2017 NFL Draft – First Round Review

2017 NFL Draft First Round Recap
by Mike M, NFL/NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

With the 2017 NFL Draft weekend having recently ended, here is a quick rundown of each of the first round of picks.

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett (DE, Texas A&M) – Despite late rumors that the team’s management and coaching staff were internally split on whether to draft the best player available in Garrett or to roll the dice on a quarterback and possibly take Mitch Trubiksy, the Browns went ahead and did the smart thing and took Garrett and left the Bears to make biggest mistake of this year’s draft and arguably one of the worst and most unnecessary trades in draft history.

RANDOM FACT – The Browns had drafted three quarterbacks in the first round over the past ten years, Brady Quinn (2007), Brandon Weeden (2012) and Johnny Manziel (2014).

2. Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky (QB, UNC) – Despite having just invested 48 million dollars in Mike Glennon, the Bears decided to outbid themselves (it has come out since that no other team was attempting to trade up for the 49ers pick) and gave up two 3rd round picks and a 5th rounder to move up ONE spot to switch picks with San Francisco to take the Tar Heel quarterback who was only good enough to start for one season of his college career, which ended with a tolerable 8-5 record and losses in three of his last four games.

RANDOM FACT – Since 1971 a quarterback has been selected with the 1st overall pick 21 times. Only twice has one of those quarterbacks gone on to win a Super Bowl on the team that drafted him; Troy Aikman for Dallas (1989 draft) and Drew Bledsoe for New England (1993 draft).

3. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford) – After swapping picks with Chicago, the 49ers went ahead and took the player many thought was the second-best player in the draft, Solomon Thomas. Much like the Browns, the 49ers certainly have a hole at quarterback, but they also have plenty of other needs and drafting a player of Thomas’ caliber and gaining extra picks in the process was a great first move by rookie GM and former hard-hitting safety John Lynch.

RANDOM FACT – Since Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers, the team has gone 7-25 over the past two seasons, finishing consistently terrible in each with matching 1-7 road records and nine games per year lost by double-digits.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU) – The bruising running back may not have had the best combine, but considering the dominance he showed on the field for LSU, the Jaguars went ahead and made Fournette the 4th pick and have high hopes that he can attempt to mirror the rookie season had by last year’s 4th pick and runner-up for rookie of the year, Ezekiel Elliot.

RANDOM FACT – This was the 5th year in a row that Jacksonville has had a top five pick and 10th year in a row that they had a top ten pick.

5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan) – Despite being the all-time leader in FBS college football history in receiving yards and the Titans needing a receiver threat to go with Marcus Mariotta to improve on Tennessee’s 25th ranked passing game, this still appeared to be a reach considering Davis played in the abysmal MAC conference, had a continuous issue with drops throughout his career, and as bad as their offense was, the Titans passing defense ranked 30th in the NFL and there was ample defensive back talent available.

RANDOM FACT – This was the first draft to see three wide receivers go in the top ten since 2001(Larry Fitzgerald, Roy Williams and Reggie Williams).


6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams (S, LSU) – Since disastrously drafting Mark Sanchez in 2009 with the 5th pick in the draft, the Jets have now drafted a defensive player with their first pick in the past 8 years in a row. With teams reaching for offense early, the Jets get a steal with Adams at the sixth spot, much like in 2015 when Leonard Williams from USC dropped to them in the same spot.

RANDOM FACT – It has been a combined 91 seasons since the Jets or Knicks have won a championship.

7. San Diego Chargers: Mike Williams (WR, Clemson) – The most proven player at his position in the draft when it comes to performing on the big stage, the Chargers get a big upgrade at the position, which is incredibly necessary for their Philip Rivers led offense considering Keenen Allen’s recent issues staying healthy and on the field.

RANDOM FACT- In being selected 7th by the Chargers, the Tiger wide receiver became the tenth player in NFL history named Mike Williams to be drafted, and third with same moniker to have been picked in the top ten after the offensive lineman from Texas picked 4th by Buffalo in 2002 and the wide receiver from USC picked 10th by Detroit in 2005.

