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2017 NFL Mock Draft I

Wow, what a Super Bowl! So far the talk all week has been about Julian Edelman’s catch, the Falcon’s choke job, and making sure that we recognize that both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the G.O.A.T. Well since the parade is over in Boston, and Gronk might finally be done partying, we here at GameDaySportsBlog.com take a look at the upcoming draft with our first of three NFL Mock Drafts.

  1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M

Obviously the Browns need a quarterback. That has been evident since Bernie Kosar left Cleveland. But Garrett is the kind of prospect that teams should trade up to try and get, not Jared Goff. It also helps that there is no can’t miss quarterback prospect in this year’s class. Meanwhile Garrett is as can’t miss as you will find in this year’s draft.

  1. San Francisco 49ers – Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina

You might see a similarity between the top three teams in the draft, AKA the three worst teams in the league. The common problem with each team lies under center and I fully expect the 49ers to be the 1st team to select a quarterback this year. Trubisky is a tall strong armed quarterback but still not quite the can’t miss kind of QB you hope the 2nd overall pick gets you. Sound familiar Eagles fans?

  1. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen DL Alabama

Jonathon Allen was the best player in college football last season, and had the Heisman Trophy been given to the most outstanding player in college football rather than the flashiest, the versatile, well-rounded, and absolutely dominant defensive lineman from Alabama would have won it. He reminds me of Ndamukong Suh, just without the mental problems.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jamal Adams S LSU

Adams is the best safety in the class, and besides Jonathan Allen, arguably the safest pick in the whole class. This selection gives the Jags one heck of a talented, although young, safety tandem, pairing up Adams with fellow first rounder Jalen Ramsey. The Jaguars defense is about to become a force in the AFC South.

  1. Tennessee Titans (from Rams) – Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State

First off, let’s not forget to point out just how stupid the Rams look right now for trading this and many other picks for Jared Goff. Secondly, let’s look at just how well set up the Titans are for success in the near future. After drafting a stud quarterback and finding a running game in free agency the Titans will look to add some missing pieces in the draft to get them into the playoffs. And that starts here with the addition of one of the best corners in a loaded DB draft class.

  1. New York Jets – Deshone Kizer QB Notre Dame

I said it before the season started that Ryan Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be able to repeat the year he had in 2015, and after last season it is clear to Jets fans and hopefully front office people that the Jets need a quarterback. Deshone Kizer is a player with great size, a great arm, and good poise. Had he been able to lead the Fighting Irish to a better season than last year’s 4-win disappointment we may be talking about him as a top 3 pick instead of falling to the Jets at #6.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (Breaks my heart just to write that) – Malik Hooker S Ohio State

SCREW THE CHARGERS FOR LEAVING SD!!! THAT IS ALL.

  1. Carolina Panthers – Leonard Fournette RB LSU

Fournette has been the most talented and physically dominant player in college football the past two seasons. The bruiser is more than just your normal big running back. He plays as physically savage as Adrian Peterson and has footwork that you never see from a bigger running back. That is something the Panthers need to take the focus, and hits, away from Cam Newton.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster LB Alabama

You rarely see inside linebackers go this high in the draft. But I said this when Foster was in high school that he was the best defensive prospect I had ever seen. And he could have a Luke Kuechly like impact for a team that desperately needs one. Not to mention the Bengals need to strengthen a front seven that faces the best running back in football, Le’Veon Bell, twice a year.

  1. Buffalo Bills – Deshaun Watson QB Clemson

I do believe that Tyrod Taylor is a decent quarterback, and arguably the 2nd best in his division, which doesn’t say much. But Watson is a quarterback with a lot of tools and in case you haven’t seen the last two national championship games, the guy can run, throw, and play football with the best of them. And the last time the Bills had a decent dual threat quarterback Doug Flutie led the team to their last playoff game. That was 17 years ago.

  1. New Orleans Saints – Tre’Davious White CB LSU

Tre’Davious White is not the best corner in the draft, but NFL scouts are always drooling over LSU DB’s. And Saints ranked 31st in total defense last season which means they could use a corner who is great at covering which is White’s specialty. Unfortunately White doesn’t excel at run support but the Saints are willing to spend a top-15 pick on a guy who can cover another team’s #1 receiver. And in the same division as Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin, that’s a good thing to have.

