Take the expert analyses and throw them in the trash, because no one saw that coming.
The 2017 NFL Draft had a lot of surprises including all first-round quarterbacks and wide receivers taken within the first 12 picks of the draft.
The NFL is impossible to predict, but let’s try to anyway.
The Packers traded back to the No. 33 pick overall and still managed to pick a first-round prospect in Kevin King. King has prototypical size and length that teams want in a cornerback, but still has his best football ahead of him. His ball skills, press ability and loose hips are all traits that translate very well at the next level. At No. 61, the Packers chose safety Josh Jones out of NC State in the second round. I didn’t love the pick because I thought there were other players still on the board that could’ve helped Green Bay, but Jones helps ease the pain of losing former safety Micah Hyde. Jones’ size, physicality and versatility can thrive in Green Bay’s secondary. I loved the pick of Montravius Adams (DT) in the third round. His tremendous size and strength will help stuff the run on defense. He’s also an underrated pass-rusher for someone who is labeled a 1-technique tackle.
In the rarest of circumstances, the Browns picked three outstanding talents out of the first round. Myles Garrett (DE) is the most talented prospect in the draft, with one of the highest ceilings. Jabrill Peppers (S) is an explosive athlete who can play positions on either side of the ball – just put him on the field and watch his produce. David Njoku is an athletic freak with 6 percent body fat, good hands and a prototypical body for a tight end. Coming into the draft, the Browns needed stability at quarterback, but they picked the wrong one. I don’t agree with the selection of DeShone Kizer. Sitting behind a veteran quarterback like Drew Brees, Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger would’ve been a more ideal situation for the former Notre Dame quarterback. Howard Wilson in the fourth is a solid pick, but Caleb Brantley (DT) in the sixth round is an absolute steal. For all the slack the Cleveland Browns got in previous drafts, they did exceptionally well in this one.
Defensive end Jonathan Allen fell to No. 17 in the first round, which was great for the Redskins. But Ryan Anderson (second round), Fabian Moreau (third round), Samaje Perine (fourth round) and Jeremy Sprinkle (fifth round) are all terrific value picks. The Redskins didn’t reach at any point in the draft, selecting a player who can contribute right away in each round. There aren’t many teams who had a better draft than Washington did.
If there’s one team who gives second chances to controversial athletes, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals. Adam Jones, Vontaze Burfict and many others saw their careers flourish in Cincinnati after having off-the-field issues. After selecting explosive receiver John Ross, the Bengals chose controversial running back, Joe Mixon. Coach Marvin Lewis has created an infrastructure that has been a proven success, and Mixon can thrive in that environment. With Mixon, Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill, it looks like one running backs may be out of a job. Highly coveted edge rushers, Jordan Willis (third round) and Carl Lawson (fourth round) are tremendous values. Excellent draft for Cincinnati.
Anytime a team selects a top five pick who falls to No. 11, they’ve done very well. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore has hamstring concerns, and he’s inexperienced, but he’s an elite talent that has more upside than Jalen Ramsey – last year’s first cornerback taken. Ryan Ramczyk (OT) at No. 32 and Marcus Williams (S) at No. 42 are both great picks, but Alvin Kamara (RB) will be lethal in the Saints’ offense. These four big-time talents are players who can contribute right away, but Alex Anzalone (LB) may be a diamond in the rough if he can stay healthy. New Orleans had the best draft out of any team.
For Chicago to pay quarterback Mike Glennon a big contract and then give up a hefty draft price to move up a mere spot for another quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, is baffling. Trubisky is a talented quarterback, but he’s only been a starter for one year in college. He’s raw, and he needs to improve his progression reads to see the field better. In any other draft, he wouldn’t be a first-round pick. Yet, here we are seeing the Bears mortgage part of their future for an inexperienced quarterback at No. 2 overall. Tight end was a need, but Adam Shaheen was a reach at No. 45 overall. There were other tight ends they could’ve selected in the second round or later in the draft. They needed a safety and chose Eddie Jackson, who is coming off a serious injury and wasn’t physical to begin with. I felt there was better value to be had in the early fourth round. Chicago seemed to panic with some of their picks.
Los Angeles Rams
Another odd draft for the Los Angeles Rams. The Gerald Everett (TE) pick was understandable, but I would’ve liked to see the Rams choose Quincy Wilson (CB), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR), or Zach Cunningham (LB) for better value. Cooper Kupp is a talented receiver who is one of the best route runners in the draft, but he lacks speed and explosion. Taywan Taylor, ArDarius Stewart, Carlos Henderson and Chris Godwin are receivers that could’ve benefited Jared Goff more. Josh Johnson (S) and Josh Reynolds (WR) were good additions, but the Rams failed to impress overall.
The New York Giants drafted most of their needs, but made questionable decisions. To select tight end Evan Engram over David Njoku was surprising, but drafting Davis Webb in the third round was shocking. There’s a lot to like about Davis Webb, but he came off of an underwhelming year and from a historically unsuccessful Air Raid offense. Many Giants fans didn’t envision Eli Manning passing the metaphorical torch to Davis Webb as the next great quarterback for New York. Spending a first-round pick on a polished quarterback to step in for Eli Manning the way the Colts did for his brother, Peyton, seems like a more appropriate script to follow. Wayne Gallman adds some downhill power-running, but isn’t the answer as a long-term feature back.
The Oakland Raiders took a huge risk by drafting a cornerback who is in serious legal trouble off the field. Taking Gareon Conley at No. 24 is a risk that could cost general manager Reggie McKenzie his job if it doesn’t pay off. In fact, other than picking Obi Melifonwu (S) in the second round, there were questionable decisions for every pick the Raiders made. Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes looked slow and sloppy all year for UCLA. David Sharpe (OT) and Marquel Lee (LB) weren’t bad picks, but there were more valuable picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. They missed on Kendell Beckwith (LB), Montravius Adams (DT), Jaleel Johnson (DT), Ryan Glasgow (DT), Carlos Watkins (DT) and Matt Milano (LB), among others.
The Tennessee Titans made two head-scratching decisions on their first-round picks. They needed a wide receiver and a cornerback, and they got both. But selecting Corey Davis (WR) at No. 5 with Marshon Lattimore (CB) and Mike Williams (WR) still there was dumbfounding. The Titans chose a receiver from the Mid-American Conference that they weren’t even able to work out due to an ankle injury. After reaching for Davis, Tennessee reached for Adoree’ Jackson (CB) who wasn’t guaranteed to be a first-round pick. Jackson is explosive and entertaining, but he got roasted on film too many times to be selected at No. 18 overall. He’s a developmental corner who needs a lot of work, and there were other corners with better tape still available. The Titans had multiple draft picks to improve their team, but significantly reached on players. An overwhelming first-round panic caused an underwhelming draft performance by Tennessee.