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Projecting The Entire First Round Of The 2017 NFL Draft

With Super Bowl LI looming this Sunday, February 5, the 2016 NFL season is down to the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons for the chance to win the title. For the other 30 teams, all that is

With Super Bowl LI looming this Sunday, February 5, the 2016 NFL season is down to the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons for the chance to win the title. For the other 30 teams, all that is left is to dream of the promise of the 2017 season, a hope that can be greatly enhanced with the correct first-round draft selection, where the greatest talent is there for your team’s taking.

Each season’s draft crafts its own story, offering positional strengths and weaknesses unique to that year; in 2017 it’s a draft strong in the defensive backfield, yet weak in offensive linemen. Quarterbacks remain the most intriguing and headline-grabbing element of any draft, but there is considerably more ambiguity with this year’s selections at signal-caller.

This particular mock draft exists in a “vacuum” of sorts, because it does not consider the NFL Combine that gets underway February 28, trades or even the later rounds of the draft, in which needs can be tempered for a round or two to choose a superior player with an earlier pick. However, players generally regarded as having “first round talent” (again, pre-combine) was a consistent consideration in compiling this list, in order to render it most reflective of what will actually take place when the NFL Draft commences on April 27 in Philadelphia.

There’s also the wild-card element of trades in any draft, but for the sake of this mock, we’re just leaving things as is and not considering trades whatsoever. Rather, this mock combines the current team's need matched with the best available first-round talent with the objective of immediate improvement in a given team’s primary weakness.

This mock can be regarded as a “meta mock” draft of sorts--think of it as, “us doing the work, so you don’t have to”--as numerous other mocks were analyzed and compared in order to arrive at the most plausible list of first-round draft choices in the 2017 NFL Draft.

NOTE: Picks 31 and 32 are based on regular season records and the Patriots’ status as the favorite to win Super Bowl LI. Should the Falcons win the Super Bowl, they drop to pick number 32 and the Patriots would select at 31.

NOTE: Philadelphia and Indianapolis will flip a coin for No. 14 and No. 15 at the NFL combine. For the purpose of this mock draft we have the Colts drafting number 14.

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32 CLEVELAND BROWNS - MYLES GARRETT, DE

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The number one pick of the entire draft; Cleveland can’t possibly screw this up again--can they? Of course, they’re the Browns after all. Getting this draft right is imperative for the downtrodden franchise--even if that gets written every year. Despite Cleveland desiring that franchise signal-caller, none of this year’s candidates is that sure thing, first overall choice like an Eli Manning (2004) or Cam Newton (2011). But if the Browns want to take that baby step towards no longer “screwing things up”, then they’ll go for the sure thing at number one, who happens to be Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. And Garrett is as sure a thing as you can find in this draft, with his career 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss of yardage.

Garrett even has character and a sense of humor--penning a tribute to tacos in his farewell to the Aggies. With the addition of Garrett, the Browns could be building a special defense that could help shed their AFC North bottom-feeder status. 

31 SAN FRANCISO 49ERS - MITCH TRUBISKY, QB

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Another floundering franchise that needs to get this pick right, and maybe even more so than Cleveland, given the astronomical expectation of the San Francisco fanbase. Forget the politics; Colin Kaepernick is not the solution on the field and the 49ers need an upgrade, especially with offensive-minded Kyle Shanahan about to take over the team.

Enter Trubisky, the most NFL-ready quarterback, who threw 30 TD passes with only six INTs for North Carolina. As noted by Walter Football.com, Trubisy’s accuracy and ability to win at North Carolina rates him higher with many scouts than DeShone Kizer. Trubisky possesses an elusive style of play that saw him rush for seven more scores. Pairing him with Kyle Shanahan will give the youngster a tremendous chance to succeed and bring prestige back to the 49ers.

30 CHICAGO BEARS - JONATHAN ALLEN, DE 

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears might not be so far away from NFL respectability in terms of talent, and they certainly need a helmsman behind center, but with John Fox putting a premium on defense--and landlocked in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford--picking up a supreme pash-rusher like Allen is a solid move. Paired with last year’s number one pick William Floyd, the Bears could be building toward a renewed Monsters of the Midway. At this point, the Bears just need talent and they'll get a quarterback when it's worth the price.

You want accolades? As noted by Allen’s NFL.com profile, the Alabama defensive end won both the Chuck Bednarik and the Bronco Nagurski awards as the country’s top defender. His pure talent and smarts outweigh any concerns about his relatively small size at 6-3.

