2017 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions After Early Free-Agent Moves
The NFL landscape is ever-changing. Within the past week, the scouting combine took place and free agency began.
As such, mock drafts became obsolete faster than the latest cell phones.
Not only do NFL rosters look drastically different today, but multiple prospects asserted themselves during their time in Indianapolis.
Both events shape how teams approach the draft. Needs became fewer, and players continued to separate themselves from their peers.
Overall, the picture is clearer with more information available to all parties, and knowing is half the battle.
A plethora of upcoming pro days are still on the schedule, and teams aren't quite finished with their evaluations. However, their draft boards will experience few fluctuations in the coming days.
With 45 days remaining until the Cleveland Browns are officially on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick, another prognostication is needed to take note of the recent changes found throughout the league.
1. Cleveland Browns
The Pick: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Unleash the beast. Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett crushed the combine process. In doing so, he proved to be a freakish amalgamation of the NFL's best and brightest talent.
It's a fun exercise just to see where a prospect falls on the athletic spectrum. Obviously, it doesn't determine how successful an individual will be at the next level.
The comparisons do point toward an exceptional athlete every bit worthy of becoming the No. 1 overall pick. Garrett finished among the top five defensive linemen in every combine event he participated and effortlessly cruised through his position workout.
"He's a freak," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "This guy is bigger and longer than Von Miller (6'2 1/2" and 246 pounds). He's the best player in the draft."
2. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Three first-round picks on defensive linemen in consecutive years is a heavy investment by one team.
However, a San Francisco 49ers defensive front featuring Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Aaron Lynch is filled with frightening potential.
In doing so, the organization immediately establishes an identity under new general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Plus, first-time defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will have the horses up front to implement his Seattle Seahawks-inspired system.
When many think of the Seahawks defense, the secondary automatically comes to mind. But the Seahawks defense wouldn't be effective without a dominant defensive line.
Texas A&M's Myles Garrett may be a near lock for the No. 1 overall pick, yet Thomas presents similar upside. The Stanford product impressed at the NFL combine with top-five performances among defensive linemen in the bench press, broad jump, three-cone and short shuttle.
3. Chicago Bears
The Pick: S Jamal Adams, LSU
The addition of LSU's Jamal Adams may appear to be overkill with Adrian Amos already on the Chicago Bears roster and the free-agent signing of veteran safety Quintin Demps. Those two shouldn't prevent the organization from considering this elite talent, though.
First, Adams is an upgrade over Amos. Second, Demps turns 32 years old this summer. Finally, Adams is more than a traditional safety.
The young defensive back creates flexibility within the Bears' scheme. Even as a safety, Adams finished among the top third of collegiate nickel corners in quarterback rating against and coverage snaps per reception, according to Pro Football Focus.
Adams' inclusion to the Bears secondary adds more than raw talent. His attitude is infectious and brings a new level of energy to a locker room.
"That was Jamal Adams: great energy and great leadership," former LSU head coach Les Miles told the Times-Picayune's Jim Kleinpeter. "He brought every practice up several notches."
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
No prospect experienced more of a roller-coaster ride during the NFL Scouting Combine than LSU running back Leonard Fournette. At first, he disappointed with a woeful vertical jump before an impressive 40-yard dash.
"It's interesting to talk to other scouts and find out where their priorities are," an anonymous AFC scout told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. "I was talking to a guy from another team who kept talking about Fournette's vertical jump (28.5 inches). Here is a guy who ran a 4.51 (40-yard dash) at 240 pounds and this guy was worried about his vertical. I guess he won't win the team slam dunk championship, but he will run over you."
Fournette is a 240-pound freight train.
As the Jacksonville Jaguars continued to build their defense through free agency with the acquisitions of A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Barry Church, an offensive focal point is still needed.
Quarterback Blake Bortles excelled in a run-heavy, play-action offense in college. With Fournette lining up at running back, the Jaguars place Bortles in a better position to succeed.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
The Pick: DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen came out of the NFL combine with more questions than confirmation. Prior to his trip in Indianapolis, the unanimous All-American was considered a contender for the No. 1 overall pick. Upon his arrival to the combine, he began to be picked apart.
First, questions about his long-term health due to previous shoulder surgeries arose. The 286-pound defender also didn't test well during drills.
But teams already expected what was going to happen before he even took the field for his workout.
"He's a difference-maker," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "Not a special athlete but extremely strong and an outstanding technician."
