2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

The college football regular season is coming to an end and it’s around this time where draft prospects either declare or make the decision to stay in school. Notable players such as Clemson QB Deshaun Watson and WR Mike Williams and as of this morning, Texas RB D’Onta Foreman, have all declared for the draft. Ohio State’s Malik Hooker and Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey have decided to stay in school for another year, but there’s still time for them to change their minds. For NFL fans, they start to get a clear idea of the holes and needs of their teams and where they will pick in the draft.

At this point, it looks like the winless Cleveland Browns will have the #1 overall pick in the draft? But who do they take – a franchise quarterback? a defensive cornerstone? a stud running back? Here’s the NFL Mock Draft 3.0, with the draft order determined by the current records of all 32 NFL teams. Under each pick, I’ve also included the player I picked for the team in my last mock draft 2.0.

1) Cleveland Browns – DL Jonathan Allen (Alabama)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Quarterback is a huge need for the struggling Browns, with Cody Kessler and Robert Griffin III not being able to stay on the field and Josh McCown nearing the end of his career. However, there is no clear cut top quarterback prospect in this year’s draft. Deshaun Watson’s play has declined this season, while I don’t rate DeShone Kizer or the fast-rising Mitch Trubisky as the number one draft pick. This means my pick for the Browns will be for the defense. There are two defensive prospects in the SEC who are good enough to be #1 – Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen. I would pick Garrett over Allen here however the Browns’ defensive scheme seems to be a better fit for Allen. Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib, two rookies from last year’s draft, currently occupy the defensive end positions, while Danny Shelton plugs the middle of the line. Jonathan Allen is better than anyone on this line and has the versatility to play anywhere along the defensive line. He can stop the run and is a proven pass rusher, having racked up 19 sacks in his past 26 games.

2) San Francisco 49ers – DE Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: QB DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)

The Niners are in a similar situation as the Browns, as they need a quarterback that can help Chip Kelly’s offense. However, Chip Kelly may not be the coach in San Francisco by the time they make their draft pick. As mentioned earlier, there is no top prospect at the quarterback position, which leaves the 49ers to pick the best player available – who just so happens to be one of the most dominant edge rushers in college football. Myles Garrett has the rare combination of speed and flexibility of the edge but has been hampered by an ankle injury this year. But when healthy, Garrett is one of the most devastating pass rushers in the game. Garrett has the potential to be the JJ Watt or Von Miller of this struggling side.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars – RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Reuben Foster (Alabama)

In my last mock draft, I had Leonard Fournette going #3 overall to the Miami Dolphins. Seven weeks later, I have him going #3 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The young, stacked defense has struggled this year, but quarterback Blake Bortles has struggled even more. The Jags could possibly draft a quarterback in the later rounds to give Bortles some competition, but giving Jacksonville a stud at running back could help Bortles development. TJ Yeldon is a solid running back, but Fournette is a can’t miss elite prospect. He’s had his struggles this year due to injury and declining numbers, but he possesses a combination of size, speed and strength never seen before since Adrian Peterson.

4) Chicago Bears – QB Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Gareon Conley (Ohio State)

There’s always one team in the draft who likes to pull the trigger on a quarterback early in the draft and it looks as though Chicago will be that team. With three can’t miss prospects off the board, the Bears will look for a replacement for Jay Cutler. Cutler suffered a season-ending torn labrum and it may as well signal the end of his tenure in the Windy City. Trubisky is the fastest riser in this draft but not someone I would consider as a top pick. A lot of concern with him is the fact that he’s only been the starter at North Carolina for a year. However, Trubisky has the tools and production (28 touchdowns, 4 interceptions this season) which excites scouts and with some development, could become a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.

5) New York Jets – S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

A lot of scouts don’t rate Peppers as a top 10 pick due to his lack of production in college. For some insight, Peppers recorded the first career interception of his collegiate career last weekend against Ohio State. But head coach Todd Bowles’ main theme when it comes to his defense is versatility. Peppers is one of the top athletes in this draft, with the ability to cover at safety, cornerback and linebacker, as well as his play-making ability on offense and special teams. His versatility allows the Jets to play him in either sub-packages or deep in coverage.

6) Cincinnati Bengals – LB Reuben Foster (Alabama)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Tim Williams (Alabama)

In my mock draft 2.0, the Bengals were picking at #18 . Since then, the team has declined and struggled to match their production from the last few years. One of the main reasons for this is the age of many defensive players catching up to them. Reuben Foster is the best linebacker prospect in this draft and along with Jonathan Allen, has helped make Alabama the most dominant defense in college football. Foster lost 15 pounds in the offseason and because of it, has become more explosive and shown the pass-rushing, run-stuffing and coverage skills to make him a top prospect. The injection of a young star will help this aging defense become dangerous again.

7) Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams) – WR Mike Williams (Clemson)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Jalen Tabor (Florida)

The Titans’ offense has been very good with Marcus Mariota at quarterback, a strong running game and offensive line and average receivers making big plays. But with the help of the Rams’ pick, the Titans can draft a true number one receiver in the top 10. 6-foot-3, 220 pound Mike Williams is the latest product of the Clemson wide receiver factory, with his ability to win jump balls and his route-running and speed making him a complete receiver, something Mariota and the Titans need to propel them to the next level.

8) Carolina Panthers – CB Quincy Wilson (Florida)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Quincy Wilson (Florida)

The secondary continues to be a problem for Carolina as right as this moment they’re probably regretting drafting youth over paying Josh Norman. Rookie corner James Bradberry has been a bright spot, but they’ll need a better prospect to fill the rest of the secondary. I considered Wilson’s partner in crime at Florida Jalen Tabor, but Tabor’s off-field issues may concern teams. Wilson is not a bad alternative, as he has great instincts and physicality to be a shutdown corner for this struggling secondary.

9) Arizona Cardinals – QB DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: QB Brad Kaaya (Miami)

It’s time for Arizona to pick their quarterback of the future. Carson Palmer at 36 years of age is starting to show his age, with his production declining and injuries starting to catch up to him. At this point, it’s a toss up between DeShone Kizer and Deshaun Watson. I’ve gone with Kizer since a lot of scouts don’t view Watson as a first round pick anymore. Watson’s decline is similar to Teddy Bridgewater’s fall a couple of years ago. Kizer has a great football IQ and the athleticism that can compliment star running back David Johnson well. He’s a raw prospect, but unfortunately Brian Kelly and his staff at Notre Dame have done a terrible job developing him. Arizona should draft Kizer so he can develop under coach Bruce Arians, a noted quarterback whisperer. His football needs to be cleaned up, but that was the same flaw that Dak Prescott had last year.

10) Indianapolis Colts – RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

With Frank Gore aging, getting a young stud at running back will help rejuvenate this Colts offense. Cook deserves to be a top 10 pick along with Leonard Fournette and with a string of teams picking after the Colts not in need of a tailback, now would be a good time to snap up the Florida State star. Cook’s ability to catch out of the backfield, as well as his explosive speed and agility will help support Andrew Luck in the years to come.

11) Green Bay Packers – DE Derek Barnett (Tennessee)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Dawuane Swoot (Illinois)

The Packers are in need of a pass rusher, with Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and Datone Jones all in the final years of their respective deals. Giving Green Bay the depth at this position will help the rest of the secondary and linebackers make plays. Barnett doesn’t have the length or explosiveness of an elite pass rusher, but he can still combine the power, quickness and technique to be effective against the pass and run. Barnett’s production this year for Tennessee will hopefully translate to the next level and this pick could make all the difference for Green Bay.

12) New Orleans Saints – CB Jalen Tabor (Florida)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DL Jonathan Allen (Alabama)

A pass rusher is what’s needed here, but the problems for New Orleans could be their secondary as well. As long as they have Drew Brees, the Saints can outscore anyone, just don’t expect them to stop anyone. A cornerback lined up opposite Delvin Breaux will prevent New Orleans from having to start B.W. Webb and Sterling Moore. Tabor is one of the top corner prospects in this draft, along with his teammate from Florida, Quincy Wilson. Tabor does have off-field issues, including being suspended for a game for fighting with a teammate, but he does have production and talent outweighs this, as he’s tied for the SEC lead in interceptions with four. He’s a fiery, athletic playmaker who has the speed to hang with receivers and the instincts to jump routes.

13) Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles) – QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Cam Sutton (Tennessee)

I don’t necessarily agree with this pick, but it’s one I can see the Browns making. Rather than leaving the quarterback battle between Josh McCown and Cody Kessler, Deshaun Watson will be the new franchise quarterback in Cleveland, although that’s they thought about Johnny Manziel. Now I feel Watson is a better quarterback than the three men mentioned and a first-round pick, but scouts are starting to notice flaws and inconsistencies in his game which could have him dropping out of the first round. However, I can see the Browns looking past this and looking at the tools and clutch genes he possesses. He would be an upgrade at the quarterback position, but you can’t help but think the Browns should fix their defense first.

14) San Diego Chargers – WR John Ross (Washington)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: WR Mike Williams (Clemson)

Again, I don’t rate the offensive tackle class highly this year, although Ryan Ramczyk out of Wisconsin could be an option. But John Ross has risen up draft boards as the main threat for Jake Browning in the Huskies offense. Other than the injury prone Keenan Allen, there’s no receiver for San Diego that scares defenses. Travis Benjamin? Tyrell Williams? Dontrelle Inman? These guys are not viable threats. Ross, who is a Desean Jackson clone, with the best combination of acceleration and agility in this class, is someone who can scare defenses. His small frame and yards-after-catch ability gives Philip Rivers a strong offensive weapon.

