The half-way point of the 2017 NFL season is upon us. We've had teams who were supposed to be booms that busted and pretenders that have emerged as contenders. Kaepernick is still unemployed and the Browns have already made their way through the quarterback carousel. Veterans, such as quarterback Josh McCown, have outplayed their preseason predictions and rookies, like Kareem Hunt, have torched opposing defenses. Tom Brady looks like Tom Brady, and Packers' fans are trying to figure out how they can donate a collarbone.
One aspect of that we quickly forget in the heat of the season is how well each team drafted. Did they pick up the right player to fit their system? Teams like the Houston Texans can affirmably say yes, because Deshaun Watson looks like the QB the Texans have searched for since their birth as a franchise.
But some questions that linger when disappointments happen are; was the stage too big for the rookie? Is Mel Kiper Jr. wrong as usual? You can't always judge a player on the first-half of their rookie year. Take for example Peyton Manning. He threw 26 interceptions in his first year in the NFL and now he's a first-ballot hall of famer. But, we can still judge these rookies based on their projected performance and today, we will five into 15 draft picks that teams are already regretting!
15 Detroit Lions - Jarrad Davis
Davis was selected 21st overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2017 Draft. At the University of Florida, Davis was known for his overall athleticism and strength. He is able to take on lead blockers, or mix it up and blitz the quarterback. In college, he struggled in the pass game, yet possesses the skills necessary to cover tight ends and running backs if needed. According to a preseason article on freep.com, Davis was born to lead the defense.
So far throughout 2017, Davis has achieved mild success, but nothing to the liking of a first round draft pick. He has missed a few games due to a concussion and when he has been on the field, he's looked... average. Pro Football Focus has him ranked number 41 among linebackers, a rating of below average. Clearly, the former Gator needs to adjust to the NFL's style of play, and trade out his explosiveness for controlled discipline. Maybe the Lions are thinking they should have picked up Reuben Foster instead.
14 Arizona Cardinals - Haason Reddick
Coming out of the Temple University, scouts had many questions about Reddick's ability to transition into the big league. While he possesses all the measurable's teams desire in a linebacker, he has had little experience in the stand-up position, as he was mostly an edge-rusher in college. Sometimes, his athleticism and explosiveness gets him into trouble, becoming too aggressive and missing tackles.
Arizona looked past these flaws and took Reddick 13th overall in the 2017 draft. Luckily for Reddick, he was chosen by a team who is known for their staunch defense. Unfortunately, he hasn't lived up to expectations, ranking 94th among edge defenders according to PFF. Past the halfway point of his rookie season, Reddick has under performed his top-tier pre-draft ranking. The Cardinals may have chosen the wrong guy in the first round.
13 New York Jets - Marcus Maye
I would like to preface this with saying that Marcus Maye is a solid player. While he has struggled with his footwork in the past and lacks deep-coverage speed, he is developing into a decent free safety. And he has managed to record two interceptions on the season. Right now, as a rookie, he's an average safety, which is exactly what you are hoping for if you are the New York Jets.
Then why would the Jets regret this pick already? Maybe it's because they drafted two safeties in a row! First, the outstanding play-maker in Jamal Adams, and then Marcus Maye in the second. They could have used that pick to bring in a decent WR, or possibly a linebacker to sure-up their low ranking run defense. Now that I think of it, that's why Maye has so many tackles, because the running backs are getting to the second level all the time against the Jets!
12 Dallas Cowboys - Taco Charlton
Flour or corn tortilla? I guess that's a question for another time, but a better question is how a player with an awesome name like Taco is performing so badly. The Dallas Cowboys selected the defensive end out of the University of Michigan, Taco Charlton, with the 28th pick of the 2017 NFL draft. The Cowboys were hoping to shore up their edge with Charlton, who can get off blocks easily, and use leverage to his advantage. Unfortunately, so far this season, Charlton hasn't made much of an impact. Halfway through the year, he's recorded less than 10 tackles. While the Cowboys have the solid ranked pass defense, Taco is not part of it. Maybe Jerry and the rest of Cowboy nation regrets taking Charlton so high.
