Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 NFL Draft Final Grades: NFC

As we close the 2016 NFL Draft season and look forward to the long summer of OTAs until Training Camp begins, it is inevitably time to assess just what happened in Chicago this year and give an instant grade. This, of course, is as ridiculous and futile a task as making a mock draft prior, as we will not really know the results for another 3 years. However, it is interesting to look back at season's end to see where the team itself showed blindness to their needs and who gets fired as a result. So here is my final draft post for the season complete with draftees, grade, future picks acquired and what player their draft hinges on. Enjoy!

Minnesota Vikings

Grade: A-
1 (23) Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
2 (54) Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
4 (121) Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan
5 (160) Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri
6 (180) (from San Francisco) Moritz Boehringer, WR, Germany
6 (188) David Morgan, TE, UTSA
7 (227) Stephen Weatherly, OLB, Vanderbilt
7 (244) Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson
Player Draft Hinges On: WR Moritz Boehringer
Analysis: The Vikings showed patience, stuck to their board and go 5 potential starters and a lottery ticket from Germany. Treadwell is instantly the #1 WR Bridgewater needs, got a mercurial #1 CB type in Alexander, a G/T who could contribute immediately in Beavers, the 2nd best MLB prospect in the draft in Brothers and a very underrated TE in Morgan. But Boehringer will get all the buzz as a 6'4" 227 lbs WR coming straight from Germany. This pick also insures the Vikings will be playing a preseason game in Europe sometime soon.

Washington Redskins

Grade: B+
1 (22) (from Houston) Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
2 (53) Su’a Cravens, S, USC
3 (84) Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
5 (152) (from New Orleans) Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple
6 (187) (from New Orleans) Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
7 (232) (from Tampa Bay) Steven Daniels, ILB, Boston College
7 (242) Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
Player Draft Hinges On: CB Kendall Fuller
Analysis: Perhaps no one had a more masterful weekend than the Redskins front office. In addition to picking up an extra 4th, 5th and 6th round pick in 2017, the Redskins land the 2nd best WR in this draft in Doctson, an intriguing SS/LB in Cravens and a run stuffing NT in Ioannidis. If Fuller recovers fully from the knee injury to pair with Josh Norman, the Skins could repeat as division champs.

Seattle Seahawks

Grade: B+
1 (31) (from Denver) Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
2 (49) (from Buffalo via Chicago) Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
3 (90) C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
3 (94) (from Denver) Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
3 (97) Rees Odhiambo, G, Boise State
5 (147) Quinton Jefferson, DT, Maryland
5 (171) Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
6 (215) Joey Hunt, C, TCU
7 (243) Kenny Lawler, WR, California
7 (247) Zac Brooks, RB, Clemson
Player Draft Hinges On: RB CJ Prosise
Analysis: The Seahawks added 2 pieces to their OL, the 2nd or 3rd best DT in the draft and 2 RBs to replace Marshawn Lynch. If Prosise can transfer his skills to the next level, he becomes a perfect complement to Rawls as a pass catcher.

Green Bay Packers

Grade: B+
1 (27) Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
2 (48) (from Indianapolis) Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
3 (88) Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
4 (131) Blake Martinez, ILB, Stanford
4 (137) Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern
5 (163) Trevor Davis, WR, California
6 (200) Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
Player Draft Hinges On: LB Blake Martinez
Analysis: Certain teams seem to be on the "winners" list every year and one of those teams is the Packers. They draft a BJ Raji replacement in Clark, trade up for a very quality pass-blocking OT and get a hybrid pass rusher in Fackrell. If Martinez can step in and move Matthews back outside, this draft is a blockbuster.

Chicago Bears

Grade: B
1 (9) (from Tampa Bay) Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
2 (56) (from Seattle) Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
3 (72) Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
4 (113) (from Philadelphia via Tennessee) Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, West Virginia
4 (124) (from Seattle) Deon Bush, S, Miami
4 (127) (from New England) Deiondre’ Hall, CB, Northern Iowa
5 (150) Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
6 (185) DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary
7 (230) Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
Player Draft Hinges On: LB Leonard Floyd
Analysis: The Bears moved all over the board on Days 1 and 2, netting themselves an extra 4th next year and a bevvy of good picks. Floyd was their big target in round 1 and can hopefully be a better blitzing LB than his predecessor, former 1st rounder Shea McClellin.

