2017 NFL Draft Diary: Round 1, Thursday

2017 NFL Draft Diary: Round 1, Thursday

The NFL Draft is a wondrous spectacle, filled to the brim with childhood dreams being fulfilled, the overwrought hopes of NFL fan bases, and raucous booing of Commissioner Roger Goodell. What better way to document that spectacle than with a blow-by-blow account, journaled out for your reading pleasure throughout the course of the evening?

Here’s our draft diary, exploring our thoughts on the first round as it went down.

8:05 PM - Roger Goodell walks onto the stage

Jon: BOOOOOOO

Gary: I get why people boo Roger Goodell, but if I’m going to boo, I’m booing the Cleveland Browns. We all know you’re going to take Myles Garrett. Don’t wait 10 minutes. We got a long way to go before pick 29. Jon, who would you like to boo?

Jon: As a rule I really don’t boo anyone. I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever booed in person.

Gary: You’ve never booed the refs at a Packers game?

Jon: I try to get more creative than that. I have yelled things like “Your call is demonstrably false” at games before because I am a dork.

Gary: Remember when we went to that Packers-Vikings game in the Metrodome? I think we both were yelling strange phrases like that, especially after Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kick 109 yards for a touchdown. Good times.

Jon: I think I remember saying something like “well….that is less than ideal.”

8:14 PM - Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett

Jon: I know a lot of people thought they were going to talk themselves out of Garrett, but I don’t think I ever really believed it. They can probably get Mitchell Trubisky later.

Gary: Myles Garrett is now $20.37 million richer – that’s his signing bonus. Not bad. I like this pick over Trubisky, to be sure.

8:16 PM - Bears trade up… one spot

Jon: John Lynch stockpiles another pick!

Gary: Huh? I don’t understand this. Please, explain it to me.

Jon: They’ve gotta be thinking Trubisky, right? There was some thought that Trubisky would go to San Francisco at 2.

Gary: Trubisky to Chicago? I don’t see it. Looks like it’s going to be Solomon Thomas, the defensive end from Stanford. At least Christian McCaffrey isn’t going to be the first Cardinal off the board. Also – every mock draft you’ve read is already wrong. It’s been less than 20 minutes.

Gary: Goodness sakes, this trade makes absolutely no sense.

Jon: Now, watch them draft Leonard Fournette. CED-RIC BEN-SON *clap clap clap-clap-clap*

8:21 PM - Chicago Bears draft Mitchell Trubisky

Gary: Jon, you were right. ESPN was totally selling Thomas as the pick. Trubisky it is. This is fascinating on so many levels. First, they spent so much money on Mike Glennon. Then, they spend so many draft picks on Trubisky. You know that you can’t play two quarterbacks at the same time, right?

Jon: I just want to say that I love the NFC North and that I hope all of the other general managers keep their jobs for a long time. Look, I don’t know anything about Trubisky other than what the talking heads have said and the draft analysts have written. He might be great. But I have a hard time believing that 1) he wouldn’t have been there at the third pick and 2) he’s that much better than Deshaun Watson. If Chicago wanted a quarterback, they could have gotten a good one at the third pick.

Jon: You know, charitably, I do see some reasoning here from Chicago. Having Trubisky in their back pocket does buy them some time. They can say “hey, we have this guy. We’re bringing him along slow. We have our starter for at least a season.” That said, it does feel like Chicago got robbed.

Gary: I get it. The Niners probably had a deal lined up with another team and the Bears upped their offer. Trubisky better be good, if you’re a Bears fan. That’s a real Sonny Weaver Jr. move there by John Lynch.

8:29 PM - San Francisco 49ers select Solomon Thomas.

Jon: There’s your Stanford pick, Gary.

Gary: Cool. Go Cardinal. I got nothing.

Jon: I really don’t either. It’s hard to know a lot about guys that are at the top of the draft. Sure, they’re interesting because they’re great players, but there’s close to zero chance they’ll end up on the Packers.

