Tag Archives: Leonard Fournette

2017 NFL Draft Grades: AFC South

The AFC South was once again soft. Since Peyton Manning left the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, the division has failed to deliver a true powerhouse. Under Bill O’Brien, the Houston Texans have won the AFC South division the past two years. An impressive feat considering the Texans have had virtually no quarterback to steer the ship.

The massive Brock Osweiler deal (four-years and $72 million dollar with $37 million guaranteed) turned out to be a bust. Osweiler, was benched by midseason and after the season was dealt, along with his remaining guaranteed money, to the Cleveland Browns along with a sixth-round pick in 2017 and second-round pick in 2018 for a fourth-round pick in 2017.

That left Houston in a particularly bad situation with the new and improved Tennessee Titans nipping at their heels. The Titans surprised many in 2016, going from 3-13 to 9-7 in their first year under head coach Mike Mularkey. The big question now is, can the Titans build off that success? The team is young and led by former-Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

After another 8-8 season, the Colts parted ways with GM Ryan Grigson and brought aboard Chris Ballard, from the Kansas City Chiefs. The big question entering the year was can Andrew Luck stay healthy, after playing in only seven games in 2015. Luck, stayed upright for 15 games, but the roster was so thin that it was difficult to turn any production into wins.

Then there are the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. After yet another exciting young draft class and free agent period, the team couldn’t string together enough wins leading to the departure of head coach Gus Bradley. The team promoted Doug Marrone and brought back, former head coach Tom Coughlin, to work along side GM David Caldwell. What else is their to say? Maybe this is the year they put it together?

Houston Texans: B+
1.) Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
2.) Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
3.) D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
4.) Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
4b.) Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson
5.) Treston Decoud, S, Oregon St.
7.) Kyle Fuller, C, Baylor

On Day One of the NFL Draft, the Texans were aggressive. They jumped in front of the Arizona Cardinals to pick up their guy, Deshaun Watson. Now, Houston really likes their guy Tom Savage, but he has proved injury prone. Maybe, he plays in 2016, but the plan is to have Watson watch and learn. Cunningham, is a freaky athlete, who will be the heir to Brian Cushing in the middle of their 3-4 defense. That provides a dynamic, young core when paired with Benardrick McKinney. The fourth-round was used to build the trenches and the Texans picked up quality talent. Davenport, needs some seasoning, but has starter upside. Watkins, provides needed depth along the defensive front and adds another pass rushing threat.

Best pick: D’Onta Foreman
Foreman, is a true Texan. Grew up in the Houston-area, played in Austin, and is now playing pro ball back home. At 230-plus pounds, Foreman, is a bruiser who ran for over 2,000 yards last year and 15 touchdowns and is considerably fast given his size.

Indianapolis Colts: B+
1.) Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
2.) Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
3.) Tarrell Basham, OLB, Ohio
4.) Zach Banner, OG, USC
4b.) Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
4c.) Grover Stewart, DT, Albany St.
5.) Nate Hairston, CB, Temple
5b.) Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern

Ballard was given a gift in his first year drafting for the Colts. How Hooker fell to 15th overall is astonishing. Hooker is a legitimate Top 5 talent. Although, he only started one year, he racked up seven interceptions. Pairing Wilson, with Hooker instantly upgrades a pass defense that ranked 27th in the league last year. Wilson, could be a Day One starter. Basham, is another piece to a defensive rebuilding project. Gone are the days of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. The Colts need pass rushers and got a good prospect in Basham. He had 11.5 sacks last year. Banner, is an intriguing player. He is a mammoth at 6’8″ and 350-pounds. Size will always be an issue, but if he can get fit, Banner is a road grader with starter upside. Walker, adds depth inside at linebacker and special teams help. With so little talent at linebacker, should injuries pop up, Walker could get pushed into starting duties.

