NFL Draft 2017 Day 2 Recap
Two rounds and 74 picks later, Day 2 is in the books. We had 11 receivers, six running backs, three quarterbacks and three tight ends coming off the board and most of them will have some sort of fantasy appeal as rookies. Letís run through who went where and parse out what it all means for 2017 and beyond:
Zay Jones, WR (East Carolina) 6-2, 201
Selected 37th overall, 5th in Round 2 by the Buffalo Bills
The NCAAís all-time leader in both receptions (399) and receptions in a single season (158) didnít have to wait long to hear his name called Friday. Coming out of East Carolina with bloated numbers led some to wonder how Jones would translate in an NFL offense that wasnít specifically tailored to getting him the ball on bubble screens and quick hitters. Jones dispelled those those notions with the best Senior Bowl week of any receiver and his draft momentum continued with an outstanding combine (4.45 40, 133Ē broad jump, 4.01s short shuttle). His arrival in Buffalo takes some pressure off of a (hopefully) healthy Sammy Watkins and gives Tyrod Taylor another legitimate option in the passing game. Jones might not have the top-end long speed to replicate the 13 receptions of 25+ yards he had at ECU in his final season, but he does have the size and strong hands to be a reliable contributor who moves the chains by winning on short and intermediate routes.
Curtis Samuel, WR (Ohio State) 5-11, 196
Selected 40th overall, 8th in Round 2 by the Carolina Panthers
Samuel patiently waited his turn behind some future high draft picks while at Columbus, but the opportunity to shine finally came in 2016 when he took on a Percy Harvin-esque role in coach Urban Meyerís offense. In an offense that stagnated in other areas, Samuel electrified the Buckeyes as a do-it-all threat. Samuel more than doubled Ohio Stateís No.2 receiver (Noah Brown) in receptions with 74 while also averaging 7.95 yards per carry out of the backfield en route to racking up 15 total touchdowns. That sort of versatility gives credence to the notion that the Panthers are indeed doing their best to move their offense into this century. The Panthers spent their first rounder on the incredibly versatile Christian McCaffrey and doubled down with the Samuel pick. Some view Samuel as a running back, others view him as a receiver, but I say why canít he do both? If the Panthers are going to experiment with splitting McCaffrey out wide, itís not far-fetched to project Samuel assuming a hybrid role as well seeing as his skill set doesnít fit neatly into one defined box. If the Panthers execute their vision of turning their first two picks into offensive weapons, look for Samuel to contribute in the ground game as well as the passing game. The potential is there with Samuel, but thereís also the potential that the Panthers never truly figure out how to utilize him to the fullest of his capabilities.
Dalvin Cook, RB (Florida State) 5-10, 210
Selected 41st overall, 9th in Round 2 by the Minnesota Vikings
Remember when Latavius Murray was going to be the AP replacement in Minnesota? I Ďmember! Good times, good times. But seriously, this could be the steal of the draft as far as fantasy relevant players are concerned. From what I saw on film, an argument could have been made for Cook as the best overall running back in this draft. However, injury history, a less-than-stellar Combine, and off-field concerns sent Cook tumbling from a top-15 lock to the second round. To be clear, those concerns are (mostly) legitimate, but so is Cookís on-field ability. He hits top gear well before he gets to the line and he has the shake and balance to tear off huge runs once he gets to the second level. As for his outlook this season, Murray and Jerick McKinnon are concerns, but I worry more about Minnesotaís line more than I do regarding Cook ultimately winning the starting job. If Minnesota can get some semblance of a push up front this year (looks like theyíre working on it, adding OL in in Rd 3), Cookís elite talent will shine through and allow him to seize control of the starting job before long.
