Donald Trump is President; it’s “cool” to watch other people’s reactions to video games on the internet; the Chicago Blackhawks were swept in the first-round of the NHL Playoffs; and the Cleveland Browns didn’t mess up the first-round of the NFL Draft. What is happening to the world we live in?
That’s right, for a second consecutive year, the Browns didn’t draft a quarterback in the first-round, instead opting for more proven talent at other positions. Not to worry, though, another franchise kindly stepped in for the Browns, ensuring we have someone to pick on today. (Hence, why we are here.)
Along with those who deserve to be shamed for their questionable moves in the first-round of the NFL Draft, there are others who rose to the occasion and made their respective teams a lot better. Time to name the winners and losers from last night’s first round and get into some odds on next year’s rookie class.
Selection(s): Myles Garrett, DE (Texas A&M); Jabrill Peppers, S (Michigan); David Njoku, TE (Miami)
Not only did the Browns do the right thing with the first-overall selection (taking Garrett), but they continued to impress, resisting the urge to take one of the QBs they weren’t in love with after Mitchell Trubisky came off the board.
The Browns moved down from the 12th-overall pick, acquiring the Texans’ 25th-overall selection in this draft and their first-round pick in 2018. (They also possess Houston’s second-round pick in 2018.) Cleveland used the 25th-overall pick on Swiss Army Knife Jabrill Peppers. The former Wolverine oozes athleticism and can do a lot of different things defensively, not to mention play offense, too.
As if those two moves weren’t enough, Hue Jackson and co. moved back up into the first-round to take David Njoku, who was the second-ranked tight end on most boards. All of these moves were big-time wins for Cleveland, and the new regime deserves a ton of praise.
San Francisco 49ers
Selection(s): Solomon Thomas, DE (Stanford); Reuben Foster, LB (Alabama)
After last night, I highly doubt anyone will be poking fun at San Francisco for hiring a GM with zero experience. John Lynch looked like he had been studying under Bill Belichick for the last decade.
We may never truly know whether the Browns or Jets had offers on the table to move up to second-overall, but Lynch and the 49ers sure made the Chicago Bears believe so. San Francisco swapped the second-overall pick for Chicago’s third-overall pick, plus a third-rounder … and a fourth-rounder … and another third-rounder in 2018. It was an even greater coup since the Niners still got the player they wanted at no. 3: Solomon Thomas.
With the draft’s best linebacker (Reuben Foster) still available at no. 31 due to off-field and shoulder concerns, Lynch continued to seize his opportunities, trading back into the first-round to get an incredibly talented centerpiece for his D. The 49ers defense will be no laughing matter in 2017.
New Orleans Saints
Selection(s): Marshon Lattimore, CB (Ohio State); Ryan Ramczyk, OT (Wisconsin)
Just like the next two teams on the list, the Saints are more winners by default. New Orleans didn’t have to make any genius moves on draft night to acquire the players they did; they just got lucky when certain players fell to them.
Lattimore was the best corner available and fills the Saints’ biggest need. Meanwhile, Ramczyk is a great replacement for 33-year-old Zach Strief at right tackle, and also provides insurance at left tackle, should anything happen to Terron Armstead.
Selection: Malik Hooker, S (Ohio State)
Instead of reaching for an underwhelming lineman at no. 15, the Colts thanked everyone in front of them for passing on the best centerfielder in the draft. Hooker can cover a lot of ground in deep-zone, and will dramatically improve the Colts’ secondary.
New York Jets
Selection: Jamal Adams, S (LSU)
Yet again, another premier player falls to the Jets. Jamal Adams was a top-three prospect on nearly every pundits’ big board, but somehow (cough … Chicago) the LSU product fell to the Jets at no. 6. Adams will help patch up one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, and will be seen laying some big blows in the box, too.
Selection: Mitchell Trubisky, QB (UNC)
I’m not saying Mitchell Trubisky is going to be a bust; I’m just saying Ryan Pace got fleeced by a GM with 88 days of experience.
Kansas City Chiefs
Selection: Patrick Mahomes, QB (Texas Tech)
If Mahomes beats out Alex Smith for the starting job this year, then I’ll retract this. Until then, I will continue to question an enormous move up the board (17 spots) for a player who will ride the bench as a rookie, especially when your team is one or two pieces away from knocking off the Patriots in the AFC.
Selection: Deshaun Watson, QB (Clemson)
After seeing Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes come off the board in the top-ten picks, Bill O’Brien’s bald-head began to sweat as he imagined another season dealing with putrid quarterback-play. His response was to sacrifice more future assets (2018 first-round pick) to find a potential franchise pivot. I can smell Houston’s desperation from here.
