2017 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions with Compensatory Picks
The NFL draft is more difficult to piece together than a massive jigsaw puzzle. Too many variables exist, and each part doesn't fit neatly with the others.
Accumulation of talent is only part of the process. A team must consider the entire draft class and how each specimen fits within its plans.
Organizations search for individuals who can bolster their culture and system. As such, value varies, because each prospect is viewed through 32 lenses.
While one team might see an elite talent, another will look in a different direction.
This was never more evident than when the Cleveland Browns traded the No. 2 overall pick last year so the Philadelphia Eagles could acquire a potential franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz. The Eagles saw value in swapping multiple picks for the same player the Browns didn't think could develop into a top-20 quarterback.
Thus, Bleacher Report's latest draft projection factored talent, team need, scheme fit and situation in order to flesh out an entire seven-round scenario.
With 37 days remaining until Cleveland is on the clock with the first overall pick, all of the pieces are on the table. It's now a matter of everything coming together.
1. Cleveland Browns
The Pick: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is the draft class' top-rated prospect. His status as the first overall selection isn't going to be challenged at this point in the process.
The possibility of pairing Garrett with Emmanuel Ogbah at defensive end along with Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey and Danny Shelton in Cleveland's front seven is exciting.
A year ago, the Browns tied for 30th in the NFL with only 26 sacks. The defense should dramatically improve with so much talent and mad scientist Gregg Williams calling plays.
After years of ineptitude, a ferocious front would provide Cleveland with a starting point to move toward competitive football.
2. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Certain players are so talented a team must find a way to make room for them.
The San Francisco 49ers don't have a specific need along their defensive line with DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Aaron Lynch already on the roster.
Even so, Thomas is too tempting for the organization to pass on him.
Texas A&M's Myles Garrett is the No. 1 overall talent in this year's draft class, yet the Stanford product has the potential to develop into a dominant defender and challenge Garrett as a top performer at the next level.
After the 49ers' aggressive approach in free agency to address certain key positions, specifically quarterback, the organization can select whomever is deemed the best available talent. Thomas may overlap to a degree with those already on the roster, yet his versatility and upside provide the flexibility needed to select another war daddy along the defensive line.
3. Chicago Bears
The Pick: S Jamal Adams, LSU
As offenses continue to spread the field with multi-receiver sets, defenders who can play in space and provide a variety of skills are necessary for teams to succeed.
LSU's Jamal Adams is the most complete safety in this year's class. Not only is he a strong run defender, he also performed well as a nickel corner in the Tigers defense.
"The game is starting to change as far as scheme-wise," Adams said, per Texas HS Football's Kyle Spishock. "We're starting to have tight ends that can run now. ...
"The game is changing. You need safeties in the back end that can cover, can make the calls, can tackle."
Raw ability is important, but Adams also served as a leader for the LSU defense. He is the total package, which makes him a potential cornerstone for any defense.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
Drafting for talent is important. Building a philosophy is even more so.
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't finished among the league's top 20 rushing offenses since the 2011 campaign. A commitment to the run game and a physical offensive front have been lacking from this organization for a long time.
With Jacksonville's marquee free-agent additions coming on the defensive side of the ball, the draft will serve as an opportunity to build a more aggressive offense.
LSU's Leonard Fournette is the logical starting point. While Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon are already on the roster, neither presents the type of ability Fournette does. The LSU product is a true workhorse with rare ability at 240 pounds.
As the draft continues, the organization can build a bigger and better running game with Fournette as the focal point.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)
The Pick: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Tennessee Titans' rebuilt secondary is almost complete.
With the free-agent additions of Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien to accompany veteran corner Jason McCourty and up-and-coming free safety Kevin Byard, the organization already upgraded a group that finished 30th in pass defense last season.
Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is the perfect addition as the draft's top cornerback.
"He's so athletic that he can just post up under the receiver's chin and shadow him all over the field," an AFC pro personnel director told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. "And he's tough, too. He'll be one of the top cornerbacks pretty quickly."
Lattimore's selection would complete the Titans secondary, but there is a slight risk. He's ultra-talented, yet he's only a one-year starter with an injury history. As long as Tennessee is comfortable with his background, the organization is well on its way to building one of the league's better pass defenses.
6. New York Jets
The Pick: QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
For those waiting for a consensus top quarterback to emerge, it's not going to happen. A case can be made for or against all of the best young signal-callers.
Four prospects—North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, Clemson's Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes and Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer—remain in the conversation to be the first off the board.
Whomever wins that distinction will depend on the teams picking.
Trubisky leads the pack almost by default simply because his game has been picked apart the least since he's a one-year starter. And his upside is apparent. A year ago, the North Carolina product led these top prospects in Pro Football Focus' quarterback rating and completion percentage under pressure and finished a close third in adjusted completion percentage.
