Missouri DE Charles Harris – Photo by: Getty Images
The 2016-2017 season may be over, but football fandom never takes a break.
As the football world congratulates the New England Patriots on another Super Bowl victory, Bucs fans are surely eager to see what’s next for their team, which that showed a lot of promise in 2016, and hopes to be playing in that final game of the postseason sometime soon.
Last week, PewterReport.com gave Tampa Bay fans a good idea of which prospects the Buccaneers might be interested in for the 2017 NFL Draft with it’s second 7-round, Bucs-specific mock draft of 2017. This week we’re give you even more background to that by providing you with a full NFL first-round mock draft.
Understanding Tampa Bay’s draft possibilities through all seven rounds is important, but knowing what future opponents are planning is also worth knowing, as well as seeing which prospects could realistically be where in terms of draft selection in the first round (which will determine how the rest of the draft plays out).
With that said, let’s have some fun, keep an open mind, and visualize how the 2017 NFL Draft could shake out – after all, it’s nothing more than fantasy football at this point.
TEXAS A&M DE MYLES GARRETT
We’ve all seen the Cleveland Browns’ continuously scratched out quarterback jersey meme. This franchise needs a solid signal caller like no other team in the world. However, I’m not sure they pull the trigger on one of the quarterbacks in this class at No. 1 – they do have another pick at No. 12, which they could use to get better value for a quarterback.
Garrett is a pass-rushing machine. His build and his skills make him the obvious top choice in a stacked defensive class, which is really saying something. He should be their guy here.
NOTRE DAME QB DESHONE KIZER
Though I don’t have the Browns taking a quarterback at No. 1 for a few reasons, I think the 49ers will overlook those due to their situation being a bit different. The Niners are bringing in a new GM and a new head coach in 2017. With them will come an entirely new philosophy, not just in how they play on the field, but in how they build their team and theme the organization moving forward.
That makes me think that, even though the quarterbacks at the top of their class have their risks, they’ll take the one with the highest ceiling as the new identity all around. With size, build, arm strength and intangibles, that highest ceiling belongs to Kizer. But, it’s important to note that he has a long way to proving that potential.
The 49ers might be #TheProcess team of the NFL for the next few years – a play off what the Philadelphia 76ers have been in basketball developing high ceiling players and acquiring draft picks.
NORTH CAROLINA QB MITCH TURBISKY
As Tampa Bay fans saw first-hand this season, the Jay Cutler experience needs to be coming to a close in Chicago.
With Kizer off the board, the choice here will be between Turbisky or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. I think the NFL will hold Turbisky in higher regards than Watson.
FLORIDA STATE RB DALVIN COOK
Many have mocked LSU’s Leonard Fournette to the Jaguars at No. 4, but I think Cook overtakes him as the top back.
The important variable for Cook’s draft stock will be his medical review at the NFL Scouting Combine. As long as he doesn’t have anything chronic or lingering (ankles, shoulder), his stock will be worthy of the Top 10. The Jaguars desperately need some consistency on offensive, and though Cook doesn’t fix Blake Bortles’ bad decision making, his success means Bortles wouldn’t have to throw as much.
WESTERN MICHIGAN WR COREY DAVIS
This is pretty high for Davis, huh? I don’t think so, and after Davis’ Pro Day (since he’s not running at the Combine), I don’t think NFL teams will think it is too high, either.
Clemson’s wide receiver Mike Williams would also be a good choice here, but I see rare athleticism from Davis. I think Williams is the more polished prospect out of the two right now, but I think Davis has the better potential to make those Dez Bryant, Julio Jones-like athletic plays.
I think he’s a Top 10 talent, and being the top at any position means there’s a chance at going high.
CLEMSON QB DESHAUN WATSON
I do not believe in Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, and after at least one season with both, I’m not sure the Jets do, either.
Watson’s a leader. He performs best when the moments is at their greatest – like a certain quarterback we just witnessed win his fifth Super Bowl – and knows how to command an offense. He doesn’t have the best arm distance-wise, and his accuracy can be a bit shaky at times, but I think both of those narratives are being blown out of proportion compared to the amount of good he’s shown as a quarterback.
Give the Jets a quarterback who knows how to win.
OHIO STATE FS MALIK HOOKER
It had recently been reported that Malik Hooker played most of this season with a torn labrum in his shoulder and a hernia in his groin, which is insane to think he was second in the country last year with seven interceptions while playing with those injuries.
The critics on Hooker are all the same. People say his tackling is an issue, but I think that narrative is lazy. For a first year starter playing in a deep safety role (not box or walk-up safety), I thought he did just fine. Hooker’s instincts are stuff you can’t teach; they’re drawing comparisons to Ed Reed and Earl Thomas, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Having a player like that for the Chargers’ 3-4 defense elevates every level.
WISCONSIN OT RYAN RAMCZKY
Say this one with me: Weapons aren’t the best way to help a quarterback, the offensive line is. Writers like to pick on Carolina’s receiving corps. – and, don’t get me wrong, it’s not good – but their offensive line is so much more of a problem.
