A fun and exciting 2017 NFL Mock Draft filled with intrigue throughout the entire first round.
It may seem early to some, but there are a lot of NFL fan bases who are ready for the 2017 NFL Mock Draft season. As we sit in Week 14, the teams that are likely to select in the top 10 of the draft are in clear rebuilding situations.
Nothing is more exciting for those teams than the draft process. Why not get a look ahead and see who your favorite team who could be targeting?
The draft order for this mock was determined by the latest order from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. Moreover, it’s also worth noting that this is compiled without any real insider knowledge before the combine, pro days, interviews, and so on. This is all about team needs and draft prospect values. Sound good?
Here is a complete first-round 2017 NFL Mock Draft. To kick us off, the Cleveland Browns are on the clock.
Sep 24, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) in game action against the Arkansas Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium. Texas A&M won 45-24. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
EDGE, Texas A&M
The Cleveland Browns obviously have a massive need at the quarterback position. All of the top signal callers will undoubtedly be under consideration here. That being said, if they pull the trigger with one of them with the first-overall pick, I think they would be making a mistake.
I do not think the quarterback talent in this draft class is bad, but Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett is a big-time edge rusher who has massive upside at the next level. Garrett is the best prospect in the 2017 NFL draft class and would be a slam dunk selection for the Browns.
Garrett has fantastic natural speed and athleticism on the outside. He has an extremely explosive first step off of the snap, immediately giving him the edge against opposing offensive tackles. After getting that immediate edge, Garrett’s natural skills take over. He is an elite-level speed rusher who also does a fantastic job of converting his speed into power. Quickness and athleticism is always going to be the basis of Garrett’s game, but his strength and power on the edge is impressive as well.
This guy is the total package and is a NFL star in the making. The Browns will have to address their quarterback issues eventually, but Garrett would give them an elite-level talent to build their defense around. This is a slam dunk selection.
Nov 26, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) between plays during the first quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Colin Kaepernick has played better than expected when given an opportunity for the San Francisco 49ers this season. He is certainly a talented player who still has some upside, but I think everyone would agree that the two sides are better off going their separate ways.
The 49ers have many holes on both sides of the ball, but grabbing a true franchise quarterback to build around would be a great place to start. There are a few solid options who they could consider here, but Deshaun Watson is the most logical choice.
Watson is an extremely athletic quarterback prospect who possesses the necessary arm strength to make any throw at the NFL level. He is a bit inconsistent, especially with his touch on certain passes, but Watson undoubtedly has major upside at the next level.
He has also played in many big games throughout his college career, typically stepping up and playing his best games when the lights shine the brightest. Watson is currently getting picked apart by many in the draft community. They cite his lack of touch on some passes and say that he does not read opposing defenses well. That being said, I fully expect this narrative to drastically chance as the draft nears. If he continues to step up and make plays for Clemson down the stretch of the season, Watson will once again become a draft darling.
The talent is all there for him to be an elite-level quarterback at the next level. Watson is not a perfect prospect by any means. He will have to clean up his game in order to reach his full potential. That being said, finding a potential franchise quarterback is not easy. The 49ers have an opportunity to find him right here, and Watson is the right guy.
Dec 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Austin Appleby (12) is brought down by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) during the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship college football game at Georgia Dome. Alabama defeated Florida 54-16. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Line, Alabama
It will be very interesting to see how the Jacksonville Jaguars approach the 2017 NFL Draft. They have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but they have not been able to put it all together for any sort of success.
As bad as Blake Bortles has looked, quarterback may be a legitimate option here. That being said, I would be surprised to see the team give up on a recent third-overall selection. If the Jags decide against replacing their signal caller, simply taking the best available talent is the best option. In this 2017 NFL Mock Draft, Jonathan Allen is that guy.
Allen is an extremely gifted defensive lineman who has completely dominated college football this season. Allen shows incredible versatility up front, dominating from both the defensive end and defensive tackle positions for Alabama. Allen is a quick and explosive athlete who can use his speed to beat slower, more powerful offensive lineman. However, he is also an extremely powerful man himself, and can physically man-handle offensive lineman who are built on quickness.
His raw combination of power and athleticism makes him an extremely intriguing player at the next level. Add in Allen’s incredible field awareness and natural defensive instincts, and he is undoubtedly an NFL star in the making.
The Jaguars have a lot of talent on their defensive front, but they would be foolish to pass up an opportunity to add Allen to their defensive core. He could easily be the missing piece on a defensive unit with a ton of natural upside.
Sep 24, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback, North Carolina
The Jay Cutler era appears to winding down for the Chicago Bears. They simply cannot count on Cutler to stay healthy, and even when he is on the field, he is a low-level NFL starter. If the Bears expect to be competitive anytime soon, they must figure out their quarterback situation.
That being said, I do not think taking a quarterback is a guarantee here. There are many who are not impressed with this quarterback class and the Bears have many holes on their roster. That being said, Mitch Trubisky is worth taking a shot on here. Trubisky has had a limited college career as a starting quarterback. However, what we have seen out of him has been absolutely fantastic.
The North Carolina product is shows ideal size for the position (6-3, 220 pounds), has a rocket arm and great mobility both in and out of the pocket. Trubisky is also an accurate passer who shows the ability to succeed in the short, intermediate and deep passing game. There are concerns about Trubisky’s field awareness and he certainly has sloppy footwork in the pocket. Those concerns are undoubtedly legitimate, but they are problems that can be fixed by proper NFL coaching.
The Bears have some nice offensive weapons in their arsenal, but they simply do not have the right guy to get them the ball. Trubisky certainly needs a little seasoning at the next level, but he is a franchise quarterback in the making. Chicago has many needs, but nothing is more important to this team than finding the right guy under center.