"He's the best of the bunch," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "You just wish he played more. ... As far as the physical gifts, he's got everything you look for."
7. Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick: S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
Malik Hooker's evaluation may be the truest of any prospect in this year's class, because it will be based purely on the skills seen throughout his 2016 campaign.
What everyone saw on the field was a sensational ball hawk with uncanny sideline-to-sideline range.
But he required labrum and groin surgeries after the season that prevented him from participating in NFL combine workouts and will stop him from working out prior to the draft. His recovery is coming along well, though.
"I just started Phase 3 of the process where I started jogging [Thursday]," Hooker told NFL.com's Conor Orr. "I upped the tempo on everything. I did some core work [Friday]. A lot of backpedaling, so I felt pretty good out there."
The safety's talent is apparent. While teams prefer to have all data points, Hooker was still counted among the class' elite talents with or without the traditional predraft evaluation.
8. Carolina Panthers
The Pick: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide are an NFL pipeline. They produce as much professional talent as any team in the nation, and no higher compliment can be given than to be dubbed the best to come out of that program.
Marlon Humphrey is considered the best cornerback produced by Alabama in recent memory.
"He is the most complete corner I've seen come out of there," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal's Bob McGinn. "I've done Dre Kirkpatrick, Dee Milliner, Kareem Jackson. He can be a big-time player. He's as violent as I've ever seen a corner be."
The latter point is especially important. Humphrey is also long and athletic. He runs well, too.
He's a complete defensive back. When the ball is front of him, he is a heat-seeking missile and an ideal fit for the Carolina Panthers' zone-heavy scheme.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Jonathan Allen is a top-three prospect in this year's NFL draft class. But concerns about his lack of athleticism and surgically repaired shoulders may force a slight draft-day tumble. Teams weren't the only ones discouraged with his combine workout, though.
"I was pissed off and disappointed," Allen said, per AL.com's Matt Zenitz, "but it's part of the process."
A team like the Cincinnati Bengals should be waiting with open arms to secure a talent of this caliber despite these concerns.
Allen doesn't have the length the Bengals usually prefer in their defensive ends, and he's not a true edge-rusher. However, he can serve as a stout run defender who lines up as a base end on early downs and moves inside alongside Geno Atkins as an interior pass-rusher in sub packages.
Defensive tackles who can rush the passer are rare. Two of them on the same team is unheard of in today's NFL.
10. Buffalo Bills
The Pick: TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
With Tyrod Taylor's contract status resolved, the Buffalo Bills are free to select one of the top talents in this year's draft.
Instead of having to choose a quarterback with this pick, the organization can focus on building around Taylor. To do so, it will need weapons to complement the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack.
Aside from Sammy Watkins, who has been injury-prone throughout his career, the Bills don't have many targets for Taylor. Last year's top two receivers, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, both left in free agency. The additions of Andre Holmes, Philly Brown and Jeremy Butler didn't move the needle.
Alabama's O.J. Howard will provide an instant mismatch for any offense. His combination of size (6'6" and 251 lbs), speed, athleticism and blocking ability make him the class' top tight end prospect.
New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison can lean heavily on two-tight end sets with both Howard and Charles Clay on the field as the offense's best options in the passing game.
11. New Orleans Saints
The Pick: LB Haason Reddick, Temple
The NFL draft process is a series of tests for prospects to prove themselves. With each passing challenge, Temple's Haason Reddick continued to astound.
First, he tore up his senior campaign with 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. He followed that with an outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl, where he seamlessly transitioned from defensive end to linebacker. The defender then blew away the combine with one of the best workouts of the week.
With that, Reddick established himself as the top available linebacker prospect.
"It won't surprise me if Reddick comes off the board before [Alabama linebacker Reuben] Foster," an NFC pro personnel director told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. "I like Foster a lot, and I think he's the better player of the two, but Reddick is bigger than Foster and is a legit rusher on the edge, too. Anytime you have someone who can rush the quarterback, they get pushed up the board."
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles)
The Pick: QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
When studying the draft, a distinction must be made between what a player did in college and what he's projected to do at the NFL level.
As the Cleveland Browns continue to search for their franchise quarterback, they have an interesting decision to make. Should the organization select a national championship-winning quarterback in Deshaun Watson or consider going against the grain and bank on Patrick Mahomes' near limitless upside?
An argument in Watson's favor can easily be made for the quarterback-starved franchise. His collegiate success speaks for itself. Yet there's a feeling that Mahomes could develop into a truly special quarterback.
Watson is a slightly better athlete, but Mahomes displays superior arm talent. While Watson experienced far more team success, Mahomes carried the Texas Tech program with outrageous numbers.
"If it clicks for him and he's coachable, I think he could become a special quarterback," an NFC executive said of Mahomes, per NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.
13. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
The Arizona Cardinals will be a vastly different squad in 2017 after their underwhelming 2016 campaign.
Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Kevin Minter, D.J. Swearinger, Alex Okafor, Earl Watford and Darren Fells all left in free agency. The team signed Antoine Bethea, Karlos Dansby and Jarvis Jones.
However, the organization didn't address the gaping hole at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson.
Florida's Quincy Wilson is being overlooked to a degree in this deep defensive back class. He has prototypical size and length at 6'1" and 211 pounds with 32¼-inch arms. More importantly, his raw physical tools translate into a top coverage corner.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings)
The Pick: RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Prior to his combine workout, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey stated he felt somewhat disrespected in this year's draft class, per the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.
At the time, McCaffrey was considered the third- or even fourth-best running back prospect. But he reasserted himself as a top talent when he proved in workouts he is a tremendous athlete whose skills translate to the field.
The Stanford product finished among the top five running backs in Indianapolis in five different events, including the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
More importantly, he looked flawless throughout his position workout. This is especially important considering the potential fit with the Philadelphia Eagles. Doug Pederson's offense features running backs who are adept at catching the ball out of the backfield.
McCaffrey is as good of a receiver as he is a runner. His skill set should remind Eagles faithful of Brian Westbrook.
15. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Much like the previous two selections, Ohio State's Gareon Conley flew under the radar a bit until the combine.
At 6'0" and 195 pounds with 33-inch arms, Conley ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and finished among the top five cornerbacks in the 20-yard shuttle.
Like Florida's Quincy Wilson, Conley was the bookend to a highly regarded teammate. With former Buckeye Marshon Lattimore and Wilson off the board, Conley could be the draft's next best cornerback.
As talented as the previously mentioned players are, Conley finished first among full-time cornerbacks last season by allowing a minuscule 14.0 NFL passer rating when in coverage, per Pro Football Focus.
Pairing Conley with veteran Vontae Davis at cornerback would vastly improve the Indianapolis Colts' 27th-ranked pass defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Every team reaches a point when it must decide between its in-season evaluation and an individual's physical metrics. Tennessee's Derek Barnett is a prime example.
Few players around the country could make an argument they were better over the last three seasons than Barnett. However, his physical tools are lacking in certain areas.
Barnett doesn't have the length teams prefer in edge-rushers. He's not as explosive as others in this year's class. Yet all he did was produce during his time in Knoxville.
The Nashville native left the program as the school's all-time leading sack artist, having eclipsed the late, great Reggie White. His motor, variety of pass-rush moves and production shouldn't be ignored because of an average to below-average workout.
Teams that place more weight on tape review than testing numbers—like the Baltimore Ravens—will still believe Barnett can be an outstanding football player at the next level.
17. Washington Redskins
The Pick: LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Alabama's Reuben Foster is a tremendous linebacker and one of the best pure players in this year's draft class.
So, why will he fall to the middle of the first round?
Some might argue his dismissal from the combine after a heated exchange with medical personnel might factor into a potential draft-day slide. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, however, teams came away impressed with Foster after he met with them to explain his actions.
In reality, this incident is less of a concern than Foster's injury history. Foster is recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Plus, he suffered two known concussions. His first came in 2014 when he also experienced stingers, per AL.com's Michael Casagrande. And the second in 2016 against Arkansas, via 247 Sports' Alabama writer Charlie Potter.
Foster plays with such a level of physicality that he's exactly what every team wants in the middle of its defense. His 229-pound frame may not hold up to the rigors of the NFL, though. So, a team must be willing to take a chance.
18. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: WR John Ross, Washington
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota needs help.
The organization did a nice job addressing its biggest need by signing cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Johnathan Cyprien in free agency as well as adding Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore earlier in this mock draft. Yet the team still lacks weapons on the outside for its franchise quarterback.
Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe are quality targets, but they're not true No. 1 options. Neither instills fear in a defense nor draws extra attention on a down-by-down basis.
John Ross' speed already has NFL defensive coordinators up at night. Ross famously broke Chris Johnson's 40-yard-dash record at this year's combine with a 4.22-second effort. His calves cramped, though.
"If he would've hit that type of start on combine day and didn't feel that little cramp come on in the last 10 [yards], then we both thought he could've gone 4.18," said Ross' speed trainer, Gary Cablayan, per TMZ Sports (via Stack.com's Brandon Hall).
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: TE David Njoku, Miami
The addition of Miami tight end David Njoku would provide a long-term answer for an offense that is building around quarterback Jameis Winston.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would add to a foundation that already features receiver Mike Evans and guard Ali Marpet and defenders Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Vernon Hargreaves.
Tight end Cameron Brate, however, is a restricted free agent after this season. The Harvard product is coming off a sensational season in which he established himself as Winston's second-favorite target.
