The way-too-early 2017 NFL Mock Draft – who are the best players everyone is watching right now.
Of course doing a 2017 NFL Mock Draft right now is moronic on several levels, considering the NFL season is just a month old, there will be a ton of trades, and the order will change around in several ways, but the goal is to provide a snapshot of the market and, roughly, where the top prospects might go.
What are you watching for on Saturdays from a pro perspective?
Trying to at least get it close to the pin in terms of draft slotting for the prospects – and assuming that the NFL teams are +/- around three spots from where they’re slotted, check out at the first best guess at the way-too-early 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
2017 NFL Mock Draft: October 3rd
1. Cleveland Browns
QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame (Jr.)
It’s this simple – Kizer has 6-4, 230-pound size and looks the part a bit better than Deshaun Watson, but there’s no wrong answer. The arm strength is peerless, the mobility is terrific, and the rest of the tools are all there for Kizer to look like the next big quarterback thing.
2. San Francisco 49ers
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (Jr.)
The 49ers have to do whatever it takes to find a franchise quarterback to build around – they’ll have to trade into the slot if they have to. Watson would be the dynamic all-around leader and star the franchise needs – as long as Chip Kelly doesn’t screw him up.
3. Chicago Bears
DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (Jr.)
Everyone’s Best Player In The Draft will slide just a wee bit in a second straight year of quarterback panic. Considering that the two top QBs this year are better than Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, Garrett will slip down to the three. However, the Bears have to address the quarterback issue at some point.
4. Indianapolis Colts
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (Jr.)
Sort of like when the Colts shocked the world in 1999 by taking Edgerrin James over Ricky Williams, they could go with Dalvin Cook at the four over Fournette – assuming, of course, that Indy really does draft this high. It might not always work to take a running back this high, but Fournette is worth it.
5. New Orleans Saints
DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State (Jr.)
The Saints have to get younger, more active, and more effective on the defensive front. McDowell is the franchise tackle to build the line around for the next several years. The run defense just isn’t working.
6. Detroit Lions
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (Jr.)
No, Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington, and Ameer Abdullah – when he’s healthy – are not running back options for an offense that needs the help in a huge way. Cook isn’t going to be the next Barry Sanders, but he’d be the best Detroit back in a long, long time.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
LB Tim Williams, Alabama
Another year, another attempt for Jacksonville to find a dangerous pass rusher. The Jaguars are coming up with sacks, and there are options around Dante Fowler, but Williams is a potential killer. The D will keep stockpiling talent.
8. Miami Dolphins
S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan (Soph.)
Merry Christmas if Peppers last this long. No, he won’t play linebacker at the next level, and the Dolphins might love to have a top corner here, but Peppers is going top ten no matter what the need.
9. San Diego Chargers
OT Cam Robinson, Alabama (Jr.)
It only seems like San Diego is always looking for an offensive tackle to groom as a franchise guy to keep Phil Rivers upright. Robinson and D.J. Fluker would help build up an Alabama O line – that’s not a bad thing.
10. Tennessee Titans
CB Jalen Tabor, Florida (Jr.)
Address the secondary situation with the first pick in the first round, go with the best player on the board with the second first round selection later. Tabor should test off the charts at the Combine and might end up being a top five pick.
11. Arizona Cardinals
QB Brad Kaaya, Miami (Jr.)
Considered a top five prospect before the rise of DeShone Kizer, Kaaya might still go a whole lot earlier than this. Arizona has to go young at quarterback in a hurry.
12. Washington Redskins
SS Jamal Adams, LSU (Jr.)
The Washington secondary needs to get stronger and more productive – it needs a star safety to work around. Adams is a top ten talent who could slide a little bit.
13. Buffalo Bills
DE Charles Harris, Missouri (Jr.)
Always looking for pass rushing playmakers – and it’s working. The attacking defense is cranking up the sacks – Buffalo is third in the NFL after four games – and Harris would be another star to fit the mold. He’s the hybrid type everyone wants, and the Bills would love.
14. New York Jets
DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
The Jets have to trade up and do whatever is possible to get a proper quarterback, but Allen is the versatile line presence to pair with Leonard Williams to build up front wall with a potentially devastating tandem.
15. Baltimore Ravens
DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee (Jr.)
The Ravens have to keep upgrading the defense and have to keep finding difference-makers on the outside. It would be nice to get Tim Williams to be another Terrell Suggs, but Barnett would hardly be a bad consolation prize – he’d fit perfectly.
