NFL Draft Recap

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is only one of the highlights of the 2017 NFL Draft. (Courtesy of UNC Athletics)

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is only one of the highlights of the 2017 NFL Draft. (Courtesy of UNC Athletics)

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By Evan Biancardi

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is only one of the highlights of the 2017 NFL Draft. (Courtesy of UNC Athletics)

The 2017 NFL Draft concluded on Saturday. In a draft stockpiled with defensive players but featuring three quarterbacks in the top 12 picks, there were two big takeaways from draft night in Philadelphia.

Entering the draft, the Cleveland Browns had holes to fill in their secondary to go along with a much-needed pass rusher and, of course, a quarterback. With three picks in the first round, they quickly addressed these issues, selecting defensive end Myles Garrett with the first overall selection. Garrett was the consensus number one and will play a pivotal role for the Browns, who ranked 30th in the league in sacks a year ago. With the 25th selection, Cleveland selected the versatile Jabrill Peppers. Peppers will likely slide in at safety and join a defense that gave up over 28 points per game in 2016. The Browns then followed up their first two picks by selecting tight end David Njoku and quarterback DeShone Kizer. Njoku’s athleticism makes him a threat in both the passing game and on the front line. Kizer’s mobility and arm strength make him a solid second round pick and potential starter for Cleveland. With multiple early-round picks in upcoming drafts, the Browns will look to build on this year’s impressive draft in hopes of finally building a team that can compete.

A trade or two was expected to be made in the first round, but nobody could have foreseen three trades within the first 12 picks, all for quarterbacks. The Bears must have expected the 49ers to take Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick, which is why they traded up one spot to ensure drafting the North Carolina quarterback. With Mike Glennon the  likely week-one starter, Chicago will look to develop Trubisky as the future franchise quarterback. Looking for the heir to Alex Smith, the Chiefs then traded for the Bills’ 10th overall pick to select Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Mahomes was arguably the most athletic quarterback in the draft, and with the opportunity to refine his craft under Smith and head coach Andy Reid, we may be talking about him for years to come. Finally, after trading Brock Osweiler and failing to acquire Tony Romo, the Texans were hoping to draft their future quarterback. After seeing two go in the top 10, though, the Texans decided to trade for the Eagles’ twelfth overall pick to draft Clemson’s DeShaun Watson. While the pick may have been a reach based on pre-draft projections, based on what we’ve seen from Watson on the big stage, the move may very well pay off.

It’s safe to say the draft did not go as expected. Not one cornerback was taken within the first 10 picks, and Christian McCaffrey went ahead of Marshon Lattimore, Jonathan Allen and Malik Hooker. Reuben Foster fell to the 49ers at 31 and Gareon Conley went 24th to the Raiders. As far as the Jets and Giants, the Jets were happy to see safety Jamal Adams fall to sixth but failed to draft a quarterback. The Giants, meanwhile, were unable to get any protection for Eli Manning.