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Allen Park — Having covered the sports teams in this town for more than a decade, and spending a good chunk of time studying reader trends, a common theme among fans is interest is almost always higher when discussing what could be instead of what is.
Stories about free agency, the draft, trades and coaching hiring and firings, no matter how hypothetical, are more likely to spark interest and conversation than typical day-to-day coverage. This is why the NFL draft has become big business, with countless experts prognosticating where top college talents will land in the pros up to a year in advance.
So, in the interest of playing to your interest (whether you’re willing to admit it or not), allow me to throw my hat into the prediction game with my first mock draft of the 2017 offseason.
At this stage, teams have done most of their groundwork on prospects. They’ve visited the campuses, watched the game film, dug into player backgrounds and constructed thorough scouting reports. Next month’s scouting combine and pro days are when the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed, where athleticism and strength are either verified or prove worthy of a second look.
It’s easy to see team needs. At this point, we’re just trying to plug logical talent into those holes. And it doesn’t always have to be biggest need, because that’s when you start reaching. Plus, with the way NFL rosters turn over, you can justify drafting almost any position, if the talent offers value at the slot.
So without further delay, here’s how I imagine the first round of the draft playing out. Just do me a favor and don’t check back later to see how I did.