2017 NFL Mock Draft: Bold Predictions for Most Overrated Prospects

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 04: Quarterback Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina throws during a passing drill on day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Although the 2017 NFL draft class appears to be chock full of talent, it inevitably contains highly touted prospects who will fail to live up to the predraft hype surrounding them.

Busts are part of the territory when it comes to the draft, and while sometimes they are easy to see coming from a mile away, even those who appear to be surefire stars on the surface are susceptible to failing under pressure.

Along with a full first-round mock draft, here is a closer look at three of the most overrated prospects likely to come off the board in the opening round.

2017 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft
Pick No.TeamPlayer
1Cleveland BrownsMyles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2San Francisco 49ersSolomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3Chicago BearsJamal Adams, S, LSU
4Jacksonville JaguarsO.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
5Tennessee Titans (from LAR)Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
6New York JetsMalik Hooker, S, Ohio State
7Los Angeles ChargersJonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
8Carolina PanthersLeonard Fournette, RB, LSU
9Cincinnati BengalsDerek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
10Buffalo BillsCorey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
11New Orleans SaintsReuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
12Cleveland Browns (from PHI)Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13Arizona CardinalsMarlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
14Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
15Indianapolis ColtsCharles Harris, DE, Missouri
16Baltimore RavensHaason Reddick, OLB, Temple
17Washington RedskinsMalik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
18Tennessee TitansJohn Ross, WR, Washington
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersJabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20Denver BroncosRyan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
21Detroit LionsZach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt
22Miami DolphinsForrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
23New York GiantsDavid Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.)
24Oakland RaidersJarrad Davis, ILB, Florida
25Houston TexansDeshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
26Seattle SeahawksGarett Bolles, OT, Utah
27Kansas City ChiefsChristian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
28Dallas CowboysObi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
29Green Bay PackersTre'Davious White, CB, LSU
30Pittsburgh SteelersTakkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
31Atlanta FalconsBudda Baker, S, Washington
32New Orleans Saints (from NE)Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Mock Draft

 

Leonard Fournette

Few prospects in the 2017 draft class are more physically impressive than LSU running back Leonard Fournette, but there is plenty of reason for pause with regard to selecting him inside the top 10.

Chief among them is his durability, as Fournette appeared in just seven games last season one year after carrying the ball 300 times as a sophomore.

That resulted in Fournette registering just 843 yards and eight touchdowns during his junior campaign after being a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in 2015.

It was often questioned if Fournette could have and should have played last season if not for protecting his draft stock.

That was especially true at the end of the season when he chose to sit out the Tigers' bowl game rather than risking injury.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, that and an accumulation of other things have led some to question his passion for playing and created the feeling that Fournette is "driven by stardom."

Another area of concern is that Fournette never developed much as a pass-catcher at LSU with just 41 receptions to his credit in three years.

Many other top running backs are far more versatile, and former NFL Pro Bowler Tiki Barber is among those who value Stanford's Christian McCaffrey more than Fournette because of that, per the NFL's official Twitter account:

Fournette also seemed to struggle at times when the lights were brightest and the challenges were greatest.

The biggest example of that was his lack of production against Alabama. In three games against the Crimson Tide, Fournette never topped 79 yards rushing and had just one touchdown.

In each of the past two seasons, he was limited to 35 yards or less by 'Bama, which created some questions about whether he has the elusiveness to produce against elite talent.

Fournette has great physical tools, but there are enough red flags to warrant a running back-needy team looking elsewhere.

It will likely cost a top-10 pick in order to get Fournette, while a second-round pick could likely land Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara or D'Onta Foreman, and potentially net equal or greater production.

 

Mitchell Trubisky

The quickest, easiest and most common way for a team to become a contender is by finding and developing a franchise quarterback.

Due to that, it has become commonplace for teams to reach for quarterbacks early in the first round in hopes of striking gold and turning around their misfortunes.

There is no can't-miss quarterback prospect in the 2017 class, but North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky seems to have settled in as the preferred choice ahead of Clemson's Deshaun Watson despite a lack of experience.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cleveland Browns are even considering taking him at No. 1 overall should they decide against selecting Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.

Trubisky was great in 2016 with 3,748 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions to go along with another 308 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

He was unable to win the starting job in the two previous years, however, which Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders pointed out as a strike against him:

Trubisky's skill set is impressive, but it is rare for a signal-caller with so little starting experience to transition well to the next level.

Despite the fact that Watson was in Heisman contention each of the past two seasons and led Clemson to consecutive National Championship Games, Trubisky appears to be receiving more favorable grades leading up to the draft.

Trubisky has the makings of a good developmental prospect, but the team that takes him may very well expect him to start right away, and that could prove disastrous for a player with so little time under his belt as a starter in the collegiate ranks.

 

Jabrill Peppers

Michigan's Jabrill Peppers is one of the most athletic and versatile players in the draft, but the lack of a clear position makes him a risky first-round selection.

Peppers entered college as a safety, but he was used primarily at linebacker in 2016. He did some good things with 66 tackles, 13 stops for loss and three sacks, but the transition from linebacker to safety heading toward the NFL may not be an easy one.

Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 The Fan is among those who have questioned why Peppers wasn't used at his natural position last season:

There are some cases of players successfully transitioning from safety to linebacker in the NFL, such as Deone Bucannon of the Arizona Cardinals, but going from linebacker to safety is much rarer.

Peppers had just one interception in three collegiate seasons, which suggests he may be lacking in terms of instincts and ball skills at safety.

He made plays on offense and in the return game, but the team that selects Peppers will be doing so primarily for his potential defensive contributions.

Peppers' skill set is impressive, but in the deepest draft for safeties in years, teams with a need at the position may be wise to look elsewhere.

Malik Hooker, Jamal Adams, Budda Baker and Obi Melifonwu are all more natural safeties who may have an easier time acclimating to the NFL.

Peppers' versatility is something that could be an asset in the right system, but if he struggles to settle on a regular position, it may prevent him from reaching his full potential.