  1. Cleveland Browns (from Eagles) – OJ Howard TE Alabama

I know the Browns should draft a quarterback with one of their two top 12 picks, but this isn’t the year to find a quarterback and like most 1-15 teams the Browns have more than just one need.

O.J. Howard is a rare talent at tight end. He’s an athletic pass-catcher and a stud run-blocker, which is a combination most won’t see in today’s college football full of spread offenses.

Howard will be the safety valve and best friend of whoever the next Browns’ quarterback is. A pass-catching tight end with the size to box out in the red zone and the toughness to take passes over the middle for big gains will open up the outside passing game and might even allow the Browns to double their wins.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – Mike Williams WR Clemson

Mike Williams won’t wow you with speed, but he’s a big presence (6’3″, 225 lbs) and plays with the power and has the same ability to go up and get a ball like Buccaneers star Mike Evans. Williams’ play against Alabama in the national title game showed what he can do against NFL coverage schemes and future pro talent at cornerback, too. And that solidified him as the best wide-out in this year’s class.

Offensive line is perhaps the Chargers’ biggest need if they can lock up linebacker Melvin Ingram in free agency, and new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley may beg for a big cornerback like Quincy Wilson at No. 7. But with Williams still on the board here, this pick should be easy.

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Dalvin Cook RB FSU

Dalvin Cook is a perfect weapon to take pressure off of Andrew Luck. And although Fournette was the most physically gifted back in college football the past couple of seasons, nobody has been better than Cook, who in this writer’s mind was the best offensive player in college football last season.

So if Frank Gore could rush for over 1,000 yards at age 33 last season, there is no reason that a back as great as Cook couldn’t rush for at least the same. Cook is also a great receiver out of the backfield and would make the Colts arguably the favorites in a division which has been run by the Texans lately.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings) – Corey Davis WR Western Michigan

Carson Wentz needs some help on the outside.  Jordy Nelson is the only real threat in the passing game for the Eagles and Davis is a good size receiver who was extremely productive at Western Michigan and could continue that productivity in the NFL as one of Wentz’ weapons.

Davis has an ankle injury that will limit him in the predraft process, but that shouldn’t affect his draft standing as long as the injury checks out at the scouting combine. He is too big and too physically ready for the NFL to slip too far.

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Quincy Wilson CB Florida

Being a diehard Florida Gators fan I have seen every snap Wilson has taken and he outplayed not only fellow 1st round corner and teammate Teez Tabor this past season, but he outplayed every defensive back in the country.

And what’s better than him just being a stud defensive player, he is a perfect fit for the culture of the Ravens. Wilson is big, physical, and supports in the run game, which is why he was almost a safety at Florida. His hip swivel was good enough to match up with receivers which will be needed in a division with AJ Green and Antonio Brown.

  1. Washington Redskins – Solomon Thomas DL Stanford

Given his pass-rushing moves, high-character wiring and the potential he brings to the table as a redshirt sophomore entry, Thomas could be an absolute steal half way through the 1st round.

I list Thomas as a D-lineman because he plays all along the line. Some “experts” may see Thomas as a defensive tackle, while others see him at strong side end. He played all over the line at Stanford and at 6’3″ and 275 pounds he is powerful and athletic as Ryn Kerrigan defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. With the tools he’s bringing to the league, Thomas could be a Michael Bennett-type who moves up and down the line to create matchup nightmares alongside Ryan Kerrigan and Chris Baker.

  1. Tennessee Titans – John Ross WR Washington

The Titans need a playmaker to help Marcus Mariota’s development. And that is exactly what Ross is. The former Husky receiver is an explosive player and might be the fastest player at the combine.

He was the best kick returner in college football last year, which just gives the playmaker even more ways to effect the game. He is the perfect fit for what Tennessee and Mariota need. And it is possible that this pick could catapult the Titans into the playoffs in a wide open division.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derek Barnett DE Tennessee

Just like the Titans the Buccaneers are a borderline playoff team that is a piece or two away from the postseason.

