2017 NFL Mock Draft (Final version): Browns trade up for Mitchell Trubisky
The long wait is almost over. We are now less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Without further ado, here is my 2017 NFL Mock Draft:
Mock drafts are hard, but this pick is easy. As Sean Beazley noted in his mock draft, "[e]ven the Browns can’t screw up this pick."
With a rare blend of length, burst and freakish athleticism, Garrett has all of the tools to develop into a perenniel All-Pro pass-rusher. Even though rookie Emmanuel Ogbah led the team in sacks last year, only the Raiders (25) recorded fewer sacks than the Browns (26) in 2016.
Ideally, the 49ers would like to trade out of this spot and accumulate more draft capital. Assuming they are unable to move down, it's unclear who will be the first-ever draft pick in the John Lynch era, but I think the choice comes down to Adams or Stanford's Solomon Thomas. Perhaps the former safety sees a bit of himself in Adams, a defensive tone-setter and a great leader by all accounts.
In most previous updates of my mock, I've slotted Thomas to the 49ers (and Adams to the Bears). I think Marshon Lattimore is in play here, but Thomas gives Fox and Fangio a versatile lineman with outstanding strength and quickness and a non-stop motor.
Watching Stanford's Solomon Thomas looks incredibly similar to watching JJ Watt when he was coming out of Wisconsin. Very, very, similar— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) January 4, 2017
Despite rumors of a quarterback possibly in play here, this decision comes down to Fournette or Alabama's Jonathan Allen, for me. If teams are concerned about Allen's shoulders, it's possible he slides beyond this point. That said, their defense isn't the problem. Finishing sixth in total defense in 2016, they added premier defensive free agents in Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye last month.
While the defense hasn't been the problem, Blake Bortles certainly regressed in his third season. One way to help him is to add a back like Fournette. Given his unique combination of size, power and speed, Fournette is built to be a workhorse back that will wear down opposing defenses and helps to change the team's identity into a run-first team that plays great defense.
(Projected trade: Browns/Titans)
Since professional football returned in 1999, the Browns have had 26 starting quarterbacks. At this point, it appears the Browns could move up for their 27th -- even if he isn't the Week 1 starter.
The biggest knock on Trubisky is his lack of experience as a starter (only one season). Possessing a strong arm and mobility, however, Trubisky completed 68.2 percent of his pass attempts with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2016 including a 17-to-none TD-INT ratio in the red zone.
There's a good chance that Lattimore is off the board at this point, especially if the Titans don't move back, but he'd be a perfect fit for the Jets. Lattimore displayed his elite athleticism (4.36 forty and 38.5-inch vertical) at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine prior to tweaking his hamstring. His history of hamstring injuries is a potential concern, but he is extremely fluid with the cover skills to develop into a true shutdown corner.
Drawing comparisons to Ed Reed, Hooker is a ball-hawking free safety with tremendous range that finished his only season as a starter with seven interceptions, three of which he returned for scores.
The last time Jonathan Stewart did not miss at least three games in a season was 2011. Not only did Stewart recently turn 30, but he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry last season. McCaffrey may not be ideally suited to be a workhorse at 202 pounds, but he's as versatile as they come and especially gifted as a receiver and returner.
Better than the ninth-overall prospect in this year's draft, the Bengals would be getting a nice value if Allen slips to this point and they are comfortable with his shoulders. Allen would give the Bengals a highly disruptive, productive and run-dominant defensive lineman with the versatility to play multiple spots along the line.
Especially given the durability track record of receiver Sammy Watkins, adding pass-catching reinforcements would make sense. With all wide receivers still on the board, perhaps they add Mike Williams or Corey Davis here. That said, Howard is a complete tight end that excels as a blocker while also possessing elite physical tools (4.51 forty at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds) to create mismatches in the passing game.
Given his failed/diluted drug test at the combine, however, it's likely that Foster at least slips outside of the top 10. While Foster begins his NFL career in the league's drug program, reports are that he has never failed a drug test at Alabama. The Butkus Award winner, Foster is a devastating hitter with sideline-to-sideline range that I've heard ESPN's Louis Riddick dubbed a "shutdown linebacker." Meanwhile, Greg Cosell compared him to Patrick Willis.
(Projected trade: Browns/Titans)
Upgrading the secondary was a major need for the Titans and their two biggest free-agent signings (cornerback Logan Ryan and safety John Cyprien) will help to bolster the unit. With the team releasing Jason McCourty this month, however, they will go into the season with two new starters -- Ryan and Humphrey -- based on this mock.
Possessing the size (6-4, 220) and physicality to overpower defensive backs, Williams isn't the fastest receiver, but he's fast enough. Bouncing back from his 2015 neck injury, the Clemson wideout finished 2016 with 98/1,361/11 and has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver at the next level.
While he may lack the elite burst of some other pass-rushers in this class, Barnett's production is unparalelled as no player had more sacks over the past three seasons combined. In fact, Barnett broke Reggie White's all-time sack record at Tennessee despite playing only three seasons and the junior edge rusher became the first player in SEC history to record double-digit sacks in three different (consecutive) seasons.
A three-down linebacker prospect with tremendous speed and range, Reddick began his Temple career as a walk-on defensive back and has played a variety of roles for the Owls. As an undersized defensive end last year, Reddick finished with 22.5 tackles for loss, third-most in college football, and a team-high 10.5 sacks. Few prospects, if any, improved their draft stock since the end of the college football season as much as Reddick has.
Both Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman have elite speed as vertical receivers, but Davis has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver for the Ravens. On NFL Network on Wednesday night, ex-Raven Steve Smith compared Davis to Terrell Owens and I think Davis is the best receiver prospect in this year's draft class.
In each of his past three seasons, Davis has dominated lesser competition with 1,400-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns. The senior receiver has excellent size (6-3, 213), speed, hands and is an outstanding route-runner. Assuming Davis is selected here (or somewhere in Round 1), he will join Randy Moss as the second MAC wide receiver to be selected in the first round.
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