2017 NFL Draft Winners and Losers: Day 2

Winners and Losers – Day 1 | Winners and Losers – Day 3

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
May 4, 2017


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens made some serious improvements to their defensive front seven with their haul on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. In the second round, Baltimore added outside linebacker Tyus Bowser to help replace Elvis Dumervil. With Terrell Suggs aging, Bowser could form the Ravens’ future tandem with 2016 second-round pick Kamalei Correa. Bowser has a nice skill set and is a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

I like what Baltimore did in the third round even more. For weeks in my mock draft, I had the Ravens taking Michigan defensive end Chris Wormley and Alabama outside linebacker Tim Williams based on some information from sources, and that seemed logical because both are perfect fits for Baltimore. The Ravens pulled the trigger on that tandem in the third round.

Wormley is a really physical defender at the point of attack. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is tough against the run and contributes in the pass rush. He is intelligent with a great work ethic and leadership skills. Sources from other teams said Wormley’s personal makeup and professionalism seemed almost too good to be true.

Williams is a first-round talent as a pass-rusher who was a better college player than Bowser or Correa. Williams only slipped because of off-the-field issues, but he is a pure quarterback hunter with excellent speed and athleticism to rush the passer. If Williams can avoid suspension for drug use, he has double-digit sack potential and could be one of the steals of the 2017 NFL Draft. Even if he doesn’t pan out, Bowser and Wormley look safe to end being solid starters. The Ravens really improved their defense on the first two days of the 2017 NF Draft, but their haul on Day 2 was made of great values as there were projections for each prospect going a round earlier.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints came away with an excellent haul of talent on the second day of the draft, featuring a trio of upgrades for their defense and a play-maker for their offense.

Defensively, the Saints landed a ball-hawking free safety in Marcus Williams. He could give New Orleans a versatile safety trio with Kenny Vaccaro and Vonn Bell. With Vaccaro walking up to play near the line of scrimmage like a dime linebacker, Bell can play in the middle of the field while Williams serves as the deep help over the top. Williams is a rangy safety who picks off a lot of passes through his instincts, and he will help upgrade the Saints vulnerable pass defense.

In the third round, New Orleans added two front seven pieces. The team needed a linebacker upgrade, and Florida’s Alex Anzalone is a good fit. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder is a tough run defender who also can cover and is a dangerous blitzer. If Anzalone can stay healthy, he could be a good starter; however, that is a big ‘if’ as Anzalone had a lot of injuries in college.

Later in the third round, the Saints picked up a sturdy base end in Florida Atlantic’s Trey Hendrickson. He could form a dangerous pass-rushing rotational trio with Cam Jordan and pass-rush specialist Hau’oli Kikaha. Hendrickson has good size, athleticism, quickness and a good motor.

On the other side of the ball during the third round, the Saints were able to get one of the top offensive play-makers in the 2017 NFL Draft in Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara. He is a dynamic runner who also is a tremendous receiver. Kamara could be mismatch weapon as a receiving back as soon as his rookie year, and that will help keep Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram fresh. In a year or two, Kamara could be the Saints’ starting running back. I think he was a very astute pick by New Orleans to get a long-term weapon. Some thought Kamara could go late in the first round, so to get him in Round 3 was a steal for the Saints.

Houston Texans

Late in the second round, the Texans landed a prospect many thought would go in Round with Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham. Cunningham can do everything as he is an instinctive run defender with the speed to cover a lot of ground. He also is a good athlete in pass coverage with tall length to him. Last year, the Texans had major problems defending against receiving backs, and Cunningham should help address that immediately. He should be able to take over from Brian Cushing in a year and upgrade Houston’s nasty defense. The Texans are a perfect situation for Cunningham as they have a tough middle linebacker in Benardrick McKinney, who can take on blocks and free up Cunningham. McKinney is already one of the best young linebackers in the NFL, but he and Cunningham could form one of the top young linebacker tandems in the league in a year or two.

