MockOut’s 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2
The playoffs are about to begin, the top of the NFL draft is set, so let’s correct all those horrible mistakes we made two weeks ago and roll out MockOut’s second 2017 NFL mock draft. I’m going to wait until after the Super Bowl to predict draft pick trades, but you can read this article for an idea of what sorts of trades I will be trying to identify at this early stage of the offseason.
Again. This is what I believe the teams will do- not what I think they should do. I’m also listening to everyone who writes in and tells me how wrong I am about a certain team’s needs (hello, Colts fans!) or how wrong I am about a prospect (sorry, Hooker!) so each new NFL mock draft I make has taken you- the readers- into account as well.
So go ahead! Please! Berate my stupid picks! You are only making my future mock drafts that much stronger…
1. Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
I’m not changing this pick. No way. Maybe- maybe if the Browns only had one first round pick, and this was their best chance to get a new QB, I would consider it. But with them picking again at 12 and no clear-cut favorite among the signal callers, I give them the draft’s best overall player, at a position that every team needs. They won’t mess this pick up. Unless Garrett skips the combine to go on an ayahuasca bender, I cannot allow anyone else to go number 1 overall.
2. Jonathan Allen, DE Alabama
I got a lot of guff about this pick with my last mock draft, but I am sticking with Allen. This is not a contrarian pick. He is the second best player in the draft, and I don’t really think it’s close. The 49ers had a historically bad run defense last season. He fills a need and is the best player available. And just so you all know where my head is at, I predict that San Francisco ends up making a move for Garoppolo this offseason, and that one of the top QBs falls out of the first round. You will have to read on to find out which one.
3. Mitch Trubisky, QB UNC
I feel pretty confident that the Bears, on the other hand, will draft a QB at 3. If they really fall in love with someone, I could even see them ponying up a future first to move into the top spot, ahead of San Francisco. I don’t think it’s the right move, but these Bears are desperate for a QB who can play up to the level of the team around him. Right now I am going with Trubisky because Kizer had a pretty rough season, and I don’t foresee Watson being able to do anything to improve his draft stock against Alabama.
4. Dalvin Cook, RB FSU
My first change-up from the first mock draft, and it is really barely a change up at all, sticking with the same position but going with a new prospect. After thinking about it a bit more, I think the Jaguars are less in need of a big bruiser who can beat up opposing teams (Fournette) and would opt for an electric playmaker who can score any time he touches the ball (Cook.) I figure, if the Jaguars O-line struggles for most of a game, but can open just one big hole… sure, Fournette will probably average more yards per run on those plays where they didn’t block well. But Cook can turn that one hole into 80 yard touchdown run.
5. Malik Hooker, S Ohio State
Alright, I’ll do it! I still haven’t dug deeply into this year’s safety class, but from the “feedback” I got from my last mock draft, I have to accept that everyone sees Hooker as the real deal. And Peppers as a super athletic guy without a position. I think it’s obvious that Peppers will be a strong safety at the next level, but he might take a bit of seasoning. Hooker won’t. So here you go! You all win! Hooker it is.
6. Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee
A lot of people dislike me mocking defensive players to the Jets considering their QB situation, but follow me here. How do you beat Tom Brady? Do you do it by having a QB that can outduel Tom Brady? Nope. There aren’t any. You beat Tom Brady by getting pressure on him. You beat the Pats with your defense. It’s the only way, and the Jets used to do it with Mark Sanchez! And a great defense. They will work their way towards doing it again with the draft’s best remaining pass rusher, then wait until the second round for a QB.
7. Mike McGlinchey, OT Notre Dame
McGlinchey hasn’t declared yet, but I have a lot of trouble believing he will opt to stay in school for another year after talking to the advisory board. He will be the clear-cut best OT prospect in a draft bereft of plausible starters. I expect him to change his mind about staying at Notre Dame, enter the draft, and be overdrafted because… well, he’s the only really good one to be had. Yes, it is a huge reach, but tackles will be the big reaches of this draft. Expect it.
