The first round of the 2017 NFL draft is 20 days from today and nobody knows anything.
Less than three weeks before the draft, the order of players coming off the board is very uncertain. Myles Garrett will be the first overall selection and Jamal Adams is probably going be picked second. Solomon Thomas, Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore and Leonard Fournette are likely to be chosen somewhere in the top ten. And then...who knows?
Mock drafts are all over the map. One pundit’s top ten pick is another’s late first rounder. An early second rounder in one projection is considered a Day 3 prospect elsewhere. Reputable former scouts-turned-analysts are moving players previously unranked into the top 30 of their top 50 lists in April.
Jonathan Allen, Corey Davis, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Jabrill Peppers, O.J. Howard, Haason Reddick, Takkarist McKinley, Taco Charlton, Jordan Willis, Cam Robinson, John Ross, Gareon Conley, Marlon Humphrey and Obi Melifonwu are just some of the players that have a 15 to 20 slot draft range. Evan Engram, Quincy Wilson, Kevin King, Adoree’ Jackson, Carl Lawson, T.J. Watt, Budda Baker and even Malik McDowell could hypothetically be picked before 20th overall or 50th without a double take.
There is no consensus top wide receiver, offensive tackle or defensive tackle. Attemting to peg the second corner or edge rusher in the class is an exercise in futility. At least five different receivers could be the fourth selected at the position. Good luck sorting the third through eighth safeties. Truthfully, the 2017 crop contains approximately 50 prospects that would be late first or early second round selections in most drafts.
The obvious wildcards are the quarterbacks. It is plausible that Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer or Pat Mahomes could be the first passer to come off he board. The position ranking tiers of draft prospect are arranged in extremely tight clusters this year. Expect a record setting volume of trades.
Smokescreens, ranking variance and recency bias are real. This draft cycle is just the extreme version. And the class is absolutely loaded. Buckle up.