If the 2017 NFL draft was tomorrow, what do you think it would look like? Obviously, the order is subject to change which is what determines the order but let’s give it a shot today. Drafting first would be the winless Cleveland Browns. At 0-7 they need a lot of help. Suffice it to say there won’t be a championship trifecta in Cleveland with the Browns adding a third leg to the title pillar.
What the Browns really need is a franchise quarterback. That’s why I think the probable favorite to be the number one pick is Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. He’s a talented athlete who can throw and run. Where I disagree with NFL general managers is that rookie quarterbacks have to play their first year. I think it would be wise to let Watson sit and learn the first year. Cody Kessler could be the bridge to Watson.
That brings us to the 49’ers. At 1-6, they have looked terrible. The Niners also have needs. It’s just too early to tell if quarterback is one of them. Both Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick have looked so so this year. That probably isn’t going to change. But let’s say Chip Kelly thinks he can go forward next year with one of these quarterbacks, who will get drafted next?
I think Myles Garrett, Defensive End out of Texas A&M is the player. Hear me out. I know the Niners have taken defensive linemen first the last two years but I’m not convinced either one of them provides the pass rush needed to close out NFL games. Both Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner have shown flashes this year but not in the pass rush. What’s troubling for the 49ers is the interior of their defensive line has been dominated this year giving up huge chunk plays on the ground. I would move the 49ers to a 4-3 alignment and put their towering recent draft picks inside, then line Garrett up on the outside.
At number three are the Bears. I think the pick here is DeShone Kizer, Quarterback from Notre Dame. It seems Jay Cutler is on his way out and a Notre Dame player fits right in to the windy city’s plans. The Bears have a good receiving corps. Kizer could help utilize that talent. At least more than Cutler is using it now.
Still can’t believe I’m writing this but the Panthers would pick fourth. Unlike the other teams at the top of the draft, Carolina is set at quarterback and receiver. Where they need help is in the secondary. Looks like a fairly deep draft for defensive backs this year but one player stands out. He is Adoree Jackson, Cornerback from USC. Jackson could be the replacement for Josh Norman the Panthers seem to have been missing. He’s fast, great athletic ability and can return kicks.
And team number five, for now, the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are great…as backups. But not starters. Similarly to the Browns, someone like Fitzpatrick could be a bridge to a new quarterback like Brad Kaaya, from Miami. Kayya may be the best quarterback in the draft and remember the top two QB’s last year might be behind Dak Prescott this year, who wasn’t taken until the third round.
Still a lot of football left. A lot of jockeying around for draft position and trade or two to mix in. But it’s never too early to take a look ahead.