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LJ’s 2017 NFL Mock Draft

The combine is right around the corner and draft season is in full swing. These players aren’t necessarily drafted in the order they are on my big board but more or less to fit certain schemes and a prediction of what I think will happen. Of course, there is going to be some reaches and some players falling cause that’s what happens on draft day. This mock is in favor of the defensive side of the ball, mainly at the corner and Edge positions. I believe the most talent lies on defense so this mock followed suit. Feel free to share your thoughts on twitter or in the DFF forum.

1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M

The Browns need to draft someone that can make an impact for years to come and help put their first round woes to rest. Garrett is an elite pass rusher and has the ability to make an impact in his first year like Joey Bosa did for the Chargers. The NFL is a passing league and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks is a high priority. Not only is Garrett a great pass rusher he is well rounded and very impactful when playing the run. Don’t overthink this one.

2. San Francisco 49ers – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster is an elite prospect. The 49ers have steadily built up their defensive line over the past few years and adding a linebacker of Foster’s pedigree would immediately bolster their defense. He is a force in the middle, and the young core on their line should help keep Foster clean allowing him to make a number of plays. During the 49ers success of recent years, they were best known for an outstanding linebacker core, and I think it would serve them well to re-establish that position in a huge way.

3. Chicago Bears – Jamal Adams, SS, LSU

I think if the board falls this way the Bears will trade back and address their DB need a few picks later. They could really use a corner or a quarterback, but Jamal Adams is a very special talent and can make a huge impact right away. Pairing Adams with Amos looks very good on paper. Adams is my number 2 prospect and his ability to diagnose plays along with his tackling skills really makes this a promising pick for the Bears.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State

The Jaguars signed Tashaun Gipson last year, and he has not quite been the player most had hoped. Hooker has elite range and ball skills that should help the Jaguars pass defense tremendously. They could go a number of different ways with this pick but when a player who possesses the type of talent Hooker does it will be hard to pass up. Their defensive line should come together nicely this season and help relieve some pressure off the back end which will ultimately be policed by Hooker. Having two young elite type players in Hooker and Ramsey in their secondary should serve them well for years to come.

5. Tennessee Titans (from LAR) – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

The Titans lack a true number one wide receiver, and I believe Mike Williams gives them just that. I feel if they wait until their second pick they will miss out on the two WR1 types in this class, so it will serve them better to pull the trigger now rather than later. Mariota has shown what he can do with his current pieces and adding Williams to the mix will make that offense very potent.

6. New York Jets – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

With the decline of Darrelle Revis, the Jets do not have a true lock-down corner on their roster. Lattimore has excellent ball skills and coverage ability. His athleticism and knack for mirroring opposing wide receivers make a strong case for him to be the first corner off the board. I think he fits well in a number of schemes and the Jets can rely on him to make an impact in his first year.

7. Los Angeles Chargers – Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

After watching the quarterbacks in this class more closely, I think it is safe to say Kizer has the best traits to work with at the next level. Rivers continues to play at a very high level but his time as the franchise QB is coming to an end. Landing on the Chargers gives Kizer time to refine his skills while sitting for a year or two and eventually when his time comes the franchise will be in good hands.

8. Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

It is not very likely that Allen falls this far in the draft but if he does he will be a great fit for the Panthers. They are aging on the DL and have a few free agents that they might need to let go. Allen is ranked third on my board and opposing lines will have a very hard time containing him. He plays the run extremely well and loves to get after the passer. His presence will be needed in a division that has QBs like Ryan, Brees, and Winston.

9. Cincinnati Bengals – Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

Bengals fans can rejoice. Thomas and Jonathan Allen are neck and neck for me. Thomas absolutely wrecked the Tar Heels in their bowl game, and it burst him onto the scene for a lot of Draft Twitter. He is a 4-3 DE type that looks rocked up and moves very well. His strength at the point of attack and ability to move OL aside is very impressive. He has a great skill set and looks to be a very high impact player from the moment he is drafted.

10. Buffalo Bills – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

The Bills need a ton of help this offseason, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Their questions at QB loom heavily on their decision with Tyrod Taylor. Whether they choose to keep him or not Corey Davis will be an excellent addition to their offense. Depending on what you look for in a WR Davis and Williams are interchangeable at WR1. Davis is an absolute playmaker who runs very good routes and has a knack for gaining yards after the catch. When Sammy Watkins is not available the Bills pass catchers look below average. The addition of Davis could potentially give the Bills two WR1 types, and not many teams can say that.

