49ers are the biggest draft winners after striking gold in their trade with the Bears
The Santa Clara
May 4, 2017
There were three main takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft: the Bears are horrible and will be for a long time, the Browns and 49ers made the most of their priority picking position and players skipping their bowl games paid off.
The Bears made an absolute head scratcher of a move by trading up from their third overall pick to the second overall pick to take North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The Bears gave up their 2017 third and fourth round picks, as well as their 2018 third round pick to move up just one pick.
The big risk will pay off if Trubisky is the prospect GM Ryan Pace thinks he will be, but that’s besides the point. The trade is still questionable, especially given that the 49ers announced that they thought the Bears reasoning to trade up was to draft Stanford DE Solomon Thomas.
It is very likely that if the Bears had not taken Trubisky, he could have fallen into the early twenties. The trade up one spot while giving up three picks looks entirely unnecessary.
The Bears confusing moves continued, selecting three offensive players from non-FBS schools, including Ashland University (Ohio), Kutztown University (PA) and North Carolina A&T.
The one bright spot for the Bears was selecting Alabama DB Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. Despite all of their defense struggles last year, Jackson was the only defensive player selected in the draft. He will bring a winning pedigree coming from one of Nick Saban’s most talented teams ever, but the pick won’t be enough to prevent the Bears from having the worst draft in the NFL.
The 49ers took advantage of the Bears poor decision-making, getting all those picks and making the most of them. San Francisco got a star in Solomon Thomas, who will be an immediate defensive presence in the trenches. Thomas will bolster a defense that ranked 19th in the league in sacks.
San Francisco continued to bolster the defensive side of the ball by trading with Seattle to move up to another first round pick, which they used on Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. Foster was one of the leaders of Saban’s stifling unit and was a unanimous All-American. He is a defensive playmaker and his best attribute is his natural understanding of the sport.
It makes sense that the 49ers are crafting their team around defense. The unit was elite when Jim Harbaugh was at the helm with the likes of Justin Smith and Patrick Willis. Thomas and Foster fit the same mold.
The 49ers also got a solid quarterback prospect in CJ Beathard out of Iowa, who will take some time to develop, but could turn into a consistent NFL starter.
Cleveland also made the most of their early picking position, getting a bonafide superstar with the first overall pick in Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. There have been many comparisons of him to Von Miller which will prove to be largely accurate.
Only time will tell if Garret can dominate games in the same vein as Miller, but all of the physical attributes are absolutely there for him to stand out in this league.
Picking Michigan athlete Jabril Peppers is a risk, but could have a huge payoff if his natural abilities translate to the pro game. Two more quality picks by the Browns were getting Miami TE David Njoku and Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer. Both have raw natural ability that is uncoachable and could develop into dominant players if the Browns can give them the time they need to learn and adapt properly.
A major takeaway from this year’s draft was that NFL teams didn’t seem to pay any mind to whether or not college players skipped their bowl games. Two top ten players sat out their team’s bowl games in Leonard Fournette of LSU and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford. On the flip side, Michigan’s Jake Butt played his bowl game, wound up getting hurt and fell to a fifth round pick.
Expect the trend of players sitting out bowl games outside of the playoff to continue. It’s frustrating for the NCAA—maybe this wouldn’t happen if they paid their players. Given Butt’s injury, which cost him millions, it’d be irrational for any premier talent to risk their health when they’re so close to finally cashing in.
Contact Andrew Slap at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.