Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett was the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday in Philadelphia, giving the Cleveland Browns an anchor on defense while not addressing the team’s long-standing vacancy for a franchise quarterback.
“I want to be the best,” Garrett said from Arlington, Texas, where he was celebrating with family and friends. “The only thing holding me back is me.”
Potential prey for Garrett, who had 32.5 career sacks for the Aggies, took center stage from there. Trades including first-round picks in 2018 shook up the first round starting at No. 2.
North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky was chosen second by the Bears, and after three wide receivers went in the top nine for the first time since 2004, the Kansas City Chiefs moved up 16 spots to nab strong-armed junior Patrick Mahomes II from Texas Tech at No. 10. The Houston Texans climbed almost as far to No. 12 for Deshaun Watson, giving the Browns their first-round pick next year. Cleveland already owns Houston’s second-round in 2018 as part of the Brock Osweiler salary-dump deal.
With Garrett gone, the 49ers found a trade partner in the Bears and not only got their target in Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, but also picks No. 67 and 111 for dropping just one spot to No. 3.
Skill-position talent was the star attraction Thursday. The first offensive lineman was drafted 20th — the latest in the common draft era — when offensive tackle Garett Bolles was chosen by the Denver Broncos.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette went fourth to the Jacksonville Jaguars, two picks before his Tigers teammate, safety Jamal Adams, was called by the New York Jets, and four picks before the Carolina Panthers drafted Stanford junior running back Christian McCaffrey with the eighth overall selection.
Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis was a surprise pick at No. 5 to the Tennessee Titans, and Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams went to the Los Angeles Chargers seventh. The Titans added Southern Cal cornerback Adoree’ Jackson with the 18th pick.
Williams, who is 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He recovered from a fractured vertebra in his neck in 2015 but returned to star as Watson’s go-to guy. He will now serve as Philip Rivers’ chief outlet in Los Angeles.
University of Washington wide receiver John Ross overcame doubts about his durability to attract the Cincinnati Bengals with the ninth pick. Ross ran a 4.22 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine.
NFLDraftScout.com’s top cornerback, Marshon Lattimore of Ohio State, was the 11th pick to the New Orleans Saints.
Once the seal was broken, Alabama products went quickly.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was surprisingly the first Crimson Tide player drafted. The No. 16 pick landed with the Baltimore Ravens, where former Alabama tight end Ozzie Newsome runs the personnel department.
Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, facing concerns about past shoulder injuries, was taken with the next pick by the Washington Redskins. NFLDraftScout.com ranked Allen the No. 2 player in the draft.
O’Terrius Jabari Howard, better known at Alabama as O.J., was considered a possible top-five pick but was chosen 19th by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The tight end runs in the low 4.5-second range at 6-foot-5.
NOTES: New York Jets first-round pick Jamal Adams’ father, George, was a first-round pick in 1985 (19th overall, N.Y. Giants). … No. 8 pick Christian McCaffrey is the son of former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. … No. 2 pick Mitchell Trubisky is the first quarterback to be selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round since Rex Grossman (22nd, 2003). … By acquiring a 2018 first-round pick from Kansas City, the Browns have two first-rounders and three second-rounders in next year’s draft.