2017 NFL Mock Draft: Dalvin Cook to Ravens, Jabrill Peppers to Steelers
An average Baltimore run game gets a serious upgrade while Peppers could be the next Troy Polamalu
The Ravens averaged under 23 rush attempts per game last season and finished 28th in the NFL in rushing yards as a team. Some might claim that the lack of dedication to the run game is why Baltimore won’t draft a running back in the first round. However, many around the league believe Ezekiel Elliott would have been the Ravens’ selection with the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s first round if the Ohio State Buckeyes running back wasn’t plucked two picks earlier by Dallas.
Although Cook isn’t quite the workhorse that Elliott is, the former Florida State Seminoles star is just as dangerous with the ball in his hands and capable of making an immediate impact. With complementary options already on the roster like 2016 fourth rounder Kenneth Dixon , Cook won’t be run into the ground and will add another dimension to the Baltimore offense.
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett , DE/OLB, Texas A&M: The Browns have needs all over the roster and unless they fall in love with a quarterback, this pick needs to be the best talent in the draft, which is Garrett.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Mitch Trubisky , QB, North Carolina Tar Heels : San Francisco has its new coach (and offense) with Kyle Shanahan but he still needs a capable quarterback to run it. Despite only one season of starting experience, Trubisky, who will skip his senior season, has all the traits to be a successful NFL starter.
3. Chicago Bears
DeShone Kizer , QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish : The Bears have some intriguing talent on the roster, but the quarterback depth chart is disheartening. Although his tape shows youthful mistakes, Kizer also shows the veteran poise and ideal physical traits to play the position at a high level.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jonathan Allen , DL, Alabama Crimson Tide : Jacksonville has invested heavily in the defensive line and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jaguars do so again if a talent like Allen is available for them.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)
Jamal Adams , SS, LSU Tigers : With a top-five pick, the Titans need to first and foremost add a difference-maker and Adams has that type of ability patrolling the secondary.
6. New York Jets
Marshon Lattimore , CB, Ohio State: The Jets have no choice but to address the secondary this offseason with question marks at both cornerback and safety. Lattimore is a very gifted athlete for his size with sticky coverage skills.
7. Los Angeles San Diego Chargers
Solomon Thomas , DL, Stanford Cardinal : The Chargers hit a home run with Joey Bosa last year and could swing for the fences again with Thomas, who would be a great fit both inside and outside in Gus Bradley’s scheme.
8. Carolina Panthers
Leonard Fournette , RB, LSU: Veteran Jonathan Stewart averaged only 3.8 yards per rush and reached the 100-yard mark in only one game last season, his ninth in the NFL. Fournette is a freak talent who would instantly add juice to the Panthers’ offense.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Reuben Foster , LB, Alabama: Linebacker Rey Maualuga is a serviceable player, but Foster would be an instant upgrade with his combination of play speed, instincts and violence.
10. Buffalo Bills
Deshaun Watson , QB, Clemson Tigers : The Tyrod Taylor situation in Buffalo will continue to play itself out the next few weeks, but if he’s out of the picture then Watson becomes an intriguing option with this pick. Not sure this would be the right move, but it is definitely plausible.
11. New Orleans Saints
Teez Tabor , CB, Florida Gators : The Saints ranked dead last in the NFL last season in passing yards allowed and collected only nine interceptions (only three by cornerbacks). Tabor fits New Orleans’ scheme and would help from Day 1.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
Malik Hooker , FS, Ohio State: The Browns need an overhaul in the secondary and are missing a true ball hawk in the deep half of the field. Hooker would be a natural fit and his recent injuries could wind up being a blessing for Cleveland.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Mike Williams , WR, Clemson: While wide receiver was a strength of Arizona not too long ago, Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end and Michael Floyd is now in New England. Williams could develop into the new No. 1 pass catcher for the Cardinals.
14. *Indianapolis Indianapolis Colts
Takkarist McKinley , DE, UCLA Bruins : Coming from Kansas City, new Colts general manager Chris Ballard understands the impact of speed rushing off the edge and McKinley is an ascending talent with plenty of juice.