Instead of signing him to a long-term contract, the Buccaneers can replace him with a more athletic option who might need time to develop. Miami's David Njoku has the potential to become one of the NFL's best tight ends, but he's still learning the nuances of the position.
For a year, Brate can serve as the primary outlet while Njoku contributes in certain situations before he takes over as Winston's new security blanket in 2018.
20. Denver Broncos
The Pick: OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
Everything comes full circle. Prior to the 2016 campaign, Alabama's Cam Robinson was considered college football's top left tackle prospect. Robinson played well enough to be awarded the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman, yet concerns arose about his ability to play the blind side at the NFL level.
After an encouraging workout at the combine, those questions were laid to rest, and Robinson regained his status as the No. 1 offensive tackle.
"In talking to coaches and scouts around the league, the name generating the most buzz is Robinson," NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah wrote.
Maturity questions might linger around the 21-year-old prospect, but his physical tools are unassailable. Robinson is a 6'6", 322-pound blocker with 35½-inch arms who easily mirrors in his pass set. At times, he's a ferocious run-blocker, too.
"He is aggressive, he's physical, he's big," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "There's nothing he can't do physically."
21. Detroit Lions
The Pick: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Last season, the Detroit Lions' top receivers, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, combined to make 146 receptions for 2,007 yards. Tate and Jones form a talented duo, yet the Lions can still upgrade with arguably the most talented wide receiver in this year's draft class.
Western Michigan's Corey Davis took a bit of a hit as of late because he was unable to fully participate in the predraft process. In fact, ankle surgery prevented him from taking part in the combine and Western Michigan's pro day.
The injury isn't a long-term concern, though, and he's expected to participate in his first rookie camp, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Still, Davis might experience a slight fall on draft day. If he does, the wide receiver could land in an ideal situation. The 6'3", 209-pound target would add another weapon to Matthew Stafford's arsenal. And his ability to separate from coverage would complement Tate and Jones quite well.
The Lions passing offense finished 11th in the league last year. It can be even better with Davis added to the mix.
22. Miami Dolphins
The Pick: OG Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp stands 6'4", weights 309 pounds and has 32¼-inch arms. If he was a little taller and a littler longer, no one would question him as the best offensive lineman in this year's class.
Guards aren't sexy, though. Despite the contracts signed by Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio, the position is still viewed as inferior compared to the highly regarded offensive tackle spot.
The recent success of young guards such as Bitonio and Zack Martin is starting to change that perception, though. Lamp has the same potential as those blockers.
When I went through game film, no one provided a better singular effort than the Hilltoppers lineman against Alabama's talented defensive front. Lamp didn't care if he faced Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams or Ryan Anderson. He shut each of them down.
With Laremy Tunsil moving to offensive tackle, Lamp's addition at guard would open up the potential for the Miami Dolphins to own the NFL's best left side.
23. New York Giants
The Pick: DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
The idea the New York Giants would select a defensive end in the first round after signing Jason Pierre-Paul to a four-year, $62 million contract might be staggering to some.
But the Giants' most recent Super Bowl success came courtesy of a dominant defensive front of multiple pass-rushers who pressured opposing quarterbacks in waves.
Instead of a trio of JPP, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, the veteran defensive end can pair with Olivier Vernon and Michigan's Taco Charlton to terrorize quarterbacks.
At 6'6" and 277 pounds, Charlton has the size to be used in different ways while adding to team's defensive line depth. Furthermore, the rookie's contract won't be finished until the time Pierre-Paul's deal runs its course.
Start your engines, Giants fans, because it's time for an already improved defense to add another gear.
24. Oakland Raiders
The Pick: RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
There's a lot to like about Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. There are also multiple red flags with this prospect. Where he falls in the draft will be entirely dependent on how teams reconcile his talent with those potential concern areas.
It's easy to fall in love with Cook strictly by looking at his film. Florida State's all-time leading rusher showed great balance, patience, footwork and an ability to explode past second- and third-level defenders. The issues are his ball security, lack of top-flight athleticism and multiple off-the-field concerns.
The Oakland Raiders don't have a starting running back on their roster after Latavius Murray signed with the Minnesota Vikings, though Marshawn Lynch could come out of retirement to join them, per ESPN's Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson.
"He [Lynch] really wants to play for the Raiders," a source told The MMQB's Peter King.
Lynch may not be attainable since the Seattle Seahawks still own his rights. Cook is a more-than-capable alternative.
25. Houston Texans
The Pick: QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Clemson's Deshaun Watson is a divisive prospect.
One camp believes he's an elite quarterback worthy of being selected No. 1 overall and that he showed everything everyone needed to see when he led the Tigers to the national championship over the Alabama Crimson Tide. On the other side, questions about how he'll transition to the professional ranks and his raw arm talent persist.
