The 2017 NFL Draft is almost here. The Def Pen Sports NFL staff participated in a mock NFL Draft to see which NFL prospects could potentially rise and fall on draft day. With a randomized draft order implemented, who did our five writers select for their respective teams?
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Welcome to the 2017 NFL Draft
Cleveland Browns – 1st overall (Rob Lopez)
Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
The top defensive talent in the 2017 NFL Draft is hard to pass up, especially one as gifted as Garrett. He hits all the NFL buzz words with his ‘size, skill, athleticism and intangibles‘ being better than possibly anyone else in the draft. While the Browns absolutely do need a quarterback, there will be other opportunities – possibly at 12 – to select one. You don’t pass up a talent like this.
San Francisco 49ers – 2nd overall (Harrison Hunter)
Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
In two seasons at Stanford, Solomon Thomas recorded 24.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Scouts are most interested in how versatile he is. He is able to shed blockers and anchor the interior for run support as well as rush the passer from both the inside and outside. Here is a look at Pro Football Focus’ chart on Thomas:
— Jordan Plocher (@PFF_Jordan) March 21, 2017
Thomas greatest attribute, however, cannot be measured. He has an unrelenting motor that never seems to turn off. By being selected by the San Francisco 49ers at Number 2 overall, they could combine Thomas with Arik Armstead and Deforest Buckner. That would solidify their pass rushing unit for years to come.
Chicago Bears – 3rd overall (Trey Daubert)
Malik Hooker, FS Ohio State
Preferably as the gm of the Bears, I’d like to trade down. In what is a deep draft, the Bears have too many holes to fill in just one draft. If I have to take somewhere here it’s going to be Malik Hooker. He has a chance to be every bit as special as Ed Reed and Earl Thomas as that centerfielder in the defense. While Jamal Adams was tempting, Hooker has the higher ceiling which prompted my selection.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 4th overall (Carson Hathaway)
Jonathon Allen, DL Alabama
Jonathan Allen measures up as possibly the second best defensive talent in the 2017 NFL Draft. The defensive end out of Alabama is another talent that hits all the miscellaneous marks – size, strength, athleticism – but there is some reported concerns about Allen having arthritic shoulders, which was revealed at the 2017 NFL Draft Combine. While he did have some shoulder procedures during his time at Bama, he never missed a game during his college tenure. Still, despite the possible future injury concerns, he’s a great talent and if the Jags want to improve their already young and talented defense, nabbing a pass rusher like Allen is a no-brainer.
Tennessee Titans – 5th overall (Harrison)
O.J. Howard, TE Alabama
Howard has the uncanny combination of size, speed, athleticism, and toughness it takes to succeed at the NFL level. He possesses the size to block defensive ends and the speed to threaten the third level of the defense.
While he did not have the production, he absolutely has the potential. Howard is willing to do all of the dirty work that is involved with playing the tight end position. He loves to dominate the run game with his blocking as well as create matchup problems as a receiver.
Because there is no true top 5 receiver in this draft, he is the best fit for the Tennessee Titans (5th overall). While Delanie Walker is still the top asset on this offense, he is steadily climbing the age ladder. The addition of Howard would do wonders for this offense and Mariota for years to come.
New York Jets – 6th overall (Carson)
Jamal Adams, SS LSU
The Jets need a lot of things to field a formidable roster, chief among them is a quarterback. But if we’re thinking logically, they have time to build on of their younger talents or even draft another guy later on. If the Jets want to continue to build on a strength, adding quite possibly the best defensive back in the 2017 NFL Draft is a good start. He’s also highly regarded for his leadership skills during his time at LSU and ability to cover the entire field in his role.
Los Angeles Chargers – 7th overall (Micah Malamisuro)
Mike Williams, WR Clemson
The Chargers have been missing a big target ever since Vincent Jackson was their best receiver. Mike Williams would be able to fill the void easily. Phillip Rivers has been putting up tremendous numbers even without a great supporting cast. Even though a lot of the Chargers play calling has been short passes and dumps down to the running backs, Williams would stretch the field and be a dominant force for years to come in Cali. At 6’4″, Mike would give LA the opportunity to move either Travis Benjamin or Keenan Allen to the slot to run their crafty routes.