New York Giants

Grade: B
1 (10) Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
2 (40) Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
3 (71) Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
4 (109) B.J. Goodson, ILB, Clemson
5 (149) Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
6 (184) Jerrell Adams, TE, South Carolina
Player Draft Hinges On: CB Eli Apple
Analysis: The team most victimized by the Tunsil "gas-mask bong" was the Giants. Sitting on the edge of the first talent tier, the Titans and Bears jumped ahead of the G-men to land their 2 targets and left them scrabbling for plan C. Apple is a quality choice but will need to be the best CB in this class to make the pick grade well. After round 1, however, the Giants were on point; getting 5 potential starters including my #2 TE in the 6th round.

New Orleans Saints

Grade: B
1 (12) Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
2 (47) Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
2 (61) (from New England via Arizona) Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State|
4 (120) (from Washington) David Onyemata, DT, University of Manitoba
7 (237) Daniel Lasco, RB, California
Player Draft Hinges On: S Vonn Bell
Analysis: Despite relatively few picks, the Saints came out with a great haul. Rankins is the best pass rushing DT in the class, Thomas is a big target to replace Colston, Bell is a cerebral safety to help the seconday and Lasco is an ideal 3rd down back. I found the drafting of Bell curious as they already have Byrd and Vaccarro on the back end but if they can find the right role for him then this draft is solid.

Detroit Lions

Grade: B
1 (16) Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
2 (46) A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
3 (95) Graham Glasgow, C, Michigan
4 (111) Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah
5 (151) Joe Dahl, G, Washington State
5 (169) (from Denver) Antwione Williams, ILB, Georgia Southern
6 (191) Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan
6 (202) (from Seattle) Anthony Zettel, DE, Penn State
6 (210) Jimmy Landes, LS, Baylor
7 (236) Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington
Player Draft Hinges On: DT A'Shawn Robinson
Analysis: The Lions went for beef in the 2016 NFL Draft, getting RT Decker to start opposite Schreff, Glasow to start at C and Dahl to compete for a spot at G. But the big pick for them will be the sliding Robinson. If he can prove the scouts wrong and duplicate his Alabama level, the Lions will have finally found their replacement for Suh.

Dallas Cowboys

Grade: B-
1 (4) Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
2 (34) Jaylon Smith, ILB, Notre Dame
3 (67) Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
4 (101) Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
4 (135) Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
6 (189) (from Oakland) Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue
6 (212) Kavon Frazier, S, Central Michigan
6 (216) Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan
6 (217) Rico Gathers, TE, Baylor
Player Draft Hinges On: LB Jaylon Smith
Analysis: The Cowboys chose to fix their defense by making their offense unstoppable. Adding Elliott to that offensive line could be dominant. However, their pass rush seems worrisome with their 2 starting DEs suspended the first 4 games and only adding Tapper to that mix. Prescott should be in the mix to backup Romo and Brown should add quality depth to their secondary. But the draft relies on the knee of Jaylon Smith. If he can return to action in 2017 at the same level, the Cowboys will have nabbed a game changing LB in the 2nd round. If not, then this will be just another blown Cowboys draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Grade: B-
1 (11) (from Chicago) Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
2 (39) Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
2 (59) (from Kansas City) Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State
4 (108) Ryan Smith, CB, North Carolina Central
5 (148) Caleb Benenoch, OT, UCLA
6 (183) Devante Bond, OLB, Oklahoma
6 (197) (from Washington) Dan Vitale, FB, Northwestern
Player Draft Hinges On: DE Noah Spence
Analysis: It is hard to recover from trading up to take a kicker in the 2nd round! Unless this guy never misses a kick in his entire career and nails it from 60+ yards consistently, this pick is just dumb. However, getting the best cover corner in a trade down and grabbing the best pass rusher in the draft in the 2nd is a good start. If Spence can stay off of the Molly and develop his already impressive burst and bend on the edge, then no one will remember their 2nd round kicker.

