The 2017 NFL Draft could contain some surprises in the later rounds. The draft is scheduled to begin this Thursday, April 27, and run through Saturday, April 20, at the Philadelphia City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event will be broadcast on both ESPN and NFL Network, as well as streaming live on the internet.
The first day of the draft is limited to the first round. There are 32 picks available in the NFL Draft from eligible players who were stars during their time in college football. The team with the worst regular season record is usually granted the first selection. This year that honor goes to the Cleveland Browns.
Though there are 32 selections available, not all 32 teams will be selecting, or “picking” in the first round. There are several franchises that have traded their picks, either directly for players or for multiple picks in later rounds. In that group are Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Rounds 2 and 3 are held the second day, followed by rounds 4 through 7 on day 3.
NFL teams have a way of mixing up the draft order, even during the event itself. They are allowed to negotiate for draft picks with other teams and either move up in the order, acquire a player from another team, or save their picks for later rounds. This can be done at any point during the draft, up to the time a particular pick is scheduled to be made.
Scrambling and Surprises Are Norms for the NFL Draft
Prognosticators abound in the days leading up the NFL Draft. Sportswriters and commentators analyze all sorts of data and reports. Everything from 40-yard dash times to character and legal issues regarding any single player is researched and investigated. But even the most experienced of writers will say it is basically educated gambling. This is why the NFL draft could, and usually does, contain surprises, especially in the later rounds.
On draft day, NFL coaches and general managers and even owners are scrambling to secure a player, sometimes up to the very last second “on the clock.” Yes, there is a clock that each team is on for 15 minutes during the first round. The time is reduced to 10 minutes for round 2, and then 5 minutes for rounds 3 through 7.
Though there are many outstanding players who will be chosen in the first round, often it is that player picked in the later rounds who ends up making a big or even spectacular impact for the lucky team that finds him.
Outstanding Late-round Picks From the Past
Perhaps the two greatest quarterbacks of all time were chosen after the first-round. Joe Montana, who went on to win 4 Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, was not chosen until the third round. He was the number 82 pick overall in the 1979 NFL Draft.
More astonishing is the fact that Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, who became the only quarterback to surpass Montana with five Super Bowl wins so far, was picked in the sixth round. He was the number 199 pick overall in 2000.
In fact, six quarterbacks were drafted ahead of Brady in 2000. None of the six are still in pro football today. None of them ever won the Super Bowl.
Potential Surprises in the 2017 NFL Draft
There are several players who might be overlooked in the first round, who have some real potential to help teams looking for bargains. One worth mentioning is Adam Shaheen, a 6-foot-6-inch, 278-pound tight end from Division II school Ashland College. He broke many NCAA Division II records during his two years at Ashland. He also was a basketball player in college. There have been notable tight ends with a hoops background in the NFL before. One example is perhaps the greatest of all at the position, the recently retired Tony Gonzalez.
Another player who could make some noise in the NFL is Julie’n Davenport, a 6-foot-7-inch, 318-pound offensive tackle for Bucknell University. He is projected to go in the third or fourth round and be selected after the first 100 picks. He is light on his feet and starred in both basketball and football during high school. He is a sleeper pick who has potential for the right team.
These are two out of hundreds to watch, if an NFL team chooses them in the later rounds. They may, or may not, pan out in the NFL, but it will be fun to observe how these two and other surprises will fare in the NFL Draft, and in their future pro football careers.
By D.T. Osborn
Edited by Jeanette Smith
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Featured and Top Images Courtesy of Marques Stewart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Nathan Wood’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License