Oct 22, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Marlon Humphrey (26) intercepts the ball from Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Josh Reynolds (11) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Like the others picking at the top of this draft, the New York Jets are not a good football team. On top of that, they are an older team who does not have the young talent in place to take over for their veteran starters.
Quarterback could easily be under consideration here for the Jets, but moving on without really giving Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg a chance seems silly. If they are in love with a guy like DeShone Kizer, I could see them pulling the trigger, but the Jets undoubtedly have many positions of need that they could address here.
What was once an obvious strength, the Jets’ pass defense has become a major issue in 2016. They can create some pressure up front, but there is plenty to be desired in the defensive backfield. Darrelle Revis is clearly not the player who he once was, and the Jets simply do not have any other established cornerbacks on the roster.
The cornerback class in this draft is impressive, and taking one early would make a ton of sense for the Jets. Talented Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey makes a ton of sense here. Athletically, Humphrey is as gifted as they come. He is a former track star who shows more natural speed and athleticism than any other cornerback prospect in this draft.
That being said, Humphrey is more than a track athlete who wears pads. This guy is a tremendous football player who shows fantastic natural coverage instincts on the field. Humphrey is great in all types of coverage. He excels in press coverage, off-man and in the zone. On top of that, he has elite-level ball skills and is great in run support. Humphrey is a fantastic player. He may not quite be a finished product, but the skills are there for him to be an elite player at the cornerback position in the NFL.
The Jets’ pass defense is an absolute mess. Drafting Humphrey to be a potential shutdown corner would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction.
Sep 10, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Quincy Wilson (6) during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans acquired the Los Angeles Rams’ first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft as part of the trade up package for quarterback Jared Goff. In this mock draft, the pick acquired appears to be an extremely valuable selection. Cornerback is an obvious need for the Titans. They have struggled to find a capable duo at the position all season long, and they simply must address that situation this off season.
There are many talented cornerbacks in this class who could be considered here. Florida’s Jalen “Teez” Tabor may seem like the most obvious selection, but I think his teammate Quincy Wilson makes the most sense for Tennessee. Tabor has gotten most of the headlines at the premier defensive standout for Florida this season, but do not let that take away from what Wilson does on the field.
At 6-1, 213 pounds, Wilson has ideal size and length for the cornerback position. He is a tough player who does a fantastic job of jamming opposing wide receivers on the line of scrimmage.
He also shows high-level speed and athleticism that is obviously needed at the next level. Wilson has been great for Florida this season, but he projects to have a ridiculously high ceiling. Tabor may be a bit safer of a prospect, but Wilson undoubtedly has the raw upside to be an absolute defensive star.
Wilson does not get as many headlines as Tabor, but there is at least one NFL executive who sees him not only as the best cornerback on his team, but in the entire nation.
Make no mistake about it, Wilson is a legitimate top ten prospect who has massive upside at the next level. He is an extremely athletic and aggressive cornerback who shows fantastic natural coverage ability and ball skills. He will be a star in the making at the next level and a welcomed addition to the Titans’ less than stellar secondary.
Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) tries to get past Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Ryan Connelly (43) in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Running Back, LSU
The 2016 season has been a major disappointment for the Carolina Panthers. Nothing has gone right for this organization. Their pass defense has been horrible, and Cam Newton is simply not as dominant as he was during his 2015 MVP campaign.
Having said that, the Panthers still have a lot of young and exciting talent on both sides of the ball. The 2016 season could easily turn out to be a minor bump in the road for this team, as they march forward into 2017 and beyond. However, it would certainly not hurt to add more high-level talent to the mix in Carolina.
Offensive tackle is probably their biggest positional need, but taking an offensive lineman here would be a major reach. This is the worst crop of offensive linemen of any draft class in recent memory. With that in mind, let’s give Newton and company some major help in another way.
Leonard Fournette is an extremely talented running back prospect who has a chance to be an absolute star at the next level. He is an incredibly powerful and explosive back who can create a big play out of nothing.
Fournette’s game is not built on speed and quickness, but he does have the speed to take it to the house from anywhere on the field. He is a big and powerful man who is a load to take down. His physical running style would be welcomed with open arms in a Panthers offense that loves to run downhill.
At 29 years old, Jonathan Stewart may not have any prime years left at the running back position. Simply replacing him with a younger and more talented version would make a lot of sense.
A combination of Cam Newton and Leonard Fournette in a power rushing attack would be enough to scare even the toughest opposing defensive units. This would be a power move that could immediately get the Panthers back in the Superbowl conversation.
Oct 8, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) and Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Avery Gennesy (65) in action during the game at Kyle Field. The Aggies defeat the Volunteers 45-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive End, Tennessee
Derek Barnett may be the most well-rounded defensive edge prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft class. He is not the long athletic freak that we are accustomed to seeing in the top ten, but he has an extremely impressive skill-set that will translate well to the next level.
The Tennessee product certainly shows plenty of speed on the outside. He has a quick first step, fantastic natural acceleration and a high-motor on his route to the quarterback. That being said, Barnett’s most impressive trait is his natural strength and power on the edge. He does a fantastic job of converting his immediate speed into power and can physically man-handle in both the pass rush and against the run. Barnett even shows enough strength to kick inside and make an impact in the pass rush against the slower-footed interior offensive lineman.
The Cincinnati Bengals have an obvious need at the defensive end position. There are many prospects at the position who they could consider here. However, I think Barnett’s well-rounded ability will particularly appeal to the Bengals.
