2017 NFL Mock Draft: The Bears and the Cardinals find their future QBs
The Browns also can't wait on DeShone Kizer, taking the Notre Dame QB at No. 1
With 13 draft picks -- including the projected No. 1 overall selection -- the big story of the 2017 NFL Draft is clearly the Cleveland Browns .
Executive vice president Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson face the difficult choice of gambling yet another high pick on a possible franchise quarterback or taking the draft's best player, Texas Longhorns A&M defensive end Myles Garrett , with the first pick -- a decision that will obviously impact the rest of the round.
The draft order for this exercise was determined on projected order of finish.
1. Cleveland Browns
DeShone Kizer , QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish : The Browns have started 26 different quarterbacks since rejoining the NFL in 1999, including rookie Cody Kessler , who struggled in his first NFL start in Miami in Week 3. Unless the rookie (or his in-game replacement Terrelle Pryor ) performs better down the stretch, the Browns will surely be drafting another QB in 2017. 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-foot-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. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette , RB, LSU Tigers : At least through the first three games, the Jaguars' 1-2 punch of T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory at running back has been a failure, with the club currently ranking 31st in the NFL with an average of just 51 rushing yards per game. Fournette is a freakish talent, boasting the most exciting combination of size, speed and power since Adrian Peterson .
4. Washington Redskins
Malik McDowell , DT, Michigan State Spartans : The culture in Washington Huskies is changing with general manager Scot McCloughan 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.
5. Tennessee Titans
Jabrill Peppers , SS, Michigan Wolverines : Some clubs seem to annually struggle at certain positions and with not a single cornerback from Tennessee Volunteers in the modern era having earned multiple Pro Bowl nods, general manager Jon Robinson could be looking for an upgrade at the position. 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.
6. Miami Dolphins
Christian McCaffrey , RB, Stanford Cardinal : 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.
7. Chicago Bears
Deshaun Watson , QB, Clemson Tigers : 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.
8. San Diego Chargers
Cam Robinson , OT, Alabama Crimson Tide : Though Melvin Gordon is running better in his second season, the offensive line is a perennial concern in San Diego. Robinson is well known in the scouting community for his physicality and tenacity in the running game, and his pass protection skills have taken off in 2016, his third season as the Tide's star left tackle.
9. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)
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.
10. 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.
11. Indianapolis Colts
Dalvin Cook , RB, Florida State Seminoles : 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.
12. Buffalo Bills
JuJu Smith-Schuster , WR, Southern California Trojans : 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.
13. Detroit Lions
Teez Tabor , CB, Florida Gators : Through three weeks, the Lions have allowed an NFL-high 10 touchdowns through the air and have only intercepted one pass. Tabor comes with some off-field concerns, but his coverage skills and knack for the big play make him a top 15 candidate.
14. 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.
15. Dallas Cowboys
Carl Lawson , DE, Auburn Tigers : While all of the focus has been on the Dallas offense with rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott , 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, with 3.0 sacks already this season.
16. Atlanta Falcons
Charles Harris , DE, Missouri Tigers : To this point, former No. 8 overall pick Vic Beasley has been a huge disappointment in Atlanta, and 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 -- could be a big help.
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. New York 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.
19. New York 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. Cincinnati Bengals
Bucky Hodges , TE, Virginia Tech Hokies : 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 Bearcats 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.
21. Arizona Cardinals
Chad Kelly , QB, Ole Miss Rebels : An abysmal performance by Carson Palmer (four interceptions and no touchdowns) in a Week 3 loss at Buffalo Bulls 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.
22. 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.
23. Carolina Panthers
Dawuane Smoot , DE, Illinois Fighting Illini : 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 Smoot, a 6-3, 255-pounder with the burst and bend to make an immediate impact.
24. Kansas City Chiefs
Zach Cunningham , OLB, Vanderbilt Commodores : 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 All-SEC 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.
25. Green Bay Packers
Jarrad Davis , OLB, Florida: It seems the Packers are annually in search of athletic linebackers and Davis possesses the combination of agility, speed and instincts to fit the bill. He's powerful at the point of attack, projecting as a quality run-stuffing presence on the inside, but is also productive as a rusher and in coverage.
26. Houston Texans
Lowell Lotulelei , DT, Utah Utes : 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.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Royce Freeman , RB, Oregon Ducks : While youngsters Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls have flashed, neither has shown the durability and 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.
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. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
Desmond King , CB, Iowa Hawkeyes : 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 ball skills are top notch and the Browns showed a preference in the 2016 for players with strong resumes.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Dan Feeney , G, Indiana Hoosiers : 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. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Golden Gophers )
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.
32. New England Patriots
Tim Williams , OLB, Alabama: Bill Belichick knows the value of pass rushers as well as anyone in the NFL. Williams is only used as a rotational player by the Tide, but he is a pass rush specialist with the length and explosiveness to fill a role in Foxborough.
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