2017 NFL Mock Draft Week 9: 49ers Get Edge-rusher
The 2017 NFL Draft doesn’t look very promising for the QB position. So the San Francisco 49ers decide to go with an edge-rusher at No. 2 overall.
Edge-rusher is the hot position in this mock draft as they go off the board at No. 1 and No. 2. Many have the San Francisco 49ers taking a QB At No. 2 overall. But it looks like this year’s QB class is weak and the best two prospects are edge rushers.
Defense wins championships and turns losing teams around teams faster anyway. If you can adversely affect the way an opposing QB plays, your team will be a tough out. The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last year because of Von Miller, not Peyton Manning.
Myles Garrett and Tim Williams are the two best edge-rushers on the board for 2017. And without a doubt, they should be the first two prospects that come off the board. Everyone loves their QBs but I only have one with a 1st-round grade and he’s not a sure thing immediately.
Turn the page to see how this mock draft reflects all that.
OLB, Texas A&M
They just got Jamie Collins in a trade to rush the passer but that’s no reason not to pick Garrett. Two good edge-rushers are needed in today’s NFL plus the Browns don’t know if Collins will stay. He is only in Cleveland in an eight-game tryout. as his contract will soon end.
At 6’5″, 260 pounds, Garrett has the ideal size, length, athleticism and motor to be a top edge-rusher. His get-off, burst and ability to wrap around the edge and flatten to the quarterback are outstanding. He can also convert speed to power and can spin back inside on you.
Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton are the quarterbacks they have to play twice a year. So they have make it as uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks to have a chance in the AFC North. And picking Garrett at No. 1 overall gives the Browns a chance to do that.
Head coach Chip Kelly could help by slowing the tempo down to his offense, particularly when ahead. The faster the offense gets off the field, the more taxing it is on the defense. There’s a reason why the Philadelphia Eagles defense improved once Kelly got fired.
The 49ers still had a decent defense when Kelly arrived but has since regressed. Getting Navorro Bowman back will help stop the run but the 49ers need to get after the passer better. .DEs Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner are young studs but they can use an edge-rusher.
Tim Williams is the perfect edge-rusher for the 49ers to pick here at No. 3 overall. He has a Derrick Thomas-like snap-count anticipation, get-off, burst off the edge and counter-moves. It would be much harder to throw on the 49ers if they pick Williams right here.
He looks every bit like he’s going to be a dominant force in the NFL from Day 1. An interior defensive lineman that can take over games can change a team quickly. At 6’3″, 291 pound, Allen is powerful and extremely athletic for his size.
And coming from Alabama, they teach him well so he is another can’t-miss prospect. His skill-set says he can do well as a 4-3 3-technique or a 3-4 end as he comes from the 3-4. The Chicago Bears run the 3-4 as well so his transition will be seamless.
They’ve been building the defensive front-7 with NT Eddie Goldman and OLB Leonard Floyd in the last two drafts. The Bears just picked up ILBs Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan in free agency too. So a player like Allen would give the Bears a great defensive front-7.
They would then have the Monsters of the Midway defense they’ve traditionally had. Quarterback-wise, they need to stay with Jay Cutler and protect him better. Head coach John Fox doesn’t have time to develop one as long as it would take with someone from this draft class.
They’ve built a solid defense over there that just needs time to mature to become great. And of course, Bortles has all the weapons he could possibly need when he’s throwing the ball. But it looks like the Jaguars have put too much of the offense on Bortles’ shoulders.
So they bring in Fournette, who could take a ton of pressure off the young QB. At 6’1, 235 pounds with great speed, power and elusiveness, opposing defenses will be overly concerned about him. When they stack the box, WRs Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson will have man coverage.
And like so many solid tight ends. Julius Thomas will benefit from play action to Fournette. But the Jaguars defense will benefit the most from the offense pounding the ball as they rest. As disappointed as I am with the Jaguars this year, they would improve immediatley with Fournette.
But the Sun is clearly setting on the great career of CB Darrelle Revis as his island is no more. The Jets could possibly get a year or two more out of him if they put him on WR 2s. But he can forget about following WR 1s and having success now.
At 6’1″, 200 pounds, Marlon Humphrey is one of those bigger, longer corners the NFL is looking for these days. He is a track athlete, making the 2013 World Youth Track and Field Championships. Humphrey has even contributed to Alabama’s 4×400 relay team.
