Last Update: 3/18/2017
2017 NFL Mock Draft, Round 1
Despite the Browns clear need for a franchise quarterback, the team seems to be zeroing in on A&M's Myles Garrett. Garrett was widely regarded as the most likely player to go #1 overall all off-season, and after a 4.64 40 yard dash and 33 bench press reps at the combine, there's little doubt he's the drafts best prospect.
The Browns were reportedly in love with him as a prospect prior to the NFL Combine, and after Garrett's standout performance this past weekend he's likely only increased his draft stock. Barring some kind of off-field issues, Garrett seems like a lock for the top pick at this point.
With a new regime in the Bay Area, led by Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, drafting a franchise quarterback isn't out of the question. However, rumors continue to swirl that the team is in discussions with the Washington Redskins to land quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was originally drafted by Kyle's dad Mike.
The Redskins don't seem ready to commit to giving Kirk Cousins the largest contract in NFL history (and his leverage thanks to multiple years of the franchise tag will give him that contract) so if that's the case this would be the time to move on.
Adams is widely regarded as the best safety in the draft, and someone like John Lynch will know how to get the most out of him thanks to his days as a hall-of-fame caliber safety. Adams will need to improve his coverage skills to be a true difference maker, but the potential is there for him to be one of the league's best safeties in a very short amount of time. Malik Hooker or Marshon Lattimore would make sense as well.
While it's no secret the Bears need a franchise quarterback, I can't see John Fox and company drafting someone like DeShone Kizer when they might be out of a job next season. The Bears have several holes to fill, so they can choose arguably the best prospect in the whole draft.
The Alabama standout is capable of moving all along the defensive line, and a defensive minded coach like John Fox would find ways to use his versatility to the team's benefit.
Allen's combine performance didn't hurt him at all, although persistent shoulder injuries have some teams worried. Allen is certainly tough enough to play through injuries whenever possible, but as a player who uses his strength as a major part of his game, healthy shoulders are a must. His medical checkups leading up to the draft will be very important.
Jacksonville seemed poised to finally take a step forward this past season, as a talented young core and incoming draft class were supposed to make a difference for Gus Bradley and his team. As we all know, that didn't happen, and Jacksonville has yet another top five draft pick and a new head coach.
While the Jaguars have several capable running back options, including Chris Ivory, Fournette is a rare talent at the halfback position, combining enormous size and strength with breakaway speed. The Adrian Peterson comparisons are spot-on, in my opinion, but Fournette is even bigger. He would help the Jaguars control the ball for longer periods of time, and help an already strong offense get even better.
He ran a 4.51 40 and weighed in at 240 pounds, which makes him a physical freak. He's not a great pass catcher so most of his value will come from running the ball a lot. A team like Jacksonville who doesn't appear to be sold on Blake Bortles could build their offense around a workhorse running back while they try to find their next franchise quarterback.
Despite only playing 16 collegiate games over two seasons, Lattimore's game tape and combine performance have solidified his status as the drafts top corner. He posted the third fastest 40 time among defensive backs at 4.36, has tremendous instincts and he was able to rotate his hips as well as anyone during the combine drills.
The Titans have the luxury of simply taking the best player available as they could use upgrades at almost every position. Lattimore has dealt with hamstring injuries the past two seasons at Ohio State and may have tweaked it during his 40-yard-dash, but he says it was a hip flexor and everything is fine. His medical checkups will also be of the utmost importance.
After a disaster of a year that began with high expectations, the Jets clearly need to find an answer at quarterback first and foremost.
Drafting a quarterback a year after taking Christian Hackenberg in the second round seems foolish, but it was clear this past season that Hackenberg still has a long way to go to be an NFL caliber quarterback. The Jets need a true franchise quarterback to rebuild around, and if Trubisky does indeed fall to this spot it'd be very difficult for the organization to pass on him.
The Jets have also hinted at potentially trading out of the #6 pick, but teams say all kinds of things at this juncture.
After a scary neck injury ended his 2015 season, Williams came back and had a great season for the national champion Clemson Tigers. His production and size should guarantee him a top-10 selection, although his 40-yard-dash time will have some effect on his draft slot as well.
Williams chose not to perform at the NFL combine, but he ran in the 4.5's at his pro-day workout, likely solidifying himself as the draft's top wideout.
The Chargers need to find a receiver to both play with Keenan Allen and one that can fill in for him if he should suffer a third serious injury in as many seasons. With Philip Rivers nearing the end of a wonderful career, it's important for the team to add some playmakers to help him try and make one last run as a Charger.
