NFL Draft

2017 NFL Mock Draft

By: Matt Jensen | Section 312 Sports

1. Los Angeles Rams-Jared Goff, QB-Cal

Los Angeles welcomed back the Rams, and the Rams thanked them by trading up for the top pick in the draft. They use that pick on Goff, my QB1 in the draft. A three year starter at Cal, Goff has good size and mobility at the position. He has a good arm, not great, but can make all the necessary throws to start in the league. He's not a superstar prospect, but the Rams are in need of a franchise quarterback and he has the makeup to be a long time, quality starter. Coincidentally, he's a similar prospect and reminds me a lot of another #1 overall draft pick of the Rams, Sam Bradford.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (via trade with Cleveland)-Carson Wentz, QB-North Dakota State

The Eagles make a move up to #2 to draft their quarterback of the future. They resigned Sam Bradford to a one year deal, and Wentz is the type of prospect that could use a year learning behind a veteran on the bench. Wentz has great size, has sneaky athleticism, and like Goff, has a good arm, but not great. A lot of draft experts out there like Wentz as the QB1 in this draft, but word out of Cleveland is they're not in love with either of the top QB prospects, which is why they trade out of the #2 pick.

3. San Diego Chargers-Laremy Tunsil, OT-Mississippi

The Chargers have a HUGE need at offensive tackle. Phillip Rivers isn't getting any younger or more mobile, so they need to protect him. Tunsil is an insane athlete at tackle, has long arms with really good hand placement, and great feet. Reminds me a lot of Tyron Smith from Dallas and like him, I expect him to be a top tackle in the game in the years to come.

4. Dallas Cowboys-Joey Bosa, DE-Ohio State

This could very well be Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack here, but when the Cowboys decided to release Greg Hardy, their need for a pass rusher went up. Since the loss of Demarcus Ware, they haven't had anybody that could get after the quarterback consistently. Bosa provides that speed rush off the end, and can even move inside on passing downs. I feel like the media has propped this guy up a bit and he may be a bit overrated, but I still believe he's the best pass rusher in this class. Which is what Dallas needs. 

5. Jacksonville Jaguars-Myles Jack, LB-UCLA

Gus Bradley finally adds his athletic linebacker that he's been wanting since his move from Seattle to Jacksonville. The Jaguars look like a team on the rise, but they have to get better defensively. Jack may be the most versatile player in the draft, having played linebacker, safety, and running back. Was the Defensive AND Offensive Freshmen of the Year in the Pac 12. Jacksonville will be able to move Jack around and take advantage of his incredible athleticism. Coming off a knee injury last year, some teams have concerns about him, but it seems like those teams are the ones picking outside of the top 10, who wouldn't have a shot at him anyways. 

6. Baltimore Ravens-Jalen Ramsey, CB/S-Florida State

The Ravens luck into Ramsey at six. He may be the best player in the draft and can play either corner or safety for the Ravens. He is an impact player from day one. Has great speed, which translates to great coverage skills. He's fast enough to run with receivers on the outside, and big enough to cover tight ends. His ball skills aren't the greatest, but that's a trait that can continue to be worked on. He's a great player and the Ravens would consider themselves incredibly lucky if he's there at six. 

7. San Francisco 49ers-DeForest Buckner, DE-Oregon

Buckner's combination of size and speed is a perfect fit for San Francisco. He is the replacement for Aldon Smith that the 49ers have been looking for. Is really good at translating speed to power, and his athleticism and size provides San Francisco the flexibility to move him around on the defensive line. Can play the end in a 4-3, or the 5 tech in the 3-4. 

8. Cleveland Browns (via trade with Philadelphis)-Ezekiel Elliott, RB-Ohio State

Like I said above, word is that the Browns are not in love with either top QB prospect. They are not a good team right now and have a lot of holes throughout their roster, trading down and gaining additional picks is the right move here. Elliott is a complete back, has breakaway speed, can run with power between the tackles, can catch it out of the backfield, and is one of the better pass protecting running back prospects I've ever seen. Elliott will be the type of back that Cleveland hoped Trent Richardson would be when they used the #3 pick in the 2012 draft. 