15. *Philadelphia Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
Marlon Humphrey , CB, Alabama: The Eagles are desperate for help at cornerback and there should be several options for the franchise in the mid-first round. Humphrey has given up several big plays this season, but NFL coaches will be salivating at his size and skill set.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Dalvin Cook , RB, Florida State: The Ravens have a stable of average backs on the roster, which is one of the reasons they ranked near last in the NFL in rushing in 2016. Cook would help change that and open up the offense.
17. Washington Redskins
Malik McDowell , DL, Michigan State Spartans : McDowell has an impressive blend of size, athleticism and power to be effective from multiple positions along the defensive line.
18. Tennessee Titans
Corey Davis , WR, Western Michigan Broncos : The Titans have plenty of bodies on the wide receiver depth chart, but no true difference-maker. Davis is one of the most prolific wideouts in college football history and is the complete package as a receiver.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
John Ross , WR, Washington Huskies : Mike Evans is the top target of Jameis Winston , but he needs help. Ross is dwarfed by Evans in size, but his explosive athleticism and savvy route-running will only improve the Tampa offensive attack.
20. Denver Broncos
David Njoku , TE, Miami (Fla.): The Broncos have plenty of names on the tight end depth chart, but no difference-makers. Njoku is only 20-years old and still raw in areas, but his potential is off the charts.
21. Detroit Lions
Derek Barnett , DE, Tennessee Volunteers : Detroit needs to address the issues at cornerback, but upgrading the pass rush with an edge rusher like Barnett will impact the back seven as well.
22. Miami Dolphins
O.J. Howard , TE, Alabama: There are glaring needs on defense for the Dolphins, but an athletic tight end like Howard would do wonders for Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense.
23. New York Giants
Taco Charlton , DE, Michigan Wolverines : With Jason Pierre-Paul potentially leaving, defensive end is a likely need this offseason. Charlton, who has some traits reminiscent of Justin Tuck out of Notre Dame, has all the ingredients of a NFL starter.
24. Oakland Raiders
Haason Reddick , LB, Temple Owls : A defensive back-turned-rusher in college, Reddick will make the move to linebacker in the NFL and has the athleticism to be a star.
25. Houston Texans
Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin Badgers : With the question mark at right tackle moving forward, offensive tackle is one of the most pressing needs for the Texans this offseason. And Ramcyzk is a discount at this point in the draft due to his hip injury.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Forrest Lamp , G, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers : The Seahawks are getting by with the bodies they have on the offensive line, but that doesn’t mean Seattle shouldn’t be looking for upgrades. Lamp can probably survive at tackle in the NFL, but he might be a Pro Bowl guard with his square-blocking skill set and stubborn mentality.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Zach Cunningham , LB, Vanderbilt Commodores : With Derrick Johnson ’s career in question due to injuries, inside linebacker is a position the Chiefs will look to address this offseason. Cunningham plays with the take-on strength and reaction quickness to fill and cover ground.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Carl Lawson , DE/OLB, Auburn Tigers : The Cowboys have defensive needs at every level, but especially at pass rusher. Lawson does an outstanding job using his upper-body strength and lower-body quickness in unison to beat blockers.
29. Green Bay Packers
Sidney Jones , CB, Washington: The Packers need help on the cornerback depth chart and Jones is well-versed in multiple coverages with the athleticism and ball skills to make plays.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jabrill Peppers , LB/S, Michigan: Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to properly replace the hole left by Troy Polamalu at strong safety and although Peppers isn’t on that level, he has intriguing blend of athleticism and physicality.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Charles Harris , DE, Missouri Tigers : The Falcons’ pass rush was improved in 2016 and helped advance Atlanta to the Super Bowl. But more help is needed and Harris adds a different style of rusher to the arsenal.
32. New England Patriots
Tim Williams , DE, Alabama: With his baggage, Williams will likely tumble on draft day, which could mean falling right into the laps of the Super Bowl champions.
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