Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 NFL Draft First Round Recap

The first round is now in the bag for the 2017 NFL Draft, and as always, there were hits and misses. Here is my recap, by pick, with analysis:

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Any talk of the Browns dealing this pick was pure bull, and everyone knew it. This pick was likely locked into place as long as two weeks ago according to multiple sources. As I had said a week ago, if the Browns traded this pick away, they should shut down the franchise. There was no other player that should have gone here. Garrett was the top overall rated player across the board.
Grade: A+ (Meets a team top three need at DE)

2. Chicago Bears (via San Francisco): Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The Bears gave up a huge bounty to acquire the rights to Trubisky, as they dealt away four total picks between the 2017 and 2018 draft to make this pick to get a guy that they could have had at number three, which is where they started. San Francisco was never going anywhere other than who they picked at three anyway, so this deal made zero sense.
Trubisky now has to be a franchise QB for the Bears, who already invested a ton of money into Mike Glennon. At least with the Glennon deal, the contract shows an out after the 2017 season,but still, this is far from a home run pick, and they gave up a ton to get it. Stupid.
Grade: D (Met a team top three need, but they did not need to take out a mortgage to get him)

3. San Francisco 49ers (via Chicago): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
This was always going to be the guy that the Niners were going after, and I had that mocked out weeks ago. Thomas fits the persona of what John Lynch is looking for, and the Niners needed someone to create havoc up front on defense. They get the guy they wanted, and found a sucker who gave them a haul to move down one spot and get their guy anyway. Lynch hit a homer with his first draft deal as GM.
Grade: A+ (Did not meet top three listed need, but was too good to pass up)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
I had reported this on Twitter last night. The Jags were set on Fournette if the Bears passed on him, which they did. Fournette finally gives the Jags the first solid back they have had since the premier years of Maurice Jones-Drew, and may end up being the best back in team history if he is all in. He certainly has the skill, but he has not played a full season since 2015.
Grade: A (Not a top three need, but they need everything and he was the best available player)

5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
I talked about Davis on the Mitch and Pritch show last week, and when asked about him, I thought that he was one of the two best receivers available in this draft along with Mike Williams of Clemson. While I thought both would go sometime after 15, this is a bit high for Davis, but I still like the pick. He is coming off of an ankle injury suffered after last season, but will be ready to go at 100% soon. Once he is full speed, he becomes a best friend for Marcus Mariota.
Grade: A (Replaces Kendall Wright, and upgrades the position)

6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
Adams was one of my favorite players in this draft, and he ends up somewhere in the ball park of where I thought he would, but I never thought that the Jets would show restraint and make a solid pick like this. I figured they'd go nuts and over value one of the QBs available, but they let others make that mistake, and they select a guy who could be a staple in their secondary for the next decade. Solid move here.
Grade: A+ (The secondary was a wreck last season. He starts immediately)

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The second of the two best receivers was taken off the board at number seven, and Phillip Rivers has a very solid target to get the football to in the new home of the Chargers. Williams is a dynamic talent who makes all of the acrobatic catches that you can ask for, and this pick makes perfect sense for me. He gives the Chargers a young star on an aging team in a new city.
Grade: A (Keenan Allen cannot stay healthy, so Williams takes pressure off of him)

8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
This was the worst kept secret of the draft in 2017, as almost everyone knew that this is where McCaffrey would end up for about a week now. He gives the offense some dimension, and he can line up in the slot as a receiver as well as return punts and kicks. The Panthers need his enrgy, but will his body hold up in the NFL? That's a question that needs answering.
Grade: A (A huge top three team need, but the Panthers need OL help to make this work)

9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR, Washington
Ross broke the all-time combine 40 time record at 4.22 seconds this spring. On top of that, he is a credible threat to go deep on any play and burn you. Andy Dalton has to love this pick, and it is a pick that makes perfect sense for the Bengals.
Grade: A (Brandon LaFell is average, and Ross is a huge upgrade)

10. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
With so many other needs on offense, this pick makes little sense to me. Why waste a first round pick on a guy who may be as much as two years away from totally contributing, if he ever does? Mahomes is a mess with his technique, and like Brett Hundley, he will have to be stripped down and rebuilt. This is a senseless move for a team that did not need this player right now.
Grade: F (No way he starts over Smith or Foles, so why make the pick?)

