Before everyone changes their opinions based on workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine, check out this complete two-round 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
How about another 2017 NFL mock draft before we head get to the NFL Scouting Combine? Two full rounds sound good to you? Let’s do it.
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I wanted to check back in with a complete 2017 NFL mock draft before the Combine numbers cloud everything. It happens every year. Right now, all we have to go by is game performance. The combine is obviously important, but too much stock is always put into it. The key to evaluating any draft prospect is what he can do on the field.
Most of the intrigue is always at the top, but keep an eye on the Super Bowl champions here. I think the New England Patriots find themselves a couple of big-time prospects despite picking at the tail end of each round. The rich only get richer.
However, since we are going two complete rounds, there is something for fans of all teams. Yeah, even you, Rams and Vikings fans. You may not have much to look forward to on day one of the 2017 NFL Draft, but you can get a fix here.
Without further ado, here is a complete two-round 2017 NFL mock draft. Are you happy with your favorite team’s picks? Let us know in the comments section below.
Sep 5, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) celebrates his sack against Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Mike Bercovici (2) (not pictured)in the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
EDGE, Texas A&M
The Cleveland Browns obviously have a huge need at the quarterback position. This team is probably not going anywhere until they get that figured out. That being said, that does not mean it is smart to force the decision. Myles Garrett is the most talented player in the 2017 NFL Draft class, and he needs to be the Browns’ pick at number one.
Garrett is a special athlete at the defensive end position, showing elite-level speed and quickness off of the snap. He is an extremely explosive player who shows ridiculous burst and bend off of the edge. Garrett has the talent to be a revolutionary pass rusher at the next level. On top of that, he is also strong against the run.
The Browns are expected to move back to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams next season. Lining Garrett up at weak side defensive end would give the Browns a perfect player to build their defense around.
Ideally, the Browns would be able to select a can’t miss quarterback prospect here with the first overall pick. Unfortunately, that guy simply does not exist in this draft class. There are talented quarterbacks, but they all have obvious flaws that make your worry about their ability to translate to the next level.
Instead of finding their franchise quarterback, the Browns get the next best thing. A guy who will give quarterbacks nightmares for the foreseeable future.
December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Marshon Lattimore (2) tackles Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback, Ohio State
It is really difficult to predict what the San Francisco 49ers will do with the second overall pick. Quarterback is also a huge need here. However, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan just signed six-year contracts with the 49ers. They do not have to tie themselves to a quarterback yet. If they find a QB who they particularly like, then go for it. However, forcing the pick would be a mistake.
After going defensive line in the top 10 in each of the last two years, Jonathan Allen and Solomon Thomas are kind of odds fits. With that in mind, I am giving the 49ers a cornerback here. It is rare to see a cornerback go this high, but Marshon Lattimore is a special talent who is worthy of the selection.
Lattimore is an elite cover corner who has a ridiculous overall skill-set. He is an incredible athlete who shows great speed and physicality on the outside. Lattimore is not afraid to step up and play press coverage, but he also has the speed and awareness to play off-man. Lattimore is a natural man-to-man defender who has incredible instincts and mirror ability.
Also, Lattimore shows a great ability to make plays on the ball in the air. He has elite balls skills that will undoubtedly translate to the next level. Lattimore is a big-time talent at the cornerback position who would make an immediate impact for the 49ers defense.
Selecting a cornerback at two may seem odd, but Lattimore is as good as it gets at the position. Plus, with the passing game being such a big part of the NFL, cornerback has become a premium position. Snagging Lattimore at two would be a great pick for the 49ers.
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) drops back 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
The Chicago Bears could go in many different directions with the third overall pick. I could certainly see defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Jamal Adams being in play here. However, if the Bears haven’t landed their franchise quarterback by the time the 2017 NFL Draft rolls around, the position has to be under heavy consideration here.
Deshaun Watson is far and away my favorite quarterback prospect in this class. The concerns about his arms strength are valid, but Watson is absolutely money in the short to intermediate passing game. He can be a high-level NFL quarterback without being a huge deep threat. A huge majority of NFL passes happen in the shorter areas of the field.
Watson is an accurate passer who shows the ability to put the ball where his receiver wants it. He leads his receivers extremely well and throws a pretty back-shoulder ball. With the Bears having nice size at the wide receiver position, I could see Watson’s back-shoulder throw being a huge weapon with this team.
On top of that, Watson shows good athleticism for the position. He will pick up extra yardage with his legs, create extra time in the pocket and throws on the run well. If the Bears want a quarterback who can move, Watson is the guy in this draft class.
Watson has had a ton of success in college the last two seasons. He led Clemson to the National Championship game as a sophomore in 2015 and got them back in 2016. While Clemson lost to a powerful Alabama squad in their first National Championship matchup, it was through no fault of Watson who put up a historic performance. This past season, Watson led Clemson to a victory over a seemingly unbeatable Alabama squad.
His will to win is unparalleled. This is where Watson separates himself in this class. He brings elite intangibles to the table. There are always concerns about if a rookie quarterback is tough enough, has the will to win or is a good leader. When it comes to Watson, none of those concern exist. He will come in and give whoever drafts him the best that he has. The Bears would be wise to make Watson their franchise quarterback.
They probably should, but I doubt that the Jacksonville Jaguars seriously consider a quarterback here at No. 4. This team is probably not going anywhere until they either move on from Blake Bortles or he gets much better, but I do not see them giving up on him just yet.
