2017 NFL draft grades: Breaking down every second- and third-round pick
- How did the Vikings fare on their pick of Dalvin Cook? What about the Browns taking DeShone Kizer? Here, we dole out grades for every pick from Day 2 of the 2017 NFL draft in Philly.
Cam Robinson, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and Davis Webb were just a few of the big names that came off the board on Day 2 in Philadelphia. Which teams found solid fits and added great depth and which ones stumbled? Our draft expert Chris Burke examines and analyzes every single pick from the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL draft.
An early reminder that Day 2 will be loaded with talent. King is not as complete a cornerback as his former Washington teammate, the injured Sidney Jones, but he checks off the size-speed combo at cornerback. He gives the Packers a potential top-two outside cornerback.
This is the Seahawks’ third trade down already—this one (for picks 35 and 187), plus two on Thursday. Jacksonville made the move to ensure it could nab Robinson, the potential first-round lineman who, along with Forrest Lamp, made it to Day 2. It remains to be seen if Robinson will be a guard or tackle for the Jaguars in 2017, but his future should be as a potential franchise LT.
Seattle finally decides to use its pick, and with it nabs the prospect in this class with perhaps the most room between his ceiling and floor. Make no mistake about it: McDowell is immensely gifted physically; this is a great scheme for him, too. The Seahawks just have to keep him motivated. Don’t forget, they passed on Forrest Lamp and multiple available CBs here.
Love the player. Curious about the aggressive move up the board to get him, given the cost—Arizona shipped picks 45, 119, 197 and a 2018 fourth-rounder to Chicago for this selection and 221. It seemed on the surface like a leap up for a QB, but the Cardinals seem content to keep putting that off. Baker and Tyrann Mathieu together at safety provides even more versatility to a defense loaded with it.
Buffalo traded down in Round 1, then goes up in Round 2—picks 44 and 91 to the Rams for 37 and 149. The Bills did so because they needed a wide receiver and missed out on the top three guys Thursday night. Jones should be their No. 2 guy opposite Sammy Watkins right away.
There is a very real chance Lamp develops into this draft’s top lineman, so count it as a win for the Chargers that he fell into their laps at No. 38. They’ll have to use later picks on defense, but this is a clear best player available-meets-need scenario. Lamp’s arrival is great news for both RB Melvin Gordon and QB Philip Rivers.
Two picks, two safeties for the Jets, who just remade the back end of their secondary by adding Jamal Adams and Maye. That’s a lot of physicality and versatility paired together, and it’s obvious Todd Bowles helped drive those picks. But back-to-back safeties when there are so many other needs here?
Hoo boy, that Carolina offense is going to be fun to watch. Both Samuel and first-round pick Christian McCaffrey are uber-athletic running backs with potential out of the slot. It's fair to wonder, though, if this was overkill. If McCaffrey’s getting touches all over the field, how is Samuel getting involved? The Panthers still have needs at CB, DE and OT.
Both Cook and Joe Mixon were still sitting on the board at 41, so the Vikings made a move up to address their RB situation (48 and 128 to Cincinnati). Cook isn’t a “clean” prospect, necessarily, but he was our top-ranked back. He’s a dynamic playmaker that will bolster that offense.
This is a minor upset. The Saints used one of their two first-rounders on their secondary (CB Marshon Lattimore), and they have both Kenny Vaccaro and Vonn Bell at safety. Williams is an excellent ballhawking, center-fielder type safety—the Round 2 version of Malik Hooker—but this is another team that seemed primed to address other needs.
Sidney Jones’s Achilles injury would have made him a significant gamble in the first round. In Round 2, though, he’s a value pick. He was considered to be a potential top-10 pick before that setback at his pro day. He’s a tall, physical cornerback who can lock down on the outside. When he gets healthy again, the Eagles could have a star.
The Rams throw a curve ball with their first pick of the 2017 draft, taking Everett, a player cut from the same TE/slot receiver mold as Evan Engram. This comes one year after L.A. nabbed TE Tyler Higbee in the fourth round. Everett has upside as a pass catcher, but this is early for him and there were a lot of defensive options on the board.
