The 2016 NFL Draft has officially concluded, which means it is time to look towards the future. The ink has yet to dry on new rookie contracts but we’ve already turned our attention towards the class of 2017. Running backs, pass rushers, and defensive backs will be aplenty in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The order of this mock draft is based off of the latest Super Bowl 51 odds.
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – By this time, the Browns should have a good grasp of what they’re getting with Robert Griffin III. They also selected Cody Kessler in the third round, but he’s a long shot to even win the job. Despite the fact that the Browns could be needing a quarterback, the analytical approach to the draft that the Browns are employing could persuade them to pass on a quarterback for the best overall player: Myles Garrett. The Texas A&M pass rusher might be the best pass rusher since Jadeveon Clowney, will draw comparisons to Von Miller and fits perfectly in their 3-4 scheme.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – The 49ers passed on a quarterback in this year’s draft, but are lucky enough to have Deshaun Watson fall in their lap here. Watson is a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s up-temp0 system.
3. Tennessee Titans – Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn – The Titans improved their interior defensive line, but need a quality pass rusher. Carl Lawson has suffered from injuries, but has quietly dominated the SEC since stepping on the field as a true freshman. Laremy Tunsil stated last year that Lawson was his toughest assignment all year.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama – Keeping Jameis Winston upright is priority number one for the Bucs. As such, getting him a franchise left tackle is key. Cam Robinson started as a true freshman at left tackle for Alabama. He’s that talented.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State – To be honest, the Jaguars have very few holes in their roster, but offensive line is one of them. At this point, the Jaguars will know if they want to extend Luke Joeckel or not, which they probably won’t want to. As such, they can take “Big Rod” Johnson to be their left tackle of the future.
6. New Orleans Saints – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU – The best way to help an aging Drew Brees? Get him a workhorse running back. Leonard Fournette, a Louisiana native, is the perfect option for a Saints offense that needs to transition towards a run-first approach.
7. San Diego Chargers – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC – Much like other aging quarterbacks, the Chargers need to give Phillip Rivers more weapons to play with. Their offense suffered last year when Keenan Allen went down. They can grab a local kid in Juju Smith-Schuster to bolster their passing game. He will draw some Dez Bryant comparisons for his physicality.
8. Detroit Lions – Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU – Megatron is gone and, as such, wide receiver is priority number one. Malachi Dupre would be putting up massive stats if only LSU had a quarterback. He would thrive with Matthew Stafford throwing to him.
9. Chicago Bears – Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida – The Bears can never have too many defensive backs in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Teddy Bridgewater and Matthew Stafford. Kyle Fuller is a solid starter, but they can pair Jalen Tabor alongside him for a great tandem.
10. Tennessee Titans – Desmond King, CB, Iowa – The Titans passed on selecting Jalen Ramsey this year, but they can go back with their second first-round pick and take the Thorpe award winner, Desmond King, to be their lock-down cornerback.
11. Miami Dolphins – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State – The Dolphins lost Lamar Miller to free agency and could not move up to draft Ezekiel Elliot this year. No problem, as a talented back like Dalvin Cook, who is also a Miami native, will be available.
12. Cleveland Browns – Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan – Offense might be a priority for the Browns, but they cannot pass up a chance to draft a playmaker like Jabrill Peppers. The d0-everything man for Michigan can play cornerback, safety and even linebacker.
13. Atlanta Falcons – Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State – Darron Lee and Joshua Perry got all the hype this year, but Raekwon McMillan might have been the best linebacker for Ohio State.
14. Washington Redskins – Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State – The one area that Washington failed to address early in the 2016 draft was their defensive line. Malik McDowell might be a bit undersized, but his length, explosiveness and power more than make up for it.
15. New York Jets – Mason Cole, OT, Michigan – Part one of developing a franchise quarterback is keeping him upright. Mason Cole has all the tools to blossom into a franchise left tackle.
16. Buffalo Bills – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama – Whether it’s Tyrod Taylor or Cardale Jones at quarterback for the Bills, a great tight end like O.J. Howard will help keep the chains moving for their offense.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee – Terrell Suggs is close to retirement and the Ravens need a premier pass rusher. The answer? Derek Barnett, who is a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
18. Houston Texans – Jamal Adams, S, LSU – The Texans are close to a Super Bowl run and adding an enforcer in the secondary like Jamal Adams will make it easier to compete in a passing-first division like the AFC South.
19. Oakland Raiders – Adoree Jackson, CB/WR/KR, USC – Adoree Jackson can do it all. He plays cornerback, can catch passes, and can bolster the return game as well. His athleticism is off the charts.
20. New York Giants – Tim Williams, DE/LB, Alabama – Tim Williams thrived as a situational pass rusher for Alabama last year and 2016 will show if he can handle the full-time role as a starter.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson – The Chiefs have Jeremy Maclin and who else at wide receiver? Mike Williams suffered a neck injury that cost him all of 2015 but looks to be fully healthy for a breakout 2016 campaign.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma – The best way to help Andrew Luck? Give him an explosive, powerful, and sturdy running back to hand off to like Samaje Perine.
23. Dallas Cowboys – Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee – The Cowboys improved every level of their defense in the 2016 draft but their secondary. With Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr likely moving on after next year, they can draft Cameron Sutton to pair with Byron Jones and Orlando Scandrick.
24. Minnesota Vikings – Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State – Adrian Peterson might be on his last legs, but those legs are still very powerful. Minnesota is committed to pounding the rock and drafting a guard like Pat Elflein will help them in that goal.
25. Cincinnati Bengals – KD Cannon, WR, Baylor – The Bengals missed out on drafting a first rounder at wide receiver this year, but can grab KD Cannon next year to pair across from A.J. Green.
26. Denver Broncos – Jake Butt, TE, Michigan – The best way to help a young quarterback like Paxton Lynch? Give him a reliable tight end like Jake Butt to throw to.
27. Arizona Cardinals – Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (FL) – The Cardinals have to start thinking about drafting Carson Palmer’s replacement. Brad Kaaya is by no means ready to start in the NFL but learning under Bruce Arians for a season or two would be excellent for his development.
28. Carolina Panthers – Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon – Jonathan Stewart can’t have much left in the tank, so the Panthers grab a fellow Oregon Duck in Royce Freeman to be his replacement.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama – Doesn’t it always seems like a great defensive lineman falls to the Steelers every year? Jonathan Allen elected to return to school, but would have perhaps been a first round pick this year.
30. Green Bay Packers – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida – Drafting a great interior linebacker like Jarrad Davis will allow the Packers to move Clay Matthews back to the outside, where he can freely rush the passer.
31. New England Patriots – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford – Christian McCaffrey just looks like a Patriot player, doesn’t he? The all-world running back would be an excellent option for a Tom Brady-led offense that utilizes the backs a lot in the passing game.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame – The rebuilding of the Seahawks’ offensive line continues. Mike McGlinchey moves over to left tackle for the Fighting Irish with Ronnie Stanley moving on to the NFL.