New 2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Round 2)

To see Round 1, click HERE.

33) Cleveland Browns: David Njoku, Tight End, Miami (Fla.)

After grabbing what they hope to be their new franchise quarterback, it’s vital to surround Mitchell Trubisky with some serious playmakers to take the heat off. Njoku is a better prospect than Eric Ebron (who went 10th overall) and is a mismatch weapon that can be used all over the field next to Corey Coleman.

34) San Francisco 49ers: Nate Peterman, Quarterback, Pittsburgh

The front office didn’t press the quarterback situation with the second overall pick, instead finding the perfect trade partner and adding better and more polished talent to the roster. Now, after staying patient, Kyle Shanahan gets a ball of clay to mold into his offense a whole round later.

Peterman is already one of the more polished of his peers to come out of the class with great anticipation and pocket awareness. With a rebuilding year already stamped in the books for 2017, Peterman has the luxury to sit and learn with the clipboard for a full season. Priming him like every rookie QB should with a redshirt year to adjust to the speed and nuances of the NFL, while the front office continues to add more talent around him to succeed.

35) Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Dawkins, Offensive Line, Temple

This guy mauled everyone in sight down in Mobile and proved to me he can be an outstanding guard after a year or two of consistent weight training. He’s got the tenacity and the mean streak offensive line coaches covet and has much better quickness and movement skills than you’d expect. Try him at tackle first, and if his 6-foot-3 length gets overmatched, you have a plug-and-play interior lineman for the next decade.

The Jaguars need any and all help they can get, with an offensive line that’s in shambles and a quarterback that’s desperate for another second or three back in the pocket. In a horrible class for offensive linemen, the Jaguars are lucky to get a bonafide starter in round two.

36) Chicago Bears: Jabrill Peppers, Safety, Michigan

Here’s another team that scooped up an extra pick after trading down, which gives the Bears more breathing room to take a high upside player like Peppers. While he may not have a bread and butter position on his Michigan tape, don’t put him at fault for coaches using his athletic ability all over the field.

Peppers has the burst and speed to fly into the box as a strong safety and make splash plays in the backfield. Plus, he’s the most dangerous return man in the draft adding another element of versatility to his game. The Bears are thirsty for some guys who can make more splash plays on defense, and with Jonathan Allen soaking up blockers, Peppers is exactly the man for the job.

37) Los Angeles Rams: Pat Elflein, Center, Ohio State

These poor Rams. They finally grab a power horse running back and franchise quarterback only to watch their offensive line wither away in front of their eyes. The addition of Andrew Whitworth was a wise decision while the development of Rob Havenstein has been solid.

Adding more interior help is the need now. There’s no better center in this draft than Elflein, who has the strength to open holes in the run game for Todd Gurley immediately while helping the Jared Goff’s pass protection in the passing game.

I like the free agent pick up of center John Sullivan; however, he’s not a lock to ever play 16 games again after a lower back injury in Minnesota. Meaning, Elflein can start his career at guard before taking over in the middle for the long haul.  

38) Chicago Bears (From Chargers): Teez Tabor, Cornerback, Florida

Yep, he had a tough combine and bad numbers at a position that typically equates to someone’s chance at success. However, with Tabor, you just have to trust the tape. With outstanding instincts for the passing game, Tabor flew all over the field at Florida and constantly made plays on the ball.

The Bears secondary is atrocious right now and needs anybody who can cover in uniform — pronto. If Tabor can do the things he did in college, the Bears defense is going to get a new No. 1 cornerback, as Tabor has the ability to play tight press coverage and run in the hip pocket of his receiver.

With Peppers and Tabor into the mix, the Bears secondary is in boom-or-bust mode from here on out.

39) New York Jets: Evan Engram, Tight End, Ole Miss

The Jets are committed to developing the young quarterbacks at hand for 2017. If that’s the case the best thing to do is get them legitimate targets that can bail them out from time to time and help move the chains.

Engram is a tight end with wide receiver hands and running back speed. A weapon if used properly, Engram can be a mismatch when put out in the slot and even out wide on the boundary. Get him on a linebacker out in space and whoever is tossing passes will look good with Engram doing the heavy work.  

