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2017 Pre-Combine NFL Mock Draft by zkmarshall24 - 3.2
Published at 3/2/2017 12:28:41 PM
2 round draft. Limited explanations for 2 round. I have predicted 3 trades in the first round. Unless the pick was part of a first round trade I predicted no second round trades (first round trades hard enough to guess)
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(QB solution sign or trades late pick for Tyrod Taylor:)
With Tyrod Taylor on board (and Terrelle Pryor tagged for the year) the Browns can focus elsewhere with the first couple rounds. QB is still an option day 3 maybe Davis Webb atop the third round at #65 if still available as they seemed to like him at the Senior Bowl, but no longer rounds 1-2. You can ask Washington why you take a 3rd/4th round QB after trading for your "franchise" guy. The Browns have 5 picks in the top 65 so this draft can prove to be a pivotal turning point in the franchise, or just another bust. Judging by last year Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson should be just fine in Cleveland. 1-15 be damned, they competed for Hue and you can’t put the roster on Sashi. He had what he had when he started. Last year’s draft was productive. The in-season move for Jamie Collins and locking him up afterwards were both quality moves. He seems to be making good moves. They will never all pan out, but he’s been a good GM his first year and half, and this offseason with the money to spend on anybody plus those picks he can turn things around faster than people think in Cleveland. He puts together another good offseason and Cleveland can be a wild card/sleeper for the division coming off a 1-15 season. First thing he seems focused on fixing is the defense. Especially the front 7, but what are they now under Gregg Williams? 3-4, 4-3, little bit of both? I think 4-3 which means you got 2 DE’s really in Ogbah and Nassib (part of last year’s good draft class) possibly 3 if you want to include Nate Orchard. However neither Ogbah (my personal favorite from last year’s class) nor Nassib prevent you from taking the player you have an astrominical grade on to be your pass rush nightmare. Garrett comes in immediately as the starter while Nassib and Ogbah compete to start opposite him. On obvious passing plays you put all 3 on the field with Danny Shelton (to stop the HB draw) and watch opposing o-lines get abused. The Browns also hired John Podesta (Mr. Moneyball) last year to have some sort of influence over the front office. What does a small ball “Moneyball” team look like? Defense and speed are the starting ingredients. Here is the defense.
Here is the first “shocker” pick that is more realistic than people will think. I do think that Shanahan would have made a run at Kirk Cousins, but Washington had all the leverage and wasn’t likely to let their starting QB walk, especially in the once again competitive NFC East. I think they will look to NE’s Garappalo, but ultimately will fall short of getting him as well. This will ultimately lead to every mock draft having either Mitch Trubisky or DeShon Kizer taken #2 overall, but I don’t think that Shanahan would press for a QB; and with John Lynch being a new GM Kyle’s voice will carry more weight, this first draft especially. Washington pressed for RG III and that backfired (although drafting Kirk Cousins that same draft has soften the blow) while Kyle was the OC there (Dad was in charge). By not pressing for the QB they can turn their sights elsewhere, and you have to imagine Kyle liked having Julio Jones down in ATL. How much easier it is to design an offense when you have a big, fast, tough WR you can throw it up to? Mike Williams is that player in this draft. Is he Julio Jones? No, but he’s the top WR who has the best height/weight/speed combo in this draft. Plus the WR taken too early by a former player turned TV analyst turned GM is too comical not to continue. Unlike in Detroit's case this won't be a bad pick by the time all is said and done.
(QB Solution trade pick #36 for Jimmy Garapallo. I am not sure this is what Fox would prefer, but after striking out of the Romo sweepstakes he turns to the trade market. Also they resign Matt Barkley despite the trade for Jimmy G: something like a 2 year/20 million deal where the first year is for 4-5 million with any easy out. This way you don’t hedge your eggs to one basic as an old timer HC. And so what if both play well, trade one (likely Barkley) for a draft pick/s)
This is not even the most pressing need for this team besides a QB, but Jonathon Allen simply put is a beast. He’s too talented to pass on when you’ve already settled the QB position for the upcoming season. Plus John Fox is a defensive minded coach, and unlikely to want to try to make way with a rookie QB. Pairing Allen with last year’s first round pick Leonard Floyd will help the Bears create a shutdown front 7 on defense that seem to be a common theme of John Fox coached teams. I don’t know if he could be a NT, definitely can be a 5 technique DE; but he should be able to help regardless of where you line him up.