Arizona Cardinals

Grade: B-
1 (29) Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
3 (92) Brandon Williams, CB, Texas A&M
4 (128) Evan Boehm, C, Missouri
5 (167) Marqui Christian, S, Midwest State
5 (170) Cole Toner, OT, Harvard
6 (205) Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
Player Draft Hinges On: DE Robert Nkemdiche
Analysis: Perhaps no other draft is one dependent on one player than the Cards' 2016 effort. If Nkemdiche can keep out of the commissioner's office and inside his hotel room windows, then the Cardinals grabbed perhaps the #1 DT in this draft. Their other picks seem more hopeful and developmental than solid and ready.

Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: B-
1 (2) (from Cleveland) Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
3 (79) Isaac Seumalo, C, Oregon State
5 (153) Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
5 (164) (from Pittsburgh) Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU
6 (196) Blake Countess, CB, Auburn
7 (233) Jalen Mills, S, LSU
7 (240) Alex McCalister, DE, Florida
7 (251) (from Arizona) Joe Walker, ILB, Oregon
Player Draft Hinges On: QB Carson Wentz
Analysis: When a team pays the ransom to go draft a QB high (giving up a 1st and 3rd next year as well), their draft is usually dependent on his success. And of course that is true for the Philadelphia Eagles as well; hoping Carson Wentz is their starter in 1-2 years. However, I really liked the other picks by the Eagles in this draft. Seumalo is a C/G prospect who rose quickly, Smallwood is a grinder RB that could start this year and Mills is a sliding talent that may flourish in the right system.

Atlanta Falcons

Grade: C+
1 (17) Keanu Neal, S, Florida
2 (52) (from Houston) Deion Jones, ILB, LSU
3 (81) Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
4 (115) De’Vondre Campbell, OLB, Minnesota
6 (195) (from New York Giants via Houston) Wes Schweitzer, G, San Jose State
7 (238) Devin Fuller, WR, UCLA
Player Draft Hinges On: TE Austin Hooper
Analysis: I'm not sure what exactly the plan was for the Falcons, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't it. The hope is that Neal can become Dan Quinn's new Kam Chancellor at SS, but was drafted a round too high. Jones is a speedy S/LB hybrid, but then so is Neal. And Schweitzer proved to be the biggest reach of the entire draft, barely making into my Top 500 prospects. However, if Hooper can become a quality starter at TE for Atlanta then this draft can be salvageable.

San Francisco 49ers

Grade: C+
1 (7) DeForest Buckner, DT, Oregon
1 (28) (from Kansas City) Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford
3 (68) Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
4 (133) Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU
5 (142) (from San Diego) Ronald Blair, DT, Appalachian State
5 (145) John Theus, OT, Georgia
5 (174) Fahn Cooper, OT, Ole Miss
6 (207) (from Denver) Jeff Driskel, QB, Louisiana Tech
6 (211) Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
6 (213) Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State
7 (249) (from Kansas City) Prince Charles Iworah, CB, Western Kentucky
Player Draft Hinges On: G Joshua Garnett
Analysis: I like many of the picks of the Niners, including Buckner in the 1st, Redmond in the 3rd and Blair in the 5th. However, I still don't understand why they felt the need to trade back into the first round for a guard (though he was the #1 guard on my board). And many of the other players I serious "game film" concerns on, including Driskel, Taylor and Burbridge. My guess is at least half of this class is out of the league in 5 years.

Los Angeles Rams

Grade: C+
1 (1) (from Tennessee) Jared Goff, QB, California
4 (110) Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky
4 (117) (from Buffalo) Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
6 (177) (from Tennessee) Temarrick Hemingway, TE, South Carolina State
6 (190) Josh Forrest, ILB, Kentucky
6 (206) (from Carolina via Chicago) Michael Thomas, WR, Southern Mississippi
Player Draft Hinges On: TE Tyler Higbee
Analysis: As stated earlier with Philly, this will be recorded as a one-player draft (Goff). However, while I liked what Philly did with the rest of their picks, I found the Rams other picks underwhelming. Higbee is very talented, but assault charges earlier this year coupled with injury concerns made him damaged goods. Then they take another pass catching TE in Hemingway. Cooper is a do-everything speedster, but they already have that guy in Tavon Austin. The move to LA is all on the back of Jared Goff.