Just like that, we have a tight end run on our hands. The Bears needed depth at the position—Zach Miller’s been banged up a lot, Dion Sims has never had 300 yards receiving in a season and the rest of the depth chart is thin. Shaheen’s solid pass catching, suspect blocking combo actually will fit well with those other options. But there were a lot of other directions Chicago could have gone here.
This is a steal. Not everyone charged with evaluating the draft was on board with Wilson as a first-rounder, but he landed as our No. 2 cornerback. He plays an aggressive and physical game outside—desired traits in general, but even more so since the Colts took a less physical safety in Malik Hooker. Wilson and Vontae Davis together will be a handful.
The Ravens had the chance to nab a pass rusher in Round 1, but went with CB Marlon Humphrey instead. They addressed their edge situation well here, as Bowser has the potential to be an explosive OLB in Baltimore’s system. He only just now appears to be starting to unlock his capabilities, so the future should be very bright.
Recreating as much of the Alabama defense as possible through this draft is not the worst strategy ever. After swiping Jonathan Allen for their line in Round 1, the Redskins now can drop Anderson in at OLB. The latter doesn’t appear to have upside as a premier pass-rushing linebacker, but he’s solid and experienced across the board.
Evans slid a little bit under the radar within a deep and talented safety class, but he is not out of line here. Because of the way he clobbers people, he’s better playing closer to the line. He can drop back and play deep, though, so Tampa Bay can mix and match him with new addition J.J. Wilcox and incumbents like Chris Conte.
The Broncos were not good enough up front on offense last year, so they took Garett Bolles in Round 1. And they were pushed around too much on defense, too, which makes Walker’s presence a strong addition. He can play end in a 3–4, and he’d also help the transition should Denver utilize more 4–3 post-Wade Phillips.
Once a first-round contender, Tabor’s stock tumbled quite a bit after he topped 4.6 seconds in his combine 40. So, the straight-line speed may not be there, but Tabor is quick enough to succeed as an NFL cornerback and he has the alpha-dog mentality required for such a task. We had him ranked No. 52; he went No. 53, so that’s pretty spot on.
Applaud the thinking here by the Dolphins, who knew they still needed an infusion of athleticism at linebacker despite how satisfied they seem to be with Kiko Alonso. McMillan is a three-down guy, whether Miami opts to use him in the middle or on the outside. The surprise, if there is one: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham’s still available.
It’s obvious from how these last few drafts have gone down that teams are placing a high priority on having not just one, but two standout safeties. In Melifonwu and Karl Joseph, the Raiders are there. Melifonwu’s post-combine hype outpaced his still-developing game, but he’s a unique physical specimen capable of handling a variety of roles.
Finally. Cunningham should not have made it this far, plain and simple. The knock on him has been his ability to wrap, which will have to be more consistent at the next level for him to remain a 100-tackle defender. The Texans already have Brian Cushing and Bernardick McKinney inside, where Cunningham will have to play in their 3-4. Does this pick signal an impending end of the line for Cushing’s Texans career?
When Kpassagnon was walking through the halls at the combine, fans headed for the NFL Experience at the same building peeled off and just started watching him. At 6' 7", 289 pounds, he is a massive, freakish specimen. He’ll probably be a DE in the Chiefs’ 3-4 front; he can slide further outside and add pass rush, as well. Kansas City will have to coach him up, but the baseline is fascinating.
Awuzie is a very good football player. He belonged in the second round—despite a little Round 1 hype—and he doesn’t bring the natural gifts of others in this class, but he gets the job done. The Cowboys absolutely had to have an upgrade at the cornerback spot, and Awuzie gives them a player they can count on without hesitation. He’ll be helpful outside and in the slot.
The Packers keep stockpiling players in the secondary—Jones on top of earlier pick Kevin King. That loss to the Falcons in the NFC title game clearly stuck in their minds, as their banged-up secondary could not match up. Jones doesn’t necessarily have a clear path to playing time right away, but Morgan Burnett’s a soon-to-be free agent.
