2017 NFL Mock Draft – 1st Round, Volume 3

When it comes to the NFL Draft, the season never ends. 

As a result of the NFL Combine in late February and the NFL Free Agency period, the draft strategies have completely changed for many teams. The Jaguars may not necessarily be in the market for a defensive lineman early in the draft. The Buccaneers have moved on from entertaining the thought of drafting a deep threat at receiver. In Detroit, the Lions solved a few questions on the offensive line and can turn their focus elsewhere. So what does the first round look like at this point?

Here is the latest projection of the first round in the 2017 NFL Draft:

  1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M: The Browns will have to be quite careless to not walk away with Garrett at first overall. Even with their spending so far in free agency, Cleveland taking Garrett is still the best decision they will probably make this offseason. Garrett is a game-changer as a pass rusher and some have compared Garrett to Texans edge rusher Jadaveon Clowney for a reason.
  2. San Francisco 49ers – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: New head coach Kyle Shanahan is instilling a new direction in San Francisco. It may be wise for Shanahan to target a franchise quarterback. With Watson, the Niners get a quarterback with a track record of playing stellar in the most crucial moments. Watson gives the Niners a very bright future.
  3. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama: Throwing money at career-backup QB Mike Glennon is where the Bears want to go at the position. So all signs are probably pointing at providing a stout defensive end that can be a wrecking ball to opposing offenses.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: The Jags hauled in defensive end Calais Campbell in free agency and they also have spent a ton of dollars on that side of the ball the past two offseasons. So now, the Jags take Fournette and gives quarterback Blake Bortles a 240-lb lifeline to open up the offense.
  5. Tennessee Titans – Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State: This pick would simply be off potential and what he has shown on film. Hooker is dealing with injuries during this pre-draft process and won’t be truly available until possibly training camp. A talented, ball-hawking free safety that is too good for the Titans to pass up.
  6. New York Jets – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: The Jets will likely take the best player available approach to the draft. So they start with taking a corner with great speed and lockdown ability. Lattimore is a start to what appears to be a considerable rebuild for the Jets.
  7. Los Angeles Chargers – Jamal Adams, S , LSU: Adams is one of the most electric defenders you’ll find in this draft. A versatile defensive back that can be effective at both strong and free safety. The Chargers grab a true thunder bolt for their secondary.
  8. Carolina Panthers – Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: A division that possesses the likes of Julio Jones, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Michael Thomas at receiver is something that the Panthers have to deal with. Grabbing Humphrey gives Carolina a young, big-body corner with plenty of potential.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: The Bengals have oddly allowed a few departures via free agency the last couple of seasons. One spot that needs improving is at defensive end. Bringing in Barnett gives the Bengals a stellar pass rusher with active hands and the ability to bend the edge.
  10. Buffalo Bills – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: I am on the Davis bandwagon. The Western Michigan product has everything from size, hands, speed, to YAC ability. Davis can come in from day one and give Buffalo a scary weapon along Sammy Watkins.
  11. New Orleans Saints – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: Foster takes a little tumble in the draft thanks to his Combine shenanigans. His addition along with linebacker Stephone Anthony gives the Saints a lethal combination at inside linebacker.
  12. Cleveland Browns – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: The Browns did not expect to see Trubisky here but they get extremely lucky. The release of RG3 helps them make this easy decision. As well as the team not wanting to tie itself to Brock Osweiler. A good free agency and the addition of Garrett and Trubisky will give the Browns plenty of hope for the future.
  13. Arizona Cardinals – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: The Cardinals will need a new weapon or two at the receiver position. Although Larry Fitzgerald returns, bringing in a playmaker like Mike Williams gives the team a future weapon. Someone who may work is way into the conversation of one of the league’s top receivers.
  14. Philadelphia Eagles – Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: Outside of Brandon Graham, the Eagles have little pass rushing on the edges. A gift in the form of a 6’3 273 p0und lineman with versatility and power can definitely fill that need.
  15. Indianapolis Colts – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Understandably, the Colts need some help on the offensive line but having a talent such as Cook can be a definite aid in many ways. Cook can take plenty of pressure off the shoulders of quarterback Andrew Luck.
