The second night of the 2017 NFL Draft wasn’t nearly as eventful as the first, but plenty of starting-caliber players came off the board throughout the second and third rounds. There was an early run on defensive players, while falling running backs like Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon were scooped up in the second round.
The 75 selections we had on Day 2 will have significant implications on the upcoming season, particularly for players already on rosters. Guys like Philip Rivers and Cam Newton have to be pleased with the directions their teams went, while Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson are likely scratching their heads.
Here are the winners and losers from the second night of action.
Loser: Calvin Pryor
Pryor’s tenure with the Jets effectively ended on Friday when the Jets took Marcus Maye, their second safety of the draft. Pryor has been somewhat of a bust for the Jets since he was a first-round pick a few years ago, needing to play close to the line of scrimmage to have success. Maye and Jamal Adams give the Jets more versatility in the secondary.
Todd Bowles, a former safety himself, clearly loves a certain type of player at that position, needing guys who can play both free and strong safety. Maye and Adams can do exactly that, while Pryor can’t.
The Seahawks stockpiled their picks for Day 2 of the draft, making six selections in the second and third rounds. Their first was Malik McDowell, a seriously talented defensive lineman who can rush the passer from all four spots on the line. He has motivation issues, but the Seahawks will get the most from him and maximize his potential.
Then the Seahawks took the top center in the draft in Ethan Pocic, providing some help for an offensive line that struggled in recent years. He’ll keep defensive tackles off of Russell Wilson and open up running lanes for Eddie Lacy and Co.
Towards the end of the night, the Seahawks landed promising defensive backs in Shaq Griffin and Delano Hill.
After multiple trade-backs, the Seahawks cashed in on the second night.
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Loser: Latavius Murray
The Vikings seemingly replaced Adrian Peterson with Murray in free agency, but little did they know, Dalvin Cook would fall to the second round. The Vikings traded up for the former Florida State running back on Friday night, putting a significant dent in Murray’s workload going forward. He’ll no longer be the featured back he was expected to be with Cook likely handling most of the carries.
It’s a win for the Vikings, as they now have two starting-caliber running backs in the backfield, but Murray probably won’t get nearly as many touches with Cook now in the mix.
Obi Melifonwu was likely a target of Oakland’s at the end of the first round, but Gareon Conley was apparently too good of a value for them to pass up, assuming he’s exonerated of any wrongdoing. Getting the big UConn DB in the second round was a tremendous value, especially with the way the Raiders are going to use him.
Melifonwu can play both safety and cornerback, both of which are needs for Oakland. I’d expect the Raiders to give him a shot at cornerback first because of his combination of size and speed, but if he struggles there, he’ll thrive as a safety. Him and Karl Joseph make for a dynamic tandem in the secondary.
Adding Eddie Vanderdoes in the third round was solid, as well. The Raiders got much better on defense in the first three rounds.
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The Cardinals traded up to select a player that’s extremely similar to one of their best defensive players, Tyrann Mathieu. Budda Baker can play anywhere in the secondary, giving the Cardinals good flexibility on defense. Although both players are somewhat small, they’re playmakers who are always around the ball. Arizona’s defense is going to be really fun to watch next year, despite the fact that they lost a number of starters.
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Winner: Cam Newton
The Panthers’ offense lacked explosiveness and speed last season, fielding slow players at their skill positions. After two days of the draft, that’s certainly changed, and Newton has to be thrilled. The Panthers added two dynamic playmakers on offense, first drafting Christian McCaffrey, then Curtis Samuel – both of whom can play running back and slot receiver.
Teams will now have to stay on their toes when those two guys trot out on the field. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula can call more RPO – or read-pass option – plays, which are difficult to stop. Look for Newton to get rid of the ball quickly and efficiently to mask Carolina’s offensive line problems.
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The Browns didn’t come away with a quarterback on Day 1, but that wasn’t a time for panic. They took the best players available, shoring up the defense and adding a dynamic tight end in David Njoku. On the second night of the draft, they addressed the quarterback position, catching the falling DeShone Kizer at 52nd overall. He probably won’t start right away, but he can develop into a quality starter in the NFL.
In addition to taking Kizer, the Browns also scooped up Larry Ogunjobi, a pass-rushing defensive tackle. He’ll contribute next to Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett on the defensive front with the Browns getting good value in the second round.
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Loser: Terrell Suggs
It was well known that Suggs was nearing the end of his career, but the Ravens’ selections on Day 2 show that the end is much closer than we thought. Baltimore took Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams in the second and third rounds, two incredibly athletic edge rushers who can really get after the quarterback. This doesn’t mean the Ravens will cut Suggs or part ways with him, but his role on defense is likely to be diminished.
His snaps will probably decrease, relegating him to a role that’s more of a situational pass rusher. Of course, this hinges on Williams staying clean off the field and Bowser rounding into a consistent edge rusher. There are no guarantees either will happen, but the end is near for Suggs.
Loser: Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson
Life got worse for Ingram when the Saints signed Peterson, but both players saw their roles shrink a bit on Friday night. Although he’s a completely different back, Alvin Kamara will undoubtedly eat into Peterson and Ingram’s touches this season. He’s a great receiving back who will likely handle third-down duties, relegating Ingram and Peterson to mostly first- and second-down touches.
It’s bizarre that the Saints would invest so much into the running back position with Ingram already at the helm, but perhaps they’re trying to take pressure off of Drew Brees.
Winner: Philip Rivers
The Chargers are clearly trying to surround Rivers with as much talent as possible as his career winds down, going all offense in the first three rounds. On Friday night, the Chargers addressed the offensive line, getting the best guard in the draft at No. 38 in Forrest Lamp. He was expected to be a first-round pick, but unexpectedly slid down draft boards and landed in the lap of the Chargers who were in need of offensive line help.
Then, in the third round, they selected Dan Feeney, another starting-caliber guard to protect Rivers. After they struggled in that department last season, the Chargers are making sure their Pro Bowl quarterback remains upright.
Loser: Sammie Coates
The Steelers drafted JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round, surprisingly adding to their already stacked wide receiving corps. That could spell less playing time for Coates. At least, that’s how Martavis Bryant sees it. Coates was ruthlessly burned by Bryant on Twitter after Smith-Schuster was selected with Martavis saying the Steelers drafted his “replacement.”