Movie quote of the day:
“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
– Dr. Hannibal Lecter, “Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Now that the NFL draft season has ended, I’ve gone through each team’s draft and given grades for each one. I’ll be honest, there were several good ones – I guess it’s hard to do that when a draft class is as talented and deep as it was this year. As I watched the draft, I saw plenty of good players get drafted in the later rounds that will have a very good chance of making a roster this year. Even though this draft class was one of the best ones I’ve seen, there were still some losers.
Selections: LB Haason Reddick (Round: 1 Pick: 13), S Budda Baker (Round: 2 Pick: 36), WR Chad Williams (Round: 3 Pick: 98), G Dorian Johnson (Round: 4 Pick: 115), T Will Holden (Round: 5 Pick: 157), RB T.J. Logan (Round: 5 Pick: 179), and S Rudy Ford (Round: 6 Pick: 208)
After all the chatter that Arizona was looking to take a quarterback to be the heir apparent to Carson Palmer, the Cardinals didn’t do it. Which I think was a smart move because I’m not sure there were good quarterbacks in this draft class outside of the first round. Reddick is an excellent pick by Arizona. The Cardinals have been missing a good inside linebacker the last few years, and Reddick should be an immediate upgrade at that position. I also love the trade up to get Baker in the second round because he’s a versatile defensive back that can play both safeties and slot cornerback. It’s going to be hard to throw the ball against Arizona’s defense for the next few years. Williams will bring some youth to the Arizona wide receiver group. This was a great draft by the Cardinals, but I would’ve liked them to draft a true cornerback.
Selections: Edge Takkarist McKinley (Round: 1 Pick: 26), LB Duke Riley (Round: 3 Pick: 75), G Sean Harlow (Round: 4 Pick: 136), CB Damontae Kazee (Round: 5 Pick: 149), RB Brian Hill (Round: 5 Pick: 156), and TE Eric Saubert (Round: 5 Pick: 174)
Atlanta managed to draft its biggest need in the first round – edge rusher. I was a little surprised that McKinley fell into the 20s, and I love the Falcons’ decision to trade up for him. Atlanta really needed to get another edge rusher to play opposite of Vic Beasley, and McKinley should be able to fill that spot. The Falcons also had some great picks after McKinley. They didn’t really need a linebacker, but they got great value by drafting Riley in the third round – who was the best player available. Harlow helps fill a need for a guard on Atlanta’s offensive line. Also, Kazee, Hill, and Saubert were steals in the fifth round. Many draft analysts had them as potential hidden gems in this class. Once again, Atlanta’s front office put together another great draft.
Selections: CB Marlon Humphrey (Round: 1 Pick: 16), Edge Tyus Bowser (Round: 2 Pick: 47), DL Chris Wormley (Round: 3 Pick: 74), Edge Tim Williams (Round: 3 Pick: 78), G Nico Siragusa (Round: 4 Pick: 122), T Jermaine Eluemunor (Round: 5 Pick: 159), and S Chuck Clark (Round: 6 Pick: 186)
I said before the draft that Baltimore should be able to get back to the postseason if it managed to find some defensive playmakers – which the Ravens did in this draft. They found some needed depth at edge rusher with Bowser and Williams. I think the Humphrey pick was a bit of a reach, but I think he can easily develop into a solid cornerback in the NFL. Baltimore also found a replacement for Timmy Jernigan in Wormley in the third round – even though many thought he’d go in the second round. The Ravens also drafted some depth on the offensive line in the later rounds – which was needed after the departure of Ricky Wagner. I feel like this was a great draft by Baltimore, however, the Ravens neglected the wide receiver position. I realize that this wasn’t a great receiver draft class and Ozzie Newsmen has struggled with drafting receivers, but after losing Steve Smith Sr. and the inconsistency from Breshad Perriman, I really felt like Baltimore should’ve addressed the position early.
Selections: CB Tre’Davious White (Round: 1 Pick: 27), WR Zay Jones (Round: 2 Pick: 37), T Dion Dawkins (Round: 2 Pick: 63), LB Matt Milano (Round: 5 Pick: 163), QB Nathan Peterman (Round: 5 Pick: 171), and LB Tanner Vallejo (Round: 6 Pick: 195)
I respect Buffalo’s decision to trade back in the first round. The Bills picked up some extra draft picks – including a first-round pick next year – and still managed to find a playmaker at cornerback. After losing Stephon Gilmore during free agency, the Bills needed to add someone as his replacement – and White’s coverage skills should be able to make him fill that need. I also really like that Buffalo traded up twice in the second round. The Bills needed to find a replacement for Robert Woods as the No. 2 wide receiver and a right tackle. Jones was a receptions machine in college and should be a solid replacement for Woods, Dawkins was great value in the second round and will bring some competition to the position battle for right tackle. It was a good overall draft by Buffalo, but I would’ve liked the Bills to draft one of the many talented tight ends in this class.
