Part of the allure of fantasy football, and especially, Dynasty football is pondering all the different ways for things to fall just so, placing you in an enviable position and leaving all of your league mates angry, bitter and confused by your good fortune. If you own devy players, their fortunes can rise and fall come draft day. Think Ezekiel Elliott last season ending up with the Cowboys. It was the perfect fit for the player and anyone that owned him could not have asked for a better landing spot. Have a couple of young talented wide receivers on your roster, but they have terrible QBs holding back them from reaching their full potential? The NFL draft could change all of that. Who will benefit the most coming out to the 2017 NFL Draft? DFF decided to ponder that very question and below are our 2017 NFL Draft Predictions.
More Running Backs are Taken in Round 1 than Quarterbacks:
I know, I know, most years this would sound ridiculous, but not this year; hear me out, please. First things first, this quarterback class is lacking players with first round abilities. Let’s look at the first round “lock” kind of talents, Mitch Trubisky that is it! Now, odds are either Deshaun Watson, Deshone Kizer, or Patrick Mahomes will go in round one, maybe even all three but I’m betting on only two of them going along with Trubisky in round 1.
Now onto the running backs, the 2017 class is absurdly talented. Fournette, Cook, Mixon, McCaffrey, all first round talents. Heck, I have even seen Alvin Kamara listed as a first rounder in some mocks. We’ll see come April 27th whether or not this prediction comes true, but unlike almost any other year, the running backs have a legit chance to beat the quarterbacks.
Juju Smith-Schuster gets picked in the first round.
A lot of people have projected John Ross going in the first but I do not think that will happen. Smith-Schuster is simply a complete prospect. 1454 yards and 10 TDs as an 18-year-old is unprecedented. Ross was better this season, but Juju checks off more boxes, and I expect a team to fall in love with him.
A big name running back falls much further than expected.
The NFL does not value running backs highly, but fantasy owners still like to label way more guys as top 100 picks than what is realistic. There are not a ton of teams with big needs at running back, but there at nine prospects that owners expect to get a shot early on in the NFL (Cook, Fournette, Mixon, Kamara, McCaffery, Foreman, Perine, Samuel, Gallman). A few of these guys are going to lose a lot of fantasy value after the draft because there just is not enough jobs to go around.
The Eagles will spend their first four draft picks on offensive skill positions players.To keep this somewhat grounded in reality I decided to look at the mock drafts already out there and take the selections I liked best:
Corey Davis(1st round)
Zay Jones (2nd round)
Kareem Hunt (3rd round)
Samaje Perine (4th round)
In case you weren’t aware, last season’s Eagles offense left much to be desired. With Ryan Mathews likely to be cut due to a $4 million dollar cap hit and a never ending cascade of injuries, and Darren Sproles already declaring 2017 his final season, RB is a definite area of need. But guess what? The Eagle’s WR corp, excluding Jordan Matthews, was what can best be described as ungood (some may even describe as utter rubbish) in 2016, so WR is also a need for the team. DGB, Nelson Agholor, and Paul Turner combined, COMBINED, for 81 catches 883 yards and four touchdowns last season. That’s barely acceptable for your team’s 2nd receiver let alone the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most productive receivers. Eagles GM Howie Roseman, who spent a lot of capital last season to put the team in a position to draft their franchise QB in Carson Wentz, has gone on record stating that the Eagle’s need to upgrade the weapons at Wentz’s disposal. With Corey Davis and Zay Jones added to the WR position the Eagles would have three young talented wide receivers to grow with Wentz for the next decade. Drafting Hunt and Perine would provide the Eagle’s with two running backs who are powerful, talented and more than capable receivers (Hunt more so). Either back could carry the full load if needed but with one back, Perine, already accustomed to sharing the backfield with another talented running mate a timeshare could work as well. After these additions to the offense, the Eagles will finish next season as a top offense in both yards and scoring. Carson Wentz will end the season safely inside the top 10 for QBs in fantasy scoring with all his new toys, book it.
NY Giants will have a top 10 offense next season.
The Giants are one to two pieces away from having a breakout season offensively. They have arguably the best wide receiver in football with Odell Beckham Jr. They have one of the best young wide receivers in Sterling Shepard. And they still a Manning under center (one who may or may not be E-L-I-t-e).