He is also versatile with the ability to play off-man, man-press and the instincts to play zone. Put that together with the fact that he’s physical with no problems tackling in the running game. He comes from a pro scheme at Alabama too so he’ll come in mentally ready too.
But there is a guy in the 2017 NFL Draft that has the potential to save that secondary. By most media accounts, Jalen Tabor is the most polished, pro ready CB coming up in this draft. With his versatility, he can line up outside, in the slot and occasionally over the TE.
That means you can put him on any opposing pass-catcher that needs to be shut down. When Tabor is assigned to stop one man. he can play in both press and off coverage. He has the closing burst for off coverage and he’s physical enough to press in the line.
He also has the instincts to play in zone coverage and the ball skills to get those INTs. And again, Tabor is ready to come in and ball for the Panthers from the day he gets to Carolina. So the defense will be much closer to what it was in 2015 if they make this pick.
Doug Martin will be back next year and Jaquizz Rogers isn’t bad in his stead now. Then there are Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, one of the best young QB/WR duos. The big problem on this team is the left side of their offensive line.
That’s where Donovan Smith (OT) and Kevin Pamphile (OG) line up for the team now. At, 6’6″, 338 pounds, and powerful, Smith would make and outstanding guard. That would upgrade the pass-blocking and run-blocking at the position now.
Then Cam Robinson would be an upgrade to the pass-blocking of Smith. Meanwhile, the team doesn’t suffer a loss in the run-blocking department at the position. The offensive line is then settled and Winston can lead the way to the playoffs.
All the Titans need to do at this point is tighten up their secondary to make things happen. So with their No. 8 overall pick from the Los Angeles Rams, they take Jabrill Peppers. He’s a safety but there’s nothing that young man can’t do on a football field.
As a safety, he can cover in both man and zone, play in the box, and rush the passer off the edge He also has tremendous ball skills to get those interceptions and passes defended. Peppers isn’t just a 3-down player either, he’s a 4-down player returning punts.
He could very well be the best overall football player coming out in the 2017 NFL Draft. Peppers will help complete the Titans defense that already has a ferocious front-7. The Titans really help themselves with the pick they got in the trade last year.
They don’t have a lot of weaknesses on the roster so they can take the best player available. And it just so happens that the best player available is at a position the Bengals can use. S Jamal Adams is the versatile, outstanding football player they can use.
Adams has great awareness and is very quick to read his keys and drive on balls underneath. He also has the quickness to mirror slot WRs and the physicality to match up with TEs. In the box, he can take on and get off blocks and make the sure tackle.
And of course, he’s a big hitter that has immediate stopping power to end the play immediately. Shawn Williams would be better served on the back end, playing the FS position. And Adams can come in and help the Bengals defense become a top unit.
QB, Notre Dame
However, QB Carson Palmer is 36 years old so you don’t know when his time is up. So they can bring in a bit of a project to groom behind Palmer until he hangs ’em up. That’s where DeShone Kizer, the only QB worth a 1st-round pick, comes in.
He runs a pro system with some Spread in it so he can take over right away. That will come in handy if Palmer gets hurt or falls off the proverbial cliff at 36. Kizer has a cannon with nice touch and accuracy so the tools are there.
He’s also good from the neck up, getting his team into the right play and changing protections. Now, Palmer still has a year or two to win that Super Bowl he’s been looking for. Then the Cardinals are still in win-now mode when he rides off into the Sunset.
But WR Travis Benjamin is playing with a sprained MCL and Keenan Allen is out for the season (Achilles tendon). It’s a good thing Gordon ran the ball well in their win Sunday. Benjamin started his career in the slot before having spend more time outside.
A guy like Juju Smith-Schuster could line up outside with Allen next year. At 6’3″ 220 pounds Smith-Schuster has the speed, hands and route-running of a WR 1. So Benjamin can go back to the slot with Smith-Schuster and a healhty Allen outside next year.
That leaves Rivers with a fully loaded offense he can lead up and down the field. The defense isn’t playing too bad either with 2016 1st-round pick Joey Bosa now playing. The Chargers would then have a better chance to win the tough AFC West.
Here at No. 12 overall, they get themselves a CB to take that defense over the top. Perrish Cox is killing the Titans so it’s time for him to go sit down somewhere. Sidney Jones is ready to come in, take one of those CB spots and ball right away.
