The NFL Combine is quite fascinating. We get to see the future faces of the NFL and they’re competing with one another on who runs the fastest, jumps the highest, and a few positional drills that may or may not translate on Sundays. It sometimes even help with an NFL mock draft.
I’m not big on the combine at all, but it does open your eyes to the small school kids that wouldn’t get the attention otherwise, for that it’s great. The last time to truly see these prospects in a game/competitive setting would be the Senior Bowl.
We see this combine studs every year and we’ve never seen it translate to the field. But watch out for the false praise of this putrid QB class, QB is a position that teams will go crazy for because the NFL media overhypes the importance of this position.
Regardless, this NFL mock draft was done just before the Combine because the combine won’t truly impact the standing of these picks whatsoever.
1. Cleveland Browns- DE Myles Garrett Texas A&M
Garrett might be the most explosive defensive player that has come out of Texas A&M since Von Miller, granted the Aggies didn’t have the greatest of seasons. Garrett is still receiving high praise for his upside and potential as well as his play on the field. He won’t fall past the top two picks.
I think Jonathan Allen would be a slightly better pick with the fact that I believe there are other pass rushers they could draft in later picks, but all signs point towards them going Garrett or a QB. If they take a QB, especially at #1 they may come to regret it, considering Colin Kaepernick is available and he’s by far a better fit for Hue Jackson’s offense than any QB in this draft.
2. Washington Redskins (from SF for Kirk Cousins)- QB Deshaun Watson/Clemson
Watson has something about him that forces me to think about other things that sometimes numbers and highlights doesn’t show. I watched him against FSU, Louisville, Auburn, and the two playoff games. In each game, he exhibited true poise as he led his offenses through struggles and setbacks to win each of those games. Despite the doubts I had, I still think he’s the lone QB I’m certain of that can succeed in the NFL right away out of this dismal QB group.
I still believe the Redskins can keep the 17th to make this happen and get a piece to help them right away… If they decide to not a QB, it might be because they will get McCarron, Jimmy G or simply like Kizer (yuck), or Trubisky (Sanchize 2.0) more. I’m also not buying the report that the team won’t trade Cousins, plenty of mixed reports arise when in contract negotiations.
3. Chicago Bears- DE Jonathan Allen/Alabama
With John Fox and Ryan Pace keeping their jobs, they’ll shy away from taking a young QB, as John Fox has never been open to developing a young QB while he’s on the hot seat. The Bears have talent on the offensive side of the ball and could be in play for a veteran to replace Jay Cutler.
Allen is the perfect example of what you want as a three tech or five technique in today’s NFL but his athleticism and versatility could be a real asset, especially considering how good Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner have been, Allen did his part against Clemson and Washington despite Alabama’s letdown ending of the season. He might be a Seymour type but you need that kind of player on a defense.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars- LB Reuben Foster/Alabama
This may sound like a ridiculous reach but Foster is head and shoulders above the LBs in this class. Paul Posluszny, the long-time veteran of the Jaguars, may likely be gone this off-season or next. Foster can easily fill that void and perhaps a grow up on an already young defense.
Foster, like the linebackers before him at Tuscaloosa, earned himself all-SEC honors and got himself in contention for a high draft choice. He’s a guy that I believe can play any of the three linebacker spots of a 4–3 defense. This would definitely be a wise selection for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
5. Tennessee Titans (from LA)- S Jamal Adams/LSU
The Titans are in a wealthy territory as long as they can continue to build on defense and at WR. They got Henry and Conklin last year and so far it’s paying off. More on them with their 2nd 1st round pick because the next pick will be much more intriguing. Dick Lebeau will want a playmaking safety like he had in Troy Polamalu and Rod Woodson in his two stints with the Steelers, he has two great ones to choose from.
Adams is simply more well-rounded and a little more experienced. Hooker is more a traditional CF type that has been a playmaker causing turnovers for the Buckeyes but Adams has football IQ through the charts and you notice it when you watch the Tigers play on Saturdays.
6. New York Jets- CB Marshon Lattimore/Ohio State
The New York Jets are the closest thing to a dumpster fire that you will find in the NFL right now. They don’t know whether they’re going to get a new quarterback, even though they have Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, who are young. Never mind the news about Darrelle Revis and his legal situation. This team is a mess.
