NFL Draft2017 NFL Draft: Immediate Do-Overs We Would Love to SeeRyan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2017
2017 NFL Draft: Immediate Do-Overs We Would Love to See
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- Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
It's tough to evaluate the NFL draft right after it wraps up, but there are always a handful of decisions that immediately look like mistakes.
Usually, these mistakes stem from a desperate desire to address a specific area of the roster. Sometimes the mistake can be a decision to pass up an obvious talent who could have helped in an area of need.
Identifying the mistakes in this year's draft was unusually difficult. Almost every team made significant upgrades—including some of the teams mentioned on this list. But there were some picks that deserve a do-over.
Here's a look at a few errors from the 2017 NFL draft and how each team could have fixed the mistake.
Chicago Bears: Don't Take Trubisky
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- Elsa/Getty Images
There are two parts to this do-over for the Chicago Bears. The first: Don't trade up one spot in the draft.
It's amazing that NFL GMs still fall for this trick. San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch presumably told Bears GM Ryan Pace that someone else was trying to move up to the No. 2 pick. So in a panic move, Pace traded up to ensure he landed his target, Mitchell Trubisky.
NFL Network's Michael Silver has since reported that although someone may have wanted the No. 2 pick, it was not to acquire Trubisky.
The second part of this do-over: Don't take Trubisky.
Even if the Bears stayed at No. 3, he was a reach. The quarterback showed promise during his one year as a starter at North Carolina, but he showed plenty of flaws as well.
It's unfortunate that signal-callers get pushed up the draft board every year because they end up getting thrown into bad situations with too much pressure to perform immediately. According to Pro Football Talk, Pace has already declared Mike Glennon the starter in Chicago, but history tells us it won't be long before Trubisky is forced onto the field.
Trubisky has limited talent around him in Chicago, which will make his development a struggle. The Bears could have stayed put and landed an impact player such as Solomon Thomas or Jamal Adams.
Tennessee Titans: Pass on Corey Davis
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The Tennessee Titans knew they needed to add another playmaker for quarterback Marcus Mariota, but they reached for Corey Davis with the fifth pick.
Davis is talented and a worthy first-round selection, but he lacks the elite traits to have earned a spot in the top five.
This selection was potentially influenced by a simple case of supply and demand. This wide receiver draft class was top-heavy, with three first-round talents (all of whom went in the top 10) and then a dramatic drop-off. Despite owning two first-round selections, it's possible Tennessee knew it needed to get its receiver at No. 5 rather than waiting until No. 18.
If that was the logic applied by GM Jon Robinson, he was correct. But it doesn't mean he shouldn't have passed on Davis.
Owning a top-five pick is a rare opportunity to land an elite talent who can alter the makeup of your roster, which is why the Titans should have selected Jamal Adams.
Safeties like Adams don't come around often, and it's not easy to find players who can play like a linebacker in the box but also excel in coverage in the slot. Adams would have changed Tennessee's defense.
Davis will certainly help the Titans and should be a productive weapon for Mariota, but there are Davis-like receivers in every draft class, and they're usually available much later than No. 5.
Tennessee Titans: Take a Safer Cornerback Prospect
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- Jeff Haynes/Associated Press
Reaching for Davis wasn't the Titans' only mistake on draft day.
With the 18th pick, Tennessee landed a developmental prospect better suited to playing on special teams than cornerback in 2017.
Adoree' Jackson was one of the best all-around athletes in this draft class, and down the road, maybe he'll prove to be among the best players. But he is still learning to play his position and was arguably the riskiest selection in this year's first round.
Jackson's raw athleticism allowed him to cover up a lot of mistakes in college, but he was routinely burned by the better receivers he went up against. Most notably, Cincinnati Bengals first-round pick John Ross abused Jackson, making him fall down on a long touchdown reception.
In one of the deepest cornerback draft classes in recent memory, reaching for a developmental prospect just didn't make sense. The Titans could have addressed the same position with a more proven player such as Tre'Davious White, who went to the Buffalo Bills later in the first round.
Jackson is an exciting player, and hopefully he lives up to Tennessee's expectations, but this selection did not make the Titans better for the 2017 season.
Seattle Seahawks: Don't Trade Down
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- John Froschauer/Associated Press
At what point will the Seattle Seahawks realize the value in protecting their most important asset, Russell Wilson?
A once-steady Seahawks offensive line has been decimated by departures in recent years, and the team has done little to rectify the situation.
