Monthly Archives: April 2017

2017 NFL Draft Grades: NFC West

Talk about the Wild West, I don’t think anyone could have predicted how the NFC West shaped up in 2016. Preseason division favorites the Arizona Cardinals collapsed despite running back David Johnson breaking out into a star. Head coach Bruce Arians was in and out of the hospital during the year and after the year they faced a retirement scare with Carson Palmer, who ultimately, decided to give it one more shot in 2017.

Not surprisingly the Seahawks won the division in the end, going 10-5-1, despite Russell Wilson battling injuries all season and the Niners pulled up the rear which saw coach Chip Kelly fired, as well as GM Trent Baalke. The intriguing part postseason was the hiring Kyle Shanahan as head coach and former-All Pro safety John Lynch as GM despite having no front office experience

The Rams were a sad story in their first year back in Los Angeles after a 20 year hiatus in St. Louis. Head coach John Fisher got caught up in an ugly fight in the media with LA Ram legend and NFL Hall-of-Famer Eric Dickerson, the team floundered in every way, and Fisher was eventually fired. Taking over is the spry 30-year old Sean McVay.

So how does this new look division shape up following the draft? Here’s a look…

Arizona Cardinals: B
1.) Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
2.) Budda Baker, S, Washington
3.) Chad Williams, WR, Grambling St.
4.) Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh
5.) Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt
5b.) T.J. Logan, RB, North Carolina
6.) Rudy Ford, S, Auburn

This is a draft class that will certainly help Arizona down the stretch, most notably with the selection of Johnson and Holden. The offensive line has been underwhelming despite recent first-round investments. Johnson could become a starter as a rookie. Holden is a more developmental prospect with high upside. Reddick, is a tremendous story, walk-on turned Top 15 selection. He is the perfect defender in Bruce Arians’ defense. He can be deployed all over the field and wreak havoc. Williams and Logan, provide developmental prospects at skill positions.

Best pick: Budda Baker
Like Reddick, Baker can be lined up all over the field. He can play safety, nickle, even as a linebacker. Baker, gets dinged, because he is not the biggest prospect, but Baker is a baller with great ball skills.

LA Rams: B
2.) Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
3.) Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
3b.) John Johnson, S, Boston College
4.) Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
4b.) Samson Ebukam, LB, Eastern Washington
6.) Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
6b.) Sam Rogers, FB, Virginia Tech
7.) Ejuan Price, OLB, Pittsburgh

This is a proven and steady draft class brought in by the new regime in LA. First time head coach Sean McVay comes to town after running the Redskins offense the past three seasons and with a roster absent of playmakers, McVay went right out and picked some up. Everett, is a natural pass catcher who can make plays, but needs to get bigger to help as a blocker. Kupp, is not a burner, but he will run the best routes and always make the catch. Reynolds, has a great size-speed combo that will allow him to make the big play. Ebukam and Smart provide depth.

Best pick: John Johnson
Johnson, is an underrated prospect, but don’t be surprised if he winds up starting sooner than later. He is versatile prospect having played both corner and safety with proven ball skills (18 PBUs, six INTs in two years) and range to make the play.

San Francisco 49ers: B+
1.) Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
1b.) Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
3.) Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
3b.) C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa
4.) Joe Williams, RB, Utah
5.) George Kittle, TE, Iowa
5b.) Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech
6.) D.J. Jones, DT, Ole Miss
6b.) Pita Taumoepenu, LB, Utah
7.) Adrian Colbert, S, Miami

How about GM John Lynch, huh? The former-Pro Bowler went straight from TV commentator to front office executive seamlessly. Not only did he fleece the Bears, but he was able to move up and down the board effectively, picking up a second- and third-round pick for next year’s draft. Kicking things off with the trade and still getting their guys Thomas and Foster was tremendous. Round 3 was more intriguing. Witherspoon, has tremendous size and potential, but is raw having only played the game for five years or so. Beathard, has the intangibles you look for in a quarterback, but is still developing. Williams, Kittle, and Taylor provide needed depth at the skill positions. Taylor, is lightning fast capable of breaking out a big play whenever he has the football in his hands.

