AFC Draft Grades
The Ravens play the draft a lot like the Patriots do. If you don’t love a guy, trade back and get some more future picks. The Ravens don’t have huge glaring needs and so they are able to fill holes. Upshaw will probably turn into a double digit sack guy, just because the Ravens drafted him and they know how to get the most out of their pass rushers. Osemele is a good enough athlete on the line that he can play many different spots for them which will give them some great depth on a thin line. Also Pierce will be a great back to help Rice stay fresh late in the season.
The Bills have plenty of holes so as long as they don’t draft two QBs, they were going to have a solid draft. I thought Gilmore was a bit of a reach but they needed a CB badly and he will start right away. Glenn was a great pick for them as they needed help on the line. I don’t know if he will be able to start for them at LT but there is little doubt that he will at least contribute quickly even if it is just at RT. I think Bradham is a project but will be starting for them in the next couple of years.
CB Dre Kilpatrick, G Kevin Zeitler, DT Devon Still, WR Mohamed Sanu, DT Brandon Thompson, TE Orson Charles, CB Shaun Prater, WR Marvin Jones, SS George Iloka, RB Dan Herron.
With a little help from the Raiders, the Bengals took advantage to fill their needs and they took care of their two biggest needs with the first two picks. I think that Kirkpatrick is a great fit for them. Zeitler will definitely help their run game that could use a boost. Still can start for them opening day as they could use some help up front. This defense is ready to make some huge strides with these pieces. Also Sanu is a great pick up to line up on the other side of Green and moving Shipley in the slot where he will be most effective.
RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, OT Mitchell Schwartz, DT John Hughes, WR Travis Benjamin, ILB James-Michael Johnson, T Ryan Miller, ILB Emmanuel Acho, DT Billy Winn, CB Trevin Wade, RB Brad Smelley
I have never seen a team panic as much as the Browns. I don’t know what the Vikings said to them, but the fact that they traded multiple picks just to swap picks and get the same guy that they would have gotten anyway is just beyond me. I think Richardson is a great pick, but just no composure. Then drafting Weeden is strange at best. He could have been taken in the second round and oh yeah, he is 29 years old. The picks of Hughes and Benjamin make little sense. Hughes is there for depth but won’t even get a chance to start unless there is an injury and Benjamin is no different of a WR then Cribbs or Norwood at WR. More head scratching moments than anything during this draft.
DE Derek Wolfe, QB Brock Osweiler, RB Ronnie Hillman, CB Omar Bolden, C Philip Blake, DE Malik Jackson, LB Danny Trevathan
This draft is a little strange to grade. Did they address some needs? Yes they did, but the players that they chose were chosen before higher ranked players. Wolfe will be a pick that will be questioned for awhile. Osweiler is a project at QB but having Manning there will help. They just have to hope that Manning is ready to go or Osweiler will get a rude awakening. Hillman is another pick that was taken I think earlier with other good RBs still on the board. Like I said their needs were addressed, but just because I need to take a shower and instead I jump in a pond, doesn’t mean that I am now clean.
A mixed bag if there was ever one in the NFL draft. I like Mercilus but I’m not sure that that was a big need for the Texans. Posey I think will be a development WR which is alright, but should be able to contribute at least some. Their best picks come later in the rounds with Crick a great value pick and Jones will be starting for them very soon and playing for a long time at center. The Texans added value, but I’m not sure that they are going to see huge strides from their rookies like that they last year.
Drafting Luck is always a great start. Getting one of his number one targets in Fleener was a smart idea and will make Luck feel a little more comfortable. Chapman I think is a great value in the fourth round to start rebuilding an aging defensive line. Where I think they went a little off was in the 3rd round when they got Allen another TE and WR Hilton who I think will have to get some good coaching and I’m not sure is going to develop very quickly with a rookie QB no matter how good Luck is. What will push this to an A is if Ballard can prove to be a decent RB that was taken in the 5th round.