The answer is likely somewhere in between those two points.
"His best thing is leadership and he's a winner," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "He has to develop into a pocket passer."
Just like every other quarterback in this year's class, Watson is a developmental prospect with pluses and minuses. But he's an easy sell for a Houston Texans franchise in desperate need of a signal-caller. Bill O'Brien's system is complicated, but he can scale it back and cater it to the rookie as he grows into the position.
26. Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: OT Garett Bolles, Utah
The Seattle Seahawks like to find projects to mold into offensive linemen. Utah's Garett Bolles is already a talented blocker, but he's nothing like the team has seen in some time.
Bolles only started one season at the FBS level, and he'll turn 25 years old a month after he's drafted. Those are the negatives. His positives outweigh those potential stumbling blocks.
The left tackle is a dancing bear. He finished among the top two offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle at the combine. During his position workout, the first-team All-Pac-12 performer looked more fluid than any other blocker. He'll maul opponents, too.
"When I'm on the field," he said, per the Denver Post's Cameron Wolfe, "I want to put people in the dirt. That's what I'm here for."
Seattle needs an instant upgrade at left tackle. Head coach Pete Carroll can insert Bolles into the starting lineup on Day 1, and thus his age would become less of a factor.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick: WR Mike Williams, Clemson
The most anticipated 40-yard dash went down Thursday when Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams ran in front of NFL scouts.
The South Carolina native relies on his size, wingspan and leaping ability to consistently make contested catches.
"We had the Mike Williams rule," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person. "If there's one [defensive back] on him, he's wide open. If there's two, they better be real close."
The Kansas City Chiefs don't feature a wide receiver with Williams' combination of size and natural ability. His addition would make everyone else in the offense better, especially quarterback Alex Smith and veteran receiver Jeremy Maclin.
28. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
The Dallas Cowboys need secondary help in the worst way. It doesn't matter if the organization tries to upgrade at safety or cornerback since it allowed four starters—Barry Church, Brandon Carr, J.J. Wilcox and Morris Claiborne—to leave in free agency.
Nolan Carroll signed with the team, but he's far from the answer to all of its issues at defensive back.
Michigan's Jabrill Peppers is considered one of the class' top talents, yet he's a man without a position. Peppers played linebacker during his final season on Michigan's campus. He projects to safety, though. Once he moves to the back line, he'll be continually tested in coverage.
"You have to prove your worth each and every day. That's what I intend to do," Peppers said on NFL Network.
The Heisman Trophy finalist has his detractors, but his raw ability and playmaking skills are exactly what a talent-deficient Dallas secondary needs.
29. Green Bay Packers
The Pick: LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
After a stellar combine workout, Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt still had plenty to prove at the Badgers' pro day.
"In general, I just wanted to show that I could play in coverage," Watt told NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman. "A lot of coaches know I can play the run. They know I can rush the passer, but a lot of questions are [about] how I look in space."
The Wisconsin product only started one season at linebacker. Teams intrigued by his raw tools must find out if they translate. Watt finished first among his teammates in 2016 with 15.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.
After Julius Peppers departed in free agency, the Green Bay Packers need to piece together a new linebacker rotation.
The organization re-signed Nick Perry, yet Clay Matthews' status remains up in the air. Will the 2010 All-Pro play inside or outside linebacker? The addition of Watt would allow the Packers to use Matthews in a variety of ways without pigeonholing him into a specific position.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley is tailor-made for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"He's an outside linebacker in a 3-4," an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn. "Loves football. He'll work at his weaknesses. He's got a great first step. He could sneak into the first [round]."
Granted, the Steelers have used four-man fronts far more often under defensive coordinator Keith Butler, but the amount of sub packages they deploy also plays into McKinley's strengths as an edge-rusher.
With Jarvis Jones' departure in free agency, the UCLA product could step in and fill a rotational role at outside linebacker, especially when he's asked to get after the quarterback.
McKinley is a far more explosive option than Jones and would eventually take over for the soon-to-be 39-year old James Harrison.
31. Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: DE Charles Harris, Missouri
Missouri defensive end Charles Harris knows where his bread is buttered.
"I got here by sacking the quarterback," Harris said at the combine, per the Palm Beach Post's Joe Schad. "That's not a secret. So I feel like most teams are gonna play me how I'm supposed to get played. That's me getting the quarterback."
Harris played out of position last season. Missouri converted to a 3-4 look, and Harris was asked to play outside linebacker. His skill set is predicated on moving forward, though.
The edge defender's production didn't drop off dramatically. Harris' tackles for loss went from 18.5 to 12, but he set a career high with nine sacks.