40) San Francisco 49ers (From Panthers): Obi Melifonwu, Safety, Connecticut

After their first round trade down, the Niners have tons of ammo to get a head start on rebuilding the roster while still managing to grab a quarterback to develop for the future.

Melifonwu is a freak at 6-foot-4, 221 pounds with athletic ability scouts drool over. His tape says round three however, these tools and movement skills at his size are just too rare to pass up. With the proper development, the Niners will have a new playmaking safety in their secondary to work next to Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward.

41) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyus Bowser, Linebacker, Houston

The Bengals are stuck in quarterback purgatory and their only hope is building a Super Bowl-caliber defense to bring them past the first round of the playoffs. You could argue with the nucleus of talent they have now that there only a few legitimate pieces away from being a top-five defense once again.

Adding youth and fresh legs into the linebacking unit must be focused on. Reuben Foster was stolen one pick before them; however, Bowser will turn out to be a fine consolation prize. With 8.5 sacks in eight games, Bowser was on pace to have a monster season until an injury derailed his final stretch. However, his loss is the Bengals’ gain as they steal a top-20 player in round two, finally getting a young companion to work next to Vontaze Burfict.

42) New Orleans Saints: Zach Cunningham, Outside Linebacker, Vanderbilt

Mission “Rebuild Defense” is officially underway with five picks in the top 103 selections. In a loaded defensive class, the Saints have the ammo to grab new started at every level on the defense. Here, they get a gift with one of the best pure 4-3 outside linebackers still in play.

Cunningham was a tackling machine and has the instincts and fundamentals to shed blocks, fight through the trash, and make the rangy tackles at and behind the line of scrimmage. If he’s still on the board, the Saints will be sprinting to the podium.

43) Philadelphia Eagles: Jourdan Lewis, Slot Cornerback, Michigan

If building a new secondary was on your wish list then you’ve come to the right draft. I’ve got over 15 cornerbacks with round three grades or higher, not to mention a deep stash of safeties to go along with them.

Even after grabbing Ohio State’s Gareon Conley in the first round, the Eagles decide to double dip, turning a weakness into a strength. While Conley is your basic boundary cornerback, Lewis is the guy you want fighting on the inside. Regarded as the best pure slot cover man in this year’s draft, Lewis is undersized but is always step for step with his man, ready to make a play on the ball.

44) Buffalo Bills: Cordrea Tankersley, Cornerback, Clemson

The Bills have quietly done a great job rebuilding their front-seven with solid talent and draft picks outside of the first round with picks like Reggie Ragland and Ronald Darby.

With the departure of Stephon Gilmore though, they must dip back into the well and replenish their cornerback position. Lucky for them it’s a loaded class that has serious talent dripping into the war room.

Tankersley is a first rounder any other draft with natural cover skills teams covet. With long arms and good hand technique, Tankersley is a shutdown guy when he gets his hands on you. He’ll struggle with quick shiftier receivers, however, which may limit his role in the NFL.

45) Arizona Cardinals: Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC

Another solid cornerback that falls further than he would in any other class, Jackson is oozing with athletic talent that coaches highly covet. A freshman All-American and Pac-12 freshman rookie of the year, Jackson exploded onto the scene playing offense, defense, and special teams.

Jackson just needs to have his athleticism refined into a technically sound cornerback at the next level. Add his potential into a secondary that already owns Patrick Peterson and Honey Badger, and you’re talking about the most gifted defensive backfield in the entire league.

46) Indianapolis Colts: Takkarist McKinley, Outside Linebacker, UCLA

In the Colts you know what you’re getting with Andrew Luck and an offense that’s going to put up a lot of points. So, finally building a defense that can shut down opponents passing game and get after the quarterback should be the priority this offseason.

McKinley is a stand out pass-rush specialist who has only scratched the surface in his game. With an outstanding twitch and an ability to bend around the edge he instantly improves the colts 3rd down and nickel packages, giving them more flexibility and scheme versatility.

At just 6-foot-2, though, McKinley will be forced to play stand up linebacker in the Colts’ 4-3 package and will be put to the test as a traditional outside linebacker. He may struggle in space at first and will have his share of miss tackles. However, he is still fluid enough to drop back in coverage and can spy the quarterback with his speed and quickness, just two more things the Colts are lacking in their linebacking unit.

47) Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Willis, Defensive End, Kansas State

Ravens are one of the few great teams that can quietly rebuild while still staying competitive. That’s exactly what they’ll continue to try and do again this draft as they prep for another Super Bowl run in a year or two.

Willis may have to play stand up linebacker in their 3-4 defense which is fine, as an athlete who destroyed every measurable the combine had to offer, looking more like a wide receiver once he left Indy.

A highly productive lineman out of Kansas State with almost 30 total sacks in his career, Willis put together a great week down at the Senior Bowl and had proven he can compete and win against other top tier competition. With the proper development and players around him, Willis can be a fundamental piece of the puzzle inside the Ravens stout front seven.

48) Minnesota Vikings: Curtis Samuel, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Watching 47 picks go by before you hear your name on the clock is a tough way to start the draft for Rick Spielman. But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. With offensive line play the worst it’s been in a decade, a major overhaul was needed this offseason. Signing two above average tackles was a good start, however, continuing to stockpile more young talent in the trenches will be a high priority early on.

Still, Spielman won’t reach for a player not worthy of his selection, and it won’t surprise me to still see him try and trade back despite no first round pick. The Vikings offense has been bottom of the barrel for longer than most people can remember, and once again, lacks multiple go-to options that can be counted on for big chunk plays.

Enter Samuel, who ran the quietest 4.31 40 time you’ll ever see thanks to John Ross breaking the record a few minutes later. Samuel is the next Percy Harvin-type hybrid who can hit home runs from both the backfield and in the vertical passing game. While he isn’t the big bodied target the Vikings have lacked since Sidney Rice, he is a big play threat every time he touches the ball, and gives the offense an insurance policy past Laquon Treadwell and Latavius Murray in 2018 (while adding a new special teams weapon into the mix).

In a deep class of interior linemen, Spielman has the luxury to wait on offensive line with his two third round picks. If putting more points up on the board is a priority, than adding special talents like Samuel should be at the top of their board.

49) Washington Redskins: Desmond King, Safety, Iowa

King has gotten the short end of the stick during the pre-draft process, while other higher end athletes test better King continues to fall down the list. But, where King lacks in fast straight line speed he gains in outstanding football instincts and a knack for finding the ball.

He was the Big Ten defensive back of the year and shut down nearly every wide out he faced. Still, his smallish frame will likely push him to an in-the-box safety role in the NFL, where he will still end up being a highly productive tackling machine that can cover out of the slot.

With King and Su’a Cravens to play with, the Redskins have a whole new world of looks they can work with in multiple formations.

50) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derek Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee

Piece by piece, the Bucs continue to add good players to the defensive mix. Guys like Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy are the foundation of what’s being built while guys like Kwon Alexander, Noah Spence and Vernon Hargreaves are the glue in the cracks.

Barnett is another rock-hard selection that isn’t overly exciting but will be a key piece in how this defense looks and feels down the road. The nation’s most productive edge player with over 50 tackle for loss and 30 sacks during his career in the SEC slips further than he should due to subpar combine results.

Trust the tape though my friends. Barnett wins with a high motor and a tenacity you just can’t find on the stopwatch. Teaming him up with Spence gives the defense a highly youthful and energetic and duo off the edges. Opening things up for the best-kept secret three-technique in the NFL (McCoy), who is ready to once again take advantage of single coverage once again.

51) Denver Broncos: Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan

Another highly productive edge rusher that slips because of limited athletic ability. It wasn’t long ago Charlton was being mocked as a top-15 selection before the combine and pro days.

John Elway knows good football players when he sees them though, and can’t pass up adding more depth along a suddenly aging defensive line. Charlton gives the team options up front while making sure the front four stays fresh and ferocious late in the fourth quarter.

52) Cleveland Browns (From Tennessee): Chidobe Awuzie, Cornerback, Colorado

Another pick for the Browns, how are they not a dynasty yet? IF they continue to take the best players available they could finally turn this franchise around once and for all.