I think the Panthers finally get to fixing that and even double dip in this draft with some offensive linemen. For the first, they’ll have their pick of any whether it be Alabama’s Cam Robinson or Ramczyk. The latter is the better prospect, and the guy I think they take the bait on.
ALABAMA LB RUEBEN FOSTER
When we hear the term “playmaker” we often correlate that with offense, but the same can be said for defensive players, too.
The Bengals have a strong defense, but they need playmakers on defense. They need one of those guys who can fly around and make stops when no one else can. That’s Rueben Foster. You’re going to read this pick being a lock for a while, but it makes too much sense if Foster doesn’t go sooner.
Clemson WR Mike Williams – Photo by: Getty Images
CLEMSON WR MIKE WILLIAMS
The Bills have a big question mark at quarterback due to Tyrod Taylor being an upcoming free agent, and backup quarterback E.J. Manuel being terrible. Taylor said he wants to come back, and with an offense that has LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins and Marquise Goodwin, I don’t blame him.
However, though those guys have that big-play potential, Taylor – or whoever becomes the starting quarterback – will need that guy who they can always count on to get intermediate yards for first downs. Williams is a great option for that, and he would also be a top red zone threat.
ALABAMA DE-DT JONATHAN ALLEN
It seems odd that Allen would drop this low, but in this mock, offensive players and position preferences made it possible – to the Saints’ delight.
I’ve seen plenty of debate on whether Allen is an interior defensive lineman or if he’s an edge player. I tend to side with the former. I think Allen’s best work is done when he’s able to move and shed blockers on the inside. He might need to put on a little weight, but I don’t see that as a hurdle for getting the most out of his skill. Regardless, he’s a versatile defensive lineman who can disrupt from many spots.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bucs pic at 19 for Howard is very good.
Knowing the Browns, it’s hard to see them passing on Deshaun Watson, though, since no team without a quarterback has a prayer of climbing out of the cellar. Maybe a lot of folks rank Watson well down from no. 1 overall as a matter of equity in value, but what the heck good is claiming one got precise value when the team is utterly lost without a quarterback. Perhaps the Browns might even trade down a few spots, but their problem is those top few spots are made of of teams in desperate need of a franchise quarterback.
btw – Watson may not be the most athletically-gifted quarterback of this draft … but I do see in him some of what we saw in another not-top-shelf athletic quarterback last evening.
I do think the Browns will be drafting a quarterback, but if the draft worked out like it did before them in this mock, I’m not sure they reach for Mahomes or Kaaya over Fournette. Picking him over a quarterback seems like a very Browns thing to do.
Thats the lowest I have seen Allen and Adams going. Us Bucs fans will be happy if the top of the draft unfolds with teams taking QBs…. anything I have read makes it seem unlikely though.
But most mocks also don’t have many quarterbacks going high. I think it’s silly to believe that won’t happen.
You’re right there, Trevor … just as last year, nobody thought there were any top five QBs at the start of the pre-draft .. yet there they were at the top of the draft.
It’s a quarterback driven league today, every team that doesn’t have a locked down franchise quarterback today – which is more than half the league – is desperate to find one. That may not turn out to be the smart way to draft, but that’s the mentality of the haves versus the have-nots in the NFL.
Thankfully, the Bucs are in the “haves” category!
As I stated in the Fab 5, I hope Howard is not the Bucs pick based on the poor track record of past first round Tight Ends and TE is a luxury position. This is the lowest I’ve seen Derek Barnett fall. I think if Tennessee’s all time leading sacker is still there at 19, the Bucs would pounce all over him.
I’m not sure I understand your point about “the poor track record of past first round Tight Ends”? I would suggest that looking back over the past 10 drafts, of the 8 TEs selected in the first round, 4 (Ebron, Eiffert, Olsen, Davis) have been pretty darn good over their careers – Ebron’s still pretty young but looking good (that’s 50% – and these guys aren’t top-10 selections), and the other 4 (Lewis, Gresham, Keller, Pettigrew) were hardly busts…perhaps not pro-bowlers, but they all started with regularity.
I actually think the TE position looks like one position that is pretty safe to draft in the 1st round.
Notes for other teams: I find it interesting that you don’t have Alabama CB Humphrey in the first round. Most mocks I’ve seen have him going in the top half. Although I personally would touch a Nick Saban DB on the first round, because I think he coaches them beyond their ability.
I like that you have Corey Davis and Mike Williams going that high. Both those guys are legitimate studs and Top 10 seems right. I don’t think either sniff falling to the Bucs
I’m surprised you have the Browns going Fournette. With their money ball approach, I can’t see them placing great value on the RB position, although who knows what they’re doing.
I can’t see Jonathan Allen falling out of the top 5. He reminds me of Leonard Williams a few years ago, where the need wasn’t there, but he was just too good to fall very far.
As for the Bucs, in a first round overstuffed with Defensive End and Safety talent, I hope they just sit back and wait for a premier player to fall to them.
I am not as high on Marlon Humphrey as everyone else. There are a few corners who I would take over him.
Both Davis and Williams are Top 10 talents, yes. Davis has the highest potential, if you ask me.