This is a defense that prides themselves on being able to stop the run and the pass. Their secondary is a bit of a mess right now, and placing Barnett up front would immediately help take pressure off of those guys while also improving their entire run defense. A great player in an ideal situation. Barnett to the Bengals would be an overall fantastic fit no matter how you look at it.
Nov 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback, Notre Dame
What an ideal situation for the Browns here. After passing up the quarterbacks with the first overall pick to take the elite defender in Garrett, the Browns still land a high-level franchise quarterback of the future.
In almost any order, Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer appear to be the best quarterbacks in this draft class. The Browns may prefer to land Trubisky or Watson, but having Kizer fall into their laps at No. 9 would be an incredible situation.
Physically, Kizer has it all at the quarterback position. Listed at 6-4, 230 pounds, he has ideal size for the position. Kizer is also an extremely athletic player and possesses a rocket for a right arm. He shows the necessary accuracy and tough on his passes to succeed at the next level, and can undoubtedly make any throw on the field.
As a redshirt sophomore, Kizer does not have a ton of high-level experience. That being said, he is a gamer who appears to step up and make plays when his team needs him to the most. Kizer is not a perfect prospect. While he shows high-level accuracy at times, it is not on a consistent basis. Mentally, Kizer appears to pick up coverages extremely well and make strong decisions both in and outside the pocket, but he does need more seasoning at the position to be sure.
The Browns probably do not find an immediate solution to their quarterback situation here. Kizer would undoubtedly benefit from sitting and learning on the bench for at least a year. That being said, getting a guy with his natural ability into Hue Jackson’s system is a recipe for success.
Here, the Browns find a potential franchise quarterback. After landing an elite-level edge rusher who is likely the best overall prospect in the draft early, I would say this first round has been a success for them.
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jabrill Peppers (5) on the field against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints defense has improved in recent weeks, but they are still a unit that desperately needs an infusion of talent. The Saints have allowed 27.9 points per game this season, the third most in the entire NFL and are equally awful against the run and the pass.
If the Saints do not figure out their obvious defensive issues soon, they are going to waste the twilight years of Drew Brees. Their offense carries them right not, but Brees is not going to be around forever. With the 10th overall selection, the Saints simply have to look defense.
Simply taking the best defensive prospect, regardless of position, is the best plan of attack for the Saints. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is that guy.
Is he a linebacker or a safety? Nobody really seems to know for sure, but make no mistake about it, Jabrill Peppers is a dynamic playmaker on the football field. At 6-1, 205 pounds, Peppers does not really have the size to play the linebacker position. That being said, he is a natural playmaker who is probably best used closer to the line of scrimmage.
He shows incredible natural speed and athleticism on the field, showing the ability to make plays from anywhere. His natural coverage skills are lacking, but Peppers’ raw athletic traits more than make up for that more often than not. If he takes well to defensive coaching at the next level, Peppers could legitimately be the best defensive player in the NFL. He has that kind of raw upside. That being said, there is a long way to go before we approach that conversation.
He is a talented safety/linebacker hybrid who can undoubtedly come in and make a significant impact on the return game right away. Peppers has even had some success as an offensive weapon at times at Michigan. The upside here is absolutely massive. Peppers is the kind of player who could pretty much single-handily fix the Saints defense if he were to reach his upside. Having said that, there is significant risk here as well.
Nov 26, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) catches a touchdown pass in front of South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Jamarcus King (7) at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver, Clemson
Philip Rivers continues to truck along no matter who he is throwing the ball to. Antonio Gates is not getting any younger and Keenan Allen cannot stay on the field for a significant period of time, but the San Diego Chargers passing attack continues to perform at a high level. Allen should return healthy next season and the Chargers really have seemed to find something in fellow receiver Tyrell Williams. That being said, Mike Williams is the kind of talent that could take this passing game to the next level.
Williams is a physical freak on the outside. He couples ideal size (6-3, 225 pounds) with elite-level athleticism at the wide receiver position. Williams is not the fastest receiver on the field, but he does have enough speed to beat a defense deep. The Clemson product is a weapon everywhere on the field at the wide receiver position. He can excel in the short, intermediate and deep passing game, and he is a big-time matchup issue in the red zone.
Rivers is not getting any younger. The Chargers’ window for competitiveness may close as his career winds down. Getting him a young and talented option on the outside to throw to may keep that window up for a bit longer. The Chargers offense is already good, but Williams gives them the ability to be nearly unstoppable.
Oct 22, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Tim Williams (56) reacts after sacking the Texas A&M Aggies quarterback at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Cardinals defense is loaded with talent all over the field. They also do a great job of putting their players in the best position possible to succeed. If the team decides to bring back Chandler Jones next season, finding an outside pass rusher will not be on the top of their list of priorities. The starting combination of Jones and Markus Golden on the outside is solid. That being said, you can never have too many guys who can get after the quarterback.
Tim Williams is not a balanced defensive prospect. He lacks ideal bulk and strength up front which really hurts him against the run. That being said, he is a freak on the outside who can create consistent pressure on the passer.
With an explosive first step off of the line of scrimmage, Williams does an incredible job of gaining an immediate advantage over the opposing tackle on the outside. He then possesses high-level speed and athleticism on the outside that allows him to capitalize on that immediate advantage.
Make no mistake about it, Williams is a ferocious edge rusher whose mix of skills should translate extremely well to the next level. The Cardinals defense is great, but adding another impact rusher on the edge would only make them better.
Williams would likely only be on the field for obvious passing downs early in his career. That being said, his impact on those downs would immediately be felt. A big-time pass rusher with massive upside, Williams would be a fantastic pick for the Cardinals here.