8:34 PM - Trubisky’s “Go Packers” tweet goes viral

Jon: Good rule of thumb: never tweet.

Gary: Man, that is too funny. I can’t wait to print this out on a banner and hold it up at a Packers-Bears game. Go Packers, Mitchell.

8:35 PM - Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette

Jon: Leonard Fournette is crazy fun to watch, but this is going to end so badly for him. Is this going to be like Todd Gurley? No quarterback, loaded boxes. I hope he’s ready for some tough slogs.

Gary: For sure. I’m not sure what his story will be with the Jags, but here’s the first case of a guy who played it very conservatively – he sat out five games last year including his bowl game – and having it not affect his draft stock. The Jadeveon Clowney model works.

Jon: The Joker Paradigm: If you’re good at something, never do it for free.

Incidentally, The Joker Paradigm is the name of my new spy novel, coming to a bookstore near you Summer 2019.

8:42 PM - Tennessee Titans select WR Corey Davis

Jon: A little MAC-tion for you. Corey Davis seems like a very exciting player. Everyone should draft fast wide receivers. Maybe don’t draft them fifth overall, though.

Gary: I watched precisely one game of Corey Davis – the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin. He looked like a heck of a wide receiver in that game against a very good Badgers defense. This pick is a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one if you’re a Titans fan. Can you name a single non-running back on the Titans? I can’t. And the Packers even played them last year!

Jon: Does Marcus Mariota count?

Gary: Marcus Mariota is going to be good – and fast.

8:51 PM - New York Jets select S Jamal Adams

Jon: Do you remember a guy named Taylor Mays? He was an athletic freak defensive back from USC. Jamal Adams seems like him, but actually good.

Gary: I remember Mays, but after watching Adams’ highlights… I think he’s way better than Mays looked like coming out of USC. He played so well against the Badgers in Lambeau. Good thing he’s going to play very far away from the Packers.

Jon: I really like the look Adams is rocking at the draft. No tie, interesting pattern on the suit. I am wearing a four year old polo shirt as a type this. I am a fashion thought leader.

9:00 PM - Los Angeles Chargers select WR Mike Williams

Gary: Since I moved to Atlanta two years ago, I’ve become a bandwagon Clemson Tigers football fan. Williams is a stud wide receiver, and I wish he wouldn’t have been as good in college so the Packers could have picked him. Oh well. Also, it’s weird to type “Los Angeles” in front of “Chargers.”

Jon: If i was going to be a bandwagon fan for a college team, it would probably be Clemson. I hate purple on uniforms and I love their look. Clemson seems like a great place to watch a football game.

I don’t know much about Williams, but I do know that two wide receivers coming off the board in the top ten in a very deep defensive draft is good news for the Packers, who need some high end defensive talent to fall.

9:04 PM - Carolina Panthers select RB Christian McCaffrey

Gary: You know, Christian McCaffrey’s rise up the draft reminds me in some small way of Mario Williams in 2006. I remember those first mock drafts had the Packers taking Williams with the fifth overall pick. Then, he absolutely blew up at the combine and his Pro Day, and he ends up going first overall.

Jon: Man, eighth still seems high, though. I know the NFL is changing, but a 200 pound running back without insane speed just seems like a tough sell in the top ten. It feels like people are just talking themselves into McCaffrey.

Gary: I think I can speak for both of us that we weren’t exactly thrilled over the prospect of taking McCaffrey 29th overall, let alone in the top ten. This pick also hurts, because I was looking forward to rooting for him. Now that he’s on a conference rival, shoot. See ya, Christian.

9:12 PM - Cincinnati Bengals select WR John Ross

Jon: John Ross ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds. Gary, what can you do in 4.22 seconds?

Gary: Watch John Ross run the 40-yard dash.

Jon: I don’t know if Ross will be a great NFL receiver, but he won’t have a lot of pressure early on playing opposite A.J. Green. I feel like Green might get a little bit of attention from opposing defenses.

