The 2017 NFL Draft is finally over. Here are the best moments from three days and seven rounds of picks.
The 2017 NFL Draft has come to a close. The Cleveland Browns arguably had the best draft of any team. They’ll take some heat from drafting Florida Gators defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, but they may not keep him. Outside of Brantley, they also drafted defensive end Myles Garrett (Texas A&M), quarterback DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), tight end David Njoku (Miami) and safety Jabrill Peppers (Michigan).
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Other teams who had good drafts are the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Buccaneers and Washington Redskins.
General Manager John Lynch did well in his first stint with the San Francisco 49ers, making a key trade at the beginning of the draft then filled most needs outside of the offensive line.
The Vikings got their successor to running Adrian Peterson in running back Dalvin Cook (Florida State) as well.
Overall, the NFL Draft put a lot of players in good positions. Some teams took a lot of heat for their picks but for the most part, teams filled their needs from a strong draft class.
Some players fell in the draft, others rose while some went undrafted. As we look forward to another NFL season, here’s a look at the best moments from the 2017 NFL Draft.
USC Trojans wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster was drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The excitement was real for Smith-Schuster and company as they made their way to the closest beach to cool off. Equipped with a boom box pumping music, Smith-Schuster didn’t hesitate one bit to take the leap.
Day 2 of the NFL Draft was full of excitement for the former USC Trojan and he capped it off by stripping down to just his shirt and pants to jump into some water. Smith-Schuster was the fifth wide receiver taken in the draft, if you call Curtis Samuel (Ohio State Buckeyes) a wide receiver.
I guess there’s a lot of excitement to be had when you’re selected in the NFL Draft. I mean if I was going to play with a receiving corps of Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant with Ben Roethlisberger as my quarterback, I may have to take a quick trip to the closest bay or harbor too.
Apr 28, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans first round draft pick Deshaun Watson poses with a jersey during a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
9. Deshaun Watson Reads a Letter From His Mother
Quarterback Deshaun Watson was given a letter by his mother after he was selected by the Houston Texans as the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. It was a night of waiting for Watson as he saw two other quarterbacks drafted ahead of him despite winning the National Championship over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The senior quarterback took a lot of criticism from scouts for his play despite overcoming so much adversity. After all, its not often you see a quarterback play in back-to-back National Championship games and get their moment of redemption the way Watson did.
After receiving his jersey and hat and shaking the commisioner’s hand. Watson was surprised by a letter from his mother that he read and it really got the water works going. Watson choked up by the end of the letter which was a heartfelt moment for him.
Apr 28, 2017; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets first round draft pick Jamal Adams during a press conference at the Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
8. J-E-T-E. JETS!
The New York Jets had their fair share of picks in the 2017 NFL Draft but when they got to the 79th pick, things got weird. Former Jets fullback Tony Richardson had a bit of trouble with the spelling of their chant.
Under the bright lights, nerves may have gotten the best of Richardson as he proceeded to announce the Jets pick in the third round (see below).
To be fair, Tony Richardson took a lot of hits as a fullback and back in his day, helmets weren’t as durable as they are now. After all, he’s blocked for the likes of Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Thomas Jones. Those type of hits can take a real toll on the psyche.
UCLA Bruins defensive end Takkarist McKinley has come a long way to become the 26th overall pick in the NFL Draft. He didn’t qualify right away out of high school for the University of California and had to attend junior college in 2013.
He transferred to UCLA in 2014 and since then, he hasn’t looked back. By his senior year, he was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection racking up 61 tackles (50 solo, 11 assisted), 18.0 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks and six pass breakups.
Getting to the NFL Draft was a huge step for McKinley. He walked to the stage with a photo of his late grandmother and he had a lot to say during his interview about his journey.
The word slip by McKinley may come with a hefty fine, but hey, it’s rare fans get to experience raw emotions from players like that on such a huge night for so many. After such strong words, I’m sure Atlanta Falcons fans are happy to have him on their defense.
