2017 NFL Draft
2017 NFL Draft - April 27-29
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2017 First-Round Mock Draft: Defense Runs Deep


Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett issued an edict to the Cleveland Browns. The stud pass rusher who is the consensus first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft told the Browns they had better draft him or he would make their quarterbacks pay.

While comments like that aren’t all that unusual, it proves how badly Garrett wants to hear his name called first. Realistically, there aren’t many other choices Cleveland could make an argument for.

“Because I’ll be a difference-maker from day one. And I’m not gonna be in any trouble. I’m just gonna make plays and bring a good atmosphere to your organization,” Garrett said. “And I’m gonna start winning and winning now. And because if you don’t draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years. I’ll knock your QB out of the game every time we play you, and I’ll have to kick the hell out of No. 1, whoever it is.”

That kind of intensity has to be an attractive quality to the Browns, a team that won a single game last season.

Virtually every website and draft “expert” has Garrett as the top pick, with Stanford’s defensive end Solomon Thomas second. The San Francisco 49ers have to be excited about getting a local guy with edge rushing skills.

After those two picks, you can put names in a hat and play a guessing game. This draft class is loaded on the defensive line, at running back and in the secondary. There could also be a run on quarterbacks if teams get antsy and feel they will fail to land their future leader. I have said this before and I will repeat it – this quarterback class is overvalued.

Garrett may be the top prospect overall, but don’t sell short the others who come after him. This draft has a potential to be one of the most talented in some time. While the 2013 NFL Draft is considered one of the weakest in recent memory, 2017 could be downright dominant.

Here’s a look at how I see the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft playing out.

Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M

There isn’t much else to say about this pick. There would be more to say if he isn’t the choice. Garrett’s potential hasn’t been reached yet. The Browns get the best player in this draft class.

San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, Defensive End, Stanford

Thomas was as dominant as any one player in a bowl game against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. He is versatile, being able to play inside or outside on the edge. He could also play outside linebacker if needed.

Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama

The Bears are faced with the first dilemma of the draft. Allen fills a need and will likely be used outside on the end, but is versatile enough to move inside like he did at Alabama. The Bears needs help across the defense, but decide to fortify their line first.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU

The Jaguars sweat a bit but get their man. Fournette is a playmaker this team has lacked from the running back spot. Big, quick, agile and has proven he can catch the football. He will be the best back to come out since Adrian Peterson.

Tennessee Titans – Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU

The Titans get a “steal” with the best defensive player not named Garrett. Adams showed off his speed at his Pro Day, which elevated him to a “can’t miss” prospect. The Titans added bodies in free agency to their secondary. Adams will be an instant star.

New York Jets – Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson

Boom! The best quarterback in this class comes off the board first. Watson is the man looked upon to save the Gang Green. Jets management is hoping he becomes the second coming of Russell Wilson and can lead this team back to respectability.

Los Angeles Chargers – Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State

The Chargers would have taken either Hooker or Adams. Adams was already chosen. Hooke gives this team a safety the franchise has missed since Eric Weddle left. Hooker’s injury issues aside, he could be the best defensive back in this draft class five years down the road.

Carolina Panthers – OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama

The Panthers had hoped Fournette would be there. The Jaguars stepped in. While Greg Olson is still a solid tight end, he is getting older. Howard is a Kellen Winslow-type player with great hands and will be a big red zone target.

Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama

This might be the best spot for Foster, who is the best linebacker in this draft. Foster’s speed and instincts alone make a favorite. He and Vontaze Burfict would inflict a lot of punishment in the middle of the defense.

Buffalo Bills – Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State

Losing Stephon Gilmore is huge. Getting Lattimore is a nice consolation prize. The Ohio State star is quick and agile and has nice size. He covers plenty of ground in the open field and is a solid tackler.

New Orleans Saints – Derek Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee

Phase one of the rebuilding of the defense. Barnett is a solid choice who falls just below the Garrett-Solomon level. He will help the Saints pass rush and could see time as a stand-up edge rusher. The Saints need quick defensive players to pressure the quarterback.

Cleveland Browns – Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback North Carolina

I fought with myself over this pick. Trubisky may be a one-year wonder at North Carolina, but he had a solid Pro Day and looks to be the part. His lack of college experience may push teams away. The Browns take a chance on a boom or bust pick.

Arizona Cardinals – John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington

The Cardinals opt for another wideout over a passer. This makes more sense. Ross is the home run threat the team could use, despite his 5-foot-11 frame. He could be the third receiver in the offense until Larry Fitzgerald calls it a career. Ross may be a surprise pick, but he will pay off handsomely.

Philadelphia Eagles – Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State

Conley used the Combine and his Pro Day workout to help him move up the draft board. The fact the Buckeyes have three defensive backs taken in the first 14 picks is all you need to know about how good the Ohio State secondary was.

