2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Fantasy Football)
With just a day before the 2017 NFL Draft, here’s a look at projected first-round picks for each team. Before you hop into the mock, be sure to check out our NFL draft contest. It’s free to enter and the top scores win FantasyPros subscriptions!
1) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett (DE – Texas A&M)
In a class lacking any slam-dunk, can’t-miss prospects, the Browns are in a unique position to grab the best player on their board and not feel pressure to overdraft a signal caller. Now, let’s just hope they don’t screw this up and miss out on one of the best defensive ends to come out of college since Julius Peppers.
2) San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams (S – LSU)
The 49ers are driving up the price for this pick, starting a bidding war with the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills who both want to move up for Mitch Trubisky. Starting out your new regime by stockpiling picks in a loaded class is the way to go, however, if forced to stay put John Lynch won’t pass up the chance to grab a playmaking safety in his own mold. Adams may not be the center fielder the NFL loves, but he flies all over the field with the fastest play speed you will find at the position. A dominating player in college will give this defense a centerpiece they can finally build around.
3) Chicago Bears: Solomon Thomas (DL – Stanford)
Quarterback and offensive line are arguably the Bears two biggest needs, however, the front office paid Mike Glennon starting money and there are no offensive linemen worthy of a top-10 pick. If forced to stay put, Thomas is a player that you just can’t pass up. In a game won and lost in the trenches, Thomas can dominate, consistently soaking up two and even three blockers at a time helping John Fox’s defense inside the front-seven now, with better value at cornerback waiting for them in round two.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian McCaffrey (RB – Stanford)
Don’t freak out, because he’s that good. McCaffrey may not be a 25-carry running back, but he’s a guy who will finally take some much-needed pressure off Bortles, with the ability to hit a home-run every time he touches the ball. Of all the offensive skill players, no one will be in a better position for major production than McCaffrey. Playing with Bortles forces defenses to respect the passing game giving him plenty of room and open space to work both in the run and short passing game.
Why is this important? McCaffrey is the best player I’ve seen on tape with the ball in open space. A blend of vision, lightning quick feet, and the ability to make anyone and everyone miss in the open field. McCaffrey will take advantage of the open space given to him in the backfield, and as one of the best slot receivers in the draft with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns working the boundary. Here is your early Rookie of the Year candidate and the most likely to reproduce the production Zeke Elliott had in Dallas as a rookie.
5) Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore (CB – Ohio State)
In an ultra-rich class of cornerback, Lattimore is starting to separate himself from his peers as the consensus number one guy. With lightning quick feet and smooth hips and movement skills, Lattimore has all the tools to be that lock-down cornerback defensive coordinators dream of. Given proper time and seasoning, it won’t be long before Lattimore is shadowing opposing team’s number one wideouts all over the field.
The Titans fill their biggest need with the best player in the draft at his respective position. He gives Tennessee some young talent in the back end of their defense. No brainer if he’s available knowing that one of the big three wide outs should fall in their lap later on.
6) New York Jets: Leonard Fournette (RB – LSU)
You could argue the Jets need help at just about every position, but whether you like it or not, Christian Hackenberg is going to get his shot this season. Adding a power running back to help take the pressure off that young passing game makes too much sense with a rare talent like Fournette.
A guy you can grind out games with and play old-school, outdoor football while pounding the rock 25-30 times per game. Want to develop a young quarterback? Then give him a real running game to work with.
7) San Diego Chargers: Malik Hooker (S – Ohio State)
Hooker is the guy the Chargers are targeting. A perfect fit in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme with the safety playing a majority of “single high” looks.
Although he was just a one-year wonder and has tackling skills are concerning, adding Hooker, who displays some of the best range for a safety since Ed Reed, is a selection that has been synced with the Chargers since the get go. It’s true he didn’t have the same production as the future Hall of Famer, but Hooker is a ball-hawk and will enter the league as one of the better centerfielders right out the gate.