With that in mind, best player available makes the most sense here. An argument could easily be made for safety Jamal Adams, but Jonathan Allen is the better pick here. Allen is a big and strong defensive lineman who is absolutely dominant against the run. Allen played the majority of his snaps at defensive end in college, but is an ideal fit as a three-tech defensive tackle at the next level. Assuming the Jags play a similar 4-3 defense under head coach Doug Marrone, Allen would easily find a home up front.
Allen’s ability to stop the run is impressive. He can two-gap well, setting up plays for his teammates, but he is particularly explosive as a one-gap run defender. It does not take long when watching Allen to see him make a play in the backfield.
On top of his run defense skills, Allen is an impressive interior pass rusher. He shows a fantastic combination of power and athleticism that is extremely difficult to block on the inside. He is far too quick for a majority of interior offensive lineman.
The Jaguars have a strong defense in the making, with a ton of young talent at all levels. Adding Allen to the mix gives them some much-needed ability on the interior, and a guy who they can count on to make a consistent impact. There is a lot to like about the Jags defense and adding Allen only helps.
Dec 31, 2016; Orlando , FL, USA; LSU Tigers safety Jamal Adams (33) against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I have mentioned him as a possibility for the last two picks, but number five is the spot for LSU safety Jamal Adams. Cornerback and wide receiver stand out as the top needs for the Tennessee Titans, but it would be hard to pass up a talent like Adams.
The Titans own this fifth overall selection from the trade down situation with the Los Angeles Rams last year. The Rams went for it in a trade up to number one to select quarterback Jared Goff. I bet they would do that over if they could, but here we are.
Adams is a big-time weapon at the safety position. He primarily played in the box in college, showing elite ability against the run. Adams is an aggressive and athletic safety who does a fantastic job of flying around and making plays on the field.
While Adams is really a deep safety, he does show nice overall coverage skills. He plays short zone coverage extremely well, especially in the middle of the field where he can punish receivers coming across his area. Adams also shows solid man-to-man skills. He has the quickness to compete against quick and shifty slot receivers and the overall athleticism to defend tight ends.
Adams is an incredible defensive play-maker who would immediately take the Titans defense to the next level. Simply taking the best player available is never a bad decision, and that is exactly what the Titans do here.
If Jamal Adams is available, I could see the New York Jets going in that direction. But he is not in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft. However, if they believe that Mitch Trubisky is a sure-fire franchise quarterback, he should be the choice. This pick would make the Christian Hackenberg second-round selection from last year worthless, but let’s be honest, that pick is worthless anyway.
Out of all the quarterback prospects in this class, Trubisky had the best 2016 season. Trubisky looked like an NFL quarterback last season, completing 68 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns. He only threw six interceptions on the entire season.
Trubisky is an extremely accurate passer who does not make many mistakes. He is also has impressive overall arm talent and underrated mobility. There is a lot to like about Trubisky, and I do not think those who consider him to be the top prospect in this class are crazy. I prefer Watson, but it is close.
The biggest issue with Trubisky is that he was only a starting quarterback for one season. If he is a true top five or 10 pick, how could he have not gotten on the field before? Trubisky’s 2016 season was incredibly impressive, but is he just a one-year wonder? It is impossible to know for sure.
The Jets were directly connected to Trubisky earlier in the draft process. They know that they probably do not have their franchise signal caller on the roster. Instead of continuing to move forward with mediocre options, the Jets invest into the position and get their guy.
December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Clemson Tigers during the first half of the the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Safety, Ohio State
The Chargers have bailed on San Diego and are heading to Los Angeles. They have a talented mix of players, but can they do enough to build a contender around Philip Rivers. This is a good team that was killed by injuries in 2016. If the Chargers can find a couple of right pieces, they could be surprise contenders in 2017.
There is a lot to like about the Chargers defense. Assuming they can get Melvin Ingram back, the Joey Bosa led front seven is extremely impressive. Also, the combination of Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward at cornerback is arguably the best duo in the NFL.
If the Chargers can add Malik Hooker to the mix, they would have one of the best overall pass defenses in the entire league. Hooker is an elite coverage safety who shows ridiculous range on the back-end. Hooker is a playmaking safety who can seemingly get to anything and does a great job of making a play on the ball.
Having Hooker at safety would give the Chargers elite protection on deep passes. Add in Verrett and Hayward at corner and the Chargers impressive pass rush, and this pass defense is completely unfair. In today’s NFL where the passing game is king, adding Hooker would be a huge move for the Chargers.
Oct 15, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (90) celebrates after a tackle in the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins in a NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Line, Stanford
Solomon Thomas very well could be one of the five best players in this draft class. He is a fantastic pass rusher on the interior who can absolutely dominate against the run on the outside. Thomas will be listed as an edge defender in the draft, but he is not a freak pass rusher on the outside. However, he is an extremely talented player who has some nice balance in his game.
Thomas is a long and athletic player who has a great combination of quickness and power. He is an extremely instinctive player who does a nice job of determining whether it is a run or a pass. Against the run, Thomas will hold his own, setting the edge with consistency. However, Thomas will also flash the ability to shoot through holes and make plays in the backfield.
I imagine that Thomas will be used as a defensive end on early downs at the next level. However, on obvious passing downs, he should kick inside where his quickness and athleticism is too much for interior offensive linemen to keep up with.
Selecting Thomas would allow the Carolina Panthers to move on from Charles Johnson this off season if they wish. It would also provide some security if they lose out on Kawaan Short, which is unlikely to happen.
