NFL

Seven most shocking development from Day 2 of NFL Draft

Caption: Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Deshone Kizer (Notre Dame), left, on the red carpet before the start of the NFL Draft at Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Frank
Written by Vincent Frank

Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft was filled with almost as much drama and intrigue as the first round. Okay, that might be overselling it a bit. But there was some shocking twists as the NFL’s 32 teams took part in the second day of the annual event in Philadelphia.

Having just recently signed future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson and with Mark Ingram still on the roster, most figured the Saints would avoid that position altogether in the draft. Not only did they prove us wrong, the Saints traded a second-round pick next year to San Francisco in order to move into the third round for former Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

As it relates to the 49ers, they added a second-round pick in 2018 in said deal. What makes that so shocking is that the team traded the third-round pick it acquired from Chicago on Thursday to pick up even more draft capital. We will detail that shocking development a bit below.

At quarterback, the Cleveland Browns might have found their future franchise guy in the form or Notre Dame product DeShone Kizer in the second round. Then later in the night, the New York Giants potentially picked up Eli Manning’s successor.

These are among the seven-most shocking developments from Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

Raiders double down in the secondary

After picking up former Ohio State corner Gareon Conley in the first round, the Oakland Raiders continued their attempt to rebuild a questionable secondary on Friday. Oakland added former Connecticut strong safety Obi Melifonwu to the mix with its second-round pick (56th overall). There had been some talk leading up to the draft that this workout warrior would go in the first round. He’s a bulldozer of a defensive back, someone that will strike fear in the opposition.

“Big and athletic, he may lack the coverage qualities and instincts needed to work as a “last line of defense” player in a pass-happy division. Melifonwu is an effective downhill tackler who has the ability to match up against tight ends and make a living near the line of scrimmage,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein wrote about Melifonwu leading up to the draft.

The shocking thing here is that Oakland spent a first-round pick in a similar player in the form of Karl Joseph last year. How Jack Del Rio and Co. plan on using these two safeties will be of great intrigue heading into the 2017 season.

There’s a chance that Obi could actually move to outside linebacker in the Raiders’ scheme. At 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, the former Husky could bulk up a bit and play that position with these. After all, he does have the athleticism to guard tight ends and slot receivers. It’s definitely a shocking pick, but the Raiders obviously have a plan for the young defender.

Minnesota Vikings land Adrian Peterson’s replacement 

Minnesota didn’t have a first-round pick on Thursday after sending it to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford last summer. This doesn’t mean that the Vikings weren’t able to land a first-round talent. By virtue of a trade up with Cincinnati, Minnesota picked up Florida State running back Dalvin Cook — a direct replacement for the departed Adrian Peterson.

Cook was seen as a top-25 pick throughout most of the pre-draft process. But as it continued to play out, the former Seminole lagged behind Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey in the pecking order. So when he fell completely out of the first round, common logic seemed to suggest a team would trade up for him.

But after adding former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray in free agency, Minnesota seemingly had other needs it had to address. Instead, GM Rick Spielman and Co. decided for the best skill-position talent remaining on the board. After putting up nearly 4,500 yards with 46 touchdowns in three college seasons, it would not be a surprise to see the 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back earn a ton of touches as a rookie.

Panthers’ interesting strategy

NFL draft

Adding Christian McCaffrey to the mix was a brilliant move for the Panthers on Thursday. They then doubled own on skill-position players by adding former Ohio State wide receiver Curtis Samuel in the second round. Samuel has the capability to play out of the backfield and is about as shifty as any receiver in this year’s draft class.

It’s yet another weapon for Cam Newton to work with. Really, Samuel will complement Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess well in Carolina’s passing game.

Though, there had to be some concern that Carolina was once again failing Newton by ignoring the offensive line. That changed later in the second round when the Panthers added a high-upside offensive tackle Taylor Moton from Western Michigan. Sure, Moton has starter ability, but he’s only going to be limited to either guard or right tackle.

This means that the Panthers will likely head into the 2017 season with Matt Kalil protecting Newton’s blindside. That’s not anything fans in Carolina want to hear, especially with the former MVP himself coming off a shoulder surgery.

