The 2017 NFL Draft is today and the draft buzz is at a fever pitch. It's misinformation season, with plenty of rumors and roughly 20 players forecasted as Top 10 picks and upwards of 40 as first rounders. That makes it tricky to figure out where players will go and, of course, there will be the surprise picks and trades that ruin everyone's mock draft.
I'm trying to project what I think teams will do and forecast where players will be taken. I suspect this year's draft class could end up looking like the 2011 version, where several QBs went earlier than their talent said they should. If that's the case, that means several talented defensive players will end up falling in the draft. I got 10 first round picks right last year, but I'm not feeling as confident this year. I suspect it will be a chaotic draft weekend.
For this final mock, I don't have Caleb Brantley or Gareon Conley going. Both are great talents, but accusations of crimes (Brantley for battery and Conley of rape) have forced their draft position into the unknown. I think with both players, we could end up in a La'el Collins situation: the players don't go on the first two days, so their agents request they go undrafted. Either way, it's going to be a chaotic weekend.
I don't often project trades, but I'm going to include one in this version. I also have all seven rounds for this version, so don't stop reading after the first round. And, of course, if feel free to follow me on Twitter. With all that out of the way, here's my final 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Unless the Browns do something REALLY stupid or get a Godfather trade offer, the pick will be Myles Garrett. I don't buy the rumors that the Browns are thinking about taking Trubisky at No. 1 (although they do like him). This type of story happens every year. If owner Jimmy Haslam forces QB at No. 1, it will be the worst first overall pick in years.
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2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The 49ers are in an interesting spot. Mitchell Trubisky (or any QB) probably isn't truly worth this pick. But it might also be too early for a WR like Mike Williams, and players like Jamal Adams, Jonathan Allen or Reuben Foster don't quite fit the scheme/needs. That leaves Solomon Thomas, who has been getting more buzz a potential No. 2 overall pick. The 49ers would try to turn him into their LEO edge rusher, although I think he'll be better as a Michael Bennett type. Malik Hooker (or Marshon Lattimore) is also an option, and Thomas also fits in the event the Panthers trade up. The Browns could try to move up as well and the Niners have made it clear they're willing to trade the pick. But that also could be a sign they aren't getting much interest. The Niners are a wild card in this year's draft.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
With Mike Glennon signed and the Bears focusing on offense in free agency, I think this will be a defensive pick. Allen, Hooker and Thomas make sense, but so does Adams. He'd provide the Bears with a badly needed dynamic playmaker in the secondary. He profiles as a great strong safety. There's been buzz about the Bears taking a QB (Deshaun Watson), but I don't think they'll do that No. 3. But they could trade back up into the late first.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
They flirted with running backs in free agency and will have Fournette near the top of their big board. He'll drastically change their offense and make life much easier on Blake Bortles. If it's not Fournette, Alabama TE O.J. Howard is an option. On defense, Allen or Thomas could be the pick.
5. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams): Marshon Lattimore, CB, OSU
The Titans could try to trade down. If not, I think the Titans goes defense at No. 5 and offense later in the first. The release of Jason McCourty was a clear sign to me the Titans will take a CB early. Lattimore is the top one in this year's draft.
6. New York Jets: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
I suspect the Jets really like Trubisky (they showed a lot of interest). So maybe he's the pick outright. Or maybe the Browns move up, as rumored. Either way, I like Trubisky in this slot.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
The Chargers are a logical landing spot for Malik Hooker and it almost makes too much sense for it to happen. Hooker would provide the Chargers with a dynamic, impact safety. Hooker has perhaps the best ball skills in this year's class. If it's not Hooker, a wide out or a 3-technique like Jonathan Allen makes sense.
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8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
I think the report of McCaffrey going in the top 10 is legit, in part because it meshes with a report from earlier this pre-draft season that the Panthers are high on McCaffrey. The Panthers need more weapons and McCaffrey can contribute on the ground, in the passing game and on returns. If it's not McCaffrey, I like a defensive end or O.J. Howard. Fournette is a potential pick if he lasts, but I don't think he will.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals haven't played up to their talent level, which makes things a bit tricky here. They could use some impact players regardless of position on defense and that's what Barnett provides. He might the best player on the board, although the Bengals could go several different directions. Taco Charlton, Reuben Foster, Corey Davis and Mike Williams will be options too. I think the Bengals go DE (especially with the report that Foster might need another shoulder surgery), and they'll pick the production of Barnett over the size of Charlton. This is a pick that can really mess up my mock.
10. Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Bills badly need another offensive weapon that's what Williams is. I'm torn between Mike Williams, Howard, Corey Davis and even a CB like Gareon Conley for this pick, but I'll go with Howard for the time being. It's a real toss up and the Bills could go several direction. But, I like this range for Howard. There's also buzz the Bills are high on Trubisky.
11. New Orleans Saints: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I've wanted to mock Watson to the Saints for sometime (I've had him at No. 32). But with the buzz around Watson going to the Bears at No. 3, I've elected to move him up. I think this draft ends up being like 2011, with a run on QBs in this round. With a deep EDGE class, the Saints can wait on picking up that extra pass rusher until later in round 1.
