Category Archives: Cincinnati Bengals

Predicting a breakout Player for every NFL Team in 2017

Arizona Cardinals – John Brown – Wide Receiver

The Cardinals have been really deep at wide receiver in recent years with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd being the team’s primary receivers. However, Floyd is now gone and that means there will definitely be an increased role for John Brown as the Cardinals new 2nd option in the passing game. Brown has been productive as Arizona’s 3rd receiver, but he has never really had the opportunity to be the number 2 wide receiver for the Cardinals. Expect Brown to have a huge year since he will now have a much bigger role than he has ever had.

Atlanta Falcons – Austin Hooper – Tight End

Atlanta’s passing offense was outstanding last season with wide receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu leading the way. However, the tight end position wasn’t targeted very much last season as the top 2 players at that position only had 31 catches combined. Austin Hooper only had 18 catches for 271 yards, but he was still only a rookie and he was just getting adjusted to the offense. Hooper should have a bigger role in the offense this season as he gets more adjusted to playing at the NFL level and gets to know quarterback Matt Ryan better. Jones and Sanu will still be the focal point of the Falcons offense, although Hooper could prove to be a breakout player as a reliable 3rd option for Atlanta.

Baltimore Ravens – Kamalei Correa – Inside Linebacker

Kamalei Correa was a 2nd round pick of the Ravens last year, but he barely saw the field during his rookie year as he only had 4 tackles and a forced fumble in limited playing time. However, his role should increase tremendously this season as he is expected to win the starting inside linebacker spot for the Ravens especially after the departure of leading tackler and last year’s starting inside linebacker Zach Orr. Correa will see an increased role whether he wins the job or not and get ready to hear his name a lot more often this season.

Buffalo Bills – Zay Jones – Wide Receiver

Zay Jones was one of the most underrated players in this year’s draft and he was just as good as the other receivers in the 2017 class despite only being a 2nd round pick. However, Jones is going to the Bills where he will be relied upon to be a starter right away because they don’t have much depth at the receiver position. Sammy Watkins is going to be the Bills number 1 wide receiver in 2017, but Jones has a chance to have a major role as the Bills 2nd option in the passing game.

Carolina Panthers – Daryl Williams – Right Tackle

Daryl Williams had a very productive college career at Oklahoma and I was kind of surprised that he fell to the 4th round in the 2015 draft. However, he will finally get a chance to prove himself this season as he will likely be the Panthers new starting right tackle. Michael Oher is still dealing with the effects of a concussion from last season and it is unclear if he will even be the starting right tackle when he comes back. That means Williams will finally have his chance to be a breakout player and prove he can be a starting offensive tackle in the NFL.

Chicago Bears – Kevin White – Wide Receiver

Injuries have really hurt Kevin White’s NFL career since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. He missed his entire rookie season with a stress fracture in his shin and he was subsequently was placed on injured reserve. He had a very minimal impact for the Bears when he finally made his NFL debut in 2016 as he had 19 receptions and 187 yards in 4 games. However, White once again found himself on injured reserve as he fractured the fibula in his left leg and that ended his season. Now that he is healthy heading into the 2017 season there are high hopes that he can be the number 1 receiver that they expected of him when he was drafted. The Bears top receiver from last season is gone as Alshon Jeffery signed with the Eagles this offseason. If Kevin White can just stay healthy then there is no reason that he can’t put up huge numbers because he is by far the best wide receiver on their roster.

Cincinnati Bengals – Jake Fisher – Right Tackle

Jake Fisher hasn’t seen much playing time since being drafted in the 2nd round in the 2015 draft as he was basically the understudy to veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. However, Whitworth is now gone after he departed for the Rams in free agency and now the starting right tackle job is clearly going to be given to Jake Fisher in 2017. Fisher wasn’t great when he started the last 3 games at the position last season, but now he has a full offseason knowing that he will be the starter and he will have a big role to play this season.

Cleveland Browns – Corey Coleman – Wide Receiver

Corey Coleman is a very talented wide receiver, yet he didn’t make much of an impact as injuries held him back during his rookie season. However, he now heads into 2017 with a much better knowledge of the Browns offense and of the NFL in general. I’m not quite sure which quarterback will be throwing him the ball, but Coleman is going to definitely be a starter and he should have a breakthrough season in 2017.

Dallas Cowboys – Chaz Green – Left Guard

Chaz Green has primarily been a backup offensive tackle since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft by the Cowboys. However, Green now will have a much bigger role than he has ever had as he is going to be the starting left guard for Dallas in 2017. Doug Free retired this offseason which meant that the Cowboys had to reorganize their offensive line and that is why Green ended up as the starting left guard. We’ll see how well Green plays in that role, but the rest of the offensive line is probably the best in the NFL and they will certainly help to guide him along the way.

Denver Broncos – Paxton Lynch – Quarterback

Paxton Lynch didn’t look very good last season in the 3 games that he played for the Broncos as a rookie. However, Lynch now has had a full offseason to improve and try and win the starting quarterback job from Trevor Siemian. Lynch is a dynamic player and he certainly won’t be on the bench for much longer since the Broncos traded up to draft him in the 1st round in the 2016 draft. Lynch might be ready to start week 1 and if he is then he has a chance to be a bigtime playmaker for a Broncos offense that really needs one.

Detroit Lions – Ameer Abdullah – Running Back

The Lions running game has been awful for several years and that is why they drafted Ameer Abdullah early in the 2015 draft to try and fix their terrible situation at the running back position. Abdullah showed flashes as a rookie in 2015 that he could be a decent running back in the NFL, but the Lions pass the ball too much and they never really gave him much of an opportunity. Last year he played really well until he was injured during the 2nd game of 2016 and he ended up being out for the season after only 18 carries for 101 yards. Detroit’s running game was really bad without him and if he can stay healthy then he should make a big impact for the Lions in 2017.

Green Bay Packers – Kenny Clark – Defensive End

Kenny Clark didn’t play too much of an immediate role for the Packers last season despite being a 1st round pick in 2016. However, with Julius Peppers now gone it means that Clark will have a much bigger role this season at the defensive end position. Clark isn’t the type of pass rusher that Peppers is, but Clark is effective at stopping the run and he could really make a big impact for the Packers now that he is the full-time starter.

Houston Texans – K.J. Dillon – Strong Safety

If you have never heard of K.J. Dillon then you’re probably not alone as he was a 5th round pick in the 2016 draft and he only had 5 tackles during his rookie season as a backup safety. However, Quintin Demps is now gone and that has left a void at the strong safety position as there wasn’t much depth at the position behind him. That void will be filled by K.J. Dillon who will be tossed into the starting role in all likelihood. We’ll see what kind of impact he makes, but Texans fans will certainly hear his name a lot more next season.