Best pick: Marlon Mack
This very well could have been Hooker, but Mack is intriguing. Frank Gore, isn’t getting any younger, and the Colts need a run game to take some pressure off of Luck. Mack, is on the smaller side, but rushed for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in three seasons.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B
1.) Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
2.) Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
3.) Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
4.) Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
5.) Blair Brown, LB, Ohio
7.) Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
7b.) Marquez Williams, FB, Miami (OH)

The Jaguars draft class is marred by fourth-round pick Westbrook. He is in the Joe Mixon realm of deplorable character. The draft grade is representative of the rest of the draft class, which again injects Jacksonville with strong blue chip talent in Fournette and Robinson. Fournette, is an old school back, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards two years. Last year’s minor injuries won’t be an issue. The Jags hit on pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue in the third-round last year. They’re hoping to do the same with Smoot this year. He’ll add another pass rush threat to their rotation. Brown, isn’t the biggest linebacker, but he’ll make the play. Myrick, has the speed to excel on special teams.

Best pick: Cam Robinson
Robinson, the 2016 Outland Trophy winner, is a Day One starter and should finally fix the revolving door at one of the tackle spots. They’ve taken tackles in the Top 10 and paid big for free agents to be the answer. Robinson is a smart, safe selection at the top of Round 2.

Tennessee Titans: B-
1.) Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
1b.) Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
3.) Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky
3b.) Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International
5.) Jayon Brown, LB, UCLA
6.) Corey Levin, OL, Tennessee-Chattanooga
7.) Josh Carraway, OLB, TCU
7b.) Brad Seaton, OT, Villanova
7c.) Khalfani Muhammad, RB, Cal

When you have a young, dynamic quarterback like Marcus Mariota you have to give him the weapons to succeed and that’s exactly what the Titans did. Davis, Taylor, and Smith should all contribute as rookies. Davis, has the size and speed to be special. He racked up over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns while at Western Michigan. Jackson, was a bit a reach. He is technically raw at the position, but has a very high ceiling. He also has added value as a return man. Smith, has upside as a receiver in a flex role. Was a four year starter at Florida International, but needs to get stronger. Brown and Carraway will better the special teams units, while Levin and Seaton are projects who add depth.

Best pick: Taywan Taylor
Taylor, could be a force in the slot at the next level. While on the small side Taylor has the speed and quickness to make an impact. Over the past two seasons Taylor racked up 184 receptions and 3,197 yards, along with 34 touchdowns.

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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.

2017 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Now the draft season is really picking. All Star games: check. Combine: check. Now we’re on to the pro days and team visits. The 2017 NFL Draft is now officially less than a month away and it couldn’t come any sooner.

This year, more than any in the past, prospect safety has been a place for discussion. Near the end of the college football season players were sitting out of bowl games and now after two prominent prospects, cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Fabian Moreau, have gone down with injury the questions are being float out there: how much should prospects go through before the draft.

Jones’ injury was a freak occurrence and Moreau’s was called a “little strain”. The topic of conversation is a bit overblown. Things happen, injuries are a part of the game.

Moving on to the second mock draft. This mock draft is a two-rounder. You’re welcome. Of course, we still have a month to go and a lot of things will change, but for now this is how I’m seeing things. There will still be one more mock draft posted before Day One, so we’ll see how much things change in a month. For now, enjoy…

1.) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
(Rd 2: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan; Sidney Jones, CB, Washington)
Nothing new here unless there is a trade. So, let’s look at their second round selections. Peppers, to kickoff Day Two would be a dream. He’ll finally give Cleveland a last line of defense. Jones, would be an investment paying off in 2018. Let’s be honest, it’s a smart move. The Browns aren’t exactly in “win now” mode.

2.) San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
(Rd 2: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah)
Again, nothing new here. I wouldn’t be able to wrap my head around the Niners taking a d-lineman for a third year in a row. Adams is as solid a prospect that’s out there. Bolles, in the second, gives them a bookend and heir to veteran Joe Staley.

3.) Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
(Rd 2: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame)
Allen rounds out the Bears defensive line, giving the team quality talent and youth. Kizer, offers the team a true franchise caliber quarterback. He’s a little raw, but developing behind Mike Glennon will allow him to grow without being thrown to the wolves Day One.

4.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
(Rd 2: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama)
Thomas, is a versatile player who can play inside or outside. The Jags have depth with Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler, and Yannick Ngakoue, but Thomas is best available that you can’t pass up. Robinson, should solidify the right side of their line.

