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2017 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Picks, Projections for Most Impactful Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2017

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 12: Myles Garrett #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies during warm ups before playing the Mississippi Rebels at Kyle Field on November 12, 2016 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The NFL Scouting Combine is firmly in the rear view, while free agency and pro-day season are both in full swing. While we now know a good deal about this year's crop of incoming prospects, we're also living in an ever-changing pre-draft world.

We think we know what to expect from teams on draft weekend April 27-29, but one key signing or trade could impact everything.

Speaking of impact, there are a number of highly rated draft prospects who have the potential to heavily impact a franchise—from edge-rushers like Myles Garrett to potential franchise quarterbacks like Mitchell Trubisky.

We're here to examine the latest buzz surrounding some of these possible impact rookies while dishing out another revised first-round mock. We'll run down the current selection order and make our projections based on factors like player potential, team needs and team fit.

2017 NFL Mock Draft

Round 1
PickNFL TeamProj. Selection
1Cleveland BrownsMyles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2San Francisco 49ersJamal Adams, S, LSU
3Chicago BearsSolomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
4Jacksonville JaguarsLeonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5Tennessee Titans (from LAR)Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
6New York JetsMalik Hooker, S, Ohio State
7Los Angeles ChargersJonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
8Carolina PanthersMarshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
9Cincinnati BengalsHaason Reddick, LB, Temple
10Buffalo BillsDeshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
11New Orleans SaintsDerek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
12Cleveland Brown (from PHI)Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13Arizona CardinalsMike Williams, WR, Clemson
14Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
15Indianapolis ColtsReuben Foster, LB, Alabama
16Baltimore RavensO.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
17Washington RedskinsChris Wormley, DL, Michigan
18Tennessee TitansTakkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersJabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan
20Denver BroncosChristian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
21Detroit LionsGareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
22Miami DolphinsTeez Tabor, CB, Florida
23New York GiantsDavid Njoku, TE, Miami
24Oakland RaidersMarlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
25Houston TexansTre'Davious White, CB, LSU
26Seattle SeahawksForrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
27Kansas City ChiefsJohn Ross, WR, Washington
28Dallas CowboysTaco Charlton, DE, Michigan
29Green Bay PackersT.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
30Pittsburgh SteelersTim Williams, LB, Alabama
31Atlanta FalconsDan Feeney, OG, Indiana
32New Orleans Saints (from NE)Budda Baker, S, Washington

Latest Buzz

Garrett is Still No. 1

This is the time of year when draft analysts and NFL teams begin overanalyzing prospects, sometimes to the point of talking themselves out of a player they shouldn't. So far, though, this doesn't appear to be happening with former Texas A&M star Myles Garrett.

We're roughly five weeks out from the draft, and Garrett is still the smart choice to go No. 1 overall. While he certainly isn't perfect, Garrett appears to be the clear top choice in the draft. Danny Kelly of The Ringer recently explained:

Garrett is not as complete or polished a player as the hype might suggest, but we haven't seen a pass rusher with this blend of size, agility, and explosiveness since J.J. Watt blew up the combine in 2011. Combine that with his elite (though lopsided) college production and his potential to develop more robust technique, and you get something like this range of outcomes for Garrett's pro career: an absolute floor as a very good pro and a ceiling as a game-wrecker.

Garrett does possess flaws, but he also possesses the type of upside that makes passing on him incredibly risky. As Kelly points out, if there were a better group of quarterbacks in this class, Garrett might not be such a clear choice. The fact is, though, that there are even more questions surrounding the quarterbacks this year than most.

For some, the draft process has only intensified the belief that Garrett deserves to be drafted first overall.

Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com used to believe the Cleveland Browns should target a quarterback with the first overall selection. However, he recently changed his tune based on further evaluation of Garrett.

"Sometimes, though, you've got to know when you were wrong," Labbe recently wrote. "Dead wrong. And I was dead wrong. I dug in on Myles Garrett, and he is simply too good to pass up."

Garrett may not develop into a superstar, but right now it doesn't appear likely that he'll be a bust. A high ceiling and the potential to be a true impact defender are reasons why Garrett continues to be the top target in this draft.

Trubisky Has Solid Pro Day

While this year's quarterback class has plenty of questions, this doesn't mean there isn't a future franchise signal-caller in the bunch. The problem is that none of them may be ready to start from day one, and there isn't a clear-cut top choice.

North Carolina product Mitchell Trubisky had his pro day on Tuesday, and while he didn't do enough to solidify himself as the draft's best quarterback, he certainly did seem to help himself. This, at least, was the opinion of NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock.

"As far as his arm strength: solid. As far as ball location and accuracy: outstanding," Mayock said, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. "I thought he had a really good day and I think he helped himself."

Events like North Carolina's pro day are important for Trubisky because he only made 13 starts at the collegiate level. Teams have only had limited looks at what Trubisky is capable of doing. One important aspect of the pro day, according to Mayock, was Trubisky's handling of five- and seven-step drops—things the quarterback didn't do much of at North Carolina.

Trubisky played almost exclusively from the shotgun.

While a scripted pro-day workout is far from the same environment in which Trubisky will eventually have to perform, his showcase of footwork and movement skills can only help his draft stock.

Surprisingly, though, several teams didn't send their coaches or general managers to the workout to get another look at Trubisky. As Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com explained, though, this is because private workouts are even more important:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

A couple QB-needy teams in the top 10 only sent scouts (no GM/coaches) to Mitchell Trubisky’s Pro Day. Why? Private workout = Better value.

There are a few quarterback-needy teams picking early in this draft, and one of them could well fall in love with Trubisky if he is able to perform in the unfamiliar environment of a private workout.

We can't be sure if Trubisky will actually develop into a franchise signal-caller, but if a team drafts him to be one, he's going to be impactful in one way or another.

Mixon Drawing More Interest

If former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was a squeaky-clean prospect, he'd probably be in consideration to be a first-round pick. Pro Football Focus rated him second overall among all running backs last season. As a player, Mixon can definitely be impactful.

However, Mixon isn't a clean prospect. He once punched a woman in the face hard enough that she required surgery. This is why some teams have taken Mixon off their draft boards entirely, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

However, this doesn't mean Mixon isn't going to get drafted, and it appears he could be drafted earlier than previously thought. Pelissero believes Mixon will go before the end of the third round.

Teams are certainly interested in getting to know Mixon a little better before the draft.

According to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Mixon has now visited with the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, with a visit with the San Diego Chargers upcoming.

Several teams also met privately with Mixon at Oklahoma's pro day. According to Andrew Mason of the Broncos' official website, more than half the league will probably meet with Mixon before the draft:

Andrew Mason @MaseDenver

Between Pro Day conversations & individual team visits, I expect 50-75% of teams to sit down w/ Joe Mixon at some point before the draft.

The reason teams want to get to know Mixon is clear. Not only must they decide if his talent is worth the public backlash of drafting him, they have to be confident that a future off-field incident won't occur.

Some team out there is likely going to feel comfortable enough with Mixon to pull the trigger on Day 2 of the draft.