8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford) – The Panthers may have finished in the top ten in rushing yards per game, but with their backfield currently headed by veteran Jonathan Stewart who will be entering his tenth NFL season and only surpassed 100 yards in one game last season, they decided to go with do-everything Christian McCaffrey, who should be able to contribute out of the backfield as both a runner and receiver while also as a returner on special teams.

RANDOM FACT – In the five drafts between 1996-2000, multiple running backs were picked in the top 10 four separate times (1996 Lawrence Phillips, Tim Biakabutka, 1998 Curtis Enis, Fred Taylor, 1999 Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, 2000 Jamal Lewis, Thomas Jones). In the past sixteen drafts from 2001-2016, it only happened once, which was in the 2005 when Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson and Cadillac Williams all went in the top five.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross (WR, Washington) – The Bengals kept the streak going of ignoring a defensive laden draft of talent and went with Huskies wide receiver John Ross, who opened eyes when he broke the combine 40-yard dash record of 4.22. This is significantly better than the Bengals second round pick Joe Mixon out of Oklahoma, who closed eyes two years ago when he gutlessly and cowardly punched a female college student, knocking her unconscious and breaking multiple bones in her face. With a videotaped release of the brutal incident, it was no surprise to hear that 28 of 32 NFL general managers saying that they would not draft Mixon. And even less of a surprise to find out that the Bengals were not one of those teams.

RANDOM FACT – Since 2006, 21 quarterbacks have been drafted in the top ten. The only team to have done so and won a Super Bowl in the time span since is Denver, who drafted Jay Cutler with the 11th pick in the 2006 draft, only to trade him less than 3 years later.

10. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes (QB, Texas Tech) – The Chiefs traded two first round picks and a third rounder to move up and take Mahomes, who will join the long list of quarterbacks that put up great stats at Texas Tech and went on to find success in the NFL. Oh wait, that has never happened, ever. Stay strong Chiefs fans, at least you can look forward to another year of Andy Reid’s confusion with clock management and his mustachioed butchering of any sort of postseason success.

RANDOM FACT- Mahomes was the only player drafted in the first round from the Big-12 conference.

11. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State) – The Saints were another team to benefit from the run on offensive players early as they could fill a major need at defensive back and draft the highly-touted Buckeye Lattimore. This also seemed to negate any chance of them going for the much-rumored trade with the New England Patriots for cornerback Malcolm Butler.

RANDOM FACT: 12 of the last 13 Ohio State players drafted in the first round have been from the defense.

12. Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson) – Houston became the third team to trade up in the first round to pick a quarterback, and at least with picking Watson, they get a proven, consistent winner who performed at his best on the biggest of college football stages. And no matter how much he struggles if Watson plays as a rookie, he should be an improvement over the disaster that was Brock Osweiller for the Texans last season.

RANDOM FACT – Since 2009, 22 quarterbacks have been taken in the 1st round. The only team to have won a Super Bowl in the time span since is Denver, though by the time they won in 2015, Tim Tebow, their 25th pick in the 2010, was long gone.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Haason Reddick (LB, Temple) – Reddick saw his stock go way up after stellar performances at the combine and Senior Bowl and fills arguably the Cardinals biggest need and should be an immediate contributor to their defense along with second round pick, safety Budda Baker.

RANDOM FACT- Reddick was one of two players selected from a non-Power 5 conference team in the first round.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee) – One of the better pass rushers in the draft, Barnett fills a needed roster hole on the defensive line for the Eagles, who started the draft by taking 3 defensive players (the other two were cornerbacks) followed by three consecutive offensive players that they hope will provide some offensive stability for second year quarterback Carson Wentz.

RANDOM OPINION – Philly fans did a good enough job booing Goodell whenever he came to the podium during the draft, but I thought for sure someone would find a way to launch something toward the stage at the hypocritical donkey the league calls a commissioner at some point during the festivities. Was in a way hoping they would have to put up a protective fence like they needed to keep the band safe at the legendary Double Deuce in the movie Road House.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State) – Safety wasn’t close to the top priority on the Indianapolis draft, but with the confusing run on offense early leaving many top notch defensive players to drop, the Colts go quality over need and take the safety star from Ohio State.