If they can add Thomas and re-sign Short, a starting defensive line of Kony Ealy, Star Lotulelei, Short and Thomas is elite. Also, Short and Thomas as interior pass rushers on obvious passing downs is as good as it gets in the NFL. Thomas should be the Panthers’ pick if he is available.
Karlos Dansby and Rey Maualuga are both relatively unlikely to be back with the Cincinnati Bengals next season. Add in Vontaze Burfict hitting free agency next season and the linebacker position could quickly become an issue for the team. That being said, it could all be fixed with one pick.
Reuben Foster is one of the best prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft class. He is an elite linebacker who shows a ridiculously well-rounded skill-set. Foster is an elite sideline-to-sideline defender, excelling both against the run and in pass coverage. He will also dominate as a pass rusher when asked to do so.
Foster was probably the best player and undoubtedly the leader of one of the greatest college football defenses of all-time. Alabama had a ton of elite talent on their defense, but Foster still found a way to stand out on a consistent basis. He is undoubtedly a threat to go in the top five of the 2017 NFL Draft. However, linebacker is not really a premium position.
The Alabama product is incredibly talented, but I would not be surprised to see some teams pass simply based on the position that he plays. However, the Bengals would not fall in that trap. They love to take players who come from blue-blood colleges and linebacker is an obvious need.
If the Bengals get lucky enough to have Foster fall to nine, he will be the leader of their defensive unit for the next 10 plus years. I don’t care what position he plays, you cannot ask for more than that.
Quarterback appears to be an option for the Buffalo Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft. Even though Tyrod Taylor is clearly an above average option at the position, the Bills appear ready to look for their next franchise signal caller. If either Watson or Trubisky were available here, that is probably the direction I would go. However, Mike Williams also makes a ton of sense for the team.
Williams is a big-bodied receiver who has the look of a true number one at the position. He does not have elite speed for a wide receiver, but Williams is a great athlete who does a fantastic job of using his body to shield the defender in the air. Williams is an elite box-out and go up and get it receiver.
I like the fit of Williams to the Bills because he is such a perfect complement to former Clemson teammate and current Bills receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins is the athletic freak and elite speed demon on the outside, while Williams is the big-bodied red zone threat. Together, they would create a dynamic duo for whoever is throwing passes for the Bills.
Williams is not the fastest receiver, but he should create enough separation to be effective at the next level. The Bills have a handful of options here, but Williams is their best bet.
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Marlon Humphrey (26) in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game against the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With the 11th overall pick, the New Orleans Saints should have one thing on their mind; take the best defensive player on the board. Unfortunately, this is not much of a defensive sweet-spot. There are many defensive players who could be argued as the top defender on the board. In my eyes, that guy is Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
Humphrey is a freak athlete at the cornerback position. He is a former track star whose speed and athleticism clearly translates to the football field. Humphrey also shows natural man-to-man coverage ability and the skills to dominate both in press and off-man coverage.
When it comes to Humphrey, there is one obvious negative to his game. His ball skills leave plenty to be desired. For a cornerback, whose number one job is to separate the ball from the receiver, having poor ball skills is obviously an issue.
However, if he works on it, that is something that can be fixed at the next level. Humphrey’s elite athleticism is going to get him in the door, but if he is going to succeed, he must work hard to improve his ball skills.
If Humphrey can do that, he is going to be a legitimate shut-down corner. Pairing him with Delvin Breaux in New Orleans would be an incredibly enticing duo.
The most common scenario is to put a quarterback to the Cleveland Browns here at 12. Perhaps they would take a shot on DeShone Kizer or Pat Mahomes here, but with tight end O.J. Howard available, I do not like the quarterback pick.
Howard is an extremely gifted player at the tight end position. He is a fast and athletic receiver who shows massive upside in the middle of the field. On top of that, he is a dominant run blocker. Howard is an extremely complete tight end who would immediately become one of the best players on the Browns offense.
Howard is one of the safest players in this draft class. He does an incredible job of making the plays that are asked of him and has legitimate big-play upside. Howard’s production at Alabama was limited, but he always showed up when asked to make a play.
Also, Howard was clearly the best overall player at the Senior Bowl. With all due respect to the other players, Howard was on a completely different level all week. It probably did not hurt that Hue Jackson and the Browns coaching staff coached Howard at the Senior Bowl either.
Whoever ends up taking snaps for the Browns at quarterback would undoubtedly love to have Howard on their side. He is a great value selection at number 12 in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Also, I would just like to point out that this is four Alabama players in the first 12 picks of this 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
The Arizona Cardinals did not have a great 2016 season, but they are still a talented team with a lot of upside going forward. This Cardinals roster does not have any obvious needs, so they can afford to look ahead a bit. Carson Palmer took a step back in 2016 and is clearly on his last legs as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The Cardinals would be wise to find a young replacement if possible.
With this 13th overall pick in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft, the Cardinals find a perfect replacement in DeShone Kizer. Bruce Arians loves quarterbacks who can push the ball down the field. With a big arm and the demeanor for the vertical passing game, Kizer is undoubtedly Arians’ type of quarterback.
He is far from a polished player, but Kizer has the skills to dominate at the next level. He has an extremely strong arm, great athleticism and good overall accuracy. Kizer’s footwork is sloppy and his production in college was spotty, but there is a lot to dream on here.