Best pick: Reuben Foster
The Niners were big, big fans of Foster and as his slide continued. The Niners waited till the end of Round 1, gave up very little and jumped up to stop the fall. Foster is a Top 5 talent, who sets the tone on defense. He’ll make his impact felt much sooner than later in the Bay Area.

Seattle Seahawks: C
2.) Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan St.
2b.) Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
3.) Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida
3b.) Delano Hill, S, Michigan
3c.) Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina
3d.) Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
4.) Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
6.) Michael Tyson, S, Cincinnati
6b.) Justin Senior, OT, Mississippi St.
7.) David Moore, WR, East Central
7b.) Christopher Carson, RB, Oklahoma St.

The Seahawks always have very unique drafts. Their never afraid to trade out of Round 1 and are never afraid to take a player who may be seen as a reach. McDowell, is another piece of the rotation in Seattle. He has the natural ability to be special, but takes too many plays off. Pete Carroll, always gets the most of his guys. Jones, in Round 3, gives them another versatile prospect who can play inside and out. Age and contracts are starting to hit the Legion of Boom, highlighted by Seattle taking four defensive backs. All this comes, of course, comes with virtually no addressing of the offensive line which was a sieve last year, allowing Russell Wilson to get smacked around for a whopping 41 sacks.

Best pick: Ethan Pocic
A versatile lineman, always a bonus in a Tom Cable coached unit, Pocic could be the pivot they desperately have needed since trading away Max Unger. Pocic, has the ability to pull and get to the second level and the football IQ to make an impact.

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2017 NFL Draft Grades: NFC South

The NFC South has produced the NFC representative in the Super Bowl for the past two years with the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, respectively. And just like the last two years, this will be another year of highlight reel play from this division.

Atlanta are the top dogs following last year, but the big question is, how do they respond following that epic collapse in the Super Bowl? With Matt Ryan at quarterback and Dan Quinn as head coach, they should be set to make back to the playoffs despite losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco.

Besides the Falcons, the biggest surprise was the fall of the Panthers. They went from playing in the Super Bowl to having a Top 10 pick the following year. Carolina needs to find their identity, as do the Saints. The Saints have mired in mediocrity since winning the Super Bowl in ’09. They can’t keep wasting Drew Brees’ ability. The intriguing team of the division is Tampa. After an ugly shakeup at head coach last offseason, the team seems to be all systems go under Dirk Koetter.

Here, is how things came to be in the NFC South over the 2017 NFL Draft…

Atlanta Falcons: B+
1.) Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
3.) Duke Riley, LB, LSU
4.) Sean Harlow, OG, Oregon St.
5.) Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego St.
5b.) Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming
5c.) Eric Saubert, TE, Drake

Every pick here could contribute in someway in 2017. That is impressive. McKinley, had the most moving moment of the draft as he came on stage after being selected, holding a portrait of his grandmother, who he had promised on her deathbed that he would make it to the NFL. The Falcons got gassed in the Super Bowl, which makes McKinley a perfect fit. His motor never stops. Last year, the Falcons took Deion Jones, who had only started one year at LSU before starring for Atlanta. Riley, could be considered a clone. Harlow, could contribute sooner than later now that there is a whole open at guard. Hill, provides a reliable power back. Saubert, could emerge a starter a few years down the road.

Best pick: Damontae Kazee
The Falcons are set on the outsides, but needed help in the slot. Kazee, in the fifth-round was a steal. A three year starter for the Aztecs, Kazee displayed impressive ball skills totaling 16 interceptions over that time.

Carolina Panthers: C+
1.) Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
2.) Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio St.
2b.) Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
3.) Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
5.) Corn Elder, CB, Miami
6.) Alex Armah, FB, West Georgia
7.) Harrison Butker, K, Georgia Tech

McCaffrey to kickoff the Panthers weekend was a home run. He is a dynamic, Swiss army knife that can lineup all over the field. He’ll take a lot of pressure off of Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart. Samuel, is a very similar player to McCaffrey which was a head scratcher. Moton, is a versatile lineman, who could be a swing tackle or guard. The Panthers need to protect Cam Newton better. Hall, played opposite No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, and was rather overshadowed. He will learn a lot behind Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers. Butker, could signal the end for Graham Gano.

