The NFL Draft concluded Saturday night and the 2017 season picture is becoming clearer. The surprises in the draft were early and were frequent. Some teams took the draft in stride and others left everyone scratching their heads. This was one of the most interesting drafts in recent memory and is going to have huge baring on how the coming season will shape up.
The Biggest Losers From NFL Draft Weekend
For the second time in five years, Alex Smith’s starting QB job is about to be taken from him. The Chiefs traded multiple picks to move up 17 spots and draft Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II with the 10th pick of the first round. This is bad for Smith because he is now aware that his leash is very short. This also shows the lack of confidence that Chiefs management has in his playing style.
Mahomes is almost a completely different style of QB than Smith. Smith is typically pegged as a ‘game manager’ and a quarterback who makes smart throws rather long ones. Mahomes on the other hand, has a powerful arm and loves throwing the ball down field. Smith has led the Chiefs to four straight winning seasons, but his inability to win playoff games, coupled with his style of play, may have prematurely forced him out the door.
The Ravens had a lot of holes on offence to fill in the draft and they did not seem to address any of them. In the fourth and fifth rounds, the Ravens selected OG Nico Siragusa and OT Jermaine Eluemunor. Those were the only players on offence that the Ravens selected in the entire draft.
Considering the Ravens lost their number-one wide receiver, Steve Smith Sr., it is not going to be an easy year for Flacco. Flacco needs to hope that Breshad Perriman can step-up or that the offensive line is good enough to keep him from getting hit. Kenneth Dixon-the teams starting running back-is also suspended for the first four games of the season. Flacco has a tough job ahead of him and the Ravens did not help him out in the draft.
Every year the experts take some heat because their projected results drastically change on draft night. This year, the surprises went to an extreme. The draft was shaken up with three trade-ups in the first 12 picks and multiple trade-backs at the end of the first round. Not only were they unexpected but they were impactful. Nobody saw the Chiefs or Bears trading up to draft quarterbacks and after that, the draft became a free-for-all. The enormity of moves made it one of the most entertaining drafts in recent memory. Maybe next year there will be a contraction in the amount of mock drafts published.
Remember when Mike Glennon became the surprise future of the Bears after being given a 3yr/$45 million contract? Well, that plan was scrapped two picks into the draft. The Bears moved up one spot to draft QB Mitchell Trubisky and made him the new face of the franchise. Bears fans did not seem to be to pleased with the pick and neither was Glennon. Glennon lost his previous job to quarterback Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay and has now lost his second starting gig without even playing a snap for his current team. Trubisky’s impact remains to be seen, but the Bears have made Glennon know he is not the long-term solution.
The Biggest Winners From NFL Draft Weekend
Of the top 100 players selected in the Draft, 17 were cornerbacks and another 11 were safeties. To put that in perspective, defensive line had the second highest quantity with 18 players being selected in the top 100. The draft started with eight specialist players going in the top 12 but after that, every team was trying to find their ‘lock down’ defenders.
The draft was so deep at corner and safety that proven player makers were still on the board on day 2. Malik Hooker has been touted as one of the best safeties to enter the draft in a very long time, even drawing comparisons to Ed Reed. He fell all the way to 15. Players like Teez Tabor and Sidney Jones, once projected as first round talents fell into the second round as well. But then their were players like Adoree’ Jackson, who seemed destined for day two but snuck into the first round. The NFL is a passing league and teams are continuing to show commitment to shutting down the arial attack.
The Browns won the draft. Meaning that THE BROWNS WON something for once. The Browns came into Thursday night with two first round picks and two second round picks. They then turned those picks into three first round picks in 2017, an extra first rounder in 2018 and kept their 52nd overall pick.
With those picks, the Browns got everything they wanted; three excellent, first round talents and another quarterback. The Browns selected DE Myles Garrett (duh), S Jabrill Peppers, TE David Njoku and QB DeShone Kizer. The Browns have a ton of holes to fill on both sides of the ball but they made the best of their picks by drafting four players with first round potential.
The Texans had to give up a first round pick in next years draft to move up, but they got their guy. The Texans trade with the Browns allowed them to move up 13 spots and take NCAA National Champions QB DeShaun Watson.
Watson was the sexiest name taken by the Texans but their second and third round picks were also sneaky good. Houston selected inside linebacker Zach Cunningham in the second round and running back D’Onta Foreman in the third round. Cunnigham is one of the most athletic linebackers in the entire draft and will provide great support to Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney. Foreman runs with a different style than starting running back, Lamar Miller and will give the Texans a versatile two-back system for years to come.
Houston is only a couple pieces away from becoming a true Super Bowl contender and found what they needed in the draft. The message in Houston is they want to win, and want to win now
The Dallas Cowboys Defence
The Cowboys defence was one of the biggest surprises of 2016. That same defence then became dismantled at the end of the season and left Dallas with many holes to fill. Jerry Jones and Cowboys management recognized that problem and executed accordingly.
With their first three picks, the Cowboys selected defensive backs, Chidobe Awuzie(60th) and Jourdan Lewis(92nd), and one defensive end, Taco Charlton (29th). Awuzle and Lewis will address the departures of, Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne while Charlton gives the Cowboys a prospect with the ability to put pressure on the quarterback. The Cowboys have not had an elite pass rusher since DeMarcus Ware. Dallas wants to remain an elite team and the defence is looking far better than it did five days ago.