NFL 2017 Mock Draft 3.0: Head Coaching Shakeups
1.1, Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M - Garrett has fairly lofty expectations coming out of A&M, given the last Aggie edge rusher to go in the first round is currently the NFL's highest paid defender in Von Miller, but if there is a player in this draft who could actually exceed expectations, Garrett is it. A nightmare pass rusher since his true freshman season in 2014 who has since significantly improved his run defense since, Garrett is as complete a player as one could find in this draft and can match his impressive production with terrific potential thanks to a prototypical frame and fantastic athletic ability. The Browns, who reportedly have an astronomical grade on Garrett, would do well to add him to their leaky defense.
1.2, San Francisco 49ers - Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame - It's tough to say whether Kizer will come off the board before Tar Heel Mitch Trubisky, but I think with a new head coach coming in to replace Chip Kelly, it seems likely that GM Jed York will reach for a big bodied, prototypically size passer like Kizer with his top choice. Despite an up and down year that saw him nearly benched early in the season because of a couple of bad losses, Kizer has a big arm, great athleticism, size, production, and leadership qualities that will draw some comparisons to Cam Newton. In a class of fairly mediocre quarterbacks, Kizer doesn't stand out as the best of the bunch, but with Kelly out, I think it's more likely they turn to Kizer to turn around this team.
1.3, Chicago Bears - Mitch Trubisky, QB, Notre Dame - Despite a nice season from free agent Brian Hoyer, HC John Fox is no doubt looking for his franchise quarterback in this year's draft. While not a can't miss prospect, Trubisky has the traits of a solid NFL starter. Despite just one year as the starter in college, Trubisky showed accuracy, arm talent, footwork, and athleticism that NFL scouts love in quarterback prospects. The knocks against him are big, as he played in a spread system loaded with big time college playmakers and has just one year of tape to go on, but Fox, who is no doubt on the hot seat this offseason and will likely be losing vertical threat Alshon Jeffery, is desperate for a quarterback who can bring the Bears back to relevance again.
1.4, Jacksonville Jaguars - Jonathan Allen, DE/DT, Alabama - It'd be unfortunate that someone as talented as Allen falls to fourth given he makes a case as the best player in this draft, but the Jaguars would be giddy to get someone like him at this spot. Under new defensive-minded HC Doug Marrone and guided by head of football ops. Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars will no doubt take the anchor of the nation's best defense at this spot and solidify one of the youngest and most talented defensive fronts in football. Versatile, powerful, and techincally savvy, Allen is a big time difference maker who will take a ton of pressure off rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler and a young but improving secondary headed by 1st rounder Jalen Ramsey.
1.5, Tennessee Titans - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson - Absolutely dominant in the National Championship game, Williams proved why he will likely be the first receiver off the board in this year's draft. Blessed with a solid 6'4 frame, Williams is fast, strong, and possesses great hands and ball skills. While the Titans discovered a diamond in the rough in free agent signee Rishard Mathews, a true #1 weapon to complement him would do wonders for 23 year old Marcus Mariota and this offense, which lacked depth of virtually any kind at the wideout position behind Mathews. In a fairly deep class of corners, the Titans and GM Jon Robinson can afford to wait for a later pick in order to address what is probably a bigger need for this team.
1.6, New York Jets - Jamal Adams, SS, LSU - No team disappointed quite as much this season as the Jets, who followed a 10 win season with half as many and are more lost than ever going forward. With a totally decimated secondary in need of repair, and reports circulating that the team could move on from both SS Calvin Pryor and FS Marcus Gilchrist following an injury, Adams seems like a more than realistic pick. A terrific playmaker with prototypical size and speed, Adams is the latest in a long line of talented LSU defensivebacks that include Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne, Patrick Peterson, and Eric Reid. If Revis moves to safety, a corner would be nice, but shoring up this secondary should be priority one for HC Todd Bowles in 2017.
1.7, San Diego Chargers - Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State - Dwight Lowery was serviceable this season at FS, but the Chargers, who fired HC Mike McCoy this offseason, desperately need a longterm replacement for 2016 departure Eric Weddle. Hooker was as big as a playmaker as any defensiveback in college this season, finishing with three interceptions for touchdowns and seven total this season, drawing numerous Ed Reed comparisons. He's still fairly raw in terms of technique, and only a redshirt sophomore, but Hooker could solidify in my mind what is one of the best secondaries in football which will return starters Jahleel Addae, Casey Hayward, and Jason Verrett in 2017 for a full season in a new city in Los Angeles.
1.8, Carolina Panthers - Teez Tabor, CB, Florida - The Panthers were absolutely shredded this season in the air after the departure of Josh Norman despite a decent season from James Bradberry, and are in big need of help if they hope to return to the Super Bowl. Tabor is an athletic, lengthy playmaker who could step into a starting role immediately for the Panthers. While not quite the cover man that teammate Vernon Hargreaves III was last year, Tabor has more size and had a terrific second half of the season when he wasn't in the spotlight nearly as much. While his character could be a minor concern, the Panthers clearly don't shy away from brash, cocky players, and Tabor has the confidence to come in right away and make a difference.