11. New Orleans Saints: Marshawn Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Saints have been shopping for a corner all off-season, with Malcolm Butler of the Patriots being the target. They may not need to shop anymore after landing one of the top corners in this class. Lattimore should get a shot to start from day one, and could give the Saints a lock down corner they so coveted.
Grade: A (Saints were dead last against the pass last season, so this was a top need)

12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I am not entirely sold on the playerm but I understand the need here. You cannot go into the 2017 NFL season with Tom Savage as your top option at QB. That is nuts to think it. Watson will give the team someone that they feel like they can hang their hat on, even if he is not entirely ready. He has to cut down on turnovers to be effective in this league, as he will not get away with a 17 pick season as a pro. This is a tough one for me, as I would have waited on a QB, but I get it from their perspective.
Grade: B- (This was more a move to tack down a coming revolt with fan base than anything)

13. Arizona Cardinals: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
I am not actually certain that I understand the approach here. The Cardinals have needs everywhere, but this player is not who most people would have considered here. He is a developmental prospect with some upside, but I am not certain as to why he flew up so many draft boards, especially because he has never played a down of LB in his life, and he is undersized to boot. Weird pick for me.
Grade: D (With Chandler Jones and Markus Golden entrenched, this makes no sense)
Note: Jones may be franchise tagged.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Here's a secret for you. I actually like Barnett better than Garrett. Hands down. Barnett is one of the most productive Ends to play at Tennessee in years, and reminds me of a young Reggie White. He is aggressive and nasty, and he will fit right in with that Philadelphia grit. I love this pick for so many reasons!
Grade: A+ (Edge rusher was a top three team need, and Barnett fills that need well)

15. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Hooker will be limited to the free side where he can play on the ball, because he sure does not fit on the strong side. A terrible tackler with only one year of experience as a starter and an injury history to boot, Hooker made virtually no sense for me here, as they needed to work on their offensive line woes. With Ryan Ramczyk and Garrett Bolles both available here, it is no wonder that the Colts front office is a train wreck these days.
Grade: D (The need was on the line, CB, and LB, so what's the deal?)

16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphery, CB, Alabama
Every mock up basically showed the Ravens going receiver here, as those receivers figured to fall to this point,. When that did not happen, the Ravens were forced to switch philosophy here, and went defense with Humphrey. It makes sense with John Ross heading to division rival Cincinnati. The only thing that I cannot figure is how much effort did the Ravens make at trying to move up to get the receiver they coveted?
Grade: C+

17. Washington Redskins: Jonathon Allen, DE, Alabama
Allen was graded in the top five of this draft, yet fell like a rock to 17. I a not certain as to why this actually happened, but the Redskins got a steal here. Allen is a dominant 4-3 end who can also give you work at DT if you need him to. This was a great get and a gift from above for Washington.
Grade: A (This was a primary need position for the Skins, and was a gift this late)

18. Tennessee Titans: Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
I have been saying for about a month now that Jackson would be a deal anywhere from 15 on down, even though most services saw him as a second round pick. He does everything, and he does it better than Michigan's Jabrill Peppers by a long shot. He is a game changer in the return game, can play receiver or CB, and is a guy other teams have to plan for. One of my favorite players here, and a solid character contribution as well.
Grade: A+ (Titans crushed a primary need with this pick, and got a great player)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
The Alabama players fell, and Howard is a gift to an already solid set of skill players on the Bucs offense. Jameis Winston is going to love having a star TE like Howard who can do it all. This, again, was one of my favorite players in this draft.
Grade: A+ (With DeSean Jackson signed as a FA, Bucs get major upgrade at TE)