8. Quincy Wilson, CB Florida
In what is (to me) the first surprise of the draft, Quincy Wilson is a top-10 pick and the first CB off the board. Yes, he’s raw. But he is big and athletic and has all the potential in the world to be a true shutdown corner at any level. This team is one year removed from a Super Bowl season, having the luxury of Josh Norman on their back end. They try to recreate magic with the highest ceilinged CB of the draft. Many have Fournette going here, but I think the wear on his big body will scare some teams off, and that the Panthers are not in dire need of adding a RB when Cam is such a big part of the running game.
9. Jabrill Peppers, S Michigan
I believe Cincinnati is a good team. A team that is much better than their record would indicate. They lost three major pieces of their offense to injury for most of the season, but will bring them all back at full health next year. Even though they will be disappointed to find that Barnett is gone, I still think their attention will stay at defense, where value meets need in Jabrill Peppers. He would essentially be Deone Bucannon with world-class speed; able to start at SS and move up to linebacker when needed, he is exactly the young, exciting playmaker this aging defense needs.
10. Malik McDowell, DE Michigan State
When San Diego passed on McDowell, they could probably hear the cheers from all the way across the country in Buffalo. This is the perfect player for the Bills, who run a 3-4 defense, and are expecting Kyle Williams to retire, if not after this season, then next year. McDowell is the only other great 3-4 DE in the country besides Jonathan Allen, and the Bills just watched him fall into their laps.They could use QB, WR, and defensive backfield help as well, but they will be happy to build from the trenches out. Another D-lineman to get after Brady twice a year.
11. Marlon Humphrey, CB Alabama
There are two ways this pick can go: if the Saints lose Payton and/or Brees, they could go QB here. This is still a very real possibility. But if that fails to happen, they have to address their defense. On offense, Ingram and the receivers and the line are all fine. But they have to find a way to stop Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin 6 times a year, every year. They need a big, strong CB with speed, and Humphrey fits the bill. They might prefer Wilson if he is still available, but since he is gone, they take the Alabama prospect.
12. DeShone Kizer, QB Notre Dame
I really wanted to slot Fournette or Adams in here, but there is no way I can reasonably keep Kizer on the board and have Cleveland pass on him. They are in such dire need of a QB who has the potential to win games on his own, they won’t let one slip by just because they want to build their defense first. Kizer should do for the offense what Garrett will do for the defense. Own it. He at least has the potential for the Browns to get the most out of the really dynamic WR duo of Coleman and Pryor, and open things up for Crowell, who quietly had a really good season last year.
13. Reuben Foster, LB Alabama
There are so many positions of need for the Cardinals, but unfortunately for them the best remaining prospect on the board (Fournette) plays a position in which the Cardinals are very clearly set. One area in which they are far from set is at linebacker, and Foster is a prototypical ILB prospect from the dominant Alabama defense. Wherever Foster goes, he will instantly be hyped as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, but I can’t think of a better situation for him to win the crown than in Arizona.
14. Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
Finally! The wait is over. Of course, if the Colts lose the coin flip and the Eagles hold this pick, I will still mock Fournette here. I honestly don’t think he falls to either team, but I just couldn’t find a good landing spot for him earlier than this. Not yet. I’m sure he’ll work his way up closer to the top of the round as the offseason goes on. For now, he is a Colt. They love surrounding Luck with offensive weapons, whether or not they are at a position of need. So here you go, Colts fans! You get Leonard.
15. John Ross, WR Washington
Poor Eagles. Losing out on Fournette like that. But all is not lost! Little known fact- the Eagles have holes all over their offense! The number one thing this team needs to do is get more explosive. I still say the best way for this team to take advantage of Wentz’s arm strength is to take the draft’s best deep threat. As long as the front office is not gun shy after the weird disaster that is Nelson Agholor, I expect the Eagles to go WR in round 1.
16. Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
Baltimore needs to get back to what it built its past success upon- drafting players who can get after the passer. Nobody has seen his draft stock rise the past few weeks like Solomon Thomas, and I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure he lasts until pick 16. He absolutely destroyed his bowl game. He is a supreme athlete, winning at the line of scrimmage with both speed and power. He fits nicely as a DE on rushing downs, and a DT on passing downs, comparing very favorably to all-world defensive end, Michael Bennett.