Oct 15, 2016; Akron, OH, USA; Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Corey Davis (84) tosses the ball after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium. Western Michigan Broncos won 41-0. Mandatory Credit: Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
The Titans addressed a huge defensive need earlier in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft, landing Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson with the sixth-overall selection. Now, with their own selection at No. 13, they fill their biggest need on the offensive side of the ball.
This wide receiver class is extremely interesting. Most consider Mike Williams, who went just two picks ago, to be the top player at the position in this class. That being said, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis may give him a run for his money. Davis is a true potential No. 1 at the position who could be a massive add for the Titans.
Marcus Mariota has the Titans offense rolling this season. He is an extremely talented quarterback who clearly has a bright future in the NFL. However, he is never going to reach his full potential without more talent at the wide receiver position at his disposal. Adding Davis to the mix would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Davis is a big (6-3, 213 pounds) and athletic receiver who shows big-time playmaking ability. He is fast and elusive with the ball in his hands and his natural acceleration is elite. While there will be concerns about his level of competition in college, Davis undoubtedly shows the well-rounded skill-set to continue his success at the next level. Also, he is an extremely versatile receiver who has experience playing both on the outside and in the slot.
The Western Michigan product has the height and natural athleticism to make plays on the jump ball. However, his timing on those plays typically seems to be off. If Davis can improve his jump ball ability, he will be an extremely well-rounded receiver. Luckily, the skills are certainly in place for improvement in that area. Davis can make plays deep and has the ability to take a short pass, make a defender miss and take it to the house. He is a natural playmaker on the field who is not only a great value here, but would fill an obvious need.
Oct 10, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) prepares to hit Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen (10) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
The Indianapolis Colts are not a great football team. Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback who makes this team look much better than they are overall, but they have so many obvious holes on both sides of the ball.
They obviously cannot fix everything with one draft pick, but finding a big-time talent on the defensive side of the ball would be a great start. Reuben Foster is the premier linebacker prospect in this draft class, and he would be a fantastic choice for the Colts here with the 14th=overall pick.
Foster is an extremely talented linebacker who blends high-level athleticism with an incredibly physical style of play. He is an aggressive player who also shows fantastic natural instincts in the middle of the field.
Against the run, Foster shows the ability to defend from sideline-to-sideline. His range in the middle of the field is impressive, but he also shows great physicality. Foster is not afraid to take on any blockers, consistently shedding them at the point of attack. Foster is impressive against the ground game, but he is also an effective linebacker against the aerial attack. He has impressive natural instincts in coverage and shows strong ball skills for a linebacker. Foster also has the necessary speed and athleticism to defend tough matchups on the inside.
He was not asked to blitz much at Alabama, but when he does attack the quarterback from the inside, Foster is typically effective. Make no mistake about it, this is an extremely well-rounded football player who could be an absolute star at the linebacker position at the next level.
The Colts defense needs a lot of work, but they have to start somewhere. Adding Foster to the middle of their defense would give them an immediate boost next season. He is the kind of player who can lead a defensive unit to success. Foster could do to the Colts defense what Luck does to their offense, making them much better than they probably should be.
Sep 3, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; USC Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Cam Robinson (74) in action during the game against the USC Trojans at AT&T Stadium. Alabama defeats USC 52-6. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Buffalo Bills are an interesting football team. They have a talented, yet inconsistent defense and an offensive unit filled with potential. Rex Ryan may not be in charge of this team for much longer, but it is difficult to see them changing their identity too much in the near future.
Offensively, they are clearly led by an impact rushing attack. Running back LeSean McCoy is their best offensive weapon, Mike Gillislee has proven to be a strong running mate and quarterback Tyrod Taylor is a far better runner than he is a passer.
The Bills have a big and powerful offensive line that does a great job of creating holes for McCoy and company in the run game. That being said, they have an obvious hole at the right tackle position. The combination of Jordan Mills and Cyrus Kouandijo are simply not getting the job done, and the Bills cannot count on Seantrel Henderson going forward.
This offensive line class is less than impressive, but snagging Cam Robinson here would be a nice choice for the Bills. Robinson is an extremely big and physical offensive tackle who can absolutely dominate in the run game.
He will consistently move opposing defensive linemen backward off of the snap and has the foot quickness to reach the second level. There are off-field concerns with Robinson and his technique up front is less than stellar. That being said, he has the raw skill-set to be an impact player up front in the NFL.
Robinson has the pass protection upside to be a left tackle at the next level. That being said, he is extremely inconsistent as a pass protector. The Bills immediately placing him as a run blocking right tackle who could grow into a strong pass protector would be a strong move that would help the entire offense. The Alabama product is far from a perfect prospect, but he does have a ton of upside at the next level and fits in well with the Bills’ offensive scheme.
Nov 12, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) celebrates with the fans during their game against the Michigan Wolverines at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
While Aaron Rodgers and the offense has been far from perfect, the early season struggles of the Green Bay Packers can mostly be blamed on the defense. They have a decent front seven, but injuries in the secondary have absolutely killed this team. The loss of Casey Heyward in free agency and the injury to Sam Shields certainly did not help, but the Packers’ cornerback situation has been a mess. Young corners Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have not taken the next step in their second season and it has really hurt this team.
While they certainly still have some upside at the cornerback position, I would not be surprised to see the Packers continue to address their issues at cornerback. In the middle of the first round, they land the reliable Desmond King.
The 2017 draft class is loaded with talent at the cornerback position, and the Packers would have their pick of a few extremely talented players at the position in this spot. That being said, King in particular seems like a strong fit for this team. King is not as athletically gifted as some of the other top players at his position, but he is an extremely dependable option on the outside. He is a tough and physical defender who shows the ability to defend in multiple different coverages.
