The Schein Nine
Moves I loved, liked and loathed in the 2017 NFL Draft Print
- By Adam Schein
- NFL Media columnist
- Published: May 1, 2017 at 01:00 p.m.
- Updated: May 1, 2017 at 02:18 p.m.
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Four days after the Bears' mind-boggling move in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft, I'm still scratching my head. I'd say I've stopped yelling, but that would be a lie.
Chicago's confounding Mitch Trubisky gambit aside, there were plenty of positive developments in Philadelphia from Thursday to Saturday. As the dust settles, let's digest the highs and lows with a look at draft moves I loved, liked and loathed.
DRAFT MOVES I LOVE
1) Cleveland lands three of my favorite players in the draft — and a QB
- 2017 NFL DRAFT
▹ Exclusive on Browns' draft strategy
▹ Schein: Picks I love, like, loathe
▹ Best and most worrisome picks
▹ Five Teams that improved the most
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▹ Most intriguing pick of Round 1
▹ Day 1 winners and losers
▹ QB frenzy shakes up Round 1
- 'TOP 100 PLAYERS OF 2017'
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Hey, the Browns made the obvious choice with the first overall pick and took the best player in the draft, pass rusher Myles Garrett — yes!
Cleveland did not panic at quarterback despite a gaping depth-chart hole at the position. After speculation the Browns might trade up from the No. 12 slot for a signal caller, the team traded down, swapping spots with the Texans in exchange for Houston's 2018 first-rounder, then using the 25th choice to scoop up the versatile and winning defensive wild-card Jabrill Peppers. They rounded out their night by trading into the 29th spot to grab tight end David Njoku, whom I called the steal of the second half of the first round heading into the draft. I think Njoku will be a more well-rounded and better version of current Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham.
On top of all that, Cleveland still managed to come away with a quarterback on Friday, nabbing DeShone Kizer in Round 2. The Notre Dame product isn't ready yet, but he has a great opportunity to be successful in Hue Jackson's offense. And because the Browns didn't reach for a QB, the position could still be in play next offseason, whether Cleveland pursues current Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo or another prospect.
2) John Lynch makes a stunning draft debut
In the first round of his first draft as the San Francisco 49ers general manager — for that matter, his first draft in a front office anywhere — John Lynch duped the Bears into paying a king's ransom to move up one spot, secured the player at No. 3 he wanted originally at No. 2 (defensive end Solomon Thomas), then traded back into Round 1 when a top-15 talent (linebacker Reuben Foster) fell because of injury and character concerns. And then Lynch dropped the mic.
I wrote last month that Thomas was the ideal fit for the Niners at No. 2 overall. To get him at No. 3 with extra picks? Wow. Lynch took full advantage of the Bears' foolish desperation (more on that later). And for an encore, Lynch and Kyle Shanahan stole Foster. That's an A+ day at the office.
3) Chris Ballard begins to right the ship in Indy
The new Indianapolis Colts GM put the desperation, reaching and searching that marked the Ryan Grigson era squarely in the rearview with an outstanding draft. Safety Malik Hooker at No. 15 overall? Ballard could get locked up for grand theft. Appearing on my Sirius XM radio show, "Schein on Sports," a few days before the draft, NFL Network draft analyst Charles Davis compared Hooker to baseball legend Willie Mays — and it makes sense when you think about the way Hooker plays center field. He's a great fit in Chuck Pagano's defense. Second-round pick Quincy Wilson will help instantly at corner. And then you have fourth-rounder Marlon Mack, whom the "Around the NFL" crew suggested could be the 2017 version of Bears standout rookie Jordan Howard. Mack can run. Love it!
4) The Buccaneers book a postseason berth
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a playoff move at No. 19, where GM Jason Licht pilfered O.J. Howard, a top-10 talent and do-it-all tight end with a winning pedigree. The Alabama product will make an instant impact in Tampa, combining with young stud receiver Mike Evans and field-stretching free-agent signee DeSean Jackson to give QB Jameis Winston a major boost in Year 3. Mark it down: The Bucs are going to the playoffs.
DRAFT MOVES I LIKE
5) The Texans finally find the right QB
I was a big fan of both Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien and QB prospect Deshaun Watson individually, and now that they're together in Houston, I'm even more on board. I love the tangibles and intangibles of Watson, whom I've compared favorably to Alex Smith as a pro. Watson is a hard-working winner who values having a great relationship with his coach — in short, he's the anti-Brock Osweiler.
