The top 10 picks in the NFL draft generally go according to plan. Draft pundits often come up with a reasonable consensus as to how the front-end of the draft will play out.
However, the 2017 draft could be a free-for-all. Mock drafts look wildly different, and nobody seems confident as to who will go number one overall.
Owning the first and 12th picks in the first round, the Cleveland Browns have been rumored to pull off an incredibly bold move.
In the film Draft Day, fictitious Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver (played by Kevin Costner) orchestrates a preposterous series of trades where he ends up with a star player on both offense and defense in the top 10.
The real-life Cleveland Browns are in a position to do the same thing.
They could take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett at number one, then use the 12th pick to trade up to the Tennessee Titans’ spot at number five and select North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Although the real Browns’ storyline may not have the same happy ending as the fake Browns –
because both Garrett and Trubisky come with big question marks.
Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp didn’t hold back in his criticism of Garrett.
“I don’t see it from this kid…I see the splash plays; everybody gets those. Where’s the game he took over? Where? Any defensive lineman who’s the No. 1 pick, you turn up and you say, ‘There it is!’ This kid, no, I don’t. I’m a pretty plain and frank guy, and I watch the tape and he disappears. I watch the tape, and he absolutely disappears…It’s all about measurable…Once you hit the measurable, it’s tough to get them old scout people off the numbers, and that’s what [Garrett] has. He’s big, and he’s fast. Now some defensive line coach is thinking, ‘I can turn him into something.’ How? I’m trying to figure this out. Really? Are we lowering the bar? I see a lazy kid that makes four plays a game. This is the No. 1 guy? No, no, no. This ain’t even close.”
Some people in NFL circles believe Garrett took plays off to protect his draft stock, which lines up with Sapp’s rebuke. That said, Garrett’s athleticism and sack numbers guarantee he doesn’t stay on the board long.
On the offensive side of the ball, top-ranked quarterback Trubisky has drawn concerns.
Trubisky only started 13 games in college, and he played in a spread system where he never took snaps under center. Spread quarterbacks have always had difficulty transitioning to the NFL because spread systems tend to be very simplified.
“He [Trubisky] has starting qualities and he’ll go early, but he better get better at seeing blitzes and throwing hot or he’ll get eaten alive by the exotic packages they are throwing at quarterbacks these days.” — Area scout for AFC team
If the Browns aren’t enamored with Garrett–there are rumors the Browns’ braintrust is split on Garrett and Trubisky–they could opt to take Trubisky outright at number one.
If they take Garrett with the hopes of trading back up for Trubisky, he could be gone before five because the San Francisco 49ers desperately need a quarterback.
That said, new 49ers general manager John Lynch has suggested San Francisco may trade back to acquire more draft picks and fill their numerous roster craters. With such a barren depth chart, the 49ers could take anyone.
With the top two picks in flux, the first round could play out in many different ways. Teams’ well-planned draft boards could quickly go up in flames, which should make for an entertaining draft night…at least more entertaining than the movie.