(Trades Blake Bortles to NE Patriots for 2019 conditional 7th round choice (if NE gets a sixth round compensatory pick in 2019 the 7th becomes that 6th rounder, why 2019? Cause it BB and he’s crazy like that)
Another shocker pick, although good old TC ruined/lessened the shock by not committing to Blake for the 2017 season. It is still a bit of a shocker to see Kizer ahead of Trubisky anymore. I personally like Trubisky better than Kizer (Pat Mahomes is my #1 QB though; Trubisky #2, Kizer #3, Watson #4), but I don’t know if TC will like him more than Kizer. GM Dave Caldwell seems to be taking direction from TC now (or at least the rumors put out suggest as such) so it may come down to TC making the call on which QB to take. He's never been a GM so it tough to know for certain, but I think he would prefer the 2 year starter from Notre Dame that has been #1 on most boards for the better part of a year and half over the new kid on the block so to speak. Kizer has the better size, I think may have the better arm strength, and he played in a pro-style offense in college where he made some big time plays/throws and was a good leader at ND. DeShon should come with strong recommendations from Coach Kelly. TC will love all that.
Only needing to give up their 1st, 3rd and 6th round choices this year with the always happy to trade Tennessee Titans Cincinnati makes the deal to come up and secure the CB they want. Yes, they just took William Jackson III last year in the first round, but with an aging Pacman Jones there is still a need at CB. Add in the fact that I think they focus on retaining OL Whitworth and Zietler over Dre Kirkpatrick which sees him leave to a team like Cleveland, and CB is a huge need again. Besides just the potential teams trading up to take the #1 CB on their board (lots of talent at CB so many boards will have different rankings) the three teams before Cincy all have a need at CB in some form. After securing the rights to pick “their guy” who will it be? I think it comes down to Marlon Humphrey or Marshon Lattimore. I personally like Lattimore more than I do Humphrey being that Bama cornerbacks rarely pan out, especially high first rounders. Cincy may lean towards Lattimore since Dre Kirkpatrick was a Bama guy who recently “burned” them. Hard to call him a bust, but he never turned into their lock down guy which is what they thought they were drafting. Plus Marshon is the Ohio State guy the fan base will love over an SEC kid from the south. However, both possess the special speed/size you look for in high first round corners. Marshon looks to be an even better prospect than Eli Apple, Ohio State’s version of the redshirt sophomore top ten CB last year.
(QB Solution is to sign QB Jay Cutler. This is not the ideal FA pick up you want, but I think that they will strike out on the Romo sweepstakes and have to settle on Cutler since BB is never going to trade Jimmy G to the Jets. Cutler is the bridge to Hackenberg should he develop)
Mike Maccagnan takes the highest rated prospect he has regardless of position in the first round. He took Leonard Williams despite the glut of D-lineman on the team, and last year he took Darron Lee who isn’t really an ideal fit in a 3-4 scheme, but athletically was the superior prospect at #20. Fournette is the top offensive prospect overall in this draft, and if Cleveland took him at #1 I would not question their choice one bit. He is neck and neck with Garrett for being the top overall prospect, in my opinion. Leonard being a RB causes this slide to #6 (like it did to AP who went #7), but Maccagnan won’t waste any time filling out this card. Fournette completely changes your offense like AP did for Minnesota. With Cutler and Marshall/Decker outside Fournette can turn this offense back into a post season caliber one. Look for a corner early round 2.
It was said early on in the process last year that SD was hot on a young Ohio State prospect. His name was Joey Bosa, and he eventually became a Charger after they took him 3rd overall last year. This year it has been rumored that Malik Hooker is the guy that the Chargers want the most. His injuries should not keep him out of any action, but it may prevent him from being a top 5 pick like his talent indicates he is. If completely healthy he may push Jonathon Allen to be taken at #3 to the Bears he is that talented. I think Tennessee likes Jamal Adams over Hooker, but a team may be willing to deal with Jacksonville to not find that out. Hooker at 4, Adams at 5 and SD will strike out, be on to plan C. However, SD reaps the reward of being patient by getting their guy while not having to give up anything in the process.
