The 2017 NFL draft is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent times. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed. Will the Browns take Myles Garrett at #1? It's likely, but Mitchell Trubisky is still in the conversation there. Will the 49ers go with a QB at #2? If they don't, will the Bears bite the bullet at 3? We could see two QBs go in the top two picks, or none at all go in the top ten. It's going to be a memorable night - unless the Chargers draft Jabrill Peppers, at which point I'll immediately start drinking enough to forget the draft ever happened.
With that said, here are my thoughts on each offensive position in the draft:
In his excellent article giving his thoughts on the first day of the draft, Jamie Hoyle said that I was 'obsessed' with Patrick Mahomes (and that was the kindest thing he said). Is he right? Well...
Patrick Mahomes Would Be a Great Pick for Chargers at #7 in NFL Draft https://t.co/676jtcSQhA— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) February 10, 2017
Chargers meet with future of their franchise, others* https://t.co/dQGa2uiciV— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) March 4, 2017
If only there was an elite QB prospect in this year's draft... @PatrickMahomes5— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) March 9, 2017
Patrick Mahomes is going to be a Hall of Famer. https://t.co/r6lZGoX44u— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) March 21, 2017
The descent into madness kicked into another gear recently:
@A_Jacobs98 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) April 26, 2017
Then there has been this daily countdown for the past month:
30 days until the NFL draft. Patrick Mahomes is elite.— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) March 28, 2017
29 days until the NFL draft. Patrick Mahomes is elite.— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) March 29, 2017
In case you couldn't tell: I quite like Patrick Mahomes. If I was Tom Telesco, I'd have the draft card already prepared with his name on it and be on my way to Philadelphia ready to hand it in personally. I've already written enough on him, but he's going to be a Hall of Famer with the right coaching. You don't pass up on that opportunity.
As far as the rest of the QB class goes... ouch. There's not another QB in the entire class I'd like the Chargers to take at a realistic draft position. Despite the fact we could see four or five QBs going in the first round, this is not (in my opinion) a strong QB class. Not at all.
The amount of talent this year in the RB crop is incredible. Why else would Leonard Fournette be a viable option for the 49ers at #2 - just three years after it was thought that drafting an RB anywhere in the first round was a wasted pick? He's not worth the #2 pick in my eyes, but he's clearly a special player.
At first, I didn't love Christian McCaffrey. Then I watched him closer. I think he's a better Reggie Bush. McCaffrey's agility is unparalleled. He can be going one way, stop on a dime and cut it back before defensive players have even seen him do it. There's a reason he's being rumored to be gone in the top #10 picks.
Dalvin Cook is another special RB, but he just has too many red flags for me. He fumbled once every 57 carries in college. He's rumored to have gang ties. His athletic testing was... well:
I could excuse away one or two of those, but I can't excuse away all three. When there's so much talent in this RB class, taking Dalvin Cook in the first round - as good as he may be - just doesn't sit well with me.
I've said enough on Joe Mixon on here over the last month, so I'll limit it to this: He wouldn't be on my draft board at all.
Let's talk about talented RBs who aren't awful human beings: Joe Williams. A probable Day 3 pick, Williams is one of my favorite sleepers in the entire draft class. Funnily enough, the biggest knocks on him are his off the field issues. Williams briefly retired from playing football and was charged for using a stolen credit card - to buy a backpack.
According to Williams, the older players on the team had simply told him that they had a way to buy things for a big discount. I believe him. If a 20-year-old had just stolen a credit card, why would the first (and only) thing they buy be a backpack - and then send it to their own home address?
I'm not going to pretend that Williams has a perfect record - but I find it ironic that the same people saying Williams can't be trusted will then in the next breath defend Joe Mixon. Mixon attacked someone. He's off the board. Williams bought a backpack for school. He stays.
If the Chargers drafted Joe Williams at any point on Day 3, I'd be ecstatic (I'd be happy with him in Round 3, in all honesty). He can't catch - at all - so he's not the Danny Woodhead replacement the team is looking for. But he can run. Oh, how he can run. For my money, he's the most explosive RB in the entire class. He reminds me a lot of Jamaal Charles. Someone is going to get a steal with Joe Williams.
I can't say the same about Samaje Perine. I put on his tape expecting to find a bowling ball of a running back who almost couldn't be stopped. Instead, I found a very limited back who doesn't run with anywhere near the force you'd expect. Not for me, thanks.
Corey Davis is my favorite WR in the class. He's the closest thing I've found to a 'complete' WR. He can win in multiple ways, and I find it hard to believe he won't have a good NFL career. I wouldn't take him as high as #7, but I wouldn't be too upset if he was the pick.
