The 2017 NFL Draft is soon approaching and, just like us, you’re probably sifting through mock draft after mock draft of your favorite team’s projections. Whether you agree or disagree with that particular writer’s estimate, your next move would probably be to wait for an updated version or to look through a different mock draft altogether. Well look no further: Not only will we give you the most in-depth mock draft, but we’ll do so with science, too (yes, science).
Specifically, we’ll be working with the science behind a meta-analysis. This form of statistical analysis combines the results of multiple scientific (or, in this case, mock draft) studies in order to find a conceptually common truth.
Confused? To simplify, we randomly selected the mock drafts of 25 of today’s top sports world analysts and isolated their popular majority per player and per draft pick. So, after all the dirty work and number crunching — including our opinion on each overall draft position — we present to you the Round One Mock Draft Meta.
No. 1 Cleveland Browns:
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Good luck trying to find a mock draft that doesn’t have Myles Garrett going first overall in this year’s draft. With a remarkable total of 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss in his three-year career as an Aggie, scouts are raving about this future rookie with all-pro potential. Just to add more fuel to the fire, Garrett, at 6’5” and 271 lbs, ran a 4.62 time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. At this point, it’d be foolish for the Browns to pass up on such a franchise talent.
No. 2 San Francisco 49ers:
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
With player comparisons to Brandon Graham, or even “a smaller J.J. Watt,” Solomon Thomas caught many scouts’ eyes during his two-year stint at Stanford. Following an impressive combine performance, we saw Thomas’s draft stock rise and rise. Now with, new 49ers general manager John Lynch at the helm, he’ll make sure to play it safe with his inaugural first-round pick and pick the next-best player after Garrett.
No. 3 Chicago Bears:
Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Winner of the 2016 Bronco Nagurski Trophy for best college defensive player in the nation, Jonathan Allen had quite the outstanding campaign during his four years at Alabama. With 152 total tackles and 28 sacks, Allen has the stats and durability to prove that he’s NFL-ready. The Bears could look to bolster either their defensive line or secondary here. One thing is for sure, Chicago’s defense could really use a first-round game changer.
No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars:
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Before starting with Leonard Fournette, we urge you to please look up some of his highlights. At 6’1” and 228 lbs, he possesses the ability to escape the line of scrimmage and the strength to break the tackle. Fournette’s play style has been appropriately compared to that of Ezekiel Elliott’s, and he is arguably the best offensive player in the entire draft. This LSU halfback has what it takes to be a week-one starter in Jacksonville and may very well be the spark needed to get the Jaguars’ offense going.
No. 5 Tennessee Titans:
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
During the 2016 college football season, Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore allowed an average NFL passer rating of 30.2 whenever he covered the throw. Do you know what the NFL passer rating is for spiking the ball into the ground on every play? It’s 39.6. Yeah, you don’t need to be a statistician to realize that’s ridiculous. This year, Lattimore is heralded as the best cornerback coming out of college, so the Titans would be wise to choose him over a wide receiver because he definitely won’t be present for their 18th overall pick.
No. 6 New York Jets:
Jamal Adams, S, LSU
There have been multiple reports recently that a Jamal Adams as a first overall talent. However, analysts agree that the Browns probably won’t trade out of the first pick and will most likely let Adams fall to another team. Regardless, with 209 total tackles and five interceptions throughout his college career, the Jets find their missing link with this pick.
No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers:
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Chargers have built a sneaky good secondary over the past few seasons. So after a stellar combine performance by Malik Hooker, it very well seems he is San Diego-bound. With seven interceptions in only two seasons at Ohio State, Hooker has arguably the best hands in the draft.
No. 8 Carolina Panthers:
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
With Fournette off the board, the Panthers have a choice to make at running back. The very versatile Christian McCaffrey is an interesting option as well, but Carolina will ultimately settle for a halfback that can get it done on every down. At 4,464 yards and 46 touchdowns over three seasons for Florida State, Dalvin Cook will relieve some pressure off his quarterback and former league MVP, Cam Newton.
No. 9 Cincinnati Bengals:
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Bengals really hit the jackpot with both A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert highlighting their receiving corps. Unfortunately, they both face injury issues from time to time, and this is most likely due to excessive targets are thrown their way. Corey Davis has the speed and build to be a quality NFL wide receiver, so the Bengals use their No. 9 spot to form an elite trio that defenses around the league must respect.