Gary: Ross scares me because he’s had two major injuries – a torn ACL and a shoulder issue. I understand the appeal, because you can’t teach fast. But this is certainly a risky pick. There have been way more offensive players selected so far than I anticipated, and none of them are named O.J. Howard.

9:20 PM - Kansas City trades up, selects QB Patrick Mahomes II

Gary: So two teams have traded up to get a quarterback – Chicago and Kansas City. Different situations, but the Chiefs’ trade is so much more tolerable in my opinion than what the Bears gave up. But this one could come back and bite the Bills in a big way if Mahomes ends up being a franchise quarterback.

Jon: Alex Smith is just going to spend his entire life waiting for another quarterback to take his job.

Gary: Very strange how Deshaun Watson has fallen – Mahomes strikes me a system quarterback, but I’m still a recovering Graham Harrell fan.

Jon: Meanwhile, things are going SO well for the Packers so far. Practically nobody on the defensive side of the ball has come off the board so far. Even if there’s a run on defensive players, there’s a chance someone is going to be available that’s useful for the Packers.

Gary: Can I start printing my “WATT” jersey yet?

Gary: Sure would be somethin’ to see the ol’ Gunslinger give it one more go.

Jon: Real talk: Brett Favre could start for at least ten NFL teams right now.

Gary: Maybe? I don’t think he’d make it 16 games, though.

Jon: I don’t think Brett Favre has the attention span to make it through 16 games any more. He’s had a taste of full-time relaxation.

9:29 PM: New Orleans Saints select CB Marshon Lattimore

Jon: This seems like a great value for New Orleans. I saw some mock drafts that had Lattimore going towards the top five.

Gary: Get used to typing that phrase, “great value,” especially with defensive players. Only one year of tape on Lattimore, and he faced some injuries. I’m okay with this pick, but I don’t love it.

Jon: I love all the picks. Everyone is doing a great job. Except the Bears.

9:32 PM: Browns trade #12 to Texans, Houston selects QB Deshaun Watson

Gary: I think this is a great spot for Watson. The Texans are a playoff team, their defense is solid and they have a great receiver in Deandre Hopkins. Cleveland certainly had to have been Trubisky-or-bust. The Browns are pulling a Sam Hinkie/Philadelphia 76ers – just trust the process.

Jon: Boy, a year ago the Texans had signed Brock Osweiler for roughly $40 million more than he was worth. Now they drafted what could be the best quarterback in the draft. I really love what the Browns are doing. They are terrible, they didn’t get the QB they wanted, so they’re just getting more picks in hopes of becoming less terrible.

On NFL Network, Mitchell Trubisky said that his favorite player growing up was Walter Payton. Payton played his last game seven years before Trubisky was born.

Gary: Remember how Dean Lowry was a Bears fan, until he got picked by the Packers?

Jon: I do remember that. Good times.

9:44 PM - Arizona Cardinals select LB Haason Reddick

Jon: Here we go with some defense. A few mocks had Reddick falling to 29, but I’m not sure how much of a fit he’d have been for Green Bay anyway. He’s not really the pass rusher they need.

Gary: Reddick’s a tough guy. He was a walk-on at Temple, a school hardly known for football prowess. But I’m not sure I know where exactly he plays – is he an inside linebacker? A pass rusher? A hybrid linebacker-safety? The Cardinals have one of those already in Deone Bucannon. This pick’s a little bit of a head scratcher for me.

Jon: The only reason I know that Temple has a football program is because I liked playing with them on NCAA Football on Xbox. Neat uniforms, a weak school to build up, and they play at the Philadelphia Eagles stadium.

9:54 PM - Philadelphia Eagles select LB Derek Barnett

Gary: Hey Jon, this sure seemed like a great place for the Vikings to pick. But, y’all just had to have Sam Bradford so you could go 8-8.

