NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Putting a Premium on Pass-Rushers

17. Washington — Malik McDowell, DL. McDowell is a disruptive lineman who will help Washington improve their DVOA Defense which ranked 25th in 2016. I expect them to draft all three levels of defense early. McDowell is the first piece.

18. Tennessee Titans — Cordrea Tankersley, CB. He has the physical tools to be the next big shutdown corner in the NFL, and the production so far seems to certify that. Opposing passers average just 4.3 yards per attempt when throwing into his coverage. He’s a perfect man corner for a team needing secondary help.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Malik Hooker, S. Hooker just declared and according to @JayArrNFL and @nfldraftscout, Hooker is a better prospect than Jabrill Peppers who’s still on the board. Hooker will help the Tampa defense from Day 1.

20. Denver Broncos — Dan Feeney, OG. I badly want to add the next Julius Thomas, O.J. Howard, here for the Broncos, but I think they play it a bit safer and grab a sturdy interior offensive lineman to help pave the way for both C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. Feeney is great in run blocking and solid in pass pro, and will instantly upgrade the right side of the Denver line at either guard or tackle.

21. Detroit Lions — Tim Williams, EDGE. Williams is a speedy pass rusher and Detroit desperately needs help on the defensive side of the ball. Finishing last in Football Outsiders DVOA should make it a priority. Since 2014, Williams applied pressure on 28.7% of opponents’ drop backs (FBS average was 10.0%). There are concerns he didn’t see the field consistently enough, especially on run downs, but his burst and ability to pressure the quarterback are worth the need to develop better run support.

22. Miami Dolphins — Solomon Thomas, EDGE. The Dolphins have an ancient Cameron Wake and are letting Mario Williams walk this year, leaving them with Dion Jordan-If-He’s-Not-Suspended-Or-Hurt. They need a strong edge rusher who can play the run to add to this front, and Thomas has the size and skills to do both in a 4-3. Some like him better as a 3-4 OLB, but he’ll do just fine here.

23. New York Giants — Leonard Fournette, RB. A lot of pundits would say the Giants need front 7 help in the defense but they were actually ranked 2nd in DVOA. Their backfield has been “meh” for a years. Fournette seems like the perfect workhorse back to compliment Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. This offense will be scary with Fournette for the twilight years of Manning.

24. Oakland Raiders — Quincy Wilson, CB. He’s got the size and speed to be the draft’s top cornerback, and many are saying he’s better than teammate Jalen Tabor, also a consensus top pick in a stacked CB class. Wilson is a physical, lockdown player that will fit right into a nasty Raiders defense.

25. Houston Texans — Zach Cunningham, ILB. Stop it right now with the quarterback talk. Brock Osweiler is a $60 million cap hit over the next 3 years and he’s $25 million in dead money if they cut him; they’re stuck with him. Linebacker is the pick and is a big need. Cunningham is a tackle machine who aggressively attacks blockers to shed them and make the tackle, except when he misses (too often). He can refine that skill in the NFL and has the potential to be one of the best backers in this class.

26. Seattle Seahawks — Pat Elflein, OG/OC. Seattle is desperate for offensive line help and I think the need to start in the middle. Elflein moved from Guard to Center and showed no regression. He also gives Seattle the flexibility to possibly grab another top interior lineman in round 2 or 3. Elflein didn’t allow a sack this year until the Michigan game and could be the anchor Seattle needs after trading Max Unger to New Orleans in 2014.

27. Kansas City Chiefs — Raekwon McMillan, ILB. McMillan is known as a big thumping inside ‘backer, which could slot him into the KC lineup right away. However, the Chiefs do still have Derrick Johnson, old and slowing as he is, so if they want to redshirt McMillan and give him time to work on his coverage skills they have that option too.

28. Dallas Cowboys — O.J. Howard, TE. Time for Dallas to seriously find Jason Witten‘s replacement. Gavin Escobar has proven to be too inconsistent. Grabbing Howard as the heir will make this offense even more potent. Howard is a downfield threat who can lineup inside or out for match up advantages. Coming from the Alabama system, he can be a reliable run blocker as well.

29. Green Bay Packers — Desmond King, CB. The Packers swung and so far have missed on a defensive back in the first round two years ago, so they need a guy with maybe less ceiling but much more surety. That’s Iowa corner King, who is a great zone corner but can also survive in man. He’s also by far the best run-defending corner in the class. He’s an all-around home run with a high floor.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers — Charles Harris, EDGE. The Steelers need to add youth to their pass-rush, which will help take the pressure off of a not-bad secondary. Harris is currently an explosive pass-rusher with a beautiful spin move, but needs to improve his run defense and develop consistency. He’s basically another shot at getting Good Bud Dupree™.

31. Atlanta Falcons* — Caleb Brantley, DL. Brantley is a disruptive tackle who’s quick of the ball. The Falcons are starting realize the window of a championship since mortgaging a draft for Julio Jones. Upgrading the front-seven will help them contend for a few more years.

32. New England Patriots* — Takkarist McKinley, EDGE. The Patriots love to stock up on defensive weaponry for their front-seven, and after trading both defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Jamie Collins, they would love to get another high-octane pass-rusher. McKinley is raw, but has produced plenty already. He’s the perfect home-run pick and movable chess piece for Belichick to groom.

*  — order to be determined by results of Super Bowl LI

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