Every year in the draft, there are several teams that hold the cards to play a leading role in determining how things play out. There's a domino effect based on what those teams do or don't do. Sometimes it has to do with the number of picks a team possesses, and other times it has to do with where a team is positioned in the draft. Here are five teams that hold the keys to the 2017 NFL Draft (April 27-29 in Philadelphia).
No. of selections: 11
Draft picks: Round 1 (1, 12), Round 2 (33, 52), Round 3 (65), Round 4 (108), Round 5 (145, 175, 181), Round 6 (185, 188)
Skinny: The Browns own the top overall pick as well as the 12th overall selection. They currently possess five of the top 65 picks. They're armed with enough draft ammunition to secure the top edge rusher as well as the top quarterback in the class. There has been a lot of chatter about the Browns potentially shocking us all and selecting UNC QB Mitchell Trubisky with the first pick. I don't see that happening, but I do think there's a good chance they package some of their picks and come back up for Trubisky after selecting Myles Garrett at the top of the draft. They are loaded with extra picks next year and it will be interesting to see if they use those picks to move up in this draft or choose to part with this year's draft picks. They have tremendous flexibility.
No. of selections: 8
Draft picks: Round 1 (5, 18), Round 3 (83, 100), Round 4 (124), Round 5 (164), Round 6 (214), Round 7 (236)
Skinny: The Titans possess two selections in the top 20 (5 and 18) and they are a prime candidate to trade down and collect more draft picks. They currently are without a second-round pick, but I'm willing to bet that will change. For teams looking to trade up for a quarterback, Tennessee is a willing partner to swap picks. They are targeting an impact defensive player and wide receiver, both of which can be found in the middle of the first round. I'll be very surprised if they sit and pick at both 5 and 18.
New Orleans Saints
No. of selections: 7
Draft picks: Round 1 (11, 32), Round 2 (42), Round 3 (76, 103), Round 6 (196), Round 7 (229)
Skinny: Along with the Browns and Titans, the Saints also own two picks in the first round. They have glaring needs on defense and they should be able to add two impact players at Nos. 11 and 32. However, if they can pull off a trade with the Patriots for Malcolm Butler, it could free them up to use one of their selections on an offensive playmaker. I would love to see Christian McCaffrey's skill set paired with Drew Brees, but that would probably only happen if they had already acquired Butler's services. There is also some chatter about finding Brees' eventual replacement at quarterback, with strong hints that they have an affinity for Patrick Mahomes' upside. They will be an interesting team to follow on Thursday night.
San Francisco 49ers
No. of selections: 10
Draft picks: Round 1 (2), Round 2 (34), Round 3 (66), Round 4 (109, 143), Round 5 (146, 161), Round 6 (198, 202), Round 7 (219)
Skinny: I can't remember a year where there was so much uncertainty with the second overall pick. There is a safe assumption that the Browns will pick Myles Garret at No. 1, but I can't get a read for what the 49ers will do with the next pick. They could really alter the draft by what they do. If they take a quarterback, it could start a frenzy and trade-up scenario for the other teams looking to secure a signal-caller. If they pass on the top safeties (Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker), I think there's a chance one of them will slide a little bit. There has been some chatter about them having strong grades on Leonard Fournette. If they pick him at No. 2, that would really shake things up. On one hand, I wish I had a better grasp on their plan, but on the other hand, it's going to make a for a very entertaining start on Thursday night.
No. of selections: 8
Draft picks: Round 1 (8), Round 2 (40, 64), Round 3 (98), Round 4 (115), Round 5 (152), Round 6 (192), Round 7 (233)
Skinny: The Panthers own the eighth overall pick as well as two second-round selections. They should be able to come away with three immediate-impact players. If Leonard Fournette is off the board, I think there's a really strong chance they would select Christian McCaffrey. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if they took McCaffrey over Fournette if both were available. This seemed crazy a few weeks ago, but that's what I've been hearing lately. They could use those two second-round selections to move up or they could sit tight and fill some needs. Either way, they'll have flexibility should a player they like start to fall.