The 2017 NFL Draft is underway and the first round has been completed with numerous surprises. It was an entertaining one, but here’s a recap of who was picked and how they fit the team that drafted them. By Sean McMahon
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M
The Browns took the best player available in Garrett who will add tremendous upside to the Browns defensive pass rush. Garrett is a freakish athlete who wins with speed and power, along with sound technique. A dynamic player, Garrett is a game one starter and has every chance to be a Pro Bowl player starting year 1. The Browns needed a boost with their defense and Garrett gives them a huge one.
2. Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky, QB. North Carolina
The first quarterback off the board, Trubisky offers a technically sound quarterback who’s mechanics are well above his playing time. He can make all sorts of throws and work through progressions. Although the Bears signed Mike Glennon, it appears they view Trubisky as their franchise quarterback. He offers accuracy with short and intermediate throws. Do not be surprised if Trubisky pushes Glennon to be the starter.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE. Stanford
After making an amazing trade, the 49ers add to their defensive line with Solomon Thomas. A powerful player who bursts off the line and is able to use his pad level to set up opponents. He’s physical off the snap of the ball and has tremendous upside. He’s not only a great pass rusher, but a great run defender who has only scartched the surface of his potential. The 49ers found a new leader for their defense.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB. LSU
Fournette is a physical runner who not only can run people over, but also has the agility to make people miss. The Jaguars needed a running back to help take the load off of Blake Bortles and Fournette does exactly that. He plays with a burst out of the hole and can hit second gear instantly. The Jaguars got a player that will allow the passing game to open up due to his physical play in the running game.
5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR. Western Michigan
While coming from a smaller school, Davis was one of the best wide receivers in this class. He’s a beast with yards after the catch and has strong, natural hands. He fights for every yard and makes big plays. Marcus Mariota needed a play maker and Corey Davis provides exactly that. He has good speed from his tape and can be a game changer in the NFL. There’s a lot to like about his game.
6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S. LSU
Adams received amazing accolades from LSU coaches as being the best captain many of them coached. The Jets got a play making safety who can start day 1 and make an impact immediately. Their secondary struggled tremendously but with Adams it gains a star. Jamal Adams provides a safety that not only makes plays in the passing attack, but can read runs and sift through traffic and stop the play at the line of scrimmage.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR. Clemson
A physical receiver who wins with his size and can make some crazy catches. Philip Rivers needs reliable receivers and Mike Williams offers exactly that. Williams offers a tremendous red zone weapon that will win more often than not with jump balls. He’s a very good prospect who, while may not have great speed, wins with physicality and strong hands.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB. Stanford
The Panthers ran plays out of the shotgun around 70% last year, and McCaffrey will excel in that system. Not only can McCaffrey be elusive and make people miss running out of the backfield, you can also throw him out at wide receiver and create mismatches that will go in their favor. McCaffrey has great vision and patience, he can take it the distance at any time.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR. Washington
The fastest 40 time in NFL Combine history belongs to Ross, but there’s more than just speed to his game. He has great footwork technique and explodes in and out of cuts, not losing a step. His route running is underrated and he adds a speed weapon across the field from AJ Green, something they have never had before. He’s an explosive player who can make people miss and score on any play.
10. Kansas City Chiefs: Pat Mahomes, QB. Texas Tech
The Chiefs traded up to take Pat Mahomes, the gun slinger from Texas Tech. Mahomes can make some amazing throws that make you just sit there and say wow. He has an arm and isn’t afraid to sling it. He’s elusive and one of his best attributes is improvising plays, even out of the pocket. He will have to learn a bit before becoming a starter, but the Chiefs found their quarterback of the future.
11. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB. Ohio State University
The Saints atrocious defense got arguably the best cornerback in the draft. Lattimore offers a cornerback who can mirror receivers well and is extremely athletic. He is someone you can put across the field against the opposing team’s number one receiver and holds his own. While he has some limited tape, he helped shut down quite a few quality receivers.
12. Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, QB. Clemson
The national champion Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the 4th quarter in this draft, as well as one of the most clutch. His accuracy improved as the year went on and his work ethic is one of the best out there. There’s room for improvement of course, but Watson has the leadership you want in your quarterback. It may take time, but Watson will one day be the starter for the Texans.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Hassan Reddick, LB. Temple
An edge rusher who can burst off the line, Reddick gives the Cardinals a pass rusher they need. He has tremendous upside even though he has never played linebacker before. Reddick can bend and make opponents fail in protection. He plays violent and has a nose for being around the ball at all time. Expect Reddick to be a very dangerous player in the NFL.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, DE. Tennessee
It’s only fitting that the player who broke Reggie White’s sack record in college would become a Philadelphia Eagle. Barnett has improved each and every year. He’s a natural pass rusher and can bend around the edge better than almost anyone in this draft. There are some questions about his height and athletic ability, but Barnett’s tape is great and he’s been consistent year in and year out.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, S. Ohio State University
The Colts got great value here by taking one of the premiere secondary players and one of the best ball hawks in the draft. Hooker has only one year of starting, so there are question marks with that. But numerous teams have viewed Hooker as an Ed Reed type player. He has great center field skills and is one of the best in pass coverage by reading the quarterback’s eyes.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB. Alabama
With the likes of AJ Green and Antonio Brown, the Ravens went for Alabama player Humphrey to help bolster their secondary. Humphrey has smooth hips and quick feet so he can run with receivers and not be out of position. He is also physical and always on the receiver. He doesn’t have the greatest ball skills, but he makes catches contested and takes on whoever is across with him with physicality.
