The end of the academic year marks an important transition in the lives of student athletes. For those with years of collegiate eligibility left, summer is an important time for training, allowing athletes time to prepare for upcoming seasons. However, the closure of every year marks the departure of another class of athletes who move on from the fields of intercollegiate competition. For most, this marks the end of their athletic career, at least in the competitive sense. For a rare few, the realm of professional athletics awaits. The first step in this transition is the draft.
To facilitate the transition of players into professional leagues, all of the major sports hold annual drafts during which teams select athletes. In this way, athletes are distributed between teams, ideally allowing each athlete a fair shot at being chosen, while giving teams equal access to new talent. Through this process, teams work to build their futures while athletes vie for a foot in the professional doorway. Drafts also serve to equalize dominant and weak teams. In the case of the NFL, teams that were successful in the previous season are given lower draft picks than less successful teams, so weak teams are able to add stronger players, keeping all teams competitive.
The 2017 NFL draft was held at the end of April in Philadelphia. The first round took place on the April 27, the second and third rounds April 28 and the final four rounds on April 29. Over these three days, 224 players were drafted, one player per draft round per team.
The Cleveland Browns had the first pick in the draft, selecting Myles Garrett, a defensive end from Texas A&M. In addition to the number one pick, the Browns traded for both Houston and Green Bay’s first round picks, selecting Linebacker Jabrill Peppers twenty-fifth overall and Tight End David Njoku twenty-ninth overall. With these additions, the Browns hope to supplement their struggling defense.
Having traded their first round pick to the Browns, local favorite Green Bay’s first pick came in the second round. The Packers selected defensive back Kevin King thirty-third overall and added defensive tackle Montravius Adams in the third round.
The Chicago Bears had the second pick overall, selecting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears also added tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round and defensive back Eddie Jackson in the fourth round.
The Minnesota Vikings had a productive draft, picking up eleven players, four of which came in the seventh round. The Vikings’ top pick was running back Dalvin Cook, forty-first overall. The Vikings also picked up offensive lineman Pat Elflein seventieth overall, and defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson one hundred-and-ninth overall.
Now that the 2017 draft is over, each NFL team shifts its focus to the development of its players, both new and old. With a summer of training, all 32 teams hope to bring something good to the field next fall.