WR Justin Blackmon, DE Andre Branch, P Bryan Anger, OLB Brandon Marshall, CB Mike Harris, DT Jeris Pendleton
Over the last 7 years, only 3 WRs have been taken in the top 5 picks, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and now Justin Blackman. If you miss it looks really bad. He more reminds me of Michael Crabtree, underwhelming. They needed to take a chance to prove to themselves that Gabbert was not just the worst pick for them. They did take Branch which was a big need for them at DE which is why they got the plus in the D. They choose a punter, which is fine, but they did in the 3rd round. It’s like convincing the new guy in fantasy football that you have to take a kicker early in the draft. This however is real life and the buy in is a little more than $20.
I keep going back and forth on the Poe pick. I came up with this. What else were the Chiefs supposed to do? Yes they could have traded down, but they might not have gotten to get their man. Poe was the best NT by far in the draft and with the Chiefs that being their only glaring need, you might as well take the best one. The rest of the draft looks like adding depth. Jeff Allen will probably move to guard which will probably take over for Lilja next year. Stephenson is a project on the offensive line. Wylie is fast and can spread the defense a little bit. Overall this wasn’t a flashy draft, but adds much needed depth.
Everyone is going to mark them way down for taking a QB this high who has no business going in the top 10, but at some point if you’re the Dolphins you have to take a chance and so Tannehill is that chance. Jonathan Martin is a steal in the 2nd round and will give whoever starts at QB a little protection. Lamar Miller is a great pick for needed depth at RB since Thomas hasn’t proved much yet. For a team that needs a lot more pieces, there was small holes that were filled and not other glaring holes.
DE Chandler Jones, ILB Dont'a Hightower, SS Tavon Wilson, DE Jake Bequette, DB Nate Ebner, CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Jeremy Ebert.
Whenever I want a team to draft someone, the Patriots take him instead. Jones will give them great pass rush that is much needed. Hightower is going to join Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes which is just scary at LB. Wilson also will give them some needed depth in the secondary that they so much needed last year. This was a strange draft though for the Patriots as they did not have any 4th or 5th round picks. That is the only thing that is keeping them out of the high A grade is the unusual lack of picks.
DE Quinton Coples, WR Stephen Hill, OLB Demario Davis, DB Josh Bush, RB Terrance Ganaway, OT Robert T. Griffin, SS Antonio Allen, WR Jordan White.
Coples does some good things for the Jets that will help them on the defensive line. I don’t know that Coples will give them a lot of help on their more major need which is getting after the quarterback. Stephen Hill was taken I heard so he could block downfield for the run game. Getting a WR in the second round just so he can block seems like a bit of a reach and he is a project at WR. Davis does give them some versatility at LB that is much needed.
G Tony Bergstrom, OLB Miles Burris, DE Jack Crawford, WR Juron Criner, DT Christo Bilukidi, LB Nathan Stupar
You have to grade the Raiders for what they gave up and when you don’t have first or second round picks, it hurts your future for sure. Since Palmer is looking a little lost in Oakland, giving up a first round pick seems high for all the holes they have. Bergstrom does give them depth on the offensive line and possibly starts quickly at right tackle. Criner might surprise a few people at WR as he was taken in the 5th round.
I almost have them at a perfect A+. Maybe the only thing is that they didn’t address any depth in the secondary which could have used a guy, but that’s nit picking. DeCastro is a steal at 24. The guy could be the best guard in the last decade. Mike Adams gives them a tackle that will help probably first game. Spence is a great project that Tomlin loves to keep replenishing the system. The fact that Ta’amu was taken in the 4th round is crazy. Also don’t sleep on Rainey who can spell Mendenhall a little bit this year.
I love Ingram and his athletic skills, but I don’t see how he fits in the 3-4. He will be playing OLB and I think he might get run over during running plays. Reyes will give some flexibility in the defensive line which was needed and Taylor is a straight athlete in the secondary. Green is an interesting pick at TE. I think that he will need some coaching and figure out how he fits into this offense but I think they are trying to take a guy and hope Gates coaches him up.
WR Kendall Wright, OLB Zach Brown, DT Mike Martin, CB Coty Sensabaugh, DE Taylor Thompson, FS Markelle Martin, DE Scott Solomon
Wright is a hugely overrated. He is a fast WR, but needs a gun slinger at QB like he had with RGIII. Like Vick or Newton or Brees, but not Hasselbeck or Locker. Special teams does not matter as much since returns are almost pointless now. Having said all of that Brown, Martin and Sensabaugh are players who probably won’t start right away but will continue to replenish the defense pot that the Titans have taken pride in.