8) Carolina Panthers: Derek Barnett (DE – Tennessee )
The Panthers are in love with McCaffrey, not Fournette (as they should be), and he is “Plan A” here. However, with both running backs long gone it’s time for Ron Rivera to revert back to his old school ways and continue to bolster the defensive line.
No one was more productive in college at the position than Barnett who registers a ridiculous 30 sacks and 50 tackles for loss for the Volunteers. You can find legitimate running backs later on, but you can’t find this kind of talent and production.
9) Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen (DT – Alabama)
He was a consensus top-5 pick not long ago. Now, the Bengals, who are thirsty for any fresh talent inside their front-seven, are stealing him here. A monster of a man that can move around and give you flexibility in both base defense and nickel pass rushing situations, Allen will be an immediate force and upgrade helping Marvin Lewis from day one.
10) Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard (TE – Alabama)
The total package from blocking, size, speed, and durability. In this pass-happy league, Howard will be used all over as a chess piece for the Bills offense as both an in-line tight end and a wide receiver. There is a new O.J. in Buffalo, and it’s time for the juice to get loose.
11) New Orleans Saints: Hassan Reddick (LB – Temple)
If you want to rebuild the house, you start with the foundation. The Saints have invested into the defensive line with Sheldon Rankins ready to prove his worth. This year, they got one of the hottest names and biggest risers around in Reddick who was a man amongst boys down in Mobile, Alabama. He can man the middle, explode into the backfield off the edge, or stay step for step with running backs in coverage.
All this gives the Saints an outstanding tool of flexibility at the linebacker spot, something they haven’t had in years. Plus, with four more picks in the top-105 this front office can turn their attention to cornerback and safety, helping turn what was a weakness on defense into a strength.
12) Cleveland Browns (via Eagles): Mitch Trubisky (QB – North Carolina)
After grabbing the best player in the draft in Myles Garrett, this is really the dream scenario, having the best quarterback fall to you without having to trade up. If the front office wants to get cocky and hope one of the top quarterbacks fall to them at pick 33, then adding another unique playmaker like Corey Davis, Dalvin Cook, or David Njoku could all be viable options.
With his inconsistent play and accuracy (especially in critical moments of games), I’ll be surprised if any general manager has the guts to pull the trigger on Trubisky inside the top-5 picks.
Here, though, the Browns get a young quarterback (that should’ve stayed for his senior year) to sit on the bench and mold. Trubisky still has loads of talent and ability but needs to be put in a situation that can afford to let him develop behind the scenes for at least one season and learn with the clipboard.
13) Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes (QB – Texas Tech)
My sources told me the Cardinals were after a quarterback to groom last year in the draft but never found the right value. This year, they have no choice but to pull the trigger early and get a young, live arm in the room to start learning the playbook. No one fits the vertical passing game of Bruce Arians like Mahomes who owns the biggest arm of any signal caller of the class.
With his ability to make every throw and create plays outside of the pocket, Mahomes offers the most upside of the big four with the proper guidance and grooming. With the help of Arians and Carson Palmer and surrounding weapons like David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, Mahomes has serious dynasty appeal when looking at his draft stock.
14) Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings): Chidobe Awuzie (CB – Colorado)
Everything seems easier now that the team has their new franchise quarterback in place. With the signing of Alshon Jeffery and the ability to draft a talented running back later on, this front office will be focused on building a defense capable of closing out games.
With Sidney Jones tearing his ACL and Gareon Conley reportedly now facing rape allegations, Awuzie is the next man up. Flip on the tape and you see a football player, Awuzie loves to play physical and come help in the running game as a legitimate tackling ace for the position. It may seem high now, but Awuzie will be one of the last men standing of his draft class peers a decade down the road.
15) Indianapolis Colts: Cam Robinson (OT – Alabama)
The Colts were lucky enough to go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck but have been horrible in building anything around him. They’ve thrown away early picks on guys like Trent Richardson (via trade) and Phillip Dorsett instead of investing into defense or polished skill players.