5.) Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
With no second round pick, the Titans need to hit homers with their two first round selections. Hooker here makes all the sense in the world. Despite being a one year starter, Hooker broke up 11 passes and intercepted seven.

6.) New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
(Rd 2: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama)
Lattimore remains the pick here. For a team just two years removed from nearly making the playoffs, the Jets have sprung a lot of leaks. Lattimore, has the ability to turn into a shutdown corner. Williams, is a value pick. Playing in a division with Tom Brady, you can never have enough edge rushers.

7.) LA Chargers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
(Rd 2: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU)
This is a pick, at least in this scenario, I could see being traded. All their needs would be a bit of a reach here, but for what it’s worth Davis is the man. If White fell out of the first-round and the Bolts were able to land him, it would be a massive steal. White could help Day One.

8.) Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
(Rd 2: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida; Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida St.)
Fournette falling to Carolina is a dream come true. James Stewart isn’t getting any younger and Cam Newton can’t keep getting hit the way he does. Fournette takes a lot off his QB’s shoulders. Tabor and Johnson address the Panthers most pressing needs.

9.) Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
(Rd 2: Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple)
For the longest time Cincy’s defensive line was their strength, now age is creeping in. Barnett is a Day One starter and can play the run as well rush the passer. Dawkins in Round 2 should help fill the shoes left by Kevin Zeitler.

10.) Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
(Rd 2: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida)
Williams stays here. It just makes too much sense. The Bills had the 30th passing offense and a lack of weapons. Williams is the extra weapon Tyrod Taylor needs. Wilson, is a big, physical corner in the shape of Stephon Gilmore, who left for division rival New England in free agency.

11.) New Orleans Saints: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St.
(Rd 2: Demarcus Walker, DE, Florida St.)
Sidney Jones was originally slated to go here, but after suffering an Achilles injury at his Pro Day, Jones is out of first round consideration which opens the door for Conley. Walker, offers New Orleans a versatile piece that can play inside and out on the edge.

12.) Cleveland Browns: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Rinse, wash, repeat for the Browns. Pick stays the same. Howard is the total package.

13.) Arizona Cardinals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
(Rd 2: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado)
There are a lot of ways the Cardinals could go in this draft. With veterans Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of their careers, this is win now mode. Foster and Awuzie, are Day One players with Awuzie offering the versatility the Cardinals love to utilize in their secondary.

14.) Philadelphia Eagles: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St.
(Rd 2: Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas St.)
Cook gives Philly their final piece on offense. The Eagles addressed wide receiver in free agency and now, with Cook, have fully stoked Carson Wentz’s arsenal. Willis, is an ascending talent who got better every year while playing for the Wild Cats.

15.) Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
(Rd 2: Marcus Williams, S, Utah)
New GM Chris Ballard said he wanted to build in the trenches. Lamp, is arguably the best offensive line prospect in the draft. He can help solidify the right side from Day One. Williams, is a rangy last line defender who can make the open field tackle or cause a turnover.

16.) Baltimore Ravens: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
(Rd 2: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington)
McKinley is a freak. That simple. He is a relentless rusher off the edge who is coming off a 10 sack season for the Bruins. If he continues to develop, look out. Kupp, is a pricision route runner who compliments Mike Wallace very well.

17.) Washington Redskins: Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple
(Rd 2: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee)
The Redskins need help at inside linebacker and Reddick is the perfect fit. A walk-on safety turned defensive end turned inside linebacker, Reddick is a versatile as it comes. Kamara, gives a speed option to hammers Robert Kelly and Matt Jones.

18.) Tennessee Titans: John Ross, WR, Washington
The Titans tried to trade for New Orleans speedster Brandin Cooks, who ultimately was dealt to New England. Ross, fits a similar skill set to Cooks and could terrorize opposing defenses from the slot.

19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami
(Rd 2: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida)
Head coach Dirk Koetter was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez’s last few years. You have to assume that the benefits of having a dynamic tight end was left on Koetter, Njoku has a dynamic skill set. Brantley, gives the Bucs another inside pass rush threat.