29 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - LEONARD FOURNETTE, RB

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Coughlin has returned to the Jags to serve as a vice-president and try to clean up this mess. Old school Coughlin will want to strengthen the running game--though he certainly likes his pass rushers, as he is currently the only coach to defeat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in a Super Bowl (twice).

But with Garrett and Allen both already scooped up in this mock, the Jaguars will pick up the highest rated running back in Fournette. His ability to break off long gains--averaging a stunning 6.5 yards a rush at LSU last season, playing mostly a brutal SEC schedule--will make Blake Bortles that much more effective. Part of the Jags' downfall under Gus Bradley was that they could never establish a running game to take pressure off their young QB.

28 TENNESSEE TITANS - MALIK HOOKER, S

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

For Tennessee, it’s good to be a team on the rise coming off a winning record (9-7), a near playoff berth and and have two first round picks--including number five overall. While there are several directions the Titans can go, Dick LeBeau’s defense gave up 30 points-plus in three critical losses.

And don’t let the late-season defensive surge fool you, those were three offensively challenged teams the Titans held down. They need help to become a solid contender, so the Titans will choose the best defensive back, which could well be Ohio State's Malik Hooker and not Jamal Adams.

Hooker is slightly taller than Adams, has the speed to cover the deep ball and can stay in the back to stop the run. Ohio State defenders translate well into the NFL and Hooker has scouts comparing him to the great safety Eric Berry. 

27 NEW YORK JETS - JALEN - "TEEZ" TABOR, CB 

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This could be the most controversial pick, when the 2017 Draft could get really wide open-as the offerings range from potential franchise quarterbacks to defensive game-changers, and the Jets are just the team to send this season's draft off into another stratosphere of complexity.

Yet GM Mike Maccagnan will likely opt for more of a sure thing, and given the sorry state of the Jets’ cornerbacks, which this draft is fairly deep in, they’ll go with arguably the best CB prospect in Tabor. Teez's coverage skills are NFL worthy, with interceptions or pass break-ups on 26.5 percent of his targets, as noted by Pro Football Focus. Tabor, one half of the Florida Gator’s dynamic cornerback duo, blankets receivers and plays with an aggressive style that will inspire the Gang Green fanbase.

26 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - JAMAL ADAMS, S

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Most mocks have Los Angeles’ latest team choosing Hooker, but whoever the Chargers pick pretty much has to be on defense, given how pathetic the Bolts were on that side of the ball in 2016. In this mock, Hooker is off the board so the Chargers “settle” for the highly regarded Adams.

As noted by NFL.com, Adams is a born leader who will get the secondary properly aligned for the appropriate pass protection, as well as being a fearless hitter who offers an upgrade in terms of talent and intensity in L.A.'s defensive backfield. Adams can bust up screen plays before they develop and is an awesome special teams player to boot. While getting help for Philip Rivers on offense is a must, it's most important for the Bolts to get the best player available.

25 CAROLINA PANTHERS - DEREK BARNETT, DE

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of mocks posts have the Panthers taking Fournette but he’s gone in this scenario and Dalvin Cook isn’t generally considered a high enough talent to take at eight. The Panthers’ fall from grace was astonishing--from Super Bowl runner-ups in 2015 to also-ran with too many holes to fill this past season.

While offensive line, running back and secondary are priorities, the Panthers defensive line was a porous mess in 2016 and Barnett is too rich a talent to pass up on. Gridiron Now noted Barnett’s impressive collegiate resume included 33 career sacks, which broke the career record of Volunteers’ legend, the late Reggie White. The Panthers got to the Super Bowl due to their fearsome front-seven and they'll want to re-establish that in 2017.

24 CINCINNATI BENGALS - REUBEN FOSTER, ILB 

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati was one of the most disappointing NFL franchises in 2016 and if they want to rewrite their story for 2017, they’ll have to start with the draft. Cincy’s once imposing defense went from ferocious jungle beasts to declawed house cats as the Bengals were the fourth-worst team in the NFL versus the run this past season.In a division with Le’Veon Bell, that won’t get it done. The Bengals add the 2016 Dick Butkus Award winner as college’s top linebacker.