16. Tennessee Titans
OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame (Jr.)
Take your right tackle for the other side of Taylor Lewan, move Jack Conklin to guard – or at least have the option to do it – and now you have the bones of a potentially dominant line for Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry to work behind.
17. Dallas Cowboys
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
The Dallas defensive front has to keep getting younger and stronger. Finding more receivers to help out Dak Prescott would be a plus, but Foster would be a leader and thumper for the defense to work around with Sean Lee winding down.
18. Atlanta Falcons
DE Dawuane Smoot, Illinois
A high-riser in draft circles, Smoot will blossom into a sure-thing top 20 pick come April. Atlanta always seems to need pass rushing help. It keeps addressing the problem, and it’s not working. The Falcons have generated an NFL dead-last four sacks so far.
19. Oakland Raiders
DE Carl Lawson, Auburn (Jr.)
The Raiders have to find more playmaking pass rushers and they need more defensive difference-makers. Lawson will grow throughout the draft process and should be one of the hot guys after the combine.
20. New York Giants
LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State (Jr.)
It would be an absolute steal if McMillan falls this far. Boosting up the offensive line is always a must, and finding a running back would be nice, but the Giants will take the best player on the board where they’re likely going to draft.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
S Marcus Maye, Florida
Whether it’s Maye, or it’s Washington’s Budda Baker, Tampa Bay has to go safety, safety, safety both in the draft and free agency. The offense is going to be a juggernaut over the next several years, and now the defense has to keep up its end of the bargain.
22. Kansas City Chiefs
CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama (Soph.)
The Chiefs have defensive backs, but put a talent like Humphrey – if he lasts this long; hardly a given – on the other side of Marcus Peters and you have something truly special.
23. Cleveland Browns
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC (Jr.)
No matter where that second first round pick is, the Browns have to go dynamic and they have to go with a receiver to help whatever quarterback they take early.
24. Houston Texans
DT Lowell Lotulelei, Utah (Jr.)
With Vince Wilfork’s tank about to run out, the Texans will soon need another anchor for the interior. Lotulelei suffered a shoulder injury against USC, but it’s not considered a problem.
25. Cincinnati Bengals
S Budda Baker, Washington (Jr.)
He’s not big enough, but he can hit like a ton of bricks, lead the secondary, and be an all-around playmaker for a defense that gets production out of guys who can simply play. He’s a top ten talent with a fourth round frame – but he can ball.
26. Philadelphia Eagles
TE Jake Butt, Michigan
If there isn’t a stud wideout there for the taking, why not build on a positive? Help out the young franchise quarterback with another sure-thing tight end who can do a little of everything right. The Eagles already have a nice trio of Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton, but Butt is an upgrade.
27. Seattle Seahawks
DT Jarron Jones, Notre Dame
Pair him next to Jarran Reed and the Seahawk interior would be a brick wall for a decade. This might be a wee bit high for Jones, and he might be more of a rock than an interior pass rusher, but Seattle does what Seattle does – and it almost always works.
RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (Jr.)
That other Oregon back – Jonathan Stewart – worked out more than fine. Freeman adds more flash and more pop, but with the size, too. Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne are fine, but Freeman’s a franchise option to take the heat off of Cam.
29. Green Bay Packers
CB Adoree Jackson, USC (Jr.)
It seems like the Packers are always looking for secondary help. It’s early, but they allowing a whopping 8.9 yards per pass attempt – only the Jets are giving up more. If there isn’t a good pass rusher available, going young at corner doesn’t have a downside.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
LB Anthony Walker, Northwestern (Jr.)
Throw him on the pile in an already terrific-looking corps. Put him in with Ryan Shazier and Tyler Matakevich, and Pittsburgh has its foundation for the next several years.
31. New England Patriots
C Pat Elflein, Ohio State
He fits the Bill Belichick offensive lineman model to a T. While he’s an NFL center or an undersized guard, he can move around where needed. Ultra-reliable, from a big-name school, and a producer at the highest of levels, he’s a seven-year rock in the Pat attack.
32. Denver Broncos
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (Jr.)
It’s just too perfect on a variety of levels. The family ties, the local angle, and the style and game all add up. Use him in a variety of ways, move C.J. Anderson, or just create a three-headed monster at running back. He and Devontae Booker would make for a fantastic tandem.