He is one of the more polished CB prospects in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. Washington has put out some good CBs lately with Marcus Peters and Desmond Trufant. At 6’0″, 185 pounds, Jones has decent size and great athleticism for the position.
He’s also versatile so he can play in press-man, off-man or zone coverage if you need him to. They teach them well at Washington so he will know the drill when he gets in the NFL. Then the Titans will have a defense they can with the AFC South with.
That’s obviously because 2014 1st-round pick Sammy Watkins is on injured reserve. So the it would be a good idea for the Bills to build some depth at the WR position. QB Tyrod Taylor needs more dependable targets to throw to in case this happens again.
At 6’3″, 220 pounds, excellent speed and a large catch radius, Mike Williams to become a star in the NFL. He played with Watkins as a freshman at Clemson in 2013. Then he replaced him as the star WR in 2014, when Watkins went to Buffalo.
His draft stock took a hit when he injured his neck and missed most of last season. But it’s moving back up more every week as he continues to ball this year. Pairing Williams with Watkins to go the the running game and defense will make this team dangerous.
DE, Michigan State
He has an array of pass-rush moves that he can pull out on an O-lineman at any given moment. Of all things, he even has a spin move, something rare at his size. He’s a 4-3 DT now but his skill-set fits in perfectly as a 3-4 DE too.
And yes, he’s an every-down player that can rush the passer as well as stuff the run. The Colts aren’t very good stuffing the run or getting after opposing quarterbacks. So this is just the kind of player the Colts can use on their front-7.
McDowell would come right in and make the kind of impression that commands double and triple-teams. OLB Robert Mathis might have decent year left in him with McDowell there. The Colts could be AFC South Champions again with such a pick.
That defensive front-7 isn’t the greatest against the run or at getting after the opposing QB. It helps that the team finally got DT Sheldon Rankins back from injury. That will help against inside runs and create more of an interior pass-rush for the Saints.
But the Saints need an edge-rusher to bring that heat to deal with the QBs in their division. And Derek Barnett would be just what the doctor ordered for the Saints here. Barnett gets off with the snap well and he’s technically sound, chopping at the hands of pass blockers.
He also has good power, which is why he is such a productive edge-rusher. His physical talent and skill have him ready to help the Saints right away in 2017. Picking Barnett here could very well get them in the playoffs in 2017.
S, Ohio State
And they are fully loaded with a lot of talent at the RB, TE, and WR positions. The Browns can use a little help on the O-line but they have plenty of picks left for that. So they go defense again so they can start winning some of these close games.
Making up for the loss of S Tashaun Gipson is the right idea here at No. 20 overall. And S Malik Hooker of down-the-street Ohio State is the right player. He is already drawing comparisons to Ravens legend Ed Reed.
He is a ball-hawk, that’s physical, quick, fast and explosive with a great nose for the ball. So it is understandable for him to have so much hype coming out. The Browns make good use of the Philadelphia Eagles’ pick here to build their defense.
Ajayi’s running has led to the Dolphins picking it up of the defensive end as well. Keeping the offense on the field longer can help any defense out. The Dolphins have excellent weapons outside to go with the running game.
But they don’t have a reliable, chain-moving TE to act as Tannehill’s security blanket. O.J. Howard can be that guy and then some for Tannehill and the Dolphins. He is a matchup nightmare, way to fast for LBs and too big for the secondary.
Howard has reliable hands, can get vertical, and can make explosive plays afer the catch. He’s also a pretty good blocker so he won’t ruin the running game. This pick can go a long way toward the Dolphins competing in the AFC East.
But as they start to come together, the front-7 isn’t getting after the QB very well this year. OLB Bud Dupree looked promising off the edge last year but he’s out for this season. The Sun has finally set on the great career of fellow OLB James Harrison.
And 2013 1st-round pick Jarvis Jones has shown the team that he is a bust. So another OLB to come off the edge in the Steelers 3-4 defense is what the team needs most. And Carl Lawson would do wonders for the Steelers right here at No. 17 overall.
Lawson was a better edge-rusher than Dee Ford of the Kansas City Chiefs as a freshman. Then after a severe knee injury, he has made his way back to first-round status. His pass-rush ability and physical style of play would bring that Steelers front-7 back.
