By Ryan Wonsowicz
Here is my report card for the first ten picks of the 2017 NFL Draft
- Cleveland Browns- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: A
The Browns solidified their defensive line for years to come by selecting Garrett first overall. Garrett, who amassed 141 total tackles and 31 sacks during his time at A&M, put on a performance at the NFL combine. He ran an impressive 4.64 40 for a 270 pound big man. In addition, he showed more of his athletic ability by performing 33 bench press reps and jumping 41.0 inches on the vertical. For comparison, Solomon Thomas, the other top defensive lineman, only performed 30 bench press reps, ran a 4.69 40, and posted a 35 inch vertical jump. The A&M product was by far the best prospect at his position. Garrett will anchor Cleveland’s D for years to come and will slide in nicely next to second year players Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah.
- Chicago Bears- Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: D-
What in the world? The Bears gave up four picks to move one slot ahead of the 49ers to grab Trubisky, despite signing QB Mike Glennon in free agency to a 3 year, 45 million dollar deal. Trubisky only started 13 games in college and led the Tarheels to a subpar 8-5 record. Scouts praise his deep ball and sneaky athleticism, but there are red flags surrounding his experience and decision making. This was highlighted in the 2016 Sun Bowl, where Trubisky looked lost against an elite defense. He finished 23-39 passing with three turnovers, including a pick six. In Chicago, expect Trubisky to play behind Glennon until the second half of this season or until 2018. If this pick doesn’t pan out, the Bears will be set back at least five years. GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox will be long gone.
- San Francisco 49ers- Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: B+
Although this pick didn’t necessarily address San Francisco’s most dire team need, the Niners still scored big by taking the best player available. Thomas dominated his junior year at Stanford, racking up 61 total tackles (14 for a loss) and 8.5 sacks. He blew up the Sun Bowl and his performance sent his draft stock to the sky. He won the 2016 Morris Trophy as the best defensive lineman in the Pac-12. Look out for San Francisco’s stacked front seven, which is going to include Thomas, fellow 2017 first rounder Reuben Foster, 2016 first rounder DeForest Buckner, 2015 first rounder Arik Armstead, and All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: A-
After this selection, the Jaguars look too good to be true. Fournette is a dynamic playmaker with the ability to bust through the line with brute force. While he was injured for most of 2016, his 2015 numbers are the best that a prospect has displayed in a long time. He ran for 1,953 yards as a sophomore, averaging an astounding 6.5 yards per carry with 22 TDs. He can handle a heavy load (300 attempts in 2015), but there is slight cause for concern with his durability. If the Jags O-Line is sufficient enough (they addressed this by selecting Alabama OT Cam Robinson in the second round), Fournette will go on to have an All-Pro career. The pieces are in place for Jacksonville; now it’s time to see if QB Blake Bortles is the right guy to run the show.
- Tennessee Titans- Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: B
The Titans secured QB Marcus Mariota’s top offensive weapon for the next ten years by taking Davis. The Western Michigan product is a big target; he’s 6’3” and 200 pounds. He had an incredibly productive career during his time in Kalamazoo. Davis ended up setting the all-time FBS receiving yards record by hauling in 5,278 receiving yards over the course of four years. Some knocks on Davis are that he doesn’t run the best routes and he struggles with drops. In addition, he was not able to participate in the combine or any individual workouts due to offseason ankle surgery. Durability is an issue. I thought that Mike Williams was the better prospect due to his playing experienced teams in the FBS as well as his route running, but Davis is capable of having a productive career at the next level.
- New York Jets- Jamal Adams, S, LSU: A+
Gang Green got an absolute steal at sixth overall. Somehow, the top defensive prospect slipped passed teams with serious issues in their secondary (Chicago, San Francisco, and Tennessee). Adams provides veteran leadership and experience. He started his sophomore and junior year, earning All-SEC honors twice. Adams delivered 76 tackles for the Tigers as a junior. He has a high motor, and with his speed(4.5 40, 4.13 20 yd shuttle), he can chase down runners from sideline to sideline. Adams is a dynamic athlete who will patch up any holes in the Jets secondary after the release of Darrelle Revis.
- Los Angeles Chargers- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: A
The Chargers’ current WR1, Keenan Allen, is coming off another lost season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 1. Their other key wide receivers include Dontrelle Inman (810 yards, 4 TDs in 2016), and Tyrell Williams (1059 yards, 7 TDs in 2016). Insert dominant wideout Mike Williams into the mix and Philip Rivers has a plethora of weapons at his disposal. After suffering a career-threatening neck injury in 2015, Williams came back better than ever in 2016. He was one of the clogs that made Clemson’s offense almost unstoppable. He had over 1300 yards and 10 touchdowns as Deshaun Watson’s favorite target. He destroyed Alabama’s vaunted secondary in the College Football Playoff Championship Game; Williams finished with 8 receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.
- Carolina Panthers- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: B
The NCAA All-Purpose yards record holder becomes Cam Newton’s backfield mate in Charlotte. McCaffrey had a stellar 2015 for the Cardinal (3,864 all purpose yards, 21 TDs) but battled injuries in 2016 (1603 rushing yards, 310 receiving yards). McCaffrey is a matchup nightmare; you can line him up at wide receiver as well as running back. This undoubtedly will take pressure off QB Cam Newton, and McCaffrey should start sooner rather than later over the aging Jonathan Stewart. However, it remains to be seen if McCaffrey will be able to stay healthy himself (6’0’’, 201 lbs). Hopefully his career doesn’t go down the same road as another talented Stanford running back, Toby Gerhart.
- Cincinnati Bengals- John Ross, WR, Washington: C
John Ross made headlines at the NFL Combine by shattering Chris Johnson’s 40 yard dash record. Ross accomplished the feat in 4.22 seconds. He had a productive career at Washington (1,729 receiving yards, 22 TDs), but there are concerns with his size. Ross is tiny; he stands 5’11’’ and weighs 190 pounds. He is by no means a number one wide receiver, but the Bengals already have AJ Green. Ross should operate out of the slot for most of the season. Cincinnati over drafted Ross; they could have addressed their defense with a pick this high.
- Kansas City Chiefs- Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech: B
The Chiefs traded up with Buffalo to take their quarterback of the future once Alex Smith is out of the picture. This is a perfect scenario for Mahomes; he can learn behind Smith for the next year or two before taking over the reigns of the offense. Mahomes is the definition of a gunslinger. He ran Cliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense to perfection. He finished his three year career with 11,252 yards with a 93:29 TD:INT ratio. However, he needs to work on managing defensive pressure in the pocket and his decision making. Also, I don’t like that the Chiefs gave up a lot to Buffalo in order to grab Mahomes(1st and 3rd round pick in 2017, 1st round pick in 2018).
*All stats retrieved from ESPN, NFL.com, and Pro Football Reference