Gerald Everett, TE (South Alabama) 6-3, 239
Selected 44th overall, 12th in Round 2 by the Los Angeles Rams
It didnít surprise me that Everett went on Day 2. It did surprise me that he went ahead of the likes of Adam Shaheen and current undrafted tight ends Jordan Leggett and Jake Butt. Still, Everettís an interesting player at this spot. He lacks the size to be an in-line tight end at the NFL level. In fact, heís roughly the same size as fellow rookie Evan Engram, who will probably be used as a big slot receiver rather than having any sort of real blocking responsibility. Everett is a better blocker than Engram, but the fact remains that Everett wonít be able to move edge defenders given his size and relative lack of length. Fortunately, the Ramsí offense might emerge from the dark ages this season with Jeff Fisher gone and the innovative Sean McVay at the helm. The Redskinsí offense functioned well in two tight end sets under McVay, so thereís hope that Everett might have found himself in a good situation. Still, we need to consider two more items. 1.) Rookie tight ends generally have little fantasy impact. 2.) The juryís still out on whether Jared Goff is going to take the next step as a passer. If Goff does indeed take the leap this year, the future will be bright for Everett, but I still donít expect him to really start paying fantasy dividends until 2018.
Adam Shaheen, TE (Ashland) 6-6, 278
Selected 45th overall, 13th in Round 2
Shaheen wasnít on anyone but the most hardcore of draftniksí radar until January after spending his collegiate career making a mockery of opposing defenses at Division-II Ashland. He truly looked like a man amongst boys in his game tape, conjuring up images of Billy Madison taking on a bunch of third graders in dodgeball at recess. Obviously he wonít be able to straight up bully NFL defenders like he did the boys from Mercyhurst or Ferris State, but at his size, heíll be able to hold his own in the NFL. The adjustment to the speed of the game is my primary concern with Shaheen, but he is surprisingly nimble for a man of his carriage. Zach Miller is obviously a road block for Shaheen in terms of target volume if Miller is healthy, but thatís not necessarily a given. Like Everett, I expect Shaheen to have a fine rookie year, but he wonít truly blossom until Year 2.
Joe Mixon, RB (Oklahoma) 6-1, 226
Selected 48th overall, 16th in Round 2 by the Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon the football player, like Cook, was worthy of RB1 consideration in this draft, but his off-field domestic violence offense made him untouchable for a reported 28 of 32 franchises. For the purposes of this article, letís look at Mixon the football player. In two seasons at OU, Mixon managed to outshine the schoolís all-time leading rusher, Samaje Perine. Mixon not only has ideal size for a running back, but his versatility as a runner and as a pass catcher makes him the type of back thatís ideal for todayís NFL. As for his fit with the Bengals, heíll be fighting with Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard for carries, but the Bengals wouldnít have rolled the dice on a player with his baggage in the second round if they didnít have a plan for him to contribute right away. The diminishing returns that the Hill-Bernard combo are starting to provide only strengthen Mixonís case to ascend the depth chart sooner rather than later. Even if Mixon doesnít become the lead back for Cincinnati this year --and Iím not saying that that canít happen -- the writingís on the wall for Hill and Bernard.
DeShone Kizer, QB (Notre Dame) 6-4, 233
Selected 52nd overall, 20th in Round 2 by the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland traded up to finally address its need at quarterback Friday, and it was able to nab what some consider to be a signal caller who could develop into the best in this class. Kizer entered the year with No.1 overall hype after a strong debut in 2015, but losing his best playmakers along with two highly drafted offensive linemen led to an uneven 2016 campaign. He has the ideal size, athleticism, and arm strength to immediately push Cody Kessler for the starting job, but the Browns donít need to rush him into the fray before heís ready. As a dynasty asset, thereís a lot to like in Kizer, but in 2017 drafts, itíd be best to look elsewhere if youíre just have to have a rookie quarterback.
