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2017 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 5:  Jarrad Davis #40 of the Florida Gators warming up before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Gators 31-10.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 2017 NFL draft continues to draw closer. In a little over three weeks, the annual rookie selection process will be underway.

In what order will rookie prospects will be selected at the top of the draft? Well, that part is still a little hazy. We have a pretty good idea which prospects will be selected early in the draft's opening evening, but exactly which teams will be selecting them still remains a bit of a mystery.

Except the Cleveland Brown and former Texas A&M star Myles Garrett. This has been the consensus No. 1 pairing pretty much since the end of the NFL season.

Of course, we're never ones to shy away from trying to pick the opening round of the draft, which is what we're going to do here. We'll run down the current draft order and make projections for each pick based on factors like team needs, team fits, prospect stock and player potential. We'll then examine some of the latest draft-related news and rumors from early April.

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 ChargersMarshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
8Carolina PanthersJonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
9Cincinnati BengalsHaason Reddick, LB, Temple
10Buffalo BillsMike Williams, WR, Clemson
11New Orleans SaintsDerek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
12Cleveland Browns (from PHI)Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13Arizona CardinalsDeshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
14Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN)Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
15Indianapolis ColtsReuben Foster, LB, Alabama
16Baltimore RavensO.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
17Washington RedskinsMalik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
18Tennessee TitansCharles Harris, DE, Missouri
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersChristian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
20Denver BroncosForrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
21Detroit LionsTakkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA
22Miami DolphinsGareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
23New York GiantsDavid Njoku, TE, Miami
24Oakland RaidersJabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan
25Houston TexansPatrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
26Seattle SeahawksGarett Bolles, OT, Utah
27Kansas City ChiefsJohn Ross, WR, Washington
28Dallas CowboysTaco Charlton, DE, Michigan
29Green Bay PackersDalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
30Pittsburgh SteelersTim Williams, LB, Alabama
31Atlanta FalconsDan Feeney, OG, Indiana
32New Orleans Saints (from NE)Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Latest Buzz

Jarrad Davis on the Rise

If you're strictly going by game tape, former Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis appears to be one of the best defenders in this entire draft class. The problem with Davis is that an ankle injury cost him a large chunk of the 2016 season and kept him from participating fully at the scouting combine.

In 2016, Davis amassed 60 tackles, 6.0 tackles for a loss, four passes defended and 2.0 sacks. When healthy in 2015, he was even better, racking up 98 tackles, 11.0 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception. Pro Football Focus (PFF College) rated him 56th overall out of more than 1,400 linebackers in 2015.

The good news for Davis is that he was able to show his skills and prove his health at Florida's recent pro day.

According to Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel, Davis was able to run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. He was also able to produce a 38.5-inch vertical. More importantly, he showed prospective employers that his ankle is no longer an issue.

Davis said the following, per Thompson:

I came out here with the mindset of coming out and showing everybody I’m the same athlete I was before, Just showing an ankle injury is an ankle injury. That happens, but I can bounce back every time. I came out here today wanting to show guys that I’m going to compete, I’m going to compete at the top level. I’m going to execute every time I get a chance to. I feel like I did that.

Because Davis is an off-ball linebacker in a class chock full of quality pass-rushers and defensive backs, his draft ceiling may be at the very bottom of Round 1 at best.

Mahomes Finding More Suitors

We touched on this a bit in a recent mock draft, but it seems that the stock for former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to be on the rise. In fact, the teams interested in him aren't limited to those without starting-caliber quarterbacks.

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Mahomes is set to work out for the Buffalo Bills, who currently have Tyrod Taylor under center. Per Rapoport, Mahomes has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Among the pre-draft visitors to the #Steelers today: #Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs and #TexasTech QB Patrick Mahomes.

Pittsburgh obviously has the services of future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger—assuming the idea of retirement doesn't send him away this offseason.

Realistically, Mahomes would make a lot of sense for either of these teams. He possesses enough size (6'2", 225 lbs) for the position and more than enough arm strength. However, he may need a year or two to make the transition from the Air Raid offense to an NFL offense.

The Bills have Taylor under contract for two more years, and the Steelers have Roethlisberger under contract for three more seasons.

The growing interest in Mahomes around the league—even from teams that don't need a quarterback this year—could easily push him into the middle of Round 1. Teams that really want to take the Texas Tech product may now be prompted to pull the trigger before the Steelers are on the clock at pick No. 30.

Browns Work Out Tabor

The Browns appear destined to snag Garrett with the first overall pick in the draft. However, they still bring plenty of drama to the proverbial table because they also hold the 12th overall selection and two picks in the second round.

This is why it's worth noting that the Browns recently worked out former Florida cornerback Teez Tabor, per Rapoport:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Browns worked out #Florida CB Jalen Tabor today, source said, one of several big-name prospects they either hosted or worked out today

Tabor's stock has been on the decline ever since he ran a 4.62-second 40 at the combine. Had he improved his time at his pro day, this lack of speed might not be a major issue, but he actually ran slower, as noted by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Teez Tabor - running in the high 4.7s at his pro day, per scouts

These slow 40 times could push Tabor out of the first round entirely, but this is exactly where the Browns could find some defensive value. The team owns the first pick in the second round and they could use it to scoop up Tabor.

As Steven Ruiz of USA Today pointed out, fellow Florida product Joe Haden ran a disappointing 4.57-second 40 at the combine, yet the Browns still took him seventh overall in the 2010 draft. Haden has since proved that, when healthy, he can be a quality No. 1 corner.

Tabor, who was rated 50th overall among cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus, may soon be in position to do the same. If there's a team that doesn't want him to be playing for the Browns, well, they may have to make him a first-round pick after all.

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