Landing in Arizona would be a perfect situation for Kizer. He would not be asked to contribute immediately and he would learn from one of the best offensive minds in the NFL. The Cardinals find their quarterback of the future here with the 13th overall pick of this 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
October 1, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley (98) brings down Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate (14) during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Indianapolis Colts are undoubtedly an extremely interesting team. They have not done a good job of building around Andrew Luck in recent years, but new general manager Chris Ballard is extremely well thought-of throughout the league and will likely get things back on track.
The defense stands out as needing the most work. In this 2017 NFL Mock Draft, the Colts land an elite edge rusher to build their defense around. Takkarist McKinley is an extremely athletic speed rusher on the edge. He shows elite speed, quickness and explosion off of the snap.
McKinley is not much of a threat against the run, but his pass rush skills are top-notch. He would undoubtedly help the Colts at a major position of need.
The biggest issue with McKinley right now is a shoulder injury that he suffered last season. McKinley is expected to workout at the NFL scouting combine, but he will have shoulder surgery immediately after. He is expected to miss five or six months because of the injury. Basically, McKinley is going to miss his entire rookie Training Camp and probably the start of the regular season.
This injury is not expected to have a long-term impact on the player, but it is not an ideal start to his NFL career. That being said, he is talented enough to make the pick worth it. McKinley is an elite edge rusher in the making. He would make a significant difference for the Colts up front.
One of the talented running backs finally go in this 2017 NFL mock Ddaft. I am a huge fan of both Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette, but I had a hard time placing them before this. I expect they will both probably be gone before now, but you never know.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, this was a great opportunity to land one of the most talented players in the draft. Dalvin Cook is an incredible running back prospect who has elite upside at the next level. Cook is an explosive runner who can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. However, do not underrate his ability to run between the tackles.
Cook is also a relatively powerful runner who is always falling forward at the point of attack. Make no mistake about it, he is an incredibly balanced player who is going to make an impact at the next level.
The most important thing for the Philadelphia Eagles going forward is the success of quarterback Carson Wentz. Adding Cook to the mix not only helps take pressure off of Wentz with an elite rushing attack, it gives him an incredible receiver to work with out of the backfield. Dalvin Cook is an elite talent in this draft class and a perfect fit for the Eagles offense.
The Baltimore Ravens always do an incredible job of sitting back and taking the best player available. They did it last year with Ronnie Stanley and they do it here with Corey Davis in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Fournette is probably the best player available right now, but the running back position can be odd for some teams.
Davis is an extremely smooth and athletic receiver who is a consistent threat on the outside. He does a great job of fighting for the ball, run sharp and precise routes and always seems to get open against zone coverage. Davis is a safe pick who also brings some nice upside to the table.
The Ravens have obvious needs at the wide receiver position and Davis would be a great fit. Not only would he give them a potential true number one at the position, Davis’ well-rounded skill-set would fit extremely well opposite of speed demon Breshad Perriman.
If the Ravens expect to be seriously competitive again, they have to give Joe Flacco better weapons to work with. Davis does not fix all of their offensive issues, but he undoubtedly puts them a step closer. Davis is a talented player with a lot of upside, but he is also a hard worker who is extremely consistent. This feels like a perfect fit between player and team.
Oct 1, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) hits Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Eason (10) causing a fumble recovered by Tennessee for a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Sanford Stadium. Tennessee defeated Georgia 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Line, Tennessee
The Washington Redskins snag Derek Barnett with the 17th overall pick in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Barnett was an impressive pass rusher in college, but there are questions whether his athleticism will be enough at the next level.
Barnett does rely a lot on power, but it makes him an extremely balanced player. He shows decent explosion off of the edge, can create pressure on the passer and is strong against the run. The Redskins need help up front, and Barnett is a rock-solid player who would give them immediate production.
The Titans took one of the most talented players in the class earlier when they snagged Jamal Adams. He will undoubtedly make huge difference in their secondary, but the Titans clearly still need help on the back-end.
With their own first-round pick in this 2017 NFL mock draft, the Titans take Florida cornerback Qunicy Wilson. His teammate Jalen “Teez” Tabor got most of the headlines this season, but I think Wilson is the better player.
He is a big and long cornerback who has nice natural coverage ability. Wilson has shown the ability to excel in press coverage and would immediately be the most talented corner on the Titans’ roster. This would undoubtedly be a strong fit.
Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) runs during the first quarter of the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Running Back, LSU
Fournette finally goes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 19th overall selection. He will very likely go earlier than this in the real draft, but I had a hard time finding a landing spot for him. Fournette is a big and powerful runner who has special ability at the next level, but teams just do not value the running back position highly anymore.
There are questions about Fournette’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. However, he was never really asked to do it in college. I would bet that a talented guy like Fournette will at least be average as a receiver out of the backfield.
This much I do know, Fournette would be a steal here. Also, the Bucs could do a lot worse than having an offense with him, Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. Snagging Fournette could be the move that would put the Buccaneers over the top.
Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
The Denver Broncos have huge needs at the offensive tackle positions. Their right tackle situation was awful last year and the Broncos already released left tackle Russell Okung this off season. If they do not heavily address the position in free agency, expect the Broncos to take an offensive tackle or two in the draft.
Ryan Ramczyk is the best in a weak class, but he is still a talented player. Ramczyk is an extremely athletic offensive lineman who will reach the second level with ease. His pass protection skills are also impressive. Ramczyk is not the strongest lineman at the point of attack and there are some questions about his commitment to the game. However, he is a perfect fit for the Broncos. Ramczyk could immediately start at right tackle and could grow into an option at left tackle.