Carolina Panthers – 8th overall (Rob)
Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
Carolina went from the Super Bowl to a top 10 pick in one season. There’s no time to waste on Cam Newton, a player still in his prime but in need of some support in a bad way. While Carolina’s troubles last season could start with the defensive issues, they are in dire need of a backfield mate for Newton and veteran back Jonathan Stewart. While Christian McCaffery is also a good back to consider here Carolina should definitely go with LSU star Leonard Fournette. They’ll just seemingly improve their top 10 rushing attacks with the dynamic college football star who you saw make countless plays on Saturday.
Cincinnati Bengals – 9th overall (Carson)
Reuben Foster, ILB Alabama
Their defense was pretty solid last year but the Bengals are in a position to take the best player available and in this scenario, Reuben Foster should be the name they call. Foster might not be your traditional bruising linebacker but his pass coverage and speed for his size is hard to pass up on. Pairing Foster with Vontaze Burfict could be a nice combo punch.
Buffalo Bills – 10th overall (Micah)
Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State
Although the Bills have many needs, since they just lost Stephon Gillmore the New England Patriots, they have a huge hole in their secondary. At the moment the two starting corners for the Bills are Ronald Darby and Kevon Seymour. Darby is a talented player, but is not a number 1 corner by any means. Even though Darby has some credentials, Seymour has none at all. Kevon Seymour has started just three games in his career. As lofty of comparisons as Vontae Davis, many believe Lattimore is the top corner in this years draft class
New Orleans Saints – 11th overall (Micah)
Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee
The Saints have a whole lot of issues, oddly they are mainly on just one side of the ball. I am a high believer in one of the first building blocks of a new designed defense is a pass rusher. Derek Barnett is the definition of that. With Cameron Jordan on one side, and Barnett on the other, the Saints would have a dynamic duo for years to come.
Cleveland Browns – 12th overall (Rob)
Mitchell Trubisky, QB North Carolina
Remember how the Browns needed a QB? Well, have no fear, Mitch Trubisky is here. The first quarterback off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft is heading to Cleveland but with the 12th overall pick, not number 1. While some think the Browns might look to trade into the top 10 to select a quarterback to prevent the Buffalo Bills, a team who just re-signed their quarterback Tyrod Taylor to a new deal, they should be fine standing pat at 12 for a quarterback. Trubisky is considered the top quarterback prospect. He has NFL size, a strong arm and accuracy on his throws either locked in the pocket or on the move. He’s not complete though, and that’s why he’s not a can’t miss prospect to some. He has some obvious improvements but he does have the tools to warrant a long and successful NFL career.
Arizona Cardinals – 13th overall (Trey)
Hasson Reddick, OLB Temple
Reddick has been a fast riser since the Senior Bowl. Reddick is a unique player who started out as a safety and wound up playing defensive end for Temple. Now he hopes to convert to linebacker with the athleticism to stand up. Reddick is going to be deployed as a pass rusher opposite of Chandler Jones on 3rd downs as well. I’m not sure anyone knows what position he will play but all I know is that Haason Reddick is a fantastic player.
Philadelphia Eagles – 14th overall (Trey)
Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford
I couldn’t pass on McCaffrey at this point. Not only is he the best running back in the class, he is also the best receiver in the draft. On third downs, I can line him up in the slot and he could be the go-to guy on the play. He is also electric out of the backfield with the smoothest feet in the draft. You’re welcome Carson Wentz, enjoy your new weapon.
Indianapolis Colts – 15th overall (Rob)
Jabrill Peppers, SS Michigan
Quite possibly the flashiest name in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Michigan product Jabrill Peppers is a mystery to some. Is he a linebacker, safety, cornerback, dual-threat offensive playmaker? Why not all of the above? Jabrill Peppers joining a bottom-five defense in Indianapolis will allow him the opportunity to make plays at multiple positions, if the Colts are inclined to do so. Jabrill makes plays and on defense, the Colts need a lot of that to improve their putrid defense. Nab the best defensive playmaker here and start building up your defense and possibly provide some sort of stability to your offense and franchise quarterback. Some might see it as a reach at 15 but with a ton of other offensive players on the board at this point, you might have to make a reach and take a chance.
