Building Blocks

Winners and Losers from the 2017 NFL draft

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Story by John Morgan, staff writer

Over the span of three days, hundreds of millions of dollars wound up in the hands of athletes who have put their blood, sweat and tears into the sport that they love. The 2017 NFL Draft saw various teams rejuvenate their rosters in hopes of one day hoisting a Lombardi trophy.

Many teams had glaring holes at certain positions that they were able to fill for the upcoming years. While some teams hit the draft out of the park, others left many analysts and fans scratching their heads at their selections.

While time will tell how each pick turns out, here are some winners and losers from this past weekend:

Winner – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In a completely unpredictable draft, tight end OJ Howard had been a projected top ten pick. It was to everyone’s surprise that he fell to the nineteenth selection which was perfect for the Buccaneers. Current quarterback Jameis Winston now has another big body to throw to on offense. On top of this pick, safety Justin Evans and wide receiver Chris Godwin are both skilled athletes were acquired later than anticipated. Each pick made by Tampa Bay had a legitimate purpose which not too many other teams can attest to.

Loser – Chicago Bears

The final rating will have to be determined later, but for now, you can consider this draft a bust for the Bears. Chicago surprised everyone by trading up a single pick to the second overall selection in the draft to draft under proven quarterback Mitch Trubisky. What really sucks about this decision is that the team they traded picks with didn’t even want the player that they picked, and they also had to give up an additional third round pick, a fourth round pick and a future third round pick next year. None of the other draft picks made by the Bears stood out as if they could make an immediate impact, and until Trubisky gets on the field, we can only judge him by what we have seen from him in college.

Winner – San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers got the better end of their trade with the Bears as they were able to still get the player they wanted in defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and were able to acquire valuable assets for the future. After this trade, they continued to deal and wound up with possibly the steal of the draft in linebacker Reuben Foster who was at one time seen as a top five pick. They picked up a much needed quarterback in CJ Beathard and found late value in running back Joe Williams. Overall, many have said that San Francisco won the draft.

Loser – Denver Broncos

The Broncos didn’t necessarily draft bad players, but many that they did still need to develop or have high injury risks. Offensive tackle Garrett Bolles might take a while to progress, defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker will have to adapt to a new system and cornerback Brendan Langley must get used to stiffer competition. The Broncos could’ve used a quarterback early on but ended up waiting until literally the last pick of the draft when they made Chad Kelly into “Mr. Irrelevant.”

Winner – Deshaun Watson

Many quarterbacks in the draft will not be in the best situations to develop their careers. Watson, however, after winning the national championship at Clemson, has been put in a fabulous position to thrive with the Houston Texans in what might be one of the best picks from the weekend. He’ll be the most likely rookie quarterback to start in Week 1 and has a defense behind him that was the best in the NFL without star defensive lineman JJ Watt. He also has offensive weapons in running back Lamar Miller and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to rely on down the stretch. Watson has all the tools he needs to possibly even make a deep playoff run in his first year in the league.

Loser – Mitch Trubisky

As mentioned earlier, the Chicago Bears traded up to draft Trubisky despite him only starting 13 collegiate games at quarterback for North Carolina. Had he fallen in the draft, everyone would have been fine with it, but now that the Bears gave up so much for the under proven prospect, his expectations will be through the roof. While the possibility remains that Trubisky could turn into a star one day in his league, many are considering the book by its cover and labeling him a bust already. These will be lofty accusations for the rookie to overcome this year.

Winner – Defensive Backs

As the draft progressed, cornerbacks and safeties continuously heard their names called. A record 56 defensive backs were taken overall with 19 of them going in the first two rounds. This was a need for many teams coming into the weekend which prompted many of them to take their pick from a particularly talented secondary class. The New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks led the pack by taking four defensive backs each.

Loser – Philadelphia Eagles Fans

The NFL Draft was held in Philadelphia this year which prompted the Dallas Cowboys to have a little fun. To poke fun at their divisional rivals, they had former wide receiver Drew Pearson go onstage to announce the Cowboys’ second round pick of cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. He arrived to a crowd of boos by Eagles fans but went on to jokingly thank Philadelphia for allowing him to have a career and alluded to the fact that the Cowboys had five Lombardi trophies in their trophy case compared to the goose egg that their divisional counterparts shared. If you were a Cowboys fan, you loved every second of this. If you were an Eagles fan, you probably had a tear or two come to your eye.

Winner – New England Patriots

The defending Super Bowl champions didn’t have an extremely eventful draft, but the thing is that they didn’t have to. After being extremely active in free agency, they still should be considered the favorites for this upcoming season. The Patriots acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks and defensive lineman Kony Ealy to go on top of veteran quarterback Tom Brady and an established supporting cast. Until the regular season begins and fans file into stadiums eager for some football, the proven winners should seem likely to repeat as champions.