Jordy Nelson is coming back from a torn ACL so he can’t run by DBs the way he used to. Devante Adams, the team’s 2015 2nd-round pick, isn’t a WR 1 just yet. And Randall Cobb is a slot-man that’s doesn’t operate as well outside.
A guy with speed to fit the big arm of Rodgers would be ideal right here at No. 18 overall. John Ross has reported 4.25 wheels and he blows by guys on a regular basis. He also has good hands and runs well after the catch to make plays.
He would open things up for everyone including Nelson, who should be back to himself next year. Then we’ll see Rodgers and the Packers’ passing game back up to standard. And that means they’ll be contenders in the NFC once again.
If the Lions were good on defense, they would have a shot at winning the NFC North. It doesn’t help that DE Ziggy Ansah hasn’t been healthy this year but he needs help anyway. The Lions are giving up 4.4 yards per carry on the ground so that’s good place to start.
ILB Rueben Foster from Alabama is a good get for the Lions to tighten up the middle of that defense. Foster is a physical thumper in the middle but that is far from all he has. With that power, Foster has great instincts and is a reliable tackler in the open field.
He also has the speed, quickness and agility to cover RBs and TEs, making him a three-down player. It’s rare that you find an ILB that can bang and cover like Foster can. He’s a good player for the Lions to rebuild their defense around.
RB, Florida State
Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Sheppard and Victor Cruz make that offense explosive. But that offense needs a little more than that to win the NFL East in 2017. Rashard Jennings doesn’t have the running game going the way the Giants had hoped.
He doesn’t have elusiveness in space or the skills in the passing game the Giants need. So here at No. 21 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Giants take Dalvin Cook. At 5’11”, 207 pounds, the Cook is the Ferrari of RBs coming out in this year’s draft.
But don’t get me wrong, he can and will hit it up in there between the tackles. With Cook in the backfield, opposing defenses have to choose between stopping the run or pass. The Giants would become perennial contenders if they made this pick.
Of the two pieces missing, it looks like Trevathan is the more important piece they are missing. Trevathan is good against the run and in coverage, which is important. The Broncos blitz a lot so ILBs that can stuff the run and cover are necessary.
Zach Cunningham is about the same size and has the same athleticism Trevathan has. He has the ability to fight through blocks along with the speed and instincts to find the ball. Cunningham easily converts speed to power as a tackler too,
He also changes direction well for a man of his size, showing light feet and loose hips. All the traits he has are reminiscent of Trevathan so he’s the perfect pick for this defense. Then the Broncos have that scary defense they had back in 2015 again.
And RB Matt Jones brings balance to the offense with the way he runs the ball. On defense, they have a solid secondary as the addition of Josh Norman is helping. They can also get after the QB with Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy.
But the big weakness they have is stopping the run and that could cost them this season. The Redskins have to stop the run if they want to win their division. They have tried and failed with NTs in free agency over the years.
So this year, the Redskins draft a NT Lowell Lotulelei to help their struggles against the run. Lotulelei is unusually strong for his age so he won’t take long to excel. He also has a push in the pass-rush so he would put the Redskins over the top.
ILB, Ohio State
Then their defense goes out there and gets turnovers to get the ball back for the offense. With S Eric Berry and CB Marcus Peters, they lead the league in INTs with 12. At the same time, they’re tied for No. 5 in the NFL in forced fumbles with 6.
But you can win the time of possession battle if run without fumbling the ball. The Chiefs are No. 27 in the NFL against the run, giving up 4.8 yards per carry. ILB Raekwon McMillan is a good player to throw at that problem.
McMillian is a downhill LB that takes on and sheds block while finding the ball. He’s also good for today’s passing NFL as he is solid in coverage. The Chiefs could stop the run and might become contenders after making this pick.
But this is just his rookie year and he’ll be fine next year in Year 2, when you QBs make that big jump. Young WRs Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham will improve with him. Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles will return to the backfield too.
And of course, the Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to protect Wentz. Then on defense, they have a ferocious front-7 that can get after the passer. A shut-down CB would make the Eagles even tougher to score on and beat.
That’s where Desmond King, who’s a versatile, all-around CB, comes in. With four pass plays over 25 yards Sunday, the Giants showed the Eagles what they need. So they made good use of the 1st-round pick they got from the Minnesota Vikings.