Best pick: Corn Elder
Losing Josh Norman crushed the Panthers last year. Elder, can help move forward. Elder, is a competitive corner who can lineup in the slot. While he’s not the biggest, he displayed good ball skills, breaking up 23 passes the past two seasons.

New Orleans Saints: A+
1.) Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
1b.) Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
2.) Marcus Williams, S, Utah
3.) Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
3b.) Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida
3c.) Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
6.) Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE, Miami

This may be my favorite draft class in the entire league. The Saints have been devoid of talent for awhile now, this injection of talent could really wake up the team. Lattimore, fell to them, because of injuries. If he can stay healthy, the Saints picked up a premier corner talent. Ramczyk, will be the bookend opposite Terron Armstead. Williams, will help the Saints get better after posting the 32nd ranked pass defense and allow them to run three safety packages. Anzalone, could become a starter if he stays healthy. He’s an athletic freak. Hendrickson, isn’t a flashy pass rusher, but he is an effective pass rusher. He had 23 sacks the past two seasons.

Best pick: Alvin Kamara
He was underused at Tennessee, which means he has a lot of tread left on his tires. Kamara, can return kicks, catch the ball out of the backfield, or be a change of pace running back. When your quarterback gets older, you support him with a strong rushing game. The Saints have done that.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A
1.) O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
2.) Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
3.) Chris Godwin, WR, Penn St.
3b.) Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU
5.) Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise St.
7.) Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, DT, USC

The Bucs did a wonderful job here. Howard, fell and the Bucs couldn’t have been more happy. Evans, has a little growing to do. He looks for the knockout hit instead of wrapping up. He’ll be dynamic if he can improve his tackling. Godwin, is a tremendous talent. Remember when Allen Robinson came out to little fanfare, then became a Pro Bowler? Godwin, isn’t too far off. Beckwith, was an ascending talent until he tore his ACL late last year. If he can get back to where he was, this was a steal. McNichols, is a player. He’s not the biggest, but maximizes his ability in both the pass and run game. Tu’ikolovatu, is a two down run-stuffer.

Best pick: O.J. Howard
In today’s game it is rare that a complete prospect comes out of college, especially at tight end, but Howard is the real deal. He can block inline, he is a dangerous receiving threat who can stretch the seam. He is a special talent.

2017 NFL Draft Grades: NFC North

The big question in the NFC North is Teddy Bridgewater and the state of the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater went down with a gruesome injury right before the start of last season. The team made a panic trade for Sam Bradford, then Adrian Peterson went down for the year, then offensive coordinator Norv Turner removed himself from the team. It was a strange year in 2016. Now AP is gone and all eyes are on Bridgewater’s health. Can the Vikings rebound?

The other big question is, are the Detroit Lions for real? Team legend Calvin Johnson retired early and the state of the team was up in the air — especially considering head coach Jim Caldwell was on a trial year with new management. What happened? They made the playoffs as a wild card.

Two things that are for certain in the NFC North is that Green Bay Packers are still the divisional powerhouse and the Chicago Bears are still rebuilding. Here is a look at what talent was brought into the division…

Chicago Bears: D
1.) Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
2.) Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
4.) Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
4b.) Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T
5.) Jordan Morgan, OG, Kutztown

What were the Bears thinking? They moved up one spot and surrendered two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick. Comparatively, the Browns gave up a fourth, fifth, and seventh-round pick to move up one spot to take Trent Richardson in 2012. That is a LOT of capital to hand over. Not to mention the team gave Mike Glennon a $45 million deal. Jackson, in Round 4 addressed a need. He’s a rangy center fielder, but coming off a broken leg. Cohen, is an intriguing pick. He’s only 5’6″, but is a human highlight reel. He’ll balance with Jordan Howard nicely. Morgan, a four year starter, is a developmental prospect with starter upside.

Best pick: Adam Shaheen
The former basketball player turned tight end checks all the boxes you would want in a tight end. He is a match-up nightmare for defenses at 6’6″ and nearly 280 pounds. Obviously, coming out of Ashland, he is raw, but if he can put it together, he could be special.

