2017 Expert NFL Mock Draft (#1-5)

Now in the second week of the NFL’s free agency period, teams are beginning to finalize their roster decisions for the 2017-18 NFL season. And with sights set on Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, the next step is determining which of the incoming rookies best fit each team’s needs. Here are some of the experts’ thoughts on the top five picks in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.

#1: Cleveland Browns

Consensus Pick: Myles Garrett, OLB/DE, Texas A&M

“This should be a no-brainer for the Cleveland Browns after the three years Myles Garrett put on tape at A&M and the all-world performance he showed at the combine. But these are the Browns we’re talking about, and no one in the NFL has much faith in the team to do the right thing.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

#2: San Francisco 49ers

CBS Sports: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina | Bleacher Report: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU | MMQB: Marshon Lattimore, DB, Ohio State

“John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan might figure out a way to snag Kirk Cousins from perennial franchise tag-dom in D.C.—I have a feeling trade rumors will persist—but I’m more inclined to believe the new regime will try to build the roster elsewhere. That said, the rebuild may be a slow burn, and that means Lynch might not over-draft for a quarterback here. Instead, how about addressing the secondary? Former first-rounder Jimmie Ward might be switching to safety in San Francisco’s new Cover 3-heavy defense, and Lattimore would be a stud starter to plug in at cornerback, for 2017 and many years to come.” – Emily Kaplan, MMQB

#3: Chicago Bears

CBS Sports: Jamal Adams, S, LSU | MMQB & Bleacher Report: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

“Trubisky has the best accuracy in the 2017 class, and while he won’t have the best 40 time or strongest arm, NFL evaluators I’ve spoken to in the last week raved about his leadership and football IQ. If general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox see those same traits, they should be all over Trubisky as the new franchise quarterback.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

#4: Jacksonville Jaguars

CBS Sports & Bleacher Report: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford | MMQB: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

“The Jaguars are in desperate need of a pass rusher and there’s an argument that Thomas is the best defensive player in this draft. He’d join a defense that drafted Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack last season and Dante Fowler in 2015.” – Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

#5: Tennessee Titans

CBS Sports: Marshon Lattimore, DB, Ohio State | Bleacher Report: Jamal Adams, S, LSU | MMQB: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

“In Hooker, the Titans address their biggest weakness, the secondary. Scouts rave about his ball skills and instincts—he gets Ed Reed comparisons. With two picks in the first round, and three top-tier wide receiver candidates available, Tennessee will grab a go-to target for Marcus Mariota later (see pick No. 18).” – Emily Kaplan, MMQB

Full 2017 NFL Draft 1st-Round Mock Drafts.

For Ryan Wilson’s CBS Sports mock draft, click here.

For Matt Miller’s Bleacher Report mock draft, click here.

For Emily Kaplan’s MMQB mock draft, click here.

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2017 NFL Combine: Who To Watch

In the NFL’s seemingly lengthy offseason, the first major step to returning to football is the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. The combine, which will begin on February 28, is where players from the incoming draft class are invited to participate in working out for and interviewing with scouts, coaches and team executives ahead of April’s NFL Draft. Here’s are some of the players to be watching for at this year’s NFL Combine.

Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

Considered by many to be the overall #1 selection in the upcoming NFL Draft, talented Texas A&M edge Myles Garrett’s physical traits will be well on display in Indianapolis at the 2017 NFL Combine. Compared to former #1 overall pick and current Houston Texans edge Jadaveon Clowney, the pressure will be on the Cleveland Browns to select Garrett ahead of a much-needed quarterback, should the defensive edge perform well at the Combine.

Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Much like previous years, there is no consensus #1 when it comes to the quarterbacking prospects of the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky, who passed for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2016 at the University of North Carolina, is every bit as much deserving of that #1 QB slot as any. Despite being considered “short” by many NFL standards (see: Drew Brees and Russell Wilson), Trubisky’s 6’1″ frame might be a problem for many teams when making the decisions. A strong showing at the Combine could change that perception.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Sporting an incredible resume from his time at Clemson, quarterback Deshaun Watson boasted a 28-2 record over the last two NCAA Football seasons, two consecutive Davey O’Brien awards as top quarterback in the NCAA, three College Football Playoff victories in four tries, and the 2016 College Football Championship, a victory over powerhouse Alabama in January. However, most scouts have Watson ranked behind both Trubisky and Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, as Watson seemingly struggled with turnovers and his showing of raw athleticism over the years. Now, with a chance to match his physical traits with his college resume, Watson has an opportunity to shine at the NFL Combine and rise among the mock drafts.

DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

Ranked ahead of Watson and Trubisky by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer sports a physical style that many teams might find attractive in a young prospect. However, whether or not Kizer goes in the first round much depends on what draft “expert” you’re talking to. Coming off of a rough 2016 campaign with Notre Dame that saw a sub-60 percent completion percentage and a 4-8 record, Kizer has the most to prove of the quarterbacking corps at the NFL Combine.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

A big running back at 6’1″ and over 230 pounds, Leonard Fournette is thought by many to be the best running back of the 2017 draft class. However, a strong combine, specifically the 40-yard-dash, could benefit the running back in silencing some of his critics from his college years. Opting to skip his team’s 2016 bowl game in favor of focusing on his upcoming professional aspirations, Fournette ended his LSU career with 3,830 yards, 42 touchdowns, and an LSU record 6.2 yards per carry in just 32 games as the team’s starting running back.

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