Selections: RB Christian McCaffrey (Round: 1 Pick: 8), WR Curtis Samuel (Round: 2 Pick: 40), T Taylor Moton (Round: 2 Pick: 64), Edge Daeshon Hall (Round: 3 Pick: 77), CB Corn Elder (Round: 5 Pick: 152), FB Alex Armah (Round: 6 Pick: 192), and K Harrison Butker (Round: 7 Pick: 233)
I feel like Carolina hit a home run with this draft. The Panthers had some needs defensively, but they decided to find playmakers on offense to help Cam Newton instead. I thought that was a fantastic decision and Carolina made the most of it by drafting McCaffrey and Samuel – both are very versatile and dynamic players that should help upgrade the Panthers’ offense. Moton is going to be a project for Carolina, but he has the potential to be a solid offensive tackle at the next level – which was needed because Newton has been taking a beating the last few years. The Panthers also found great value with their defensive picks – Elder being a steal in the fifth round.
Selections: QB Mitchell Trubisky (Round: 1 Pick: 2), TE Adam Shaheen (Round: 2 Pick: 45), S Eddie Jackson (Round: 4 Pick: 112), RB Tarik Cohen (Round: 4 Pick: 119), G Jordan Morgan (Round: 5 Pick: 147)
This is my first draft loser, which is unfortunate because I feel like Chicago has done an excellent job of drafting in recent years. I never understood the reason for trading up one spot for Trubisky while giving up three picks. Don’t get me wrong, I like Trubisky, but I would’ve been shocked if San Francisco took him at No. 2. So, odds are that Chicago didn’t have to trade up for Trubisky and the Bears’ front office could’ve retained those picks and still grab Trubisky at No. 3. Other than that, this draft is only okay. Shaheen has a bright future, but the Bears really reached for him. Chicago also didn’t address the secondary until taking Jackson in the fourth round – who is coming off a fractured leg – which probably won’t end well when facing Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford twice a year. The fact that Chicago didn’t give up the house or a future first-round pick to get Trubisky saves its overall grade.
Selections: WR John Ross (Round: 1 Pick: 9), RB Joe Mixon (Round: 2 Pick: 48), Edge Jordan Willis (Round: 3 Pick: 73), Edge Carl Lawson (Round: 4 Pick: 116), WR Josh Malone (Round: 4 Pick: 128), DL Ryan Glasgow (Round: 4 Pick: 138), K Jake Elliott (Round: 5 Pick: 153), C J.J. Dielman (Round: 5 Pick: 176), LB Jordan Evans (Round: 6 Pick: 193), RB Brandon Wilson (Round: 6 Pick: 207), and TE Mason Schreck (Round: 7 Pick: 251)
I really felt like Cincinnati needed to take advantage of this defensive-heavy draft class and try to bring some youth to its defense. However, the Bengals went in the other direction and took offensive players with three of their first five picks – which makes a ton of sense because Cincinnati’s offense ranked No. 24 last year in points per game. I really like the idea of the Bengals having Ross and A.J. Green in the same passing offense – talk about picking your poison if you’re the opponent. I know Mixon has his off-field issues, but he’s a talented player and Cincinnati is going to have need of a running back after this season because Jeremy Hill’s contract is up. Also, Cincinnati got tremendous value when picking Willis and Lawson – both should see early playing time on the Bengals’ defensive line.
Selections: Edge Myles Garrett (Round: 1 Pick: 1), S Jabrill Peppers (Round: 1 Pick: 25), TE David Njoku (Round: 1 Pick: 29), QB DeShone Kizer (Round: 2 Pick: 52), DL Larry Ogunjobi (Round: 3 Pick: 65), CB Howard Wilson (Round: 4 Pick: 126), T Roderick Johnson (Round: 5 Pick: 160), DL Caleb Brantley (Round: 6 Pick: 185), K Zane Gonzalez (Round: 7 Pick: 224), and RB Matt Dayes (Round: 7 Pick: 252)
For a second-consecutive year, I love everything about Cleveland’s draft – it’s hard not to though when the Browns had three first-round picks. I promise, the decision to take Garrett instead of one of the top quarterbacks in this class at No. 1 was the right one. The Browns needed a player in the back end of their defense and got one in Peppers – it’s hard to tell where he’ll play, but there’s no denying his ability. Njoku is a very athletic tight end and should be a good target for whoever becomes quarterback for Cleveland. I even like the decision to take Kizer in the second round – seriously, I think he can only help the Browns because no one has high expectations for a quarterback taken in the second round. After that, I feel like Cleveland took best player available the rest of the draft – and almost all were excellent selections. A lot of draft analysts liked Ogunjobi and he should see the field early. Wilson, Johnson, and Brantley were steals for where the Browns got them. Gonzalez was a great pick as well. He was one of the best kickers in college football the last few years and the Browns had need of a specialist. Seriously, well done, Cleveland.