Detroit Lions: B
1.) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
2.) Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
3.) Kenny Golladday, WR, Northern Illinois
4.) Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee
4b.) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
5.) Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego
6.) Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas
6b.) Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
7.) Pat O’Connor, DE, Eastern Michigan

This is a quality draft class, but how do you pass on a running back after finishing the previous year 30th in rushing offense? Outside of that, this is a high ceiling class. Davis and Tabor will come in and contribute right away. Davis, sets the tone with his physical style of play. Golladday and Roberts are high ceiling players who will take time to adjust to the NFL. Golladday, has tremendous size, speed, and hands. He just has to refine his route running. Reeves-Maybin, was a standout, sideline-to-sideline linebacker before shoulder injuries derailed him. He has to stay healthy, if he can he could become a starter.

Best pick: Brad Kaaya
Don’t be surprised if Kaaya winds up as the backup to Matthew Stafford as a rookie. He would have benefited from staying in school for another year, he is still very inconsistent, but his flashes hint at starter upside.

Green Bay Packers: B-
2.) Kevin King, CB, Washington
2b.) Josh Jones, S, NC State
3.) Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
4.) Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin
4b.) Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU
5.) DeAngelo Yancey, WR, Purdue
5b.) Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP
6.) Kofi Amichia, C, South Florida
7.) Devante Mays, RB, Utah St.
7b.) Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

The last time the Packers tried to address their defensive secondary on back-to-back picks was in 2015 with Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollin in 2015. Those picks aren’t working out so well. Hence King and Jones to kick off the selection process in 2017. King, could start as a rookie, as could Jones. Adams provides depth upfront after losing former-first round pick to Minnesota via free agency. Biegel, is a classic Packer. They’re hoping they drafted the 2014-2015 version. Jamaal Williams, is the back they desperately need. He has good vision and can pound it between the tackles.

Best pick: Malachi Dupre
Dupre, was never consistent enough at LSU, but had plenty of flash plays. Part of that was the quarterback play in Baton Rouge. Dupre, has the size and speed to a big play threat in Green Bay, he just needs to get stronger.

Minnesota Vikings: B+
2.) Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St.
3.) Pat Elflein, C, Ohio St.
4.) Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa
4b.) Ben Gedeon, LB, Michigan
5.) Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida
5b.) Danny Isidora, OG, Miami
6.) Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
7.) Stacy Coley, WR, Miami
7b.) Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern
7c.) Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas St.
7d.) Jack Tocho, CB, NC State

For not having a pick in Round 1, the Vikings brought in an outstanding draft class. Cook, will make everyone forget about Adrian Peterson. Cook is a special talent. Elflein, is a technically sound center who should start Day One. Johnson, is an ascending talent. He capped off his collegiate career with career bests at tackles for loss and sacks. Gedeon, is another ascending talent. After finally cracking the starting lineup, he posted 106 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss. He could grow into a starter. Isidora, a three year starter at The U, could be developed into a starter.

Best pick: Bucky Hodges
Hodges, has issues with effort and drops, but his natural athleticism are very impressive. A “flex” tight end, who plays more like a wide receiver, if Hodges can put it together he could become an match-up problem for defenders.

2017 NFL Draft Grades: NFC East

The news of the season seemed to center around NFC East and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Would the team trade him? Release him? Where does Romo go after? Ultimately, Romo decided to retire and enter the press booth for CBS.

It seems fitting that Romo retired this offseason. The NFC East is one of the most up and coming divisions in the league with fellow Cowboys Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the charge. Not to mention there is also the Eagles’ Carson Wentz and Giants’ receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

One of the major stories in the division was the (once again) dysfunctional Washington Redskins front office. They poorly managed contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins and now he seems all, but gone following the 2017 season. Then there was team president Bruce Allen unceremoniously canning GM Scot McCloughan.

