The staff of Elite Sports NY breaks down the 2017 NFL Draft as it happens, with live news and analysis from Philadelphia.Projecting the first round of the NFL Draft might as well be called a dismal science because as my colleague John Fennelly writes, it’s pretty much a crapshoot.
That being said, it’s still fun — and usually worthwhile — to mock the draft. That’s what both the Giants and Jets staffs did: Rob Sabo’s comprehensive preview confirms that it’s “nothing but hope” for the Jets, while Skylar Darel’s profiles confirm that there are a lot of potential targets for Big Blue.
What will end up happening on Thursday night? Stick with us all night for up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Philadelphia.
(Last Update: 11:46 PM)
1. Cleveland Browns — Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2016-17 Stats: 10 GP, 33 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
From the day he stepped into College Station, Garrett was a force to be reckoned with. Despite sustaining a knee injury at the start of his junior season, he was still named a first-team All-American, as a testament to his sheer athleticism and explosiveness. He has an inside spin move akin to Dwight Freeney’s, and fluid-movement skills like Julius Peppers. He could be an all-pro.
2. Chicago Bears (from San Francisco 49ers) — Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 68.0 completion percentage, 3748 yards, 30 TD, 6 INT
Perhaps it’s the result of a poor quarterback class, but Trubisky has been repeatedly underestimated by members of the media. He’s got NFL-size, makes full-field reads and throws an accurate strike. While he needs to work on his pocket awareness, he projects to be a starting QB.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from Chicago Bears) — Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 61 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
There’s likely not a more intriguing prospect in this draft than Thomas, who was born in Australia and worked his way into the conversation when he returned to the states. With outstanding peripherals and a knack for shining when it matters most, he’s blossomed into a high-impact player who impresses everybody with his strength, quickness and motor.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars — Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
2016-17 Stats: 7 GP, 843 rushing yards, 6.5 average, 8 TD
Once the top overall recruit in the country, Fournette has been turning heads since his freshman year of high school. While he battled through an ankle injury all season, he still showcased the size, speed and strength that earned him consensus All-American status in 2015-16.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams) — Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
2016-17 Stats: 14 GP, 97 receptions, 1500 yards, 19 TD
Another record-setting receiver, Davis set the all-time mark for receiving yards (5,285) in 2016. He was a model of consistency over his college career, impressing scouts with his focus and competitiveness. He could be a superstar for years to come.
6. New York Jets — Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
2016-17 Stats: 12 GP, 76 tackles, 1 interception, 4 passes defensed
Despite the Tigers’ loaded secondary, Adams still managed to outshine nearly everybody else on the field en route to second-team All-SEC honors. He resembles a sheriff for his leadership abilities and tone-setting physicality, and he’s been compared to the legendary Charles Woodson by multiple scouts.
7. Los Angeles Chargers — Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
2016-17 Stats: 15 GP, 98 receptions, 1361 yards, 11 TD
Williams almost ended his career when he fractured his neck last season, but he made a quick, and perhaps miraculous, recovery. He’s tall, drawing comparisons to Plaxico Burress, and has long arms and good hands. He could — could — be a top receiver if he works on his drops and route running.
8. Carolina Panthers — Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
2016-17 Stats: 11 GP, 1603 rushing yards, 6.3 average, 13 TD, 310 receiving yards
Speaking of intriguing prospects, McCaffrey is a multidimensional back who in 2015 set the NCAA record for total yards in a single season. Despite some limitations, he’s able to create yardage for himself, and could be a dynamic ball-carrier and ball-catcher in the NFL.
9. Cincinnati Bengals — John Ross, WR, Washington
2016-17 Stats: 14 GP, 81 receptions, 1150 yards, 17 TD
What stands out most about Ross is his speed; in case you haven’t heard, he ran the quickest 40-yard dash in the history of the scouting combine. He’s an instant-impact weapon who could be one of the game’s top slot guys, but concerns about his body language and lack of size still haunt him.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (from Buffalo Bills) — Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
2016-17 Stats: 12 GP, 65.7 completion percentage, 5052 yards, 41 TD, 10 INT
Mahomes is a conundrum: he’s an air-raid quarterback (never translates) who can extend plays and throw the ball wherever he wants to. Some are sold; others are skeptical. He’ll need to be more disciplined to succeed.
11. New Orleans Saints — Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 41 tackles, 4 interceptions, 9 passes defensed
Despite his chronic hamstring problem, Lattimore managed to appear in all of the Buckeyes’ games this season, and he didn’t disappoint. He’s a freak athlete with a “loaded tool box,” according to Lance Zierlein, and his confidence should make up for a lack of experience.
12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns) — Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
2016-17 Stats: 15 GP, 67.0 completion percentage, 4593 yards, 41 TD, 17 INT
Wherever he goes, he wins. Watson has been a consistent contributor throughout his collegiate career, and well… he’s got the arm strength and elusiveness to succeed at the next level. Whether he does that will be determined by his ability to adjust to a game that will force him to make full-field reads and avoid menacing defenders.
13. Arizona Cardinals — Hasson Reddick, LB/DL, Temple
2016-17 Stats: 14 GP, 65 tackles. 9.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
As if there aren’t enough prospects with rap sheets, Reddick has one, as well. In 2015, he got into trouble for assault outside of Philadelphia, but wasn’t suspended. The former walk-on (he dealt with injuries during his last two high-school seasons) has the speed and athleticism to dominate at the next level, but lacks the bulk, length and straight speed to become a superstar.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings) — Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 56 tackles, 13.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Speaking of established players, Barnett was a consistent performer for the Vols, earning three consecutive nominations to the all-conference squad. He had outstanding hand usage and play strength, while becoming the first defensive line freshman in Tennessee history to start right out of the gate.
15. Indianapolis Colts — Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 74 tackles, 7 interceptions, 4 passes defensed
A multi-sport star, Hooker secured All-American honors for his instincts and ball skills. There are questions about his lack of experience, but his ability to flip the field is extremely enticing. He should have an immediate impact in the National Football League.
16. Baltimore Ravens — Marlon Humphrey, DB, Alabama
2016-17 Stats: 14 GP, 36 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 passes defensed
Well… Humphrey is the son of former college great Bobby Humphrey, and has the height-weight-speed combination to match the bloodlines. He’s inconsistent in coverage and doesn’t have the best technique, but his mental makeup should be enough to make up for it.
17. Washington Redskins — Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
2016-17 Stats: 15 GP, 69 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
The recipient of the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski Award, which is administered annually to the best defender in college football, Allen anchored the best defense in the country last season. He’s a great leader and athlete who could rush the quarterback from the inside and outside, but he has a lack of height that worries people.
18. Tennessee Titans — Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 55 tackles, 5 interceptions, 11 passes defensed
Jackson is a freak athlete. He competed at running back, kick return and cornerback last season, which is a testament to his sheer athleticism. He’s extremely exciting to watch, though his divided interest (he’s an aspiring Olympian in track) is a potential red flag.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
2016-17 Stats: 15 GP, 45 receptions, 595 yards, 3 TD
The term ‘project’ comes to mind when discussing Howard. The big-bodied weapon has top-end athletic traits and tons of raw talent, but didn’t exactly gel under Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin in Tuscaloosa. How he performs will be up to him as he makes the transition from highly-touted collegiate prospect to pro.
20. Denver Broncos — Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
2016-17 Stats: 961 snaps, 17 penalties, 3 sacks, 1 QB hit, 16 hurries
While Bolles was effective as a run blocker, it’s the passing game that gives scouts pause. In 2016-17, he just wasn’t good enough in pass protection, which is worrisome because his balance and lighter frame — also the fact that he’ll be 25 on Opening night — could hurt him in the NFL. Or, he could move to guard and become one of the best.
21. Detroit Lions — Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida
2016-17 Stats: 9 GP, 60 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Davis plays with an attitude that teams crave. He’s always well-prepared, and plays all three-downs. The drawbacks is that he’s, well… poor in coverage.