15) Tennessee Titans – S Jamal Adams (LSU)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)

The Titans have found their number one receiver with their first pick and now they look for a playmaker on defense. Look no further than Jamal Adams out of LSU. Although safety is not a major need, it does immediately upgrade the position and gives the Titans a top 5 talent in this draft. In reality, I don’t see Adams dropping this far down, but if it happens to be the case, then Tennessee may come away with the steal of the draft. Adams has the range, agility and play-making ability that warrants comparison to former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu.

16) Buffalo Bills – DL Malik McDowell (Michigan State)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Derek Barnett (Tennessee)

Rex Ryan needs to replace this aging defense with young stars. He drafted Shaq Lawson in the first round last year, but he hasn’t seen action due to injury. Ryan should continue this path of drafting younger, faster players by picking Malik McDowell. McDowell can play anywhere along the defensive line, but he would be a nice compliment to Shaq Lawson on the other side of the pass rush, with Marcell Dareus plugging up the middle. He’s a first-class athlete who Rex Ryan can coach up and help him reach his potential.

17) Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota) – CB Gareon Conley (Ohio State)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Jourdan Lewis (Michigan)

It’s surprising how well the Eagles defense has played this season, but there are still some holes that need to be filled. The main concern is in the secondary, where the Eagles lack depth. Enter Gareon Conley. Conley rates higher than #10 overall pick and former Buckeye Eli Apple. He possesses better ball skills and instinct than Apple, and more recovery speed and smoother hips than his teammate Marshon Lattimore.

18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Sidney Jones (Washington)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: S Jamal Adams (LSU)

Tampa Bay has two of the worst safeties in the NFL in Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald. Unfortunately, two of the top safeties in this draft have already been taken and there is a huge gap between them and the next best prospect. This leaves the Bucs going after the cornerback position. They drafted a long-term solution last year in Vernon Hargreaves and although Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner have been solid this year, they’re not the long term answer on the other side of the secondary. Sidney Jones has superb athleticism and pure cover skills to come in and start on day one. A pairing of Hargreaves and Jones would be tough to pass against over the next five or so years.

19) Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Ryan Anderson (Alabama)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)

Jarvis Jones, Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison are all set to become free agents after this year and looking for a young linebacker will be key for the Steelers. Ryan Anderson suits the type of player Pittsburgh is looking for – a tough, physical and relentless linebacker. He has the speed to close the gap and the hips to turn the corner, but he can also close the door in the run game and bring the heat as a tackler. His coverage skills aren’t great, but he has the traits to improve in this area of his game. For now, it’s best if the Steelers unleash Anderson as a pass-rusher.

20) Denver Broncos – G Dan Feeney (Indiana)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: TE OJ Howard (Alabama)

The Broncos’ offensive line needs work and you could argue that Feeney is one of the safest O-line picks in this draft. Feeney is a powerful and agile blocker who is versatile enough to play on either the left or right hand side. He could even play tackle if needed. Denver have experimented with project players such as Ty Sambrailo over the last few years but a mauler like Feeney who can start straight away is needed.

21) Washington Redskins – RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DT Caleb Brantley (Florida)

Kirk Cousins needs a true running back to help him out rather than having to rely an assortment of backs such as Rob Kelley, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson. McCaffrey is a playmaker is the running, receiving and returning facets of the game and adds a whole new dimension to the already dangerous Redskins offense. McCaffrey has struggled during the year but has finished the regular season strongly to prove to everyone that he deserves to be a first-rounder.

22) Miami Dolphins – CB Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

The offense seems to be thriving under Adam Gase, which leaves the defense to be tended to. The Dolphins could look at the linebacker positions, but I’ve zeroed in on the cornerback situation, with Byron Maxwell having an up and down season and despite Tony Lippett being solid at times, is he really the long-term solution in the secondary? I’ve gone with the Crimson Tide’s Marlon Humphrey, whose production at 6-foot-1, 196 pounds provides Miami with an immediate upgrade over Lippett.

23) New York Giants – LB Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State)

Linebacker is currently a need for the G-Men, unless they fail to lock in Jason Pierre-Paul to a long-term contract this offseason. Until that becomes a problem, the Giants should look at Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, a rangy talent who has climbed up draft boards due to his production this season. Cunningham’s been asked to do a whole lot on a Vanderbilt defense that lacks NFL talent and he certainly stands out amongst the rest.