1.9, Cincinnati Bengals - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama - The Bengals severely struggled to protect Andy Dalton this season and lost a number of key starters to injuries in what was ultimately a pretty disappointing season without OC Hue Jackson. While injuries can't be predicted or prevented, protecting your franchise passer is something that can be addressed, especially with draft capital. Robinson is a monster and dominates in run blocking who could easily replace former first rounder Cedric Ogbuehi, who delivered an extremely underwhelming season. Robinson has his fair share of off-field issues and has a well-documented history with the law, but that shouldn't stop Cincinnati from pulling the trigger on the draft's top blocker.
1.10, Buffalo Bills - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - Almost no player in this draft is more difficult to grade than Deshaun Watson, the National Championship winner out of Clemson. Despite a relatively slow start to a year filled with unfairly high expectations, Watson picked it up down the stretch and delivered nothing short of a spectacular performance against what is likely the nation's best defense in Alabama. Watson has a quick delivery, is highly mobile, accurate, and a proven winner who showed some toughness and mental fortitude over the course of the season despite some issues with decision making. Look for GM Doug Whaley to attempt to address Buffalo's primary need with a first round selection in this year's draft.
1.11, New Orleans Saints - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee - Despite a terrific year from Cameron Jordan, this Saints defensive line has still failed to consistently stop opposing offenses on the ground and deliver a meaningful pass rush despite investing serious draft capital over the past few years into the front (Hau'oli Kihaha, Sheldon Rankins). Time to change that. Derek Barnett is this draft's second best pass rusher to Myles Garrett and was an absolute terror for three years at Tennessee, overcoming off the charts athleticism with solid technique, balance, and a solidly built frame that held up in the run game. While production is often overvalued, there's something to be said of Barnett's consistently productive college career.
1.12, Cleveland Browns - Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama - The nation's hardest hitter was an absolute terror for the Tide's defense this year, replacing a senior leader in Reggie Ragland with just as much intensity, technique, and leadership while adding even better athleticism and explosiveness. Foster was no doubt the enforcer of this Alabama defense, and he showed it by holding up consistently in coverage, delivering as an effective blitzer, and of course, headlining Alabama's trademark suffocating run defense. The Browns got a solid season from Christian Kirksey, but could benefit from a leader and violent tackle machine like Foster to complement top pick Myles Garrett and hopefully fill the hole left by FA Jamie Collins.
1.13, Arizona Cardinals - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan - After releasing former first round pick Michael Floyd in the middle of the season, the Cardinals shuffled through a trio of second rate pass catchers like JJ Nelson, John Brown, and Jaron Brown, none of whom are legitimate #2 wideouts. Davis has Pro Bowl potential. As college football's all time receiving leader, Davis used a sleek 6'3 frame and deceptive speed to torch FCS and FBS defenses alike these past four years at WMU. With long arms and solid hands, as well as a willingness to block and get physical with opposing cornerbacks, Davis should be a welcome change from speedsters Brown and Nelson and has the upside to replace Larry Fitzgerald as a number one down the line.
1.14, Indianapolis Colts - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State - Despite not missing a single game due to injury and being this Colts workhorse back for two years now, Frank Gore has been thoroughly average with a paltry 3.9 ypc on over 520 carries. Time for a shakeup. Dalvin Cook is a homerun hitter who can do it all for an offense. As one of the best rushers in the nation for the past three years, Cook has been Jamaal Charles-esque for the Seminoles, putting up some phenomenal numbers as a runner and receiver and being the epitomy of an efficient rusher. Despite not having the pure strength of a Royce Freeman or Leonard Fournette, Cook offers more than enough of everything and would do wonders in an Andrew Luck led offense.
1.15, Philadelphia Eagles - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama - While Humphrey didn't deliver his best performance in the National Championship, it was certainly mitigated by the fact that the secondary around him was notably worse. While that might hurt his draft stock a little, it should be taken with a grain of salt given everything else Humphrey brings to the table. An athletic, 6'1 frame complements one of the most fluid hips in the nation, as Humphrey is just as quick and twitchy as advertised and is just as sticky in coverage as anyone. While he may have benefited from a terrific pass rush that stunted his technique more than his peers, Humphrey is a playmaker that this Eagles secondary could have badly used this past season.
1.16, Baltimore Ravens - Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama - The Ravens dealt with a multitude of injuries to their defense this past season, most notably with OLBs Elvis Dumervil and OLB Terrell Suggs, both of whom are north of 33 years old. Tapping into the Alabama linebacker pipeline once again (see C.J. Mosley), Williams is a ferocious pass rusher with prototypical size who did wonders as just a situational player for Nick Saban these past two seasons. While Harbaugh and OC Marc Trestman would probably like to find a third down workhorse to replace Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West and take some pressure off of Joe Flacco, who had a career high in pass attempts, returning this pass rush to dominance should be a top priority in Baltimore.
