2017 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cleveland – Myles Garrett DE Garrett's feats of athleticism coupled with his good build will make this pick a lock regardless of whether or not Warren Sapp thinks he's lazy.
2. San Francisco – Solomon Thomas DE There are some people that are as excited about this pick as the one before it.
3. Chicago – Malik Hooker S We actually have no idea who this will be, and it almost certainly won't be a safety, but our head was spinning. What do you get the team that needs everything?
4. Jacksonville – Leonard Fournette RB In an ideal situation, this would be a strong offensive lineman draft class, but it's not so the Jags put the cart before the horse and draft an elite RB.
5. Tennessee – John Ross WR You can't teach speed. That's why Ross goes here.
6. New York Jets – Mitchell Trubisky QB Trubisky seems like the kind of eventual bust the Jets are fond of selecting.
7. San Diego – O.J. Howard TE Gates is getting old. Let him spend his twilight teaching the new kid how to become a Pro Bowl tight end.
8. Carolina – Dalvin Cook RB They need a RB and the best one is gone, but Cook's a heck of a consolation prize and could end up being the best of the bunch.
9. Cincinnati – Jonathan Allen DL We have him falling further than most people due to shoulder concerns, but what if you paired him with that Bengals interior line? Interesting…
10. Buffalo – Jamal Adams S Poor Jamal Adams… in this draft he'll be spending some cold months in snowy Buffalo as their box safety.
11. New Orleans – Mike Williams WR Now that Colston is gone, the ageless Drew Brees needs a big body with jumping ability to throw the ball to.
12. Cleveland – Deshone Kizer QB There has been talk about him being the best QB, but the same can be said of the top 3 QBs available.
13. Arizona – Deshaun Watson QB Carson Palmer and his top receiving threat are both over the hill. Time for a new man under center.
14. Philadelphia – Corey Davis WR Kinda' sounds like an Eagle doesn't he?
15. Indianapolis – Reuben Foster LB Despite his issues at the combine, the Colts need a guy like this.
16. Baltimore – David Njoku TE The top 2 TEs could be really good. Baltimore would do well to grab Njoku if he's here.
17. Washington – Cam Robinson OT With a guy that slings the ball around for 5,000 yards a year, you've got to protect him.
18. Tennessee – Charles Harris OLB Honestly, no idea who Charles Harris is, but a lot of people seem to like him in this spot. Congratulations, Charles.
19. Tampa Bay – Christian McCaffrey RB With the top 2 RBs off the board early, teams scramble to get the last “sure thing” and take McCaffrey.
20. Denver – Ryan Ramczyk OT This guy has tremendous talent and technique. Just kidding, never heard of him. Hope he's good though.
21. Detroit – Taco Charlton DE Saw this guy play in person and love everything about him, plus the marketing opportunities are endless. Good thing his parents didn't name him “Me gusta comida Mexicana”.
22. Miami – Forrest Lamp OG The highest rated guard from the lowly Western Kentucky Hilltoppers goes to the Dolphins.
23. New York Giants – Garett Bolles OT Congratulations to the Giants for drafting this far in the draft. Your reward… this guy.
24. Oakland – Haason Reddick LB – Oakland's putting together quite a little team. It would be nice to pair this guy with Mack for a sack attack that puts QBs on their back.
25. Houston – Patrick Mahomes QB – The Texans haven't had a QB since Matt Schaub. They need one.
26. Seattle – Tre'Davious White CB – The Seahawks have never been an offense first kind of team. Looks like the defense will continue to get good players here.
27. Kansas City – Chidobe Awuzie CB – The real reason we slotted him here is because his name reminded us of Tamba Hali and decided they need another guy with a cool name.
28. Dallas – Quincy Wilson CB – Could this be the year the Cowboys take a decent cover corner?
29. Green Bay – T.J. Watt OLB – If Watt added some weight to his frame, he may be worthy to wield Mjolnir….. we mean worthy of the name Watt.
30. Pittsburgh – Jarrad Davis LB – No Lawrence Timmons means the Steelers begin rebuilding at linebacker.
31. Atlanta – Adoree' Jackson CB – The Bellville, IL native goes to the Falcons who have historically loved athletic corners.
32. New Orleans – Takkarist McKinley DE – Not sure he'll fall this far, but the Saints would have to be stoked. Teach the guy some technique and he's off to the races!
The Rise of Social Commerce (s-Commerce)
We've seen companies like Amazon and Facebook transition from a laser-focused CD and movie source and social media network respectively, into multi-faceted money making machines. Amazon has positioned itself as THE online marketplace in the United States and has diversified into other web services like hosting and marketing as well as developing its own distribution infrastructure to the point that it can rival virtually any logistics company and it has its sights set on grocers too.
