2017 NFL Mock Drafts

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

Teams desperate for quarterbacks could shake up the top 10 of the 2017 NFL draft but that will only allow teams picking later to land elite talent on the defensive side of the ball sliding down the board.

When looking back at this draft years from now, it will be those tasked with chasing down the quarterbacks (or intercepting them) who will prove the bigger story, starting off with clear-cut top prospect Myles Garrett.

After an almost surreal lead-up to the draft full of injuries and off-field concerns, here is my final projection of what will take place during Thursday???s first round.

NFL Mock Draft - 4/27/2017
Round 1
1. Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: The clear top need in Cleveland is at quarterback but frankly it would be a stunner if anyone other than Garrett was the first pick, as he is simply the best player in the draft. With hyper-aggressive defensive coordinator Gregg Williams pushing him, Garrett is the easy early Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and should be an annual Pro Bowl contender.
2. San Francisco 49ers

Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: Head coach Kyle Shanahan was hired to help spark a listless offense that ranked 27th in the NFL in points scored and dead last in passing last season but ignoring better players just to draft a quarterback may only guarantee another poor season in 2017. Thomas is a natural disruptor who has drawn comparisons to LA Rams star Aaron Donald. He could be the perfect finishing touch for a defense line currently better prepared to stuff the run than bother rival quarterbacks.
3. Chicago Bears

Jamal Adams, SS, LSU: Safety has long been a sore spot in Chicago with only one Bears safety (Mike Brown) earning an invitation to the Pro Bowl over the past 20 years. Adams has that kind of potential and is viewed by some as the safest prospect in the draft. He is a tone-setter with a rare combination of instincts, athleticism and intangibles to make an immediate impact on a defense that made strides a year ago but allowed 24.9 points per game, 24th in the NFL.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Splashy signings in free agency suggest that the Jaguars are looking for an immediate difference-maker with this pick or perhaps even another quarterback to challenge Blake Bortles. The Cowboys went from last to first in the NFC during the regular season a year ago in large part because of the stellar play of 2016 No. 4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliott and the Jaguars could see a similar bounce with Fournette taking the pressure off of Bortles and the passing game.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: This is a prime spot for trade down with teams eager to take a quarterback looking to move up. Don't expect the Titans to move too far down, however, with Howard among the targets the club would be targeting. The Titans' commitment to running the football already puts a lot of stress on opposing linebackers and safeties and adding a quality blocker and legitimate seam threat like Howard would only make Tennessee that much more difficult to stop. Few know the value of a playmaking tight end more than Titans' general manager Jon Robinson, who cut his teeth in New England.
6. NY Jets

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: Last season only two teams (Cleveland, Detroit) allowed a worse ratio of touchdown passes allowed to interception than the Jets, which surrendered 30 scores and only picked off eight passes. Given the aggressive nature of defensive-minded head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan's trusted Best Player Available strategy, it is easy to envision the duo falling in love with Lattimore's sticky cover skills and upside, though a quarterback is certainly a possibility.
7. Los Angeles Chargers

Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: The Chargers won big a year ago with Joey Bosa and could be in a similar position this year should Allen fall into their lap. The 6-3, 286-pound Allen has the intangibles the Chargers have long prized and could remind new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley of former Seahawks pupil Michael Bennett with his positional versatility, initial burst and coordinated, powerful hand play.
8. Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: Though he is far from the only one to blame for Carolina's woes on offense, the Panthers' slip last season in running the ball puts the spotlight once again on Jonathan Stewart's struggles with durability. The 13th overall pick of the 2008 draft has only played in 16 regular season games three times over his nine-year career and not since 2011. Pairing him with a dynamic runner, receiver and returner like McCaffrey could be the perfect fit - and one made easier with Carolina re-hiring assistant coach Lance Murphy, who spent the past three coaching McCaffrey at Stanford.
9. Cincinnati Bengals

Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: The Bengals are looking to add a young pass rusher to complement veterans Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap and could use a boost of speed at linebacker. In Reddick, a former walk-on turned superstar who wowed at Temple, the Senior Bowl and the Combine, they'd be adding both.
10. Buffalo Bills

