With the majority of free agency coming to a close and the NFL Draft looming, teams will look to fill the remaining needs on their roster via the draft. The Packers have multiple needs which they could address in the first round of the draft. These needs include cornerback, edge rusher, running back, guard, and a few others. Luckily for Green Bay, this draft is considered by many (including myself) to be littered with talented corners, edge rushers, and tailbacks. Taking that into consideration, the Packers could get an outstanding player at an area of need where they pick at #29. There is always the possibility of moving up or moving down via trade as well. I firmly expect the front office to get a few offers to trade down from teams looking to grab a certain player late in the first round.
I’ve always thought mock drafts should be considered the ultimate form of fantasy football draft. Think about it, as the mock drafter I can do exactly what I want and nothing (within reason) can stop me. In a fantasy football draft I can’t do whatever my heart desires because I’m drafting with others. If I really wanted to, I could have Ted trade Jeff Janis for the first overall pick. A mock draft is the only place that could actually work, and there’s so many other possibilities! With that being said, I think I’ll try to a make this mock as realistic as possible for the sake of the reader. The events below have not happened, and are not necessarily likely to happen. This is how I foresee the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft playing out…
1. Cleveland Browns
The Pick: EDGE Myles Garrett- Texas A&M
Analysis: This pick should be a slam dunk for the Browns. Myles Garrett sets himself apart from any other prospect in this loaded draft. Many compare him to Julius Peppers, and to be honest I see the resemblance. Garrett goes on to be a big time player for the Browns from day 1.
2. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: EDGE Solomon Thomas- Stanford
Analysis: The 49er’s new GM John Lynch passes on a poor quarterback class early, and selects the best available player at a position of need. Smart move John Lynch, smart move.
3. Chicago Bears
The Pick: DL Jonathan Allen- Alabama
Analysis: The first of plenty of talented Alabama defenders goes off the board to the Bears. The Bears attempt to strengthen their defense early on with their addition of Mike Glennon in Free Agency.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: TE OJ Howard- Alabama
Analysis: Did I mention that Alabama’s defensive players were talented in this draft? Well their tight end is an outstanding talent as well. OJ Howard has the potential to be a big time receiver in addition to his solid blocking skill. Jacksonville gets Blake Bortles another weapon in hopes he will be the long term answer at quarterback.
5. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: CB Marshon Lattimore- Ohio State
Analysis: The Titans pass on a need at receiver to get an outstanding player. Marshon Lattimore will strengthen a somewhat weak cornerback group in Tennessee. I’m just sad that I couldn’t convince myself to mock him to the Packers at 29.
6. New York Jets
The Pick: QB Deshaun Watson- Clemson
Analysis: The Jets are desperate at quarterback, and prefer Watson’s skill set over that of others, so they make him the first quarterback off the board. Watson starts week 1 for the Jets.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick: S Jamal Adams- LSU
Analysis: The newly relocated Chargers grab a great player at the safety position to place in their defensive backfield that features a breakout performer in Casey Hayward. Man could we ever use Casey Hayward right now, sigh.
8. Carolina Panthers
The Pick: RB Leonard Fournette- LSU
Analysis: I realistically could see this pick happening. To me, it makes a whole lot of sense to give that offense a revitalized presence in the backfield. Who better to take some pressure off of Cam than Leonard Fournette? The man is a big powerful runner, and in my opinion the best back on the board. I cringe every time I see him taken after Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffery in mock drafts.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: EDGE Derek Barnett- TEN
Analysis: The Bengals could use a presence on the edge. They get a good one in Derek Barnett, simply put.
10. Buffalo Bills
The Pick: WR Mike Williams- Clemson
Analysis: The Bills liked Watson, but he was long gone by the time they picked. They wait on a quarterback until later, and get an outstanding outside receiver.
11. New Orleans Saints
The Pick: S Malik Hooker- Ohio State
Analysis: It’s not exactly a well kept secret that New Orleans has had a terrible secondary for years. They released Jarius Byrd. Hooker is one of the better players in the draft, and goes into the season as a starter.
12. New England Patriots (from Cleveland)
The Pick: LB Reuben Foster- Alabama
Analysis: Is it really even a mock draft without a block buster trade? The Pats finally face the fact that they need to ship out Jimmy G. before he leaves them in free agency, and get this pick and an early fourth rounder. As much as i wanted to mock them Peppers or McCaffery here, I had to make myself resist. Foster is a great player at linebacker next to Hightower. The Browns get some guaranteed skill in Jimmy.
13. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: QB Mitch Tribisky- UNC
Analysis: The whole world expected Tribisky to be gone by pick number 12, including the Browns. The Browns traded away the 12th pick away before the draft began, but regret it because they really liked Tribisky as a hometown hero. The Cardinals really liked him as well, and select their replacement for Carson Palmer.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick: RB Dalvin Cook- Florida State
Analysis: Cook goes before McCaffery. The Eagles love Cook’s versatility, and view him as a weapon for their young quarterback.
15. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: OT Ryan Ramczyk- Wisconsin
Analysis: The Colts take a hard look at Christian McCaffery, they then realize their offensive line is in shambles. This is a poor draft for linemen, but Ramczyk is a good player. Luck gets some help up front.
16. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: EDGE Taco Charlton- Michigan
Analysis: The Ravens released Elvis Dumervil. This wouldn’t be a packers related mock if I didn’t mention that I think the Packers should look at signing Dumervil. Taco becomes the next great pash rusher for the Ravens.
17. Washington Redskins
The Pick: S Jabrill Peppers- Michigan
Analysis: Players like Peppers always go higher than people think come draft day. The Redskins have a need at safety, and they’re the perfect team to swoop up Peppers. Washington places Peppers into their secondary in hopes that they have another star with Josh Norman on the roster. Another need is filled as a returner with the departure of Deshawn Jackson.
18. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: WR Corey Davis- Western Michigan
Analysis: The Titans waited to get their wideout earlier and the round, and are rewarded with Corey Davis. Mariota needs another threat besides Delanie Walker, and he gets one.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: S Buddah Baker- Washington
Analysis: Tampa fills need at Safety, despite a need in their backfield. This draft class features some great players from Washington at defensive back.
20. Denver Broncos
The Pick: DL Malik McDowell- MI State
Analysis: The Broncos find a piece their defense has been missing since Malik Jackson left last season. So they replace one Malik with another.
21. Detroit Lions
The Pick: EDGE Haason Reddik- Temple
Analysis: The Lions look to add another pass rusher in a lower profile player with some real upside.
22. Miami Dolphins
The Pick: G Forest Lamp- W. Kentucky
Analysis: The Miami Dolphins have a need at Guard. Normally I wouldn’t like to see a guard picked in the first round, but Lamp is a hell of a football player. Miami looks to continue their success in the running game and strengthen pass protection.
23. New York Giants
The Pick: T Garrett Bowles- Utah
Analysis: The Giants need to get better at the tackle position. They used a first rounder on Flowers from Miami a few years ago, but he hasn’t panned out thus far. They hope Bowles will be a better project so they can look at moving flowers to right tackle.
24. Oakland Raiders
The Pick: CB Marlon Humphrey- Alabama
Analysis: Yet another Alabama defender comes off the board in the first round, and a good one at that. It was very painful for me to have to mock Humphrey to someone other than the Packers, but I resisted. The Raiders further strengthen their defense with an athletic young corner.
25. Houston Texans
The Pick: TE David Njoku- Miami
Analysis: The Texans make the inevitable signing of Tony Romo to play quarterback. While the franchise is wary that their aging quarterbacks bones are composed of glass held together with the tears of Jerry Jones, they ignore the quarterback position for the time being, and get Romo yet another weapon in the passing game. Njoku is the real deal at tight end. If Romo plays well, look out for this offense which features a lot of weapons.
26. Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: CB Gareon Conley- Ohio State
Analysis: As outstanding of a secondary as they have in Seattle, the defensive backfield could still benefit from a second lock down corner. Deshawn Shead injured his knee badly late last season, and he saw his share of struggles before so. We all remember that long connection from Rodgers to Adams last season in which Shead was beaten badly, and to add insult to injury Adams accidentally smoked Shead in the helmet with the ball after scoring the touchdown. The Squaks get a great player, and their secondary becomes even more feared.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick: RB Christian McCaffery- Stanford
Analysis: The Chiefs have a history of having excellent running backs. They went from Priest Holmes, to Larry Johnson, to Jamaal Charles. McCaffery goes on to become the next great running back in KC.
28. San Francisco 49ers (From Dallas)
The Pick: QB Patrick Mahomes- Texas Tech
Analysis: John Lynch moves up half a dozen spots to select his quarterback. Rather than sit back to wait and see if he was there, they went up and got Mahomes. San Francisco makes sure they get their quarterback before someone jumps ahead of them, and they get a 5th year option on him because he was picked in the first round. Well done John Lynch, well done.
29. Green Bay Packers
The Pick: EDGE Takkarist McKinley- UCLA
Analysis: After fielding a few serious offers to move up from different teams attempting to get a quarterback, Ted decides to stay put and get an edge rusher. This is such a Ted Thompson pick, not only is Tak a defensive end that ted would be looking to convert to an outside backer, but he is also from UCLA and he’s only 21 years old. There’s no denying this is the kind of player Ted picks in the first round.
Player Breakdown: I’ve heard some bad things about his shoulder, but he has been able to play through it. Tak McKinley ran the third best 40 time for a DE at the combine at 4.59 seconds, standing at 6’2″ and weighing an even 250 pounds. His final season at UCLA as a junior he recorded 18 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and six pass breakups en route to a first team All-Pac-12 honors. He is a very high effort player, if you don’t believe me watch his tape it speaks for itself. He is a raw player, but his combo of athleticism and effort make him a good football player with some serious upside. He is viewed by most as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL rather than a defensive end. The Packers have addressed pass rush in the draft, and will look to address corner in the second round because of the depth at that position.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: LB Zach Cunningham- Vandy
Analysis: The Steelers take a hard look at the speedy pass catcher from Washington, but ultimately decide they need to fill a hole at linebacker first. Cunningham next to a speedy Ryan Shazier should be a good group at inside linebacker for the Steelers.
31. Buffalo Bills (From Atlanta)
The Pick: QB Deshone Kizer- Notre Dame
Analysis: Buffalo jumps ahead of New Orleans (just in case) to get their eventual replacement for Tyrod Taylor. Kizer showed the best tape of any quarterback in this draft class in 2015, the problem is that he regressed in 2016. Buffalo gets a good quarterback prospect in the late first round nonetheless.
32. New Orleans Saints (From New England)
The Pick: WR John Ross- Washington
Analysis: Speedy wideouts like Ross get picked at the end of the first every year it seems. This is no ordinary speedy receiver however, this man broke the combine record. While that was an outstanding accomplishment, the man also could have had an island but decided against running in Adidas cleats. The Saints replace their loss of a receiver to New England and gain a 3rd round pick in return. John Ross benefits from having a great quarterback throwing him the football.
We made it through the first round without anything too outrageous happening, and it appears that Green Bay picked up a fine player at number 29. Think there was someone better on the board at that point? Thoughts on where a specific player was/wasn’t drafted? Let us know in the comments section or tweet at us @PTTF_Podcast or interact with us on Facebook. You can tweet directly at me (Thane) @TrackOnPack. Thanks for reading!