9. Tennessee Titans (via trade with Tampa Bay)-Ronnie Stanley, OT-Notre Dame

When the Titans traded away the top pick to LA, they accumulated a ton of picks. With three 2nd round picks, it gives them the assets to trade to get back into the top ten. Tennessee drafted their franchise QB last year, and now they need to protect him. Marcus Mariota was sacked a ton last year. Stanley brings a great blend of athleticism, long arms, and size to the tackle position. Tennessee drafted Taylor Lewan at tackle a few years ago, and adding Stanley to the mix, they can decide which side they like either on. Lewan and Stanley have both played left and right tackle. In my opinion, Stanley projects better on the left side because of his athleticism. Is definitely a better pass blocker than he is a run blocker at this point and he will need to add strength to his frame.

10. New York Giants-Shaq Lawson, DE-Clemson

This may be a bit of a reach for Lawson, but the Giants need all the help they can on defense. When the Giants were winning Super Bowls, they were getting pressure on the quarterback. Lawson helps with that. He ran a 4.7 40 at the combine, so he can play defensive end, or is even athletic enough to play OLB in a 3-4. Was really good against the run, and put together 12.5 sacks last year. With 25.5 tackles for loss, he lived in the offensive backfield last year in helping lead Clemson's defense to the National Championship game. 

11. Chicago Bears-Vernon Hargreaves III, CB-Florida

Some teams have concerns about VHIII's size, but his cover and ball skills are top notch. He's a playmaker at corner, and his cover skills prevent receivers from getting separation against him. There are some concerns that he isn't physical enough with receivers, but his status as a lockdown corner overshadows those concerns. The Bears are continuing to rebuild their defense, and the defensive backfield is where they really need help. VHIII will be an instant starter in Chicago and a huge piece in their defensive rebuild.

12. New Orleans Saints-Laquon Treadwell, WR-Mississippi

This isn't a great receivers class. It's good, but there isn't a consensus top prospect at the position in this class. Treadwell didn't run great at the combine, but it's his size and ball skills that led to his success in college. Reminds me of Alshon Jeffery coming out of South Carolina. Is a physical receiver and has that “go up and get it” trait that, in the passing NFL of today, is a great asset to have. The Saints lost that when they traded Jimmy Graham and Treadwell has that huge catch radius that Drew Brees will love. Throw it in his direction, he generally is the one who comes down with it. They have their speed receiver in Brandin Cooks, Treadwell is the big receiver that's the perfect compliment to Cooks.

13. Miami Dolphins-Darron Lee, LB-Ohio State

The Dolphins need help on defense. When they signed Suh last year, a lot of people, myself included, thought their defense would take a step forward. After watching last season, they obviously need more than just one stud. Lee is crazy athletic (4.47 40 at the combine) and has good instincts at linebacker. He is definitely a three down LB, can play behind the line of scrimmage (16.5 tackles for loss), and get after the quarterback (7.5 sacks). Lee is a good pick here for Miami, though they'd love for Hargreaves to fall to them. 

14. Oakland Raiders-William Jackson III, CB-Houston

The Raiders are a team on the rise, they have their franchise QB, and they've done some great things with the draft and free agency the last couple of years. They struggled last year against the pass and still need help in the defensive backfield. He lit up the combine in the field drills and running a 4.37 40, which made his draft stock soar. He's a tall and lanky corner and will need to put some strength onto his frame. Had 5 interceptions last year, so he's shown pretty good ball skills. Dealt with some injuries last year, but nothing major. Would be the 2nd corner from the University of Houston drafted in the first round by the Raiders in the last 3 years (DJ Hayden).

15. Tampa Bay Buccanears (via trade with Tennessee)-Jack Conklin, OT-Michigan State

Like most Big Ten/Michigan State lineman, Conklin plays with a mean streak in him. He profiles more as a right tackle, as he struggled at times against speed rushers in his career at MSU. Not athletic enough to be a long term answer at left tackle, but is a good fit on the right side. Is a plus run blocker, but in a down year for offensive tackles, probably overvalued a bit. I think he's more of a second round guy, but demand and lack of supply turn him into a mid first round guy.

16. Detroit Lions-Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

I'm not as high as Rankins as some of the “draft experts” out there. I've heard comparisons to Aaron Donald which I think are ridiculous. He has the similar body type as Donald (6'1, 305 lbs), but not near as good of a player. Showed really well in one on ones at the Senior Bowl, and has proven to be a good interior pass rusher at the college level. His low pad level makes it difficult for offensive lineman to get under him, which helps him penetrate into his gaps. Detroit needs a tackle as they've had to replace Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the last couple years. 

