The 2017 NFL Draft is still several months away, but the Senior Bowl is underway and all but two teams are out of the playoff race. With all of the early entrees decided, we know what the draft class looks like and we have a general idea of where players will be selected. Much can, and will, change between now and the actual draft. This is an exercise about trying to project team needs and where a player could go.
It's a strong class for pass rushers, secondary, running backs and tight ends, but a weak one at quarterback and offensive tackle. This is a first and second round only mock, but there are numerous players who could end up going in those rounds who aren't listed. After the Senior Bowl, there will likely be even more changes.
All but two of the four round picks are set; the final two spots are still undecided and there's a coinflip needed to determine No 14 and 15. Here's how I predict the first two rounds of the draft will shake out, as of now.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Don't mess this up. QB is a need, but Garrett is the best player in the class. Plus, the Browns need almost everything, so this also fills a need. Garrett is the best prospect to come along since that Clowney/Mack draft. He's that good and would provided a need boost for the Browns defense.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, UNC
The 49ers would LOVE if Garrett fell to them and there's a chance they will. They need weapons for a QB badly, but also a QB in general. New coaches means new QBs, and that's going to be the case in San Francisco. Trubisky, not Deshaun Watson, is the early favorite to be the first QB taken, as he's accurate and a solid decision maker. Trubisky has just one year of starting experience, but has risen throughout the season. We'll get to Watson later in the mock.
3. Chicago Bears: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
There was a point where Matt Barkley was making a case to at least get a longer look. But he committed way too many turnovers down the stretch and it's clear he's not the long-term answer. So don't be surprised if the Bears take a QB early, with Kizer making the most sense if Trubisky is off the board. Kizer is raw, make no mistake about. But he has the tools to be a franchise QB, even if another year of development would be best. The Bears take the franchise guy in Kizer, bring him along slowly and keep building like they are.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Do the Jaguars really need Allen? Not really, but their other needs don't match the value of the players on the board. So take Allen, the second-best player in the draft, and plug him at at DE or DT on an already solid defensive line. Allen provides another talented defensive piece on a team with several in place. If the Jags let Jonathan Cyprien walk, Jamal Adams makes perfect sense.
5. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
With free agency still pending, it seems the Titans will go one of three ways with their first round picks: safety, wide receiver or cornerback. Corner seems like the least likely for the time being, meaning it's down to LSU S Jamal Adams, OSU S Malik Hooker or Clemson WR Mike Williams. Either makes sense, but the Titans could really use Williams as a bona-fide No. 1 WR. Marcus Mariota could use a legit No. 1 option.
6. New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jets routinely take the best player available, and that's Fournette (assuming his ankle checks out medically). He's a better prospect than Ezekiel Elliott and reminds me of Adrian Peterson. Defense (and QB) is a bigger need, but Fournette would change the Jets' offense in a positive way.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, FS, OSU
Don't let their record fool you: the Chargers have a lot of talent, it just could stay healthy the past two year. They might just take the best player available, and that might be Hooker. He also happens to fill a need, as the Chargers need an impact safety. Hooker might be a better fit as the rangy free safety in Los Angeles (that's still weird to write) if they re-sign SS Jahleel Addae.
8. Carolina Panthers: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
An offensive tackle would be ideal, but I'm not sure there's one drafting in the Top 15, let alone Top 10. Barnett was an insanely productive pass rusher and would fill a need for the Panthers. Remember, both Mario Addison and Charles Johnson are free agents. A corner is also an option and this might be Fournette's floor.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
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 Foster provides. Foster is the best player on the board, even if the Bengals don't badly need a LB. It's a value pick and he can help the defense right away.
10. Buffalo Bills: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I don't agree with it, but it seems like the Bills are going to move on from Tyrod Taylor. With Cardale Jones (who is not ready and might not be the answer anyway), the Bills will need a new QB. If the Bills don't add someone in free agency, they might be forced to draft one early. Watson played great against Alabama, but that doesn't eliminate the worries over his accuracy, play under pressure and turnovers. NFL teams are not as high on Watson as many mock drafts might otherwise indicate.
11. New Orleans Saints: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Go defense. It doesn't matter what position (well, maybe not safety), the Saints just need to pick a defensive player. We'll slot them another edge rusher for the time being, since Cam Jordan is the only proven, reliable option out there right now. I hadn't slotted Thomas in any first round projections because I wasn't sure he was actually going to declare. But he wrecked UNC in the Sun Bowl and was a first rounder even before that game. Tim Williams might be a better prospect, but Thomas is a better fit. If the Saints want to invest every pick on defense, that's fine with me.
12. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Browns are going to get another talented player at this pick, especially if three QBs go early. Adams is a potential top five player and could easily go before this. Gregg Williams' defense likes having a safety in the box, a role Adams would thrive in.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
QB is an option, if one of the top three are on the board. But the biggest need for Arizona is at CB, where Marcus Cooper isn't getting the job done at CB. Lattimore has lockdown corner ability and has the size teams want out of their CBs. In a very deep CB class, Lattimore might be the best option.
14. Indianapolis Colts*: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
I had Tim Williams slotted here last time, but there are now reports that he has a Randy Gregory-like drug issue. If true, he'll drop in a big way. Unfortunately, the top three edge rushers are also off the board and it might be too early for someone like Charles Harris. Dalvin Cook is an option, as is defensive help. Cook is probably the better value, so we'll go with Cook. He'll be great for Andrew Luck and can replace Frank Gore sooner rather than later. The Colts choice of GM will have a big influence on who they draft here.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Minnesota Vikings)*: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Eagles need CB help, but they also have to get some weapons for Carson Wentz. Corey Davis can be the bona-fide No. 1 option the Eagles desperately need. Don't worry about the level of competition. Davis is legit. Don't rule out Dalvin Cook here either, if he's still on the board.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Ozzie Newsome loves Power 5 prospects in the first round, especially if they play in the SEC. Wilson checks both those boxes and fills a major need. He'd be a great fit in Baltimore, although the Ravens could take any number of different players here. He has great measurables, although I personally prefer Teez Tabor.
17. Washington Redskins: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
The Redskins want to build through the trenches and that's exactly what this pick allows them to do. McDowell hasn't lived up to his potential yet, but he has all the tools. He'd be a great 3-4 DE for the Redskins.
18. Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Two picks for the Titans, and I would be surprised if they didn't spend at least one on the secondary. I actually prefer Teez Tabor, but Humphrey isn't far behind. He's got great a tool set and could be the first corner taken overall. He does need work on his footwork, as pretty much all Alabama CBs need.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
WR is a bigger need and John Ross makes some sense here. But Bradley McDougald is a free agent and was good, but not great, this year. With guys like Cook and McDowell off the board, perhaps the Bucs take the risk of adding Peppers. He's going to be a safety (like a strong safety) in the NFL, although he needs work on his coverage ability.
20. Denver Broncos: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
OT is a need, but Howard is much better value. The Broncos lack an actual threat at TE and Howard is ready to contribute now. If the Broncos can address the OT spot in free agency, Howard makes perfect sense. He was underused at Alabama, but is very talented.
21. Detroit Lions: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
The Lions' pass rush wasn't what it needed to be this year. Harris is probably better to contribute right away in a 3-4 scheme, but he can add some pass rushing pop early as he moves to a 4-3 scheme. The Lions went offensive line last year, so I suspect they'll address the other side this season.
22. Miami Dolphins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
There are two major needs for the Dolphins: LB and edge rusher. Cunningham can start right away and this gives the Dolphins needed piece on the front seven. Cunningham should go in the first given that several teams in this range need a LB.
23. New York Giants: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Giants tried to draft a tackle high last year and they tried to sign one in the offseason. They failed at both and must upgrade the position this offseason. Robinson is a right tackle, and has some off-the-field worries. But the Giants need a right tackle, as Bobby Hart isn't the answer. If JPP leaves, DE might be the pick.
24. Oakland Raiders: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Cunningham should be the pick if he's on the board, with Jarrad Davis also an option. Tabor has plenty of talent, although off-the-field worries could help push him down a bit. He'd be a big boost to a Raiders' secondary that needs help.
25. Houston Texans: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
In a down tackle class, Ramczyk looks like he could be the best one. He has the potential to be a left tackle, but the Texans might keep him at right tackle for now. The Texans don't have many needs, so don't rule out a QB like Patrick Mahomes.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Seahawks need to pick an offensive lineman. Any offensive line, be it a guard or tackle. It's a massive need and Bolles has potential. A highly touted JUCO recruit, Bolles has plenty of potential as a tackle. But he'll turn 25 and had serious off-the-field issues before getting his act together in college. But for the Seahawks, he's worth the risk.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Is Terrance Mitchell the long-term answer? He played well beyond expectations this year, but do the Chiefs trust him? Heck, do the Chiefs fully trust any of the younger, unproven corners on the roster? Jones should be able to step in early across from Marcus Peters. Don't rule out Christian McCaffrey if Jamaal Charles isn't brought back.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Corner or edge rusher, where do the Cowboys go? CB is just as big a need, with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr able to leave this offseason. Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown might be better fits at nickel corner and this is solid value for Cordrea Tankersley, who has great size. If Claiborne and/or Carr are retained, expect the Cowboys to go edge rusher, even if there is some intriguing young players.