Carolina Panthers

Grade: C
1 (30) Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
2 (62) James Bradberry, S, Samford
3 (77) (from Cleveland via Detroit via Philadelphia) Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
5 (141) (from Cleveland) Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
7 (252) Beau Sandland, TE, Montana State
Player Draft Hinges On: CB James Bradberry
Analysis: The Superbowl losers have had an interesting offseason. Releasing their franchise CB Josh Norman without attempting to trade him was bizarre. Not really addressing the OL was also odd. Then the Panthers draft a very good DT in the first, but they already have 2 very good DTs. To fill the need in the secondary, they pick a S/CB hybrid in Bradberry, the gambling Sanchez and less-than-speedy Worley. Just weird.

2016 NFL Draft Final Grades: AFC

As we close the 2016 NFL Draft season and look forward to the long summer of OTAs until Training Camp begins, It is inevitably time to assess just what happened in Chicago this year and give an instant grade. This, of course, is as ridiculous and futile a task as making a mock draft prior, as we will not really know the results for another 3 years. However, it is interesting to look back at season's end to see where the team itself showed blindness to their needs and who gets fired as a result. So here is my final draft post for the season complete with draftees, grade, future picks acquired and what player their draft hinges on. Enjoy!

Jacksonville Jaguars

Grade: A
1 (5) Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
2 (36) (from Baltimore) Myles Jack, ILB, UCLA
3 (69) Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland
4 (103) Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
6 (181) Tyrone Holmes, DE, Montana
6 (201) (from Pittsburgh) Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas
7 (226) Jonathan Woodard, DE, Central Arkansas
Player Draft Hinges On: LB Myles Jack
Analysis: The Jags easily won the 2016 NFL Draft, getting the best player in the draft with the 5th pick, grabbing their 2nd choice in the 1st round with the 36th pick and then getting good quality throughout. Ngakoue and Holmes provide solid depth and Day is a steal in the 4th.

Baltimore Ravens

Grade: B+
1 (6) Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
2 (42) (from Miami) Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise State
3 (70) Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
4 (104) Tavon Young, CB, Temple
4 (107) (from Miami) Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
4 (130) (from Denver) Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska
4 (132) Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
4 (134) Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech
5 (146) (from Jacksonville) Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley State
6 (182) Keenan Reynolds, WR, Navy
6 (209) Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia
Player Draft Hinges On: CB Tavon Young
Analysis: Ozzie Newsome does his thing and finds quality at each and every pick. Stanley, Correa, Kaufusi and Moore could all start this year and Dixon, Henry, Judon and Reynolds will all contribute. The key is Tavon Young as the first CB selected for a team in need of immediate help. If Young can jump from Temple into the pros seamlessly, the draft is franchise-maker.

Buffalo Bills

Grade: B+
1 (19) Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
2 (41) (from Chicago) Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
3 (80) Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
4 (139) Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
5 (156) Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
6 (192) Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU
6 (218) Kevon Seymour, CB, USC
Player Draft Hinges On: LB Reggie Ragland
Analysis: Of course a Rex Ryan team drafts defense early. Lawson is a great compliment to Hughes on the DL. Ragland's slide due to a medical issue is the kind of thing forgotten about after a 10 year All-Pro career. Jones is an interesting toolsy prospect in need of seasoning. Williams and Listenbee might be the steals of Day 3, as each have starter potential. Only thing keeping this draft from a higher grade was the loss of a 4th round pick next year.

Cincinnati Bengals

Grade: B+
1 (24) William Jackson III, CB, Houston
2 (55) Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
3 (87) Nick Vigil, ILB, Utah State
4 (122) Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
5 (161) Christian Westerman, G, Arizona State
6 (199) Cody Core, WR, Ole Miss
7 (245) Clayton Fejedelem, S, Illinois
Player Draft Hinges On: WR Tyler Boyd
Analysis: The Bengals got outmaneuvered for their preferred WR in the 1st round in Fuller. However, they got a very good CB in Jackson III and kept him away from the division rival Steelers. They then get potential starters in Boyd, Vigil, Billings and Westerman in rounds 2-5. If Boyd can be a quality contributor at WR, this draft is a great success.

Oakland Raiders

Grade: B
1 (14) Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
2 (44) Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
3 (75) Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
4 (100) (from Tennessee via Philadelphia) Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
5 (143) (from Dallas) Deandre Washington, RB, Texas Tech
6 (194) (from Indianapolis) Cory James, OLB, Colorado State
7 (234) Vadal Alexander, G, LSU
Player Draft Hinges On: S Karl Joseph
Analysis: I really like the players the Raiders took throughout their draft. However, I thought almost every one of them was a slight reach. That being said, if the player can play no one cares if you drafted him 10 picks too early. If Joseph's knee gets healthy and he becomes the big play maker to replace Woodson then that already scary defense gets scarier.