Awuzie adds some much-needed talent and depth into a secondary that’s extremely thin. One time superstar Joe Haden has lost a step and behind him is the coffin of top-10 pick Justin Gilbert. Awuzie is a tough-nosed cornerback that loves to stick his helmet in the pile and hit. Yes, he can cover too, but you’ll see him do much more than that, as a rare cornerback who will add a physical dimension at and behind the line of scrimmage.

Awuzie and his tone-setting physicality is exactly what this Browns team has lacked, and is in dire need for to help light the fire and rejuvenate this franchise.

53) Detroit Lions: Derek Rivers, Defensive End, Youngstown State

With a run on defensive ends in the middle of the second round, Rivers hears his name called in typical fashion. The best small-school defensive prospect hands down is Rivers, who dominated his Division II competition with strength, quickness and a relentless motor that fought through double and triple teams consistently.

The Lions have been desperate to find someone to help take the pressure off Ziggy Ansah for years now and who better to help than another small school, under-the-radar kid like Rivers.

54) Miami Dolphins: Jarrad Davis, Inside Linebacker, Florida

The Dolphins are one of those teams that look like they could go on a serious playoff run, or be picking in the top-10 next year. Either way, they need to continue to add stability to their defense that lacked any real identity last season yet again. They desperately need to get Kiko Alonso help to clean up the trash in the running game, as he can’t continue to do it all by himself.

Davis is a guy I’ll bet on nine times out of ten. He’s maybe not the biggest or fastest, but Davis is a highly instinctual linebacker that plays with his heart. A passionate player that adds a sense of high intensity to his game and his teammates around him. You can’t find a better character guy than Davis who will give you everything he’s got on every play.

55) New York Giants: Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma

Finally. The Mixon watch can stop. The highly controversial but explosive running back shouldn’t last much longer than this. As mentioned in round one, the Giants are in a rare position to truly take the best available players and Mixon happens to fit that bill, while adding a much-needed boost to their running game equation.

Sure, Paul Perkins can be a nice complimentary back over his career, but not many offer the game-changing style like Mixon. With a new offensive tackle and a high octane passing game pushing the defense back on their heels, Mixon is primed for a big boy season as your early Rookie of the Year candidate.

56) Oakland Raiders: Quincy Wilson, Cornerback, Florida

The Raiders really are just a player or two away from a Super Bowl run after what we saw last season, meaning this draft is going to make or break their 2017 campaign.

With Derek Carr set to start up where he left off putting points up on the scoreboard, it’d be wise to stock up on secondary players that can shut down opposing offenses vertical passing attacks.

Wilson comes from a Gator defense that has been churning out the defensive studs left and right the past few years and is next in line to step into the NFL and produce right away. While his counterpart Tabor garnished most of the attention, Wilson is every bit as good in coverage both as a boundary corner and in the slot.

57) Washington Redskins (From Texans): Carl Lawson, Defensive End, Auburn

Lawson caught the injury bug most of his career never playing a full season. However, last year in limited play he still managed to tally 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in the highly talented SEC. If he can ever manage to stay healthy and develop his pass-rushing arsenal than Lawson could be a pro-bowl caliber player off the edge.

After trading back with the Texans, the Redskins are doing some serious damage. Another defensive piece to add into the mix. The highly skilled pass rusher can work next to Malik McDowell and form a youthful powerhouse in the trenches for years to come.

58) Seattle Seahawks: Ethan Pocic, Offensive Lineman, LSU

With an offensive line in shambles, I fully expect this front office to use their first two picks on the best available lineman. Luckily for them, this class is deep on the interior, and Pocic is still available.

Pocic is a mammoth for a center at nearly 6-foot-7, but has the mechanical and football understanding of how to beat his man despite often loses the leverage game and first step to his opponent. I saw him first hand at the Senior Bowl put his man in check rep after rep where he convinced me he can play in the NFL.

At his size though, I’d start him out outside at tackle and see if he has the feet to develop there first. If not, no big deal, I know I’m getting a plug-and-play starter inside at center. But if so, then I may have just stolen an outstanding tackle prospect in a weak class right under everyone’s noses.

