NFL Mock Draft 2017: Redskins draft a playmaker; Browns trade up for QB
With just a few weeks left before the 2017 NFL Draft, it’s time for teams to start pondering trades, both up and down the draft board, and which players they absolutely need in this draft.
This mock draft presents two major trades that involve quarterbacks, including one by a team moving up from the second round.
1 Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Garrett will be the choice for the Browns with their first overall pick. Browns fans not only should be excited to get the best player in the draft, but they also are getting one of the best defensive prospects since 2000.
2 San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The 49ers would love to trade down, but there aren’t any teams looking to move up. Thomas is a bit of a reach on our board, but he’ll be a long-time NFL player with great pass rush upside. There’s also a real chance this selection is Mitchell Trubisky … if the Redskins trade their current QB for this pick.
3 Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Not many teams still have Allen viewed as a top-10 player because of his injury concerns, but the Bears do. Barring a major change of heart (or a trade back), Allen likely will be their pick.
4 Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jaguars have addressed their defense in free agency and recent drafts, and they already added to their offensive line this year. Cam Robinson of Alabama might be in the mix for this pick, but Fournette can both add to and help reshape the offense.
5 Tennessee Titans (via Rams): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Titans are a wild card, and while Lattimore makes the most sense, his selection with this pick is far from a sure thing. Cornerback is Tennessee’s biggest need, and Lattimore is the best in this class. Alabama tight end O.J. Howard is in play, as well.
6 New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
While the Jets have displayed interest in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, we have not heard specifically that they will take him at No. 6 overall. If their interest in Trubisky is merely to get the Bills or Browns to trade up, the Jets could target Hooker or Marshon Lattimore.
7 San Diego Chargers: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Despite their signing of Russell Okung, the Chargers still need to bolster their offensive line. Okung can’t be viewed as a long-term solution, and San Diego could use upgrades at right guard and right tackle. Bolles will be drafted within the top 15 picks.
8 Carolina Panthers: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Harris has multiple top-10 grades, and we expect him to be selected by the early to mid first round. The Panthers have drafted Missouri defensive linemen before, and Harris fits their prototype for the position.
9 Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Derek Barnett and Foster likely form the debate for the Bengals, as both can fill major needs and fit their draft history. Foster can solve a five-plus-year need at linebacker and offer the coverage upside they haven’t had in some time.
10 Buffalo Bills: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The Bills have substantial interest in Trubisky and have had it for a while. Don’t be surprised if they trade up. If they don’t get Trubisky, Charles Harris ideally would be the pick.
11 New Orleans Saints: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Safety doesn’t seem to be an immediate need for the Saints, and they added multiple linebackers in free agency. Expect the Saints to draft cornerback and defensive end with their first two picks. Conley presents the best value among those two spots.
12 Cleveland Browns (via Eagles): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Garrett and Adams are the top two players on our draft board, and more than a few NFL teams agree. The Browns can get both thanks to their possession of the first overall pick and the fact that safeties rarely are drafted high. Cleveland can get its quarterback later, and a trade for one is unlikely.
13 Arizona Cardinals: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Arizona wants to add to its offense. Corey Davis likely would be their pick if they go receiver, but Howard is the best player on the board at this point in the draft. While tight end is not a glaring need, the Cardinals should not bank on Troy Niklas.
14 Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Eagles are likely to pass on cornerback at No. 14 overall and opt for either a pass rusher or a running back. McCaffrey could be a fun option for an offense still moving on from the Chip Kelly era and needing to ease Darren Sproles out as its featured weapon.
15 TRADE: Kansas City Chiefs (via Colts): Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The first projected trade of this mock draft comes between former Chiefs assistant GM Chris Ballard and his new team. The Colts move down to give Ballard more picks in his first draft, and the Chiefs get the quarterback they covet. Mahomes lasting until 15, though, would be a surprise.
(This is a projected trade within our mock draft. The Colts still hold this pick.)
16 Baltimore Ravens: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Ravens likely will consider a receiver at 16th overall, but they can wait on the position and bank on Breshad Perriman emerging. Instead, adding Cam Robinson (or Ryan Ramczyk) could give them competition at left guard or right tackle, both potential needs.
