The third and final installment of the “what we would do” mock between Russell Street Report writers Kyle Casey and Paul Lukoskie is complete, capping off a first round with several surprises.
For the first group of picks, click here.
The last installment included the Baltimore Ravens selecting Ohio State safety Malik Hooker.
Entering the final third of the draft, only one quarterback (DeShone Kizer) is off the board. Will another quarterback sneak into the first round?
23. New York Giants – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Charlton primarily played LE for the Wolverines, producing 10 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2016. I think his best position would be to remain at LE in the NFL where he can use his length (6’6, 275 pounds) to work through right tackles and get after the quarterback. I think he’d be a great fit for the Giants who may be losing Jason Pierre-Paul. – Paul
24. Oakland Raiders – Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Fresh off a season in which the Raiders finally broke through to the playoffs, there really are not too many glaring needs on the team, other than upgrading some positions that do not stand out as “set” for 2017. One of those positions is cornerback, where the depth is thin. Humphrey can be an instant-impact player, while offering plenty of room for growth. The lengthy, fluid coverage man is on par with recent Alabama cornerback prospects such as Dee Milliner and Cyrus Jones, and quite frankly offers more upside as a defender than either of those former Crimson Tide standouts. Do not be shocked if Humphrey is a top-15 pick. -Kyle
25. Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I think the Texans could go a few ways here, but I also think they’re in a good position to take a quarterback. It’s no secret that Bill O’Brien isn’t real excited about Brock Osweiler, so having a shot at one of college football’s best passers is something he may not be able to pass up. I hear a lot of folks say that Watson throws too many interceptions or doesn’t have good ball placement, but Jameis Winston threw more interceptions and FAR fewer TD’s than Watson did the year before they entered the draft…and Winston went first overall. I think those critiques are completely overlooking Watson’s ability to make big plays in big games, keep his cool under pressure, and win games. -Paul
26. Seattle Seahawks – John Ross, WR, Washington
Ross seems like a clone of former/current Seahawks receivers such as Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and several others. Given that history in Seattle, it would make sense to keep the former Huskies standout in-state. The speedy, explosive Ross is undersized (5’11, 190 pounds) but packs a punch, and can easily make a living as a downfield threat. -Kyle
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Haasan Reddick, LB, Temple
I think Reddick’s best position will be as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 or as a SAM linebacker in a 4-3. He’s aggressive, he’s quick, and he’s got an unbelievable motor. If he were 3-4 inches taller, he’d probably be a Top-10 pick because he really got after QB’s last year, posting 9.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. He’s a tough competitor and I think he’d provide Kansas City with a lot of speed and athleticism in the middle of their defense. -Paul
28. Dallas Cowboys – David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Outside of the trio of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and Dez Bryant, the Cowboys offense is rather thin when it comes to impact players. Tight end Jason Witten is still a consistent receiver, but turns 35 in May. At wide receiver, Cole Beasley is arguably the next-best option after Bryant, meaning Prescott could use an upgrade of options. Enter Njoku, a prospect with as much upside as any other skill position player in the draft. The athletic, game-changing receiver has the talent to become one of the NFL’s best pass-catching tight ends. -Kyle
29. Green Bay Packers – Takkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA
When the Packers took Clay Matthews, a lot of folks didn’t really understand why. Matthews only had 9 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in his final college season. Green Bay was taking a chance on him because of his explosiveness and his motor. I see a lot of similar characteristics with Takkarist McKinley. He’s coming off a solid year with 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss, but it’s his explosiveness and “bendiness” that are going to get scouts excited. -Paul
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Steelers defense is getting younger by the year, and it would not hurt to continue that trend. While it’s already a well-rounded defense, one area that could use an upgrade is inside linebacker, where Lawrence Timmons is a free agent. Even if Timmons returns, pairing Davis – a well-built, quick, impactful force – with Ryan Shazier gives Pittsburgh a long-term duo to build around. -Kyle
31. Atlanta Falcons – Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
I don’t think it should surprise anyone to see Barnett drop this far. I don’t see a lot of the explosiveness and lateral movement that you typically see from top-tiered pass rushers coming out of college. I think Barnett is exclusively a hands-in-the-dirt DE, but I think his recognition and anticipation are pretty impressive. Plus, he’s only 20 and he’s 6’3″ 265-lbs. He has some decent pass-rushing moves and I think with good coaching he can get a lot better. Atlanta makes some sense for him. -Paul
32. New England Patriots – Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
This feels like a very Patriots-like pick. At 5’10, Lewis is surely to get knocked for his size, but his coverage ability is on par with some of the best cornerbacks in the draft, and the late first/early second range feels like a realistic sweet spot for his talent. The Patriots could capitalize on other teams passing on Lewis due to his size, and ultimately groom him into an impact defender. -Kyle