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2017 NFL draft first round winners and losers

All the right and wrong moves

2017 NFL Draft Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s going to take a few seasons to adequately evaluate the players selected in the draft. But we can evaluate processes by which they were taken. Some did very well. Others choose…. poorly.



John Lynch, who has as much experience working in an NFL front office as you do, had a great first day of his first draft. He got quite a haul for his pick and still got the guy he would have drafted if he had stayed put. He’s got to do well with the picks he added, and we’ll find that out later, but for Thursday, he did an A+ job. The trade up for Reuben Foster was questionable, but with so many picks (SF entered the draft with 11, an already high number and currently have 12), a small trade up is defensible.


If you’re going to do a big trade back that brings you the meaty pick in next year’s draft, do it in the first year of a new head coach, when he’s got an entire inherited roster to evaluate. And do it in a year where you are short on picks, so you can add a depth pick to well, add to your depth. Which is exactly the case in Buffalo, where entering the draft new coach Sean McDermott was looking at just six draft picks on his roster. Now the Bills have at least seven, four of which are in the top three rounds, giving them flexibility to trade back on day two and add even more picks, along with a second 1st rounder next year. And they were still able to get the highly rated Tre’Davious White at 27.


There were 13 picks before the Eagles were on the clock and only about three of them were of players the Eagles would have considered. Going into the draft they might have needed to trade up to make sure they got a guy they liked, instead they were able to sit still and have a handful of players to chose from. Sometimes you get all the breaks.


After a decade of SEC dominance, the Big Ten was the best conference in college in 2016, with a potential changing of the guard one of the larger picture storylines all season. But in the 2017 draft the SEC was once again king with 12 players selected to the Big Ten’s seven, with five of them in the top half to the Big Ten’s two, and from seven different schools to the Big Ten’s three. The Big Ten might be passing the SEC as the power conference, but not overnight.

The city of Philadelphia

I might be a little biased, but the draft looked fantastic and got rave reviews from national media for the atmosphere. From certain angles, such as the photo in this story, it looked like a massive rock show, ala Muse. Which is pretty cool

That’s not really a surprise, as the city got high praise for hosting the NHL draft in 2014.

Well done.


Bears, Chiefs, Texans

In a year where there was no clear cut top QB, three of them went in the first 12 picks and all three teams traded up for them. That’s a bit like impulse buying a used car.

The Bears silly offseason continued by trading up for Mitchell Trubisky. This feels like a “save our job” pick but considering that Lovie Smith lasted one season after the Bucs took Jameis Winston and Ken Whisenhunt didn’t even last a full season with Marcus Mariota, both of whom were far superior prospects, there’s no certainty in safety.

The Chiefs moved up half the draft to take Pat Mahomes, a player who a year ago wasn’t seen as a 1st rounder. Andy Reid’s track record with QBs gives pause to criticizing this pick, but trading up for a guy who rose the further away we got from his college career isn’t too inspiring. In fairness, much of the same could be said about Carson Wentz last year, but he was so in demand that he went 2nd overall, not 10th.

As for the Texans....

And it’s just a matter of time until Bill O’Brien benches him.

Jaguars, Panthers

Never draft a running back in the first round.


Eventually they’ll finally draft a QB with one of these trades. Maybe. But hey, at least they don’t have Carson Wentz!


Garett Bolles turned his life around, which is an inspiring story. But he’ll be 25 when the season starts, which is ancient for a draft pick. Recent first round picks 25 or older at the start of their rookie season: Brandon Weeden, Danny Watkins, Robert Ayers, and Peria Jerry. And Bolles has only played one season at the FBS level.

Raiders, maybe

This one needs little explanation: if the allegations against Gareon Conley are true, the Raiders made a huge mistake. They’re obviously very confident they are not, and certainly have more information that the public does, but the risk is substantial. In a sense, the Raiders were the perfect team to take on this PR risk: their fans are already pissed at them for moving.

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