The 2017 NFL draft was as wild as ever. After the Cleveland Browns did the obvious and picked Myles Garrett, the Chicago Bears kicked off the wackiness by trading up to take Mitchell Trubisky. It was the first of a record number of trades on draft weekend, including six in the first round alone.
On Thursday, few mock drafters got more than a handful of first-round picks correct. Collectively, though the analysts were more accurate than you might think.
In a survey of 104 mock drafts — excluding ones that predicted trades — we can see that the 2017 NFL draft really wasn’t that unpredictable after all, even with the record amount of dealings.
Only two picks not affected by a draft day trade — Evan Engram to the New York Giants and Ryan Ramczyk to the New Orleans Saints — weren’t predicted in any mock drafts.
The majority of the picks were featured in at least a few mock drafts, though, beginning with Garrett to the Browns at No. 1:
No. 1 Cleveland Browns
Pick: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Myles Garrett was the favorite to land in Cleveland for months — even reflecting 100 percent of the chart, at times. However, in the last couple days before the first round began, there were rumblings that Mitchell Trubisky may be the pick after all.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay each projected Trubisky to be the pick before switching back to Garrett hours before the Browns went on the clock.
Pick: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The first and maybe most shocking move of the draft was Chicago’s decision to trade up one pick and select Trubisky at No. 2. Of the 104 mock drafts, 92 thought Trubisky would be on the board when the Bears were on the clock at No. 3 overall, and all but seven mock drafts thought the team would pick defense. Even John Fox and Mike Glennon didn’t see the pick coming.
Only Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com, and my own mock draft here at SB Nation projected Trubisky to be picked by the Bears. Four thought it would be Clemson’s Deshaun Watson instead.
Pick: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Early in the draft process, Trubisky was the favorite for the 49ers, but it soon pointed overwhelmingly at Thomas. He was projected to San Francisco in 59 of 104 draft, while nine other players split the other 45 mock drafts. Nine thought the pick would be Trubisky and three thought it’d be Garrett.
But the John Lynch era in San Francisco began with the new general manager making his former Stanford classmate the first pick of his tenure.
No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Only Garrett to Cleveland drew a greater percentage of matches than Fournette to Jacksonville. So it wasn’t surprising that he was the pick, especially with Thomas — who was projected seven times to the Jaguars — off the board.
Pick: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Sixteen mock drafts projected a wide receiver to the Titans and another six thought it would be tight end O.J. Howard, but the selection of Corey Davis was still relatively unexpected. Only Cory Bonini of The Huddle and Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune thought Davis would be the pick.
No. 6 New York Jets
Pick: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Most mock drafts predicted Adams would be off the board when the Jets were on the clock. Adams was the pick for either the 49ers, Bears, Jaguars, or Titans in 72 mock drafts, leaving the safety available to the Jets just 32 times. He was the team’s pick in 15 of those projections — behind Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Marshon Lattimore.
No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Malik Hooker dominated mock drafts for the Chargers throughout the draft process, and he was on the board when Los Angeles went on the clock. But despite 54 mock drafts thinking the pick would be Hooker, the team instead went with Williams, who was projected to the Chargers only three times.
No. 8 Carolina Panthers
Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Leonard Fournette and Derek Barnett each had turns as the favorite for the Panthers, but in April the tide shifted dramatically toward McCaffrey. Fournette was still projected to Carolina in 23 mock drafts, but with the LSU running back off the board, McCaffrey looked like the obvious pick, and the Panthers sided with 45 mock drafters.
No. 9 Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: John Ross, WR, Washington
After losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency a year ago, getting a receiver to help Andy Dalton and take pressure off of A.J. Green made sense. But most projected the team to address its needs on defense in the first round with Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, or Alabama’s Reuben Foster. With all three still on the board, the pick of Ross was a bit surprising.
Only Will Brinson of CBS Sports and the staff of the Las Vegas Sun projected Ross to be the pick, while another eight thought it would be either Corey Davis or Mike Williams.
