Myles Garrett has been penciled in as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft for weeks.
The Browns, who have two first-round picks, are expected to take the Texas A&M defensive end first and then come back to use the No. 12 selection on a quarterback like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.
And the trend goes deeper than that. Of the last 10 teams to play in the Super Bowl — which includes two appearances each by the Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos — 62 percent of first-round picks in the four years leading up to their respective appearances were used on defensive players, compared to the league average of 52 percent.
Just 14 percent of those picks were used on offensive skill-position players, nearly half of the league average of 27 percent.
So if the teams at the top of the standings focus on defense to excellent results, why would the rest of the NFL not follow suit? Why continue to draft offensive skill players when it doesn’t seem to yield championship-level rosters?
Well to get to the Super Bowl, a team typically requires two things: A quarterback and a defense.
The last four Super Bowls featured Tom Brady twice, Russell Wilson twice, Peyton Manning twice, Matt Ryan after an MVP season, and Cam Newton after an MVP season. For teams with such dynamic options under center, quarterback hasn’t had to be an option early and the boost that comes with a skill-position player isn’t necessary.