2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Way-Too-Early Mock

If you thought NFL Draft season was over, I’ve got news for you; NFL Draft season never ends. So it’s time to take a way-too-early look at the 2017 NFL Draft. 

Draft order is based on the reverse order of Bovada’s Super Bowl LI odds.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson. If the Browns have the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft, it probably means neither RGIII nor Cody Kessler worked out, so instead Hue Jackson and co. will get to pick the Browns QB of the future.
  2. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama. The Titans improved in the trenches offensively in the 2016 NFL Draft, and will look to add to their defensive front seven in the 2017 NFL Draft, adding either a pass rusher or a run-stuffing tackle.
  3. San Francisco 49ers: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami. I have my doubts as to whether Chip Kelly can work wonders with either Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick. If the 49ers are again selecting in the Top 10, they’ll have to find a quarterback with the pick.
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cam Robinson, OT, Auburn. Jameis Winston’s protection could certainly use an upgrade, as Ali Marpet has struggled and Gosder Cherilus will turn 32 before the 2016 season even begins.
  5. New Orleans Saints: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn. It’s going to take more than one draft to turn the NFL’s worst defense around. After grabbing Sheldon Rankins to plug-in the middle of their defense, the Saints will be looking for a pass rusher this time around.
  6. Detroit Lions: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU. The Lions never really replaced Calvin Johnson with another top-flight playmaker on offense, and could really use someone to take a bit of the load off Matthew Stafford.
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida. Former Top 10 pick Luke Joeckel really hasn’t developed into a stud tackle, and if the Jaguars are going to take that next step, they’ll need to improve Blake Bortles’ protection.
  8. San Diego Chargers: Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida. The Chargers passed on Jalen Ramsey this year, but they’ll eventually need to improve a secondary that lost Eric Weddle this offseason.
  9. Miami Dolphins: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State. The Dolphins could still use help on the back-end of their defense, whether it be in their secondary or at the linebacker positions. Kiko Alonso will be a free agent at the end of the season as well.
  10. Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M. Chances are the Browns go offense, defense with their first two picks, finding a quarterback and then adding to their defense. Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger’s contracts both expire over the next two years, and neither is expected to be retained.
  11. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles Rams): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. Kendall Wright will be a free agent at the end of the season and behind the Dorial Green-Beckham, the Titans have few proven targets for Marcus Mariota. They’ll need to add another at some point next offseason.
  12. Chicago Bears: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State. The Bears will have to determine whether Jeremy Langford can be a suitable replacement for Matt Forte in 2016. If not, they may look to take a running back early in an incredibly talented and deep class.
  13. Atlanta Falcons: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama. The Falcons defense, which ranked at the bottom of the NFL in 2016, still needs a lot of help. Keanu Neal will help Atlanta’s secondary, but they’ll still need to add talent next offseason, and a pass rushing OLB would be a great place to start.
  14. Buffalo Bills: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. The Bills had the No. 30 run defense in the NFL last season, but they didn’t do much in the offseason to improve the interior of their defensive line. Kyle Williams is aging, so Rex Ryan and the Bills could look to add a talented interior defender early on in the 2017 draft.
  15. Washington: Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson. Washington didn’t address a need along their defensive line with Terrance Knighton leaving via free agency, instead adding another target for Kirk Cousins. Next offseason, they’ll be hard pressed not to take a defensive lineman with one of their first few picks.
  16. New York Jets: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. The Jets traded for Ryan Clady to replace the retiring D’Brickshaw Ferguson, but he’s only under contract for one season. New York will be looking for a new left tackle next offseason.
  17. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama. Baltimore’s secondary continues to be a problem and needs to be addressed in the coming offseason. Adding Eric Weddle certainly helps, but the Ravens could use another corner.
  18. Houston Texans: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan. The Texans vastly improved their offense this offseason, and will look to do the same with their defense during the next. Adding a playmaking safety and a defensive tackle alongside J.J. Watt and should be the top two priorities.
  19. Oakland Raiders: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford. Latavius Murray will be a free agent at the end of the season, and with the 2017 NFL draft featuring a deep and talented running back class, the Raiders should have no trouble finding his replacement through the draft.
  20. New York Giants: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida. The Giants desperately need help at all three linebacker positions. Not selecting a linebacker early on in the 2016 NFL Draft, when Darron Lee, Reggie Ragland and Myles Jack were available might come back to haunt the Giants.
  21. Kansas City Chiefs: Jamal Adams, S, LSU. Eric Berry, Eric Fisher and Dontari Poe will all be free agents at the end of the 2016 season, and it’ll be tough for Kansas City to re-sign all three. Even if they do, they could still use some help in their secondary, adding to an already stellar defense.
  22. Indianapolis Colts: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama. With three-fourths of the Colts linebacker corps on the wrong side of 30, Indianapolis will be looking to add some youth next offseason. Help at both inside and outside linebacker is needed.
  23. Dallas Cowboys: Devonte Fields, DE, Louisville. The Cowboys missed out on a pass rusher in this year’s draft, instead opting to take Ezekiel Elliott when the Chargers took Joey Bosa. But their pass rush situation isn’t getting any better next offseason, and the threat of another suspension will continue to loom over Demarcus Lawrence.
  24. Minnesota Vikings: Zach Banner, OT, USC. Matt Kalil has struggled to live up to his draft position and will be a free agent after the 2016 season. Instead of re-signing him, the Vikings instead might look to find his replacement via the draft.
  25. Cincinnati Bengals: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC. Adding another WR next to A.J. Green didn’t seem like a huge priority this offseason, but if Green consistently draws double teams in 2016, the Bengals will surely be drafting a WR to play alongside him.
  26. Denver Broncos: Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State. Denver’s offensive line was a bit of a mess last year, and that was before they traded away Ryan Clady. Though they signed Russell Okung this offseason, whomever is under center for the Broncos is going to need better protection.
  27. Arizona Cardinals: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC. The Cardinals could use a second corner alongside Patrick Peterson. Arizona added a lot of late round and undrafted talent in their secondary, but nobody who will step right in and slot next to Peterson.
  28. Carolina Panthers: Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA. The Panthers didn’t do anything to improve an offensive line that was absolutely shredded by Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware in the Super Bowl. Teams will key in their pass rush on the Panthers’ tackles, forcing the Panthers to find some upgrades next offseason.
  29. Green Bay Packers: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama. When Jordy Nelson went down this season, Aaron Rodgers sometimes had trouble finding targets to throw too. But even with Nelson back in the fold, the Packers could use a big, pass-catching tight end.
  30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan. With Heath Miller retiring, the Steelers added Ladarius Green, but he hasn’t proven himself capable of being a top-flight tight end yet. If he doesn’t in 2016, the Steelers could add a TE in a very talented class.
  31. Seattle Seahawks: Desmond King, CB, Iowa. Maybe Brandon Browner’s able to hold down the CB2 position for the Seahawks in his triumphant return to Seattle, but I sincerely doubt it. The Seahawks very likely will be looking for a corner to slot in alongside Richard Sherman next offseason.
  32. New England Patriots: Chris Wormley, DT, Michigan. The interior of the Patriots defensive line is only getting older, with Terrance Knighton and Alan Branch turning 30 and 32, respectively, before the season starts. The Patriots need to add some youth in the middle of the their defensive line.
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