Alot has happened since the release of Picks 1-7. We had the NFL Draft Combine where alot of stars improved their stocks. Early winners are Myles Garrett, Christian McCaffrey, Pat Mahomes and Obi Melifonwu.. Where as guys like Deshone Kizer, seemed to drop in scouts minds.
Before we get to the mock, let me make some things clear. 1.) This mock is a culmination of personal talent identification and perceived team needs. 2.) With Free Agency set to begin, some picks will not be changed due to constant updates of informaiton. 3.) This mock will be preceeded by the Final BIGPLAY Mock Draft before Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Let’s get to the point now, here are picks 8-15.
1:8 Carolina Panthers
The Pick: Solomon Thomas, EDGE Rusher, Stanford
The panthers have a huge need at the EDGE rusher position. Thomas was one of many who vaulted themselves up the draft board with a great bowl performance along with an amazing combine performance. Even with the extension of Mario Addison, Thomas provides defensive flexbility and a long term option as well.
Thomas brings a tenacity and has dominated some of the best offensive lineman of the bunch. Along with that, he brings a high football IQ and high character as well. With Thomas you are gettning a player you can trust on and off of the field. Thomas provides a good bend off of the edge along with brute force strength.
The case could be made for Leonard Fournette or an offensive lineman. However, with teams valuing BPA (best player available) other than need…Thomas would make Panthers fans happy if they were able to nab him.
1:9 Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: Reuben Foster, Inside Linebacker, Alabama
For the Bengals, there sure is a lot of talent. A perennial East competitor, this team took a big step back in 2016. A large part of this was due to the losses of Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones. This was paired with the terrible injury woes of Tyler Eifert.
For the Bengals, the selection of Foster adds assurance to the defensive staff. With Vontaze Burfict being a slight headcase, someone to play along side him would be very beneficial.
While the Bengals do need a center and someone to man the edge, it’s just seems early for either position. With a class as loaded as this one on the defensive side, teams like the Bengals have the benefit of waiting.
1:10 Buffalo Bills
The pick: John Ross, Wide Receiver, University of Washington
What an offseason for the Bills right!? With Rex Ryan out, the Bills were left with a lot of questions and not alot of answers. Who who be the Head Coach? Would they retain Tyrod Taylor? Well both questions were indeed answered as the Bills got Sean McDermott to be their HC and Tyrod Taylor restructured his deal.
The question the Bills must ask themselves revolves around their standing in the AFC East. Are they a contender? Should they rebuild? With the restructuring of one of my favorite QB’s in the league, you’d have to assume that they are trying to contend. However, with Stephon Gilmore and Robert Woods gone, they will either need to spend big or try and build through the draft.
While Deshaun Watson has been mocked here consistently. Watson fits the type of QB that GM Doug Waley covets. However, I believe that the Bills will go in a different direction. Same goes for the EDGE rusher position. With Shaq Lawson basically taking a medical redshirt, his ability to come off the edge should be showcased heavily. With that being said, I think the Bills go with Washington Wide Receiver John Ross. With Sammy Watkins, you are getting a big physical receiver. Pairing him with the blazing Ross will only help Taylor and this offense.
1:11 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple University
The Saints have always had the offense to compete in the NFC South. Their struggles have come in the defensive secondary. Their defense has had spans of being absolutely garbage. The Saints have invested A LOT of draft capital in the defense. With Sheldon Rankins being the latest of the bunch. Sean Payton even came out to say that DB and EDGE were the top 2 needs for them this offseason.
Also, rumors have been flying around that Brandin Cooks is on the move. Personally, I think they need to flip him in order to acquire more picks. The rumors have shown that the Saints are looking for a 2017 First Rounder AND a defensive stalwart. Before the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffrey, it was reported that the Eagles offered Brandon Graham and their 2017 First Rounder (14th Overall). UPDATE: Cooks to the Patriots.
While Haason Reddick isnt a name that many common fans are aware of, he is an absoltue stud. This pick is personally based purely off of talent. While Reddick played at Temple, boy does he have potential! He can either bulk up and position himself on the edge OR play inside linebacker for whatever club drafts him.
1:12 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Sidney Jones, Cornerback, University of Washington
The Cleveland Browns need to actually be taken seriously now. Yeah I didn’t believe that either, but hear me out. Signing two of the top interior offensive lineman is nothing to slouch at. Also, extending Bitonio and signing Kenny Britt is a step in the right direction.
The Browns have a need at DB, with Jamar Taylor playing admirably…it’s time to add onto an up and coming secondary. Sidney Jones is a tough player who was arguably the best DB in the Pac-12. While I have been known to put Marlon Humphrey here, I just believe in the Pac-12 Product.
However in all honesty, I would be SHOCKED if the Browns made this pick. simply because I believe that Jimmy Garapolo will be traded. The package would be steep, but Jimmy G offers the Browns a chance at contention right away.
1:13 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Obi Melafonu, Safety, UConn
The Cardinals were a few special teams mishaps away from being a contender. However, this team showed signs of fatigue and overall lack of fire. Well that and 80% of your starting offensive line ending up on the IR.
The Cardinals need a QB of the future. This team CANNOT afford to let another offseason go where they dont findn their guy. However, I personally believe that the Cardinals can find a better option next year. The front office has said that there are 5-6 options at the QB position.
With that being said, the Cards just lost arguably one of their top defensive players in Tony Jefferson. While this team usually drafts best player available. They also want to get younger and faster. Melafonu is a fast rising prospect who dazzled in drills at the combine.
1:14 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan University
What a difference a year makes huh? Matter of fact, less than one year ago the Eagles “threw away” their future in acquiring Carson Wentz. Unfortunately for the Eagles haters, they flipped Sam Bradford for a first round pick. Like most big market teams, the Eagles shored up some of their holes early on. Signing Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith gives them stability.
By most likely taking themselves out of the Brandin Cooks sweepstakes, their needs have been filled for now. With that being said just because you fill a whole doesnt mean that you have to stop.
By taking Corey Davis, you get a legit receiver who has the height weight and speed to effect any field he steps on. Especially with Jeffrey being a free agent after this upcoming seaosn, building depth is how good teams stay good.
1:15 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Leonard Fournette, Runningback, LSU
The Colts have had one of the most dysfunctional front offices in NFL history. Ryan Grigson was not able to properly iidentifytalent and it cost them. With such GREAT picks like Bjoern Werner, Grigson was forced out of Indy.
The Colts are a rather mysterious team. With barely any offensive line and a horrid defense who just lost one of its best players to retirement (Robert Mathis). That being said I just dont see a way in which the Colts don’t draft the best player available.
Honestly, I don’t think Fournette lasts until the middle of the first. Some teams were turned off by his combine performance but the dude is still uber talented. The Colts also have the option of trading back. Which always helps.
Alright, we’ve reached that point of the
show er mock draft. Remember to let me know what you think by hitting me up on twitter here. Next week we will go through picks 16-23.