NFL scouts all around the league consider Lattimore to be the most talented CB in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Buckeye sophomore has incredible athleticism and unlike Eli Apple (2016 NFL draft), Lattimore has not been caught making stupid mistakes consistently throughout the season. His lack of experience is a concern, but the NFL doesn’t think so.
7. Los Angeles Chargers- S Malik Hooker/Ohio State
The bitter divorce that occurred between star S Eric Weddle and the team, is something that is happened before with this organization. The Chargers will be in a position to draft Hooker, a true playmaker in the middle of the field.
For the Buckeyes, he made one or two big plays every game and you almost expected it. Like Lattimore, concerns about experience are the only concerns I truly have. But the talent is there for him to be a real star right away. The team had a good step forward on defense last season with Joey Bosa and if Melvin Ingram returns, they should be in good shape.
8. Carolina Panthers- RB Leonard Fournette/LSU
I’ve never seen a team crash and burn over the course of a calendar year like I did with the Carolina Panthers this season. It’s almost as if they were shellshocked from the very beginning. Despite what happened this year, the Panthers are going to have to rebound quickly and a very competitive division. With Jonathan Stewart continuing to be injury prone, it’s time for Carolina to pursue other options. Fournette, the former LSU superstar, has been slightly banged up this season but I don’t expect those injuries to be a concern once draft time rolls around.
Fournette was the consensus top running back in the draft until very recently, missing out on the bowl game, in my opinion, is what changed my mind. I also think he’s a perfect scheme fit for what the Panthers want to do. They also have Cameron Artis-Payne to spell him and perhaps limit the wear and tear on him throughout the next couple of seasons.
9. Cincinnati Bengals- OT Ryan Ramczyk/Wisconsin
If you haven’t caught on by now, it’s pretty clear that the Wisconsin Badgers have slowly become the new ideal school to scout offensive linemen. Many have gone in and out the door in Madison for the past 20 years for Barry Alvarez and coaches since, and Ramcyzk is no exception.
He’s another great story of a walk-on who just simply worked his ass off to get where he is. JJ Watt had a very similar story, as do some of the players that Wisconsin features every single Saturday. Ramczyk can line up at RT right away and help solidify the OL.
The Bengals may lose Andrew Whitworth and that’ll be a priority to protect Andy Dalton. Dalvin Cook is in play but I think they’ll like their chances with a deep RB class.
10. Buffalo Bills- S/LB Jabrill Peppers/Michigan
I think a lot more highly of Jabrill Peppers than many, especially considering the fact that I’m an Ohio State fan. In my eyes, Peppers really is the type of talent you don’t see every day. Doc Brown, who came over from Boston College, used him a lot differently than what I believe he will be used in the NFL. I see him as a Honey Badger mixed with a Deone Buchanan.
The Buffalo Bills lack a playmaker at safety, I also want to put out there that if Tyrod Taylor leaves the team, then this pick very well will be a quarterback. But until we know for sure what Taylor’s future looks like, I’m simply going to go the best player available. Once the combine hits, this kid will be back in the top 15.
11. New Orleans Saints- DE Solomon Thomas/Stanford
The New Orleans Saints announced that they were releasing former free-agent signing Jarius Byrd. His spot will likely be replaced by 2016 second round pick Vonn Bell, does not really posing as a need. The Saints, however, our putrid into areas on defense, at CB and in the pass rush opposite of Cameron Jordan.
This particular pick I went with Solomon Thomas from Stanford. Thomas may not have the pass rushing skills at this point in time in his career, but the potential that this particular sophomore RS poses may be attained as a pro. Thomas shot up draft boards over the course of the season and with a big combine this weekend, he could solidify his status as a top 15 pick.
12. Cleveland Browns (from PHI)- QB Mitch Trubisky/UNC
Hypothetically speaking, I hate this QB class almost as much as I hated the 2013 class. But every freaking year we hear the media talk about how important the QB position is in today’s NFL, especially where I live in Boston and how they talk about the position like it’s the only thing that matters.
I personally have a third round grade on Mitch Trubisky, he didn’t really impress me in his one season as a starting quarterback at North Carolina. I would’ve advised him to return to school but I think a lot of the people around him probably looked at next year’s class and saw that he would get drafted much higher this year.