Juju Smith-Schuster (USC) 6-1, 215
Selected 62nd overall, 30th in Round 2 by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Like Kizer, Smith-Schuster came into the year with the potential to be the first player drafted at his position. And like Kizer, a dropoff in production coupled with a meteoric rise from other players at his position sent Smith-Schusterís stock tumbling down to the bottom of Round 2. Athletically, Smith-Schuster didnít test nearly as well as many expected at the Combine. While his upside might not be as high as we once thought, Smith-Schuster still has some traits that should help him be an effective wideout in the NFL. As for his standing among fellow rookie wideouts for this year, Iím concerned he just wonít see the target volume some of his classmates will. Antonio Brown is a safe bet to lead the league in targets in a given year, LeíVeon Bell pushes for triple-digit targets out of the backfield, and Martavis Bryant is back in the good graces of the league. Thereís a lot to like about Smith-Schuster the player, but his landing spot makes it hard to imagine him taking the league by storm as a rookie.
Alvin Kamara, RB (Tennessee) 5-10, 214
Selected 67th overall, 2nd in Round 3 by the New Orleans Saints
The Saints just brought in Adrian Peterson. They already have Mark Ingram. So why take a running back this high? Well, Kamara has talent that made generally doesnít stay on the board until Round 3. I hear your cries that he never carried the ball more than 18 times in a game! But then weíll have a prospect come out with 700+ carries under his belt and you say heís already cooked. Make up your minds, people! But seriously, durability is a fair concern for Kamara, but when heís healthy, heís a straight up problem for opposing defenses. Watch his games against Texas A&M or Kentucky and tell me otherwise. Kamara isnít going to be the workhorse for the Saints as long as Peterson and Ingram are there, but that doesnít mean the Saints donít have a plan for him. He has the athleticism and pass-catching ability that neither of those vets possess at this stage, and Sean Paytonís creative enough to find ways to get Kamara the ball in space. I donít expect Kamara to see much in the way of volume right away, but he will make the most of his touches. In time, Kamara will make his mark in New Orleansí offense.
Cooper Kupp, WR (Eastern Washington) 6-2, 204
Selected 69th overall, 5th in Round 3 by the Los Angeles Rams
Kupp attained folk hero status during Senior Bowl week, making DBs from major FBS programs look silly in practice. That, coupled with his track record of success against FBS teams in actual games (27 receptions, 452 yards, six TDs combined against WSU and Oregon) sent his stock soaring. His showing at the Combine, where he ran a 4.62 40, brought him back to earth a bit, but he still managed to get picked on Day 2. Iím not as sold on Kupp as I am on other wide receiver prospects in this round, but the Ramsí situation at receiver is such a mess that he has a chance to carve out a role early. Kupp might not have the sparkling workout numbers other receivers do, but this is a fine landing spot for him. His size and reliable hands are unique compared to the likes of Tavon Austin, Robert Woods, and Pharoah Cooper and should allow him to get on the field early.
Taywan Taylor, WR (Western Kentucky) 5-11, 203
Selected 72nd overall, 8th in Round 3 by the Tennessee Titans
To put it bluntly, Taylor was an absolute beast in college. He was the driving force behind one of the most explosive offenses in the land the last two years. Taylor posted back-to-back seasons of 17 touchdowns while averaging over 17 YPR in each of those seasons. He may not have the ideal size for an outside receiver, but Taylor is a tremendous athlete. Look at those 3-cone and broad jump scores compared to other receivers:
Tennessee made it clear that they wanted to beef up quarterback Marcus Mariotaís arsenal by taking Western Michiganís Corey Davis fifth overall and added depth by picking up the talented Taylor. While Davis has a clear path to a starting role right off the bat, Taylor has his work cut out for him in terms of early playing time. Tajae Sharpe and Harry Douglas stand in his way for now, but Taylor has the upside that those other two simply donít possess, and that upside will start to translate into on-field production by 2018.
ArDarius Stewart, WR (Alabama) 5-11, 204
Selected 79th overall, 15th in Round 3 by the New York Jets
Everyone expected Calvin Ridley to be a one-man show for the Alabama offense last year, but Stewart truly enjoyed a breakout season and led the Tide in receiving (864 yards) despite playing in three fewer games than Ridley and recording 18 fewer receptions. Stewartís impressive production against SEC defenses and his sub-4.5 40 yard dash were enough to convince the Jetsí brass to spend a third round selection on him. The Jetsí lack of truly established talent behind Eric Decker should help Stewart push for snaps, but Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson did enough last year to enter the year ahead of him on the depth chart. Iím most concerned with New Yorkís quarterback situation when it comes to Stewartís outlook for this year and beyond, but Iím also not entirely sure he was the best receiver on the board at the time of his selection.
