Our first 2017 mock draft was in May, after the 2016 NFL Draft was complete. A lot has changed. Our 2nd 2017 NFL Mock draft was in November, as the college season unfolded and the NFL season took shape. When the regular season was complete, we revealed our 3rd Mock Draft. With free agency and the combine complete, here’s 4.0.
1 Cleveland: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M. Since the last mock draft, the Browns dumped two QBs (RGIII and Josh McCown) and added a QB (Brock Osweiler), and they’ve got nine of the Top 65 picks in the next two drafts. No point in going QB here, as they lost their best WR (Terrelle Pryor), too. Take the best player with the most upside, not a QB. That’s Garrett.
2 San Francisco: Jonathan Allen, DT/DE, Alabama. When Kyle Shanahan was chosen as the new coach, it was pretty clear – the 49ers were going after Kirk Cousins, and they weren’t going to draft a QB here. Rookie GM John Lynch is the wild card at the top of the draft. New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh spent time in Seattle and Jacksonville – where defensive line depth is at a premium. Armstead, Buckner, Lynch … there’s something here.
3 Chicago: Solomon Thomas, Edge, Stanford. The Bears have a few nice young players on offense (Jordan Howard, Jeremy Langford, hopefully Kevin White) but defensively they lack young playmakers besides Leonard Floyd. GM Ryan Pace is on the clock in this his 3rd offseason. He’d love to trade back and take a WR in addition to improving the defense.
4 Jacksonville: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU. Don’t particularly love this, but there’s no OL to be taken here, I’m not buying the OJ Howard smoke, and the defense – added Calais Campbell and AJ Bouye in free agency, they’ll have a healthy Myles Jack for the entire season – is in good shape. I think it’s too high for Fournette, but he’ll have an impact on that offense.
5 Tennessee (via LA): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. No change. Added CB Logan Ryan in free agency, which leaves their #1 need at WR. This may be early for Williams, but imagine what Rishard Matthews (65-945-9) could do as the #2 WR.
6 New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU: I’m still stinging from the Dee Milliner whiff this high a few years ago, which is a bad reason to be lukewarm about taking a defensive back here. Adams could pair with Calvin Pryor (who regressed a bit in year three; but then again, the entire defense was garbage) to fortify the back end of the defense.
7 LA Chargers: Malik Hooker, DB, Ohio State. Ball-hawking safety could be another home run for the Chargers, who have absolutely nailed their 1st round picks the last two years (Melvin Gordon, Joey Bosa).
8 Carolina: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan. Ted Ginn is gone, and Kelvin Benjamin had an up-and-down year after missing all of 2015. Four of his seven TDs came late in the season when the Panthers weren’t going to the playoffs. At least he seems to have solved the drops issue he had as a rookie. Cam Newton needs a bounce-back season, and Davis would help.