The first round of the 2017 NFL draft is in the books and the teams with multiple selections in the first 32 picks used those selections wisely.
The Browns wheeled-and-dealed their way into three first-round picks and another one to work with in 2018, all while sticking at No. 1 and getting Myles Garrett. The Saints stuck to their board and got good value at Nos. 11 and 32. The 49ers added some mid-round selections early before jumping at the chance to scoop up Reuben Foster.
Teams trading down in a draft that’s deeper than it is strong at the top were the biggest winners Thursday:
Cleveland Browns: The biggest reason the Browns are winners is because they didn’t overthink the No. 1 pick and they took the best player in the draft: Myles Garrett. Scooping up another first-round pick and getting a Swiss Army knife on defense in Jabrill Peppers and a very athletic tight end in David Njoku is just gravy.
Cleveland played the draft value game, and they reaped the rewards Thursday night in a big way. Finding a fit for Peppers is going to be a challenge, but it’s tough to look at the first round as anything less than exciting for the Browns.
Indianapolis Colts: An upgrade at safety had to be a priority for the Colts with so little at the position, but it sure looked like the team wouldn’t have a chance at landing Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker before a significant drop-off at the position.
Instead, Hooker fell right into their laps, giving a rangy ball hawk to a defense that was near the bottom of the league in every major category, including turnovers.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints were oh-so-close to getting Reuben Foster at No. 32, but instead had to settle for the best player on the board: Ryan Ramczyk. But getting the road grader came at a great value, as did Marshon Lattimore at No. 11.
Getting the top cornerback off the board without moving into the top 10 was a big win, and even if Ramczyk doesn’t directly address a big need, the Saints got a pair of good investments to build around.
Chicago Bears: Even if you love Mitchell Trubisky and think he’s the future of the franchise in Chicago — I have yet to meet you, enthusiastic Trubisky fan — giving up a package of two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder to move up a grand total of one spot detracts from the excitement.
The Bears have holes all over the roster and aren’t a quarterback away from winning. Giving up picks to move up and get a quarterback made a little more sense for the Texans, but Chicago’s secondary is still in need of multiple upgrades.
New York Giants: Was the problem with the Giants offense really that it was missing an athletic tight end? Eli Manning already has Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall to work with, so Evan Engram doesn’t seem to be a pick that does much to help the team win while Manning is still around.
It’s hard to imagine the Giants wouldn’t have been better served by building up the trenches after struggling to run the ball in 2016.