He does not have eye-popping athleticism, but King is physically gifted enough to defend highly talented receivers. He is an extremely savvy player who always puts himself in a great position to make a play on the ball. King is great in coverage, but he is elite as a run defender from the cornerback position. Never afraid to come up and get his nose dirty, King will make many plays on the outside and is an extremely dependable tackler. He has also shown some upside in college as a return man.
The Packers simply need somebody at the cornerback position who they know they can count on. King may not have lock down number one cornerback upside, but he is a talented player who will come in and get the job done on a consistent basis. Strong value selection here.
Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball for a touchdown past Florida Gators defensive back Chauncey Gardner Jr. (23) during the first quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Running Back, Florida State
The Philadelphia Eagles do not own their own 2017 first-round pick, giving it up in the Carson Wentz trade. However, they were able to snag a first-round selection from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for Sam Bradford. This pick didn’t look great early on, but as the weeks go on, it continues to look better and better.
It will be interesting to see which direction the Eagles go here. They have needs on both sides of the ball, but finding a weapon to help Wentz develop has to be their biggest priority. I could see a wide receiver here, but taking running back Dalvin Cook would be better value.
Cook is an explosive runner who can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. His game is built on speed and quickness, but he is also a relatively powerful back who seems to be able to take a consistent pounding throughout the game.
This running back class is absolutely loaded with talent and Cook has a chance to be the best of the bunch. The Eagles have an obvious need at the running back position going forward, and snagging Cook here would take their situation to the next level. A tremendous playmaker who would immediately become the number one option in this offense and would take a lot of pressure off of Wentz, Cook to the Eagles makes a lot of sense.
Oct 29, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Teez Tabor (31) against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at EverBank Field. Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I do not think many see Florida cornerback Jalen “Teez” Tabor falling this far. He is an extremely talented player at a prime position who has been productive in college. That being said, he fell a bit in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft and the Washington Redskins are here to benefit.
Josh Norman has been a strong number one option for the Redskins at cornerback, but guys like Bashaud Breeland and Quinton Dunbar playing next to him have been less than stellar. Opposing passing attacks have consistently thrown away from Norman, picking on the other cornerbacks on the field. Washington’s pass defense as a whole has not been terrible, but there is certainly room for improvement here. If a guy of Tabor’s caliber is available, selecting him to team with Norman on the outside is a no-brainer.
Tabor has a strong natural skill-set for the cornerback position. He is physical with receivers right off of the snap, has the quickness to keep up with them and the athleticism to make plays in the air. He does a nice job in press man, consistently keeping up with the receiver throughout the play. Make no mistake about it, Tabor is a good cornerback with fantastic natural coverage ability. Also, his ball skills in the air are top-notch.
I could certainly see Tabor going earlier than this, but his overall athletic profile does not stand up well to a prospect like Humphrey or Wilson. He is a solid player who will likely perform well at the next level, but similar to King, his upside is relatively limited. It will be extremely interesting to see how NFL teams value Tabor. Thus, he winds up being a steal for the Redskins.
Nov 5, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) sacks Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Kyle Shurmur (14) during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Auburn won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive End, Auburn
Even at his advance age, Cameron Wake is playing at an extremely high level. That being said, how long can the Miami Dolphins really expect that to continue? Also, fellow starting defensive end Mario Williams is set to hit free agency this off season.
The Dolphins have a strong overall defensive front, but they would be wise to look for some security at the defensive end position. With the 19th-overall selection, they find it in Auburn’s Carl Lawson. Lawson has dealt with injuries throughout his entire college career. However, when he is on the field, he has been an absolute force to be reckoned with.
An impressive speed rusher from the outside, Lawson shows a great burst off of the snap. He is an explosive player who does a great job of converting his speed into power at the point of attack. Lawson shows a wide array of pass rushing moves, including a devastating spin move that he likes to pull out in key situations.
Against the run, Lawson certainly has some room to grow. That being said, he is a hard-working player who will shoot the gaps and make a play in the backfield at times.
The Dolphins defense has played extremely well at times this season. However, aside from an aging Wake, they do not have an impact rusher on the outside. They need to find that guy who is going to attack the quarterback for this team going forward. Selecting Lawson is risky, but he is the kind of talent that could pay off in a big way.
Oct 15, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers safety Jamal Adams (33) celebrates after picking up a fumble during the third quarter of a game against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Now this would be an absolute steal. The Pittsburgh Steelers typically do a great job of simply sitting back and taking the best player available. In this mock, the best player on the board happens to fill a major need. Jamal Adams undoubtedly has top-10 potential in this draft class. However, I did find a perfect match for him along the way. I would be surprised if he actually fell this far, but you never know.
Adams is an incredibly athletic and aggressive player from the safety position. He plays almost primarily in the box for LSU, showing a great ability to come up and support against the run. Adams is a quick and explosive athlete who always seems to be around the ball.
While he is a bit on the small side, Adams plays much bigger than he looks. He is a strong player who packs a strong punch in his hits. Receivers coming across the middle should be aware of where Adams is.
Adams is not a coverage safety who is going to play a centerfield role at the next level. He is always going to be best used as an in the box player. That being said, he shows strong man-to-man skills. The Steelers would be able to count on Adams to defend running backs, tight ends and even slot receivers in man-to-man coverage.
The Steelers have some nice young players in the secondary, but they would be wise to keep on adding. Adams is the perfect kind of play-maker to add to the Steelers’ defense. He is the kind of guy who would take their entire unit to the next level.