Trading away their 1st and 3rd this year, a 3rd next year, and maybe a player like LB Mychal Kendricks instead of another pick(Keuchly concussion and Tommy Davis age create a need for quality depth at LB). Carolina needs help at CB, but the Eagles desperately need help at CB. It will be nothing for Howie Roseman to make a move like that for them to come up and get their #1 shut down CB. Like I said I am wary of Bama cornerbacks as they don’t tend to pan out in the NFL, but Humphrey has been a top CB wherever he has gone. Philadelphia takes the chance that he can come in and shut down the likes of Dez/OBJ/Washington Aerial attack as that is what Philly needs to contend with 6 games a year. Yes help for Carson Wentz would be nice, but they cannot forget their defense. Plus I think there may be a certain WR coming back to Philly…
Tennessee manages to trade down and still get their man. I do think that Tennessee likes Adams more than Hooker, but if both were healthy they would likely have a hard decision to make at #5. Once one goes I think the other is surely to follow in a pick or two. Dropping behind both SD and Carolina is risky enough with Hooker injured. They may lose Adams to SD who takes him instead because of the injuries, and S is a mild need in Carolina where their GM takes BPA so Hooker or Adams can be options there too. Dropping to #9 and having to “settle” for Jabril Peppers would be a tough pill to swallow when they could have had Adams at #5 no questions asked, their preferred man. However, they gamble and it pays off. Adams is a versatile safety who allows them to target another safety later on in the draft (if they have not already signed one in FA), whether that next prospect be a strong or free safety as Adam can be either or for your defense.
(QB Solution is to sign Tony Romo. I think after trading Taylor to Cleveland for a late round pick and freeing up the CAP room GM Doug Whaley turns his sights to a vet FA QB to help solidify an offense for his defensive minded head coach. Sean McDermott was an excellent hire, in my opinion only right now obviously [and others]; time will tell the end of that story. However, the best thing to do for an defense minded coach is to get him a competent offense that can allow him to focus on the defense. People will automatically assume Tony wants to go to Denver or Houston given their defenses, but I don’t think he will run right there. He played at Eastern Illinois, may have been born in SD but he’s a Wisconsin kid. GB obviously isn’t going to sign him, but there are a couple Northeast teams I think he will visit with Chicago and Buffalo being those teams. I think Chicago first given they have a vet head coach in Fox, before ultimately signing with Buffalo. He will be loved and embraced by the fan base immediately. If he wins and gets them deep into the playoffs he can retire from Buffalo a legend in two cities eyes. He’s going to like that idea. Buffalo has a solid defense which Chicago doesn’t really have and a somewhat better o-line.)
Buffalo has Cordy Glenn at LT, but could use help at RT; especially if they sign Romo. Cam Robinson to me isn’t going to be a LT in the NFL, and I am not sure how great of a RT he will be either. However, the lowest offensive tackle taken in the draft since the new CBA was Tyron Smith at #9. GM’s are not afraid to reach for tackles/offensive line help in general so taking a RT is not as out of the ordinary as once thought. Buffalo has their choice of any lineman, but I think that Robinson would project to be the best RT of the bunch which is where their need is so Cam is the man. He helps protect Romo while also helping McCoy in the backfield.
With Sidney Jones, Adoree Jackson, Solomon Thomas, and Derek Barnett all still available?!!! Yes, as the Saints don’t expect Trubisky to fall to #11. With Bree’s “over the hill” at 40 now the time to start looking for his replacement is in full swing. Given that you control first round picks an extra year makes Sean Payton and the Saints jump. So what if Bree’s plays the next 2 years, you still have control of Trubisky for the following 3 years. Plus he just spent two years backing up a future hall of famer. That’s a win-win in my book. When I put on the tape (youtube video…) of Solomon Thomas vs North Carolina I did the ultimate compliment to one player, and ultimate diss to another. I stopped watching Solomon Thomas and started to focus on Trubisky instead. I felt like watching the tape that this love for Thomas bowl game is a bit overstated. He beat up some pretty pedestrian lineman, and besides the sack to end the game Trubisky was easily maneuvering around him when he beat those NC linemen. Trubisky despite 2 INT’s was able to move well inside the pocket, make tough throws and keep his team competitive despite Stanford having what appeared to be the better team. Mitch on that tape appeared to be the best player on the field when both were on it. He did a lot with an ok offensive line and playmakers. Sean Payton/NO would be a great coach/fit for Trubisky. If this is Kizer, and not Trubisky I think DE Derek Barnett would hear his name called.
