10 Bold Predictions For 1st Round Of The 2017 NFL Draft

McCaffrey.jpg

With the 1st Round of the 2017 NFL Draft under 10 days away I figured it was time to have some fun and throw out some predictions and a mock draft of my own. 

1. The 1st QB Drafted Will Be UNC's Mitchell Trubisky

It's unclear when and where he will be drafted but Mitchell Trubisky is almost certain to be the 1st QB selected. The Browns, 49ers, Bears, Jets and Bills are his top suitors. Trubisky will hear his name called in the Top 10.

The Kirk Cousins following Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers rumors are real. I wonder if San Francisco would ever think of drafting Trubisky at #2 and packaging him to Washington for Cousins. The Redskins have met with Trubisky in the pre-draft process. 

2. Florida State RB Dalvin Cook Falls Out Of The 1st Round

Look, Dalvin Cook is arguably the best running back that Florida State has ever produced. In just three years he's become the Seminoles all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing TD's and yards from scrimmage but he definitely has some red flags on his resume.

For starters, Cook has three shoulder surgeries (two on his right and one on his left) to his resume and has had a litany of off-field issues.

  • 2009 - Arrested and charged with robbery. The case was dropped
  • 2010 - Arrested and charged with firing a weapon on school property. This case was dropped
  • 2014 - Charged with criminal mischief in relation to a BB-gun incident that caused damage to property
  • 2014 - Cited for violation of animal care for mistreatment of his puppies. The pit bull puppies were chained up around their neck to the point where the youngest puppies were having trouble breathing. The dogs were also left without shelter.
  • 2015 - Arrested for allegedly striking a woman outside a Tallahassee nightclub. Was found not guilty by a jury.

While there are no convictions to his name teams around the NFL are worried about the crowd that Cook has continued to associate himself with.

At the NFL Combine, Cook ran a good 40 time, but his overall athletic testing numbers were underwhelming. Cook tested as a 9th percentile SPARQ athlete. According to Zach Whitman, of 3 Sigma Athlete, no running back who has tested below the 10th percentile has been drafted in the 1st Round in the last 17 years.

So when you factor in the long-term durability and off-field concerns with his athletic testing numbers you can see why Cook might be falling a bit come draft weekend.

3. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey Is A Top 15 Lock

At the Senior Bowl, I heard that Christian McCaffrey would not get past the Denver Broncos at 20 overall if he were available. Since then McCaffrey has killed every aspect of the pre-draft circuit and is now being linked to Carolina at #8 and Philadelphia at #14. If those two teams pass on McCaffrey, Indianapolis would be a perfect landing spot for the Stanford product. 

4. The 1st LB Off The Board Will Be Temple's Haason Reddick And Not Alabama's Reuben Foster

Reuben Foster is an absolute star but teams might value Haason Reddick higher due to his ability in coverage and as a blitzer. Foster also has that Bama wear and tear on his body on top of some character concerns. He was sent home from the Scouting Combine for threatening a hospital worker and has since owned up to the incident. Ironically Foster is returning to Indianapolis this week for a medical re-check on his torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and that will have huge implications on where he falls in the 1st Round.

5. Texas Tech Gunslinger Patrick Mahomes Goes Top 15

Another rising star in the draft process is Patrick Mahomes. No one has been busier than the Texas Tech QB and it sounds like front offices are slowly falling in love with him. Arizona and Kansas City seem to have the most interest with Houston and Cleveland right behind. Something tells me if Houston and Kansas City want Mahomes to be their QB of the future they'll need to move up from the mid 20's to get him.

6. Western Michigan Has More Players Drafted In The 1st Round Than Michigan And Michigan State

You heard it here first. WR Corey Davis and OG/OT Taylor Moton will be 1st Round picks.

Davis is considered by many in the draft community to be WR1 in this class but he hasn't been able to workout at any point in the pre-draft process due to an ankle injury. Moton is a bit of a riser who has been getting more and more publicity as the weeks pass. Moton has the ability to stay at Right Tackle or move inside to Guard. Moton could be a fit for an O-Line needy team such as Houston, Seattle, Green Bay and Atlanta at the end of Round 1.

Michigan should have around 10 guys drafted in all but I only have Jabrill Peppers going on Day 1. Taco Charlton's projection has been all over the place the past few months. It wouldn't surprise me if he's a 1st Round pick but right now I think it's more likely he'll go early Day 2 along with teammate Chris Wormley. Jake Butt and Jourdan Lewis among others Wolverines will have their names called in the days to follow.

