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NFL Mock Draft 2017: Edition 1 (Early Edition)

DeShone Kizer
Although the college football and NFL seasons still have plenty left to offer us, there are already many teams (cough, cough, Cleveland) looking ahead towards the 2017 NFL Draft hoping it will be the moment the franchise can turn things around. Tons of things are bound to happen between now and late spring, and I'd be amazed if any of these picks really held true. Even so, analyzing which prospects are rising up and down the board is important as fall Saturdays roar on. Here is what the first round would look like if the 2017 NFL Draft were held today:

1. Cleveland Browns: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Another season, the same old story in Cleveland. While other sports teams in the city are finding some long-lost success (Indians and Cavaliers), the Browns continue to search for any type of footing in the brutal AFC North. They sit at 0-5 currently, and have watched as a number of quarterbacks have struggled and subsequently gotten injured. The Browns have drafted a quarterback high and watched him fail time after time, but they have to keep trying. DeShone Kizer has looked good even through Notre Dame's struggling and his size, arm strength and poise could be the thing Cleveland has been missing at the position.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The addition of Chip Kelly as head coach has added some intrigue to San Francisco but it has done little to improve the fact their quarterback position is perhaps the worst in football. Blaine Gabbert isn't very good, and Colin Kaepernick is a shell of what he once was as a player, nevermind what controversial political issues are occurring off the field. Before the season, Watson was widely considered the top quarterback and he is the perfect fit for Kelly's up-tempo scheme (assuming he remains in the Bay Area next season).
3. San Diego Chargers: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
One has to assume San Diego is going to be entering a massive rebuild soon. The Chargers have struggled mightily the last two seasons, and they are aging in many key areas. If they do begin to stockpile young prospects, Myles Garrett would be a wise selection. The gigantic end has NFL size and a high motor, and could be a great fit alongside last year's first-round selection, Joey Bosa.
4. Chicago Bears: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
While the Bears have faced a difficult schedule it doesn't mitigate the fact the Bears lack depth and youth throughout their roster. They are very lacking at offensive tackle, which could change, particularly if they land in the Top 5. Roderick Johnson is a big, burly tackle who has helped pave the way for Florida State's dynamic Dalvin Cook. He could operate much the same in the Windy City.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
A physical, athletic tackle that has starting at Alabama since he stepped on campus, Cam Robinson is one of the more talented offensive linemen set to arrive in the NFL in years. However, off-the-field issues have overshadowed his play, and he hasn't quite dominated the way many scouts have hoped for the Tide this year. Even so, Jacksonville needs to run the ball more consistently and getting a tackle who knows how to run block is a must.
6. Miami Dolphins: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
So far this season, Miami has learned their head coach wasn't the problem. Despite firing Joe Philbin early last season and replacing him with rising offensive mind Adam Gase, the Dolphins' struggles continue. There are many holes on the roster but perhaps none is as problematic as the running game which is relying on untested Jay Ajayi or past-his-prime Arian Foster. Leonard Fournette is absolutely dominant and should be able to bring his bullying rushing ability to the pros.
7. Tennessee Titans: Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
The Titans have invested heavily on their offense through trades (Demarco Murray) and the Draft (Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry), but now it is time to improve the other side of the ball. Tennessee isn't terrible defensively, but it could still use improvement. Why not draft the most versatile defender in the class in Jabrill Peppers? He would bring youth and energy to a stagnant group.
8. New York Jets: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
After a long, dramatic off-season New York opted to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick following a career year by the journeyman QB. The results have spoken for themselves: Fitzpatrick has been laughably bad and the Jets are 1-4. In Weeks 3 and 4 combined, Fitzpatrick had a 1-9 touchdown to interception ratio. New York has needed to upgrade the position for awhile, and Kaaya could be the answer. A three-year starter for Miami, Kaaya has the arm strength and feel for the game that can't be taught.
