2017 NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 17-32
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: March 21, 2017 with updates every Tuesday leading up to Draft Day.
Washington Redskins: Malik McDowell, 3-4 RE, Michigan State
- Washington will have Will Compton and Mason Foster at 3-4 middle linebacker both back in 2017 and both exceeded 100 total tackles. Foster may be an RFA, but I expect Washington to tender him. It's more likely that Washington gets depth behind those two guys if anything. Washington has $65-million in 2017 to lock up Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract and make a serious play for a nose tackle in Free Agency.
- The only need for Washington by process of elimination is 3-4 right end. I think McDowell is the best 3-4 right end at this spot, but I could see Chris Wormley also being the pick. Wormley has better stats and did well in Mobile, but McDowell is the much more explosive player on tape even though he did underperform this season. This was another selection where I strongly considered changing the pick.
- Malik McDowell is versatile enough to play anywhere on the defensive line in the 4-3 and the 3-4 at 5-technique at 3-4 defensive end on either side which is a great quality to have. McDowell put on weight to get up to 6-6 295 lbs despite playing 4-3 defensive tackle at Michigan State undersized at 270 lbs while lining up everywhere on Michigan State's 4-3 defensive line.
- Other Washington Redskins Selections
Tennessee Titans: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
- Marcus Mariota needs a flanker receiver in the worst way possible. Zay Jones can provide that downfield threat.
- The 6-2 202 lb Zay Jones really dominated in Mobile. He's a great possession receiver, but sucks in the red zone on tape despite what I saw in Mobile. Zay Jones was fantastic at the 2017 NFL Combine though. He did enough to convince me he's the third best receiver in this draft and I have the Tennessee Titans taking him eighteenth overall now since he shows a lot of traits that you want a complete receiver to display on tape.
- Other Tennessee Titans Selections
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: John Ross, WR, Washington
- The 5-10 188 lb John Ross had 76 receptions, 1,122 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns in 2016. Ross will do well as a slot receiver on a team like the Buccaneers after running a 4.22 40 time in the 2017 NFL Combine. Tampa Bay has Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson as their top 2 targets. Adam Humphries isn't bad in the slot, but John Ross is more of a long-term upgrade over Humphries in the slot plus Humphries provides depth if Ross gets injured. I also considered Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and Temple outside linebacker Haason Reddick at 19, but Ross simply provides the best value for Tampa Bay at this spot.
- Other Tampa Bay Buccaneers Selections
Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, LT, Wisconsin
- Ryan Ramczyk had terrible tape against Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. That's why I dropped him to the second round, but I'm moving him back into the first round now because both the Denver Broncos and New York Giants are both very high on Ramczyk with one of those teams scouting departments calling him the best left tackle to come out of Wisconsin since Joe Thomas and the other team calling him the only immediate starter at left tackle in the 2017 NFL Draft. I'm not going to reveal which team said what about Ramczyk since that's classified information plus you can look it up on social media yourselves in Twitter's search engine, but Broncos head coach Vance Joseph believes Ramczyk has superb ability at the left tackle position and even openly admitted this on Sirius X.M. radio.
- O.J. Howard could be an option as well, but Denver only interviewed Howard in Mobile, while Detroit and the New York Giants interviewed Howard in both Mobile and the 2017 NFL Combine leading me to believe Denver will pass on Howard unless they get a left tackle in Free Agency. I could be wrong about this down the road, but that's what my gut feeling tells me the Denver Broncos do with the twentieth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- I think either team would be making a serious mistake taking Ramczyk this early, but unless Denver brings back Okung or targets another left tackle in Free Agency, I have to mock Ramczyk to Denver for the time being. The 6-6 310 lb Ramczyk may be the blindside that the Broncos want to put around their quarterback whether it be Tony Romo, Trevor Siemian, or Paxton Lynch.
