With the 2017 NFL Draft only a few days away, I thought I’d have a play and do a mock draft for the NFL London 2017 teams. I decided to just stick with the teams picking at their current positions, but I have no doubt there will be some trades happening when it comes to the real thing.
Click on the toggle box below of the pick(s) you want to see.
Cleveland Browns #1
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – With the first overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M.
Surely this is what NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell is going to announce, right? If anything other than this is announced at the top of this years draft, I’ll be left dumb-founded by Hue Jackson and his analytics boys’ decision and the direction they’re planning to go with the team.
I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and as such have seen just how horrible their defense has been for far too long now. Even when they’ve tried fixing the problems by throwing money at it – it has still just stunk. There’s been talk of the Browns trading out of this #1 overall slot but, with the woes of their defensive play, I personally think they’d be crazy to do so.
You’ve got the #1 overall pick in this years draft, you need holes on the defense filling and the consensus best player in the draft happens to be exactly what you need. There’s only one pick to be made at #1 and that’s Myles Garrett to the Cleveland Browns.
Jacksonville Jaguars #4
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama – I think most of the mock drafts I’ve seen over the past few months have had the Jacksonville Jaguars taking a running back with this pick. I agree that they could do with improving at that position seeing as the whole Chris Ivory – T.J. Yeldon one-two-punch didn’t work out due to Ivory’s inability to stay on the field. I personally like T.J. Yeldon and think he’s a good player and it’s because of him that I steered away from taking one of the top RB prospects with this pick. If I were to have picked a RB here it would probably have been Leonard Fournette even though I think Dalvin Cook is a slightly better player. Fournette is a big unit and a perfect fit for the way the Jaguars have liked to use their RB’s but, if I were lucky enough to be deciding on the team’s selections, I think the running back class of 2017 is deep enough to address another position of need here.
I feel that the Jags are missing a key piece of their offense at Tight End and feel they need to address it quickly. I’d use this #4 pick to take O.J. Howard out of Alabama as I think he suits them better than the other top prospects at this position. By this, I mean that he’s a good blocking TE as well as just a good receiving TE. Because of this, I think he would help both QB Blake Bortles and RB T.J. Yeldon to improve their aspects of the Jaguars’ offensive play.
The Jaguars pick 3rd (35th overall) in the second round and that’s where I’d be looking to grab one of the RB’s as there’ll still be plenty of talent left at that position by then and there’s every kind of RB available in this draft class.
New Orleans Saints #11
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee – The New Orleans Saints still have Drew Brees at quarterback and whilst he’s there they’ll still have the exciting to watch, high scoring offense. Because of this, and because they were the reason for the team’s poor showing in 2016, I think the Saints need to add to the defensive side of things early in this draft.
They’ve addressed the Linebacking unit a bit in free agency so they need to sure up the defensive line and defensive secondary.
I think Derek Barnett might just still be available for the Saints to pick at #11, but if he isn’t, I think DE Soloman Thomas will be. I think Thomas will go before Barnett, though.
With the addition of Derek Barnett to their D-line you’d have a great unit up front. Barnett would be a fantastic compliment to Cameron Jordan on the other side of the D-line, and with Nick Fairley and Sheldon Rankins in the middle, you suddenly have a lot of pressure being put on oppostion QB’s and less on the Saints’ DB’s, which is another area where the team needs help. Luckily, they have another pick in the first round at #32.
Cleveland Browns #12 - from the Philadelphia Eagles
Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut – Ok ok, calm down, calm down. So I might be accused of reaching here already at #12, and I most probably am. In a perfect world, I’d like for someone to contact the Browns with a good trade offer that saw Cleveland drop down from #12 to a later 1st round pick as well as gaining another/some more pick(s). The Browns would then be able to still make this selection at a later pick and pick up, even more, roster-hole-filling draft picks in the process.
I genuinely believe that the defensive secondary of the Browns is awful right now and is in desperate need of a do-over. Even to the extent of trading CB Joe Haden even though we all love him as Browns fans.
Having said that about Haden, there are so many holes still to fill in the Browns team that it’s just not possible to do so from one draft. I’d make do with Haden, Jamar Taylor and Boddy-Calhoun for another year whilst adding some of this year’s deep cornerback draft class players later in the selection process. Even though the secondary has been awful, I’d first add new blood at the Safety positions as the cornerback position was a little less awful.
