NFL Draft 2017 – Reviewing The AFC

afc-logo_origThe 2017 NFL Draft is in the books. If you hit the internet you can find dozens of people giving grades and opinions on who won and who lost over the weekend. The problem is, you can't really tell for a few years. You can't judge a player until after at least two or three years of being in the pros. Some come in and do great, then fizzle out as other teams learn their weaknesses. Other players get off to a bumpy start because of injuries or acclimating to the speed of the pro game, but year two and three are improvements. Trying to grade draft selections the next is all just opinion and speculation. The experts based their grades on what they feel a team needed while the teams have their own thoughts on that. And no matter who they picked, it's exactly who they wanted… because no team will come out and say, "We really wanted player X, but he was taken and we ended with player Y… and now we're going to sulk about it."

So really, we have to look at each team, the players they got and what they might be able to do. Instead of doing through and giving a grade, I'm just going to give a quick reaction to each of the teams by division starting with the AFC.

AFC – East

Buffalo Bills: The Bills traded back early, gained a 1st round pick next year and still got a cornerback in Tre'Darious White, then later traded up to get Dion Dawkins, giving up three picks to do it. That's a little schizophrenic on the draft strategy. Good call on the first trade, have to question the second with so many needs to fill.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins started out with a good pick on Charles Harris, getting a high-energy pass rusher they needed. But their next pick was a reach, taking LB Raekwon Miller with some higher rated prospects with less questions were still on the board.

New England Patriots: The Patriots draft really took place earlier in free agency when they traded away their early round picks to get Brandin Cook from the New Orleans Saint and Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers. This makes a lot of sense as they get player that are still young but have enough experience that they know exactly what they are getting.

New York Jets: This one is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Jets got a steal grabbing safety Jamal Adams who should've been long gone, but then started trading back over and over to stock pile picks in the fifth and six rounds. There were a lot of really good players available early in the third and fourth rounds that falling back didn't make a lot of sense.

AFC – North

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens got good value with their second-round pick grabbing linebacker Tyrus Bowser and got a good corner in the first with Marlon Humphrey, the question is why did the cornerback when players like Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and O.J. Howard still available?

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals draft comes down to one name, Joe Mixon. There is no doubt that he is a talented running back and can make the team better. But the video of him punching a woman and breaking four bones in her face back in 2014 was huge red flag for most teams as it should be. Even those who believe he is sincere in his remorse over the incident won't allow him a second mistake.

Cleveland Browns: The Browns looked like they were watching the Kevin Costner film Draft Day as they went out and got the top pick I the draft, Myles Garrett, then traded back and got the Texans 1st round pick next year for the trouble. They ended up with two more first rounders in Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku, but this draft may end up being judged on their second-round picks, quarterback DeShone Kizer.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers did what the Steelers do, they sit where they are, don't trade up or down, and take seven players. They got help with the pass rusher with T.J. Watt, wideout help with JuJu Smith-Schuster, an heir-apparent to Big Ben with Joshua Dobbs and a feel-good story and good player with RB James Conner.

AFC – South

Houston Texans: The Texans were a playoff team without a quarterback, so the traded up to grab arguably the best one available in Deshaun Watson. The former Clemson star goes into the best situation for a rookie QB who is expected to start. With their defense, the pressure on him won't be to win, but rather to not lose.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts went into the draft needing to strengthen their secondary and they did that with their first two picks, grabbing Malik Hooker in the first-round and Quincy Wilson in the second. Both players could end up starters right away as the team tries to remake their defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jag started off by taking a lot of pressure off Blake Bortles with the picks of running back Leonard Fournette and tackle Cam Robinson. But the good vibes off of those moves might've been countered by their fourth-round selection of wide receiver Dede Westbrook who has two arrest for domestic violence already.

Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota might've confused draft day with Christmas as the Titans when toy shopping for their young quarterback. The grabbed an outside threat in wide receiver Corey Davis, then got a slot receiver in Taywan Taylor and threw in a tight end with Jonnu Smith at pick 100. But the question is why did they go with Davis when the top WR prospect, Mike Williams, was still available?

AFC – West

Denver Broncos: The talk of the Broncos draft may end up being the fifth and seventh rounds. They picked up tight end Jake Butt who is coming off of an ACL tear he suffered in the Orange Bowl. Butt could've been in the top three or four TE's in the class before that. They also took Jim Kelly's son Chad Kelly with the final pick of the draft. The Quarterback is also coming off of an ACL / MCL tear, but he comes with a boatload of off-the-field incidents as well.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are the prime example of the dangers of drafting NFL quarterbacks. The locked in on the one they wanted, Patrick Mahomes II and jumped up seventeen spots to get him. They gave up a third-round pick and next year's first to do it. If he turns out to be their new franchise player, then it will seem like a bargain. If he's a bust, coaches and GM's will lose jobs and the team will be set back for years. All of this for a player who wasn't projected to go in the first round.

Los Angeles Chargers: For the Chargers the big question might've been what they didn't do. They have a 36-year old Philip Rivers starting and no heir-apparent behind him. Rivers was picked at the same time as Ben Rothelisberger and Eli Manning, both of whom are on teams the drafted QBs this year. At some point they will have to look to the future.

Oakland Raiders: Like with the Bengals, this draft for the Raiders comes down to Gareon Conley. Considered a top ten talent, he fell to the team at pick 24. But Conley has been accused of rape and the investigation is still underway. No charges have been filed, but if they are, not only do the Raiders stand to lose the player but also gain a PR nightmare as they have to answer why they took a risk on him in the first place.

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Dan WicklineAbout Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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