The wait for the 2017 NFL draft is nearly over as Philadelphia becomes the center of the NFL universe for the next few days ahead of the first round Thursday.
As scouts and draft experts have pored over hours of game film and interviewed the incoming crop of rookies, the player rankings have undergone numerous changes over the past few months. In retrospect, projecting DeShone Kizer to be a top-10 pick may not have been the best of decisions.
Below is a mock for the first round followed by a stock report for four stars who are likely to be first-round prospects.
|First-Round Mock Draft|
|1||Cleveland Browns||Myles Garrett, DE||Texas A&M|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Solomon Thomas, DE||Stanford|
|3||Chicago Bears||Jonathan Allen, DE||Alabama|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Leonard Fournette, RB||LSU|
|5||Tennessee Titans (from Rams)||Marshon Lattimore, CB||Ohio State|
|6||New York Jets||Jamal Adams, S||LSU|
|7||Los Angeles Chargers||Malik Hooker, S||Ohio State|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Christian McCaffrey, RB||Stanford|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||Reuben Foster, LB||Alabama|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Mitchell Trubisky, QB||North Carolina|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Teez Tabor, CB||Florida|
|12||Cleveland Browns (from Eagles)||Deshaun Watson, QB||Clemson|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Mike Williams, WR||Clemson|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings)||Dalvin Cook, RB||Florida State|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||Derek Barnett, DE||Tennessee|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||Corey Davis, WR||Western Michigan|
|17||Washington Redskins||Haason Reddick, LB||Temple|
|18||Tennessee Titans||O.J. Howard, TE||Alabama|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||John Ross, WR||Washington|
|20||Denver Broncos||Ryan Ramczyk, OT||Wisconsin|
|21||Detroit Lions||Charles Harris, DE||Missouri|
|22||Miami Dolphins||David Njoku, TE||Miami|
|23||New York Giants||Garett Bolles, OT||Utah|
|24||Oakland Raiders||Sidney Jones, CB||Washington|
|25||Houston Texans||Cam Robinson, OT||Alabama|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||Jabrill Peppers, S||Michigan|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs||Patrick Mahomes, QB||Texas Tech|
|28||Dallas Cowboys||Gareon Conley, CB||Ohio State|
|29||Green Bay Packers||Quincy Wilson, CB||Florida|
|30||Pittsburgh Steelers||Budda Baker, S||Washington|
|31||Atlanta Falcons||Zach Cunningham, LB||Vanderbilt|
|32||New Orleans Saints||Tre'Davious White, CB||LSU|
|Draft order via NFL.com|
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Myles Garrett has been the consensus top player in this year's draft for months, and little has changed despite him facing an increased level of scrutiny following the end of the 2016 season.
ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reported April 13 the Cleveland Browns were considering both Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky with the first overall pick.
While the Browns are likely covering all of their bases in terms of player scouting, they may be throwing out Trubisky as an option in order to drive trade interest in the No. 1 selection. Last year, Cleveland received five picks from the Philadelphia Eagles in return for the second overall selection.
As Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski argued, it's not as if taking Trubisky with the first pick is the only path for the Browns to get a talented quarterback in the first round:
Cleveland is in a position where its first selection shouldn't be solely about addressing an area of need such as quarterback. Instead, the Browns can take the best player available—Garrett—and worry about need later.
Draft Stock: Holding Strong
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Whereas Trubisky appeared to be a logical option for the San Francisco 49ers with the second pick, the chances of him landing in the Bay Area are looking increasingly unlikely.
Instead, Trubisky may slip more toward the back end of the top 10, and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller wrote April 14 the Browns may even be able to select the North Carolina Tar Heels star with the 12th pick.
Trubisky threw for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns in his only season as North Carolina's starter. He also had an encouraging NFL Scouting Combine, running the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash (4.67 seconds) among quarterbacks.
His lack of experience as a starter at the FBS level is slightly concerning, a point that has been thoroughly dissected already.
Trubisky will still likely be the first quarterback off the board on Day 1, but the hype around his potential appears to be cooling a little bit.
Draft Stock: Dropping Slightly
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
There's no arguing with Christian McCaffrey's numbers in his last two years with the Stanford Cardinal. He ran for 3,622 yards and 21 touchdowns and caught 82 passes for 955 yards and eight touchdowns. The 20-year-old also boasts an impressive pedigree as the son of 13-year NFL veteran Ed McCaffrey.
Reggie Bush is one of the bigger cautionary tales in terms of a versatile, athletic running back who electrified college fans but failed to replicate that success in the NFL.
It is worth noting that McCaffrey has proved himself to be much more of an every-down back than Bush did. Bush logged 343 carries in his final two seasons at USC before going to the NFL compared to 590 for McCaffrey.
Shortly after the 2016 season concluded, McCaffrey looked like a mid-to-late first-round pick. In recent weeks, however, he has skyrocketed into the top 10, according to Fox Sports' Peter Schrager.
If Leonard Fournette is off the board, the running back-needy Carolina Panthers would be a nice home for the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Draft Stock: Rising
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Strictly in terms of offensive style and the team's general game plan, O.J. Howard didn't exactly make a great decision when he committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide. With the exception of a small handful of games, head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin rarely showed they could maximize Howard's talent and athleticism.
Of course, Howard won a national championship with the Crimson Tide, and he's a lock to be a first-round pick in the draft, so everything worked out pretty well.
Howard fits the profile of what NFL teams expect from their tight ends in today's game. He stands 6'6", weighs 251 pounds and ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
In January, Miller called Howard "the best blocking tight end I saw this year," which allays some fears he'll be another Julius Thomas or Jimmy Graham, whose collective inability to block has held them back to a certain extent in the NFL.
As the top tight end in this year's draft, Howard could hear his name earlier than expected Thursday.
Draft Stock: Rising