Selections: Edge Taco Charlton (Round: 1 Pick: 28), CB Chidobe Awuzie (Round: 2 Pick: 60), CB Jourdan Lewis (Round: 3 Pick: 92), WR Ryan Switzer (Round: 4 Pick: 133), S Xavier Woods (Round: 6 Pick: 191), CB Marquez White (Round: 6 Pick: 216), DL Joey Ivie (Round: 7 Pick: 228), WR Noah Brown (Round: 7 Pick: 239), and DL Jordan Carrell (Round: 7 Pick: 246)
Since Dallas lost seven starters from last year’s below-average defense, I really felt like the Cowboys should’ve taken the Green Bay approach and draft defense at every level (secondary, defensive line, linebacker, etc.). That being said, I still really like what Dallas did this past weekend. While I’m not that high on Charlton, the Cowboys’ top need was edge rusher and they couldn’t afford to pass on him. I felt like Awuzie and Lewis were two of the biggest steals in the draft – both are very talented cornerbacks, and had first-round potential. The Switzer pick even makes sense because I’ve always felt like the Cowboys needed to get a No. 2 wide receiver in their offense. Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams aren’t that type of player, and Jason Witten is getting old. I feel like Switzer is a complete wide receiver that can make plays in both the short passing game and as a deep threat, he’s also going to make a difference on special teams as a returner. The only reason Dallas didn’t get a higher grade from me was because the Cowboys didn’t address safety or defensive tackle until the sixth and seventh rounds.
Selections: T Garett Bolles (Round: 1 Pick: 20), Edge DeMarcus Walker (Round: 2 Pick: 51), WR Carlos Henderson (Round: 3 Pick: 82), CB Brendan Langley (Round: 3 Pick: 101), TE Jake Butt (Round: 5 Pick: 145), WR Isaiah McKenzie (Round: 5 Pick: 172), RB De’Angelo Henderson (Round: 6 Pick: 203), and QB Chad Kelly (Round: 7 Pick: 253)
I’m not really a huge fan of Denver’s draft. The Broncos made an excellent decision by drafting Bolles in the first round because offensive tackle was this team’s biggest need. However, outside of that, almost the rest of Denver’s draft was filled with head-scratching picks. Finding depth at edge rusher makes a ton of sense after DeMarcus Ware retired this offseason, but I felt like picking Walker in the second round was a reach. Henderson and McKenzie could have bright futures in this league but they’re gonna be projects – not the types of wide receivers to draft when Denver has question marks at quarterback. However, Butt was a steal in the fifth round, and drafting Kelly is definitely intriguing. This could be a good class a few years from now, but I’m just not sure how much Denver improved after this draft.
Selections: LB Jarrad Davis (Round: 1 Pick: 21), CB Teez Tabor (Round: 2 Pick: 53), WR Kenny Golladay (Round: 3 Pick: 96), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Round: 4 Pick: 124), TE Michael Roberts (Round: 4 Pick: 127), CB Jamal Agnew (Round: 5 Pick: 165), DL Jeremiah Ledbetter (Round: 6 Pick: 205), QB Brad Kaaya (Round: 6 Pick: 215), and Edge Pat O’Connor (Round: 7 Pick: 250)
I didn’t give Detroit a higher grade mostly because the Lions didn’t draft an edge rusher until the seventh round. Keep in mind, that Detroit’s defense ranked No. 30 in sacks last year, and Ziggy Ansah’s contract will be up after this season. Also, because the Lions took Tabor in the second round – a cornerback who was impressive at times but had one of the slowest 40 times during this draft process – and they took Davis in the first round – who had a history of injury problems at Florida. I like that Detroit took a wide receiver, but taking Golladay in the third round was a major reach (I hadn’t even heard of his name before Friday night). This draft certainly has potential of being a good one for Detroit, but it could also be a bad one. It’s hard to tell right now.
Green Bay Packers
Selections: CB Kevin King (Round: 2 Pick: 33), S Josh Jones (Round: 2 Pick: 61), DL Montravius Adams (Round: 3 Pick: 93), LB Vince Biegel (Round: 4 Pick: 108), RB Jamaal Williams (Round: 4 Pick: 134), WR DeAngelo Yancey (Round: 5 Pick: 175), RB Aaron Jones (Round: 5 Pick: 182), G Kofi Amichia (Round: 6 Pick: 212), RB Devante Mays (Round: 7 Pick: 238), and WR Malachi Dupre (Round: 7 Pick: 247)
I feel like Ted Thompson put together another great draft for Green Bay. The Packers made some immediate upgrades to the secondary by taking King and Jones in the second round. Adams was a steal in the third round and should help bolster an already good run defense in Green Bay. Biegel is a versatile linebacker that will bring depth on the edge or inside. I even like the offensive players that Green Bay took. I think Williams and Jones will get a lot of playing time in the running back rotation, and Dupre was another steal in the seventh round and should really develop with Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. I would’ve liked to see Green Bay take another cornerback though, which is why I didn’t give the Packers a higher grade.
