New coaching staff should benefit Bush and Forte tandem

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New coaching staff should benefit Bush and Forte tandem

CSN Chicago's 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0

CSN Chicago's 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0

With most of the heavy lifting already done in free agency, we look ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft as 31 teams try to build a roster that will compete with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

It's early in the process with the draft still a month away, so expect some change in each mock draft we unveil.

So without further adieu, check out CSN's 2017 NFL Mock Draft version 2.0:

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett (EDGE), Texas A&M

The Browns don't need to make this rocket science. Garrett is arguably the best defensive lineman to come out of college since Julius Peppers. There shouldn't be any drama at No. 1 this year.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas (DL), Stanford

Thomas' stock has risen more than any other prospect since the NFL Combine and it appears to be a real possibility he will hear his name called at No. 2. Thomas fulfills a major need on the edge for the 49ers and would become a foundation piece on their front-seven alongside last year's first-rounder DeForest Buckner.

3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams (S), LSU

Bears GM Ryan Pace has put the team in a position to draft the best available player at No. 3. While quarterback could still be in play here, I expect the Bears to look on the defensive side of the ball after giving Mike Glennon $18.5 million in guaranteed money. If it weren't for Jonathan Allen's shoulder issues — I can't see Pace taking a flyer on another player with medical red flags after seeing what's happened with former first-rounder Kevin White — he would probably be the pick here. Adams can play either strong or free safety, and would provide immediate stability by becoming the field general the Bears have been lacking in the secondary since the days of Mike Brown. 

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette (RB), LSU

After handing out blank checks to defensive studs Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye this offseason, it's time for the Jaguars to add some talent to their backfield. Fournette's unparalleled size/speed combo make him a once-in-a-generation talent at the running back position. 

5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore (CB), Ohio State

I was tempted to give Marcus Mariota another weapon in the passing game, but pairing Lattimore with free-agent addition Logan Ryan would give the Titans one of the best cornerback duos in the AFC. 

6. New York Jets: O.J. Howard (TE), Alabama

Outside of defensive line, the Jets have needs pretty much everywhere on the field. Howard is a Top 5 talent and would be a nice security blanket for whoever plays quarterback for the Jets in 2017.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker (S), Ohio State

Last year's first-round Buckeye (Joey Bosa) worked out quite well for the Chargers so why not go that same route? Hooker would join Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward in an already-dangerous Los Angeles secondary.

[RELATED: Complete 2017 NFL Draft coverage]

8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen (DL), Alabama

The Panthers don't have a glaring need on the defensive line, but if a talent like Allen is still on the board at the bottom of the Top 10, the Panthers would rush to the podium to call his name.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster (LB), Alabama

The Bengals could use a replacement for recently-released inside linebacker Rey Maualuga and Foster has the chops to step in and start Week 1.

10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams (WR), Clemson

With Tyrod Taylor back in the fold, the Bills need to find playmakers to put around him. Pairing Williams with Sammy Watkins would give Buffalo a formidable pair if both players could put their injury history behind them.

11. New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett (EDGE), Tennessee

Barnett has been one of college football's premier edge rushers over the years with 33 sacks during his time at Tennessee. A tandem of Cam Jordan and Barnett would be troublesome for opposing offensive lineman.

12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky (QB), North Carolina

After securing Garrett, the Browns are in an excellent position to find their long-term answer at quarterback with their second first-round selection. Trubsiky only started one year at North Carolina, but he has the skillset that NFL GMs salivate over. 

13. Arizona Cardinals: Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson

At some point the Cardinals need to find a successor to Carson Palmer who appears close to the end of his NFL career. Watson's leadership skills would mesh well with a head coach like Bruce Arians and a veteran-laden locker room in Arizona. 

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Gareon Conley (CB), Ohio State

The Eagles have a pressing need at cornerback and in a division with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant, the birds need to find a corner who could slow down opposing No. 1 wideouts.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Taco Charlton (EDGE), Michigan

The Colts added John Simon and Jabaal Sheard this offseason, but neither player is going to put much of a scare into opposing offensive coordinators. Charlton's pass-rushing skills and athleticism would provide a major boost to the Colts' front seven.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan

The Ravens have talent at the wide receiver position, but they're lacking a true top-flight No. 1 wideout. Davis' physical style of play has drawn comparisons to Brandon Marshall, and he should be able to contribute right away after starting all four years at Western Michigan.

