By Derek Guilford. The 2017 NFL Draft is this Thursday, April 27th, at 8:00 p.m. EST. All 32 teams will be ready inside their war rooms as Roger Gooddell walks to the podium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to introduce the next batch of NFLers. This draft is loaded on defense with an epic edge rushing class, and deep at cornerback and tight end. The draft class is weakest at quarterback and the offensive line. So, if your team is looking to reload their under-performing defense, this is the draft for you!
1. Browns select DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M.
Generational talent. Even the Browns can’t screw up this pick.
2. Projected trade between the 49ers and Bills. The Bills move up to select QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina.
The Bills likely believe the Bears will select Trubisky with the third overall pick, so they leapfrog the Bears with a trade with the 49ers. The 49ers flip-flop first round picks and get a second and fourth round pick this year, and second round pick next year.
3. The Bears select QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson.
The Bears love Watson’s overall package and leadership. Mike Glennon’s contract structure makes him merely a stopgap.
4. The Jaguars select RB Leonard Fournette, LSU.
The Jaguars have experimented with different players in their backfield for a few years now with little to show for it. Toby Gerhart, Chris Ivory, and TJ Yeldon have each been given a chance to be the team’s lead running back. Fournette gives the Jaguars backfield a powerhouse of a talent and takes pressure off struggling fourth year quarterback Blake Bortles.
5. The Titans (from the Rams) select CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State.
The Titans select Lattimore to help rebuild a secondary ranked 30th in the league in 2016.
6. The Jets select S Malik Hooker, Ohio State.
The Jets badly want to trade down the draft order too, but find no dance partner in time. Hooker is a great consolation.
7. The Chargers select DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford.
The Chargers will truly be lucky if Thomas slides to them at seven. Thomas and Joey Bosa would form a formidable duo wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
8. The Panthers select RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford.
This is a little high for McCaffrey to be selected, but the Panthers will likely be unwilling to trade to move up to select Fournette. So, the Panthers are left with McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook at eight and opt for the versatility of McCaffrey.
9. The Bengals select LB Derek Barnett, Tennessee.
The Bengals need another edge defender. Barnett’s college production and potential are undeniable. If Barnett is selected before the Bengals pick, DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama, would be the pick here.
10. The 49ers (from Bills) select S Jamal Adams, LSU.
With Jacquiski Tartt most likely moving to an OLB hybrid role and the 49ers non-committal to Eric Reid, the 49ers need a young, playmaking safety with leadership skills they can build around.
11. The Saints select WR Mike Williams, Clemson.
The Saints must replace Brandin Cooks and Mike Williams is the pick here.
12. The Browns (from the Eagles) select TE OJ Howard, Alabama.
Sorry Gary Barnidge, soon, your “lunch pail blue-collar” services are no longer needed for the Browns.
13. Projected trade between the Cardinals and Texans. The Texans move up to select QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech.
The Texans think Mahomes won’t be available at pick twenty-five and they are in win-now mode. So, the Texans give up pick twenty-five and a second rounder to move up to thirteen.
14. The Eagles select OLB/DE Hasson Reddick, Temple.
The Eagles need another EDGE defender and Reddick is special.
15. The Colts select OLB/DE Charles Harris, Missouri.
The Colts thirtieth ranked defense needs all the help it can get.
16. The Ravens select WR Corey Davis, Eastern Michigan.
It’s time for the Ravens to add Steve Smith’s future replacement.
17. The Redskins select DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama.
One of the top players in the draft slides to the Redskins to give Washington a stud on their defensive line for years to come.
18. The Titans select CB Tre’Davious White, LSU.
This is a safe pick for the Titans as they get a solid contributor to help rebuild the secondary, a player replacing the aging Michael Griffin.
19. The Buccaneers select CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State.
Conley could be easily selected before this pick. But, if he’s there, Conley would be an outstanding young corner to pair with Vernon Hargreaves III.
20. The Broncos select OT Garrett Bolles, Utah.
The Broncos must select an offensive tackle after losing Russell Okung in free agency. Bolles is considered by many the number one offensive lineman in this draft.
21. The Lions select LB Reuben Foster, Alabama.
The Lions need another EDGE rusher on their defense. Despite injury concerns and an of-the-field issue at the Combine, Foster is too good to pass up here as he is arguably a top ten talent.
22. The Dolphins select DE Malik McDowell, Michigan State.
McDowell has all the talent you could want, but he just needs to bring it on every play to harness his potential. McDowell could well make the Dolphins defensive line the best in the league.
23. The Giants select TE David Njoku, Miami.
Njoku may not last this long, but can you imagine the Giants offense if he did? Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepherd, Brandon Marshall, and David Njoku means, “Get your popcorn ready.”
24. The Raiders select LB Jarrad Davis, Florida.
Raiders’ top needs are running back and linebacker. With Marshawn Lynch most likely signing, Oakland hopes the athletic Davis is still on the board.
25. The Cardinals (from the Texans) select WR John Ross, Washington.
With Larry Fitzgerald at the sunset of his career and genuine question marks on the other Cardinals wide-outs the Cardinals invest a draft pick in the speedy Ross, considered by many to be the third best wide receiver in the class.
26. The Seahawks select OG Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky.
The Seahawks offensive line struggled despite adding OG Germain Ifedi at the tail end of Round 1 in 2016. The Seahawks could also opt to select the longer-armed Cam Robinson, Alabama. Whatever the case, offensive lineman should be the pick here.
27. The Chiefs select DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State.
Willis will replace the 30-plus year-old Tamba Hali eventually. Andy Reid addresses the quarterback position later in the draft.
28. The Cowboys select DE TJ Watt, Wisconsin.
Watt has great measurables but it’s hard to say whether he is a first round selection. It’ll take an owner like Jerry Jones to take a chance on J.J. Watt’s younger brother. Watt projects as a defensive end in the Cowboys 4-3 defense.
29. The Packers select OLB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA.
The Packers address their outside linebacker position instead of their secondary here. McKinley offers immense upside and shows outstanding burst. TJ Watt makes sense here too.
30. The Steelers select S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut.
The Steelers have been rebuilding their defense the past few years with high round picks. Melifonwu has too much potential to pass by at thirty and rounds out what has become a great Steelers secondary.
31. The Falcons select DE Taco Charlton, Michigan.
The selection of Taco Charlton here makes complete sense. The Falcons would be nuts not to grab a tall, playmaker to help one of the league’s worst pass defenses.
32. The Saints (from the Patriots) select OT Cam Robinson, Alabama.
Robinson has his technical concerns, but the potential is through the roof. He would be a great bookend tackle opposite Terron Armstead. The Saints have no depth at the position. The Saints could also address defensive end with their first pick especially if DE DeMarcus Walker (Florida State) is still available.