Winners & Losers From the 2017 NFL Draft
Some teams had great drafts, while others... well, not so much.
This year’s NFL Draft, much like almost every other draft, was full of excitement and suspense. Some names fell, while others were drafted too high. In unique fashion, we saw three teams trade up in the first round to select their quarterbacks of the future. We saw some of Alabama’s top prospects slide toward the bottom half of the first round. Everyone has already given out their draft grades for each team, but let’s declare who really owned the draft. Here are the winners and losers of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Winner: Buffalo Bills
Picks: CB Tre’Davious White (No. 27 overall), WR Zay Jones (No. 37 overall), G Dion Dawkins (No. 63 overall), LB Matt Milano (No. 163 overall), QB Nathan Peterman (No. 171 overall), LB Tanner Vallejo (No. 195 overall)
With Stephon Gilmore now in New England, it was imperative for the Bills to address their need at the cornerback position. They did just that, and got a good one, I might add. Tre’Davious White is of the best this year’s class has to offer. Zay Jones was a great value pick in Round 2, as they have some holes in their receiving corps as well. They bolstered their offensive line with Dion Dawkins and their special teams with Tanner Vallejo. Nathan Peterman was a smooth steal in the fifth, as he was projected to go much higher.
Loser: Baltimore Ravens
Picks: CB Marlon Humphrey (No. 16 overall), OLB Tyus Bowser (No. 47 overall), DT Chris Wormley (No. 74 overall), OLB Tim Williams (No. 78 overall), G Nico Siragusa (No. 122 overall), G Jermaine Eluemunor (No. 159 overall), S Chuck Clark (No. 186 overall)
The Ravens’ draft wasn’t horrible, but they focused their efforts entirely too much on the defensive side of the ball. For starters, I’m a little iffy on taking Humphrey at No. 16 overall. He’s a good player, but not sure if he’s worth taking so high. Bowser and Wormley are good value picks, and Williams may end up being a major steal when it’s all said and done. I just, for the life of me, can’t wrap my head around the fact that the Ravens failed to draft a wide receiver, even though they have no established players on their roster at the position.
Winner: Miami Dolphins
Picks: DE Charles Harris (No. 22 overall), LB Raekwon McMillan (No. 54 overall), CB Cordrea Tankersley (No. 97 overall), G Isaac Asiata (No. 164 overall), DT Davon Godchaux (No. 178 overall), DT Vincent Taylor (No. 194 overall), WR Isaiah Ford (No. 237 overall)
The Dolphins did what they came to do in this year’s draft. They upgraded their pass-rushing efforts, nabbing Missouri’s Charles Harris in the first round. They later drafted linebacker Raekwon McMillan and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley — two players who are capable of starting in Year Two, if not right away. That makes three straight surefire selections. Asiata has an opportunity to start immediately on that offensive line unit as well. Godchaux and Taylor solidify Miami’s interior defensive line and Ford gives them depth at wideout.
Loser: Chicago Bears
Picks: QB Mitchell Trubisky (No. 2 overall), TE Adam Shaheen (No. 45 overall), CB Eddie Jackson (No. 112 overall), RB Tarik Cohen (No. 119 overall), G Jordan Morgan (No. 147 overall)
The Bears made a really bold move, giving up a third and fourth-rounder, as well as a 2018 third-round pick in a trade to draft Trubisky. Only time will tell if they made the right decision, but it’s sort of a head-scratcher considering they just gave Mike Glennon a generous contract. Shaheen passes the eye test at tight end, but it’s unclear what to expect given the level of competition he played against in Division II. Jackson adds more secondary depth and Cohen could be a steal, but nothing about their draft really jumps out at me.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Picks: DE Derek Barnett (No. 14 overall), CB Sidney Jones (No. 43 overall), CB Rasul Douglas (No. 99 overall), WR Mack Hollins (No. 118 overall), RB Donnel Pumphrey (No. 132 overall), WR Shelton Gibson (No. 166 overall), S Nathan Gerry (No. 184 overall), DL Elijah Qualls (No. 214 overall)
The Eagles did a fantastic job of adding talent to both sides of the ball. They spent the first few rounds improving their defense. Barnett gives them an elite edge defender, while Jones and Douglas provide cornerback depth, with all three players looking to contribute from Day 1. On the offensive side of things, Carson Wentz has a few more weapons to work with. Hollins and Gibson are both receivers who can stretch the field, while Pumphrey is an after-contact playmaker out of the backfield.
Loser: Kansas City Chiefs
Picks: QB Patrick Mahomes (No. 10 overall), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (No. 59 overall), RB Kareem Hunt (No. 86 overall), WR Jehu Chesson (No. 139 overall), LB Ukeme Eligwe (No. 183 overall), S Leon McQuay (No. 217 overall)
To be honest, I like Patrick Mahomes’ game, but by no means do I think it was worth the Chiefs trading all the way up No. 10 overall for. He does fit well playing under Andy Reid, however. Kpassagnon is a strong edge rusher and Hunt has the potential to be a starting running back down the line, but nothing else catches the eye. The remainder of their picks were pretty weak if you ask me. They better hope Mahomes is well worth the price of admission.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers
Picks: LB T.J. Watt (No. 30 overall), WR Smith-Schuster (No. 62 overall), CB Cameron Sutton (No. 94 overall), RB James Conner (No. 105 overall), QB Joshua Dobbs (No. 135 overall), CB Brian Allen (No. 173 overall), LS Colin Holba (No. 213 overall), DE Keion Adams (No. 248 overall)
The Steelers are clear winners here. Snagging T.J. Watt near the end of the first round could pay huge dividends. He’s a perfect fit in Pittsburgh with his hard-nosed style of play and if he pans out to be anything like his big brother, they got an absolute steal. Smith-Schuster just gives Big Ben yet another weapon to have at his disposal. Sutton is a guy who I can see being an early contributor in the secondary. Conner is a tough running back who should see some action behind Le’Veon Bell. Dobbs is a dual-threat quarterback who has the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business.
