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2017 NFL draft: Five first round “wildcards”

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Texas Tech v TCU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Pretty much the only point experts agree on in the 2017 NFL draft is that the first round is wildly unpredictable this year. Part of the issue is that there is no clear pecking order after Myles Garrett, reportedly most of the top-10 wants to trade back. Razor thin grading differences between top tier prospects at various positions is another. Perhaps the greatest cause of mystery in the first round are the large volume of prospects with injury issues or character risk.

These five players are the cause for much of the uncertainty:

Patrick Mahomes

Late riser or smokescreen? Mahomes has drawn comparisons to Brett Favre for his natural arm talent along with his gunslinger mentality. It is within the realm of possibility that he could be the first quarterback selected, somewhere in the top-10, since he has picked up considerable steam over the last few weeks. Then again, several teams were trying to prop up Tom Savage in 2014, he was ultimately picked in the fourth round.

Dalvin Cook

Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey are almost top-10 locks at this point, but Cook has a wide draft range. After running away from every opponent he faced over the last three seasons, Cook disappointed with a relatively slow 40-yard dash time. His history of fumbles, shoulder injuries and legal issues may be the bigger concern. It would not be surprising if Dalvin was selected in the middle of the first round, possibly by Indianapolis or Washington. Or he could slip towards the middle of he second round, maybe even after Alvin Kamara and Joe Mixon are chosen.

Cam Robinson

Is Cam a left tackle, a right tackle or a guard? Different teams have different opinions. Robinson has rare size and strength. He also comes with some character concerns. Buffalo could reach for him at #10, or he could still be available in Round 2. He seems destined to be selected in the early 20s but that could change in a hurry if the board falls a certain way.

Jonathan Allen

Once considered a top-3 overall prospect, Allen has been trending downward over the last couple months. First he displayed a lack of elite explosiveness at the scouting combine. Then he was diagnosed with arthritic shoulders on both sides. It would not be shocking if Allen still earns a top-5 contract. But it appears more likely that he slides into the middle of the round, or even later. That represents a large range of possibilities for the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik award winner.

Reuben Foster

Polarizing linebacker with some apparent maturity issues. His physical ability has earned him the reputation as the best linebacker to come from the college ranks since probably Luke Kuechly. Foster represents what the Bengals look for in their defenders so he could be a match at #9. However, if enough teams have taken him off their boards after his altercation at the scouting combine and diluted urine sample, Reuben could be pushed beyond the first round entirely.

Poll

Who is the biggest first round wildcard?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Patrick Mahomes
    (107 votes)
  • 10%
    Dalvin Cook
    (32 votes)
  • 7%
    Cam Robinson
    (23 votes)
  • 7%
    Jonathan Allen
    (22 votes)
  • 34%
    Reuben Foster
    (100 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (Explain in the comments section)
    (7 votes)
291 votes total Vote Now