- The only thing Ramczyk needs to improve is he needs to place his hands higher on blocks without being called for holding. The other concern with Ramczyk is potential hip surgery leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft that caused Ramczyk to miss the 2017 NFL Combine. Ramczyk will be a stud left tackle in the NFL if he can fix that one area of his game which he should as long as his hip surgery doesn't set him back. Ramczyk got a first round grade from the NFL Draft advisory committee and declared for the 2017 NFL Draft.
- The scariest thing about Ramczyk is he could till gain 10-20 lbs of muscle and hasn't filled out his entire frame yet. Ryan Ramczyk is a candidate to be a left tackle in Denver. I'm just not sure if Ramczyk can win a starting left tackle job right away which is why I have him ranked lower than most plus if Denver is contempt with their left tackle situation they can always get Ramczyk as a right tackle or guard.
- Another option could be Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. To be honest I'm very tempted to change this pick to McCaffrey due to Elway's history with Stanford and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey who is Christian's father. I'm going to keep Ramczyk here for one more week because left tackle is currently Denver's biggest need, but if McCaffrey has a strong Stanford Pro Day on Thursday, he will be Denver's pick at 20 in next week's mock draft.
- Other Denver Broncos Selections
Detroit Lions: Solomon Thomas, LE, Stanford
- Detroit has four running backs under contract. I think Demarcus Walker could be an option here, but I'm going to give the Lions Solomon Thomas a a 4-3 left end to put next to Ziggy Ansah with Devin Taylor's contract expiring. I could also see the Lions taking John Ross or O.J. Howard here if Taylor comes back. Drafting Solomon Thomas as a 4-3 left end to pair with Ziggy Ansah makes the most sense here.
- The 6-3 273 lb Solomon Thomas had 15 tackles for a loss and 8 sacks in 2016. The sophomore redshirt is expected to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Thomas could do well as a 4-3 left end, but he struggled as a 3-4 left end and 4-3 defensive tackle on tape this season. Thomas never lined up at 4-3 right end on tape. Thomas really struggled against UCLA and Arizona when I watched his tape. I love Thomas a run stuffer right now and I really like his rip and swim moves on tape. He just needs to go to a team where he faces right tackles and all the pressure isn't on him to be that sack artist right away. Detroit is that kind of team right now.
- Other Detroit Lions Selections
Miami Dolphins: Haason Reddick, LOLB, Temple
- I'm really torn on one of two linebackers that Miami should target. You got Wisconsin outside linebacker T.J. Watt and then you got Haason Reddick. It feels like a 1A vs 1B scenario at outside linebacker after watching the tape. Reddick was a man among boys in Mobile being the most talked about player all week so I will give him the landslide edge over Watt for the time being. Having Kiko Alonso at right outside linebacker and Lawrence Timmons at middle linebacker with Haason Reddick at left outside linebacker makes this linebacker tandem for Miami scary good.
- The Dolphins draft the 6-1 237 lb Hasson Reddick with no tight ends available. Reddick played both 4-3 right end and 4-3 left end at Temple off the edge despite his size. Reddick showed the versatility to play both outside and inside linebacker as a plug-in-play linebacker back in Mobile. He dropped back into coverage well during Senior Bowl Week and had 43 solo tackles, 22 assisted tackles, 65 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, and 10.5 sacks in 2016 during his senior season at Temple. He also abused Notre Dame offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Mike McGlinchey on tape in 2015 validating his consistency.
- Miami goes with a linebacker at 23 with middle linebacker Kiko Alonso moving to 4-3 right outside linebacker. Haason Reddick is someone Miami can draft as a 4-3 middle linebacker. If he doesn't pan out there he can move to 4-3 left outside linebacker with no drawbacks. I honestly think Miami cannot go wrong with T.J. Watt or Haason Reddick. At this point Reddick is the better scheme fit for Miami and this is a really difficult pick to make so I'm giving Reddick the advantage for now.