Indianapolis Colts – Dalvin Cook, Running Back, FSU

The Colts found a running back. Cook showed he has speed and can catch the football out of the backfield at his Pro Day. He should be a starter from Day 1. If Cook can prove to be a breakaway back each time he touches the ball, the Colts offense could take off once again.

Baltimore Ravens – Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson

I am not as sold on Williams as some are. He is tall, angular and will prove to be a top red-zone target for the Ravens. If he can replace half of the productivity of Steve Smith, this pick becomes a steal for GM Ozzie Newsome.

Washington Redskins – Malik McDowell, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State

McDowell has been one of those quiet players who is a first round talent that no one is talking about. He also fits a need for this defense. If McDowell can plug the middle and help stuff the run, his selection will pay off exponentially for Washington.

Tennessee Titans – Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan

The Titans could have drafted a wide receiver at No. 5, but hold out and come away with a deep threat. The one thing missing from the Tennessee offense is a consistent pass catcher who can go the distance with each pass. Davis gives Marcus Mariota that.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jabrill Peppers, Safety, Michigan

A bit of a shocking pick, but it makes sense. I’m not sure how Peppers will be used in the Buccaneers defense, but he can change a game on offense, defense and on special teams. Given these points, I suspect he plays safety and helps this team in the return game.

Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk, Tackle, Wisconsin

The first tackle off the board. Secondly, Ramczyk is big, strong and fills a need for the Broncos. Denver is one of those teams that relies so heavily on the running game. All in all, Ramczyk can step in from the start and play with power.

Detroit Lions – Hasaan Reddick, Linebacker, Temple

Reddick is the type of player the Lions need. A star at Temple, he looked every bit a top-tier player in postseason workouts. Some may question the fact he did not play in a top conference or against top competition. It’s hogwash. This kid can play.

Miami Dolphins – Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan

I have had Charlton here for some time. He is the pass rusher this team needs to compliment the defensive line. I like his size and speed and his ability to break free of tackles to get to the quarterback. He will at some point replace Cam Wake on this defense.

New York Giants – Garret Bolles, Tackle, Utah

Bolles is such a blue-collar type that fits this system. The Giants make a living by solidifying the offensive and defensive lines. Bolles is a tackle who could move inside and play guard. The Giants need help with run blocking and to help protect an aging Eli Manning.

Oakland Raiders – David Njoku, Tight End, Miami

Welcome another offensive weapon to the Raiders’ offense. Moreover, Njoku gives Derek Carr a safety blanket and one more red zone threat. There have been plenty of good tight ends to come out of Miami. Njoku could be the best when his career is over.

Houston Texans – Patrick Mahomes II, Quarterback, Texas Tech

As much as this a need pick, it’s also the right pick for the Texans. One draft board has Mahomes II as high as sixth. He isn’t that good – yet. Houston will give him a chance to prove he is not the product of the system. All in all, he and Tom Savage compete for the starting job immediately.

Seattle Seahawks – Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama

Much to the Seahawks surprise, Humphrey slips to them at 26. An aggressive tackler, the Seahawks get a player who can work his way into the lineup and is not pressured to start right away. Humphrey is looking not only to intercept a pass but strip the ball from his opponent while making the tackle.

Kansas City Chiefs – Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford

I am not as sold on McCaffrey as others, but he fits the Kansas City Chiefs’ need for a dependable running back. To begin with, McCaffrey is a tough yardage runner who has surprising quickness and ability. In a word, he is a throwback runner in every sense.

Dallas Cowboys – Charles Harris, Defensive End, Missouri

The ‘Boys add a pass rusher to shore up the defensive line. He is a ‘tweener at 6-foot3 and 258 pounds, but that quickness could prove to be just what this defense needs. Furthermore, his first step off the line and the spin move might be one of the best in this draft.

Green Bay Packers – Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida

Davis is a middle linebacker who will prove to be another in the long line of Packers’ top picks. While Davis showed his strengths playing in the SEC it should transition well to the next level. While Green Bay’s defense is good, Davis makes it that much better.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC

Another pick I haven’t changed. Jackson is a typical Steelers’ player who is fast and can cover a lot of open-field. In fact, Jackson’s speed and 40-time at the Combine helped him. Hence, the idea of him and Artie Burns starting for the Black and Gold has Mike Tomlin smiling.

Atlanta Falcons – Carl Lawson, Defensive End, Auburn

This pick tells the entire story. The Falcons looked like world beaters last season until they fell apart in the second half of the Super Bowl. However, Atlanta needs more edge rushers. Lawson does that and can also play stand up linebacker.

New Orleans Saints – Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, LSU

Rarely do the Saints take a player from LSU, but White gives them a solid tackler and cover corner in the secondary. Consequently, New Orleans’ most pressing needs are on defense. While they could use this pick on a quarterback of the future, White is a player who can come in and start right away.

 

 

 


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