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2017 NFL Mock Draft by Saopaulo - 12.17
Published at 3/27/2017 6:35:47 PM
Major first round changes with Titans going big on offense! Major changes round two and three. Full three round mock with write-ups. Coach and FO changes updates. Senior Bowl updates. Franchise tag updates. Free agency updates. Combine updates. Most over-rated players list. Malik McDowell rant (1.16). Post-combine pick changes. Post-free agency changes. Sidney Jones injury changes. Rate and comment!
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I am a skeptic by nature, so I wasn't buying the hype on Trubisky earlier this season. I didn't watch any tape until today, after a month or so of his stock supposedly tumbling. So here's the deal: If the Cleveland Browns don't take Mitch Trubisky with this selection, they are doomed for decades more of futility. The decision to pass on him would be that foolish.
Trubisky is quite a bit better prospect than either of the top two guys last year. And frankly, he's a better prospect than the top two guys in 2015. He has all the tools to be a NFL franchise QB. When I evaluate a QB one of the main things I look at is how the ball comes out of his hand. It's the same for evaluating pitchers in baseball. It tells you how much effort is being made to make elite level throws, and is also an indicator of a special level of hand-eye coordination. It is not by any means a foolproof measure, but it helps elevate guys into elite status. It also ignores focusing on mechanics, which can be over-analysis, but more on that in a moment. Mitch Trubisky just has that special way of delivering the football; when on film in real time you see a QB set to throw, and didn't see where the ball went, that's a serious fastball, and insanely quick release.
Trubisky reminds me a lot of Matt Ryan. When Ryan was drafted I thought he was over-rated, because back then I focused on a perceived weakness much, much more than you should. You will see both QBs on college tape throwing ducks on sideline outs, which are very important routes in a NFL offense. With Ryan I took that for a lack of arm strength, which is a mistake. That throw requires perfect mechanics for any QB - even Aaron Rodgers, whereas on throws the same distance over the middle, an elite QB can put a fastball on a gnat's ass with much less than perfect mechanics. It is a very minor mechanical tweak and focus of a young NFL QB's development process. Trubisky has some flaws that are easily correctable by a competent NFL QB coach, and I believe that from a purely physical standpoint he is easily ready to start on Day 1.
This pick has changed following the turmoil in SF. I actually thought Baalke was the major problem there, but it's evident now that the owner is a much bigger idiot than he was. I don't disagree with firing Chip (it was a bad hire in the first place), but it is clear that ownership has absolutely no clue. It's incredible that Mark Davis is now viewed positively in the Bay area compared to Jed.
I like DeShone Kizer quite a bit as a prospect, but he definitely has some Josh Freeman potential. He needs a very strong coaching staff and management team that really knows what they are doing, like Dirk Koetter, et al. Since none of that is going to happen in SF, I think this pick would be a mistake, which is why I'm awarding it to the 49ers.
** Update ** I hated John Lynch as a player because he was a tremendous Bronco and I'm a Chiefs fan. But I liked him as an announcer and he's certainly a smart guy. Walt has a point though; how in the world does he get a GM job? Even though I think Kizer needs a lot of work, Lynch and Shanahan know if you are going to have any chance you must go after the QB first. I think after coaching Matt Ryan, Shanahan will lean toward the guy with the best arm talent here, which is Kizer over Watson. I personally think Watson would be the better choice for them, because he's a jock from the south and won't get wrapped up in the SF stuff the way Kaep did. Kizer on the other hand could very well fall into that lifestyle. Anyway, they are in a really tough spot. When that happens in the NFL, you take the QB so you can buy yourself some time with fans and media.
** Combine Update ** DeShone Kizer is really impressing in every way at the combine, which doesn't surprise me at all. Those who have been mocking him late first are on drugs. This selection is a nearly mortal lock now.
Da Bears get incredibly lucky here, and they will field a lot of offers before making this selection. Being able to grab Garrett to play across from Leonard Floyd is a major boon for John Fox & Co. With the continued development of some really solid additions in the past two drafts, plus some excellent free agents the Bears' defense could make them competitive as soon as next season. With what could be an elite defense with this pick, they don't need to fixate on the QB position this early.
This pick is a big surprise at this point in the process for most people, but it will be well accepted by the time the draft rolls around. Bolles' athleticism on tape is shocking. He is going to test very well, but what stands out is how well his athleticism transfers to his play, which is not always the case. He has his flaws, but Bolles reminds me so much of Joe Thomas it is scary. Be careful watching his tape and then any other tackle in this class right after, because you will wind up thinking the other guys are bums. Ramczyk is a good prospect and should be an at least average LT for years; he is not even in Bolles' universe in terms of functional athleticism.