Pick: Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
It would’ve been understandable if mock drafts completely missed for the Chiefs after the team moved up 17 spots in the order, but 24 mock drafts thought quarterback would be the pick. Eight of those projected Mahomes to be the selection with the No. 27 pick, but with the Saints, Browns, and Cardinals coming up, Kansas City didn’t take any chances and grabbed the Texas Tech quarterback while it could.
No. 11 New Orleans Saints
Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Only nine mock drafts projected Lattimore to fall out of the top 10, with 60 slotting the Ohio State cornerback in the top five. Five of the nine that thought Lattimore would be on the board had the Saints grabbing him at No. 11.
With six predicting Gareon Conley and 10 for Marlon Humphrey, the pick of Lattimore gave the Saints the first player off the board at a position that many thought they’d address anyway.
Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Quarterback was the popular direction for the Texans for months, but the question was who would still be on the board. In the 80 mock drafts that projected a quarterback for the Texans, Mahomes was the pick in 39, and Watson was the pick in 25. Even Trubisky landed in Houston in two mock drafts.
But with Trubisky and Mahomes off the board, the Texans jumped up 13 spots to grab Watson, who ended up being the last quarterback drafted in the first round.
No. 13 Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Quarterbacks and receivers dominated mock drafts for the Cardinals, but by the time the No. 13 selection rolled around, there were three off the board at each position. That eliminated the projected pick in 64 mock drafts, but five thought Reddick was going to be the selection.
No. 14 Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)
Pick: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Running back was the pick in 32 mock drafts, wide receiver in 18, and cornerback in 34. But the selection of Barnett made sense with two running backs and three wide receivers already gone. Nine mock drafters — including NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah and Lance Zierlein — thought Barnett would be the selection.
No. 15 Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Almost nobody thought Hooker would be available after 14 picks. Almost. Only four predicted Hooker would be an option for the Colts, and only former Eagles scout Greg Gabriel projected the pairing in his mock draft for Pro Football Weekly.
No. 16 Baltimore Ravens
Pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
There were a lot of options for the Ravens’ No. 16 pick, but 48 mock drafts thought it would be a wide receiver. Yet with the top three all gone in the first nine picks, the Ravens went with one of the other 17 players who was paired with Baltimore.
Humphrey was only projected to the Ravens twice, with The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling and MLive’s Kyle Meinke as the two to get the pick right.
No. 17 Washington
Pick: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
The fall of Allen was one of the unexpected storylines of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, but there were still three mock drafts that projected Washington as the landing spot for Allen. Newsday’s Bob Glauber, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, and The Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling had the pick right.
Almost every other had Allen getting picked earlier, including 50 mock drafts that had the Alabama defensive lineman in the top five.
No. 18 Tennessee Titans
Pick: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Another one of the more unforeseen picks of the first round was still projected in three mock drafts. In 62, the Titans were projected to take a wide receiver, but after grabbing Davis with the No. 5 pick, cornerback was a logical position for Tennessee to fill.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, and NJ.com’s Darryl Slater all thought Jackson would be the player for that role.
No. 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Running back dominated mock drafts for the Buccaneers, but with Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, and Alvin Kamara all still available, Tampa Bay opted for a tight end instead. Five mock drafts featured Howard to the Buccaneers, but 94 of the 104 thought he would’ve already been gone in the 18 picks prior.
No. 20 Denver Broncos
Pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Best available offensive lineman was the projection for the Broncos from the beginning, with only the possibility of Christian McCaffrey on the board as the wrench. But with McCaffrey long gone and every offensive lineman available as an option, the Broncos went with Bolles.
Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk was the favorite and featured as the Broncos’ pick in 44 mock drafts, but Bolles wasn’t too far behind with 27 nods.
No. 21 Detroit Lions
Pick: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
A grand total of 23 different players were slated to the Lions in the 104 mock drafts, but pass rushers and linebackers were the pick in 75 of the mocks. Davis was the selection in 12 of those, including the projection made by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, and SB Nation’s Dan Kadar.
No. 22 Miami Dolphins
Pick: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Harris was the most popular projection to the Lions one pick prior, but only seven had him headed to the Dolphins. More than a third of mock drafts thought Harris would already be off the board, so Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp, UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, and Michigan’s Taco Charlton were more popular pairings for Miami.