Indianapolis Colts – Le’Raven Clark – Right Tackle

The Colts have struggled to find a good offensive line for a long time and they have especially struggled finding a good starting right tackle. It’s now time to see what 2nd-year right tackle Le’Raven Clark can do as the starting right tackle. Clark was inactive for most of the Colts games last season after getting drafted in the 3rd round in the 2016 draft. Clark played very well when he did get the opportunity to start the final 3 games of the season for the Colts and it was possibly a good sign of things to come for him in 2017.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack – Inside Linebacker

Myles Jack could have been a 1st round pick easily in the 2016 draft, but instead he fell to the Jaguars in the 2nd round due to injury concerns. However, Jack failed to live up to the hype as a rotational player at linebacker during his rookie year as he only had 24 tackles. Jack will have to be much better in 2017 as he is already basically guaranteed a starting spot at the inside linebacker position for Jacksonville. Jack has tons of playmaking ability and he could really prove to be a good linebacker now that he is given a full-time opportunity in 2017.

Kansas City Chiefs – Chris Conley – Wide Receiver

Chris Conley hasn’t had a very big role in the Kansas City offense since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft. However, Conley is now the top wide receiver for the Chiefs after they released pro-bowl receiver Jeremy Maclin in June. The Chiefs don’t throw the ball a lot, so don’t expect huge numbers from Conley in 2017. However, he might near 1,000 yards receiving just because there isn’t much depth at receiver for Kansas City.

Los Angeles Chargers – Mike Williams – Wide Receiver

There has been a lot of hype about rookie 1st round picks, but surprisingly Mike Williams has somehow kind of gone under the radar for the Chargers. However, Mike Williams might be the best player that comes out of the entire draft. Williams is a big possession receiver who will be a big redzone threat for the Chargers immediately. Also, he has the size and ability to compete at the NFL level immediately which is why he will probably be a breakout player right away.

Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff – Quarterback

Jared Goff was the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, but he clearly wasn’t ready to make an immediate impact at the NFL level as he went 0-7 as a starter during his rookie season. Goff was absolutely terrible last season, but it wasn’t entirely his fault since the team went through a midseason coaching change and he didn’t have many offensive weapons around him in order to succeed. Goff now has better receivers after the team signed Robert Woods in free agency and they drafted Cooper Kupp early in the draft. Also, star running back Todd Gurley should be much better than he was last season and that would take a lot of pressure off of Goff. Overall, Goff has a lot of improving to do, although he should have a breakthrough season in 2017.

Miami Dolphins – Jordan Phillips – Defensive Tackle

Jordan Phillips has been decent as a rotational defensive tackle since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft by the Dolphins. However, Phillips will now see a much larger role for the 2017 season as he is projected to be the full-time starter at one of the defensive tackle positions for Miami. Phillips is continuing to get better each season and he is already a good role player, but he seems ready to breakthrough and take the next step to becoming a good starter. It will help that he has star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh alongside him in order to guide him. If Phillips can continue to improve then he has the talent already to be a very good NFL defensive tackle.

Minnesota Vikings – Laquon Treadwell – Wide Receiver

Laquon Treadwell was supposed to be an immediate impact receiver for the Vikings after they selected him in the 1st round last year. However, Treadwell was surprisingly barely used as he only had one reception all season. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are still the starters for Minnesota at wide receiver, but Treadwell will definitely compete for more playing time at receiver. Treadwell has terrific size and ability to be a number 1 receiver for the Vikings and if he gets the opportunity in 2017 he could put up some very good stats.

New England Patriots – Mike Gillislee – Running Back

Mike Gillislee already kind of had a breakout season with the Buffalo Bills in a limited role as he had 577 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. However, Gillislee should see an even bigger role with the Patriots in 2017 as he is expected to take over LeGarrette Blount’s role as the early-down running back. Gillislee will be used on first and 2nd downs primarily and in short yardage situations, so expect a lot touchdowns for him this season. Gillislee is already a good player, but he should put up huge numbers in 2017 now that he is the lead running back for the first time in his career.

New Orleans Saints – Marshon Lattimore – Cornerback

Marshon Lattimore could have easily been a top 5 pick in the 2017 draft, but he instead fell to the Saints with the 11th overall pick. Lattimore will be a rookie, so don’t expect him to be a superstar player in 2017, but he will certainly be a starter right away for a Saints defensive that has been terrible in recent years. Lattimore has shutdown corner traits and he will likely make a huge immediate impact for the Saints.

New York Giants – Paul Perkins – Running Back

The Giants had a terrible running game last season as starter Rashad Jennings wasn’t productive at all. However, the Giants decided to stick with the rest of their running back group besides Rashad Jennings who was released earlier in the year. Paul Perkins did the best job of anybody in the Giants running back group last year despite receiving limited playing time. Now, the Giants have enough confidence in him that they are making him a full-time starter at running back and he should put up career numbers in 2017.

New York Jets – Charone Peake – Wide Receiver

Charone Peake had a very small role as a receiver in the Jets offense last season as he only had 19 receptions for 186 yards, but not much was expected of him since he was a rookie 7th round pick. There will certainly be an opportunity for a much bigger role in 2017 after the team released veteran receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Those two losses this season left the Jets with virtually nothing at the wide receiver position. That means Peake has a chance to be a starter and prove whether he can be a starter for the team long-term. Peake isn’t a very talented wide receiver, but given the Jets need at receiver he should have the opportunity to be a breakout player in 2017.

Oakland Raiders – Mario Edwards Jr. – Defensive End

Mario Edwards Jr. had a big role during his rookie year and he did a decent job as he had 42 tackles and 2 sacks. He was expected to have a bigger role last season, but he was injured almost all of the season and he only had 2 tackles in 2016. However, Edwards Jr. is going to get another opportunity to be a starting defensive end for the Raiders in 2017. It will certainly help that he will be able to start opposite of all-pro defensive end Khalil Mack since Mack will probably have offenses focus on him instead of Edwards. That will likely give Edwards plenty of opportunities to put up some big numbers and have a breakout season since teams won’t commit to blocking him as much with the threat of Khalil Mack on the other side. If Edwards can just stay healthy all year then there is no reason that he shouldn’t have a career year in 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz – Quarterback

Carson Wentz was very inconsistent last season which is to be expected of a rookie quarterback. However, now that he has a full offseason to continue to develop then he should be much better in 2017. Also, Wentz didn’t have very reliable offensive weapons around him last season, but he should have much better receivers to throw to with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. The team also added running back LeGarrette Blount which should help to take some of the pressure off of Wentz. I don’t think he’ll turn into a pro-bowl caliber quarterback in 2017, although he might be able to breakout and become a quality starting quarterback for the Eagles.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Jesse James – Tight End

Jesse James has been a very productive role player for Pittsburgh when he has gotten an opportunity to play. However, he is going to be the starting tight end for the first time in his NFL career and that means he will likely put up huge stats in 2017. Heath Miller retired prior to last season and the Steelers tried to replace Miller by signing Ladarius Green. However, Green had major injury issues last season and they just ended up moving on from him. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has always loved throwing to a tight end and that means James should have plenty of chances to make a huge impact next season in the passing game.

San Francisco 49ers – Rashard Robinson – Cornerback

Rashard Robinson had a decent impact as a rookie cornerback for the 49ers in 2016 and now with the departure of Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward moving to safety it creates a huge opportunity for Robinson to make an impact. Robinson is now the main cornerback for San Francisco and he will surely be thrown at a lot more than he ever has been. We’ll see how he handles being a full-time starter for the first time in his NFL career, but either way he will definitely have a breakout season.

Seattle Seahawks – Paul Richardson – Wide Receiver

Richardson surprisingly hasn’t been very involved in the Seahawks offense ever since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft. However, he was given a little bit more an opportunity near the end of last season and he showed flashes of his potential as he made some ridiculous catches especially in the playoffs. The Seahawks still don’t have a very reliable receiver besides Doug Baldwin, but Richardson could be the 2nd receiver that they need. I’m not sure why Richardson hasn’t gotten more of a chance to play in his career, but after his impressive playoff performances I’d be shocked if he isn’t highly involved in the Seahawks offense next season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Roberto Aguayo – Kicker

Roberto Aguayo was probably the worst kicker in the NFL last season despite the Buccaneers trading up to draft him in the 2nd round. Now, there are no guarantees that he will even keep the kicking job as the team signed former Jets kicker Nick Folk to try and provide some more competition. However, Aguayo did show signs of improvement towards the end of the season at least on easier kicks. Aguayo has more motivation to succeed now that he has more competition and he showed improvement late last season which is why I expect him to be much better in 2017.

Tennessee Titans – LeShaun Sims – Cornerback

LeShaun Sims was impressive in the limited playing time that he received last year and now the Titans don’t have much depth at cornerback. That means Sims will have a much bigger role probably as the team’s 2nd or 3rd starting cornerback. Sims will have to compete with 2017 1st round pick Adoree Jackson for more playing time. However, Sims at least should get an opportunity to show what he can do and he should have his breakout season in 2017.

Washington Redskins – Josh Doctson – Wide Receiver

Josh Doctson was a 1st round pick last year, but he only had 2 receptions for 66 yards as he was buried on the wide receiver depth chart behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder. However, Jackson and Garcon both left in free agency and the team only replaced them with Terrelle Pryor. That means there will definitely be a much bigger role for Doctson with the Redskins in 2017. Doctson has good size for an NFL receiver and he will take over one of the starting receiver positions for Washington this season. We’ll see how big of an impact that Doctson will have this season, but he is surely going to put up much bigger stats than he did as a rookie.

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Ranking the 32 NFL Starting Quarterbacks

32. Josh McCown – New York Jets

Josh McCown is the type of player that somehow continues to get a chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL despite consistently showing that he is a terrible starting quarterback. McCown is 18-42 as a starter in the NFL and don’t expect him to be any better for the Jets this season as he doesn’t have any reliable receivers and he has an awful offensive line as well. McCown is a great person and a really good backup QB, but he doesn’t have a good throwing arm and he hasn’t proven that he is able to win games as a starter despite being in the league since 2002. I would be absolutely shocked if the Jets win more than 4 games this season with McCown as the starting quarterback.

31. Cody Kessler – Cleveland Browns

Kessler actually did a decent job statistically as the main starting quarterback for the Browns last season, but the problem is he went 0-7 in the games that he started. He has a very bright future as a backup QB in this league, although he just isn’t a good starter. I’m not even sure if Kessler will be the starting quarterback most of the season for the Browns as they also have Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer competing for the starting job. Kessler is just a temporary solution at best for Cleveland, but he did show some flashes that he could be a solid backup at least for many years.

30. Tom Savage – Houston Texans

Tom Savage got an opportunity to be a starting quarterback for the Texans late last season and he at least did enough for the Texans to be able to win a low-scoring game against the Bengals in December. Savage isn’t a flashy player and he won’t throw many touchdowns since he doesn’t stretch the field much. However, at least he didn’t throw any interceptions in his limited playing time last season. Savage is the favorite to win the Texans quarterback job right now, but rookie Deshaun Watson will likely take over the job at some point this season. Savage is a decent temporary solution at best for Houston, but don’t expect him to do much except try and complete short passes and hand the ball off to running back Lamar Miller.

29. Mike Glennon – Chicago Bears

Mike Glennon hasn’t received an opportunity to be a starter full-time for an NFL team until he signed with the Bears this past offseason. However, he did show some flashes with the Buccaneers that show that he could at least be a decent temporary option as a starting quarterback. Glennon doesn’t throw many interceptions, but he also isn’t a very consistent accurate passer which is ultimately what will hold him back. Glennon will likely only be the starter for 1 season in Chicago as rookie 1st round pick Mitchell Trubisky is waiting to take over the starting job. Glennon is good enough to maybe win a few games as a starter this season, but don’t expect good quarterback play if you’re a Bears fan.

28. Brian Hoyer – San Francisco 49ers

Brian Hoyer proved with the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans that he has the ability to be a decent temporary starting quarterback and win a few games if needed. However, don’t expect Hoyer to make many big plays or even come close to leading the 49ers to the playoffs in 2017. Hoyer is the starting quarterback for San Francisco heading into 2017, but the 49ers will definitely address the quarterback position after the season. Hoyer is 16-16 as a starter in the NFL, so he has proven that he can win some games if called upon to be a starting QB, but he clearly isn’t the solution for the 49ers.

27. Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos

Trevor Siemian actually did a decent job for the Broncos as the team’s starting quarterback as he helped lead the team to a 8-6 record when he started. However, Siemian doesn’t have the physical tools to be a starting NFL quarterback and he clearly isn’t the quarterback of the future for Denver. If Siemian is called upon to start then he will be good enough to win some games, but he isn’t the type of player that makes this team any better. In fact, Siemian might not even be the starter for most of the 2017 season as 2nd-year quarterback Paxton Lynch could take over the starting job soon. Siemian is as good of a player as he’ll ever be and he is nothing more than a temporary solution for the Broncos at the quarterback position.

26. Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams

The Rams had high expectations for Jared Goff after the team gave up a lot to trade up and get him with the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. However, Goff was a major disappointment in his 7 starts for the Rams last season. In fact, Goff threw more interceptions than touchdowns last season and he went 0-7 as a starter in his rookie season. I expect him to be better this season which is why I have him ranked this high on my list of quarterbacks. However, Goff has a lot to prove before he can be considered even an average NFL starting quarterback. There is no doubt that Goff has all of the physical tools to be a very good quarterback, but I can’t rate him higher until he actually goes out on the field and proves it.

25. Sam Bradford – Minnesota Vikings

Sam Bradford hasn’t lived up to expectations ever since being the number 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft as he has never led a team to the playoffs so far during his career. Bradford has shown flashes of his potential at times and he has decent statistics, but he is only 32-45-1 as a starter in the NFL. Bradford doesn’t take risks and he rarely throws the ball down the field which is probably why he doesn’t throw too many interceptions. However, that affects his ability to be able to make plays and ultimately lead his team to the playoffs. Bradford is an average starting quarterback in the NFL and at this point in his career he probably won’t ever be better than average.

24. Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles is the ultimate inconsistent quarterback in the NFL. Bortles had an awful rookie season and he looked like a bust that year. However, his 2nd season in the NFL he looked like a pro bowl quarterback as he threw for 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Last season his play once again regressed and he was the main reason that the Jaguars had an extremely disappointing season. Bortles has shown the outstanding potential that he has, but who knows what type of quarterback he will be in 2017. Jacksonville has plenty of talent around him, so if Bortles doesn’t improve this season then the Jaguars might try and find his replacement.

23. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz had a decent rookie season for the Eagles in 2016 and there are high hopes that he can take the next step in 2017. Wentz was very inconsistent which is to be expected of a rookie quarterback, but he did show amazing flashes of the type of player he can be. If Wentz can cut down on his amount of interceptions, then he could be an above average starting quarterback in the NFL. Wentz has sky high potential, but he just needs to continue to prove himself as the face of the franchise for the Eagles.

22. Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs

When you think of an average quarterback in the NFL, Alex Smith is probably the first player that comes to mind because he fits that stereotype perfectly. Smith completes a high percentage of his pass attempts every year since he almost always attempts short passes. Sure, he doesn’t make many mistakes as he only threw 8 interceptions last season for the Chiefs since he doesn’t take many risks. However, that is the reason that Smith will always be average because he isn’t the type of quarterback that makes big plays. Smith isn’t as talented as most of the quarterbacks ranked below him, but Smith does his job consistently and he finds a way to win games for Kansas City which is why I ranked him this high.

21. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill finally was able to prove that he might be the solution for the Dolphins at the quarterback position as he was able to help lead Miami to their first playoff berth in awhile. Tannehill didn’t put up great statistics, but he completed a high percentage of his passes and he was able to be good enough to make the Dolphins offense decent. Tannehill is just an average quarterback at this point in his career and that’s probably all he will ever be, although he at least gives Miami a chance to make the playoffs every season.

20. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco is the type of player that plays his best football in the playoffs as he led the Ravens to a super bowl win in 2012. However, the issue for him lately is that he hasn’t been able to lead Baltimore back to the playoffs. Flacco is one of the top paid quarterbacks in the NFL, but he is still just an average starting quarterback. Flacco throws too many interceptions for a quarterback of his age, but somehow he always seems to put the Ravens in a position to win games. Flacco is clearly the face of the franchise for Baltimore and he has led the Ravens to the playoffs numerous times. However, his career seems to be on the decline at age 32 and he is just an average starting QB right now.

19. Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor has been a much better starting quarterback than I ever expected as he has only thrown 12 interceptions in 2 seasons as a starter with the Bills. However, the one thing that is holding Taylor back is that he hasn’t shown an ability to lead Buffalo to the playoffs and he is still somewhat raw as a passer. Taylor is a terrific dual-threat quarterback as he has the speed to make plays with his feet in open space. He is also a good passer on short throws, but he will need to take more risks down the field in order to become a better quarterback. We’ll see if he is able to lead Buffalo back to the playoffs sometime soon, but he is a quarterback that continues to improve.

18. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals

It is always unknown what type of quarterback Andy Dalton will be every season as he is inconsistent every season. Dalton was outstanding during the 2015 season for Cincinnati, but last season he once again regressed to become just a slightly above average starting quarterback. He seems to at have at least cut down on his interceptions the past 2 seasons which is a really good sign and the Bengals are hoping that he can continue to improve in 2017 and lead Cincinnati back to the playoffs. I have to give Dalton a ton of credit because he led the Bengals to the playoffs the first 5 seasons of his career before a disappointing 2016 season. Also, he hasn’t always had tons of talent to work with on offense besides A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert and yet he’s found ways to be successful. Dalton has proven that he knows to win games, but the next step for him will be to win a playoff game and that would take his credibility to the next level.

17. Eli Manning – New York Giants

Eli Manning is another quarterback that is very inconsistent from season to season as he has proven that he can be a pro bowl quarterback. However, he has also proven that he can be one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL at times. The reason that I have ranked Manning this high is mostly because of his past accomplishments. Manning is known for his elevating his level of play when the stage is the brightest as he has led the Giants to two super bowl victories over the Patriots during his career. This guy deserves tons of credit for how many things that he has accomplished while in New York. However, Manning isn’t as good of a quarterback as he used to be despite being surrounded by tremendous wide receivers like Odell Beckham. Manning still throws too many interceptions and that is what has always held him back from really being considered an elite quarterback. Manning is still a good quarterback and he has the ability to lead the Giants far into the playoffs, but his play is somewhat on the decline.

16. Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins

Kirk Cousins has really risen up this list the past 2 seasons as he is now the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Redskins. Cousins is a pro bowl caliber player and he did a great job of leading Washington to the playoffs in 2015. Cousins just hasn’t proven that he can win big games. For example, the Redskins got demolished by the Packers in a playoff game during the 2015 postseason, although that loss wasn’t really his fault. However, he did cost his team a chance at making the playoffs as he threw a costly interception in week 17 against the Giants last season in a game that the team needed to win. Cousins is probably as good of a quarterback as he will ever be, but he is still an above average player at his position.

15. Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers is still a pro-bowl caliber starting quarterback in the NFL right now and he has done a good job of at least making the Chargers a respectable team the past few seasons despite not having good receivers or a good offensive line. However, Rivers did lead the league with a career-high 21 interceptions last season. Rivers is known as one of the most competitive players in the league and he often tries to force throws to try and help his team, but that is ultimately what leads to his high interception numbers every season. Rivers hasn’t been very successful in the playoffs and that is what hurts his reputation as an elite quarterback, but he still has had quite a career with the Chargers.

14. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston had a very good season in 2016 despite Mike Evans being his only reliable offensive weapon last season. Winston was 2nd in the league in interceptions thrown in 2016, but if he can limit his turnovers then he has a chance to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Winston now has plenty of weapons to throw to in the passing game, so don’t be surprised if he has a terrific season in 2017. It is playoffs or bust for the Buccaneers in 2017 and if Winston improves then don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay goes far in 2017.

13. Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer proved in 2015 that he is still capable of being a top 5 quarterback in the NFL as he led the Cardinals to the NFC championship game behind 35 touchdown passes. However, Palmer had his play regress a little bit last season as he only threw for 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Palmer is 37 years old, so we will see if age impacts his level of production in 2017, but he is still a pro-bowl caliber quarterback in the NFL.

12. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton should be a top 10 quarterback in the NFL every year because that is how talented he is. However, Cam Newton was just average last season as he had 19 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions. A lot of that can be attributed to him playing with an injured throwing shoulder for most of the season, but he is still a great quarterback when healthy especially since he has the added dimension of being a terrific runner.

11. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford has shown flashes that he can be an elite quarterback and he did an outstanding job of leading Detroit to the playoffs last season. However, I just need to see more consistency from Stafford if he is going to continue to move up this list. Stafford has to throw the ball a lot because he arguably has the worst running back group in the entire NFL. However, he continues to show that he can make the Lions offense dangerous on his own and he has done a good job of continuing to make the Lions a playoff contender.

10. Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota is another example of a young quarterback with an extremely bright future. Mariota came extremely close to leading his team to the playoffs last season as he had 26 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and he is on the right track to becoming a top 10 quarterback very soon. Mariota doesn’t make many mistakes and he might even be the best dual-threat quarterback in the NFL currently because he is a terrific passer as well as a talented runner. Mariota has even better receivers to throw to in 2017 with the additions of Corey Davis and Eric Decker, so Mariota could become an elite quarterback as soon as next season.

9. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott wasn’t even supposed to be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys last season. In fact, he wasn’t even the backup quarterback for Dallas until Kellen Moore got hurt. However, Prescott shockingly played like a top 5 quarterback last season as he ended up winning rookie of the year and also making it to the pro bowl. Now, he will have even more pressure on him in year 2 in the NFL as he is clearly the starting quarterback of the present and future for the Cowboys. The only thing that is holding me back from putting him even higher on this list is that he is still a really young player and I’m wondering if last year was just a fluke. If Prescott can do what he did in his rookie season then there is no doubt that he is an elite quarterback.

8. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson had a down season last year as he struggled with injuries and he just wasn’t the same dynamic player that he had been the past few seasons. However, Wilson is still no doubt a top 10 quarterback in the NFL and he should be much better in 2017 as long as he stays healthy. Wilson has accomplished a lot since he came into the NFL in 2012 as he has been to the super bowl twice and he won one title so far. The Seahawks are a legitimate title contender every season because of Wilson and he has earned being a top 10 quarterback despite his struggles last season.

7. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career, although he still remains a consistent player as he had 29 touchdowns last season while leading Pittsburgh to the AFC championship game. Roethlisberger has won 2 super bowls in his career and he has been named to the pro bowl five times. We’ll see if he can lead the Steelers to another super bowl appearance before his career ends, but there is no doubt that he is still a top 10 quarterback because he is still playing at a high level.

6. Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr is still very young, but he has already established himself as a top 10 quarterback in the NFL and he is only getting better. Since Carr was drafted in 2014 he has quickly turned the Raiders from a losing team into a team that should compete for a super bowl every year for the next decade. Oakland hadn’t even made the playoffs since 2002 until last season when Carr finally led the team back to the playoffs. Carr is still only 26 years old and he has plenty of young talent around him, so Carr could be a top 5 quarterback for a very long time.

5. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck had lots of pressure on him to replace Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback in Indianapolis. However, Luck has done a tremendous job so far as he has been a pro-bowler three times in his career while also leading the Colts back to the playoffs from 2012-2014. Luck hasn’t had much to work with during his career with Indianapolis as his team has had a terrible defense and a terrible offensive line. It is amazing what Luck has accomplished so far despite not having much around him and he will definitely be a top 10 quarterback for a long time.

4. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan has always been a franchise quarterback for the Falcons since he was drafted by the team in the 2008 draft. However, Ryan took his play to the next level last season as he won the NFL MVP award while also leading the Falcons to the super bowl. He probably won’t play at such a high level next season, but he is still a top 5 NFL quarterback at the moment.

3. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, but that certainly isn’t the fault of Drew Brees as he has certainly done everything he can to make the Saints a respectable team. Brees is certainly heading to the hall-of-fame as he can consider himself legitimately one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Brees has been to the pro-bowl 10 times and he has been named an all-pro 4 times as well. Also, he has led the NFL in passing yards 7 times in his career and he has thrown a whopping 465 career touchdowns. Brees only has 1 super bowl win in his career and he probably should have won more, although it is hard to argue against the remarkable accomplishments that he has had in his career. Brees might be 38 years old, but he hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down and he is still playing like a top NFL quarterback.

2. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers had big shoes to fill by replacing hall-of-fame quarterback Brett Favre, but Rodgers has been even better than Favre in his career. Rodgers has led the Packers to the playoffs in every season since 2009 and he has made the pro bowl six times since taking over the starting quarterback job in 2008. Rodgers is only 33 years old, so he still has several years left in his career and he can already consider himself a hall-of-fame player. Rodgers only has 1 super bowl victory so far which seems like not enough for how good of a player that he has been. However, it is hard to argue against the 2 NFL MVP awards that he has received and he is still adding to his accomplishments.

  1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots

Tom Brady is not only the best quarterback in the NFL today, but he is the best quarterback in NFL history. That is quite an accomplishment considering that he was never supposed to be more than a backup quarterback in the NFL after getting drafted in the 6th round in the 2000 NFL draft. His accomplishments speak for itself as he has led the Patriots to the playoffs 14 times since becoming the starting quarterback in 2001. Also, he has been named to the pro-bowl 12 times and he has been named NFL MVP twice in his career. However, the most amazing accomplishment is that he has been to the super bowl 7 times in his career and he has won 5 super bowl titles including another title last season. Brady turns 40 years old next month, but he is still no doubt the best quarterback in the NFL and he is still playing better than any quarterback in the NFL.

