If the first round is any indication, there will be plenty of surprises all throughout the 2017 NFL Draft. Here are NFLDraftScout’s Top 10 Takeaways for the first 32 selections.
1. Who needs defense or linemen?
The 2017 draft has been lauded by NFL personnel and media alike, but it was the skill position players who dominated the first half of the draft. Perhaps sparked by the
‘ aggressive trade up one pick to land top-rated quarterback Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina, eight of the top 12 picks were spent on quarterbacks (three), wide receivers (three) or running backs (two). None were selected from those positions over the final 20 picks.
The most top-12 picks to be spent on skill position players in the first round in this century before tonight came in 2005, when seven players at those positions came off the board that early. It was truly a unique way to kick off the draft on Thursday in this era of football.
2. Speaking of those Bears and Trubisky …
The Bears paid a ransom to San Francisco to secure the rights to Trubisky, giving up selections No. 67 and 111 overall this year as well as a third-rounder in the 2018 draft to select the gifted but inexperienced quarterback. The move up for a quarterback also comes after the Bears signed veteran
to a three-year, $45 million deal just a couple of months ago.
While Glennon’s deal does include an opt-out after just one year, his contract included $18.5 guaranteed. Between the guaranteed dollars and the draft capital given up, general manager Ryan Pace is essentially all-in (or may be all-out) based on how well Trubisky performs over the next year or two on a club with few weapons.
Kansas City Chiefs
spend two first-round picks apiece for young QBs
It did not take long for Kansas City and Houston to follow Chicago’s lead and boldly trade up for Patrick Mahomes and
, respectively. The Chiefs had to give up two first-round picks (No. 27 overall this year and their top pick in 2018), as well as this year’s third-round selection but moved up 17 picks to land the strong-armed Mahomes, a true gunslinger with a dramatically different style than incumbent starter
Meanwhile, the Texans surrendered their top pick this year (No. 25) and next year’s first-round selection to move up 13 spots for Watson, whose dual-threat talents and knack for performing at his best under the brightest lights obviously appealed to Houston, a franchise whose track record at quarterback thus far has been spotty, at best.
4. Top 10 surprisingly stacked with receivers
With all due respect to the quarterbacks, it was the three receivers getting selected amongst the first nine picks that was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night. Many anticipated that the
would add a pass-catcher with one of their two first-round selections, but selecting
at No. 5 overall was a shocker, especially given that he had not been able to complete a full workout prior to the draft after undergoing post-season ankle surgery.
has the body control and huge catch radius to quickly become a favorite for
, but No. 7 overall also seems rich. Finally, there were a number of teams contacted prior to the draft who felt that
would slip out of the first round entirely, so his pick at No. 9 overall by Cincinnati caught many off guard, even if he is an ideal big play complement to
on offense and immediately improves the
‘ return game.
5. Special teams no longer an afterthought
Everyone knows that many rookies will have to make their marks on special teams just to make an NFL roster, but that could be where several first-round picks succeed in 2018. Ross adds instant juice to Cincinnati’s return game, as does
(No. 8 overall to Carolina) and
, the Titans’ second selection of the first round at No. 18 overall.
take another risk at cornerback
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie certainly does not lack for guts, especially when it comes to drafting cornerbacks. Four years after using the first pick of his tenure on
— a talented cornerback with spooky medical concerns — McKenzie used the No. 24 overall pick on
, who just a few days ago appeared destined for a dramatic draft day (and possible legal ramifications) due to disturbing sexual assault allegations.
It should be noted that Conley has not been charged with anything at this point and was voted a team captain as a junior at
Ohio State Buckeyes
. However, for a club already in danger of losing fans due to its plans to relocate to Las Vegas, adding Conley was a risky public relations move, even if he is quite talented.
Alabama Crimson Tide
absent over top 15
The Crimson Tide was on ebb throughout nearly the entire first half of the first round, with cornerback
surprisingly being selected over more highly touted former teammates
, No. 17 overall),
(Tampa Bay, No. 19) and
(San Francisco, No. 31). Durability concerns likely played a significant role in Allen and Foster slipping. Some clubs believe that Foster may need a second surgery on his shoulder.
look like big winners … at least on paper
No one was more active (or potentially successful) on Day 1 than the Cleveland Browns, selecting consensus top-rated prospect
as expected at No. 1 overall, former
at No. 25 and even jumping back into the first round to nab speedy tight end David Njoku at No. 29.
The trio certainly looks impressive on paper, with Garrett expected to be an instant superstar off the edge in Gregg Williams’ highly aggressive defense, Peppers well-suited as the ‘rover linebacker/safety so en vogue against today’s diverse offensive alignments (think
), as well as in the return game, and Njoku a legitimate seam threat. Of course, if the Browns still need to address the quarterback position …
9. Pass rushers fill up 25 percent of first round
Quarterbacks are, of course, the most important position in football, but the rushers capable of striking fear into opposing passers rank a close second. That fact that was clearly demonstrated in Round 1, with a full 25 percent of the 32 picks invested Thursday going to rushers.
Garrett is undeniably the most gifted of the bunch, but
(Miami, No. 22 overall), Takk McKinley (Atlanta, No. 26),
(Dallas, No. 28) and T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh, No. 30) are each good fits, as well, as they are not only very athletic but join clubs with enough talent already in place to allow the rookies to initially be complementary players as they grow into starring roles.
10. Plenty of talent still on the board
Scouts equate first-round picks with baseball sluggers swinging away for home runs; there are going to be some mammoth moonshots, and there are going to be ugly strikeouts as clubs gamble on elite athletes. Day 2 is where the draft really gets interesting as clubs like to fill needs with the many good players who perhaps lack elite traits but are potentially more consistent. Expect the deepest positions in the draft — edge rusher, defensive back (both cornerback and safety), tight end and running back — to be well represented on Friday.
2017 NFL Draft: Chiefs, Texans spend big on quarterbacks and more Day 1 takeaways – CBSSports.com