Harris is an explosive edge-rusher, who relies heavily on his first-step quickness. What everyone saw in 2015 is what should be expected of him in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons are looking for a bookend to Vic Beasley, and Harris has that kind of potential.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots)
The Pick: CB Kevin King, Washington
The New Orleans Saints sacrificed a part of their offense when they traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to the New England Patriots for a first- and third-round pick in order to upgrade their defense.
Sean Payton's offense will still rack up a ton of yards and score plenty of points, but the head coach must get his defense on the right path. Since the organization didn't acquire any significant defensive upgrades in free agency, both of the team's first-round picks should be used to better the porous unit.
Even if the Saints eventually sign or trade for restricted free agent Malcolm Butler, the team still needs to make a heavy draft investment in the defense. It started earlier in this mock draft when New Orleans chose Temple linebacker Haason Reddick.
Washington cornerback Kevin King is another athletic standout who can help improve the defense. His 6'3", 200-pound frame belies the fact he served as the Huskies nickel corner in 2015. So, he fits into the Saints' plans whether or not they pick up Butler.
|Pick, Team||Position, Player, School|
|33. Cleveland||S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut|
|34. San Francisco||QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame|
|35. Jacksonville||OG Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh|
|36. Chicago||OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin|
|37. Los Angeles Rams||TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss|
|38. Los Angeles Chargers||LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt|
|39. New York Jets||S Budda Baker, Washington|
|40. Carolina||RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee|
|41. Cincinnati||C Pat Elflein, Ohio State|
|42. New Orleans||OT Taylor Moton, Western Michigan|
|43. Philadelphia||CB Fabian Moreau, UCLA|
|44. Buffalo||DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State|
|45. Arizona||QB Davis Webb, Cal|
|46. Indianapolis||OG Dan Feeney, Indiana|
|47. Baltimore||WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio State|
|48. Minnesota||WR Chris Godwin, Penn State|
|49. Washington||DT Jaleel Johnson, Iowa|
|50. Tampa Bay||DE Carl Lawson, Auburn|
|51. Denver||RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma|
|52. Cleveland (from Titans)||DT Montravius Adams, Auburn|
|53. Detroit||LB Tim Williams, Alabama|
|54. Miami||LB Jarrad Davis, Florida|
|55. New York Giants||TE Adam Shaheen, Ashland|
|56. Oakland||DT Caleb Brantley, Florida|
|57. Houston||S Justin Evans, Texas A&M|
|58. Seattle||CB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia|
|59. Kansas City||CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado|
|60. Dallas||CB Teez Tabor, Florida|
|61. Green Bay||CB Tre'Davious White, LSU|
|62. Pittsburgh||WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M|
|63. Atlanta||OG Dion Dawkins, Temple|
|64. Carolina (from Patriots)||WR Zay Jones, East Carolina|
|Pick, Team||Position, Player, School|
|65. Cleveland||TE Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech|
|66. San Francisco||S Marcus Williams, Utah|
|67. Chicago||QB Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh|
|68. Jacksonville||DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State|
|69. Los Angeles Rams||DE Derek Rivers, Youngstown State|
|70. New York Jets||CB Adoree' Jackson, USC|
|71. Los Angeles Chargers||OG Isaac Asiata, Utah|
|72. New England (from Panthers)||CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado|
|73. Cincinnati||LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State|
|74. Philadelphia||DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova|
|75. Buffalo||WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington|
|76. New Orleans||S Desmond King, Iowa|
|77. Arizona||C Ethan Pocic, LSU|
|78. Baltimore||OT Roderick Johnson, Florida State|
|79. Minnesota||DT Carlos Watkins, Clemson|
|80. Indianapolis||RB Jamaal Williams, BYU|
|81. Washington||S Josh Jones, North Carolina State|
|82. Denver||TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama|
|83. Tennessee||S Eddie Jackson, Alabama|
|84. Tampa Bay||OT Antonio Garcia, Troy|
|85. Detroit||CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson|
|86. Minnesota (from Dolphins)||LB Duke Riley, LSU|
|87. New York Giants||OT Will Holden, Vanderbilt|
|88. Oakland||CB Cameron Sutton, Tennessee|
|89. Houston||DE Tarell Basham, Ohio|
