Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. Normally, it’s our weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, which is 9 items published at 9 a.m. each Wednesday morning. But this week, we drop the final version of the 2017 NFL Mock Draft.
FLOWERY BRANCH — Take a look at the fifth and final version of how D. Orlando Ledbetter projects the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. The first round of the draft will be held Thursday in Philadelphia. The subsequent rounds will be held on Friday and Saturday.
- Cleveland. Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M: Some contend that he racked up his sacks against smaller schools and that you couldn’t find him in big games. He also showed that he was a bit petty when he wouldn’t do an interview with ESPN’s Booger McFarland because he didn’t like the critique of his play.
- San Francisco. Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: He was Mr. Football in Ohio, but went to North Carolina after Ohio State signed J.T. Barrett. He redshirted in 2013 and backed up Marquise Williams for two seasons. He took over last season and completed 68.2 percent of his passes. He set single-season school records for passing yards (3,748), completions (304), total offense (4,056) and touchdown passes (30) while throwing only six interceptions.
- Chicago. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: A one-year starter, who had a breakout season with seven interceptions and three defensive touchdowns.
- Jacksonville. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: He was a force for the Crimson Tide. There are some concerns about his shoulders.
- Tennessee. Jamal Adams, S, LSU: Is physical in the run game. He also has elite speed and
- New York Jets. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: He made 13 starts and led the Buckeyes in passes defended (13) and finished second in interceptions (four) to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.
- Los Angles Chargers. Michael Williams, WR, Clemson: Williams waited his turn behind Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. He became the No. 1 receiver as a sophomore and led the team with 1,030 receiving yards. He missed most of the 2015 season with a neck injury. He came back strong in 2016 and led the ACC with 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.
- Carolina. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: In 2014, he rushed for a freshman school-record 1,034 to earn All-SEC Freshman team honors. He followed up his freshman season with a 1,953 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, leading the nation with 162.8 rushing yards per game. Last season, Fournette battled injuries and finished second on the team with 843 rushing yards.
- Cincinnati. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: He had 33 sacks over his 39-game career for the Volunteers. The Bengals love productive players from the SEC.
- Buffalo. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: The record-setting quarterback from Gainesville High guided the Tigers to consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, and the school’s second National Championship in 2016. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist led the Tigers to 28 wins over his final two seasons.
- New Orleans. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: He made 62 tackles with 15 for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. The Saints are retooling their defense.
- Cleveland. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: He passed on the NFL and returned to Tuscaloosa for his senior year. He set career-highs in 2016 with 45 catches and three touchdowns as he earned second-team All-SEC honors.
- Arizona. Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama. The Cardinals have a need at inside linebacker and Foster is the best one in the draft.
- Philadelphia. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: Davis led the Broncos in receiving for four straight years. He had a career-high 97 catches, 1,500 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns last season to earn the MAC offensive player of the year honors.
- Indianapolis. Takkrist McKinley, DE, UCLA: Most believe that he’s best suited to be an outside linebacker for a team that runs a 3-4 defensive alignment.
- Baltimore. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: He led the Wolverines in sacks with 9.5 and was named first-team All-Big 10.
- Washington. Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford: The fleet son of former NFL standout Ed McCaffrey. He was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the year after his sophomore season. He was one of college football’s top running backs the past two seasons, displaying his versatility rushing, receiving and returning.
- Tennessee. John Ross, WR, Washington: He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds at the scouting combine, setting a new record. The previous record of 4.24 was held by Chris Johnson and was set in 2008. Ross caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Pac-12 champion Huskies last season.
- Tampa Bay. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: He’s electric in the opening field and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Some teams favorably compare him to Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. He rushed for more than 1,600 yards in each of the past two seasons and 38 touchdowns.
- Denver. Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah: A late-bloomer, who overcame a difficult family situation after getting kicked out of the house by his father. A mission with the Mormons helped to turn his life around.
- Detroit. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama: Has 21.5 sacks over the past two seasons for the Crimson Tide. The Lions finished 31st in sacks last season.
- Miami. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. He was ranked in the top 10 in pass-rush
productivity over the past two seasons by Pro Football Focus.com. “He might be the most talented defensive lineman (in the draft),” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said.
- New York Giants. David Njoku, TE, Miami: A fluid route-runner, who’s also willing do the dirty work as a blocker. He was lined up in-line and flexed in the slot for the Hurricanes over the past two seasons. He made five starts in 2016 and finished third on the team with 43 catches for 698 yards and eight touchdowns.
- Oakland. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt. He led the SEC in tackles (125) as a junior in 2016, posting 16.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles to earn first-team All-American and All-SEC honors.
- Houston. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech. He played as a freshmen and took over as a sophomore and completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. As a junior he completed 388 passes for 5,052 passing yards and a 41-10 touchdown-interception ratio. “I hear the buzz from teams, they’re fired up about him,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “He has a huge personality, a big arm, teams want to work with him. I think the buzz is definitely legitimate.”
- Seattle. Kevin King, CB, Washington: Turned heads with a spectacular showing at the scouting combine. A 6-foot, 3-inches tall, he’s the big cornerback that Pete Carroll covets and would give the Seahawks a building block for a secondary that’s in transition.
- Kansas City. DeShone Kizer, 6-4, 233, Notre Dame (first/second): He picked Notre Dame after receiving offers from Alabama and LSU. He finished his redshirt freshman year with 63 percent completions, 2,844 passing yards and 31 total touchdowns (21 passing, 10 rushing). He elected to skip his final two seasons of eligibility to enter the draft.
- Dallas. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: He made 61 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two passes batted and two forced fumbles in 2016 for the Tigers. Harris had one of his better games against Georgia, when he had seven tackles and three sacks. He had a private workout with the Falcons.
- Green Bay. T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: The younger brother of NFL players J.J. Watt (three-time defensive player of the year) and Derek Watt (Chargers’ fullback). He thrived for one
season in Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense when he finished with 63 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles last season. “What I bring is just my work ethic,” T.J. Watt said.
- Pittsburgh. Jabrill Peppers, FS, Michigan: He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, which is faster than Seattle All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas.
- Atlanta. Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky: He lifted 225 pounds 34 times. He had a stellar performance against Alabama that NFL scouts are raving about. Lamp said he could play in the Falcons’ outside zone blocking scheme. “Obviously, he moves well and he runs well,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He’s a competitive kid. He plays hard. He’s a fun kid to watch.”
- New Orleans. Tre’Davious White, 5-11, 192, LSU (first-second): He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award. White returned to LSU for his senior season and set a career-high 16 pass breakups, 35 tackles and two interceptions as he was named first-team All-SEC and All-American. He also was a strong tackler in run support.
NFL DRAFT 2017
POSITION BY POSITION SERIES
Sunday, April 16 — QUARTERBACKS
Monday, April 17 — RUNNING BACKS
Tuesday, April 18 — WIDE RECEIVERS
Wednesday, April 19 — TIGHT ENDS
Thursday, April 20 — OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Friday, April 21 — DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Saturday, April 22 — LINEBACKERS
Sunday, April 23 — CORNERBACKS
Monday, April 24 — SAFETIES