The 2017 NFL Draft is less one month away and the draft buzz is starting to pick up. It's misinformation season, with plenty of rumors and roughly 20 players forecasted as Top 10 picks. That makes it tricky to figure out where players will go and there will be the surprise picks and trades that ruin everyone's mock draft.
I have plenty of changes this week, including many that might not be very popular. But remember, 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 don't often project trades, but I'm going to include a few in this version. I also have two 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 version 9.0 of my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Sharpie it. Unless the Browns do something REALLY stupid or get a Godfather trade offer, the pick will be Myles Garrett.
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 is also an option, and Thomas also fits in the event the Panthers trade up.
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.
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, Ohio State
Even with the addition of Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien, the Titans aren't done upgrading their secondary. In a loaded corner class, Lattimore is at the top. Don't rule out Malik Hooker or one of the top WRs, but they can get another weapon with their second first round pick.
6. New York Jets: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
I suspect the Jets really like Trubisky. Christian Hackenberg reportedly didn't look too good in practice and we could have a Jimmy Clausen-Cam Newton type deal here (although lesser talents involved). If the Jets don't go QB, this will be a pure BPA pick. There's even buzz the Browns will try jump the Jets to get Trubisky.
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 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 has the production the Bengals like, even if he's not their preferred size (Taco Charlton fits that mold a bit better). Reuben Foster is still an option, even after adding Kevin Minter.
10. Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Bills
The Bills badly need another offensive weapon that's what Howard is. Sure he's a tight end, but there's a chance he's higher on the Bills' board than either wide out. I'm far from the only one to make this project and I do think Howard ends up in the top 10 this year.
11. New Orleans Saints: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Go defense. It doesn't matter what position (well, maybe not safety), the Saints just need to pick a defensive player. I'll slot them another edge rusher for the time being, since Cam Jordan is the only proven, reliable option on the roster. If Derek Barnett is one the board he could be the pick and the Saints would strongly consider Foster as well. Deshaun Watson is a sleeper pick.
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12. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles): Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
I fully expect Mahomes to go in the first 13 picks. If the Browns don't take him, the Cardinals will. In a down QB class, Mahomes has the highest upside and the Browns are willing to wait a year or two to let him sit and learn. I know it feels like it's early, but I think this is the right range for Mahomes.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
QB is an option, if one of the top two (or three) are on the board. That's the case here, but the Cardinals go snag a future No. 1 wide out. Williams gives the Cardinals a needed long-term option once Larry Fitzgerald hangs it up. It's really good value here for the Cardinals, too. If it's not a QB or WR, I think CB is the most logical pick.
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.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster was one of the defensive players who slid down the board because of a run on offensive guys. If he's here, the Colts must take him. It fills a massive need and would be one of the best value picks in the first round. If Foster is gone, Haason Reddick makes sense, as does a CB or another edge rusher.
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.