20.) Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
(Rd 2: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama)
The Broncos need to protect their quarterback and Ramczyk is the man. Everett, in the second, gives them a viable tight end threat. Mike McCoy, is back with the team as offensive coordinator, and knows how to maximize a team’s tight end play.

21.) Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
(Rd 2: Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M)
Another pick that stays the same. Charlton, is just scratching the surface is his talent. His potential is through the roof. Evans, gives Detroit an tone setter from the safety spot, either through his big hits or ball skills.

22.) Miami Dolphins: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
(Rd 2: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama)
The Dolphins linebacking corps has been lackluster for a long time. Resigning Kiko Alonso was a good start, but more needs to be done. Davis can man the middle which will allow Alonso to shift to the outside. Humphrey, would be a gem if he fell to Round 2.

23.) New York Giants: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
(Rd 2: Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy)
McCafffrey needs the right offense to maximize his very diverse skill set. New York can offer that as they run basically the same offense as Green Bay. Garcia, would help round out the Giants offensive woes for the most part. He could start Day One.

24.) Oakland Raiders: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
(Rd 2: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma)
Every year a few players vault into the first round by having a string of outstanding workouts. See: Jackson. He’s a big time playmaker and would man the slot well for Oakland…Vegas? What do they go by these next two years? Perine, is the hammer they need at the goal line.

25.) Houston Texans: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
(Rd 2: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan St.)
A little shakeup here. The Texans have a few routes to go. For this, let’s play out the quarterback scenario. Tom Savage will be their guy on Day One as of this moment. But is he a franchise QB? Giving Trubisky a year to acclimate would benefit everyone.

26.) Seattle Seahawks: Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
(Rd 2: Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt)
Another wild card. Melifonwu is moving up a lot of draft boards. They need to address the offensive line, but the Seahawks aren’t afraid to do things a little different. The Legion of Boom isn’t getting any younger and Earl Thomas is coming back from a tough injury. Holden, has the versatility to help at multiple positions.

27.) Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
(Rd 2: Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt)
Watson stays here for now. His stock is rising. He’s put together a string of good workouts over the draft process. While there are accuracy questions, one thing that’s not a question is that Watson’s a winner. Cunningham, will be Derrick Johnson’s heir.

28.) Dallas Cowboys: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
(Rd 2: Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland)
The Cowboys need help up and down their defensive line. Harris, would be a great fit at this point. With 30.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks the past two seasons, Harris has proved to edge player to worry about. Shaheen, is rocketing up draft boards. He has Gronk-size and would develop nicely behind future hall-of-famer Jason Witten.

29.) Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
(Rd 2: Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA)
Has there every been a more Green Bay pick? Watt, has a lot of similarities to Clay Matthews when he was coming out of USC. Watt and Matthews could be a dynamic tandem. Moreau, could certainly go higher, but a chest injury at his pro day makes him a question mark.

30.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin King, CB, Washington
(Rd 2: Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama)
A lot of hype has gone to his teammate Sidney Jones, but don’t sleep on King. He is a big, tough cornerback that would fit perfectly in Pittsburgh’s zone system. Anderson, at the bottom of Round 2 would be a home run. He plays with a nasty disposition.

31.) Atlanta Falcons: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
(Rd 2: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn)
Feeney is too perfect a fit to pass on. The Falcons have one true, glaring need on offense: right guard. Feeney, could step in and be a Day One starter. On the other side of the ball, Lawson would fit in well with their 4-3 scheme. He’s coming off a nine sack season.

32.) New Orleans Saints: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Mahomes, remains the pick to close out Round 1. It makes too much sense. They need an heir to Drew Brees and Mahomes has a cannon that would fit coach Sean Payton’s system perfectly. By picking him in the first-round it gives New Orleans the added benefit of having a fifth year option on his rookie contract.

37.) LA Rams: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
The Rams don’t get into the mix until Day Two and if Engram is still on the board, the Rams should jump. Engram is a supersized wide receiver that can be a match-up nightmare thanks to his speed. Jared Goff needs weapons.

48.) Minnesota Vikings: Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio St.
Minnesota would be smart to add McMillan. McMillan is used to manning the middle of a 4-3 defense, he racked up back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons in Colombus. The added benefit is moving Eric Kendricks to the outside, where he can better utilize his speed.