|90. Seattle||DT Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte|
|91. Kansas City||DT Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama|
|92. Dallas||DE Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic|
|93. Green Bay||RB Wayne Gallman, Clemson|
|94. Pittsburgh||RB Marlon Mack, USF|
|95. Atlanta||DT Chris Wormley, Michigan|
|96. New England||LB Tyus Bowser, Houston|
|97. Miami*||CB Sidney Jones, Washington|
|98. Carolina*||S Marcus Maye, Florida|
|99. Baltimore*||DE DeMarcus Walker, Florida State|
|100. Tennessee (from Rams)*||TE George Kittle, Iowa|
|101. Denver*||CB Shaquill Griffin, UCF|
|102. Seattle*||OG Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M|
|103. New Orleans (from Browns via Patriots)*||WR Juju Smith-Schuster, USC|
|104. Kansas City*||LB Anthony Walker, Northwestern|
|105. Pittsburgh*||DT Nazair Jones, North Carolina|
|106. Seattle*||TE Jake Butt, Michigan|
|107. New York Jets*||LB Ryan Anderson, Alabama|
|Pick, Team||Position, Player, School|
|108. Cleveland||CB Howard Wilson, Houston|
|109. San Francisco||WR Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky|
|110. Jacksonville||QB Brad Kaaya, Miami|
|111. Chicago||DE Dawuane Smoot, Illinois|
|112. Los Angeles Rams||WR Josh Malone, Tennessee|
|113. Los Angeles Chargers||RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma|
|114. Washington (from Jets)||WR Amara Darboh, Michigan|
|115. Carolina||OT Julie'n Davenport, Bucknell|
|116. Cincinnati||WR Chad Hansen, Cal|
|117. Chicago (from Bills)||WR Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech|
|118. Philadelphia||CB Jalen Myrick, Minnesota|
|119. Arizona||WR Mack Hollins, North Carolina|
|120. Minnesota||TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson|
|121. Indianapolis||LB Kendall Beckwith, LSU|
|122. Baltimore||CB Brian Allen, Utah|
|123. Washington||DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA|
|124. Tennessee||OG Kyle Kalis, Michigan|
|125. Tampa Bay||RB D'Onta Foreman, Texas|
|126. Denver||WR Ryan Switzer, North Carolina|
|127. Detroit||DT Elijah Qualls, Washington|
|128. Minnesota (from Dolphins)||C Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia|
|129. Oakland||S John Johnson, Boston College|
|130. Houston||OT Erik Magnuson, Michigan|
|131. Kansas City||OG Nico Siragusa, San Diego State|
|132. New England (from Seattle)||OT Sam Tevi, Utah|
|133. Dallas||OT Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh|
|134. Green Bay||S Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis|
|135. Pittsburgh||CB Damontae Kazee, San Diego State|
|136. Atlanta||LB Carroll Phillips, Illinois|
|137. Indianapolis (from Patriots)||S Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami|
|138. Cincinnati*||DT Ryan Glasgow, Michigan|
|139. Philadelphia (from Browns)*||TE Jonnu Smith, Florida International|
|140. New York Giants||LB Alex Anzalone, Florida|
|141. Los Angeles Rams*||CB Corn Elder, Miami|
|142. Houson (from Browns)*||DT D.J. Jones, Ole Miss|
|143. San Francisco*||TE Erik Saubert, Drake|
|144. Indianapolis*||WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama|
|Pick, Team||Position, Player, School|
|145. Cleveland||S Rudy Ford, Auburn|
|146. San Francisco||OG Danny Isidora, Miami|
|147. Chicago||CB Brendan Langley, Lamar|
|148. Jacksonville||LB Elijah Lee, Kansas State|
|149. Los Angeles Rams||OT David Sharpe, Florida|
|150. New York Jets||TE Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas|
|151. Los Angeles Chargers||DT Davon Godchaux, LSU|
|152. Carolina||LB Connor Harris, Lindenwood|
|153. Cincinnati||RB Brian Hill, Wyoming|
|154. Washington (from Saints)||RB James Conner, Pittsburgh|
|155. Philadelphia||S Jadar Johnson, Clemson|
|156. Buffalo||CB Jeremy Cutrer, Middle Tennessee State|
|157. Arizona||DT Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State|
|158. Indianapolis||CB Nate Hairston, Temple|
|159. Baltimore||RB Joe Williams, Utah|
|160. Minnesota||DE Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M|
|161. San Francisco (from Redskins)||LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin|
|162. Tampa Bay||CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan|
|163. New England (from Broncos)||DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, USC|
|164. Tennessee||WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech|
|165. Detroit||RB Jeremy McNichols, Boise State|
|166. Miami||DT Jarron Jones, Notre Dame|
|167. New York Giants||K Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State|
|168. Oakland||OT Collin Buchanan, Miami (OH)|
|169. Houston||LB Blair Brown, Ohio|
|170. Kansas City||QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss|
|171. Buffalo (from Cowboys)||WR Shelton Gibson, West Virginia|