Jon: This was the best part about going to the NFL Combine Experience. I got to see the Vikings formally give up their rights to this pick. It was great.

Gary: It’s absolutely bonkers that 70,000 or more are watching this draft tonight in Philadelphia. I know NFL ratings are down and there’s a lot of negativity around this league, but this is a sight to behold. You’re just watching names get read off for four hours. That’s it. Nothing more. And a football stadium full of people show up.

Jon: On a night of terrible weather to boot! Anyhow, Derek Barnett.

Gary: Pretty fascinating that he finished his career at Tennessee with one more sack than the late, great Reggie White. I am still bitter that Reggie isn’t the NFL’s all-time sack leader.

Jon: I still count Reggie White as the all-time pro football sack leader because he had bunches of sacks in the USFL. How can you not count the stats for a team with a name as awesome as the Memphis Showboats?

Gary: Top five team name. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Jon: I wish the NFL would have brought some of the USFL teams into the NFL like the NBA did with the ABA just so we could have preserved some of the names. Arizona Wranglers, Portland Breakers, New Jersey Generals, among others.

Gary: Flint Tropics.

10:00 PM - Indianapolis Colts select S Malik Hooker

Gary: This is going to be a long night. We’re not even halfway through the first round and it’s been two hours.

Jon: The Packers are going to be on the clock after midnight at this rate. The eastern time zone stinks.

Gary: Interesting – two Ohio State defenders taken before a single Alabama defensive player is off the board. That’s pretty incredible, especially considering how heralded that Crimson Tide defense was this year.

Jon: The Ohio State situation is very interesting to me. Before Gareon Conley’s weird situation this week, it seemed like a pretty great bet that three OSU defensive backs were going to go in the first round. But think about how defensive backs play off of each other. They all benefit from being together, but I wonder if they’re all really elite talents. Who’s going to be the odd man out? Maybe none of them are really as good as we think.

10:04 PM - Baltimore Ravens select CB Marlon Humphrey

Jon: Here’s the first defensive player I really thought could be a target for the Packers. We’re starting to get to the point where we’re going to get a good idea who could really be available when Green Bay is on the clock.

Gary: It feels like there are a good dozen guys that the Packers could take and you’d go, “Yeah, makes sense.” Humphrey gets the fist pump from the Make-a-Wish kid – that’s a cool moment.

Jon: I smiled at that. Hope the NFL gave him the whole nine yards. Sounds like he’s already been through a lot.

Gary: *watches ESPN segment on him* It’s dusty in here. I’m not crying – you’re crying.

Jon: I am not crying.

10:12 PM - Washington Redskins select DT Jonathan Allen

Jon: My full name is Jonathan Allan Meerdink, so I wish all the success in the world for a fellow Jonathan Allen, no matter how he spells his surname. Having wished him success, I wish nothing but failure upon Dan Snyder, his new employer.

Gary: That’s pretty awesome. Not too many Gary’s out there in the NFL – save Olandis Gary. So here’s where the “the draft board is looking so great for the Packers” narrative starts to change. I think you’ve really only seen one player (Mahomes) taken where it’s a definite reach. Otherwise, it’s just shuffling names around.

10:19 PM - Tennessee Titans select CB Adoree Jackson

Gary: If you had said that Jackson would get selected over Gareon Conley a week ago, I’d have guessed that Conley somehow tore an ACL or was ran over by a bus. Jackson was a sneaky pick for the Packers in some mock drafts, but he was most likely not a target given his 5-10 height. The Packers like their corners tall.

Jon: On the one hand, you do hate to see a corner go off the board, considering the Packers needs there. But on the other, Jackson wasn’t going to Green Bay no matter what those mock drafts say. Jackson is crazy fast (and might be a better fit on offense than defense), but his height is a legitimate concern.