As CBS Sports noted, Foster’s closing speed mixed with intimidating physicality would make him a perfect fit for Marvin Lewis’ brand of football. Pro Football Focus termed Foster no less than the “best, most complete LB in the nation”. Adding Foster instantly gives the Bengals an anchor in the middle of their defense.

23 BUFFALO BILLS - DESHONE KIZER, QB 

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills are currently on the clock with longest playoff drought in the NFL (since 1999). Per usual, Buffalo has plenty of needs, but the most important position in all team sports--quarterback--is the position the Bills need to address with uncertainty surrounding Tyrod Taylor and others. There are other options in this mock, but Kizer holds as much promise as any, standing 6-3 and totaling a 145.57 QB rating during this past season at Notre Dame.

DraftAnalyst.com reported on the sudden “character issues” that may be cooling some scouts on Kizer, but there’s enough potential there for the Bills to take a gamble. Let's not forget the recent struggles of Notre Dame quarterbacks coming to the NFL. As noted by MMQB.com, an unnamed NFC exec projects Kizer to be a top 10 pick.

22 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - SOLOMON THOMAS, DE

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton is under pressure to return the Saints to serious contending status while the window remains open for Drew Brees to produce at the highest level. There were reports a few weeks ago that the Saints were open to trading Payton to Indianapolis but a deal didn't materialize. That means Payton's time is ticking in New Orleans to recapture their former glory. To do that, New Orleans will have to construct a defense that takes the pressure off Brees and starts stopping other teams marching up and down the field.

Thomas is one of the draft’s highest rated defenders and will add instant credibility to New Orleans’ D. As Thomas’ NFL.com profile notes, he won the Morris Trophy as Pac-12 Defensive Player of The Year in 2016, and players out of Stanford tend to be as smart as they come.

21 CLEVELAND BROWNS - PATRICK MAHOMES, QB

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

If the Browns don’t take a passer with the number one pick, then they can grab one here, and according to this mock, Texas Tech’s Mahomes will be the best QB still on the board.

With a dominant defensive player and possibly a quarterback of the future, the Browns could do quite well for themselves in 2017's first round alone.

If it comes down to DeShaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes, the safer pick feels like Mahomes. As NFL guru Matt Miller tweeted, Mahomes has the strongest arm in this QB draft class. Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes with 41 touchdowns for the Red Raiders this past season, and offers the same size as top drafted passer Trubisky. In a climate like Cleveland, there's a need for a strong-armed QB and the Browns can get one here. 

20 ARIZONA CARDINALS - MIKE WILLIAMS, WR

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While some mocks have the Cards taking a quarterback due to Carson Palmer’s age (37) and fragility, this draft has them adding a weapon to make Palmer more dangerous and serving as the logical successor to Larry Fitzgerald still great heading into his age 34 season, with 107 catches this past year.  Williams, from the national champion Clemson Tigers, is the prize pass-catcher of the draft at 6-3 with a “large catch radius” that CBS Sports praised. It's hard to ignore, as Williams hauled in 98 receptions with 1,361 yards and 11 TD’s, and a receiver that appears to be able to to do it all. Having waived Michael Floyd this past season, the need is there in Arizona for his replacement. This is a logical move.

19 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - MARSHON LATTIMORE, CB

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Is Indy going to choose Dalvin Cook, like virtually every mock predicts, or do the Colts address their defensive deficiencies? This mock projects them addressing the latter, as it will prove too tempting for the Colts to pass on Lattimore, so highly regarded out of defensive factory Ohio State University.

The Colts' decision to go with D will likely be enhanced by the January 29 hiring of Chris Ballard as the Horseshoes' new general manager, as Ballard comes from defensive minded Kansas City. As upi.com noted, Lattimore is built well for the position with the short-area burst and closing speed ideal for the corner position. The Colts haven't found an elite defensive player in years and it's time they find one. Andrew Luck needs his defense to stop opponents once in a while. 

18 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - COREY DAVIS, WR

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Another weapon for Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz? How about any weapon for the talented signal-caller? The ultimate question Philly must answer is; does Wentz become a Ben Roethlisberger...or a Blake Bortles? To elevate Wentz’s game, the Eagles need to surround him with weapons he was missing in 2016. Western Michigan’s Davis is more than capable, as he hauled in a whopping 97 passes for exactly 1,500 yards for the Broncos last fall.

As noted by Pro Football Focus, Davis ideally combines precision route-running that enables him to slip behind the defense with strong yards after the catch, two traits that will win Wentz’s gratitude.

