The Day Kansas City Drafted Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes II with his parents
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes II with his parents
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Draft - The groundwork for today's NFL was laid in 2017, when the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes. In a draft that was supposed to be light on quarterback talent, the Chiefs found the premier passer of this generation.

Going into that draft, the most accomplished quarterback prospect was Clemson's Deshaun Watson, and even he had struggled with turnovers in college. The other signal-callers available, including Mahomes, carried their own red flags that left many observers concerned. Many draftniks—including Dan Kadar of SBNation and Justis Mosqueda of Bleacher Report—did not least a single quarterback among their top-10 draft prospects. Jeff Legwold of ESPN did not have one in his top twenty-five. Chip Patterson of CBS was higher on Watson, ranking him third overall, but his second-favorite quarterback was North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky all the way down at No. 20.

This left the Cleveland Browns in a tough spot. After finishing 3-13 in 2015, they had earned the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, but then traded that pick to Philadelphia, who used it to select Carson Wentz. That left them with an aging Josh McCown, a washed-up Robert Griffin III, and rookie third-rounder Cody Kessler at quarterback, so it's no surprise they won just one game that season. Now picking first overall in 2017, and again at 12th thanks to the Wentz trade, would they reach for one of the iffy passers? Or would they instead take the safe route and select Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, hailed by nearly everyone as the most can't-miss prospect available and at the game's second-most important position?

Several other teams near the top of the draft—including Chicago, San Francisco, and the Jets—had obvious quarterback needs too. Just how long would we have to wait for the first quarterback to be taken?

As it turns out, not very long at all … but the name of that first quarterback was a shock.


Conventional Wisdom

In Deshaun Watson's last two years at Clemson, the Tigers went 28-2 and reached the National Championship Game twice, losing 45-40 to Alabama before beating the Crimson Tide 35-31 the next year. In those two seasons, Watson threw for 76 touchdowns and ran for 21 more, winning the Davey O'Brien and Manning awards twice. But he also threw 30 interceptions, including an ACC-high 17 in his last season.

Elsewhere, Mitchell Trubisky had started only one season for North Carolina, but in 2016 but he led all ACC quarterbacks (including Watson) with a 68.0% completion rate, throwing 30 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Patrick Mahomes had put up big numbers in Texas Tech's Air Raid, leading the Big 12 in completions, yards, and touchdowns in both 2015 and 2016, but he too had a penchant for interceptions, including a conference-high 15 in 2015. Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer also had his supporters, mainly due to his size: 6-foot-4, 235 pounds.

The consensus opinion had Watson first, then a dropoff before the Trubisky-Mahomes-Kizer cluster, and then another dropoff to longshots such as California's Davis Webb, Iowa's C.J. Beathard, Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs, and Pittsburgh's Nathan Peterman. At Football Outsiders, Mahomes had the highest QBASE projection, followed by Trubisky, Dobbs (!), and Watson; the formula was not high on Kizer at all. (It was also highly skeptical of Peterman, for the record.)

Highest Pick

I hope you like trades. Mitchell Trubisky went second overall to the Bears, who gave up three picks to move up one spot from third to take the Tar Heels quarterback. (That third pick turned out to be Solomon Thomas; other picks Chicago lost in the trade were used to select Fred Warner and Alvin Kamara.) Then the Bills traded down from 10 to 27, with Kansas City moving up to take Mahomes. (The Chiefs lost three picks in the deal, each of which eventually turned into a starting defender: Buffalo corner Tre'Davious White, Tennessee linebacker Rashaan Evans, and Rams safety John Johnson.) Would the Browns take Watson with the 12th pick? No, they would not, but Houston would, trading up for the Clemson quarterback. Cleveland got two picks back in exchange, using them both on defensive backs (safety Jabrill Peppers and cornerback Denzel Ward).

Best Player

Patrick Mahomes. Duh.

You already know what Mahomes has done, so let's look instead at the nine teams that passed on him. Some, despite disappointing seasons, were still relying on veteran quarterbacks, including the Chargers and Philip Rivers, the Panthers and Cam Newton, and the Bengals and Andy Dalton. Others, such as Jacksonville (Blake Bortles) and Tennessee (Marcus Mariota), already had highly drafted youngsters at the position. The others? Well…

  • The Browns grabbed Kizer in the middle of the second round and proceeded to lose all 15 of his starts (plus the one game he missed) before drafting Baker Mayfield first overall in 2018. In Cleveland's defense, the plan was always to build out the rest of the team first and then add a quarterback later, but the braintrust of Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson were both gone by the midway point of the 2018 season. Mayfield and the Browns did win a playoff game in 2020, the franchise's only playoff victory since Bill Belichick was their coach in the mid-1990s, but it was not to last. Mayfield was traded to Carolina last July, released and signed by the Rams in December, and then joined Tampa Bay in free agency in March, making the Buccaneers his fourth team in nine months. The Browns, meanwhile, finally got Watson, and all it cost them was three first-rounders; four other draft picks; $230,000,000 in fully guaranteed money; and their soul.
  • The 49ers opened the season with Patriots castoff Brian Hoyer under center, eventually benching him for Beathard, whom they had drafted in the third round. Late in the year they traded for another ex-Patriots quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, who proved to be much better than Hoyer.
  • The Jets opted to sign a 38-year-old Josh McCown and make him a starter. That didn't work, so they drafted Sam Darnold. That didn't work, so they drafted Zach Wilson. That didn't work, so now they are apparently, someday, going to trade for a 40-year-old Aaron Rodgers. That may work, but it probably won't work for long, and then they'll be right back here.

Which brings us to the Chiefs. On the surface, they were a strange team to move up for Mahomes: they had just gone 12-4 and made the playoffs for the third time in four seasons with Alex Smith. They were perennial postseason contenders, not looking for a desperate re-boot. But, obviously, the move worked out for Kansas City, even with Mahomes spending a year on the bench behind Smith. Credit to Legwold for describing the best fit for Mahomes: "An impatient team will impede his development."

In hindsight, it's funny to read the critiques of Mahomes from before the draft. Kadar called him "frustratingly reckless" and worried that "you can't coach his creativity out of him." Kadar claimed "his accuracy wavers when he can't match his delivery to the throw required." Patterson wasn't sure Mahomes would be a superstar, but said he could be "a strong quarterback" if he had "the right weapons and … the right fit." Why, some bozos out there even said they "hated" the trade and pick, that Kansas City was "punting for a couple of years," and that "they need a player that can help them right away, and this isn't it."

Biggest Bust

Mitchell Trubisky has not been a terrible quarterback. Really, he hasn't! But in four years as a starter for the Bears, he never ranked higher than 15th in DYAR or DVOA, and he may spend the rest of his career coming off the bench even if he's closer to a low-end starter than a high-end backup.

Best Value

Given what he has already accomplished, Patrick Mahomes might have been the best value pick even if he had gone first overall. At 10th overall, and second at his position? A steal.

Running Backs

Conventional Wisdom

There was a lot of dissenting opinion here, but most experts had LSU's Leonard Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook, and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey the top three in some order. Fournette offered a rare combination of size (6-foot-1, 230 pounds in college) and big-play ability (averaging 6.2 yards per carry, 12.8 yards per catch, and 26.0 yards with a touchdown on two dozen kickoff returns). Cook was not as big but had a better résumé, twice leading the ACC in rushing yards. McCaffrey was the do-it-all threat, leading the nation with 2,664 yards from scrimmage in 2015 (2,019 rushing, a team-high 645 receiving) while also producing touchdowns as a passer, kickoff returner, and punt returner.

