2017 NFL Draft: 10 believable things amid so much speculation
By Lance Zierlein
Published: April 26, 2017 at 01:41 p.m. Updated: April 26, 2017 at 02:16 p.m. 0 Likes | 0 Comments
The NFL draft process is like a four-month fog that only begins to clear up with a few days to go before the event. Now that the fog is beginning to clear, I'm beginning to see a clearer picture of how this draft could take shape. Here are 10 believable things amid all the draft rumors.
1. Three quarterbacks go in the first round: While there is plenty of smoke about which quarterbacks could be going where, there seems to be a consensus building that Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes will end up in the first round when it is all said and done. Talk of DeShone Kizer, Davis Webb and Joshua Dobbs flirting with the first round might just be that ... talk.
2. McCaffrey comes off the board quickly: I know I've had Christian McCaffrey all over the place in mock drafts, but there is just too much buzz about McCaffrey ending up inside the first 14 picks for it not to happen. Carolina and Philadelphia are the two spots to keep a close eye on, from what I'm hearing.
3. Peppers takes a tumble: I don't expect Michigan's Jabrill Peppers to free-fall in this draft, but there were several teams who simply weren't carrying first-round grades on him even before information on his diluted sample from the NFL Scouting Combine came out. I spoke with a few teams who all believe that the Steelers at No. 30 might be his best chance to land in the first round.
4. Beware of leaks from San Francisco: If there is one thing that everyone knew about Mike Shanahan, it was that you would rarely find leaks emanating from the building. Therefore, I find it difficult to believe the sudden fountain of leaks that are coming from a team being coached by Mike's son, Kyle, regarding who the 49ers covet. The leaks appear to be strategic in nature to generate trade talks.
5. Safeties will dominate: While there's been plenty of buzz about this sudden push up the board by quarterbacks like Webb and Dobbs, it will be the safeties that come flying off the board within the first 50 picks. Players like Obi Melifonwu, Marcus Williams, Marcus Maye, Josh Jones and Justin Evans will get pushed up the board.
6. Haason Reddick before Reuben Foster: The heat surrounding Reddick is real. It's unlikely he even makes it to pick No. 15. On the other hand, Foster carries just enough concerns from teams from either a medical or character standpoint that it has vaulted Reddick past him.
7. There will be no value hunters for Conley: La'el Collins was a top prospect in 2015, but he went undrafted that year due to legal concerns. He was scheduled to be interviewed by police after the draft in connection with the murder of a woman he had a previous relationship with, Brittany Mills. Collins was not a suspect in the case and was never charged. The rich got richer, as Dallas added the talented lineman to its already talented unit as an undrafted free agent. You might hear a pundit say that a team will remember that and take a chance on Gareon Conley, who is being investigated by police after he was accused of rape by a woman earlier this month. They would be wrong. Several teams told me that, short of a complete clearance from police before the end of the draft, Conley will not hear his name called.
8. Texas A&M's Daeshon Hall will surprise: While Myles Garrett has been all over the draft coverage since day one, there hasn't been much talk about his teammate being a hot name. I'm hearing that, despite a belief in the media that he would go in Round 3 or 4, Hall is actually being targeted within the first two rounds and might end up inside the top 40.
9. Cleveland makes its move: Late reports about the Browns moving up for Mitchell Trubisky raise suspicion because of their public nature. Why give away strategy so openly? However, it's probably legit. Trubisky doesn't have a wealth of suitors and this is likely to be a buyer's market. Add it up, and the Browns should be able to land their man inside the top eight picks via trade.
10. David Njoku before Derek Barnett: This one would surprise people, but many teams see Barnett as a solid player rather than a special one, while Njoku is viewed as having a massive upside. It wouldn't surprise me if a team made a move up the board to snare Njoku before Barnett hears his name called.