|172. Green Bay||OG Jordan Morgan, Kutztown|
|173. Pittsburgh||S Delano Hill, Michigan|
|174. Atlanta||WR KD Cannon, Baylor|
|175. Cleveland (from Patriots)||DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane|
|176. Cincinnati*||DE Deatrich Wise, Arkansas|
|177. Denver*||C J.J. Dielman, Utah|
|178. Miami*||WR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma|
|179. Arizona*||LB Devonte Fields, Louisville|
|180. Kansas City*||RB Aaron Jones, UTEP|
|181. Cleveland*||WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech|
|182. Green Bay*||CB Chuck Clark, Virginia Tech|
|183. New England*||RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina|
|184. Miami*||LB Matt Milano, Boston College|
|Pick, Team||Position, Player, School|
|185. Cleveland||LB Calvin Munson, San Diego State|
|186. Baltimore (from 49ers)||S Tedric Thompson, Colorado|
|187. Jacksonville||FB Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech|
|188. Cleveland (from Bears via Texans)||QB Josh Dobbs, Tennessee|
|189. Los Angeles Rams||WR Travin Dural, LSU|
|190. Los Angeles Chargers||QB Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech|
|191. New York Jets||WR Noah Brown, Ohio State|
|192. Carolina||TE Michael Roberts, Toledo|
|193. Cincinnati||OT Chad Wheeler, USC|
|194. Philadelphia||DE Keionta Davis, Chattanooga|
|195. Buffalo||S Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech|
|196. New Orleans||OG Sean Harlow, Oregon State|
|197. Arizona||RB Corey Clement, Wisconsin|
|198. San Francisco (from Ravens)||CB Jeremy Clark, Michigan|
|199. Minnesota||WR Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois|
|200. New England (from Indianapolis)||S Nate Gerry, Nebraska|
|201. Washington||CB Channing Stribling, Michigan|
|202. San Francisco (from Broncos)||RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo|
|203. Denver (from Titans)||DT DeAngelo Brown, Louisville|
|204. Tampa Bay||C Kyle Fuller, Baylor|
|205. Detroit||DE Avery Moss, Youngstown State|
|206. Los Angeles Rams (from Dolphins)||S Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville|
|207. New York Giants||DT Charles Walker, Oklahoma|
|208. Oakland||LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest|
|209. Washington (from Texans)||C Chase Roullier, Wyoming|
|210. Seattle||TE Antony Auclair, Laval|
|211. Dallas||OG Aviante Collins, TCU|
|212. Green Bay||DE Isaac Rochell, Notre Dame|
|213. Pittsburgh||LB Harvey Langi, BYU|
|214. Tennessee (from Falcons)||DE Dylan Donahue, West Georgia|
|215. Detroit (from Patriots)||LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee|
|216. Kansas City*||LB Jimmie Gilbert, Colorado|
|217. Cincinnati*||WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan|
|218. Kansas City*||S Damarius Travis, Minnesota|
|Pick, Team||Position, Player, School|
|219. San Francisco (from Browns)||DE Garrett Sickels, Penn State|
|220. Washington (from 49ers)||QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa|
|221. Chicago||RB Matthew Dayes, North Carolina State|
|222. Jacksonville||CB Aarion Penton, Missouri|
|223. Miami (from Rams)||OT Zach Banner, USC|
|224. New York Jets||P Austin Rehkow, Idaho|
|225. Los Angeles Chargers||OT Conor McDermott, UCLA|
|226. Seattle (from Panthers)||S David Jones, Richmond|
|227. Cincinnati||K Jake Elliott, Memphis|
|228. Dallas (from Bills)||TE Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma State|
|229. New Orleans||CB William Likely, Maryland|
|230. Philadelphia||NT Josh Tupou, Colorado|
|231. Arizona||P Justin Vogel, Miami|
|232. Minnesota||RB T.J. Logan, North Carolina|
|233. Carolina (from Colts through Browns)||FB Freddie Stevenson, Florida State|
|234. Los Angeles Rams (from Ravens)||RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State|
|235. Washington||WR Malachi Dupre, LSU|
|236. Tennessee||DT Grover Stewart, Albany State|
|237. Tampa Bay||WR Artavis Scott, Clemson|
|238. Denver||CB Marquez White, Florida State|
|239. New England (from Lions)||WR Jalen Robinette, Air Force|
|240. Jacksonville (from Dolphins)||WR Billy Brown, Shepherd|
|241. New York Giants||OG Damien Mama, USC|
|242. Oakland||WR Robert Davis, Georgia State|
|243. Houston||CB Najee Murray, Kent State|
|244. Oakland (from Seahawks)||DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern|
|245. Kansas City||OT Storm Norton, Toledo|
|246. Dallas||WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State|
|247. Green Bay||WR DeAngelo Yancey, Purdue|
|248. Pittsburgh||C Jon Toth, Kentucky|
|249. Atlanta||QB Alek Torgersen, Penn|
|250. Detroit (from Patriots)||S Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State|
|251. Cincinnati*||S Mike Tyson, Cincinnati|
|252. Denver*||DE Keion Adams, Western Michigan|
|253. Denver*||LB Ben Boulware, Clemson|