2017 NFL Mock Draft 5.0

It’s been a while since our last mock draft and a lot has happened over the past few months. The NFL combine, pro days and pre-draft visits and interviews has either risen or dropped the draft stock of numerous prospects. So with the NFL Draft two weeks away, here’s our mock draft 5.0:

1ST ROUND

1) Cleveland Browns – DE Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)

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

The one thing has hasn’t changed over the past few months is Myles Garrett being the number one prospect in this year’s draft. But for the Browns, the decision comes down to either Garrett or quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Even with the need for a franchise quarterback, the Browns can’t afford to miss out on the best player in the draft. The combine confirmed how much of a freak Garrett is, with his size (6″4, 272 pounds), power (33 repetitions of 225 pounds), speed (4.64 in the 40) and explosiveness (41-inch vertical) all on display. Trubisky may be the guy Hue Jackson wants, but Garrett is the guy Cleveland needs.

2)  San Francisco 49ers – DL Solomon Thomas (Stanford)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: QB Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina)

Thomas has become the fastest riser in this year’s draft, with a strong display at the combine. He’s a disruptive force who has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald. After drafting DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead the past couple of years, drafting Thomas could be the finishing touch for a defense that can stuff the run well, but can’t reach the quarterback. Thomas is the edge rusher San Francisco and he’s a perfect fit for their 4-3 defense. The other option here for the Niners is Jonathan Allen, however shoulder issues has provided some concern, leaving Thomas as the safer pick.

3) Chicago Bears – S Jamal Adams (LSU)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Jonathan Allen (Alabama)

Jonathan Allen’s shoulder troubles sees him sliding him down multiple mock drafts, but even if he was healthy, he doesn’t seem like a great fit in the Bears defensive scheme. Therefore, the Bears now look at fixing their secondary, especially their safeties. Jamal Adams seems to be the safest pick in the draft, with his rare combinations of instincts, athleticism and intangibles making him a tone-setter on defense. Over the past 20 years, only one Bears safety has received an invite to the Pro Bowl (Mike Brown). Picking Adams may see him be a multiple-time Pro Bowl player.

4) Jacksonville Jaguars – RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

Many argued who would be the first running back taken in this year’s draft – Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook? However, off-field issues has plagued Cook’s chances of being drafted high, which leaves the Jags to take Fournette to help out quarterback Blake Bortles in the backfield. The Jags haven’t done much to upgrade their offense other than trade for tackle Branden Albert, which makes their intentions with this pick a bit obvious. But Fournette is a can’t-miss prospect at the running back position with his combination of size, power and speed not seen since Adrian Peterson.

5) Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams) – CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: WR Mike Williams (Clemson)

With two picks in the first-round, the Titans look to complete their secondary which ranked 31st in the NFL a year ago. The additions of Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien help fill out the safety positions and also negates the pick of Malik Hooker. There is still a huge hole at cornerback and Lattimore has become the top-ranked corner in this class. Despite having hamstring issues early in his Ohio State career, a dominant 2016-17 season has turned him into a possible top-10 pick. Marlon Humphrey is another option here, but Lattimore’s agility, acceleration and instincts makes him a future Pro Bowl star.

6) New York Jets – TE O.J. Howard (Alabama)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

The signing of Josh McCown means that the Jets need to think quarterback here. Instead, they take the best player available. Johnathan Allen and Malik Hooker would be considered here, but Howard fits the mould of someone who can come in right away and help out whoever is the Jets quarterback at the start of the season. Strong performances at the Senior Bowl and combine helped Howard skyrocket up draft boards and he can fill the void left by Brandon Marshall as a dominant pass-catcher.

7) Los Angeles Chargers – S Malik Hooker (Ohio State)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: OT Cam Robinson (Alabama)

Joey Bosa was a great first-round draft pick a year ago and this year, another Buckeye may be a difference-maker on defense. The 6″2, 205-pound Hooker possesses the range and ball skills to complement the Chargers’ physical corners. Under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Hooker can play the Earl Thomas role as an invaluable playmaker.

8) Carolina Panthers – DL Jonathan Allen (Alabama)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

Despite having troubles with injury, Allen is still a top-5 talent in this draft. The Panthers realise this and no way will they let him slip by them. There will be questions about scheme fit, but you can’t deny his talent. He’s an agile, powerful and technically refined lineman, with the ability to play anywhere along the defensive line. Running back or offensive lineman may be an option here, but Allen is too good of a player to pass up.