Loser: New York Jets
Picks: S Jamal Adams (No. 6 overall), S Marcus Maye (No. 39 overall), WR ArDarius Stewart (No. 79 overall), WR Chad Hansen (No. 141 overall), TE Jordan Leggett (No. 150 overall), DE Dylan Donahue (No. 181 overall), RB Elijah McGuire (No. 188 overall), CB Jeremy Clark (No. 197 overall), CB Derrick Jones (No. 204 overall)
I was surprised to see Jamal Adams still on the board at No. 6, so the Jets should consider themselves lucky to have him fall in their lap. Some experts considered him the best overall player in the draft. Stewart could be a starting receiver at some point because of his playmaking abilities. Other than that, I don’t overly like any of their picks. With all the needs they have on their roster, why in the world would they draft another safety in Round 2 when they already got Adams in the first?
Winner: Cleveland Browns
Picks: DE Myles Garrett (No. 1 overall), S Jabrill Peppers (No. 25 overall), TE David Njoku (No. 29 overall), QB DeShone Kizer (No. 52 overall), DT Larry Ogunjobi (No. 65 overall), CB Howard Wilson (No. 126 overall), OT Roderick Johnson (No. 160 overall), DT Caleb Brantley (No. 185 overall), K Zane Gonzalez (No. 224 overall), RB Matt Dayes (No. 252 overall)
I know we all like to make a mockery of the Cleveland Browns, but the front office did their thing in this year’s draft. Yet another high pick, the Browns had the draft’s top prospect, Myles Garrett, fall right in their lap. Later in the round, they selected one of the draft’s most versatile defenders in Jabrill Peppers. Those two figure to be leaders on the Browns defense for many years to come. They also got offensive help by drafting tight end Njoku late in the first and DeShone Kizer in the second round. Kizer has the potential to be the franchise quarterback they’ve been waiting for.
Loser: Los Angeles Rams
Picks: TE Gerald Everett (No. 44 overall), WR Cooper Kupp (No. 69 overall), S John Johnson (No. 91 overall), WR Josh Reynolds (No. 117 overall), DE Samson Ebukam (No. 125 overall), DT Tanzel Smart (No. 189 overall), FB Sam Rogers (No. 206 overall), DE Ejuan Price (No. 234 overall)
For a team that had really high expectations following their move back to Los Angeles, the Rams sure didn’t do much in the draft to lead us to believe that they’re ready to live up to those expectations. Kupp and Everett are potential weapons to add to an arsenal that already includes Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley. Other than that, the Rams didn’t do anything spectacular. I feel like they needed to take some sort of risk and make a splash in the draft this year. This is very disappointing.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Picks: DE Taco Charlton (No. 28 overall), CB Chidobe Awuzie (No. 60 overall), CB Jourdan Lewis (No. 92 overall), WR Ryan Switzer (No. 133 overall), S Xavier Woods (No. 191 overall), CB Marquez White (No. 216 overall), DT Joey Ivie (No. 228 overall), WR Noah Brown (No. 239 overall), DL Jordan Carrell (No. 246 overall)
The Dallas Cowboys were one of the league’s surprise teams last season, led by two fearless rookies. They built on last year’s momentum in the draft. They went defense in the first three rounds and every pick was a hit. Charlton adds a much needed pass rushing presence to their defensive line. Awuzie is a starting caliber cornerback, while Lewis should see some reps at the slot corner position. The Cowboys also added a couple more weapons for Dak Prescott to play with — Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown. Switzer may be a better version of Cole Beasley and Brown is a big body receiver who wins most jump balls.
Loser: Detroit Lions
Picks: Jarrad Davis (No. 21 overall), Teez Tabor (No. 53 overall), Kenny Golladay (No. 96 overall), Jalen Reeves-Maybin (No. 124 overall), Michael Roberts (No. 127 overall), Jamal Agnew (No. 165 overall), Jeremiah Ledbetter (No. 205 overall), Brad Kaaya (No. 215 overall), Pat O’Connor (No. 250 overall)
The Lions started off pretty hot, selecting a pair of Florida Gators defenders in linebacker Jarrad Davis and cornerback Teez Tabor. Both players figure to play prominent roles early on in their careers. I’m not entirely sure what Detroit was doing with the rest of their picks, however. I don’t like them drafting Golladay in the third, as there were more talented names still on the board at the time. The Lions needed an upgrade at the position, but he’s just not going to cut it.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
Picks: RB Christian McCaffrey (No. 8 overall), WR Curtis Samuel (No. 40 overall), OL Taylor Moton (No. 64 overall), DE Daeshon Hall (No. 77 overall), CB Corn Elder (No. 152 overall), FB/LB Alex Arma (No. 192 overall), K Harrison Butker (No. 233 overall)
You have got to give the Panthers front office a standing ovation for the draft they had. The team needs coming into the draft were running back, defensive end and offensive tackle. They addressed them all. Cam Newton has to be smiling ear to ear, after Carolina drafted two explosive playmakers back-to-back in McCaffrey and Samuel. Combine that with Jonathan Stewart, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, and this offense is going to be dangerous. They also drafted Moton, who has the potential to move into a starter’s role on the offensive line at some point this season. Hall and Elder should see some action on the field pretty early as well. The Panthers won’t be bottom-dwellers for long.