22. Miami Dolphins — Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
2016-17 Stats: 12 GP, 61 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Mizzou is a factory for defensive ends, and Harris is just the latest on the list. He has has a great spin move, closes quickly and routinely displays his athleticism. However, he’s a pure pass rusher, and isn’t much of a run clogger.
23. New York Giants — Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
2016-17 Stats: 11 GP, 65 receptions, 926 yards, 8 TD
When thinking about Engram’s usage, picture a chess piece: he’ll be deployed to mess with opposing matchups. Since he isn’t a conventional tight end (he isn’t a particularly dependable blocker because of his size), he needs to rely on his blazing speed and elite athleticism to give other teams nightmares.
24. Oakland Raiders — Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
2016-17 Stats: 13 GP, 26 tackles, 4 interceptions, 8 passes defensed
It’s the draft of the ‘disturbed prospect,’ so it’s fitting that Conley, who is one of the event’s top players, has been accused of rape. While he projects as a versatile press-corner, he’s going to have to address these allegations before he can take the next step.
25. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans) — Jabrill Peppers, DE/S/LB, Michigan
2016-17 Stats: 12 GP, 66 tackles, 3.o sacks, 1 interception
Peppers had a diluted urine sample at the combine, but like Reuben Foster, it has been overlooked. He’s arguably the most versatile prospect in the draft, as he’s able to play safety, defensive end, linebacker and kick return because of his absurd physical traits. He hasn’t produced at the rate scouts would have liked, but he has all the tools to make it happen at the next level.
26. Atlanta Falcons (from Seattle Seahawks) — Takkarist McKinley, DL, UCLA
2016-17 Stats: 11 GP, 61 tackles, 10.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
This kid plays with heart, and he’s a great story: raised by his grandmother, he promised her on her deathbed that he’d make it to this point. He put up impressive numbers for the Bruins, although he has a relatively raw approach.
27. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs) — Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
2016-17 Stats: 12 GP, 35 tackles, 2 interceptions, 14 passes defensed
This kid is a baller. He’s a consummate pro, showing up on every play despite not blowing anyone away with his measurables. Most importantly, the ball follows him, and he’s been a force in the competitive SEC.
28. Dallas Cowboys — Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
2016-17 Stats: 11 GP, 40 tackles, 10.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Someone who rocketed up the boards in recent months, Charlton became a more consistent contributor during his senior campaign. He has a combination of size, length and athleticism that could aid him in becoming one of the better pass-rushers in the league. If he allows coaches to teach him the ropes, he could become a high-impact starter.
29. Cleveland Browns (from Green Bay Packers) — David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
2016-17 Stats: 12 GP, 43 receptions, 698 yards, 8 TD
For whatever reason, Njoku has been overshadowed by his fellow tight end prospects in the weeks leading up to the draft. Still, he’s an outstanding pass catcher who constantly makes things happen after the initial snag. He needs to get a little stronger, but boy, he could become the game’s top TE.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers — T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
2016-17 Stats: 14 GP, 63 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
After an outstanding junior season, Watt decided to join his brothers J.J. and Derek in the NFL. His work ethic and length makes him an enticing prospect, although a lack of speed and explosiveness could hinder his chances of success. For the first time, he remained healthy throughout all of last season, so if he could build off of that, it will do him wonders.
31. Atlanta Falcons — Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
2016-17 Stats: 15 GP, 115 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Just a week before the draft, a bombshell broke: Foster failed his drug test at the scouting combine. In an event where so many participants have red flags, Foster’s transgression have been overlooked, but it’s important to note that he has medical issues as well. Still, he’s a legit ‘hit-and-run’ linebacker who can be trusted in coverage.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots) —Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
2016-17 Stats: 978 snaps, 2 penalties, 1 sack, 3 QB hits, 8 hurries
Although Ramczyk’s path to the draft is an unconventional one — he made the jump from Division III to Division I in 2015 — he’s widely regarded as the top tackle prospect, likely as a result of his athleticism and technique. If he stays healthy, he can be a difference-maker.