The Detroit Lions have many needs on the defensive side of the ball. That being said, finding a pass rusher of some kind stands out as the most important. If the Lions can find a pass rusher to pair with Ezekiel Ansah, it could cover up their other defensive holes.
Local prospect Malik McDowell stands out as a perfect fit here. McDowell is a relentless pass rusher who has incredible athleticism. McDowell’s technique is extremely sloppy right now, but his raw talent and ability is elite.
He may be a bit small to consistently play on the inside at the next level, but I could envision a role where he played outside on early downs and attacked the interior on obvious passing downs. Regardless, McDowell is a talented player who would be a perfect fit in Detroit.
Linebacker, Ohio State
The Miami Dolphins are probably best off hitting the defensive side of the ball in the first round. I could see a cornerback or defensive end, but I decided to go with a talented linebacker here in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
Raekwon McMillan is an extremely active and athletic linebacker who can make plays from sideline-to-sideline. He does an incredible job of ranging and making plays against the run and is strong in pass coverage. McMillan could be an immediate impact starter for the Dolphins at an important position of need.
The New York Giants have had a ton of success over the years by building around their defensive line. The free agent additions of Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison certainly worked out last season. That being said, both defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins will hit the open market this off season.
The Giants need to replace their pass rushers and they do just that with the 23rd pick in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Carl Lawson is one of the most naturally talented pass rushers in this draft class. He is quick and decisive off of the edge, showing elite ability to create pressure on the passer.
Lawson has had some injury issues and struggles to defend the run. That being said, his pass rush upside is massive. He is a potential steal at this point for the Giants.
Led by Derek Carr on offense and Khalil Mack on defense, the Oakland Raiders have put together an impressive collection of talent the last couple of years. They were legitimate contenders in the AFC last season before Carr’s injury derailed the entire thing. The Raiders have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, but cornerback stands out as a huge need for the team.
Sidney Jones is an extremely talented corner who shows elite athleticism and fantastic natural ball skills. He is a potential number one corner who has massive upside at the next level. Jones would be a perfect selection for Oakland.
Nov 21, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls defensive lineman Haason Reddick (58) dives to make a tackle on Memphis Tigers wide receiver Jae’lon Oglesby (19) during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Haason Reddick is one of the most interesting defensive prospects in this draft class. He was a productive edge player in college, piling up 9.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss as a senior at Temple last season.
However, Reddick starred during Senior Bowl week, primarily playing inside linebacker. He showed tremendous athleticism and natural play-making ability for the position. Reddick surprisingly had great cover skills for a guy who primarily rushed the passer in college.
The Houston Texans could certainly use a rangy play-maker at the inside linebacker position. Reddick’s athleticism would take an already impressive unit and make it even better. He could also team up with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus to make arguably the best pass rushing team in the NFL.
Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Seattle Seahawks simply need to add impact talent on their offensive line. The tackle position in particular is a major issue.
Cam Robinson is probably the most physically gifted offensive tackle in this draft class. He is a big and strong run blocker and also has impressive overall athleticism for an offensive lineman. There are off-field issues here and Robinson’s pass protection is inconsistent. But he is a talented player who would fill a major position of need for the Seahawks.
Nov 5, 2016; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) throws a pass against the University of Texas Longhorns in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. UT defeated Texas Tech 45-37. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback, Texas Tech
Pat Mahomes is one of the most polarizing prospects in this draft class. He is an incredibly talented quarterback who shows incredible natural arm talent and athleticism. His accuracy is inconsistent, but he shows the ability to place the ball perfectly at times.
Mahomes comes from the Air Raid system in college and will likely need some time to adapt to the NFL. He is also going to need some serious coaching at the next level. Landing with the Kansas City Chiefs would be a perfect situation for the player.
Alex Smith would allow the Chiefs to bring Mahomes along slowly. Plus, Andy Reid knows how to get a quarterback ready to play. Mahomes to the Chiefs is one of my favorite fits in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
The Dallas Cowboys are an extremely talented team that has few holes on their roster. However, they could certainly use a cornerback who could compete for a starting spot.
Jalen “Teez” Tabor is an extremely dependable player at the cornerback position. He shows solid man-to-man ability, great ball skills and a knack for reading routes. He is a gifted player, but Tabor is not an elite athlete for the position. He has the speed and overall athleticism to compete, but Tabor must continue to be perfect in other areas in order to succeed at the next level. He is a perfect No. 2 corner who would be a nice fit for the Cowboys.
Nov 12, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; IIowa 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
The Green Bay Packers need help on the defensive side of the ball. Their pass defense in particular was pretty ugly last season and they would be wise to address that issue. Luckily, this deep cornerback class fits perfectly with their needs.
Tre’Davious White has flown under-the-radar through the draft process so far. However, he is an extremely active and talented defensive back who would make a ton of sense for Green Bay. White is a natural cover corner who shows the ability to succeed both on the outside and in the slot. He would be an immediate upgrade for the Packers, and is a potential major steal with the 29th pick in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
Defensive Back, Iowa
The Pittsburgh Steelers did a nice job of improving their secondary last season. That being said, they could certainly use another player or two to add to the mix. At this point, Desmond King feels like a perfect fit for this team.
King is not a freak athlete at the cornerback position. However, he shows incredible natural coverage ability and ball skills. He is simply a great football player who will make plays when his team needs it the most. King has a knack for creating turnovers. He does an incredible job of attacking the ball in the air and comes up with a lot of interceptions.
