Several defensive linemen from the Big Ten could end up in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Iowa defensive end Jaleel Johnson isn’t likely to be one of them, but ESPN draft expert Todd McShay is a big fan.
McShay released his Mock Draft 3.0 on Wednesday morning for the 2017 NFL Draft. It has six Big Ten players in the first round but only two in the top 22 selections.
When McShay was discussing other defensive linemen outside his first-round projection during a teleconference he had some serious praise for Johnson.
“I think Jaleel Johnson could be one of the more underrated guys in this draft,” McShay said. “He’s probably going to be a second- or third-round pick. He has an explosiveness. He became more consistent coming out of Iowa this year and really played well.”
Johnson had 55 tackles and 7.5 sacks for the Hawkeyes last season. McShay also mentioned Michigan’s Chris Wormley and Auburn’s Montravius Adams as players to watch for after the first round at the position.
McShay had Ohio State defensive backs Marshon Lattimore (Jets) and Malik Hooker (Chargers) at Nos. 6 and 7. A third Buckeyes defensive back, Gareon Conley, checks in at No. 29 (Packers).
Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk is 23rd (Giants). Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell is 26th (Seahawks). McDowell is one of the wild cards from the conference because there were questions about his off-field performance at the NFL combine.
That means there is only one other Big Ten player in McShay’s mock draft, and it’s not Michigan do-it-all star Jabrill Peppers. It is his teammate, defensive end Taco Charlton, who is at No. 28 (Cowboys).
McShay explained why he thinks Peppers is more of a second-round prospect.
The 2017 NFL Draft is April 27-29 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Cleveland Browns have the No. 1 pick, which is projected by most experts to be Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
Other Big Ten players who could be selected in the first round besides Peppers include Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt and Indiana guard Dan Feeney, who is projected as the No. 37 pick (Rams) in the most recent mock draft at WalterFootball.com.