17. Mike Williams, WR Clemson
I would love to put Jamal Adams here, considering the massive problems the Redskins defensive backs had both tackling and in coverage last year. But with Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both potentially leaving in free agency, and last year’s top pick Doctson still on the shelf with two bad achilles tendons, you have to imagine the Skins will give their newly-paid QB every chance to succeed by surrounding him with talent on the outside. I am personally higher on Corey Davis than Mike Williams, but groupthink likes Williams more right now, so he goes first.
18. Corey Davis, WR Western Michigan
But Davis won’t have to wait too long after Williams to get drafted. Boy was it hard for me not to send a CB to the Titans again in this mock draft, but after giving it some thought, it probably isn’t the best idea to have two rookies starting in the defensive backfield, however talented they are. Instead, the Titans fill another need by plugging my favorite WR from this draft class in on offense. If they grab a cheap veteran like Pierre Garcon to man the other side, this offense could be incredibly difficult to defend next year, assuming Mariota fully recovers from his broken leg.
19. Caleb Brantley, DT Florida
Fuming that they missed out on end of the WR run by just one pick, the Buccaneers settle for a solid interior defender to help solve their biggest defensive weakness. I am not as high on Brantley as some, but it is undeniable that he was a cog in the middle of one of the nation’s best non-Alabaman defenses. He is a solid, if uninspiring pick, and one that Tampa Bay would be wise to make.
20. Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
Could it be that Russel Okung wasn’t so dumb after all? Everyone mocked him for only getting one guaranteed year from Denver, but it just might have earned him a big payday this year, when the draft is mostly barren at the position. Denver will probably let him walk rather than paying him $11.5m, which would make LT a great big need for the Broncos. I’ve made it pretty clear that Cam Robinson is not my favorite prospect, but he is still most likely the second or third OT off the board, and finds a new home in Denver.
21. Sidney Jones, CB Washington
One good thing about getting bumped from the playoffs early? You still have a decent draft pick, and can take one of the draft’s fastest risers in Sidney Jones. I expect Sidney to potentially go even higher, similar to what Byron Jones experienced a couple years earlier. I was tempted to mock Zach Cunningham here, but the idea of having Sidney Jones on one side with Darius Slay on the other was just too good for me to pass up. Passing against the Lions could become a lot more difficult starting next season, which is important when Aaron Rodgers is in your division.
22. DeMarcus Walker, FSU
Again, what do we do if we want to compete with Brady and the Pats? What did the Jets and Bills do? Draft a player that can put some pressure on the QB. I like Walker more than Takkarist McKinley right now, but I could see the two of them going at about the same time in the draft. Walker is just too strong for many OTs, and too fast for many OGs if the Dolphins want to move him inside on passing downs. I’m not very confident in this pick, so I am really looking forward to digging in to the pass rushers’ tape soon and having stronger opinions about this class.
23. Marshon Lattimore, CB Ohio State
The cascade of cornerbacks continues with Lattimore, a player that in any other year would certainly be a top-15 prospect, but slides down a bit just because there’s so much talent at the position. Green Bay’s early-season struggles were pretty clearly the fault of the defense, and with Aaron Rodgers on the other side of things, you know opposing teams are going to have to throw a bunch to try and keep up. Lattimore has plenty of size and skills to lock down his side of the field.
24. Zach Cunningham, MLB Vanderbilt
Some of the sting from losing in the first round of the playoffs will disappear on draft day, when the Raiders end up with a fantastic ILB they should never have had a chance to draft. Linebacker is probably the Raiders biggest weakness, and to get a guy who is probably just as good as Reuben Foster, but lasted 11 picks longer is a great example of stars aligning. Flanked by Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin, Cunningham can be a steady presence in the middle of the D that can compliment the speed on the outside.
25. Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech
I still think one team is just going to fall in love with Mahomes, and I get the feeling it’s going to be the Texans. This is a tough spot for me because Deshaun Watson is still on the board, but I think he is the QB who suffers a dramatic draft day fall, into round 2. Until I read anything to the contrary, I am going to keep Mahomes slotted here to Houston, where Bill O’Brien can make sure his transition from the Air Raid to a pro-style offense is a smooth one.