King does not have great press coverage ability, but he is a strong man-to-man defender who will be able to compete on the outside. Some see King as a better fit for the safety position at the next level. I imagine that the Steelers would try him at corner first, but they could also use a ball-hawking safety on the back-end. Strong fit here.
Dec 28, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes tight end David Njoku (86) reacts after a touchdown in the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Russell Athletic Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive End, Michigan
The Atlanta Falcons have an extremely well-rounded roster and could really swing for the fences here if they wish. That is exactly what they do in this 2017 NFL Mock Draft with the selection of defensive lineman Taco Charlton.
Charlton is a defensive lineman with an impressive athletic profile. He shows a nice combination of speed and power that will play at the next level. Charlton is a work in progress against the run, but his pass rush skills are impressive. The Falcons could certainly use some more pass rush ability up front.
They would have the fortune of bringing Charlton along slowly, giving him opportunities in obvious pass rush situations. I could see Charlton having a lot of success with the Falcons rushing from both the edge and the interior of the defense.
Tight End, Miami (FL)
If the New England Patriots are unable to re-sign Martellus Bennett, tight end becomes one of their biggest needs. They simply cannot count on Rob Gronkowski staying healthy all season long. Enter David Njoku with the 32nd overall pick in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
Njoku is a special athlete at the tight end position. He is going to be able to stretch the middle of the field at the next level and can create matchup problems on the outside. The Patriots love to use a two tight end set, and a combination of Gronkowski and Njoku would be nearly impossible to defend.
Jan 2, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) in action during the game against the Western Michigan Broncos in the 2017 Cotton Bowl game at AT&T Stadium. The Badgers defeat the Broncos 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns have many needs to address on their roster. They have already greatly improve their pass rush with Myles Garrett and their offensive weaponry with O.J. Howard in this 2017 NFL mock draft. However, there is still much work to do.
With no quarterback worthy of a selection here, the Browns head to the strength of this draft. This class is loaded with cornerbacks throughout and the Browns find an extremely interesting one here at 33.
Cordrea Tankersley is an extremely athletic cornerback prospect who has a ton of upside at the next level. His college production was up-and-down, but he played hurt for a majority of his senior season. Tankersley is a great cover corner who shows his ability at the Senior Bowl, where he was completely healthy. The Browns find a good one here to kick off the second round.
After adding the best cornerback in this draft class with the second overall pick, the 49ers go back to the defensive side of the ball here in the second round. T.J. Watt is not his brother, but he is still an impressive pass rusher on the edge.
Watt shows an explosive first step that he uses to get an immediate advantage. From there his natural power and athleticism takes over. He is a productive edge rusher who works extremely hard at what he does. He is the kind of guy that you can count on to show up and do his job consistently.
Adding Lattimore and Watt in the first two rounds would immediately make 49ers pass defense much better. It would be a strong and safe start for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan as they look to rebuild this awful situation.
Sep 24, 2016; Tucson, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Budda Baker (32) celebrates after a Arizona Wildcats fumble during the fourth quarter at Arizona Stadium. Washington won 35-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Line, Indiana
The Jacksonville Jaguars have taken a lot of chances in the draft in recent years. Personally, I would like to see them go a little safer this year. First with taking Jonathan Allen, now they land one of the best interior offensive linemen in this draft. Dan Feeney is a strong and athletic offensive guard who could immediately play a full-time role for the Jaguars. He is the kind of sure-thing that they need to be looking for.
The Chicago Bears have a terrible situation in the secondary. They have obvious needs at both cornerback and safety. Adding elite coverage safety Budda Baker to the mix here would be fantastic. Baker is an extremely athletic player who can defend the back-end well. He would take pressure off of the Bears’ corners with his play at safety, and can even fill in as a slot corner at times.
Offensive Line, Western Kentucky
After trading the farm for Jared Goff, the Los Angeles Rams have to sit out the first round. However, they find a nice player here in the second round of this 2017 NFL mock draft. Forrest Lamp was a fantastic left tackle in college who is probably best suited inside at the next level. Regardless where he plays, Lamp would be an impact player up front for the Rams. They need offensive line help in the worst way.
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
Offensive Tackle, Utah
The Chargers have been looking for offensive tackle help the last few off seasons. They have not really been able to find anything other than stop-gap solutions. Here in the second-round of this 2017 NFL mock draft, they find a guy who can be a long-term solution.
Garett Bolles does not have a lot of high-level college football experience, and he will be 25 years old in May. That being said, he is a talented offensive tackle who has a nice blend of power and athleticism. He has true left tackle upside and you cannot say that about many prospects in this draft. Bolles is a strong pick for the Chargers here.
Jabrill Peppers was the single most difficult prospect for me to place in this 2017 NFL mock draft. Peppers is an incredibly gifted player, but his production in college leaves plenty to be desired. He also does not really have a position at the next level. That being said, he is an elite return specialist who also has massive defensive upside.
Head coach Todd Bowles would find a place to play Peppers and probably knows how to get the best out of him. Risky pick, but this is a good fit for the player.
Running Back, Tennessee
The Carolina Panthers have an offense based on the power-rushing attack. With Jonathan Stewart hitting free agency next off season, I would not be surprised to see Carolina look ahead and find their guy. Here in the second round, Alvin Kamara is a back who makes a lot of sense.