Carlos Henderson, WR (Louisiana Tech) 5-11, 199
Selected 82nd overall, 18th in Round 3 by the Denver Broncos
Speaking of best receivers on the board in Round 3Ö Henderson isnít your prototypical wideout at under six feet with a non-Power 5 background, but just watch the tape and youíll know heíll be able to hold his own on Sundays. He was an absolute menace with the ball in his hands last season, accounting for 23 total touchdowns (19 Rec, 2 Rush, 2 Ret) and averaging 18.72 YPR on 82 receptions. As for his landing spot, the quarterback situation isnít ideal, but the Broncos had a glaring need for a third receiver behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Even with shaky quarterback play, Henderson should be able to beat out the likes of Bennie Fowler or Cody Latimer for the No.3 role in the Bronco offense.
Chris Godwin, WR (Penn State) 6-1, 209
Selected 84th overall, 20th in Round 3 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are almost getting greedy at this point with what theyíre putting around Jameis Winston. They added DeSean Jackson in free agency, had the best tight end prospect in a decade fall into their laps at pick 19, and had Godwin similarly drop to them in the third round. As is the issue with several of the receivers taken Friday, Godwin has starterís talent but joins an already established corps. Mike Evans is the clear alpha in Tampa Bay and Jackson is a shiny new deep threat for Winston while Howard already has the look of a dominant presence in the middle of the field. With that, Godwin likely will have to fight for the No. 3 spot in Tampaís receiving corps. Still, Godwinís ability on contested catches (watch him against USC or his touchdown on first-round corner Gareon Conley) and his overall athleticism will make him a productive starter early in his career, even if itís not as a rookie.
Kareem Hunt, RB (Toledo) 5-10,216
Selected 86th overall, 22nd in Round 3 by the Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs reloaded on running back depth Friday after an offseason that saw long-time starter Jamaal Charles hit free agency. Hunt is a violent runner that adds a physical element to the Chiefs backfield, and his pass-catching ability (41 receptions in 2016) fits well in Andy Reidís offense. Still, with Spencer Ware already occupying the top spot on the depth chart and Tyreek Hill getting some carries of his own in certain situations, Hunt might be limited to a rotational role as a rookie.
Davis Webb, (California) 6-5, 229
Selected 87th overall, 23rd in Round 3 by the New York Giants
The Ryan Nassib era in New York ended this offseason before it could ever get started. Sad! But seriously, until Eli Manning decides to hang Ďem up, itís hard to imagine anyone else legitimately vying for the starting job for the Giants. Webb, a quarterback with a prototypical frame, was beginning to generate buzz as a potential second-round pick leading up to the draft, but was always a long shot that to be one of the first four quarterbacks off the board. At this point, the Giants can sit back and develop Webb and hope he turns into a Jimmy Garoppolo-style Golden Goose that they can dangle as trade bait down the line.
D'Onta Foreman, RB (Texas) 6-0, 233
Selected 89th overall, 25th overall in Round 3 by the Houston Texans
Foreman was one of two players to rush for over 2,000 yards last season and he managed to do so on 26 fewer carries than San Diego Stateís Donnel Pumphrey. Heís also trimmed down a considerable amount since the season, when he was playing at closer to 250 pounds. With reports already suggesting that Houston intends to mix in a second back this year to lighten the load on starter Lamar Miller, Foreman is already one of the more intriguing rookie backs for 2018. Often times rookie RBs struggle to see the field because theyíre unable to pass protect at this level, but that doesnít look like itíll be an issue for Foreman, who didnít allow a single pressure last season, according to PFFís Bryson Vesnaver. Itís easy to typecast Foreman as a bruising back at first glance, but heís more of a complete back than you might think and his team context gives him some serious upside for his rookie season. If nothing else, you probably wonít need to worry about having to think about starting Alfred Blue as an emergency flex anymore.
