Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.
2017 NFL Mock DRAFT
- WALT'S | CHARLIE'S
Charlie Campbell was a senior writer at PewterReport.com.
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Back to Overreaction 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
Washington Redskins: Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan
The Redskins could use more young front seven talent. Here's a player who could play some 3-4 end, 4-3 end and 4-3 defensive tackle.
Wormley totaled 40 tackles with nine for a loss and six sacks in 2016. His pass rush was improved as a senior. Michigan had a tough defense in 2015 led by a tremendous defensive line, and Wormley was the Wolverines' leading defensive end. He recorded 43 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss on the year.
At 6-foot-5, 303 pounds, Wormley has versatile size to play in a either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. In a 3-4, he would be a five-technique defensive end. In a 4-3, he could play tackle, end or both. Wormley needs to continue to develop his pass-rushing moves for the NFL.
Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Titans need to get more receiving weapons for Marcus Mariota.
In 2016, Williams has 90 receptions for 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is a big possession receiver for the NFL who is very good at moving the chains on slant routes and winning 50-50 passes over defenders. Williams is a phenomenal red-zone weapon, too. He does need to cut down on dropped passes.
In the 2015 season opener, Williams fractured his neck when he ran into the goalpost while catching a touchdown. That ended his year. Williams had the potential to be the top wide receiver prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft as the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder has a real combination of size and speed.
With Sammy Watkins in the NFL, Williams took over as Clemson's lead receiver in 2014 and caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns. In his freshman season, he had 20 catches for 316 yards and three scores.
Houston Texans: Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
TRADE! The biggest need on the Texans' roster is along the offensive line. Houston has fielded a M.A.S.H. unit up front in 2016. Starting center Nick Martin missed the entire season, left tackle Duane Brown missed a month, right guard Jeff Allen missed time, and right tackle Derek Newton suffered a likely career-ending injury in Week 7. Houston has been aggressive to trade up in the early rounds. If the Texans land a tackle like Ramcyzk in the 2017 NFL Draft, they could start him out at right tackle, and eventually, he might replace Brown when his career is done.
Ramcyzk has had a strong season blocking for the Badgers in his debut as their starting left tackle. In 2013 and 2014, he was the starting left tackle at UW-Stevens Point where he earned a lot of accolades before sitting out the 2015 season with a redshirt after transferring to Wisconsin. Ramcyzk has been one of the better left tackles in college football in 2016.
Ramcyzk has a lot of good qualities that could lead to him being a starting left tackle in the NFL. He is quick out his stance, fast to hit blocks in the second level, and is able to get in position for blocks in space. In pass protection, he can play the type writer with his feet and shuffle with rushers. He gets depth in his drop as well. On some plays, Ramcyzk can be slow to react and adjust to counter pass-rushing moves. Ramcyzk also needs to add more strength. He can get bull rushed and pushed back by rushers. His frame doesn't look maxed out, and he should get stronger in a NFL strength and conditioning program. If Ramcyzk were to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, I think he could get late first-round consideration in a weak tackle class and could go early on Day 2 if he slips to Friday night.
Denver Broncos: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
The Broncos' run defense had problems this year as they missed Danny Trevathan. Here's an upgrade for the middle.
In 2016, Foster has 94 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two passes broken up. He is an excellent athlete with serious speed, strength, and physicality. Foster is also a hard hitter and a dangerous blitzer. He has a real presence in the middle of the field. The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder came on strong late in the 2015 season for Alabama and had the game of his life in the National Championship against Clemson. He totaled 73 tackles with eight for a loss, two sacks and nine passes batted for the year. The light looked like it clicked on for Foster toward the end of the 2015 season as he was suddenly a different player. He's carried that over into an impressive senior year.
Detroit Lions: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
The Lions grab a fast disruptor to pair with A'Shawn Robinson on the inside of their defensive line.
Brantley has 28 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2016. He has been very disruptive with quickness at the point of attack and was superb against Tennessee and Georgia. The 6-foot-2, 314-pounder uses his agility to fire through his gap and routinely achieves penetration into the backfield. He is a dangerous interior pass-rusher.
Brantley flashed a lot of disruption at the point of attack as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. He totaled 29 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks last season. While that isn't a huge sack total, it is a quality number for an interior defender, and Brantley showed the potential to be a three-down defender in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: John Ross, WR, Washington
TRADE! The Bucs are able to trade down because the teams between the draft slots aren't in the market for a receiver. Clearly, Tampa Bay needs more receiving help for Jameis Winston. They could use a speed receiver opposite Mike Evans and a wideout who can get quick separation for Winston.
