6. New York Jets - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Jets have a lot of rebuilding to do. The pass offense was nothing short of horrendous in 2016 and it all starts with the quarterback. With Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson both gone in the first five picks the Jets will chose the most reliable and established offensive playmaker on the board. O.J. Howard can stand as both a blocking and receiving tight end. He will help fill both the offensive line and receiver needs for the Jets.
7. Los Angeles Chargers - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
There is no question the Chargers need to improve their defense in this draft, and it all starts with the secondary. Our staff has LSU’s Jamal Adams going third to the Bears, so Los Angeles will have to rely on the second best safety. Malik Hooker is a hard-hitting athletic secondary player. He will be the first tool to rebuild the Charger’s secondary. A few solid defensive picks through the draft could put the Chargers back in the playoffs.
8. Carolina Panthers - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Just two years ago the Panthers were favorites to win the Super Bowl. Much of that 2015 squad is still in Carolina, so the rebuilding process shouldn’t take too long for the Panthers. The defense is strong, but offensively Cam Newton needs some playmakers around him. Christian McCaffrey flew under the radar last year, but still has Heisman-esque athleticism and decision-making skills. A reliable RB would take a lot of pressure off of Newton and propel the Panthers back into the playoff race.
9. Cincinnati Bengals - Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
The 2017 draft is stacked with strong, athletic defensive ends and outside linebackers, so the Bengals will have many options to fill their needs in the front seven. Besides Myles Garrett, who will likely be the first pick, Allen is the best defensive player on the board. He is a player who could start and have an immediate impact for Cincinnati. The Bengals offense has many playmakers and at times can be very dangerous. Where they lose most games is on the defensive end. Allen has all the tools to have a successful professional career.
10. Buffalo Bills - Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Bills lost Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin this offseason, leaving Sammy Watkins as the only weapon at the wide receiver position. Who other would be a perfect fit than fellow Clemson Tiger Mike Williams. Williams is a dynamic player. He can play the slot, as well as pose as a deep threat. The best way to take pressure off of Tyrod Taylor is to give him multiple offensive weapons.
11. New Orleans Saints - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Saints averaged less than one sack per game in 2016, so the first step to improving the defense should be building the front seven. Luckily for New Orleans, the 2017 draft is defensive end heavy, so picking the third or fourth best DE off the board won’t hurt the team. Derek Barnett is not as NFL ready as Solomon Thomas, Myles Garrett or Jonathan Allen, but with the guidance of pro-bowler Cameron Jordan, Barnett has the potential to be a huge asset for this Saints defense.
12. Tennessee Titans (Trade from Cleveland) - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Titans have a real chance at being a playoff contender in 2017, but the first step is polishing off the defense. Conley had a very impressive combine. He recorded a 4.44 40-yard dash time and reached 11 reps for Bench press. His speed and power makes him an immediate playmaker for this young Tennessee Titans squad.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
This is an easy one. The Cardinals primary needs are defensive, and where are they the weakest? At the inside linebacker position. Reuben Foster in any other draft should be a top ten pick, but with the 2017 draft having so many great defensive playmakers the Cardinals are lucky to pick him up at 13. Foster is NFL ready, and coming from Alabama; he knows how to win.
14. Philadelphia Eagles - John Ross, WR, Washington
Philadelphia had an outstanding 2016 draft by picking up QB Carson Wentz. Now, they need to put some weapons around him. John Ross broke Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record with an incredible 4.22. This alone should be enough to solidify him as a solid first round pick. Ross, despite his small size could make for a very talented slot receiver. He is known for his speed and route running skills. Paired with Wentz, the young duo could be deadly.
15. Indianapolis Colts - Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Cam Robinson marks the fourth Alabama player our staff has coming out in the first round. Indianapolis needs to protect its star player Andrew Luck. Robinson is the number one ranked tackle, and the most likely to serve as an immediate aid to the Colts struggling O-line. He stands 6’6” tall and weighs in at 322 pounds. Despite his substantial size, his athleticism is shown through his 5.15 second 40-yard dash.