Malik McDowell is the only real prospect for Michigan State in the 2017 draft. McDowell is a Top 10 talent who could fall all the way to the late 2nd round due to 'character concerns'.

7. 4 QB's Are Drafted In The 1st Round

We've heard over and over how the NFL isn't sold on this QB class but just like every year front offices will come around to or at least talk themselves into taking a QB. Trubisky, Watson, Kizer and Mahomes is a great Top 4, in my opinion. See where I have all 4 of them going in the Mock Draft below.

8.  Former No-Star High School Recruits and 1-Year College Starters, Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk and Utah's Garett Bolles Will Be The 1st Offensive Tackles Drafted

Bolles and Ramczyk both have incredible backstories that are worth your time researching. Bolles is an athletic freak with a mean streak. His biggest knock is his age. Bolles will be 25 to start his rookie season. That will be a concern for some teams as age is a major factor when evaluating a prospect. For instance, Alabama's OT Cam Robinson will be 25 in the 4th-year of his rookie contract.

Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk burst onto the scene as a 22-year old Junior. A hip injury kept him from working out during the pre-draft process but he's still considered by many to be one of the best linemen in a very weak class. Ramczyk spent time at the DIII, DII and FBS levels on his journey towards the NFL. 

9. The NFL Will Covet Wisconson LB TJ Watt

This class has around a dozen quality edge rushers and I expect TJ Watt will be one of the most coveted. I wrote about Watt before his magnificent showing at the NFL Combine stating how similar his story was to his All-Pro brother.

Let’s play a game. Who am I describing here?

6’5”
Attended Pewaukee High School (Pewaukee, WI)
Recruited as a Tight End out of High School
Attended the University of Wisconsin and eventually transitioned over to the defensive side of the ball
Breakout Junior season – Led Badgers in Tackles For Loss and Sacks, Top 5 in BIG 10 in TFL
Named 1st-Team All-Big Ten as a Junior
Named 2nd-Team AP All-American as a Junior

Well, it's a trick question. I am describing both TJ and JJ Watt in their final year at Wisconsin.

Some teams may have some medical concerns with TJ but given his production, athletic ability, work ethic and bloodlines I don't think TJ Watt will have to wait very long to hear his name called.

10. Packers Trade Out Of The 1st Round

Let's keep the Wisconsin theme rolling here. I think Green Bay is a perfect fit for a QB needy team that is looking to trade back into the 1st round to get that 5th-year option. Trading with Green Bay would allow that team to jump ahead of Pittsburgh and New Orleans who could be looking for their QB of the future.

This is a draft where I do not think there is much separating players 20-50, so the Packers would be willing to move a few down a few spots to pick up the additional draft capital. The Packers obviously have areas that need to be addressed: Offensive Guard, Defensive Back, Edge, Defensive Line, Linebacker and Running Back etc. If the Packers were to keep their pick here are 10 guys who will be on their radar. I'm doing 10 because many of these players are sure to be drafted prior to their selection. Forrest Lamp, Kevin King, Marlon Humphrey, Chidobe Awuzie, Tyus Bowser, TJ Watt, Jordan Willis, Taylor Moton, Corey Davis, TreDavious White

 

MOCK DRAFT

1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

2. San Francisco 49ers - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

3. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama

4. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

5. Buffalo Bills (Trade With Titans) - Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

6. New York Jets - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

7. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

8. Carolina Panthers - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

10. Tennessee Titans - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

11. New Orleans Saints - Gareon Conley, DB, Ohio State

12. Cleveland Browns -  OJ Howard, TE, Alabama

13. Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

14. Philadelphia Eagles - Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

15. Indianapolis Colts - Jamal Adams, S, LSU

16. Baltimore Ravens - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

17. Washington Redskins - Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

18. Tennessee Titans - Kevin King, DB, Washington

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - David Njoku, TE, Miami

20. Denver Broncos - Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

21. Detroit Lions - TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin

22. Miami Dolphins - Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky

23. New York Giants - Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

24. Oakland Raiders - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

25. Houston Texans - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

26. Seattle Seahawks - Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

27. Kansas City Chiefs - Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

28. Dallas Cowboys - Takk McKinley, Edge, UCLA

29. San Francisco 49ers (Trade With Packers) - DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

31. Atlanta Falcons - Taylor Moton, OL, Western Michigan

32. New Orleans Saints - Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut