The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books and there were no real surprises when you look at the big picture. There were some sliders within the first round as LB Reuben Foster fell from the top five to the San Francisco 49ers at #31. There were also some risers as three wide receivers went in the top ten.
But every player taken in the first round ranked in the top 41 of NDS scouting services, meaning that there were no real reaches or surprise selections in the first round. This means that the players still on the board were not really expected to go in the first round.
Here are the seven best players still on the board.
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
Cook is the only player on the board that ranked inside NDS’s top 20 and he ranked #19. Cook is possibly the most dynamic running back in the draft, but he has some off-the-field concerns that led to his slide down the draft board.
Cook probably won’t have to wait too long in the second round to have his name called with the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Cincinnati Bengals all picking in the first ten selections of the second round.
Michigan State DT Malik McDowell
McDowell was a possible top five prospect entering the 2016 season that fell because he never achieved his potential. Teams can always find room for a 6’6, 295 pound defensive tackle that can play in both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts. Look for both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Bengals as possible landing spots.
Washington CB Kevin King and Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie
King and Awuzie were two of the better cornerback prospects, but it’s understandable they might have fallen because of the overall strength of their respective secondaries. King was the second-best cornerback on his team, behind Sidney Jones, and Awuzie played with three or four draftable defensive backs.
Both players should be some of the first off the board in the second round.
Western Kentucky OG Forrest Lamp
Lamp is a favorite of draftniks, but not of front offices that seem to place a lower value on these former tackles that move inside to guard. Lamp is expected to be the next Zack Martin and a better Joe Thuney, which seems like he would warrant a first round pick in my mind.
In an extremely shallow offensive line draft, look for Lamp to possibly go to Seattle at #34, or for a team to trade up with the Packers to leapfrog the Seahawks.
Alabama OT Cam Robinson
Robinson’s availability is probably why the Seahawks wouldn’t mind if a team jumped over them. Robinson and Lamp both have high upsides and Robinson could play a higher premium position. The Seahawks need help at every single offensive line spot and both Robinson and Lamp would be major upgrades on their line.
Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
Cunningham was one of the most productive tacklers in college football and it’s a small surprise that he’s still on the board. I would be surprised if he was still on the board after the Saints pick at #42.
None of these players should be on the board when the Patriots pick at #72, but there are still plenty of high quality prospects on the board. A lot of the versatile safeties that interest the Patriots- like Florida FS Marcus Maye, N.C. State SS Josh Jones, Iowa DB Desmond King, Utah FS Marcus Williams, Washington FS Budda Baker, and Connecticut SS Obi Melifonwu- remain on the board and one or two should be available early in the third round.
Plenty of pass rushers are available, too, with Houston EDGE Tyus Bowser, Michigan DL Chris Wormley, Auburn EDGE Carl Lawson, Alabama EDGE Tim Williams, Kansas State EDGE Jordan Willis, Ohio EDGE Tarell Basham, Alabama EDGE Ryan Anderson, Youngstown EDGE Derek Rivers, and Florida State EDGE DeMarcus Walker all still on the board.
The Patriots are in a great position to capitalize on the depth in this draft and they won’t have to trade to up find a couple rookies that can contribute right away.