The 2017 NFL Draft begins in 10 days in Philadelphia, Pa. A record-tying nine former Clemson players are expected to hear their names called out, including quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Mike Williams in the first round.
Watson, who will reportedly visit the Houston Texans on Monday, will likely be the first Clemson player off the board depending on which draft expert you trust. Williams could also go in the top 10 as well, especially with Tennessee picking at No. 5. However, the Titans are shopping to trade that pick.
If the Titans do not pick Williams, the Clemson receiver will likely fall no further than No. 18 were Tennessee’s second pick in the first round is. However, there are several teams, including the Baltimore Ravens that have Williams high on their board and as a possible first-round pick. The Ravens pick at No. 16.
As for Watson, he could go to the New York Jets at No. 6, Buffalo at No. 10 or Arizona at No. 13. The Texans covet Watson’s ability as well, but it is hard to imagine him falling out of the top 20 and to No. 25 in the draft. Many expect Watson to be gone way before the Texans pick at No. 25.
If Watson does fall into the top 25, then watch out for Pittsburgh, who currently has the No. 30 pick. Word coming out of Pittsburgh is the Steelers could make a rare move and trade up to get the two-time Heisman Trophy Finalist. With Ben Roethlisberger flirting with retirement this off-season, the Steelers are looking for the quarterback of the future and Watson would be a perfect fit to come in and learn behind Big Ben for a few years and then take over when he retires.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert, head coach Mike Tomlin, quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, along with three other coaches and scouts attended Watson’s Pro Day last month. The Steelers had more representatives at the Clemson Pro Day than any other NFL team.
The last time the Steelers made a move for a player came in the 2006 NFL Draft when they moved up six spots in a trade with the Giants to get Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes at No. 25. However, the Steelers do not expect Watson still be on the board that late.
Even though they have Alex Smith, there is also strong interest for Watson by the Kansas City Chiefs, who have the No. 27 pick in the draft. If he is close enough, the Chiefs could move up to get him as well.
With Watson and Williams likely gone in the first round of the draft, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley could both go in the second round. Running back Wayne Gallman could also be a second-round pick, but he is likely to go early in the third round, while tight end Jordan Leggett is considered a third-round pick as well.
Wide receiver Artavis Scott, linebacker Ben Boulware and safety Jadar Johnson are all expected to be selected on Day 3 of the draft, which are rounds 4-7.