Other notable prospects included Tennessee's Alvin Kamara, Oklahoma's Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, Toledo's Kareem Hunt, Texas' D'Onta Foreman, and South Florida's Marlon Mack. Our BackCAST projections really liked Fournette, Cook, and Mixon; they were negative on McCaffrey as a runner, but also recognized him as the best receiver of the bunch. And they labeled Kamara as a "potential bust." Oops.

Highest Pick

Leonard Fournette, fourth overall to Jacksonville, followed by McCaffrey at eight to Carolina. Nobody else went in the first round.

Best Player

This was a deep class full of good backs, with 10 drafted runners going over 4,000 yards from scrimmage in their careers, including Cook, Mixon, Fournette, Hunt, James Conner, and Jamaal Williams. Kamara and McCaffrey stand out from the pack, though, with each going over 8,000 combined yards. That includes over 400 catches apiece—only two wide receivers drafted that year have caught more passes than McCaffrey's 442. Kamara has been more consistent, with at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage in each of his six NFL seasons. McCaffrey has only done that four times, but that includes a 1,000-1,000 season for the Panthers in 2019. Recency bias points to McCaffrey—he had over 1,200 yards in 11 games with San Francisco last year, plus 600-plus in six games with Carolina, while Kamara had 1,387 in 15 games in New Orleans. Also, he's not currently facing battery charges. That's a good enough tiebreaker. Christian McCaffrey.

Biggest Bust

Fournette would be a reasonable candidate here were it not for Playoff Lenny—he has less than 7,000 yards from scrimmage in the regular season, but his 858 yards from scrimmage in the postseason helps close the gap between him and some of his later drafted peers. So we'll go with D'Onta Foreman, who went 89th overall to Houston but has never started more than nine games or hit 1,000 yards in a season. Other candidates include Joe Williams (121st overall, San Francisco) and Donnell Pumphrey (132, Philadelphia), neither of whom ever played a regular-season game.

Best Value

Among the 10 runners with over 4,000 scrimmage yards we mentioned earlier: Aaron Jones (182, Green Bay) and Chris Carson (249, Seattle). Jones pulled that off despite starting his career as change-of-pace back behind the higher-drafted Jamaal Williams; Carson did it in only three years as a starter before suffering a neck injury that likely ended his career. Carson was drafted over 60 picks later, but we'll give the edge to Aaron Jones, who is still going strong with over 1,500 yards from scrimmage in 2022.

Wide Receivers

Conventional Wisdom

Three names stood out from the pack here: Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis, and Washington's John Ross. Williams had been Deshaun Watson's top receiver in college, leading the ACC with 98 catches and finishing second in yards and touchdowns in 2016 after missing most of the 2015 season with a broken bone in his neck. Davis dominated his MAC competition, catching 264 passes for 4,337 yards and 46 touchdowns in his last three seasons. Ross looked like a case of very raw talent—in three seasons with the Huskies, he had fewer than 2,000 career receiving yards, though he did lead the Pac-12 with 17 touchdown grabs in 2016. In Indianapolis, however, Ross ran the 40-yard dash in only 4.22 seconds, a combine record that still stands.

Ross led the way in our Playmaker Score projections, followed by Davis, Ohio State's Curtis Samuel (who had played running back for the Buckeyes), Louisiana Tech's Carlos Henderson, Williams, and Penn State's Chris Godwin.

Highest Pick

Corey Davis, fifth overall to Tennessee, followed shortly by Williams (seventh to the Chargers) and Ross (ninth to Cincinnati). The next receiver taken was East Carolina's Zay Jones, early in the second round by Buffalo.

Best Player

Cooper Kupp, L.A. Rams. Kupp leads all players drafted in 2017 with 508 career catches, 6,329 yards, and 46 touchdowns, and those are regular-season numbers only—he has been good for another 45-625-7 in the playoffs.

Biggest Bust

John Ross, of course. Often injured and unproductive when healthy, Ross has yet to hit 1,000 receiving yards in his NFL career, with more than one-quarter of the yards he has gained coming in two games against Seahawks and 49ers in the first two weeks of 2019. Ross was out of the league last year but is now on the Kansas City roster; if Patrick Mahomes can't make him a viable starter, no one can.

Best Value

Close call here. You could go with Chris Godwin (84th, Tampa Bay) over Kupp, who was taken with the 69th pick. Godwin is your silver medalist for best receiver in this draft class, ranking second behind Kupp with 446 catches for 5,666 yards and 32 scores. But though he does have a Super Bowl ring, Godwin hasn't done much in the postseason, with a 26-317-1 statline in five games. We would rather have Cooper Kupp even if he did go 15 spots earlier.

Tight Ends

Conventional Wisdom

O.J. Howard and David Njoku were expected to go in the first round. Howard is likely the greatest tight end in the history of the National Championship Game, with a combined 9-314-3 statline in Alabama's two contests against Clemson, with all three touchdowns gaining over 50 yards. Njoku only started nine games in his Miami career, but he scored eight touchdowns for the Hurricanes in 2016 and averaging over 16 yards per catch. Ole Miss' Evan Engram was the dark horse: he put up a 65-926-8 statline for the Rebels, but he was also undersized, with concerns he would have to move to wide receiver.

Highest Pick

O.J. Howard, 19th overall to Tampa Bay. Engram went 23rd overall to the Giants, while Cleveland traded up to get Njoku 29th.

Best Player

George Kittle, San Francisco, by a mile. His 395-5,254-31 statline is the best for all tight ends in the class, beating the second-place player (Engram) by 60 catches, 1,660 yards, and 11 scores. Kittle was not touted as a prospect because he was never a big part of the offense at Iowa—after all, why would Kirk Ferentz throw to Kittle when he could target Riley McCarron and Akrum Wadley instead?—but he turned his 48 catches for the Hawkeyes into a 15.4-yard average and 10 scores. Kittle is also a devastating blocker who loves the violent side of the game, and he's on the verge of a two-sport career—witness his appearance a few weeks ago at WrestleMania, when he helped former All-Pro punter Pat McAfee get a win over former WWE champion Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, and yes that is a thing that really happened. Anyway, George Kittle rocks.

Biggest Bust

Adam Shaheen, 45th overall to Chicago. Shaheen went one pick after Gerald Everett, 55 picks before Jonnu Smith, and 101 picks before George Kittle. He has never developed into anything more than a part-time blocker, never amassing 400 offensive snaps or 150 receiving yards in a season. Shaheen started seven games for Miami in 2021, but a trade to Houston last August was voided due to injury concerns, and he sat out the year after knee surgery; he is currently unsigned.

Best Value

Oh, hey, did we mention that George Kittle went 146th overall? One pick after fellow tight end Jake Butt? He has been kicking ass ever since. Yeah. George Kittle rocks.

Offensive Line

Conventional Wisdom


Were there any good linemen to be found in 2017? Patterson didn't have any in his top 32 players at CBS. Most other observers only had three or four in their top 40. The few prospects who were generating the most positive buzz: Forrest Lamp, who had played tackle at Western Kentucky but projected at guard in the NFL, and Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin) and Garett Bolles (Utah), who each played just one season of major college football but had been named to the first-string offense of their respective all-conference teams. Bolles was also already 25 years old, having delayed his collegiate career to go on a Mormon mission in Colorado Springs.

Highest Pick

Garett Bolles, 20th overall to the Denver Broncos. Lamp was the first guard drafted, landing with the Chargers with the 38th pick, while LSU's Ethan Pocic was the first center off the board, going to Seattle at pick 58.

Best Player

Ryan Ramczyk, taken by New Orleans at 32nd overall, the last pick of the first round. Ramczyk was a first-team All-Pro in 2019, the only time any offensive lineman from this class earned such an honor; he was also second-team in 2018 and 2020.

