2017 NFL Mock Draft: Browns and Titans Clean up
The 2017 NFL Draft is full of players that can improve a team right away. The Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans will each grab two of them in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
If your team needs a defensive player to build around in this draft, there are plenty of them in there. And the Cleveland Browns definitely need to build their defense to start winning. At 0-10 now, it’s pretty safe to say they will pick first in 2017.
And they will absolutely clean up in that draft with all the early picks they have. The Tennessee Titans have two 1st-round picks too but the Browns have the No. 1 overall and another in the top 10. We are only covering the first round now, but they also have the first pick in Round 2.
That 33rd pick is the equivalent of a 1st-round pick, essentially giving the Browns three 1st-round picks. But the No. 1 overall plus another in the Top-10 are enough to them to clean up in Round 1. This is a pretty deep draft so there will be some good player for every team in the first round.
Turn the page to see how the Browns and Titans clean up and what everyone else does.
He has a combination of speed and quickness put together with brute power that’s hard to stop. Recruits like him is what makes Alabama the college dynasty and NFL factory they are today. He’s quick enough to at least be a base DE in a 4-3 and strong enough for 3-4 NT.
And of course he works very well as a 3-technique in the 4-3 but the Browns will make him a 3-4 DE. That’s what he plays right now at Alabama while kicking inside to 3-technique on passing downs. The Browns are wise to invest a No. 1 overall pick in a player like Allen.
He will come in, get after opposing quarterbacks and stuff the run from the day he gets to Cleveland. An interior pass rusher like Allen is important to have when you play against the QBs in the AFC North twice. Allen is the right guy to turn your defense and your team around.
OLB, Texas A&M
If he were allowed to come out last year, Garrett would have certainly went somewhere in the top five. At 6’5″, 262 pounds, Garrett has good length, burst and counter moves. His ability to convert speed to power is also right up there with the best of prospects.
There’s nothing that you need an edge rusher to do that he can’t do on the football field. Meanwhile, the 49ers haven’t had a dynamic edge rusher that can also play the run since Aldon Smith. Losing ILB NaVorro Bowman is hurting the 49ers defense badly but so is not having a guy like Smith.
The team has a solid, young interior D-line and a decent secondary plus Bowman will be back. Garrett would come in and give the 49ers the dynamic edge rusher they’ve needed to replace Smith. The defense would then be great again, leaving the 49ers to figure out the offesne.
QB, Notre Dame
Mitch Trubisky is the latest Spread Offense QB many in the draft world are trying to push. His numbers look lovely but his ability to throw the ball down the field into tight windows isn’t. Both he and DeShaun Watson have been exposed this year as QBs with a long way to go.
Meanwhile, DeShone Kizer comes from Brian Kelly’s pro style offense at Notre Dame. He knows how to check into better plays, change protections and go through his progressions. Plus at 6’5, 235 pounds, he’s a big man with a big arm and he’s as athletic as he needs to be.
There are no QBs worth a pick this high but a team desperate for one will reach for one. And if there is a kid at the QB position worth as selection this high, Kizer is definitely that guy. So the Bears move on from the Jay Cutler era with Kizer as their young gun under center.
RB, Florida State
He run hard inside and breaks tackles but what makes him special is what he does in the secondary. If he has a 1-on-1, he is sure to make his man miss, and once he’s past the last line of defense, you can’t catch him. Cook reminds me a lot of a young Chris Johnson, he so fast and silky smooth.
So the Jacksonville Jaguars take him at No. 4 overall because they can use a special player like this. Quarterback Blake Bortles is not yet the guy that can put the team on his shoulders and carry it. He has the weapons around him to do so but he turns the ball over way too much.
Bortles needs help from a good running game, something they don’t have in Jacksonville right now. The the Jaguars already have a good defense and a running game would make it even better. And Bortles could manage the game until he grows into a quarterback that can carry an offense.
In high school, he won the 100 meter and 400 meter hurdles at the World Youth Track and Field Championships. He has also run a little track while at Alabama, contributing to their 4×400 relay team. And yes, that track speed has translates very well to playing football for him.
With that straight-line speed, he has great feet, changes direction well and fluid hips to turn and run. Humphrey also uses his size and strength well in press coverage and is aggressive in the running game. So the New York Jets are happy to draft him here with the No. 5 overall pick.
The Sun is definitely setting on the great career of Darrelle Revis and the Jets are a man coverage team. Revis has too much money left on his contract not to come back for one more year in the NFL. So Humphrey will make an immediate impact and learn from one of the best ever at the same time.
