This article serves as the continuation of the first half of our mock draft, which can be found here.
- Washington Redskins (8-7-1): Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Adding Josh Norman was a big move for the Redskins, but that didn’t solve all of their coverage issues. No matter how good Norman was, he couldn’t make up for how bad Bashaud Breeland was. The Redskins could also use help at 5-technique, with Chris Wormley and Caleb Brantley possible options, but Jones is a superior prospect.
Despite being skinny, Jones has cemented himself as one of the best cornerback prospects in this draft. Receiving less fanfare than his SEC counterparts, Jones could quietly blow up the combine during cornerback-specific drills, as scouts have raved about his hip fluidity.
- Tennessee Titans (9-7): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
With their second first round pick of the draft, the Titans snag their cornerback. Jason McCourty is capable, but is more suited to a No. 2 role. Valentino Blake, on the other hand, was the recipient of a whopping three of the infamous ESPN “C’mon Man!” awards this past season. The Titans need to shore up their back end, and soon.
Even though Humphrey has a great size-speed combination, it is his toughness that shines through most. An aggressive tackler in the run game, that attribute will be critical if the Titans are to usurp the division crown from the run-heavy Texans.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7): Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
It is unlikely that Robinson falls this far, but he does in this scenario, and the Bucs would be ecstatic to pick him up. Tampa has struggled to protect their franchise cornerstone in his two years in the league, and are a playoff team if they up the protection for Jameis Winston.
Robinson is the latest of dominating Alabama O-linemen, and has the ideal frame and athleticism for playing tackle at the professional level. He is better at run-blocking than pass-blocking, but can develop those skills over time. There are some off the field issues that may be an issue, but Robinson should be a solid first round pick.
- Denver Broncos (9-7): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Broncos have one of the most vulnerable offensive lines in the league, and need to address that problem. If they choose to focus on overhauling the interior of the line before the edges, G Forrest Lamp could be the pick here. With the talent available at this juncture and the state of the roster, it would be hard to imagine Denver targeting a non-offensive lineman.
Ramczyk is a volatile prospect after undergoing hip surgery that will keep him out for both the combine and his pro day. However, Ramczyk, a one-year starter for Wisconsin, is a prototype tackle who will be a Day One starter in Denver.
- Detroit Lions (9-7): Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
With a suspect defense, the Lions will almost surely target that side of the ball. RB Alvin Kamara would be enticing, but the Lions’ holes on the defensive line and in the secondary are too big to ignore. Either of the Michigan duo of Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley would address the prior spot, but in a division where Aaron Rodgers is Enemy #1, gaining a lockdown corner is more important.
Wilson is likely the best player available at this point, and would start immediately across from Darius Slay. One of two Florida corners projected to be selected in the first round along with Jalen Tabor, Wilson is more physical and a better run defender than his former teammate.
- Miami Dolphins (11-5): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Dolphins were one of the quietest surprises in the NFL this past season, making the playoffs for the first time since Chad Pennington was their quarterback and their Wildcat formation was the biggest fad in the league. Despite getting blown out by Pittsburgh in the first round, the arrow is pointing up for Miami. However, their weak linebacking corps was exposed in that game, and will likely be addressed with this pick.
Cunningham, due to the trend of overlooking of middle linebackers early in the draft, is a steal here. Receiving less fanfare than his SEC counterparts who came from bigger programs, Cunningham has all the tools to be a monster in the middle in the NFL. A great athlete who is dynamic in coverage and strong against the run, Cunningham is a guy to watch out for. If the Vanderbilt stud is gone, Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt could be the pick.
- New York Giants (11-5): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
With one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Giants will be targeting mostly offense throughout this draft. The offensive line is subpar, and Garett Bolles and Forrest Lamp would both fit here, but the Giants could give more time for former 1st rounder Ereck Flowers to develop. Jerry Reese could also be targeting a running back, but after the late season emergence of Paul Perkins that is less likely.
Howard was an X-factor against Clemson in the national championship the first time, and is a game breaker at tight end. A rare tight end with breakaway speed, Howard is a matchup nightmare for defenses.
- Oakland Raiders (12-4): Tre’Davious White, CB, Louisiana State
The best season in Oakland since their 2002 Super Bowl run ended in misery as Derek Carr’s broken leg led to a nonexistent offensive performance against Houston. But with Carr back, the defense can be addressed. With Khalil Mack’s dominance taking most of the attention, their lack of depth at cornerback has been overlooked.
Sean Smith is nearing the end of his career, and David Amerson has never lived up to expectations. White will be joining the seven current LSU cornerbacks in the NFL, and with that kind of talent ahead of him, his status as a four year starter for the Tigers is even more impressive.
- Houston Texans (9-7): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
The Texans made the divisional round of the playoffs despite having an offense that was anemic at best. The Texans will likely choose to address their quarterback struggles through trade or free agency, and it is yet to be seen how they will fill the hole left by RT Derek Newton’s devastating injury. If AJ Bouye, who emerged as one of the premier lockdown corners in the NFL last season, leaves in free agency, GM Rick Smith could snag Jalen Tabor.