Biggest Bust

Forrest Lamp. In 2016, Lamp started every game and played a league-high 1,175 offensive snaps; he has only played 174 offensive snaps across 10 games in his other five NFL seasons, including only five snaps (all on special teams) in the last two years. Unable to stay healthy, Lamp was released by New Orleans last October, and his career is likely done.

Best Value

A case could be made here for Ramczyk, but since we have already discussed him, let's go with tackle Dion Dawkins, taken 63rd overall by the Bills. Though Dawkins has never earned All-Pro status, he is the only offensive lineman in the class to make the Pro Bowl, doing so in each of the last two seasons.

Defensive Line

Conventional Wisdom

Two A+ megastud prospects and then a bunch of question marks. Jonathan Allen won the Nagurski, Bednarik, and Hendricks awards at Alabama, finishing second in Crimson Tide history with 28.5 career sacks. An agile 300-pounder (he once returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown), he had the ability to play anywhere on the interior in either an odd or even front. Solomon Thomas had been named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year at Stanford, and he also had experience everywhere from nose tackle to 3-4 end. Allen had suffered some shoulder injuries and there were questions about just where Thomas would be most effective, but they were clearly the two favorites along the defensive interior going into the draft.

Elsewhere? Michigan State's Malik McDowell never seemed to produce to the level of his freakish gifts. Florida's Caleb Brantley flashed quickness as a 3-technique penetrator but lacked strength at the point of attack. Larry Ogunjobi started 46 games for Charlotte as the 49ers moved from FCS to Conference USA—how would he fare against higher competition?

Highest Pick

Solomon Thomas, third overall to San Francisco. Allen was next, 17th overall to Washington.

Best Player

Jonathan Allen. One of the few things to go right for the Commanders in the last half-decade, Allen has excelled at both tackle and end for Washington. He has started 80 games in the last five years, making at least 60 tackles every year, and made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons.

Biggest Bust

Malik McDowell, 35th overall to Seattle. Shortly after the draft, McDowell was injured in an ATV accident, and he never played in a game for the Seahawks. Over the next several years, he was arrested four times, suspended for two games, and sentenced to 11 months in prison. In 2019, the Seahawks sued him in an attempt to recoup part of his signing bonus. McDowell finally made his NFL debut in 2021, starting 14 games for the Browns; a few weeks after the season ended, he was arrested and charged with public exposure, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest. He has not played since and is not likely to play again.

Best Value

A lot of good options here!

  • Dalvin Tomlinson (Giants, 55th overall) didn't play much at Alabama—partly because the competition for playing time was so fierce, partly because he tore both ACLs. He has been and outstanding and durable run-stuffer in the pros, first for New York and then for Minnesota.
  • Larry Ogunjobi (Cleveland, 65) has been terrorizing the AFC North for years, even while racking up a lot of airline miles. He has collected sacks for the Browns, Bengals, and Steelers, and has also collected sacks against the Browns, Bengals, and Steelers. Somehow, he has never collected a sack for or against the Ravens, but he's still in Pittsburgh and should get two more cracks against Baltimore this fall.
  • Grover Stewart (Indianapolis, 144) didn't play much in his first two seasons, but has now started 63 games for the Colts, including every game since 2020.
  • D.J. Jones (San Francisco, 198) had a similar career arc. He had no starts as a rookie and only four a year later, but then started 11, 14, and 17 games for the 49ers before starting 15 games for Denver in 2022.

But we're going to pick Davon Godchaux. At 178 overall, he was drafted later than almost anyone else in that list. But he still started five games as a rookie for Miami, then started each of his next 37 games for the Dolphins over the next three seasons. He joined New England in 2021 and has started 33 of his 34 games in a Patriots uniform.

Edge Rushers

Conventional Wisdom

Texas A&M's Myles Garrett was the best prospect of the year, maybe in the last several years, and everyone knew it. The only question was whether the Browns would trade out of the pick or reach for a quarterback—otherwise, Garrett was their man. He wasn't the only prominent edge rusher available, however—Tennessee's Derek Barnett, Missouri's Charles Harris, Temple's Haason Reddick, Wisconsin's T.J. Watt, Youngston State's Derek Rivers, Auburn's Carl Lawson, UCLA's Takkarist McKinley, Alabama's Tim Williams, Michigan's Taco Charlton, Ohio's Tarell Basham, Houston's Tyus Bowser, Florida's DeMarcus Walker, and Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon all had their supporters. It was a good year to need a good pass-rusher.

Highest Pick

Myles Garrett, first overall to Cleveland. In hindsight, this is somewhat similar to the NBA's Houston Rockets taking Hakeem Olajuwon over Michael Jordan in 1984: yes, they missed out on the best player of the generation, but at least they ended up with a superstar and not Sam Bowie/John Ross.

After Garrett, Reddick (13, Arizona), Barnett (14, Philadelphia), Harris (22, Miami), McKinley (26, Atlanta), Charlton (28, Dallas), and Watt (30, Pittsburgh) also went in the first round.

Best Player

T.J. Watt gets the nod here, but it's very close between him and Garrett and getting closer. A year ago the gap was much larger—Watt had led the NFL in sacks twice in a row, tying the single-season record in 2021 while earning his third-straight first-team All-Pro honors and his first Defensive Player of the Year award. Then he tore his pec against the Bengals in the season opener, knocking him out of the lineup for seven games. (He also underwent knee surgery during his absence.) He ended the year with only 5.5 sacks, though it's worth pointing out that four of them came in the last five games as he finally started to look healthy. Garrett, meanwhile, finished second in the NFL with 16.0 sacks, his fourth season in the top six in that category. Garrett now has 74.5 sacks in 84 games to Watt's 77.5 in 87. The two could spend the next half-decade trading the title of Best Edge Rusher of 2017 back and forth between them.

Biggest Bust

Is it Ryan Anderson (49th overall, Washington), who has only 6.0 sacks in his career, none since 2019? What about Daeshon Hall or Tim Williams, who went to Carolina at 77 and Baltimore at 78 and produced a total of 3.5 sacks between them and were both out of the league before the pandemic hit? Those are bad results even for second- and third-rounders, but they are still second- and third-rounders. Taco Charlton was a first-rounder, going 28th overall to Dallas. The results: 11.5 career sacks for five different teams in six seasons, ending 2022 on Jacksonville's practice squad, currently unsigned.

Best Value

The real answer is T.J. Watt, but we want to point out a trio of mid-round picks who have also overachieved their draft stock:

  • Trey Hendrickson (103rd overall, Saints) has amassed 42.0 sacks in his career, fourth in the draft class behind Watt, Garrett, and Haason Reddick, all of whom were drafted in the first round. He has led the Bengals in sacks each of the last two seasons, helping them reach the Super Bowl in 2021 and the AFC Championship Game in 2022.
  • Samson Ebukam (125th overall, Rams) has developed into a valuable role player first for L.A. and then for San Francisco, starting multiple playoff games in three of the last five seasons.
  • Deatrich Wise (131st, Patriots) has also evolved from a multi-purpose fill-in to a full-time starter, setting career-highs with 7.5 sacks and 59 tackles last year. He was starting for the Pats in each of their last three playoff games, including the Super Bowl win over the Rams


Conventional Wisdom

In a weak group, Alabama's Reuben Foster had the highest ceiling, but also a very low floor. He could cover, he could run, and he could hit … and because of all that hitting, he had already undergone shoulder surgery and suffered multiple stingers. He also had a history of odd behavior, including getting an Auburn Tigers tattoo (permanently, on his real skin) before committing to Alabama. He was then sent home from the scouting combine after getting into an argument during a medical examination; it was later learned that Foster's urine sample at the combine was diluted, which counts as a positive result on a drug test.

