8 things to watch for in the 2017 NFL Draft

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday April 27, 2017




1. Are the Browns seriously going to pass on Myles Garrett?

Really?

Todd McShay changed his No. 1 pick to Mitch Trubisky this morning, based on chatter he’s hearing. We don’t normally get drama this close to the draft for the No. 1 pick. There are concerns about Garrett taking plays off, but Chris Mortensen passed along something to keep in mind with today’s defensive linemen.

2. Which coaches could reunite with players they worked with in college?

This offseason, Steve Sarkisian went from Alabama to the Falcons, Tyrone Wheatley went from Michigan to the Jaguars, and Marion Hobby went from Clemson to the Jaguars, just to name a few coaches who jumped. Those three schools will have a lot of players picked this weekend.

Could the Carolina Panthers draft Christian McCaffrey? His running backs coach at Stanford, Lance Taylor, is now the wide receivers coach for the Panthers.

3. Will there be a run on quarterbacks, or will they all slide?

A lot of teams need quarterbacks, so there’s a chance this could get wild.

Mitch Trubisky appears to be a consensus first-round pick, but if that happens early or in the middle of the round could change everything. NFL.com’s mock drafts have Deshaun Watson as high as 12 and as low as 32. Patrick Mahomes could be a first-round pick… or he might not. Same with DeShone Kizer. There’s also been some hype around Davis Webb.

4. Who will slide and turn into a steal?

We’ll always remember Aaron Rodgers’ face and he slid and slid down during the 2005 draft, back when there was more time between first-round picks. Rodgers eventually went to the Packers at No. 24, and the rest is history. Teddy Bridgewater was a similar slide a few years ago. Then again, Brady Quinn went through a similar path in 2007, surprisingly falling to No. 22, and his pro career didn’t pan out. Geno Smith fell to Day 2 and hasn’t found success.

Last year, Laremy Tunsil slipped to No. 13 after his social media accounts were hacked, but he had a solid rookie year for the Dolphins. Myles Jack slid to the second round over knee concerns, and his rookie year was mixed, but he did start 10 games and play in all 16.

5. If you don’t want picks spoiled, stay off Twitter

ESPN and the NFL Network will not tip picks on their broadcast once again, nor will their reporters on Twitter, but that doesn’t stop reporters from other affiliates, and other people retweeting it into your timeline. Personally, I love the days when a live camera shot would show us a player answering the phone and getting the good news live. If you want to know the picks ahead of time, follow @JasonLaCanfora from CBS Sports, @CharlesRobinson from Yahoo and some other non-ESPN or NFL Network reporters.

“As I have said in the past, our viewers have overwhelmingly told us that they do not want us to spoil the drama of the draft in any way,” ESPN’s Seth Markman told Sports Illustrated. “This goes for Twitter, too. I realize that there are those who disagree with this approach, but we are not in the business of angering our loyal viewers and I personally like the unspoiled nature of this event. Fans love sitting on the edge of their seats to hear what the commissioner says. Trust me, Adam Schefter could easily report who each team is going to pick minutes before the commissioner announces it. That would be terrible TV and he has no interest in proving that he could do this anyway.”

6. Will the Patriots make another quirky pick?

In 2012, they drafted Ohio State walk-on Nate Ebner in the 6th round, and he’s been a special teams staple. In 2015, they drafted long-snapper Joe Cardona in the 5th round, and he’s played in 32 games since.

Another note about the Patriots: Of their nine picks last year, seven played at least 10 games in 2016, plus QB Jacoby Brissett started and won a game.

7. What will Pete Carroll, John Schneider and the Seahawks do in the third round?

Under Schneider and Carroll, recent Seahawks picks outside the first round have included Kam Chancellor, Golden Tate, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Tyler Lockett. This year, they have three third-round picks, along with a first, second, sixth and seventh. This is a deep draft, so they should have quality options in that third round. Will the Seahawks find another mid-to-late-round star?

8. Who will be Gruden’s guy?

It's hard to find a player Jon Gruden doesn’t like, but each year, there’s a player or two for whom Gruden starts campaigning as the draft goes on. He's always an optimist, and it’s usually a quarterback. Last year, he said he’d be “shocked” if Christian Hackenberg didn’t go in the first round (he went in the second). This year, it might be Patrick Mahomes, as Gruden said if he could take one QB in this class…  “I’d take Mahomes. I’d have a lot of fun with him.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.