2017 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Prospects to Watch

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2017

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 12:  Wide receiver John Ross #1 of the Washington Huskies is congratulated by tight end David Ajamu #85 after scoring a touchdown against the USC Trojans on November 12, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Trojans defeated the Huskies 24-13.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

NFL Scouting Combine workouts continue to shape draft projections. On Saturday, the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends hit the field, and they didn’t disappoint. 

Washington wide receiver John Ross ran a record-breaking 4.22 40-yard dash time to unseat running back Chris Johnson as the fastest straight-line runner in the NFL. He spoke openly about aiming for the mark, per Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta, and delivered on his first attempt.


Officially the fastest 40-yard dash... EVER. 4.22. Congratulations, @WatchJRoss! #NFLCombine https://t.co/nlos6YyKM8

Unfortunately, Ross cramped up and couldn’t finish the on-field drills. He also wore Nikes instead of Adidas shoes, which cost him an island as a record-holder. Nonetheless, the national spotlight will certainly bump his draft placement upward a few slots. 

As a group, the quarterbacks loosened up quickly and allowed their natural talents to shine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mitchell Trubisky, who prefers the full version of his name, didn’t resemble a one-year starter with raw mechanics. He alternated good throws with Clemson product Deshaun Watson during the passing drills. 

In the finale, the tight ends came out and stole the show. Spectators expected Alabama prospect O.J. Howard to impress, but Mississippi tight end Evan Engram added value to his stock with a 4.42 40 time and wide receiver-like catching ability.

How far does each combine standout surge up draft boards on April 27?

NFL Mock Draft—Round 1
1Cleveland BrownsMitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
2San Francisco 49ersMyles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
3Chicago BearsJonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
4Jacksonville JaguarsJamal Adams, S, LSU
5Tennessee Titans (via Rams)Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
6New York JetsTeez Tabor, CB, Florida
7Los Angeles ChargersSolomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
8Carolina PanthersMalik Hooker, S, Ohio State
9Cincinnati BengalsMarshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
10Buffalo BillsDeshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
11New Orleans SaintsReuben Foster, LB, Alabama
12Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
13Arizona CardinalsSidney Jones, CB, Washington
14Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)John Ross, WR, Washington
15Indianapolis ColtsLeonard Fournette, RB, LSU
16Baltimore RavensDalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
17Washington RedskinsCorey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
18Tennessee TitansMarlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersChristian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
20Denver BroncosCam Robinson, OT, Alabama
21Detroit LionsDerek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
22Miami DolphinsMalik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
23New York GiantsO.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
24Oakland RaidersZach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
25Houston TexansCarlos Watkins, DT, Clemson
26Seattle SeahawksGarett Bolles, OT, Utah
27Kansas City ChiefsGareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
28Dallas CowboysJabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
29Green Bay PackersTakkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA
30Pittsburgh SteelersRaekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
31Atlanta FalconsTaco Charlton, DE, Michigan
32New England PatriotsJarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Mitchell Trubisky Becomes the No. 1 overall pick 

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

During the NFL Network telecast, broadcaster and draft analyst Mike Mayock expressed uneasiness about selecting a quarterback with only one year of starting experience in the first round. Nonetheless, a team that needs a franchise passer and wants a specific signal-caller in the draft shouldn’t hesitate to claim the prospect.

Before the combine, the Browns placed Trubisky on their radar as a potential No. 1 overall pick, per Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter May Kay Cabot.

The Browns are strongly considering drafting hometown boy Mitch Trubisky No. 1 overall, league sources tell cleveland.com.

One top NFL personnel executive told cleveland.com Thursday that he'd definitely take Trubisky No. 1 now that he measured over 6-1.

As a hometown prospect, Trubisky going to the Browns almost feels like Akron native, LeBron James, walking across the stage as the No. 1 overall pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. Of course, most basketball aficionados knew James would blossom into a Hall of Famer. The North Carolina quarterback still has much to prove in his young career. 

On Saturday, Trubisky looked confident throwing the deep ball, showed athleticism when he ran a 4.67 40-time and displayed good throwing mechanics. He didn’t fall flat in any of the drills, which should hold the Browns’ interest in taking him No. 1 overall, based on Cabot’s sources.

Philadelphia Eagles Draft 40-Time King, John Ross 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 04: Wide receiver John Ross of Washington runs the 40-yard dash in an unofficial record time of 4.22 seconds during day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller outlined Ross as a wide receiver with a bright future before he set the ground at Lucas Oil Stadium ablaze with a 4.22 40-time: 

In his final year of college, Ross became one of the best players in the nation. His explosive yards-after-catch ability and skills as a deep threat were a perfect match for quarterback Jake Browning. The two connected on 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns in an offense designed to give Ross room to run. Once he has that, he’s gone.

CBS Sports rankings already listed Ross as a first-round draft choice. Most analysts ranked Clemson’s Mike Williams and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis as the top two prospects at the position. Despite only participating in the 40-yard dash, the Washington standout's brief impact puts him in the conversation as the best all-round talent at his position.

It’s said that coaches can’t teach speed. When Ross took off from his mark, he effortlessly cruised into the record books. The Philadelphia Eagles need a complement to Dorial Green-Beckham, a 6’5”, 237-pound pass-catcher and possession wideout Jordan Matthews. It’s time to turn the page on wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who entered the league as the No. 20 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Ross could become what Agholor failed to develop into over the past two seasons.

New York Giants Add Top Tight End

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 28: Alabama Tight End O.J. Howard #88 of the South Team during the 2017 Resse's Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama. The South defeated the North 16-15. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The New York Giants must squeeze the best out of quarterback Eli Manning as he enters his 14th season in the league. Tight end Larry Donnell will hit the free-agent market. Over the past two seasons, Will Tye rose to the starting spot due to Donnell’s injuries. He’s a good player at the position, but he’s not a dynamic game-changer like Howard.

The Giants may consider Engram as an oversized receiver, but Howard offers better blocking ability on the edge. Due to the Giants’ faulty pass protection on the perimeter, a 6’6”, 251-pound tight end, who can block and run down the seam on pass routes makes more sense for big blue.

Engram’s impressive combine performance blacked out Howard, who’s been the No. 1 prospect at the position. However, the Giants shouldn't allow flashy workout numbers overshadow four years of good tape and a combine performance to verify the film.

Furthermore, New York could fully utilize Howard’s receiving skills as the No. 3 option behind wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

Stats provided by Sports-Reference.com and Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Combine results provided by: NFL.com.

Official height and weight measurements provided by: NFL.com and PhiladelphiaEagles.com.


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