What NFL teams will be picking early in the 2017 NFL Draft? Who are the names to watch this college football season? Who will be in the discussion for the first overall selection? Let’s dive in for an early look at next year’s NFL Draft!
1) San Francisco 49ers
Their roster is just weak and transitioning from a very physical team from Jim Harbaugh to the Chip Kelly era. Can Colin Kaepernick regain his form? Who is the main wide receiver on this team? Who is on the starting offensive line? Plenty of questions on offense. They have solid players throughout their defense, but still struggled last season. I’m just not sure how this team stacks up against their tough schedule.
Selection: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Colin Kaepernick will be out of San Francisco after this season and the need for a young franchise quarterback will be apparent. Watson will be a top quarterback prospect coming out of the 2017 NFL Draft and will be a good fit for Kelly and his offense.
2) Cleveland Browns
When your starting quarterback options are Robert Griffin III and Cody Kessler and your team will be mostly made up of rookies, things will be a struggle for you. A quarterback who has struggled with pocket poise and presence throwing to rookie wide receivers who need development isn’t exactly a sure-fire offense for 2016. Defensively, young developmental guys are your source of pass rush and being very weak at the safety positions is a concern. Their intentions for the 2016 draft were to develop their selections to be ready to compete in 2017. There will be hope for the Browns, just not this season in a tough AFC North.
Selection: Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
They will be looking for their franchise quarterback next season after Robert Griffin III struggles once again and Cody Kessler is just a ploy to say that they “drafted a quarterback” this past year. Kaaya is young and mold-able for coach Hue Jackson and will have experience in a pro-style attack at Miami.
3) Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota is a very good franchise quarterback and will keep the Titans from being the worst team in the league next year as long as he stays healthy. They went into the 2016 draft and added pieces to be a more physical offense and defense. They have some pieces to make this season interesting, but they are still the worst team in the AFC South . They will look better in 2016, but are still a few key players away from competing.
Selection: Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
They will have to look for the best player on the board and it will likely be Garrett. He will remind people of Von Miller and his days at Texas A&M and would be a great pass-rusher for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and the Tennessee defense.
4) Detroit Lions
I’m very curious to see how the Lions fare in a division that will be tough in 2016. Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago all got better this offseason while you could say the Lions stayed about the same. I’m very intrigued to see this offense without Calvin Johnson, and Matthew Stafford having to play much better. I think they struggle a little bit and find it tough to win in their own division and on the road.
Selection: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Riley Reiff will be a free agent next offseason and the Lions will likely be looking for his replacement. Johnson has plenty of upside and is the type of left tackle you label “franchise left tackle.”
5) Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
See Browns’ team analysis above at Pick 2.
Selection: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Two picks in the top 5 for the Cleveland Browns! The Browns may look to trade Joe Thomas for a first round pick as he’s entering the last few years under contract. They can get younger and place Robinson at left tackle and gain another selection for the 2017 NFL Draft in the first round. The least they can do for Joe Thomas is send him to a playoff contender after having to play for the Browns for so long.