Although we are a site predominantly geared toward dynasty league fantasy football, at the end of the day we’re all fans of real football. A few of our writers got together and thought it would be fun to combine our brainpower (or lack thereof) and combine forces for a mock of the NFL’s first round. It was an interesting and educational exercise and we hope you find it to be an entertaining read at the very least, as we have a few players landing in spots that you aren’t seeing in mock drafts on the internet. We’re all fantasy guys, and only a few of us are real life NFL X’s and O’s guys, so this may not be the most in-depth analysis you’ll ever see. I’ve explained our thinking behind each pick and any fantasy implications the pick may have in 2017.
Before I get started, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the writing team here at DFF that helped conduct this draft:
- Matt Krebsbach @DFF_MattK
- J.T. Maynard @FatAdamSchefter
- John Orr @DFF_JohnIDP
- James Hanmore @DFF_JamesH
- Jeremy Browand @DFF_Madman
- Jason Di Rienzo @allpurposeyrd8g
- Brad McDaniel @DFF_BMack
- John Schepps @SlizzDigital
- Bradley Ylitalo @NFL_drafthub
Give them a follow on Twitter; we’d love to get your feedback on these picks!
1) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
No need to overthink this. Pretty much everybody everywhere agrees this is going to be the first pick in the draft, although recent news about him soliciting the Cowboys to trade up for him probably doesn’t sit well with the Browns’ front office. Could be a solid point-producer in IDP leagues for years to come with double-digit sack totals in the near future.
2) San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Most people expect the new Shanahan-Lynch brain trust to go offense here, but Allen fills a need at the position, as the Niners have had to deal with injuries and a lack of production at DT in recent years. Combining Allen with other recent early picks along the D-line, this could be turning into a strength of this team. Allen’s athletic ability combined with an immediate opportunity can make him a top fantasy producer at a thin IDP position.
3) Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Bears have lots of holes to fill and John Fox has got to know he’s on the hot seat and needs to win now. Drafting a QB that needs to develop isn’t in his best interest when Brian Hoyer looked serviceable last year. Their D was pretty bad on the backend and could use a playmaker as their front 7 was coming along as the season wore on, Lattimore instantly improves this garbage secondary. Look for some fantasy contributions immediately as opposing teams like to target rookie corners a la Jalen Ramsey & Vernon Hargreaves last season.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
We batted around several names here, and Solomon eventually emerged. They’ve been trying to build a young dynamic defense here for a few seasons now with mixed results. Thomas is projected by some to fit the mold of an Aaron Donald type of player, which is good for real life and fantasy. He may need some time to develop and might not come out swinging, but should be a difference maker at the position for a young and upcoming Jags defense that is stacked with potential playmakers.
5) Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Although free agent signee Rishard Matthews emerged as a threat for the Titans as the season progressed, he’s more of a really good #2 than a bona fide #1, which they are lacking. Enter Mike Williams. Most of us have Corey Davis ranked higher, but thought the Titans would prefer Williams. The Titans are a team on the rise, and fantasy points should be plentiful going forward for all parties involved.
6) New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
This is an old team with a bad roster that could use lots of help at several positions. We debated going QB here, or RB, but in the end Adams is a tone-setter who can give this defense an identity for the next decade and can be built around. As a safety who is expected to play up near the line of scrimmage, expect a ton of fantasy points out of the LSU product for a number of years. For fantasy purposes, he might be the #1 scoring IDP fantasy player in this draft and he has a chance to be the top producing DBs in fantasy football year in and year out.
7) Los Angeles Chargers (that still looks weird, right?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Much like Garrett at #1, this is pretty much a consensus agreed to by everybody out there. Keep it simple when you can. The Chargers corners played well last year and could use some help in the middle and Hooker will provide just that. Has the ball skills to nab a few errant passes throughout the year and should be a middle tier IDP producer.
8) Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
For fantasy purposes, most people rank Dalvin Cook ahead of Fournette (especially in PPR settings) but in real life football, Fournette is the guy I want to watch come Sundays. A true old-school bruiser, Fournette is a better fit for what Carolina likes to do on offense. You can also imagine that if they’re looking to save Cam Newton’s health and career for the long-term, a player like Fournette can grab all of those goal-line carries Cam has taken over the last few years. We were all spoiled last year with the breakout of Ezekiel Elliot, but in this spot, Fournette could wind up hot on his tail.
9) Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Cincy has a need in the middle and Foster should fix that on day 1. A big, athletic, powerful hitter, Foster should be an immediate contributor on early downs and eventually work his way onto the field for passing downs as well. He should pile up the tackles (and fantasy points) as soon as his rookie season. There’s even a chance that we’re looking at the top IDP player overall in a few years.
10) Buffalo Bills: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Kizer is raw and will need a little coaching at the next level but people in the know believe he checks all the boxes and will develop into a solid NFL quarterback sooner rather than later. Part of the fun doing these mocks is that you get to pick which teams will make bad picks or overdraft somebody, and with other QBs more highly ranked still available, we thought it was a very Bills-like move to take Kizer here with the more polished Trubisky still available. Like most rookie QBs, it’s probably not best to expect much from him from a fantasy perspective, but as a long-term dynasty stash on your taxi squad, he might end up the best offensive player from this draft… we’ll talk in 2020.
11) New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
We seem to say this every single off-season, but once again, the Saints defense needs a little help. Some think their secondary is in greater need than their line, but if he’s still available, it’ll be hard for the Saints to pass on Barnett. With Nick Fairley probably leaving in free agency, Barnett on one end opposite Cameron Jordan would give the Saints opponents a tough match-up each and every week and make the Saints defense playable each week in fantasy.
12) Cleveland Browns: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Browns are searching for a franchise quarterback. At some point, they’ve been linked to everybody in this draft. This isn’t the strongest QB class in recent years, but Watson is a proven winner and the Browns need a winner more than anything. He’s arguably the most pro-ready QB in this class despite the shortcomings pointed out by most talent evaluators. He’s the anti-Manziel and would bring a welcome change of attitude into the Cleveland locker room. It’s impossible to know what to think of a Cleveland QB for fantasy, but Watson would have the highest potential in a long time.
13) Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Cards probably have bigger needs at the moment, but Bruce Arians likes his offensive weapons and it’s hard to imagine him passing up somebody as talented as Davis here. He’ll be able to learn behind Larry Fitzgerald for a season (or two) before he can break out on his own, but he’d already be the most talented receiver on the roster, well ahead of JJ Nelson and John Brown. It’s really a steal if he falls to them here. For fantasy, this might not be an ideal landing spot for early 2017, but as the season goes on and as his career progresses, we have a year-in and year-out candidate for a WR1.
14) Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen “Teez” Tabor, CB, Florida
Philadelphia needs help in the secondary and Tabor can plug in week 1 as a starter. They could use some help on offense and it wouldn’t hurt to get Carson Wentz as many weapons as possible, but Tabor would be an immediate upgrade for a secondary that was middle of the pack in yards and touchdowns allowed. Secondary can be hard to predict as far as fantasy production goes, but rookie CBs get targeted by opposing QBs and he’ll have opportunities for production.
15) Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Frank Gore is still chugging along, but the Colts need to plan for the future without him and more weapons for Andrew Luck will never be frowned upon, especially in the fantasy community. Cook would almost immediately become a factor on passing downs and would probably be worked-in on earlier downs too to keep Gore fresh. Once Gore moves on, Cook has the skill set to become one of the top producing backs in the NFL. He should contribute in PPR leagues immediately and become a fantasy asset for years to come.
16) Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Last year’s first round pick, Ronnie Stanley struggled, but that may have been partially due to injury, regardless, he might be better served moving to the right side and letting Robinson take over on the left side. Regardless of whether you think Joe Flacco is elite, the Ravens do- and more importantly- they pay him like it too. They need to protect their investment and securing a middle of the road O-line will do just that. There’s little fantasy value to linemen themselves, but he should shore up their O-line and in turn Flacco and company could see an uptick in production.
17) Washington Redskins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
First things first, I just discovered that I’ve spelled Vanderbilt wrong my entire life. Now, back to football. The ‘skins were bottom-10 in the league in rushing and passing yards allowed and bottom-5 in rushing touchdowns against, Cunningham is a dynamic playmaker in all facets of the game and can dramatically change the look of this Redskin defense immediately. He can stop the run, he can cover backs and tight ends, he’s a 3-down player that any team would be happy to get with the 17th pick. In this landing spot, Cunningham might be the top fantasy producing rookie LB in year-1.
18) Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Many people have Wilson as the #1 CB in this class, so for him to fall here and be the 3rd cornerback taken off the board, the Titans would be thrilled. He’s got the best size in the class at 6’1” and 213 pounds and with many people thinking that the Titans will address their secondary with their earlier (#5) of two 1st round picks, the way this shook out, they’d be beyond words happy that Wilson was still available to them here. If you flipped it around, and they took Wilson or another CB earlier, it’s hard to imagine Williams (or Davis) falling to them here. An immediate starter, look for Wilson to contribute to the Titans and your fantasy team out of the gate.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
This was the first pick we had real trouble reaching a consensus on. Eventually, after much deliberation, we went with Charlton. Tampa Needs help on the D-line and Charlton was our pick. He might not have the upside of some of the remaining guys at the position, but he might have the highest floor. He’s a safe pick here who should be a contributor for the Bucs for seasons to come. He has an NFL frame at 6’6” and 275 pounds and has always been good against the run, but might need some seasoning against the pass as a pro. He should contribute tackles right away for fantasy, but you might want to look elsewhere if your league heavily weighs sacks.
20) Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Did you know Wisconsin pumps out high quality offensive lineman year after year? Denver needs help along the line and would be ecstatic to land Ramczyk this late into the first round. O-line is a little thin this year, but Ramczyk is a legit 1st rounder and would instantly shape up the Broncos line. Unless they get something worked out at QB, his impact on the team for fantasy purposes is probably minimal, but any strengthening of the OL will always help the Denver RBs, whoever they may be in 2017.
21) Detroit Lions: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Detroit probably needs an edge rusher a little more, but McDowell is a local product and after finishing last year second to last in sacks, they can take help wherever they can get it. Haloti Ngata isn’t getting any younger and getting his eventual replacement in the middle to team up with last year’s 2nd round pick A’Shawn Robinson in a 4-3 scheme should really give the Lions a strong line up the middle for the foreseeable future. In IDP leagues, McDowell could offer some upside at a reasonable price at a thin DT position.
22) Miami Dolphins: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Miami has a few holes to fill, including adding depth at an offensive line that is usually good when healthy, but usually isn’t healthy. Howard can be a playmaker for Tannehill if need be, but he also has the full complement of tools for a TE and can stay in as an extra blocker to help the O-line if need be too. Howard’s all-around game will help him see the field early and often once he gets to the pros and all that time on the field should result in more plays coming his way. TEs are notoriously slow to come along at the NFL level, but Howard will probably be the exception to the rule and is probably an immediate top-20 fantasy TE, maybe Top-12.
23) New York Giants: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
It looks like the Giants are parting ways with long-time, 9-fingered pass-rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul. They spent big money last year to bring in DE Olivier Vernon. Adding a complimentary piece like Lawson to the other side of the line will help them both, as opposing teams will have to figure out what to do with their blocking schemes facing Vernon, Snacks Harrison and Lawson each week. It could really make the defensive front the strength of this Giants team. In this scenario, everybody in New York can see an uptick in fantasy production on the defensive side of the ball as offensive coordinators are going to have to pick their poison each week.
24) Oakland Raiders: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Raiders need help at linebacker and Davis can fill that need. Explosive and speedy with the ability to literally do everything that will be asked of him at the next level, any team would be thrilled if he fell to them this late in the draft, but especially the Raiders who have a need at the position. (Although, since our mock draft a few weeks ago, I’m beginning to think he’s going to have a big performance at the combine and there is no way he falls this far). For fantasy purposes, an athletic do-it-all linebacker who will get you points every way possible… Davis should be on your radar as an early pick in IDP leagues.
25) Houston Texans: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Is Brock Osweiler even worth protecting? Seriously? Look what Seattle trots out there each week and they have one of the best young QBs in the game. Anyway, maybe Tom Savage gets the gig and he needs to be protected or they want to get their money’s worth out of Lamar Miller and wish to strengthen up the line and pound Miller into the ground in hopes of opening up the passing game, really who knows, but Bolles is a helluva prospect and would improve any line in the NFL (except for the other team in Texas) who’s only knock is that he’s old for a rookie at 24-soon-to-be-25. For fantasy, it’s hard to say what impact Bolles can have until this team gets the QB thing squared away because Osweiler killed many a fantasy seasons in 2016 with his mere presence.
26) Seattle Seahawks: Forrest Lamp, OT, Western Kentucky
For what seems like forever, the Seahawks biggest need in the offseason is once again offensive line. Lamp will probably start as a guard in the NFL then possibly move to tackle, but it doesn’t matter because the ‘hawks could use a serviceable warm body wherever they can put one. Lamp has received praise from many of the defensive players he played against too, which is always a good thing, especially when they too are NFL caliber players as you can see here. In fantasy football, Lamp landing in Seattle would immediately make the line and team better boost the production of all the offensive skill position players around him.