RANDOM FACT: Hooker was the first defensive back chosen in the first round by the Colts since going back-to-back on them in 2004-2005 when they took Bob Sanders from Iowa and Marlin Jackson of Michigan, both of whom were on the Indy team that won Super Bowl XLI.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama) – The Ravens start the run-on Alabama players with three of the next four players selected from the Tide. Baltimore was another team that went quality over need as they already signed cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Tony Jefferson to lucrative four year contracts.

RANDOM FACT: With safety Matt Elam’s arrest on multiple felony drug charges in February, the Ravens have now had 11 different players arrested since the start of 2014.

17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama) – One of the most confusing slides of the draft corresponds to an absolute bargain for Washington, and Allen should help immediately to improve a Redskins team that last season ranked 28th in total defense, 24th against the rush and 25th in passing yards allowed per game.

RANDOM FACT: Since Dan Snyder bought the Redskins in 1999, they have had a winning record in only 6 of the 18 seasons, and haven’t won a playoff game since 2005, which is punctuated by back-to-back double digit home losses in their past two postseason trips.

18. Tennessee Titans: Adoree Jackson (CB, USC) – The Titans went with wide receiver Corey Davis with the 5th pick to help fix their 25th rated passing offense, and the former Trojan Jackson is another added boost along with free agent Logan Ryan to help improve a Tennessee passing defense that ranked an even worse 30th in the league last season.

RANDOM FACT: From 2008-2009 USC had seven players go in the first round of the draft, in the eight years since they had a total of six go in round one.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama) – Originally projected to go as high as six to the Jets, the Buccaneers got themselves a bargain to go with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans in the steadily improving Tampa passing offense.

RANDOM FACT: There were more tight ends picked in the first round this season (3) than in the opening round of the previous six drafts combined.

20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles (T, Utah) – In need of left tackle more than any other position, the Broncos decided to roll the dice on conduct comeback story Garret Bolles, who many in the organization believe could be their future cornerstone at the position.

RANDOM FACT- After ranking 4th in total defense and 27th total offense last season, the Broncos used 6 of their 8 picks in this year’s draft on offense.

21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida) – After battling through injuries during his career, Davis seemed to check out medically enough for the Lions to take him with the 21st pick, though many were confused as to why Detroit took as long as they did (6th round) to draft help for their lackluster defensive line.

RANDOM FACT: Eleven of the last fourteen Gator players to be drafted have been from the defensive side of the ball, which isn’t much of a surprise considering how anemic the Florida offense has been over the past seven seasons (2011-82nd, 2012-98th, 2013-97th, 2014-117th, 2015-104th, 2016-83rd, 2017-108th).

22. Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris (LB, Missouri) – Looking to improve on their defense to possibly have a shot at slowing down dominant divisional rival New England, the Dolphins went for players on that side of the ball on five of their first six picks, including the former Mizzou linebacker Harris, who dazzled many with his spin move abilities but disappointed the same with frequent struggles against the run.

RANDOM FACT- The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000 and have lost in their last four trips to the postseason by a combined score of 104-24.

23. New York Giants: Evan Engram (TE, Ole Miss) – The Giants added the speedy Engram (4.42 40-yard dash at the combine) from Mississippi to provide another passing option for Eli Manning to go along with Odell Beckham Jr and the newly signed Brandon Marshall after the team ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in total offense, scoring offense and passing yards per game.

RANDOM FACT – This was the first year since 2002 to see three tight ends go in the first round.

24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State) – Many teams had removed Conley from their draft boards after he was accused of rape after an April 9th incident in a Cleveland hotel room, but much like the Bengals with Mixon, Oakland is not the type of team to let moral depravity and violence against women get in the way of their chase for a championship.