1.17, Washington Redskins - Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn - Washington had almost no success stopping the run this season and allowed opposing offenses to consistently run with their game plans because of this, finishing 27th according to FootballOutsiders in adjusted line yards. While not the most technically proficient, the former five star recruit has terrific size, athleticism, and power for the position and should be an anchor up front for the Redskins. Adams was fairly underwhelming against Alabama in my mind, and while it's only one game, he will certainly need to continue working on his technique so as he isn't routinely shut down at the offensive line at the next level.
1.18, Tennessee Titans - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington - In a draft loaded with talented corners, Jones is certainly one to keep an eye on. Anchoring a supremely talented Washington secondary, Jones delivered a terrific season that earned him First Team All-Pac Ten honors for a second consecutive year. Long, fast, and sinewy, Jones excels in single coverage and did a terrific job in reading routes these past two season. He'll need to add weight, as 181lbs won't be nearly enough to disrupt route from bigger receivers outside like Allen Robinson, but once he does, Jones is a smart, disciplined player who should immediately step into some kind of starting role for a Titans secondary that did absolutely no favors for it's talented pass rush.
1.19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - John Ross, WR, Washington - Another Husky off the board in round one. Drawing (in my opinion, unfair) comparisons to DeSean Jackson already, Ross is an electric playmaker who has big play potential every time he touches the ball. Despite a 5'11 190lbs frame, Ross is a supremely talented vertical threat who has terrific hands, tracking skills, speed, and change of direction ability. He's not as tough as Jackson and stronger corners will easily push him off routes, but he's exactly the speedy, do it all threat the Buccaneers need to complement big, red zone wideout Mike Evans, who was pretty much the only wideout who could stay healthy this season as the team cycled through four different other starting receivers.
1.20, Denver Broncos - Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida - The Broncos disappointed this season for the most part, failing to capitalize on what is probably the league's best defense in a neutral site. But after spending a first round pick on Paxton Lynch last year, John Elway is probably not ready to spent more capital on the position. Instead, he'll look to address the biggest weakness of this unit in it's run defense. Brantley, while not quite the athletic or physical specimen that McDowell or Adams is, is a solidly built run defender who should shore up this unit. Brantley effectively uses his hands and legs to power through blocks and overcome a 6'2 295lbs frame at the point of attack. He's not the flashiest pick, but he's what the team needs.
1.21, Detroit Lions - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan - A player with immense potential, Charlton has the chance to emerge as one of the best players in this draft. A 6'6 272lbs defensive end, Charlton is just the type of player that DC's fall in love with because of his prototypical size and work ethic at the position despite some technical rawness. Charlton got even better for Michigan down the stretch even as the rest of the team seemed to implode around him, finally capitalizing on his terrific gifts and becoming a nightmare edge rusher and run defender for the Wolverines over the final games of the season. Lions management can certainly get behind taking a positional need from a local school who could match Ziggy Ansah's production.
1.22, Miami Dolphins - Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama - Playing in a similar situation to Tim Williams, Anderson is a prolific pass rusher with great size who showed immense promise despite limited playing time this past season. Despite playing defensive end mostly this season, Anderson will likely shift to outside linebacker in the NFL, where his great burst, hand usage, and speed will be better suited for the position. The Dolphins cycled through a number of average run defenders and pass rushers at the linebacker position including Jelani Jenkins and Spencer Paysinger, and with Ryan Tannehill (and Mat Moore) likely to be retained for 2017, Miami's biggest need is most likely at the linebacker position for next season.
1.23, New York Giants - Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas State - Despite coming up short against one of the hottest teams in football in the playoffs, Giants fans and management can't be too disappointed with how the season went this year. However, despite a great season put forth by the linebackers, it's still probably the teams weakest position outside of left tackle, where former first round pick Ereck Flowers will likely be given one final shot to hold down the position next year. Willis is a prototypically sized pass rusher who has tremendous burst and strength off the edge, giving the Giants the versatility to use him as a pass rusher in place of Devon Kennard or at the defensive end spot should Jason Pierre-Paul not be resigned.
1.24, Oakland Raiders - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford - Thomas' draft stock has exploded these past few weeks thanks to a strong finish to a redshirt sophomore season at Stanford. Thomas was a playmaker for the Cardinals this past season, using a 6'3 273lbs frame to disrupt rushing lanes, set the edge, and deliver consistent pressure against opposing players. The Raiders got a poor season from Jihad Ward, and Thomas is probably a better player to pair opposite Khalil Mack on the edge than Ward or Mario Edwards. It was a disappointing end to a great season for the Raiders, especially after getting an MVP like performance out of Derek Carr until his thumb injury, but now is the time to reload and prepare for next season.