Allen isn't a special athlete, but he's a tremendous football player and one of the best in the class. If he slides slightly due to the aforementioned concerns, the Titans should have no qualms about selecting the highly decorated defender and pairing him with Jurrell Casey.
6. New York Jets
The Pick: QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
This year's quarterback class seemed to settle at the NFL Scouting Combine. The combine experience can be a funny thing, though.
Clemson's Deshaun Watson performed exceptionally well throughout the entire event. The two-time Davey O'Brien Award winner as college football's best quarterback looked smooth, in charge and nearly flawless during the throwing portion of his workout.
More importantly, the spread quarterback crushed the interview process.
"Maybe the best interview I've ever had with a guy," an anonymous scout told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman. "Quick learner. Probably knows as much about football as any other prospect I've been around, and that includes guys like Peyton Manning. He was that impressive."
However, questions about his raw arm strength arose when CBS Sports' Dane Brugler revealed Watson posted poor velocity numbers. None of the quarterbacks in this class are perfect, and the reigning national champion signal-caller isn't any different.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick: S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
No offense to Dwight Lowery, who is a solid football player, but a team doesn't pass on a talent like Ohio State's Malik Hooker just because Lowery is already on the roster.
The 31-year-old defensive back does provide a buffer for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Hooker is an exceptional talent with sideline-to-sideline athleticism and elite ball skills. However, the young safety is still recuperating from a torn labrum and sports hernia he suffered during the team's final regular-season contest. Therefore, he won't be 100 percent when a team selects him in the draft.
Once healthy, Hooker shouldn't take long before he's ready to contribute at a high level.
"It's a [defensive] system that allows guys to pick up [things] really quickly," defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, per the Los Angeles Times' Dan Woike. "It allows them to play fast early. It's more of that philosophy."
8. Carolina Panthers
The Pick: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
This year's cornerback class is like Baskin-Robbins; there's a flavor for everyone. As such, the top available cornerback remains in question.
For the Carolina Panthers, the team needs to continue its secondary overhaul this offseason after augmenting the team's defensive front in free agency.
Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is generally considered the No. 1 prospect, yet he doesn't present the type of length and aggressiveness Carolina likes in its corners. Humphrey, meanwhile, is 6'0" tall with 32.25-inch arms, 4.41-second 40-yard dash speed and two years of starting experience in college football's best defense.
But it's more than that.
Humphrey is an ideal fit for the Panthers' defensive scheme. The Alabama product excels in zone coverage where he can be aggressive with the ball in front of him. Carolina relies heavily on a zone scheme behind its talented defensive linemen and linebackers. Humphrey's potential fit can fill the void left by Josh Norman.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
The Cincinnati Bengals prefer defensive ends who are long, lean and explosive. Carlos Dunlap is 6'6" and 280 pounds, while Michael Johnson stands 6'7" and also tips the scales at 280 pounds.
Michigan's Taco Charlton will fit right in with this rotation.
Actually, Charlton is almost a mirror image of Dunlap. Their measurements at their respective combines were nearly identical. In fact, the 6'6", 277-pound incoming defensive end tested better in every category other than the 40-yard dash.
Due to Johnson's decline in play and age (30 years old), Charlton could crack the Bengals' starting lineup during his rookie campaign.
"He won't be dominant but he'll be a good, solid player," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "Not dynamic or anything. He'll start as a rookie and be good."
10. Buffalo Bills
The Pick: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Buffalo Bills must declare war on the New England Patriots. After the Patriots lured top cornerback Stephon Gilmore away in free agency, Buffalo needs a strong response.
An addition of a top-flight cornerback—if not the top corner prospect—appears to be an appropriate reaction.
Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore adds even more athleticism and speed to a secondary that already features Ronald Darby. Both are sub-4.4-second cover corners with the ability to run with and mirror any wide receiver. Their athleticism provides enough potential to develop into the league's premier duo.
This isn't just about replacing Gilmore, though. Buffalo lacks the bodies to match up with a team like the Patriots and their numerous weapons.
New England features Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. On top of that, the organization added Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen via trades. Opponents need multiple defensive backs to cover such an immense amount of talent across the board.
11. New Orleans Saints
The Pick: LB Haason Reddick, Temple
No prospect experienced an ascension to the top of draft boards quite like Haason Reddick.
The high school running back/safety walked on to Temple's football program, redshirted and eventually converted to defensive end before he even earned a scholarship. His athleticism and drive have been apparent during every step of this year's draft process.