Most of the other standout linebacker prospects also played in the SEC. Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham had impressive size, athleticism, and experience, though he had difficulty separating from blocks. Florida's Jarrad Davis was hailed for his intelligence, leadership, and work ethic. There was also Ohio State's Raekwon McMillan, a solid run defender who wasn't expected to make many splash plays.

Highest Pick

Jarrad Davis, 21st overall to Detroit. Foster went 31st to San Francisco, McMillan 54th to Miami, and Cunningham 57th to Houston.

Best Player

Matt Milano, taken by the Buffalo Bills with the 163rd overall pick. Milano's name never came up in any of the major draft previews. He had played anonymously at Boston College, but he was effective, 29.5 tackles for loss in his last two seasons. In Buffalo he was starting by the end of his rookie year, breaking out with 10 tackles in a 13-7 win over Indianapolis. He started 28 games over the next two seasons, but struggled with a pectoral injury in 2020 and shuffling back and forth between the starting lineup, the sidelines, and IR. The Bills overlooked his health issues and signed him to a $44-million contract extension, and he rewarded them by starting 31 games over the next two seasons. In 2022, he became the first off-ball linebacker in the 2017 class to earn first-team All-Pro honors. His individual statistics don't jump out at you, but he is fantastic in pass coverage; the Bills are typically among the NFL's best defenses against passes to running backs, and Milano is a big reason why.

Biggest Bust

Turns out Reuben Foster's floor was even lower than expected. His rookie season was promising; he started on the outside on opening day, missed some time with an ankle injury, then started in the middle the rest of the year. The following July, however, Foster was suspended for two games due to weapons and drug arrests. He returned to start six games before being arrested again, this time for domestic violence charges. The 49ers promptly released him, with Kyle Shanahan saying he was "very hard to trust." Foster signed with Washington, where then-coach Jay Gruden said he had "a lot of work to do" before he would ever see the field, and he spent the rest of the season on the commissioner's exempt list. Working together over the offseason, the league, union, and team determined the evidence did not warrant a suspension, and after being fined two game checks Foster was fully cleared to return. But in his very first practice with Washington, he tore his ACL and LCL and went on injured reserve. His contract expired after the 2020 season. Last year, he worked out for both the Dolphins and Seahawks without signing a contract. Just last weekend, Foster appeared in his first pro football game in nearly five years, making 12 overall tackles and forcing a fumble during the Pittsburgh Maulers 22-15 loss to the New Orleans Breakers in the USFL.

Best Value

Matt Milano, best linebacker in the draft, taken 163rd overall and 14th at his position.

Defensive Backs

Conventional Wisdom

Jamal Adams was the consensus favorite among a strong group. Kadar called the LSU safety "pretty much the perfect combination of size, tackling ability, and the talent to play the run and pass equally well." Ohio State's Malik Hooker and Michigan's Jabrill Peppers also had their supporters, but there were questions about their experience—Hooker started only one season in Columbus, while Peppers' tenure in Ann Arbor was split between offense, defense, and special teams.

The cornerback class was also strong, led by Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore. His teammate Gareon Conley (yes, the Buckeyes secondary was stacked in 2016) also had a high grade, as did Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, LSU's Tre'Davious White, and Washington's combo of Kevin King and Sidney Jones.

Highest Pick

Jamal Adams, sixth overall to the Jets; Marshon Lattimore was the next defensive back and first corner taken, 11th overall by New Orleans. They were not alone; eight defensive backs were drafted in the first round … and then Kevin King made it nine DBs in 33 picks when he was taken with the first pick of the second round by Green Bay.

Best Player

Washington safety Budda Baker, taken 36th overall by the Arizona Cardinals (yes, the Huskies secondary was also stacked in 2016). Baker has earned two first-team All-Pro designations—one for special teams as a rookie, one as a safety in 2020—and been named to five Pro Bowls. A multi-purpose defender who perennially leads his team in tackles, Baker may be the only reason to be optimistic about the Cardinals in the immediate future. (Oh, wait.) Jamal Adams has also been a playmaking beast for first the Jets and then the Seahawks—at least, he was before he got injured.

The race for best corner comes down to a photo finish between two strong candidates:

  • Cornerback A: 90 games, 72 starts, 12 INTs, 13 forced fumbles, 347 tackles, three Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro slot.
  • Cornerback B: 78 games, 78 starts, 17 INTs, five forced fumbles, 299 tackles, two Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro slot.

Corner A is Marlon Humphrey, taken 16th overall by the Baltimore Ravens; Corner B is Tre'Davious White, taken 27th overall by the Buffalo Bills. White was better out of the gate (16 starts and runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year while Humphrey only made five starts in 16 games) and probably had the best individual season (a league-high six interceptions and a fifth-place finish in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2019), but he has also missed 17 games in the last two seasons. Humphrey has been more durable and physical (leading the league in forced fumbles in 2020, one of three cornerbacks this century to do so). You can't go wrong with either guy, but we'll pick Tre'Davious White—year-by-year, he has been the better player more often than not.

Biggest Bust

Gareon Conley, taken by the Raiders 24th overall. Conley played fewer than 100 defensive snaps as a rookie, missing most of the year with a shin injury. He had a reasonably strong second year in 2018, but was traded to the Houston Texans for a third-round pick midway through the 2019 season. He finished that year starting for Houston, but then he never played again—he spent the entire 2020 season on IR after ankle surgery, and nobody signed him when his contract expired after the season. It was a bad draft for Oakland defensive backs; safety Obi Melifonwu, taken 56th overall, played only five games for the Raiders and two more for the Patriots in his NFL career.

Malik Hooker is the winner (loser?) at safety. The Colts took him 15th overall, but he was never more than a mediocre, injury-prone player in Indianapolis. He signed with Dallas in 2021 and has rebounded somewhat as depth piece and sub-package player. It was a bad draft for Indianapolis defensive backs; Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson, taken 46th overall, started five games in each of his first two seasons but only one since, spending time with the Colts, Jets, Dolphins, and Steelers in those four years.

Best Value

The four All-Pros near the top of the draft (Baker, Adams, Humphrey, and White) merit mention here, as does New Orleans corner Marshon Lattimore, who has made four Pro Bowls and been named Defensive Rookie of the Year since the Saints took him 11th overall. Players that good are values whenever you find them. But Bears safety Eddie Jackson has two Pro Bowls and an All-Pro distinction of his own, and the Alabama product wasn't selected until the fourth round, 112th overall. He has started each of his 88 games in a Chicago uniform, including 12 last season.

There's no corner in this draft with that kind of résumé, but former Central Florida star Shaquill Griffin went 90th overall to Seattle and started 53 games for the Seahawks, making the Pro Bowl in 2019. He then signed a contract with over $24 million in guaranteed money with the Jacksonville Jaguars, though he started only 19 games for them in two years before he was released in March. He remains unsigned.

Special Teams

Conventional Wisdom

Only four special teamers were drafted in 2017; we'll put one in each category. But all you need to know is this: don't draft special teamers.

Highest Pick

Memphis kicker Jake Elliott was drafted 153rd overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was released after failing to win the job from Randy Bullock in training camp, then signed with Philadelphia, where he has been kicking ever since. He has made the Pro Bowl once and played in two Super Bowls, nailing all 15 of his field goal attempts and going 23-of-25 on extra points in 10 playoff games. None of that does the Bengals any good. Don't draft special teamers.