The Cleveland Browns may want to look at a bridge QB for the season coming up because none of these quarterbacks outside of Watson will be able to play right away. Despite my fears, NFL teams are focused on selling tickets and spinning the public relations to think that the guy they drafted is going to be the next great one, and that’s the way it is in today’s dumbstruck, idiotic, and downright scared front offices are run.
13. Arizona Cardinals- TE OJ Howard/Alabama
I was listening to a few podcasts in the past couple of weeks and was thinking to myself how lethal would it be for head coach Bruce Arians to have a tight end who can block him catch the ball at a consistent level. Arizona had to cut Michael Floyd after his DUI at an intersection and will need to rebound. Having Fitz and David Johnson be your lone offensive threats is not going to cut it.
OJ Howard may not have been used at high-volume at Tuscaloosa but I have full faith that Howard will be a first round pick and a guy who will have a definite role in the NFL. He’s shown his talent in big games despite not being a focal point in the game plan.
14. Indianapolis Colts- DE/OLB Derek Barnett/Tennessee
For those Colts fans that are a tad bit but hurt about a 5th Patriots Super Bowl victory, and are a little exhausted of telling people they cheated (even though it’s bullshit lol)… it’s all good Ryan Grigson is finally fired and the sun is shining in Indy to start a brand-new era.
I feel like Andrew Luck’s OL showed some signs of improvement with the younger players that they inserted into the lineup. I just feel like this pic is between Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Florida State RB Dalvin Cook.
The only reason I sided with Barnett here is because of the Robert Mathis retirement… in my opinion, Mathis was way better than Dwight Freeney in terms of an overall pass rusher… Barnett is a freak of nature athlete, and he may rise depending on how his combine and pro days go.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)- WR Corey Davis/Western Michigan
The Eagles have the luxury of having this pick from the Sam Bradford trade with the Vikings, now they can either go RB, OL, or DB with the 15th pick. Carson Wentz proved me right on why I have profound faith in his ability at QB. Now they need to figure out the core around him since Chip Kelly tried pulling a Belichick… (literally)
Davis is the most talented WR in this class and a good fit for the offense. He has all the skills you look for at WR and if the Eagles/Titans don’t land Cooks, I’m sure Davis will be on the top of their list, and rightfully so. He had a great game vs. Wisconsin, a defense that was elite all year long.
16. Baltimore Ravens- CB Sidney Jones/Washington
Even with rookie CB Tavon Young having a fantastic rookie season, veteran CB Jimmy Smith got injured again against the patriots on December 6th, that injury and other factors led to the light season collapsed at the ravens had lost two out of three games to the two competitors in the AFC championship game.
Washington ball hawk Sidney Jones is my #1 CB in this year’s draft class despite being the second one taken… I feel like his size and physicality as well as his ability to go up and chase the football are traits that I want young Jimmy Smith had. I don’t feel the team gets that consistently with him being on the sidelines rehabbing from an injury. You also could really consider Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham to replace Orr, who retired due to injury. Brandon Williams’s departure leaves the Malik McDowell option open also.
17. Washington Redskins- CB Jalen “Teez” Tabor/Florida
The Redskins struggled last season and if they indeed move on from Kirk Cousins or decide to bite the bullet and keep him, they’ll need to improve at DL and CB. I’m thinking they can bring in some free agents at WR to spell Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed. I’d go defense here.
I was thinking of Tre’Davious White here but Tabor is still on the board and can’t see a team passing on him here. Tabor, King, Wilson, Lattimore, Humphrey, and Jackson all will likely go in the first round at CB, it’s a take your pick. In my opinion, Tabor being a two-year starter is the best way to go, he also has the size and good technique unlike Humphrey and has more experience than Lattimore and Wilson. Most of these CBs can really play so it comes down to what flavor you like.
18. Tennessee Titans- WR John Ross/Washington
There is no team in the 2017 NFL draft position and quite like the Tennessee Titans are. They had the luxury to trade down in last year’s draft to gain what is now the fifth overall pick from the Los Angeles Rams who basically attempted the new version of the RG3 deal… (ironic because they were the ones that made the deal with the Redskins).
I’m only forgoing Williams for Ross because they tried Dorial Green-Beckham and Justin Hunter who were both traded away last season. Ross can be a game breaker, especially if he can play that Kendall Wright role and bring the speed he was able to bring to the table. Williams could fall if he doesn’t solve the separation/hands issues in the next two months.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- RB Dalvin Cook/Florida State
This past season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were very close to making the NFL playoffs, they really played well down the stretch to give themselves a chance to win games. Despite the questions I have about their OL and how they play cohesively, it’s safe to say that the more talent they add the better it will get.
