I promise you -- this will be the last 2017 NFL Mock Draft we highlight before December or January! Todd McShay of ESPN took his turn at a look one year into the future this past Thursday. Similar to Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft earlier in the week, McShay also has the Browns ending up with the No. 1 overall pick, leading to the selection of QB DeShaun Watson.
Kadar's other pick had the Browns, at No. 9, grabbing RB Leonard Fournette. In McShay's mock draft, Fournette is already off the board at No. 4 overall, and he has the Browns' second first round pick coming at No. 6 overall. McShay's draft order was determined by Football Outsiders' projected records for the 2016 season. In that slot, McShay has the Browns going with OLB Tim Williams of Alabama.
1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - We have limited information on Watson's intangibles, measurables and medical information, but by all accounts, he has outstanding personal and football character. While I still need to study his reads and true accuracy more, he has a good arm and flashes anticipation as a passer. Watson put up 40 points in the College Football Playoff National Championship against an Alabama defense that had four players drafted in the top 60 and has another three featured here.
6. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama - Browns fans will spend much of the 2016 season cheering against the Eagles, as they own Philly's first-round pick in 2017 as part of the Carson Wentz trade. Williams decided to return to school after racking up 10.5 sacks in 15 games as a junior. He wins with power, relentlessness and first-step quickness off the edge.
Paul Kruger has an $8.2 million cap hit next year, and it'd only cost $1.2 million to cut him. If the team isn't satisfied with Kruger's productivity and opt to let Barkevious Mingo walk as a free agent, there should be an opening at the outside linebacker position. Yes, technically Nate Orchard, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Carl Nassib could fill those roles, but some of them will be inter-twined at the defensive end position, and the team could make a decision to cut DE Desmond Bryant next year too ($8 million cap hit, $1 million to cut him).
Has anyone here seen Williams in action enough at Alabama to comment on how much of a fit he would be for the Browns?