11 Oakland Raiders - Gareon Conley
The former Ohio State cornerback was seen as a problem child just days prior to the draft. While the lock-down corner has proven his play on the field, he had a litany of off-the-field issues. Just days prior to the draft, Conley was accused of sexual assault from an incident that happened in early April in Cleveland. The Raiders still selected him 24th overall, and administered their own polygraph test to ensure Conley was innocent. The charges were dropped, and Conley eventually signed his rookie deal.
The problem is that Conley only had one solid year at Ohio State, and his weaknesses are starting to show in the NFL. He has been hampered by injury all preseason, and has barely seen the field. We haven't seen Conley's full, healthy potential, but Oakland fans can't help but wonder if they wasted a first round pick.
10 Baltimore Ravens - Marlon Humphrey
Is there a less exciting football team to watch then the Baltimore Ravens? In typical fashion, they selected Marlon Humphrey, cornerback out of Alabama, with the 16th overall pick. Now, Humphrey has actually been playing pretty decent this year, and is ranked third among rookie cornerbacks in opponents passer rating when targeted, only behind Marshon Lattimore and Nate Hairston. Pro Football Focus has him ranked average among all NFL corenerbacks.
The issue is that the Ravens are horrible offensively. They have hovered around the bottom 5 all season in total offense and Joe Flacco can't hit the broadside of a barn with a football. The run game is also stagnant with Danny Woodhead out. Baltimore should have picked up an offensive weapon in the draft, but instead, it looks like the Ravens will keep being a .500 team.
9 Tennessee Titans - Adoree' Jackson
Jackson was supposed to be the difference maker in the Titans secondary. Whenever he got the ball at USC, big plays happened. He's a great tackler and has the speed to match up with any receiver in the league. Not to mention he's someone to watch out for in the return game. But, Jackson struggles mightily in short and intermediate coverage, which is a vital skill in the NFL. The 18th overall pick is currently ranked 76th overall by Pro Football Focus, not what the Titans were hoping for. He was the third cornerback off the board, but doesn't even rank among the top-5 rookie cornerbacks this year. Jackson possesses a myriad of raw-talent, and hopefully Dick LeBeau and company can whip Adoree' into a versatile, impactful cornerback.
8 San Francisco 49ers - C.J. Beathard
I know San Francisco wasn't expecting much from the quarterback position this year, but Beathard looks awful. Yes, he looked good in relief of Brian Hoyer in Week 6, but as a starter, he's been brutal. At least when Hoyer was at quarterback, they only lost by an average of less than one TD. The third round pick out of the University of Iowa hasn't given San Francisco even a chance to win a game!
Maybe GM John Lynch doesn't mind wasting a third round pick in hopes they would stunble upon a late-round prodigy like Prescott or Wilson, but with their recent trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, it seems they've already seen enough of Beathard and are gambling on Jimmy G to be their franchise QB. They could have done that without using a third rounder on a QB.
7 Los Angeles Chargers - Mike Williams
Mike Williams is a receiver that any team would love to have, except the Chargers. The newly-moved team in Los Angeles has several other concerns than wideout, yet they wasted the seventh-overall pick on the ex-Clemson Tiger. Where does Willliams even fit in this offense? They have a star receiver in Keenan Allen, and decent support in Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, and Dontrelle Inman. Not to mention a hall of fame tight end in Antonio Gates, and his protege, Hunter Henry, who is a force in the red-zone.
So far throughout 2017, Williams has only caught two passes for 22 yards. The Chargers should be utilizing his big-bodied playing style and allow him to go up and grab the football. Unfortunately, Rivers isn't playing at an elite level and it doesn't seem like Williams fits in this offense at all.
6 Green Bay Packers - Jamaal Williams
The Packers made the mistake of drafting Eddie Lacy too early in the second round a few years ago, and they didn't want to take another running back too early. They picked up the bruising running back, Jamaal Williams in the third round of this year's draft. He is a great north-south runner, and can pick up decent yards after contact. But the issue is that his playing style doesn't fit the Packers offensive line. Williams is impatient, and lacks vision beyond the initial hole. When Montgomery went down with a rib injury, Williams (in limited time before he injured his knee) looked flat while running the ball. Since then, fifth round pick, Aaron Jones, has picked up most of the lead-back work, and Williams has taken a back seat. Green Bay definitely regrets this pick, as they should have used a third rounder to sure up their injury-prone offensive line.