10:25 PM - Tampa Bay Buccaneers select TE O.J. Howard

Jon: Another giant target for the Buccaneers. They already have Mike Evans on the outside. Now O.J. Howard can go blasting up the seam. Hopefully he pans out better than Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the last uber-athletic tight end drafted by Tampa Bay.

Gary: A big night for the top two quarterbacks from 2015. Mariota got a big weapon in Corey Davis, and Jameis Winston will have DeSean Jackson and Howard. Atlanta is no sure thing to win the division next year. The Buccaneers, Saints and Panthers all have improved this offseason – and in a big way.

10:31 PM - Denver Broncos select OT Garett Bolles

Jon: We talked about Bolles as a fit for what Green Bay likes from their offensive linemen. I didn’t think he’d be a first round pick, but take that perspective with a grain of salt: I’d hardly consider myself a draft analyst.

Gary: Bolles was expelled from five schools, and his family kicked him out. He lived with his lacrosse coach for a time. Talk about overcoming adversity. Now he’s a first round pick. Cool story. I don’t like Denver, so I’m glad they chose Bolles over Ramczyk.

10:33 PM - Detroit Lions select LB Jarrad Davis

Jon: Less than ten picks away from the Packers, several big names are there. I didn’t think of Davis as a real contender to end up in Green Bay, so this seems like something that helps the Packers.

Gary: As a Packers fan, I am pleased with the picks by our NFC North rivals. I am still extremely excited about Mitchell Trubisky going to Chicago.

10:42 PM - Miami Dolphins select DE Charles Harris

Jon: I really believe that part of the reason I don’t know much about Charles Harris is his name. I feel like I know 27 people named Charles Harris.

Gary: Did you catch that bigfoot sighting when they cut to his home? Had to be a viral marketing stunt, right?

Jon: I’m on the NFL Network online stream, so I didn’t see that. For some reason, the on-set schtick for NFL Network this year is to give the players business cards with their name on them. They’re making a big show of it. No sasquatches for me, though.

10:49 PM - New York Giants select TE Evan Engram

Jon: *furiously Googles Evan Engram*

Jon: Ok, I understand it a little bit more after finally figuring out who Evan Engram actually is. He’s definitely in the mold of the modern, athletic tight end. But I don’t think I’ve seen anything indicating that he was going to be a first round pick.

Gary: I went to the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and saw him grab one catch for 11 yards. (I had to Google that, because I have no recollection of Engram.) Ole Miss was a dumpster fire in that bowl game. I sat with a bunch of TCU fans, and it was awesome. Go Horned Frogs.

10:56 PM - Oakland Raiders select CB Gareon Conley

Jon: Whoa! There’s a bit of a surprise. Conley has had an interesting week to say the least. First, a rape accusation. Then, eyewitness accounts discrediting the accusation. Earlier tonight, people online were saying that he’d taken and passed a polygraph test. Now, he’s a first round pick.

Gary: This is certainly a surprise pick, but general manager Reggie McKenzie has a lot of rope in the Raiders organization. And with good reason! He’s turned that team around so fast. Jon, a few Packers targets are now off the board. Where’s your head at as of now?

Jon: A few are gone, but not many edge rushers… yet. I much prefer a pass rusher to a cornerback in the first round if possible, and so far, things seem to be going just fine in that respect. Reuben Foster, an interesting inside linebacker, is also still out there.

11:05 PM - Cleveland Browns select S Jabrill Peppers

Gary: The Browns have now made two picks, and they’re both defensive studs. Peppers is a polarizing prospect, and his reported diluted drug sample from the NFL Combine didn’t help. I know you’re not a big fan of him, but I liked watching him play at Michigan.

Jon: I understand the appeal of Peppers, but I am also very glad that the Packers won’t have the opportunity to draft him. I wish he’d been a little bit better at one specific thing rather than being pretty good at a lot of things.

Gary: LB Takk McKinley, LB T.J. Watt, CB Kevin King, CB Tre'Davious White, LB Reuben Foster and RB Dalvin Cook are all left on the board. At least three of those will be there when Green Bay picks. I like how this draft is shaping up for the Packers.

