NFL DRAFT NEWS

2017 NFL Draft: Top-5 draft winners

Sports Xchange

April 29, 2017 at 9:44 pm.

Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; John Ross (Washington) poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) as he is selected as the number 9 overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; John Ross (Washington) poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) as he is selected as the number 9 overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Every team improved during the last three days, but when factoring in value and quality of player, several teams stand out as true winners of the 2017 NFL Draft that concluded Saturday.

It was tough leaving several other teams off this list, but narrowing it down to five, these are the teams who impressed me with their hauls:

5. Dallas Cowboys
1 (28) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
2 (60) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
3 (92) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
4 (133) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
6 (191) Xavier Woods, FS, Louisiana Tech
6 (216) Marquez White, CB, Florida State
7 (228) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
7 (239) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
7 (246) Jordan Carrell, DL, Colorado

While the first-round pick was solid — not great, not bad — it was the value on the second and third days that qualifies the Cowboys for this list. Dallas revamped the secondary with Awuzie and Lewis on day two, adding White later in the sixth round. But the best value was landing Woods in the sixth. The Cowboys traded a future fifth-round pick to get back into this draft and get the former Louisiana Tech safety as they try to re-create last year’s outstanding value when they grabbed corner Anthony Brown in the sixth round.

The Cowboys only drafted two offensive players with their nine picks, but both receivers that Dallas added have a good chance to be a part of this team’s offensive blueprint. Switzer is a quicker than fast underneath target and could be Lucky Whitehead’s replacement as the gadget player on offense and starting punt returner. And then Brown, who is a physical, good-sized athlete, could eventually beat out Brice Butler for the other receiver spot on the roster.

4. Detroit Lions
1 (21) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
2 (53) Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
3 (96) Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois
4 (124) Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee
4 (127) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
5 (165) Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego
6 (205) Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas
6 (215) Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (Fla.)

The Lions entered the 2017 NFL Draft with the hopes of adding impact players on defense and that is exactly what they did, starting with two players from Gainesville. If Davis can stay healthy, he will push for Pro Bowls, either as a SAM or MIKE linebacker. Tabor has first-round tape, but poor speed numbers and some personality concerns dropped him to the second round, giving Detroit excellent value outside the top-50 picks. The Lions also added Jalen Reeves-Maybin at linebacker, who also has injury concerns but can contribute if he stays healthy.

On offense, Detroit added two big targets for Matthew Stafford. An FCS transfer, Golladay provides a large strike zone for the quarterback and is a capable catch-and-run target. At tight end, Roberts is a traditional “Y” who can line up in-line and flex out to block, doing his best work in the red zone to body up defenders and attack the football with his massive hands. With the final pick of the draft for Detroit, the Lions added Kaaya, who was solid value late on day three — another lottery ticket who could develop into something.

3. Washington Redskins
1 (17) Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
2 (49) Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama
3 (81) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
4 (114) Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
4 (123) Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State
5 (154) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
6 (199) Chase Roullier, OG/OC, Wyoming
6 (209) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State
7 (230) Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB/S, Georgia

Starting with a gift in the first round, the Redskins cleaned up on draft weekend. Presumably due to his shoulder issues, Allen fell to Washington at 17th overall, giving the organization an impact player in the front seven. The Redskins returned to Tuscaloosa and nabbed Anderson in round two, one of the most intense players in this class and an ideal fit as a stand-up edge rusher. Moreau was a borderline first-round pick but fell due to a recent pectoral injury, again giving Washington a discounted player.

On day three, Washington continued to add solid pieces, starting with Perine at 114th overall. Sprinkle is one of the few well-rounded tight ends in this class who can block and catch passes. Roullier has played guard and center during his career and has the toughness and intelligence to see NFL snaps. Davis rewrote the receiving record books at Georgia State and then blew up the Combine with his testing numbers at 6 feet 2 and 222 pounds.

2. Cleveland Browns
1 (1) Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
1 (25) Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan
1 (29) David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.)
2 (52) DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
3 (65) Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte
4 (126) Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
5 (160) Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
6 (185) Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
6 (224) Zane Gonzalez, PK, Arizona State
7 (252) Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State

The moment the Cleveland Browns made Garrett the No. 1 overall pick, they were winners in my book. The franchise has been searching for a quarterback since 1999, but the Browns have been searching for the impact pass rusher even longer. I would have rather seen the Browns stick at No. 12 and take safety Malik Hooker, but plan B still netted them Peppers and a 2018 first-round pick. No tight end prospect in this class has the high ceiling of Njoku, who is a specimen at the position.

Pick No. 52 might be my favorite of the draft, landing Kizer, who needs a lot of work, but he is a lottery ticket and outside the top-50 picks. Outstanding value. Ogunjobi is the three-technique tackle that Cleveland targeted for the new 4-3 scheme; they also added Brantley on day three. The former Florida lineman was recently arrested for striking a woman, which is why he was available in the sixth round, and he presumably enters the NFL on a short leash. The Browns traded up for Johnson in the fifth round, who will be a developmental tackle behind Joe Thomas on the left side. He isn’t ready for NFL snaps, but has a future if he fine-tunes his technique.

1. Cincinnati Bengals
1 (9) John Ross, WR, Washington
2 (48) Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
3 (73) Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
4 (116) Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
4 (128) Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee
4 (138) Ryan Glasgow, DT, Michigan
5 (153) Jake Elliott, PK, Memphis
5 (176) J.J. Dielman, OC, Utah
6 (193) Jordan Evans, LB, Oklahoma
6 (207) Brandon Wilson, RB/CB, Houston
7 (251) Mason Schreck, TE, Buffalo

Quarterback Andy Dalton was one of the biggest winners of this draft with the additions of Ross and Mixon with the Bengals’ first two selections. Ross has the explosive speed to stretch the field but also the polished routes to create for himself. Mixon hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL, but it might not take long for him to be the second-best running back in the AFC North behind Le’Veon Bell, which also happens to be his closest NFL comparison.

Willis in the third round was excellent value and then Lawson was even better in the fourth, which is a round the Bengals have found success before with defensive linemen (Geno Atkins, Andrew Billings, Domata Peko). Dielman missed most of his senior season due to injury, but if he stays healthy, he could be the future starting center in Cincinnati. Evans is a good-sized athlete who can do a little bit of everything on the football field and was one of the most notable Combine snubs.