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12. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles): Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
I think the Browns (now that their scouting staff is in place, unlikely last year), take a QB early. If they don't get Trubisky, I think they'll go with Mahomes. He has immense upside, although needs time to develop. That's not an issue for the Browns, who will be bad again next year.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
QB is an option and if Mahomes is on the board I expect the Cardinals to pull the trigger. But he's not, so the Cardinals get a future No. 1 WR once Larry Fitzgerald retires. Williams will be a Top 20 pick and could go in the Top 5.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota Vikings): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
With wide out taken care of in free agency, the Eagles are likely looking at CB and RB. I wouldn't rule out Christian McCaffrey, but he's gone. The Eagles did bring Humphrey in for a visit and he fits the mold of a future No. 1 CB. The key for him will be his footwork. Gareon Conley could be an option, but the Eagles want size and toughness, which Humphrey has.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
If Reuben Foster is on the board, I think the Colts would take him. That's the case here, as the Colts get a great value pick and fill a massive need.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
There are several needs on defense and on the offensive line, but Davis is great value here. He could very well go in the Top 13 picks, and this would give the Ravens a more reliable No. 1 option. Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are deep threats, and Kamar Aiken is gone. If it's not Davis, Cam Robinson or a defender at any position expect safety could be the pick.
17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Someone is going to fall from Top 10 talent to just inside the Top 20 this year and I'm leaning towards Allen. He's a top 5 player for me, but NFL teams are worried about his shoulder. The Redskins invested heavily on the defensive line this offseason, but this is too good of value. Washington is a hard team for me to mock for this year, but Allen would be a great pick.
18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington
After that absurd 4.22 40-yard dash, I'll be surprised if Ross doesn't go in the first. There are still concerns about his injury history and his route-running, but he gives the Titans the deep threat they don't truly have. He's a young DeSean Jackson.
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19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
With Howard gone, the Bucs are in a tricky place. They could go safety, but after adding J.J. Wilcox, I'm not sure they'll take a Jabrill Peppers or Obi Melifonwu in round 1 (it's a real option though). Instead, they get another weapon for Jameis Winston. Njoku has massive upside, and he'll be deadly running seam routes. I think he ends up going in round one, despite a loaded tight end class. As for Dalvin Cook, I think his off-the-field worries push him down to the second round.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
OT is a need and Bolles is viewed by some (not me though) as the top one. I think Denver is in that grouping. He's older and a bit more raw than ideal, but he could start at left tackle right away for Denver.
21. Detroit Lions: Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple
No player's stock has risen more in the pre-draft process, as Reddick has gone from an undersized tweener at the EDGE to a first round ILB. There's even some buzz he'll be the first ILB taken, but I don't think that will be the case. But I do think this is as far as he falls, as the Lions fill a massive need by snagging him.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Dolphins focus on the front seven in free agency, freeing them up to target a OG like Lamp. He'll go in the first round and fills a big need for Miami. He was a tackle in college, but will transition inside for the NFL. Lamp might not last this long, which would force the Dolphins to look elsewhere, likely at DE or LB. A player like Obi Melifonwu could be an option here too.
23. New York Giants: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The addition of D.J. Fluker isn't enough to solve the Giants' offensive line issues. Robinson could go before this and he'd find a spot on the Giants' offensive line. David Njoku could be an option if the Giants pass on an OT.
24. Oakland Raiders: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
This pick was going to be Gareon Conley, but then he was accused of rape. With so little time for the NFL to figure out what happened (the NFL hates uncertainty), Conley could be in for a La'el Collins situation. So instead, the Raiders take top LB on the board, filling a major need.
25. Houston Texans: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
I think the Texans will pass on a QB this year, even with Watson and Kizer on the board. They'll either stick with Tom Savage or add someone like Jay Cutler. This is good value for Ramczyk and fills a major need. With Derek Newton coming off a nasty leg injury that resulted in two torn patellar tendons, the Texans could use a new RT for next year. Ramczyk could even slide to LT when Duane Brown retires.
26. TRADE: Chicago Bears (via Seattle Seahawks): DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Here's one of the trades I promised you. I think the Bears are very high on Kizer, although they won't take him at No. 3. Instead, we see a similar deal to the Paxton Lynch one, with the Seahawks moving down to the top of round two in exchange for a swap of 3rd round picks (No. 67 for No. 102). The Bears get an extra year by making Kizer a first round pick and I think this about the range Kizer goes. I suspect someone will move up for him.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
How long does Derrick Johnson have left? He's coming off another Achilles injury and Ramik Wilson only fills one starting spot. This is solid value for Cunningham, who I think goes in the first round. A corner or QB also makes sense.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
This is amazing value for Charlton, who could go in the Top 10. It also happens to fill a huge need for the Cowboys. If he lasts, Charlton should be able to provide an instant impact on the defensive line the Cowboys so badly need.
29. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
If Watt is still on the board (and he might not be), the Packers makes sense as a landing spot. They love to take edge rushers in round one and I think Watt ends up a first round pick. Maybe he doesn't go before Charles Harris or Takk McKinley, but this is the right range for Watt.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
Linebacker (both inside and out) is a big need, but the Steelers instead snag a big safety to pair with Sean Davis long-term. Melifonwu could play the big nickel role or even some linebacker early in his career.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
The Falcons don't have a ton of needs, but this is a nice combination of value and need. Harris could slide if the edge rushers don't go off the board early, but he has the making of a really good edge rusher. He'd be a nice partner for Vic Beasley. Don't be surprised if Harris is long gone by this pick.
32. New Orleans Saints (via New England Patriots): Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
If the Saints go QB at No. 11, they can still get a quality edge rusher at No. 32. McKinley might be better in a 3-4 scheme, but I think he can thrive across from Cam Jordan.