20. Denver Broncos: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Teams questioned a low wunderlich score, but I am not worried about that test. Hell, Jake Plummer damned near failed the thing back in the day. Bolles is a machine at tackle, and the Broncos got one of the two best linemen in the draft.
Grade: A (Okung got settled at LT late in season, but need was big at RT)

21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
I really believe that the Lions did not need this player here, and I also believe that they reached for him. Detroit had needs, but the LB class was weak enough that they could have grabbed on in the second or third round, and if you needed one here, why not Zach Cunningham?
Grade: D (LB was a primary need, but Cunningham was a better fit for me)

22. Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Harris is a little bit small to play a down DE in a 4-3, and I am not sure that his film holds up on the next level as that player. I had him graded as an early second round selection, so this was a bit of a reach for me here, but the Dolphins wanted him bad enough to do so.
Grade: B- (Unless the plan is to move him to OLB, the pick did not fill a need)

23. New York Giants: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Whenever you can grab a TE who plays with wideout skills, you have to go out and get him, and the Giants did so with Engram. He ran a sub 4.42 40 this off season, and he can certainly fly. Eli will love this guy.
Grade: A (Engram is a major upgrade over Will Tye, so this is a home run)

24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Oh boy. Mark Davis has always shied away from guys who may be tied up with violence against women cases. Conley has not been charged in a rape accusation, but it is a cloud, and the team will have a tough time selling this, especially with other corners available here. This could get ugly if he is eventually charged.
Grade: F (Raiders needed a corner, but there were better options given the circumstances)

25. Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan
Peppers is one of my most overrated players in this draft, and one of my top ten players with bust potential. He had a second round grade, and played his best season as a LB for Michigan. His contribution to the Wolverines is very much oversold. I really thought that the Browns were getting smarter than this.
Grade: D- (Needed help at Safety, but again, there were better options available)

26. Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
One of the few bright spots for the Bruins last season, McKinley is a guy who just hates QBs, and wants to destroy everyone he comes in contact with. Atlanta will ove his energy, and you will be hard pressed to find a more driven player in this draft.
Grade: A (Pairing McKinley with Vic Beasley seems like a dream scenario come true)

27. Buffalo Bills: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
He is solid, but not fancy. In other words, he fits Buffalo like a glove. Seriously, why did the Raiders not explore this option instead of Conley?
Grade: A (With the loss of Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots, this became a huge opening)

28. Dallas Cowboys: DE Taco Charlton
One of the finest sack masters in college ball last season. Charlton will give the Cowboys a burst off the edge that they were missing last season. Solid player.
Grade: A (This position was slowly becoming a wasteland for Dallas, and they fixed it)

29. Cleveland Browns (via Green Bay): David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Browns came back to their senses. He graded ahead of Engram, and is one of the best receiving TEs in a class of good ones in this draft.
Grade: A (This is a huge upgrade over Gary Barnidge, who scored just twice in 2016)

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin
In a stronger draft class, he was a third rounder. This was not a strong class for linebackers. Watt may need to be a rotational guy for a bit with the Steelers, but I am not certain where else they could have gone with this pick.
Grade: B- (Watt will get some time to learn before becoming a starter)

31. San Francisco 49ers (via SEA, ATL): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Diluted sample at the combine...check. Questionable injury issue...check. Questionable character...check. Undersized for the position in the NFL...check. Probably severely overrated and over valued by the Niners front office...check, check, check. Nobody else had the value on this guy like John Lynch did, and he did not have to trade up to get him, at least not this high. Wasting resources kills drafts.
Grade: F (ILB is a team need, but there is no way that Foster holds up at his size there)

32. New Orleans Saints (via New England): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
By far the best lineman in the draft, the Saints must have had to pinch themselves when he fell to them at 32. Ramczyk is game ready, and could be an anchor on this line for the next decade. I can't believe that he fell this far, so this is a steal pick for New Orleans.
Grade: A+ (OT was a huge need for Saints after Zach Streif departed, and this was a gift)

Rounds two and three take place tomorrow in Philadelphia, with Cleveland having the first pick of the second round. Teams are already contacting the Browns about trading into the 33rd pick, so stay tuned for more movement tomorrow.

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