17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, DE/DT. Alabama
The biggest surprise was how far Allen fell, and the Redskins should be ecstatic to get him. Allen is versatile enough to play defensive end or tackle and has great interior pass rushing moves. He possesses great speed and power that gives offensive line headaches. Allen is a tough player who fights every down. He can shed blocks and uses quickness to get a burst on opponents off the snap.
18. Tennessee Titans: Adoree Jackson, CB. USC
The Titans needed cornerback help badly and Jackson offers a fast player who’s explosive in numerous ways. Jackson’s play is very reminiscent of Adam Pacman Jones, without all the off the field issues. Jackson is a player who can score any time he touches the ball. As a returner, he offers a dynamic playmaker. Don’t be surprised if the Titans put Jackson in on offense from time to time.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OJ Howard, TE. Alabama
The Bucs grabbed another weapon for Jameis Winston in OJ Howard. With Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson on the outside, this allows Howard to attack in the seams. Howard didn’t have crazy stats by any means, but he was open quite a bit and would be a nightmare to cover. He’s also underrated as a blocker. Howard is a very safe pick and has great upside. The Bucs got a great value pick here.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT. Utah
The Broncos needed offensive tackle help to protect whoever may be their starting quarterback after this free agency period. Bolles is a physical player who doesn’t back down and finishes blocks. He’s athletic and shows great footwork that helps him in pass coverage. He also has good arm length. He needs to have a better technique against pass rushers that can bend, but there’s upside with this pick.
21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, LB. Florida
Davis is a player who shows great instincts and football knowledge. The Lions had a need at linebacker and Davis fills that hole from day one. He possesses speed and the ability to read where the offense is going to attack and he migrates to where he should be. Davis has a lot of upside and has every chance to be extremely productive in the NFL.
22. Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris, DE. Missouri
Harris is a fast edge rusher who can come in and quickly create havoc for quarterbacks. He isn’t the greatest against the run, but when it comes to pass rush, Harris possesses a lot of athletic ability to get behind the line. He will have to continue to improve some technique, but he can be a very dangerous defender that the AFC East will worry about for years to come.
23. New York Giants: Evan Engram, TE. Ole Miss
The Giants skill positions got even deadlier. Engram is a fast tight end who can outrun linebackers and get to the second level before the defense realizes it. The Giants are stacked with offensive weapons and Engram can flourish in this style of offense. Engram is a natural pass catcher that can make players miss and fights for every yard.
24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB. Ohio State University
This is obviously going to be the most scrutinized pick in the draft, but that aside Conley provides secondary help the Raiders need. He is smooth in and out of breaks. Conley isn’t amazing at anything, but he’s also not really bad at anything either. He’s a solid player who has a chance to be a very good player in the NFL and his skillset transitions well in the next level.
25. Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB. Michigan
Although a bit of a surprise, the Browns pick up a versatile weapon. The Browns have many holes to fill and Peppers is versatile enough to move where they need him the most. He’s an instinctive player and also tremendously athletic. Not only that, but he’s a dangerous return man. Peppers also excels at rushing the quarterback and sifting through traffic to get where he needs to be.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB. UCLA
The Falcons needed a pass rusher and arguably got the best one currently on the board. There are question marks to his injury, but one can see the passion and drive in his speech alone. He’s an explosive player who attacks with such great speed and a relentless motor. He needs to learn some more pass rushing moves, but McKinley is a player with huge upside.
27. Buffalo Bills: Tre’Davious White, CB. LSU
White has shown great ball skills throughout his entire career. Although he’s not the tallest, he gives the Bills a cornerback that sticks to receivers. He’s faster than some expect. He also has some experience as a returner. White is someone who competes every snap and doesn’t allow the receiver to beat him. You’ll rarely see him out of position.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, DE. Michigan
The Cowboys needed a pass rusher last year, didn’t work out too well for them. They grab one here in the athletic freak Charlton. Although a one year wonder, there’s tremendous upside due to Charlton’s size, speed, explosiveness, and length. The Cowboys need Charlton to come in right away and Charlton may have some struggles early on, but once he catches on he will be a threat to every offensive line.
29. Cleveland Browns: David Njoku, TE. Miami
The Browns make another trade in the first round to give them some weapons. Njoku is an athlete who is just scratching the surface of his potential. He’s fast and is a tough player to bring down. He can make people miss and even outrun defenders. If the Browns can get a quarterback to get him the ball, Njoku could very well be a surprise player in the NFL and make the Pro Bowl quite a few times.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: TJ Watt, OLB. Wisconsin
The Steelers need some more youth in the pass rushing department. James Harrison isn’t getting any younger and he led the team with 5 sacks. Watt does extremely well in the technique department. He’s very sound and knows how to set up opponents to his advantage. Watt also has a good motor and doesn’t give up on the play.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Reuben Foster, LB. Alabama
The 49ers were linked to Foster for some time, and they traded up to grab him. Foster is a hard hitting linebacker who also has great speed. He is great in the run defense and attacks holes with ferocity. He fell due to injury concerns as well as issues from the NFL Combine. But Foster is a top-10 talent and the 49ers landed another cornerstone for their defense.
32. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Ramczyk, OT. Wisconsin
Ramczyk is a tackle that has good upside. He has great arm length and hits his blocks. He always finds someone to block and hit someone. He’s good with his feet and is quick enough to move and protect. The Saints need a tackle for the future and Ramczyk offers that. He gets in the way of blocks, but can sometimes get pushed back. Adding strength will help him produce.