Selections: QB Deshaun Watson (Round: 1 Pick: 12), LB Zach Cunningham (Round: 2 Pick: 57), RB D’Onta Foreman (Round: 3 Pick: 89), T Julie’n Davenport (Round: 4 Pick: 130), DL Carlos Watkins (Round: 4 Pick: 142), CB Treston Decoud (Round: 5 Pick: 169), and C Kyle Fuller (Round: 7 Pick: 243)
I wasn’t crazy about Chicago trading up for a quarterback, but I love that Houston did. Ever since the NFL expanded to Houston in 2002, the Texans have been almost as desperate for a quarterback as Cleveland. I like the aggressiveness by Houston to give up a first-round pick next year and trade up for Watson – mostly because I think Watson is the quarterback in this class that will have the best career in the NFL. I like the rest of Houston’s draft too. Cunningham is a talented linebacker that should make a lot of plays in the NFL. Foreman is a really good power back and will be a solid No. 2 to Lamar Miller. Davenport and Fuller give the Texans some depth on the offensive line. Also, Watkins was a steal in the fourth round. I won’t be shocked if he becomes the starter opposite of J.J. Watt.
Selections: S Malik Hooker (Round: 1 Pick: 15), CB Quincy Wilson (Round: 2 Pick: 46), Edge Tarell Basham (Round: 3 Pick: 80), G Zach Banner (Round: 4 Pick: 137), RB Marlon Mack (Round: 4 Pick: 143), DL Grover Stewart (Round: 4 Pick: 144), CB Nate Hairston (Round: 5 Pick: 158), and LB Anthony Walker (Round: 5 Pick: 161)
For years, Indianapolis has neglected to give Andrew Luck adequate help. However, that has changed this offseason under new general manager Chris Ballard. I believe this is the type of draft that will get the Colts back to the playoffs. The secondary wasn’t a huge need for Indianapolis, but Hooker and Wilson were excellent picks – and both were steals. It’s hard to tell how much of an impact Basham will have because the Colts added a bunch of edge rushers this offseason, but he’s definitely going to be a contributor. Indianapolis needed a run-blocking guard and got that by drafting Banner. Mack should make an excellent pair with Frank Gore in the backfield. Walker was also a major steal – I saw him going in either the second or third round. Seriously, this was an awesome draft by the Colts.
Selections: RB Leonard Fournette (Round: 1 Pick: 4), T Cam Robinson (Round: 2 Pick: 34), Edge Dawuane Smoot (Round 3 Pick: 68), WR Dede Westbrook (Round: 4 Pick: 110), LB Blair Brown (Round: 5 Pick: 148), CB Jalen Myrick (Round: 7 Pick: 222), and FB Marquez Williams (Round: 7 Pick: 240)
Jacksonville has done an excellent job of drafting the last few years, and this year was no different. Everyone knows what kind of a player Fournette is, but drafting him should really help take some pressure off Blake Bortles. Robinson was a steal in the second round – he’s a versatile offensive lineman and should be an early contributor. I don’t hate the Westbrook pick. He has his off-field issues, but he’s a deep threat at wide receiver – which is what this offense had been lacking. I also don’t hate the Smoot and Brown picks. You can never have enough depth in the front seven in today’s league – and both picks had terrific value too. The only thing that I didn’t like about this draft was that Jacksonville didn’t address the tight end position.
Kansas City Chiefs
Selections: QB Patrick Mahomes (Round: 1 Pick: 10), DL Tanoh Kpassagnon (Round: 2 Pick: 59), RB Kareem Hunt (Round: 3 Pick: 86), WR Jehu Chesson (Round: 4 Pick: 139), LB Ukeme Eligwe (Round: 5 Pick: 183), S Leon McQuay III (Round: 6 Pick: 218)
To be honest, I’ve grown to like Kansas City’s decision to trade up to get Mahomes. Andy Reid used to coach in Green Bay when Brett Favre was there, and he has said that he sees a lot of Favre in Mahomes – which I agree with. I have all the confidence in Reid to develop him into a good NFL quarterback. The rest of this draft is pretty good though. Kpassagnon is one of the most underrated players of this draft, and I feel like he’s going to have a good chance to start for Kansas City’s defense this year. The Chiefs could’ve used a running back after releasing Jamaal Charles this offseason, and got a good one in Hunt – he’s a big-body running back that has no issue running between the tackles. Also, Chesson could be a gem for Kansas City. He was once considered a first-round pick and has plenty of speed. The reason I didn’t give the Chiefs a higher grade was because they didn’t address inside linebacker until the fifth round – Derrick Johnson isn’t getting any younger.
