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2017 Mock NFL Draft: Top 10 Picks

Synopsis: For the first time, I’ll use my analytical skills to predict the first 10 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Now, others can judge me just like I’ve judged them. Will I be right? Of course not. However, I fully appreciate that there’s more value in the prediction than in the evaluation. In that regard, I’ll offer my version of a 2017 Mock NFL Draft.


2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: TOP 10 PICKS 

In this post, I’ll expand beyond my comfort zone and predict the first ten picks in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. Before the season begins, I’ll subsequently critique the actual picks and evaluate the players most likely to become future busts. For now, I’ll predict what will be versus what should be.

As a preface, I prefer to be an analyst versus a prognosticator. After all, I laugh at presumed experts who don’t perform better than any layperson. Then again, I accurately predicted that Donald Trump would become President so I may have a hidden talent. Additionally, I understand that I’ll only gain credibility by predicting results instead of simply reporting them.

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: OVERVIEW

Prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, both the LA Rams and Philadelphia Eagles traded up to take two top-rated QBs (Jarred Goff and Carson Wentz) with the first two picks. Based on those lopsided trades, the teams gave up a lot in an attempt to secure their futures at the position. With only four days to go before the 2017 Draft, it appears unlikely that any such trades will occur this year. Still, I believe two quarterbacks will be taken with top 10 overall picks.

I fully admit that I lack the ability to evaluate NFL talent on par with other draft analysts. As a result, I complied rankings from other sources and relied on past history as a basis for my mock draft. Of note, I understand that teams tend to draft picks based on need versus talent. Often times, need causes teams to trade up even though the talent may not warrant such a high pick.

Relative to recent drafts, this year seems to be stacked with pass rushers. As such, I have overweighted my mock draft with three defensive linemen. At the same time, I fully understand the importance of quarterbacks so I included the top two QBs. Given the success of Ezekiel Elliot last year, I believe teams will reach by taking two running backs in the top 10 overall picks. With the remaining picks, I assume typical averages of one offensive lineman, one receiver, and one defensive back.  

Specifically, I predict the following.

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: TOP 10 PICKS
Pick Team Player Pos. School Class Height Weight
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M Jr 6’4½” 272
2 San Francisco 49ers Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina rJr 6’2″ 222
3 Chicago Bears Jonathan Allen DT Alabama Sr 6’2⅝” 286
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette RB LSU Jr 6’0½” 240
5 Tennessee Titans Solomon Thomas DT Stanford rSo 6’2⅝” 273
6 New York Jets Deshaun Watson QB Clemson Jr 6’2½” 221
7 Los Angeles Chargers Cam Robinson OT Alabama Jr 6’6¼” 322
8 Carolina Panthers Dalvin Cook RB Florida State Jr 5’10⅜” 210
9 Cincinnati Bengals Malik Hooker S Ohio State rSo 6’1″ 206
10 Buffalo Bills Mike Williams WR Clemson rJr 6’3⅝” 218

For as much as I discount the NFL Combine or player pro-days, I do look at the results when sizing up players. I believe the annual beauty pageant can be used to confirm what can be seen on game tape. In addition, it’s helpful to know exactly how big, fast, and strong individual players might be. 

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: COMBINE RESULTS
      Arm 40 Broad Vertical Bench  NFL.Com 
Pick Player Hand Length Time Jump Leap Press  Grade 
1 Myles Garrett 10 1/4″ 35 1/4″ 4.64 10’8″ 41″ 33 7.63
2 Mitch Trubisky 9 1/2″ 32″ 4.67 9′ 8″ 27.5″   6.54
3 Jonathan Allen 9 3/8″ 33 5/8″ 5.00 9′ 30″ 21 6.81
4 Leonard Fournette 9 1/4″ 31 5/8″ 4.51   28.5″   6.95
5 Solomon Thomas 9 3/8″ 33″ 4.69 10’6″ 35″ 30 6.85
6 Deshaun Watson 9 3/4″ 33″  4.66 9’11” 32.5″   6.27
7 Cam Robinson 10 1/2″ 35 1/2″ 5.15 8′ 10″ 26″   6.16
8 Dalvin Cook 9 1/4″ 32 3/8″ 4.49 9’8″ 30.5″ 22  6.54
9 Malik Hooker 10 3/4″ 32 1/4″         6.70
10 Mike Williams 9 3/8″ 33 3/8″   10’1″ 32.5″ 15 6.32

As additional background, the following table shows rankings by other sites. Furthermore, I included a few stats or accomplishments which should justify the pick.  