Best Player

Georgia Tech kicker Harrison Butker was drafted 233rd overall by the Carolina Panthers. He was released after failing to win the job from Graham Gano in training camp, then signed with Kansas City, where he has been kicking ever since. As a rookie, he led the league in field goal attempts despite playing only 13 games (you'll recall that Alex Smith was the Chiefs quarterback that year). He has since led the league in extra points made and attempted, field goals made and attempted, and longest field goal at various points in his career. He has played in three Super Bowls, going 21-of-25 on field goals and 54-of-57 on extra points in 15 playoff games. None of that does the Panthers any good. Don't draft special teamers.

Biggest Bust

Louisville long snapper Colin Holba was drafted 213th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was released after failing to win the job from Kameron Canady in training camp, then signed with Jacksonville, where he … well, he played in only seven games before being released. He played in 12 more games with the 49ers and Giants in the next three seasons, then spent time in the XFL (2020 edition) and on various practice squads before retiring in 2022. None of this does the Steelers any good. Don't draft special teamers.

Best Value

Zane Gonzalez, taken 224th overall by the Cleveland Browns. Technically, Harrison Butker was a better player taken with a lower pick, but since he provided zero value to the team that actually drafted him, we can't really list him here. That leaves us with Gonzalez, the only special teamer drafted in 2017 to actually play for the team that drafted him. Mind you, he didn't play for Cleveland long—he was released midway through his second season, then spent a few years kicking for the Cardinals and one for the Panthers (you know, the team that drafted Harrison Butker and cut him). He missed 2022 with a quad injury, then was traded to San Francisco in a conditional swap of late-round picks in the 2025 draft (not a typo). He is the only kicker on the 49ers roster and will probably be kicking for them this year, but that doesn't do the Browns any good. Don't draft special teamers.

Team Performance

In the days following the draft, the 49ers got the highest grades from most observers, followed by Cleveland, Washington, New England, and the Colts. The Bears were generally considered to have had the worst draft, followed by the Rams, Lions, Raiders, and Jets. How would we rate those teams in hindsight?

Few teams have ever found as many good players in one draft as the New Orleans Saints did in 2017. You could argue they found the best players at offensive line and running back, plus a cornerback and edge rusher who have each made multiple Pro Bowls, and that's not even mentioning long-term starters at safety (Marcus Williams, 42nd overall) and linebacker (Alex Anzalone, 76th). That's a hell of a job by the Saints scouting department, even if years of salary cap abuse in New Orleans have left several of those players starring for other teams.

Other teams with strong 2017 drafts include the Buffalo Bills (Tre'Davious White, Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano), Cleveland Browns (Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Jabrill Peppers), Pittsburgh Steelers (T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, John Conner), L.A. Chargers (Mike Williams, Dan Feeney, Rayshawn Jenkins, Desmond King, Sam Tevi), and L.A. Rams (Cooper Kupp, Samson Ebukam, John Johnson, Gerald Everett). And then there's the Chiefs—only one player from this draft remains on their roster, but they wouldn't trade that one guy for any other team's entire class.

The worst draft of 2017 goes to the Oakland Raiders—Gareon Conley actually had the best career of any player they drafted that season. Other teams with poor drafts include :

  • The New England Patriots (mainly because they traded first- and second-rounders for Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy).
  • The Denver Broncos (first-rounder Garret Bolles, second-rounder DeMarcus Walker, third-rounder Carlos Henderson).
  • The Atlanta Falcons (first-rounder Takk McKinley; traded the pick that the Bills used to select Dawkins and turned the picks they got in exchange into Duke Riley, Damontae Kazee, and Brian Hill).
  • The Miami Dolphins (first-rounder Charles Harris, second-rounder Raekwon McMillan, third-rounder Cordrea Tankersley).


57 comments, Last at 04 May 2023, 2:50pm

#1 by IlluminatusUIUC // Apr 19, 2023 - 9:55am

The Bills absolutely and thoroughly killed this draft and we found a franchise QB the following year, and trading away the Mahomes pick is still an absolute franchise altering move. Ouch ouch ouch.

I can't fault the front office though, I wanted Watson and thank god they weren't listening when I was yelling at my TV.

Points: 5

#2 by theslothook // Apr 19, 2023 - 10:10am

Greg Cosell has been refreshingly honest about his pre draft take on Mahomes.


The guy had physical talent galore but he played the game in a completely unstructured style. A week of diligent offensive game planing thrown out the window because Mahomes did what he felt like instead. 


There are two questions I have, one forever unanswerable. What did the Chiefs think they were getting when they took him? Polian, for example, never envisioned Manning becoming as good as he was. And I highly doubt Belichick did as well with Brady. Did the Chiefs know Mahomes would be this good playing this particular way? 


And finally, what would Mahomes be if he didn't pair with Reid?



Points: 5

#3 by Big_Chief // Apr 19, 2023 - 10:46am

The story is the Chiefs did think they were getting someone special.  Veach telling Andy, Dorsey, and all the other Chiefs decision makers that Mahomes was the best player he'd ever seen is evidently true.  Others have often referred to Andy looking for Favre, but I don't recall ever hearing Andy make that comparison, I think because Mahomes clearly had a different mindset coming out of college.

I think a lot of QB busts can be traced back to bad coaching, and I firmly believe there are a few really bad coaches out there in the NFL who could have really screwed up Mahomes, but I think his talent, both mental and physical, is such that he would have been good with the vast majority of teams.  But I think the way he launched, throwing for 5000 yds and 50TDs in his first year as a starter, just his second in the league, I don't think that happens with anyone but Andy.  A few other coaches, like Sean Payton, Shanahan, or McVay, would have had him successful quickly, but I think his meteoric start owes a lot to Andy's preparation, patience, and coaching. 

Points: 5

#8 by barf // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:24pm

Agreed, would add that not throwing him onto the field his rookie season (although I think he would have played well) gave him the chance to learn the playbook and for KC to see him on the practice field. Mahomes first year as a starter, as you mentioned, was unbelievable. Also, turns out when you have a great talent who is willing and eager to be coached, you can have this kind of prolonged success.

As a Chiefs fan, I tell every other fan that we need to enjoy this because eventually Andy will retire or Mahomes will start tailing off. But I don't think either thing happens for 8-10 years. He's so good about training and conditioning that as long as his health stays good, we're in for a long run of success. 

Points: 1

#9 by theslothook // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:34pm

I would add; the Chiefs this era have another distinct advantage working in their favor. When Manning and Brady were together; they played in the same conference and were a natural check against one another. In other words; they were rivals with near equal abilities. There is no such rival for Mahomes(yet). He is the undisputed QB king in a way that hasn't been the case in probably 40 years of NFL football. Probably need to go back to Johnny U to get any semblance of a 1 person ruler.  

Points: 3

#23 by IdahoPat // Apr 19, 2023 - 5:36pm

Mahomes is clearly the top QB in the league. But to say there’s this huge gulf between him and Josh Allen or Joe Burrow is absurd. Allen has won 2 of the last 3 matchups (all at Arrowhead), and would’ve been a clean sweep but for 13 Seconds, which he had zero role in. You can ding Allen for the Minnesota loss in 2022, which would’ve guaranteed a KC appearance before fans in Buffalo — the only AFC venue in which Mahomes hasn’t faced a true test. Finally, if you switched coaching staffs and put Mahomes with McDivisional and Josh with Andy, who are you taking?

Points: 0

#24 by BigRichie // Apr 19, 2023 - 6:12pm


The Bills have done very well by Josh Allen. I think you're the first one I've come across who thinks otherwise.

Points: 0

#27 by theslothook // Apr 19, 2023 - 7:33pm

I guess it depends on how one defines huge gulf. 

Was there a huge gulf between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady versus someone like Ben roethlisberger? Id say there was even if there were some years where roethlisberger looked like he could compete on their level.