RANDOM FACT – After three straight years of making the playoffs from 2000-2002, the Raiders went the next 13 consecutive seasons without a winning record or a postseason appearance before finally ending their rut last year with a 12-4 record and an eventual Wild Card loss to the Texans.

25. Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers (DB, Michigan) – The Browns second pick in the first round was used on the multi-dimensional Peppers, who once played ten different positions for the Wolverines in their 2016 32-23 win against Michigan State (linebacker, cornerback, nickelback, wildcat QB, safety, halfback, wide receiver, kick return, punt return, field goal block).

RANDOM FACT – Michigan had the most players selected during the draft with 11.

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26. Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley (DE, UCLA) – With the architect of their Super Bowl collapse Kyle Shanahan off to San Francisco, the Falcons looked to improve a defense that ranked 25th in the NFL last season and went with the Bruin McKinley in hopes that he can improve their pass rush after attempting to do the same last season when they signed Dwight Freeney.

RANDOM FACT – The Shanahan led Falcons ran the ball only five times after building a 28-3 lead against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, which of all the stats to come out of their colossal choke against New England is arguably the most damning of just how bad the now 49ers head coach killed his former team on the way out the door.

27. Buffalo Bills: Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU) – LSU cornerbacks seem to gravitate toward the NFL, and it was no surprise to see one that started all four of his years for the Tigers go in the first round. What was surprising was that the Bills fired their GM and entire scouting staff days after the draft. While he was a fan favorite when he bought the team in 2014, beating out the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Donald Trump, it has been a rough offseason for current owner Terry Pegula, who now faces many a question mark going into what many Bills fans are hoping will not be another peg in the longest current postseason draught in the NFL that now stands at 17 straight years.

RANDOM FACT – LSU had three players chose in the first round, which was the most since 2007 when four Tigers were chosen. Two of those picked, epic bust and 1st overall pick JaMarcus Russell along with wide receiver Craig Davis, haven’t played in a regular season NFL game since 2010.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton (DE, Michigan) – The Cowboys two biggest needs were on the defensive line and defensive backfield and they clearly went after those targets, taking Charlton at end along with two defensive tackles and four defensive backs amongst their nine overall selections.

RANDOM FACT – This was likely the first time in draft history that two people with food related names (Peppers and Taco) were chosen within four picks of each other.

29. Cleveland Browns: David Njoku (TE, Miami) – Rather than reach for quarterback Deshone Kizer with their last pick in the first round (they waited instead to do that in the second round), the Browns added Hurricane tight end David Njoku, who will look to make a connection with whoever happens to be the current leader of the crapfest carousel of quarterbacks that Cleveland continues to throw onto the field year after year.

RANDOM FACT – Njoku is the fifth Miami Hurricane tight end to be drafted in the first round since 2000, joining Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey (2002), Kellen Winslow Jr. (2004) and Greg Olsen (2007).

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt (LB, Wisconsin) – With the selection of the Badger linebacker by the Steelers, T.J becomes the third member of the Watt family in the NFL after his brother’s defensive lineman J.J. and fullback Derek. Thankfully for T.J., his last name was likely the difference between him being selected in the first compared to the second or third round.

RANDOM FACT – Of the fourteen teams in the Big-10, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan were the only three to have players selected in the first round, with at least two being picked from each of the teams.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama) – After fleecing the Bears early in round one, the 49ers rolled the dice on Foster, who was sliding down many a draft board due to injury concerns and a strong chance of needing another surgery on his troubled shoulder.

RANDOM FACT – Alabama had the most players selected in the first round with four. Last year Ohio State led with five.

32. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Ramczyk (T, Wisconsin) – The Saints used their pick acquired from New England in the Brandin Cooks trade to draft just the second offensive lineman picked in the first round. Ramczyk was one of just two out of seven players the Saints picked for their offense as they clearly focused on fixing a defense that ranked 31st in scoring and 27th in yards per game in 2016.

RANDOM FACT – The Patriots traded every one of their original picks from the 2017 draft.