- Other Miami Dolphins Selections
New York Giants: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
- O.J. Howard is 6-5 249 lbs and he absolutely dominated in Mobile. Howard deserves to go higher than this, but Howard makes so much sense for the Giants at 23 and fell to 23 because the only team that needs a tigh end in the top 15 is the Colts and Indianapolis seems committed to Jack Doyle. Howard has 35 receptions, 404 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns in 2016. Howard is a player that the Giants will draft in a heartbeat if he drops to 23 with Larry Donnell being a Free Agent. Eli would have another target to compliment Odell Beckham Jr. as Howard would also open up the running game for Paul Perkins as a blocker.
- Other New York Giants Selections
Oakland Raiders: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
- Latavius Murray has an expiring contract and 0 receiving touchdowns in his three year career on top of that after only having 788 rushing yards in 2016. Christian McCaffrey is still on the board at 24.
- McCaffrey had 253 carries, 1,603 rushing yards, and 13 rushing touchdowns despite missing some games with injuries in 2016. McCaffrey declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. Christian McCaffrey is a steal at this point.
- Other Oakland Raiders Selections
Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
- The Texans make things interesting by taking Patrick Mahomes though since his stock is going up. With a dominant NFL Combine and Pro Day he could literally rise up boards like Blake Bortles did back in 2014. This quarterback group is that thin at the moment.
- Patrick Mahomes has been training for the NFL Combine in San Diego and his agent Leigh Steinberg spoke with the Los Angeles Chargers after the Charges relocated. Mahomes could go anywhere as early as 25 to the Houston Texans to 44 where the Arizona Cardinals pick. Houston at 25, Kansas City at 27, Chicago at 36, Los Angeles at 38 on the Chargers, and 44 to the Arizona Cardinals are all potential landing spots.
- I had this guy as high as first overall back in September, but I realized his game against Iowa State was a game that made me rethink mocking him as high as I did. I still love Mahomes as a prospect and think he could be the steal of this draft at quarterback.
- The 6-2 225 lb Patrick Mahomes had 5,032 passing yards, 41 passing touchdowns, 12 rushing touchdowns, 53 total touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 2016. Mahomes is a quarterback that ran a pro style offense in high school and I believe he can play in any offensive scheme. Mahomes is a first round prospect and with Houston releasing Brock Osweiler he has to be the pick at 25.
- Other Houston Texans Selections
Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson, LT, Alabama
- The 6-6 322 lb Cam Robinson goes to Seattle as a left tackle. Robinson fixed his pass blocking footwork which was his biggest issue at Alabama's Pro Day. I can see Robinson having a Russell Okung like impact in Seattle. Robinson played right tackle, left guard, and right guard in High School before committing to Alabama to play left tackle which is why Robinson is more versatile than people realize.
- Other Seattle Seahawks Selections
Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
- The Kansas City Chiefs released Nick Foles and need a backup. The only team that gave Deshaun Watson multiple interviews was the Kansas City Chiefs. That tells me that most NFL teams feel as if he's the fourth best quarterback in this years draft. Not only did the Chiefs give Watson multiple interviews, but Andy Reid loves him to top that off. Watson has a lot of traits that Reid's first quarterback Donovan McNabb had coming out of Syracuse.
- The 6-2 221 lb Deshaun Watson had 4,593 passing yards, 41 passing touchdowns, and 17 interceptions in 2016. Watson had a rough 2016 for most of the year, but went 36/56 against the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide with 420 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions.
- Watson can operate a vertical offense, a balanced run first offense, a west coast offense, or a shotgun spread offense. His one weakness is throwing into coverage, but he's grown leaps and bounds since the 2017 College Football Playoff started and could ascend up draft boards in similar fashion as Vince Young since he was the top quarterback heading into the preseason despite struggling for most of the season.
- Deshaun Watson threw at the 2017 NFL Combine after turning down an invitation to the 2017 Senior Bowl which made me question his intangibles. Watson has the physical tools and footwork, but his intangibles are something he needs to perfect because Watson has flashes of brilliance and other plays where he overthrows someone or fails to read the right progression. He's disciplined enough to correct this though so I'm not going to knock him out of my first round.