Doug Marrone's hiring and Caldwell's extension will impact this selection, as both of those moves indicate that they are not giving up on Blake Bortles. They need to stop with the Robo-Bortles mechanical fixation, but they also really need to give him legitimate offensive linemen. This is a start.
** Update ** The Branden Albert trade does not change this selection, if anything it bolsters it. I don't like the deal, but Doug Marrone may feel like he can get 10 games of decent production from him, which is more than what they have been getting for quite some time. The question is, if the Jags go in a different direction with this pick, when do they address LT? Because this is a very short term solution. This is not likely to be a starting caliber LT available in round two. They grab Bolles here with the intention of either giving him a year to adjust to the NFL, or let him compete for the RT job against Parnell, which he should easily win.
** Combine Update ** As expected, Bolles wowed at the combine, including in his interviews. It won't be long before he is the consensus number one lineman on everybody's board.
I have had Malik Hooker here from the beginning, but they signed Jonathan Cyprien and love Kevin Byard. They also signed Logan Ryan, so without a second round pick in this draft will they continue to add to the defense, or go after big-time offensive players, which besides their tackles they really don't have? O.J. Howard has been climbing draft boards and getting rave reviews from FO's, so I think this is where he is popped, ahead of the Jets. Mularkey will love to use Howard and Delanie Walker in two tight end sets, as both of them can block your face off and of course are great receivers. They will look to add a speed receiver later on.
** Previous Pick ** S Malik Hooker
The Jets would love to have grabbed O.J. Howard here, but now they go with a terrific consolation prize, and frankly a bigger need. Their corner situation is improved after signing Claiborne, but their safeties are just plain garbage. Jets fans will probably be very disappointed not to get Howard, but by about week 10 after Hooker has completely changed the face of that defense, they'll be saying, "Howard who?"
** Previous Pick ** RB Leonard Fournette, S Jamal Adams
I originally had Adams here to the Chargers, but have moved back to this selection now that he is available. He tested a little better at the combine than I expected, but he is still not the rangy free safety that Hooker his. That said, Adams is the kind of secondary Sheriff they have needed, plus he is a legit Top 10 player and athlete. He just isn't quite in the same category as Hooker, who is a potentially generational talent.
** Previous Pick ** DT Jonathan Allen
I have had them going with a falling defensive lineman since the beginning, but in this scenario Fournette makes it to them and I don't think they can pass. After trading Kony Ealy I think this will actually be a very difficult choice with Thomas and Barnett both still available. However, it turns out that as the draft process has rolled on there are a ton of impressive ends who will be there for them next round or later.
** Previous Picks ** DT Jonathan Allen; DE Derek Barnett; DE Solomon Thomas
The Bengals have a ton of talent on defense, but defensive end is arguably a need with Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap getting long in the tooth, and the guys behind them not looking like full time players. Thomas had a great combine and I think he's a more raw version of Joey Bosa. Talk of him being a late first round player seems crazy to me.
** Previous Pick ** DE Derek Barnett; DE Solomon Thomas
Doug Whaley has added impressive pieces during his tenure, and I like them grabbing Micah Hyde in FA, and re-signing Tyrod Taylor. But it's so hard to know what the hell is going on with this team. I would like to still mock them Watson, but I'll go with a need here on defense. I have had Lattimore much further down the board since the beginning, because he is not my top rated corner, and he has major medical issues. I think the Bills will go with his upside here after losing Stephon Gilmore. I am not down on Lattimore at all, but he is just outside of a Top 10 player for me.
** Previous Pick ** QB Deshaun Watson
Once again the Saints have the leading passer in the league and pick in the top half of the draft. Solomon Thomas was the choice here in my first mock back in December, but now I have to flip him with Derek Barnett. I think a combination of questions about Barnett's athleticism, plus Thomas' great combine will result in this scenario. Barnett is a great value in this spot. He is the kind of really steady competitor they need, rather than splash players who pad stats against inferior competition. Barnett will set the tone on his side in the run game, and by the end of the season it will be surprising to see him near the top of leader boards for pressures and sacks since he won't just have those stat-padding 4 sacks games.
** Previous Pick ** Solomon Thomas
I think Conley is being under-rated so far, partly because he is not the sexy pick. All the guy does is mirror receivers with perfect technique and almost always stays in phase. He doesn't get beat deep. He doesn't get handsy and commit a lot of penalties. He is willing and effective against the run. In other words, Day 1 starter on a defense that desperately needs him. And being the hometown pick doesn't hurt either. Outstanding first day for the Browns.