11. New Orleans Saints – Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

The Saints have a hard time slowing down any offense, so I look for them to draft defense early. Although I would not prefer Wilson here, he seems to fit what they Saints’ defense typically looks for at the position. He is long, physical, and athletic. He sometimes struggles in coverage, but I do not believe he is limited to what the tape shows. Wilson has a ton of potential to be a very good corner in the NFL.

12. Cleveland Browns (from PHI) – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

The Browns get their QB and they did not have to use their first pick to do it. Trubisky is athletic and has enough smarts and arm strength to make all the throws. His lack of experience is questionable, but he has shown he can lead a team while making plays to keep them in the game. For me, it is a toss up between Watson and Trubisky, but I believe in Trubisky’s accuracy much more than Watson’s. I feel he has enough positive traits at the position for Hue Jackson to work with and be happy about.

13. Arizona Cardinals – Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

The Cardinals have a ton of talent on their roster, and their fall from the top was mainly due to injuries. They seemed to have a revolving door at the cornerback position opposite Patrick Peterson. That is where Tabor comes into play. Tabor has very good cover skills, and on tape, his change of direction certainly stands out. Having another top corner to pair with Peterson will be a valuable asset.

14. Indianapolis Colts – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The Colts have glaring needs across the board, and this is more of a luxury pick than anything. Fournette is very talented, and although I have Cook ranked higher, I feel as if Fournette will take a ton of pressure off of Luck. I feel this pick will help the Colts extend drives and wear down opposing defenses which will ultimately make their team better.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN) – Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU

The Eagles might be better served here with a WR or CB but since the top two WR’s are off the board and I value Cook higher than any remaining cornerback I decided to stick him here. Cook has shown his ability to run outside, in between the tackles, and catch balls out of the backfield. His speed and agility make him a threat to score on any given play. The Eagles do not have a bell cow back, and Cook gives them that element to pair with their young QB.

16. Baltimore Ravens – Budda Baker, S, Washington

Baker is an excellent playmaker. He might be one of the most versatile prospects in this draft, and he gives the Ravens a lot to work with. He works well in the slot, as a blitzer off the edge, and he has enough range to play the safety position. Baker is a well-rounded athlete with a nose for the football, and his presence can upgrade the Ravens secondary in a number of ways.

17. Washington Redskins – Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

I see Peppers as a safety, and I feel that is his best fit in the NFL. The Redskins are likely losing their strong safety depth due to age and free agency so Peppers can come in and start day one. He is a liability in coverage at this point to some degree, so he will work best near the LOS. He looks to be athletic enough to play the position, though, and he gives the Redskins another piece in the secondary to work with.

18. Tennessee Titans – Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Jones is CB1 for a lot of Draft Twitter, and although I do not see him in the same light, I still think he is a very good player. He always seems to be in the right position but needs to get better at making plays on the ball. He gives the Titans a very good option to start opposite McCourty, and that fills a need for them on the defensive side of the ball. He is able to mirror wide receivers and has enough physicality to disrupt them at the line of scrimmage.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – John Ross, WR, Washington

Ross is one of the best deep threats in this class which helps the Buccaneers’ offense and take some pressure off of Mike Evans. Safeties and corners need to account for Ross’ speed, and that will help open up the offense even more for Winston. Giving them another legit threat seems like the logical thing to do here. Ross can threaten a defense in several ways and his kick return ability will pay off at the next level.

20. Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

The Broncos, like many other teams in this draft, need help on the offensive line. I think Ramczyk is the best tackle in this draft based off what I have seen up to this point. Okung did not do them any favors last year, and Ramczyk gives them an immediate upgrade at the position. They have two young quarterbacks and protecting their blind side will be huge for their development.

21. Detroit Lions – Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan

In a division that has Aaron Rodgers, the Lions must cater to their needs at pass rusher. Charlton gives them a long, athletic player on the edge who looks to have the skills needed to make an impact. I believe he is still raw at the position but he has a ton of upside and he can get after the passer with his speed off the edge. His ability to bend and turn the corner bodes well for his future success. He has worked on a number of pass rush moves, and once they come to fruition, he will be very hard to stop.

22. Miami Dolphins – OJ Howard, TE, Alabama

Howard is immensely talented and a very gifted athlete. He is the full package that teams look for at the tight end position. His blocking and pass catching will help out the Dolphins offense in many ways. They have not quite hit on the position through the draft or free agency in recent years, but Howard would definitely change that. Gase likes to feature his tight ends in their offense, and even though Howard was not asked to make many plays in the passing game at Alabama, he is very capable of doing so.

