The 2017 NFL Draft saw many strange swaps and picks. The draft took place Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The focus of day one of the draft always surrounds who will be chosen first. The Cleveland Browns had the first pick and they chose the person many have called “simply the best player in the draft,” DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M University. While the clear need for the Browns was at the quarterback position, this athlete was too good to pass. He was outstanding at A&M and has the potential to be a perennial All-Pro defensive player.
Good quarterbacks were available and the Chicago Bears picked the first one in the draft with Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina. He is a good prospect, but the Bears may have shot themselves in the foot. They gave multiple picks to the San Francisco 49ers to move up just one place. Chicago had already spent serious money to get free-agent QB Mike Glennon, and they have said that Trubisky will not start in the 2017-2018 season. The Bears did grab a couple of sleepers in TE Adam Shaheen and RB Tarik Cohen. However, they may have lost more opportunities to improve on their dismal record from last season.
A Record Year for Trades
This year set a record for the number of trades between teams. The previous record was 34 trades. The 2017 draft destroyed that record with a whopping 159 trades over the seven rounds.
The trade situation in the NFL Draft is complicated by the ability of teams to trade picks from one draft for future picks in drafts yet to come. Teams may also trade current players for picks in present or future drafts. This can be done at any time. There were a number of selections already traded before the commencing of this year’s draft.
For example, the Tennessee Titans had the fifth spot in the first round due to a trade with the Los Angeles Rams in last year’s draft. The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots actually traded themselves out of the first round altogether. They did not have a selection until they picked 83rd overall.
Late Round Surprises
There are always late rounds in the NFL Draft which are surprising and feature players who go unnoticed. Some may be prospects for future pro football greatness. This year was no exception.
In all fairness, ranking draft selections is dicey. Most of the players selected probably will not have a significant impact for three or four seasons down the road. However, here are a few surprise selections that are viewed as possible steals, or potential stumbles.
Cleveland scored some good selections after the first round. Second-round pick DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame is a solid choice as a quarterback and may be better than some of the first rounders. The Browns took a chance in the fifth round by choosing Caleb Brantley, a defensive tackle from Florida. He “was charged with a misdemeanor last week after allegedly punching a woman in the face at a bar in Gainesville, Fla.” He may not make the roster due to these legal troubles, regardless of his talent. If he does, he has the potential to be an excellent player.
The 49ers fared well with the selection of Colorado CB Ahkello Witherspoon in the third round. He should bring needed talent to help out a struggling San Francisco defense. They also picked up a good back in the fourth round by selecting Utah’s Joe Williams. He could develop to compliment Carlos Hyde in their running game.
The Los Angeles Rams made a few later-round picks that will either be boom or bust. Third-round pick WR Cooper Kupp set some major records at Eastern Washington. However, they play at a level below the Division-1 schools. He will be stepping up in competition quite a bit in the NFL. Boston College DB John Johnson, also selected in the third round, is another player to watch if he can adjust to the defensive schemes of coach Wade Phillips.
The Real Work Begins Now
The NFL Draft is an exciting time for fans and an excruciating time for the teams and their general managers. Yet, all of the efforts will be for naught, unless the players picked realize that the real work begins the day after the draft.
The history books of professional football are filled with the names of potential greats who never panned out. Too many college players are unable to shake off the mantle of being best at the amateur level. They often come into the NFL thinking they are already good enough. Sports agents help them corral giant contracts with mega-dollars, which only adds air to over-inflated egos.
These college stars must be willing to work harder than ever before, both mentally and physically. Otherwise, their names could be added to a long list of NFL Draft failures.
Opinion News by D.T. Osborn
Edited by Cathy Milne
CBS SPORTS: 2017 NFL Draft, Winners and Losers: Browns make smart moves, Bears fall short
SB NATION: NFL draft 2017: Complete list of traded draft picks
SB NATION: 2017 NFL draft set a new record for number of trades
USA TODAY: 2017 NFL draft team grades: Browns impress, Giants baffle
USA TODAY: Browns pick Caleb Brantley, but DT’s future unclear amid battery charge
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