Russell Street Report writers Kyle Casey & Paul Lukoskie have teamed up to provide readers with a series of installments in a “what we would do” mock draft. We will present it in three parts, with this article outlining their choices for picks 13-22.
The first installment (picks 1-12) brought several surprises.
Within the first 12 picks, they selected two running backs (including Leonard Fournette with the first overall pick), one quarterback (DeShone Kizer to the Cleveland Browns at 12) and no offensive linemen.
Defense reigned supreme, however, as four of first five picks were on the defensive side of the ball.
What surprises are in store for the next installment of first-round picks? Let’s find out.
Once again, Paul has the odd picks while Kyle has the evens.
Williams has elite upside as an edge rusher. He has that quick-twitch ability to explode off the line of scrimmage and turn the corner to get to the QB. He has some decent pass rush moves, but relies a lot on natural athleticism. With some coaching, I think he could quickly become a 10+ sack per year player. The off-field concerns are something to consider, but Bruce Arians has never been one to be overly conservative with those things (see: Robert Nkemdiche). Arizona is also potentially losing Chandler Jones, Alex Okafor, and Calais Campbell this offseason, so they’re going to be needing pass rushers. – Paul
An offensive lineman is finally off the board, and perhaps no team in the first round would benefit from a plug-and-play starter on the offensive line more than the Colts. The All-American is recovering from hip surgery, but figures to be a full-go for the start of the 2017 season. Ramczyk is a smooth mover with Grade-A technique and can make an impact as a starter in year one. With so much invested in Andrew Luck, it is about time the Colts make a serious investment in protecting him. – Kyle
Every time McCaffrey touches the ball, he’s a threat to score. He has some serious wiggle, acceleration, and balance. I’m not 100% convinced that he can be an every-down back in the NFL, but with Darren Sproles turning 34 in June, I could see McCaffrey as an ideal heir. McCaffrey also runs excellent routes and has great hands, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up primarily as a receiver in the NFL. Anyone who saw an Eagles game in 2016 knows they need receivers. – Paul
I will preface this by saying I like Hooker as a prospect, but do not think he is as can’t-miss as he had been hyped up to be. But at the midway point in the first round, Hooker is worth the risk, and quite frankly I would prefer the Ravens to go for a “home run or swing-and-a-miss” type of prospect than a “solid double” as they typically do. The risk with Hooker stems from the fact that 2016 was his only season as a starter, so there is more of an unknown factor. Hooker burst onto the scene as one of the nation’s best coverage safeties, earning All-American honors and intercepting seven passes. Plus, there are some health concerns.
Hooker’s name has been tossed around with the likes of Ed Reed and Earl Thomas, which is just wishful thinking. Those types of prospects are the exceptions, not the rule. If Hooker can continue to develop, his ceiling is in the Reggie Nelson/Jairus Byrd (in their primes) range, which I think is still incredible value at 16. The Ravens also have the luxury of having two starting safeties in place in Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb, which will allow Hooker to rotate in with Webb in 2017 until he further develops. Long term, Hooker can be the type of impact defender the Ravens need. – Kyle
Jordan Reed is an excellent receiver, but he’s injury prone and he’s not a complete tight end in the sense that he’s not a great blocker. Howard isn’t as athletic as Reed, but he’s every bit the receiver and he’s a very good blocker. His height (6’6) and long arms make him a dangerous threat down the seam and in the red zone. – Paul
Just like the Ravens, the Titans desperately need help in the secondary. Baker is an exceptional consolation prize to Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker, and can be an impact defender from day one. The stout, feisty safety has the physical instincts at the line of scrimmage as well as the back end coverage ability to be a complete strong safety. – Kyle
Some question whether or not Robinson is capable of being a left tackle in the NFL, but I think he could develop into a nice one. He actually reminds me a lot of Cordy Glenn when he came out of Georgia a few years ago. Glenn was pretty raw, but he developed quickly and has become one of the better left tackles in the league. Robinson has ideal size at 6’6, 315lbs and Tampa could certainly use an upgrade at right tackle. – Paul
Jackson is one of my “draft crushes” this year, and I have a hard time envisioning him not panning out in the NFL. Many adore Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers for his athleticism and diversity in usage, but I will take Jackson over Peppers without hesitation. Jackson is an elite return man, and can be one of the NFL’s best out of the gate. On defense, he is far from an elite cornerback, but I think he is more than capable of eventually settling in as a starter. Think of Adam “Pacman” Jones but with a bit more athleticism. If that turns out to be the case for Jackson, then he is well worth the 20th overall pick. – Kyle
Peppers is a highly controversial prospect because he’s too small to be a true linebacker (6’1, 205 pounds), but he hasn’t shown that he can play safety and cover deep parts of the field. Right now, he’s widely considered to be more “athlete” than football player. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I think Detroit could be a good landing spot for him. Peppers could be brought along slowly by Teryl Austin and Detroit certainly could use the speed and athleticism on defense. – Paul
Cunningham entered the 2016 season as simply a “good” linebacker prospect, but after a stellar junior campaign that included 16.5 tackles for loss, Cunningham has asserted himself as one of the elite linebackers in this year’s draft class. The Dolphins rather quietly made the playoffs in 2016 without much fanfare, but given their roster situation, it won’t be a surprise to see them in the postseason mix again in 2017. Adding Cunningham on defense gives Miami an impact defender who can patch up some holes in the team’s front-seven. -Kyle
Check back next week for the final picks of the first round!