11:08 PM - Seattle trades down, Atlanta selects LB Takk McKinley

Gary: Say Green Bay could have made this exact trade. Move up to 26 for a third and seventh. I wouldn’t do it, right? Too many high quality players around on the board.

Jon: I agree, but I think Atlanta also gets a great companion for Vic Beasley. If you can put two great pass rushers together, that’s a huge plus for your defense. Atlanta’s defense is going to be pretty solid on paper next year.

Gary: My home city of Atlanta somehow got faster on defense. Stop trying to run away from that Super Bowl loss.

11:14 PM - Buffalo Bills select CB Tre’Davious White

Jon: This was a guy I actually wanted for the Packers. Good size and speed and seemed relatively productive in college. I still think I want a pass rusher first, but I’d have been fine with White.

Gary: I don’t love any of these high-end cornerbacks, so I’m about as happy you could be to see White off the board here. Reuben Foster is a real possibility now, but Dallas feels like the perfect landing spot for him. I’m not trying to get too excited about that possibility.

Jon: The Packers are well documented in their tendency to ignore inside linebacker, but I don’t think they planned on Foster falling this far.

11:16 PM - Dallas Cowboys select DE Taco Charlton

Gary: Packers are on the clock! Packers are on th–

11:17 PM - Packers trade out of the first round

Gary: Jon. Are you kidding me? Sigh.

Jon: It makes complete sense and it’s great for the Packers, but come onnnnnnn. It’s hard to watch this whole darn thing and have nothing to think about when I wake up tomorrow.

Gary: You can think about me watching John Ross run the 40 in 4.22 seconds. Actually, don’t do that.

11:29 PM - Cleveland Browns select TE David Njoku

Gary: Well, this is going to look really good or really bad a few years from now. What fans in the future probably won’t remember is how set the Packers are at tight end with Bennett and Kendricks. To say tight end is a need in 2017 is to say quarterback is a need for the Packers in 2017. 

Jon: Yeah, and even if Njoku goes on to be great, I won’t be pining for him. If the Packers were going to take a first round tight end, it would have to have been O.J. Howard. Njoku is good, but not in the same league as Howard.

11:36 PM - Pittsburgh Steelers select LB T.J. Watt

Jon: Meh. I liked him, but I was pretty lukewarm. He seemed to have a high floor as a prospect, but a lower ceiling than some other pass rushers.

Gary: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I’m fine. I coveted T.J. Watt. It’s a bummer seeing him going to the Steelers, because we’ll have to play him late in the season this year. Sigh.

Jon: If his name was Doug Jefferson would you have wanted him as badly?

Gary: Nope, not at all. Stop being a voice of reason, Jon.

11:41 PM - Seahawks trade pick to 49ers, San Francisco selects LB Reuben Foster

Jon: Ok, confession time for me. I was starting to talk myself into Foster (or “Froster,” as Roger Goodell said) as the first round went on. I don’t think he’s what the Packers needed and I’m not even sure what kind of a fit he’d have been, but he was a name I’d see go high in some mock drafts so it seemed like a good value.

Gary: If I hadn’t read a single mock draft before tonight, I wouldn’t have been too enamored with him. He’s a stud linebacker, and the Packers have had good luck lately with Crimson Tide players. But I agree, Jon, I don’t think he’s the right fit for the team right now.

11:45 PM - New Orleans Saints select OT Ryan Ramczyk

Gary: Two Badgers go in the back end of the first round. Ramczyk was certainly a consideration for the Packers, but he’s a guy I’m okay seeing go off the board.

Jon: I have no problems seeing him go elsewhere. He wouldn’t have been able to play his best or preferred position in Green Bay, at least not right away. The rumor of Bulaga shifting inside was a folly from the start. Ramczyk would have had to be a guard.

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Packers Trade Top Pick to Browns, Move Out of First Round

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