The team could also target someone like Williams teammate DeShaun Watson, if they decide they need a young future quarterback for their move to LA. I think a player that can help now, though, is much more likely.
With the Panthers choosing to sign left tackle Matt Kalil to protect franchise quarterback Cam Newton, the teams biggest need was taken care of in free agency thanks to a deep pool of available starters.
Kony Ealy has flashed talent at times, most notably in the Super Bowl, but his overall play has been average at best and he may be best suited as a situational player. McKinley ran a sub 4.6 40 at the combine, showing off the athleticism most scouts expected to see.
McKinley has the potential to rack up sacks year after year if he continues to develop, and for a team like Carolina who relies so heavily on pressure from their defensive line, he's a great fit.
Thomas has been rising up draft boards with his performance in Stanford's bowl game, but he's been a great player all season. With the Bengals defensive line aging, a player like Thomas would be a great value at this point. His combine performance solidified his top-15 draft status, in my opinion.
There isn't much value in a 4-3 outside linebacker at this point in the draft, although a cornerback is a possibility with Adam Jones' recent legal trouble and his age making him a possible cap casualty.
The Bengals have solid players at several positions, but after losing Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler to free agency they could use some offensive line depth. The team can almost certainly wait and take the best player available.
The Bills re-signed quarterback Tyrod Taylor and saw Percy Harvin retire again. It's no secret that the team is in dire need of a playmaker opposite Sammy Watkins, and Davis fits the bill. He has yet to run a 40-yard dash and likely won't before the draft, which means teams will have to draft him based on his tape.
His tape is sensational. He has great hands, runs crisp routes, high points the ball and has an impressive vertical leap. His speed looks impressive on tape as well, and if he were to run in the 4.4's he'd lockdown his top-10 status. His ankle injury is going to make running almost impossible prior to the draft, and even if he does run he may not be 100%.
Having two injury-prone receivers would be a bit of a risk for the Bills, but a healthy Davis-Watkins combo would make Tyrod Taylor's job an awful lot easier.
Arguably the draft's most talented safety, Hooker could potentially see his name called before LSU safety Jamal Adams. Hooker is more of a center fielder, with great ball skills and very good high end speed. The Saints recent trade of Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots makes it clear the team is going to focus on rebuilding their very poor defense. A player like John Ross would fill Cooks shoes, but the team has plenty of talented pass catchers already.
The Saints were targeting their former safety, Malcolm Jenkins, in a Cooks-Eagles trade, so it's no secret they're looking for upgrades in their secondary. Hooker doesn't have a lot of collegiate experience, which can happen at a stacked school like Ohio State, but that shouldn't scare away any suitors. Hooker is the real deal and would be a huge help to rebuilding the atrocious Saints defense.
The Browns are reportedly set to make a run at New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and would have to part with this pick and likely at least one more to land the Aladdin look-a-like.
However, conflicting reports have emerged regarding the Patriots intentions. Some reports insist the team will listen to a Browns package headlined by this pick, while others say the team is going to keep him as Tom Brady insurance. My opinion is the team is fine developing Jacoby Brissett and if Cleveland is indeed willing to offer the #12 pick and another draft pick, they'll make the deal.
But with no trades predicted here, the Browns stay put here and select the drafts best tight end. Howard has been flying up draft boards after an impressive combine performance, and there's no doubt Cleveland has a huge need at tight end. Howard's collegiate production didn't match his ability most of the time, but that's likely more of an Alabama system issue than anything Howard did. He should be a good starter for years.
The Cardinals are in need of some linebacking depth, and with most veteran contributors off the board, the team will likely target one early in the draft.
Cunningham could start very early next season, as he's a polished prospect who still possesses plenty of upside. He's not quite the player Reuben Foster is, but that doesn't mean he isn't a great prospect in his own right. Thanks to Foster's combine blow-up, Cunningham jumps him in this scenario.
Arizona could also potentially look to draft a quarterback for the future, but Cunningham is too good of a player at a position of need to pass up. In what is likely to be Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald's last season, I expect the team to target someone who can at least contribute next season.
Ross made headlines at the NFL combine, running a record 4.22 40-yard-dash. The former Washington speedster is more than just a fast 40-time, though, as he constantly gets open and makes difficult catches look routine on tape.