Selection: John Ross, WR (Washington)
I understand the narrative of pairing Ross’ 4.22 speed with AJ Green, but I also remember the 2016 Bengals getting bullied in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Losing Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, and Domata Peko in free agency won’t help.
Cincinnati can quickly erase its loser status from round-one if they find at least two starting offensive linemen and a replacement for Pat Sims in the middle rounds. But that’s a lot to ask.
New York Giants
Selection: Evan Engram, TE (Ole Miss)
Let me make this clear, I believe Evan Engram was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons available in the draft. But why does it seem like the Giants are the only ones who don’t care that Ereck Flowers is their starting left tackle?
Like the Bengals, the Giants can lose this tag if they leave the draft with a new starting LT.
Super Bowl LII Odds [as of May 1, 2017]
New England Patriots: 8/1
Dallas Cowboys: 10/1
Atlanta Falcons: 21/2
Seattle Seahawks: 12/1
Green Bay Packers: 14/1
Oakland Raiders: 14/1
Houston Texans: 19/1
Denver Broncos: 22/1
Pittsburgh Steelers: 22/1
New York Giants: 24/1
Arizona Cardinals: 29/1
Kansas City Chiefs: 29/1
Carolina Panthers: 33/1
Minnesota Vikings: 45/1
Indianapolis Colts: 50/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 50/1
Baltimore Ravens: 60/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 60/1
Tennessee Titans: 60/1
Cincinnati Bengals: 66/1
Miami Dolphins: 66/1
Detroit Lions: 75/1
Los Angeles Chargers: 75/1
New Orleans Saints: 75/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 90/1
Buffalo Bills: 100/1
Chicago Bears: 200/1
Cleveland Browns: 300/1
Los Angeles Rams: 350/1
San Francisco 49ers: 400/1
New York Jets: 500/1
Sure, the Patriots didn’t add to their roster until the third-round of the NFL Draft, but their first-round pick netted them Brandin Cooks, while they acquired Kony Ealy with their second. Those two players will make more of a difference this season than anyone New England would have selected 32nd and 64th-overall. But realistically, it doesn’t matter what big names Bill Belichick added in the offseason, because it’ll be some former volleyball player who makes the biggest difference. Tom Brady and Belichick are still there, so the Pats remain Super Bowl favorites.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are no longer the baby-faces of the NFL and will be ready to avenge their heartbreaking loss to Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Divisional Round. Jerry Jones added a talented pass-rusher in Taco Charlton in round one, and used his next two picks on corners Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. The Cowboys will be ready to rumble again.
The Falcons got a lot better defensively by adding Dontari Poe in free agency and edge rusher Takkarist McKinley in the first round of the draft. Not to mention, Desmond Trufant returns from his season-ending pectoral injury. However, the loss of OC Kyle Shanahan could result in a major step back for the offense.
Rookie QB Odds
O/U Total Starts in 2017
Deshaun Watson, Texans: 12.5
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears: 9.5
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs: 0.5
Tom Savage is not a good quarterback. If Deshaun Watson cannot beat him out this year, Houston should be very concerned. Even if Savage opens the season as the starter, it won’t be long before he’s injured, or replaced due to ineffectiveness.
If there’s one thing Trubisky could use, it’s more snaps. If the Bears are struggling, sitting Trubisky behind Mike Glennon all season doesn’t help anyone.
I project Mahomes to have the highest ceiling of the three first-round QBs, but he will benefit from a season spent learning the pro game from the sideline.
Odds to throw for the most yards in 2017
Deshaun Watson: 2/3
Mitchell Trubisky: 5/3
Patrick Mahomes: 35/1
Watson has a bevvy of weapons around him in Houston, including DeAndre Hopkins, and the threat of a decent running game.
Odds to win the most career games
Patrick Mahomes: 3/2
Deshaun Watson: 7/3
Mitchell Trubisky: 7/3
Sorry Houston fans, I don’t believe Watson will be the long-term solution.
Odds any first-round QB wins a Super Bowl: 5/1
Cleveland Browns Odds
O/U total sacks for Myles Garrett in 2017: 9.5
Garrett is a freak of an athlete, but the Browns may still get the ball pounded down their throat for another season.
O/U total years Garrett plays in Cleveland: 7.5
If the Browns aren’t competitive after his first two contracts, Garrett will go home to Texas in free agency.
