The top-10 picks from Mel Kiper Jr.'s first NFL mock draft on ESPN.com.
On Thursday, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft for the 2017 NFL Draft class. Over the next few months, Kiper Jr., along with other draft evaluators, will update their lists and release new ones with the NFL Combine, Pro Days and private workouts on the horizon.
You can view Kiper Jr.'s full first-round mock here, and his early big board of prospects at this link. It's important to remember that in mocks experts pick based on fit and what they think a team may do, and not the overall prospect.
Here are five quick takeaways from Kiper Jr's first mock:
1. The Seahawks take Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley in the first-round.
Starting every game for the Tigers in 2016, Tankersley finished second in interceptions (four) and recorded 65 total tackles on 861 defensive snaps under head coach Dabo Swinney.
Here's what Kiper Jr. wrote about Tankersley in his mock:
*The Seahawks like big corners, and Tankersley (6-1, 190) fits their style as a guy who could hold up opposite Richard Sherman, and DeShawn Shead's knee injury opens up a spot. Tankersley had nine interceptions over his last two seasons and was a big part of the Tigers' success. Seattle will be in the market for offensive linemen, too, but I don't have much first-round talent available here at No. 26. There's still a long time until draft day, however. *
2. He believes this is a very strong defensive class.
"This is a strong draft at a variety of positions," Kiper Jr. said. "It's a strong defensive draft. There's a lot of depth and variety at spots in this draft."
Twenty-one of his mock selections in the first-round are on defense, broken down the following way: safeties (four), corners (six), linebackers (five) and defensive lineman (six).
3. Deshaun Watson could rise.
Watson led the Tigers to their first National Championship since 1981 earlier this month and shined on college football's biggest stage. After initially seeing him as a second-round player, Kiper Jr. said he wouldn't be surprised if Watson continued to move higher.
"Vince Young had that great bump from the National Championship game, he ended up going three," Kiper Jr. said. "I'm not going to say it's out of the question, that would be a quantum leap for me to go from the early to mid second to all the way to one, two or three. It's happened before, though, and I have him at 10, and if you have him at 10 in January, come late April, yeah, I guess he could be up that high."
4. Mike Williams is the first wide receiver off his board.
Watson's big target is headed to Tennessee in Kiper's first mock to provide Marcus Mariota a potential go-to No. 1 wideout. Williams is the first of two receivers to go in the first, with Kansas City taking Western Michigan's Corey Davis near the end of the first at No. 27.
"He fits the mold of what you see in this league now," Kiper Jr. said. "The big Julio Jones type of receivers, the Alshon Jeffery's. The guys that can go highpoint the ball and are a mismatch against smaller corners. I think you saw what he could do in the National Championship game, he was such a key element there. Throw it up and he'll go get it. He looked like a power forward, and that's what Williams can do."
5. Spots for other notable college stars:
Leonard Fournette: No. 8, Carolina Panthers
Dalvin Cook: No. 12, Cleveland Browns
Jabrill Peppers: No. 16, Baltimore Ravens
Malik Hooker: No. 17, Washington Redskins
Budda Baker: No. 25, Houston Texans
Christian McCaffrey: No. 29, Green Bay Packers