Great job by O'Brien and GM Rick Smith getting smartly aggressive — they weren't landing Watson without moving up from No. 25. Given the Texans' loaded roster, which includes arguably the best defense in the NFL, this is exactly what the team needed at quarterback after years of foundering that culminated in Osweiler's doomed 2016 tenure. This is perfect.
6) Andy Reid gets his guy for the future
Very bright team executives in the NFL told me Patrick Mahomes is the most talented quarterback in the draft. With Alex Smith (32) getting a little long in the tooth, Chiefs coach Andy Reid pounced, trading up to No. 10 overall to nab this raw and real player and leader. Mahomes — who raved about his meeting with Reid when we spoke before the draft on my SiriusXM radio show — will blossom into a big-time quarterback under Reid's watchful eye as he learns from sitting behind Smith.
The 2017 Chiefs were a double-digit-win team before the draft. The made a smart play for the future while maintaining that 10-win status.
7) The Falcons keep climbing
The intelligence of the Falcons organization really shone through in this draft. I loved the aggressiveness and savvy of GM Thomas Dimitroff trading up for a great player and person in Takkarist McKinley in the first round. He'll be the ideal edge rusher opposite Vic Beasley, who broke through in 2016 with 15.5 sacks. The Falcons then proceeded to hit areas of need, including linebacker (third-rounder Duke Riley) and offensive guard (fourth-rounder Sean Harlow), later on.
So, yes, the reigning NFC champs got even better.
8) Jacksonville bolsters its foundation
The Jaguars didn't overthink things at No. 4 overall, choosing the best offensive player in the draft in running back Leonard Fournette. Given Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles' apparent inability to execute the forward pass, this was a big deal. Fournette is going to be a star while helping the team continue to build itself in the tough-minded image of Doug Marrone/Tom Coughlin. The icing on the cake: The Jags landed a Round 2 steal in offensive tackle Cam Robinson.
Remember, the Jaguars have talent. Entering the offseason, they needed a coach, a direction and an attitude adjustment. They got it. Next step? A quarterback.
THE DRAFT MOVE I LOATHE
9) The Bears … well, there are no words
In every possible way, the Chicago Bears failed the 2017 NFL draft.
When the team traded up one spot to draft Mitch Trubisky second overall, you could've knocked me over with a feather.
I like Trubisky, but he started just 13 games in college and wasn't the consensus best quarterback in the draft — not by a long shot. Many executives and analysts whose opinions I value have Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson ahead of him.
Chicago had a golden opportunity to nab a defensive stud third overall, with safety Jamal Adams (who went sixth to the Jets) being a dreamy option as a player and leader. Instead, GM Ryan Pace was fleeced by Lynch, who extracted valued picks (67th and 111th overall in 2017 and a 2018 third-rounder) from the Bears in exchange for the chance to draft a QB I firmly believe would have been there at No. 3.
Like the Niners and Jets, the Bears should not have been in the quarterback business this year, at least not with a top-10 pick. San Francisco and New York opted to smartly wait and not overreact, trying to fill holes on the rest of their roster and aim for the bumper crop of QBs projected to be available in 2018. Picking a QB in Round 2 or 3 would've made some sense for Chicago, but giving up the farm for a project at No. 2 overall? Come on.
I like veteran QB Mike Glennon — to whom the Bears handed a good chunk of change in March — more than most. And now Glennon has no chance to be successful in Chicago, with Trubisky plucked at No. 2. If Trubisky was really going to be their guy in Round 1, why didn't they bring back Brian Hoyer and spend the real money to retain receiver Alshon Jeffery, add another veteran receiver or address the defense?
The Bears don't seem to understand the player-acquisition process. Chicago had a desperate need for talent, and after an offseason in which there appeared to be no correlation in draft and free-agency strategy, the cupboard remains barren. This is arguably the least talented team in the NFL, possessing what is without question one of the three worst rosters in the league.
It's easy to see the Bears on the clock to kick off the 2018 NFL Draft with the first overall pick — without the freedom to pick a quarterback prospect and, potentially, with a new coach at the helm.
Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.
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