Wentz showed plenty of promise in 2016, but he was clearly lacking weapons to help him out. Davis will be an enormous help to him.

17 BALTIMORE RAVENS - DALVIN COOK, RB

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have considerable talent, yet pressing needs. The Birds' running game was nothing much to speak of in 2016, lead by Terrance West's 774 yards and ho-hum 4.0 per-rush average. All the Ravens need do is glance over at AFC North division champ Steelers' rushing/receiving star Le’Veon Bell to realize the importance of such a weapon in today’s NFL. Cook isn’t likely to last past pick number 20, and he'd provide Joe Flacco with an instant weapon; out of the backfield as a receiver, Cook nabbed 33 passes for a nice 488 yards with Florida State last fall. 

The Ravens have yet to find a long-term replacement at running back since the whole Ray Rice fiasco went down and it's time they find themselves an answer at the position. This would make life a lot easier for Joe Flacco.

16 WASHINGTON REDSKINS - ZACH CUNNINGHAM, ILB

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Washington should be in a hurry to halt the run, because it’s killing a talented team. In 2016, Washington’s defensive rankings against the rush were pathetic; among the sad stats, ranking 24th in yards with nearly 2,000 (1,916) allowed on the ground.

That's why this mock has D.C. drafting Cunningham out of Vanderbilt, as his ability to stop running backs will be prized by defensive coordinator Joe Barry. Cunningham is an instant impact player, who possesses the capability to be on the field for all three downs and should immediately solidify Washington’s soft underbelly in the middle. While it's easy to lay the blame on Washington's offense cooling down the stretch, the priority for this team has to be improving the middle of their defense.

15 TENNESSEE TITANS - O.J. HOWARD, TE

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Like the Browns before them in this mock, the Titans bolster their ranks by adding both a defensive and offensive chip before they’re even out of the first round. And for the Titans’ second pick in this mock, they give their quarterback Marcus Mariota a big shiny new toy to play with in O.J. Howard, straight outta the NFL factory also known as the University of Alabama.

Howard hauled in 45 passes for the Tide in 2016, and his ability to run block makes him doubly attractive. Scouts voted Howard as the top practice player at last week’s Senior Bowl, solidifying his status as a top-20 pick, and the Titans may consider themselves fortunate to nab Howard here. Pairing him with Delanie Walker would give the Titans a tremendous tight end duo.

14 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - JOHN ROSS, WR

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

An impact receiver is one of the pieces Tampa's offense needs to step into the postseason next year. And in this mock, like the Titans, Tampa gives their emerging franchise QB, Jameis Winston, a new weapon in Ross, who caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards at Washington last fall. Adam Humphries had a decent 2016 season in the slot for the Bucs, but Ross--a consensus first-rounder--would be such a upgrade at the position, giving Winston a safety valve option that will enhance his overall game.

At 5-11 and 190 pounds, he does not offer the ideal size like a Mike Williams, yet Ross has the potential to be a dominant slot receiver. His lack of size isn't a big issue, as the Bucs have Mike Evans as their big-target threat down the field.

13 DENVER BRONCOS - RYAN RAMCYZK, OT

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If Broncos’ head honcho John Elway is serious about bringing in a somewhat fragile Tony Romo to play quarterback in 2017, then the Broncos' offensive line has to be remade, and drafting Ramcyzk out of Wisconsin would be a smart start.

Bleacher Report's mock has Ramcyzk being the highest-rated offensive tackle in a draft that’s weak on the position, and the Broncos will go first with the 6-6, 297 pound”rock solid” pass blocker, as described by Walter Football.com. And that’s the reliable protection that Elway--and potentially Romo--most appreciate from an OT. Besides the upper body strength, Ramcyzk has “typewriter feet” allowing him to shuffle with defenders and stay on his blocks. In a division with Khalil Mack, protecting their QB, whether it be Romo or Trevor Siemian in 2017, has to be a priority.

12 DETROIT LIONS - MARLON HUMPHREY, CB

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions’ inability to stop the pass in 2016 was so pathetically profound, it’s a testament to the greatness of Matthew Stafford that he dragged Detroit into the playoffs. While the Lions could certainly use a Taco Charlton on the line, as most mocks predict, a cornerback to stop all the TD passes would help as well. As noted by WalterFootball.com, Alabama’s Humphrey offers the versatility to match up with big receivers and keep pace with the speedy wideouts. He's big at 6-1 and does a little bit of everything from hawking interceptions to forcing fumbles, and the Lions need a lot of that. 