9) Cincinnati Bengals – LB Reuben Foster (Alabama)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Derek Barnett (Tennessee)

I’ve gone back-and-forth between Reuben Foster and Derek Barnett over the past few months, so this time I’ve gone with Foster. He can pair up with Kevin Minter is a linebacking corps anchored by Vontaze Burfict. Foster is by far the best linebacker in this year’s class and it would be good for the Bengals to add some youth to their defense. Rumors have circulated that the Bengals may look to double-up on wide receivers in this year’s draft, so someone like Mike Williams may also be in play here.

10) Buffalo Bills – CB Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Quincy Wilson (Florida)

With Stephon Gilmore leaving the Bills in free agency, cornerback becomes a huge need. Humphrey is one of the most physical corners in this year’s class and will be able to come in right away and contribute. The Bills’ other option at the #10 spot is a wide receiver to help out Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins.

11) New Orleans Saints – DE Derek Barnett (Tennessee)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Reuben Foster (Alabama)

The Saints ranked 27th last year in sacks, which is a huge concern considering the talent at quarterback in the NFC South. They signed Alex Okafor to a one-year deal, but drafting Derek Barnett may be huge for their pass rush. Barnett’s college production against elite opponents makes him a first-rounder, as he broke the great Reggie White’s all-time sack record at Tennessee.

12) Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles) – QB Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: QB DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)

This may wind up being the best scenario for the Browns in this year’s draft. Draft the number one prospect with the first overall pick, then draft the quarterback you want later on in the first round. Hue Jackson is a fan of Trubisky and sees him as the next Andy Dalton. The Ohio native will have to come in and compete with Brock Osweiler for the starting job, but Trubisky possesses great upside and intangibles, as well as the accuracy, athleticism and pocket awareness to succeed.

13) Arizona Cardinals – QB Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: S Jamal Adams (LSU)

The Cardinals have made it clear that they want to develop a young quarterback under Carson Palmer and two quarterbacks fit Bruce Arians’ offensive scheme: DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes. I’m going with the latter because I feel he has the potential to thrive under Arians’ aggressive passing attack. Mahomes is a project, but his gunslinger mentality and rocket arm will help him adjust to the next level.

14) Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings) – RB Christian McCaffrey 

4.0 DRAFT PICK: WR Corey Davis (Western Michigan)

The pick here is either going to be a running back or cornerback, which just happens two of the deeper positions in this year’s class, so if they fill one gap in the first round, they can fill the other hole in the second. McCaffrey is a speedy playmaker who can form a nice combination with Carson Wentz. This swiss army knife can do it all out of the backfield and someone with his versatility can’t be passed up by teams.

15) Indianapolis Colts – DE Taco Charlton (Michigan)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: OLB Tim Williams (Alabama)

Indianapolis has many needs on defense, but the main need is a talented pass rusher. Their current starters are Jabaal Sheard, who was benched last year, and John Simon, a rotational player for the Texans. It took a while for the light to come on in Taco Charlton’s head, but in his first year as a starter at Michigan, he led the Big Ten in sacks. Charlton has a great combination of burst, bend and length, which would be an immediate upgrade for the Colts.

16) Baltimore Ravens – OT Cam Robinson (Alabama)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: OLB Ryan Anderson (Alabama)

The Ravens failed to replace Ricky Wagner after he left in free agency, so drafting a tackle here would be suitable. They are reportedly high on Cam Robinson and rate him as the top offensive tackle prospect in the draft. There are off-field concerns with Robinson, but in a weak tackle class, taking Robinson here would be a good move in terms of value.

17) Washington Redskins – LB Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DL Montravius Adams (Auburn)

Cunningham has the speed and range to run from sideline to sideline, something the Redskins have been lacking since London Fletcher retired a few years ago. This Redskins defense allowed 120 rushing yards per game and the addition of Cunningham should help fix this issue.

18) Tennessee Titans – WR Mike Williams (Clemson)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Jalen Tabor (Florida)

They took the best cornerback with their first pick, so why not take the best wide receiver with their second pick. Williams’ ability to locate the ball and use his reach to beat defenders is unmatched by any other receiver in this class. Marcus Mariota has been waiting for his #1 receiver to arrive and Williams may be that guy in Tennessee.

19) Tampa Bay Buccanneers –  RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

Due to off-field issues and an unimpressive combine performance, Cook finds himself slipping down draft boards. With Doug Martin suspended for the first 4 games of the season for PED use, it would wise for the Bucs to draft Cook here given the value on offer. Cook gets to be reunited with his college quarterback Jameis Winston and his slashing running ability and strong hands makes him a great fit in a dynamic offense already consisting of Winston, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.

20) Denver Broncos – OT Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: OT Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin)

The Broncos signed tackle Menelik Watson and guard Ronald Leary and on paper, this seems like a good move. However, in reality this could prove to be different. Garett Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk are other tackle options here, but Lamp’s versatility puts him ahead.