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: PRE-DRAFT RANKINGS
    Scout  CBS   Sporting   Bleacher   
Pick Player .com  Sports   News   Report   Accomplishments / Comments
1 Myles Garrett 1 1 1 1 1st Team All-America (15 TFL, 8.5 Sacks)
2 Mitch Trubisky 18 12 >100  12 30 TDs, 6 INTs, 68% comp % (5th in country)
3 Jonathan Allen 2 4 2 7 Bednarik & Nagurski Awards / 16 TFL, 10.5 sacks
4 Leonard Fournette 3 9 11 2 ’15 1st Team All America / ’16 2nd Team All-SEC
5 Solomon Thomas 60 2 14 6 Pac-12 Def POTY / 62 tackles, 15 TFL, 8 sacks
6 Deshaun Watson 9 17 >100  29 Danny O’Brien & Peyton Manning Awards
7 Cam Robinson 4 31 24 42 1st Team All-America / off-field issues (arrest)
8 Dalvin Cook 6 11 10 25 1st Team All-America / medical issues
9 Malik Hooker 22 7 3 5 1st Team All-America / 74 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 7 INTs
10 Mike Williams 7 21 15 8 2nd Team All-America / 84 rec, 1,171 yds, 10 TDs
PROJECTED #1 OVERALL PICK – MYLES GARRETT
2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT - MYLES GARRETT
The only certainty in the 2017 NFL Draft

With less than one week to go before the 2017 NFL Draft, I would be surprised if any player besides Miles Garrett went #1 overall. Even though the odds are 50/50 that he’ll become a productive NFL player, those odds are better than for any other prospective draft pick. 

Based on these rankings, my mock draft should seem reasonable. The only questions might surround Trubisky, Watson, and Robinson. Given the importance of the position, QBs tend to get drafted above their talent. As such, the early selections of Trubisky and Watson can be explained. On the other hand, I’m going against the grain by putting Robinson in my Top 10. I guess we’ll just have to see.

While I stand behind my original picks, I also like to hedge my bets. In that regard, I provide the following alternate picks.

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: TOP 10 ALTERNATE PICKS
Pick Team Player Pos. School Class Height Weight
6A New York Jets Jamal Adams S LSU Jr 5’11¾” 214
7A LA Chargers Reuben Foster  ILB Alabama Sr 6’0″ 229
9A Cincinnati Bengals Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State rSo 6’0″ 193
10A Buffalo Bills David Njoku TE Miami rSo 6’4″ 246

In essence, I believe several players from my initial list could fall. Specifically, those players include Deshaun Watson at #6, Cam Robinson at #7, Malik Hooker at #9, and Mike Williams at #10.

As before, I’ve tabulated the combine results and rankings for these alternative picks.

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: ALTERNATE PICKS – COMBINE RESULTS
      Arm 40 Broad Vertical Bench  NFL.Com 
Pick Player Hand Length Time Jump Leap Press  Grade 
6A Jamal Adams 9 1/4″ 33 3/8″     4.56 10′ 31.5″ 18 6.60
7A Reuben Foster  10′ 1/4″ 32 3/8″         6.36
9A Marshon Lattimore 8 7/8″ 31 1/4″     4.36 11 38.5   6.52
10A David Njoku 10 35 1/4″     4.64 11’1″ 37.5″ 21 6.40
2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: ALTERNATE PICKS – RANKINGS
     Scout  CBS   Sporting   Bleacher   
Pick Player  .com   Sports   News   Report   Accomplishments 
6A Jamal Adams 11 3 4 4 1st Team AP All-America / 4 INTs, 6 Pass Deflections
7A Reuben Foster  26 10 6 3 Butkus winner / 1st Team All America / 115 tackles, 13 TFL, 5 sacks
9A Marshon Lattimore 101 5 9 11 All Big-10 / 4 INTs, 9 Pass Deflections
10A David Njoku 104 20 31 14 Nothing of note – still worth the pick

Since this list results in the replacement of two stretch picks (Watson and Robinson), I included Njoku. Of note, Njoku didn’t rank at a top 10 pick by any source. However, I think he’ll be an outstanding tight end worthy of such a high pick.

2017 MOCK NFL DRAFT: TOP 10 PICKS
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