Kenny Golladay, WR (Northern Illinois) 6-4, 218
Selected 96th overall, 32nd in Round 3 by the Detroit Lions
Golladayís size and leaping ability make him an interesting addition to Detroitís pass-happy offense. The Lions have a pair of established wideouts in Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, but that No. 3 role looks attainable for a player like Golladay, who possesses good speed for a player his size and has the height to be a problem in the red zone for opposing defenses. Thereís some rawness to his game and he doesnít have great burst off the line, which will be an issue against physical press corners, but Golladay earning a Round 3 selection Friday shows that the Lions believe heíll be a contributor early in his career.
Chad Williams, WR (Grambling) 6-0, 207
Selected 98th overall, 34th in Round 3 by the Arizona Cardinals
It was a bit of a surprise to see Williams come off the board before the likes of Mack Hollins, KD Cannon, or Josh Malone, but Arizona has had luck going off the beaten path with its receivers in the past. Williams was hyper-productive in his final season at Grambling, hauling in 90 receptions for 1,337 yards and 11 scores. His dominant performance against Arizona in Week 1 (13 Rec, 152 Yds) shows that he wonít shy away from tougher competition. Still, Williams is likely a project that could take some time before he starts paying off for the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald may be playing in his final season in 2017, but Williams will still have to contend with John Brown, J.J Nelson, and Jaron Brown for snaps and targets.
Jonnu Smith, TE (Florida International) 6-3, 248
Selected 100th overall, 36th in Round 3 by the Tennessee Titans
Smith joins Gerald Everett as another undersized small school tight end that possesses more upside than you might think at first glance. Injuries derailed his 2015 campaign, but he was able to return to form last year and snag 42 of 60 targets for 506 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. Despite less than ideal size for a tight end, Smith had excellent workout numbers for his position with a 4.62 40, a 38Ē vertical, and a 127Ē broad jump. Delanie Walker is the top tight end for the Titans for now, but heís entering the last year of his current deal and will be 33 when the season starts. If Smith, 21, is able to hold his own and develop as a rookie, he could be in line for a starting role as soon as 2018.
C.J. Beathard, QB (Iowa) 6-2, 219
Selected 104th overall, 40th in Round 3 by the San Francisco 49ers
This was one of the more surprising picks of Day 2 as many didnít expect Beathard to come off the board until late Day 3 at best. Beathard ran a pro style offense in his two years as a starter at Iowa and helped lead the Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl berth in 2015. However, injuries and a jarring lack of talent around him in 2016 (minus George Kittle and Akrum Wadley) led to a disappointing final season for Beathard. Still, Beathard likely profiles as a career backup and San Francisco is likely biding its time until 2018ís draft to find its quarterback of the future.
James Conner, RB (Pittsburgh) 6-1, 233
Selected 105th overall, 41st in Round 3 by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Conner is one of the great college football stories in recent memory, overcoming Hodgkins lymphoma to return to the field and earn a Day 2 selection. He had an unbelievable 2014 campaign highlighted by 26 rushing touchdowns and he appeared to return to form as the season progressed in 2016. Still, Connerís below average athletic testing at the combine coupled with LeíVeon Bellís presence in the Steelers backfield makes it difficult to imagine him being much more than a situational back early in his career.
Amara Darboh, WR (Michigan) 6-2, 214
Selected 106th overall, 42nd in Round 3 by the Seattle Seahawks
Darboh is an intriguing receiver who certainly looks the part of an NFL receiver with above average measurables across the board and strong workout numbers. He showed an ability to take over games during his time in Ann Arbor, but for every dominant performance heíd put together, it seemed as though heíd follow it up by disappearing for long stretches. Darboh will likely be buried on the depth chart to begin his career with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Jermaine Kearse all established as starters, but the former Wolverine has the tools to develop into a No. 2 receiver as his career progresses.