Draft Blog: Who Is In The Running For First Overall Pick?


Who Are The Frontrunners To Become The First Overall Pick?

Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson

Quarterbacks are always the favorite to be the top pick in any draft class. Deshaun Watson looks to be that quarterback for the 2017 draft class. Watson has the arm talent, mobility and pocket presence to be a frontrunner for the first overall pick. He has a ton of weapons and a solid offensive line in front of him; therefore, he should have ample opportunities to showcase his immense talent.

Myles Garrett, Edge Defender, Texas A&M

Myles Garrett may be the best player in college football next year. He has incredible size and athleticism for the position and he could be the first edge defender selected No. 1 since Mario Williams. If Garrett develops better counter moves and becomes a run stopping presence, he could entice a team to pick him with the first overall pick. Garrett is the best edge defender prospect since Von Miller, while it may be unfair to thrust those expectations upon him, his talent more than warrants it.

Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

Cam Robinson has all the traits you want in a left tackle in the NFL. He is a smooth mover in space and a dominant force in the run game. At times, he can get complacent, which leads to some mental mistakes. however, he has every trait you want in an offensive tackle. Alabama has the most talented team in college football and Cam Robinson is the best among them.

Who Will Be A Surprise Riser for the 2017 NFL Draft?

Dawuane Smoot isn’t a name that you see on Mel Kiper or Todd McShay early big boards for the 2017 draft. Nevertheless, he will likely be there once the season is over. Jihad Ward got a lot of hype as an Illinois defensive end, but Smoot was a much better player last season.

In a league that is desperate for pass rushers off the edge, Smoot is one of the best in college football. he has the speed, quickness and flexibility to threaten off the edge as a impactful speed rusher. He showcases great bend to turn the corner and his hands work well in conjunction with his feet.

He had eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss in 2015, and you can expect him to improve on those numbers in 2016. The edge defender class is already loaded at the top with Myles Garrett, Carl Lawson and Tim Williams, but Smoot should be able to work his way into that tier as the season progresses.

Who Will See Their Stock Drop As The Season Progresses?

Every year that is a player who gets a lot of hype as a first-round pick, but who ends up faltering as the season progresses. Connor Cook was that player from a year ago and this year there is another quarterback who is primed to fall. One name that you consistently see at the top of most big board for the 2017 draft is Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya.

The NFL likes big armed quarterbacks who can make all the throws in the first round and Kaaya isn’t that type of quarterback. His arm talents limits the types of throws he can make, which will scare a lot of teams in the first round. Furthermore, he doesn’t have the accuracy to make up for his weak arm, which should eliminate him from first-round consideration.

There is hope that Kaaya can develop under new coach Mark Richt, but Kaaya looks like he needs multiple years to develop before he is ready to contribute in the NFL.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and