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Fasten Your Seatbelts, It’s Going To Be A Bumpy 2017 NFL Draft

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Things should be getting a bit clearer about the NFL Draft at this stage, but they just seem to be murkier and murkier.

NFL: Pro Bowl
It ain’t gonna be this easy in 2017.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, things were becoming pretty clear for the Dallas Cowboys and for the rest of the teams at the top of the NFL Draft. It was already established that Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were going one and two, and with the fourth pick, Dallas was believed to be down to Ezekiel Elliott or Jalen Ramsey, which pretty much turned out to be the case, and in that particular order. But this year? With only a little over a day to go until things kick off for the 2017 Draft in Philadelphia, things are highly confused. And all the uncertainty just makes thing worse for the Cowboys, sitting near the end of the draft order. The growing turmoil and breaking news, almost all negative, just increase the chaos.

While last year, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles had traded up for the top two spots in order to get their franchise (they hope) quarterbacks, this year has seen no such movement. The Cleveland Browns seem inclined to stay in the first-overall spot - but have reportedly started having some second thoughts about taking consensus overall number one talent this year, DE Myles Garrett. According to various reports, there is a faction inside their top management favoring QB Mitch Trubisky. This appears to be a split between the football guys (the Garrett camp) and the ownership (Team Trubisky). It will be interesting to see who wins this, because it will tell us a lot about whether the much discussed change in leadership in Cleveland is real, or if it is going to be back to business as usual, which may include blowing it again despite having a bevy of high draft picks.

After the first pick, no one is really sure what is going on. The San Francisco 49ers are waiting to see if the Browns fumble the first pick, but might be open to a trade back if they don’t. The Chicago Bears are reportedly interested in Trubisky, so their pick is also dependent on whether Cleveland is smart or not. Meanwhile, there are odd things up and down the draft, as reflected in this comment from Todd McShay in his recent post on draft rumors (behind the ESPN paywall):

One interesting nugget I've picked up on when talking to teams about quarterbacks: Those that don't need a passer prefer Watson. They cite his intangibles and the ability to raise his play in the biggest moments. Trubisky and Mahomes seem to be of more interest among teams that actually need a QB. I'm having a hard time narrowing down exactly where Watson will go.

Just making things worse are the recent revelations about some highly-ranked prospects, such as the “diluted urine” test failure by Jabrill Peppers and the sexual assault accusations leveled against Gareon Conley. Both were seen as likely first-round picks, and since they are defensive backs (more or less in Peppers’ case), that directly affects the Cowboys since what happens to them directly affects the DB pool at 28.

Meanwhile, the evaluations for players that are likely to be there when Dallas goes on the clock are all over the place. Peppers was already hotly debated as a possible choice. Taco Charlton is a top option for some, while others maintain he is a horrible fit for Marinelli’s defense. T.J. Watt, Charles Harris, and Takkarist McKinley elicit similar debates, as does SPARQ and Slaytics standout Obi Melifonwu.

As fans of the Cowboys, we already had tremendously more uncertainty just because of the position Dallas holds in the draft order. And things have just become harder to figure out as the draft draws closer. This is at times frustrating for those of us who love to mock draft and such.

But at the same time, it will make watching the actual picks roll in during the draft extremely riveting. The actual pick by Dallas (with most indicators pointing towards them staying in place) will be very exciting - and possibly highly controversial.

Stay tuned. And cinch those seatbelts tight.