First, Reddick dominated this past season with 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. A strong senior campaign was only the start. The linebacker convert shined at the Reese's Senior Bowl as one of the event's top performers. Finally, Reddick's performance at the NFL combine was nothing short of sensational.
The versatile performer posted a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and finished among the top five defensive linemen in both the vertical and broad jumps. Each of these point toward an explosive athlete—which drove him toward becoming the top available linebacker.
A creative defensive coordinator can utilize the Temple product as an every-down linebacker who doubles as an edge-rusher. As such, Reddick upgrades two positions for the New Orleans Saints.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
The Pick: QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
The Cleveland Browns' offseason approach has been fascinating.
The organization blew away free agency with the acquisitions of the top available guard (Kevin Zeitler) and center (J.C. Tretter). Left guard Joel Bitonio also signed a massive long-term extension.
Clearly, Cleveland is trying to build a strong cockpit around whatever quarterback it's targeting.
In this scenario, North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky is available with the team's second first-round pick, and the Browns couldn't be happier.
According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, head coach Hue Jackson "loves the young quarterback" and believes he can build an offense around the one-year starter.
The Browns are determined to find a quarterback at some point in the next two months—not including Brock Osweiler. How successful the team proves to be falls on the front office's plans to leverage its massive amount of draft capital.
13. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
In the era of big cornerbacks, teams continue to search for defensive backs with enough size, length and athleticism to counteract today's talented receiving targets.
Florida's Quincy Wilson fits today's prototype at 6'1" and 211 pounds with arms over 32 inches long.
"He's got really nice length," a scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "he's got body control and passion for the game. He will need some work on his tackling. He wants to be physical with receivers."
The Arizona Cardinals already feature the game's best cornerback in Patrick Peterson. Wilson isn't the same physical marvel as Peterson, but similarities can be found between the two corners. They're nearly identical in size. Peterson is much faster in a straight line, yet Wilson timed better in the short shuttle at the combine.
Considering the void found opposite Peterson in the Cardinals secondary, cornerback is a dire need. Fortunately for the franchise, Arizona is in a position to add one of the top defensive backs in a deep class.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
The Pick: RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
The Philadelphia Eagles offense has the potential to be dynamic, but it's missing one piece. Running back remains a void even with veterans Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews on the roster.
After the organization signed both Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to upgrade a subpar wide receiver corps, the offense now features legitimate weapons on the outside along with Jordan Matthews out of the slot and Zach Ertz at tight end.
Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz should be extremely happy. Although, he still requires a consistent presence out of the backfield.
Stanford's Christian McCaffrey is a dynamic multipurpose weapon equally dangerous as a runner, receiver and returner. The running back provided one of the best workouts at the NFL combine, too. He posted a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, 37.5-inch vertical and 10'1" broad jump.
15. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: WR Mike Williams, Clemson
For months leading up to the draft, three positions dominated the conversation regarding the Indianapolis Colts and the team's needs.
Running back became the most popular pick. With Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey already off the board, and Dalvin Cook's massively disappointing combine workout, value doesn't exist at this point.
Offensive line, particularly offensive tackle, is considered the weakest position group in the entire draft, and no prospect is expected to be chosen among the top 20 selections.
A team can always add more pass-rushers. Although, the Colts were aggressive in free agency with the acquisitions of Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and Barkevious Mingo.
Finally, quarterback Andrew Luck needs a secondary option after last year's league-leading receiver, T.Y. Hilton. Luck targeted Hilton two times more than any other receiver or tight end on the roster in 2016. Clemson's Mike Williams has the size (6'4" and 218 pounds) to be a great complement in the offense.
16. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Derek Barnett's dominant career at Tennessee cannot be completely dismissed because he's not a premium athlete in the same vein as Texas A&M's Myles Garrett or Stanford's Solomon Thomas.
Even so, Barnett's workout at the NFL combine wasn't a disappointment. The 6'3", 259-pound defensive end posted a 4.88-second 40-yard dash, 31-inch vertical and 9'9" broad jump. His most impressive number came in the three-cone drill, though. Barnett's 6.96-second effort ranked fifth among defensive linemen.
While the overall performance wasn't considered great by any means, he decided to participate even though he suffered from an illness during his time in Indianapolis.
This young man is a competitor and productive pass-rusher with 33 career collegiate sacks. Now that the Baltimore Ravens moved on from Elvis Dumervil, Barnett can slide into the spot opposite Terrell Suggs.
17. Washington Redskins
The Pick: DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State
Michigan State's Malik McDowell reminded everyone at the NFL combine why he was once considered a top-10 talent.
