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2017 NFL Draft: The Not So Caged Muse (Offense)

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NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

A (somewhat) new and expanded feature of my final thoughts post from last year. From this week until the day of the first round, I'll have a post on notes, thoughts, and minutiae of my observations of this class based on offense, defense, and by position. There will be one big final post during the final days preceding the draft. The title of the post is a word play on former NBA star Kobe Bryant's MuseCage.

QB

  • DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) is still the top QB on my board, regardless of performance during the offseason process. He is the most fundamentally sound of the class. Even though he comes from a spread system, he's much better prepared than the other QBs being mentioned in the first round. So contrary to Brian Kelly's misgivings, Kizer definitely should have declared as he could've been Wally Pipped by his heir Brandon Wimbush (I'm intrigued by him) eventually during the 2017 season. Everyone, including himself, knows what he is at this point, one more year of BK screaming and raving wasn't likely going to make a difference.
  • Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) is a prospect that I just don't get why he is getting all sorts of love. In any class that has more depth at the position, he'd be a fourth round prospect at best. Yeah, he's had a pretty good "process" but the Air Raid and Texas Tech by proxy, isn't exactly the most successful in developing QBs for the pros. He's definitely got a ton of practice throwing the rock around the yard.

RB

  • If there was an Oklahoma back that if I had a choice to draft, it would be Samaje Perine. He had an inconsistent 2016 but doesn't have any off field issues unlike teammate Joe Mixon. Perine is best used in a committee approach.
  • I don't understand why Kareem Hunt (Toledo) doesn't get any more love from anyone else. He's a good athlete for the position and was a star for the Rockets over the past couple of years. Even in a loaded class, he's definitely positioned himself well on Day 2, if not early Day 3.

WR

  • Zay Jones (East Carolina). I'm a fan. He fits the archetype of what a Mularkey/Robinson receiver looks like. Immense production and a hard working, consummate teammate. He had a great Senior Bowl week and carried it over to the Combine. If the Titans managed a trade that nets them a second round pick, I wouldn't hesitate to use it on him.
  • The more I watch of Western Kentucky's Taywan Taylor, the more I become a fan of him. Yeah I get that WKU passed the ball a ton but he's great. Plus, the Titans have a recent history of having Hilltoppers on the team.
  • DeDe Westbrook (Oklahoma) is completely off my board due to his off field issues. All the talent in the world can't save him in this regard. Especially in a day and age where pro sports have taken domestic violence cases more seriously. Overrated and wasn't worthy of a Heisman finalist nomination.

TE

  • Jonnu Smith (Florida International) had a not so fun experience on the road to the draft. He had boiling water dumped on him by a girlfriend (who was pregnant at the time) due to attention issues. Remarkably, he held his cool and didn't exacerbate the situation into something worse. On the field, he's a pretty solid athlete still deserving of a shot somewhere, maybe in the late Day 3 range.
  • Speaking of off field adventures, Jeremy Sprinkle (Arkansas) was suspended from the most recent Belk Bowl for trying to shoplift when he realized that he had more items than the $450 gift card allowed for. The store in which he tried to pull off the caper you ask? Yep, you guessed it, Belk. Day 3 product in the fifth round range. A still amusing story, nonetheless.

OL

  • Antonio Garcia (Troy). The more I study him, he is making me a fan of his. He's certainly made a name for himself leading the Trojans offense to unseen heights. The Trojans are a formidable opponent to deal with in the state of Alabama despite its "lower" status in the state. Day 2 pick if things break right.
  • If I was a GM looking for a tackle, I wouldn't draft Roderick Johnson (Florida State) until the fourth at the earliest. You can read my thoughts on him in prior posts. He's not that good and undeserving of the hype that he received. A classic spent too much time reading the press type of player.
  • The guard class is a whole lot of meh beyond Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky) and Dan Feeney (Indiana). Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh) is an intriguing prospect, however. The question begs, was it his talent or his teammate Adam Bisnowaty helping him?

Pat Elflein (Ohio State) is finally getting some love and hype as the "center"piece of the class as it were. The nation's best center without question, could find himself in the early second round.