There were 19 defensive players selected in the first round of the 2017 Draft. That’s a lot: from ’02 to ’17, there were an average of 16.6 defensive players taken in the first 32 picks, with a minimum of 13 (2004) and a maximum of 19 (’06, and ’17). And it wasn’t just low picks: the first selection in the draft was DE Myles Garrett, and the 49ers drafted DE Solomon Thomas with the third pick.
Defensive backs Jamal Adams and Marshon Lattimore went 5th and 11th, respectively, before six straight defensive players went, beginning with the 13th pick: Haason Reddick, Derek Barnett, Malik Hooker, Marlon Humphrey, Jonathan Allen, and Adoree’ Jackson. And from 21 to 31, 9 of the 11 players taken were defenders: Jarrad Davis, Charles Harris, Gareon Conley, Jabrill Peppers, Takkarist McKinley, Tre’Davious White, Taco Charlton, T.J. Watt, and Reuben Foster.
All told, the 19 defensive players drafted in round 1 were selected with picks holding 333 points of value on my chart. Since 1992, only one year — the ’06 draft — saw more draft value spent on defensive players in the first 32 picks.
One reason for this?
No offensive linemen in the first 19 picks: the 2017 Draft and the 1952 Draft are the only times that has ever happened. pic.twitter.com/KWKT3uuvxl
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) April 28, 2017
Garett Bolles at #20 and Ryan Ramczyk at #32 were the only offensive linemen drafted in the first round. With a perceived lack of top-end talent at offensive line, it appears as though defensive players — and quarterbacks — were the big beneficiaries.