I can't say the same for Mike Williams. I do understand the excitement around him, but he is not another Calvin Johnson. He's not even close. He's closer to Malcom Floyd. He's a better player, but the style is similar. Williams is an excellent jump ball WR who knows how to use his size to his advantage, but he's a somewhat limited athlete. If he was there in the second round, great. But he won't be, and so I'm praying that he won't become a Charger.
John Ross is the wildcard. If his injury history wasn't so troublesome, he'd probably be a lock to go in the top 10 with that 4.22 speed. I think that in a way, running the 4.22 has actually hurt Ross. He's not another Jacoby Ford. His speed is a huge asset - of course, it is - but it's not the only thing he brings to the table. He's good with his routes and a fairly reliable catcher. For me, though, he's just suffered from too many injuries to make him the pick at #7 - especially considering he'd be lining up across Keenan Allen, no stranger to the medical room himself.
Enough about the top three. Let's talk about some later guys I like.
KD Cannon out of Baylor is an interesting one for me. He's only 5'11, but he ran a 4.41 40 yard dash and had a 37' vertical jump. He's not all that refined as a player - he had 9 drops on the year and his route running needs work - but there's something there, for sure. He has a surprising catch radius for someone his size, and he can absolutely fly when the ball is in his hands. I wouldn't be opposed to taking him in the fifth.
My favorite Day 3 (if he lasts that long) WR, however, is Carlos Henderson out of Louisiana Tech. You're not going to find a better WR after the catch. Again, Henderson is a project who needs work developing his routes, but he's a damn exciting project. Once he gets the ball in his hands, you better hope you've got at least three defenders in position to tackle him, or he's gone.
I'll throw another name out here for you - Robert Davis. Out of small school Georgia State, Davis was just the second GSU Panther to ever make it to the combine - after the current Chiefs WR Albert Wilson was the first. He absolutely smashed the combine. Davis ran a 4.44 40 yard dash (at 6'3), put up 19 reps on the bench press, had a 41 inch vertical and a broad jump of 11.3 feet. By the end of his Georgia State career, he'd broken most of Wilson's records.
Davis is a superb athlete but is - having come from a school that has only been playing football since 2010 - understandably raw. He's undoubtedly worth a flier in Round 5 or 6. If you're looking for a Megatron clone in this class, Davis is a lot closer than Mike Williams is - at least athletically speaking.
I know the Chargers may be set at TE for the next decade because Hunter Henry is a stud, but I’d like them to at least consider taking another one this year. After a whole host of awful TE classes in the last few years, this is probably the best one we're going to see for a long, long time. There is a ridiculous amount of talent here.
I'm not going to list names because I could probably rattle off 15 guys and still be forgetting another 15. I will say this, though: OJ Howard is #2 on my overall big board, only behind Patrick Mahomes. If he's on the board at #7 - and I don't think he will be - I'd love for him to become a Charger.
Howard is a better blocker than most of the linemen in this class. He's incredibly sound technically, and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. If he couldn't catch at all, I'd still be taking him on Day 2 for his blocking ability alone.
Combine that blocking ability with someone who runs a 4.51 at 6'6 and who has good hands, and my love for him probably looks a little more... sane than my love for Mahomes does. I firmly believe that OJ Howard is a generational talent.
Unfortunately, I haven't had time to watch many OL prospects this year, so I'll group them all together.
I hope that one of Cam Robinson, Ryan Ramczyk, or Garett Bolles falls to the second round. None of them are worth the pick at #7, but at #38? The Chargers OL is still the biggest hole on the team, and one of these three could come in and start at RT from Day 1 and make a major impact. Unfortunately, I just can't see any of them lasting that long. They might not be 'elite' talents, but they're too good to fall to #38.
At OG, I'd genuinely be on board with taking Forrest Lamp at #7. I know he's likely going to be a guard in the NFL, but he's my favorite OL prospect in the entire draft. He does so much right, and really doesn't have any major weaknesses apart from 'probably can't be a tackle in the NFL.' The Chargers are in desperate need of an RG now that D.J. Fluker is off the team (and probably an LG because Orlando Franklin has been a major disappointment), and Forrest Lamp would be a significant upgrade.
I don't think there's a chance the Chargers take a center in this draft. Not only was Matt Slauson the only competent lineman they had last season, but Max Tuerk was drafted last year (and redshirted) with the idea of being the Chargers center of the future. There's probably not one worth taking in the first two rounds, so why bring in a later round prospect who's instantly at #3 on the depth chart - at a position where you only keep two guys on the roster?
Well, that's how I view the offensive side of the ball in this draft class. How about you? Hate my picks? Love my picks? Want to join the Cult of Mahomes in time for our prayer session this evening? Let me know in the comments below.