THE 2017 NFL Draft is over, with the Browns picking up a star defensive end, while no Australian was selected.
Here’s every pick, analysis, and more!
The draft began on Friday, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett as the first pick by the Cleveland Browns.
With defensive studs everywhere in this draft, NFL teams turned offensive after the first few picks. With an emphasis on quarterbacks. Hardly stunning in a pass-happy league, except that no quarterbacks in this crop have been highly touted. Yet three went in the first dozen on draft night, with two surprising trades putting the Bears and Chiefs in position to grab QBs. Chicago paid a whopping price to move up one spot to second overall for North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, giving the San Francisco 49ers their 2017 No. 3 pick as well as a third and fourth round pick and a third round pick at next year’s draft.
Kansas City gave up its first-rounder next year to go from 27th to 10th for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.
SCROLL DOWN FOR A RECAP OF DAY 2 AND 3s ACTION!
Altogether, eight of the first dozen picks were offensive players, including Houston trading up for Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. The junior who led Clemson to the national title, landed with the Texans after they moved from 25 to 12, and included their No. 1 selection in 2018 in the trade with the Browns. Houston got out of the big contract it gave Brock Osweiler as a free agent last year by dealing him to Cleveland earlier this offseason.
For much of the round, it was an offensive draft, although the breakdown wound up 19-13 on defense, including strings of six and five defenders from the 13th pick onward.
One controversial pick was Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, who was drafted by Oakland at No. 24. Days before the draft, allegations emerged that Conley raped a woman in Cleveland.
He called the accusations “completely false” and no charges have been filed. Conley was named in a police report that details the allegations but no information has been forwarded to prosecutors.
The Browns were the first team since Minnesota in 2013 with three first- rounders. Cleveland also took Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and Miami tight end David Njoku.
The San Francisco 49ers still got their man with the third pick in Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. This is the third straight year the Niners have taken a defensive lineman with their first pick. They took Arik Armstead in 2015 and DeForest Buckner last year.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who some scouts compared to Adrian Peterson, went to Jacksonville; new Jaguars boss Tom Coughlin is enamored of powerful running backs.
“He’s special,” Coughlin said. “We need playmakers. We need people to put the ball in the end zone. We need to do something about balance. We need to do something about creating a better situation where the quarterback doesn’t have the entire game on his shoulders.”
Another LSU player, safety Jamal Adams, whose father, George, was an NFL running back, was taken by the New York Jets, one pick after Tennessee, needing an upgrade at wide receiver, selected Corey Davis of Western Michigan. Davis is the FBS career leader in receiving yards with 5,285 and was a key to the Broncos’ turnaround last season.
Two more skill position offensive players went seventh and eighth. Receiver Mike Williams, who came off a serious neck injury in 2015 to help Clemson to the national championship last season, was taken by the Chargers. Then Christian McCaffrey, son of former NFL wideout Ed McCaffrey, wound up with Carolina. The Panthers, eager to get back to the form that won them the 2015 NFC title, got a versatile running back from Stanford who also can play receiver and return kicks. Cam Newton sure must be smiling.
More picks and more offense followed. A third receiver, John Ross of Washington, was taken by Cincinnati, which desperately needs a complement to A.J. Green. Ross tore a ligament in his left knee in 2015 that didn’t slow him down much. He ran a record 4.2 in the 40 at the scouting combine.
The next trade saw Buffalo’s new coach, Sean McDermott, deal with his mentor, Chiefs coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs surged up for … a quarterback. They took Mahomes, whose stock soared in workouts this year. Mahomes comes from a spread attack and will need to learn a pro-style offense, but Kansas City has Alex Smith in place right now.
Surprisingly, no one from Alabama was chosen until cornerback Marlon Humphrey went 16th to Baltimore. Two more Crimson Tide players went in the next three picks: DE Jonathan Allen to Washington and tight end O.J. Howard to Tampa Bay. T.J. Watt of Wisconsin, brother of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt of Houston, was selected by Pittsburgh.
New Orleans, which chose Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore earlier, concluded the round with Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
DAY 2: WASHINGTON DBS POPULAR IN 2ND ROUND, MIXON TO BENGALS
It’s Philly, so of course they booed. Roger Goodell heard it. Cincinnati’s selection of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon intensified it.