Cardinals yield huge bounty to move up for a safety

The Arizona Cardinals already have Pro Bowler Tyrann Mathieu as a top-end cover guy in the secondary. But that wasn’t good enough for general manager Steve Keim and Co. The Cardinals moved up nine spots at the top of the second round in a trade with the Chicago Bears to select former Washington safety Budda Baker.

Baker was among the top cover safeties in the entire class. He also has the ability to play outside at cornerback. After picking up linebacker Haason Reddick in the first round, it’s clear that Arizona is going for flexibility on defense. Baker brings that and a whole lot more. However, the shocking development here is exactly what the Cardinals gave up to acquire his services.

That’s the equivalent of two fourth-round picks and a seventh rounder to move up less than 10 spots in the second round. Interestingly enough, the deal was made with a Bears team that received a ton of flack for exhausting a huge capital to move up one spot on Thursday (more on that here).

Keim and Co. have done a tremendous job finding young talent on both sides of the ball in recent drafts. It is still rather surprising that this front office would give up so much for a player that was taken outside of the first round. Time will tell whether it’s going to pay off.

Jets go safety with second consecutive pick 

The New York Jets have a ton of holes on both sides of the ball. They need to find a quarterback to hold down the fort over the long term. Christian Hackenberg doesn’t seem to be that guy. And free-agent signing Josh McCown is nothing more than a stop-gap option.

So the Jets decided that it made sense to go get former LSU safety Jamal Adams with the sixth pick on Thursday night. Considered by some to be the best all-around defensive back in the draft, this was a darn good move for New York. That’s not the issue.

The problem here is that the Jets then doubled down at safety with the selection of Florida product Marcus Maye with the 39th pick on Friday. Maye might very well be a tremendous safety in the NFL, but there were surely needs elsewhere on a Jets roster that turned in a 5-11 season in 2016.

What makes this pick so shocking is the fact that Adams and Maye are similar players. Neither can be considered a true free safety in the NFL. In fact, one could say that both should play in the box more than in coverage. If the Jets were indeed targeting Maye in the second, why didn’t they go after Ohio State alum Malik Hooker in the first?

That’s the player many had pegged as the best cover safety in the draft. It would have made a whole lot of sense compared to what eventually played out here.

DeShone Kizer falls to the Browns 

As if the Cleveland Browns were not having a good enough draft, the team sat back on Friday evening and saw this former Notre Dame quarterback fall right into its lap. What a major coup for the long downtrodden franchise. Sure, Kizer is not ready to see the field. His former coach in South Bend said as much — a point Kizer agreed with after the fact.

What we do know about Kizer is that he has tremendous raw ability for a quarterback and a great arm. He was seen as a first-round talent before struggling at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier in the year. Some even had him as a first-round prospect heading into the draft on Thursday.

Cleveland was able to pick Kizer up after selecting an absurd three times in the first round. It was also able to land a potential franchise quarterback after acquiring an additional first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. This has been a downright scary good draft for the Browns’ front office, general manager Sashi Brown included.

Eli’s successor?

David Webb had drawn some first-round buzz leading up to the draft. It was a surprise to many, especially considering he came from a spread offense at CAL and only has one year of high-level college experience. To many, it seemed that Webb was more of a project than anything else.

Ultimately, the former Golden Bear fell to the third round, where the New York Giants grabbed him with the 87th pick.

It’s not necessarily shocking that New York was in the mix to find an ultimate successor for Eli Manning. In fact, the team was seemingly looking at Pat Mahomes as an option in the first round. Instead, it’s rather shocking that Webb himself fell to the mid third round. Maybe the first-round buzz was just noise. But with teams valuing quarterbacks at a high clip in this draft, most figured Webb would hear his name called in the second.

As it is, the young quarterback now has a veteran to glean from. He also has a great offensive mind in head coach Ben McAdoo to learn from. It’s a perfect fit for both Webb and the Giants, as the youngster can sit for a couple years before ultimately taking over under center.

About the author

Vincent Frank

Vincent Frank

Editor-at-large, Sportsnaut.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi