Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: March 22, 2017.
Houston Texans: Arden Key, 3-4 ROLB, LSU
- Houston gets a 3-4 right outside linebacker with this pick. Arden Key is the best player available.
- Arden Key also known as "The Tiger" really impressed winning the 4-3 right end job from 2017 prospect Lewis Neal. You have to think Key will be the key to LSU's pass rush for the next two seasons especially in 2017 if Neal and Godchaux leave for the NFL.
- The 6-6 231 lb right end had 21 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles, 9 quarterback hurries, 6.5 tackles for a loss, and 5 sacks in 2015. Key had 14.5 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks in 2016. Key needs to put on some muscle and get up to 240 or 250 this year and try to work his way into the 250-270 range by his junior season. Right now Key has 4.43 speed in terms of his 40 time and he literally runs like a tiger when getting after your quarterback but unless he gets up to 270 he's probably better off as an outside linebacker.
Previous Pick: Dominick Sanders, SS, Georgia
2017 1st Round Picks: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Detroit Lions: Bo Scarborough, RB, Alabama
- Detroit has a lot of depth at running back. The Lions lack a #1 running back though. Bo Scarborough had 11 rushing touchdowns on limited carries in 2016. Scarborough will see a lot more action running the football in 2017 though and should be a 2018 first round pick if he declares for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Previous Pick: Iman Marshall, CB, USC
2017 1st Round Pick: Solomon Thomas, LE, Stanford
Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
- The Broncos get an upgrade over Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. The 6-1 210 lb Baker Mayfield had 3,965 passing yards, 40 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and completed 71 percent of his passes in 2016. If Mayfield can complete 71 percent of his passes in 2017 he'd be the first quarterback since Andrew Luck with back-to-back seasons with a completion percentage of 70 percent or more.
Previous Pick: Khalil McKenzie, NT, Tennessee
2017 1st Round Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, LT, Wisconsin
New Orleans Saints: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
- New Orleans will need a quarterback to groom behind Drew Brees. The 6-5 235 lb Mason Rudolph had 3,775 passing yards in 2015. Rudolph had 4,091 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, and 4 interceptions in 2016. Rudolph needs to learn to plant his feet forward and correct his footwork improve his ball placement, but he has the tools to be a first round quarterback and made more NFL throws than Brandon Weeden did at Oklahoma State plus age is not a concern with Rudolph like it was with Weeden.
Previous Pick: Kevin Tolliver, CB, LSU
2017 1st Round Picks: Taco Charlton, LE, Michigan and Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Indianapolis Colts: Harold Landry, 3-4 ROLB, Boston College
- The Colts get a pass rusher. The 6-3 250 lb Harold Landry had 22 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks in 2016. Landry is someone the Colts can build their defense around assuming they are lucky enough to get back to a wild card game with this offense.
Previous Pick: Trent Thompson, NT, Georgia
2017 1st Round Picks: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Philadelphia Eagles: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
- Philadelphia finally gets a #1 field cornerback. Tarvarus McFadden had 8 interceptions and 6 deflections from pass breakups in 2016. He can play man, zone, or press coverage at cornerback.
Previous Pick: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson
2017 1st Round Pick: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Kansas City Chiefs: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
- The Kansas City Chiefs got back to a wild card with Alex Smith despite drafting Deshaun Watson to groom behind him. Kansas City would move on from Smith though and get a weapon to ensure Watson's success and that's where Christian Kirk comes into play.
Previous Pick: Martez Ivey, LG, Florida
2017 1st Round Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Atlanta Falcons: Ethan Wolfe, TE, Tennessee
- I don't know why I mocked Mason Rudolph here back in August. This is Matt Ryan's team as far as I'm concerned after he got the Falcons to Super Bowl 51. Now we're going to get Ryan another weapon in Tennessee tight end Ethan Wolfe.
Previous Pick: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
2017 1st Round Pick: Demarcus Walker, RE, Florida State
Tennessee Titans: Mason Cole, C, Michigan
- Tennessee gets a center who can hike the ball to Marcus Mariota. Mason Cole is the top center in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Previous Pick: Malik Jefferson, MLB, Texas
2017 1st Round Picks: Jamal Adams, FS, LSU and Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
Green Bay Packers: Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington
- The Packers go with the best player available. The 5-10 194 lb Myles Gaskin is undersized. Despite his lack of size he has exceptional blocking, ball carrier vision, and catching out of the backfield. Gaskin has back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 rushing yards and 10 or more rushing touchdowns. Plus the Packers do like drafting players from PAC 12 schools so I can see them taking Gaskin this late in the first round.