 

 

 

Top 10 Free Agents in 2017 and projected landing spots

  1. Kirk Cousins – Quarterback – Washington Redskins

Kirk Cousins has quietly become a really good quarterback, so I’m sure that the Redskins will do anything to keep him around. However, if Cousins does hit free agency then he will surely have tons of interest in him as there are no other good starting quarterback options in free agency. It is really hard to find good quarterbacks these days and if the Redskins let Cousins go then the quarterbacks that Washington could get is very limited. I don’t believe that Cousins and Washington will reach a long-term extension, but I would be shocked if they don’t at least apply the franchise tag to him.

Projected landing spot: Washington Redskins

2. Chandler Jones – Outside Linebacker – Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals gave up a 2nd round pick to get Chandler Jones from the Patriots prior to this season and he has 9.5 sacks to show for it so far. Jones is by far the Cardinals best pass rusher and he has the ability to change a game on his own. There is a chance that Jones and the Cardinals could get a contract extension before March. However, I believe he will stay with Arizona on the franchise tag if they can’t get a long-term deal done.

Projected landing spot: Arizona Cardinals

3. Le’Veon Bell – Running Back – Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh’s quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is getting old, so the Steelers offense going forward will be basically run by Le’Veon Bell. He has quickly become one of the top running backs in the game and he had a remarkable 1,268 rushing yards this season despite missing 3 games. The Steelers have a great passing game, but it is obvious that the offense revolves around the success of Bell. He seems to want to stay with the Steelers and certainly Pittsburgh wants to keep him around. I think they will probably end up reuniting with a long-term deal this offseason.

Projected landing spot: Pittsburgh Steelers

4. Eric Berry – Safety – Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Berry is a defensive player of the year candidate in 2016 as he has made big plays all season for the Chiefs. There are many teams that would be interested in Berry if he were to test free agency, but ultimately the Chiefs want to keep him. The two sides will likely sign a contract extension soon, although if they don’t then he’ll at least receive the franchise tag to stay with the Chiefs for 2017.

Projected landing spot: Kansas City Chiefs

5. Jamie Collins – Outside Linebacker – Cleveland Browns

Cleveland wanted a playmaker that they can build around on defense which is why they acquired Jamie Collins from the Patriots at the trade deadline. Collins is a great player as he can succeed in coverage and plan the run equally successfully. Collins has said publicly that he wants to get paid a lot of money to remain with the Browns. However, it seems highly likely that the team will give him the franchise tag at least.

Projected landing spot: Cleveland Browns

6. Alshon Jeffery – Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears

It was a down season for Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery as he didn’t even reach 1,000 yards receiving in 2016. Also, Jeffery really hurt his market value as he was suspended 4 games late in the season for using PED’s. I don’t think he has much interest in returning to the Bears next season, but the question is how much money he’ll get from another team. The one team to watch for to sign Jeffery in free agency though is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are in desperate need for a number 2 wide receiver to go along with Mike Evans in the passing game. Jeffery certainly would be a good number 2 receiver for the Buccaneers and they have the cap flexibility in order to pay him a big contract.

Projected landing spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. Dont’a Hightower – Outside Linebacker – New England Patriots

The last time that Dont’a Hightower left the Patriots in free agency it didn’t work out well as he signed with Buffalo and didn’t do much there. I don’t believe that he’ll make the same mistake this time and he’ll just remain with the Patriots. Hightower is a really good run stopper and he is a key part of the Patriots defense. New England probably won’t franchise tag him, although they should be able to reach a long-term deal before March.

Projected landing spot: New England Patriots

8. Melvin Ingram – Outside Linebacker – San Diego Chargers

Melvin Ingram kind of looked like a bust not too long ago as he dealt with tons of injuries, but now he has become an effective pass rusher for the Chargers. Ingram had 8 sacks in 2016 and if San Diego keeps him then they could have a really good pass rush duo along with 2016 1st round pick Joey Bosa. San Diego has the cap space to get a deal done and I’m sure they will since he is one of their only playmakers on defense.

Projected landing spot: San Diego Chargers

9. Kawann Short – Defensive Tackle – Carolina Panthers

Carolina’s defense is built to be successful based on their front 7 and Kawann Short is the key to that success as he is their best defensive lineman. Kawann Short stops the run well and he gets after the quarterback with interior pass rush as he had 6 sacks last season. Carolina will make it a priority to keep Short because their defense will be a lot worse without him. I don’t see him leaving the Panthers as they’ll either franchise tag him or reach a long-term deal.

Projected landing spot: Carolina Panthers

10. Kevin Zeitler – Guard – Cincinnati Bengals

Zeitler has quietly become one of the best players at the guard position in the NFL and it is hard to find quality interior offensive linemen like him these days. Cincinnati has a history of trying to retain their key free agents and draft well in order to be successful. Therefore, I’d be shocked if Cincinnati doesn’t try to bring him back by reaching a long-term contract extension with him.

Projected landing spot: Cincinnati Bengals

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NFL Mock Draft heading into week 17

  1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett – Defensive End – Texas A&M

The Browns could go in any direction here as they have so many needs, but Garrett is the best prospect in the draft and that is who they’ll likely draft with the 1st pick. Cleveland already has rookie Emmanuel Ogbah at one defensive end spot. However, the other defensive end spot is up for grabs so look for Garrett to make an impact right away.

2. San Francisco 49ers – Mitch Trubisky – Quarterback – North Carolina

Trubisky came out of nowhere to be possibly the top quarterback in the draft despite only being a starter at North Carolina for 1 season. Trubisky makes good decisions for the most part and he is an accurate passer, so he has all of the traits of an NFL quarterback. Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert have proven that they don’t have a future as the starting QB for the 49ers. However, Trubisky would be a solid upgrade for the 49ers, although they likely won’t have much to help him out.

3. Chicago Bears – DeShone Kizer – Quarterback – Notre Dame

It appears that the Bears are ready to move on from Jay Cutler which means that the team will need to find a new quarterback this offseason. The Bears are in prime position to either draft Trubisky or Kizer, but it will probably be Kizer who falls to Chicago. Kizer has more upside than Trubisky and Kizer also has the ability to make plays with his mobility. Kizer might not be ready to be an impact player right away, but Chicago would have the pieces around him to make him successful.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jonathan Allen – Defensive End – Alabama

The Jaguars already have some talented pass rushers with Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue, but it will be hard for them to pass on a talented defensive lineman like Jonathan Allen. He likely won’t be used as pass rushing defensive end by the Jaguars, but rather he could be moved inside to the defensive tackle position. Jacksonville has a need at defensive tackle and Allen could provide a solid interior pass rush and thus make their defensive line great.