With more offensive line prospects available later in the draft, the Texans choose to make their defense even more fearsome. With J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus rushing the passer and Bouye, Jonathan Joseph, and Kareem Jackson shutting down receivers, the only piece missing from the unit was a playmaking safety. Andre Hal flashed big play ability but was too inconsistent in the long term. Peppers was the top defender to challenge for the Heisman, and is an X-factor whenever he steps on the field. Bill O’Brien will use him creatively on offense and special teams, and Peppers would step into a major role defensively from Day One.
- Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1): Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
It is no surprise that the Seahawks will be targeting an offensive lineman again, as Russell Wilson has had a sieve in front of him since the departures of Max Unger and Russell Okung. They can’t sustain their success if their franchise player is getting battered every game. Seattle could also target a cornerback here, as the Legion of Boom is teetering on the brink of becoming an average secondary.
Bolles only started one year for the Utes, but can develop into a cornerstone at left tackle. With the size and strength to match up against most speed rushers, he is no slouch in the run game either.
- Kansas City Chiefs (12-4): Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Kansas City was on the verge of a berth to the AFC championship before a holding call negated their game-tying two point conversion in Pittsburgh, as the divisional round held disappointment for the Chiefs once again. A well-rounded team, Kansas City could go in many directions here. However, Jalen Tabor is probably the top player available, and would be a Day One starter in KC across from stud Marcus Peters.
The second Florida corner taken in the first round, Tabor has more traits of being a No. 1 corner than his counterpart Quincy Wilson. “Teez” is a great zone corner with a propensity to make big plays, but struggles against physical wideouts and in the run game.
- Dallas Cowboys (13-3): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Cowboys’ turnaround was arguably the biggest storyline of the NFL season, as the Big D rode the rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to the best record in the NFC. Though the unit played well for most of the season, the defense was gashed by Aaron Rodgers. If Morris Claiborne departs in free agency, the ‘Boys may look for a corner, but the pass rush needs to be upgraded.
A 6’6”, 272 pound monster of a defensive end, Charlton would be an ideal fit in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme. With Randy Gregory running out of chances to prove his worth both on and off the field, Charlton would make a significant impact as a rookie.
- Green Bay Packers (10-6): Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
It was no secret that the Packers were short at running back in 2016. After offseason rumblings that Eddie Lacy was a changed man, the slimmed down power rusher suffered an early season ankle injury and will likely leave in free agency. WR Ty Montgomery was converted into a running back mid-season and led the Packers in rushing yards. The lack of an adequate running game hurt the Pack against Atlanta, as the Falcons were able to control the ball throughout the game.
Alvin Kamara is someone who is likely to rise leading up to draft day. Currently viewed as a Day 2 pick and is behind Christian McCaffrey in most rankings, Kamara is starting to build momentum in scouting circles. He is a complete back with all the attributes needed to be an elite NFL rusher, but his small sample size in college could be discouraging.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5): David Njoku, TE, Miami
With Ladarius Green’s status for 2017 up in the air and the fact he has never capitalized on his talent, a replacement at tight end would benefit one of the scariest offenses in the league. With Antonio Brown working on the outside, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton taking the tops of defenses, and Le’Veon Bell coming out of the backfield, the missing piece is a playmaking tight end in the middle.
Njoku is one of the most raw prospects in the draft, but he only scratched the surface of his potential as a Hurricane. The national champion in the high jump in high school, Njoku’s athletic talents are off the charts, which offsets his limited playing time in college. Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and Jimmy Graham all entered the NFL with less experience than Njoku, and were able to ride their physical gifts to success. Njoku should be a perennial Pro Bowler with Big Ben tossing him the pigskin.
- (TBD) Atlanta Falcons (11-5): Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
The Falcons quietly assembled one of the most well-rounded rosters in the league under Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan and Co. are looking to knock off Tom Brady in Super Bowl LI. With few holes on their roster, Atlanta could use this pick in a variety of ways. Andy Levitre was subpar against the Packers and Chris Chester will be entering his 12th year in the league in 2017, making a player like Forrest Lamp enticing.
The best prospect available and with one of the best names in the draft, Lamp would a great pick for the Falcons. Similarly to the top guard in the game, Dallas’ Zack Martin, Lamp was a tackle in college whose skill set is more suited to the interior in the NFL. At 6’4” and with surprising quickness, Lamp would be a matchup nightmare for most interior pass rushers in the NFL.
- (TBD) New England Patriots (13-3): John Ross, WR, Washington
The Patriots will likely be investing in big-play ability here, with that quality being one of very few missing from their squad. Names rumored to be linked with the Pats so far have commonly been Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey and USC CB Adoree Jackson, but a deep threat wideout may have a bigger impact. Chris Hogan has proven to be tough to cover on deep throws, but isn’t a burner.
Ross could very well go higher than this spot, but he finds an ideal home for his skill set in New England. In the mold of DeSean Jackson, the favorite target of Jake Browning makes up for his lack of height with game-breaking quickness, polished route-running, and sure hands. Additionally, Ross’ capabilities will be a welcome addition to New England with Dion Lewis’ injury concerns.