Baltimore Ravens – 16th overall (Trey)
Taco Charlton, DE Michigan
Well, Ozzie Newsome whiffed on Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kafusi last year but luckily he got fired and replaced by Trey Daubert. This time we are going to actually hit on the edge rusher position by taking Taco Charlton. Big Taco is a long pass rusher and has that length that we look for. Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of the road and we need an understudy in the worst way. I’ve got Charlton linked to Chandler Jones which I’m very happy with at this point in the first round. We also got inside info by Jim Harbaugh thanks to our head coach John Harbaugh and he got raved reviews by his former college coach.
Washington Redskins – 17th overall (Micah)
Chris Wormely, DE Michigan
The Redskins have finally been putting pieces together, but it has yet made them a real threat in the NFC. They also have to play in division that always competes year in and year out. The Cowboys have developed an offensive line for the ages and building a strong defensive line is what the entire NFC East needs to do. Wormley brings a big presence at 6’5″ and would be able to come in and produce right away. According to NFL.com, Wormley is compared to Jared Crick. Not being a big name to compare to, a team would be looking for a star in the first round. With a high ceiling, Wormley could be a nice fit in D.C.
Tennessee Titans – 18th overall (Harrison)
Gareon Conley, CB Ohio State
Since the NFL combine, Gareon Conley’s name has soared in nearly every “expert’s” mock draft. He has good NFL cornerback size and plays much longer than his numbers indicates. His arms are listed at 33″ which are abnormally large for his position. A season ago, Conley registered 4 interceptions and 8 passes defended against. Scouts are also raving about the fluidity of his hips.
Here is an interesting statistic on Conley courtesy of Pro Football Focus:
The leap Gareon Conley took in his second season as a full-time starter was impressive. 7 missed tackles as a starter in 2 seasons, also. pic.twitter.com/dTNZZkC5GB
— Conor Myles (@MylesSheet) March 31, 2017
Conley is another piece added this offseason by this Titan’s front office. With the new additions of Johnathan Cyprien (SS) and Logan Ryan (CB), the Titans recognize the need to upgrade their secondary. Conley would make a great compliment to Logan Ryan on the outside as well as in the slot.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 19th overall (Micah)
Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State
Since there is a lot of uncertainty with the likes of Doug Martin, the former Florida State running back would be able to stand behind Famous Jameis. Dalvin Cook is an explosive running back, whom is widely seen as the second best running back in the draft. Cook provides speed and cutting ability that is needed in a number one back, since he can run you over as well. Ball security was an issue during college and will be a main focus from day one.
Denver Broncos – 20th overall (Carson)
Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisconsin
Medical concerns could slow down any player, especially offensive linemen but if all checks out for Ryam Ramcyzk, the Broncos selecting him at 20 would be exactly where he should land. The Broncos might have some quarterback troubles of their own but before you give up either one of the two young passers, you have to give him the tools to succeed. One of the top lineman in the 2017 NFL Draft class is a good place to start, especially at the left tackle position. Ramcyzk is a versatile and athletic lineman with solid core strength and body control. He could immediately start for Denver and be one of the first steps towards rebuilding their offensive line.
Detroit Lions – 21st overall (Carson)
Malik McDowell, DT Michigan State
Some scouts had worries about McDowell’s work ethic and if he was motivated enough to make a big impact on the next level. But what would motivate a player more than playing for his hometown team? The Detroit kid and Michigan State product could be the answer to the questions about the Lions interior defensive lineman following the departures of Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh in consecutive seasons and only replacing them with the aging Haloti Ngata. It’s time to get Ezekiel Ansah a partner on the interior as he rushes from the outside or eventually move McDowell on the opposite side of Zeke to begin a possibly dynamic d-line.
