With the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in the rear view mirror and free agency bearing down on us, there is JUST enough time to squeeze in a mock draft to reflect on the impact of the combine before free agency reshuffles team needs completely.
I think we all know what the first pick of the draft will be, but what will happen from there?
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett (DE, Texas A&M) - Sure, there’s still the possibility that Jonathan Allen could be the pick here. But after Garrett blew away even some of Clowney’s numbers at 270 pounds, let’s just put in the pick and move on. [Prospect Profile]
2. San Francisco 49ers
DeShaun Watson (QB, Clemson) - The top quarterback will likely depend on the eye of the beholder, and this could probably change by the day. But without a quarterback on the roster, this is a pick that has to be made. Watson made every throw look easy at the combine and he played his best football when the lights were the brightest.
3. Chicago Bears
Jonathan Allen (DL, Alabama) - Allen’s stock is tricky to guess. He was diagnosed with arthritic shoulders, but he says they won’t be a problem until his career is over. The problem is whether or not that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. But right now, on the field and off it, there might not be a cleaner player. He is dynamic and dependable. [Prospect Profile]
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU) - Could there be any more of a “Tom Coughlin” player without Chris Snee somehow going back to college and coming out a second time? The Jags could use someone to take the load off Blake Bortles, and Fournette is just the runaway freight train to do it. [Prospect Profile]
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama) - Another ‘Bama defender goes in the top-10. Humphrey doesn’t have much experience, but he has the skills and athleticism to warrant the pick.
6. New York Jets
Sidney Rice (CB, Washington) - The Jets would probably want to go for Marshon Lattimore here, but his hamstring issues should give them pause. Rice is a bit smaller and less explosively athletic, but he is more experienced and has terrific instincts in coverage.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
John Ross (WR, Washington) - Generally considered the third or fourth receiver in the class, Ross stunned by resetting record for the 40 yard dash. That kind of speed doesn’t stay on the board for long, especially when the player also (reportedly) impressed in interviews.
8. Carolina Panthers
Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State) - Cook did not test nearly as well as it was believed that he would based off his tape. Was he working through illness? Did he not take his combine prep seriously? Simply based off the tape, however, he is dynamic and the Panthers could use the play-maker.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Reuben Foster (ILB, Alabama) - How teams view Foster — and his dismissal from the combine — will vary, but based on his tape he is a top 10 player in this draft. The Bengals will love his athleticism and aggression dealing with Le’veon Bell. [Prospect Profile]
10. Buffalo Bills
Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State) - The Bills could be in a bind after releasing their slot corner and potentially losing Stephon Gilmore in free agency. Lattimore has a history of hamstring issues, but when he is healthy he could be the best corner in the class.
11. New Orleans Saints
Jamal Adams (S, LSU) - Adams might not have Malik Hooker’s range and penchant for interceptions, but he is dependable, experienced, and has a very versatile game. Adams can play free safety, strong safety, pseudo-linebacker, or even slot corner if need be
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles)
Malik Hooker (S, OSU) - Another top free safety immediately comes off the board. The Browns could go for a quarterback here, but they could also be well served to simply take the most dynamic players available and if they need a quarterback, get him next year when the class promises to be much better. [Prospect Profile]
13. Arizona Cardinals
Mike Williams (WR, Clemson) - This very well could be Larry Fitzgerald’s last year in the league. And while there’s no replacing a talent like Larry Fitz, Williams is a great get in his own right. His size and body control will be a good replacement for Michael Floyd.
14. Philadelphia Eagles from Minnesota Vikings
Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan) - The Eagles wide receiver corps is just bad, but Davis would help to change that in a hurry. Athletic, physical, and highly productive, he is a gamble coming out of a smaller school, but feels like a safe one. [Prospect Profile]
15. Indianapolis Colts
Garett Bolles (OT, Utah) - The Colts have treated Andrew Luck like a punching bag. He needs more than just one lineman, but that’s the most they can draft here. Bolles is old for a rookie, but he is a great athlete and a nasty player on the field.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Solomon Thomas (DL/EDGE, Stanford) - The Ravens need an heir for Terrelle Suggs, and have thus far struggled to find one. Thomas isn’t quite the same player, but he showed a surprising ability to stand up and move in space while also being able to play with his hand in the dirt, or even kick inside to defensive tackle on occasion.
17. Washington Redskins
Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt) - Washington’s defensive front was porous to say the least last year. Cunningham needs to be protected by a defensive line, but he is solid in coverage and capable of “wow” plays against the run. [Prospect Profile]
18. Tennessee Titans
O.J. Howard (TE, Tennessee) - The Titans need a dynamic receiver for Marcus Mariota, and Howard offers them 4.5 speed and blocking to help their already formidable run game.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee) - Barnett didn’t test well at the combine, but he gets points for working despite being violently ill. He is a dependable and disruptive defender, perfect for a division that features four good quarterbacks.
