2017 NFL Draft: Post-Super Bowl Mock for All 32 Teams
Fans can finally close the book on the 2016 season and focus on the NFL Draft, now that Super Bowl LI is in the books. Niner Noise dishes out our first post-Super Bowl mock for all 32 teams in Round 1.
It’s officially NFL Draft season, now that Super Bowl LI is in the books and we’ve crowned the New England Patriots champions over the Atlanta Falcons.
Well, technically there’s still free agency. But draft talk is always more fun.
The Cleveland Browns have been on the clock since the end of the regular-season, and they hold the No. 1 overall pick. Right behind them are the San Francisco 49ers, armed with a new general manager in John Lynch and a new head coach in Kyle Shanahan.
- 2/5 – Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots Pull Off Stunner over Falcons
- 2/5 – San Francisco 49ers’ All-Time Super Bowl Team
- 2/5 – Super Bowl LI: 5 Fun Games to Play at Your Sunday Party
- 2/4 – Kyle Shanahan hints interest at Cousins, Garoppolo for 49ers QB
- 2/4 – 49ers: One way to upgrade the outside linebacker position
The Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans finish off the top five.
Draft stocks and team needs will change between now and Round 1 of the NFL Draft. Free agency will play a factor, and events like the NFL Scouting Combine will create risers and fallers within the draft class itself.
Regardless, let’s look at what the first round of the draft might look like for each team.
NIner Noise will break down each specific prospect-to-team selection. And we won’t be afraid to note a trade not deep into the draft.
So let’s kick things off the right way and have some fun with this 32-team Round 1 NFL Draft mock.
EDGE, Texas A&M
The Browns have the luxury of taking the best player on the board, and that player is Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett.
Cleveland needs help across the board, and some might feel the Browns reach for a quarterback here. But with little QB value at No. 1 overall here, and another pick coming later in the round, there’s little reason why Cleveland goes in any other direction.
Oh, and the Browns might be in play for Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, negating any possibility of a reach here:
Several NFL sources I've spoken to over the last week expect Jimmy Garoppolo to wind up with the #Browns
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 3, 2017
Garrett would provide the Browns with a defensive player to build around for years to come.
Defensive Line, Alabama
Our first trade of the NFL Draft kicks off at pick No. 2, which was previously held by the 49ers.
San Francisco, not being able to grab Myles Garrett, sends off the pick to Tennessee in exchange for both the Titans’ Round 1 picks — Nos. 5 and 18.
The numbers add up — just check out the values, courtesy of Pro Football Talk.
Some might also argue Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is equally as good as Garrett. If not, he’s certainly close.
Allen is a pocket-wrecking force, which would set up Tennessee’s defense for years and create some much-needed ferocity up front.
Quarterback, North Carolina
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s future in Chicago is in doubt, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the team moves on from him this offseason.
Regardless, the Bears need a quarterback and offensive playmakers in general.
North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky might be a bit of a reach here, but there are plenty of quarterback-hungry teams between now and when Chicago drafts next.
Trubisky is widely viewed as the top quarterback in this year’s draft class. So the Bears don’t hesitate to take the gamble.
The Jaguars need some help on offense, but a player like LSU safety Jamal Adams is simply too good to pass up here.
Adams is an explosive playmaker, and Jacksonville desperately use those within its secondary. He’d also be a defensive piece to build around for coming seasons. Adams certainly has the look of a regular Pro Bowler.
And the Jaguars need those kind of players as their rebuild continuation moves forward.
Inside Linebacker, Alabama
The 49ers have so many needs, that trading down from No. 2 to acquire another first-round pick makes too much sense.
Offense figures to be a priority in new head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system. But general manager John Lynch is of the defensive mindset, and he looks to plug up San Francisco’s biggest weakness last year — the run defense — with as stout a player as there can be at linebacker.
Alabama’s Reuben Foster.
Foster is a freakish athlete capable of plugging interior run gaps, converging to the outside and adequately covering receivers in space.
With Foster on board, the Niners would have yet another stellar inside linebacker tandem, pairing the Alabama rookie with perennial All-Pro NaVorro Bowman.
Cornerback, Ohio State
The New York Jets secondary was a huge disappointment in 2016. And while a quarterback is a pressing need, New York doesn’t quite see the value at No. 6.
Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore makes a lot of sense here. A bit undersized, it’s almost impossible to question his coverage ability.
This will give New York the chance to shift around some of its older and not-so-good pieces within its defensive backfield, allowing the Ohio State corner to emerge as a potential shutdown guy.
Safety, Ohio State
If Jamal Adams is the best safety in this year’s NFL Draft, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker isn’t too far behind.
The Los Angeles Chargers secondary revealed plenty of weaknesses over the course of last season.
Most importantly, they don’t have any impact players in this part of the defense. While adding some youth to the offense is still a main priority, Hooker is a playmaking figurehead to significantly boost a scuffling Los Angeles defense.
Running Back, Florida State
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart will be 30 years old by the time the upcoming season starts, and it’s time to find his replacement.
Florida State tailback Dalvin Cook is arguably the best running back in this year’s draft. He’s powerful, elusive and has all the traits to emerge as a featured runner at the next level.
Considering how much the Panthers rely on offensive coordinator Mike Shula’s ground attack, adding a player like Cook makes too much sense.
It would also help take some of the pressure of quarterback Cam Newton.
Defensive End, Stanford
The Cincinnati Bengals need some athletic help within their front seven. This was a primary area of weakness on the defense last year.
Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas might be a bit of a tweener at the next level. But he’s athletic enough to move around within whatever scheme he’s placed. It wouldn’t be a bad move for head coach Marvin Lewis to shift a player like Thomas from a DE to more of an edge rusher.
Still, Thomas could stay along the line and provide much-needed pass-rushing prowess from the interior — something the Bengals are lacking.
The Buffalo Bills’ situation with quarterback Tyrod Taylor is uncertain at best, and signs are pointing to Buffalo wanting someone else under center in 2017.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has proven doubters wrong at every level. And despite wonders whether or not he’d be able to translate his skill set to the NFL level, Watson is still intriguing enough for Buffalo to take a shot.
Watson would be armed with a good receiving corps and a stellar running back in LeSean McCoy.
It would be a good situation for new head coach Sean McDermott to develop a quarterback.
Defensive End, Tennessee
So help me if the New Orleans Saints go offense in Round 1.
The Saints need help almost everywhere on defense. And if we go with the “it all starts up front” argument, selecting Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett makes a lot of sense.
Barnett isn’t a natural pass-rusher, per se. But he has the awareness and ability to create regular pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which could open up more opportunities for other edge rushers to get home.
He’s also good against the run, which would help give New Orleans a two-piece defender to solidify the defensive front.
Quarterback, Notre Dame
Cleveland used its first of two Round 1 draft picks to get Myles Garrett, which was the right move.
But the Browns desperately need a franchise quarterback within head coach Hue Jackson’s offense. Heck, the Browns need a franchise something.
While he might not be atop most NFL Draft quarterbacking big boards, it’s easy to make the argument Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer is the most promising of all the 2016 class.
Kizer has good size, desirable arm strength and accuracy, which is the mold of most any successful quarterback at the pro level.
The Arizona Cardinals are faced with plenty of age questions on the offensive side of the ball, namely quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
But they’ll likely have those two back in 2017, which opens up another pressing need — cornerback.
Arizona’s coverage defense was up and down last season, which makes a ballhawking corner like Florida’s Teez Tabor a solid pick at No. 13.
Outside Linebacker, Vanderbilt
The Indianapolis Colts desperately need to get younger on defense this offseason.
Defensive end Robert Mathis’ retirement will help force the issue, and the Colts’ front-seven defense would be a perfect place to start.
A linebacker like Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham would be a nice fit in new general manager Chris Ballard’s first year. Cunningham has great football instincts and the physicality to make him a force on a Colts defense needing room to grow.
The Philadelphia Eagles have to have the cornerback position at the near top of their wish list in the NFL Draft.
Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey might be the best available option at this point in Round 1, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Philadelphia target the big-bodied defensive back with the pick they acquired in the Sam Bradford trade.
Humphrey projects as an outside corner, and this is precisely the area the Eagles need to address.
The Baltimore Ravens could use some help in the pass rush this offseason, and thankfully this year’s NFL Draft class is deep off the edge.
UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley could be used as a traditional 4-3 defensive end or as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 front. He’s probably more of a situational pass-rusher off the edge, since he’s not overly terrific against the run.
But the Ravens don’t need a bunch of help there. They need pass-rushers.
McKinley supplies that.
Wide Receiver, Clemson
OK, 49ers fans. You really thought Clemson wideout Mike Williams was going to slip to you with the Niners’ second first-round pick in the NFL Draft?
Close. But not quite.
Williams falls due to injury concerns about his neck. Sure, he’s the best receiver in this year’s NFL Draft. But how durable will he be at the next level?
The Washington Redskins are poised to take a gamble. In all likelihood, they’ll franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins if they don’t open up the checkbook. But veteran wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are both hitting the free-agent market as well.
Washington only has so much money, so Williams could easily be a key replacement at a lower cost.
Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
The 49ers could land Clemson wideout Mike Williams in Round 1 of the NFL Draft, but settling for Western Michigan receiver Corey Davis isn’t exactly a bad deal.
San Francisco addressed a major defensive need with the No. 5 overall pick. Now new general manager John Lynch solves another — the wide receiver position. The team still needs a quarterback, so look for that answer to happen early in Round 2.
At 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, Davis is a big body who can double as an outside threat as well as in the red zone. His route-running abilities are among the best in this year’s class.
Just like that, the Niners have solved two of their pressing needs in the first round.
The up-and-coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers could use some help at the very end of their defensive backfield, as well as various points within the linebacker corps. So taking a shot at Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers in the NFL Draft makes sense.
Peppers can play at safety, inside or outside linebacker, which gives the Bucs plenty of flexibility in building their defense in coming seasons.
The only problem is Peppers isn’t exactly a standout at any one of those positions. Yet he’s still a playmaker and good enough to handle those positions at the pro level.
Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
Offensive tackle Russell Okung wasn’t the answer in 2016, so the Denver Broncos will be looking at the NFL Draft for a long-term answer.
Wisoncon’s Ryan Ramczyk is a perfect fit for general manager John Elway here. Ramczyk has a tremendous wingspan and uses his strength to hold off pass-rushers and run stoppers at the point of attack.
At best, Ramczyk would be a plug-and-play starter at left tackle in Okung’s stead. Or Denver could simply work him into the equation at right tackle and give him a year, or so, to develop.
The Detriot Lions offense managed to overcome last season’s sudden retirement of former wide receiver Calvin Johnson fairly well. And quarterback Matthew Stafford enjoyed one of the better seasons of his career.
Yet the Lions defense needs help in the NFL Draft. Especially the pass rush.
With 10 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss in his senior year at Michigan, edge rusher Taco Charlton stays in the state and helps bulk up Detroit’s quarterbacking-pressure group.
He might need some refinement at the next level, but Charlton’s 6-foot-6 and 272-pound frame certainly make him look the part.
Tight End, Alabama
The Miami Dolphins primarily need help on the defensive side of the ball. But turning down one of the more dynamic playmakers in this year’s NFL Draft, tight end O.J. Howard, is simply too good to pass up.
The former Alabama standout has done nothing but impress, and he was a force in the Crimson Tide’s loss to Clemson in the national championship.
Howard would give head coach Adam Gase an amazing go-to guy, which should give quarterback Ryan Tannehill a major weapon with which to work.
Running Back, Stanford
The New York Giants managed just 3.5 yards per carry on the ground last year, and a strong running game would go a long way to ensure offensive playmakers Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning don’t have to bear all the pressure.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey isn’t an every-down back, certainly not someone who can take the punishment of being a true No. 1
Yet he’s a thrilling weapon — either out of the backfield or, perhaps, even as a slot receiver.
And one can think what Manning and McCaffrey might be able to do here as well.
Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
The Oakland Raiders could go for some help in the secondary here, but getting strong up front might help out the defensive backfield by default.
A great pickup in the NFL Draft would be Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who is a prototypical pocket-wrecking force.
He’s not a pass-rusher by any means, but McDowell is strong enough to draw two or three blockers, which would help linebacker Khalil Mack get some open lanes.
In turn, this leads to quarterback pressure and, subsequently, less pressure on the secondary.
Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Houston Texans certainly need a quarterback in the NFL Draft, and Brock Osweiler isn’t the answer.
Yet the value for a rookie QB isn’t quite here at No. 25 overall, and the Texans would be wise to find better protection for whoever is under center in 2017.
One could argue Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson is the best lineman in this year’s NFL Draft. Perhaps, and Robinson has certainly stood up to some of the best competition in college football.
A quarterback should be the next priority.
Offensive Guard, Indiana
The O-line, the O-line, the O-line should be the No. 1 priority for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Draft.
Armed with one of the worst in the NFL last season, Seattle’s offensive line needs upgrades at almost every position. And while some of the better tackles have been taken by No. 26 overall, Indiana’s Dan Feeney isn’t a bad find late in Round 1.
Feeney, a four-year starter, would be an immediate upgrade at right guard. He could shift over to the left, but Seattle doesn’t have to be picky here. This unit simply needs help.
The Kansas City Chiefs have a phenomenal piece in their secondary with cornerback Marcus Peters. But they need more help.
LSU is known for producing top-tier defensive backs, and cornerback Tre’Davious White is no exception.
The 5-foot-11 and 191-pound White might be slightly undersized, ideally, for the position. But there isn’t any question about his ferocity. And the 14 passes he defended his senior year proves he’s not afraid of getting involved on hotly contested balls.
Aside from some depth at wide receiver, the Dallas Cowboys are good on offense. Everyone knows they need defensive upgrades in the NFL Draft.
Edge rusher Tim Williams out of Alabama would be a nice find at the tail end of Round 1.
Sure, he doesn’t offer much more outside of his ability to get to the quarterback. But his 18.5 combined sacks over the last two years would go a long way in a Cowboys pass rush lacking elite get-to-the-QB talent.
The Green Bay Packers secondary is a prime vulnerability, and finding a quality defensive back should be one of the first orders of business in the NFL Draft.
Former Washington cornerback Sidney Jones has OK size, at 6-foot-0 and 181 pounds. While he could afford to add some bulk at the next level, Jones’ coverage abilities are solid enough to warrant consideration at the end of Round 1.
Jones’ eight interceptions over three collegiate seasons also suggest he could be a vital ballhawk Green Bay’s defense so desperately needs.
The outside linebacker/EDGE position is a top priority for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Draft.
At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Temple’s Haason Reddick might be a bit of a tweener as a linebacker or defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. But it’s impossible to ignore the production he put up last season — 43 solo tackles, 9.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss.
Reddick is versatile enough to move around in head coach Mike Tomlin’s defense, which would be a major bonus for this unit’s overhaul needs.
The Falcons have solid pass-rushing prowess with Vic Beasley, but it’s still clear they’ll be upgrading the front seven via the NFL Draft.
Missouri has a knack for producing top-tier collegiate edge rushers, and Charles Harris would seamlessly fit into what Falcons head coach Dan Quinn wants in his defense.
Harris’ 18 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss over three collegiate seasons would complement Beasley and a growing Atlanta defense.
The Patriots have some front-seven free-agency questions hitting them this offseason, so finding a pas-rushing replacement early in the NFL Draft is likely a top priority for head coach Bill Belichick and Co.
Lawson suffered a torn ACL in 2014 and missed all of that season and was limited to just seven games the following year.
But Lawson came back strong in 2016 with 9.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss, putting to rest any doubts whether or not previous injuries had set him back.
With Lawson boosting the Super Bowl champs’ defense, look for New England to find some supplementary depth pieces later on in the NFL Draft.
More from Niner Noise
- Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots Pull Off Stunner over Falcons19m ago
- San Francisco 49ers’ All-Time Super Bowl Team6h ago
- Super Bowl LI: 5 Fun Games to Play at Your Sunday Party15h ago
- Kyle Shanahan hints interest at Cousins, Garoppolo for 49ers QB1 d ago
- 49ers: One way to upgrade the outside linebacker position1 d ago
Names will certainly rise and fall between now and draft day. There are prospect interviews as well as the NFL Scouting Combine.
But with the Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, we’ve got a solid idea on how the NFL Draft may shape up in Round 1.
And, as always, keep posted with Niner Noise for all your 49ers draft coverage leading up to April 27.