29. Green Bay Packers: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
The Packers could go a few different directions, but pass rusher is among the most likely. Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and Datone Jones are free agents. Peppers is aging and Clay Matthews is also on the decline. McKinley is a riser and although he doesn't have the best size, he'd help the Packers' pass rush. Alabama TE O.J. Howard is also an option here if on the board, as is a corner.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama
I think this will be a LB, but inside or outside? There are options at both and this is the might be the right range for Williams given his off-the-field issues. But, he could easily go before this selection. Williams is a fantastic pass rusher and he and Bud Dupree would make for a deadly combo.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Falcons need another pass rusher to pair with Vic Beasley. Charlton was productive at Michigan and is a good scheme fit for Atlanta. He could potentially kick inside on passing downs too if needed. Defensive line and corner, because of the depth, seem like the two most likely targets early for Atlanta.
32. New England Patriots: Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida
There are several different routs the Patriots could go, with front seven help at the top of the list. After all, they did cut Dominique Easley and need some help on the line. Brantley could sneak into the first round this year, despite not being a stellar pass rusher. Or, knowing the Patriots, they'll just trade down.
Looking for more first round mock drafts? Check out the DC Pro Sports Report Mock Draft Database!
33. Browns: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Brad Kaaya and Patrick Mahomes are options, but the Browns could elect to pass on both. Instead, the Browns continue to upgrade the defense with Conley, who could go in the first round. He'd provide the Browns with a need boost at corner.
34. 49ers: Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
The 49ers need more weapons, but they also badly need a pass rusher. Lawson has injury worries, but can provide the edge impact the Niners need on defense. Don't rule out a WR here either.
35. Jaguars: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
The Jags will look for an upgrade at guard early, since their two starters are free agents. They weren't that great anyway. Feeney could be the first guard off the board and there's an outside chance he sneaks into the first round.
36. Bears: Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
If the Bears don't bring back Alshon Jeffery, WR might be the pick here. Jackson might go in the first (it's a loaded CB class) and he'd help the Bears. Outside of Kyle Fuller (who has a murky future), they might not have a true starter, although there are some guys that can play on the roster. Still, Jackson provides an upgrade and that's the Bears need.
37. Rams: Montravious Adams, DL, Auburn
With the pending move to Wade Phillips' defense, the Rams need another 5-technique to play DE. Adams can fill that role and he has plenty of talent. He hasn't always played up to it, but that shouldn't be an issue under Phillips.
38. Chargers: Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
The Chargers could use an upgrade over King Dunlap. Garcia might not go this early, but I suspect many of the pass protectors will rise as we get closer to the draft.
39. Jets: Dawaune Smoot, EDGE, Illinois
The Jets need help at corner, but also at edge rusher. they were torched through the air this year. Smoot could slide a bit because of a deep class, but he'd likely be near the top of the board for the Jets, who almost always go BPA.
40. Panthers: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Bad news for the Panthers: they miss out on the only other tackle worth taking at this point, unless they want to reach for someone like Dion Dawkins. The good news is they can address their corner need. In a normal draft, White is probably a first rounder. Instead, he slides to the Panthers in round two.
41. Bengals: DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Walker is a quality edge rusher and in a lesser class, he could be a first rounder. The Bengals need some depth and a long-term replacement for an aging Michael Johnson. Walker might be limited to a 4-3 scheme, which could push him down some.
42. Saints: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
No surprise here, it's another defender for the Saints. They really need linebacker help and Davis can start right away. Don't rule out a QB like Brad Kaaya or Patrick Mahomes here either.
43. Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Corner or running back seems like the likely options here, and this is really good value for McCaffrey. He reminds me a lot of Reggie Bush and would fit in the Eagles' offense. He could easily go before this.
44. Bills: John Ross, WR, Washington
If the Bills go QB earlier, they'll likely look for another weapon. Ross is a burner, but has injury concerns and size issues that could cause him to drop. A safety, namely Budda Baker, is also an option here, as is a TE in a deep class.
45. Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Mahomes could seriously go before this in such a poor draft class. He fits everything Bruce Arians wants in a QB and this is a good landing spot for him. He needs to sit out at least one year, probably two, before being ready. Mahomes could be great, or he could flame out. He's a massive boom or bust selection.
46. Vikings: Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State
The Vikings had terrible offensive line play this year and Elflein can help shore that up. They need both tackles and guards, with Elflein filling the latter of the two needs. Don't rule out a RB if the Vikings let Adrian Peterson leave this offseason.
47. Ravens: Ryan Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
Anderson was one of several talented players on the Alabama defense and there's actually a chance he goes earlier than this. The Ravens need linebacker help, both inside and out with the retirement of Zach Orr. Anderson fills the edge rusher need.
48. Colts: Joe Mathis, EDGE, Washington
With Cook already drafted, the Colts can to get helping their bad pass rush. Mathis would have gone earlier if not for an injury that ended his season at Washington.
49. Redskins: Budda Baker, FS, Washington
Su'A Cravens is moving to strong safety, but the Redskins still need a free safety. Behind Malik Hooker, Baker is the best one in the class. This is quality value for Baker and helps a pass defense that struggled this year.
50. Buccaneers: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Jameis Winston needs more weapons and Smith-Schuster provides another big-bodied target for Winston. There are worries about his speed, but he can replace Vincent Jackson in the lineup.
51. Broncos: Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan
Wormley is another talented Michigan defender who can play several spots up front. The Broncos didn't properly replace Malik Jackson and although Wormley is a different type of player, the Broncos could use him on the defensive line.
52. Browns (via Tennessee Titans): Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
Pocic might not last this long. If he does, the Browns should snag him. Cameron Erving has been just terrible and offensive lines tend to struggle when the center plays poorly.
53. Lions: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
The Lions have major question marks at linebacker right now. McMillan is far from perfect (and might only be a two-down backer), but he can fill a role at MLB.
54. Dolphins: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Jordan Cameron's career is in doubt, and Dion Sims probably isn't the answer. Getting a dynamic pass-catching TE like David Njoku would be a huge boost for the Dolphins. In a deep TE class, Njoku could go before this.
55. Giants: D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
Foreman was great at Texas and would have been a Heisman threat if not for Texas being terrible. He'd be a great partner with Paul Perkins in the Giants' backfield. Foreman is a big, bruising RB.
56. Raiders: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
The Raiders might lose Latavius Murray this offseason, but even if they bring him back, don't rule out adding a RB early. There isn't a LB worth taking here, so the Raiders could add another offensive weapon. Kamara might not be a true three-down back, but at the very least, he'd be an upgrade over Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
57. Texans: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (FL)
Well, hello. Brock Osweiler doesn't look the answer at all. Kaaya doesn't have the strongest arm and lacks mobility, but he has almost everything else. Perhaps he can finally be the QB Bill O'Brien is looking for.
58. Seahawks: Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
With DeShawn Shead hurt, the Seahawks need another corner. Moreau has the size they like (although he's not as big as they'd ideally want), and this is the proper range for him.
59. Kansas City Chiefs: Forest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The guard play was serviceable for the Chiefs this year. Lamp played tackle at WKU, but is built to be an NFL guard. He should be able to start right away
60. Cowboys: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
I know, another tight end in the second round. Hodges still needs work on his blocking, but will be a really good "move" tight end in the NFL. He's got great size and if he improves a bit blocking, he'll be a great TE. With Gavin Escobar a free agent (and probably a bust) and Jason Witten aging, the Cowboys will be open to adding a TE.
61. Packers: Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee
The Packers didn't get great play from their corners this year and Sam Shields might not be back. Expect the Packers to address the position once again this offseason.
62. Steelers: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Lewis might not be a perfect fit for the Steelers, who do have William Gay at the nickel spot. But Gay is aging and perhaps the Steelers can kick one of them outside, replacing Ross Cockrell. The Steelers could use another corner and Lewis is good value here. His lack of size will cause him to drop
63. Falcons: Dion Dawkins, OL, Temple
There's one hole on the Falcons' offensive line and it's Chris Chester. Here's the upgrade in Dawkins. He played guard at Temple, but might be better off at guard in the NFL.
64. Patriots: Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
Patrick Chung didn't have the greatest year for the Patriots. I'm not sure Duron Harmon is the answer long-term, but Evans, who is a mid-second round talent, could be. This is just the Patriots taking the best player on the board.