9. New Orleans Saints: Tim Williams, DE/LB, Alabama
Even though New Orleans has desperately tried to upgrade their defense over the past few seasons, the group is still an issue. Not helping has been the loss of rising star Hau'oli Kikaha, a defensive end who tore his ACL. While Kikaha will be back, the Saints should invest in more pass rush help, and the unblockable Williams can certainly bring that off the edge.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Buccaneers have been exposed countless times defending the pass this season, and upgrades are needed. A very quick fix would be Jamal Adams, a rangy, athletic defender out of LSU. Adams is relatively undersized for the NFL, but his fearlessness and nose for the football often overcome that.
11. Detroit Lions: Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
While the Lions have issues at both running back and receiver, their most pressing concern is in the secondary, where they are giving up tons of yardage and play in a division that includes Aaron Rodgers. Jalen Tabor has been widely considered better than former Gator and 2016 first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves III, and he would immediately add some bite to that secondary.
12. New York Giants: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Even though he hasn't quite been himself this year, Odell Beckham Jr. is still among the most elite players in the NFL. That gives the Giants plenty to work with, but it doesn't overcome their terrible ground attack that is currently leaning on Orleans Darkwa as the feature back. Dalvin Cook runs with the same ferocity as Fournette, with more burst in the open field. He could give Eli Manning something to work with in the backfield as he enters the end of his career.
13. Carolina Panthers: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Panthers opted not to resign Josh Norman this off-season which worked out well money-wise, but hasn't worked well on the field. Once the stingiest defense in the league, the Panthers' secondary has been extremely porous, evidenced by their 300 yards allowed to Julio Jones a few weeks ago. Humphrey is a rock-solid, disciplined prospect out of Alabama that would immediately upgrade that defensive backfield.
14. Indianapolis Colts: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson told the media recently the reason he hasn't been able to build a capable defense in Indianapolis is because of Andrew Luck's massive contract, which is funny because he couldn't build it even these past few seasons when Luck was still on a rookie deal. He needs to get better play in the trenches and Malik McDowell would be a great start. McDowell has an incredibly high motor and a nose for the ball, and could go much higher than this spot.
15. Cincinnati Bengals: Ethan Pocic, OL, LSU
While they may be eager to fix holes in their secondary or D-Line, Cincinnati is thinnest in the interior of their offensive line, which has not worked out well for their ground attack so far in 2016. Adding an experienced run blocker like Pocic (who clears major paths for Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice) would add much more variety to the Bengals' offense.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
Even with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona could really use extra fortifications in their secondary, especially in the pass-happy NFC. Tre'Davious White was a likely first-rounder in last year's draft before opting to stay one more season in Baton Rouge. He could give the Cardinals a young corner to develop and join the fleet of former Tigers in Arizona's defensive backfield.
17. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles): Desmond King, CB, Iowa
After already snagging do-it-all Peppers earlier, Tennessee should continue to bolster their defense by adding the tough King, who led FBS football in interceptions a season ago. King does not have the athleticism or ceiling of other defensive backs in the class but his proven resume and playmaking skills would be a valuable addition for the Titans.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Few teams are more stout defensively than the Chiefs, and their physical style of play is best exemplified by safety Eric Berry, who beat Hogkins Lymphoma this off-season. Berry is still a high quality player, but he could use extra help in back. Hooker, who was been dominant at OSU so far this year, would be a perfect fit.
19. Washington Redskins: Adoree' Jackson, CB/WR, USC
While they are still very much in the mix for the postseason, one has to be concerned about Washington's defense. The rush defense is extremely inconsistent and the pass defense took a big hit when DeAngelo Hall tore his ACL. Hall is reaching the end of his career anyways, so Washington would be wise to move forward at corner. In a Draft stocked full with quality defensive back prospects, Jackson is perhaps the most athletic and versatile. He is still learning the ropes but can do it all, from corner to receiver to kick returner.
20. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
A serious injury to Sammy Watkins made it clear to Buffalo that they need to upgrade the receiver corps. They could do just that by selecting Mike Williams out of Clemson. Williams doesn't have Watkins' explosiveness, but has more size and could be a dangerous threat in the red zone.
21. Houston Texans: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
Since 2008, Houston has spent 10 draft picks on their offensive line and as of today, only three remain. Those misses on the O-Line have left the unit very thin, and could be one of a number of reasons why the offense is underachieving so much. Feeney could immediately bring stability to the interior of the unit and help the Texans return to their physical ways.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
After opting to stay one more season in Tuscaloosca despite likely being a first or second round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jonathan Allen has been dominant early for the Tide. His pass rushing prowess would greatly help Baltimore, who can still get after the quarterback, but are aging on the edges.
23. Oakland Raiders: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
While the Raiders are feeling wonderful that they are 4-1 and finally legitimate contenders again, worry surrounds the defense. Oakland is ranked dead last in total defense, and could rival the 2012 Saints for worst in the history of the league. Drafting a versatile contributor would be a major help, and the Raiders could get that in the tackling machine McMillan, who would slide in nicely next to superstar Khalil Mack.
24. Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Despite having rookies at quarterback and running back, Dallas has been a pleasant surprise so far in 2016. However, their pass rush has seriously lagged behind and it should be upgraded in the Draft. DeMarcus Walker is a powerful pass rusher that can be a major asset in rush defense as well. He would be a solid addition to the Cowboys' D.
25. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia): Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
The Browns may still have one of the league's premier cornerbacks in Joe Haden, but that doesn't mean their secondary is a strength. Justin Gilbert was absolutely dreadful before they shipped him off to Pittsburgh, and there isn't any developmental guys. Cam Sutton, a stingy corner from Tennessee, could give them something to build on in the future at the position.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Seahawks still feature one of the league's best defenses, but one that could use further help in their linebacker corps after Bruce Irvin left. Jarrad Davis is a tough, gritty defender that is a natural fit in the disciplined Seattle defense.
27. Green Bay Packers: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
He may not have the hype surrounding him that Myles Garrett and other edge rushers have in this Draft class, but Carl Lawson is a top-10 caliber prospect. He has an explosive first step, power and stamina. However, injuries have forced him to miss plenty of time at Auburn, which could drop him on the board. Green Bay is aging on the edge, namely Julius Peppers, so getting younger there should be a top priority.
28. Atlanta Falcons: Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
So far, the Falcons have been legit this season, but it is still hard to know whether they have truly emerged as NFC contenders or if they are simply pretenders. Their pass rush has been mediocre this year, and could be a problem as the season continues. Adding a pass rusher is a must here, and they have a ton of options. Smoot is perhaps top of the board because of his athleticism and vast potential.
29. Denver Broncos: Marcus Maye, S, Florida
While Jalen Tabor gets most of the recognition in Florida's secondary, Marcus Maye is an important contributor to a stout group. Maye is a great tackler in space and underrated in coverage. Denver is stacked at cornerback, but the safety position is a need. Maye could shoot up draft boards late much like a certain Florida safety last year (Keanu Neal to Atlanta).
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The younger brother of Carolina Panthers star defensive tackle Star, Lowell Lotulelei has built a reputation of ferocity and pass rushing in the heart of the D-Line. The hard-working veteran would immediately upgrade Pittsburgh's soft and aging defensive line, and bring some heart back into it.
31. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Eagles have one of the better O-Lines in the NFL right now, but the group as a whole is aging. Getting younger at tackle would be a smart move, and it just so happens McGlinchey slides to them here. McGlinchey is a fabulous blocker out of Notre Dame, and could even go as high as the Top 10.
32. New England Patriots Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford 
There is not a player in this Draft that fits a NFL system better than Christian McCaffrey and New England. The Patriots have look longed to their running backs to produce as receivers, and McCaffrey can not only catch, he can do it all. New England has endured okay play from a cast of James White, Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount over the years. Tom Brady may still be great, but the run game improving would really help.

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