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2017 NFL Mock Draft: Full 1st-Round Projections for Top-Tier Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2017

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28: David Njoku #86 of the Miami Hurricanes in action during the Russell Athletic Bowl against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Camping World Stadium on December 28, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Miami defeated West Virginia 31-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We're just about to enter combine week, which means we'll soon know more about how NFL teams actually view this year's crop of draft hopefuls.

The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine is set to kick off on February 28, it is expected to feature 330 invitees. While not every rookie prospect is going to take part in drills, most will participate in measurements, interviews and testing.

Once the combine is complete, we'll have a better idea of how players measure up physically, which quarterbacks are shorter than advertised, which receivers possess small hands and which prospects with checkered pasts have adequate explanations for their actions.

Until then, we can only judge these players on their collegiate performances—which might seem like the most important factor but often is not.

Taking what we do know now, we're here to make our projections for the first round in April's draft. We'll be running down the current draft order and making our picks based on factors like projected player potential, team needs and team fit. We'll also examine the latest draft-related news heading into the scouting combine.

2017 NFL Mock Draft

Round 1
PickNFL TeamProj. Selection
1Cleveland BrownsMyles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2San Francisco 49ersJonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
3Chicago BearsDeshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
4Jacksonville JaguarsJamal Adams, S, LSU
5Tennessee Titans (from LAR)Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
6New York JetsMalik Hooker, S, Ohio State
7Los Angeles ChargersMarshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
8Carolina PanthersLeonard Fournette, RB, LSU
9Cincinnati BengalsReuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10Buffalo BillsSolomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
11New Orleans SaintsDerek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
12Cleveland Browns (from PHI)Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13Arizona CardinalsMike Williams, WR, Clemson
14*Indianapolis ColtsRyan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
15*Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan
16Baltimore RavensDalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
17Washington RedskinsChris Wormley, DL, Michigan
18Tennessee TitansQuincy Wilson, CB, Florida
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersCharles Harris, OLB, Missouri
20Denver BroncosForrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
21Detroit LionsDawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
22Miami DolphinsTeez Tabor, CB, Florida
23New York GiantsO.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
24Oakland RaidersDavid Njoku, TE, Miami
25Houston TexansMarlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
26Seattle SeahawksDan Feeney, OG, Indiana
27Kansas City ChiefsJohn Ross, WR, Washington
28Dallas CowboysTaco Charlton, DE, Michigan
29Green Bay PackersSidney Jones, CB, Washington
30Pittsburgh SteelersCaleb Brantley, DT, Florida
31Atlanta FalconsTakkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
32New England PatriotsTim Williams, LB, Alabama
*Order to be detemrined by coin flip

Latest Buzz

Njoku to Raise Stock at Combine?

Miami tight end David Njoku is considered one of the top two tight ends—along with Alabama's O.J. Howard—available in this draft and a potential first-round pick. However, a strong combine could potentially lift Njoku into the top half of the first round as a potential game-changing offensive weapon.

This is something Mike Renner of the Chicago Tribune fully expects to happen. 

Renner named Njoku as one of five players he expects to "dominate" the combine, and he wrote the following:

The first time I watched a Miami game this season, I just assumed number 86 for the Hurricanes was a wide receiver. It wasn't until later I discovered he was actually a 6-4, 245-pound tight end David Njoku. Getting mistaken for a wideout usually bodes well for a tight end's athleticism. He may very well put up wide receiver-type athletic numbers at the combine while at the same time having an ideal tight end frame.

Njoku put up some impressive numbers at Miami this past season—amassing 698 yards and eight touchdowns. Yet his stock could really skyrocket after teams and scouts get an up-close look at his speed, athleticism and size.

NFL teams love guys who can create mismatches on offense. Once teams realize what Njoku is capable of, someone early in the draft is likely to covet his mismatch potential.

Watson Still Unsure Where He'll Land

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Champio
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Given the presence of quarterback-needy teams early in the first round of the draft, former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson could wind up as one of the top prospects taken in April. However, the reality is that he simply has no real clue where he might land at this point.

"I'm hearing that. First round, anywhere in that range, top 10, top five, just depends on what the teams say," Watson said recently, per Associated Press sportswriter Stephen Hawkins. "It's something I can't control. I just make sure I can control what I can control. Stay positive."

The fact that Watson isn't quite sure how high he'll go is likely behind his decision to fully participate in next week's combine. He'll need to alleviate concerns about his size and his ability to make throws in the pocket while showing teams his leadership qualities and football IQ.

If Watson doesn't quite measure up at the combine, his stock could realistically push him to the bottom of Round 1 or even further.

I currently have Watson as the first quarterback off the board, but this projection hinges largely on a satisfactory combine performance. I believe teams will be comfortable with Watson's ability to make throws from the pocket and to dissect the play board.

This, I believe, will be enough for a team to fall in love with Watson, given his proven performance on the biggest stages of the collegiate world.

Could Cleveland Fall in Love With Kizer?

I have the Cleveland Browns taking North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the 12th overall pick in this mock, but CBS Sports draft expert Dane Brugler believes that Cleveland could fall in love with a different quarterback.

Brugler recently visited with Zack Meisel and Doug Lesmerises of the Take By the Lake podcast and said the following:

I personally think that guy would be DeShone Kizer. Maybe I'm way off, but with what Kizer brings to the table.... A guy that just turned 21 years old, he's built for the AFC North. He's built to take punishment, he's an Ohio guy, he's played in the elements his entire career. What he did as a freshman was really impressive.

Brugler goes on to point out that Kizer lost his left tackle, top six receivers and a top running back this past season, so perhaps we shouldn't hold his 2016 struggles against him so much.

Kizer's stock will very much depend on how he performs at the combine, in private workouts and in interviews over the next two months. If he can outperform the likes of Trubisky and Watson over that span, he might not even make it to the 12th overall pick.