26. D’Onta Foreman, RB Texas
If there’s one thing the Giants love to do, it’s to draft thunder. I think I will always associate the Giants with overweight RBs like Brandon Jacobs and Andre Williams, and now they bring in possibly the most talented of the big guys, D’Onta Foreman. Combining Foreman with Paul Perkins would make this offense dynamic and intimidating, like their defense. I had previously put Christian McCaffery here, but after watching more tape on him, it was an easy decision to take him out of the first round altogether, and put either Foreman or O.J. Howard in here.
27. Garett Bolles, OT Utah
Until I start to see Bolles in the top-25 on most mocks, I’m going to keep slotting him to Seattle. Perhaps I jumped the gun in my previous mock, sending him to the Colts 13 picks earlier, based purely on the adoration heaped upon him from Rob Staton. Maybe he’s just a very Seahawky player, and not a player that everyone will be mocking earlier in the round. This is also my taking the easy way out until I am able to really do some work and look at the prospects who fit the Seahawks athletic profile. Until I do, I’ll put Bolles here.
28. Jamal Adams, S LSU
This is just stupid value the Steelers are getting here, and just another testament to the quality at the top of this year’s draft class. There is no way Adams can reasonably be expected to last until the end of the first round in any draft year. But looking back, there isn’t a single player (outside of maybe D’Onta Foreman) who I would feel comfortable pushing further down the draft board. And the Giants don’t need a safety. So Adams goes to Pittsburgh, and the Steelers quest to reestablish themselves as a defensive powerhouse begins.
29. O.J. Howard, TE Alabama
I was also hammered on my pick sending Howard to the Chiefs, but this decision I am going to double down on. There are always examples of teams taking players at a position they totally do not need, because the player was just too good to pass on. This will be one of those picks. The Patriots already laid out the blueprint for how to have two TEs working in tandem to flummox defenses, and I think the Chiefs decide to follow it. Howard will not be Kelce’s backup. The Chiefs will just run a ton of two-TE sets, with Maclin and Tyreek out wide. If you are a defensive coordinator, how do you defend that? Considering Howard’s value, and the fact that I don’t love any WRs here, he remains the pick.
30. Tim Williams, OLB Alabama
As long as he doesn’t bring a loaded pistol to the combine, Tim Williams should still be a first round prospect. His arrest has caused his draft stock to slip, but as one of the draft’s top pass rushing linebackers, he will not drop too far. I think Coach Quinn takes a page from the Pete Carroll playbook and takes on a talented prospect with character flags, as long as he is convinced that football is his number one priority. The Falcons could line Williams up on one side and Vic Beasley on the other and just let them loose on opposing QBs all game long.
31. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
In my previous mock draft I made a good conservative pick for the Cowboys, mostly because the boring picks had done so well for them lately. But I can’t help but think that Jerry Jones is going to want to surround Dak with as much talent as he can on offense, and the Cowboys WR opposite Dez is…? Is it still Terrance Williams? I honestly don’t know. I am not very fond of Smith-Schuster as a prospect, but I do think Dallas grabs a WR here, and he is the #4 prospect on most WR rankings. They could still take a linebacker like Jarrad Davis or even another CB like Teez Tabor or Desmond King, but for now, I’ll pick JuJu to draw coverage away from Dez.
32. T.J. Watt, OLB Wisconsin
For my last pick, I am also going to stick with what I said the first time around, and go with the Patriotest player in the draft. I feel like the Patriots defenses in the 2000s were defined by Ninkoviches and Vrabels and Bruschis. Watt is a total NinkoVraBruschi. Unless someone with no business being available with the last pick in the first round somehow slips here to the Pats, I’ll give them Watt. At least for one more mock draft.
You can track changes to my mock draft, as well as other mock drafts from around the web, at WalterFootball’s NFL Mock Draft Database.
photo: Chad Puerling, TexasHSFootball.com