Needless to say it was interesting to see what new talent would join this burgeoning division. Here is how things shook out in the 2017 NFL Draft…

Dallas Cowboys: B-
1.) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
2.) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
3.) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
4.) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
6.) Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
6b.) Marquez White, CB, Florida St.
7.) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
7b.) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio St.
7c.) Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado

The Cowboys hit on Charlton and Awuzie to kickoff the draft. Charlton was moved around a lot at Michigan, but eventually settled in at end in their 4-3 where he churned out 9.5 sacks in his lone season as a starter. The defensive secondary was a big area of need and the Cowboys loaded up on depth with Lewis, Woods, and White. Woods, will be a force on special teams while he develops. Switzer and Brown provide much needed depth at wide receiver. Switzer, is a clone of current Cowboys’ slot receiver Cole Beasley — short and shifty.

Best pick: Chidobe Awuzie
Awuzie, in Round 2 was a perfect selection. Addressed a need and gives them a versatile player to deploy all over the field whether it’s out wide, in the slot, or even as safety. Awuzie has good size and could help the Cowboys on Day One.

New York Giants: B+
1.) Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
2.) Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
3.) Davis Webb, QB, Cal
4.) Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
5.) Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown St.
6.) Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh

This was a fantastic haul by the Giants. My only concern is they waited too long to address the offensive line. Granted, the player they did take, Bisnowaty, was a tremendous choice in Round 6. Bisnowaty, was a four year starter with the smarts and aggression to start, but a injuries pushed him down. Engram, gives Eli Manning another dynamic weapon in the arsenal. Tomlinson and Moss provide depth at their deepest positions on defense. Tomlinson could start Day One. Gallman, puts some thunder in the backfield, complementing current backs Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen well.

Best pick: Davis Webb
Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger and there isn’t much behind. Webb, created such buzz over the process some thought he could wind up in Round 1. To select him in Round 3 and allow him to mature to the NFL game could pay off in a big way.

Philadelphia Eagles: A
1.) Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
2.) Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
3.) Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
4.) Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina
4b.) Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego St.
5.) Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
5b.) Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska
6.) Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

The Eagles selected four potential starters with their first four picks. That is a job well done. Especially in the case of Sidney Jones. Some had Jones as the best cornerback prospect in the draft, but he suffered an Achilles injury at his pro day. A smart, long term investment by Philly. Barnett, broke Reggie White’s career sack record at Tennessee. That says something. Hollins, is a quality target for Wentz. He rounds a suddenly impressive receiving corps. Pumphrey, had three straight seasons of rushing for over 1,500-yards. Qualls’ is a perfect prospect to mold under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Best pick: Rasul Douglas
A JUCO transfer to West Virginia, Douglas only started one year for the Mountaineers, but what a year it was with eight interceptions and eight passes broken up. Douglas, has tremendous size at 6’2″, if he continues to develop look out.

Washington Redskins: A
1.) Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
2.) Ryan Anderson,OLB, Alabama
3.) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
4.) Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
4b.) Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan St.
5.) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
6.) Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming
6b.) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia St.
7.) Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville
7.) Joshua Holsey, CB, Auburn

Very similar to the Eagles, the Redskins hauled in four potential starters with their first four picks with a fallen star cornerback falling into their laps. Allen, is a Top 5 talent, but concerns over his shoulders pushed him down. Doctors say his shoulders won’t be a problem for Allen during his playing years. This a home run. Anderson, will provide some juice off the edge. The defensive secondary was a place of major concern. Moreau, was considered a first-round prospect before suffering a pectoral injury at his pro day. He could become a starter sooner than later. Harvey-Clemons, has a lot of talent, but some considerable off-field issues to overcome.

Best pick: Samaje Perine
How Perine, a man who rushed for over 4,000 yards and nearly 50 touchdowns in three years, fell to the fourth-round I will never know. He is not flashy, but he powers the ball between the tackles and is a smart runner with quality vision. This is a total steal.

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Round 2

What a night in Philadelphia! An amazing sea of fans and those glorious boo birds were out in full force. Not to mention after a week of lousy weather in Philly, the night turned out to be a beautiful one.

Of course adding to that beauty was three monster trades that saw the Bears unload a cache of picks to move up just one spot for Mitchell Trubisky, the Chiefs pole vaulted 17 spots to select Patrick Mahomes, and the Texans dashed in front of the Cardinals to take Deshaun Watson. And of course there was the slide which saw Malik Hooker and Jonathan Allen, and Reuben Foster fall lower than expected in Round 1.

