the Giants could look to upgrade their linebackers with a player like Reddick, Jarrad Davis or Zach Cunningham.
I've surveyed sources at teams, and they believe that Reddick will go somewhere in the first round. I personally am skeptical that he should go in Round 1 because he has a grand total of three practices and an exhibition game at his NFL position. I also agree with some scouting sources who believe it is a lot easier to transition by moving closer to the line of scrimmage rather than backing off of it. The position change is why some teams gave Reddick mid-round grades. Still, Reddick has a lot of teams that like him, so he should go in the first round.
Reddick (6-1, 237) was an edge rusher in college who has to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. He showed that he can make that switch at the Senior Bowl as he flew around the field and was constantly around the ball. Still, sources with teams say that Reddick is a real project for the NFL and will take time to develop at linebacker considering he has no game experience there. In 2016, Reddick totaled 65 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up. He was an excellent edge rusher, yet there were times where he got destroyed in the ground game.
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The Raiders could use an upgrade at middle linebacker. Davis is an instant plug-and-play contributor for Oakland. His intelligence and character are a great fit with Khalil Mack and Derek Carr.
Davis collected 60 tackles, two sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. Davis was a strong inside presence who made a ton of clutch tackles for Florida in 2015. He was an unsung hero of one of the best defenses in the nation and was a beast who season in the SEC Championship along with the other late-season games against elite competition. In 2015, Davis totaled 98 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, an interception and 3.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-1, 238-pounder is fast, physical and instinctive. He has sideline-to-sideline speed with the athleticism to be a three-down defender. Davis could be a Mike (middle) or a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3. He also could function on the inside of a 3-4.
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With Tony Romo deciding to retire, the Texans are desperate at quarterback. I think they like Deshaun Watson and Pat Mahomes. I wouldn't be surprised if Houston trades up a few spots to make sure it gets its guy. I think the lean would be toward Mahomes if both are available. Both quarterbacks have great intangibles with work ethic and leadership. I believe that Houston would lean toward Mahomes, because he is more accurate, throws fewer interceptions, and could have more upside.
Mahomes played in a gimmick offense that won't translate to the NFL, but he has a powerful arm and flashed accuracy and mobility. He is also a real gunslinger who wants the ball in his hands and is a confident play-maker who is a hard worker off the field. Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He notched 12 rushing touchdowns, too. In 2015, Mahomes completed 64 percent for 4,653 yards with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Some team sources are intrigued by Mahomes, while others are skeptics.
Mahomes (6-2, 225) is tremendous at improvising and making big plays when things break down. He clearly has the arm to make any throw in the NFL, plus has good mobility to throw on the run. Mahomes is going to need to improve his decision-making as he threw across the field too much at Texas Tech. He will need to do a lot of development on his footwork as well. Working under center and calling plays in the huddle will be other big jumps for Mahomes coming from the Red Raiders' offense. Thus, he has a good skill set with some grittiness as a player, but he is a project for the NFL.
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Sources have told me the Seahawks love Melifonwu, and it is easy to see why. He could be a replacement for Kam Chancellor if he leaves in free agency, or Earl Thomas if he retires, or even Richard Sherman if he gets traded. The Seahawks can play the versatile Melifonwu at corner and safety since he is a perfect fit in their defense.
Melifonwu has ideal size with length to help defend receivers. In 2016, he totaled 118 tackles with three passes broken up and four interceptions. 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 possesses 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 should provide his defensive coordinator the solution to a lot of problems.
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27.Kansas City Chiefs:Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Chiefs grab a third play-maker to team with Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill.
As a senior, Davis amassed 97 receptions for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. Sources say the 6-foot-3, 209-pounder is long and athletic. He has impressed evaluators with good route-running, hands, and deceptive speed. They also like his run-after-the-catch skills and size.
Davis was banged up somewhat in 2015, but still produced, totaling 90 receptions for 1,436 yards with 12 touchdowns. In 2014, Davis was excellent with 78 catches for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had quality production as a freshman as well (67-941-6).
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The Cowboys need a cornerback upgrade badly. At the combine, sources with Dallas told me they love Adoree' Jackson, but I don't have him getting to Dallas. The Cowboys could target King as they hosted him before the draft and he would be an upgrade for them.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder King has the length and size to match up against big wideouts while proving his excellent speed at the combine. Sources from multiple teams think that King could go late in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
King was part of a good tandem of Huskies cornerbacks with Sidney Jones. In 2016, King notched 44 tackles with 13 passes broken up and two interceptions. He also had quality production as a junior with 39 tackles, five passes broken up and three interceptions. King totaled 65 tackles as a sophomore.
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I liked Walt's pick in his trades mock of Jabrill Peppers. It makes tons of sense for Green Bay to get Peppers, but I'm not sure they would in light of his diluted-drug-test issue from the combine. I've heard that Green Bay loves Mixon and has done a ton of research into him in the leadup to the draft. The Packers could use a feature back and have the strong locker room, along with a small-town environment, to keep Mixon focused.
Mixon is an electric runner with excellent speed and the ability to rip off a long run on any carry. He became Oklahoma's featured runner as a redshirt sophomore with an average of seven yards per carry (168 carries) for 1,183 yards with eight touchdowns while sharing carries with Samaje Perine. Mixon also was a receiving weapon with 32 receptions for 449 yards with five touchdowns.
Sources have said that they think Mixon is a serious talent with three-down starting potential in the NFL. Some teams, however, already have ruled him out because of the incident from 2014 in which he punched a woman after she declined Mixon's advances. After video of the incident was released two years later, Mixon issued a tearful apology. Some teams have already removed him from their draft boards because of the character concerns.
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The Steelers could start planning for life after Big Ben. Sources have told me Pittsburgh likes Kizer.
Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set and the most upside. The 6-foot-4, 233-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problem for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. He also had issues late in games with critical mistakes in crunch time, so his decision-making needs to improve.
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew and his receivers consistently dropping well-thrown passes. He also was hurt by losing his No.1 receiver (Will Fuller), left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), center (Nick Martin), and running back (C.J. Prosise) to the NFL before the season. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground.
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The Falcons grab a right guard upgrade to finish off their offensive line.
Prior to a high ankle sprain that ended his practice week, Lamp (6-3, 305) performed well at the Senior Bowl after an excellent collegiate career. He made 39 straight starts and was a tough lineman at the point of attack. Lamp is a tough blocker who is well-rounded as a run blocker and pass protector. He lacks length, however, and should move inside to guard in the NFL. Similar to Cody Whitehair last year, Lamp's best position could be center. Team sources have said they could see Lamp going in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
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If Obi Melifonwu is available I think the Saints would be ecstatic and run the card up there. There is a good chance, however, that Melifonwu will be off the board. The Saints could use another edge rusher upgrade. Here's an end to pair with Cam Jordan. From what I've heard the Saints love Charlton, so I don't think they would pass on him. That being said, you can't rule out a quarterback.
Entering the 2016 season, Charlton flashed for Michigan but was mainly a backup and also was used inside at tackle. In 2016 though, he racked up 9.5 sacks, 43 tackles and 13 tackles for a loss as the bookend defensive end with the stout Chris Wormley. The 6-foot-6, 277-pounder Charlton is athletic with versatile size and length to be a base end in a 4-3 defense or a standup linebacker in a 3-4.
Charlton is fast, explosive and has serious upside to develop in the NFL. Teams feel he could go top-10 and should go in the top half of the first round.
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