23. New York Giants – Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee

The Giants really improved their defense through free agency last year and put themselves in a great position to continue that trend through the draft. They will likely lose JPP in free agency so I would look for them to add another pass rusher to the mix. I do not think Barnett is on the same level as a few edge players in the draft but his production should not be overlooked and he does have the ability to succeed in this league. He does not have the same bend Charlton and Garrett do, but he does possess a very good burst off the ball.

24. Oakland Raiders – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

The Raiders could use a solid middle linebacker to pair with Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin. Davis has a good command at the position, and he seems to have good instincts while understanding opposing teams tendencies. He might not be an elite athlete, but he has enough range and coverage skills to make a big impact on a defense. He is not Foster by any means, but he is a solid consolation for a team.

25. Houston Texans – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

The Texans need to do anything possible to protect their QB. I am back and forth on Robinson, but I do know he possesses the traits one looks for when evaluating offensive tackles. He has a very nice stance and transitions well from the snap to put himself in a position to win on a consistent basis. I am sure the Texans will be in the market somewhere for a quarterback, but the next priority on offense is to address the O-Line.

26. Seattle Seahawks – Malik McDowell, DE, Michigan State

Seattle has been at their best with a solid rotation on the defensive front. They have room to add another top guy to their defensive line, and McDowell is a supremely talented 5-tech in my opinion. They do have Bennett and Clark currently rotating from the outside in on passing downs, but it would not hurt to bring McDowell into the mix. I know they are short-handed on the offensive line but with the top two tackles off the board, grabbing McDowell will help them win the trenches on the defensive side.

27. Kansas City Chiefs – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Watson has a lot of tools to work with, but he does not possess the elite arm talent or accuracy you want to see from a QB. His slide in the draft allows the Chiefs to pick up their future QB and move on from Alex Smith once his contract is up. Watson is very mobile and plays a similar style to Smith, but I see him being able to make a ton of plays that Smith just simply isn’t able to. I think the addition of Watson will give the Chiefs offense a boost in the coming years and someone for Andy Reid to groom into a solid starter.

28. Dallas Cowboys – Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri

The Cowboys have tried to fill the void on the Edge since DeMarcus Ware was let go and have had very little success in doing so. Harris has a very quick first step off the ball which allows him to get a step on Offensive Tackles and if they over compensate he counters with a nasty spin move. He isn’t extremely fluid but he uses his speed and pass rush savvy to mask it. He has a non-stop motor and puts in great effort when playing the run. Harris is a very solid option on the Edge and I think he gives the Cowboys what they have been looking for.

29. Green Bay Packers – Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

White is flying under the radar, but he is one of the better corners in this draft. When it comes to coverage skills and the ability to mirror WRs he is towards the top in this class. The Packers’ struggles on defense were in part because of their secondary. Players were injured on a regular basis, and they did not have enough depth to account for it. White will give them a very good corner who can be left on an island and help limit the mistakes made in the Packers secondary.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt

The Steelers have taken a few linebackers high in recent years, but Cunningham has a different skill set. He is one of the better cover guys at his position, and he has a very good nose for the football. He is long and athletic, so it gives the Steelers a very nice player to work with on their defense. Cunningham does play the run extremely well, but his development will fall on his ability to finish tackles. He has a chance to be a very impactful player once he refines some of his game.

31. Atlanta Falcons – Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn

The Falcons managed to make the Super Bowl without a great pass rush, but it was heavily exposed by Tom Brady in the second half. They have some very good pieces, but if they want to continue their fortunes, I think adding another Edge to the mix is a great start. Lawson has a very quick first step and strong hands to help him win at the point of attack. His ability to use his leverage at the right moments makes him a huge threat to quarterbacks. Placing him opposite Vic Beasley and on the same line as Grady Jarrett will give the Falcons a whole new look.

32. New England Patriots – David Njoku, TE, Miami

Njoku is one of the best athletes in this entire draft. He has a ton of speed and leaping ability which helps him win against linebackers and safeties. His physical presence creates a mismatch when guarded by corners. He has a chance to be the ultimate weapon for a team. With Bennett likely leaving in free agency that opens up a need for the Patriots at the position. We all know how deadly their offense is when running a two TE set and I think pairing Njoku with Gronkowski is a significant advantage. Njoku has the ability to block, and I do not necessarily think he lacks there, but he was featured more as a pass-catcher in college and for good reason. This just seems like a match made in heaven.


DFF Co-Owner. VP College Scouting & Development. Host of The Devy Watch Podcast. Focused on watching the development of athletes all the way from high school to the NFL.

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