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2016 NFL Mock Drafts

Pete Prisco
By Rob Rang
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Scouts are eager for a 2017 NFL Draft that should feature bumper crops at hard-to-fill positions like pass rusher, cornerback and tight end.

Among the prospects at these positions boosting his cause this season is Tennessee pass rusher Derek Barnett, who was one of the few Volunteers to excel in the big matchup with Alabama last weekend. Often lining up one-on-one against the Tide's projected first-round tackle Cam Robinson, Barnett registered two tackles for loss (including a sack), as well as a forced fumble and an interception.

NFL Mock Draft - 10/17/2016
Round 1
1. Cleveland Browns

DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: The Browns have started 26 different quarterbacks since rejoining the NFL in 1999, including rookie Cody Kessler, who left the team's Week 5 loss after a vicious hit, and Cleveland has already played five different quarterbacks this season. Just a redshirt sophomore, Kizer remains quite raw but he possesses the most exciting blend of size, arm talent, mobility and poise among this year's draft-eligible quarterbacks and, as such, is very much in play for No. 1 overall.
2. San Francisco 49ers

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Chip Kelly and the 49ers are perhaps just as desperate for help at quarterback as the Browns but with Kizer off the board, the focus has to change to other positions. The 6-5, 262-pound Garrett has been a dominant player against both the pass and run since stepping onto the field at defensive end for the Aggies. He is athletic and instinctive, enough, however, to also play off the ball, projecting as an Aldon Smith-like immediate impact edge rusher for the 49ers.
3. NY Jets

Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan: Now as the Jets' head coach and previously as the defensive coordinator in Arizona, Todd Bowles has prioritized versatility in his players. Linebacker, safety, cornerback, returner - put him wherever you would like - Peppers is a natural playmaker with the instincts and athleticism to carry over his success and versatility into the NFL.
4. Chicago Bears

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Jay Cutler is not the biggest problem for Chicago, but he has shown little evidence over his career that he is the quarterback to lead the Bears back to Super Bowl contention. With little financial penalty looming if the club were to release him early, coach John Fox may elect to add some new blood at the position with Watson, who offers dual-threat potential and the poise Cutler has sometimes lacked.
5. Carolina Panthers

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: One of the reasons for Carolina's slip this season has been an inconsistent running game, putting the spotlight once again on Jonathan Stewart's struggles with durability. Stewart has only played in 16 regular season games three times over his nine-year career and not since 2011. Fournette is a freakish talent, boasting the most exciting combination of size, speed and power since Adrian Peterson.
6. San Diego Chargers

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: Adding McDowell to a defensive line already boasting two former Big Ten standouts in Corey Liuget and Joey Bosa could be the recipe needed to turn around the perennially disappointing Chargers. At 6-6, 285 pounds, McDowell is an ideal candidate for the 5-technique defensive end role in San Diego's 3-4 scheme and, like Liuget and Bosa, he possesses the strength and athleticism to play all over the defensive line.
7. Miami Dolphins

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: If the trio of Arian Foster, Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake does not result in the production Miami is looking for in 2016, the Dolphins could find immediate help in the form of McCaffrey, whose stock should not slip despite Stanford's struggles in every other regard this season.
8. Cincinnati Bengals

Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech: The Bengals remain hopeful, of course, that tight end Tyler Eifert returns to the dominant form he showed before breaking his ankle in the Pro Bowl. If not, tight end could be a position to watch for Cincinnati next spring and Hodges is exactly the type of freakish athlete Bengals general manager Mike Brown has been willing to gamble on in the past.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: With four pending free agents along the offensive line (including injured former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel), Jacksonville will clearly be looking to once again rebuild the offensive line. Robinson stars at left tackle for the Tide, but projects better inside at guard or at right tackle due to his size (6-6, 310) and power in the running game.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jamal Adams, SS, LSU: The Bucs' duo of Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald is one of the league's least athletic. Adams possesses the range, agility and playmaking ability to warrant comparison to former LSU (and current Arizona Cardinals) star Tyrann Mathieu and is bigger at 6-feet, 211 pounds.
11. New Orleans Saints

Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama: While rookie Sheldon Rankins still has a chance to make an impact as a rookie once he returns from a fractured fibula and Cam Jordan remains one of the NFL's best, the latest injury to pass rusher Hau'oli Kikaha (torn ACL) only reinforces New Orleans' lack of depth up front. Adding the versatile Allen to the mix would be a big help.
12. Detroit Lions

Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: The Lions' secondary remains one of the team's primary weaknesses. Tabor comes with some off-field concerns, but his coverage skills and knack for the big play make him a top 15 candidate.
13. Tennessee Titans

Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: Titans general manager Jon Robinson cut his teeth in New England, where Bill Belichick repeatedly invested early picks in explosive linebackers. Foster was overshadowed a year ago by SEC Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Ragland, but he's a better athlete and arguably the most feared hitter in college football.
14. NY Giants

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Rookie Sterling Shepard has diversified the Giants' offense, but the team remains too reliant upon Odell Beckham, Jr. and is in need of more weapons, especially down the seam. Howard lacks the flashy statistics most often associated with first-round prospects, but he is a freakish athlete at 6-6, 242 pounds who may very well wind up being more productive in the NFL than he has been for the Crimson Tide.
15. Indianapolis Colts

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Adding some juice to the backfield in Indianapolis could be the perfect way to support Andrew Luck and few are better than Cook, who last season shattered Florida State's all-time single-season all-purpose record with 1,691 yards - nearly 450 more than the great Warrick Dunn registered 20 years earlier.
16. Arizona Cardinals

Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss: Poor performances and injury concerns for Carson Palmer has rekindled questions about the Cardinals' long-term plans at the position. Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim could be intrigued by the strong-armed and passionate Kelly, the nephew of the Buffalo Bills' Hall of Fame quarterback.
17. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: Some clubs seem to annually struggle at certain positions and with not a single cornerback from Tennessee in the modern era having earned multiple Pro Bowl nods, general manager Jon Robinson could be looking for an upgrade at the position. After a brilliant debut last year for the national champion Crimson Tide, scouts are already buzzing about Humphrey, a redshirt sophomore seemingly ticketed for a first-round selection soon.
18. Green Bay Packers

Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois: With edge rushers Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and Datone Jones all in the final year of their respective deals, the Packers will once again be looking for help at the position. Smoot possesses the explosive first step and flexibility to be a terror off the edge and is well-coached, learning under former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Lovie Smith.
19. Kansas City Chiefs

Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt: Cunningham isn't a nationally recognized name (yet) but the Commodores star is well known in the SEC, especially among coaches who voted him to the First Team squad with 16.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles in 2015 - more than any Vandy defender this century. He could be an ideal apprentice for Derrick Johnson, who will turn 34 this season.
20. Baltimore Ravens

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: Now fully recovered from the neck injury which forced him to miss virtually all of last season, Williams could overtake USC's Smith-Schuster as the top receiver in this class. The 6-3, 220-pounder is athletically in the same class as former Clemson stars Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins and is a proven commodity with 57 receptions for 1,030 yards and six scores as a true sophomore in 2014. He could be a godsend for a Ravens team lacking healthy playmakers.
21. Houston Texans

Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The Texans have quietly assembled one of the better young rosters in the NFL. One of the obvious exceptions is at nose guard, where the aging (34) and increasingly rotund (listed at 325) Vince Wilfork is still eating up blocks. Like his older brother, Star, Lotulelei offers power and bulk at the point of attack and could earn early-round consideration if he continues to develop.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)

Desmond King, CB, Iowa: Questions about his pure speed pushed King back to Iowa for his senior season (despite his winning the Thorpe Award) and it could push him down the board on draft day, as well. While perhaps lacking in this area, King's instincts, physicality and ballskills are top notch and the Browns showed a preference in the 2016 for players with strong resumes.
23. Washington Redskins

Marcus Williams, FS, Utah: Given the wide open passing attacks of today's NFL, ballhawking safeties are worth their weight in gold. Williams is a twitchy athlete with good speed and instincts. He was recognized as a First Team All-Pac-12 defender last season with five interceptions as a sophomore and has continued his big-play flair this season.
24. Buffalo Bills

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Southern California: As long as defensive-minded head coach Rex Ryan is calling the shots, the Bills will have to find unique athletes at the skill positions to make up for a lack of creative play-calling. Pairing the physical and highly competitive Smith-Schuster with the explosive Sammy Watson would give the Bills a legitimate 1-2 punch on the perimeter.
25. Seattle Seahawks

Jarrad Davis, OLB, Florida: The Seahawks have taken a tag-team approach in replacing former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, featuring Cassius Marsh as a third down pass rusher and using veteran Mike Morgan as more of the traditional strong-side linebacker. Davis lacks elite size at 6-1, 240 pounds, but he is highly athletic, aggressive and physical - traits that coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider have prioritized in the past.
26. Oakland Raiders

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon: While youngsters Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington have flashed as complements to starter Latavius Murray, neither has shown the durability or consistency to ignore a talent like Freeman. The 5-11, 230-pound Freeman possesses a flashy blend of power and speed, projecting as a legitimate bell-cow runner in the NFL.
27. Denver Broncos

Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU: With Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr., and Bradley Roby, the Broncos possess arguably the league's top trio at cornerback. Big contracts and Talib's propensity for trouble off the field, however, could push John Elway to consider taking advantage of this year's strong cornerback class. White is a fluid athlete with the loose hips and light feet to make an impact in coverage and on special teams.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana: Just two of the club's past 33 draft picks have been used on blockers. Feeney, a returning All-American who considered leaving school early for the NFL last year, is powerful, athletic and technically sound - among the reasons why he has only allowed one sack in his three-plus seasons as a starter.
29. Atlanta Falcons

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: To this point, former No. 8 overall pick Vic Beasley has been a huge disappointment in Atlanta, but the news isn't much better around the rest of the defensive line. The addition of Harris - who led the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss last year and is off to another strong start - could be a big help.
30. Dallas Cowboys

Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn: While all of the focus has been on the Dallas offense with rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the there is concern on the defense, especially given the team's weak pass rush. Lawson has struggled with durability throughout his career but when healthy, the explosive pass rusher is a proven difference-maker.
31. New England Patriots

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: With Jamie Collins, Don't'a Hightower, Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long each in the final year of their respective deals, the Patriots will likely be focusing on edge defenders in the 2017 draft. The 6-3, 257-pound Barnett lacks the length and pure explosiveness scouts would prefer, but he's a well-rounded player who combines quickness, strength and technique to be effective against the pass and run, alike.
32. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: The Eagles gave up their first-round pick to move up for Carson Wentz, then recouped a first-rounder by dealing Sam Bradford and clearing the way for Wentz. Philadelphia needs to protect that investment and LT Jason Peters is 34. McGlinchey, 6-7 and 310 pounds, impressed at right tackle opposite 2016 first round pick Ronnie Stanley last year and has a chance to boost his grade this fall on the left side as his replacement.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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