5. Tennessee Titans(From Los Angeles) – Marlon Humphrey – Cornerback – Alabama

Tennessee’s defense has the ability to stop the run and get after the quarterback, yet the Titans secondary was a major issue last season. Humphrey is an excellent cover man that has tremendous speed as well. Jason McCourty is a good cornerback for Tennessee, but besides him they don’t have much. Humphrey would replace Brice McCain as a starting cornerback for the Titans immediately and he would greatly improve their pass coverage.

6. New York Jets – Leonard Fournette – Running Back – LSU

Matt Forte had a good year for the Jets at running back, but he is 31 years old and he could be slowing down soon. It is time for the Jets to get a younger and more explosive running back and Leonard Fournette certainly fits that goal. Fournette reminds me a lot of Adrian Peterson as they both are elusive running backs that have breakaway speed. Fournette would instantly provide the Jets with an explosive offensive player and the Jets would have a really good backfield with Fournette and Bilal Powell.

7. San Diego Chargers – Cam Robinson – Offensive Tackle – Alabama

King Dunlap will be 32 years old once next season starts and he regressed this past season as the starting left tackle for the Chargers. Cam Robinson comes with some character issues as he got into some legal trouble while in college. However, he is 6 foot 6 and 326 pounds, so he has the size of an NFL offensive lineman. Robinson is a great run blocker which should help running back Melvin Gordon to improve upon a terrific 2016 season. The goal for the Chargers is to protect quarterback Philip Rivers so that he’ll last at least a few more years and they would have their left tackle of the future with Robinson.

8. Cincinnati Bengals – Derek Barnett – Defensive End – Tennessee

Cincinnati already has a really good defensive end with Carlos Dunlap as he has 7 sacks this season, but there is a big need for another defensive end on the opposite side. Derek Barnett is a player that can disrupt opposing offenses. Barnett is consistently sacking the quarterback and he can make a big difference in a game as he proved in Tennessee’s bowl game against Nebraska. Barnett finished 2016 with 13 sacks for the Volunteers and he is a quick defensive end that would make a major impact for Cincinnati right away.

9. Carolina Panthers – Dalvin Cook – Running Back – Florida State

Jonathan Stewart has been a productive running back for the Panthers for many years, but he turns 30 years old soon and he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. The Panthers need a star running back for the future and Dalvin Cook could be that guy. Cook has everything that an NFL team is looking for in a run back. He has tremendous speed to make big plays in the running game. However, he also can catch the ball out of the backfield and he is a solid pass protector. If Carolina drafts Cook then the Panthers offense could be really good for many years with Newton and Cook as a dynamic quarterback and running back duo.

10. Cleveland Browns(From Philadelphia) – Teez Tabor – Cornerback – Florida

Joe Haden was once a dominant cornerback for the Browns, but recently he has been injured often and inconsistent when he does play. Also, Jamar Taylor isn’t a quality starting cornerback for Cleveland, so it makes sense for the team to invest in a cornerback early on. Teez Tabor is a tremendous athlete that has good ball skills and he would provide some much needed young talent to the Browns secondary.

11. Arizona Cardinals – Reuben Foster – Inside Linebacker – Alabama

The Arizona Cardinals have a weakness at the middle linebacker position which isn’t good considering that they are a 3-4 defense. However, if they draft Reuben Foster then their problems would certainly be solved. Foster is great against the run just like pretty much any linebacker that has been drafted out of linebacker. He is also good in coverage which is what makes him a complete linebacker. Foster is an NFL-ready linebacker that could make some big plays for Arizona in 2017.

12. Buffalo Bills – Mike Williams – Wide Receiver – Clemson

Buffalo is desperate for a playmaker in the passing game, so expect the Bills to draft a wide receiver very early on in the draft. Sammy Watkins is a dynamic wide receiver with his speed, but he is often injured which makes him basically useless. Also, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin are free agents this offseason which makes Buffalo really thin at wide receiver. Mike Williams has tremendous size and he is a possession receiver that makes tough catches. Williams would be the perfect complement to the speedy Sammy Watkins for the Bills.

13. Indianapolis Colts – Jabrill Peppers – Safety – Michigan

The Colts defense is awful in just about every area and they are in need of a playmaker on defense especially at the safety position. Jabrill Peppers is the type of player that could provide a spark for the Colts defense. He has great size and speed, but he just finds ways to impact games on his own by making big plays. The Colts are looking to replace Mike Adams at strong safety and drafting Peppers would provide the Colts with a young safety duo to go along with T.J. Green.

14. Philadelphia Eagles(From Minnesota) – John Ross – Wide Receiver – Washington

The Eagles offense never reached its potential because they constantly had dropped passes from wide receivers like Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. Philadelphia needs a true threat in the passing game for young quarterback Carson Wentz and John Ross would provide that. Ross is a deep threat as he has the speed to make big plays down the field in the passing game. I would like to see him go up and make tough catches and become a better route runner. However, he would provide the Eagles with an explosive wide receiver as they already have a possession receiver with Jordan Matthews.

15. New Orleans Saints – Tim Williams – Outside Linebacker – Alabama

New Orleans is still struggling to build a good defense and one of their biggest problems has been their lack of a pass rush. Tim Williams would help solve that as he is an explosive outside linebacker that has 8.5 sacks this season and he knows how to get after the quarterback. Williams is inconsistent against the run, but if the Saints draft him then they could have a really good outside linebacker duo along with Stephone Anthony.

16. Tennessee Titans – Jamal Adams – Safety – LSU

The Titans secondary is a major problem for their team and I already have them projected to draft a cornerback earlier in the 1st round. Now, I think that the Titans will address the safety position by drafting the very talented Jamal Adams. He is a very hard-hitting safety that isn’t afraid to make tackles in the running game. Adams is a tremendous athlete and he would be a good playmaker at safety for the Titans right away.

17. Baltimore Ravens – Adoree Jackson – Cornerback – USC

Baltimore has a good cornerback with Jimmy Smith, but on the opposite side they don’t have a very talented cornerback. Adoree Jackson would help solve that as he is one of the fastest players that I have ever seen and he has a tendency to make big plays. Jackson is a small cornerback, but because of his speed he almost never gets burned for big plays. Also, he could be an impact player for the Ravens on special teams as he is an outstanding returner.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Corey Davis – Wide Receiver – Western Michigan

Tampa Bay has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL with Mike Evans, but the issue is that quarterback Jameis Winston doesn’t have another trustworthy wide receiver. Vincent Jackson is almost certainly going to leave after this season and the depth at receiver isn’t good behind him. Corey Davis is an explosive receiver that has the ability to make big plays after the catch because of his speed. Also, he is a good route-runner and he relies on his size to make tough catches as needed. Davis is a complete wide receiver already and he would give the Buccaneers a much needed 2nd option in the passing game.

