The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone and there was a ton of action that occurred over the three day extravaganza.
All that action allowed us to learn a little bit about the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals and the 2018 NFL Draft.
Here are five things we learned from the 2017 NFL Draft.
- The NFL liked this quarterback class:
We have heard far too often that this was a bad quarterback class. The NFL disagreed. Three quarterbacks were taken in the first twelve selections, two teams wanted the quarterback that went 10 overall and five teams took quarterbacks on the first two days of the draft.
Now, that doesn’t mean that this is a good quarterback class, but it does mean that the NFL liked this class, and two perennial playoff teams in the Chiefs and Texans thought enough of their selections that they were willing to forfeit future first round picks.
2. The historic defensive class was not exactly... historic.
There is an inherent understanding of value that doesn’t get talked about or relied on nearly enough when predicting outcomes in the early draft.
The idea is known as the creator/preventer theory. Value is found in finding players that create plays: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, or prevent those plays from happening: Pass rushers, cornerbacks, and offensive tackles who prevent the prevent and allow the creator to make plays.
The top billed defensive players: safeties, inside linebackers and non pass rushing defensive tackles, all mocked in the top 5-10, were pushed down the board. The one player who bucked that trend was Jamal Adams.
Of the 32 first round picks only nine were not of those positions. One in the top 12, two in the top 15, four in the top 20.
The NFL doesn’t value, for whatever reason, these positions as much as the others.
3. Off field doesn’t matter...
The NFL can profess their love and affection for doing the right thing, cleaning up the game by suspending players who smoke weed, etc. However, their actions speak volumes.
I am all about kids getting a second chance, but teams pounced on players with question marks with what seemed little hesitation. Hopefully these incidents were one off, but the NFL wasn’t shy about taking on kids with off field issues.
4. Running backs are back in vogue:
Thanks to players like Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson and most recently, Zeke Elliot, the NFL is reinvesting in the running back position. They want to find their workhorse early now.
Two in first, two in the second and two in the third.
I am just glad AZ has their running back.
5. The New England Patriots just understand the draft:
They traded their first and second round picks for proven, young talent.
They took top developmental talent in the third, fourth and sixth at those creator/preventor positions and now have pieces in place to continue to contend in 2017, 2018 and then move along in 2019.
It is why they continue to run the league... Well, and having an ageless Tom Brady.