With the curtain being closed on the 2016 NFL season in that amazing Super Bowl LI, the next big event on the league schedule is the 2017 Draft, which is April 27-29 in Philadelphia. BetOnline offers a few early props on the draft.
The 2017 class is not considered great at quarterback – certainly there’s no lock franchise player like an Andrew Luck. Thus it’s not a great year to hold a Top-3 pick and need a quarterback. The Cleveland Browns pick No. 1, the San Francisco 49ers choose No. 2 and the Chicago Bears are at No. 3. They all badly need quarterbacks. So it would be an upset for one to get past No. 3 overall even if no QB is given a grade that high. In fact, no QB is currently ranked among the draft’s Top-15 players by scouts. The Browns, 49ers and Bears also are all interested in trading for Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is the +110 favorite on BetOnline NFL odds to be the first QB chosen. He had a great season in Chapel Hill in setting numerous school records, but Trubisky is still largely an unknown because he started for just one year in college.
Clemson’s Deshaun Watson is the +150 second-favorite. Watson was spectacular the past two seasons in leading Clemson to one national championship game win over Alabama and one title game loss to the Tide – Watson torched the nation’s No. 1 defense in both games. Watson also was a Heisman finalist both seasons, will go down as the best player in Clemson history and one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks ever. So why isn’t Watson a lock to go No. 1? He did tear his ACL as a freshman but it’s largely because Watson’s accuracy can be a problem. He had 17 picks this past season. ESPN’s Todd McShay just released his Mock Draft 2.0 and he has Watson as the first QB taken, going No. 2 to the 49ers.
Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer is +400. He is the most athletic QB in this class but was benched at one point this past season by Coach Brian Kelly, and Kizer's motivation level has been questioned. Believe it or not but this matters to some scouts: Notre Dame QBs have not fared well in the NFL in recent years – think Jimmy Clausen and Brady Quinn.
Finally, Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes is a +2000 long shot on NFL picks to be the first QB off the board. Mahomes has by far the best statistical numbers of any signal-caller in this year’s class, but he played in a pass-happy system at Texas Tech that doesn’t translate to the NFL. The Rams’ Case Keenum, for example, played in a similar system at the University of Houston and he hasn’t been a good NFL QB after putting up monster numbers in college.
BetOnline oddsmakers don’t expect the Browns to take a QB at No. 1 overall as a defensive player taken with the top pick is a -215 favorite. Many project the Browns to take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett at the spot and worry about a QB with their No. 12 overall pick. Cleveland taking an offensive player at No. 1 is +170.
Draft Predictions: Trubisky is the first one off the board, going No. 2 to the 49ers. The Browns do take Garrett.