Buffalo sent picks 75, 149 and 156 to Atlanta for this spot, which is a decent price to pay for a 12-spot boost. However, Dawkins is one of the last O-linemen with obvious starter potential as a rookie, be it at guard or tackle. The Bills could let him compete either spot—Jordan Mills is hardly a lock at right tackle.
And there’s the other Day 2 offensive tackle capable of stepping in as a rookie starter. The Panthers overpaid for Matt Kalil to play LT, so this is probably a safety net on the right side for Michael Oher, whose concussion issues have put his future in jeopardy. Moton is a mauler—a plug-and-play option for the Panthers’ revamped offense.
Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster and now Witherspoon. That’s a potential impact playmaker at all three levels of the defense. Witherspoon can be an antidote against teams with big receivers, because of his height and ability to go up for the ball. Whether or not he can be more than that remains to be seen.
Here’s the defensive-line depth that the Jaguars had to find, after spending their first two picks on the offensive side of the football. Smoot doesn’t really threaten the status quo above him on the depth chart—he’s a rotational piece on this roster, and there arguably were higher-upside DEs still available. This is way early based on our board.
This is another good one in terms of value, but confusing in terms of team fit. Kupp is a polished receiver capable of handling a heavy workload. He’ll have to prove he can live outside, though, and the Rams just used a Round 2 pick on a slot-type TE in Gerald Everett.
The Chargers will exit Friday with an offensive line that looks remarkably more put together than it was when the night began. Feeney and Round 2 selection Forrest Lamp both can be starters next season, perhaps paired together at the guard spots—the former definitely will be there; Lamp could push for a tackle job.
No knock intended on Willis, who tore up the combine, but his actual tape suggested more of a late-Round 2/early-Round 3 value. It’s a good find for the Bengals where they got him, because they needed someone else capable of pressuring the QB off the edge.
There are times when players just look like they belong on a certain roster. That’s the case here with Wormley, a hard-nosed defender who can make noise inside or outside. Maybe not necessarily a steal here, but certainly a strong value—Wormley is a top-50 player in this class.
Anzalone is an ultra-athletic linebacker who just could not stay healthy at Florida. If he does, he easily could be the best playmaker in the Saints’ linebacking corps—and that’s as of 2017, not beyond. It’s a risk, but also addresses a need for New Orleans as it tries hard to fix its defense.
Three straight picks on the offensive side of things to open the draft, so the Panthers could load up defensively from here out. Hall slots in as a rotational pass rusher, behind the Julius Peppers/Charles Johnson tandem. Learning from those players will give Hall the best chance to unlock a more complete game.
Stewart is a lightning bolt with the ball in his hands—a raw receiver in his technique, but an exciting playmaker who can be used in myriad ways. He’s also something of a luxury pick, for a team with no room for one. There’s already speed in the Jets’ receiving corps.
With a safety and cornerback under their belts already, the Colts found themselves a pass rusher at 80. He played a lot of hand-in-the-dirt DE for Ohio, but he really looks the part of a 3-4 edge rusher, which is where he’ll be with the Colts. Very good value at this spot in Round 3.
We’re at pick 81, and this is another player who had Round 1 buzz not that long ago—there was not a huge gap in talent between what was there late-Day 1 and what was here late-Day 2. The torn pec at his pro day no doubt hurt Moreau’s stock a bit, but he’s an aggressive playmaker outside.
Denver wanted to add a playmaker in this draft, it was just a matter of when the move would come. Here, the Broncos may have outdone themselves, if Henderson is as shifty an NFL receiver as he was in college. At minimum, he’s a TD threat every time he returns a kick or punt.
The wait through 82 picks (including a trade down Friday) was a long one for the Patriots. Landing Rivers could make it worthwhile. He’s a hard-working edge rusher who will provide the defending champs some depth on passing downs. There were some folks who thought he could sneak into Round 1, so mid-Round 3 is a decent spot to find him.
Guess the Patriots were bored after all. After waiting all the way until No. 83 to make their first pick of the draft, they turned around and dealt picks 96 and 124 to Detroit for this spot. Garcia is a developmental talent at tackle, and the Patriots have the pieces in place to buy him some time.