72.) New England Patriots: Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio
While LA and Minni have to wait till Day Two, as of now, the Pats aren’t drafting till Day 3. Who knows who will be available by then, but for now Basham would be a great fit. A versatile athlete who can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt. Basham, is coming off an 11.5 sack season.

2017 NFL Mock Draft: 1.0

Annually I like to release four Mock Drafts leading up to the draft. The first coming after free agency opens. There’s nothing better than a good mock draft, however, dishing them out before teams start reshaping their rosters is a bit trigger happy. I mean, who saw the Patriots¬† making the type of splashes they’ve made so far via free agency?

So, here is the first break down of how things could shape up on April 27th in the “City of Brotherly Love” Philadelphia, PA.

1.) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
This pick won’t change unless the Browns decide to trade the pick.

2.) San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Niners have brought in some of vets, but still have a ways to go before their defense actually resembles a defense. At safety, Antoine Bethea was cut and Eric Reid has contemplated retirement due to concussions. Adams is a Day One starter and provides some security.

3.) Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
There are considerable red flags with Allen’s shoulder. He has arthritis, but the doctor’s say it won’t be an issue until after Allen’s playing days. If the Bears feel comfortable about it, Allen could solidify the front line.

4.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
This is a “best available” pick. In this scenario, Jacksonville should aim for the best player available. Enter Fournette. He’s an old school back and with Tom Coughlin running the front office, it could be a perfect marriage.

5.) Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
The Titans added some pieces to the secondary via free agency in Jonathan Cyprien and Logan Ryan, but more needs to done for a unit that finished 30th in the league. Hooker, is a playmaker who has incredible range.

6.) New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
Dee Milliner was the last Top-10 draft pick used to replace Darrelle Revis, hopefully, Lattimore can be more productive. He has some injury history to consider and pulling out of the Combine didn’t help quell those worries, but he has the explosiveness and ball skills to be special.

7.) Los Angeles Chargers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Philip River’s window isn’t getting any bigger and his best weapon, Keenan Allen, hasn’t been able to stay healthy. If the talent they have can stay healthy, the Chargers have enough to push for a wild card seed. This is security.

8.) Carolina Panthers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Carolina has brought in a lot of aging veterans. Drafting the versatile Thomas and allowing him to learn from Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, will only make the pay off better down the road.

9.) Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals defensive line is only getting older and thinner in regards to depth. The rush defense was lackluster, ranking 21st in the league. Barnett can set the edge and provide a little juice in the pass rush.

10.) Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Williams, is the big target Buffalo needs. They lost Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin via free agency, leaving the cupboard bare. With a passing attack that ranked 30th in the league last year, Williams would pair well with fellow ex-Clemson Tiger Sammy Watkins.

11.) New Orleans Saints: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
New Orleans had the worst pass defense in the league last year and cornerback is their most pressing need. This pick, of course, is now up in the air with news breaking that Jones went down with an injury at his pro day. Until further details emerge on the severity of the situation, Jones is the pick here.

12.) Cleveland Browns: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
What the Browns need more than anything is stability and Howard provides that. He can block, is a match-up nightmare in the passing game, and comes from a pro style offense. Best of all, he’ll provide a security blanket for…whoever is quarterbacking the team.

13.) Arizona Cardinals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Between injury concern and his dismissal from the Combine, I believe Foster may slip. Now, the Combine issue has been addressed and seems to be more of a nonissue. None the less, the Cards get the missing link to their defense: a high-motor, thumper who will set the tone.

14.) Philadelphia Eagles: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Philly has done well to bolster the offense and supplying weapons for Carson Wentz to utilize. Now, they need to focus on the other side of the ball. Last year’s starters are gone and the cupboard is pretty bare. Humphrey could start Day One.

15.) Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple
The Colts need to totally rebuild their defense. They brought in some edge rushers via free agency and should continue to address the linebacking corps. Reddick has the versatility, explosiveness, and awareness to become a Day One starter.

16.) Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington
With the retirement of Steve Smith, the Ravens receiving corps became alarmingly thin. Mike Wallace, looked like the Mike Wallace of old, but Breshad Perriman has failed to make an impact yet. Ross, adds a dynamic playmaker to stretch defenses.