And Drew Pearson incited the fans at the NFL draft Friday night by lauding – and lauding and lauding – the hated Dallas Cowboys.
Not everything got jeered on the second day of the grab bag. The most popular group in the second round came from nearly 3,000 miles away from Philadelphia: the Washington Huskies secondary.
Three members – cornerbacks Kevin King and Sidney Jones, safety Budda Baker – were taken in the first 11 picks Friday night.
None of those choices drew the attention that Cincinnati’s pick at No. 48 overall did: Mixon, who was uninvited to the scouting combine because he was videotaped punching a woman in the face, breaking bones.
He punched Amelia Molitor during an altercation at a restaurant, and was suspended from the team for a year. He came back and had two strong seasons. In 2016, he was an All-Big 12 performer who set the school record for all-purpose yardage in a season.
Fans in the draft theater booed lustily when Bengals Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz announced the choice. Cincinnati has a history of bringing players with off- field problems to the roster.
“For some of our fans, probably (they’ll) pause for a second,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “But this thing’s got to move forward, and he’s got to move on. He’s lived with this since the day it’s occurred.” Another running back who dropped to Round 2 was Florida State All-American Dalvin Cook. He slipped from the first round because of off-field issues and some injury concerns. Cook is a big-play guy and the Vikings, of course, let go of Adrian Peterson this year.
“You’ve got to accept things as a man, and I just was waiting my turn,” Cook said.
The Steelers took a local standout, running back James Conner of Pitt. Conner overcame cancer to return to the Panthers, and now he gets to stay home in the pros.
Earlier, King’s extra-long stay at the draft turned out to be a short stint. The Washington cornerback was taken by Green Bay as the first selection in the second round. One of five players who were on hand and were not taken in the opening round, the 6-foot-3 former safety isn’t particularly speedy, but has the size and aggressiveness pro teams seek.
Plus, the Packers, who acquired the spot from Cleveland in a deal Thursday night through which the Browns got Miami tight end David Njoku, were ravaged by injuries in the secondary last season.
“I am a playmaker, somebody who will go get the ball,” King said. “I think everyone wants somebody like that in the secondary.
“Last night, it had nothing to do with me. When my name was called, that’s when it had something to do with me.” King was joined by secondary mate Baker on Friday night when Arizona took the Washington safety.
Then the Eagles added yet another Huskies defensive back, selecting Jones. Jones tore his Achilles tendon at his pro day and might not be healthy for the 2017 season.
Through 64 selections, 18 defensive backs had gone, the most for two rounds of any draft.
Cleveland was expected to add a quarterback at some point and did so at No. 52 with Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. The Browns have started 26 quarterbacks since 1999, when they returned as an expansion team.
Two more QBs went Friday: Davis Webb of Cal to the Giants and C.J. Beathard of Iowa to San Francisco, both in the third round.
Accompanied by former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, an icon in Philadelphia, Goodell thanked the city and the fans – folks in the theater still booed him, but not when “Jaws” repeated the tribute.
Then Jaworski admitted he had been the object of the boo-birds in Philadelphia during his career, drawing cheers. But the jeers were back, as loud as ever, when Goodell stepped back to the microphone to open the second night. They reached a crescendo when Pearson came onstage to announce the Cowboys’ choice at No. 60. With every boast about America’s Team and every Cowboys name Pearson uttered, the noise level increased.
“I want to thank the Eagles fans for allowing me to have a career in the NFL,” Pearson said with a wide smile.
Seattle, which also traded out of the first round, was at it again. On Thursday, the Seahawks sent the No. 26 overall to Atlanta, then also dealt the No. 31 slot it received from the Falcons to San Francisco in what was a wild opening night of the draft.
Instead of using the 34th spot, Seattle traded it to Jacksonville, which grabbed Alabama tackle Cam Robinson, projected by many as a first-rounder. With their picks of running back Leonard Fournette and Robinson, the Jaguars are trying to build a ground game around inconsistent quarterback Blake Bortles. Seattle finally made a pick, taking Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell with the third selection of the night.
Oddly, the first five spots in the second round were traded. So was the ninth, where Minnesota went for Cook.
Chicago, which made headlines with a massive trade to move up one spot on Thursday to get QB Mitchell Trubisky, dug into Division II in the second round, taking tight end Adam Shaheen of Ashland.