Well, even in a loaded class of defensive talent I’m putting my money on them continuing to try and help out Luck. In no means is Robinson a bad player or a poor selection, though. As a mauler of a man, Robinson will come in as a starter for the next 10 years and fill the final piece of their offensive line puzzle, giving them one of the best young and talented groups in the trenches moving forward to build around.
16) Baltimore Ravens: Mike Williams (WR – Clemson)
While offensive line will be a priority for them wide receiver is too, and Williams simply can’t fall any further than this. A big bodied possession receiver in the Alshon Jeffery mold, Williams was a one-on-one nightmare as a jump ball pass catcher, while eating cornerbacks up with his big body on slants and underneath routes. Williams will finally give Flacco a downfield weapon that can take advantage of his massive arm strength.
17) Washington Redskins: Charles Harris (EDGE – Missouri)
Offensive mind Jay Gruden has major question marks at the WR position after signing Terrell Pryor to just a one-year deal and Josh Doctson’s health and development still a question mark. However, when you look at this young and budding defense you realize they are just a few pieces away from becoming a complete and balanced unit that will be among the league’s best sooner than later.
Harris has the best first step of any edge player in the draft with a quick twitch to explode into the backfield. Keeping guys fresh and energized throughout the season is easier said than done, but adding Harris to the mix of Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan could be a nightmare scenario for opposing quarterbacks late in the season.
18) Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis (WR – Western Michigan)
They nailed a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Now the focus needs to be on getting him playmakers to help continue his development. He wasn’t at the combine, but Davis will show off superb athleticism for a big-boy frame in the mold of Denver Bronco Demaryius Thomas.
Davis will be a day-one starter and should see plenty of one-on-one looks on the boundary for big chunk plays and inside the red zone given his aggressive ball skills. Projecting 800 yards and eight touchdowns seems more than reasonable given his supporting cast and NFL-ready talent.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook (RB – FSU)
The Buccaneers are closer to making a playoff run than you may think. With a good young core of talent already in the fold the front office is just a few pieces away from taking good to great. Enter Cook. After holding their breath too long on once promising middle-round tailbacks like Doug Martin and Charles Sims, it’s time to get what you pay for and pull the trigger on one of this year’s best playmakers. Cook was a big-play machine, churning out long rips consistently both in between the tackles and through the air.
A once possible top-10 pick, Cook has received some guff from onlookers for his off-the-field posse and attitude. However, you can’t argue with his play on the field, resembling Jamaal Charles with his speed and explosiveness into the second and third level of defenses. Reuniting this Seminole with another in budding quarterback Jameis Winston could be enough chemistry to take this offense to the next level and become an elite unit.
20) Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk (OL – Wisconsin)
The Broncos are hoping one of the “big three” offensive tackles falls to them, in hopes of getting back to running the football which in turn will help take some pressure of the once dominating defense, finally. More importantly, though, it’s vital to be able to protect their young quarterback as he tries to develop into a bonafide franchise signal caller. While it’s not sexy, adding a premier blocker into the starting five will pay huge dividends later on.
Some will tell you Ramczyk is the best of the bunch, with outstanding play strength and tenacity. He was playing Division III ball just a few years ago, but the raw talent and country strength he showed for the Badgers is more than enough to take a chance on a potential starting tackle in an ultra-weak class.
21) Detroit Lions: Reuben Foster (ILB – Alabama)
I don’t know what the hell happened at the combine, but in three years people will be calling this the steal of the draft. Foster is on that Patrick Willis- and Luke Kuechly-type level, and like them, he too falls farther than he should. A shot of youth and talent into the Lions linebacking unit is just what the doctor ordered.
A team that has been linked to tight end early on can always wait at that position in the best class we’ve seen in years Still, don’t be shocked if, instead, you heard a name like David Njoku or Evan Engram.
22) Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp (OL – Western Kentucky)
Honestly, I have him as a top-15 player that I think should be considered inside the top-10 in a league hungry and desperate for legitimate offensive line talent. After watching the Dallas Cowboys dominate with their offensive line the Dolphins steal the blueprint in a copycat league.
With Laremy Tunsil, Mike Pouncey, and Ja’Wuan James the Dolphins now boast one of the most talented and youngest units in the league, while giving Jay Ajayi some real room to run through. In a Zach Martin and Cody Whitehair mold, Lamp can line up at any position you need him to giving you the ultimate depth and versatility in a pinch, however, he’s at his best when he’s inside the phone booth at guard.
23) New York Giants: Jarad Davis (LB – Florida)
I’ve heard from multiple people I trust inside the NFL that, after Foster and Reddick, Davis will be the next linebacker taken. With teams like the Giants, Raiders, and Chiefs all likely targeting him, it would seem this is Davis’ sweet spot and a lock to be a late first round pick. With sideline-to-sideline speed Davis flies around the line of scrimmage and cleans up the play, giving the Giants a real name and real talent inside their linebacking corps after returning an amazing 10 of 11 starters on defense.
24) Oakland Raiders: Malik McDowell (DE – Michigan State)
The middle of their defense is what the Raiders should be targeting come draft weekend. Whether that’s tackle, inside linebacker, or even safety, the team needs to get stronger up the core of their defense by hoping someone falls in their lap. The top two safeties along with Reuben Foster will all be long gone by now. However, a standout like McDowell might drop further than his talent says due to red flags about his motor and passion.
Ask three different guys and you’ll get three different answers on McDowell, who flashes dominant (and I mean dominant) top-five potential. After a down season for the Spartans, though, McDowell seemed to quit on his coaches and teammates and that will raise major questions about his first-round worth. Keep him motivated and he’s a building block that wreaks havoc in the middle.
Last year we saw a top-10 player at the same position fall to pick 30 when Robert Nkemdiche plummeted after off the field mishaps. Look for a similar drop for McDowell when it’s all said and done.
25) Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson (QB – Clemson)
He’s the number one quarterback on my board along with many other draft pundits thanks to his intangibles. With great accuracy, just enough mobility to keep you honest, and a switch that turns on when the pressure’s on and the lights are at their brightest, Watson is the guy you want to build around.
The Texans play their cards right and stand pat nabbing a top quarterback near the end of round one. While I preach to allow rookie quarterbacks to sit and learn the nuances of the league, given the Texans stifling defense and playmakers like DeAndre Hopkins hitting his prime on offense, I say let Watson sling the rock right out the gate as he is the most pro ready of the bunch.
26) Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles (OT – Utah)
If you’re a casual football fan you might not have realized just how bad the Seahawks offensive line was, thanks to the magician-like play of one Russell Wilson who was able to dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge pass rushers on nearly every play. That can’t last forever as the Seahawks watched a banged up Wilson limp his way through the first half of the season.
Have I mentioned this is a bad class of tackles yet? In any other year, Bolles would drop to the second round because of his lack of experience. However, even after starting for just one season, he showcased outstanding size and athleticism making him one of the best prospects at the position.
27) Kansas City Chiefs: DeShone Kizer (QB – Notre Dame)
Physically you can argue he owns the best frame to mold into a franchise signal caller and on tape he made plenty of NFL throws throughout his career. Kizer failed to put any momentum together, though, and too often became a shell of himself when his team needed him in the fourth quarter.
Under Andy Reid and the Chiefs, Kaizer can sit like every rookie quarterback should do and will ultimately learn from one of the better quarterback coaches in the NFL. Don’t expect much from him early, but five years down the road Kizer may end up being the best of the bunch, and the team’s long-term starter.
28) Dallas Cowboys: Evan Engram (TE – Ole Miss)
The Cowboys had a magical season but look to build off 2016 and prove it was no fluke. You do that by surrounding your new franchise quarterback with weapons that help him continue to develop and grow his confidence. Engram owns some freaky physical skills with a lethal combination of size and speed for the position.