Obi Melifonwu is big, strong, physical, aggressive and unnaturally athletic for his size. Add all those things together in one player and this gets me excited at the prospect of having someone like that at the Strong Safety position for the Browns. PFF even compare him to Kam Chancellor of the Seattle Seahawks and who wouldn’t want him running around in your defensive secondary?!
Don’t get me wrong, if Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker are still available at this pick I’d be taking one of them, but I really don’t envision that being the case. I would also take a good long look at LB Reuben Foster here at #12 seeing as one more quality Linebacker is needed in my opinion.
Safety is a massive need for the Browns and, for me, it was a decision had to be made between Melifonwu and Jabrill Peppers (ideally with the trading down scenario in play). I really like the size and freakish athletism of this guy and so, even though it’s a reach, I’d make sure I got him here (if no trade was offered) as I’m really not sure he’ll slip into the second round.
Arizona Cardinals #13
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan – The only question that would need answering here in order to make a more informed pick is, who’s retiring first, Larry Fitzgerald or Carson Palmer?
Both are coming back for more but for how much longer? Either way, I think the Arizona Cardinals would benefit from selecting the best available Wide Receiver with this #13 pick as that’s more of an immediate need. Fitzgerald and Davis on the field at the same time will be great, with Davis taking over as the #1 WR once Fitzgerald has retired.
I think most, if not all, of the QB’s will still be available here, and we could see one taken, but putting Davis in the same lineup as Fitzgerald and Palmer makes much more sense to me. Hopefully grab one of the top QB’s in the next round, but this obviously depends on whether teams panic and start reaching for QB’s as can very often happen.
Baltimore Ravens #16
Haason Reddick, Edge, Temple – Baltimore have been blessed with great Linebackers for years now but could do with another edge rusher (who couldn’t). Haason Reddick is an athletic player who performs well in the pass-rush, run-stopping and pass-coverage aspects of the game.
With Terrell Suggs getting to the end of his career, I think a selection like this makes sense – or maybe he moves inside. Whoever gets him, I predict great things.
Miami Dolphins #22
Forrest Lamp, OG/OT, Western Kentucky – During the 2016 NFL season the Miami Dolphins were fantastic on offense for the few games that their offensive line was healthy and working together as a unit. This was the period of the season that allowed RB Jay Ajayi to hit over 200 rushing yards per game on more than one occasion.
It’s been said that former first round pick, Laremy Tunsil, will be kicking out to play Offensive Tackle which leaves the Offensive Guard spot open. As I see it, the Dolphins are setting up to go with Pouncey at Center, Ja’Waun James and Tunsil at Tackle and Jermon Bushrod at one of the Guard positions. Adding Forrest Lamp at the other Guard position would create a solid base for the Dolphins to work from in their attempt to get straight back to the playoffs.
Lamp can also hold his own at Tackle, so if he was drafted by the Dolphins he and Tunsil could battle it out to see who plays inside and who plays outside.
New Orleans Saints #32 - from New England Patriots
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State – In this mock draft we had the New Orleans Saints adding to the defensive line in an attempt to get more pressure on the opposing QB’s. If that pick works out then the pressure should be taken off the secondary slightly but we still need to improve it.
I’d pick a Cornerback first in my attempt to improve the Saints’ DB’s but as to which ones are going to be available at #32 and which ones are going to have already been selected is anyone’s guess. I’ve seen some people take CB Adoree’ Jackson at this point in their mock drafts due to his kick return skills, but I’d prefer a better (in my opinion) Cornerback as the Saints need a CB more importantly than a jack-of-all-trades.
The reason the LA Rams and Minnesota Vikings don’t appear in this mock draft is because they used their picks that they would have had in this year’s 1st round in trades done previously. The Rams gave their’s to the Tennessee Titans and the Vikings used theirs in a deal with the Eagles.
So, what do you think? Feel free to rip me about my selections if you want, or give us your own suggestions for who you think the 8 NFL London 2017 teams will be taking in the first round of this year’s draft.
Use the comments below to let us know your ideas.