Dan’s Mock Draft 2017

Before I start I should stress that I don’t claim to be a draftnik, although I have spent a lot of time watching a good chunk of this year’s potential draftees. So why would I spend time doing a mock draft, something that is ultimately pointless? Well the short answer is,  I enjoyed it. I do at least one every year and after researching for our draft pod trilogy (well worth checking out by the way), I thought it might be interesting to put some names with teams.

Anyway let us know what you think (@gridirongents). The whole reason we do this is for you guys after all.

Let’s start with the obvious…

1) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – Obvious pick, but probably the right one. Garrett instantly makes the Cleveland Browns defence much better, wherever he lines up. Browns should however do their due diligence and decide whether Garrett is a better fit than Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen.

2) San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford – Sticky situation for a team that is loaded with big guys up front. Solomon Thomas is a genuine talent though that might put one of the many big guys they’ve picked up over the last few years, out of a job. Thomas with this move becomes a centre piece to a defence that’s been drastically needing direction for the last 3 years.

3) Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU –  I’m slightly obsessed with this fit. Jamal Adams would add some much-needed leadership to a Bears secondary that hasn’t had a strong voice since Charles Tillman went to the Panthers. Adams makes everyone around him better and looks to be the final piece in a frisky Bears defence.

4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU – Maybe the 1st surprise on this list? The Jags have loaded their defence and improved their offensive line. They have a QB that they can’t necessarily trust and a Head Coach that needs to win quickly to avoid losing his job. In steps an immediate difference maker in the backfield that will help keep the defence off the field.

5) Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama – The free fall of Jonathan Allen I find to be quite interesting. Allen is one of the most consistently explosive players I’ve watched heading into the draft and until about 2/3 weeks ago was considered a lock at the number 2 pick, with some considering him a challenger for being the 1st overall. Then reports of shoulder arthritis crept in and now we’re seeing him drop. If he does drop, you have to imagine that someone, regardless of needs will take a chance on him and rightly so. Jonathan Allen has the ability to be a defensive centre piece and make a team immediately better.

6) New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State – The Jets have had a rough time of it lately, with no answer at QB, losing Brandon Marshall and weaknesses on the offensive line becoming an issue. The Jets on defence however seem to be on to something. Todd Bowles is slowly putting his scheme in place, losing defensive backs that serve little purpose and replacing them with decent role players. With Bowles’ love of versatile defensive backs, Marshon Lattimore can step into the Jets and become a standout player in a secondary that could get very good, very quickly. It’s worth noting that had I included some potential trades that make sense, I’d have moved the Jets down to take Jabrill Peppers, a player that is about as “Todd Bowlesian” as it gets.

7) LA Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State – The LA Chargers are treading water at the moment. Unless there’s a major changes in the organisation, the headline will be the same every year “injuries and a lack of depth, end the Chargers season”. Until then though Malik Hooker looks like a great player to put between Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward. Hooker is a great safety amongst a long list of decent options available at the position. In a division loaded with talent, Hooker could help keep up with the defensive arms race in the AFC West.

8) Carolina Panthers: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama –  Maybe a surprise, but when you look at how much is relied on at the position and that there are possible issues with Kuechly and his concussions, as well as Thomas Davis getting up in age, it makes sense to bring in some insurance, even with a ton of needs at other positions. Reuben Foster could be the perfect player to sit and learn from 2 of the best. Foster could be the best option to eventually replace either of the Panthers iconic linebackers, depending on what they want to do with him.

9) Cincinnati Bengals: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama – This is a bad year to have offensive line needs. The Bengals in the off-season lost 2 of their best linemen to free agency and despite contingency plans, remain light at the position. With 9th being, in my opinion too early to pick up a lineman, why not pick up a multi-talented player who compliments the offensive line and improves an injury prone group of pass catchers. The combination of Eifert, Howard and Green could make Andy Dalton’s job a lot easier this year.

10) Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson – I have banged the drum for Tyrod Taylor for a while now. The Bills have wavered over whether this is “their guy”, heck, Rex last year was put in an unfortunate situation of benching him for EJ Manuel. This season they’ve decided that Taylor is their guy. If that truly is the case now’s the time to show it. Giving the Bills Mike Williams, gives them their big guy that helps stretch the field, pull people out of the box for LeSean McCoy and can challenge for some of Taylor’s 50-50 deep passes. Unless they want to go corner, Williams seems like the obvious pick for the Bills.

