The 2017 NFL Draft came and went and now it is time for some post draft predictions ! While many pundits are offering predictions on the NFL potential of 1st round studs such as Myles Garrett (1st overall pick, Cleveland Browns, Leonard Fournette (4th overall pick, Jacksonville Jaguars ), Mike Williams ( 7th overall pick, Los Angeles Chargers ) , and numerous others, We here at TUC Magazine like to focus on those diamonds in the rough and the 2017 NFL Draft were filled with numerous under the radar talent that I have first round ability but dropped on the draft board to due off the field issues, injuries, or raw ability.
5. Rayshwan Jenkins: FS out of Miami FL. ( 4th Round, 113th Overall) Los Angeles Chargers
Rayshawn Jenkins was one of my favorite players out of the University of Miami over the past 3 years. Personal bias aside, Rayshawn Jenkins reminds me of why I love the game of Football. He is a safety that delivers bone crushing hits in the form of pass safety greats such as Ronnie Lott, Troy Polamalu, Ron Harrison, Kam Chancellor, and the late great Sean Taylor. Will he be as great as those safeties ? time will tell as Rayshawn does have a bad habit of not wrapping up for his tackles which causes him to miss on his targets to the ball. However, Rayshawn is a hard worker as evident by his will to overcome a career threatening chronic back injury at the University of Miami during his sophomore year.
4. Jake Butt: TE out of Michigan (5th Round, 145th Pick Overall ), Denver Broncos
Jake Butt slipped in the NFL Draft not due to his lack of ability or because he has the funniest last name in NFL recent memory, he slipped due to a torn ACL he suffered this past December in the Orange Bowl against Florida State. Although he might not make an immediate impact in his rookie year due to his sustained injury, Butt is sure to be a match up nightmare with his 6’5 250 lb frame for Line Backers and Defensive Backs. The NFL is a passing league and the Tight End position has evolved to being more than an extra linemen in the trenches. Tight Ends now line up in the flanks and slot positions on the field and if Butt can regain his shiftiness and pre injury form, he will no doubt be a quality security blanket for his Quarter Back and will surely join the ranks of the game’s elite pass catching Tight Ends, “Butt” he must remain healthy.
3. Derek Rivers : DE out of Youngstown State (3rd Round , 83rd Overall Pick ), New England Patriots
Whether you like the Patriots or not, you must admit that this team sure knows how to draft talent outside of the first round ( see Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman ) . Derek Rivers might be an unknown commodity to many especially since he didn’t play at an NCAA-FBS school. However don’t let that distract you from the fact that Rivers is an absolute beast on tape. Rivers was a dominant pass rusher at Youngstown State and is the school’s all time sack leader with 41. Rivers will join a defense that features talents in all three levels of the defense ( front 4, line-backer, and the secondary ) Also if the rumors are true of Richard Sherman possibly joining an already stacked secondary via trade, then Quarterbacks are in for a rude awakening from Derek Rivers this season and many more to come.
2. Shaquill Griffin : CB out of Central Florida (3rd round, 90th Overall Pick ), Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks are in the same mold as the New England Patriots in that neither team values first round picks and knows how to find gems in the later rounds. Guys like Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor, and Richard Sherman all went between Round 3-5 and oh btw they all are perennial pro bowl players. The Seahawks organization and fans will be hoping that Shaquill Griffin can join those ranks of names especially if the Richard Sherman trade rumors come to fruition. Griffin has the size that the Seahawks coaching staff want in a cornerback. He is a solid cover corner that can keep up with the speedy receivers of the league and he possesses strong leadership qualities based off his aspirations to be a motivational speaker, If the Seahawks are able to keep Richard Sherman they will have a strong corner pairing “butt” if they lose Sherman, Griffin will smoothly transition into the team’s number 1 cornerback role and a key vocal member in the team’s film room.
1 . Dalvin Cook RB out of Florida State ( Round 2 , 41st Overall Pick ) Minnesota Vikings
I struggled with putting Dalvin Cook on this list not because of my Miami Hurricanes bias but because he is a first round talent that fell in the draft due to off the field issues. However, Dalvin is in an ideal situation for a NFL Rookie Running Back. The Minnesota Vikings started last season 5-0 before slumping to a 8-8 record. Btw they did this without their starting QB and Adrian Peterson nearly missing all of the season. The Vikings already have a strong defense as evidence by their 3rd place ranking in Total defense, they already have an efficient QB in Sam Bradford who finished the season with an NFL record 71.6 completion percentage, and two wide receivers who nearly reached 1000 yds each in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen who were two receivers that didn’t go in the first round in their respective draft classes. All this team was missing was a running game last season and Dalvin Cook has the speed and power to be a 25 carry a game back right out of the gate. Although he had nagging injuries throughout his career at FSU, he rarely missed games and always ran harder as the game went on. Will he put up Ezekiel Elliott rookie numbers in 2017 ? maybe not as he will likely share the backfield with fellow newly acquired running back, Latavius Murray , but Cook’s versatility as a runner and pass catcher makes him a better fit for the Viking’s west coast offense and will likely see him finish the season as the team’s primary running back this upcoming season and for the next decade.