Headley’s Mock Draft 2.0 – 2017
It’s about that time to update my previous mock draft with so much more tape I’ve watched on the prospects plus Free Agency changing team needs.
1. Myles Garrett – Cleveland Browns
I flirted with the idea of the Browns selecting a quarterback with the first pick but Garrett is the selection here. He is the best pass rusher in a deep class and can be the catalyst for turning around the Browns’ defensive unit. The quicker he gets to the quarterback, the less time the defensive backs will have to cover.
2. Marshon Lattimore – San Francisco 49ers
The best cover corner in the draft goes to a team that I assume will select the best defensive player on the board. Lattimore is the best cornerback I have seen on tape in a while. He has the ability to mirror opposing receivers every move with his footwork and fluid hips.
3. Solomon Thomas – Chicago Bears
With the quarterback class lacking, the trend so far will be to pass on the position. The signing of Mike Glennon affords the Bears the opportunity to go the same route as the Niners and select the best defensive player on their board. Thomas fits with what John Fox is trying to create in Chicago, a tough, physical force with high motor and relentlessness.
4. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags have done an amazing job getting their defense solidified in the last two seasons through free agency and the draft. With no glaring holes on defense except for MLB which they can address later on, the Jags draft the offensive player of their choice. Although I am a Dalvin Cook guy, I believe Fournette fits what they’re trying to establish on offense.
5. Malik Hooker – Tennessee Titans
A team that couldn’t cover anyone last season gets one of the best cover safeties to come out of the draft in a long time. Hooker is a playmaker than can cover up all the mistakes in the Titans secondary with the ability to turn the ball over. The Titans lack playmakers on the defensive side of the football therefore Hooker over Adams is the choice.
6. Derrick Barnett – New York Jets
The Jets need help on the back-end of their defense and the best way to help them will be to get a player that can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Barnett’s anticipation and jump off the line at the snap of the ball is special which in turn will help the secondary cover for less time.
7. Jamal Adams – L.A Chargers
The Chargers have been building the defense over the last couple years with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Denzel Perryman, Jason Verrett and Casey Heyaward, now it’s time to put the final touches on what can be a special defense with Adams. He is a leader on and off the field that fits in line with the unit they already have.
8. Dalvin Cook – Carolina Panthers
What’s the best way to take pressure off quarterback Cam Newton? Get the most explosive/game changing player in the entire draft. Some folks have doubts about Cook’s speed and athleticism; however I am not one of them. Cook’s running style fits what the Panthers like to do with their zone read offense. Take the wrong gap and he will be going 6.
9. Reuben Foster – Cincinnati Bengals
The addition of Kevin Minter should not deter the Bengals from drafting an impact player like Foster. The Bengals will be ecstatic to plug Foster in their new and improved linebacker core. Foster is a do everything linebacker who can give the Bengals a fearsome front seven.
10. Mike Williams – Buffalo Bills
With the Bills first priority somewhat figured out with Tyrod Taylor’s restructured contract, now you can go get Williams to pair with Sammy Watkins. The Clemson brothers will be hell for opposing defensive backs to cover even if/when they decide to replace Taylor in the future.
11. Jonathan Allen – New Orleans Saints
It seems like the Saints have been signing and drafting defensive players for a long time without much success. They go defense once again with the best defensive player available. The Saints already have quite the combination of defensive tackles with Sheldon Rankins and Nick Fairley but Allen can slide outside and be effective.
12. Deshaun Watson – Cleveland Browns
The Browns stays put at 12 and get the quarterback they covet. Watson is the most NFL ready quarterback in this draft due to his experience and championship pedigree. The Browns have a plethora of picks in this year’s draft and next year’s to put the requisite pieces around their new franchise quarterback.
13. Corey Davis – Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals draft Larry Fitzgerald’s future replacement in Davis. A position that was strong a year ago is now a position of need for the Cardinals. John Brown has been dealing with health concerns while Michael Floyd is no longer on the roster which leads them to get a playmaker like Davis who can beat you on the outside or from the slot.
14. Tre’Davious White – Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles addressed their need at the wide receiver position in free agency with the signing of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, therefore the biggest hole left is the backend of the defense. White will pair with his former LSU comrade Jalen Mills to try and rectify a disastrous secondary last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles select two cornerbacks early in this draft.
15. Gareon Conley – Indianapolis Colts
There will be a run on the cornerback position in the first round as teams will decide which corner fits their style of defense. The Colts want to play aggressive on defense so they need a guy with excellent cover skills like their other CB Vontae Davis. Conley will come into the NFL with a pro ready game with his technique and cover skills.
16. Taco Charlton – Baltimore Ravens
This guy fits the Ravens mold with his toughness and physical presence. The Ravens are getting older in their front seven so bringing in a guy like Charlton instantly improves their defense. Charlton has improved every season for the Wolverines and will continue to ascend at the next level.