The Lions will likely look for offensive weapons in later rounds, but it's time the Lions figure out a way to defend against the pass, as they have to face Aaron Rodgers twice a year.

11 MIAMI DOLPHINS - DAVID NJOKU, TE

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins’ offensive attack as it is presently constituted is not dynamic enough for coach Adam Gase’s lofty ambitions. In this mock, Gase goes offense and if Howard is indeed gone, then the coach need look no further than in his own city at the “U” to find the “Mammals” (Dolphins aren’t fish) the second best tight end in this draft. The Dolphins have gone WR and OT their last two drafts, so the next piece on offense is at TE.

The 6-4, 245 pound Njoku caught 43 passes with 8 touchdowns for the Hurricanes last fall. Njoku could be that dominant tight end allowing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to keep pace with AFC East rivals Tom Brady and his lethal (on the field only) tight-ends Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett.

10 NEW YORK GIANTS - CAM ROBINSON, OT

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the Giants’ divisional round loss to the Packers, it was Eli and the offense that let the G-Men down, failing to build a lead when the Giants' stout defense held the Pack scoreless midway through the 2nd quarter. The Giants' offensive retooling begins up front, and here they land the second-best tackle in the draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects the Giants going offensive line in the first round as well, though he has them choosing Ramcyzk.  In this mock, the Giants have to “settle” for Alabama’s Cam Robinson, who may not have the pass blocking skills of Ramcyzk, but Eli was only sacked 21 times last year, so protection is not as critical.

However, Giants running backs will surely appreciate the gaping running lanes smashed opened for them by the 6-6, 310 pound Robinson.

9 OAKLAND RAIDERS - TACO CHARLTON, DE

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Just when the Raiders are back to making a commitment to excellence, they’re ready to jump ship for Vegas. You’re welcome, Oakland. But maybe the Silver and Black can win one more title for the East Bay before they bolt to Sin City. Offensively, they’re there, but the defense needs some serious work. Taco Charlton is a tremendous run stopper-a key need for the Raiders. Of his 42 tackles for the Michigan Wolverines in 2016, 13.5 were for a loss, with 10 sacks. Those kind of big-plays can send an opposing offense into predictable third-and-long situations, thus empowering the defense, especially one that's led by Khalil Mack. One player can make that much difference and Charlton could be that player.

Considering Reggie McKenzie's track record at the draft, you have to trust that he'll find the right playmaker.

8 HOUSTON TEXANS - DESHAUN WATSON, QB

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As much as the Texans might want to add to their defense, let's face it, they held Tom Brady to rather mediocre stats in the divisional round, and they're getting J.J. Watt back next season, so they’ve got to address their dismal offense first and foremost. However, with the top notch running backs, receivers and tight ends already taken in this mock, the Texans look to the most critical position of all by selecting Watson, the leader of the national champion Clemson Tigers.  

As predicted by NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, the Texans will select Watson recognizing that the Brock Osweiler signing was a mistake, and Houston needs a legit passer to take their championship-caliber D to the next echelon. Watson has his detractors, yet it’s hard to argue with 4,593 yards passing and a 67 percent completion ratio. There's not much more Watson can do at the collegiate level--it’s time for him to prove it in the pros.

7 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - JABRILL PEPPERS, S

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Just like his versatility on the field, Michigan’s Peppers is a wild-card in the meta-mock analysis conducted to compile this list; ranging in picks from top ten to bottom of the first round--yet always in play somewhere. And if he’s still available here, the Seahawks would be wise to snatch him up and embolden a safety position exposed by the injury to defensive leader Earl Thomas. This situation was multiplied by how badly Steven Terrell was beaten by Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ receivers in Atlanta’s thrashing of the Seahawks in the divisional round.

Peppers, was the winner of the 2016 Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player after playing 933 snaps at an astonishing 15 different positions. He came up huge in the Wolverines' instant-classic loss to Ohio State with an interception and 7 tackles.

6 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, WR

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In the Chiefs' divisional round loss to the Steelers, their offense was the component to let them down--once again. The soon-to-be 33-year-old quarterback Alex Smith probably isn't ever taking the Chiefs to a Super Bowl, but with the best quarterbacks gone in this mock, the best strategy is to surround Smith with more weapons. And if Ju-Ju proves to be the real deal, perhaps QB Alex will add a hyphenated “Schuster” at the end of his own “Smith”.