1.25, Houston Texans - Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana - The Texans offensive line as a unit wasn't horrendous in 2016, but individually, the play from it's guards was seriously lacking according to ProFootballFocus. If HC Bill O'Brien hopes to maximize his production from last year's signee Lamar Miller, being able to establish the run better should be a key focus. Dan Feeney is a tough, physical guard who could easily replace Jeff Allen inside. Feeney pairs terrific size and power for the position with solid footwork and athleticism necessary to get into the second level and move linebackers out of the way. In pass protection, Feeney is just as reliable, making this an easy selection for a team that rotated through a ton of 2nd teamers up front in 2016.
1.26, Seattle Seahawks - Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin - OL coach Tom Cable had his hands full this offseason, as the team struggled with injuries and inconsistencies all along the offensive line. However, even when healthy, this is at best an average unit with some serious holes at the tackle position. As a JUCO transfer, Ramcyzk proved his value for the Badgers this past season. At 6'6 313lbs, Ramcyzk doesn't lack for size or power, and he absolutely dominates in the run game, something that the Seahawks would love to get back to next season. While not as prolific in pass protection, Ramcyzk is solid here, and should be good to man the tackle spot at the next level. Still a young, talented team, the Seahawks can continue to draft by need.
1.27, Kansas City Chiefs - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida - I've had Wilson all over these mocks, because he's so tough to evaluate. On one hand, the advance metrics would support the argument that Wilson was even better than Teez Tabor. On the other hand, Wilson benefited from a stout supporting cast that might have allowed him to coast on his athleticism sometimes. Whatever the case, Wilson is no question a first round talent with terrific athleticism, fluidity, intelligence, prototypical size, and a willingness to support in the run game. Looking to replace liability Phillip Gaines outside, Wilson would be a perfect fit in a Chiefs defense loaded with pass rushing talent that could take some of the pressure off of a promising rookie.
1.28, Dallas Cowboys - Malik McDowell, DT/DE, Michigan State - The Cowboys defense under DC Rod Marinelli was all about the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts. A quick glance on the front four and you'll notice the lack of recognizable names there despite finishing as the top rushing defense in the league. McDowell could certainly come in and earn a starting role. Blessed with tremendous physical gifts similar to DeForest Buckner, McDowell is a versatile defensive lineman who, battling through injuries, delivered a solid year against the run and pass and has great athleticism inside a 6'6 276lbs frame. While DE David Irving showed some flashes of brilliance, this unit could use a big name up front to build on a great year.
1.29, Green Bay Packers - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State - After a report surfaced that the Packers are likely to part ways with longtime cornerback Sam Shields following an injury plagued season, and with another lukewarm season from former first round pick Damarious Randall, it's becoming increasingly likely the team goes after a cornerback with their top selection. Marshon Lattimore is an intriguing option. Described as a more talented Eli Apple by Mel Kiper, Lattimore is an athletic playmaking cornerback who was as sticky in coverage as anybody in college football this past season. Despite just one year as the full time starter, Lattimore has the physical traits to become a successful cover corner at the next level.
1.30, Pittsburgh Steelers - Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt - Cunningham is probably one of the most intriguing inside linebacker prospect to come out of the draft in years. At 6'4 235lbs, Cunningham is an intimidating presence with length and range to wrap up ball carriers behind the line. But Cunningham runs and attacks with the speed of a safety, efficiently identifying where to go and how to get there. While he could improve some of his angles of attack, and probably add some strength to his somewhat lanky frame, Cunningham is an exciting raw talent who would benefit in the Steel City playing alongside young talents Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier as well as vets Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison.
1.31, New England Patriots - Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan - Peppers has slid like no other since November, despite riding Heisman hype nearly the whole season with his exciting playmaking. If there's one team that could figure out a role for Peppers, its HC Bill Bellichek. Peppers is a twitchy, freak athlete who did just about everything for the Wolverines, lining up at linebacker, safety, kick returner, punt returner, runningback, and even quarterback. But questions linger about his lack of strength and tackling mechanics, as well as a discrepancy between his "playmaking" and just one career interception in two season at Michigan. He's not without his flaws, but Peppers has potential to become a Deone Bucannan if coached properly.
1.32, Atlanta Falcons - Marcus Maye, FS, Florida - Tapping into the Florida pipeline once again, HC Dan Quinn will complete his Seattle Seahawks rebuild in Atlanta by drafting his Earl Thomas mirror. Like Thomas, Maye is a playmaking centerfielder for the Gators who, like the Roadrunner, makes up for power and hitting with light feet, fluid movement, and excellent awareness. If reunited with teammate Keanu Neal, it'd be hard not to see the comparisons between the Legion of Boom and the Falcons; the team has made it this far with Neal playing Kam Chancellor, Desmond Trufant (until he got injured) playing Richard Sherman, and Jalen Collins playing Brandon Browner (sort of). Maye would be a perfect addition for this Falcons unit.