Overall, it was a wild night and after all the craziness I batted about .250 with my mock draft. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Now, let’s take a quick glance at the action tonight. A lot of first-round quality talent is still on the board. Here is our flash mock draft for the kick off of Day 2…

1.) Green Bay Packers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St.
2.) Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
3.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
4.) Chicago Bears: Budda Baker, S, Washington
5.) LA Rams: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
6.) LA Chargers: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
7.) New York Jets: Kevin King, CB, Washington
8.) Carolina Panthers: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas St.
9.) Cincinnati Bengals: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
10.) New Orleans Saints: Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown St.
11.) Philadelphia Eagles: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
12.) Buffalo Bills: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
13.) Arizona Cardinals: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
14.) Indianapolis Colts: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan St.
15.) Baltimore Ravens: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Michigan
16.) Minnesota Vikings: Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio St.
17.) Washington Redskins: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
18.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Jones, S, NC State
19.) Denver Broncos: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
20.) Cleveland Browns: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
21.) Detroit Lions: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
22.) Miami Dolphins: Marcus Maye, S, Florida
23.) New York Giants: Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
24.) Oakland Raiders: Duke Riley, LB, LSU
25.) Houston Texans: Marcus Williams, S, Utah
26.) Seattle Seahawks: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
27.) Kansas City Chiefs: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
28.) Dallas Cowboys: Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
29.) Green Bay Packers: Chris Wormley, DT, Michigan
30.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Davis Webb, QB, Cal
31.) Atlanta Falcons: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
32.) Carolina Panthers: Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan

2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

The 2017 NFL Draft will be like nothing we’ve seen before. Sure, yeah, the NFL draft dates back to 1936 and the common era draft has been intact since 1967, but this year we head into draft day with everything up in the air. This year, more than any other year, the draft is defined by one word: unpredictable.

Cleveland has an easy choice in defensive end Myles Garrett at No. 1, but with an owner banging on the table for a quarterback head coach Hue Jackson is under a lot more pressure than he should be facing a slam-dunk prospect, especially in a draft so scant with quarterbacks.

Also around the league, San Francisco has a first time GM in John Lynch, who has zero front office experience. The Bills GM Doug Whaley is on the hot seat and needs a big weekend to save his job. Then there is the Washington Redskins who don’t even have a GM after team president Bruce Allen unceremoniously fired Scot McCloughan.

Then there are the players. Thirty-two players will be selected in Round 1, but you could argue that 40 to 45 players are first-round caliber thanks to eye-popping depth at cornerback, safety, pass rusher, tight end, and running back.

Who wins out in the end? Only time will tell. But for as things look now, here is my best assessment. While this is the last mock draft for Round 1, don’t worry. This will not be the final mock draft for the 2017 NFL Draft.

1.) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
This pick has training wheels on it. Cleveland, please, don’t mess this up.

2.) San Francisco 49ers: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The Niners really want to trade down, but besides the Browns, who would deal so much capital to move up and reach for Trubisky? Maybe a deal gets down, but if not, Trubisky still goes second overall. The Niners cupboards are bare. Sticking Trubisky on the bench for a year would allow for Kyle Shanahan to groom him for 2018.

3.) Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
I would like to see Jamal Adams go here, but the Bears signed Quintin Demps in free agency and have virtually no cornerback talent on the roster. Lattimore, has some injury concerns, but also is, arguably, the most talented cornerback in the draft.

4.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Jacksonville is a bit of a wild card. If Trubisky gets past San Francisco, maybe Cleveland and them make a deal. If they stay, they could go for any defensive linemen, a safety, even tight end. But pound-for-pound, Fournette is a can’t miss prospect.

5.) Tennessee Titans: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Speaking of can’t miss prospects. Adams, is the real deal. A two year starter, Adams was the leader on LSU’s defense. He can lineup in the box and provide run support, play zone, or move down into the nickel. Adams, is the perfect piece for a Dick Lebeau defense.