Previous Pick: Ethan Wolfe, TE, Tennessee
2017 1st Round Picks: Forrest Lamp, LG, Western Kentucky
Carolina Panthers: Derwin James, SS, Florida State
- Many will argue that James is still a top 10 talent despite his injury, but that's a hard sell for me at this point. Carolina may need a 4-3 right end, but James is too talented to pass on at this point.
- The 6-3 213 lb Derwin James has the versatility to play cornerback, strong safety, or free safety just like Jordan Whitehead. James played across from Jalen Ramsey at free safety down the stretch, but is expected to move to strong safety where Ramsey played in 2016 and Florida State plans to use James in the exact same fashion they used Ramsey.
- Derwin James had 52 solo tackles, 39 assisted tackles, 91 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 4 deflections from pass breakups, 2 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery in 2015. James will be a first round pick in 2018 if he can continue to build on and improve that production in 2017 after missing time with injuries in 2016.
Previous Pick: Josh Sweat, RE, Florida State
2017 1st Round Pick: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Oakland Raiders: Malik Jefferson, MLB, Texas
- The Oakland Raiders may become the Las Vegas Raiders in 2018 and play in UNLV's College Stadium for 2 years before the new proposed stadium opens in 2020 if the relocation gets approved for 2018 at next years Spring Meeting. The 6-3 238 lb Malik Jefferson has the versatility to play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, or 3-4 middle linebacker. Jefferson can rush the quarterback, stop the run, and cover effectively despite only having 37 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles, and 61 total tackles as a true freshman. Jefferson improved on that in 2016 with 62 total tackles, but Jefferson needs a 100 total tackle season in 2017 while dominating in coverage like he's done the last two years. Malik Jefferson gives the Raiders the 4-3 middle linebacker they need.
Previous Pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
2017 1st Round Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Washington Redskins: Daylon Mack, NT, Texas A&M
- The Redskins cut nose tackle Terrance Knighton, 3-4 left end Stephen Paea, and 3-4 middle linebacker Perry Riley plus they failed to replace Keenan Robinson in the 2016 NFL Draft. Washington has Ziggy Hood at nose tackle, but there is no question that Daylon Mack is an upgrade here even with his down season.
- Unlike Tennessee's Khalil McKenzie or Georgia's Trent Thompson who play in 3-4 defense, Mack plays in a 4-3 defense and Mack has the ideal size of a 3-4 nose tackle when you take into account that he is probably big enough to play defensive tackle or 3-4 nose tackle in either the 4-3 or the 3-4 in the NFL. I got Mack as a 3-4 nose tackle for now, but Mack has a chance to show us what he can do next to Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall in 2016 as Mack enters his sophomore season.
- I think the fact that Mack did the most last year as a freshman makes him the top nose tackle for now. All 3 SEC nose tackles have the potential to be first round picks in 2018, but Daylon Mack has the advantage right now of those 3 and is my only first round pick in this updated 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
2017 1st Round Pick: Malik McDowell, 3-4 RE, Michigan STate
New England Patriots: Jordan Whitehead, SS, Pittsburgh
- The 5-11 185 lb Jordan Whitehead has the versatility to play cornerback, strong safety, or free safety. He has the size of a cornerback, but plays like a strong safety which is his natural position at Pittsburgh. Whitehead had 74 solo tackles, 34 assisted tackles, 108 total tackles, 6 deflections from pass breakups, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown as a true freshman. Whitehead has incredible tape, but needs to add more muscle if he wants to be the top safety drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. His lack of size may limit him to a cornerback role, but Whitehead had only 65 tackles in 2016 compared to his 108 total tackles and did not look as sharp on tape. I think the Patriots would take him as the best player available at this point if they failed to repeat.
Previous Pick: Trevor Darling, LT, Miami FL
2017 1st Round Picks: Anthony Walker Jr. MLB, Northwestern
Pittsburgh Steelers: Jordan Jones, 3-4 MLB, Kentucky
- Pittsburgh may get back to Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota. If they don't find a replacement to Lawrence Timmons they won't win Super Bowl 52 though. The 6-2 220 lb Jordan Jones had 74 solo tackles, 35 assisted tackles, 109 total tackles, and 15.5 tackles for a loss in 2016. Jones is a run stuffer and a tackling machine with that hard nose mentality that Timmons provided. He just needs to add some muscle and get stronger, but you can make a case for him being a late first rounder at this point.
Previous Pick: Orlando Brown, LT, Oklahoma
2017 1st Round Pick: Derek Rivers, 3-4 ROLB, Youngstown State
Seattle Seahawks: Quenton Nelson, LG, Notre Dame
- The Seattle Seahawks go with Quenton Nelson here after winning Super Bowl 52 in our mock draft. Nelson may be an upgrade at left guard over Mark Glowinski.
Previous Pick: Chad Thomas, RE, Miami FL
2017 1st Round Pick: Cam Robinson, LT, Alabama