Denver Broncos

Grade: B
1 (26) (from Seattle) Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
2 (63) Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech
3 (98) Justin Simmons, CB, Boston College
4 (136) Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
5 (144) (from Baltimore) Connor McGovern, G, Missouri
6 (176) (from Cleveland) Andy Janovich, FB, Nebraska
6 (219) Will Parks, S, Arizona
7 (228) (from San Francisco) Riley Dixon, P, Syracuse
Player Draft Hinges On: QB Paxton Lynch
Analysis: After the Manning retirement and letting Osweiler walk, the Broncos went all in on the tall QB from Memphis as the future. Despite their draft hinging on his development, they did get solid quality in the rest of the draft, add a NT in Gostis, a G/C prospect in McGovern, a cover safety in Simmons and a quality #2 back in Booker.

Houston Texans

Grade: B
1 (21) (from Washington) Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
2 (50) (from Atlanta) Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame
3 (85) Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
4 (119) Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State
5 (159) KJ Dillon, S, West Virginia
5 (166) (from New England) D.J. Reader, DT, Clemson
Player Draft Hinges On: WR Braxton Miller
Analysis: Speed, speed and more speed is the theme of the Texans draft. Fuller pairs with Hopkins to give them the fastest WR duo in the division. Add to that Tyler Ervin, who is a dynamic kick returner and 3rd down back. If they can find a way to unlock the athletic ability of Braxton Miller, the Texans will finally have a dynamic offense to compliment their stout defense.

Indianapolis Colts

Grade: B
1 (18) Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
2 (57) (from Green Bay) T.J. Green, S, Clemson
3 (82) Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
4 (116) Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas
4 (125) (from Green Bay) Antonio Morrison, OLB, Florida
5 (155) Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State
7 (239) Trevor Bates, OLB, Maine
7 (248) (from Green Bay) Austin Blythe, C, Iowa
Player Draft Hinges On: LB Antonio Morrison
Analysis: While the Texans went with speed, the Colts went for size. Kelly is the cornerstone of a new OL in front of Luck. Clark and Haeg should be a part of that line as well. Ridgeway could start at NT in week 1. Green was compared by some scouts to Ramsey favorably. If Morrison can keep his nose clean and add his speed to the ILB core, this is a very good draft.

Cleveland Browns

Grade: B-
1 (15) (from Los Angeles via Tennessee) Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
2 (32) Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
3 (65) Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
3 (76) (from Los Angeles via Tennessee) Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
3 (93) Cody Kessler, QB, USC
4 (99) Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin
4 (114) Ricardo Louis, WR, Auburn
4 (129) (from Carolina) Derrick Kindred, S, TCU
4 (138) Seth Devalve, WR/TE, Princeton
5 (154) (from Oakland) Jordan Payton, WR, UCLA
5 (168) (from Carolina) Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor
5 (172) Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State
5 (173) Trey Caldwell, CB, Louisiana-Monroe
7 (250) Scooby Wright III, ILB, Arizona
Player Draft Hinges On: DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Analysis: By trading down over and over, the Browns went for the "shotgun" method of drafting over the "rifle" method. In the process they did also net a future 1st, 2nd and 3rd next year, which helped keep their draft out of the C ratings. 5 wide receivers, 2 defensive ends and a backup QB highlight the class. The pick of Ogbah was curious to me as he doesn't seem a good fit for their scheme and his success will determine how this draft is viewed in the future.

San Diego Chargers

Grade: B-
1 (3) Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
2 (35) Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
3 (66) Max Tuerk, C, USC
4 (102) Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State
5 (175) Jatavis Brown, ILB, Akron
6 (179) Drew Kaser, P, Texas A&M
6 (198) (from Minnesota) Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin
7 (224) Donavon Clark, G, Michigan State
Player Draft Hinges On: C Max Tuerk
Analysis: The Chargers gave everyone the slip, selecting Joey Bosa #3 overall. They then drafted the Antonio Gates's heir apparent in Henry and depth at ILB (though I didn't really see that as an area of need). The Chargers draft should hinge on Tuerk, who could be a HOF center if he gets healthy. If he doesn't, this draft goes from B- to D.