17. Washington Redskins: Haason Reddick (LB), Temple

On the surface, Reddick looks like an inside linebacker at just 6-foot-1, but the former Temple star created havoc in the backfield with 17.5 sacks and 47 tackles for a loss during his college career. The Redskins defense could use a linebacker such as Reddick's who could play all over the field.

18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross (WR) Washington

The Titans have failed at bringing in a No. 1 wide receiver thus far in the offseason, and while Ross isn't your prototypical No. 1, he's a big-play talent who is capable of scoring anytime he touches the ball. Ross would thrive in the Titans offense with quarterback Marcus Mariota slinging the rock.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State

The Buccaneers have a pressing need at running back and Cook's explosiveness and familiarity with quarterback Jameis Winston (the duo played together at Florida State in 2014), make this a made made in heaven.

20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles (OT), Utah

It's no secret the Broncos need help at offensive tackle, and Bolles is arguably the most talented lineman in the 2017 NFL Draft.

21. Detroit Lions: Takkarist McKinley (EDGE) UCLA

After an injury-plagued season season from Ezekiel Ansah, the Lions are seeking help on the edge. If not for a shoulder surgery following the Combine, McKinley would likely be a Top 15 selection.

22. Miami Dolphins: David Njoku (TE), Miami

The Dolphins traded for Julius Thomas earlier this offseason, but no team should count on a player who hasn't played more than 12 games in a season since 2014. Njoku has the talent to become one of the league's top tight ends very early in his career.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]

23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk (OL), Wisconsin

It would be a shock to see the Giants go any route other than offensive line when their first pick rolls around in late April. Ramczyk could play on either the right or left side, and would provide stability in front of quarterback Eli Manning.

24. Oakland Raiders: Malik McDowell (DL), Michigan State

The Raiders need to address their defensive line with either a Day 1 or 2 pick and McDowell, when motivated, has the talent to dominate for 60 minutes. 

25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes (QB), Texas Tech

I'll be shocked if the Texans go into the season with just Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden in their quarterback cupboard. After whiffing on Brock Osweiler last offseason, Houston needs to find an answer at the position. While he's raw, Mahomes possesses the strongest arm in the current draft class. If head coach Bill O'Brien can get back to his quarterback whispering ways, Mahomes would be an ideal fit for the Texans.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Quincy Wilson (CB), Florida

The Legion of Boom has turned into more like the Legion of Swoon as of late. The Seahawks need to find another shutdown corner, and Wilson's length and physicality fit the mold of the type of corner Pete Carroll likes in his secondary. 

27. Kansas City Chiefs: DeShone Kizer (QB), Notre Dame

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid needs to look to the future with starting quarterback Alex Smith turning 33 later this spring. Kizer has the look of a prototypical quarterback and possesses the physical tools to succeed at the next level. The Chiefs would be a perfect landing spot for Kizer who would be best suited to sit for a year behind Smith.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre'davious White (CB), LSU

It would behoove the Cowboys to address their leaky secondary with an early pick in this year's draft. White has the athleticism and instincts to turn into a No. 1 corner over time, and should be able to contribute in the slot during his rookie season.

29. Green Bay Packers: Christian McCaffrey (RB), Stanford

Just what Aaron Rodgers needs: another dangerous weapon who can line up in the backfield or in the slot and become a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. McCaffery is dynamite in the open field and brings the type of versatility that Packers GM Ted Thompson craves.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris (EDGE), Missouri

The Steelers had the second-lowest sack total (21) in the NFL last season and their best pass rusher will be turning 39 in May. Harris could contribute early in his career as a situational pass rush specialist and would be a nice addition to 2015 first-round pick Bud Dupree.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Forrest Lamp (OG), Western Kentucky

Lamp, a four-year starter at left tackle, is projected as a guard at the next level. Lamp could start in place of Chris Chester, giving the Falcons a lethal offensive line for their already-dangerous ground attack.

32. New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey (CB), Alabama

The Saints have been trying to land restricted free agent corner Malcolm Butler from the Patriots and if they're unable to do so, expect them to target a corner with one of their first round selections. Humphrey was inconsistent at Alabama, but has all the physical tools coaches look for at the cornerback position.

