The 2017 NFL Draft begins tomorrow evening. Here’s a mock of the most important round.
219.) San Francisco 49ers - Louisiana-Lafayette RB Elijah McGuire
220.) Washington Football Group - Georgia State WR Robert Davis
221.) Chicago Bears - USC DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu
Kolo lacks athleticism or an impressive second move, but he’s strong and immediate in his game. He’ll offer solid depth for a 1-tech for a couple of years. I think he could drop into the seventh due to a lack of versatility, but players who do one thing well enough can carve out a solid NFL career.
222.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Ole Miss DT D.J. Jones
223.) Miami Dolphins - Notre Dame James Onwualu
Notre Dame struggled in many ways in 2016. I don’t think Onwualu bears much responsibility for those struggles. He improved mightily this year. From that very entertaining first game of the year in the overtime loss to Texas on, Notre Dame found inventive ways to lose eight games. Onwualu, though, looked much stronger in run support overall but also as the season rolled on. In the season-ending loss to USC, Onwualu affected the Trojans’ offensive game significantly. The Trojans ran away from him to much success racking up more than 200 rushing yards. They steered away from his space in the passing game as USC QB Sam Darnold barely topped 200 passing yards with the Irish puffing up their safeties at the back and Onwualu clamping down the middle. It was a fine performance from him to end his college career. If the growth he showed in 2016 and throughout continues, he’ll see the field in the NFL in 2017.
224.) New York Jets - Western Kentucky C Max Halpin
225.) San Diego Chargers - Purdue WR DeAngelo Yancey
226.) Seattle Seahawks - Michigan S Dymonte Thomas
227.) Cincinnati Bengals - TCU G Aviante Collins
228.) Dallas Cowboys - Northwestern DE Ifeadi Odenigbo
229.) New Orleans Saints - Wyoming TE Jacob Hollister
Wyoming made a huge jump going from a two-win team in 2015 to winning eight games last year and gaining entry to the Poinsettia Bowl, their first bowl game since the 2011 season. Hollister, and his red zone game, were a big reason why. He’s not a plus athlete, but he’s big and strong and plays to his frame. He needs to get better as a blocker to get regular offensive snaps in the NFL, but there’s legit upside to his game.
230.) Philadelphia Eagles - Penn St. OLB Brandon Bell
231.) Arizona Cardinals - South Florida G Kofi Amichia
232.) Minnesota Vikings - Northern Illinois OT Levon Myers
233.) Carolina Panthers - Oregon TE Pharaoh Brown
234.) Los Angeles Rams - Tennessee OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
I’m mocking this more out of hoping it will happen than anything. JRM was a force at Tennessee in his four years whose career was cut short in his senior year due to a shoulder injury. The medical check on him should be everything. If he clears, he could see significant time in his rookie year.
235.) Washington Men Who Play Football - Middle Tennessee St. RB I'Tavius Mathers
236.) Tennessee Titans - Stanford WR Michael Rector
237.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kansas S Fish Smithson
238.) Denver Broncos - BYU CB Michael Davis
239.) New England Patriots - Stanford K Conrad Ukropina
240.) Miami Dolphins - Louisville WR Jamari Staples
241.) New York Giants - Colorado ILB Kenneth Olugbode
The ILB class is really interesting this year. Alabama ILB Rueben Foster is the clear #1, but there’s a ton of good depth on Day 3. Olugbode is one of the sleepers I really like. He can fly. I’ve got him as a lock to make a 53-man roster for special teams skills, but he’ll have to bulk up to factor into a defensive depth chart. Low risk, high upside pick.
242.) Oakland Raiders - Utah OLB Pita Taumoepenu
243.) Houston Texans - Wisconsin CB Sojourn Shelton
244.) Oakland Raiders - Miami DE Al-Quadin Muhammad
245.) Kansas City Chiefs - UCLA TE Nate Iese
246.) Dallas Cowboys - Michigan P Kenny Allen
247.) Green Bay Packers - Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight
I’m not a fan of Knight as an NFL QB, but the Packers are gonna have to start throwing fliers at Aaron Rodgers contingency plans pretty often from here on out. Taking UCLA QB Brett Hundley was a premium contingency plan. I don’t expect them to spend much on the position for a while.
248.) Pittsburgh Steelers - UNC CB Des Lawrence
249.) Atlanta Falcons - Colorado QB Sefo Liufau
250.) Detroit Lions - Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale
251.) Cincinnati Bengals - Nebraska S Nathan Gerry
252.) Denver Broncos - Virginia RB Taquan Mizzell
253.) Denver Broncos - LSU S Rickey Jefferson
Mr. Irrelevant for 2017 is LSU’s latest in the Jefferson clan. His brother, Jordan, was the Tigers’ starting QB in 2009 and 2010. Rickey broke his ankle in 2016 cutting his season short but should be good to go for training camp.
There you go. That’s what all the hype’s about friends. The heavy hitters. The headliners. The game changers.
The seventh round of the NFL Draft. Glory be.