Final 2017 NFL mock draft: Leonard Fournette goes 4th, two QBs go in top 12
Here's our final crack at how things will go down Thursday night when the NFL draft's first round finally arrives.
1. Cleveland Browns — Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Browns have needs across the board, and should be carefully considering quarterbacks after passing on Carson Wentz a year ago. However, Garrett remains the clearest pick in the draft. He had 32.5 sacks in three years of college and absolutely destroyed the combine.
2. San Francisco 49ers — Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
From the clearest pick to the one with perhaps the most in play. The 49ers could take a quarterback, help their defense on the line or in the secondary, or look to trade down. Since the last is outlawed in this mock, they’ll roll with Hooker, an elite ball hawk capable of stepping into the Earl Thomas role in new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defense.
3. Chicago Bears — Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Are the Bears committed enough to Mike Glennon to ignore having their pick of quarterbacks still on the board? We’ll see. Lattimore has separated himself as the best corner in the class: a scheme-versatile cover corner with size and speed. Jamal Adams would be in play here too, and a classic enforcer in Chicago.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars — Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
While the Jaguars offense regressed as a whole in 2016, the rushing attack suffered the worst of it. You could improve that by upgrading the line, or you could improve it by adding a 240 pound wrecking ball who runs a 4.5 40-yard and regularly flattens defenders.
5. Tennessee Titans — Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Titans are another candidate to trade down. They did so a year ago, and several teams may want to jump in front of the Jets and grab a quarterback. But they do already have two first round picks. They could opt to give Marcus Mariota a shiny new toy with O.J. Howard or Mike Williams here, or they could look to the defense and take Thomas, a tenacious defensive lineman many have going as high as the 49ers’ selection.
6. New York Jets — O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Another team with need at quarterback and their pick of the players at the position. But we’re having the Jets make things infinitely better for whatever QB does take the reigns in 2017 by adding Howard. They sure could use him: In 2016, Jets tight ends caught 18 passes.
7. Los Angeles Chargers — Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Chargers and Gus Bradley would love to see Hooker here, again as the prototypical safety for that Seahawks defense. But Adams is the higher rated safety by many, and would provide a level of play missing since Eric Weddle left town.
8. Carolina Panthers — Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey doesn’t fit the style of football we’ve come to expect from Carolina: smash mouth. But he does fit exactly what they need: versatile weapons for Cam Newton. What prospect could better improve the rushing and passing game?
9. Cincinnati Bengals — Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
This might be a bit of a surprise, and Cincinnati could definitely look defense here. But the offense last season felt the effects of losing Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Davis gives Andy Dalton another weapon and having A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert on the field should free Davis up nicely.
10. Buffalo Bills — Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The first quarterback is off the board! Buffalo is not the most quarterback-needy team, but they’ve displayed a clear lack of faith that Tyrod Taylor is their guy, and Clemson’s national champion hero could learn a lot from Taylor upon entering the league.
11. New Orleans Saints — Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
The Saints need help in pass defense, even if Malcolm Butler is sent their way, and here the value is picking up a pass rusher, not grabbing a cornerback. Allen had 22.5 sacks in his final two seasons, winning the Bednarik award in 2016.
12. Cleveland Browns — Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
There are a lot of rumors the Browns will try to trade back into the top five and grab Trubisky in addition to Garrett, but here they get him without that being necessary.
13. Arizona Cardinals — Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Larry Fitzgerald isn’t getting any younger, and Michael Floyd’s departure didn’t help matters in Arizona either. Williams would instantly improve the future of the Cardinals’ once-thriving passing game.
14. Philadelphia Eagles — Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Eagles might be tempted by John Ross’ speed here, and could certainly use a corner. But Barnett, who broke Reggie White’s career sack record at Tennessee, would provide an immediate boost and long term security to the pass rush.
15. Indianapolis Colts — Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster has seen his stock slide after a series of issues surrounding the combine. He’s undersized, but plays with a ferocity the Colts defense badly needs. They might be eager to add a top-10 talent at linebacker here.
16. Baltimore Ravens — Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The Ravens are another team likely to give Ross a long look, but their defense needs to get back to its standard, and Reddick’s stock has been steadily rising since the season ended. This would be a great fit for the edge rusher.
17. Washington — Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Convincing Kirk Cousins to stay in town might be a long shot at this point anyway, but Washington simply bled offensive weapons this offseason and the running game hasn’t been productive since Robert Griffin III’s rookie season. Cook would change that.
18. Tennessee Titans — John Ross, WR, Washington
The Titans held out and still got their weapon for Mariota. Ross’ 4.22 40 might convince a lot of teams to take a look, and that speed would open up the Titans running game underneath like nothing else.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Tampa Bay might be hoping to reunite Cook with Jameis Winston here, but McKinley makes a pretty solid consolation prize. Ten sacks as a senior and a 4.59 40 at the combine sound like the recipe for a pretty great pro lineman.
20. Denver Broncos — Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Last season we saw the exact limitations of how far a defense can carry a team. Ramczyk lays a foundation for rebuilding the Denver offense.
21. Detroit Lions — Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis provides the Lions with an athletic tackler roaming the middle and a leader ready to quarterback the defense from a position where it is expected.
22. Miami Dolphins — Forrest Lamp, G, Wake Forest
The Dolphins benefited from Laremy Tunsil’s tumble last draft, now they’ll look to keep beefing up the protection around Ryan Tannehill with the safest offensive lineman in this draft.
23. New York Giants — Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
With Brandon Marshall in the fold, the Giants can focus on keeping Eli Manning upright long enough for him to find Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. deep.
24. Oakland Raiders — Tre’davious White, CB, LSU
It’s about time for the run on cornerback talent to start, so the Raiders get their pick of the group.
25. Houston Texans — Patrick Mahomes III, QB, Texas Tech
Mahomes has spoken about how interested the Texans seem. There’s no arm with more potential for Bill O’Brien to start working with as the Texans try to move on from the Brock Osweiler era.
26. Seattle Seahawks — Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Seahawks could certainly look for a corner here; Kevin King fits what they look for nicely. But they’ve have success drafting corners in later rounds and the offensive line situation is getting desperate.
27. Kansas City Chiefs — Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Chiefs are another potentially landing spot for a quarterback to groom behind Alex Smith, but they need a corner to play opposite Marcus Peters. Humphrey would make one of the best defenses in the league even better.
28. Dallas Cowboys — Kevin King, CB, Washington
They might be looking at Adoree’ Jackson as well, but the Cowboys need a corner to contribute immediately, and King’s 6-foot-3 height should come in handy against Alshon Jeffery, Terrelle Pryor and Brandon Marshall.
29. Green Bay Packers — T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
This isn’t just a hometown pick. Watt fits exactly what the Packers are looking for across from Clay Matthews and wouldn’t have to transition his position.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers — Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
This spot is another candidate for a quarterback project like Deshone Kizer, after Ben Roethlisberger spent the offseason weighing retirement. But Peppers can help Pittsburgh’s defense at linebacker and safety. They’re noted admirers.
31. Atlanta Falcons — Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Charlton falls right into the Falcons’ lap as a player who can upgrade their pass rush and one of the best available.
32. New Orleans Saints — Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson helps the Saints pass defense and return game, and with Sean Payton there, don’t be surprised if he turns up on offense for a few plays.