Getting Jameis Winston some weapons would be very crucial to the growth of this team. Despite their need at WR, I just can’t pass up Dalvin Cook here at 19. I’m not concerned with the Offield issues, I’m not even as concerned about his durability, the only concern I have is how deadly this offense is going to be with Cook in the backfield with Charles Sims.
20. Denver Broncos- OT Cam Robinson/Alabama
The Denver Broncos do have some very serious and lingering issues. The transition between Peyton Manning and Trevor Siemian has proven that Denver really thought they were going to be able to do what New England was able to do with Jimmy G. If Denver hopes to continue with Sir Noodle Arm at quarterback, they’ll need to help protect him.
Cam Robinson is the true anchor in this draft, he’s no Tyran Smith, though. Robinson is a great run blocker and does hold his own consistently against good pass rushers, especially in the battle tested SEC. Some see him as a G, but I see him playing LT or RT for years to come. Off-Field concerns haven’t stopped Denver before with Aqib Talib, TJ Ward, and Shane Ray.
21. Detroit Lions- OLB Zach Cunningham/Vanderbilt
The Detroit Lions did make the playoffs this season, but not before another heartbreak to the Green Bay Packers late in the season. This tells me that the Lions can’t seem to get the monkey off their back against the hated division rivals. I’m confident that the offense can improve with Abdullah coming back from injury.
Adding Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham could give them a multi-dimensional player who they could use to attack some of their perceived mismatches. There are some that even rate Cunningham higher than Alabama LB Reuben Foster. But I trickle that down to what teams are looking for at what positions.
22. Miami Dolphins- OG Dan Feeney/Indiana
This pick might seem like a reach but when Miami released Brandon Albert, they indicated Laremy Tunsil would likely move to LT. That leaves both G positions open for hire in South Florida. Remember than Jermon Bushrod is also an UFA. Miami needs to go back to being physical, that’s what got them in the playoffs in the first place, more so than Ryan Tannehill.
Dan Feeney was a lead blocker for two very impressive NFL RBs, Tevin Coleman, and Jordan Howard. Feeney could really help them and try to help Jay Ajayi get going early in games so these talented WRs can show their true potential.
23. New York Giants- WR Mike Williams/Clemson
When you think of The New York Giants since Jerry Reese took over as general manager, you think of a team that has had the talent to do way more than they have accomplished I want to comes to the draft you automatically have to assume anything. This is the same guy who reached for Eli Apple and has a very Polian type philosophy want to comes to pass rushers. But they brought back JPP for one more year, thus opening up the door for another position to be filled, WR.
Mike Williams is the kind of target the Giants tried to develop in Reuben Randle but it didn’t work out. Also, notice that Odell is their only true red zone threat if Larry Donnell is injured. I believe they’ll address RT in FA, and address LB in the second round. Williams is a great value pick here.
24. Oakland Raiders- DT Malik McDowell/Michigan State
It wasn’t the prettiest season for the Michigan State Spartans, but you can’t really place any blame on the defensive star. I compare McDowell to the likes of the DeForest Buckner, Who ended up being selected in the top 10 in last year’s draft. He might not be as athletic as Buckner, but he very well could be stronger.
Adding Michigan State giant Malik McDowell could give them an extra push into finding a run and make it harder for teams to block Dan Williams, Bruce Irvin. Mario Edwards, Khalil Mack, and hopefully Aldon Smith. The Raiders need help at CB but this draft is so deep at CB, I’ll relay that to the later picks, plenty of talent in the secondary.
25. Houston Texans- QB Patrick Mahomes/Texas Tech
Brock Osweiler’s contract is not that bad, after next season they can cut him and not have a bad cap penalty (similar to Jay Cutler’s current status with the Bears). I give Brock this offseason to compete and earn the job, but I’m drafting a kid that Bill O’Brien would want and this kid has the fire to match. Mahomes makes throws you don’t see college kids making, he’s just on a Texas Tech team that wasn’t very good. O’Brien can give him the world and a coach who’ll develop him and critique him on the fly. I wouldn’t rule him out starting in week 1. Houston needs a downfield passer with Fuller and Hopkins. That offense is too talented.