No. 10 Buffalo Bills:
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Sammy Watkins can’t get it done all by himself, so the Bills get quarterback Tyrod Taylor another target in Mike Williams. With 2,727 yards and 21 touchdowns over his four-year career at Clemson, Williams is the best receiver in this draft for many analysts. Considering his 98 receptions in just his senior year alone, it’s proven he can handle the workload of a No. 1 receiver as well.
No. 11 New Orleans Saints:
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
In only three seasons at Tennessee, Derek Barnett racked up 32 sacks and 52 tackles for loss. These are numbers that rival Myles Garrett and other top defensive lineman in this draft, so why is he projected lower than the rest? Well, after an average performance at the NFL combine, Barnett’s draft stock began to slowly fall. Nevertheless, the stats are there and the Saints will capitalize on other teams’ dismissal of Barnett’s talent.
No. 12 Cleveland Browns:
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Browns will close out their first-round picks with yet another player that is starter ready. O.J. Howard, the four-year tight end out of Alabama, will provide Cleveland with a 6’6” and 242 lbs target that can get it done down the middle or in the red zone. This spot may even see a quarterback selection, but with Terrelle Pryor Sr. out of the mix, another good set of hands may be the more rational option.
No. 13 Arizona Cardinals:
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
For a while now, the Cardinals have been looking for a lockdown corner that can play opposite of Patrick Peterson. Well, luckily for them, reports agree that this year’s draft talent is very deep at the cornerback position. Marlon Humphrey was the star corner at Alabama, so with five interceptions and 81 total tackles in just his two-year college career, this pick makes sense for Arizona.
No. 14 Philadelphia Eagles:
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
The Eagles were busy during this offseason free agency with the signings of Alshon Jeffery to the receiving corps and Chris Long to the defensive line. So their remaining draft priorities are for a corner or running back. This can very much be where McCaffrey is selected, but the Eagles ultimately fill the most pressing need and take the 167 total tackles and six interceptions: Tre’Davious White.
No. 15 Indianapolis Colts:
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Here’s another draft prospect with some astonishing game film. We recommend you look up some Reuben Foster highlights because he could very well be one of the hardest hitting linebackers coming out of college since the turn of the century. With 211 total tackles and seven sacks over three seasons at Alabama, Foster would be a steal for the Colts, if he even falls this far.
No. 16 Baltimore Ravens:
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Ravens will be building through the draft in order to re-establish a frightening defense that has twice earned them a Super Bowl title. With a couple of free agency losses to the defensive line, the Ravens select a quality defensive end in Taco Charlton. Charlton put up 28 tackles for loss and 19 sacks in his four years for Michigan. He also has the best first name in this entire draft.
No. 17 Washington Redskins:
Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan
We’ve seen mock drafts that have Jabrill Peppers going as early as the top 10 and as late as the second round. So No. 17 overall seems like a fair spot to place the former Heisman nominee. Peppers is an all-around athletic machine, with great stats in both offensive and defensive positions. The Redskins need a playmaker that’ll make his presence known throughout the game, so they pick up this prolific Michigan linebacker.
No. 18 Tennessee Titans:
John Ross, WR, Washington
John Ross caught many scouts’ eyes at the combine when he set the 40-yard dash record with a 4.22 time, but it’ll also be his route running skills that’ll make him go in the first round of the NFL draft. In his junior year alone, Ross caught 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns. With Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota throwing to him, this wide receiver out of Washington will likely be burning defensive backs all season long.
No. 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Buccaneers are currently rethinking their future with Doug Martin as their lead back. So they’ll look to the draft in order to find a replacement for the pro bowler. Enter Christian McCaffrey, the record-breaking running back out of Stanford. In only three years, McCaffrey rushed for 3,922 yards on 632 attempts. He also caught plenty out of the backfield with 99 receptions for 1,206 yards, bringing his total count to 31 touchdowns. With pick 19, Tampa Bay finds a potential franchise halfback.