Among all this year’s draft prospects, he is second to only DeMarcus Walker, who has 13 sacks, with 11. And yes, he is still just as great as he always was against the run. As a pass rusher, it all starts with how well he times his get-off with the snap, creating an instant advantage.
From there, he has plenty of burst around the edge and will go back inside if you overset. Barnett is also skilled with his hands as his hand placement keeps pass blockers from latching on. He’s also very powerful, allowing him to kick inside to defensive tackle on occasion.
The Cincinnati Bengals can use a player like that on their front-7 against the run and pass. They especially need to be able to put heat and quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. The Bengals may get themselves back in the playoffs after drafting a player like Barnette..
Cordrea Tankersley looks like he’s going to be the next Clemson cornerback to come down the pike. With the way he’s playing now, he should definitely get drafted earlier than they did. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the second-highest rated cornerback in college football.
At 6’0″, 200 pounds, he has the size and length NFL teams are looking for in cornerbacks these days. And he uses it to disrupt the rhythm and timing between opposing receivers and their quarterbacks. Tankersley is versatile, able to play off-man and zone coverage as well.
The Carolina Panthers still get after the quarterback well but miss Josh Norman covering receivers. So it’s a natural fit to go down the street to get their guy to pick up the coverage for the team. The Panthers defensive will take them right back up the standings with this pick.
Robinson will see more edge rushers like Garrett on Sundays in 2017 than anything he sees in college. We know about the explosion, edge speed and inside spin moves Garrett possesses. But Robinson got his hands on him and controlled him on his reps against him,
At 6’6″, 327 pounds, he has the size, length and athleticism to succeed at the next level. He just needs to stay focused on his technique like he did when he played against Garrett. He has problems when he lets his head get out past he feet, a definite no-no.
NFL O-line coaches get paid to coach that out of players so Robinson will go in the top 10. And where that should be is the San Diego Chargers, who need to protect QB Philip Rivers, at No. 8. Put Robinson on a healthy Chargers team next year and they have a chance.
He can use it to stretch the field vertically and make contested catches over cornerbacks. He gives his quarterback a large margin for error when throwing the ball down the field to him. He also runs well after the catch, taking those bubble-screens and slants to the house.
Williams does the dirty work too, getting a good pop on his man and staying on him in the run game. The Tennesse Titans, with their running game and quarerback Marcus Mariota, could use him. They also have a solid defense that only needs a cornerback to complete it.
But there are seven rounds in the draft and the Titans have another pick here in the first round. Picking Williams would help take the Titans up the rest of the way in the standings and possibly the playoffs. Williams’ story is amazing and the next chapter starts at No. 9 overall.
But Ross is more that just fast, he runs good routes, runs well after the catch and has great hands. He hangs onto the football when getting hit and he goes up and gets those 50-50 balls. He only 5’11”, 190 pounds, but has the skill set of a No. 1 receiver.
Of course, he’s going to make his living stretching the field vertically but he can be used in so many ways. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers can use a guy like that with his big arm. And he would open up things for Jordy Nelson, who should be back to full speed.
Rodgers and the passing game would then be back and we will no longer ask what happened to him. All the injuries on defense this year will be healed up for the 2017 season as well. Then the Packers take their NFC North division back to Titletown, where it belongs.
He has excellent lateral quickness and the ability to make the a man miss when he wants to. But Fournette seems to want contact and to run right through a defender that comes up to tackle him. I’m hoping that he chooses to hit the juke button more in the NFL.
Trying to run everyone over usually leads to a short career but there will be times to do that. And however he chooses to make past defenders, there will be no catching him once he gets out ahead. I expect to see something freaky in the 4.3s at the combine next spring.
The New Orleans Saints, who have current RB Brandon Ingram in the doghouse a lot, can use him. The defense will be much better with Sheldon Rankins and Hau’Oli Kikaha coming back. Plus a strong running game is a deodorant for a lot of things in the NFL.
From off or zone coverage, he is quick to diagnose routes, has an impressive closing burst and finds the football. In press-man coverage, he’s physical and when beaten off the line, he has the makeup speed to recover. He is a loose, fluid athlete who can match up with both the smaller, quicker receivers in the slot.
Tabor has been taught well as Joe Haden and Vernon Hargreaves have come out of Florida before him. So the Titans would have a good foundation to work with when they take him at No. 13 overall. With the way their secondary is currently playing, this would be a big boost to the defense.
The front-7 is already solid so tightening up the secondary would help them against the Indianapolis Colts. They haven’t beat them in a long time and need to in order to truly take over the AFC South. That’s two Top-15 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and these picks should send them up the standings.