** Combine Update ** Conley won his weigh-in with 33 inch arms. Meanwhile, the guy some people having as high as second overall, Marshon Lattimore, has just over 31 inch arms. In a weaker draft, Lattimore's measurements are meaningless (just look at Eli Apple last year). But in a draft this deep, he'd better run a 4.2 flat to go Top 5. I'm a big Lattimore fan, but he's not Deion Sanders. Let's slow down the hype train. ** So Conley had a great combine and now people are talking about him as a Top 15 pick. How could that not be obvious on tape if I could see it? I'm not a scout or a coach. Anyway, with a draft class this deep, why wouldn't teams go with the "clean" player if the upside of guys like Lattimore or Humphrey is marginal over Conley, while the downside risk is huge?
I think the Cardinals are going to see shades of Fitz when they start really looking at Davis and working him out. They can't just fixate on the corner position, especially since it is such a deep class. Fitz seems to be ageless, but Floyd is gone now and they really need another outside receiver. I think Davis is perfect for what they do and the Cards brass will fall in love with him.
I have had Cordrea Tankersley here for a while as corner is a huge need for them. However, I think O.J. Howard going very early pushes Allen down. He is a great player, but there are just too many questions about his shoulders. Plus, a lot of teams will not see him fitting perfectly in their defense. I just don't think teams are going to see him as a BPA player who you find a place for. Allen's ability to create pressure inside will really help all the edge players they signed. They will need to address corner very soon, though.
** Previous Pick ** RB Dalvin Cook, CB Cordrea Tankersley
I think wide receiver has to be a huge priority for the Eagles to support their young QB. That position is a mess despite focusing on it in recent drafts. I think a lot of teams were skeptical about Ross and his overall skill set, plus he still needs shoulder surgery. After setting a new combine record he will be drafted very high. I think he is a good player, and quite a bit better prospect than another speedy first rounder from last season, Will Fuller. I would put money on other wideouts in this class having a bigger impact.
** Previous PIck ** WR Isaiah Ford; ArDarius Stewart
** Combine Update ** This pick is going to be changed back to John Ross, who set the new combine 40 record. I think the upcoming shoulder surgery is an issue, and I don't think he is that fast with pads on. Compare him to, say, Tyreek Hill who times out at about 4.2 and I just don't see Ross blowing people out the way Hill does. But his timed speed is what it is and Doug Pederson will lobby hard for him.
McDowell is very raw, but he is a tremendous athlete and high effort guy. He is often compared to DeForest Buckner, but to me McDowell plays with much, much more power. He will fit really well as a 5 technique in their system. Pass rusher seems to be a popular choice to replace their ageing starters, but they addressed the position last year with Judon and they already had Za'Darius Smith. Those guys would start for a lot of teams. On the other hand, they have two potential free agents, and a bunch of question marks (albeit talented ones) on the defensive line. Corner is certainly a possibility here also, but I think McDowell here is just an exceptional value.
In addition to the value in this selection, you have to consider the depth of positions in this draft. It is true that the Ravens could use more help at corner, but in the next two rounds there will be multiple starting caliber players available, like Domontae Kazee, Rasul Douglas, Kevin King, etc. On the other hand, aside from elite talent at the very top, the depth on the defensive line is extremely thin. After McDowell, the players available are a very steep decline. That helps support the case for this pick.
** Combine Update ** Malik showed up at just under 300 pounds and showed off the length that is obvious on tape. Then he ran the 40 fast and showed off great athleticism. For some reason, somebody is out there trashing McDowell and I really think it's crossed a line. Daniel Jeremiah, who I think is by far the worst of the draft "experts," said today that sometimes it looks like McDowell "just doesn't want to be on the field." He said in every other game besides ND he just didn't show up. Well, I went back and checked by putting on the Wisconsin tape again, and here is my verdict: Daniel Jeremiah is not just a hack, he's a damn liar. Malik McDowell is raw, but Mark Dantonio is not going to play a disinterested player over the center on run downs, shading the C on passing downs, at a 5 or 7 tech, and sometimes even standing up in a 9, and in there on every single snap if he's not giving his all, which he was. And that was every damn game I watched. Did he get tired in some games? Sure, who wouldn't playing the way he was used? He also didn't play with good technique a lot of the time, which is going to wear a lineman out quicker. I will end my rant now, but the slander on certain player just needs to stop. Teams like the Ravens aren't going to counter it, because they'd love a player like McDowell to fall to them.