December 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Sidney Jones (26) defends against Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Kabion Ento (17) during the fourth quarter in the Pac-12 championship at Levi’s Stadium. The Huskies defeated the Buffaloes 41-10. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected cornerback Vernon Hargreaves in the first round last year. Hargreaves has had an up-and-down rookie season and their entire cornerback situation continues to be a mess. They would be wise to consider taking another corner in the first round this time around.
Luckily, here with the 21st-overall selection another extremely talented cornerback prospect is still on the board. Washington’s Sidney Jones is a dynamic playmaker who has massive upside at the next level. Jones is an extremely talented cornerback prospect who would undoubtedly help their secondary situation. He is a high-level athlete who should be able to compete with the best receivers that the NFL has to offer.
His skills are undoubtedly impressive, but the mental side of Jones’ game is also incredible. He shows fantastic natural coverage skills and is extremely aware on the field. Jones shows the ability to play press, off-man and zone coverage at a high level and he is extremely explosive when breaking to the ball.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Jones’ game are his incredible ball skills. He is not only a great athlete who can get up and compete in the air, he has a knack for knocking passes away and making plays on the ball. His timing is impeccable and that will undoubtedly translate to the next level. Sidney Jones has legitimate shutdown cornerback upside. Teaming him up with Hargreaves would give the Bucs a younger cornerback duo that they could legitimately build their defense around.
Sep 24, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk (65) blocks Michigan State defensive end Evan Jones (85) during the second quarter of their game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
The Denver Broncos offense is a mess. Quarterback Trevor Simien has been decent, but he is not a guy who they can count on to consistently make plays. On top of that, their rushing attack has been average at best all season long.
However, nothing has hurt their offense more than the terrible play out of the right tackle position. Donald Stephenson was bad at the start of the season before getting replace by Ty Sambrailo, who was even worse. Both Stephenson and Sambrailo continually get destroyed on the edge in the pass rush and their play is destroying this Broncos offense.
As I mentioned earlier, this offensive line class is less than stellar. That being said, there are a handful of players who should be in first round consideration. Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk is among those players.
Ramczyk is one of the best stories in this draft class. He turned down an offer from Pitt out of high school to instead attend a Division II program Winona State. Ramczyk never took a snap at Winona State, transferring to a technical school to become a welder. Football appeared to be in his past.
Eventually, Ramczyk got his love for the game back, signing to play Division III football at UW-Stevens Point. After two successful seasons at the D-III level, Ramczyk has caught on with the Wisconsin Badgers and has become a great left tackle for the team.
Ramczyk is an extremely quick and athletic offensive tackle who really shines in pass protection. He shows elite balance and footwork while both run and pass blocking and has been performing at an extremely high level for Wisconsin against great competition. Do not be fooled by the feel good story or that he seemingly came from out of nowhere, Ramczyk is an extremely talented player whose skills will translate well to the next level. It is fair to question his passion for the game because of his past, but there is some real upside here.
The Broncos would be wise to make Ramczyk a priority in the first round. He is a superb pass protector who would undoubtedly improve their awful situation at the right tackle position. Also, his quick feet would fit extremely well in their zone-based run scheme. I love this fit.
Sep 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) fumbles the ball after being hit by Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) in the third quarter at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive End, Florida State
They certainly had to overpay, but the New York Giants’ free agent addition of defensive end Olivier Vernon has paid off in a big way. Vernon has been great for the Giants, dominating as both a pass rusher and against the run. That being said, with Jason Pierre-Paul set to hit free agency again this off season, the Giants do not have an obvious starter to play opposite Vernon next year. The Giants have always prided themselves on having a strong pass rush, and I do not see them allowing that to slip.
Athletically, DeMarcus Walker is an extremely impressive defensive end prospect. He is a quick and explosive player who shows an incredible combination of natural speed and power off of the edge. Walker is also an extremely long player which always comes in handy at defensive end. His long arms allow him to keep an ideal length between him and the offensive lineman and he can easily knock down passes at the line of scrimmage.
Walker is an impressive pass rush prospect who has massive upside on the edge at the next level. Also, he has shown a bit of versatility, kicking inside to defensive tackle at times as well. Walker has the frame to hold up inside on passing downs.
His pass rushing skills are elite and make him a strong first round prospect. That being said, Walker leaves plenty to be desired against the run. He constantly overruns the play when it is handed off, and also allows himself to get physically manhandled at times.
Walker is not a lazy player, but he is a guy who I would like to see put more effort in the run game. Honestly, it looks like all he really cares about is attacking the quarterback. In the NFL, you have to be able to do both. While his ability to stop the run is not up to par, Walker has tremendous upside at the next level. At worst, he could come in and be an absolute weapon for the Giants in specific passing situations.
Nov 5, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver Marcus Davis (80) is tackled by by Vanderbilt Commodores linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) during the first quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs are an extremely well-rounded football team. They do not have many obvious holes on the roster and it is going to be interesting to see how they attack the first round of this draft. Honestly, I wonder if a quarterback prospect like Pat Mahomes or Brad Kaaya could be in play here. The Chiefs would be wise to try to find a guy to groom behind Alex Smith for the next couple of years and this could be a great opportunity.
That being said, in this mock the Chiefs load up with an extremely talented defensive prospect. Linebacker Zach Cunningham is a gifted player on the inside who has immense upside at the next level.
Cunningham is not built like traditional inside linebacker. He is a bit thin, but he possesses incredible length for the position. While Cunningham does not look like a typical 3-4 inside backer, he has elite-level natural instincts that allow him to consistently make plays on the outside.