Ross will give franchise quarterback Carson Wentz another playmaker on offense, and he should help spread the defense for the running game and intermediary passing game as well. His injury concerns and small stature are why he's likely to be the third receiver taken, but if a team inside the top 10 really loves his speed I wouldn't be surprised to see him go higher. I still think Williams and Davis are better all-around receivers, though.
With Chuck Pagano surviving for at least one more season, the Colts are likely going to target a defensive playmaker after years of poor first round picks under the recently fired Ryan Grigson.
Peppers is arguably the draft's most versatile player, a potential pro-bowl kick returner with the ability to play both linebacker and safety at the next level. His combine performance in which he ran a 4.40 40-yard dash, only solidified him as a first round prospect in my opinion.
He's undersized and without a true position, but his collegiate production is off the charts. He's going to be a steal for whatever team drafts him.
The Ravens drafted Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round of last year's draft, and signed pass-catching dynamo Danny Woodhead this off-season to help serve as a change of pace back. Despite Woodhead's addition, it's clear the Ravens need to find an upgrade at this position.
It'd be difficult to find a better upgrade than McCaffrey. He's not the pure runner Leonard Fournette is, but he's the best pass catching running back in decades and he's still a darn good runner. Adding a versatile weapon like McCaffery would help the Ravens jump back into the playoffs in the near future.
The Redskins are planning to keep Kirk Cousins around for at least one more season, which means the team has designs on winning again in 2017. Foster was a potential top-10 pick prior to his outburst at a hospital staff worker at the NFL combine. He was sent home for his actions and later apologized, but there's no doubt the damage has been done.
Unless Foster's pro-day performance is off-the-charts, he's likely going to be a mid first round pick. He will be a steal at this point in the draft, as he's a better prospect than fellow linebacker Zach Cunningham. If he can stay out of trouble and avoid controversy, he should be anchoring the Redskins defense for years to come.
While the Titans obviously need a true number one receiver, the value at this point isn't there. The team continues it's philosophy of taking the best player available, which in this case is Barnett.
The Tennessee standout is a potential top 10 pick with outstanding collegiate production over his career. Barnett's combine did nothing to hurt him, and while the Titans defensive line is solid, adding a talent like Barnett to get the quarterback would put it on another level.
If the draft falls this way, a potential trade to a team looking for a quarterback could happen here.
As a former college teammate of Bucs franchise quarterback Jameis Winston, Cook is likely going to have at least one player stumping for him with management. The Bucs have seen Cook play a lot I would imagine as his college games weren't all that far away, and it's no secret the team isn't a huge fan of running back Doug Martin despite his solid 2016 season.
Cook would give the team a true home run threat, although his 4.49 40-yard-dash was a lot slower than most expected. Some teams will likely prefer Cook over both Fournette and McCaffrey, so it should be interesting to see how each running back develops over the years.
The Broncos need to find a left tackle to replace the departed Russell Okung, and it seems very likely they will do so in the draft. Protecting last year's first round pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch, is a must. Robinson was once considered a potential top 5 pick, but as teams have viewed his tape he's fallen a bit.
He's clearly the best left tackle prospect in the draft in my opinion, and is far more likely to be a franchise-caliber left tackle than the other options in the first round. He'll likely need time to develop into a starting caliber player, but he'll get every opportunity to show he belongs in the starting lineup.
The Lions need to find some athletic linebackers capable of playing in a 4-3 scheme. Watt is versatile enough to likely play several positions in several schemes, but his best fit is as a 4-3 OLB rather than a 3-4 defensive end like his brother JJ.
TJ isn't the athletic speciman his brother is (who is?) but he's a very good athlete in his own right who showed exceptional football instincts time after time last season. With other outside linebackers like Tim Williams falling out of the first round in most projections, Watt has done enough to potentially hear his name called in the first round.
Mario Williams is a free agent and while the Dolphins may look to bring him back, adding a young pass rusher to develop for a year would be a wise decision. Harris flashed superstar potential at times, and continues to add bulk to his frame. There are times in watching his film that Harris looks as good as a pass rusher as Texas A&M's Myles Garrett.
Harris could potentially help replace Cameron Wake when he retires in the near future, but for now would help form a solid pass-rushing tandem.
23. New York Giants - Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
With free agent Jonathan Hankins still unsigned, it's possible the Giants could bring him back to pair with Damon Harrison. However, reports at this point are that Hankins is looking for more than $10 million a year, which would likely keep him out of the Giants price range.