20. Denver Broncos
Cam Robinson (OT, Alabama) - Robinson’s evaluation is a tough one. On one hand, his physical tools are obvious, and he played well at Alabama. On the other hand, he also has deficiencies that could be hard for coaches to correct. But Denver needs an offensive lineman in the worst way, and Robinson should be able to start from Day 1.
21. Detroit Lions
Haason Reddick (LB/EDGE, Temple) - This pick hasn’t changed since before the combine. The Lions need to upgrade their linebackers and their pass rush, and Reddick does both of that for them. The only question is if he’s pushed his stock into the top-20 and won’t be here. [Prospect Profile]
22. Miami Dolphins
Taco Charlton (DE, Michigan) - Charlton is new to the defensive end position, but shows the skills to be a good one at the next level. The Dolphins need to rectify the expensive mistake of letting Olivier Vernon go for Mario Williams.
23. New York Giants
Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin) - On the eve of free agency, rumors of the offensive tackle market are taking shape, and it looks like the ones that could possibly be an upgrade might be out of the Giants’ reach — though guard may not be.
Ramczyk has taken a circuitous route to the NFL, but he has the natural tools to be a good starting offensive tackle. He has the foot speed, knee bend, core strength and hand usage to stand up on the edge in pass protection, and plenty of power as a run blocker. [Prospect Profile]
The one major issue with Ramczyk is his health. He is currently recovering from hip surgery, and while he says that it is clean, we have no way of knowing. Last year John Mara reportedly issued a “No Red Flags” order that took Laremy Tunsil and Myles Jack off the Giants’ board. We don’t know if that order is still in place or if it would apply to Ramczyk.
My other choices were Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Miami’s David Njoku. In the case of Njoku, having him test out to actually be the least athletic of the top four tight ends was deflating, though he is still an explosive athlete. I still want to upgrade the position, and am wagering that one of Bucky Hodges or Evan Engram will be around for the 55th overall pick (though as I write this, I can’t say I feel great about my chances).
McCaffrey is a difficult pass, because not only is he one of the five best running backs in the draft, he is also one of the five best receivers, and probably the best pure pass catcher in the draft. He is a three-dimensional player and an absolute match-up nightmare. But, in this case, the Giants need somebody to open holes up front and give Eli Manning the time to find his receivers.
24. Oakland Raiders
Malik McDowell (DL, Michigan State) - Even with Khalil Mack, the Raiders defense isn’t exactly fearsome. McDowell can be one of the most disruptive defensive lineman in the draft. The only reason he fell this far is because of effort issues last year in college.
25. Houston Texans
Mitchell Trubisky (QB, North Carolina) - In all likelihood, Trubisky is long gone. However, I’m not going to try to anticipate trades or decisions out of left field. It’s possible that the Texans are even the team to trade up for him.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Forrest Lamp (OL, Western Kentucky) - The Seahawks are a reminder to Giants fans that yes, the offensive line COULD be worse. Seattle has needs from left tackle to right tackle, and luckily for them, Lamp can probably play every position on the line. [Prospect Profile]
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Obi Malifonwu (DB, UConn) - What position does he play? That’s for the Chiefs’ defensive staff to figure out, but he has the tools to play three or four positions on their defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Jordan Willis (DE, Kansas State) - Willis quietly had one of the most stunning workouts at the scouting combine. Not only did he put down the second-fastest 40 time in the position group, but showed outstanding explosiveness and unexpected quickness and fluidity. [Prospect Profile]
29. Green Bay Packers
Fabian Moreau (CB, UCLA) - People rolled their eyes when Jim Mora Jr. said that his corner had first-round talent. After a great week at the Shrine Game and an even better workout at the combine, he has earned that consideration. Moreau fits the profile for Green Bay’s defensive backs, and is a good cover corner despite not having many turnovers in collage. [Prospect Profile]
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
David Njoku (TE, Miami) - The Giants passing on Njoku is Pittsburgh’s gain. He didn’t test quite as well as everyone was expecting, but he is still a play-maker and a terrific receiver. Not yet a great blocker, but he gives effort and could also be a deep threat for the offense if Martavis Bryant isn’t reinstated.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan) - The Falcons need to continue to build their defense, and Peppers should help. He is an explosive athlete with ridiculous endurance, and a knack for making things happen with the ball in his hands. He is also a natural leader and intensely competitive.
32. New England Patriots
Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford) - Perhaps the most versatile player in the draft goes to the best game-planning head coach in league history. I honestly tried to get McCaffrey higher than this, and he could very well go much higher.