Hindsight NFL Draft Report: 2017

Before the NFL Draft, everyone has an opinion on various players and everyone thinks they are right. That’s why it’s fun, years later, to look back and judge these opinions in hindsight.

As part of MIKEDROPSPORTS hindsight draft report series, we look back at the 2017 Draft and laugh at some of the awful decisions and remember some of the key trades.

The Patrick Mahomes Factor

Mahomes will forever be the #1 story coming out of this draft. He was picked 10th by the Chiefs, who acquired the pick via trade, meaning 10 teams passed on Mahomes.

Those 10 teams include – Browns, Bears, 49ers, Jaguars, Titans, Jets, Chargers, Panthers, Bengals, Bills.

These first few sections all line up to the idea that teams that need quarterbacks passed on Mahomes. Not only did they pass on Mahomes, but they also screwed up their own picks.

Bears Trade UP

The Chicago Bears…..ugh. Not only did the Bears draft Mitchell Trubisky, a guy with 13 career collegiate starts who couldn’t unseat Marquise Williams ahead of him, but they traded UP to make sure they got him.

Do you know what the Bears gave up to move up ONE SPOT? In addition to the #3 pick, their 2017 third AND fourth round picks AND a 2018 third round pick.

49ers wound up with DE Solomon Thomas, LB Fred Warner and a total of 6 players, thanks to several trades. Ultimately, this Bears/49ers trade involved 14 players, 6 teams and a whole lot to sort through.

Jaguars drafted Leonard Fournette 

Jags passed on Patrick Mahomes because of the presence of 2014 #3 overall pick Blake Bortles. Whoops.

The other big whoops here, it’s let’s say the Jaguars did take Mahomes #4, but they also desperately needed a running back. They could have taken one of these players:

Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, James Connor, Marlon Mack.

I think they would have been alright at running back, if they passed on Fournette.

Three WRs in Top 10 

Titans picked Corey Davis #5, Chargers picked Mike Williams #7, Bengals picked John Ross #9.

Two reasons why this stings for these three teams.

1. WRs drafted later include Juju Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin, and Kenny Golladay

2. And three years later, these teams all have/had a glaring need for a quarterback.

  • Marcus Mariota was a disappointment in Tennessee and they will move forward with Ryan Tannehill as their starter. Tannehill led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game in 2020 before losing to…Mahomes and the Chiefs
  • Philip Rivers era is over for the Chargers, who will move forward with…Tyrod Taylor? They will almost certainly draft someone at #6 Drafting Mahomes would have spared them from having to face him twice a year and now forces them to settle for either Justin Herbert or Jordan Love
  • Bengals are a lock to draft Joe Burrow #1. Nothing wrong with that, but since drafting John Ross, they have gone 15-33.

Did the Bills win the Mahomes trade?

It’s hard to be a winner when you are a team who passed on Patrick Mahomes, but the Bills have absolutely maximized the return they got on the trade. So yes, it is possible that both teams won this draft day trade.

Buffalo acquired the Chiefs’ first round picks in 2017 and 2018 and a 2017 third round pick.

2017 #27 (via KC) – CB Tre’Davious White

2017 #91 (via KC) – Traded to the Rams, who picked safety John Johnson. Rams traded second and fifth round picks to Bills for their second and third round picks (which included #91).

2018 #22 (via KC) – Bills traded #22 and a third round pick to the Ravens for #16 and #154. Pick #22 was traded again, from the Ravens to the Titans and used on LB Rashaan Evans

Bills picks acquired from Rams

2017 #37 (vs LA) – WR Zay Jones
2017 #149 (vs LA) – traded to Falcons, who drafted CB Damontae Kazee. Buffalo traded three picks, included #149 (and a third and fifth round pick) for the Falcons’ second rounder 

Bills picks acquired from Ravens
2018 #16 (via Balt) – LB Tremaine Edmunds
2018 #154 (via Balt) – CB Siran Neal

Bils picks acquired from Falcons
2017 #63 (via Atl) – OG Dion Dawkins

Dawkins, Edmunds, and White are all key starters for a Bills team that made the playoffs in 2019 and is loading up in 2020. Josh Allen was their first round pick in 2018 (in addition to Edmunds) and has a chance to continue to grow with some of these young guys around him.


What did Deshaun Watson cost the Texans? 

In hindsight, this whole draft revolves around who didn’t draft Patrick Mahomes. But Deshaun Watson is a pretty good quarterback too. Coming into the draft, I was a true believer in Watson. I felt he should have been the first QB off the board and would have much preferred him over Mahomes.

Texans made a big jump, moving up from the mid 20s to #12 to draft Watson. The #12 pick belonged to the Browns, who originally acquired this pick from the Eagles one year earlier in the Carson Wentz deal. Browns had the #2 pick in 2016 and moved down to acquire a huge haul from Philly. So the Browns re-routed the Eagles’ pick to the Texans for Watson.

Browns acquired #25 in 2017 and the Texans’ first round pick in 2018, which turned out to be the 4th overall pick after a disappointing 4-12 season.

Texans had to move up to draft Watson at 12, after Mahomes went 10. They traded #25 in 2017 and #4 in 2018.

2017 #25 – S Jabril Peppers, who was later traded to the Giants for WR Odell Beckham Jr

2018 #4 – CB Denzel Ward, a key piece of the Browns’ defense


George Kittle was the 9th tight end drafted

You could argue 49ers TE George Kittle is one of the 2 or 3 best tight ends in football (with Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz in the conversation). By default, that would clearly make him the best TE from the 2017 class, despite being the 9th TE off the board. Kittle was drafted in the fifth round, 146th overall.

Through three seasons, Kittle has 2,945 yards and 12 TDs. The rest of the TEs?

  • OJ Howard (19, TB) – 1,456, 12 TD
  • Evan Engram (23, NYG) – 1,766, 12 TD
  • David Njoku (29, Cle) – 1,066, 9 TD
  • Gerald Everett (44, LAR) – 972, 7 TD
  • Adam Shaheen (45, Chi) -249, 4 TD
  • Jonnu Smith (100, Ten) – 854, 8 TD
  • Michael Roberts (127, Det) – 146, 3 TD
  • Jake Butt (145, Den) – 85 yards (no TDs)

Howard has been good, even if underutilized and Engram is a key part of the Giants offense. Everett and Smith came on strong in the latter halves of 2019.

Let’s pick on the Bears some more! Everyone picks on them for drafting Trubisky over Mahomes, but how about drafting a tight end in round 2 with 26 career catches over George Kittle.

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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