Dan Kadar at Mocking the Draft has a new mock draft up today that has the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft taking shape. While the Los Angeles Rams don’t have any picks in the first 36 selections and hold just one in the first 68 picks of the draft, the decisions that come in front of the Rams’ Day 2 picks will determine what the labor pool that’s available to them will look like.
Here’s a couple of random thoughts to toss around as we sit a bit more than five weeks away from the draft:
- Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett is the hinge on which the opening of the draft sits. It’s not that he’s a 100% lock to be the #1 overall pick in the draft. It’s just that it should surprise nobody if that’s what he is in a couple of weeks.
- The top defensive prospects are the cream rising to the top of the top of this draft. While quarterbacks always pressure NFL teams to make irrational decisions late in the draft process (see: the 2016 NFL Draft...), as it stands the defense is overwhelming the board. Kadar has the first five picks all coming from the defensive side of the ball, something that hasn’t happened in an NFL draft since 1991.
- Reinforcing the relative weakness of elite offensive prospects in this crop? The fact that the #6 overall pick in Kadar’s mock is a tight end in Alabama TE O.J. Howard.
- With Howard at #6 and LSU RB Leonard Fournette at #8, here’s another reminder of how diluted the running back position has become at the NFL level. I’m not saying it’d be a horrible pick for Carolina. They’re just a season removed from a Super Bowl appearance following a 15-1 season, so it’s not as if they’re lacking for talent. That’s the only kind of situation in which you should support a running back selection in the first round - a talented team with a quality offensive line that just underplayed their talent level giving them a decent first-round pick in the first place. It’s where the Dallas Cowboys were a year ago when they used their first-round draft pick on Ohio St. RB Ezekiel Elliott. It can work, but you’ve got to have a really strong support staff around the running back in the first place to justify it...unlike what the Rams did two years ago in drafting Todd Gurley.
- Kadar doesn’t have a QB coming off the board until the Browns hit their second first-round pick at #12 overall taking Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, one pick ahead of the Arizona Cardinals selecting UNC QB Mitch Trubisky at #13. I doubt it takes that long when we get to Day 1, but every year we see the slow creep of QBs toward the top.
- The conventional wisdom right now has the top tier of wide receiver prospect being three-deep in Clemson WR Mike Williams (10th in Kadar’s mock to the Buffalo Bills), Washington WR John Ross (16th to the Baltimore Ravens) and Western Michigan WR Corey Davis (18th to the Tennessee Titans). Will be very interested in how things develop over the next month to see if anyone joins that trio or if any of the three turn into fringe Day 2 guys which would certainly invite tons of attraction from our standpoint.
- And this is the softest offensive line class in recent memory. Kadar doesn’t have a single OL prospect dropping until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 19 who he has taking Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk. Alabama OL Cam Robinson comes a pick later to the Denver Broncos with Western Kentucky OL Forrest Lamp drops two spots after Robinson at #22 to the Miami Dolphins.
- The back end of the first round is completely in flux. Utah Utes OT Garrett Bolles heads to the Seattle Seahawks at #26. If he drops to the Rams at #37, is it worth taking the left tackle of the future to groom behind Andrew Whitworth this year? Alabama OLB Tim Williams is in at #30 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he drops to us, you have to think Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips would be all about it.
- This one’s also interesting for the prospects that didn’t make it into Kadar’s mock. Michigan ? Jabrill Peppers, Miami TE David Njoku, Ole Miss TE Evan Engram, UCLA OLB Takkarist McKinley and LSU CB Tre’Davious White. All would be solid targets for the Rams in the second. Who’s your favorite out of that group?
We’re heading into the mid-strech of draft development with pro days scheduled out over the next few weeks. Come mid-April, we hit the backstretch and with it the pressure of the unavoidable.
Take a look at Kadar’s mock and let us know what you think about how it affects the Rams in the comments. Who do you not want to see go off in the first round that Kadar has in there? Who’s your favorite among the prospects he doesn’t list? What’s going to be the big story coming out of Round 1?