I honestly just see the Browns not being able to pass up on the renown of Fournette if he’s there. Some teams think he’s a super prospects. They might be one of them.
I like Jonathan Allen, but he is slightly undersized. That might play into how teams want to draft him. But if Cook, Davis and Williams are all top 10 worthy and a run on quarterbacks happen… Allen could fall.
Kudos Trevor – the pre-FA, 1-day post SB mock draft is notoriously tough to make plausible. At this juncture, basically every pick any mocker makes can be hacked apart – so I won’t do that. I’ll just make a few observations in general about certain teams – all IMO:
1) The Chargers are moving to LA; they will pick someone exciting to play with Rivers in his final few seasons, and Gordon coming into his own, and take their offense to the next level. Instituting an exciting brand of football (ala, Air-Coryell), while teh Rams are doing whatever they’re doing, will help get the early LA lead on fans. Definitely not a Safety.
2) Right now the Eagles best WR is…..ughhhhhh…not Nelson Agholor that’s for sure….if they want to see progress and not regression out of their prized new QB, they’ll be taking a WR very high.
3) The Bills taking another WR would be a move only the Bills could make….well maybe the Browns could too if they were in a similar place.
4) speaking of the Browns…don’t they have the guy who thinks his spreadsheet is better than everyone else’s spreadsheet running the draft show….look for them to trade down because the regressed optimal value suggests they should pass on the actually good players for a shot at 3 perhaps good players later on.
5) I’ve been pounding the desk early for the Bucs to go in the trenches…I like your Howard pick as it would suggest more 2-TE sets, more help for the OLine, and overall more life for Winston.
1. That’s an interesting point. however, they did just hire a defensive-minded head coach.
2. The Eagles wide receivers are bad, you are right. If they lose out on getting Desean Jackson back, i could see them taking a run at John Ross. But cornerback is just as bad for them.
3. But Williams is a different kind of receiver. A kind they do not have.
4. I haven’t started to do trades in my mocks yet, but I will. Those are always fun. Browns will definitely be a player when making moves.
5. Howard does everything really well. I think Koetter would get even more out of him than what we saw at Alabama.
And I appreciate the feedback and the insight yourself. Mocks are just for fun. They’re exercises to put things in the realm of possibilities while also allowing yourself to be creative. Can’t take them too seriously when it comes to exact pick predictions. They’re more of “if this is a need, who could be an option?”
Two thumbs up!
Was it just an oversight or do you really see Jabrill Peppers dropping out of the 1st round?
Not a knock on Howard but I think there is better value at 19 than TE. Peppers, Taco Charlton, Derek Barnett, and if the draft plays out like this, Cam Robinson. Pewter Report keeps saying the Bucs are happy with their OL but Robinson would be a serious upgrade to Demar Dotson who is getting old. If Davis, Williams, and Cook are all gone at 19 and OTs Robinson or Ramczky are still there, upgrade the OL!
What would the score in the Dallas-TB game have been if the teams switched QBs and RBs? Winston & Martin get to play behind that wall and Prescott & Elliot go behind the Bucs line? My guess is 45-10 Dallas. Better OL play will make everything better no matter how satisfied Licht & Kotter say they are.
Pepper is too much of a tweener to be a first round prospect, if you ask me. I’ll know more about what teams think of him after the Combine, but I don’t see him as a first round pick.
And I’m with you on O-Line importance, but the team believes this unit is still on the up; they don’t think they’ve plateaued as an O-Line (which there is certainly a case for). So I don’t see them drafting one early.
No way peppers falls out of the first round. The kid has the most pure talent of all defensive players in the draft. He can play safety or corner back and hits like a linebacker. He even played some line backer this year for Michigan. He has got great instincts and decent coverage. Always full speed to every play. He was the one defensive player on Michigan that offensive coaches schemed for. He will go top 20.
We disagree on Peppers. One thing is for sure, he and Dalvin Cook are going to blow up the combine!
We just watch how explosive the Falcons offense is in the SuperBowl and you think a TE is the way to go with our 1st pic in this year draft..REALLY?????
It will surprise no one to learn that I agree on OL. I believe we have one high-quality starter surrounded by a plethora of backup/depth caliber players right now. Would love to get a stout center, but doesn’t seem to be in the cards and at least one high-quality starting tackle is still a must have.
So if you are right about an early run on quarterbacks and receivers, I would happily take the second or third best offense of lineman in the draft with the 19th pick.
If we could move down just a few spots and still get a top OL and then address the need for speed at wide receiver (which makes me less interested in drafting a tight end with 4.5–4.6 speed) that would be great. After that for me it’s defensive line, running back (if the Dougernaut could stay healthy it would be one thing, but he cannot so time to redeploy the cap space and move on) and defensive backfield.
Trevor, your a breath of fresh air when it comes to writing articles where your fan loyalty of your favorite collegiate team doesn’t cloud your mind esp in drafting. That said, I found it funny you had Mahomes going to the Cards at #13 that’s really high for him who is projected to be 2nd-3rd round pick but I guess we will see. Hooker going before Adams? I would bet $1,000 on that one
I’m wondering if Cory Davis falls to the 2nd Rd because of his injury?
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