So what offensive pieces will push them over the top? A playmaking TE and a complementary running back to pair with Paul Perkins. Between upcoming free agency and the draft in April, it is in the best interest of the of the New York Football Giants to fulfill both of these needs in 2017.
After a season in which the Giants surprised just about everyone with a stifling defense (ranked second in points per game and fourth in rushing yard per game), the team needs to focus on improving the league’s 26th ranked offense. More specifically, the team must bolster their 29th ranked rush offense that averaged just over 88 yards/game. Some bigger power running backs that would fit in and act as a nice complement to Perkins are D’onta Foreman out of Texas, Alvin Kamara out of Tennessee, James Connor out of Pittsburgh and Samaje Perine out Oklahoma. All of these are players the team could select at any point throughout the draft.
The same could be said for the position of tight end, however, and I would love to see the team address this need in the earlier rounds with the addition of O.J. Howard out of Alabama (my favorite player in this draft) or David Njoku out of Miami.
Having made the playoffs in 2016 for the first time in five seasons, it should be a top priority for the team to give an aging Eli Manning as many weapons as possible offensively next season.
A revamped offensive line will help Todd Gurley and the LA Rams get back on track.
It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Rams were one of the laughing stocks of the league last season. From extending Head Coach Jeff Fisher one week to firing him the next, the team never got the Hollywood entrance it so desired. To make matters worse, the team’s star running back Todd Gurley took a major step back after having won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015.
How can rookie head coach Sean McVay right the ship? By taking a page right out of the Dallas Cowboys’ playbook (a past division rival from his time as offensive coordinator in Washington) and start with improving a porous offensive line.
A strong running game is not only important for a young head coach starting to get his feet wet in the National Football League, but also for the development of second-year quarterback Jared Goff. Having given up the second-most sacks in the league last year (49), the Rams must look at the draft to turn the team’s offense around. Look for the team to target offensive linemen in the first couple of rounds this April. Some names to remember include Ryan Ramczyk out of Wisconsin, Cam Robinson out of Alabama, Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky and Garett Bolles out of Utah.
While in the nation’s capital, McVay’s offense averaged 106, 98 and 106 rushing yards/game from 2014-2016 with the likes of Alfred Morris, Matt Jones and Rob “Fat Rob” Kelley handling the rock. Just imagine what will happen when he gets his hand on a talent like Todd Gurley.
The Cleveland Browns will not draft a QB. This doesn’t seem too bold considering the amount of QB’s being thrown around as trade bait (or even free agency). However, it would be typical of the old Cleveland Browns to take a QB that isn’t quite NFL ready in the draft then throw them in at the deep end. With a new GM and head coach, I believe they may play it wise and look to free agency for a QB. This leaves them open to address other needs around the roster.
With my second prediction, I decided to stay in the AFC North, this time with the Steelers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a QB in the early rounds of the draft. Big Ben’s mention of retirement may have rattled the backroom staff and set off some alarm bells. Surely, they don’t see Landry Jones as their future number 1 guy, so if they can take somebody like Pat Mahomes or Chad Kelly, he can learn under Roethlisberger for a year or two before becoming the top guy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Will not draft a kicker in the 2017 NFL Draft
Roberto Aguayo was considered a reach when the Buccaneers not only drafted the Florida State star in the second round but traded up utilizing a fourth-round pick to do so. Aguayo completed only 71% of his kicks in his rookie year, which was near the bottom in the league. I don’t suspect the front office to make a move to replace their 2nd rounder but to bring in a veteran for competition.
Philadelphia Eagles – Will draft a running back between rounds 3 – 4
Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles are the main veteran presence in the Eagles backfield, but both are well beyond their prime. Mathews is entering the final year of his contract and could be a cap cut, and Sproles will be 34 when camp opens. Wendell Smallwood had a strong rookie year in limited action; however, his year ended when he suffered a tear in his MCL. I think Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara could be a possibility to receive handoffs from Carson Wentz in 2017.
Those are DFF’s predictions, let us know in the comments what you think might come to fruition and what has no chance of going down throughout the draft.