The 20-year-old defensive lineman tested exceptionally well. At a solid 6'6" and 295 pounds, McDowell ran an impressive 4.85-second 40-yard dash. He then worked his way through positions drills with a grace that belies a man of his size.
His raw physical tools were always apparent, though. Teams are concerned about his maturity and work ethic.
"He's just a little lazy, and I worry about whether he is going to be a self-starter," an NFC North scout told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.
The Washington Redskins are in upheaval after the recent firing of general manager Scot McCloughan. How the front office operates will change. The team's previous approach doesn't provide any indication of which way it may be leaning, either. But the team must address its defensive line, and McDowell is such a tempting prospect.
18. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: WR John Ross, Washington
The wide receiver market hasn't been kind to the Tennessee Titans. The organization wasn't able to obtain Alshon Jeffery or Terrelle Pryor. Plus, the team failed to complete a trade for Brandin Cooks, per the Sun Herald's John Hendrix.
Despite these previous failed attempts, the Titans may have ended up in a better situation with John Ross' availability in the draft.
The Washington wide receiver made everyone lose their minds when he broke Chris Johnson's fabled 40-yard-dash time. It's hard to even describe his 4.22 speed because he looked so natural and smooth during the run. Amazingly, his calves cramped during the sprint.
But this isn't a case of a speedster using his raw speed to prop up his draft status. Ross was considered a legitimate first-round talent before he broke the record.
As a junior, he caught 76 passes for 1,122 yards and 17 touchdowns. He not just a dynamic vertical threat; he's a complete target. His addition revamps the Titans' wide receiver corps.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers attacked free agency exactly how it should be used. Instead of trying to build the roster with free agents, the organization addressed problems areas to supplement the roster.
DeSean Jackson adds a vertical presence opposite Mike Evans. Chris Baker will team with Gerald McCoy to create a formidable duo along the defensive interior. J.J. Wilcox is expected to take over as a starter at safety. And Tampa Bay retained Jacquizz Rodgers, the team's leading rusher.
These moves are all important, because they allow the team to select the best available talent in the draft. For example, Alabama's O.J. Howard isn't expected to be available with this selection. Yet here we are.
Howard is by far the top tight end prospect, and he's coming off an impressive combine performance.
Tight end isn't a need with Cameron Brate on the roster, but the combination of Brate and Howard can create a new dynamic within the offense, especially since Howard doubles as the draft's best inline blocker.
20. Denver Broncos
The Pick: OT Garett Bolles, Utah
The Denver Broncos don't know exactly who will be their starting quarterback in 2017, but the organization is building a strong offensive front to keep their eventual starter upright.
General manager John Elway signed guard Ronald Leary to a four-year, $36 million contract. He also swiped Menelik Watson away from the rival Oakland Raiders.
With Leary, Watson, center Matt Paradis and guard Max Garcia, four-fifths of the team's offensive line is built. Left tackle is the only missing piece.
Even though the offensive tackle class is considered quite poor, Bolles established himself as the best of the bunch. The major concern about Bolles involves his age (25 years old). However, he should be a Day 1 starter on the Broncos' blind side.
The Utah product looked extremely athletic during his combine workout, and his demeanor to bury opponents will be a welcome addition.
21. Detroit Lions
The Pick: DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
The Detroit Lions invested heavily in their offensive line at the start of free agency. It's time to concentrate on the defensive line during the draft.
Detroit tied for 30th overall with only 26 sacks last season. Ziggy Ansah needs help, and he's going to get some.
UCLA's Takkarist McKinley is an explosive edge defender. At 250 pounds, he may not be an every-down defender to start his career, but his quick-twitch ability off the snap provides the potential to become a dynamic pass-rusher.
After a breakout senior campaign where McKinley registered 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, he provided an impressive combine workout with a 4.59-second 40-yard dash.
McKinley will team with a healthy Ansah, Kerry Hyder and the recently signed Cornelius Washington to provide a much better pass rush in 2017 compared to last season's woeful team performance.
22. Miami Dolphins
The Pick: LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Most will automatically assume that Reuben Foster's slide in this mock draft is a direct result of him being dismissed from the NFL combine due to an altercation with medical personnel.
Of course, every young man at the event is tested and needs to keep their cool, but that's not the reason for his slide.
Foster presents legitimate long-term health concerns. He's currently rehabbing from a torn rotator cuff, and questions can be raised about how he's going to hold up physically at the next level.