NFC Draft Grades
WR Michael Floyd, CB Jarnell Fleming, OT Bobby Massie, G Senio Kelemete, CB Justin Bethel, QB Ryan Lindley, OT Nate Potter
You have to take into consideration the Kolb trade with a 2nd round pick. That has had mixed results, and if Kolb came out and did a great job, this would have been an easy A, but this is an overall solid draft. Floyd went right where he was supposed to at 13th and gives them plenty of options now for Kolb. Fleming is great value at round 3 and probably plays nickel for them this year. Massie is probably the best value that they got with the 4th round selection and much needed help on the offensive line. They definitely went offense heavy which is right where they needed to go.
C Peter Konz, OT Lamar Holmes, FB Bradie Ewing, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, SS Charles Mitchell, DT Travian Robertson
Again, if you are grading the draft you have to take into account what players were used for what picks and with Julio Jones taking a first round pick away from this one, it takes away from the value as he didn’t produce right off the bat like 2 first round picks should. This was headed toward a C, but they get Knoz in the second round who is the best center in the draft. He might be moved to guard, but a versatile player non-the-less. The Falcons went safe for most of the picks, but Massaquoi might have the most upside in the later rounds.
I think Kuechly was an interesting pick for them. I think they have bigger needs then at LB, but no doubt the guy can play. Silatolu is a good guard who probably can step in day 1 and contribute. I think Adams is a complete steal and the big WR that is much need for Cam Newton. This grade goes up if they addressed their biggest need which was DT. Thought Cox would have been perfect for them, but either way, the Panthers will take whatever they can get on defense.
OLB Shea McClellin, WR Alshon Jeffery, FS Brandon Hardin, TE Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, CB Greg McCoy
People are really loving this draft. I like it, but don’t love it. The reason the Bears continue to have one of the best defenses year after year is because they draft well in the early rounds with defensive people like McClellin who continues to get talent in their LB core. Culter has to be thinking, you got to be kidding me with finally getting Marshall and now getting Jeffery. It will seem like Christmas for him now with competent WRs. Rodriquez is the bigger Hester with him being able to line up as a TE, RB, or FB. When he is in the game you better be ready for anything. What kept them from an A was no offensive linemen taken even though that could have been their biggest need.
CB Morris Claiborne, DE Tyrone Crawford, OLB Kyle Wilber, DB Matt Johnson, WR Danny Coale, TE James Hanna, LB Caleb McSurdy
The fact that they traded up to get Claiborne was genius. They get their number one need and get the best player at his position. The rest of the draft is iffy but they add depth for the front 7 with Crawford and Wiber. It was a need based picks, but it’s hard to imagine that they will be replacing any starters any time soon, but does get them depth. Watch Hanna, the TE they picked in the 6th round, as a sleeper.
OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles, CB Dwight Bentley, OLB Ronnell Lewis, OLB Tahir Whitehead, CB Chris Greenwood, DB Jonte Green, OLB Travis Lewis
I love the Reiff pick. I thought that was one of the best of the draft for pure value and need. Then things got a little interesting. Broyles is a little bit of a project, but what better way to coach a guy up then already having the best WR in the game. Bentley was just a much needed player who probably starts for them quickly. The Lions took 3 CBs, not that they don’t need them, but I don’t see any of them becoming stars, but just role players who can fill in and add depth.
OLB Nick Perry, DT Jerel Worthy, CB Casey Hayward, DT Mike Daniels, DB Jerron McMillian, OLB Terrell Manning, OT Andrew Datko, QB B.J. Coleman
I think the Packers look at the draft now like the Steelers do. Take the guy you like and in a position that is of need and it probably works out more times than not. Perry makes a great pick as a pass rusher in the first round. They also take Worth in the second round which wasn’t sexy, but great value. Hayward probably starts for them very soon at corner because of his ball skills. Also, possibly the biggest steal of the draft is Datko an OT from FSU was a preseason first round pick before getting injured this year.
OT Matt Kalil, SS Harrison Smith, CB Josh Robinson, WR Jarius Wright, TE Rhett Ellison, WR Greg Childs, CB Robert Blanton, K Blair Walsh, OLB Audie Cole, DE Trevor Guyton.