2.1, Cleveland Browns - Patrick Mahommes, QB, Texas Tech - With Josh McCown set to become a free agent, and RG3 heavily disappointing this past season, it's certainly possible the Browns target a project quarterback like Patrick Mahommes with their second round pick. Despite a playstyle similar to Johnny Manziel at times (credit to Kliff Klingsberry, Manziel and Mahommes QBs coach), Mahommes is an athletic, solidly built passer with a ton of arm talent necessary to make all of the throws in the NFL. His technique is inconsistent, and he'll be coming from a system that didn't require pro-style reads, but at just 21 years old, the Browns will likely give Mahommes a redshirt season to develop his immense potential.
2.2, San Francisco 49ers - JuJu Smith Schuster, WR, USC - Chip Kelly's offense was dependent on playmakers, and the 49ers were had at noticeable shortage of them this past season, arguably possessing the league's least dangerous skill position players. That needs to change under Kyle Shannahan, who relies on a big-time "X" receiver for his offense to work. Schuster could be that guy. Under the development of a coach who has made Julio Jones and Andre Johnson what they are today, Schuster has a similar skill set and physical kit: solidly built, lengthy 6'2 frame with impressive speed, ball skills, toughness, and consistent production at USC over a three year career. Schuster can step in right away to a 49ers unit needing playmakers.
2.3, Jacksonville Jaguars - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama - Following a report that the team is likely moving on from tight end Julius Thomas, the Jaguars would do well to provide struggling QB Blake Bortles a solid checkdown option up the seam in a big, athletic tight end. Howard, an SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year with a 4.0 GPA, is perfect for Jacksonville's restructuring. While the production wasn't always there in a ground heavy attack at Alabama, especially with a true freshman quarterback under center in Jalen Hurts, Howard showed up big in two National Championship games and flashed athleticism, speed, and YAC potential at the position. Bringing in another big vertical threat to this Jaguars offense can only help Bortles development.
2.4, Chicago Bears - Adoree Jackson, CB, USC - One of the draft's most exciting playmakers, Jackson will leave a USC program as one of it's most lethal weapons. As both a special teamer and cornerback (and occasionally WR), Jackson found ways to get into the endzone, finishing his career with an INT touchdown, four special teams touchdowns, and six receiving touchdowns, in addition to five INTs his junior season. Jackson isn't especially discplined or technically savvy, but he has unquestioned ball skills and athleticism as well as great recovery speed. HC John Fox, who is likely on the hotseat this season, struggled with poor play from his cornerbacks and will likely be looking for a playmaker like Jackson to step in right away on the outside.
2.5, Los Angeles Rams - Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma - Picking up right where Sterling Shepard left off, Westbrook had a terrific year with QB Baker Mayfield, finishing with 80 catches for over 1500 yards and 17 touchdowns. Despite just one year as the team's top weapon, Westbrook has displayed enough to become a top weapon at the next level. He has unquestioned speed, and has the burst off the line and the second gear to leave cornerbacks in the dust, as well as unexpected toughness and body control for someone just 175lbs. He's not the route runner that Shepard was, and will struggle with stronger cornerbacks in press coverage, but he's the fast vertical threat the Rams seriously lacked in lumbering wideouts Kenny Britt and Brian Quick.
2.6, San Diego Chargers - Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah - With Phillip Rivers entering the twilight years of his career, protecting him will become of utmost importance, and this offensive line is not going to get it done. Bolles is a high upside player with exceptional physical tools. A nasty, physical blocker, Bolles possesses the power and athleticism needed to play the tackle spot, engaging blockers quickly and neutralizing them efficiently with an initial punch and proper hand placement. While Utah's up-tempo offense prevented him from having to remain in pass proection too long, which might have exposed his lack of technical expertise, Bolles is a not just a great player but a person who has overcome a troubled past to be where he is today.
2.7, New York Jets - Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU - Again forgoing addressing the quarterback position, GM Mike Maccagnan selects perhaps the most underrated cornerback in this draft in Jamal Adams' teammate Tre'Davious White. Despite a relatively quiet year in 2015, White bounced back in a big way to become a Jim Thorpe nominee and earn First Team All-SEC honors. A technically savvy corner lacking the off the charts physical skills of some of the corners available, White compares a lot to potential teammate Darrelle Revis in his willingness to contribute in run defense, experience in single coverage, and usage of his hands. As a well balanced player and consistent producer for the Tigers, White is an easy choice for a Jets group in need of help.
2.8, Carolina Panthers - D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas - It was an injury plagued season for 30 year old Jonathan Stewart, who played in 13 games for a third consecutive season while delivering less than four yards per carry for the third time in his career. Why not bring in FBS' leading rusher in 2016? At 6'1 249lbs, Foreman is a similarly physical, downhill runner to Stewart who makes up for a lack of elite speed and a second gear with good vision and decisiveness. Foreman isn't a complete back, but that's ok, because the Panthers can sub in pass catchers Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne on third downs like they usually do. While probably just an early down back, Foreman is perfectly capable of taking over the rushing mantle in Carolina.