17. Haason Reddick – Washington Redskins
The Redskins addressed their secondary last season with the signing of Josh Norman; however, they were gashed in the running game. Haason Reddick is moving up the draft at a feverish pace and the Redskins can’t afford to pass up on a guy that will be stout against the run with the added benefit of getting to the quarterback.
18. Charles Harris – Tennessee Titans
With the secondary addressed with their first pick, the Titans second pick in the first round should be getting more defensive talent. Brian Orapko is getting up there in age and Harris is a pass rusher that can mentor under Orapko and be a force for years.
19. Budda Baker – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs need more playmakers for Jameis Winston but I think they address the offense later in the draft. They can’t pass up on the talented Baker who will solidify the back end of their defense. Baker can play multiple positions from high safety to nickel corner, that versatility can help the Bucs deal with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton.
20. O.J. Howard – Denver Broncos
The Broncos addressed the offensive line a bit in free agency and I fully expect them to draft a couple more linemen in the draft. However, they can’t pass up on one of the safest players in the entire draft at a position they need help in desperately. Howard can give their young quarterback a security blanket in the passing game while helping out the offensive line in run blocking.
21. Malik McDowell – Detroit Lions
The Lions defense played surprisingly well last season and I believe they should bolster the unit some more. McDowell could be a versatile piece on the Lions defense that can play defensive end and slide inside to play defensive tackle on passing downs.
22. Kevin King – Miami Dolphins
Watch out for a pass rusher here for the Miami Dolphins also but I decided to go corner as the Dolphins need help covering receivers. Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard played well at times last season but you can never have enough defensive backs that can cover. King is a bit raw with his technique but his length and athleticism is right up the Dolphins alley.
23. Forrest Lamp – New York Giants
The Giants up front were lacking all season long as they couldn’t run the football or protect Eli Manning. Enter Lamp who can be a piece to help improve the Giants in the trenches. Lamp is a technician that will be a valuable asset for the Giants.
24. John Ross – Oakland Raiders
Yes, I know Al Davis is no longer here to draft the fastest player in the draft but this Ross pick will give the Raiders an extraordinary advantage in taking that next step for their franchise. Imagine Derek Carr airing it out to Ross with the extra time needed with that offensive line in front of him. The Raiders is still in search for a running back and improving their back seven, but Carr to Ross sounds like “Championship.”
25. Teez Tabor – Houston Texans
The Texans already have a tough defense especially up front however they can shore up the back end with a playmaker that anticipates passes. Tabor’s excellent change of direction skill coupled with his ball skill makes him a candidate to take the ball six the other way. With J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney creating havoc for quarterbacks, a player like Teez can really flourish.
26. Ryan Ramczyk – Seattle Seahawks
The biggest hole on the Seahawks roster is offensive line so they will probably select the best lineman on the board with their 26th pick. Let’s just be clear the line was a mess last season with a constant rotation and players playing out of place. The pick here should be Ramczyk, the Seahawks can stay put and draft the best tackle on the board.
27. Quincy Wilson – Kansas City Chiefs
Opposing teams picked on the corner opposite Marcus Peters last year after the Chiefs loss Sean Smith to free agency last offseason. So naturally they need to fill that spot with a physical instinctive corner opposite Peters. Wilson will be in a nice spot here as the Chiefs front seven will force passes a lot quicker than anticipated.
28. Obi Melifonwu – Dallas Cowboys
“The Cowboys need help defensively” is an understatement. They can use a couple pass rushers but they go back to the well with another UConn defensive back. He can play both corner and/or safety for Dallas due to his versatility which can make him a Lego piece along with his former teammate Byron Jones.
29. Takkarist McKinley – Green Bay Packers
I was flirting with the idea of the Packers drafting a game changing running back like Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara but that would be a luxury pick for a team that couldn’t stop anyone last season. With Clay Matthews getting older and Julius Peppers returning to Carolina, Takk can bring that tenacity off the edge like the Packers defenses of old.
30. Carl Lawson – Pittsburgh Steelers
James Harrison can’t possibly play forever, can he? The ageless one has been getting it done while Bud Dupree has flashed some major potential. In the NFL you need waves of pass rushers and Lawson is a wave that can roll pass tackles.
31. Jordan Willis – Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons had an incredible run with their young defense flying around. Why not get some more youth on the defensive line and add a physical pass rusher in Willis. They have their speed guy Vic Beasley on one side, therefore bringing in a guy like Willis who can hold up against the run and get to the quarterback will be an asset for the Falcons.
32. Christian McCaffrey – New Orleans Saints
The Saints traded away their big play wide receiver Brandin Cooks for the Patriots first round pick. They select another playmaker that can help Mark Ingram in the backfield and can also play inside receiver for their dynamic offense. Head coach Sean Payton has to be salivating to draft their newest Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles like playmaker.
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