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: With owner Terry Pegula among the team's top brass traveling to watch the top quarterbacks work out, Buffalo is either planning to push recently re-signed incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor or sending out one of the better smokescreens in recent memory. Watson's ability to deliver in the clutch intrigues scouts but he also threw an FBS-worst 30 interceptions over the past two seasons, making him a polarizing player in the scouting community.
11. New Orleans Saints

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: The Saints ranked 27th in the NFL a year ago with just 30 sacks, a real concern given the quarterback talent in the NFC South. Help is on the way with former Arizona Cardinals' edge rusher Alex Okafor but he signed only a one year deal. It took a while for the light to come on for Charlton at Michigan but he led the Big Ten in sacks a year ago in his first season as a full-time starter. Boasting a terrific combination of burst, bend and length, Charlton has Pro Bowl potential.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: The Browns may have to move up to get one but it appears that the club is willing to spend some of the draft capital it built to do so, exploring several trade-up scenarios NFLDraftScout.com has learned. Trubisky (as well as Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes) are all, likely very much in play in a trade-up scenario or if standing pat at No. 12. With just 13 career starts, Trubisky is obviously a roll of the dice but he showed impressive accuracy, athleticism and pocket awareness in 2016. The Ohio native possesses the combination of upside and intangibles that Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson prioritized with their draft picks a year ago.
13. Arizona Cardinals

Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech: The Cardinals have publicly stated their intention to find a young quarterback to groom under Carson Palmer and teams are excited about Mahomes' upside. After starring in Tech's shotgun-heavy Air-Raid offense, Mahomes is undeniably a project but he possesses the gunslinger mentality and arm talent to excite Bruce Arians.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State: Given that last year's starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll are gone and free agent addition Patrick Robinson was only signed to a one-year deal, the Eagles need plenty of help in the secondary. With the top two corners off the board and an elite talent in Hooker slipping due to medical concerns, Philadelphia addresses their secondary with a rangy, ball-hawking free safety.
15. Indianapolis Colts

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: The Colts lost franchise sack king Robert Mathis to retirement and though the team theoretically replaced him on paper with Jabaal Sheard, the club is expected to add a young pass rusher early in the draft. Harris has only been playing football for five years but possesses terrific initial quickness and a deadly spin move to ultimately become a terror off the edge.
16. Baltimore Ravens

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: The Ravens need help at edge rusher and offensive tackle, as well, but general manager Ozzie Newsome may have a hard time letting a prototypical split end like the 6-4, 218-pound Williams slip any further. His ability to box out defenders and win contested passes could make him a quick favorite for Joe Flacco, who lost similarly sure-handed receivers Steve Smith, Sr. and Kamar Aiken over the offseason.
17. Washington Redskins

Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: The Redskins surrendered an average of nearly 120 yards per game on the ground in 2016 and only three teams (the Chargers, Bills and 49ers) allowed more than their 19 rushing touchdowns. Foster is a top 10 talent but may suffer a slide on draft day after questions about his decision-making off the field and durability on it surfaced since the season ended. Possessing remarkable closing speed and the physicality to intimidate, he could prove a steal at this point in the draft.
18. Tennessee Titans

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: The addition of veterans Logan Ryan and Jonathan Cyprien help but only the most optimistic of Titans fans believe that they can turn a secondary that ranked 31st a year ago against the pass into an elite unit. Humphrey is an NFL legacy with a rare combination of size (6-0, 197 pounds) and speed (4.41), who at just 20-years old appears to be just scratching the surface of his potential.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: With Doug Martin facing a four game suspension for PED use and coming off of his third injury-shortened season, the Bucs understandably could be looking for help at running back. Reuniting Cook with former FSU teammate Jameis Winston could be the perfect solution. Cook has off-field and durability concerns of his own but he is an ideal fit in this offense as a slashing runner with terrific hands.
20. Denver Broncos

Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: On paper, the signings of former Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson and Dallas Cowboys guard Ronald Leary make up for the decision to let starting left tackle Russell Okung walk in free agency but reality could prove different. Ramczyk has the feet to handle blindside duties and at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, possesses the girth to move people in the running game, as well. Watch out for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon here.
21. Detroit Lions