2.9, Cincinnati Bengals - Budda Baker, FS, Washington - Probably my favorite player in this draft, Budda Baker is as much of a disruptive force as any player in this draft. Despite a 5'10 frame, Baker is a twitchy, instincts based player who combines great intelligence and reaction skills to consistently make things happen for a defense. At just 20 years old, Baker arguably anchored a talented Washington defense with leadership qualities of a veteran. The Bengals were absolutely scorched without Pro Bowler Reggie Nelson, and are likely looking to pair hard hitting SS George Iloka with an instinctive but versatile safety like Baker. A day one talent no doubt, Baker will likely be an early second rounder because of a lack of enthusiasm about safeties in the NFL and the surrounding talent on Washington's defense.
2.10, New Orleans Saints - Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan - As one of the highest graded cornerbacks in each of the past two seasons, Lewis makes a case as this draft's top cover corner. Despite a less than ideal 5'10 frame, Lewis makes up for it with great ball skills, sticky cover abilities, and proper footwork. With over 30 career starts, 25 of which in pro-style defenses under HC Jim Harbaugh, Lewis leaves Michigan as the schools leader in passes defended - that's right, more than Charles Woodson. The Saints secondary was just as bad as it's ever been this past season, and with injuries to Delvin Breaux, this unit could desperately used a composed, proven player like Lewis to come in and provide some stability at the position immediately.
2.11, Philadelphia Eagles - Ardarius Stewart, WR, Alabama - The Eagles have a ton of athletes in their receiving corps, including Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor. But what this unit needs is a real receiver, and they'll get one in Ardarius Stewart. Stewart never got the hype of teammates Calvin Ridley or Amari Cooper, but he's a solid weapon with strong hands, serious YAC abilities, and versatility both outside thanks to his size and in the slot. Carson Wentz delivered a promising performance in 2016 but struggled with receivers who couldn't run routes or catch passes. If they hope to make Wentz an elite passer in this league, they need to surround him with reliable weapons like Ardarius Stewart.
2.12, Buffalo Bills - Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan - Even when healthy, this Buffalo wide receivers unit was underwhelming at best, with backups Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, and midseason signees Justin Hunter and Percy Harvin doing Tyrod Taylor no favors this season. This team needs depth between oft-injured Sammy Watkins, and Darboh is a perfect addition. Quickly earning the trust of first year starter Wilton Speight at Michigan, Darboh showed solid hands, a diverse route tree, and home run ability, making the best of a relatively run heavy and pass conservative offense this season. Darboh has just one year of elite production, but his familiarity with pro-style offenses should do him well at the next level as a #2 weapon.
2.13, Arizona Cardinals - Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson - Despite another stellar year from franchise cornerstone Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals secondary looked a lot less dangerous this season thanks to underwhelming years from Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Bethel. Coredrea Tankersley would be a fine addition to this relatively young secondary. Tankersley burst onto the season in 2015, notching 5 picks and 19 passes defended across from Mackensie Alexander, and despite logging much lower numbers this season, still utilized his size and length in man coverage very effectively. While his hand usage needs to be cleaned up, as he is far too undisciplined, Tankersley is a solidly built #2 corner who should be solid for the Cardinals.
2.14, Minnesota Vikings - Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA - With the Vikings likely looking at the retirement of Chad Greenway this offseason, bringing in an outside linebacker is probably the team's top defensive priority. Why not tap into the UCLA pipeline for a third time? McKinley is an explosive edge rusher who enjoyed a terrific senior season, using his terrific burst and athleticism and constant motor to notch 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. While at 6'2, McKinley is likely a little small for an edge rushing position, he'll fit perfectly as an outside linebacker under HC Mike Zimmer, who has cleared showed terrific ability for taking physical freaks like Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr and making them into Pro Bowl linebackers.
2.15, Baltimore Ravens - Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma - John Harbaugh and Ravens management got fed up with Marc Trestman's lack of power running this season and fired him, only to replace him with Marty Mornhinweg, who ran the ball even less. But that's partially to blame on the Ravens lack of talent in the backfield, where Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West formed one of the more underwhelming committees in the NFL. Despite a checkered off-field history that has been well documented, Mixon is a clear on-field talent with three down skills rare in the NFL these days; his value as a runner, receiver out of the backfield, and returner is massive, and he could very easily contribute as the starter in this offseason from day one.
2.16, Indianapolis Colts - Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State - After losing Jerrell Freeman this offseason to the Bears, the Colts had to deal with an aging D'Qwell Jackson and an ineffective Antonio Morrison inside. Time for the Colts to invest in some talent defensively. Raekwon McMillan is an old school, hard hitting finisher who can punish opposing rushers at the next level. Already one of the more powerful linebackers in the draft, McMillan can stand to add strength to his frame unlike teammate Darron Lee last year. While probably not a three down linebacker because of his lack of agility or speed in coverage, McMillan is a traditional linebacker who works hard and was a leader for a feared Buckeyes unit that the Colts could stand to imitate.