Engram can be split outside and in the slot creating mismatches and opening up space for guys like Zeke Elliott and Dez Bryant. It’s true O.J. Howard is the better overall tight end prospect, but Engram lands in a far better situation for immediate production with a superstar running back and quarterback on his side. Even with Jason Witten still kicking it, I’d expect to see Engram engrained in the offense early on, even if that means more of a traditional wide receiver role.
29) Green Bay Packers: Jordan Willis (EDGE – Kansas State)
The Packers could go a few different ways here. Rest assured adding some serious talent to every level of the defense will be the priority. Willis has been one of the draft’s biggest risers to date, starting back at the Senior Bowl where he had a solid week of practice and sealed the deal with two forced fumbles and two sacks.
Willis carried that momentum with him into the combine where he exploded with mind-boggling numbers for his position and size, comparing to the best prospect in all the land, Myles Garrett.
Willis will need refinement on his technique and may never bend the edge like some of the league’s best, but he has a high floor and should be a major contributor for a long time on a defense that needs to get more talent inside their front seven.
30) Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin King (CB – Washington)
The Steelers run deep in the playoffs nearly every year, but seem to be a few pieces away from the promised land. Linebacker, secondary, and tight end will be the focus early on in this year’s draft.
Another big winner from the combine was King who measured in at almost 6’4” with a long wingspan teams covet at the cornerback position. King was overshadowed by teammate Sidney Jones most of his career, but he shut down his opponents when teams threw his way. Physically, King has everything coaches will drool over to mold into the next Richard Sherman.
31) Atlanta Falcons: David Njoku (TE – Miami)
Speed. Speed. Speed. If they got it, Dan Quinn wants it. No way they thought Njoku would still be around at this point but he is after the Cowboys selected Engram. Njoku is in the Eric Ebron mold but most elusive in the open field with an extra gear you just don’t see on tight ends.
32) New Orleans Saints: Obi Melifonwu (S – UConn)
With four picks in the top-75 and a loaded class of defensive talent, the Saints are in a prime position to finally turn around their porous unit taking some much-needed pressure off Drew Brees during his final few seasons. After grabbing Hasaan Reddick earlier, the front office focuses on the back end of the defense where this draft seems particularly deep.
You could make a case no other player flashed at the combine like Obi did. This kid displayed a size and athletic ability you just can’t find at the safety position at a towering 6’4” and fluid movement skills. Someone will take a shot on this talented prospect that has the ceiling of a top safety in the league if given the proper coaching and development
Best of the Rest
- Taco Charlton (DE – Michigan)
Lost in the mix with peers like Jordan Willis and Charles Harris, don’t be surprised to hear Charlton go early on day two.
- Teez Tabor (CB – Florida)
The second best cornerback on tape is plummeting due to two horrible showings at both the combine and his pro day. Is his slow 40 time a sign for bad things to come, or will a team trust the tape and pull the trigger on day one?
- Marlon Humphrey (CB – Alabama)
The best cornerback in run support I saw on film, Humphrey has great size and the physicality you love to see. His technique and hand placement will take time, though.
- Taylor Moton (OT – Western Michigan)
He’s one of my favorite risers, and I think he should be viewed in the top tier of offensive tackles. A mammoth of a man that can move with his head on a swivel. Right tackle is the ideal scenario, however, if you slide him inside to right guard you might get the next Gabe Jackson.
- Davis Webb (QB – California)
I’m not nearly as high on him as most, but that’s not stopping the first-round rumors and buzz. Is it just smoke? Won’t shock me to see a team trade back up at the end of round one to grab this big-armed gunslinger.
- Gareon Conley (CB – Ohio State)
He’s a first rounder based on talent, but with the rape allegation, I couldn’t find a spot for him. Another Ohio State cornerback with speed, length, and tools to mold. Don’t be surprised if he’s better than his teammate Marshawn Lattimore in five years.
Luke Inman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Luke, follow him @luke_spinman.