NFL Draft 2017: Winners & Losers

Student journalist, Reece Labuschagne takes a look at the winners and losers of the 2017 NFL Draft. Photo: Google Images

It’s been one week since the 2017 NFL Draft and now is as good as any time to look back at the winners and losers of the three-day event.

Winners:

San Francisco 49ers:

The San Francisco 49ers selected both defensive-end Solomon Thomas, and line-backer Rueben Foster in the first round. Photo: Google Images

Newly appointed general-manager John Lynch masterminded what has been described by many as the best draft by any team. The 49ers’ first move came by trading down from second-overall to third, after a deal with the Chicago Bears. Lynch pounced on Chicago’s desperation for a quarter-back, and in return, received a host of late-round picks.

The move allowed the 49ers to select Stanford star defensive-end Solomon Thomas, who they most likely would have grabbed with their initial pick had they not traded down. He is an elite prospect and possesses explosive hands with an excellent combination of quickness, power and agility.

The addition of a fourth-round pick allowed the 49ers to trade-up back into the first-round after a deal with Seattle Seahawks, and select Alabama’s physical line-backer Rueben Foster. Lynch saw the opportunity to draft arguably the best pure football player in the entire class, who because of injury and off-the-field issues, had dropped further than expected.

The selections of Colorado defensive-back, Ahkello Witherspoon and Utah running-back, Joe Williams were also great picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

The Buccaneers’ first-round selection of O.J Howard is enough to declare them a ‘winner’ in the draft. Howard is the most complete tight-end in this year draft, and perhaps even in recent years. Howard was expected to go a lot higher, but ended up falling right into the Buccaneers’ hands at nineteen.

The Alabama player has the makings of an All-Pro, and has multi-dimensional skills, who will improve the Buccaneers immensely on offense. In addition to the off-season signing of speedy wide-receiver Deshaun Jackson, quarter-back Jameis Winston, has enough weapons to make the Buccaneers genuine NFC Championship contenders.

Their second great pick comes in the form of third-round selection, wide-receiver, Chris Godwin. The Penn State stand-out is a physical route-runner with good size and top-end speed. In addition to Howard, Jackson and pro-bowl wide-receiver, Mike Evans, Godwin joins star-studded offensive line-up.

Washington Redskins:

The fall of Jonathan Allen allowed the Redskins to sit-back and select potentially one the best prospects in the entire draft-class. For the majority of the college football season, the star Alabama defensive-tackle was projected by most experts to go second-overall. But because of on-going shoulder problems, Allen fell to the Redskins at seventeen. Allen is a versatile defensive lineman who plays with outstanding leverage and is one of the best interior pass-rushers in the entire draft class.

There is plenty to like about the Redskins third-round pick, Fabian Moreau. Moreau is a long, athletic and rangy press cornerback, who uses his size and strength to his advantage to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. Moreau adds physicality to a secondary already featuring the likes of Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland.

It is almost impossible to judge day three picks, and unfair to criticize a team’s selection that late into the draft. However, the Redskins got excellent value in the form of running-back, Samaje Perine. The Redskins selected the powerful runner in the fourth round, who put up big numbers in his three seasons at Oklahoma. Perine has the potential to emerge as a starter in Washington’s backfield.

Losers:

Chicago Bears:

The Chicago Bears traded up and selected quarter-back, Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick. Photo: Google Images

Heading into this years draft, the talent at the quarter-back position was evidently lacking. However, that did not stop the Chicago Bears reaching and trading-up for North Carolina quarter-back, Mitchell Trubisky. The move came as a shock and surprised most analysts and fans alike.

The Bears had signed Mike Glennon on a three-year deal in the off-season, and was expected to be the starter for the upcoming NFL season. In a draft-class that was there no clear-cut number one quarter-back, the move screams of desperation and uncertainty within the organization. Trubisky is not a bad player by any means, but he is not worth the second-overall pick, let alone trading picks away to move up to the position.

Despite the atrocity that was their first-round pick, the Bears were actually pretty productive the rest of the draft and picked-up some good value players later on. The selections of tight-end Adam Shaheen and running-back Tarik Cohen were particularly good, but unfortunately can not save the Bears from having the worst draft of any NFL team.

Cincinnati Bengals:

‘Boom or Bust’ seems the most appropriate way of describing the Cincinnati Bengals draft. The Bengals selected Washington wide-receiver John Ross, with the ninth overall pick. Not projected as a first-rounder just a few months ago, Ross saw is draft stock sky-rocket after impressing at the combine, breaking the forty-yard dash record, in a time of 4.22 seconds. However, there is cause for concern with the selection. Ross has a history of injuries, sitting out the 2015 college season with a torn ACL, and only just recently had surgery on his shoulder.

The Bengal’s selection of running-back Joe Mixon in the second-round was one of the more controversial picks in the entire draft. Talent alone, Mixon was seen by many as one of the best running-backs in the class, if not the best. However, his off-field baggage, including the video of him striking a girl unconscious, caused his draft stock to plummet.

The Bengals took a chance, and it’s a move they are notorious for doing when it comes to players with off-field issues, with the likes of Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones and Vontaze Burfict. There is a possibility the pick may end up proving to be the ‘steal’ of the draft, but for now, the Bengals have taken a huge risk with both Ross and Mixon.

Reece Labuschagne
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