2.17, Washington Redskins - Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh - The Redskins spent much of the year struggling to establish a power rushing attack with RB Matt Jones before benching him and finding some success with UDFA Rob Kelley. But in order for this scheme to work, the Skins need to dominate the point of attack inside, and Shawn Lauvao isn't going to cut it. Johnson is a massive, 6'5 315lbs guard who dominates in the run game. While his technique overall and especially in pass protection is somewhat concerning, Johnson is at his best when he gets his hands on a defender and can bulldoze them downhill. He struggles laterally, but Jay Gruden will appreciate an earth mover like Johnson to open holes for Kelley next year.
2.18, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Pat Elflein, C/G, Ohio State - Joe Hawley wasn't terrible for the Bucs this year at center, and his aggressive playstyle was certainly welcomed by first year HC Dirk Koetter, but this is a unit that needs to get way more disciplined next year. Pat Elflein is a veteran for the Buckeyes who helped make this team one of the best blocking units in college football. A solid, consistent blocker in the run game and in pass protection, Elflein has prototypical size and power and is a constant worker, but doesn't let his aggressiveness result in penalties. It's not the most exciting pick, but Dirk Koetter can continue to develop Jameis Winston and this offense into a juggernaut through solid draft picks like these.
2.19, Denver Broncos - Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech - Since Julius Thomas left for Jacksonville, Virgil Green has been consistently "meh" for this Broncos team. Bucky Hodges is the epitomy of the growing numbers of tight ends who look a lot more like wide receivers. At 6'6 231lbs, Hodges is hardly much of a blocker and probably will have minimal involvement in the run game, which might be disconcerting for a power running team like the Broncos. But Hodges is a tremendous athlete and is a lethal vertical threat because of his size speed combination. He didn't put up eye popping numbers at VT, and he might never be franchise cornerstone, but Hodges is exactly the weapon a young passer like Trevor Siemian could use up the seam.
2.20, Cleveland Browns - Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado - While Sefo Liufau was the face of this Buffaloes program this year, Awuzie was probably one of it's best performers. A lockdown corner who played outside and in the slot, Awuzie is a workhorse who contributed in every aspect of the game from blitzing to run defense. Awuzie possesses great instincts and athleticism that make up for his less than ideal NFL size. The Browns are likely looking to move on from CB Joe Haden, indicated by their signing of CB Jamar Taylor to a three year deal, and would love to add a versatile, proven contributor like Awuzie to a defense that was absolutely scorched vertically this past season by virtually every offense they played against.
2.21, Detroit Lions - TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin - The Lions struggled with injuries along their defense this year, and LB DeAndre Levy continues to deal with a multitude of ailments. One of my favorite players in this draft is TJ Watt. At 6'5 236lbs, Watt doesn't lack for ranginess and constantly uses his long arms to wrap up ballcarriers quickly and consistently, using great technique and sound fundamentals to complement awesome effort and work ethic. His junior season stats do jump off the page, but they are misleading as Watt likely won't play off the edge as he did at Wisconsin and won't get nearly as many effort tackles. Watt is nonetheless a highly coachable player who Lions fans will come to appreciate for his constant motor.
2.22, Miami Dolphins - David Njoku, TE, Miami - The Dolphins are likely going to enter 2017 without former Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron, and I'm sure HC Adam Gase would love to add another weapon to this potentially lethal Miami offense. After a breakout redshirt sophomore season, Njoku looks like one of the most exciting tight end prospects in this class. At 6'4 245lbs, Njoku has much better size than OJ Howard and Bucky Hodges, but is nearly just as good as a vertical big play threat, hauling in seven touchdowns this past season. While he occasionally double catches some passes and isn't a proficient route runner, Njoku can play close to school alongside a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill who has shown his TE's some love before.
2.23, New York Giants - Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami - Another Cane off the board. The Giants had a great season, but Eli Manning was not the reason why, looking notably aged in a number of games throughout the season culminating in GM Jerry Reese noting that the team needed to begin exploring successors. Brad Kaaya is a young, talented passer who once had first round grades from scouts. While not the athlete or pure passer than Marcus Mariota or Jared Goff was, Kaaya is a highly accurate three year starter for Miami who showed poise, some mobility, and touch at Miami. While he doesn't have elite arm talent, Kaaya is a perfect fit for a west coast scheme under HC Ben McAdoo and could be groomed to become a solid starter.
2.24, Oakland Raiders - Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech - Ford is one of the tougher players to evaluate. He put up exceptional numbers at VT and has prototypical frame that has room to add strength, and he supposedly runs a sub 4.4 40 time. Why isn't he a first round pick? Ford has somewhat unreliable hands, ran an exceptionally limited route tree, and is hardly a deep threat or a playmaker with the ball in his hands. But that's exactly what the Raiders need. With Michael Crabtree entering his thirties, and Andre Holmes and Seth Roberts showing relatively little despite as backups, Ford is a high upside pick who, if developed properly, could be the perfect possession receiver to complement big play threat Amari Cooper in Oakland.