19. Denver Broncos – Zach Cunningham – Inside Linebacker – Vanderbilt

The Denver Broncos already have a good inside linebacker with Brandon Marshall, but they do have a need at the other inside linebacker position. Cunningham brings ideal size as a linebacker and he flies to the football with tremendous speed. Also, he brings the physicality necessary to be a good tackler at the NFL level. Cunningham would be a good upgrade over Todd Davis at inside linebacker for the Broncos and he would add yet another playmaker to an already great defense.

20. Washington Redskins – Malik McDowell – Defensive Tackle – Michigan State

The Redskins don’t have much at the defensive tackle position as their current starter is Ziggy Hood who turns 30 years old soon. McDowell would provide some more youth and talent to the position and he would be an instant upgrade over Hood. McDowell is solid against the run with his solid size. However, he also has really good quickness for the position and he could provide a good interior pass rush for Washington. Also, he has the versatility to possibly be a defensive end in the Redskins 3-4 defensive scheme if needed.

21. Detroit Lions – Caleb Brantley – Defensive Tackle – Florida

Detroit has never been the same at defensive tackle after the departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, so it is about time to fix the position. Brantley has the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield with his athleticism. Also, the Lions need a younger option than Haloti Ngata who has regressed a little bit at defensive tackle.

22. Houston Texans – Raekwon McMillan – Inside Linebacker – Ohio State

Brian Cushing is a pro-bowl caliber inside linebacker for the Texans, but he is about to be 30 years old and he always seems to be injured. The Texans need a more reliable inside linebacker and that’s why I’m projecting that they should draft McMillan. He isn’t an explosive linebacker, but he has good instincts in order to make plays. McMillan is a solid tackler and he would provide the Texans with a much younger and more consistent option than Cushing.

23. Green Bay Packers – O.J. Howard – Tight End – Alabama

The Packers have been looking for quality production out of the tight end position for years. Green Bay’s starting tight end Jared Cook will be a free agent after the season which means that the Packers will likely look to the draft to find their tight end for the future. O.J. Howard is a very good option for Green Bay as he projects as a good receiving tight end because of his size and speed. Howard doesn’t block very well, but he could be useful as a receiving threat in the slot for the Packers and it would provide Aaron Rodgers with another option in the passing game.

24. Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Ramczyk – Offensive Tackle – Wisconsin

The Offensive line for the Seahawks has been a disaster this season as they have started many inexperienced players. Ryan Ramczyk would provide a big upgrade at left tackle over George Fant who has been terrible for Seattle in 2016. Ramczyk is quite the athlete for his size and he is a good run blocker. However, it remains to be seen how effective he will be in pass protection which is what the Seahawks really need at this point.

25. Miami Dolphins – Marshon Lattimore – Cornerback – Ohio State

Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard are decent cornerbacks for the Dolphins, but they still could use some help at the position. Lattimore would provide that as he has great size and length to be able to disrupt passes. Also, he has good speed to be able to keep up with wide receivers and he is the complete shutdown cornerback that Miami wants.

26. Atlanta Falcons – Dawuane Smoot – Defensive End – Illinois

The Falcons have found a great pass rusher with outside linebacker Vic Beasley, but the pass rush from Atlanta’s defensive ends has been less than ideal. Dawuane Smoot isn’t a great pass rusher, although he has a tendency to make a lot of tackles for loss. Atlanta’s defense is starting to get better and if they draft Smoot then it could improve even more with another pass rusher.

27. New York Giants – Taco Charlton – Defensive End – Michigan

Jason Pierre-Paul is going to be a free agent this offseason so the Giants could have a vacancy at defensive end heading into 2017. Charlton had 8.5 sacks to lead Michigan this season, so it is obvious that he knows how to get after the quarterback. New York needs to find a younger pass rusher to replace Pierre-Paul and Charlton would be a great option to do that.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Charles Harris – Defensive End – Missouri

Pittsburgh is a team that is in desperate need of a pass rushing defensive end. Stephon Tuitt is a decent defensive end, but the other starting defensive end Ricardo Matthews shouldn’t be a starter on any NFL team. Charles Harris is a pure pass rusher as he relies upon his speed to sack the quarterback. Harris could still use some work on his run defense, although the Steelers would only be drafting him for his great pass rush abilities.

29. Kansas City Chiefs – Dan Feeney – Guard – Indiana

The Chiefs could use some help at the guard position especially at left guard as Zach Fulton isn’t a very good starter for Kansas City. Dan Feeney is by far the best guard available for the Chiefs to draft in the 1st round. Feeney has good strength which should allow him to be a good run blocker in the Chiefs offense. Also, he has good footwork and technique overall which makes him a complete player. If Kansas City drafts Feeney then they could be getting a player that will be an immediate upgrade at guard.

30. Oakland Raiders – Jarrad Davis – Inside Linebacker – Florida

Oakland already has good outside linebackers led by Bruce Irvin, but the Raiders could really use an impact middle linebacker. Jarrad Davis is exactly that type of player as he is always flying all over the field making plays. Davis is decent in pass coverage as he has the speed to cover fast running backs and tight ends. The Raiders already have some good young playmakers on defense and Davis would certainly add to that.

31. New England Patriots – Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Stanford

This is a perfect draft pick for the New England Patriots since they are looking for a running back that they can use as a receiver out of the backfield. New England already has LeGarrette Blount as their power back, but the problem is that he doesn’t catch the ball well. McCaffrey is explosive with the ball in his hands and he is one of the best pass catching running backs that I have ever seen. I don’t believe McCaffrey is an every down back in the NFL, but the good news is that he won’t have to be with New England. The Patriots will only use him as a pass catcher and he could add another threat to their offense.

32. Dallas Cowboys – Sidney Jones – Cornerback – Washington

Morris Claiborne is set to be a free agent after the season and the Cowboys don’t seem to be willing to re-sign him anyway. Brandon Carr is aging and he has been an inconsistent starting cornerback. Also, Orlando Scandrick has struggled to stay healthy during his time with the Cowboys. That leaves a need to draft a cornerback and Sidney Jones could be a good fit for Dallas. Jones has decent size for a cornerback, but it is his ball skills that makes him an intriguing player. He has the ability to create a turnover at any moment which could be useful for a Cowboys team that doesn’t create many turnovers.

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