17. Atlanta Falcons-A'shawn Robinson, DT-Alabama

Robinson has a rare blend of size, speed, athleticism, and flexibility to play anywhere along the defensive line. He seemed to take his play up a notch in the latter half of this past year in helping lead Alabama's defense to a National Championship. Robinson shows his combination of speed and power at the line of scrimmage to stuff the run at a high level. If he is willing to show a complete commitment to the game, he has the potential to help solidify the middle of the Falcons defensive line for years to come.

18. Indianapolis Colts-Leonard Floyd, OLB-Georgia

The Colts have failed in looking for a pass rusher as of late. Bjoern Werner is the highest profile example. Dwight Freeney is gone and Robert Mathis is 35 years old, so they need help getting after the passer. With athletic quarterbacks in the division (Bortles, Mariota, Osweiler), the need for an athletic pass rusher is high in Indy. I'm not as high as Floyd as others, but he can provide that athleticism off the edge (4.6 40 time). At this point, he fits best as an off the edge pass rusher, as he hasn't shown a propensity to be very good at stopping the run.

19. Buffalo Bills-Reggie Ragland, LB-Alabama

Another Alabama linebacker drafted in the first round, which is pretty much a yearly thing. Ragland is big and physical and will put a hit on someone. He's the perfect fit on the inside in Rex Ryan's linebacker core. He had Ray Lewis in Baltimore, Bart Scott in New York, and now Ragland in Buffalo. May not ever be a three down guy though in today's NFL. 

20. New York Jets-Paxton Lynch, QB-Memphis

The word out of New York is they aren't going to come to a deal with Ryan Fitzpatrick until at least after the draft, so while Lynch isn't a Day 1 starter, I still see the NYJ going with the QB with potentially the highest upside in this draft. He's big, athletic, and has plus arm talent. Played in a very simplistic, spread offense at Memphis, and word from scouts is he's not very good on the whiteboard in interviews. This is something that can be coached up and learned in the right situation. Drafting Lynch and letting him learn behind a smart veteran like Fitzpatrick would be the ideal situation for Lynch. If he's drafted by a team and thrown in as a rookie, I'm afraid he may be outta the league four years from now.

21. Washington Redskins-Andrew Billings, DT-Baylor

Billings is that big, hole plugging, run stuffing defensive/nose tackle that 3-4 teams look for. May only be a two down player in the league, but has potential to play a very key role on a defense. This may be a little early for Billings as he's probably viewed more as a 2nd round pick, but I think the need on Washington's defensive line, and the lack of supply of actual nose guards leads to him being a tad over drafted.

22. Houston Texans-Will Fuller, WR-Notre Dame

Fuller is the perfect complimentary receiver opposite Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins is showing he has Top 5 WR potential in the league, and Fuller is the perfect deep threat to line up opposite Hopkins. Fuller is the best deep threat to come into the league since maybe Mike Wallace. He's shown some issues with drops in his career at Notre Dame, but 29 TDs in the last 26 games is incredible production. Leaves Notre Dame with 2nd most receiving TDs in school history. He's a deadly play maker on the outside, with top level front line speed (4.35 40, best among WR at the combine).

23. Minnesota Vikings-Josh Doctson, WR-TCU

Doctson is the type of big, go get it receiver that Bridgewater needs in Minnesota. Stefan Diggs had a breakout rookie year last year and looks like the #1 WR going forward, but Doctson can be a great sideline and, more importantly, red zone play maker on the outside. Has good size, jumping ability, and a big catch radius that makes him the type of weapon quarterbacks love. Is not a speed guy, but the Vikings have that with Diggs and Cordarelle Patterson, if he can ever put it together at WR.

