Maybe this Power 6 conference idea isn’t so crazy after all. The AAC saw 15 players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, which was the fifth most out of FBS conferences. Yes, even more than the Big 12 (14).
While many may not acknowledge a Power 6 conference (or the fact that the AAC beat the Big 12), the conference added to their resume to achieve that status. We take a look at the 15 athletes who were selected this past weekend.
LB Haason Reddick, Temple: Arizona Cardinals 1st Round, 13th Overall
Reddick became one of Temple’s highest selected draft picks in school history after he just missed out on the Top 10. While it remains unclear which position he will play, Reddick’s skills should allow him to give the Cardinals versatility within their defense. We sat down with Reddick before the draft, and we know the Cardinals are getting a great player who has Hall of Fame aspirations. Arizona’s defense has plenty of pieces to be one of the best in the league, and Reddick will become another piece that can contribute.
WR Zay Jones, East Carolina: Buffalo Bills 2nd Round, 37th Overall
Not a surprise to see Jones taken in the first two rounds, as he was easily one of the bets receivers in the draft. Paired with Sammy Watkins, Jones could take pressure off of both Watkins and Tyrod Taylor. Jones may not have the speed yet, but he can make catches through traffic while enduring contact.
OLB Tyus Bowser, Houston: Baltimore Ravens 2nd Round, 47th Overall
Bowser’s pairing with the Ravens could be dangerous, and he could become the next Terrell Suggs. Bowser and Haason Reddick went back and forth on who would be selected first, so it was a little surprising to see him fall this far.
S Obi Melifonwu, UConn: Oakland Raiders 2nd Round, 56th Overall
Adding a big safety should help the Raiders complement a powerful offense. Melifonwu was the ninth safety taken at this point in the draft, which attests to the depth that was expected at this position.
OG Dion Dawkins, Temple: Buffalo Bills 2nd Round, 63rd Overall
With plenty of raw talent, Dawkins just needs coaching to make him an elite player at his position. Moving him inside to guard should eliminate any concerns about speed rushes, and his elite strength will make him a Week 1 starter.
DB Shaquill Griffin, Central Florida: Seattle Seahawks 3rd Round, 90th Overall
With the drama surrounding Richard Sherman, defensive back seemed to be a need for Seattle. Adding Griffin to the Legion of Boom will only add depth to the position. Griffin rose up draft boards, and landed with a team known for his position. He may be stuck on special teams for a while, and if Sherman sticks around, he will have to work to earn a starting position.
CB Howard Wilson, Houston: Cleveland Browns 4th Round, 126th Overall
Wilson’s pro day was surrounded with confusion and controversy, but that didn’t stop the Browns from selecting him. Wilson is extremely raw, and will need time to develop into a starter. Luckily for him, Cleveland will give him the time to work on his craft since the Browns most likely won’t be competing for the playoffs.
RB Marlon Mack, USF: Indianapolis Colts 4th Round, 143rd Overall
Frank Gore won’t be around much longer, and the Colts need to find a replacement quickly. Mack has the ability to be a three down back, and can learn from Gore until there is an opening. QB Andrew Luck hasn’t had an opportunity to break out, but having an athletic Mack in the backfield will add to Luck’s weapons.
K Jake Elliott, Memphis: Cincinnati Bengals 5th Round, 153rd Overall
After Mike Nugent and Randy Bullock shared the kicking duties, adding more competition could be helpful. Elliott has a strong leg, and his accuracy could help him win the job. If you select a kicker in the draft, it seems like a waste of a pick if he isn’t the starter. Don’t be surprised if Elliott wins the job in the fall.
CB Nate Hairston, Temple: Indianapolis Colts 5th Round, 158th Overall
Hairston joins first round safety Malik Hooker and second round corner back Quincy Wilson in the defensive backfield. While it may be tough for Hairston to beat out Wilson, the Colts filled a need by adding both.
WR Rodney Adams, USF: Minnesota Vikings 5th Round, 170th Overall
Minnesota’s receiving corps isn’t bad, but they do need to add another threat to the group. With Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs leading the way, Adams has a legitimate chance to see the field and become a deep threat for QB Sam Bradford.
S Michael Tyson, Cincinnati: Seattle Seahawks 6th Round, 187th Overall
Not that Mike Tyson, but the Seahawks are hoping that he develops into a big name. Tyson is one of three defensive backs that Seattle selected, but it is interesting that they added so many prospects to a group that is one of the best in the league.
DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane: Los Angeles Rams 6th Round, 189th Overall
Many thought Smart would be taken earlier, which shows that teams were concerned with his size. Smart’s size and reach aren’t ideal, but his athleticism is exceptional. Pairing Smart with Aaron Donald should add to a group that is already one of the strongest on the team. After dropping this far, Smart may have a chip on his shoulder to prove that he belongs.
RB Brandon Wilson, Houston: Cincinnati Bengals 6th Round, 207th Overall
Wilson went back and forth between running back and defensive back in college, and his experience should prove valuable. With Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard already on the roster, it was interesting that the Bengals selected two more backs in Wilson and Joe Mixon. With plenty of competition, it will be tough for Wilson to find a spot on the team unless it is on special teams to start.
C Kofi Amichia, USF: Green Bay Packers 6th Round, 212th Overall
Finding a way to keep Aaron Rodgers upright will always be the Packers first priority, and they didn’t do much outside of drafting Amichia. His experience blocking for Quinton Flowers should help, as Rodgers is capable of eluding pressure when needed.