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: Aggressive moves in free agency signal that Detroit has high expectations in 2017. A healthy Ziggy Ansah for the entire season would certainly go a long way towards boosting the pass rush but he could use some help. Barnett passed the late Hall of Famer Reggie White with 33 career sacks over just three seasons and has the instincts and refined hand play to make an immediate impact.
22. Miami Dolphins

T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: Adding two more years to Cameron Wake's contract lessens Miami's need for pass rush help but doesn't eliminate it. Watt's famous last name certainly helps his cause but scouts are excited about his upside as he only switched to defense two years ago and shows terrific instincts and technique as an edge rusher.
23. NY Giants

David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.): Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall gives the Giants a physically imposing pass-catcher to complement playmakers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard but it is hard to imagine Eli Manning complaining if another set of hands was added to the mix. The 20-year old Njoku is still very much a work in progress but scouts are enamored with the 6-4, 246 pounder's ability to create mismatches in the passing game.
24. Oakland Raiders

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: The Raiders' rise to the playoffs in 2016 was directly attributable to its explosive offense but if the club is to take the next step -- and remain a consistent post-season threat -- help must be on the way for a defense that surrendered an average of 375 yards per game, 26th in the NFL. In his post-season wrap-up, Jack Del Rio stressed the need to create more of disruption on the interior, which is exactly what the 6-5, 295 pound McDowell does best.
25. Houston Texans

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: The Texans certainly could use help at quarterback and with the five year option allowed with a first round pick there is plenty of incentive to invest in a young passer. Houston watched a young David Carr get beaten to a pulp behind a leaky offensive line years ago, however, and with right tackle a position of concern and the pro-ready Robinson on the board, the Texans may opt for the more immediate help.
26. Seattle Seahawks

Garett Bolles, OT, Utah: It is no secret that the Seahawks' top priority over the offseason would be addressing a leaky offensive line and the club made several moves, including adding former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel in free agency. If the team was confident that Joeckel was the long-term answer at left tackle, however, Seattle likely would have given him more than a one-year show me deal. Bolles is a work in progress after only starting one year at Utah and comes with some character red flags. He has the highest upside of any lineman in this class, however, boasting the light feet and competitive nature to project as a future standout left tackle.
27. Kansas City Chiefs

Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida: The Chiefs have some massive shoes to fill up the middle with nose guard Dontari Poe walking in free agency and the 34-year old Derrick Johnson recuperating from his second season-ending Achilles tear over the past three years. Davis struggled with injuries, himself, during his time at Florida but his speed and explosiveness is clearly first round caliber.
28. Dallas Cowboys

Adoree' Jackson, CB, Southern California: The Cowboys are likely to focus on edge rushers and cornerbacks with this selection and with talented players at both positions still on the board, Jerry Jones may get his choice. Jones loves splashy picks on draft day and few come with more star power than Jackson, the reigning Thorpe Award winner and a dynamic returner.
29. Green Bay Packers

Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky: As long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy the Packers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Therefore, protecting him -- even at the expense of the defense -- must be the top priority. As a four-year starter who stood out in high profile showdowns against Alabama, LSU and the Senior Bowl, Lamp is about as safe as it gets and could be seen as a plug and play replacement for free agent defection T.J. Lang.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan: Due in part to the flashy play of rookies Artie Burns and Sean Davis, the Steelers made strides in the secondary last season. More help is needed, however. Asked to play all over the field at Michigan, Peppers is a polarizing prospect in the scouting community, something that his diluted test at the Combine did not help. However, his instincts, aggression and terrific open-field tackling might remind GM Kevin Colbert of former Steelers' great Troy Polamalu.
31. Atlanta Falcons

Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut: After surrendering a Super Bowl record 466 passing yards to Tom Brady, no one should be surprised if the Falcons opt to reinforce the secondary. Melifonwu checks a lot of the boxes that Atlanta looks for in the secondary, including durability, versatility, length and sheer athleticism. The 6-4, 224-pound Melifonwu would certainly be an upgrade size-wise over current starting free safety, Ricardo Allen, who checks in at just 5-9, 186 pounds.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England)

Kevin King, CB, Washington: With the need for a pass rusher addressed with their first selection, the Saints can simply wait to see which of the talented cornerbacks falls to the end of the first round. While LSU's Tre'Davious White would be the more popular pick, King's rare combination of size and agility could be too tempting.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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