2017 NFL Draft: Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers Had Best Drafts

Which team had the best 2017 NFL Draft? Three real contenders, but the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers ultimately scored biggest.

Which team had the best 2017 NFL Draft? Best is open to interpretation, obviously. This could be the team that grabbed the best players, or the team that did the most with its draft capital. It also could be whoever got the most value out of its selections, or who filled its needs the most completely — or something else entirely.

We have three real contenders and a split decision for the winner. Baltimore and San Francisco both crushed draft day.

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss the 2017 NFL Draft in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Todd Salem:

It’s worth noting that we won’t actually know who had the best draft until somewhere around 2020. That’s why I like to take the approach of ranking drafts by value of the day. For example, as discussed earlier in the week, Chicago had am amazing draft if Mitch Trubisky becomes a franchise quarterback. But on draft day, it was a huge boner of a move to acquire him.

The top 2017 drafts for me come down to just a couple contenders. Honorable mention goes to the New Orleans Saints, who grabbed the best corner at pick 11 and arguably the best offensive lineman at pick 32. I would have liked the Alvin Kamara pick more if the team didn’t just sign Adrian Peterson.

The best draft comes down to three teams: Baltimore, Cleveland, and San Francisco.

Again, rating the best draft is open to your own guidelines. In my expert opinion, it is easier to have a better draft if you pick higher and have more selections. Genius, I know. But to me, that means it was easier for Cleveland and San Francisco to do well. They had much more talent to choose from than Baltimore.

I love what the Browns and 49ers did; who doesn’t? Cleveland grabbed peerless athleticism with its first three picks, took a smart flier on DeShone Kizer in Round 2, grabbed a quality tackle in Round 5 in Roderick Johnson, took a smart chance on Caleb Brantley late, and came away with the nation’s best kicker. That is quite a haul.

San Francisco also did well. It easily had the best first day, reportedly grabbing two of their top three overall players with the third and 31st selections. All that is great, but I grade on a scale, which is why Baltimore is the winner of my best draft.

The Ravens got an elite corner in the middle of Round 1. With their next three picks, they drafted three defensive linemen who each could have been drafted a round or more earlier. Chris Wormley and Tim Williams especially were tremendous finds at their respective spots. Each garnered first-round consideration throughout the draft process, and Baltimore got them in the middle of the third.

I would have liked the Ravens to draft a wide receiver to help out that offense, but you can’t force positional selections all the time. The top receivers went way earlier than most predicted, which forced Baltimore’s hand in some respects. Just in terms of collecting talent, no one did better with their draft slotting than Baltimore.

Dan Salem:

Any team that manages to trade back is immediately in the discussion for best 2017 NFL Draft. More picks means more prospects and more chances for one to become a starting player on your team. Baltimore had an excellent draft, but its the San Francisco 49ers who had the best draft of all.

The 49ers managed to trade back one spot in the top of Round 1 for an enormous number of picks. San Francisco traded their second pick for Chicago’s third pick, as well as picks 67, 111, and a 2018 third-rounder. Then the 49ers grabbed an incredible defensive lineman, Solomon Thomas out of Stanford. The team had lots of holes to fill and promptly traded back up into the first round to further bolster their defense with inside linebacker Reuben Foster out of Alabama.

Picks taken in Round 3 and later are always hit or miss, but San Francisco grabbed pieces at nearly every position of need. They selected a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and multiple pieces across the defensive side of the football. This was excellent work for a rebuilding team in need of lots of young help.

This is where we stand for now, but once these rookies see the field we may feel quite differently. Winning the draft requires follow through by general managers on draft day, then by players later on.

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