Los Angeles Chargers
Selections: WR Mike Williams (Round: 1 Pick: 7), G Forrest Lamp (Round: 2 Pick: 38), G Dan Feeney (Round: 3 Pick: 71), S Rayshawn Jenkins (Round: 4 Pick: 113), S Desmond King (Round: 5 Pick: 151), T Sam Tevi (Round: 6 Pick: 190), DL Isaac Rochell (Round: 7 Pick: 225)
The Chargers finally addressed the offensive line early in this draft by selecting Lamp and Feeney in the second and third rounds. Philip Rivers is definitely thanking the Chargers’ front office, even though I think it’ll affect Melvin Gordon’s production in the run game more. Drafting Williams was a very smart move and it gives Rivers a quality receiving target – which should really help since Keenan Allen has had injury problems the last few years. The only thing I don’t like about the Chargers’ draft is that they didn’t take a safety until the fourth and fifth rounds – even though they got great value for both Jenkins and King. They also could’ve used an edge rusher to play opposite of Joey Bosa.
Los Angeles Rams
Selections: TE Gerald Everett (Round: 2 Pick: 44), WR Cooper Kupp (Round: 3 Pick: 69), S John Johnson (Round: 3 Pick: 91), WR Josh Reynolds (Round: 4 Pick: 117), Edge Samson Ebukam (Round: 4 Pick: 125), DT Tanzel Smart (Round: 6 Pick: 189), FB Sam Rogers (Round: 6 Pick: 206), and Edge Ejuan Price (Round: 7 Pick: 234)
For years under Jeff Fisher, the Rams neglected the offensive side of the ball in the draft. I expected the Rams to continue the trend of drafting defense early this year because this was a very deep defensive draft class, and there wasn’t a ton of offensive playmakers after the early rounds. However, the Rams did the exact opposite and I applaud them for it. They showed their trust in Jared Goff, and used three of their first four picks on offense to help him out. The Everett pick seemed like a reach, but I think he has a bright future in the NFL. Kupp and Reynolds are tremendous values for where the Rams got them and should be solid targets for Goff. The Rams then used later picks to get some depth on defense. Overall – despite not having a first-round pick – I feel like this was a solid draft by the Rams.
Selections: Edge Charles Harris (Round: 1 Pick: 22), LB Raekwon McMillan (Round: 2 Pick: 54), CB Cordrea Tankersley (Round: 3 Pick: 97), G Isaac Asiata (Round: 5 Pick: 164), DL Davon Godchaux (Round: 5 Pick: 178), DL Vincent Taylor (Round: 6 Pick: 194), and WR Isaiah Ford (Round: 7 Pick: 237)
I love everything about Miami’s draft. The Dolphins filled needs with every selection and didn’t have to reach for any of the players. Miami really helped itself on the defensive line by adding Harris to come off the edge, and Godchaux and Taylor to bring some help on the interior of the defensive line – both were steals in the fifth and sixth rounds, by the way. McMillan was great value in the second round and adds some depth to the linebacker corps. Miami didn’t have an immediate need for a cornerback, but adding Tankersley should really bolster the secondary. Also, with Laremy Tunsil moving to left tackle, that opens a starting spot at guard and Asiata should help bring some competition at that position. All across the board, this was an excellent draft by the Dolphins.
Selections: RB Dalvin Cook (Round: 2 Pick: 41), C Pat Elflein (Round: 3 Pick: 70), DL Jaleel Johnson (Round: 4 Pick: 109), LB Ben Gedeon (Round: 4 Pick: 120), WR Rodney Adams (Round: 5 Pick: 170), G Danny Isidora (Round: 5 Pick: 180), TE Bucky Hodges (Round: 6 Pick: 201), WR Stacy Coley (Round: 7 Pick: 219), DL Ifeadi Odenigbo (Round: 7 Pick: 220), LB Elijah Lee (Round: 7 Pick: 232), and CB Jack Tocho (Round: 7 Pick: 245)
Despite not having a first-round pick, Minnesota managed to find some first-round value by drafting Dalvin Cook in the second round. I think he’s going to do great things in Minnesota once the Vikings get the offensive line figured out – which they’re off to a good start by drafting Elflein in the third round. I expect both rookies to start week one. Drafting Johnson makes a ton of sense because Minnesota is going to need some depth on the interior of the defensive line after Sharrif Floyd suffered a gruesome knee injury toward the end of last season and might not play again. Minnesota found some players late in the draft that should provide depth too. Gedeon and Lee will likely battle for Chad Greenway’s starting linebacker spot. Also, Hodges was a steal in the sixth round.
New England Patriots
Selections: Edge Derek Rivers (Round: 3 Pick: 83), T Antonio Garcia (Round: 3 Pick: 85), Edge Deatrich Wise (Round: 4 Pick: 131), and T Conor McDermott (Round: 6 Pick: 211)
Only New England can have just four picks in the draft and still manage to find good players. Bill Belichick knew what he wanted and what his team needed – which was clearly edge rusher and offensive tackle. Both Rivers and Garcia are good players and the Patriots got them for excellent value – both had been considered second-round picks at points this offseason. Not having a first-and second-round pick is the only reason why I didn’t give New England a better grade.
