Louisville Football: 6 ACC Players Picked In PFF’s 2017 NFL Mock Draft

We take a look at the 6 ACC players that were chosen in Pro Football Focus’ NFL Mock Draft and if there were any Louisville football players.

The 2016 college football season definitely kept everyone on-edge from start to finish. As Louisville football fans, things didn’t turn out like we hoped they would, but that didn’t mean that 2016 came without excitement.

Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman Trophy will probably be one of the best “sports moments” in my entire life, even if Louisville wins the National Championship at some point. Winning that award is always something that people will remember for years to come.

With that being said, Jackson should be the top draft pick whenever he decides to leave the University of Louisville for the NFL. However, thankfully Cardinals fans won’t have to deal with that for at least another year.

Some other teams in the ACC aren’t so lucky, as there is a large number of talented offensive football players leaving the conference for the NFL this year. While we expected there to be some Cardinals among that “top group”, it pains me to say that none of them were worthy enough to of made Pro Football Focus’ first NFL Mock Draft.

However, the Cardinals did go toe-to-toe with some of the best prospects coming out this season. Take a look at them on the following slides.

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2. San Fransisco 49ers: QB, Deshaun Watson

The first quarterback that will be chosen in this year’s draft, at least according to Pro Football Focus, is Deshaun Watson. There have been a ton of people who believed Watson wasn’t going to get picked until the second round, but even as a Louisville fan, I think that mindset is just ridiculous.

The National Football League is all about winning and Watson is definitely a competitor with every quarterback intangible he needs to be successful.

Take a look at what Pro Football Focus had to say about Watson:

“The need for quarterbacks is too strong in this league, and Watson has shown the ability to throw with touch on the outside while also showing the requisite zip to make passes up the seam. He was the No. 3 overall quarterback in the nation in 2016 in PFF grades, but given the high standards put on him, it was a disappointing effort for much of the season as he forced too many passes into coverage and his work in the pocket did not develop as expected. Still, there is plenty to work with in Watson who had a knack for bouncing back from adversity like few quarterbacks, and perhaps that is his greatest attribute and one that pushes him toward the top of the draft.”

Another thing to add to Watson getting drafted this high-heading to the 49ers organization will be a ton better than heading to Cleveland, regardless of each team’s 2016 record.

Dec 30, 2016; El Paso, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws the ball against the Stanford Cardinal defense at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; El Paso, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws the ball against the Stanford Cardinal defense at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

3. Chicago Bears: QB, Mitch Trubisky

I think it shows just how far the ACC football conference has come now that Pro Football Focus believes that two of the top three draft picks this year are from the conference. Mitch Trubisky is a guy that has seen his NFL Draft stock soar over the course of this season.

However, that might be more telling of the depth of quarterbacks in this draft than his actual NFL quarterback ceiling going forward.

Take a look at what Pro Football Focus had to say about Trubisky in their mock draft:

“Another unique situation at quarterback, Trubisky has turned one year of starting into a potential first-round pedigree. He didn’t completely burst onto the scene, as his talent was evident in limited time in 2015. He finished with the No. 2 passing grade in the class at 81.6, as he showed the arm to drive the ball with velocity outside the numbers while showing the footwork to maneuver the pocket and create space to get the ball out of his hand. There are some concerns about Trubisky’s game, as there were plenty of games in which he showed his potential but also left wanting for more, but like Watson, there are enough positives to warrant taking a chance near the top of the draft. The Bears are ready for a new look under center, and Trubisky has the tools to develop into a good starter.”

This would definitely be an interesting situation for both the Chicago Bears and Mitch Trubisky. Chicago hasn’t had consistent quarterback play in a long time, but does putting your faith in a rookie automatically mean success is coming? Just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. Tennessee Titans: WR, Mike Williams

If you watched any of Clemson’s football games this season, then you know Mike Williams is one bad man. Williams dominated the College Football Playoff and solidified himself as a top ten draft pick in April.

