The first round of the 2017 NFL draft was a spectacular one. Who knew that three wide receivers and three quarterbacks would all be selected within the first twelve picks? As deep of a defensive draft as it is, the general managers of the NFL showed us how important offensive production remains.
As with every NFL draft, there were unforeseen surprises in the first round. There is too much talent in this draft for each player to be selected in the first round. Let’s look at four players that have first round talent, but slid into day two.
Dalvin Cook – RB
Dalvin Cook, the Florida State tailback, was widely regarded as the 3rd/4th best running back in this draft. Before the NFL combine, “experts” projected Dalvin Cook to be an early first-round selection. However, after looking at his off-the-field issues and poor measurables/times at the combine, he has since dropped in nearly every draft.
Luckily, he played very well last season. On just 288 attempts, Cook rushed for 1765 yards and 19 scores. He notched an additional 488 yards and one score on 33 receptions through the passing game. Scouts love his tremendous ability to make defenders miss in open space as well as how he flourished in the zone blocking scheme at Florida State. Cook has incredible vision and hesitation moves that make him an ulcer for defensive backs to take down.
Look for him to be selected early in the second round by Philadelphia Eagles (43rd overall).
Quincy Wilson – CB
Last season, Wilson recorded six pass breakups and three interceptions (one for a touchdown). Three interceptions and six pass breakups do not seem like much, but Wilson was only targeted 49 times in thirteen games (3.77 targets per game). According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a 29.9 NFL passer rating on throws to his coverage in 2016.
In addition to his physical gifts, Wilson has the mindset that turns good players, into great players at the next level. Wilson loves to compete. He continually showed grit and toughness throughout his college career.
Look for Quincy Wilson to be selected early in the second round by the New York Jets (39th overall).
Zach Cunningham – LB
Zach Cunningham is a name I thought I would hear on Thursday night. Last season, he recorded 125 tackles and 16.5 of them were for a loss. Additionally, he swatted three passes down, forced two fumbles, and recovered four (fumbles). Pretty impressive numbers as he was playing against solid SEC competition.
In the NFL, look for him to play the WILL (Weakside) linebacker pin a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Tomorrow, he will be selected by the Buffalo Bills (44th overall). After losing linebacker Zach Brown, the Bills will replace him with a taller/quicker linebacker in Cunningham.
Budda Baker – FS
He recorded 71 tackles and 2 interceptions in his final season as a Huskie. Baker plays with tremendous passion and explosiveness. Along with his smooth hips and backpedal, NFL scouts love his in-air ball skills, aggression, and how he finishes tackles.
Outside of Malik Hooker, he was viewed as the top free safety in this draft. One NFC area scout told NFL.com
“I would leave him as a centerfielder and then roll him down over the slot if you needed too. He’s too small to cover tight ends, but he’s got great instincts in coverage which is why he should shine as a single-high.”
Look for Baker to be selected early in the second round by the Los Angeles Chargers (38th overall).
Additionally, there were players selected in the first round that shocked the world. Let’s look at four players that stunned with how early they were selected.
John Ross – WR
John Ross, the wide receiver out of Washington, was selected 9th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. His draft rose tremendously after he ran the fastest “official” 40-yard dash ever (4.22), which left scouts salivating. Last season, Ross hauled in 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns.
His strengths include insane footwork, a nightmare in the open field, and incredible straight-line speed. The Bengals noticeably needed help on the offensive side of the football once A.J. Green injured himself a season ago.
Ross was viewed as the third best receiver in this draft. However, many people (including me) were shocked to see him go in the top ten. After the Titans selected Corey Davis at 5th overall and the Chargers selected Mike Williams at 7th overall, teams realized the need to outside production. The Bengals hope to cash out with the fastest football player ever at the NFL combine.
Patrick Mahomes II – QB
Patrick Mahomes II, the quarterback out of Texas Tech was selected 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs nearly gave up the farm to get the guy they wanted. He was widely viewed as the 3rd/4th best quarterback by many “experts”. However, once the Chicago Bears aggressively pursued Mitchell Trubisky, the Chiefs realized they needed to make a move for Mahomes II.
A season ago, Mahomes II threw for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns (10 interceptions). He also posted a passer efficiency rating of 157.0. As of late, Mahomes II has widely been recognized as “the guy that threw the football 78 yards”.
Apparently, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs think very highly of this young man. Being selected 10th overall shut down the internet. Only time will tell if Mahomes II turns into the quarterback Andy Reid desires.
Marlon Humphrey – CB
Marlon Humphrey shocked the NFL when he was the first Alabama player taken. Players like Reuben Foster, Jonathan Allen, O.J. Howard, and Cam Robinson were still on the board when Humphrey heard his name called.
Humphrey’s was selected 16th overall by the Baltimore Ravens. In addition to the Ravens overhauling their defensive backfield with Eric Weddle (FS) last season and Tony Jefferson (SS) and Brandon Carr (CB) this offseason, this selection proves their commitment to the defensive side of the football.
Last season, Humphrey tallied two interceptions and five pass break-ups. The Baltimore Ravens now have a legitimate secondary with Weddle, Jefferson, Carr and now Humphrey.
Evan Engram – TE
Evan Engram was selected 23rd overall by the New York Giants. This would not have been nearly as big of a shock had David Njoku heard his name called prior to Engram’s. However, that is not how it worked out.
Last season, Engram posted 926 yards with eight touchdowns. He is a tight end that absolutely knows how to find the end zone. He works well in space and stretches the second/third level of the defenses.
With the addition of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, look for the Giants to increase their offensive production from a season ago.
Stay tuned to Def Pen Sports on Twitter for recap and updates on rounds 2-7.