  16. Baltimore Ravens – Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri: Some may feel this is a possible reach but the Ravens need to fill a big need at outside linebacker and Harris may be the best pure 3-4 OLB on the board at this point. Harris has plenty off speed off the edge and will be able to gain plenty of knowledge from veteran Terrell Suggs.
  17. Washington Redskins – Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt: Cunningham has plenty of athleticism in his skill set and Washington so happens to be in need of talent in the middle of their defense. His instincts and football IQ will help Washington quite well.
  18. Tennessee Titans – John Ross, WR, Washington: Ross turned a ton of heads at the Combine with his 4.22 40-yard dash. His playmaking ability fits well with the Titans, who predicate their offense over the mobility of Marcus Mariota and the power run game with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cam Robinson, OT , Alabama: The Bucs have already helped out their franchise quarterback at the receiver spot so the Bucs decide to give Winston more protection up front. Robinson can fit at the right tackle spot and give Tampa a pair of large bookend tackles.
  20. Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: Ramczyk is a mountain of a lineman that Denver can definitely use. His skill set makes him an immediate starter in the Mile High city.
  21. Detroit Lions – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: The Lions have a nice piece at defensive end in Ziggy Ansah. However, pass rushing is still needed and the Lions find it in a familiar face. Charlton has great NFL size (6’6 277 lbs) and can give the defense another athletic lineman on the edges.
  22. Miami Dolphins – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida: Things are looking up for the Dolphins. However, on defense, playmaking ability is still needed at the linebacker position. Davis can provide that and give Miami an athletic defender next to free agent pickup Lawrence Timmons.
  23. New York Giants – David Njoku, TE, Miami: Quarterback Eli Manning received a nice present this offseason in the form of wide receiver Brandon Marshall in free agency. Now he gets another gift in a very talented tight end out of the University of Miami. Njoku can add an element to Giants offense that makes life a little easier for the franchise quarterback in Manning.
  24. Oakland Raiders – Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: There are considerable holes on the Raiders defense at each level. Regardless of how a defense is structured, getting to the quarterback dictates the success of a defense. With an elite pass rusher in tow in Khalil Mack, Oakland decides to spice up the interior defensive line with off-the-charts athleticism.
  25. Houston Texans – Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech: It seems to be written on the wall that the Texans are in search for a starter at quarterback. Mahomes has seen a rise in his stock the past couple of months and with his rocket arm, having Mahomes tossing bombs to receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller may be a natural occurrence in H-Town.
  26. Seattle Seahawks – Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky: Adding protection around quarterback Russell Wilson is a major priority for the Seahawks this offseason. To start, placing an aggressive interior lineman such as Lamp on the offensive line will help tremendously.
  27. Kansas City Chiefs – Christian McCaffrey, RB , Stanford: Look beneath the layers and you’ll see a Chiefs team that has noticeable hole at running back even with Spencer Ware as the leader of the clubhouse at the position. McCaffrey can provide a nice dynamic to the Chiefs offense and will see plenty of production in an offense with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
  28. Dallas Cowboys – Carl Lawson, Edge, Auburn: There is not a bigger need on the Cowboys roster than finding a pass rusher. Lawson may have an injury history but his potential is at the same level as Charles Harris if not more. Lawson terrorizing quarterbacks can open things up a little for DeMarcus Lawrence on the other side.
  29. Green Bay Packers – Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida: Cornerback was a sore spot for the Packers last season. The team decided not to truly address the position in free agency. Drafting Tabor gives the Packers a nice injection of talent within the secondary.
  30. Pittsburgh Steelers – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Howard opened eyes at the Senior Bowl then raised eyebrows at the NFL Combine. It is not a definite need but Howard has tremendous value here at 30th overall.
  31. Atlanta Falcons – Takkarist McKinley, Edge , UCLA: McKinley may see quite a tumble on draft day thanks to a shoulder injury. However, we saw enough from McKinley at the Combine to see that his athleticism can irritate offenses. McKinley is taken with the thought of having him pair with Vic Beasley Jr. to form a scary pass rushing duo.
  32. New Orleans Saints – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State: The Saints have a great opportunity to build on their defensive holes. Grabbing Foster earlier in the round helps. So does grabbing the solid cover corner out of Ohio State. In the first round, New Orleans may have helped their defense out tremendously.
Eric Robinson