My first mock draft of 2017 came right after the conclusion of the Senior Bowl, which helped solidify, in my mind at least, the first-round statuses of a few players, like LSU CB Tre’Davious White, Alabama TE O.J. Howard and cheap jerseys and Temple pass rusher Haason Reddick.
While not a whole lot has transpired since then, you’ll notice player movement from my first mock to this one, including the absence of a quarterback in the top half of the first round. That’s because I’ve had a chance to watch a lot more tape on this draft class and also speak to many within the league to get a better understanding of where the prospects are starting to slot onto draft boards.
Caldwell is right in that, there is no sense for the Jaguars to even be thinking about Bortles’ fifth-year option right now. They’ll have a series of practices and further evaluation time before committing another year. Even then, the fifth-year option is not binding and is guaranteed only for injury. The book on Bortles jersey this offseason has been that he allowed his mechanics to slack. Caldwell mentioned maturity, and the general sense around the team is that this is a correctable mistake. For what it’s worth, Bortles was 51 of 77 for 626 yards, two touchdowns and a pick over his final two games.
The Browns could take a quarterback at No. 12 or make some trades (either moving down or moving back into the bottom of the first round) and try to grab a signal-caller around the 25th overall pick or so. As to who that quarterback might be, Jackson could make a slightly surprising pick by going with someone he sees something special in, maybe someone like Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. This is a very deep cornerback class, and I think adding a couple of corners could really help Cleveland. Teez Tabor (Florida), Howard Wilson (Houston), Tre’Davious White (NFL) and Quincy Wilson (Florida) are possibilities. The position is deep enough that the Browns could also focus on other positions early and add someone like Colorado’s Ahkello Witherspoon — who can cover really well, though he’s not especially physical — in Round 4. Running backs Wayne Gallman (Clemson) and Alvin Kamara (Tennessee) should potentially be on Cleveland’s radar to take in the second round. The Browns could look for offensive line help on Day 2 (someone like USC’s Damien Mama or LSU’s Ethan Pocic).
The Jaguars don’t believe they need a quarterback, a stance which got Gus Bradley fired in December. If Blake Bortles’ jersey mechanics don’t drastically improve, more jobs will be on the line this season. Chad Henne is not an adequate insurance policy. If he was, he would have sent Bortles to the bench by last November. After cutting bait on Julius Thomas, the Jags could use a pass-catching threat at tight end. As promising as Jalen Ramsey’s jersey rookie season was, depth is an issue at cornerback with Davon House and Prince Amukamara on their way out the door.
As effective as the Khalil Mack-Bruce Irvin tandem was last season, inside linebacker was a season-long liability. The Raiders should be in the market for a high-end cornerback with Sean Smith losing a step and D.J. Hayden headed to free agency. Although Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are promising pass-catching backs, Latavius Murray’s potential exit will create a need for a power back to handle work in the trenches.
The Titans boast a promising young nucleus, but need impact players at cornerback as well as safety. They also are expected to be active in free agency at wide receiver, targeting a bigger downfield threat, such as Alshon Jeffery, to complement the underneath options already on the roster.