2017 NFL Draft: 5 Things That Matter About The First Round
Including the Chicago Bears’ trade to get Mitchell Trubisky, what are the five things that matter about the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft?
2017 NFL Draft Position Rankings
From the college perspective
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OTs | OGs & Cs
DEs | DTs | OLBs | ILBs | CBs | Safeties
– 2018 Top Ten NFL Draft Prospects
– 2017 NFL Draft First Round Pick-by-Pick Analysis
– Top 30 Players Still Available After 1st Round
– 2017 NFL Second Round Mock Draft
NFL Draft First Round: 5 Things That Matter
1. Mitchell Trubisky Is A Chicago Bear, And Other QB Things
There was no way, no how that the quarterback-starved teams were going to stay on the sidelines and let the top guys drop, like some predicted. Of course several teams were blowing smoke.
Everyone figured out that Kansas City wanted a quarterback, but Deshaun Watson was supposed to be the guy. Instead, it was Patrick Mahomes at the ten – after KC moved up to get him. Houston did its part to get to the 12 to take Watson.
But the Chiefs had to give Buffalo their No. 27 overall pick, a pick in the third, and the big killer, a 2018 first-round pick to move up to the ten. Meanwhile, Houston had to give up the No. 25 pick and – again, the really big deal – its 2018 first-rounder to Cleveland to move up to the 12.
And then there was the biggest of big, splashy things to turn the 2017 NFL Draft on its ear early on. Chicago gave up the No. 3 overall pick, a third-rounder, a fourth-rounder, and a 2018 third-rounder to move up one spot to get its guy.
While many blew their stack at the idea of giving up four picks for one spot …
1) Chicago didn’t give up a 1 or a 2. That never, ever happens when it comes to trading up in the first round for a top quarterback prospect. And you don’t really count that No. 3 overall pick, since that’s a wash for the No. 2. All that matters is the other part of the deal.
2) RGIII. It usually costs a TON to move up to get a quarterback in the first round. Remember, the Redskins gave up three first-round picks and a second-rounder to the Rams to move up to the No. 2 in 2012.
This cannot be stressed enough. Chicago didn’t give up a first or second round pick to get its man.
Philadelphia had to give Cleveland a 2017 first-rounder, a 2018 second-rounder, and a third and a fourth to move up to the No. 2 spot to get Carson Wentz, At the moment, the team apparently couldn’t be happier with the deal.
And again, Kansas City and Houston each had to give away a first-round pick to move up this year.
3) Exactly how many stud starters do you think come from the third and fourth rounds? There’s a Travis Kelce here, and a David Johnson there, but for the most part, everything after the second round is a disaster. It’s blind, dumb luck to stumble upon a starter who’s guaranteed to help, no matter what the scouting community will try to sell you. The numbers and percentages just don’t work.
If Trubisky really is the franchise quarterback the Bears targeted, then there’s no messing around or taking a chance that someone else was going to swoop in, considering the 49ers were trying to move down throughout the draft process. You … can’t … fix … franchise quarterback.
4) Blow off the Mike Glennon deal. Only around $18 million is guaranteed, and that’s par for the course for a starting quarterback – which he might be in the transition. The Bears don’t have to be married to him for more than one year. The money is relatively immaterial.
And no, I don’t think Mitchell Trubisky is worth the No. 2 pick in the draft, and I’m not sold in any way that it’s going to work out – but that’s totally irrelevant. All that matters – for now – is the deal itself if Chicago really and truly believes Trubisky is that special.
The Bears made a call to take a bold, franchise-changing step to chart a new path forward for a franchise that desperately needs an infusion of hope. If they were in the mood to fire up a fan base and generate a buzz, this did it.
And they really, really didn’t give up that much to get the guy they wanted.
2. Of Course You Blow Off The Bowl Games. OF COURSE.
Of course NFL scouts and GMs don’t really care whether or not the top talents skip the meaningless bowl games. But the old guard will tell you that players sitting out to protect themselves from a potential injury shows a lack of football character that’ll prove costly come draft time.
Tell that to Jake Butt and Jaylon Smith.
Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette – who skipped the bowl game against Louisville – went fourth overall to Jacksonville. Christian McCaffrey – who sat out of the bowl date with North Carolina – went ninth, and Jabrill Peppers, who had a hamstring injury he didn’t play with in the Orange Bowl, was taken 25th.
Michigan’s Butt was projected to be a sure-thing top 50 pick, but he suffered a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl. Notre Dame’s Smith – a likely top-five pick in last year’s draft, who suffered a disastrous injury against Ohio State in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl – is still hoping the nerve damage in his knee comes back. And, even with insurance, he lost around $15 million.
The top guys are starting to figure it out that protecting the investment is a must. You don’t play one more down of college football than you absolutely have to.
3. The Browns Big Moves
There was plenty of action around the top quarterbacks, but not for Cleveland, who needs a passer far, far more than Chicago, Kansas City and Houston, and didn’t get one in the first round.
The Browns didn’t mess around, taking Myles Garrett No. 1 overall, and then moved down to the 25th pick in that trade with Kansas City to take Michigan S Jabrill Peppers – a terrific shot at the stars for a prospect many considered to be a top 15 talent. And then came the trade to get one more first round pick, working with Green Bay to select Miami TE David Njoku at the 29.
There’s no Dalvin Cook-like running back taken yet, and quarterback has to be addressed at some point, but at least the Browns brought in three of the most dynamic prospects – and three of the most impressive athletic specimens – in the first round. This will be fun.
4. The Unsung Receiver Run
It got blown off in the draft coverage and on social media – because everyone spent so much time talking about the quarterbacks – but the wide receivers made the biggest position splash in the top ten.
Tennessee pulled off a bit of a stunner taking Western Michigan’s Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick. The Los Angeles Chargers got Clemson’s Mike Williams at the seven, and Cincinnati took blazer John Ross from Washington at the nine.
And here’s where the scrutiny will kick in over the years. Tennessee could’ve had LSU S Jamal Adams, who went next to the Jets. The Bengals passed up consensus No. 1 corner Marshon Lattimore – who went two picks later to New Orleans – and the Chargers passed on Lattimore, a slew of pass rushers, and Christian McCaffrey.
For all the talk about what teams did to get quarterbacks, watch out for these receivers. The Titans, Chargers and Bengals made some massive calls to get their targets, who had all better be special.
5. The Alabama Drops
The Crimson Tide had four players drafted in the first round. They just weren’t taken at the very top.
Concerns about DE Jonathan Allen’s shoulders sent him tumbling from a possible top three spot to Washington at 17. CB Marlon Humphrey went around where he should’ve at 16 to Baltimore, and O.J. Howard slid a bit, but was fine going 19th to Tampa Bay.
And then there’s star LB Reuben Foster, a consensus top 15 talent who slid because of a diluted urine sample at the combine, along with a few other issues. Even though he was supposed to go around the top ten, he fell to San Francisco at the 31.
Again, getting four players taken in the first round isn’t bad, unless there probably should’ve and could’ve been at least six, maybe seven.
Several off-the-field concerns about pass rushing terror LB Tim Williams slid him out of the first round, while hulking OT Cam Robinson is sure to be one of the first players taken in the second.
LB Ryan Anderson was always going to be around a mid-second-to-third round pick, along with WR ArDarius Stewart, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, and S Eddie Jackson.
By Saturday, Alabama will almost certainly be able to brag about ten players going in the top 75 or so, and all will be fine.
It just wasn’t the big early push many expected.