Take a look at what Pro Football Focus had to say about Williams in their Mock Draft:

“Like the Browns, the Titans have leverage in the first round with picks at five and 18, and while a cornerback should certainly be on their radar, the depth at the position may allow them to pick one up later in the round. Instead, they go with Williams to provide a big target for QB Marcus Mariota. Williams can win in the possession game, using his big body to win the position battle against cornerbacks on slants and posts but he also has the body control to win in contested, downfield situations. That combination led to the No. 3 receiving grade among FBS receivers in 2016 as Williams was Deshaun Watson’s go-to guy on their national championship run.”

I actually really like this move for the Titans going into 2017. It would give Marcus Mariota a true number one receiver that is ready to come into the league and play at a high-level. I don’t see the Calvin Johnson comparisons, but he is going to be an All-Pro wide receiver in his own right.

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. The Seminoles won 33-32. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. The Seminoles won 33-32. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

12. Cleveland Browns: RB, Dalvin Cook

(from Philadelphia Eagles)

I think every Louisville football fan will appreciate that their Cardinals will never have to face Dalvin Cook ever again. Cook was one of the best running backs in college football, but never got an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, which is just crazy.

Take a look at what Pro Football Focus had to say about Cook in their Mock Draft:

“The Browns do not pass up the opportunity to add another game-changer to the roster as Cook’s big-play ability is as good as it gets in the draft. The play here is to grab one of the second-round-worthy quarterbacks either at the top of the round or perhaps by trading back into round one to secure their spot (Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech is a viable option). Adding Cook to the offense brings a player capable of scoring any time he touches the ball as he’s capable of sneaking through the slightest crease to create a big play. Cook also showed capable of maximizing subpar blocking in 2016, leading the nation with 90 missed tackles forced and averaging 4.2 yards after contact per rush.”

You know what they say, all good things must come to an end, especially if you get drafted by the Cleveland Browns. It doesn’t really matter what position you play, going to Cleveland is the worst possible scenario for anybody. Hopefully Cook can dodge the Browns and end up in Indianapolis.

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (25) talks with undergraduate coach Keith Jennings against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (25) talks with undergraduate coach Keith Jennings against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

14. Philadelphia Eagles: CB, Cordrea Tankersley

(from Minnesota Vikings)

Well, when you win a National Championship, there are going to be a plethora of players leaving your program for the NFL Draft. Not to mention, most of these guys from Clemson are being chosen in the First Round.

Take a look at what Pro Football Focus has to say about Tankersley in their Mock Draft:

“Another cornerback coming off the board, Tankersley has a 6-foot-1 frame and strong movement skills for his size. He had the No. 6 overall grade in the nation among cornerbacks and he’s allowed a passer rating of 40.0 into his coverage in our two-plus years of grading. The Eagles have a chance to re-vamp their secondary in this draft and it starts with Tankersley who is capable of playing multiple coverages on the outside.”

Tankersley was easily one of the best cornerbacks in all of the ACC, as he was tied for the conference lead in passes defended in 2016. Not to mention, he was a huge part of a Tigers defense that held on to knock off Jalen Hurts and Alabama.

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight (3) scrambles under pressure from Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight (3) scrambles under pressure from Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

31. Atlanta Falcons: Edge, DeMarcus Walker

The Atlanta Falcons would be getting one heck of a football player in DeMarcus Walker. He didn’t do much against Louisville this season, largely because their read-option forced Walker to stay in neutral most of the game. However, not all teams on FSU’s schedule was able to do that this year.

Take a look at what Pro Football Focus had to say about Walker in their Mock Draft:

“Atlanta made such great strides offensively this season, but the defense could still use more disruptive playmakers up front. Walker provides just that after finishing seventh among edge defenders at 89.4 overall, including an 89.2 pass-rush grade. Walker has the size to play on the edge or on the interior, adding yet another piece to Atlanta’s defensive front.”

Walker finished his last year as a Seminoles football player with 16 total sacks, which put him at second in the entire country in that category. Atlanta needs another pass-rusher to compliment former Clemson stand-out Vic Beasley, therefore Walker would also be a great choice.

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