26. Seattle Seahawks- OT Garett Bolles/Utah
The Seattle Seahawks OL basically left Russell Wilson out for dead last season. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, this draft is not very deep on the OL. The lack of a run game killed them in the playoffs against Green Bay, especially when the opposing QB is Aaron Rodgers.
Bolles’s story is something you only see in movie scripts as he was a juvenile delinquent and was out of football for a short time before playing at JUCO Snow College. He then transferred to Utah and the rest is history. Seattle won’t worry about his age, they’ll just want a plug and play OT to help keep Wilson upright and boost this run game that was a true weakness.
27. Kansas City Chiefs- RB Dont’a Foreman/Texas
The Kansas City Chiefs have a few different ways they could go with this very pick. Assuming their cap situation is going to be very tight, whether they move for a quarterback or not, The team has some interesting needs to fill and will need to come up with interesting ways to do that.
This pick may be a reach to many, but Kansas City moved on from Jamaal Charles and by pairing Foreman with Spencer Ware, they could build a solid run game for whatever quarterback they weed until next season.
28. Dallas Cowboys- CB Adoree Jackson/USC
The Dallas Cowboys are definitely in the market for defensive players, they could use help on the pass rush even though David Irving and Demarcus Lawrence were making place towards the end of the year for them… but they’ll have bigger losses in the secondary if Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr both were to leave in free agency.
Replace in Carr and/or Claiborne with 2016 Jim Thorpe award winner Adoree Jackson, could make the transition a little smoother. Jackson, like Peppers from Michigan, has great athletic ability and can impact the game in more than one way. Dallas fans can probably tell you about the impact that losing Dwayne Harris had on them last season…
29. Green Bay Packers-DE/OLB Taco Charlton/Michigan
The Green Bay Packers, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, looked to be severely underachieving during the regular season. But once Aaron Rodgers told everybody to relax they decided to show up. The Packers were nonexistent running the ball last season and still lack a true weapon at the tight end position. But the Green Bay Packers may also need help getting to the QB.
With the injury to UCLA DE/OLB Takkarist McKinley, I think he’ll fall out of the 1st round completely. Charlton is being pushed up in some places but I just think he can be an instant plug in for the Packers with Matthews getting up there in age and Nick Perry as an UFA, especially that Chandler Jones will be staying in Arizona.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Marlon Humphrey/Alabama
The Pittsburgh Steelers showed in the AFC title game that they simply just don’t have the horses to stop Tom Brady the way that the Denver Broncos and Baltimore ravens have been able to do in the AFC for the past seven years. Despite that, Pittsburgh does have some nice young assets in Stephon Tuitt, Artie Burns, and Ryan Shazier.
Despite the fact that Marlon Humphrey could be the 2017 draft version of Eli Apple, Humphrey could fit into the Pittsburgh scheme a little easier than some of the other corners available on the board. I will say that Humphrey is very physical and a very able tackle and run support. But after that national title game performance one on one against Mike Williams I have a lot of concern about his consistent ability in man coverage and effort.
31. Atlanta Falcons- DE Charles Harris/Missouri
The Falcons overachieved this year and even with that collapse, they have a young team going forward. To maintain this momentum and keep Tampa, Carolina and New Orleans from catching up they’ll need more pass rush. The Falcons did draft Vic Beasley, despite some big performances, hasn’t been a consistent threat (game in and game out) as a pass rusher.
Harris might be a DE who can be the guy to pair with him, with Quinn’s time coaching Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, I’m sure he can utilize Harris to the best of his abilities. Missouri has been breeding pass rushers like race horses in the six years with Michael Sam, Kony Ealy, Aldon Smith, Markus Golden and now Harris.
32. New England Patriots- DE/OLB Tim Williams/Alabama
I know David Njoku is still on the board as well as all these CBs but Bill Belichick has another premier talent fall to his lap due to fear from other teams or just good fortune. All of the character concerns that I’ve heard about Tim Williams make me think that NFL teams are trying to make up some more bull crap in order to have him fall in the draft. Most years the guy who ends up falling proves all the teams that passed on him wrong.
The Super Bowl Champion Patriots have found something in Trey Flowers but couldn’t get Jabaal Sheard to play at a high level down the stretch and can’t have Ninkovich on the field on run downs. Williams could be the steal of the draft if he checks out character-wise, he’s that good, dare I say, Cameron Wake/Sheldon Richardson good.