PennLive’s 2017 NFL mock draft: Projecting every first-round pick
The start of the 2017 NFL draft brings an end to perhaps the most overanalyzed event in all of sports, but what’s the harm in one more mock draft before the picks start flying off the board tonight in Philadelphia? The purpose of the predictions below is to try and capture team needs, trends and personalities to forecast what we think they will do with their, not necessarily what we believe they SHOULD do.
Analysts have been bloviating and teams have been leaking bad information for months. Fans gobble it all up, of course, but even the diehards can get exhausted. Think about it this way: by the time the pre-draft coverage ends, commissioner Roger Goodell is actually a welcome sight. His walk to the podium means the talk stops and the action begins.
The draft has transcended sports and become a cultural phenomenon. Last year’s first round was the highest-rated program on television that Thursday. Over 8 million Americans watched coverage on either ESPN or NFL Network. Millions more watched pre and post-draft analysis shows.
Go ahead and laugh off the draft, but it’s here to stay. It is also hugely important business, and every pick made in tonight’s first round has a big price tag on it. For NFL franchises, it’s a crucial opportunity to add cost-controlled labor and lay a foundation for success.
Look no further than this point to illustrate: the New Orleans Saints traded a 23-year-old wide receiver in Brandin Cooks who has back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons to New England for the No. 32 pick in the draft. Each pick represents an opportunity to build or rebuild a franchise or change its path forever. Ask the New England Patriots what the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft did for them.
What teams do with these picks is not taken lightly. Attempting to predict what they’re about do is often pointless. Without further ado, that’s exactly what we’re about to do.
Dates: Thursday-Saturday, April 27-29, 2017
Thursday, April 27: Round 1, 8 p.m.
Friday, April 28: Rounds 2 and 3, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 29: Rounds 4-7, Noon
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Television: ESPN and NFL Network
Live stream: Watch ESPN