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GZL Rumour Mill: 2017 Draft
By Garth Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com

Snippets of information have been flying from the mouths of GMs on how this draft is going down. Some believe the words out there are nothing but smokescreens to hide the real choices, but judging by predictions there is a strong consensus on a few players who are likely to go in the top 10. We've had some words from the GMs themselves on who they'll pick and we're going to share them with you:

1.01 New England Patriots

QB Bo Callahan - everyone though that the move for Chad Henne spelt the end of QB quandaries in New England, however it is just the stepping stone for the real deal. Henne has the awareness to be a mentor and that's the planned role for the next 3 years, being a mentor to Callahan. For a non-scrambler, Callahan has impressive strength and can hold his own in the pocket. His awareness and accuracy are what you'd expect from the best passer in the class and he has a decent arm to launch the ball from his 6'4" platform. Young QBs haven't been the norm in New England over the past few years and this just might be the ticket to getting a winning formula back in action.

I see this as a solid choice for the franchise as Henne is more likely to go cold for this team (ala Philip Rivers) rather than the hot they so desperately need. I wouldn't knock the choice at all, but on the flipside this does pass up on some extreme talent at CB and DE that has been predicted to go early. In the eyes of every GM not needing a QB, this makes their draft wishes a little closer to reality.

1.02 San Francisco 49ers

CB Richard Sherman - the 49ers are spoilt for choice here and they know it. Sherman is a top rated athlete, but then again so is Clowney at DE. They could also use a real solid talent at wide out but really can't pass on the stud that is Sherman. He gives them a great combination of size and speed that has been lacking in their secondary and gives a great counter point to Geno Smith on offense. Sherman is ready from day one to be an impact player and that is exactly what the 49ers need...a true defensive leader in presence and ability. 6'3", 93 speed to start and an ability to read the game from the outset that has not been seen in this league for a rookie make him a real special talent.

I can see Maurice rejoicing after the a Bo pick in front of him (anyone willing to guess what Mo's happy dance looks like?), knowing that he can have his top choice. Really the 49ers can't go wrong with any of the best players at CB, DE or WR to bolster their stocks and aim for a winning season. Sherman is a guaranteed winner for his career and will actually make his presence felt for 11 or so years straight.

1.03 New York Jets

WR Josh Gordon - the Jets have a couple of needs that could help them out big time and one of those is another receiver to elevate Higgins' passing game and the Jets' offense to the next level. They have the choice of height (Drogan or Evans), speed (Watkins) or the best balance of all of them in Gordon. 6'3", 92 jump and great hands to go with the physical speed and strength to challenge any secondary. Paired with A.J. Green this would be awesome duo and probably be the future Stafford/Megatron/Galvatron hook-up once Higgins develops.

Gordon is probably the best choice for the Jets at this point because he's more developed than the other guys mentioned and Higgins will struggle less with more skill out there. On the other side there is still OLB Mack waiting for his call-up and he'd fit in here to bolster a defense that needs to shoulder its fair share of the work load. Much like the Sherman pick at 1.02 this one is a winner from day one and gives a careers worth of pass offense to the struggling Jets franchise.

1.04 Chicago Bears

OLB Khalil Mack - with two picks in the top 10 the Bears have it primed to fill their areas of need but only if they can play it smart and read the picks in between. Whilst we know they have a hole at CB there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of other top 10ers who have that same need, but with only one exceptional OLB in the draft they'd be rueing the chance to draft Mack before the Saints could get their hands on him. With only 'good' OLBs at present Mack will give them a new dimension which includes speed that can rival defensive backs, backed up by 251lbs and 6'3" of size to man handle any offense

This pick comes down to the overall aims of the Bears organisation from this draft (which hasn't been leaked to us yet) as to what is their priority, but unless the Saints and Raiders decide to empty the CB cupboard in short order then the Bears can net their next starter at 1.09

1.05 New Orleans Saints

DE Jadeveon Clowney - right now the Saints will be thinking what do we need to pick...oh holy shit Clowney is still available. Bam, decision made. This would be a no-brainer to make for a once in a generation talent, who much like Mack can get his speed up to secondary levels. That is unheard of for a defensive end and will give one of the meanest pass rush cornerstones to GM Sloat to rebuild around. he's ready to play now which makes an even bigger difference, especially in the hard fought NFC South.

The biggest factor for New Orleans making this pick would be the implied pressure this puts on their divisional opponents. The threat of Clowney making it into the backfield should force everyone else to ensure they are stocked up on QB's, because he'll be in there making a lot of hits. I really couldn't assign a secondary option from the rumours at this point because there would be no way they'd pass on Clowney and with another pick only 2 spots away they can take their next step there.

1.06 Oakland Raiders

CB Darius Stonewall - after trading a stud like Pietarila for this pick you'd have to consider there is a very strong motive for doing so and the only valid reason was to get an extra x-factor in the draft. Stonewall is likely that x-factor as he give 2 more inches of Pietarila and a lot more muscle, even if he does sacrifice speed.

There aren't a whole lot of other glaring needs for this super bowl team, so unless they want a more sure fire, go now guy in CB Gilbert you'd only think they'd go for BPA.

1.07 New Orleans Saints

WR Mike Evans - the Saints are back on the clock and they go for offense this time with the big body of Mike Evans. Assuming the Raiders don't pick him (unlikely) at 1.06 they'll be one step closer in their preparations for that fabled, late picked, rookie QB that Adam keeps telling us about. With no-one currently identified as a starting QB in New Orleans, Evans may struggle in his rookie year but he'll give them some legitimacy in years to come.

There may be some legitimacy to think that a CB, HB or DT could be taken with this pick, however a balanced draft at this point during the Saints rebuild will be beneficial in the long run. The only kink could be the Raiders taking their target and the likes of the raw Drogan being brought in instead, which won't help get wins now.

1.08 San Diego Chargers

OT Token Price - it seems a ready made blocker is in line for the Chargers as they take Price to pair with the aging McNeill to give better pass protection to Blaine Gabbert and hope that the GM Goodman rein in San Diego beings brighter fortunes for their star quarterback. Price isn't the strongest of OTs going around however few have his agility and none have ever come into this league with his blocking ability (90/91).

What seem to be areas of need for the Chargers looks like they won't be overly stressed by who gets taken ahead of them. We know there is a good deal of talent on the team and its only age that is a factor in their decision here apart from a top flight OT.

1.09 Chicago Bears

CB Justin Gilbert - by taking Mack first they read the draft well and still end up with their first choice corner and make this a good draft for themselves. At 6'0" Gilbert isn't the tallest corner out there, but his speed and awareness will make him into a force in this league. Considering the speed of progression applied to Smith in Chicago expect this guy to sky rocket into a star role in short order.

Without picking a corner at 1.04 the Bears either have to have one traded in already or they really need to make this pick. There are other options at corner in the draft, but none as polished at this point as Gilbert and they really can't pass on him, let alone a corner. There could be consideration for a wide out here but I think the Bears are happy with their set of young receivers who just need some more development time.

1.10 Minnesota Vikings

WR Sammy Watkins - since Percy Harvin left Colt McCoy has been short on quality targets which in turn hurts the entire offense. That problem can be fixed by adding Watkins to the mix. He's the next generation version of DHB, standing 6'1 tall and able to reach a maximum speed of 98. This combination is hard to match up on as corners will generally give up height or speed, which can be exploited.

The Vikings have a lot of luxury with this pick as there are no massive holes that must be filled, although you could see the need for an O-Line player here. This would be a solid pick, as would any of the previously mentioned receivers if they fell this far, or they take a chance on the impressive Drogan if he's available as well.
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