QB, North Carolina
There’s really nothing not to like about Trubisky except he isn’t a pro ready quarterback. Like all Spread Offense quarterbacks, he has to learn the verbiage of calling plays and footwork from starting under center. He will also have to audible, change protections and go through more progressions in the pocket.
So he needs to go to a team that’s stacked and doesn’t need him to play right away. The Arizona Cardinals are such a team as they have Carson Palmer to teach him the ropes before hanging them up. If it weren’t for injuries and a bad year for Palmer, the Cardinals would pick much lower than this.
But this would be the bright side of the Cardinals having a bad year after losing the NFC Championship Game. The Cardinals obviously have to hope for the best next year with health and Palmer. Outside of him and Larry Fitzgerald, this is a young team that can go into the future with Trubisky at the helm.
Williams has been very consistent with generating a pass rush and producing sacks off the edge this year. And he is much improved in the running game, setting the edge and maintaining outside leverage. He might have hurt his stock in September with an arrest for carrying a pistol without a permit.
But as long as nothing happens between then and the draft, Cleveland Browns won’t hold that against him. The Browns have some good quarterbacks in their division and badly need to get after them in 2017. When trying to build a winner, starting with the defense will get you there much faster.
They already got the most dominant 3-4 DE in the 2017 NFL Draft when they picked at No. 1 overall. Getting the most explosive 3-4 OLB in this draft to come off the edge with him will build this defense fast. The Browns will have a much improved defense and would be on their way up from there.
DE, Michigan State
McDowell is also technically sound and has a motor that runs as long as he is on a football field. The sum of his parts usually equals a guy that turns a defense around darn-near by himself. He has been very disruptive, has put a lot of heat on the quarterback and the way he does it translates.
A team like the Indianapolis Colts, who need help on their defensive front-7, can definitely use him. McDowell would help them get after the passer better and bring that No. 23-ranked run defense up. Most importantly, he would change the perception of the Colts being soft on defense.
What he does physically is one thing but the way his passion spreads throughout the defense is another. The Colts would put another stranglehold on the AFC South if they build their defense to match the offense. And picking McDowell would be a huge step toward building that defense.
But at 6’6″, 255 pounds, he’s still way to big for defensive backs and way to fast for linebackers. He will be the ultimate matchup nightmare in the NFL, stealing yards in the passing game. And he has exponentially improved as a blocker in the running game while at Alabama.
He would have huge numbers right now if he weren’t so under-utilized in the passing game. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills would make good use of a guy like him right away. They have plenty of speed outside and the ground-and-pound running game Rex Ryan likes.
And of course, when you say the name Ryan with an NFL football team, there will be a defense. So Howard would be the chain mover in the passing game on those critical third downs. Then we will see if the Bills can finally compete for the AFC East division title.
He has a plethora of pass-rush moves, spinning both inside and outside plus a stutter/bull-rush move. Harris is also good with his hands, possessing a violent slap/rip move to keep pass blockers from latching on. He consistently generates pressure in every game with eight sacks so far this year.
Harris also has 11 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and a pass batted down for good measure. He’s extremely disruptive, coming from a line of pass rushers that includes Aldon Smith and Shane Ray. So to go with all the gifts he has, Harris has been taught well and will translate to the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could definitely use a guy like him to get after opposing quarterbacks better. We already know about the explosive offense they have with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. When the Steelers can get after the quarterback better, they can reach the Super Bowl.
OT, Notre Dame
This isn’t to say he’s the next Jonathan Ogden but he is very good with upside to be a very good pro left tackle. McGlinchey doesn’t play like Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer he is on the same level. Neither of them look like they will wear a gold jackets when their respective careers end.
But Veldheer is a solid left tackle that the Cardinals can win with and won’t lose because of. When you find a left tackle like that, you have found a good thing and shouldn’t let him go. Even finding a passable left tackle to get you through an NFL season isn’t easy to do.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston would appreciate a guy like that with what he has now. Otherwise, he leads an explosive offense while the young defense is coming along. Once they get Winston protected, there’s no limit to where he can take the Buccaneers.
Smith-Schuster started this season off slowly with Max Brown as his starting quarterback. But he has picked it up since Sam Darnold was inserted into the starting lineup. He now has 46 receptions for 631 yards and eight scores as we wind down the 2016 season.
The some of all of Smith-Schuster’s parts equals a No. 1 receiver and the Philadelphia Eagles can use him. They just drafted Carson Wentz to be their franchise quarterback and he needs weapons. They protect him well, run the ball well, and have a great defense over there.