The Vanderbilt product can bob and weave through traffic better than any linebacker in this class. He is a smooth athlete who also uses his length extremely well to keep blockers off of him. While he is not the biggest player in the middle, Cunningham is an extremely aggressive and powerful player who can stand up to much bigger opponents.
His length, athleticism and incredible awareness on the field is extremely appealing for the inside linebacker position. Cunningham also shows solid pass coverage skills and can get after the quarterback well when asked to blitz. Cunningham could learn a lot with the Chiefs lining up next to Derrick Johnson.
They would form a dynamic duo on the inside for an already impressive Chiefs defense. More immediately, an impressive training camp could put Cunningham in position to replace Johnson early in 2017 as the star ruptured his Achilles on Thursday. Quarterback may be in play here, but Cunningham is too great of a value at a position of need to pass up in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
Sep 26, 2015; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Kevin Wilson talks with offensive lineman Dan Feeney (67) during the first quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Guard, Indiana
I had a hard time deciding who to place here for the Houston Texans. Once again, I strongly considered a quarterback like Pat Mahomes here as Brock Osweiler clearly is not the long-term answer for this franchise. Dynamic tight ends like O.J. Howard and Evan Engram also came under heavy consideration.
However, a safer pick seemed to make a lot more sense for Houston. As I have mentioned a couple of times, this is a poor offensive line class, but Dan Feeney is an interior offensive lineman who I see having an extremely successful NFL career.
Offensive guard may not be the Texans’ biggest need, but it is not like they are absolutely loaded at the position. Feeney is a high-level player who would immediately come in and be an improved starter for the team at either guard position. Feeney is a mean and nasty offensive lineman who fires off of the snap and drive blocks his opposing defender with consistency. He is a powerful run blocker who also shows more than enough quickness to reach the second-level.
The Indiana University product also shows the necessary athleticism and balance to succeed in pass protection. He will never be mistaken as an elite blind-side protecting tackle, but Feeney is more than strong enough in pass protection to succeed on the inside at the next level. A complete mauler who brings some nice stability and consistency to the mix, Feeney would be a strong selection for the Texans.
Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive tackle Montravius Adams (1) walks off the field at halftime against the Clemson Tigers during the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Tackle, Auburn
The Atlanta Falcons always seem to be looking for a high-level edge rusher in the draft. However, guys like Vic Beasley, Brooks Reed and Adrian Clayborn have stepped up this season. I do not like a reach for defensive end here. Instead, let’s look inside.
Montravius Adams is a defensive tackle prospect who immediately stands out on tape. He is a massive man in the middle of the field who uses his size and power extremely well. However, he is much more than a space eater in the middle of the defensive line.
Adams shows great quickness and athleticism for a man of his size. He is an explosive defensive tackle who has the necessary movement ability to make plays in the backfield against the run and create pressure on the quarterback. There are questions about Adams’ motor. He simply does not show up well on every snap. He appears to take plays off and that is obviously not something that will be acceptable to NFL coaches. That being said, his talent is far too intriguing to ignore.
Expect Adams to show well at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. He is an extremely talented player who can physically man-handle opposing offensive linemen. With his career on the line, I expect Adams to perform well prior to the draft and become a legitimate first-round prospect.
There is some obvious risk here, but the Falcons attacking defense would undoubtedly welcome an impact interior player like Adams. This feels like a strong fit as the Falcons continue to collect players who can get after the quarterback.
Oct 15, 2016; Tucson, AZ, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) scores a touchdown against the Arizona Wildcats during the first half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver, USC
The Baltimore Ravens always do a tremendous job of letting the draft come to them. Ozzie Newsome refuses to reach on a player based on need, simply taking the best available talent on the board a huge majority of the time. Over the years, this strategy has paid off extremely well for the Ravens.
When arguably the best player on the board meets an obvious position of need, that is what we would consider a best case scenario. With JuJu Smith-Schuster available for the Ravens at No. 27 in this mock, that is exactly what we have here.
The Ravens’ wide receiver situation is less than stellar at the moment. Steve Smith is likely to retire after this season, Mike Wallace still has ability but he is aging and guys like Kamar Aiken are limited. Breshaud Perriman has shown some nice ability this season, but he is their only long-term option at the position.
Smith-Schuster is an extremely physical and aggressive receiver. He is a strong player who consistently out-muscles opposing defenses backs for the ball. The USC product is far from the fastest receiver in this draft class. He has some deep speed, but that is never going to be the primary part of his game. That being said, his ability to physically man-handle on the outside is incredibly impressive.
Smith-Schuster is a dependable receiver who seems to especially make plays when his team needs him the most. A chain-mover who can also dominate in the red zone, Smith-Schuster is the kind of guy who quarterbacks love. Not only is this great value at a major position of need, Smith-Schuster’s skill-set blends well with the explosive deep threat in Perriman. This is the kind of move that could take the Ravens offense to the next level.
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Malik McDowell (4) stands on the field between plays during the second half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Line, Michigan State
The Detroit Lions have been one of the surprise teams of the NFL season. Matthew Stafford is playing better than he ever has before and their defense is really coming around lately. They will likely take home the NFC North title this year and will be a dangerous team in the postseason. Detroit is undoubtedly playing at a high level, but this is distant from a perfect roster. Specifically, they have many holes on the defensive side of the ball.
Ezekiel Ansah is a great edge rusher, but the Lions could really use some more pass rushing help for him up front. To help Ansah, the Lions take a local kid in Michigan State’s Malik McDowell. McDowell is going to be an extremely interesting prospect to watch throughout the draft process. He has an incredible combination of power and athleticism that he uses to dominate both against the run and pass in college.
