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NFL Draft Off the Clock (Picks 9-12): John Ross, Patrick Mahomes II, Marshon Lattimore, Deshaun Watson
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1 May 2017 02:18 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross. (Image Source: USA TODAY Sports Images)

Here’s a breakdown of picks 9-12 of the 2017 NFL Draft (Picks 1-4, 5-8):

9. Cincinnati Bengals: WR John Ross, Washington

Many draft analysts predicted there would be no wide receivers selected in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, which is an example of why you should take all mock drafts with a grain of salt, as Ross was the third wide out selected on Thursday night. The Huskie has speed for days and he blew away the competition at the NFL Scouting Combine with his 4.22 40-yard dash. A 37” vertical and 11’1” broad jump indicates elite athleticism and explosion beyond just straight-line speed. So why was he the third receiver off the board? Ross is short (5’11”), light in the pants (188 pounds), with not much of a wingspan, and very small hands. Coupled with his shoulder and knee injuries…you can see why some are concerned about his durability. His ability to stretch the field, as well as line up in the slot should complement A.J. Green very well.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (trade from Buffalo Bills): QB Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech

By trading a third-round pick this year and a first-round pick next year, the Kansas City Chiefs gave up a lot to move up from No. 27 overall to draft their quarterback of the future. I like that it wasn’t a move of desperation which means they must really love Mahomes, but the fact remains they overpaid to get him. In Mahomes they get a talented passer with an electric arm who some believe has the highest ceiling of any passer in this draft class. A good athlete who excels when he improvises, Mahomes is a playmaker who has been described as a “gunslinger” and has drawn comparisons to Brett Favre. Yeah, that Brett Favre. Not only was Andy Reid on Green Bay’s offensive staff for Favre’s first eight seasons with the Packers, he’s helped develop dual-threat passers Donovan McNabb and Alex Smith. This is a great landing spot for Mahomes, who can grow at his own pace.

11. New Orleans Saints: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

Need, say hello to value. The New Orleans Saints had the worst passing defense in the NFL in 2016 and the best cornerback in the 2017 draft class slid to them all the way to No. 11. Hopefully, no one pulled a hamstring getting the draft card up to the commissioner. A smooth coverman who flips his hips with ease, Lattimore is an elite athlete who can really run (4.36 40-yard dash) and is blessed with explosiveness (38 ½” vertical; 11’ broad jump). That’s not in question but his ability to stay on the field is, which is likely why the Buckeye fell out of the top 10. Hamstring injuries have required surgery and cause Lattimore to miss almost two full seasons at Ohio State. If he can stay healthy, the Big Ten product will make some teams regret passing on him when they had the chance. The ball skills and man-to-man cover ability are there for Lattimore to become a perennial Pro Bowler.

12. Houston Texans (trade from Cleveland Browns): QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Unlike the Chiefs, the Houston Texans were desperate for a quarterback. In order to move up 13 spots Houston gave up their 2018 first-round pick to select Watson. That’s a lot, probably too much in relation to the draft value chart, which tells us that the Texans should have given up a mid-to-late-second-round choice (the 50th overall pick) to move up from No. 25. However, if Watson pans out, the quarterback-needy Texans will feel like they’re the ones who pulled off the heist. I understand the move, Houston is a quarterback away from becoming a true Super Bowl contender. Watson brings a championship pedigree and is a proven big-game star at the college level, but is it realistic for expect him to step in and lead them to the Promised Land right away? He’s an undersized, streaky passer who needs to make a big transition to Bill O’Brien’s pro-style offense.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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