Three years later: Grading the 2017 NFL Draft

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates the AFC title.
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Ricky Dimon

NFL · 2 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

It’s overreaction week for the 2020 NFL Draft. Those festivities came and went a few days ago, and with no live sports to watch during the coronavirus pandemic all there is to do now is analyze what just took place.

Which teams got an ‘A’? Which teams deserve an ‘F’? Those questions are easy to answer right now, but only time will reveal the true results. They say three years are enough to accurately judge a team’s draft class. So perhaps now is the time to reflect not on the 2020 NFL Draft, but on the 2017 NFL Draft.

2017 Top 10 Picks

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

Garrett made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and is averaging more than 10 sacks per season, but he is a major distraction and the Browns still stink. Grade: B-

2. Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Trubisky was decent enough in 2019, but when you consider who else the Bears could have gotten here this pick is a lot worse than “decent.” Grade: D-

3. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

The 49ers have not swung and missed much lately, but this was a big whiff. Thomas has pretty much been phased out of the defense. Grade: D

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

When you use a No. 4 overall pick on a position that is devalued, he better end up being the best player in the league. Fournette sure isn’t Christian McCaffrey. Grade: C

5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Davis has scored just six TDs in three seasons and his yardage total dipped from 891 yards in 2018 to 601 in 2020. Grade: D

6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Yet another stud defender out of LSU, Adams has made two consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Grade: A-

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Williams found the endzone 11 times in 2018 (10 receiving, one rushing) and he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark this past season. Grade: B-

8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

McCaffrey is arguably the best running back in the league, but that has not yet translated into team success (which is why it’s not ‘A+’). Grade: A

9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR, Washington

Ross has been plagued by injuries and has not caught more than 28 passes in a season. That being said, he has 10 touchdowns in the past two years. Grade: C-

10. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Mahomes is already an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl champion. Nothing else needs to be said. Grade: A+

Other notable draft picks

Round 1, No. 12 overall: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (Houston Texans)

Round 2, No. 62 overall: JuJu Smith Schuster, WR, USC (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Round 3, No. 67 overall: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee (New Orleans Saints)

Round 5, No. 146 overall: George Kittle, TE, Iowa (San Francisco 49ers)

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