NFL Mock Draft 2017: Projections for Round 1, Analysis for Underrated Prospects

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2017

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 19:  Defensive back Kevin King #20 of the Washington Huskies makes an interception in the end zone against wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 19, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

At this time, you'll notice 2017 NFL mock drafts will look very different from those in February and March. Analysts, coaches and general managers have NFL Scouting Combine numbers, pro day figures and interviews that revealed pertinent information about incoming rookies in consideration. 

As a result, prospects who may not have been projected in the first round all of the sudden rise to the forefront as early-round picks. Others shoot into the Day 1 discussion.

Team needs, off-field concerns and injuries to others also elevate decent prospects into first-round territory. This year, Washington cornerback Sidney Jones tore his Achilles during his pro day performance, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Wash CB Sidney Jones, a consensus 1st-round pick, underwent surgery today on torn Achilles with Dr. Robert Anderson. Running in four months.

The injury directly affected a former teammate's stock at the same position. How far did fellow Washington cornerback Kevin King surge on big boards and mock drafts?

Quality pass-rushers and linebackers initially projected as second-round picks may have a slight opportunity to collect first-round cash due to team needs toward the end of the opening round.

Who's stock rose over the past few weeks? Which prospects should we consider underrated talent?

NFL Mock Draft—Round 1
1Cleveland BrownsMyles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2San Francisco 49ersDeshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
3Chicago BearsSolomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
4Jacksonville JaguarsChristian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
5Tennessee Titans (via Rams)Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
6New York JetsMarshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7Los Angeles ChargersMalik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8Carolina PanthersLeonard Fournette, RB, LSU
9Cincinnati BengalsJamal Adams, S, LSU
10Buffalo BillsMike Williams, WR, Clemson
11New Orleans SaintsDerek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
12Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13Arizona CardinalsGareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
14Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)Kevin, King, CB, Washington
15Indianapolis ColtsReuben Foster, LB, Alabama
16Baltimore RavensCam Robinson, OT, Alabama
17Washington RedskinsDalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
18Tennessee TitansCorey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersJabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20Denver BroncosO.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
21Detroit LionsZach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
22Miami DolphinsTaco Charlton, DE, Michigan
23New York GiantsRyan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
24Oakland RaidersJarrad Davis, LB, Florida
25Houston TexansPatrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
26Seattle SeahawksChidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
27Kansas City ChiefsAlvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
28Dallas CowboysCharles Harris, DE, Missouri
29Green Bay PackersQuincy Wilson, CB, Florida
30Pittsburgh SteelersJohn Ross, WR, Washington
31Atlanta FalconsMalik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
32New Orleans SaintsHaason Reddick, LB, Temple
Draft Order via NFL.com


Kevin King, CB, Washington

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 25: Defensive back Kevin King #20 of the Washington Huskies reacts to call in the first half of play against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Husky Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty I
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Jones' Achilles injury certainly helped boost King's status among cornerbacks in this draft class. According to CSN Philly reporter Andrew Kulp, many considered the Washington product as the top prospect before the pro day injury. 

King's stature and collegiate statistics already drew interest as an early-round draft pick. Jones' expected drop may solidify the 6'3", 200-pound cornerback as a first-round pick. At the moment, CBS Sports ranks him as the second-best prospect at the position.

King put together a strong senior season opposite Jones in the Cougars secondary. He logged two interceptions and 13 passes defensed in 2016. According to NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein, he allowed one touchdown in the last 101 pass targets on assignment.

"[His] length creates challenge for receivers used to winning at the high point. Instinctive with good feel for finding football. Allowed just one touchdown over last 101 targets. Six career interceptions with hands to make the circus pick. Patient from press coverage," said Zierlein.

King would be an interest to teams looking to combat big athletic wide receivers on the perimeter. The Philadelphia Eagles, who compete in a division with wideouts Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall with a need at cornerback, may find interest at No. 14.

Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 29: Jarrad Davis #40 of the Florida Gators before the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on October 29, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Alabama prospect Reuben Foster's off-field transgressions may cost him significant cash. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, he admitted to a diluted sample, which counts as a positive test under the NFL substance policy.

Some will toss out the diluted sample as a minor issue. However, when it's combined with his combine incident involving a hospital worker, per Schefter, and an offseason shoulder surgery, a cumulative effect could hurt his draft stock. 

Certain teams may connect the dots and choose to look at prospects behind Foster at a thin position near the top. Florida's Jarrad Davis projects as the No. 2 player at inside linebacker, per CBS Sports.

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 01:  Jarrad Davis #40 of the University of Florida Gators plays against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Davis' history with minor injuries may scare teams away, but he's productive when available. The Florida linebacker also brings good character and a clean background to the locker room.

"Praised for both his football and personal character, Davis has athletic gifts to go along with the character traits teams are looking for. His ability to cover ground, operate with loose hips in space and finish his tackles make him a draft favorite for some teams," said Zierlein.

Despite all the good traits, don't expect Davis to surpass Foster in draft selection order. Nonetheless, with four years experience and a sign of maturity, Davis could hear his name called late in the first round.

The Oakland Raiders need more than one prospect at linebacker to address their deficiencies at the position. The Florida prospect's versatility should draw general manager Reggie McKenzie's interest. His injury history may not hurt his stock with Oakland. The Raiders executive drafted safety Karl Joseph at No. 14 in 2015, despite his extended recovery following an ACL tear.

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 05: Defensive lineman Charles Harris of Missouri in action during day five of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 5, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Starting with Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett at No. 1, four defensive ends may land on rosters in the first round. For the most part, Michigan's Taco Charlton serves as the cutoff point between opening-round and Day 2 prospects at the position. 

Both CBS Sports and Zierlein project Missouri defensive end Charles Harris as a prospect who straddles the line between the first and second rounds.

At 6'3", 253 pounds, he'll need to add size to battle in the trenches against professional offensive linemen. At times, on the collegiate level, Harris struggled against bigger pass-protectors at the line of scrimmage. 

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Charles Harris #91 of the Missouri Tigers sacks quarterback Jacob Eason #10 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Missouri defensive end tallied 16 sacks and 30.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons. His production and athleticism may draw interest from the Dallas Cowboys at No. 28.

The Cowboys selected defensive end Randy Gregory in the second round of the 2015 draft, but he's only played 14 games due to suspensions under the league's substance abuse policy.

Defensive lineman Benson Mayowa led the team in sacks (six) in the previous season. The front office should consider Harris to add athleticism along the defensive front and slowly move on from Gregory, who's serving a minimum one-year ban.

Stats provided by Sports Reference and Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.


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