New Orleans Saints
Selections: CB Marshon Lattimore (Round: 1 Pick: 11), T Ryan Ramczyk (Round: 1 Pick: 32), S Marcus Williams (Round: 2 Pick: 42), RB Alvin Kamara (Round: 3 Pick: 67), LB Alex Anzalone (Round: 3 Pick: 76), Edge Trey Hendrickson (Round: 3 Pick: 103), and Edge Al-Quadin Muhammad (Round: 6 Pick: 196)
New Orleans was another team that I said could get back to the postseason this year if the Saints can find some playmakers defensively, and I think they did. New Orleans had the best cornerback in this class fall in its lap at No. 11, and Lattimore gives them some help at that position. Williams is a very athletic safety and was a ballhawk in college. Him and Vonn Bell competing for the starting free safety spot should be one of the most intriguing position battles this year. Anzalone and Hendrickson gives the Saints some defensive depth. I even like the Ramczyk and Kamara picks. Zach Strief will turn 34 this year and Ramczyk can take a backseat to him and develop for a year or two – which is exactly what he needs. I think Kamara will end up being a great player in Sean Payton’s offense. Him and Mark Ingram can catch the ball out of the backfield well – which can be very valuable, just look at Atlanta with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman last year. The only thing I don’t like about this draft is that New Orleans didn’t take an edge rusher until the third round.
New York Giants
Selections: TE Evan Engram (Round: 1 Pick: 23), DL Dalvin Tomlinson (Round: 2 Pick: 55), QB Davis Webb (Round: 3 Pick: 87), RB Wayne Gallman (Round: 4 Pick: 140), Edge Avery Moss (Round: 5 Pick: 167), and T Adam Bisnowaty (Round: 6 Pick: 200)
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Engram in the Giants’ offense. He’s an athletic pass-catching tight end that is going to make a lot of plays in the NFL. However, the Giants really needed a left tackle to protect Eli Manning, and didn’t even take an offensive tackle until the sixth round – although Bisnowaty was a steal at that point. Tomlinson should be a good replacement for Johnathan Hankins as the run stopper on the defensive line. However, drafting him in the second round was a bit of a reach. I’m also not a huge fan of Webb. I’ve never understood the hype around him. Outside of Engram, the other picks that I like are Gallman and Moss. Gallman was a stud in college and he has the potential to be a good running back at the next level. Moss should be able to provide depth at edge rusher too. Overall, this was a fine draft by the Giants but I’m not sure they improved much.
New York Jets
Selections: S Jamal Adams (Round: 1 Pick: 6), S Marcus Maye (Round: 2 Pick: 39), WR ArDarius Stewart (Round: 3 Pick: 79), WR Chad Hansen (Round: 4 Pick: 141), TE Jordan Leggett (Round: 5 Pick: 150), DL Dylan Donahue (Round: 5 Pick: 181), RB Elijah McGuire (Round: 6 Pick: 188), CB Jeremy Clark (Round: 6 Pick: 197), and CB Derrick Jones (Round: 6 Pick: 204)
I feel like this is the third-straight year that I’ve looked at the Jets’ draft and felt like they did a good job – which is rare for me. I like it even more than past years because they didn’t feel the need to take a quarterback early. The Jets needed some help at safety and they got two really good ones by drafting Adams and Maye in the first two rounds. I feel like they could develop into one of the league’s best safety duos in the future, and I wouldn’t be shocked if both are starting this year. I also really like their offensive selections. Stewart and Hansen finally give the Jets some depth at wide receiver. Leggett was also a steal in the fifth round, and I think he could develop into the franchise tight end that the Jets have been lacking for about the last decade. I just wish the Jets had used a pick on an edge rusher.
Selections: CB Gareon Conley (Round: 1 Pick: 24), S Obi Melifonwu (Round: 2 Pick: 56), DL Eddie Vanderdoes (Round: 3 Pick: 88), T David Sharpe (Round: 4 Pick: 129), LB Marquel Lee (Round: 5 Pick: 168), S Shalom Luani (Round: 7 Pick: 221), T Jylan Ware (Round: 7 Pick: 231), RB Elijah Hood (Round: 7 Pick: 242), and DL Treyvon Hester (Round: 7 Pick: 244)
Oakland has done an outstanding job of drafting the last few years, which is why I’m a little disappointed with this draft. Conley has rape allegations against him right now, but if it turns out to be untrue, he should be a really good NFL cornerback. Some of the picks after Conley I don’t understand though. Melifonwu is a crazy athletic safety, but did this team need a safety? I’ll like it more if he ends up playing slot cornerback. Vanderdoes fills a need on the defensive line, but he had injury problems at UCLA. I don’t like that Oakland waited until the fifth round to take an inside linebacker – I thought that was the biggest need for the Raiders. I also don’t like that Oakland didn’t take a running back until the seventh round – although I do feel like Hood was a steal. Marshawn Lynch is coming out of retirement and just turned 31 years old, I would’ve used an early pick on a younger running back.
