- After trading mock drafts all spring long, our two experts split up the GM duties for a final simulation of the most likely scenarios for all 32 picks of the first round.
Let’s do this one last time. For SI’s final 2017 mock draft, we divided the 32 teams between our two experts, Chris Burke and Emily Kaplan, and made them GMs for a day—with all the trading privileges that implies. It took all of six picks for things to get weird.
Who landed where when the dust settled? Check out SI’s picks below, and if you think you can draw up a better Round 1, take the MMQB’s Mock Draft Challenge, in which you create your own mock draft and see how it stacks up against those of Peter King and other fans.
And so it begins ...
Emily Kaplan: Don’t overthink this, Cleveland. No quarterback is worthy of the top pick, and no team has offered enough incentive to trade down. Garrett is a freak. He measures taller than Julio Jones, heavier than Rob Gronkowski, quicker (10-yard split) than Devonta Freeman and faster (40-yard dash) than Jarvis Landry. The Browns get a Day 1 impact player to build their defense around. They’ll address the quarterback situation later. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: This is a mock-draft pick made with Tom Coughlin’s mentality in mind. The new executive V.P. in Jacksonville loves to build around the defensive line, and adding Allen to free-agent signee Calais Campbell would make the Jaguars’ front a force. Allen could watch and learn from Campbell, too, because his future likely is in a similar role as an early-down end who drops inside to pass rush from a three-tech spot. Full scouting report
(Pick via Rams) Emily Kaplan: Cornerback is a clear area of need. Tennessee released veteran Jason McCourty, meaning free agent Logan Ryan is the only proven corner on this roster. Lattimore is the best pure corner in this draft, as long as his health holds up (he has battled chronic hamstring issues). Lattimore is athletic and tough, and best of all, he can start immediately. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: With tremendous instincts and ball skills—seven interceptions, including three for touchdowns in 2016—Hooker gets Ed Reed comparisons. Safety is Los Angeles’s biggest area of need, and Hooker could not be a better match. As Gus Bradley tries to recreate his signature Cover-3 defense that made him famous in Seattle, Hooker will fill the Earl Thomas role seamlessly. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: Cincinnati could use insurance at linebacker. Vontaze Burfict is in a contract year, and he missed 22 of the last 48 games due to injuries or suspensions. Free agent Kevin Minter is only signed for 2017. Foster is comfortably the most talented linebacker in this draft, with stellar college production (188 tackles, 21 for loss over the past two seasons). A ferocious hitter, Foster can spend one year complementing Burfict inside before eventually taking over. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: With Sammy Watkins sidelined for half of the 2016 season, Robert Woods actually led the Bills in receiving yards last year ... with 613. And he’s now gone, signed as a free agent by the Rams. Buffalo has to find another weapon for its passing game during this draft, so why wait? Davis has been hobbled this off-season by an ankle injury—perhaps a bit troubling for the Bills, given Watkins’s foot issues—but his game is polished and NFL-ready. He could step in and challenge 1,000 yards, if Tyrod Taylor can get him the ball. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: New Orleans simply must figure out how to get after the quarterback. Barnett left Tennessee with a school-record 33 career sacks (breaking Reggie White’s record) as well as 52 tackles for loss in just three years. Barnett is strong with excellent hands, and he also won some brownie points from scouts for competing while sick at the combine. Pair Barnett with Cam Jordan, and the Saints might finally have an edge presence. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: Mahomes, the gunslinger from Texas Tech, is generally regarded to have the biggest upside in this draft. But his mechanics and footwork need refinement, and transitioning from the quick-read Air Raid system to reciting 15–17 word plays and commanding an NFL huddle might take time. Arizona is the perfect landing spot, with Carson Palmer reaching his twilight, and coach Bruce Arians/GM Steve Keim committed to finding a long-term successor. Full scouting report
(Pick via Vikings) Chris Burke: The Temple star would not have far to relocate. In Philadelphia, Reddick would join Jordan Hicks to join the heart of the linebacking corps. He also would serve as an intriguing chip for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who could lean on Reddick’s proven experience as a college DE to crank up the pass rush on occasion. Reddick has enough all-around talent that figuring out his exact role can come in time. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: New GM Chris Ballard inherits a meager-looking defense. Improvements are needed all over, so Indianapolis should take the best defensive prospect available. A scout first alerted me to McKinley in October: “Perfect for a 3–4 linebacker in the NFL. Could be the next DeMarcus Ware. Freak athlete.” If the Colts need to build a defense, “the next DeMarcus Ware” isn’t a bad place to start. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: If Jamal Adams goes in the top five and the Jets are not smitten with any of the top QBs, this is a dream scenario: trade down, add a pick or two, still find Howard. The Alabama TE has incredible potential as a pass-catching threat, while his blocking ability should make him an easy plug-and-play weapon on offense. Tight ends usually face a steep learning curve in the NFL, so Howard can develop as the Jets figure out their plans at QB. *Trade with Redskins. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: After upgrading at cornerback with Lattimore, the Titans take care of their need at receiver by selecting Ross and his 4.22-second 40 speed. Tennessee’s “exotic smashmouth” offense produced a top-five rushing performance last season, but the passing game lacked game-breaking threats. Ross is that, and then some. The 5' 11" Ross can burn teams vertically from the slot, but he’s also a surprisingly good red-zone threat—he scored 17 touchdowns last year for the Huskies. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: Tampa Bay is committed to giving quarterback Jameis Winston an impressive cast of playmakers. While working on a contract extension for go-to target Mike Evans, the Buccaneers added speedy wideout DeSean Jackson in free agency. McCaffrey is the next piece. The Stanford product is a slot receiver/RB hybrid, with terrific added value as returner on special teams. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: A team with Super Bowl aspirations, as Denver has, is not likely to ride into the regular season with a Donald Stephenson–Menelik Watson combo at tackle if it can avoid it. Bolles could be the most talented left tackle on the roster from Day One, thus allowing Stephenson and Watson to duke it out on the right side. He’d be a force in the Broncos’ rushing attack, which would take full advantage of Bolles’s ability to block on the move. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: Another long and athletic cornerback, from a class chock full of them. White rebounded from a disappointing 2015 season to reestablish himself as a Round 1-worthy talent. In the process, he again proved himself to be the type of cornerback a defense can trust by his lonesome defending one-on-one outside. His quick feet make him a potential option in the slot, too, depending on matchups. In moving up three spots (at what would be minimal cost), the Raiders could ensure they a) get in front of Miami, another team possibly thinking corner, and b) prevent another franchise from leapfrogging them to land White. *Trade with Lions. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: Lamp may be the safest pick of all the offensive linemen in this class. Aside from his lack of length, which has fueled projections of his move from tackle to guard, there are few holes in his game. The Dolphins figure to move 2016 first-rounder Laremy Tunsil back to his natural tackle position whether they draft a guard or not, but Lamp’s arrival would make that transition much more worry-free. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: T.J., the youngest brother of J.J., has only been playing linebacker for one year (he switched over from tight end, sound familiar?) and from a personality standpoint, he’s a clone of his big brother as well—meaning his devotion to training is unmatched. The Lions, meanwhile, desperately need upgrades at linebacker; the current trio of Tahir Whitehead, Antwione Williams and Paul Worrilow isn’t exactly intimidating for the rest of the NFC North. *Trade with Raiders.
Emily Kaplan: If the Texans can’t draft their quarterback of choice in Round 1, they can make life easier for whoever starts under center, be it Tom Savage or someone else. Most scouts believe Ramczyk is draft’s top left tackle. The downside? He’s still recovering from arthroscopic surgery on a torn labrum in his hip. If his medicals hold up, Houston could get a steal. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: Derrick Johnson is 34 and coming off a second Achilles injury. That leads GM John Dorsey to make the prudent pick (he also tends to draft defensive players early). Scouts rave about Davis as a competitor—he’s an eager tackler and can also cover sideline to sideline. He’s versatile enough to inherit Johnson’s role inside or perhaps play at outside ’backer, too.
Chris Burke: Harris could be a fit for teams in the first half of Round 1, so landing him at 28 would be a boon for Jerry Jones & Co. The talented Missouri pass rusher profiles physically as more of a 3–4 OLB, but he had significant college success playing off the edge in a 4–3. One thing’s for sure: Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would find a way to maximize Harris’s quickness off the edge. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: Diluted drug test sample aside, Peppers might be too intriguing to pass up this deep into Round 1. He has that alpha-dog approach Mike Tomlin loves, and a combo of Peppers, Mike Mitchell and Sean Davis at safety would create a lot of mix-and-match possibilities in the secondary. Full scouting report
Emily Kaplan: Defensive-minded coach Dan Quinn loves to rotate players on his defensive line. Reigning sack leader Vic Beasley could use a sidekick to grow with. Michigan’s Charlton might be that guy. With superb length (6' 6", 277 pounds) and athleticism, scouts say as long as Charlton polishes his handwork, he will have no problem harassing quarterbacks in the NFL. Full scouting report
Chris Burke: Take your pick of the remaining cornerbacks—Wilson, Marlon Humphrey, Fabian Moreau, etc. The Saints have to be thinking about one of them here, after using their No. 11 pick on Derek Barnett. Wilson checks off all the physical boxes of an NFL cornerback, and he uses his physical nature to body receivers off their routes. The Saints keep trying to fix their secondary; bringing in a player like Wilson might be a key to unlocking it all. Full scouting report