11) New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphreys, CB Alabama – The word “Alabama”  has come up an awful lot so far. The Saints are potentially in on the Malcolm Butler trade with the Patriots, which could see them lose this pick and maybe go in a different direction with the pick at number 32 that they acquired from the Patriots. Butler and Humphreys are very different players and if I’m honest despite Butler being a proven commodity, I actually think a bigger, more physical corner is what a team needs when dealing with Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin for 6 games a year.

12) Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina – With the sheer volume of draft picks this team has, it is simply a matter of deciding what round the Browns want to roll the dice on a QB. Mitch(ell) Trubisky is the most NFL ready QB in the draft and he’s a year, maybe 2 away from starting. Regardless he shows a lot of traits that you’d want in a future starting QB and there’s a good chance he won’t be there with their next pick.

13) Arizona Cardinals: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan – My favourite pick of this mock draft (which pretty much assigns it to “never gonna happen”). Peppers is a raw player, but might be the most physically gifted in the draft. Having played in all 3 phases of the game, he could find a home and be useful anywhere. However, no fit would be quite so perfect as the Arizona Cardinal, who love the bigger more physical safeties that show immense versatility. Bringing Peppers in means you could potentially push Matthieu outside and have the best cornerback pairing in the league.

14) Philadelphia Eagles: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU – LSU has had a history of producing some of the best defensive backs in the league of late and Tre’Davious White is no exception. White started 4 years with LSU, wearing number 18, which is given to players who show high character and leadership. White is a perfect foil for the likes of Beckham and Bryant, smaller, quicker, technique receivers. White seems like a natural fit for a team that could use some leadership in the secondary.

15) Indianapolis Colts: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky – Last year the Colts surprised everyone by picking up a player that made a decent amount of sense. This year, with a new GM, I’d hope they’d be set to do the same. Weirdly I think the common sense pick is very different if Mike Williams is on the board, but in this scenario, I would hope they’d continue in “project keep Andrew Luck upright”.

16) Baltimore Ravens: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee – Big changes currently happening in Baltimore, with Dumervil hitting the streets and age seemingly catching up with Suggs. That being said, they have managed to build a decent linebacker grouping and their safeties could cause some problems. Now they need a solid pass rusher, so why not pick up the guy who broke Reggie White’s sack record in Tennessee. I think there’s actually slim chance that Barnett makes it this far but in this scenario, I’d be surprised if they don’t grab him with both arms.

17) Washington: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St. – With Bruce Allen taking charge of the teams transactions, he needs to make a splash on a team that’s lost an awful lot in the off-season so far. Enter an immediate difference maker who can immediately become a much-needed piece on a Washington that lost some its potent weapons. Dalvin Cook joining Washington could see him pick up the offensive rookie of the year, if it all works out.

18) Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan – At this point for Tennessee, the draft would be stuff of dreams. After picking Allen up with their 1st pick, the potential number 1 wide receiver in the league, would provide Marcus Mariota with a much-needed number 1 receiver. These 2 picks alone could make Tennessee a challenger for a much improved AFC South. Equally Corey Davis could benefit greatly by being a target for Mariota.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami – The Bucs have surprisingly few needs, meaning they could go in a number of directions. Still on the board is John Ross, who could stretch the field, Christian McCaffrey who would give the Bucs a decent pass catcher out of the backfield, or David Njoku, who gives Jameis Winston a 2nd big target and takes pressure off Mike Evans. Njoku makes sense to me. Throughout college and the NFL. we’ve seen make some risky plays, that rely on bigger guys to finish.

20) Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah – However the Broncos proceed at quarterback, their glaring weakness on this team is at offensive line. Despite a weak crop this year, at 20 this seems like a decent pace to dip into the market. With no Lamp, Bolles seems like the easy choice, although Cam Robinson could be a great pickup here too.

21) Detroit Lions: Charles Harris, Missouri, DE – Caleb Brantley is a possible great fit for a Lions team desperate to replace N’damukong Suh, but  it seems like a reach at 21. So why not give them a solid 4-3 defensive end to bookend Ezekiel Ansah and Kerry Hyder, who can come in as a situational defensive end/ tackle. The combination of the 3 could cause a lot of problems to the NFC North.