Their main problem is they can’t run the ball as they average 3.8 yards per carry. RB Justin Forsett just didn’t work out for the team after a good year in 2014. The running game has always been as staple of good Ravens teams.
Between Ray Rice and Forsett, they don’t mind smaller guys in the backfield. Christian McCaffrey such a good overall football player, he could be their guy. They already have RBs to put in short yardage and near the goal line.
McCaffrey has extra value because he can line up in the slot as well as return kicks. As a RB, he can pull that eighth man into the box so Flacco can use that big arm in the vertical game. The Ravens would then be a contender to go further in 2017.
DL, Florida State
But you can put him in either spot and he just knows how to get to opposing QBs. The Falcons are getting after the QB just fine right now with the emergence of Vic Beasley. But Quinn wants to get after the QB the way he did in Seattle.
So to go with Beasley, he would love to have a guy like Bennett to rush the passer with him. DeMarcus Walker is reminiscent of Bennett in size and traits. He was advised to go back to school after a breakout season with 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.
This year, he already has 10.5 sacks with three games left, not including a Bowl game. That shows you that he just knows how to get to the QB from inside or outside. The Falcons would be just as tough on defense as they are on offense with this pick.
DeAndre Hopkins and speedster Will Fuller are a duo any real NFL QB can get it done with. Then there’s help in the backfield with Lamar Miller on pace to get his 1,000 yards. The Texans are solid on the defensive side of the ball too.
They don’t have superstar J.J. Watt this year but he will be back to do his thing next year. If Watt had some more help rushing the passer, the defense would be scary. But 2014 1st-round pick Jadeveon Clowney didn’t work out off the edge.
So they draft Charles Harris, who can bring that heat off the edge, to help the Texans in that way. The Texans need to be great on defense with Osweiler as their starting QB. And Harris gives the Texans defense a chance to be great on arrival.
But one has to wonder if he can stay healthy with the offensive line he has blocking for him. The Seahawks defense is giving up big bombs these days so they can’t win with any QB. So this year, I don’t expect the Seahawks to make it all the way through the playoffs.
But when it’s time to retool for 2017, they get a player that can help them get all the way through. Ryan Ramczyk comes from Wisconsin where they teach their O-line well in the zone-blocking scheme. So O-line coach Tom Cable is salivating over him as you read this.
He as reason to as he has great initial quickness to get to the second level in the running game. Ramczyk also shows good power and pad level to move the pile and makes his cut blocks. His athleticism also serves him well in the passing game, where Russell and the Seahawks need him.
The defense is coming together too as the secondary isn’t giving up big bombs these days. They’re also stopping the run now as they had problems against the run earlier in the season. But nickel CB D.J. Hayden continues to be a bust and a problem.
Adoree Jackson has the quick feet and fluidity to open his hips, turn and run with WRs. And if he makes a mistake, he has the recovery speed to get back in position before the ball gets there. He plays WR at times too so he has to hands to make INTs when in position.
He’s only 5’11”, 185 but very competitive in the run game and has extra value as a kickoff returner. With Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith and Mario Edward Jr. rushing the passer, Jackson at nickel corner makes this defense special. The Raiders would then become perennial contenders for years to come.
And of course, WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten will do their part to help the offense. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has done an outstanding job so far this year. He has peiced everything together with all the injuries and suspensions they’ve endured.
The secondary is playing well too despite the injuries that have happened there. But the Cowboys don’t get after the passer very well so they should address that. We’re still waiting to see 2015 1st-round pick Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence is a nickel rusher.
The Cowboys should bring in a base-end and Solomon Thomas is the perfect guy here. Thomas could primarily play the base end and kick inside to tackle on passing downs. The Cowboys will probably be a Super Bowl favorite if they get a pass-rush over there.
But the draft is for strengthening weaknesses and the Patriots have a chance to do so here. The team has been shuffling CBs in and out all year on the other side of Malcolm Butler. Give Belichick a solid CB 2 and the Patriots can’t be stopped.
They’re hard enough to stop as it is, going 3-1 with Brady suspended the first four games. Cordrea Tankersley can come in and give the Patriots that solid option opposite Buler. At 6’1″, 200 pounds he has the size and length NFL teams covet.
He uses his arms well to obstruct the catch point vision and disrupt the rhythm of wide receivers. He also has good ball-skills and keeps himself in the proper position to use them. This is your rich-get-richer pick to keep the Patriots on top.