No. 23 New York Giants
Pick: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Engram to the Giants is one of only two picks in the first round not swayed by a trade that didn’t appear in any mock drafts. Twenty projected Miami tight end David Njoku to be the pick, so the position wasn’t too surprising, but only 13 had Engram as a first-rounder, and none thought New York would be the landing spot.
No. 24 Oakland Raiders
Pick: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
No player moved around mock drafts more in the final week before the draft began than Conley. Thought by many to be a top-10 pick, sexual assault allegations threw his draft stock into question, but the Raiders opted to take him with the No. 24 pick.
Six mock drafts had Conley to the Raiders, while another 31 had Oakland taking another cornerback instead.
No. 25 Cleveland Browns (via Texans)
Pick: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Moving down 13 spots made an entirely different group of players available for the Browns than if the team stayed at No. 12. None thought they would take Peppers with their second first-round pick, and 66 thought the Browns would take either Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes II, or Deshaun Watson.
DeShone Kizer was on the board, but the Browns instead landed the Notre Dame quarterback in the second round and opted for Peppers.
Pick: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Offensive line and pass rusher were the most popular projections for the Falcons with Forrest Lamp, Taco Charlton, Takkarist McKinley, and Charles Harris as the favorites. With Harris off the board, the Falcons jumped up five spots to take McKinley, who was projected in 12 mock drafts.
No. 27 Buffalo Bills (via Chiefs)
Pick: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Like the Browns, moving down so drastically made an entirely different group of prospects options for the Bills. While some projected White to Buffalo earlier in the draft process, he was the final decision in zero mock drafts.
Fifteen mock drafts projected the pick to be Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, or Marlon Humphrey, but all three cornerbacks went before the Bills were on the clock, and the team took White instead.
No. 28 Dallas Cowboys
Pick: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Like many of the teams near the bottom of the draft order, mock drafts were split among several different prospects for the Cowboys. Charles Harris, Marlon Humphrey, Tre’Davious White, Adoree’ Jackson, and Takkarist McKinley were among those players projected to Dallas, but with so many off the board, Charlton was the pick.
Eight mock drafts thought Charlton would be the player for the Cowboys, which wasn’t too far behind the majority pick, Harris, who had 15 projections to Dallas.
Pick: David Njoku, TE, Miami
There wasn’t a third chart made for the Browns, because until they made a trade with the Packers, Cleveland only had two first-round picks. The No. 12 pick was a popular landing spot for Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, so the chance to grab an athletic tight end near the end of the first round wasn’t too outlandish for Cleveland.
No. 30 Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
There were 26 different prospects splitting mock drafts for the Steelers, and Jabrill Peppers was the only one paired with the team more than eight times. Watt was one of five players who were projected to the Steelers either seven or eight times — seven in his case.
Pick: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Like the Browns two picks earlier, there wasn’t another chart for the 49ers because they weren’t supposed to have an additional first-round selection. Foster was, at one point, projected to the 49ers with the No. 2 pick in a few mock drafts, but didn’t appear that high in the final 104 projections. Two thought Foster would slide out of the first round altogether, but San Francisco prevented that from happening.
There are reports that the 49ers were prepared to take Foster with the No. 3 pick if the Bears grabbed Solomon Thomas. There’s reason to be skeptical about executives gushing about their draft picks, but it may actually be warranted and truthful in this case.
Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Nobody knew what to do with this pick. While Tre’Davious White and Adoree’ Jackson split 28 of the mock drafters’ choices for the No. 32 pick, 30 other players divided the other 76 projections.
Not one of those players was an offensive lineman, making it arguably the most left-field pick of the first round. Ramczyk was a first-round pick in 85 of the 104 mock drafts, so it was surprising he was still on the board. But there’s a good chance he won’t be a starter for the Saints in 2017, and that’s why the possibility of offensive linemen to New Orleans was ignored by mock drafts.
For some reason though, the Saints always seem to alternate between offensive and defensive picks. The selection of Ramczyk made it eight consecutive seasons the Saints have balanced their first two picks with one pick on each side of the ball.