Wilson is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league, but even he can't avoid the constant pressure allowed by his offensive line. Since he entered the league in 2012, only Ryan Tannehill has been sacked more than Wilson.
The Seahawks had an opportunity to address the situation in the first round, with both Forrest Lamp and Cam Robinson on the board at No. 26 but instead elected to trade down. Both players were still available at No. 31, but once again, Seattle traded out and dropped back into the second round.
Eventually they added LSU lineman Ethan Pocic at 58.
Pocic was an excellent addition and will likely win a starting spot somewhere on the Seahawks offensive line. Given the state of Seattle's offensive line, however, it would have been justified to take Lamp or Robinson in the first round and still add Pocic when they did.
Hopefully Wilson stays healthy long enough for them to make up for this mistake in future drafts.
San Francisco 49ers: Don't Draft a Backup QB on Day 2
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Everyone was singing the praises of 49ers rookie GM John Lynch after he swindled the Bears out of extra picks and then traded up to also land Reuben Foster in the first round. But he undid a lot of that goodwill by reaching for Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard on Day 2.
Beathard has marginal physical tools for the NFL, coupled with below-average decision-making skills and poor pocket awareness. He's risk-averse to a fault and was to blame for many of the sacks he took during his two years as the starting quarterback at Iowa.
At some point on Day 3, Beathard's selection could have been justified. Given time to develop on the bench, it's possible he'll turn into a reliable backup quarterback. But nothing about Beathard's game makes him look like a future starter.
Late into the third round is simply too early to draft backup quarterbacks given potential starters are still on the board. The Arizona Cardinals for example—an NFC West rival—landed Dorian Johnson, an offensive lineman with an excellent chance to compete for a starting job in 2017, in the fourth round.
Proven winners with few holes to fill such as the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers can gamble on developmental quarterbacks in this range, but not a rebuilding franchise like San Francisco.
Atlanta Falcons: Don't Ignore the Offensive Line
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- David Goldman/Associated Press
The Atlanta Falcons' need to upgrade the offensive line was so glaring that many mock drafts linked them to Forrest Lamp in the late first round.
Ultimately, the Falcons took pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley at No. 26 to fill another need. But the offensive line wasn't addressed until Day 3 by Oregon State offensive lineman Sean Harlow.
The questionable decision was the Falcons' third-round pick, Duke Riley.
Based purely on value, there was nothing wrong with taking Riley at No. 75 overall, but it just wasn't a need for the Falcons. Atlanta drafted Riley's former teammate Deion Jones, a similar player, just last year. So while Riley has the talent to develop into a starter, there's no clear path to playing time in Atlanta.
The Falcons passed over a number of guards who could have competed for playing time, most notably Pittsburgh's Dorian Johnson. This was a missed opportunity to plug a hole at a cheap price in the third round.
Los Angeles Rams: Take the Best Player Available
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- Matt Rourke/Associated Press
The Los Angeles Rams were desperate to give quarterback Jared Goff more playmakers to work with, so they reached to land tight end Gerald Everett at No. 44.
Everett is an athletic pass-catching tight end but offers no value as a blocker, which may limit his ability to get on the field. He'll certainly help Goff and play a role in the offense, but the selection felt like a desperate move to add an offensive weapon when there were more effective players available at other positions.
Last year, the Rams acted as though they were only a quarterback away from being contenders when they traded up to No. 1 for Goff. In reality, they're a lot further away from competing. This is a rebuilding organization that should have taken the best-available-player approach with its limited draft picks.
Florida cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor both came off the board shortly after Everett, and each would have filled a need and provided more value for Los Angeles.
Cincinnati Bengals: Don't Draft a Kicker
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- Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Why do GMs insist on drafting kickers?
It's hard to explain, but scouting kickers is one of the most difficult tasks. Since nothing dramatic changes from college to the pros, you would think it would be as simple as just evaluating their accuracy and leg strength, but it's never that easy.
Maybe in the seventh round, it's justifiable to gamble on a kicker, but it's never a good idea to make that selection in the fifth round or earlier. The Bengals broke that rule, taking Memphis kicker Jake Elliott in the fifth.
Since 2007, there have been six kickers selected in the fifth round or earlier, not including Elliott. 2016 second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, after a terribly disappointing rookie year, is still with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But not one of the other five lasted more than three seasons with his original team.
Obviously, every fifth-round pick has a high probability of failure, but the potential upside to taking a player at another position far outweighs the upside of taking a kicker or punter.