17 Washington Redskins: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
At No. 17, the Redskins likely will pick one of three players: Peppers, Obi Melifonwu or Dalvin Cook. Running back is the wild card, but assume Peppers for now. The Redskins can find a running back in Round 2.
18 Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington
Don’t be surprised if the receivers fall on draft day, and if the Titans at No. 18 are the first to draft one. Ross is a perfect fit for the Titans’ offense, and he should be able to out-produce last year’s first-round speed receiver, Houston's Will Fuller.
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Replacing Vincent Jackson with Mike Williams would be ideal for the Bucs. They likely will consider tight end David Njoku, but Williams can provide an easier transition for Jamies Winston. Dalvin Cook is a possible option, too.
20 Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Denver needs offensive line support, and it can’t afford to leave Round 1 without some. Garett Bolles won’t last until pick 20, but Ramczyk might. He can be a safe, plug-and-play left tackle to keep Paxton Lynch upright next year.
21 Detroit Lions: David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.)
As we’ve stated since January, the Lions want to add a tight end early in this draft, and Njoku is their ideal target. If Njoku is gone, expect them to add either a receiver or a defensive end.
22 Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
Both defensive end and linebacker might present great value at pick No. 22, but the Dolphins have a dire need at left and right guard. They can’t pass on Lamp if he’s available. Linebacker Haason Reddick and defensive end Derek Barnett are the other options.
23 New York Giants: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Giants finally can add a linebacker in Round 1 despite their lack of a need at the position for years, and Reddick would be a perfect fit. He addresses their biggest need and is a strong value based on current NFL interest.
24 Oakland Raiders: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Dalvin Cook fits the Raiders’ offense and would thrive behind their offensive line, but we’ve been told they will not take Cook if he’s available. Instead, expect the Raiders to add to their defense again. Barnett should be in the mix for most teams picking in the 20s.
25 Houston Texans: Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
Moton is not a perfect fit for the Texans, but he can solve their biggest need (outside of quarterback). He’ll challenge for playing time at both guard spots and right tackle. The Texans can add a quarterback like DeShone Kizer or Nathan Peterman in Round 2.
26 Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, DB, UConn
Seattle wants to add a defensive back early in the draft, and Melifonwu is the ideal choice. Not only does he fit the Seahawks prototype at the position, but his versatility should allow him to play multiple spots as a rookie and be a utility player as the secondary is retooled moving forward.
27 TRADE: Indianapolis Colts: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Colts can move down from No. 15 overall, add another second-round pick and still get a top-flight defender in the first round of this loaded draft. King would give new GM Chris Ballard the Marcus Peters-like talent for which he advocated in Kansas City.
(This is a projected trade within our mock draft. The Chiefs still hold this pick.)
28 Dallas Cowboys: Tyus Bowser, DE/OLB, Houston
Dallas is looking at multiple defensive ends with its first-round pick, and Takkarist McKinley, T.J. Watt and Bowser are in the mix. Bowser likely will by gone at this point (as will McKinley), but all are considered late first-rounders by multiple teams.
29 TRADE: Cleveland Browns (via Packers): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
We don’t believe the Browns necessarily want to draft a quarterback in Round 1, but the price of moving up four spots to get a QB like Watson for five years is too tempting. The Packers can move down four spots and still add a top defensive end or cornerback, and the Browns can get a top-three quarterback.
(This is a projected trade within our mock draft. The Packers still hold this pick.)
30 Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarrist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
Pittsburgh wants to add a pass rusher, and McKinley would be the best available on the board. Carl Lawson and Tyus Bowser also will be under consideration. If he somehow were available this far down, Patrick Mahomes would be the pick.
31 Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
Atlanta wants to add a defensive end, and it likely will do so in Round 1. Coach Dan Quinn hails from the Seahawks system of valuing athleticism at edge rusher (a big reason why vouched for Vic Beasley). Willis was the second-best SPARQ testing edge player at the NFL Combine this year (only behind Tyus Bowser).
32 New Orleans Saints (via Patriots): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
After adding a top cornerback earlier in the draft, the Saints can take the best defensive end on the board at pick No. 32. Charlton is not a perfect fit, but we’d be surprised if he fell out of the first round. If the Saints trade this pick (or their second-rounder) for Malcolm Butler, don’t be surprised if they target an offensive tackle early.