Brantley is a very good pass rusher who should improve as he matures, and would be a good complement to the run stuffing Harrison. With Eli Manning's career nearing it's close, drafting someone like DeShaun Watson at this point wouldn't surprise me either.
24. Oakland Raiders - Haason Reddick, DE/LB, Temple
Reddick had a very good college career at Temple and then blew up the scouting combine, making him a likely first round pick at this point.
Reddick's collegiate experience and natural football instincts make him a potential impact player from day 1, and pairing him with speedy and rangy outside linebackers like Bruce Irvin and Kahlil Mack will only make his job that much easier. While not a major need, Reddick's potential would be too high to pass on at this point, and his versatility would allow him to play all over the defense for the Raiders.
Oakland could also look at a defensive tackle or a cornerback at this spot.
25. Houston Texans - DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Watson slide ends! Despite his collegiate accolades, the longer teams have had to look at Watson's game tape, the less they seem to like him. He's an outstanding athlete but his decision making is questionable at times and his throwing accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.
Quarterbacks don't usually learn to become better passers as they age; they either can throw the football or they can't. However, Watson's natural athletic ability and skillset should have a future in the NFL if he can find the right coach to build a system around his talents.
I think the Texans will ultimately sign Tony Romo, but he's old and injury prone so a first round quarterback seems very likely in my opinion.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Seahawks have made it clear they need to improve their offensive line this off-season, and all they've done so far is sign tackle Luke Joeckel. While he's a former top 5 pick, he's been a bust to this point and is not of much help other than depth.
Ramcyzk started his career playing Division 3 football before transferring to Wisconsin as a junior, but he's emerged as a very good prospect thanks to good size and improving footwork. He may not be able to stick at left tackle long-term, but he should at the very least be a starting caliber right tackle.
27. Kansas City Chiefs - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Finding a young talented corner to pair with budding superstar Marcus Peters should be a priority for a Chiefs team that should contend in the AFC again next season.
Wilson has good size and some scouts have suggested he has more potential long-term than Teez Tabor, who's poor combine performance likely dropped him out of the first round. I think Tabor will be the superior player, but Wilson would be a good player to pair with Peters long-term. and is viewed higher in most NFL circles right now.
28. Dallas Cowboys - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Cowboys badly need help on the edge, and Charlton should be able to contribute from day one. He had some games this season where he was downright unstoppable and looked like a sure top 5 pick, and other times where he disappeared for too long of stretches.
Charlton's versatility would allow the team to use him all over the line, which would allow the Cowboys to find another more seasoned pass rusher in free agency as well if they wanted even more depth.
29. Green Bay Packers - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The third Ohio State defensive back we project in the first round, Conley has shot up draft boards recently with a solid combine performance and impressive game tape in big situations.
The Packers lost the versatile (albeit overrated) Micah Hyde in free agency, and are always looking for corner depth. Conley has the chance to develop into a true number one corner, but should be able to help in the nickel for now.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers - David Njoku, TE, Miami
Njoku has jumped up on most draft boards thanks to an athletic showing at the combine. I'm told a few teams actually prefer Njoku to OJ Howard at this point, so it's possible he's drafted inside the top 20.
Pittsburgh would be very excited to add this specimen to their offense, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would have a very good safety blanket and red zone target. Jesse James has been a solid tight end, but Njoku is a major upgrade and would add a whole new layer to an already dangerous Steelers offense.
31. Atlanta Falcons - DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
While Atlanta has done well recently by drafting athletic, rangy defenders that fit coach Dan Quinn's scheme, Walker reminds me of Michael Bennett, a player who has thrived in the same system in Seattle.
The FSU standout won't wow you with his athleticism, but he's a film junkie (Thanks, A Season with Florida State Football) and he had a great season as a senior this year. I would imagine Atlanta has scouted him plenty being so close in proximity.
32. New Orleans Saints (via New England Patriots) - Raekwon McMillan, MLB, Ohio State
The Saints will undoubtedly be tempted to draft an offensive player with one of their first round picks, because head coach Sean Payton is an offensive guy. Hopefully the team will be able to remain disciplined at this spot and select the best defender available. Basically trading Brandin Cooks for a rookie offensive player would be a huge mistake. It's time to build up the defense.
McMillan is yet another Ohio State defender who could sneak into the first round. He was a very good collegiate player and his combine performance did nothing to hurt his stock. He'd be a great option to help rebuild the porous Saints defense.
Thanks for checking out our 2017 NFL Mock Draft!