No. 20 Denver Broncos:
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
There’s a bit of a quarterback conundrum going on in Denver at the moment. Whether it’s Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch lining up under center, they’ll need to beef up their offensive line in this year’s draft. With the Bronco’s first round pick, they select, the 6’5” and 300-pound offensive tackle, Garett Bolles out of Utah.
No. 21 Detroit Lions:
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
With this pick, the Lions pretty much just go for the best available player still on the board. With 34.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in his three seasons at Missouri, Charles Harris’s size and athleticism will easily translate into continued success within the NFL. He’ll also greatly complement Ezekiel Ansah and Haloti Ngata on the Detroit defensive line.
No. 22 Miami Dolphins:
Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
One could argue that quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn’t at the franchise level, but with quality starting quarterbacks currently a scarcity in the league, the Dolphins decide to add more depth to the pass protection position. Forrest Lamp, after a great combine showing and consistent college numbers, is arguably the best offensive prospect in this year’s draft.
No. 23 New York Giants:
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
A quarterback has also been projected for this pick, but the Giants ultimately decide to choose a tackle that can protect their star quarterback Eli Manning. At 6’6” and 314 lbs, Ryan Ramczyk will not only protect from the pass rush but also help with the outside running game in New York.
No. 24 Oakland Raiders:
Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
McDowell’s draft stock rose after his combine day impressed various scouts. Now the Raiders are projected to select this three-year Michigan State Spartan that recorded 24.5 tackles for loss with 88 total tackles.
No. 25 Houston Texans:
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Here, we have the first quarterback in the entire draft go at No. 25. Deshaun Watson, out of Clemson, is arguably the most prepared when it comes to being in control and winning games for his team. In 38 games for Clemson, he put up over 10,000 passing yards for a total of 90 touchdowns. The Texans Band-Aid their Brock Osweiler mistake and get potentially a franchise quarterback in Watson with their first-round pick.
No. 26 Seattle Seahawks:
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
There have been plenty of rumors recently that the Seahawks will lose star cornerback Richard Sherman via trade, causing Seattle to draft defensive back Kevin King in the first. However, we believe Sherman will be in a Seahawks uniform next year and that Cam Robinson will be plugged right into Seattle’s o-line.
No. 27 Kansas City Chiefs:
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Kansas City’s defense has been a force to be reckoned with in past seasons, so they’ll add to the hype with this pick. Following Reuben Foster, Zach Cunningham is in the conversation for the next best at the linebacker position. This playmaker out of Vanderbilt is a tackling machine, with 256 total tackles in just three seasons of his college career.
No. 28 Dallas Cowboys:
Takkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA
The Cowboys have gotten a lot of criticism recently concerning their defensive play, and after losing a few starters to free agency, there’ll be some spots to fill. Cornerbacks, like Sidney Jones or Teez Tabor, who slipped out of the early first round are projected here. However, the Cowboys go ahead and choose UCLA linebacker Takkarist McKinley for his big frame and great athleticism.
No. 29 Green Bay Packers:
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
After a roulette of starters and a couple of injuries at cornerback, Green Bay decides to go with a Buckeye and select Gareon Conley as their first-rounder. Conley had 91 tackles and six interceptions in his three seasons at Ohio State. Alongside Lattimore and Hooker, Conley helped form perhaps the best defensive back trio in college football last season.
No. 30 Pittsburgh Steelers:
Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
Obi Melifonwu had arguably the best combine day out of anyone else in the draft. At 6’3” and 217 lbs, his draft stock skyrocketed after he put on a show in front of the scouts. In four seasons with Connecticut, Melifonwu made 349 total tackles and caught eight interceptions as a college safety.
No. 31 Atlanta Falcons:
T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
Following a disastrous Super Bowl, Atlanta is now aware of a few spots that need replacing throughout the defensive line. So they look to linebacker T.J. Watt out of Wisconsin to remedy this. In just a pair of seasons, Watt had 17 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. This 6’5” linebacker definitely has the size to be in this league, but can he be as big as his brother J.J. Watt? The Falcons sure hope so.
No.32 New England Patriots:
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, University of Southern California
Seeking a defensive leader in their secondary, the Saints will close out the first round finding one in cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. Over his 3 seasons at USC, Jackson put up 139 total tackles and 6 interceptions. To top it all off, he’s also a dual threat on special teams with 4 kickoff return touchdowns and another 4 coming off punt returns.