21) Detroit Lions – DE/OLB Takkarist McKinley (UCLA)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DL Malik McDowell (Michigan State)

Ziggy Ansah needs some help along the defensive line and the defense in Detroit hasn’t been the same since Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley left a few years back. McKinley is a premier pass rusher, with similarities to Robert Mathis.

22) Miami Dolphins – LB Haason Reddick (Temple)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Solomon Thomas (Stanford)

With tackle Branden Albert being traded and Laremy Tunsil set to slide out to replace him, guard becomes a huge need for the Dolphins. Unfortunately, the best interior lineman in this class has already been taken, so Miami now looks at their linebacking corps. Reddick is a three-down guy who can help the pass rush with his elite blitzing ability.

23) New York Giants – TE David Njoku (Miami)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: RB D’Onta Foreman (Texas)

Larry Donnell and Will Tye are not long-term answers at the tight end position. Njoku is a project player but scouts are enamored by his ability to create mismatches in the passing game. Njoku will be added to an already dangerous offense consisting of Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard.

24) Oakland Raiders – DL Malik McDowell  (Michigan State)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt)

The Raiders reached the playoffs last season thanks to an explosive offense, but their defense was exposed late last year when Derek Carr went down. McDowell is a versatile lineman who can help provide some pressure in the interior. Coach Jack Del Rio is in desperate need of help for a defense that allowed 375 yards per game – 26th in the NFL.

25) Houston Texans – QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: LB Jarrad Davis (Florida)

Houston managed to get rid of Brock Osweiler’s colossal contract, but quarterback is still a top priority. Watson is one of the most polarizing characters of this year’s draft, with his clutch genes and ability to come up big in meaningful games a good attribute. However, he threw 30 interceptions last season, which worries scouts. Watson is a talent that’s too good to pass up and should push Tom Savage to the limit, eventually taking over as the starter.

26) Seattle Seahawks – OT Garett Bolles (Utah)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DT Caleb Brantley (Florida)

The offensive line has been leaky over the past few years, and the Seahawks managed to slightly fix the problem with the signing of former #2 overall pick Luke Joeckel. However, Bolles looks like the long-term solution for Seattle as the most athletic lineman in the class. He’s still a work in progress after starting for just one year in Utah and he also has some character red flags, but his light feet and competitive nature makes him a future standout left tackle.

27) Kansas City Chiefs – QB DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Gareon Conley (Ohio State)

Alex Smith’s contract is up at the end of 2018, so now is a good time to think about who will be the Chiefs’ future star under center. Kizer has all the tools to be a 1st-round quarterback, with the arm strength and athleticism to excel at the next level.

28) Dallas Cowboys – DE/OLB Charles Harris (Missouri)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State)

The gambles made by the Cowboys to add pass rushers with character concerns has not paid off and adding a playmaker to this defensive line is a priority. Harris is a great competitor and has the burst, bend and lethal spin move to wreak havoc. He’s also still learning the sport, so he has the upside for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to develop.

29) Green Bay Packers – S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: TE O.J. Howard (Alabama)

With Micah Hyde leaving the Packers in free agency, he leaves a big void in both defense and special teams. Enter Jabrill Peppers. Peppers has slipped down draft boards due to his college production – he only had one interception throughout his entire collegiate career. Scouts are also not sure what position he will play at the next level, but his versatility should help fill in the safety position and even the linebacking corps if needed.

30) Pittsburgh Steelers – FS Budda Baker (Washington)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DE Carl Lawson (Auburn)

The Steelers could use some range in the safety position and Baker has the range and quickness needed to be a traditional centerfielder, as well as a nickel corner. Pittsburgh could also look at getting another pass-catcher here, with Western Michigan’s Corey Davis still available.

31) Atlanta Falcons – FS Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut)

4.0 DRAFT PICK: DE DeMarcus Walker (Florida State)

Atlanta conceded a Super Bowl-record 446 passing yards and are looking to upgrade the safety spot. Melifonwu jumps into the first round following a strong performance at the combine, where he produced a 4.40-second 40-yard dash, a 44-inch vertical and 11-9 broad jump. The Falcons could use Melinfonwu’s athleticism and at 6″4, he’s the ideal sized safety Dan Quinn usually looks for at the safety position.

32) New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots) – CB Gareon Conley (Ohio State)

The Saints finished dead last in pass defense and will look to add a top-ranked cornerback to their ranks. They have shown interest in trading for Patriots corner Malcolm Butler, but for now, their pick is Ohio State’s Gareon Conley. Conley is an underrated member of the Buckeye’s defense and like former Buckeye Michael Thomas, he could break out in the NFL.

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