A look over their careers so far, Allen has never had a year where he outranked Mahomes in DVOA or DYAR. And usually the difference could be as big as 10% in DVOA.

As a neutral fan, I have much more faith in Mahomes year to year and game to game consistency wise than Allen, which is the biggest thing separating the two. Allen at his best can match Patrick Mahomes for sure, But he brings additional volatility that is ultimately what's hurting him in this comparison.

Points: 7

#37 by guest from Europe // Apr 20, 2023 - 8:34am

I agree with IdahoPat. He acknowledged that Mahomes is the best (at the moment), but there is no gulf. Your comments #9 and #27 contradict themselves semantically. This is not what you wanted, but it reads that way.

This is not like the difference from Manning-Brady to the rest in late 00's. Manning-Brady got all MVPs starting in 2003. Even then Brees was very close. Mahomes won't win everything this decade.

This is like a difference from manning-level to rodgers-level when they were contemporaries 2009-2014. Rodgers was more volatile. And someone on newton-level or ryan-level (very good career, 1 MVP season) will appear. In first half of 2022 season the debate in MVP-race was Allen vs. Tagovailoa. Mahomes was third. They are all still young, under 30 and probably will improve!


Points: 0

#41 by richallen7 // Apr 20, 2023 - 9:24am

I get this, but Mahomes has had periods of volatility, too.  Josh seems to get dinged with this more because of how he played when he first entered the league.  But it's as if Aaron Rodgers never threw two stupid interceptions in a game... of course Mahomes is #1, but as the commenter above noted, were it not for 13 seconds, Allen would be 3-0 over him, which isn't nothing.   Allen also played through injury, which, to anyone watching him every week, very clearly affected him.

Points: 1

#42 by theslothook // Apr 20, 2023 - 10:03am

Responding to everyone here.

By DYAR, Mahomes has finished 1st multiple times and his lowest ranking was 3rd. You get a similar story from DVOA, where he has never finished below 3rd. 

Allen, by comparison, has been 3rd, 15th, and 5th. Someone mentioned above that his early seasons are being held against him. That's partly true because it means Mahomes has a longer track record on top of the higher rated seasons. But Allen backsliding in year 4 factors into this. 

I don't think the Aaron Rodgers comparison works because he has had multiple seasons where he has performed better than Manning or Brady. Brees I think the gulf was smaller than the one that exists between Allen and Mahomes currently.

As has been stated, Allen is still young in his career. He may bridge that gap, but a gap exists.

Points: 4

#46 by guest from Europe // Apr 22, 2023 - 1:39am

You were arguing Mahomes vs. everyone in the future not Mahomes vs. Allen! Mahomes is the most consistent one, like Manning was. It doesn't have to be Allen from the group of everyone that gets the MVP. Jackson was better than Mahomes for a year. Jackson is more volatile. Someone else will do it. In 2021 Prescott's stats were similar to Mahomes'. If you go by stats blindly, then Tagovailoa had better stats this year than Mahomes until concussions. There were many comments here "Tua is MVP!" in October 2022.

Allen played injured. Until the injury he was equal to Mahomes.They all are injury risks! Allen is volatile in last 3 years. First 2 years he was bad. He was another player.  In September 2022 he was the MVP.

Mahomes this year didn't have an over-the-top year by DVOA or QBR. He was better in 2018. He kind of won the MVP because all his competitors got injured and tailed off towards the end of the year and Mahomes amassed the most volume-stats like DYAR. He was the MVP in December 2022.

Cautionary tale: Favre won a three-peat MVP and later without Reid was worse. This might happen to Mahomes. Then there were 1999-2001 Rams. Warner looked like the king...


Your original comment was that Mahomes will dominate like a brady-manning-in-one-person terminator. In 2003-2010 period they won the MVP awards. In order to stop them injuries (2008) or record-breaking years by RBs + voter fatigue were needed (2005, 2006, and later in 2012). Mahomes will not win 5 MVPs in 8 years like a terminator. That 's my very bold prediction.

If 2022 was the first year of this unprecedented QB ruler (comment #9), he would have to win at least 4 more MVPs in the next 7 years.

Points: 0

#22 by rpwong // Apr 19, 2023 - 5:29pm

I also recall hearing that Alex Smith was a very willing and able mentor to Mahomes during their one year together. You don't get that from every starting QB.

This just reinforces how big of an impact the environment and people around you have on your education. Luckily, Mahomes got seemingly perfect conditions.

Points: 5

#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 19, 2023 - 11:35am

Given what he has already accomplished, Patrick Mahomes might have been the best value pick even if he had gone first overall.

I think Mahomes might have busted had he gone #1 overall. The Bears wouldn't have been able to teach him patience or structure, and I suspect he would have become late-Cutler or Trubisky after a few years. Chicago hasn't been able to teach a QB for 70 years.

Mahomes has in all likelihood benefited tremendously from Andy Reid and the rest of the KC offense.

It's more interesting to consider what would have happened had Watson and Mahomes switched places. O'Brien isn't a bad QB coach.

Points: 4

#38 by dmb // Apr 20, 2023 - 8:36am

Going #1 overall would've sent Mahomes to Cleveland, not Chicago. But I do agree that the favorable environment for him in KC -- and how it contrasted to some other situations around the league, including Cleveland -- can't be overlooked.

FWIW, I also don't think the 70 years thing is too relevant, though the teams' coaching staffs at the time certainly are. If history were that significant, KC would've been a tough landing spot, too: it was several decades since the Chiefs had last developed a QB of their own drafting into a full-time starter.

Points: 0

#43 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 20, 2023 - 10:41am

Going #1 overall would've sent Mahomes to Cleveland, not Chicago. 

That's like going from shit to piss.

Points: 0

#5 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 19, 2023 - 11:49am

Don't draft special teamers.

Elliott and Butker don't really prove this point.

They just prove the teams who drafted them were dumb to let them go.

Points: 2

#7 by BigRichie // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:19pm

I once assessed Sebastian Janikowski as a draft pick. I determined that in terms of value (over replacement) received, Sebastian was smack dab in the middle of players who were drafted right in his range, on a median measure. Mean measure changed that, but not all that much.

Then factor in that Sebastian returned all that value to the Raiders, production-wise he was a decent pick for the Raiders where they picked him.

Points: 3

#16 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 19, 2023 - 2:06pm

Or that weren't good then. 

And, you know, other teams picking them up off the street just reinforces the main point. 

Points: 1

#35 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 20, 2023 - 8:24am

OP’s argument is they were done of the best in the league.

Points: 0

#6 by BigRichie // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:11pm

Mike Tanier hasn't thought much of Jamal Adams. And from what I've seen in Seattle, Mike is right.

You put Humpty Dumpty unblocked up into the box, he's going to make some plays. And when he doesn't, he leaves a big hole in the secondary in which bad things happen for the defense, with the nearest defender always getting the blame for it.

For obvious reasons I saw very little of Jamal in New York. In Seattle he's been mediocre at best, at an incredibly high price. He's a safety who can't cover.

Points: 1

#10 by theslothook // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:39pm

If anyone claims to have seen Mahomes' rise coming with comments made and dated well before the fact, please send them over. I don't follow college football, but I do follow the draft and I had heard of Trubisky. And I had definitely heard of Watson. I had heard of Mahomes in the same way I had heard of Joe Flacco or going way back, JP Losman. Namely, some guy who could be a fringe first rounder but hardly someone you'd expect to go anywhere near the top 15. So when the Chiefs took him; I was frankly stunned and I didn't think it would work out. And since they traded a future first to get him, I thought that probably was going to seal Andy's fate.