Ross (5-11, 190) was a very productive wideout for Washington in 2016 with 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns. For the NFL, he will have to fit as a speedy, shifty slot receiver as he is very undersized. If Ross can add some weight, he could be a Brandin Cooks-type receiver. Otherwise, Ross might be more similar to Sterling Shepard or Tavon Austin. Ross has good hands, route-running and is fast. He could be a mismatch weapon as a slot receiver.
As a sophomore (17-371-4) and freshman (16-208-1) Ross contributed some, but the junior took on a bigger role in 2016.
Green Bay Packers: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Packers need a tight end upgrade. Richard Rodgers is just backup quality, and Jared Cook hasn't been reliable enough to be counted on. Howard would upgrade the receiving weapons for Aaron Rodgers and help improve Green Bay's run blocking.
Howard has 41 catches for 489 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. In 2015, he made 38 catches for 602 yards and two touchdowns. Howard totaled 17 receptions for 260 yards in 2014. The 6-foot-6, 237-pounder flashed big-time potential in 2013. The freshman hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards - 19.2 average - with two touchdowns.
The talented tight end has been very under-utilized. As he proved with Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Amari Cooper and then Calvin Ridley, Lane Kiffin settles on one receiver and struggles to call plays for anyone else regardless of their talent or mismatch potential. Howard is a fast and dangerous receiving weapon who has the frame to add size. Sources say Howard still needed to improve his route-running and blocking, and was able to show progress in those areas as a senior.
Miami Dolphins: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Dolphins could use more young corner talent to go with Xavien Howard.
Conley notched 26 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions in 2016. He played well, and teams think he is a solid player. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has enough size to start on the outside in the NFL.
After some early issues, Conley had a solid 2015 season for the Buckeyes and improved as the year progressed. He totaled 49 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up for the season.
Conley has a good skill set, and he looks like a safe pick to develop into a quality starter.
Seattle Seahawks: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Seahawks need to address their offensive line with a number of upgrades. They would be fortunate if Nelson got to their first-round pick.
The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Nelson was dominant this season. He is strong at the point of attack to open holes in the ground game and athletic in pass protection. Sources say that Nelson is receiving first-round grades, and one national scout told WalterFootball.com that they think Nelson is a future Pro Bowler.
Atlanta Falcons: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Falcons grab an edge rusher to pair with Vic Beasley.
Entering this season, Charlton flashed for Michigan but was mainly a backup and also was used inside at tackle. In 2016, he totaled 9.5 sacks, 43 tackles and 13 tackles for a loss as the bookend defensive end with the impressive Chris Wormley. The 6-foot-6, 272-pounder Charlton is athletic with versatile size to be a base end in a 4-3 defense or a standup linebacker in a 3-4.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
The Steelers could use an edge rusher to pair with Bud Dupree.
There has been a good amount of hype about Smoot as a few draft analysts have projected him among the top-10 prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. In speaking with multiple NFL teams, they say they are grading Smoot as a mid- to late first-rounder. Smoot totaled 56 tackles and 15 for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted in 2016.
Sources say that Smoot is very athletic and explosive off the edge. However, they feel he is more disruptive than productive, and that could be the case for him in the NFL. They believe Smoot is the kind of player who will place a lot of pressure on the quarterback, but net only a few sacks.
Smoot is listed at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, but teams think that Smoot could be about 10 pounds heavier. Starting across from Jihad Ward in 2015, Smoot had a strong junior season as he totaled eight sacks with 15 tackles for a loss, 40 tackles, two passes batted and three forced fumbles.
Oakland Raiders: Tim Williams, OLB/DE, Alabama
The Raiders could use an edge rusher across from Khalil Mack. They can't count on Aldon Smith to stay on the field.
In 2016, Williams has nine sacks, 16 tackles for a loss, 29 tackles, two forced fumbles and two passes batted. He's been putting steady pressure on the quarterback all season. However, sources have told me that they have massive off-the-field concerns with Williams. It could end up hurting him tremendously during the 2017 NFL Draft as some teams told me they won't consider him until Day 2.