17.) Washington Redskins: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Team president Bruce Allen has ran the organization in the ground…again. And it was particularly embarrassing this time around. Kirk Cousins is all but gone after this season and they need someone to succeed him. The unfortunate task lands on Trubisky’s shoulders.

18.) Tennessee Titans: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Delanie Walker has been tremendous for the Titans, but at 32 years of age it’s time to start looking for his replacement. Njoku is raw, but an athletic freak. With a year or two to develop under Walker, Njoku could develop into a Pro Bowl caliber weapon.

19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St.
Veteran Doug Martin has been unable to stay healthy and some off-field issues have popped up. It’s time to go in a new direction. Cook has familiarity with quarterback Jameis Winston, having played together at Florida State. Cook, also provides an upgrade in the passing game.

20.) Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
While they have added some pieces in Menelik Watson and Ronald Leary, the left tackle position still needs to be addressed. Ramczyk, took a long road to get to the FBS level, but has the talent and technique to protect their young franchise quarterback Paxton Lynch.

21.) Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Charlton, has been tagged with the “inconsistent” label, but Charlton is still an ascending talent. He was moved around a lot at Michigan, which stunted his development. In the right situation, like this playing opposite Ziggy Ansah, Chlarton could take the next step.

22.) Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Dolphins have addressed some glaring needs adding Lawrence Timmons via free agency and trading for Julius Thomas and William Hayes. Laremy Tunsil will move to his natural left tackle position, but that leaves glaring needs at guard. Lamp, will start Day One.

23.) New York Giants: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey is the perfect fit for the Giants offensive scheme. Offensive whiz Ben McAdoo can maximize McCaffrey’s versatile skill set as a rusher, receiver, and returner. McCaffrey is a dynamic Swiss army knife that paired with Odell Bechkham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall would terrify any opposing defense.

24.) Oakland Raiders: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
While Oakland’s offense took the next step in 2016, the defense lagged behind. Most notably in the secondary. White, is an excellent cover corner, but he may not have enough size which could force him to play the slot.

25.) Houston Texans: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan St.
With Vince Wilfork retiring there will be some shuffling along the defensive line and some gaps will emerge. That’s where McDowell comes in. McDowell, has the ideal traits to be a five-technique in Houston’s system and in time could develop into a quality starter.

26.) Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles has taken quite a long road to get to this point, but this is an ideal fit. He has the size, athleticism, and nastiness to excel in Seattle’s zone. While it may take a year or two for him to reach his potential, Bolles can be the blindside protector Russell Wilson needs.

27.) Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
This qualifies as a luxury pick, but a great scenario none the less. With a year or so to acclimate to the NFL game, Watson is the perfect passer for Andy Reid’s west coast, minimal mistake, super game-manager scheme.

28.) Dallas Cowboys: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
The Cowboys took a hit in free agency, losing both Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. That leaves a massive whole in the secondary. Peppers, can be the player to change that. He is a classic playmaker who can be deployed all over the field.

29.) Green Bay Packers: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St.
Conley started every game his last two years in Colombus, excels in press coverage, and has experience playing the slot. What more could Green Bay ask for? He fits their scheme perfectly and will provide an instant talent boost to a lackluster position.

30.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
The Steelers have spent a lot of capital on their linebacking corps and have to go back to the well again. Former-first rounder Jarvis Jones couldn’t cut it and James Harrison can’t defy age forever. McKinley, would be able to grow behind Harrison and, in time, give the Steelers the pass rush they’ve sorely been missing.

31.) Atlanta Falcons: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
The defensive end position has been dogging the Falcons for some time now. Harris could solve that. Harris, has an explosive burst and would team well with Vic Beasley to provide a constant threat to the opposing quarterback.

32.) New Orleans Saints: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
By shipping wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, New Orleans picked up the last selection on Day One. In this scenario any need would be a reach, so in that case why not find Drew Brees’ heir? Mahomes, would be a perfect fit for Sean Payton’s shotgun friendly offense and sitting behind Brees would only benefit Mahomes, who is as raw as they come.