- Other Kansas City Chiefs Selections
Dallas Cowboys: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
- Dallas drafts Marlon Humphrey here. Dallas needs a #1 field cornerback. They lost Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne plus Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox are gone which leads me to believe that the Cowboys are addressing the secondary by taking a defensive back at 28.
Previous Pick: Obi Melifonwu, FS, Connecticut
- Other Dallas Cowboys Selections
Green Bay Packers: Forrest Lamp, LG, Western Kentucky
- I can finally give Green Bay Forrest Lamp so the Packers could make a State Farm Commercial with him and Aaron Rodgers breaking lamps. I mean the Packers never replaced Josh Sitton at left guard and Lamp would be the perfect player.
- The 6-4 300 lb Forrest Lamp is a guy who Thomas Coburn mentioned in November as a first round prospect way before Jeremiah or Mayock put him in their first rounds. Thomas made his debut on my Senior Bowl preview podcast. Lamps tape is outstanding as he was a right tackle in high school, moved to left tackle at Western Kentucky took snaps as the teams center in practice sessions plus he has the versatility to play all five spots on the offensive line.
- My only questions with Lamp were his pass blocking strength and arm length. Lamp did 34 reps on the bench press and his arm length is 32 inches rather than 31 7/8. Lamp addressed his concerns at the 2017 NFL Combine. Everything else makes Lamp a complete offensive lineman as he only gave up 1 sack and 3 quarterback hurries in his last two seasons at Western Kentucky after being flawless as a blindside to Brandon Doughty in 2015.
- Lamp did real well on his first day in Mobile dominating at left tackle before getting injured. I think Lamp will be a first round pick and can start at left guard immediately in Green Bay.
- Other Green Bay Packers Selections
Pittsburgh Steelers: Derek Rivers, 3-4 ROLB, Youngstown State
- The 6-5 255 lb Derek Rivers had a career high 14 sacks in 2016 before being invited to the 2017 Senior Bowl. Rivers has 56.5 tackles for a loss in his four year career at Youngstown State.
- Derek Rivers is versatile enough to play 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, 3-4 right outside linebacker, and 3-4 left outside linebacker. Rivers did 30 reps on the bench press at the 2017 NFL Combine.
- Rivers interviewed with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the 2017 Senior Bowl. Rivers met with Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter at the 2017 NFL Combine. I think Derek Rivers has a very realistic shot of getting picked by the Steelers at 30 with both Takkarist McKinley and T.J. Watt struggling at the 2017 NFL Combine. Pittsburgh can get a starting 3-4 middle linebacker in the second round.
- Other Pittsburgh Steelers Selections
Atlanta Falcons: Demarcus Walker, RE, Florida State
- Atlanta drafts Demarcus Walker here who is an immediate starter at 4-3 right end. I still believe Demarcus Walker is a first round talent, but he may fall to the second round unless the Falcons take him here.
- The 6-4 280 lb Demarcus Walker has 15 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss in 2016 after having 10.5 sacks in 2015 as a junior. Florida went 0/12 on third down conversions against Florida State while Walker went 8-0 in his career against Miami FL and Florida at Florida State in his four years with the program. Like Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett, I see Demarcus Walker as an immediate difference maker.
Previous Pick: Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
- Other Atlanta Falcons Selections
New Orleans Saints: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
- New Orleans gets a cornerback for depth here. The Saints addressed all of their needs and while drafting Mitchell Trubisky to groom behind Drew Brees at 32 is smart, it's not what I see the Saints doing.
- I like Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams at cornerback with Sterling Moore in the nickel and Ken Crawley in the dime. New Orleans needs one more cornerback and Conley is someone that can step in and start at boundary next to Breaux right away pushing Williams down to the nickel, Moore to the dime, and Crawley to the quarter cornerback role.
Previous Pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
- Other New Orleans Saints Selections
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