With all the factors that go into the NFL Draft, it is no surprise that sometimes guys slip unexpectedly. Who were the biggest steals in each round of the 2017 NFL Draft?
Round 1: Washington Redskins – Jonathan Allen DL Alabama
Jonathan Allen was graded by some including myself as the number two prospect in the entire draft. Allen is an excellent interior defensive linemen who dominates against the run and is an extremely gifted inside pass rusher. Although he is a little light, he projects as a top tier three-technique, which is one of the hardest positions on a defense to find a dominating player at. There had been an injury concern all along with his shoulder, however it was disclosed on draft day that arthritis in that shoulder may have caused him to slip to the Redskins at 17.
Round 2: Philadelphia Eagles – Sidney Jones CB Washington
If there was a corner in this draft who had a chance of being selected ahead Marshon Lattimore, it was Sidney Jones. Jones’ Achilles injury at his pro day put an end to that, but created a great opportunity for the Eagles. The Eagles were able to address their need for a pass rusher in the first round and still acquire one of the best corners in the draft in round two. Jones is a smooth fast runner who excels in both man and zone coverage. He has the potential to be the NFL’s next great lockdown corner.
Round 3: Washington Redskins – Fabian Moreau CB UCLA
Fabian Moreau is another corner with first round capabilities who fell due to a pro day injury. Moreau has the ability to be a top level corner in the NFL giving the Redskins incredible value in the third round. He tore his pectoral, which should not be much of a concern. Although the pectoral muscle is used when jamming a receiver, it is not nearly as worrisome as a lower body injury.
Round 4: Cincinnati Bengals – Carl Lawson LB/DE Auburn
Once again a top level talent plummets in the draft due to injury concerns. Carl Lawson was actually healthy during the 2016 season as well as the pre-draft process. Lawson suffered a torn ACL in the spring of 2014 causing him to miss all of the season and missed much of the 2015 season with a hip injury. His career was bookended by a Freshman All-American season in 2013 and an All-SEC showing in 2016. Some scouts believe that he was not the same after his injuries, but it did not stop him from tallying nine sacks in the SEC. Lawson was seen by many as one of the top pass rushers in the draft, and expected to go in the second round.
Round 5: Denver Broncos – Jake Butt TE Michigan
Jake Butt was one of the top tight ends in the NCAA and had first round potential, but a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl has left his 2017 status uncertain. Butt was an extremely effective pass catcher and a go-to guy in the Michigan offense. Once he is healthy he should be very productive in Denver’s offense.
Round 6: Minnesota Vikings – Bucky Hodges TE Virginia Tech
No injury concerns here. In a notably deep tight end draft, Bucky Hodges falls likely due to lack of refinement at the position. Hodges was used basically as a very large receiver. He was relied upon as a running blocker and does not run precise routes. He has the skill set to help the Vikings in the pass game particularly in the red zone, but will need work to become an every down player.
Round 7: Green Bay Packers – Malachi Dupre’ Wide Receiver LSU
Although his film is impressive, there are a fair amount of concerns regarding Malachi Dupre’. While he has excellent size, some question his speed. He also had issues with dropped balls during his career. Although he will start deep on the Green Bay depth chart, he certainly shows flashes of playmaking ability. The Packers may have found a big steal in Dupre’ in the final round of the draft.