59) Kansas City Chiefs: Will Holden, Offensive Tackle, Vanderbilt

Andy Reid is known for drafting two things early every year. Quarterbacks and trench guys. Come on down Will Holden, an under-the-radar tackle who surprised a lot of scouts down in Mobile after showing up on day three and beating the hell out of defensive ends.

Holden may have shown enough to warrant a second round pick in a shallow class of tackles as he floated to the top of the second tier of peers. With players I’ve never heard of nor can I pronounce starting on the inside for the Chiefs, Holden may have to start his career at guard, but, offers the versatility to swing outside when the time comes.

60) Dallas Cowboys: Tanoh Kpassagnon, Defensive Lineman, Villanova

If Derek Rivers is the best small school defensive prospect than Kpassagnon isn’t far behind. He’s a ball of clay defensive coaches dream about at 6-foot-7 with 280 pounds of lean muscle while being an academic all-star.

With arms that hang by his kneecaps, Kpassagnon has the rare length that can make offensive tackles want to cry. He’s still very raw and unpolished, so time and patience will be needed to develop. Down the road though, if the Cowboys ever get Randy Gregory going again, they could have the best defensive line we’ve seen in quite some time.

61) Green Bay Packers: T.J. Watt, Outside Linebacker, Wisconsin

Im convinced this team is still sold on guys like Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall as they continue their development and transition from small school players to the nuances of a Dom Capers defense in the NFL.

In the meantime, bolstering their pass rush could really do the defense a lot of favors. After adding a speedster off the edge in round one, Ted Thompson looks to bring on a more polished and traditional linebacker to balance things out.

I’m not as high on Watt as others but, the fact still remains he was one of the best defenders in the Big Ten last year with 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Throw in the fact he’s, oh yeah, brothers with former defensive MVP J.J. Watt and you have half the coaches sold on the risk reward of this second round pick. Watt and Harris will pack a punch of youthful talent to the linebacking core, helping Clay Matthews return to his dominant self off the edge once again.

62) Pittsburgh Steelers: Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama

Did you know the Steelers have been to the AFC Championship game six times in the last 15 years? That’s a ton. Had they not ran into the unbeatable duo of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the football gods of destiny, they would have been playing for the Lombardi trophy in Houston.

What’s my point? Thanks to an outstanding quarterback, and a great defense the Steelers have almost never gone in total “rebuild mode” over the last decade. Instead, just good enough drafting keeps them competitive year in and year out, thanks to picks like this.

Williams for all intents and purposes should be a top-15 player drafted. But, because of his failed drug tests and off the field red flags, he’ll drop further than he his talent says he should. Mike Tomlin will do his best to straighten him out and reap the benefits of one of the most explosive edge rushers this class has to offer.

If, and it’s a big if, Williams can stay clean and focus on football, then the Steelers once again hit the jackpot with a high upside player with character concerns, while filling their biggest need on the outside in the process.

63) Atlanta Falcons: Corn Elder, Cornerback, Miami (Fla.)

Speed. Speed. Speed. That’s all Dan Quinn has ever asked for. Elder didn’t run a record setting dash but flip on the tape and you’ll see one of the most instinctive zone cornerbacks around.

With outstanding tackling ability and speed with his eyes on the ball, Elder will add yet another body in the secondary that can run and cover in Quinn’s defense. If there was any position I’d stock up on, its cornerback because in a pass-happy league, you just can’t have enough of these guys.

64) Carolina Panthers (From Patriots): Carlos Henderson, Wide Receiver, Louisiana Tech

The Panthers swapped picks with the Patriots and use this selection to nab one of the most explosive weapons at the receiver position you will find. Henderson is a converted running back so he needs plenty of work on his route running and overall understanding of how to play the position.

However, Henderson tied the nation’s best with 19 touchdowns in 2016, so rest assured, he’s doing just fine adjusting to the wide receiver profile. The Panthers hope to fill the void left by Tedd Ginn Jr. with Henderson as their primary vertical threat.

With Kelvin Benjamin a constant one-on-one mismatch, and new tailback Leonard Fournette set to wear down defenses, it’s safe to say Cam Newton can take the weight of the world of his shoulders for once, and let his teammates finally help him do the dirty work.


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