24) Kansas City Chiefs – WR Corey Davis (Western Michigan)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DE/OLB Charles Harris (Missouri)

Kansas could look for an option on the offensive line or a quarterback to develop behind Alex Smith, but I’ve given Smith another weapon on offense in the FBS all-time leading receiving yards leader. Davis is big (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and fast enough to beat coverages. He also is one of the top route-runners in this draft class. One knock on Davis is that he’s coming out of Western Michigan, so he hasn’t faced any great cornerbacks in his time. But this is just a small flaw in someone who has massive talent. The idea of Davis, Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill together should excite Chiefs fans.

25) Houston Texans – DT Caleb Brantley (Florida)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: S Malik Hooker (Ohio State)

Quarterback should be an option here so the Texans have someone to compete with Brock Osweiler for the starting job. However, the top signal-callers have all been taken, so the focus shifts onto the Texans’ defensive line. They already have former NFL Defensive of the Year winner in JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney is coming along nicely. But they need a young player to plug up the middle as Vince Wilfork is aging. In comes Caleb Brantley, another talented prospect from the Florida defense and the best penetrator on the board. He isn’t the biggest prospect (6-foot-2, under 300 pounds) but he has a quick first step and closing speed to be an impactful pass rusher. Think of Gerald McCoy as his ceiling.

26) Atlanta Falcons – DE Carl Lawson (Auburn)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Solomon Thomas (Stanford)

The Falcons continue to lack a solid pass rusher and they need someone to compliment Vic Beasley, who has had a great year. Lawson’s measurables aren’t eye-popping and he does have trouble staying healthy, but when he’s 100%, he becomes a relentless pass-rusher with the speed to turn the corner and make plays in the backfield. His talent suits Dan Quinn’s aggressive defensive scheme.

27) Baltimore Ravens – LB Tim Williams (Alabama)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Devonte Fields (Louisville)

With Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil’s careers coming to an end, it’s time to find their replacement and this replacement might just be the perfect fit. You could make the argument that Williams is one of the best pass rushers in this draft after Myles Garrett. His speed, length and hand use makes him a top 10 talent. Because he’s only been used as a pass rusher at Alabama, he could unleash in the NFL with Baltimore as more of his skills are utilised. There are off-field concerns with him, including being arrested for possession of a weapon, but his talent on the field certainly makes him a first-rounder. Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome has been known to draft value over need, but Williams fills both value and need in this position.

28) Detroit Lions – DE Dawuane Smoot (Illinois)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: DL Malik McDowell (Michigan State)

The Lions need to plug the middle and has been a big need since Ndamukong Suh left town. But when you look at it, it’s really the entire front seven that needs. The Lions could explore the linebacker option with DeAndre Levy struggling to stay on the field and the depth at the position lacking. I’ve gone with Dawuane Smoot, who can help rush the pass opposite Ziggy Ansah. He’s a 6-foot-3, 265 pound defensive end with the hands, length and hips to win with speed or power. His production and potential are worthy of a round-1 pick and is well-prepared for the next level, having played under former NFL head coach Lovie Smith in Illinois.

29) Seattle Seahawks – OT Cam Robinson (Alabama)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Desmond King (Iowa)

The entire offensive line in Seattle needs to be fixed and making the right pick here could help change that. Cam Robinson has flashed moments of greatness during his time at Alabama. He rises to the occasion against the best pass rushers in college football, but struggles against the average ones. If he can be more consistent, he can be a strong anchor for this Seattle line. The other big concern with Robinson is his off-field issues, but if anyone can help smooth things out with a prospect like Robinson, it’s Pete Carroll. Right now, keeping Russell Wilson healthy is the biggest priority.

30) Oakland Raiders – LB Jarrad Davis (Florida)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Jarrad Davis (Florida)

The Raiders seem set on defense, but need a linebacker with speed, agility and the instincts to play all over the field to match with tight ends and running backs catching out of the backfield. Davis is another member of the ferocious Florida defense and caught the eye of many scouts dating back to last season. He has the speed to chase down backs outside the hashes, the quickness to run between the gaps and the ability to play in coverage. The addition of Davis can help make this young defense become elite.

31) New England Patriots – DL DeMarcus Walker (Florida State)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)

With Jamie Collins traded to Cleveland and Dont’a Hightower, Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long all in the final year of their respective contracts, the Patriots need to draft a pass rusher. Walker is tied for the national lead with 15 sacks in 12 games. His technique is more refined than Patriots’ 2014 first-rounder Dominique Easley.

32) Dallas Cowboys – DE Charles Harris (Missouri)

2.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Cordea Tankersley (Clemson)

It’s surprising how good the Cowboys are this season with their lack of a pass rush. The problems the ‘Boys have had at the defensive end position should mean it is a clear priority come draft time. Dallas will be intrigued by the motor, versatility and work ethic of the 6-foot-3, 255 pound Harris. Another option they could consider is the fast-rising Taco Charlton out of Michigan, whose big game against Ohio State has put him on the map.

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