22) Miami Dolphins: Haason Reddick, Temple, DE – Miami did a great job of retaining talent on offence, as well as bringing in a tight end with a lot of potential. On defence there’s still a few missing pieces, particularly at linebacker. Moving Reddick to weak side linebacker could solve a few problems as a player that can move around the field. Reddick could take some of the match up nightmares away from the Patriots who have been able to beat Miami consistently in a couple of ways.

23) New York Giants: Cam Robinson, Alabama, OT – The Giants look set to make a run at the Superbowl this year, bolstering areas of need. There is however a glaring weakness on the offensive line, which is pretty much all you need to know about this pick. It just makes sense.

24) Oakland Raiders: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford – This one’s for you Tim… I hadn’t seen the appeal of this pick until one of our listeners (Tim Brown), put the idea into the collective Gents’ heads. At the time it seemed unlikely that he could drop this far, but when you see the list of needs each team has, the opportunity presented itself. McCaffrey adds a multifaceted weapon to an already talented offence. The Raiders could very well be a force this year and McCaffrey keeps defences on their toes.

25) Houston Texans: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin – See Denver…. Okay, okay I’ll go into more detail. If Romo is still looking for potential suitors, come day one of the draft, then bringing in a solid offensive lineman makes the Texans look far more appealing. Of course if they can’t get Romo, then other players they could be looking at will need offensive line security. Paging Mr Cutler…

26) Seattle Seahawks: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida – Since winning a Superbowl the Seahawks have been hemorrhaging cornerbacks on the other side of Richard Sherman. Teez Tabor could give them a solid number 2, which has suffered with injuries over the last few years, possibly giving the legion of boom a new lease of life. Tabor brings with him some interesting “quirks”, but that’s not something that’s put the Seahawks off in the past.

27) Kansas City Chiefs: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee – After years of injury concerns, Jamaal Charles was released by the Chiefs. Both Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have done a solid job in Charles’ absence, but now is the time to pick up a solid 3 down back. Alvin Kamara is a great all round back and combined with the other 2, it provides a number of options for an offence that could use some wrinkles in the run/short passing game.

28) Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan – There is some gaps in the Cowboys secondary, which maybe should lead them to head down that path, but really at 28 there’s no one that fits the bill. So why not wish Rod Marinelli a happy Christmas and give him the kind of pass rusher he’d love to play with. Charlton could be the missing piece for the Cowboys defence. Every year we underestimate this team and in particular the defence. A player like Taco could make all the difference.

29) Green Bay Packers: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA – Whilst the focus for the Packers of late has been in the secondary, it feels like the weakness at linebacker has been overlooked. If the Packers are to achieve anything more than a playoff loss, they need a difference making pass rusher, which McKinley could be. With a good draft the Packers could be genuine contenders this year.

30) Pittsburgh Steelers: Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi – Since “HEEEEATH” retired the Steelers have been looking for a reliable safety valve for big Ben. Ladarius Green played pretty well when he was on the field last year, but unfortunately injuries have hampered him all throughout his career. Engram provides Roethlisberger another much-needed pass catching tight end. There are potential issues with his blocking, but with a line as good the one in Pittsburgh, it’s not really an issue, plus there’s no better coach at improving blocking assignments than Mike Munchak.

31) Atlanta Falcons: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC – Despite a near Superbowl win, there are some clear holes on this team. By drafting Adoree’ Jackson they can fill 2 holes. At slot corner and in the return game. Jackson is, in my opinion, the player that could make an immediate improvement to Atlanta, a team that should be challenging for the Superbowl again.

32) New Orleans Saints: John Ross, WR, Washington – Currently the Saints hold the Patriots draft pick and if it ends the way I’ve got predicted here, the Saints should be doing cartwheels. John Ross combined with Drew Brees could be a lethal mix, as both an excellent replacement for Brandin Cooks and a great compliment for Michael Thomas. John Ross could have an immediate impact for Saints in what’s a tough division for them this year.

So there we have it. Lot’s of draft activity for the Gents in the lead up to the big day, so keep an eye on the site and social media.