Barnett’s production at Tennessee was eye-opening, but he won’t show well at the combine with a lack of twitch and elite athleticism that will push him down the board as we get closer to the draft. Barnett is still capable of a long, productive, and more than solid NFL career, and starting out alongside Gerald McCoy gives him the one-on-one looks from offensive lines he’ll need to produce.

  1. Denver Broncos – Ryan Ramczyk OT Wisconsin

A torn hip labrum has the stock of Ryan Ramczyk in question heading into the draft season. Ramczyk has the production at Wisconsin and the technique to impress scouts and eventually push him into the top 15 if his health checks out at the scouting combine. But right now, it’s too much of a question mark to take early in Round 1.

Outside of the hip injury, Ramczyk will be questioned about his length and how fluid he is in space and even against the better edge rushers. Some scouts suggest he’ll be a better guard or right tackle because they see his arms as too short for the left tackle position.

In Denver Ramczyk has the probably play left tackle in an offense that favors the run game and moving the pocket for the quarterback, which he might be a fit at.

  1. Detroit Lions – Sidney Jones CB Washington

If you have seen any games the Detroit Lions have played this season, it would be obvious to you that they badly need an outside cornerback who can match up against the bigger, faster wide receivers in the NFL. The Lions can score with the best of them, so getting help on defense is the obvious need.

Sidney Jones isn’t the biggest, thickest cornerback, but his technique and instincts are absolutely first-round worthy. Athletically he draws comparisons to former first-rounder Kevin Johnson of the Houston Texans and he should be a day-one starter for the Lions which will help when they go up against Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers next season.

  1. Miami Dolphins – Taco Charlton DE Michigan

If we have learned anything from the Super Bowl and the ones that Tom Brady and the Pats have lost, it’s that a strong pass rush from the D-line is the key to stopping the greatest quarterback of all-time. So for the Dolphins to jump back into contention for the AFC East adding a pass-rusher who can scare opposing quarterbacks like Brady has to be first on the list of must-haves.

Taco Charlton can be inconsistent and has been known to not go full speed all the time, but when he turns his motor on all the way, it’s an impressive sight to see. He’s long, athletic and has the ability to dip under a tackle’s reach to turn the corner and create issues for offenses. He’s not quite a Von Miller in terms of skill and strength, but at Michigan he has proved to be the type of force off the edge who can wreak havoc on passing downs.

He should do well in Miami, and Miami should do well with him there.

  1. New York Giants – Garett Bolles OT Utah

Garett Bolles is one of the most interesting stories in the 2017 draft class. After a rough upbringing, he was run out of five schools as a teenager, arrested in high school, dabbled in drugs and was homeless all before he found a mentor who put his life back on track. Now the 25-year-old monster left tackle looks like a first-round pick.

Bolles is a bit raw, and his age may be an issue for some teams, but in a weak offensive tackle class, he may be the best there is protecting the blindside. With excellent length and a mean streak that is much needed along the ever-softening Giants offense, Bolles has the goods to step right into the Giants starting lineup and show he belongs.

  1. Oakland Raiders – Malik McDowell DL Michigan State

Some teams will stay far away from McDowell, but it’s very easy to see clubs being tempted by his size, athleticism and the flashes he’s shown as a defensive lineman for the Spartans. And if there is any team over the past 25 years that has been tempted by physical tangibles it is the Oakland Raiders.

McDowell has moments where he looks worthy of a top-10 pick, but he also has games where he’s near invisible. An injury in the 2016 season didn’t help with clearing up the perception that his motor doesn’t run high enough. But the Raiders defense needs help, and with Khalil Mack on the outside the problem is on the inside. And with a perfectly physical beast of a strongside defensive end like McDowell, the Raiders can improve their defense drastically.

  1. Houston Texans – Cam Robinson OT Alabama

Cam Robinson is a good offensive tackle with the physical ability to be great. He was the most talented linemen for the dominant Crimson Tide offensive line that owned college football over the past few years. But he wasn’t the best linemen for the Tide even though his talent said he should have been.

