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2016 NFL Mock Drafts

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

NFL teams that failed to take advantage of an extraordinary 2016 class of defensive tackles may struggle to find top shelf talent at the position in 2017.

Only three defensive tackles - Alabama's Jonathan Allen, Michigan State's Malik McDowell and Utah's Lowell Lotulelei - currently project as first-round caliber prospects. As a reflection of their standout play thus far this season and the relative lack of depth behind them, each comes off the board within the first 15 picks in this latest first-round projection.

**2017 NFL Draft order based on Vegas odds to win the Super Bowl.

NFL Mock Draft - 9/19/2016
Round 1
1. Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Clearly, the No. 1 concern in Cleveland should be at quarterback but with an NFL-best 13 projected picks in the 2017 draft, the Browns do not necessarily need to make one the first pick of the draft. The 6-5, 262-pound Garrett has been a dominant pass rusher for the Aggies with 23.5 sacks over his first two seasons and is the No. 1 overall prospect in college football.
2. San Francisco 49ers

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Chip Kelly and the 49ers need help at quarterback even more than the Browns, and would likely be thrilled with Watson still on the board. The 2015 Heisman finalist possesses an exciting blend of athleticism, arm and smarts and wouldn't face the same challenges of acclimating to a pro-style scheme if playing for Kelly, whose up-tempo attack is similar to the one Watson has starred in at Clemson.
3. San Diego Chargers

Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan: Reinforcements along the offensive line or wide receiver are always possibilities in San Diego, but I think the Chargers also miss Eric Weddle at safety. Linebacker, safety, cornerback, returner - put him wherever you'd like - Peppers is a natural playmaker with the instincts and athleticism to carry over his success and versatility into the NFL. Teams are wary of young players and as only a redshirt sophomore, Peppers is certainly that but scouts are excited about his upside.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama: Frankly, I'd be shocked if the Jags are selecting this high - I think they are a legitimate contender to win the AFC South this year - but if once again picking in the top five, then the club could be looking for an upgrade at left guard, where Luke Joeckel - the No. 2 overall pick back in 2013 - is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Robinson isn't as polished in pass protection as Joeckel, but he's a mauler in the running game whose power and competitiveness could give the Jaguars some growl up front.
5. Tennessee Titans

Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: 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. Tabor reminds scouts of former Florida standouts Vernon Hargreaves III and Joe Haden with his easy athleticism and knack for big plays.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Southern California: Sure, the Bucs already boast two of the NFL's bigger receivers in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, but the former is coming off of a disappointing sophomore season and the latter is 33 and a pending free agent. The 6-2, 220-pound Smith-Schuster isn't just big, he's powerful and highly competitive, making him potentially a perfect candidate to push Evans (and QB Jameis Winston) into maximizing their own undeniable potential.
7. New Orleans Saints

Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama: While rookie Sheldon Rankins should make an immediate impact 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.
8. Detroit Lions

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: As arguably the best prospect in the country, Fournette should go higher than this, but the teams projected to select earlier than Detroit are already loaded (or at least heavily invested) at running back. Fournette is an exceptional talent, offering a combination of size, power and speed unmatched by any college back since Adrian Peterson. And as a division rival of his, the Lions know better than most the impact a superstar runner can have on a club.
9. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)

DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: The Browns will almost certainly be spending yet another early pick on a quarterback. Kizer is only a redshirt sophomore but his combination of size, arm talent and composure, thus far, has the look of a future top 10 pick.
10. 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, a do-it-all threat perfectly suited to Adam Gase's up-tempo offense.
11. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)

Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: The Titans already boast two solid veteran edge rushers in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but with only 11.5 combined sacks from them last year (7.0 from Orakpo), the club could be looking to add some competition to the position. Williams has been largely a pass rush specialist for the Tide thus far, but he could learn quickly as an apprentice under Tennessee' two 30-year old outside linebackers.
12. Washington Redskins

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: The culture in Washington is changing with general manager Scot McClougan valuing toughness and physicality over raw athleticism. At 6-6, 285 pounds, McDowell has the length and power to play all over the defensive line.
13. Atlanta Falcons

Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama: The Falcons took a big step toward improving their overall physicality with the selection of safety Keanu Neal in the first round last spring. Foster, arguably the most explosive hitter in the country, would reinforce the club's goal of regaining its nastiness on defense.
14. Chicago Bears

Jamal Adams, SS, LSU: The Bears have been looking for a tone-setter at safety for years. 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.
15. 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.
16. Buffalo Bills

Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee: The Bills are in fine shape at cornerback as long as the team re-signs pending free agent Stephon Gilmore in the offseason. Buffalo could opt to place the franchise tag on the talented cover corner to maintain consistency in the secondary or could see Sutton, a battle-tested and confident cover corner, as a quality consolation prize. Scouts will want a full medical evaluation on Sutton after he was knocked out of Tennessee's third game of the season with an ankle injury that Vols head coach Butch Jones said would keep his star corner out for "an extended period of time."
17. Oakland Raiders

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: 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. Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie has been willing to gamble before and has a "scout" on staff who knows Humphrey better than most, former Alabama teammate Amari Cooper.
18. NY Giants

Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State: For the first time in modern franchise history, the Giants did not select an offensive or defensive lineman in the 2016 draft. Reinforcements could be needed next year up front with Johnson possessing the bulk and feet to project as a long-time starter.
19. NY Jets

Budda Baker, FS, Washington: Ball-hawking safeties are all the rage in the NFL and Baker has the instincts and athleticism to star in centerfield. The silky smooth Baker enters his junior campaign already a two-time All-Pac-12 pick. He headlines a Washington secondary that might just be the best in the country.
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. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. Dallas Cowboys

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Gavin Escobar is a nice player but he is not a true long-term replacement for Jason Witten, whose lack of speed is starting to catch up with him. Howard, on the other hand, does have this kind of seam-breaking ability.
25. Arizona Cardinals

Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss: As long as Carson Palmer stays healthy, the Cardinals are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Nevertheless, the club would like to find a young quarterback to groom behind him. 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.
26. Carolina Panthers

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: The Panthers are currently set along the defensive line but with Charles Johnson on a one-year deal, Dave Gettleman likely would not pass on adding an athletic edge rusher like Harris - who led the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss last year -- if given the opportunity to add to his collection of "hog mollies."
27. Cincinnati Bengals

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon: The Bengals are hopeful that Jeremy Hill bounces back in a big way this season after a disappointing 2015 campaign. If not, this year's running back class certainly offers plenty of talented options, including the powerful Freeman, a bullish runner very much in the mold of former Oregon star Jonathan Stewart. NFL team will want a full medical evaluation on Freeman after he was knocked out of Oregon's Sept. 17 loss to Nebraska, and was later seen walking on crutches and with a boot on his right foot.
28. 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.
29. Green Bay Packers

Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State: It seems the Packers are annually in search of athletic linebackers. Powerful, athletic and eager to emerge from the shadows cast by his former teammates at Ohio State, Miller could be end to Green Bay's troubles at the position.
30. 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.
31. Seattle Seahawks

Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech: The Seahawks remain hopeful, of course, that Jimmy Graham will return to the dominant form he showed prior to last season's horrific ruptured patella tendon. If not, tight end could be a position to watch for Seattle next spring and Hodges is exactly the type of freakish athlete coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider prefer.
32. New England Patriots

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, making him potentially a terrific fit in Foxborough.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

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