Kamara is an extremely gifted running back who shows nice power and a low pad level. He does not have elite breakaway speed, but he is a relatively shifty back. Kamara is a perfect fit for the Panthers and a nice value here.
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
The Cincinnati Bengals took care of their defense with the rock-solid pick of Reuben Foster in the first round. They now turn their attention to the offense and swing for the fences with John Ross.
Ross is an absolute burner on the outside. He is a fantastic deep threat who would open up the offense for the rest of the players. A trio of A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Ross at receiver would give opposing defenses plenty to worry about on a consistent basis.
The Saints continue to address their defensive issues in the second round of this 2017 NFL mock draft. Obi Melifonwu is a fun safety prospect to watch. He is an athletic guy who is not afraid to hit. Melifonwu shows nice overall coverage ability and is strong against the run. He is a fantastic defensive weapon who would make an immediate impact for New Orleans.
In the first round of this 2017 NFL mock draft, the Eagles landed a big-time offensive weapon in running back Dalvin Cook. Now, they look to the defensive side of the ball. Cameron Sutton is the latest in this loaded class at cornerbacks. Sutton is a quick and athletic corner who has shown some nice versatility.
Oct 17, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Gareon Conley (8) encourages the fans to make more noise during the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback, Ohio State
Another extremely talented corner here for the Buffalo Bills. The Bills appear likely to lose Stephon Gilmore in free agency this off season. In the second round of this 2017 NFL mock draft, they find a talented corner to pair with Ronald Darby.
Conley is an athletic cornerback who shows fantastic natural coverage skills. He also does a great job of attacking the ball in the air. A combination of Conley and Darby would be a potentially dynamic cornerback duo for the Bills.
Zach Cunningham is a fun linebacker prospect to watch. He is an extremely athletic and rangy player who can make plays from sideline-to-sideline. He shows nice run stuffing ability and is great in coverage. Cunningham is a bit slight for an inside linebacker, but he is built to play in today’s fast paced NFL. Nice under-the-radar snag for the Cardinals in the second round.
Offensive Line, Western Michigan
The Minnesota Vikings had to sit out the first round because of their terrible Sam Bradford trade. Offensive line is clearly the biggest need for this team and Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton is a perfect fit here.
Moton is a big and powerful right tackle who absolutely dominates in the run game. The Vikings struggled to open up any holes on the ground last season, but Moton would immediately help in that department. He is also extremely athletic for such a big man. Moton has nice pass protection upside as well.
Sep 30, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) rushes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the second half at Husky Stadium. Washington won 44-6. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens have always had impact pass rushers on the outside. That being said, their premier guys are only getting older. They would certainly benefit from adding a young impact rusher on the edge. Charles Harris is an extremely quick and athletic pass rusher who would be a major steal here.
The Ravens have a knack for finding these kind of values. They did it with Corey Davis in the first round of this 2017 NFL mock draft, and they do it with Harris here in the second; filling two major needs along the way.
Running Back, Stanford
Honestly, I do not think Christian McCaffrey makes it this far. He is an extremely talented running back prospect who is going to make an impact at the next level. However, it is difficult to know how the NFL is going to value him.
McCaffrey is not your traditional between the tackles runner. But he is an extremely gifted back who can impact the game in a variety of ways. McCaffrey would be a fantastic weapon for the Indianapolis Colts, making plays in the run game and as a receiver out of the backfield.
By adding Derek Barnett to the mix earlier, the Redskins have already greatly improve their defensive front seven in this 2017 NFL mock draft. However, there is still clearly a major hole at the inside linebacker position. Enter Florida’s Jarrad Davis.
Davis is a tough and physical linebacker who is absolutely dominant against the run. He does have a bit of quickness, but he is not a speed-based player. Davis can hold his own in coverage, but this guy is best used as a middle of the defense thumper. He fills an obvious need for their defense.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they struggled to consistently make stops last season. Personally, I think they lack depth at all three levels. They could go in many different directions here, but talented defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson makes a ton of sense for this team.
Johnson is a big and strong defensive lineman who has some surprising quickness. He gets off the ball extremely quickly and consistently makes plays in the backfield. Johnson also fights against double-teams extremely well. He would be a solid addition to this defensive front with a lot of upside.
Offensive Line, Pittsburgh
The Broncos add another much-needed piece to their offensive line here. Dorian Johnson is a power run blocker who would immediately make a difference for the Broncos up front. Johnson is a natural offensive guard who should at least be able to dominate as a run blocker at the next level. Adding both him and Ramczyk in this 2017 NFL mock draft would be huge for the Broncos up front. They need to add multiple pieces to their offensive line.
Offensive Line, Temple
On top of having two first round picks, the Browns have two second round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. This one was acquired in the first round trade down with the Tennessee Titans last year. The Browns add a nice offensive line piece with the 52nd overall selection in Dion Dawkins.
Dawkins played tackle in college, but he appears to have the skills to make a successful transition inside at the next level. Dawkins could become a big-time offensive line addition to a team like the Browns. They fill another hole here in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
Jan 2, 2017; Tampa , FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) rushes against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Lions need a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball. They improved their pass rush with the addition of Malik McDowell earlier, but there is still work to be done. Here in the second round, they land a potential impact cornerback in Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis.
Lewis is a bit under-sized at the position, but he is a quick and athletic corner who has a ton of upside at the next level. He is a natural cover cornerback who also possesses incredible ball skills. He may only be able to defend the slot, but Lewis could be one of the best in the business at doing so. Strong pick here.