Selections: Edge Derek Barnett (Round: 1 Pick: 14), CB Sidney Jones (Round: 2 Pick: 43), CB Rasul Douglas (Round: 3 Pick: 99), WR Mack Hollins (Round: 4 Pick: 118), RB Donnel Pumphrey (Round: 4 Pick: 132), WR Shelton Gibson (Round: 5 Pick: 166), S Nate Gerry (Round: 5 Pick: 184), and DL Elijah Qualls (Round: 6 Pick: 214)
I’m very impressed by Philadelphia’s draft for a second-consecutive year. The Eagles managed to get two first-round picks with their first two picks. Jones was a steal in the second round. I know he’s coming off a bad Achilles injury, but I really think he’s going to be a stud at the next level – some considered him the second best cornerback in this class. Barnett fills a need for Philadelphia at edge rusher, and should develop into a good player. I think Douglas was a solid pick in the third round too. He was buried in a deep cornerback class, but I think he’s going to have a successful career. Philadelphia had needs defensively, and the Eagles got a lot better on that side of the ball. I also like their offensive selections. Hollins is a project, but he’s a big-body outside wide receiver and should do good things with Carson Wentz. I don’t think people realize that Pumphrey led the nation in rushing last year at San Diego State. He’s small, but he’s fast. I think he’s going to be a better version of Darren Sproles. Gibson is a poor man’s DeSean Jackson. He has great speed, but needs work on route running though. Also, Qualls was a steal in the sixth round – I saw him getting picked as early as the third round.
Selections: Edge T.J. Watt (Round: 1 Pick: 30), WR Juju Smith-Schuster (Round: 2 Pick: 62), CB Cam Sutton (Round: 3 Pick: 94), RB James Conner (Round: 3 Pick: 105), QB Josh Dobbs (Round: 4 Pick: 135), CB Brian Allen (Round: 5 Pick: 173), LS Colin Holba (Round: 6 Pick: 213), and Edge Keion Adams (Round: 7 Pick: 248)
I’m not crazy about Pittsburgh’s first-round selection. I just haven’t seen the hype to Watt. I’ve said the only reason he was getting attention was because his brother is J.J. Watt – three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Outside of the first round though, I feel like this was a solid draft by the Steelers. They needed a No. 2 wide receiver to pair with Antonio Brown, and I think they got a good one in Smith-Schuster. Sutton and Allen were a good picks in the third and fifth rounds – both should be contributors in Pittsburgh’s cornerback rotation. Picking Conner makes a ton of sense too. The Steelers needed to get a younger No. 2 running back, and Le’Veon Bell’s contract is up after this year. Lastly, watch out for Dobbs. I feel like he could be the Dak Prescott of this draft class if Ben Roethlisberger gets injured.
San Francisco 49ers
Selections: Edge Solomon Thomas (Round: 1 Pick: 3), LB Reuben Foster (Round: 1 Pick: 31), CB Ahkello Witherspoon (Round: 3 Pick: 66), QB C.J. Beathard (Round: 3 Pick: 104), RB Joe Williams (Round: 4 Pick: 121), TE George Kittle (Round: 5 Pick: 146), WR Trent Taylor (Round: 5 Pick: 177), DL D.J. Jones (Round: 6 Pick: 198), Edge Pita Taumoepenu (Round: 6 Pick: 202), and DB Adrian Colbert (Round: 7 Pick: 229)
Well done, San Francisco. This was John Lynch’s first draft as the new general manager of the 49ers, and I’m very impressed. First, the way he basically tricked Chicago into giving up three picks to draft Mitchell Trubisky, and San Francisco moves back just one spot and still drafts Thomas – the player the 49ers wanted at No. 2 anyway. Then, he used the picks that Chicago gave them to trade back into the first round and draft Foster. So, he managed to get two of the top five players in this draft. I think Witherspoon was a good pick because San Francisco has needed help at cornerback for years. Williams is an athletic running back that should be able to push Carlos Hyde for the starting job. Kittle is a good blocking tight end that has plenty of potential to develop into a good pass catcher. The only reason I didn’t give the 49ers a higher grade is because I’m not crazy about them drafting Beathard in the third round – that was a major reach.