That being said, he is a bit of a tweener prospect. McDowell plays primarily defensive tackle for the Spartans, but a 6-5, 276 pounds, he is too lean to play inside on a consistent basis in the NFL. McDowell is quick and athletic, but he does not really have the overall speed to be a big-time pass rush threat on the outside.
It will be interesting to see how NFL teams view this. To me, McDowell should play some defensive end on early downs, but still kick inside to create pressure on obvious passing downs. With decent depth at both defensive end and tackle, the Lions would be a good team to able to work with McDowell’s skill-set.
He is undoubtedly an incredibly talented player who has massive upside at the next level. I think McDowell will be an effective interior rusher in certain situations and a great run defender on the edge. That being said, whoever drafts him will need to use him right. This could be looked at as a negative, but there is also an interesting versatility aspect here. McDowell is an interesting selection for whoever takes him in April, which stands true for the Lions here.
Oct 29, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Garett Bolles (72) celebrates a touchdown by Utah Utes tight end Evan Moeai (not pictured) during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Washington won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Tackle, Utah
The Seattle Seahawks are arguably the most talented team in the entire NFL. They are loaded with elite-level talent on both sides of the ball and are obvious Superbowl contenders. That being said, there is one obvious hole on this roster: Offensive line.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is an incredible player, but the Seahawks’ offensive line has him consistently running for his life. They are an atrocious overall unit and anything that they can do to improve their offensive front drastically helps their situation going forward. Unfortunately for Seattle, this offensive line class is not great. However, Utah’s Garett Bolles is not a bad value selection here.
Bolles is an extremely strong and powerful offensive lineman who can absolutely dominate in the rushing attack. He is a mauler who consistently destroys the opposing defender with raw power.
He is not the most fleet of foot on the field, but Bolles does have enough quickness to reach the second level in the run game. As a pass protector, Bolles is raw. His footwork is sloppy and his overall technique needs a lot of work. That being said, the pieces are in place for him to succeed in that department with proper NFL coaching.
This is not a perfect selection, but the Seahawks simply must continue to address their offensive line situation. Perhaps a trade back would be ideal, but Bolles is a nice fit for the Seahawks in this mock.
Nov 5, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross (1) scores a touchdown against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver, Washington
Despite a shaky defense and losing star tight end Rob Gronkowski for the season, the New England Patriots are clear Superbowl contenders once again this season. The combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick continues to be the ultimate recipe for success for the team in New England.
That being said, this is far from a perfect roster overall. The Patriots have obvious needs on the offensive and defensive line, in the backfield, at linebacker and in the secondary. But they always seem to find a way to make it work. The Patriots’ selection here might be a bit out of character. That being said, Washington wide receiver John Ross is the kind of play-maker that their offense has been desperately needing for years.
Ross is an absolute burner on the outside, showing legitimate 4.2 speed on the field. This dude can absolutely fly, and it is not just elite-level straight-line speed. He is also an extremely quick and elusive player with the ball in his hands. His acceleration and raw start-and-stop ability is elite. On top of that, Ross shows consistent hands and can run a solid variety of routes. The Patriots simply do not have a guy like this one their roster. He would immediately make an already great offensive unit much more explosive.
With the 30th overall selection, Ross would be an absolute steal for the Patriots. They would typically not look to add this kind of player in the first round, but Ross is a special player worth making an exception.
Nov 12, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Riley McCarron (83) catches a pass in front of Michigan Wolverines cornerback Jourdan Lewis (26) during the first half at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Led by quarterback Derek Carr and defensive star Khalil Mack, the Oakland Raiders are one of the best teams in the NFL this season. They are no longer a young and up-and-coming team, they are now among the league’s elite.
The Raiders have impact players at extremely important positions all over the field, and the core of their team is extremely young. The Raiders are obvious Superbowl contenders this season and expect to be for a very long time. However, no NFL team is perfect.
Most notably the inside linebacker and cornerback positions stand out as the biggest needs on the Raiders’ roster. Linebacker Jarrad Davis was under consideration here, but taking Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis feels like a better value selection.
Lewis is an extremely quick and athletic defensive back who plays very aggressive at the line of scrimmage. He does not have great size, but Lewis is a feisty defender who will make an opposing receiver work for everything that they earn. He is not much of an off-man defender, clearly shining much more when he is allowed to be aggressive off of the snap. The Raiders’ cornerback situation is ugly at the moment and Lewis would be a guy who could come in and compete for snaps right away.
Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Clemson defensive back Cordrea Tankersley (25) prevents Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph (15) from making a second quarter catch at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
To cap off this 2017 NFL Mock Draft, the Dallas Cowboys land a potential impact player on the defensive side of the ball. Led by sensational rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are rolling on all cylinders this season and are undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with both this season and going forward.
Offensively, the Cowboys are absolutely loaded, and while their defensive unit is performing well, there is certainly room for improvement on that side of the ball. Defensive end and cornerback stand out as the biggest needs on the Cowboys’ roster. This cornerback class is absolutely loaded, and this specific 2017 NFL Mock Draft has no shortage of players at the position. Here we have another as they Cowboys land Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley.
A long and aggressive corner, Tankersley has the body and mind-set that NFL teams love at the position. He is a relatively athletic player who shows good speed skills as well. More than anything, Tankersley is a natural cover corner. He has shown incredible natural instincts in coverage, consistently getting to the ball before the receiver. The skills are strong, but Tankersley’s awareness and ability to adjust on the field is what separates him from the rest.
The Cowboys have some nice players at the cornerback position, but the pieces never seem to come together in a successful way. Tankersley is a strong and dependable player who just might be the missing piece of the Cowboys’ secondary.