If Wentz just had a true No. 1 receiver, he would be able to take the Eagles to the playoffs. When you have a franchise quarterback and you already protect him well, you have to get him a receiver. They would be a big threat to win the NFC East if they drafted Smith-Schuster.
That speed and athleticism also serves him well in the passing game, when he’s in coverage. Right now, Cunningham has 104 tackles with 15.5 for a loss, a pass batted and one forced fumble. If that isn’t a three-down starter in the NFL someone please show me what is.
The Miami Dolphins can use a linebacker like that to boost a run defense that needs a lot of help. He’ll have a slight adjustment to make, going from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme. But that shouldn’t be a problem as he can go sideline to sideline with no problems.
That Dolphins defense is coming together against the pass as they get after quarterbacks very well. Fixing that No. 28-ranked run defense would have them competing for the NFC East title. And putting Foster in the middle of that defense would do just that.
That shows you just how strong and advanced he was as a teenager when he started at Utah. So it should be of no surprise to anyone that he’s strong enough for the NFL at his position now. Lotulelei is a bull that takes on and anchors against double and triple-teams.
And uses that brute strength to simply bully his way to the quarterback, to rush the passer. The Washington Redskins already get after the quarterback well and he won’t be in on passing downs. But they need a run stuffer as they give up 4.6 yards per carry right now.
The Redskins have struck out with nose tackles in recent years, so drafting one here is a good idea. They have to stop Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot if the want to win the AFC East. And picking Lotulelei would go a long way toward that for the team.
So his defensive players know what’s going on when they get to the NFL and Foster is no different. He is a film junkie that quickly diagnoses plays and finds the football darn-near right away. And when he gets to the ball, watch out because he is about as big a hitter as there is.
But this 6’1″, 240-pounder isn’t just a thumper in the run game, he also excels in pass coverage. Another thing Foster does well is get after the quarterback up the middle or off the edge. He’s your classic do it all inside linebacker that doesn’t come off the field and wears the green dot.
The Denver Broncos and their No. 29-ranked run defense can definitely use a guy like this. Drafting Foster would effectively replace the loss of ILB Danny Trevathan, who’s in Chicago now. Once they can stop the run again, the Broncos would be just like they were back in 2015.
He has quick, powerful hands he uses to jam defenders and stops them once he gets his hands on them. Ramczyk is also a good run blocker that shows good power pad level and leg drive to move the pile. His athleticism is also good to go up to the second round to make blocks.
When beaten, he doesn’t panic often, recovering to keep matters from getting worse on the play. He keeps his technique tight, which will get him high marks from offensive line coaches as well as scouts. There is absolutely nothing not to like about him except for his lack of experience.
When the New York Giants protect Eli Manning, they don’t just go to the playoffs, they go to Super Bowls. But he has rarely had a great offensive line, which contributes to his inconsistencies over the years. So they get Manning a solid blind-side protector to get Manning going.
He is also a fast defender that explodes into the backfield to stop a running play before it starts. His tremendous closing speed allows him to make plays from sideline to sideline on outside runs as well. And opposing quarterbacks can forget about it when he blitzes.
In pass coverage, Davis has the athleticism and ball skills to pick up receivers in the short to intermediate zones. The Kansas City Chiefs can use a guy like that to line up next to Derrick Johnson. Right now, the Chiefs are ranked No. 27 against the run, giving up 4.5 yards per carry.
Giving up that kind of yardage on the ground is not the recipe to do well in the playoffs. So this offseason, the Chiefs get to work on stopping the run in the 2017 season. And getting Davis at No. 24 overall in the draft is a good way to get the results they want.
So in the NFL, Brantley’s best fit would come as a 3-technique, gap-shooting defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. If you listen to the coaches in the SEC, Brantley is more disruptive than Bullard was. His stats won’t impress you because his scheme calls for him make plays for others.
But if you watch him on tape, he is a dominant player and he’s close to unblockable one on one. In the running game, Brantley has the strength to shed blocks and burst to close on ball carriers. And as an interior pass-rusher, he requires extra attention, creating sacks for his teammates.
Brantley is a 1st-round talent that’s starting to get 1st-round grades and he’s good for the Detroit Lions. The Lions miss Ndamukong Suh on the interior of that defensive front-7. And with this pick they can ease that a little as their current front-7 is a weakness.
Remember, Lawson was considered the best edge rusher at Auburn as a freshman while Ford was a senior. But two years filled with injuries did damage to him as a draft prospect. He had to show that he can stay healthy and that he still has what it takes.