Mar 2, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
6. James Conner: From Cancer to Pittsburgh Steeler
Emotions were running high at former Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner’s draft party. Conner waited a long time to hear his name called and when he finally did, emotions were running high.
The Pittsburgh Steelers picked Conner in the third round as the 41st pick (105th overall). He joins a backfield of Le’Veon Bell and Deangelo Williams to give the Steelers a strong stable of running backs. With Conner, the Steelers get a running back who can run and catch passes out of the backfield.
After missing all of the 2015 to battle lymphoma, Conner returned in 2016 stronger than ever. He returned in 2016 to rush for 1,092 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He also had 302 receiving yards for three touchdowns.
His reward: a potential roster spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster. Luckily for Conner he doesn’t have to travel very far either. The Panthers hosted their home games at Heinz Field, which is also the Steelers home stadium.
Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of the draft theater stage as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the 14th pick in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
5. Meet John from Philadelphia
While we could probably debate whether or not this is a great moment. The NFL Draft being hosted in Philadelphia brought out a lot of Eagles fans. They were loud, they were rocking, they booed Commissioner Roger Gooddell a lot.
Then outside the draft, things got a lot more interesting. NFL Network analyst found John, a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and well, just watch.
So, somehow a diehard Eagles fan was able to leave his wife behind on their own honeymoon so he could attend Rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft. I could be wrong but for some reason, I don’t think that marriage is going to last very long.
I hope she .get a hold of this interview, she may start feeling some type of way. I’ve heard of being a fan but I’ve never heard of sports coming before a person you claim to love, but hey, its not my life.
Jan 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) (10) against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
4. Martavis Bryant Trolls Steelers Fans and Sammie Coates.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver was definitely “woke” during the NFL Draft. After he saw his team draft wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (USC Trojans), he took to Twitter to tweet some things that have since been deleted.
It was an interesting sequence of events to say the least. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock wasn’t amused by it either, which is understandable. On a big day for NFL Draft picks, the focus is being shifted to an orangutan.
On the other hand, an orangutan was smart enough to make an NFL Draft pick, technically. So as you can see, I’m torn as a fan and also as a writer here. It’s not everyday you get to see a trained orangutan announce picks at the NFL Draft.
Oct 19, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles former running back Brian Westbrook was placed into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame during game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Giants, 27-7. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
2. Eagles Legends Take the Stage.
Philadelphia Eagles fans were given a real treat when Day 3 got started. Former cornerback Troy Vincent, former safety Brian Dawkins and former running back Brian Westbrook all took to the stage and it was a great moment for Philadelphia faithful.
The former Eagles legends announced where the picks would come from then set the record straight for the haters. Westbrook also voiced his opinion about those from Dallas who step to the podium and disrespect the city, saying he’d give them a true “Philadelphia welcome” next time.
Former safety Brian Dawkins then denounced the haters before leading fans in the Eagles Fight song. The crowd happily joined in and loudly lead the chant.
It was a great moment for the Philadelphia faithful who were out in full force all weekend long. or They were loud and rowdy for anybody who wasn’t there to cheer on the Eagles. However, it wasn’t the best moment of that, as that honor goes to Drew Pearson.
Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell waits for 12th overall pick Deshaun Watson (not pictured) in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
1. Drew Pearson Trolls Philly
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson may have a future in the WWE if his post-NFL broadcasting career doesn’t work out.
Pearson embraced the boos as he hit the podium after asking fans “How Bout Them Cowboys?” After that, he proceeded to shoutout all his Cowboys faithful, from the front office to the coaches and former players to loud boos.
As an Eagles fan, this was still good stuff to see from Pearson. He inserted his name into the discussision before announcing the 60th overall pick and in doing so, put some relevancy to his own name. Some may not respect what Pearson did, but not many would have the audacity to do what he did at the same token.
He was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1973. Pearson made three Super Bowl appearances with Dallas, winning Super Bowl XII in 1978. His number “88” jersey is reserved for thre better receivers on the team. Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin and current wide receiver Dez Bryant are some noteable names who wore the jersey after him.