With the 2017 NFL draft now in the history books, it’s time for The Sideline report to give our irresponsibly quick judgement on how teams fared over the weekend in Philadelphia. As is always the case, experts won’t be able to clearly judge each teams draft haul until a few years from now once the players have either been made or broken by the NFL rigours. Having said that, things can turn quickly for struggling franchises off the back of just 1 or 2 good draft hauls. The Atlanta Falcons started 8 players on defence in the Superbowl last season who were in their first or second season with the team.
With that in mind, The Sideline Report will now delve into who we (at this early stage) deem to have had good, bad and indifferent draft classes. We’ll start with the good:
Cleveland: Cleveland have been here before post draft week, but this time feels different. After all the number 1 talk, the Browns stayed true and took Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M number 1 overall. For once the Browns did the right thing, at least in the eyes of most. They then let other teams do the panicking for a QB, trading back with the Texans and picking up an extra 1st rounder next year. The Browns snagged safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njokou also in the first round, two players who look to be long term play makers at their positions. DeShone Kizer in the 2nd round was a good value pick for a guy who many believe has the highest ceiling out of all the Qb’s drafted this year. Time will tell.
San Francisco: It’s always going to be a good draft for any team who winds up getting two top 10 talents at picks 3 and 31 in the first round. Soloman Thomas will now be the 3rd first round pick the 9’ers will have playing along the defensive front, joining Deforrest Buckner and Arik Armstead. Reuben Foster slid due to character concerns and a shoulder issue, but at pick 31 was too good to refuse for rookie General Manger John Lynch. San Francisco also took a shot at QB with CJ Beathard out of Iowa in round 3, however this looks like a San Francisco regime that is willing to hang tough at the position until next years bumper QB draft.
Buffalo: The Bills were another team who took advantage of another teams QB desperation. The Bills accepted a first round pick in next years draft from the Chiefs, who traded all the way up from 27 to 10 to nab a player in Patrick Mohomes, who in all likely hood won’t play for a year or two. With pick 27 the Bills picked who they hope will be the next quality defensive back out of LSU in cornerback Tre’Davious White. Buffalo then grabbed Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins some help with WR Zay Jones out of East Carolina. Jones adds some good speed and is a precise route runner to pair with a (hopefully) fully fit Sammy Watkins. Nathan Peterman is one to watch also. A QB out of Pittsburgh, he played in a pro style offense in college and looks to be a real gem for the Bills if he can improve he’s down field passing while playing backup to Tayor.
And then there’s these guys:
Chicago: We’ll start with the obvious. Basically, the Bears on opening night traded their 3rd and 4th round picks, plus a 3rd round pick next year to move up ONE spot, to take a guy who’s played just 13 college games, and who more than likely would have been available at the Bears original pick anyway. All of this after paying good money to a backup QB in Mike Glennon to take the reigns. The Bears also only added one piece to their dismal secondary (4th round safety Eddie Jackson) and drafted 1 pass catcher to boot (2nd rounder TE Adam Shaheen). If Trubisky winds up playing 10-15 years for the Bears and wins 1 or 2 championship rings, then all will be forgiven. That’s an enormouse if.
Kansas City: A strange draft by General manager John Dorsey and the Chiefs. A team that many believe are a “win now” team gave up a future 1st round pick to get a guy who certainly won’t help the organisation do that. The Chiefs didn’t address their biggest need at linebacker until the 5th round (with little known Ukeme Eligwe out of Georgia Southern) and didn’t draft any help across from Cornerback Marcus Peters at all. Kareem Hunt could be a great replacement for Jamaal Charles, and defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon comes with as much potential as pronunciation difficulty. Once again, if Mahomes turns out to be the guy in the long run then all will be forgiven, such is the importance of the position.
New York Jets: The Jets went into the draft with arguably the most talent baron list in the league. So what did they do? To start with, the Jets only used 9 selections, which is far too few for a team in this position. Their first two selections where both safeties (all be it a great one in Jamal Adams at 6), and the next two picks where both wide receivers (ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hanson). The Jets took fliers at their most concerning position, Cornerback, in round 6 (Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones) while completely disregarding the need for offensive lineman. The Jets did finally take a promising Tight end in Clemsons’ Jordan Legget, however, so there’s that.
And there’s teams we can’t quite make up our mind about:
Houston: There was no team that looked more desperate on draft night than the Texans (except for perhaps the Bears of course). Houston moved up from 25 to 12 in order to snatch QB Deshaun Watson from Clemson, and with a solid team none the less, everybody in Houston will be hoping and praying Deshaun will answers the prayers. How long before he starts?
New York Giants: Taking glorified WR Evan Engram with their first pick didn’t raise too many eyebrows, however the Giants overlooked their most dire position until round 6, where they finally took an offensive tackle in Pittsburgh’s Adam Bisnowaty. Eli will have more weapons than ever before in 2017, however at some point these Giants have to be able to lean on the running game. Overlooking the O-line for basically the entire draft and only adding change of pace back Wayne Gallmen from Clemson hasn’t added a whole lot of help.