27) Kansas City Chiefs: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
The Chiefs need help at inside linebacker and Ohio State has a long history of pumping out solid NFL linebackers, and here we have a perfect marriage. The Chiefs were a surprisingly bad 24th in total defense last year and adding McMillian should help them immediately (the long-term re-signing of Eric Berry will help too). As was mentioned before, any dynamic middle linebacker in the NFL needs to be on your radar for IDP fantasy leagues- and in dynasty leagues you’re looking for a guy that can be productive for years and years to come- and McMillan might be able to do just that.
28) Dallas Cowboys: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Jason Witten will be 35 soon and in the NFL, that means the end is near. Njoku might be the best purely offensive weapon among TEs in this draft. Like a smaller version of Jimmy Graham, he should be a redzone weapon right away and after a year or two of learning behind Witten, he may emerge as the best TE in this class for fantasy purposes. The quarterback and running back of the future are already in Big-D, why not add one more dynamic playmaker to the mix and give Prescott a safety valve in this offense?
29) Green Bay Packers: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, Southern California
The Packers had the second worst pass defense in football last year, and it looks like they’re going to let one of their better players in the secondary, Micah Hyde, test free agency too. They’re going to need all the help they can get to improve and USC’s Adoree’ Jackson might just fit that bill. Football prognosticators seem to be all over the board on him for a range of reasons, so he’s more of a boom or bust guy, but the Packers are in need of the playmaking ability he brings to the table – even if he is a bit undersized. For fantasy, oddly enough, his production should look similar to what Micah Hyde was able to bring to the table.
30) Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Here’s something a little crazy, and maybe it’s the product of group think, but without discussing any of these picks or what we thought about the teams and players prior to starting this mock draft, almost 50% of us threw this name out as our first guess as to who the Steelers would take here. Big Ben hinted at retirement and is 35 with nothing more to prove. Nobody on the team behind him is going to able to take over for him in the future (unless you’re a Zach Mettenberger truther) so the Steelers need to acquire and groom his eventual replacement, and Trubisky fits the bill. And he’s an Ohio kid who grew up about 2-hours away from the steel city… it’s almost too good to be true. His fantasy production might be a year (or 2 or 3) away, but in the right system and right environment – which Pittsburgh is – he might be a fantasy staple once he gets on the field.
31) Atlanta Falcons: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
The Falcons made it to the Superbowl with the league’s 5th worst passing defense. Jones is an NFL caliber corner and could line up across from Desmond Trufant to start the season. Vic Beasley led the league in sacks with a porous secondary, and if the Falcons could cover anybody he’d probably have had even more. As mentioned before, rookie corners get targeted often, so the opportunities to contribute for fantasy should come his way, but his presence may also improve the numbers of those around him as well, including the aforementioned Beasley and safety Keanu Neal.
32) New England Patriots: Jabrill Peppers, DB, Michigan
For the most part, this draft went through pretty smoothly with the few disagreements we had quickly getting settled as we were able to come to consensus… until the last pick. We really had a lot of debate and back and forth when it came to this pick, but what it came down to was that we couldn’t imagine Peppers falling out of the first and we thought Bill Belichick would love his versatility and all the ways he could use him on offense, defense and special teams. If Belichick thought (and rightfully so) that linebacker Mike Vrabel would be a great receiving threat in the redzone, it’s a safe bet that he can find multiple uses for the versatile Peppers. He’s going to be a fantasy asset from day-1 in the NFL, especially if your league counts special team points, and he’ll be a contributor on your fantasy squad from game-1 of 2017 until probably sometime in 2030.
Well, there you have it. The team here at DFF got together and grinded out a consensus NFL mock draft. I think we have a few picks here that you aren’t seeing in many other places – and yet I don’t think anything was far-fetched either. It was a bit of a headache at times coming to an agreement on what teams needed and which players at those positions would be better fits, but overall it was a great experience and fun to pick each other’s brains about the different incoming rookies and team needs. Hopefully, you enjoyed it and got some insight into something that maybe you hadn’t seen or heard before.
Once again, thank you to everyone at DFF who helped with this mock. Remember to check them out on Twitter; we’d love to get your feedback!
Enjoy the offseason and good luck in your rookie drafts!