Let me also confess; if he were to succeed, I thought it would be of the slow burn variety - basically through some combination of rushing and ad libing until maybe he developed into something like Fitzpatrick in style? He actually is a lot like Fitz if you juiced Fitz's arm talent to 100 and took away 90% of his bad decisions. 


I still remember after his first start throwing 6 tds; I couldn't believe it. I wrote in the audibles that day something along the lines of, "what the hell???? Probably need to watch this guy some." I did not expect this at all. Maybe Veach did, but I would be hard pressed to find a single person besides Mahomes and his immediate family who did. 

Points: 3

#12 by Big_Chief // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:51pm

I don't watch much college football either and hadn't heard of Mahomes prior to the start of draft season.  But I read this article - that got me interested in him.  Then I started to watch all the YouTube videos of his predraft interviews and such as I could.  There were definitely others, like Gruden, who were clearly believers in Mahomes before the draft.  So by draft day I was hoping for Mahomes and very happy when KC picked him, though I always keep in mind the high number of draft busts I've seen through the years.  But I will say that if the Chiefs were giving that much draft capital up for him, they must have believed, and Andy Reid is one of the few Chiefs HCs I believed could really develop a QB (Stram and Marty being the others).

Points: 2

#49 by guest from Europe // Apr 22, 2023 - 8:28am

What happened to the rest of players that the Chiefs drafted?

How did they draft in 2016 and 2018?

Points: 0

#50 by Vincent Verhei // Apr 23, 2023 - 1:37am

To answer your first question...

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, 59th overall
61 games, 24 starts, 7.0 sacks in four years in KC. 23 games, 10 starts, 6.0 in two years with the Saints. 

RB Kareem Hunt, 86th overall
Led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie. Released midway through his second season after video showed him assaulting and kicking a woman. Spent four years as a backup in Cleveland, currently unsigned.

WR Jehu Chesson, 139th overall
24 career games, none since 2018, 3 career catches.

OLB Ukeme Eligwe, 183rd overall
24 career games, none since 2018, 12 career tackles.

S Leon McQuay, 218th overall
One career game.

As for their other draft classes, you can look them up here:

Points: 0

#51 by guest from Europe // Apr 23, 2023 - 2:30am

The rest of 2017 looks quite bad.

In 2018 they got DT Nnadi and not much else. 

In 2016 Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill at #165 and not much else. In 2015 Marcus Peters, Mitch Morse. In 2014 Dee Ford, 2013 T. Kelce and E. Fisher.

A lot of misses, but when they guess right (usually in round 1), those players become big stars.

Points: 0

#14 by apocalipstick // Apr 19, 2023 - 1:57pm

Mahomes's first start was the last game of his rookie year, and you could see then that he had special qualities: the processing, the accuracy, the release, the catchable ball. I'm not saying I knew he would be great then, but when KC let Smith go, I understood it. You couldn't ignore the ceiling.

Points: 1

#19 by GwillyGecko // Apr 19, 2023 - 2:38pm

I didn't predict Mahomes's rise, but I was pissed off that my Buffalo Bills didn't draft him or (2nd choice) Deshaun Watson, so I(and im sure many others) at least thought Mahomes was a prospect worth a high draft choice.


At the time I thought Trubisky and Solomon Thomas were bad picks as well, and thought the Browns should have drafted whichever of Mahomes/Watson they liked better rather than a ER.

Points: 0

#11 by Theo // Apr 19, 2023 - 12:49pm

Mayfield and the Browns did win a playoff game in 2020,

Lets never forget the day the Steelers got outcoached by ... someone absent, because the Browns Head Coach was not on the sidelines because of Covid. 


Points: 0

#15 by TacticalSledgehammer // Apr 19, 2023 - 2:04pm

The Bears trade-up for Trubisky has to be a contender for worst draft trade of all-time, right? Giving up three picks, two of which turned into all-pro players, to move up ONE spot, to take Mitchell Trubisky, when Watson and Mahomes were also available. I'm having a hard time thinking of a worse move. 

Points: 2

#17 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 19, 2023 - 2:07pm

It didn't make sense at the time and somehow turned out worse then expected. 

Points: 3

#18 by theslothook // Apr 19, 2023 - 2:13pm

With the benefit of hindsight probably. If Trubisky had become either Watson or Mahomes, I don't think anyone cares about the loss in theoretical draft value. 

But I don't like judging these things ex post. Without hindsight, I think New Orleans trading their entire draft board for Ricky Williams is the worst decision trade decision.

Points: 1

#29 by anthonytwotimes // Apr 19, 2023 - 11:03pm

Imagine wanting a sexual pervert like Watson on your team. Who, like Moon, blew a giant lead in the playoffs. Not only does Watson like to choke his chicken in front of women he also likes to choke in big NFL games. He’s done great padding his stats in blowouts though—see 2020. 

Points: -3

#45 by bravehoptoad // Apr 20, 2023 - 2:56pm

You can't know at the time those picks were going to be all-pros. They're just picks.

I've always been curious who the Bears thought was going to trade into #2 to snatch Trubisky from them.

Points: 1

#20 by Eddo // Apr 19, 2023 - 2:48pm

"The consensus opinion [at QB] had Watson first, then a dropoff before the Trubisky-Mahomes-Kizer cluster, and then another dropoff to longshots such as California's Davis Webb, Iowa's C.J. Beathard, Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs, and Pittsburgh's Nathan Peterman."

I'm not sure this is true.  NFL Mock Draft Database had Trubisky at 13, Watson at 15, Mahomes at 22, Kizer at 33, Webb at 96, and Peterman at 98 as the QBs in the top 100.

The surprising and frustrating (as a fan) part of what the Bears did was not choosing Trubisky over the other QBs, but trading so much to move up one spot when Trubisky wasn't obviously the top QB.

Points: 5

#30 by anthonytwotimes // Apr 19, 2023 - 11:04pm

Most mock drafts had Trubustky going before the other 2 QB’s

Points: 3

#21 by ElJefeTejas // Apr 19, 2023 - 4:49pm

If Parcells was still coaching the year Mahomes was drafted, I'm sure we would have heard his standard "I wanted us to draft him" after the fact comments he likes to make.

Always bitter about having to cook up someone else's groceries.

Points: 0

#25 by Kahoutek // Apr 19, 2023 - 6:31pm

Love love love these 5-year draft lookbacks, they have always been a major highlight for me on this website.  I like looking back at the "conventional wisdom" of the day, then seeing how that all turned out in hindsight.

Too bad this is a once-a-year article.  So good it's like Christmas.

Points: 5

#26 by Raiderfan // Apr 19, 2023 - 7:13pm

“The worst draft of 2017 goes to the Oakland Raiders”

You could leave the year blank and still be correct.

Points: 1

#28 by Dales // Apr 19, 2023 - 8:39pm

I really enjoyed the writing, so thank you. Although I ended up having to open a second window because with a few names you didn't give when they were drafted.

Points: 0

#31 by ahzroc // Apr 20, 2023 - 2:48am

The Chiefs somehow got wind that the Saints were going to draft Mahommes and paid a high price to Buffalo to jump one spot higher than the Saints to get him.

Sean Payton and Mahomes , wow 

Points: 1

#36 by apocalipstick // Apr 20, 2023 - 8:27am

'cuz Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes has been such a stifling bore.

Points: 4

#57 by BJR // May 04, 2023 - 2:40pm

In 2017, Drew Brees was coming off a year in which he was 2nd in DYAR. He would go on to have 3 further consecutive years in top 3 in DYAR in '17, '18 & '19. 