In the third round, Houston took Texas running back D’Onta Foreman, who is a big powerful runner who also has the speed to rip off some long runs. He is a perfect complement to starting running back Lamar Miller. Foreman’s size and power will help lighten Miller’s load and help to prevent Miller getting worn down or injured. Foreman also will be an asset in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He easily could have been a second-round pick, so to get him late in the third was a steal for the Texans.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks traded out of the first round, yet still came away with on one the most physically gifted players in the 2017 NFL Draft. Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell (6-6, 295) has a top-10 skill set with a rare combination of speed and athleticism in such a big body. I had team sources tell me that McDowell’s skill set was on a par with DeForest Buckner and better than Arik Armstead, similar players who were top-16 picks in the 2015 and 2016 NFL Drafts. McDowell will give the Seahawks the interior disruptor and pass-rusher who they have lacked the past two seasons. He has tons of talent and upside with a perfect coaching staff to get the most out of him.

In my final mock draft, I had Seattle taking center Ethan Pocic and cornerback Shaquill Griffin on Day 2, and the organization ended up taking them in the real thing. The Seahawks needed to improve their offensive line, and Pocic is a plug-and-play player. He is a smart technician with quality size. Pocic will allow them to move Justin Britt to a better fit at guard or tackle, so the second-round pick of Pocic allows the team to improve the line at two spots. Griffin is a perfect scheme fit as a corner to develop into a starter across from Richard Sherman. Griffin is tall with speed.

The Seahawks had three more third-round picks, including Michigan safety Delano Hill, North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones and Michigan wideout Amara Darboh. Hill is a strong safety to develop, while. Jones will give them another interior disruptor. With 2016 second-rounder Jarran Reed, the Seahawks now have a talented young trio to rotate with McDowell, Reed and Jones. Finally in the third round, Seattle grabbed Darboh (6-2, 214), who really came on last year with an impressive combination of size and speed.

The Seahakws really fortified their roster at key positions and improved their talent and depth significantly on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft.


San Francisco 49ers

A year ago in this space, I had the Buccaneers as a loser for trading up into the second round for Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo. Other teams told me they had some chuckles in their war rooms when that pick was made, and the skeptics appear to be correct as Aguayo was a huge disappointment as a rookie and may not even make the Bucs’ roster in 2017. Tampa Bay did land a good player in Noah Spence, and I see the 49ers second-day haul this year being very similar to Tampa Bay’s from last year with a very good prospect to lead it off, followed by an absolutely terrible pick.

New general manager John Lynch made a really good pick in the third round with cornerback Akhello Witherspoon. Witherspoon is an excellent cover corner with size, length, speed, and ball skills. I think he could be a steal and a No. 1 corner for San Francisco. However the pick that gets the 49ers into second-day loser-dom was trading back into the third round for Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard.

Teams across the league had Beathard graded as a late-rounder. Taking him at the end of the third was a massive reach by Lynch not to mention the collateral the 49ers gave to move up for Beathard. The up-trade was completely unnecessary because the five teams picking in between those picks were not going to take quarterback – Steelers, Seahawks, Buccaneers/Jets and Packers -, much less use a third-round pick on a late-round caliber player. Beathard may develop into a backup quarterback, but he does not have a starter’s skill set. The 49ers probably could have landed Beatheard in the fifth or sixth round as well. Moving up to take Beathard was the worst pick made on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were one of my winners of the second day of the draft last year, but I didn’t like what the team did on Day 2 this year. In the second round, the Cowboys selected Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, who I think has major bust potential. Around the NFL, Awuzie is a love/hate prospect. He has good size at 6-foot, 205 pounds, but he doesn’t play up to it and big receives make catches over him. Awuzie also routinely gives up separation. He was exposed late in his senior year as he struggled in coverage. In his bowl game, Oklahoma State’s James Washington was dominating Awuzie, burning him downfield for big plays. Awuzie was switched off Washington midway through the game, and teammate Akhello Witherspoon did much better at defending Washington. I think Awuzie is going to struggle to run with NFL receivers and could be a corner who gets torched regularly.

In the third round, the Cowboys took a quality nickel corner in Jourdan Lewis. He is a quick, athletic and tough cornerback. However, there are some red flags with Lewis. One, he is undergoing some legal issues for an incident with his girlfriend. Sources at other teams said that Lewis has some women in his life who could cause problems for him, Two, Lewis is very short, so that will be something he has to overcome in the NFL. Lewis and Awuzie seem very risky as second-day draft picks.

Go to Winners and Losers – Day 3

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