2.25, Houston Texans - Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State - It's never a good sign when the Texans are spending their top two selections on offensive linemen, but hear me out. This is a Super Bowl quality team when excluding it's QB; it's got a deep secondary, a talented pass rush, talented playmakers at it's skill positions, and a strong coaching staff. With no franchise QBs available here, we might as well bolster the play of the team's biggest weakness at OL. Johnson is an exceptionally raw, but physically gifted offensive tackle, who, despite struggling with technique in pass protection, is a monster in the run game. Johnson needs a lot of work to play on the left side, but Bill O'Brien has proven himself as one of the best developers of talent.
2.26, Seattle Seahawks - Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple - The Seahawks linebackers have always been a hallmark of their aggressive playstyle, and while KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner are exceptional players, the team could stand to draft a replacement for Michael Morgan. Haason Reddick is a high upside, twitch athlete with big time potential. While an edge defender at Temple, Reddick's 6'2 237lbs frame is probably better suited at outside linebacker. While Reddick has little play strength or pop behind his pads, he has exceptional fluidity and is a highly versatile athlete with experience at all levels of the defense. As a late second round pick, Reddick is a boom or bust pick who could benefit on a unit like Seattle's.
2.27, Kansas City Chiefs - Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida - After losing veteran and likely Hall of Famer Derrick Johnson to injury this season, the Chiefs have to be considering looking at potential successors for him inside. Davis could be a fit. One of the most fun linebackers to watch in game, Davis flies all over the field and seemingly doesn't run out of gas in his attempt to make a play. While this results in some miss tackles and poor angles occasionally, more times than not Davis is well aware of his efforts, forcing rushers inside while using sound fundamentals and technique to wrap up and take down rushers. Davis great speed and athleticism should aid him while he develops into the Chief's next Pro Bowl inside linebacker.
2.28, Dallas Cowboys - Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss - Engram is one of the tougher players to evaluate because of his "versatility"; does he drop weight and become a Devin Funchess type player, or does he add weight in order to become a better blocker? Whatever he chooses, the Cowboys probably will need help at both positions going forward, with Witten nearing retirement and WR Terrance Williams headed for free agency. Engram is a matchup nightmare for linebackers because of his speed and athleticism and for cornerbacks because of his size and relative strength, and was productive for the Rebels this season. HC Jason Garrett will need to figure out what sort of player that they want Engram to be should they take him.
2.29, Green Bay Packers - Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee - While Eddie Lacy has a pretty good chance of returning to the Packers next season, its questionable how much he'll contribute given his injuries and weight issues. Alvin Kamara is exactly the versatile and creative runner that Mike McCarthy loves to utilize. Despite just 286 touches over his college career behind Jalen Hurd, Kamara is a fast, decisive, and powerful runner who produced in limited opportunities on the ground and most impressively in the air, getting in on third downs because of his refined pass protection skills. While Ty Montgomery was a revelation for the Packers, getting a real runningback on all three downs should be a priority for GM Ted Thompson.
2.30, Pittsburgh Steelers - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State - The Steelers have an extremely young and inexperienced secondary outside of veteran William Gay, but the team should probably begin to explore a potential replacement for Gay via the draft, given his age (32). Conley is a smart, consistent zone corner who should be solid if unspectacular at the next level. Conley constantly keeps himself in a good position and is rarely in the wrong place at the wrong time. While he has some limitations and isn't a crazy athlete or shutdown corner, Conley easily overcomes knocks that he was surrounded by unprecedented talent with his fundamentally sound and intelligent play on the outside.
2.31, New England Patriots - Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee - The Patriots got a great season out of RB LeGarrette Blount, who lead the league in rushing touchdowns while rushing for over 1100+ yards. However, with nearly 300 rushes in his age thirty season, the Pats could explore a replacement for their reliable bruiser. Jalen Hurd hasn't declared for the draft, but he is reportedly exploring entering after an injury plagued season that resulted in his departure from Tennessee midseason. Hurd is a 6'4 240lbs downhill rusher who, despite desires to play tight end, can likely be a productive rusher out the I formation. Bill Belichick loves taking fliers on huge talent like Hurd, and he could play a big role out of the gate should Blount not be back.
2.32, Atlanta Falcons - Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State - One of the most explosive playmakers in the Big Ten, Samuel was a nightmare for opposing defenses in college and should continue as much at the next level. Playing both wideout and runningback, Samuel is a shifty, quick athlete with solid vision who is a nightmare in space. He's not a workhorse rusher or a number one receiver, but his versatility should serve him well in a Falcons offense that did a terrific job this season of getting playmakers like Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman, and Taylor Gabriel the ball on a consistent basis. Add in the fact he's just 21 years old, and the sky is the limit for Samuel under HC Dan Quinn and the Super Bowl bound Falcons.