With the 2017 NFL draft a few weeks behind us and rookie mini camps over, I decided to start a 3-part series where I will look back and give my six favorite and least favorite draft classes. Of course you shouldn’t judge a draft class till after three years later, but I’m going to break that rule. I’ll also give my favorite pick from each round of the draft in the final installment.
Now briefly I’ll explain my favorite pick in each round of the draft and what I expect from them in their rookie season.
First Round (Pick 25): Jabrill Peppers (Cleveland Browns)
Peppers is a raw but athletic and a determined playmaker. Defensive coordinator Greg Williams will have the ultimate chess piece to work within his defense. Peppers will struggle during his rookie year, but don’t be shocked if by year three we are talking about Peppers being one of the best hybrid safeties in the league.
Second Round (Pick 48): Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals)
We all know what Mixon did back in 2014 as a freshman. It was horrible and hopefully he has learned from it, but it’s time to turn the page and focus on his NFL career. Mixon would have been a top ten pick if not for the 2014 domestic violence issue. Mixon is very similar to Le’Veon Bell and I expect Mixon to be the Bengals starter in week one. Do not be surprised if Mixon finishes the season as a Pro Bowl selection; his talent is that good!
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) May 13, 2017
Third Round (Pick 80): Tarell Basham (Indianapolis Colts)
I love Basham and his fit with the Colts. They signed a few veteran pass rushers in free agency, but Basham is the future at the position. His game reminds me of Ryan Kerrigan; a balanced attack of speed and power. Basham will likely be used as a rotational pass rusher as a rookie but I would be shocked if he finishes with less than six sacks this season.
Fourth Round (Pick 117): Josh Reynolds (Los Angeles Rams)
The Rams went into the draft determined to add weapons for Jared Goff. Three of their first four picks were weapons for Goff – Josh Reynolds might be the best of them, despite being picked fourth. He has the size and speed to be a true number one receiver with a good catch radius and has the ability to be dangerous in the open field. Don’t be surprised if Reynolds leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns this season as a rookie.
Desmond King is ready to contribute any way he can. pic.twitter.com/XwSXvtiY0P
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) May 24, 2017
Fifth Round (Pick 151): Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers)
As I talked about in my first installment of this series, King has the versatility to play both cornerback and safety. King will add another young talented defensive back to the Chargers secondary. Expect King to be a rotational player as a rookie, unless he can win a starting role in camp. If he does win a starting role, look for him to league all rookies in interceptions. King has a knack for finding and turning over the ball; he had eight interceptions as a junior at Iowa.
Lions QB Brad Kaaya is a player to watch during OTAs.
He saw a 100.0+ passer rating on short, intermediate and deep passes last year. pic.twitter.com/jvdqupRAiB
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 23, 2017
Sixth Round (Pick 215): Brad Kaaya (Detroit Lions)
Kaaya had a low second round grade from me, but falling to the sixth round the Lions grabbed themselves a good backup quarterback on a very cheap rookie contract. Kaaya shouldn’t see the field as a rookie, unless Matthew Stafford gets hurt, but don’t be surprised if Kaaya looks good in the preseason and in any mop-up minutes this season.
Seventh Round (Pick 253): Chad Kelly (Denver Broncos)
I wrote about Kelly earlier but briefly again, it’s a long shot but if Kelly can stay focused on football and avoid off the field distractions he has the talent to be the starter in a year or two. Don’t expect Kelly to do anything in his rookie season as he is the teams third quarterback on the depth chart and likely to miss the season as he recovers from a torn ACL and ligament damage in his wrist.
That sums up the 2017 NFL draft for me now its on to the 2018 draft. It takes about three years before you can realistically judge a draft class, so in 2020 we will see who was right and who was wrong. This draft has players with real potential to be great, but also a few sleepers who will show they should of went higher. See you then!