25. Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson (Quarterback, Clemson)
Houston had another forgettable season at the quarterback position after signing Brock Osweiler to a big free agent contract which blew up in their faces. Osweiler was traded to Cleveland during this offseason leaving Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden as the remaining quarterbacks on the roster. Bill O’Brien has been searching for a young quarterback to build with since being named Texans head coach. Deshaun Watson at pick 25 serves as a foundation piece with which O’Brien and staff can get behind for the future. The entire nation saw the type of player Watson is in the past two national title games against Alabama. He had a down year during the regular season in comparison to 2015, but played his best when the lights were the brightest. Watson has the size, mobility, accuracy, and arm strength to succeed as an NFL starter. Questions linger concerning his ability to transition from the spread attack he ran while at Clemson to a traditional pro-style offense. Field vision and decision making are two other areas of concern attached to Watson leading into the draft. In a pro-style set, Watson does have the mobility and accuracy throwing on the run to be efficient on bootlegs. Tom Savage could start during Watson’s rookie year until he is ready to take the reins for good.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Garett Bolles (Tackle, Utah)
Tom Cable had one of his toughest challenges as an NFL assistant coach last season transforming the Seahawks offensive line into a semi-respectable group by season’s end. Scanning over the depth chart still leaves a lot to be desired in regards to the starters and depth along the line for Seattle. Former first-round pick, Luke Joeckel, was signed during free agency adding another uncertain name into the mix. Garett Bolles from Utah is an interesting prospect in that he only played one year at the FBS level. Scouts marvel at the athleticism for Bolles, but the project label most certainly fits the former Utah Ute. Bolles is the type of player that Cable seemingly works with each season since coaching the Seahawks offensive line. Former basketball player, George Fant, wound up starting at left tackle for the Seahawks during much of the 2016 season. Bolles will need to get stronger and show an improved ability to sustain his blocks against powerful defensive linemen or his athleticism won’t make any difference. The lack of talent and depth along the Seattle line could force Bolles into action earlier than anticipated during his rookie season.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes (Quarterback, Texas Tech)
Andy Reid demonstrated previously he is not afraid to take a quarterback early in the draft when it appears a veteran such as Alex Smith has a strong hold on the position. The Chiefs are one of the better teams in the AFC, however in reality Alex Smith is only taking you so far in the playoffs at this stage of his career. Kansas City will see significant cap savings this season as well as next season if they decide to move on from Smith which many expect will happen in 2018 rather than 2017. Mahomes would serve as the backup to Smith this season, and hopefully be ready to take over the team in 2018. He has the size of a prototypical NFL quarterback standing at 6 foot 2, and also has the ability to generate big plays with his arm. That being said his decision making and improvisation will drive his head coach crazy early on until he learns to really protect the ball. It would be a drastic shift from Alex Smith who seemingly never takes risk, and is more than willing to check the football down. Mahomes played in the pass happy Texas Tech offense which will be a transition to the West Coast offense run by Big Red. His rookie year studying behind Smith should do wonders for Mahomes.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Charles Harris (Defensive End, Missouri)
It’s no secret the Dallas defense has struggled to generate a pass rush from their front four despite securing the number one seed in the NFC last season. Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory have been disappointments for various reasons as higher draft picks by the front office in recent seasons. The Cowboys need help at cornerback as well, but with the depth of this corner class I envision Jerry Jones addressing that need later in the weekend. Rod Marinelli is well regarded with his ability to develop defensive linemen who may not be highly regarded across the league. Charles Harris from Missouri plays with that type of energy that Marinelli looks for in his players along with some pass rushing skills to boot. Harris had decreased numbers in 2016 due to a defensive scheme change and overall team struggles. In 2015, he led the SEC in tackles for loss and recorded seven sacks too. He tends to struggle against the run while also being overmatched by bigger tackles which could be an issue at the next level. His hands can be used as a better weapon according to scouts to help him complete his pass rushing repertoire. Harris has the opportunity to crack the starting lineup early on for Dallas based on the current depth chart.