Of course knowing what we know now, drafting Mahomes would have been great, but at the time it would have been an extremely dubious move for a team very much in contention with a HOF QB who was showing no signs of slowing down (see Packers, Green Bay in 2020).

Points: 1

#32 by guest from Europe // Apr 20, 2023 - 5:16am

I would like to point out that every possible outcome for high picks was in this draft: from M. McDowell to P. Mahomes. Anything is possible and everything is unlikely.

Points: 2

#33 by guest from Europe // Apr 20, 2023 - 7:26am

As far as grading the drafts right after the draft this will show how pointless it is:

In the days following the draft, the 49ers got the highest grades from most observers, followed by Cleveland, Washington, New England, and the Colts. The Bears were generally considered to have had the worst draft, followed by the Rams, Lions, Raiders, and Jets. How would we rate those teams in hindsight?

It turns out those grades were correct for Browns (good draft ) and Raiders (bad draft) and they were totally off for Colts, Patriots and Rams. Rams had a very good draft and Colts busts in 1st and 2nd round. 

Totally random grading can probably give you the same precision if you try to grade it immediately after the draft. There is not enough info!

Points: 0

#39 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 20, 2023 - 8:58am

We're allowed to judge the process. 

And the Bears do have an argument for worst draft, don't skip that (and their process was defintely bad). 

Points: 0

#47 by guest from Europe // Apr 22, 2023 - 1:50am

At the very end of the article the 5 worst teams by this draft are explained. No Bears there.

My point was that grading a draft immediately is just clickbait. It should be done later, like in this article.

A dumb trade from #3 to #2 should be criticized. Which player is chosen at #2 or #3 is a preference among unknowns. In this case both players selected at #2 and #3 didn't get 5th year of rookie contract.

Much more interesting is the current Packers' process. What are they doing? Drafting Love, extending Rodgers, now trading him away, trading Adams, keeping injured Bakhtiary...I would like to know your (or anyone who has more info on Packers) opinion on this.

Points: 0

#52 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 23, 2023 - 8:00pm

My point was that grading a draft immediately is just clickbait.

Again, you can judge the process. We don't have to wait an arbitrary amount of time before making and reviewing decisions. Teams have to make decisions every year! Every week actually but the biggest one that comes prior to this. They literally have to take action long before this article.

among unknowns

Just because so many here don't watch college, doesn't make it wholly true. 

Yes the '20 Packers draft was bad process and in very real ways have bitten them and stalled any further progress. That wasn't a shock. Just like the trade up for a QB for the Bears, it made no sense at the time and turned into nothing. Except Alvin Kamara and Fred Warner REALLY hurts the Bears trade up as those were the picks they traded away. 

Points: 0

#53 by guest from Europe // Apr 24, 2023 - 2:15am

Again, you can judge the process.

You rightfully judge the Bears for trading up. In this same draft the Chiefs did the same thing: traded up to #10, gave up #27 (turned out All Pro CB Tre White) and 2018 1st round pick (LB Edmunds) and a 3rd round pick. The Chiefs had the same bad process as the Bears. This is what F.O. thought of it, as written in this article:

Why, some bozos out there even said they "hated" the trade and pick, that Kansas City was "punting for a couple of years," and that "they need a player that can help them right away, and this isn't it."


The majority of the picks aren't traded around. Teams are given their slots for picks and they pick some players. What process do you judge there?

There are about 270 picks made. Noone, no single person can have an overview of that many college players. It takes a lot of scouts to follow them  closely. They play totally different positions, to compare them all is practically impossible.

People discuss a lot about someone picked at slots #20-30, at slots #120-130 they don't care much, and at slots #220-230 does anyone notice who is drafted? Only a punter is written about.

For example Kittle and Kupp were drafted low in this draft, all the teams missed on them. Colts got great grades and it turned out they drafted busts etc...


Yes the '20 Packers draft was bad process and in very real ways have bitten them and stalled any further progress. 

Maybe the Packers GM wanted no more Rodgers and drafted the replacement. This is coming to fruition now. Maybe that was his process and the MVP years came as a shock. The Bears' GM has been fired. Why is this Packers' GM still on the job?

Points: 0

#55 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 24, 2023 - 5:11pm

Come on man. You're just being difficult now.

Trading up one spot for a player no one was confident in vs trading up 17 for a high ceiling. 

Noone, no single person can have an overview of that many college players.

Just simply false. It's literally peoples jobs.

 The Bears' GM has been fired. Why is this Packers' GM still on the job?

Again, just being difficult. It shouldn't be hard to understand why a 48-65 2015 hired GM was fired while a 53-28-1 2018 GM hasn't. 

Points: 0

#56 by guest from Europe // Apr 25, 2023 - 6:07am

No GM has ever played, lost or won a game. Don't make up stats. It's a team sport. Only a team can win a game. No single player can and definitely not a GM. How many games did the Packers' GM win or lose in 2022? How many will he win in coming years? 


Just simply false. It's literally peoples jobs.

What is their job? To write draft day grades immediately after the draft by writers on various sites? Do you claim that all these writers know all of these players that are drafted?

GMs and team management employ a lot of scouts. Not a single GM or a single scout knows all college players.


As far as the Chiefs 2017 draft, i cited the article above and what F.O staff thought of that trade. No other Chiefs' player from that 2017 draft achieved anything. Bills got in that trade picks that became All Pro CB White, Pro Bowl LB Edmunds, good LT Dawkins and in 2018 selected QB Allen.

Both Bears and Chiefs traded up. That is the process. That is what you are "judging". The Panthers traded like that in this year's draft. Bears got a lot of picks. In the upcoming draft will you judge the Panthers for bad process?

Points: 1

#44 by bravehoptoad // Apr 20, 2023 - 2:53pm

I was so psyched when the 49ers landed Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster in round 1. Yeah sooo...that didn't work out too well.

The 49ers were kind of doomed to take Solomon Thomas, alas. It was Lynch and Shanahan's first draft, and to the owner they'd loudly declared that  D-Line was the most important position on any team. They weren't going to go QB because they thought they'd be getting Cousins the next year, and they weren't going to go Jonathan Allen at #2 or #3 because that would have been a waste of "draft capital." 

It just happened to be a stinky year to be dead set on a D-lineman at #2. At least they got something by trading down to #3.

They were crazy about Reuben Foster. IIRC, they were trying to trade back into the first starting at like #15 to get him, but couldn't actually make the trade until #31. It presaged a habit of Shanahan and Lynch of falling in love with a guy and taking him too high, like Dante Pettis or any number of running backs. They seem to do their best drafting when the stakes aren't that high, 3rd round and later. There they've done a bang-up job, like in this draft landing Kittle and Trent Taylor at 5 and DJ Jones in the 6th.

This year, I'm hoping they actually make all those picks they have at the end of the 3rd instead of packaging them to trade up. Mid rounds is where they do best.

Points: 0

#48 by guest from Europe // Apr 22, 2023 - 8:27am

What happened to S. Thomas? They were moving him along the D-line... at some spots he was ok. And now he is a journeyman? A few years ago 49ers decided to keep Thomas and Armstead and trade away Buckner. Then they drafted Kinlaw, now signed Hargrave... is that admitting that the Buckner-trade was a mistake?

The 49ers drafting is wild: in 2017 whiffs on S. Thomas and R. Foster, later getting Kittle. All the Shanahan RBs through the years. Recently Lance and Purdy...

Points: 0

#54 by JacqueShellacque // Apr 24, 2023 - 9:26am

Buzz Killlington here: this is all hindsight bias. Unless it were being used specifically to try to identify a method by which a decision-maker would be more likely to take a player worth their draft position, and less likely not to take a player not worth their draft position. Good luck with that.

Points: 0

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