6.) New York Jets: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
It’s rare that a tight end goes this high, which alone tells you something about Howard’s makeup. He wasn’t used much as a receiving threat at Alabama, instead he was used as an in line blocker (something few college prospects do anymore). But when he is used as a weapon, Howard can do damage as shown in the 2015 National Championship game where he brought in five catches for 208 yards and two TDs.

7.) LA Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
A surprise pick here. Philip Rivers is the franchise and his receivers haven’t stayed healthy. Williams, is the massive target that the Bolts usually go for. He came back from injury in 2016 to post 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. Rivers can find use for a 6’3″ weapon with numbers like that.

8.) Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey has steady climbed throughout the draft process and landing in Carolina is a perfect fit. It takes pressure off of Cam Newton and helps take some of the load off of veteran back Jonathan Stewart. Not to mention, that McCaffrey can be deployed all over the field, giving Newton a seriously dynamic safety valve.

9.) Cincinnati Bengals: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
For the longest time, the strength of the Bengals was the defense and the strength of the defense was on the line. Now due to age, injury, and free agency departures the Bengals need to address this area. Thomas, would fit in well as a moveable chess piece. He and Geno Atkins as interior rushers on passing downs would be terrifying.

10.) Buffalo Bills: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
The Bills secondary was hit hard in free agency, especially at safety. Hooker, has rare, albeit raw, talent. The former-Buckeye has only played football for five years and 2016 was his only season as a starter, but the numbers don’t lie: 74 tackles, 11 passes broken up, and seven interceptions for a whopping 181 return yards.

11.) New Orleans Saints: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
If Allen were to fall this far, it would make New Orleans a very happy franchise and with some concern over his shoulders it could very well happen. Allen, can help both against the run and the pass, something the Saints would welcome after 14th and 32nd, respectively. Allen, lived in opponents’ backfields the past two seasons tallying 30.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks.

12.) Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
After failing to trade up and take Trubisky, the Browns appease their owner and take Watson to be their quarterback of the future. And, honestly, having a National Champion as your Plan B isn’t too shabby. He has some accuracy issues, but Hue Jackson is the quality coach that gets his players to reach their potential.

13.) Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Cardinals are dealt a big blow with Watson being taken right before them. Watson, has been the Cardinals guy for some time. But like Cleveland, it’s on to Plan B. Mahomes, has an absolute howitzer of an arm, but questions always arise about quarterbacks from the Air Raid offense. Mahomes, could buck the trend with quarterback whisperer Bruce Arians at the helm.

14.) Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Eagles landing Barnett is a match made in heaven. Barnett, broke Reggie White’s school record for sacks in a career. When you dethrone one of the all-time greats that’s worth taking note. Barnett, is equally good at setting the edge as coming off it. He would excel on a line with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.

15.) Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Another player who has risen throughout the draft process, Reddick is an athletic freak. He was a walk-on at Temple as a safety, then moved to defensive end, then at the Senior Bowl was moved to linebacker and dominated there as well. Wherever the Colts line him up, inside or out, Reddick will be a terror.

16.) Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Steve Smith retired following the 2016 season, leaving big shoes to fill. The Ravens hope Davis can do the trick. Davis has good size at 6’3″ and DOMINATED at Western Michigan. How well did he do, you ask? How about 46 touchdowns in three seasons? Yeah. That happened. Paired with Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, the Ravens could deploy quite the trio.

17.) Washington Redskins: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson is explosive. That simple. Whether it’s in track, returning punts, or shooting up draft boards. No matter what he does, Jackson is explosive. A riser throughout the process, landing in DC and learning from Josh Norman, could turn Jackson from an explosive athletic talent, to a dynamic cornerback in a year or two.

18.) Tennessee Titans: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Titans GM Jon Robinson got his start in New England. What do the Patriots love on offense? Two tight end sets. While Delanie Walker is still hyper productive, he is getting up there in age. Pairing Njoku opposite Walker for a few years before replacing him, would be quite the tandem.