The 6-foot-4, 252-pounder came on really strong as a pass-rushing force to close out the 2015 season and help the Crimson Tide win a National Championship. He totaled 10.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for a loss and 19 tackles on the year. It will be interesting to see if Williams can develop into an every-down defender. There is no doubt that he is a fast edge rusher with a nose for the quarterback.
New York Giants: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Giants could use a feature back, and McCaffrey would give Eli Manning another receiving threat as well.
In 2016, McCaffrey averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 1,603 yards and 13 touchdowns. He totaled 37 receptions for 310 yards and three touchdowns through the air, too. McCaffrey also was a dangerous punt returner.
In my opinion, McCaffrey should have won the 2015 Heisman Trophy because he carried Stanford all season. McCaffrey was a home-run hitter and a threat to rip off a huge gain every time he touched the ball. McCaffrey has a tremendous burst to break into the open field with vision, cutting ability and elusiveness. In 2015, he averaged six yards per carry for 2,019 yards with eight touchdowns. As a receiver, he had 45 catches for 645 yards and five scores. McCaffrey (6-1, 200) looks undersized, but he still should be an early rounder.
Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Chiefs grab a young understudy for Derrick Johnson.
In 2016, Cunningham totaled 125 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, three passes batted and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder is a quick, instinctive linebacker who is a reliable tackler. He is a versatile player with the skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. There has been buzz about Cunningham in scouting circles, and teams are giving him late first-round/early second-round grades.
In 2015, Cunningham totaled 103 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and four forced fumbles on the year. He was only a redshirt sophomore that season and has upside to develop.
San Francisco 49ers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
TRADE! San Francisco trades back into the first round to get ahead of the Cowboys. The 49ers need wide receiver talent for whomever is their starting quarterback in 2017.
This season, Davis has 91 receptions for 1,427 yards and 18 touchdowns. Sources say the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Davis is long and athletic. He has impressed evaluators with good route-running, hands and deceptive speed. They like his run-after-the-catch skills and size.
Davis was banged up somewhat in 2015, but still produced, totaling 90 receptions for 1,436 yards with 12 touchdowns. In 2014, Davis was excellent with 78 catches for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had quality production as a freshman as well (67-941-6).
Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Cowboys could lose Terrance Williams in free agency, and Dez Bryant has had a difficult time staying healthy the past two seasons. Here's a big receiver for Dak Prescott to grow with.
In 2016, Sutton totaled 76 receptions for 1,246 yards - 16.5 yard average - with 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions.
One scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Docton, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
New England Patriots: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
TRADE! The Patriots traded down with the 49ers to this slot, and here, they land a leader for their defense. They lost Jerod Mayo to retirement last offseason and have Dont'a Hightower entering free agency, plus Jamie Collins was traded away. That is a lot of attrition at an important position in New England's defense. Here's a young linebacker to build around.
Davis has collected 60 tackles, two sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. Davis is a strong inside presence who made a ton of clutch tackles for Florida in 2015. He was an unsung hero of one of the best defenses in the nation and was a beast in the SEC Championship along with the other late-season games against elite competition. In 2015, Davis totaled 98 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, an interception and 3.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder is fast, physical and instinctive. He has sideline-to-sideline speed with the athleticism to be a three-down defender. Davis could be a Mike (middle) or a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3. He also could function on the inside of a 3-4.
Los Angeles Rams: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Los Angeles needs to draft some receivers in hopes of finding a true No. 1 for its offense. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are just average, while Tavon Austin is a specific-use kind of player. The Rams have a huge investment in Jared Goff, and they need to provide him some reliable talent to work with.
In 2016, Smith-Schuster has 63 receptions for 781 yards and nine scores. He made only one reception for nine yards in the season opener against Alabama as he was completely shut down by Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick, two future NFL cornerbacks. Smith-Schuster has the upside to get better. He has a serious combination of size and enough quickness.
In 2015, Smith-Schuster took over as the No. 1 receiver with Nelson Agholor in the NFL and was excellent with 89 receptions for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder had an impressive freshman season in 2014, totaling 54 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings: D'onta Foreman, RB, Texas
The Vikings could use an understudy for Adrian Peterson.
Foreman was a beast in 2016, rolling over defenders while averaging 6.3 yards per carry for 2,028 yards with 15 touchdowns. He wasn't much of a receiver with seven receptions for 75 yards, but Foreman is a load as a runner who can run over the opposition. The 6-foot-1, 250-pounder is a power back for the NFL, and sources have said that Foreman really impressed them this season.
Back to Overreaction 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16
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