The Texans could use offensive line help, They could also use a quarterback in Houston, but Coach Bill O’Brien’s carriage might be tied to the carriage of Brock Osweiler. So drafting Robinson might be the best way to get Osweiler to perform well enough to keep winning the South.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama

We all know that Seattle likes big defensive backs, and the next big corner coming out is Marlon Humphrey from Alabama.

Humphrey isn’t a flawless cornerback coming out of college, but like Eli Apple last year, he has the height, length and speed teams will die for, and technique that can be developed on the go by NFL coaches.

There is some risk to drafting Nick Saban cornerbacks, who tend to struggle some in man coverage, and that is why the Seahawks go with Humphrey over fellow SEC corner Teez Tabor who is much better suited for man defense as opposed to the zone-heavy schemes that Seattle runs.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – Haason Reddick LB Temple

Reddick is a three-down linebacker who can cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. Reddick had a tremendous Senior Bowl week, and his stock is only climbing as the scouting combine nears. With his speed as a former cornerback and pass-rushing moves as a defensive end at Temple, Reddick brings a unique skill set to the linebacker position, one the Chiefs could use to wreak havoc on Philip Rivers and Derek Carr in the division.

  1. Dallas Cowboys – Tim Williams OLB Alabama

The Cowboys were the best regular season team in the NFL. But there lack of a true pass-rushing threat is what kept them from beating the Packers in the NFC Divisional Round and what kept them from possibly playing in the Super Bowl. Williams can help change that.

Williams is a pass-rushing beast who has the strength to bull rush tackles and also the athleticism to bend around them. And with the NFC East gaining ground as one of the best quarterback divisions in football, it is becoming increasingly necessary to have the ability to rush the passer. The former Tide pass-rusher may have found his best fit in Big D.

  1. Green Bay Packers – TJ Watt OLB Wisconsin

Yes, running back is a need, but again that’s a position of strength in the 2017 draft, and the Packers can get a quality player later in the draft. Cornerback is strong too, so expect the Packers to get a talented DB later. Until then, the Packers will draft some front-7 help. And the fact that they get to draft a Wisconsin product from down the road in Madison who is related to the best defensive player we have seen since Reggie White is something the Packers could only dream of at pick #29.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jalen Tabor CB Florida

Jarvis Jones can officially be listed as a bust after a few unproductive seasons as a pass rusher in Pittsburgh. What could help that pass rush for the Steelers is a lock-down corner, and it also helps that Tabor is a mid-1st round talent that just happens to fall to Pittsburgh here at #30.

Tabor is a man-coverage corner who played mostly bump and run in Will Muschamp and Geoff Collins defense; and he excelled at it. In 2015 Teez was actually better than Buccaneers 1st round pick Vernon Hargreaves III. Last year he was outplayed by Quincy Wilson, but that is why we have Wilson going 16 to Baltimore.

On the downside, Tabor does take chances here and there and because of that there are times where he gets beat. But that is rare. What isn’t rare is seeing a Florida DB going in the 1st round. Tabor will be the 4th DB selected in the 1st round over the past two years. And that is one of the reasons why the Gators have to be considered the real DBU over LSU.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Caleb Brantley DT Florida

Two Gator defenders in a row here in the 1st round, and there is a good reason for that. Wilson and Tabor are near unanimous 1st round selections, while Brantley is a borderline 1st round pick who finally came into his own halfway through the 2015 season.

The Falcons’ defensive tackle Grady Jarrett wreaked havoc on Tom Brady and the Patriots for three quarters in the Super Bowl, and if Jarrett can be paired up with another insanely disruptive inside presence the Falcons may be able to finish the job if they get there again. It also helps that head coach Dan Quinn helped recruit Brantley while at the University of Florida.

  1. New England Patriots – Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt

Bill Belichick is known for drafting and trading for players who can do it all and are true utility players. There might not be a more utility-type player than Cunningham in the draft, and if you add in his toughness and his ability, the former Commodore makes for a great fit in whatever Belichick wants to do on defense moving forward.

Cunningham led a great defense that was very strong despite being arguably the least talented in the SEC. That speaks volumes to the kind of leadership Cunningham possesses and that is a quality that Belichick loves in his players.

Cunningham might be a bit of a reach talent-wise at pick #32, but if there is one coach we can trust when it comes to knowing football its Belichick.

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