Lawson isn’t built like a typical edge-rusher but explodes off the snap to get opposing linemen off balance. He also has violent hands to jar them and his shorter 6’2″ height helps him bend around the corner. Lawson also counters what offensive linemen do with his own handwork.
Meanwhile, Elvis Dumerville is fading while the Terrell Suggs has a couple of more good years left. So the Baltimore Ravens bring Lawson in to disrupt quarterbacks and learn from Suggs. And when Suggs is gone, they have someone to take over for the last of the Ravens’ OGs.
Jones is arguably the most polished cornerback coming out in the 2017 NFL Draft next spring. He has the physical tools, competitiveness and instincts to be a “shutdown” corner in the NFL. He plays in press-man, off-man, zone and he is rarely out of position when the ball comes his way.
His instincts along with his explosiveness allows him to break on short and intermediate routes. Put that together with his outstanding ball skills and hands and you got turnovers. The Atlanta Falcons have a scheme that calls for him to play all off his different styles.
So he would be an excellent fit with the Falcons on the other side of Trufant, also from Washington. The Falcons get after the quarterback pretty well these days and some coverage would help. If they had a little bit of defense to go with that offense, the Falcons would go far.
He’s a physical player, strong in the run game, which is why many choose to list him as a linebacker. So he fits well as strong safety in a single-high scheme where he can work close to the line of scrimmage. He has the athleticism and coverage ability to stick with tight ends as well.
And speaking of athleticism, Peppers has the loose hips, speed and footwork to cover receivers. And if you need him at deep half or single-high, he has the instincts to do that at a high level. Peppers is one of the best movable chess pieces on the defensive side of the ball in this draft.
I’m sure Belichick disciple Romeo Crennel, once his defensive coordinator, can do something with him. Movable chess pieces are the Patriot way and the Houston Texans are trying to copy that. The Texans defense would be special with this pick and could carry the team to the playoffs.
He is a great run blocker, a mauler that get’s after his man to open holes for his running backs. So he gets a good push on defensive linemen, cmoving the line of scrimmage. He is also very athletic at his size and that helps him make blocks at the second level.
He’s good in pass protection too, rarely, giving up pressure while giving his QB enough time to find open receivers. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson can use better pass protection while the running game improves. The team is committed to rookie left tackle George Fant.
They’re offensive line has gotten better of late but adding Feeney to Fant will help. The Seahawks’ Legion of Boom defense is still intact and C.J. Prosise is a winner at the RB position. The downfield weapons are there too so Wilson can keep the team on top with this pick.
WR, Western Michigan
And I’m telling you right now that Corey Davis is the next receiver along that line. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, Davis has wheels to get deep and strong route-running skills to get separation from corners. He also has body control to adjust and the vertical leap to go up and get one.
When catching the short ball, Davis has the ability to run after the catch and turn it into a big play. He is the definition of a No. 1 receiver and the New England Patriots haven’t had one since Randy Moss. The Patriots have two big-time tight ends, a slot receiver, a scat-back and a power-back.
So quarterback Tom Brady would be able to beat NFL defenses any way he feels like. On defense, they lost a couple of edge rushers but they liked the guys they had behind them already. So they will do the job while Brady has another weapon to punish defenses with.
He’s a running back that can catch the ball out of the backfield as well as out wide or in the slot. And as a runner he has great vision, burst threw the hole and will make you miss. McCaffrey can also break tackles but what makes him special is what he does out in space.
And with the offensive line the Raiders have, McCaffrey would be out in space a lot. I like Latavius Murray but it looks like they’re phasing him out with his contract ending. McCaffrey would give the Raiders their fourth star in a row in the first round.
He would give the Raiders the most versatile running back they’ve had since Marcus Allen in the ’80s too. The Raiders could easily put 5-10 pounds to help McCaffrey take the punishment of a bell cow. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and McCaffrey would make a dynastic set of triplets.
He doesn’t overreact to anything and he’s never out of place, choosing to play with a controlled rage. Oh yeah, that rage is there as he is extremely physical, letting ball carriers have it. And at the same time, he has the coverage skills to play slot corner ala Tyrann Mathieu.
When the Dallas Cowboys are back from their injuries and suspensions next year, the won’t need much. They just took linebacker Jaylon Smith off the Non Football Injury list as he progresses well. But they don’t have a potential star strong safety the caliber of Adams.
So he will walk into that building ready to start and shine with that star on his helmet from Day 1. The Cowboys wouldn’t have a weakness on that defense and you know about the offense. Quarterback Dak Prescott could be the winningest QB in Cowboys history with all that talent.