Several other mocks also projects KC taking Smith-Schuster, whose size at 6-2, 220 pounds could give the Chiefs the wideout they need to put the ball in the end-zone, as the USC Trojan scored 10 touchdowns in 2016. By comparison, Chiefs’ receivers caught 10 TD passes combined this past season.

5 DALLAS COWBOYS - QUINCY WILSON, CB

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

To assess the Cowboys’ draft needs, one need look no further than the Green Bay Packers' last two playoff game results. Against the Cowboys’ defense, Aaron Rodgers was his usual superior self, yet that same QB was hunted down to earth like a little sparrow by the Falcons. The Cowboys’ offensive prowess is unsurpassed, but to take that next step, the Boys have to start constructing a top-tier defense that features outstanding talent like the 6-1 Wilson, who can cover the speedy guys as well as the massive wideouts.  

One unnamed league exec said Wilson is better than his Gator teammate, CB Teez Tabor (our number six pick) in every area, according to NFL.com. This pick is an easy one for the Cowboys. Don't be surprised if they even look to trade up.

4 GREEN BAY PACKERS - SIDNEY JONES CB

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes it feels like Aaron Rodgers is all alone out there. The best quarterback in the league needs help around him as he had in 2010 when he won it all. We saw how badly the Packers were outmatched against the Falcons' vaunted offense in the NFC Championship. In order for the Pack to truly get back, they’ve got to develop a stiffening defense with a shutdown corner. So, which excellent Pac-12 CB do the Pack nab? Washington Huskies' Sidney Jones or the USC Trojans’ Adoree Jackson?

This mock has Green Bay selecting Jones, who, as noted by Four Aces Scouting, is more “corner ready” than Jackson, who needs more help--though offers a higher upside. With the Pack in perpetual Super Bowl mode with Rodgers, the more experienced NFL-ready Jones is the right choice.

3 PITTSBURGH STEELERS - CHARLES HARRIS, OLB

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers would do well with either Tim Williams or Harris but Williams’ off-field problems are something Pittsburgh might want to avoid based on the suspensions they’ve endured with Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant for weed. Therefore the Steelers go with the more mature Harris, who could instantly provide the edge speed they desperately need to neutralize the likes of Tom Brady.

With the Steelers facing a potential thinning of the ranks at the OLB position, Harris would be a more than an adequate replacement because what he does best is get after the quarterback. Harris justified that assessment with seven sacks among his 18.5 tackles for a loss. We saw that the Steelers had trouble generating pressure on Tom Brady in their AFC Championship loss and if they ever want to beat the Patriots, they'll have to improve their pass rush. Let's not forget James Harrison, their best pass rusher, is 38 years old.

2 ATLANTA FALCONS - MALIK MCDOWELL, DT/DE

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying that state-of-the-art offense is Atlanta’s strong suit and their undersized, occasionally soft defense, is their weakness. A dominant lineman can change that, and, if McDowell maintains his 6-6, 276 pound frame, he’ll likely end up as a defensive end. In either scenario, McDowell is first-round talent who harasses the quarterback and amassed 24.5 tackles for losses in only 36 games at Michigan State.

McDowell plummets a bit in this mock because of some of the controversy surrounding him, including his “targeting” penalty he received this past season at MSU. All that aside, the Falcons' offense is essentially a finished product, but Dan Quinn is trying to build a defense similar to the one he possessed in Seattle and McDowell would be another good piece to add.

1 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - HAASON REDDICK, OLB/ILB

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Even now, at the last pick of this mock draft, a prodigious amount of defensive talent abounds. And Bill Belichick loves enriching his D, especially with his less-than-stellar pass rush, which ranked only 18th in the NFL in sacks-per-pass-play.

The rich get richer as the best team in the NFL in the 2016 season nabs the player who made the biggest impact in the Senior Bowl, Temple’s Haason Reddick, who is rewarded with inclusion in this first-round mock. As NFL.com’s Mike Mayock opined, Reddick had one impressive practice after another. The 6-2, 237 pound Reddick is the classic talented “tweener”--he could play outside, inside or even on the edge of the line--that defensive mastermind Belichick would put to good use. With the Pats having traded Jamie Collins this season, Reddick provides a potential replacement.

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Projecting The Entire First Round Of The 2017 NFL Draft