The Alabama product weighed 229 pounds in Indianapolis. The NFL is trending toward smaller and lighter linebackers, yet his recent injuries and need to drop weight during his time in Tuscaloosa should raise a red flag or two.
If the reigning Butkus Award winner clears teams' medicals, he'll go much higher in the draft. If not, a team like the Miami Dolphins is in a position to select a top talent at a discount price.
23. New York Giants
The Pick: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Two philosophies exist regarding the NFL draft. A team can address its biggest needs by attacking a weakness within the roster or continue to build upon an area of strength.
For the New York Giants, the organization can complement an area of strength with the acquisition of a legitimate left tackle.
Right now, the Giants' wide receiver corps is ridiculous. Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and the recently acquired Brandon Marshall will be nearly impossible to stop. The franchise also added tight end Rhett Ellison in free agency.
However, quarterback Eli Manning can only take advantage of these weapons if he's upright and not being blasted every time he tries to throw the ball.
Ereck Flowers is not the answer on the team's blind side. He may be better served as a right tackle or even guard. Yes, he's only 22 years old and a former top-10 pick, but he proved to be an absolute disaster last season. Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk is already a more polished blocker coming into the league.
24. Oakland Raiders
The Pick: RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Very few top prospects come out of the NFL combine and simply don't match up to the player everyone saw during the previous season. Sure, a few concern areas may pop up. However, most individuals are who they are.
This is why Dalvin Cook's workout is so befuddling.
At Florida State, Cook looked like one of college football's most explosive runners. He needed to be defended as if he was going to score a touchdown every time he touched the ball, because he could.
Yet his workout fell well short of every expectation. What's most concerning is how poor he fared in change-of-direction drills. According to Mockdraftable.com, his times in both the three-cone and short shuttle were among the bottom 10 percent of running backs since the league started to reveal the workout numbers.
This is one of those instances where teams need to go back to their previous evaluations and make sure they're comfortable with Cook. When those concerns are added to his off-the-field issues and fumbling problems, Florida State's all-time leading rusher may no longer be considered a top-tier running back prospect.
25. Houston Texans
The Pick: QB Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
The anchor—aka Brock Osweiler—is no longer attached to the Houston Texans franchise. Instead, the organization found a creative way to get out from under the quarterback's contract after only one year via a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
With Osweiler out of the picture, general manager Rick Smith can turn his full attention to addressing the quarterback position.
Of course, the team may pursue Tony Romo, but the Dallas Cowboys have yet to release the veteran. At the moment, the draft is the most logical solution to finding a new franchise quarterback.
With Clemson's Deshaun Watson and North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky already off the board, Patrick Mahomes enters the spotlight.
The Texas Tech product may be an odd choice due to a perceived lack of preparation for a pro-style scheme. However, Mahomes displayed great arm talent, a comfort level with traditional footwork at the combine and an unappreciated intellect for the game.
The quarterback may have played in an Air Raid scheme, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury gave the young signal-caller more freedom within the system than most of his contemporaries.
26. Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
The Seattle Seahawks have done very little so far to improve one of the league's worst offensive lines. Luke Joeckel's signing doesn't count.
Pete Carroll and Co. still need to invest heavily in the trenches, starting with their first-round selection. The reigning Outland Trophy winner is a good place to start.
Alabama's Cam Robinson fits the Seattle mold. He's athletic and showed at the combine why he was once considered a top talent in this class with his effortless motion during drills. He's also long (35.5-inch arms) and a strong run-blocker.
Ultimately, offensive line coach Tom Cable is going to mix and match the parts up front in an attempt to put the five best players on the field.
Robinson's inclusion immediately makes him the most talented blocker on the Seahawks roster. Concerns about whether he can remain on the blind side should be quelled after his recent workout along with the realization he's only 21 years old. His raw potential is enormous.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick: CB Kevin King, Washington
Certain prospects start to creep into the first-round range after a strong week at the NFL combine. Washington's Kevin King is the individual who received the biggest bump from his performance.
Multiple players impressed, while King's workout came somewhat unexpectedly.
At 6'3" and 200 pounds with 32-inch arms, the Washington cornerback finished top five among defensive backs in the vertical jump, three-cone, short shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. What's even more amazing are the numbers he posted in change-of-direction drills.
King topped everyone at the combine with a 6.56-second three-cone and 3.89-second short shuttle. Those are baffling numbers for a cornerback with his length.