19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St.
Tampa reunites Jameis Winston with a friendly face from his college days in Cook. Veteran Doug Martin seems to be on his way out in Tampa and replacing him with Cook, would be a quality move. Despite the familiarity with Winston, Cook ran for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in three years.

20.) Denver Broncos: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
And the first offensive lineman is off the board. With a glut of options here, ultimately, I believe Robinson is the man. Some consider him at right tackle only, some think he could be best utilized at guard, but the 2016 Outland Trophy winner will be a Day One starter no matter where he lines up.

21.) Detroit Lions: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster, has had a bumpy draft process. First, he was excused from the Combine following a dust-up while getting a medical check, then reports came out that he had provided a diluted drug test. Throw in some injury concerns and if he slides it won’t surprise. The Lions will be glad to scoop up a Top 10 talent at this point.

22.) Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Dolphins need help on defense, especially when playing in a division that Tom Brady has dominated for over a decade. How do you beat Brady? Bring pressure. Missouri has been a pipeline for pass rushing talent over the last few years with Harris it’s latest export. In his two years starting, Harris tallied 30.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks. He will be Cameron Wake’s heir apparent.

23.) New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Ramczyk, had some injury concerns, but his medicals have checked out which is music to the G-Men’s ears. The offensive line has been in shambles for the past few years. Ramczyk, is best suited on the left side which would allow former first-round pick Ereck Flowers to move to the right side. Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger, protecting him is the most important thing for the club to address.

24.) Oakland Raiders: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The Raiders made great strides in 2016…on the offensive side of the ball. After making splash signings at cornerback and safety in free agency, the team ended the season 24th in passing. That is a problem. Kevin King, is a big (6’2″) corner who can play press or zone coverage. He capped off his career as a Huskie with 11 passs breakups.

25.) Houston Texans: Forrest Lamp, OT, Western Kentucky
Houston offers some intrigue. Do they really believe Tom Savage is their guy? Do they move up to take a quarterback? Do they take a quarterback here? In this case, I see them going with Savage and protecting him. Lamp, can play any position along the line. That versatility is key as Houston needs help at both spots.

26.) Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
I’ve had this pick happening for most of the draft process. It just makes too much sense. The Seahawks like to do things a little different (Bruce Irvin 15th overall?). In that light combined with an aging Legion of Boom, Melifonwu could be the next generation and has the ability to play either corner or safety.

27.) Kansas City Chiefs: Davis Webb, QB, Cal
The Chiefs are an interesting team as well. They have kicked the tires on a lot of the quarterback prospects in this draft and I mean a lot. Do they trade up for one? If they stay, do they reach for a QB or address another need — like linebacker and pick Jarrad Davis? Ultimately, I think they go QB and take Webb. There has been a lot of love for Webb, who slung it for nearly 4,300 yards and 37 touchdowns in ’16.

28.) Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Charlton, is one of the more raw prospects in this draft, but, man, does he have a high ceiling. He was moved around a lot over his four years in Ann Arbor, but last year he started to put it all together which showed in his 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Cowboys finally get the edge rusher they’ve been looking for.

29.) Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
It’s just so Green Bay. Watt, is a lot like when current Packer Clay Matthews came out of USC — an underused player in college who proved to be a better pro. Now, Watt has quite the lengthy injury history, but if he can stay healthy, he could become great. After finally staying healthy, Watt turned in 13 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

30.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
This would be a gift for the Steelers. They have been in the midst of rejuvenating there defense for some time now. They got some parts last year in Artie Burns and Sean Davis, but now they have dip back into the linebacker pool. Davis, is an absolute thumper and would pair well with rising star Ryan Shazier.

31.) Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Another gift. McKinley, has a relentless motor who’s numbers got better each year. While he is a raw prospect, McKinley has the speed and temperament to excel in Atlanta’s fast flowing defensive system. In a division with Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Jameis Winston, there’s a premium on pass rushers like this.

32.) New Orleans Saints: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
With the QB’s off the board, New Orleans selects the local kid. White, is one of the steadiest prospects in the draft and could be a Day One starter for the Saints. While he is on the smaller size, White was a four year starter in the SEC with proven ball skills. He ended his time in Baton Rouge with a career best 14 pass breakups.