5 Chicago Bears - Mitchell Trubisky
It's hard to judge Trubisky's progress so far. He was able to take over the starting role from Mike Glennon due to Glennon's poor play, but has yet to take the "safety" off his gun of an arm. They even beat the Carolina Panthers with Trubisky only completing four passes. Luckily, their run game and defense have picked up the slack in the absence of an air attack.
Do not fear though Bears fans, Trubisky is still developing and could become an elite quarterback with more experience. The issue is that Chicago moved up one spot to grab him at number two overall, and gave up two third rounders and a fourth for a QB with only 13 games started in college.
He needs more time to grow into his own, but I think the Bears could have benefited from grabbing Deshaun Watson off the board instead. So the issue is not necessarily Trubisky, but it's the Bears not getting full value for their assets.
4 Kansas City Chiefs - Patrick Mahomes II
It's hard for me to question Andy Reid's motive in grabbing Texas Tech QB, Patrick Mahomes II, tenth-overall in last year's draft, but right now, it seems like a horrible decision. The Chiefs current quarterback, Alex Smith, is playing out of his mind! He's one of the frontrunners for MVP and Kansas City is currently atop the AFC West.
So, was Mahomes worth moving up in the draft to get? The consensus is we do not know. Mahomes did have a great preseason, but will that translate into regular season success? Maybe Reid wants him to sit behind Alex Smith and learn for a few years. Or, a more likely scenario is that the Chiefs trade Smith in 2018 for several picks, and Mahomes is the future. But right now, Kansas City looks like they made the wrong pick in terms of what they need right now to contend for a Super Bowl.
3 Cleveland Browns - Jabrill Peppers
Peppers was every college defensive coordinator's dream. The hybrid linebacker/safety was capable of stuffing the run, or covering receivers. He returned punts, and even played a few snaps on offense at the University of Michigan. The Cleveland Browns selected him 25th overall in the draft hoping that he would be as versatile in the pros as he was in college, but that pipe dream has yet to materialize.
Through a half season's worth winless games with Cleveland, Peppers has largely been a non-factor on defense. He hasn't done much in the return game either. PFF has him ranked as the 85th best safety in the league. Clearly not what the Browns were hoping for in a first round pick! They will be in the hunt for the top pick in 2018 as well.
2 Cincinnati Bengals - John Ross
Wow, what a flop Ross has been so far. There is no doubt he's an athletic receiver, seeing as he set the record for the 40-yard-dash in the 2017 combine, but that's pretty much all he is ... speed. The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Ross 9th overall, hoping he would be a perfect complement to their star receiver, A.J. Green. Unfortunately for the Bengals, Ross has been injury-prone and has barely played so far this year. He's been hampered by a knee injury all year, but critics were still doubting his abilities even before he was injured. Maybe the Bengals should have drafted an offensive lineman in the top-ten, and not reached for the less-than-stellar Ross.
1 Cleveland Browns - DeShone Kizer
The Browns will always be associated with mediocrity. Actually, less than mediocrity. So far in 2017, they have gone through three quarterbacks: Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler, and DeShone Kizer. Now, we can't put all the hate onto Kizer, but he has not looked good in the several games he's played in this year. Now, Cleveland's hall of fame left tackle, Joe Thomas, is out for the year (and possibly his career) with a triceps injury. There is a lack of veteran leadership on the team, and fans are starting to believe that it's not a lack of effort or talent, but a lack of coaching that is causing the Browns' despair.
Unfortunately for Kizer, he was thrown in a bad situation and it will continue to be a bad situation for any rookie quarterback that moves to northeast Ohio. I'm sure the both Cleveland and Kizer regret this pick, and I'm sure whoever Cleveland takes at the top of the 2018 draft will regret it too!