O/U total takeaways by Jabrill Peppers in 2017: 0.5
Though he drew comparisons to Charles Woodson, Peppers doesn’t have the same nose for the ball.
O/U total offensive touches for Peppers in 2017: 19.5
Hue Jackson has already stated he will find a role for Peppers on the offense. I don’t see it being too prominent in his first season, though.
O/U total touchdowns for Peppers in 2017: 1.5
Not only will Peppers receive some offensive touches, but he’ll likely assume the return duties for the Browns, too. No one is doubting what he can do once the ball is in his hands.
Odds to start at QB Week 1
Cody Kessler: 1/3
Brock Osweiler: 9/1
Kevin Hogan: 10/1
A rookie: 33/1
There are no rookie QBs left in the draft who are capable of stepping in Week 1. The job is Kessler’s for now, unless Osweiler can do a complete 180.
“Troubled” Player Odds
O/U total games Gareon Conley plays in 2017: 13.5
Oakland obviously believes Conley to be innocent in the rape allegations, putting their faith in the polygraph results.
Odds Reuben Foster has an issue with a 49ers doctor: 99/1
O/U total tackles for Foster in 2017: 80.5
Foster and the 49er defense may be on the field often, but the Bama product will be racing NaVorro Bowman to the ball.
Odds Takkarist McKinley uses foul language in another interview: 3/2
This is an extremely passionate young man, who clearly has no issue wearing his emotions on his sleeve. And he’s apparently ok with being fined later.
O/U total seasons Jonathan Allen is in the NFL: 10.5
Not many are doubting that Allen can play, but concerns arise over his arthritic shoulders.
Odds the Bengals’ home attendance drops below 90-percent after drafting Joe Mixon: 7/4
A local radio station has called for a boycott of the team, citing the numerous players with troubled pasts the team continues to employ. As much as I agree with the plea, Cincinnati loves its football, even if it’s being played by criminals.
O/U total yards from scrimmage for Mixon: 500.5
Mixon will share the backfield with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in Cincinnati. I don’t see the former Sooner taking short-yardage carries from Hill and he’ll need to learn blitz-pickup before being trusted on third-downs. As the season goes on, Mixon’s role will expand. But the Bengals’ offensive line isn’t a source of confidence.
O/U total times Mia Khalifa trolls Chad Kelly in 2017: 5.5
By my count, we are already at three. The ex-porn star’s most recent troll-job came after Kelly was the 2017 NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant. Khalifa also took pleasure in Kelly’s NFL Combine invite being rescinded earlier this year. It’s quite clear Kelly tried to get in the wrong girl’s DMs, and it’s unlikely he’s heard the last of it.
Odds Kelly tries to DM Khalifa again: 1/1
The dude just can’t stop.
O/U total career starts in the NFL for Kelly: 10.5
Unless Paxton Lynch makes no progress from his rookie season, the starts likely will not come as a Bronco. But if Kelly can stay out of trouble for a couple years, some QB-needy team may be tempted to give the talented passer a chance.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers: 7/1
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars: 22/3
Evan Engram, Giants: 15/2
Mike Williams, Chargers: 8/1
John Ross, Bengals: 9/1
OJ Howard, Buccaneers: 9/1
Corey Davis, Titans: 10/1
Deshaun Watson, Texans: 12/1
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears: 15/1
McCaffrey and Fournette should receive carries (and targets) immediately with their new teams, and both are electric playmakers. Evan Engram heads into a great situation in New York, where Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall will attract all the attention.
Corey Davis may have been the first pass-catcher off the board, but Tennessee will continue to lean on the smashmouth part of “exotic smashmouth.”
Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara headline the FIELD.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Myles Garrett, Browns: 15/2
Haason Reddick, Cardinals: 8/1
Derek Barnett, Eagles: 25/3
Solomon Thomas, 49ers: 9/1
Malik Hooker, Colts: 9/1
Jamal Adams, Jets: 19/2
Adoree’ Jackson, Titans: 10/1
Jabrill Peppers, Browns: 10/1
Charles Harris, Dolphins: 12/1
Marshon Lattimore, Saints: 14/1
Garrett is the most physically gifted defender in this draft, and is going to make plays all over the field for the Browns. But I foresee Haason Reddick being a very special player for the Cardinals, too.
Sacks and interceptions are the sexiest stats for this award, so Solomon Thomas, Derek Barnett, and Malik Hooker all enjoy short odds, as well. I do believe Marshon Lattimore will be a good corner, but I don’t envy the fact he’ll be dealing with Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin a combined six times this season.
Photo Credit: Sexton105 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0].