Meanwhile, Facebook has gone from cool collegiate exclusivity to the most ubiquitous social channel in the world. Recently, Facebook revealed that it would amplify its existing e-commerce ads to account for showcase shopping ads. Just like Google, Facebook is taking advantage of their online resources to help advertisers push more merchandise just in time for holiday shopping. The new ad format allows advertisers to display one main picture with several product images that would, ostensibly, have their own unique landing pages. This gives the potential consumer a broader understanding of what the retailer may be selling and what's specially priced.
Pandora's box is open and there's no going back. Linking a bank account to everyone's personal Facebook page isn't far off and this may raise security concerns all over the world, but for now, social media will undoubtedly see a rise in sell-through, especially with reasonably priced impulse buys. It will continue to command an ever-increasing amount of your advertising budget as their ads evolve in terms of what can be done with them creatively and who can be targeted strategically. Currently, only a few heavy hitters are testing out the new format, but look for a wider roll-out soon with other companies following suit in 2017. Admittedly, I laughed derisively when some people claimed that Facebook was coming for Google. Well, it appears that not only do they want to compete with Google, but with Amazon and Alibaba as well. What's more is that they seem to have the golden touch right now and I wouldn't put anything past them.
Mobile Evolution: The Rise Of The Pocket Economy
At the turn of the millennium, the internet changed the way companies in general did business. The dawn of the digital age brought many companies to their collective knees, creating a life-or-death scenario for those who were slow to take the on-ramp to the Information Superhighway and completely reshaping entire industries. There was a mass extinction of many brick and mortar businesses, seismic shifts in how music & television is produced and consumed (ask a millennial what the last CD they bought was, and you're apt to get a puzzled look) and a vast frontier of new and emerging business opportunities in fields that were being created in response to these new and exciting technologies.
The rate at which new technology has been introduced to the masses has historically outpaced the rate at which companies can utilize it.
Here we are in 2016, standing at the precipice of another big shift in “tech-tonic” trends and this time, more businesses are preparing to go to war. The weapon of choice will be the most advanced way to target the masses while still finding ways to target individuals across demographics: mobile advertising.
It’s forecasted that by 2020, mobile advertising will account for nearly 75% of all digital ad spends. While desktop ads still get their share of the current digital spend, the rate at which companies have been shifting gears to focus more on mobile advertising has grown to the point where 2016 should be the year that mobile surpasses desktop, and once that happens, there will be no looking back.
The Golden Apple
AT&T will no longer be a part of the 30 companies counted toward the calculation of the Index. This comes on the heels of a 7-1 stock split by Apple, which lowered the price/share to a much more reasonable $125. Apple is one of, if not THE most valuable company out there and it will no doubt rev up the DOW engine, and potentially bloat the index initially. I can't help but be excited even though I know the metrics will be somewhat skewed initially. This is an exciting time as numbers in most major indexes are seeing record numbers. Some will say that this is a bubble nearing an explosion, but on the other side of that spatial model, they will tell you that the DOW could approach 23,000 within a year or two. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle. Whatever the case may be, I look forward to what is to come of it.
Mobilizing Marketing: The Shift to Mobile Ads
Clearly, mobile ads are the future. Like, the very near future. Maybe by 3:30 today. Utilizing mobile advertising potential to its maximum involves real-time marketing savvy and ubiquitous access to the demos that you are trying to reach. Mobile advertising allows for both. Whether its through social media or direct email/text, companies can use mobile ads to get their products and their brand literally in the hands of consumers.
Technology trends are pointing towards wearables and modular applications. My 5 year-old has a tablet. So does my 93 year-old great-grandmother. Opposite ends of the age demo but digitally connected to the world in the same way. The way that companies market themselves as a whole is going to continue to see a fundamental shift towards mobile due to media itself going that way. As the younger generations age, the way they consume media will continue to evolve to be more accessible to fit their lifestyles.
As consumers continue to cut ties with traditional cable/satellite operators and leave the desktop computer behind in favor of tablets and smartphones, the ability for brands to reach consumers through these methods wanes as well.
Watching shows on the train to work. In the car on a road trip. Riding the bus to school. In the cart on the 13th tee. It's not what is soon to be happening. It's what's already happening. And although the willingness to spend on mobile content is there for those companies that want to stay trendsetters in brand awareness, there are still many companies slow to the party when it comes to mobile marketing.