24. Cincinnati Bengals-Corey Coleman, WR-Baylor

Coleman put up great numbers in a pass happy offense at Baylor (20 TD's in 2015), but his route running was pretty simplistic and not extensive. Is going to need to work on his NFL passing scheme route running big time. He has that shiftiness and quickness that can make plays in the league, similar to the Antonio Brown mold. Was a playmaker in college and the Bengals hope that he can be that complimentary playmaker to AJ Green that they now need, with losing Marvin Jones and Mohammad Sanu to free agency.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers-Mackensie Alexander, CB-Clemson

I'm much higher on Alexander than a lot of other people. His draft stock has seemed to take a hit since the end of the season. His lack of size (5'10, 190), reports of bad interviews, and zero interceptions at Clemson, have seemed to dip his draft stock. One thing he can do is cover a wide receiver. I hear zero interceptions, my response is teams only threw on him about 10% of the time. Is an excellent cover corner, and seems to adept at recognizing routes and cutting off receiver's routes to limit separation. He's thickly built for 190 lbs, and plays a physical style at corner for his size. His lack of height leads people to believe he'll be a better fit as a nickel corner, but his coverage skills tell me he can play on the outside. The love of 6 foot or taller corners is something new in the league, and there has been plenty highly successful corners in the league that were under 6 feet tall.

26. Seattle Seahawks-Jarran Reed, DT-Alabama

Reed is the last of the National Champion Alabama defense to be drafted in the 1st round. One of the main reasons Nick Saban has had so much success at Alabama is his ability to bring in and develop big, athletic defensive lineman. Every year there are multiple pros that come off his defensive lines. Right now, Reed is more of a run stuffing defensive tackle, but he has enough athleticism to develop more as a pass rusher in the league. He showed some of that potential at the Senior Bowl this year. The rich get richer with this pick. Reed could very well be a Top 15 or Top 20 pick, but if he falls here to Seattle, he just makes that defense even more scary than it already is.

27. Green Bay Packers-Kevin Dodd, DE-Clemson

Dodd really came on in the College Football Playoffs this year, especially the National Championship game in dominating Alabama's offensive line to the tune of 3 sacks. Some have concerns about his fit in a 3-4, but at 6'5, Dodd has the frame to add some weight to be able to play the 5 tech defensive end in a 3-4. He can definitely play coming off the edge in a 4 front sub package. With the Packers moving Clay Matthews back to his OLB position, if the Packers can pair Dodd and Matthews in their pass rush, watch out NFC North quarterbacks.

28. Kansas City Chiefs-Braxton Miller, WR-Ohio State

This is an all upside pick. Miller's teammate Michael Thomas is the more polished receiver at this point, but the playmaking ability that Miller showed in his time at Ohio State, and the work he did at receiver at the Senior Bowl this year make him a late first round guy. Miller was a two time Player of the Year in the Big Ten at quarterback, but moved out to receiver his senior season. He showed flashes of brilliance there, but you could tell all season he was just learning. If you can continue to develop his skills at wide receiver, he can provide some plus plus athleticism and speed that the Chiefs don't have right now. 

29. Arizona Cardinals-Noah Spence, DE/OLB-Eastern Kentucky

Spence was expected to run a better 40 than he did (4.8), but he shows plenty of athleticism on film. He showed it just dominating the offensive tackles at the Senior Bowl this year. After being kicked off the Ohio State team, he transferred to Eastern Kentucky and showed out with 11.5 sacks in 2015. He has great speed coming off the edge and shows great bend and agility to keep blockers hands off him. He shows first round talent, but in order for him to get picked there, a team is going to have to outweigh his talent for his off the field red flags. 

30. Carolina Panthers-Keanu Neal, S-Florida

The safety class is pretty weak this year, especially if you consider Jalen Ramsey a corner, but Neal sneaks into the end of the first round. Carolina is stout in the front seven, but besides Josh Norman, they've shown some holes in the defensive backfield. He has good size and has great hitting ability. Has shown the desire for the big hit versus the right play at times though at Florida. Is going to continue to have to work on his coverage skills, but in a weak safety class, and a weak first round class overall, Neal sneaks into the back end of the first round.

31. Denver Broncos-Connor Cook, QB-Michigan State

After Peyton Manning's retirement and Brock Osweiler's somewhat surprising move in free agency to Houston, Denver's quarterback depth chart looks pretty bare. They brought in Mark Sanchez, but that seems more of a band aid more so than long term fix. Cook may be the most pro ready quarterback in the draft, but that being said, there's no one thing that he's really good at. His accuracy is okay, his arm strength is okay, his mobility is okay, and his intangibles seem just okay (was not voted a captain by his team). In my opinion, he profiles more as a long term backup, but could see him in a Ryan Fitzpatrick mold, long time backup that ends up starting a lot of games and gets better the older he gets. I think he's a perfect fit for what Gary Kubiak likes to do offensively though. 

 

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