The Vikings get a bump just because they punked Cleveland so bad convincing them to trade spots with them to draft Richardson. Kalil is the best OT in the draft, and address a big need. Harrison Smith is I think underrated even though he was taken in the first round will start right away. Robinson who is a CB from UCF gives them another defensive player who probably starts day 1 for them. The only thing that would have given them the A+ is addressing depth for their front 7 before round 7, but that’s small compared to everything else.
DT Akiem Hicks, WR Nick Toon, DB Corey White, G Andrew Tiller, OT Marcel Jones
They spent this year’s first round pick on taking Ingram from last year. They had their 2nd round pick taken away from Goodell because, well Goodell spun his punishment wheel and it landed on getting their 2nd round picks taken away. Ingram hasn’t worked out great, plus Hicks has a lot to prove before he can get some playing time. We might be seeing the end of the Saints reign NFC South.
RB David Wilson, WR Rueben Randle, CB Jayron Hosley, TE Adrien Robinson, OT Brandon Mosley, OT Matt McCants, DT Markus Kuhn
Unless there is a top end talent at RB, I don’t like taking one in the first round. Wilson is good, but RBs are not needed as much and especially with Bradshaw not losing his job anytime soon, Wilson is a compliment at best. Randle is a big WR who will be good in the redzone, but again, not their biggest need. They needed some interior offensive lineman and LB help that was not addressed.
DE Fletcher Cox, ILB Mychal Kendricks, DE Vinny Curry, QB Nick Foles, CB Brandon Boykin, OT Dennis Kelly, WR Marvin McNutt, G Brandon Washington, RB Bryce Brown
Philadelphia fell into the perfect storm of getting great value at needed positions. Fletcher is a great piece for Andy Reid to use. I say that Kendricks starts for them at MLB right away. Foles is a great project for them at QB. Honestly, I could see them using him like Kolb where he comes in when Vick gets hurt and then everyone that doesn’t have a QB wants him. Boykin will be great for depth at CB for them also. Safety wasn’t addressed though which makes it an A- instead of a solid A.
Maybe they need a D, this draft just doesn’t make much sense. They take another WR with one of their picks and it’s not even one that was highly rated. LaMichael James was a great college player, but don’t count on him being anything special. Honestly Cam Johnson could be their most productive player on this team who was taken in the 7th round at DE. San Francisco added speed which is a good start, and maybe they were looking for players who could strike quickly, but it seems like an odd draft and not what their team is right now which is control the ball and play defense.
I just don’t know what Seattle was thinking. Bruce Irvin? Russell Wilson? I mean they are good college players, and they might be decent pros, but where they drafted them you have to scratch your head. Wagner gives them so much needed help in the MLB position. They did fail to get a pass rusher which many could argue was their biggest need. They did have 10 picks so maybe they are playing a game of numbers.
The Rams turned the 2nd overall pick into nearly half a team. They will be getting picks for nearly ever from the Redskins plus they kept trading back in the first round and still wound up with Brockers. Quick gives them help at WR, Jenkins is a crazy dude, but can play a heck of a CB. Pead will give Jackson some time off at RB. That was just in the first 2 rounds! The Rams are going to build a Fisher like team and they certainly did that with this draft.
SS Mark Barron, RB Doug Martin, OLB Lavonte David, ILB Najee Goode, CB Keith Tandy, RB Michael Smith, TE Drake Dunsmore
I think the Bucs addressed their needs but didn’t get the best value that they could have. Barron is a solid safety and Martin will help their run game, but both 1st round picks hurt them with the rest of their depth in other areas. David will fit in well with their defense and fills a much needed need at LB. The Bucs did so much in free agency that they were just filling in the rest of the gaps that they couldn’t throw money at during free agency.
RGIII is the most excitement in Washington since, well, probably ever. They took a chance and spent a lot to get him and they did. We will judge this pick for years, but right now it looks promising. They gave him some line help to maybe buy him some protection with Leribeus. Cousins is just a complete head scratcher with drafting another QB, he has to feel like there is little future for him. I think Robinson gets some playing time pretty quickly with his physical play. Also the RB Morris seems like he is going to fit really well in the one cut and go style that Shanahan runs.