April 28, 2017
Many people like to be a critic, and many people like to make a snap judgment on any number of topics. Many may see a preview for a new movie and instantly know if it will be great or not just from the short clip.
You could apply that same principle to the NFL Draft. We see what a team does and instantly love it or hate it. In reality it could take anywhere from two to five years to see if a team made the right move.
But that isn’t going to stop me from making a snap judgment on the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. These are my three winners and three losers from April 27’s first round.
Let's get critical.
Loser: Teams that traded up for a quarterback
One thing nearly all the analysts agreed on is that this draft featured a weak quarterback class. That didn’t stop the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans from jumping up in the draft to take one.
Chicago signed Mike Glennon in free agency and traded with the San Francisco 49ers to move up a spot so they could grab Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears gave up two third-round picks (one in 2018) and a fourth-round pick in this draft to move up.
Quick note: First- and second-round picks should end up being starters in year one; third-round ones should contribute significantly early their first year; fourth-round ones should help out at some point in their rookie season, and fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round ones need to develop while playing special teams.
That means the Bears gave up two players who should help a team that has holes all in the roster. Chicago gave up a lot of picks for a guy who made just 13 starts in his college career.
Kansas City traded its third-round pick this year and the first-round pick in the 2018 draft to move up from the 21st pick to the Buffalo Bills’ 10th pick. The Chiefs gave up a starter and a player that should help right away in Patrick Mahomes, who will sit behind Alex Smith.
Fans will wonder why Kansas City moved up if Mahomes isn’t a star. For a playoff team like the Chiefs, the team could have used the picks to make a run at the Super Bowl.
Houston ended up giving up a 2018 first-round pick, moving from 25th to the Cleveland Browns’ 12th spot. This is least of the bad moves from teams who moved up since the Texans were able to draft Deshaun Watson.
The Texans’ defense could make the transition easier, but they did give up a starter in next year’s draft. If Watson doesn’t pay off quickly, it will be another in a recent line of quarterbacks who didn’t work in Houston.
Winner: the Cleveland Browns
Say what you want about the Browns not getting a quarterback, but in my opinion, the team didn’t chase the draft in this first round. Cleveland let it to come to them, and the team took the best player available in Myles Garrett.
The Browns then traded with Houston to get a second first-round pick in 2018. They used the Texans’ former pick at 25th to add Jabrill Peppers. They added instant help to their defense in two picks.
Cleveland moved back into the first round in a trade with the Green Bay Packers, grabbing tight end David Njoku. It only cost them the 33rd pick in the second round and the 108th pick in the fourth round.
The Browns will have two first-round picks, three second-round picks and two fourth-round picks in the 2018 draft. Cleveland isn’t a quick fix, and this gives the team plenty of picks to make moves or add starters right away.
Instead of looking for a quick fix, it looks like the Browns are trying to do some actual building. Cleveland could add a franchise quarterback in 2018 unless they fall into a Dak Prescott situation in this year’s draft, if they use a later-round pick on a quarterback.
Loser: defensive players and players out of Alabama
In a draft that is loaded with defensive talent, seven of the top-10 players drafted were offensive players. That sent a ton of good defensive talent down the draft.
After the top 10, teams only drafted six offensive players in the rest of the first round. It still proves this is a deep defensive draft, but plenty of talent fell out of the top 10. That is good for the teams drafting after the run on offensive players ended.
The University of Alabama ended up with four players drafted in the first round, which is in no way terrible. What is bad is that teams didn’t take those players until the middle of the first round.
Many analysts thought teams could take anywhere from two to four Crimson Tide players in the top 10. There could be a number of reasons for the players dropping, but there is a rumor that many teams think Alabama uses its players up a bit in college.
Winner: the New Orleans Saints
New Orleans added what might be the best cornerback in the draft with the 11th pick. Marshon Lattimore should end up starting right away and improve one of the worst defenses in the league.
The Saints picked up maybe the top offensive lineman in the draft with the 32nd pick Ryan Ramczyk. At offensive tackle, Ramczyk is a player who could help change the nature of the New Orleans offense.
If New Orleans wants to become a run-first team, Ramczyk gives the Saints a good chance to ram Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson down opposing defenses’ throats.
The best part? The Saints didn’t chase the draft. They let picks fall to them, and only adding more picks would have been better. New Orleans still has two second-round picks and a third pick to help fix the defense.
Loser: the censors
Every player is happy at the first round of the draft. They just became millionaires and get to share the experience with their families.
The Falcons ended up drafting Takkarist McKinney after the team traded up to draft the defensive end. In a touching moment, McKinney left the green room holding a picture of his grandmother.
There is no question that the former University of California, Los Angeles player was emotional. He ended up using some salty language that included an F-bomb.
McKinney’s first NFL check might be a little lighter after his outburst.
You could have gone with the San Francisco 49ers here, as they added two starters to their defense and draft picks, but, no. The honor goes to the SEC, which had 12 former players drafted in the first round.
To put it in perspective, the next closest conference was the Big Ten, with seven players drafted on the first night. Third would be the Pac-12 with six picks, and the ACC finished with four picks.
Three conferences (AAC, MAC and Big 12) all saw one player drafted in the first round. On top of teams drafting 12 SEC players, seven of the conference’s teams saw former players drafted.
Only three teams in the Big Ten saw teams take former players on the opening night. Five Pac-12 teams were represented in the first round.
The SEC now gets to claim that half of the conference had a former player who was drafted in the first round. That is sure to help with recruiting.