It's not hard to figure out the most sought-after players in the 2017 NFL draft.
Where they land is another conversation entirely.
Myles Garrett is the top player in the class and should come off the board first. There are a handful of notable quarterback prospects with the importance of the position sure to inflate their stock.
This continues to play out ahead of the draft, as a note from ESPN's Adam Schefter captured recently: "Cleveland has not made up its mind at No. 1, per source. Split opinions. Some like Myles Garrett, some like Mitchell Trubisky. We will see."
For now, let's cut through the buzz and identify some of the most coveted prospects and figure out where they'll land in an updated mock.
2017 NFL Mock Draft
|1||Cleveland Browns||Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford|
|3||Chicago Bears||Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU|
|5||Tennessee Titans (from Rams)||Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State|
|6||New York Jets||Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina|
|7||Los Angeles Chargers||Jamal Adams, S, LSU|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama|
|12||Cleveland Browns (from Eagles)||O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings)||Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||John Ross, WR, Washington|
|17||Washington Redskins||Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan|
|18||Tennessee Titans||Mike Williams, WR, Clemson|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida|
|20||Denver Broncos||Garett Bolles , OT, Utah|
|21||Detroit Lions||Takkarist McKinley, OLB/DE, UCLA|
|22||Miami Dolphins||Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State|
|23||New York Giants||Haason Reddick, Edge, Temple|
|24||Oakland Raiders||Kevin King, CB, Washington|
|25||Houston Texans||Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs||Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana|
|28||Dallas Cowboys||Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama|
|29||Green Bay Packers||Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky|
|30||Pittsburgh Steelers||David Njoku, TE, Miami|
|31||Atlanta Falcons||Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida|
|32||New Orleans Saints (from Patriots)||Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut|
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
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Given his on-paper outlook, every team would love a shot at Stanford's Christian McCaffrey.
Leonard Fournette might be a bigger name, but McCaffrey is more of a modern back in today's NFL who won't come off the field often thanks to his ability out of the backfield as a receiver.
Standing at 5'11" and 202 pounds, McCaffrey tested better than most at his position at the combine. The film shows his soft hands and ability to score from anywhere on the field.
Comparing him to LeSean McCoy, Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke summed the Stanford product up: "The McCaffrey negatives are nitpicking based on style preference. If a team wants a power back to grind out carries, it ought to look elsewhere. If it wants a versatile player built for the modern game, McCaffrey has to be near the top of the list."
The problem for McCaffrey is how often teams would use him and where it fits from a value standpoint. Teams needing a short-yardage back won't take one high in the draft, meaning the first realistic slot for him in a mock is likely the Carolina Panthers at No. 8.
Carolina shouldn't let him slip past. The backfield needs a nice complement to the veteran Jonathan Stewart, if not an eventual successor. McCaffrey can do both while helping along an offense that hasn't received enough in the way of upgrades around Cam Newton over the years.
12 Cleveland Browns (from Eagles) O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
O.J. Howard is in a similar boat as McCaffrey—every single team would love to add him, but how high can a front office justify taking a tight end?
For Howard, it's higher than most. Folks throw around the term "pro-ready" entirely too much, but with Howard it's the perfect description. He's 6'6" and 251 pounds with proven SEC blocking ability on film and the sure hands teams covet in gigantic ends. Howard doesn't have any major stats to flaunt because of the system at Alabama, but if he had played elsewhere with a consistent quarterback his stock would maybe manage to be higher than it already is.
Pro Football Focus went as far as comparing Howard to Greg Olsen: "Like Olsen, Howard can move around the formation and create mismatches in the passing game. Olsen has been inconsistent in the run game, and despite Howard’s top-notch run-blocking grade in 2016, his success in the trenches may rely more on scheme and fit."
Howard is an instant NFL starter who might need to add some more weight to be a quality in-line blocker, but this won't stop the Cleveland Browns from getting him on the field right away.
Used properly, Howard could be the top target in Cleveland for a potential rookie quarterback. Either way, he's one of the best possible picks the Browns could make at No. 12 as he's a surefire offensive cornerstone for years.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
This is a weak offensive tackle class, which has only helped boost the stock of Utah's Garett Bolles.
In a normal class, teams might not love Bolles as much as they should because he's already 24 years old. But the iffy nature of the class has his stock through the roof and teams will play the waiting game on the hopes he keeps falling.
A team in need like the Denver Broncos won't allow it. Bolles is a bit light at 6'5" and 297 pounds, but as NFL.com's Lance Zierlein noted in a summary, it's all about the fit:
He clearly has elite athletic ability and foot quickness, but his lack of core strength and ability to sustain blocks against power across from him is a concern at this time. While he has Pro Bowl potential for a zone-scheme team, his floor will be a little lower than you might like in an early round pick.
Look at it this way—Bolles ran a 4.95 40-yard dash at 297 pounds, then busted off a 115-inch broad jump and ran 7.29 seconds in a three cone drill and 4.55 in a 20-yard shuttle. So he's a bit light, he has more than enough athletic ability and footwork to stay with speed rushers on the edge.
Denver isn't going to care about the age detail, not after a guy like Donald Stephenson graded 75th out of 76 at offensive tackle last season at PFF. The Broncos are desperate and Bolles slipping to them is one of their best possible outcomes.