Miami Dolphins – 22nd overall (Harrison)
Forrest Lamp, OG Western Kentucky
Not only is Forrest Lamp the best offensive guard available in this draft, some view him as the best offensive lineman, period.
Forrest Lamp allowed 0 sacks, 4 total pressures in 2016. Had 9 perfect games of pass pro. Screw arm length, try him at LT in the NFL
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 20, 2017
Forrest Lamp has shorter arms than the NFL prototype, but they didn’t seem to be an issue in terms of on-field performance. pic.twitter.com/ZBZmvf4s8p
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) April 20, 2017
Lamp adds instant value to a weak offensive line unit that ranked 30th, per Pro Football Focus, a season ago. Additionally, this pick makes sense as Laremy Tunsil is making the switch from LG to LT. The strong suit of this offensive line would then lie with Tunsil (LT) and Ju’Wan James (RT). Although offensive tackles are valued higher than offensive guards by most NFL teams, Forrest Lamp is the best offensive guard in this draft and would pay immediate dividends in the running and passing game.
New York Giants – 23rd overall (Rob)
Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
The Giants need an offensive lineman. How many times have we heard that in the last five years or so? With Eli Manning approaching the end quicker than ever and the new additions of some talent on the offensive end, there’s no time to waste what is left in your franchise quarterback. Cam Robinson out of Alabama, the the 6’6″, 322 pound five-star recruit and three-year starter at left tackle for the Crimson Tide could be a great answer to pair on the opposite side of 23 year old offensive tackle, Ereck Flowers. You would most likely have to switch one of them to right tackle but that’s a small price to pay to solidify your offensive line for not only now but the future. Robinson might have some issues staying on his feet and sometimes lets a defender slip by but he has the traits and physical ability to be a good NFL tackle.
Oakland Raiders – 24th overall (Trey)
Charles Harris, DE Missouri
We ranked last in the NFL in sacks despite having Khalil Mack who was the defensive player of the year. That’s unacceptable to me. Harris has solid sack production in the SEC and Missouri has a nice track record of recent NFL products that we like. He was a prospect that we liked very much at the combine and couldn’t pass on him. Khalil Mack gets a new side kick which is good news for us considering we have to keep him happy.
Houston Texans – 25th overall (Carson)
DeShone Kizer, QB Notre Dame
Trubisky is gone and now it’s the time where teams look at quarterbacks with some upside as the later picks come. There’s less risk here and teams are more willing to take a chance. Houston is solid at just about everyone other position besides quarterback so why add another wide receiver, defensive back or lineman? National Champion Deshaun Watson or Texas Tech star Patrick Mahomes could be the answer here but Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer actually should be the guy here. Kizer has the first round QB intangibles, size, mobility and arm strength, but he does have some noticeable holes. His second-half drop in production for the Fighting Irish is not a great thing along with his inconsistent decision-making at times and a glaring accuracy weakness. Still, he’s 21 years old and can learn more in a bench role from veteran quarterback Brandon Weeden, especially if the Texans are prepared to give Tom Savage the keys to the franchise. It’s better to grow your own talent instead of just throw him out to the wolves. If both Savage and Kizer prove to be quality players, that could work out even better for Houston in the long run.
Seatle Seahawks – 26th overall (Harrison)
Garett Bolles, OT Utah
Garrett Bolles has the smoothest footwork of any offensive tackle in this draft class. He is able to climb to the 2nd and 3rd levels with ease in the run game. Additionally, he has the ability to match the speed off the edge with quick sets in pass protection.
One West area scout for an NFC team told NFL.com,
“Most athletic offensive lineman I’ve done since I took over this area of the country. He’s also mean on the field, which you love. I’m projecting him to get stronger once he locks into an NFL strength-and-conditioning program. He’s underdeveloped right now. What you see isn’t what you are going to ultimately get, in my opinion.”
Bolles to the Seahawks makes sense as they have a gaping hole at the tackle position. It would be a miracle for the Seahawks if he fell this late in the draft. A season ago, the Seahawks were the worst rated offensive line in the NFL with their best offensive lineman being their center, Justin Britt.