Selections: DL Malik McDowell (Round: 2 Pick: 35), C Ethan Pocic (Round: 2 Pick: 58), CB Shaquill Griffin (Round: 3 Pick: 90), S Delano Hill (Round: 3 Pick: 95), DL Nazair Jones (Round: 3 Pick: 102), WR Amara Darboh (Round: 3 Pick: 106), S Tedric Thompson (Round: 4 Pick: 111), S Michael Tyson (Round: 6 Pick: 187), T Justin Senior (Round: 6 Pick: 210), WR David Moore (Round: 7 Pick: 226), and RB Christopher Carson (Round: 7 Pick: 249)
Seattle did what it does almost every year and that’s trade out of the first round to acquire more picks later in the draft – and once again, the Seahawks made the most of it. McDowell is a typical Seattle pick in the last few years. He fills a need on the interior of the defensive line, has a ton of upside, but work ethic is a question mark – believe me, Seattle will get the best out of him. Pocic wasn’t considered the top center in this class, but he fills a need. Seattle’s offensive line has been lacking a center since trading Max Unger a few years ago. Jones was a great pick in the third round and will be a backup plan in case the Seahawks can’t get McDowell to play to his potential. Griffin gives the Legion of Boom another cornerback to pair with Richard Sherman and cover the other side of the field – something that has been missing since Brandon Browner left Seattle. Darboh should be a good speedy deep threat for Russell Wilson. I also really like that Seattle took safeties Hill and Thompson. That actually makes a ton of sense because when Earl Thompson got hurt last year, the Seahawks’ defense really went downhill. Hill and Thompson will give Seattle some depth at safety.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Selections: TE O.J. Howard (Round: 1 Pick: 19), S Justin Evans (Round: 2 Pick: 50), WR Chris Godwin (Round: 3 Pick: 84), LB Kendall Beckwith (Round: 3 Pick: 107), RB Jeremy McNichols (Round: 5 Pick: 162), DL Stevie Tu’ikolovatu (Round: 7 Pick: 223)
The more I think about it, the more I think Tampa Bay might’ve had the best draft. That’s mostly because the Buccaneers got Jameis Winston a bunch of playmakers offensively. It’s rare to get a steal in the first round, but the Buccaneers got one by drafting Howard – almost everyone had him going in the top 10. Godwin was great value in the third round, and he should see a lot of playing time in the Buccaneers’ passing game. McNichols was a steal in the fifth round and I think he could end up beating out Doug Martin for the starting running back spot. Tampa Bay made some impressive picks and now their offense has really improved. Also, defensively, Tampa Bay needed some help in the secondary by drafting Evans. He’s a physical player and should be a really good in-the-box safety.
Selections: WR Corey Davis (Round: 1 Pick: 5), CB Adoree’ Jackson (Round: 1 Pick: 18), WR Taywan Taylor (Round: 3 Pick: 72), TE Jonnu Smith (Round: 3 Pick: 100), LB Jayon Brown (Round: 5 Pick: 155), OL Corey Levin (Round: 6 Pick: 217), Edge Josh Carraway (Round: 7 Pick: 227), T Brad Seaton (Round: 7 Pick: 236), and RB Khalfani Muhammad (Round: 7 Pick: 241)
Tennessee addressed its biggest needs in the draft. The Titans had to get better on the perimeter and find some throwing targets for Marcus Mariota. They did that, but I feel like they reached in the first round. I’m actually okay with Tennessee taking Davis in the top five. You could certainly make the argument that he was the most polished wide receiver in this class. He’s going to make a lot of plays with Mariota. What I have a problem with is that the Titans took Jackson at No. 18. There were a lot of better cornerbacks on the board at that point and I feel like Tennessee really reached for him. He’s an okay defender, but I feel like he’s going to be a better kick returner than cornerback in the NFL. That being said, I still like some of the picks Tennessee had. I think Taylor was an underrated wide receiver in this class and could become the No. 3 option in the Titans’s passing game. Smith was a bit of a reach but he’s very athletic and should develop into a solid tight end. I even feel like Brown in the fifth round was great value. He’s a bit undersized but he has great speed and will probably be used in coverage on passing downs.
Selections: DL Jonathan Allen (Round: 1 Pick: 17), Edge Ryan Anderson (Round: 2 Pick: 49), CB Fabian Moreau (Round: 3 Pick: 81), RB Samaje Perine (Round: 4 Pick: 114), S Montae Nicholson (Round: 4 Pick: 123), TE Jeremy Sprinkle (Round: 5 Pick: 154), C Chase Roullier (Round: 6 Pick: 199), WR Robert Davis (Round: 6 Pick: 209), S Josh Harvey-Clemons (Round: 7 Pick: 230), and DB Joshua Holsey (Round: 7 Pick: 235)
I feel like Washington put together a very underrated draft. Overall, I feel like the Redskins got great value and some good players in five of their first six picks. First off, they finally got some help on the defensive line by taking Allen in the first round – who was considered a top five player in this draft, and therefore was an absolute steal at No. 17. Anderson helps bring some depth at edge rusher – which is something Washington has been trying to get for years. Moreau was a steal in the third round and immediately gives the Redskins a No. 2 cornerback. I’m not sure how good Perine will be in the NFL because he doesn’t have great speed and is just almost all size and power. However, I think he plays faster than his 40 time and his physical running style will cause him to break tackles and create extra yardage. Nicholson felt like a reach in the fourth round, but Washington really needed to add a safety in this draft. Sprinkle is a good tight end, and with him, the Redskins have created a tough offense to match up with defensively.
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