The California native isn't a workout warrior, though. He played well as an outside corner during his senior campaign and even presents some versatility by playing nickel corner as a junior. The Kansas City Chiefs can pair him with his former teammate Marcus Peters to create a dynamic cornerback duo.
28. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
The Dallas Cowboys' refusal to release Tony Romo at the start of free agency placed the team in a significant bind since the organization didn't have the salary-cap space to either re-sign its defensive backs or replace them.
Instead, safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox signed with other franchises, while cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne remain free agents.
Nolan Carroll's addition is only a band-aid. The Cowboys require talent upgrades to their secondary.
Byron Jones will become the team's centerpiece along the back line, but he needs a running mate. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers may be the perfect complement. While Jones is a converted cornerback whose athleticism provides a great amount of flexibility in coverage, Peppers is far more comfortable working at or near the line of scrimmage.
But the Heisman finalist's natural ability shouldn't be overlooked. At 5'11" and 213 pounds, the safety/linebacker ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash and looked exceptional during both linebacker and defensive back drills at the NFL combine.
29. Green Bay Packers
The Pick: LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
T.J. Watt will continually be compared to his all-world brother J.J. When healthy, J.J. Watt is the NFL's best player and an absolute monster.
The freakish genetics didn't bypass his little brother, though.
At the NFL combine, the linebacker ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash and finished top five among linebackers in vertical jump, broad, jump, three-cone, short shuttle and long shuttle.
His buildup as a top prospect has been a slow burn despite his natural talent due to a pair of knee injuries early in his Wisconsin career and a conversion to defense later in the process. He was only a one-year starter, yet he led the Badgers in tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (11.5) during the 2016 campaign.
The Packers experienced a lot of success with another outside linebacker who was a late-bloomer in Clay Matthews. Said T.J. Watt, per Packers News' Aaron Nagler, "I'm telling teams I'm only scratching the surface. I've only been playing defense for 18-20 months."
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
An opportunity to select a prospect of Corey Davis' caliber is too temping for the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though addressing the defense is a bigger concern.
Last season, Eli Rogers ended up as the Steelers' No. 2 wide receiver out of the slot. Antonio Brown more than doubled him in receptions, targets and receiving yardage. The offense lacked a true second target without Martavis Bryant in the lineup, yet the organization can't rely on Bryant after he was suspended for the entire 2016 campaign.
Therefore, the addition of Davis opposite Brown is an exciting proposition. Brown once dominated the MAC, too. Pairing them together has the potential to make Pittsburgh's offense unstoppable.
The Western Michigan product is arguably the top wide receiver prospect in the draft. However, Davis is dealing with an ankle injury, which may not allow him to work out for teams prior to the event.
As a result, he may slide down draft boards. His loss is the Steelers offense's gain.
31. Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: OG Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
What do you get a team that has everything? The Atlanta Falcons may never get past what they experienced in Super Bowl LI, but the franchise still features an exceptionally deep and talented squad.
Offensive interior may develop into an issue, though.
Veteran right guard Chris Chester is a free agent, and left guard Andre Levitre turns 31 years old this year with only one season remaining on his contract beyond the 2017 campaign.
A guard is never a sexy pick, but the Falcons' recent success is predicated on the big boys up front setting the tone and establishing the run game to open up everything for MVP quarterback Matt Ryan.
Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp may be as good as any offensive line prospect in this year's draft. However, he doesn't have the length to be considered an elite left tackle prospect nor does he present much positional value once he kicks inside to guard. If he can follow in the footsteps of other left tackle converts like Zack Martin, Joel Bitonio and Cody Whitehair, his value will skyrocket.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England)
The Pick: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
The New Orleans Saints sacrificed wide receiver Brandin Cooks in order to obtain another first-round pick and improve the defense. Cooks led the team with 1,173 receiving yards last year, but concerns over signing him long term allowed the organization to make a bold move.
Dennis Allen's unit finished dead last in pass defense in 2016, and the Saints have been unable to make any significant improvement to the secondary in free agency. The team lacks a true top cornerback. Fortunately, this year's defensive back class is loaded.
Ohio State's Gareon Conley may have been overlooked to a degree because his former teammate, Marshon Lattimore, is a potential top-10 talent. However, Conley flashed first-round ability at well.
At 6'0" and 195 pounds with 33-inch arms, the Ohio native has the build and athleticism teams want at the position. Conley is the more polished of the two Ohio State cornerbacks at this point in their careers.
With the addition of Temple's Haason Reddick earlier in the first round and Conley, the Saints added two key pieces to a defense that hasn't been good in a long time.