Kansas City Chiefs – 27th overall (Harrison)
Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
Deshaun Watson carries himself the way every quarterback should, both on and off the field. In 35 games as the Tigers starting quarterback, Watson threw for 10,168 yards, 90 touchdowns (32 interceptions), and averaged 8.4 yards per pass attempt. He managed to complete 67.4 percent of his passes and maintain a 157.5 passer efficiency rating.
Watson has the balance of competitiveness and poise that I want to see in my future quarterback. He also is a proven winner and leader, two additional qualities that are very important to the quarterback position.
Most people believe Alex Smith has taken the Chiefs as far as he can so they may look to add depth at the quarterback position early. Andy Reid is a quarterback nut. Fitting Deshaun Watson in this offense would be right in his wheelhouse. Watson could learn the offense in a season or two and step right in and lead this team.
Dallas Cowboys – 28th overall (Trey)
Obi Melifonwu, SS Connecticut
We need defense in the worst way. Melifonwu is a true boom or bust prospect but I’m going to trust Rod Marinelli to develop him. We did a similar thing with Byron Jones and that paid off pretty well. Now we will have the most athletic safety tandem in the entire NFL. Cornerback was also tempting here but with such a deep class, we can afford to wait and grab one in round 2.
Green Bay Packers – 29th overall (Rob)
Adoreé Jackson – CB USC
It’s been quite some time since we marveled at a Green Bay Packers cornerback. The days of Al Harris, Charles Woodson or Tramon Williams are long gone and the bottom 10 defense should start building some pieces alongside their safety’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who has shown some flashes early in his career, and solid veteran Morgan Burnett. Adoree Jackson out of USC was one of the best athletes in college football last season, making plays for the Trojans on offense, defense, and special teams. His size and length could be a concern but his coverage ability, athleticism and eye for the ball could see him step in as a slot corner in a league full of slot receivers. As a bonus, his returning ability could allow Green Bay to move important offensive pieces Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb away from special teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers – 30th overall (Micah)
Tim Williams, DE Alabama
While some may have Williams not going till the second round, he won’t be there when the Steelers pick again. It can be sometimes scary to reach on a player, but Tim could be worth the risk. As Pittsburgh looks for a replacement for James Harrison, he would not be under much pressure to produce right away. The main reason that is important is because a concern on the Alabama linebacker was that their schemes were too complex. The Steelers would be able to slowly bring him along and eventually rotate him in with Harrison since Bud Dupree has taken over on the other side. The Pittsburgh Steelers are set everywhere on offense if Ladarius Green is good to go and they selected two early secondary picks in Artie Burns and Sean Davis last season. An edge player is exactly what the Steelers need.
Atlanta Falcons – 31st overall (Harrison)
T.J. Watt, EDGE Wisconsin
The last of the Watt brothers, T.J. looks to live up to his older brother’s (J.J. and Derek) reputation. Last season at Wisconsin, Watt accumulated 63 tackles (15.5 for loss) and 11.5 sacks. J.J. has set some high expectations for the younger Watt:
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) April 19, 2017
Here is a look at his measurables against other outside linebackers:
TJ Watt would be an absolute weapon on defense. pic.twitter.com/RcWvWt7Lzw
— Steve (@SteveDraft_) April 8, 2017
Thomas Dimitroff, Dan Quinn, and the Atlanta Falcons are always looking for additional pass rushers to get after the quarterback. The NFC South is arguably the best quarterback division and creating havoc along the defensive front is a way to slow those high octane offenses down. Combining Watt with Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, Dontari Poe, and Adrian Claiborne would allow Dan Quinn to open his bag of magic tricks on opposing offenses.
New Orleans Saints – 32nd overall (Micah)
Takkarist McKinley, DE UCLA
*Carson Hathaway’s original picks were written by Rob Lopez.
That concludes the 2017 NFL Draft. For more on the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, make sure to stay in touch with Def Pen Sports for the latest updates.