Monday 18 December 2017 / 12:54 AM

YOUR 2017 NFL DRAFT GUIDE

It’s finally that wonderful time of the year where the NFL is back in full swing and gearing up for the regular season. The dead period is over, with the NFL Draft kicking off today. So with the draft looming, why should you watch? What should you be on the look out for during the first round of action today? We’ve got you covered.

Drama at the Top

The Browns have everyone sweating going into the last few hours heading into the draft with some serious question of what they’re going to do. They definitely control the conversation, with no clear idea of what they are gong to do with that top overall pick. The consensus in Myles Garrett, and that’s where I’d stick my money, but the Browns have been flirting with Mitch Trubisky, with growing reports that they are enamored by him. What the Browns do at one will determine how the draft will unfold behind it, and that’s a fun idea.

The QB Exchange

The most interesting thing outside of who’s going number one is the quarterback debates. There’s just no consensus on who likes who, and what teams are going to go after who. The reports have varied, from some thinking that there are no QBs going in the top ten, to reports that Watson and Trubisky are both going in the top five. This conversation is going to drive the draft, and determine many of the actions of teams going forward. There are plenty of teams at the top that need QBs, but with not a lot of confidence in this crop, this could be a wacky ride in the top ten.

Trades, Trades, Trades

The biggest thing that’s going to dominate draft night will be the trades. There are rumors of almost every team in the top ten looking to move down or up, with the Panthers rumored to be wanting to move up, the 49ers shopping their pick, the Browns wanting to move into the top ten from their pick at 12, and the Titans shopping their pick. There’s plenty of movement expected, way more than most years, and that’s good news for drama in the first few picks. With so much to gamble in the top part of the draft, expect plenty of movement and PLENTY of rumors ahead of the draft as people start to position.

The RB Gambit

Aside from quarterback, the runningback class in this draft is a point of strength for everyone, with rumors of two backs going in the top ten, something that would be thought unthinkable in the last few years. With running backs very highly valued in this draft, teams from the Jaguars, Titans, and Panthers are all on the lookout in the top ten for either Christian McCaffery and Leonard Fournette. Both running backs are graded highly, and there is plenty of movement expected, namely on the side of the Panthers, who are feeling the pressure to move up to secure one of the two before the Jags and Titans get their man.

What’s the Value?

Toward the later picks in the first round rests the growing conundrum about some problem players that have the talent of top ten picks with some questionable off field problems. Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook are two such players, with both graded in the same way that Fournette and McCaffery are, but off-field trouble has them as later first round picks. Gareon Conley was a consensus top-ten pick, but his alleged assault filed last week has him teetering, as with linebacker Rueben Foster for his diluted drug test and problems at the combine. Teams are still high on these players, but what are these teams willing to risk to take them?

Don’t Trust Anyone

Above all, this is the thing to remember. The mock drafts are a good guide, but with so much movement expected, go ahead and toss those out the window. These first ten picks will send teams into a free fall very early on, and there are surprises every year. With so many teams confused as to what to do, and so much posturing, there is little that we could possibly know for sure ahead of the draft. Heading into tonight, and including during picks, be careful to believe anything until the pick is actually announced. We’re going to get a wild ride tonight, so buckle up and enjoy seeing the future of teams begin to be shaped.

Welcome back football!

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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