How Justin Grimm could be X-factor in Cubs bullpen

How Justin Grimm could be X-factor in Cubs bullpen

Justin Grimm doesn't care what role he's in anymore, a sign of growth from the past few years when he still held out hope of getting a chance to become a starter again or a more glamorous late-inning role if he had to be in the Cubs bullpen.
 
Grimm is now just focused on taking that next step forward, however he can.
 
"I know my talent. I know what I'm capable of doing," Grimm said. "I'm in a really good spot this spring mentally, physically. I feel good and that's all I'm concerned with right now.
 
"Just being ready to go April 1. Whatever's asked of me, not getting caught up in, 'Aw man, I don't have this role.' I really think that's hurt me in the past. And I think that's why you see me probably excel in games that are tight, because I embrace that. You know they're confident in you to come in, shut it down, whatever it may be."
 
Grimm is focused on consistency, eyeing a full season of dominance instead of flashes that last a month or two at a time.
 
From June 27 through Sept. 13 last season, Grimm gave up just one run in 22.2 innings, striking out 30 batters while allowing only 20 baserunners. Yet even with that spectacular run, Grimm's season ERA was still 4.10 after a bad June overall (10.38 ERA) and five earned runs allowed in his last five appearances.
 
Grimm acknowledges that step forward has to come from between his ears. The talent and stuff is there, as evidenced by his 132 strikeouts in 102.1 innings the last two seasons — a mark that ranks him 12th in baseball in that span (among pitchers with at least 100 innings), just behind dominant relievers like Cody Allen, Ken Giles and Shawn Kelley.
 
"It's just a mental confidence thing," Grimm said. "It's not even necessarily getting caught up in [the role]. You come into a seven-run game, you get a little comfortable.
 
"It's finding ways not to do that. Like, 'OK, well it's 0-0 right now, even though we're winning by eight.' And I feel like that's going to happen a lot this year because we got an offense that's going to put up a lot of runs.
 
"How to handle that and stay locked in, I think it's just having a chip on my shoulder. All the guys are getting all the talk and I like it that way. I'm just in the shadows, doing my job and staying locked in. And I think it's going to help out a lot."
 
Grimm’s self-awareness is on point: With a bullpen that added Wade Davis and Koji Uehara to a group that already included Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr., Grimm is something of a forgotten man.

[PODCAST: The evolution of the Cubs bullpen]
 
Only Rondon and Strop have predated Grimm in the Cubs bullpen and the 28-year-old right-hander has posted a 3.29 ERA across 213 appearances over the last four seasons. This year figures to be more of the same, settling into that "mid-innings closer" role Joe Maddon talked up last year with Grimm and Travis Wood.
 
"He fits in everywhere. Probably earlier in the game, he'll be a great bridge guy," Maddon said. "I've always liked the middle-innings closers. They're the kind of guys that help win games.
 
"All our guys are capable to pitch at almost any time. There's going to be some guys that are probably relegated more to earlier in the game and [Grimm] probably will be one of them, unless we get on a nice roll and everybody's a little bit overused.
 
"But I'm here to tell you, man, when he's throwing the ball right, he can get anybody out and he's very good against lefties."
 
When the Cubs sent Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Davis over the winter, Grimm was immediately drawn to baseball's ERA leader over the last three seasons. In Davis, Grimm sees a guy who's gone through the starter-to-reliever transition and morphed into one of the top arms in the game. Grimm spent a lot of time around Davis this spring, grabbing the veteran to break down Grimm's game in the video room.
 
"I just looked at him like, 'Wade, it's there. I just gotta find a way to consistently do that for six months, not five months, and have one month where I implode,'" Grimm said.
 
"He's been there. He knows. I look to learn a lot this year from him. It's cool to have a guy like that around. I was saying two years ago when Kansas City came to Wrigley, I would just love to sit down and talk with that guy. When we [traded for] him, I was pumped. 
 
"It's time to learn something from him. Everybody's different, so you can't really try to be like that guy, per se. You just gotta find little things that might work for you, that might change a little bit and help you out. That was the majority of our convo. I literally felt like I was reliving my career listening to him. It was pretty cool."
 
Now it's just a matter of carrying it all over into the games that matter.
 
"I'm not worried about what the hell my role's gonna be," Grimm said. "It's here; it's right now. I know what I'm capable of doing. It's just as much as anybody in this room."