You’ll likely hear a lot about Hunt being “underrated,” but … well, if everyone thinks that, is he really underrated? No matter the label, Hunt is a talented, almost Dalvin Cook-like back who can help on all three downs. The Chiefs traded up for this selection.
Here’s the thing about Vanderdoes: If the Raiders get the healthy, 2014 version of him, he’s a guy they can pencil in as a potential starter up front. Oakland did not have a lot of meaningful depth inside on defense, so Vanderdoes restocks the pile.
Bill O’Brien has said he wants to lighten Lamar Miller’s workload some this season, and Foreman absolutely will help do that. He’s a big back who runs like a small back—the cutting ability and speed could help him churn out yards in that Houston scheme.
Kind of a perfect mid-to-late Round 3 pick. Johnson has obvious bright spots in his game, including his ability to mix and match coverages. He’s also got a long way to go before he’s a complete product. Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator if a player needs development, though, and Johnson’s movable skills will give Phillips some options.
Lewis is undersized and doesn’t have great speed, but he still might have been a top-50 pick were it not for his pending trial on a domestic violence charge. Like Awuzie, the Cowboys’ pick at 60, Lewis can handle himself outside but might be a better fit in the slot—those two together might be interchangeable. It’s an “A” range pick with a dark cloud hanging over it.
Can the Packers get Adams to keep the light flipped on? The Auburn product flashed dominance at times, and he can bring it from several spots in the 3-4 alignment, but the glimpses of brilliance only made his long quiet stretches more frustrating. With Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels already in place, Adams could be eased into action.
The Seahawks’ earlier third-round pick, Shaq Griffin, already plays with the type of physical mentality this franchise loves. Ditto Hill, who provides needed depth behind Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas at safety. He’ll be around the ball whenever he’s on the field.
It's not hard to see why the Lions looked this way: They don’t have much at receiver behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, and they really could use a physical weapon outside. Golladay could be that, in time. Right now, he’s a big body in need of a lot of refinement.
Another in-your-face cornerback with size joins a secondary that's suddenly chock full of them. Tankersly might remind Dolphins fans of veteran Byron Maxwell or 2016 draft pick Xavien Howard—he has that same physical (to a fault) approach. He could be a very good cornerback, or he could be a guy teams attack.
Definitely do not mind the Eagles doubling down on cornerback Friday night—it was a trouble spot on their depth chart, and Sidney Jones (their Round 2 pick) likely won’t be available until at least October. Douglas doesn’t have a ton of speed, but he has size, length and a knack for getting in front of receivers.
Is that enough weapons for Marcus Mariota yet? Add Smith to the Titans’ earlier haul at wide receiver: Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor. Smith is similar in game to Delanie Walker, so it’s interesting that the Titans did not go find a completely different type at the position.
Malik McDowell, the Seahawks’ second-round selection, is a player the Seahawks can move around and ask to get after the quarterback. Jones is more of a space-eater and likely an early-down defender, so that makes for a strong pairing of D-line picks Friday.
The Saints entered the draft needing a DE to line up opposite Cameron Jordan, and they might have found an under-the-radar answer in Hendrickson. He’s not a clear-cut, overnight starter in the NFL—a lot of what he does comes from pure effort, as opposed to elite skills—but he’s at least a rotational defender.
Rookie GM John Lynch killed it through the early rounds in this draft, but trading up (109 and 219 to Minnesota) for Beathard is a little ugly. The price tag wasn’t that high; the expectations probably won’t be, either. Beathard has a future in the NFL, because of what he can do as a pro-style passer. It’s just not as a starter.
The arrow started pointing way up last year, so if Darboh can keep that momentum going the Seahawks will have something here. He brings size and sub-4.5 speed to the outside, with great body control along the sideline. Seattle might be able to slip him into the slot at times, too. He's not a No. 1 receiver, but he's a decent option in a complementary role.
The Bucs closed the night by sending picks 125 and 204 to the Jets for Beckwith, a former teammate of Kwon Alexander at LSU. It might be a redshirt pick, because a.) Beckwith tore his ACL in November, and b.) there’s not an obvious spot for him in the rotation, aside from adding depth.