Tim Williams is one of the most physically gifted pass rushers in this draft class. He is an explosive guy on the edge who is a legitimate first-round talent. However, he does come with some off-field concerns that will likely force him to slip. The Miami Dolphins get an extremely talented player here, but the downside is real as well.
Defensive Tackle, Florida
The addition of Carl Lawson in the first round of this 2017 NFL mock draft already improves the New York Giants pass rush. How about an interior rusher to pair with him? Caleb Brantley is a quick and explosive interior rusher who gets off of the snap very well. He does a great job of converting his speed into power. He is an absolute force on the inside. If the Giants lose Johnathan Hankins in free agency, a guy like Brantley would be an ideal replacement.
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, Washington
I could see the Oakland Raiders go with another cornerback here. An offensive weapon would also make plenty of sense. However, defensive line is a need for this team and Elijah Qualls is a gifted player on the inside. Qualls has a nice combination of power and athleticism that will play at the next level.
He could plug-in and be an immediate impact player for the Raiders. Also, it would be cool to see him join former teammate Sidney Jones who the Raiders snagged in the first round of this 2017 NFL mock draft.
The Houston Texans’ biggest free agent this off season is cornerback A.J. Bouye. If Bouye gets paid on the open market like he is expected to, it could easily be with another team. If that happens, cornerback will become a major need for the Texans.
Chidobe Awuzie is an interesting cornerback prospect who can play a variety of roles. He is a sticky cover man who uses his length and athleticism extremely well. Awuzie does a fantastic job in man coverage, is strong against the run and is an absolute beast in the corner blitz game. Awuzie may not completely be able to replace Bouye, but he would certainly help.
Defensive Tackle, Auburn
Listed at 6-3, 308 pounds, Montravius Adams is a big and strong defensive tackle who is difficult to move. However, he also shows impressive athleticism for a man of his size. Adams can anchor the run defense as a big space eater in the middle. But he also shows the ability to make plays in the backfield.
The Seahawks love having versatile defensive linemen who can do a bit of everything and Adams certainly fits the bill. Huge upside selection for the Seahawks in this 2017 NFL mock draft.
Sep 3, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Eastern Washington Eagles wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) makes a touchdown catch against Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Samson Ebukam (3) during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Eagles won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver, Eastern Washington
Wide receiver has been a position of need for the Kansas City Chiefs for some time. Jeremy Maclin is not getting any older, and while Tyreek Hill is great, he is not a traditional option at the position. Cooper Kupp is an extremely reliable and consistent receiver who could solidify the Chiefs’ receiver corps.
Kupp is a great route runner who always seems to find the open space in the defense. He also has reliable hands and has the ability to play on the outside and in the slot. His speed is average at best, but Kupp does have some nice athleticism. This would be a fantastic fit for the Chiefs, who need reliable players at receiver.
Wide Receiver, Ohio State
With an extremely loaded roster, the Dallas Cowboys can afford to swing for the fences a bit in the 2017 NFL Draft. Curtis Samuel is an impressive offensive weapon whose skill-set would fit in perfectly in the Cowboys’ offense.
Samuel is listed as a receiver, but he is more a WR/RB hybrid who can play a variety of roles. In the Cowboys’ offense where there is already a ton to worry about, Samuel could be a big-play guy. He could help spell Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and play some out of the slot. His speed and quickness would undoubtedly be a weapon. This would be an extremely interesting to pairing of player and team.
Defensive back stands out as the Green Bay Packers’ biggest need, but edge rusher is probably not far behind. Ryan Anderson was productive on the outside at Alabama, but he was also surrounded by a lot of talent. Does he have the size to compete in the NFL? That is the big question here, but Anderson is a hard-working player who will make an impact.
Sep 10, 2016; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks punter Cole Moos (36) is tackled by Ohio Bobcats defensive lineman Tarell Basham (93) on a muffed punt in the second half at Memorial Stadium. Ohio won 37-21. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Shaheen is going to be one of the most interesting players to watch at the NFL Scouting Combine. Shaheen is listed at 6-7, 277 pounds. He also shows nice speed and athleticism for the tight end position. He is a potential matchup nightmare at the next level, but he is coming from the D2 level. There are obvious concerns about level of play here.
Shaheen has massive upside that is always incredibly enticing. However, he is obviously far from a sure-thing. His red zone and raw jump ball ability will undoubtedly force someone to make a risky pick for him though. In this 2017 NFL mock draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the ones to make the play. A lot of downside here, but the upside is absolutely massive.
Offensive Line, LSU
The Atlanta Falcons already have a rock-solid center in Alex Mack, so why would they take Ethan Pocic here? Well, they do have a need at offensive guard, and Pocic could easily slide over and play that position at a high level. Plus, if Mack struggles with injuries, Pocic would be a ready-made replacement for the team. Plus, he is an absolute steal at this point of the draft.
Defensive End, Ohio
Both Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long are hitting free agency this off season. If they do not get both of them back, I imagine that defensive end will be high on the New England Patriots’ priorities in the 2017 NFL Draft. Trey Flowers appears to be a star in the making, and here in the second round, the Pats find him a fantastic running-mate.
Tarell Basham is the kind of player who the Patriots will be drawn to. He is extremely strong on the outside, showing the ability to set the edge with consistency. He is also an incredibly hard worker who always shows a high motor on the field. Basham plays with a lot of power in his game, but he is also extremely quick off of the snap.