NFL Draft 2017 Results: Full List of Selections and Grades from Round 1April 28, 2017
There are many aspects that go into a building a team and turning it into a consistent playoff side with legitimate championship aspirations.
A team's ability to develop talent and help players improve is vital, and making the right moves in free agency is clearly a route that can lead a team to success.
However, succeeding in the NFL draft has long been thought of as the most important way to build a winning team. The first round of this year's draft was a surprising show in Philadelphia from the time the Chicago Bears traded up from the No. 3 slot to No. 2 in order to claim North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
This was expected to be a first round that was heavy on defensive talent, so it was clearly a surprise when seven of the first 10 picks were offensive players and three of the first 12 were quarterbacks.
Here are the results and grades for the first round selections, along with a closer look at some of the more elite picks who have a chance to turn into gamebreakers in their rookie seasons with their new teams.
|First Round Grades and Analysis|
|1||Cleveland Browns||DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M||A-: Dominant player who can give the Browns a presence on the defensive line|
|2||Chicago Bears||QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina||D+: Bears get fleeced by Niners and don't get the best QB in the draft.|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford||A: Lynch hits a home run with this powerful pass rusher.|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||RB Leonard Fournette, LSU||B-: Jags need a running back, but he didn't need to come off the board here.|
|5||Tennessee Titans||WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan||B: Solid wide receiver with the size and body control, but he will drop some catchable balls.|
|6||New York Jets||SS Jamal Adams, LSU||B+: Dynamic player who fills a huge need for Jets|
|7||San Diego Chargers||WR Mike Williams, Clemson||A-: Philip Rivers will be thrilled to have this superstar talent|
|8||Carolina Panthers||RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford||C: Versatile talent but he is not a pure running back|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||WR John Ross, Washington||C: Speed burner who set Combine record, but has a long way to go.|
|10||Kansas City Chiefs||QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech||A-: Andy Reid's quarterback of the future looks like a star.|
|11||New Orleans Saints||CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State||B+: Strong pick for a team with a huge need in the secondary for star palyers.|
|12||Houston Texans||QB DeShaun Watson, Clemson||A: This may be the pick that makes the Texans a Super Bowl contender in the future|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||OLB Haason Reddick, Temple||B-: Hard-hitting tackler, but Bruce Arians needed his QB of the future.|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles||DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee||B+: True pass rusher with excellent all-around technique|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State||A-: Colts address a huge need in the secondary with this pick.|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama||B: Good, solid cover man at a position of need for John Harbaugh|
|17||Washington Redskins||DT Jonathan Allen, Alabama||A: Can't understand why he fell so far.|
|18||Tennessee Titans||CB Adoree Jackson, USC||B+: Wonderful and versatile player who finds a way to win.|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TE O.J. Howard, Alabama||C+: Fine talent, but Bucs would have been better served with a defensive player.|
|20||Denver Broncos||OT Garrett Bolles, Utah||C-: Wild-card selection with questionable past.|
|21||Detroit Lions||ILB Jarrad Davis, Florida||B+: Lions defense needs to get faster, and Davis helps them improve in that area.|
|22||Miami Dolphins||DE Charles Harris, Missouri||C+: Looked good on film, but he could have been selected in the second round.|
|23||New York Giants||TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss||C: More of a muscled-up wideout than a tight end.|
|24||Oakland Raiders||CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State||B: Risky pick, but a wonderful talent who should be able to step in and make big plays|
|25||Cleveland Browns||SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan||C+: High skill level, but what position does he play?|
|26||Atlanta Falcons||OLB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA||A-: Powerful pass rusher with relentless attitude, and that's just what Falcons need.|
|27||Buffalo Bills||CB TreDavious White, LSU||B: True position of need for Bills, and White is one of the best corners in the draft.|
|28||Dallas Cowboys||DE Taco Charlton, Michigan||B-: Plays his best in the biggest games.|
|29||Cleveland Browns||TE David Njoku, Miami (Fla.)||C: Can catch the ball, but he will struggle when it comes to blocking.|
|30||Pittsburgh Steelers||OLB T.J. Watt, Wsconsin||B+: High-energy player with strong skills.|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama||A-: Another Bama player who dropped a long way. Another home run for Lynch.|
|32||New Orleans Saints||OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin||C: Beefy blocker who has health concerns after January surgery.|
Defensive end Solomon Thomas, San Francisco 49ers
General manager John Lynch may be a rookie when it comes to running a draft, but he demonstrated that he knew what he was doing when he picked up the 67th and 111th pick in this year's draft and a third-rounder next year by letting the Chicago Bears move up to the No. 2 spot so they could pick a quarterback that the Niners didn't want.
San Francisco dropped one step back to the No. 3 spot overall and selected Thomas, who should become a game-changing pass rusher.
Thomas does not have far to go since he played his college football at Stanford, and he is coming off a season in which he had 15.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks. The 6'3", 273-pound Thomas is big and powerful, and he will use his strong upper body to overpower and punish offensive linemen.
In addition to his strength, Thomas also has the quickness and speed to bend the edge and then use his long arms to make the quarterback alter his throw or risk getting his pass blocked.
The Niners need power on the defensive line, and Thomas has the strength and competitiveness to turn this into an area that is much more effective than it has been in recent years.
Strong safety Jamal Adams, New York Jets
The draft appeared to break correctly for the Jets, and they selected perhaps the best defensive back available in this year's draft.
The 6'0", 214-pound Adams is a do-it-all defensive back who has eye-catching athletic ability, plays with remarkable strength and power and almost never misses a tackle.
The son of former New York Giants running back George Adams has exceptional range, and he excels at reading the offensive formation and figuring out where the next play is going. He gets to the point of attack with remarkable speed, and he hits like a nasty linebacker.
Adams is exceptional in coverage as well, although his lack of height could cause problems when he is asked to play the biggest tight ends. However, he makes up for that lack of length with toughness, athleticism, quickness and overwhelming skill.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
After leading the Clemson Tigers to the national championship game two years in a row and winning that title last season, Watson accomplished everything he could at the college level.
Now he gets the opportunity to show what he can do at the NFL level with the talented Texans. Head coach Bill O'Brien has desperately needed a franchise quarterback, and while his team has made the playoffs the last two seasons, the QB play has been uninspiring.
Watson should have an excellent opportunity to win the starting quarterback job and show off his poise, leadership and skill at the position.
Much has been made of Watson's 30 interceptions over the last two seasons, but he has also thrown 76 touchdown passes over that span, and he has been an exceptional runner who can make big plays on the ground.
If Watson's adjustment to the NFL is a smooth one, the Texans could take the next step up and become a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the foreseeable future.
Outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley, Atlanta Falcons
This selection may turn out to be one of the best picks of the 2017 draft because he is a perfect fit for the team that selected him.
McKinley is a wonderful pass rusher because he has the physical gifts to win the battle and the mental tenacity to fight like a champion on every snap.
In addition to his relentlessness, he has the size and strength that should make the Falcons even more effective on defense.
They became bigger and stronger in 2016, and McKinley will help them get even better in this area at 6'2" and 250 pounds. He has the size to punish ball carriers and receivers, and he will seek them out and destroy them.