And here is the speed for the NFL version of a moneyball team. Many are thinking CB here, but I feel with the most amount of money available in FA they can lure either Morris Claiborne or Dre Kirkpatrick away from their respective teams, the latter being ideal as he comes from a division rival which makes it sweeter. Both players give pause for concern, but Cleveland doesn’t have much room to be beggars and they have money they have to spend according to the CBA. This will take the need away from having to address CB early again, but if the player they like at CB (Lattimore) is still available they will take him at #12. I know that the Browns have two young backs already on the roster, but Dalvin Cook presents a different level of player at that position. He reminds me a lot of Jamal Charles with his burst and stop and go ability. There are red flags with concerns about the people he hangs out with, but on the field he’s the unquestioned second best back in the draft. Some will argue for Cook over Fournette, I will not. Moneyball offensive baseball is about contact hitting and speed. So long as the line does the fundamentals and opens holes Dalvin Cook can use his speed to score “runs.” Cook would take a ton of pressure off of Tyrod Taylor, Terrelle Pryor and the passing game.
Despite what I said earlier it is likely that Thomas is a likely top 20 pick given his tools and production in college. I think going to a 3-4 scheme would be best for Thomas where he could play 3-4 DE (OLB on occasion). Cardinals could take him as a partner to Chandler Jones who is surely to be tagged or as a replacement to Calais Campbell if he decides to sign elsewhere this FA since they have needs at both positions. Although he is not the same style player so re-signing Campbell wouldn’t necessarily mean that AZ wouldn’t take Thomas either. Start Solomon at both DE and OLB in camp early and see if one or the other pops out. I think that Bruce Arians is officially on the DeShon Kizer is terribly overrated bandwagon hoping he gets the ND product to fall to #13. He’s tall, athletic, got a solid arm; seems like a prototypical Arians QB. I almost slotted Pat Mahomes here because he reminds me of Roethlisberger (Arians was OC of Pitt), but I think they would rather he fall to their second round choice if taking him. I don’t think DeShaun Watson will intrigue them. So if not Kizer in the first Jerrod Evans in round 2/3 is another guy I think that Arians would like. One interesting scenario is what they would do if Trubisky is available here. I don’t know if he is Bruce’s cup of tea when it comes to QB’s, but I do think he would be great value at #13 that would be hard to pass up. NO makes that a non-issue in this draft so Solomon Thomas it is.
I think that taking an offensive lineman to help protect luck will be talked about, but their defense is in shambles. It won’t matter how good on offense Luck can play if the defense continues to give yards and points left and right. Reuben Foster is not only going to improve you run defense, he will become your leader on the field. He should help improve the players around him. Thus he impacts your pass rush and coverage just by being the coach on the field. A coach who can run over RB’s like they were toddlers… He was a monster for Alabama who is quickly becoming MLBU (CJ Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, Rolando McClain [sorta], Jury still out on Reggie Ragland…). I think he can come in and be the same type of player that Hightower and Mosley have become for their respective teams. He is the best in pass coverage but his understanding of the defense will allow he to bark out the orders to make you coverage better.
Carolina comes all the way down to fifteen, picks up two 3rds and Kendricks, and all they have to do is “settle” for Jabril Peppers? Boo hoo. I would instantly give this pick an A+. I’d give the Eagles an A+ for staying put and taking Peppers here let alone Carolina getting more draft picks and taking him here. David Gettleman took Shaq Thompson despite him not having a set position in the NFL. To me Peppers will ultimately end up being a playmaking SS in the NFL, but with their need at CB he may start his career in the slot or even at outside CB. His size is going to hurt his stock, but based on tape to me he should be a Top 8 pick.
Ozzie Newsome will be praised once again for taking a player who should have not fallen to his choice. Barnett produced like a beast at Tennessee; producing 3 double digit sack seasons. Ozzie would be all for that given the Ravens lack of pass rush this past season. To make matters worse their best pass rushers are both aged vets at this point likely seeing their last NFL action in the next couple/few years. Suggs and Dumervil would however be good mentors to have for a young player like Barnett. I personally am a little sour on Barnett myself. I just don’t like what I see on tape. He doesn’t have a non-stop motor, he doesn’t play with a lot of physicality, and doesn’t have much in ways of pass rush moves which is extremely odd given his sack tackles. He produced in college there is no denying that, but unless he beat tackles with speed he quickly became a non-factor on most plays. Then again the same thing can be said about all DE’s. Most of the game they can be swallowed up, but if the beat that tackle just once for a strip sack they had the better game. Although built differently, that was Osi stake to football stardom. Barnett, at Tennessee, had a knack for making those big sacks. That’ll get him drafted alone.