Tennessee Titans

Grade: B-
1 (8) (from Miami via Philadelphia & Cleveland) Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
2 (33) Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
2 (43) (from Philadelphia via Los Angeles) Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State
2 (45) (from Los Angeles) Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
3 (64) Kevin Byard, S, Middle Tennessee State
5 (140) Tajae Sharpe, WR, Massachusetts
5 (157) (from New York Jets via Denver) LeShaun Sims, Southern Utah
6 (193) (from Atlanta) Sebastian Tretola, G, Arkansas
7 (222) Aaron Wallace, OLB, UCLA
7 (253) Kalan Reed, CB, Southern Mississippi
Player Draft Hinges On: RB Derrick Henry
Analysis: After trading out of the #1 pick, the Titans then maneuver back up to get the player they coveted in Conklin. However, the rest of their draft was odd. Dodd seems an odd fit at OLB, Johnson is a run stuffing DT taken when many higher rated players were left on the board. And then there is the drafting of Henry, giving them their 7th RB on the roster. If Henry becomes the next Eddie George, this pick will be heralded. If he is squeezed out of a job, it won't.

Miami Dolphins

Grade: B-

1 (13) (from Philadelphia) Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2 (38) Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
3 (73) Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
3 (86) Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
6 (186) (from Miami via Minnesota) Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech
6 (204) Jordan Lucas, S, Penn State
7 (223) Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
7 (231) Thomas Duarte, WR, UCLA
Player Draft Hinges On: OT Laremy Tunsil
Analysis: The story of the 2016 NFL Draft will open with the plight of Tunsil and his future will dovetail with that of the current Miami Dolphins front office. If he overcomes the gas-mask bong, Tunsil is a HOF level talent at LT. If he doesn't, it will get their GM fired. The rest of the Dolphins draft is a mixed bag. Howard was more of a need than a want pick, Drake is a dynamic KR and 3rd down back if healthy and Carroo has a chance to be special though is cost them a future 3rd and 4th.

New England Patriots

Grade: C+

2 (60) Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama
3 (78) (via New Orleans) Joe Thuney, G, NC State
3 (91) Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State
3 (96) Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska
4 (112) (from New Orleans) Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia
6 (208) Kamu Grugier-Hill, CB, Eastern Illinois
6 (214) Elandon Roberts, ILB, Houston
6 (221) Ted Karras, G, Illinois
7 (225) (from Dallas via Seattle) Devin Lucien, WR, Arizona State

Player Draft Hinges On: WR Malcolm Mitchell
Analysis: By losing their 1st round pick in the Deflategate scandal, the Pats were already behind the 8 ball in this draft. However, it didn't help that they drafted a lot of very odd picks. Jones has a chance to be a good nickel corner and return guy, Thuney will be in the rotation of their OL and Brissett is the latest developmental QB to sit behind Brady. This draft hinges on the staff's ability to unlock the amazing potential of Mitchell and make him the deep threat this team has needed for some time.

Kansas City Chiefs

Grade: C

2 (37) (from Jacksonville via Baltimore) Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
3 (74) (from Tampa Bay) Keivarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame
4 (105) (from San Francisco) Parker Ehinger, G, Cincinnati
4 (106) (from Chicago via Tampa Bay) Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
4 (126) Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
5 (162) (from Seattle) Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
5 (165) Tyreek Hill, RB, West Alabama
6 (178) (from Dallas via San Francisco) D.J. White, CB, Georgia Tech
6 (203) Dadi Lhomme Nicolas, OLB, Virginia Tech

Player Draft Hinges On: CB Keivarae Russell
Analysis: The Chiefs traded out of round 1, but really failed to take advantage of the extra picks. I really like Jones at DE and Eric Murray as a 2nd-3rd CB. However, Parker Ehringer seemed like a big reach in the 4th, Demarcus Robinson has a ton of character red flags and Kevin Hogan is nothing more than a quality backup in this league. That being said, if Russell can step in and immediately start opposite of Marcus Peters at CB, this draft will be ok.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Grade: C

1 (25) Artie Burns, CB, Miami
2 (58) Sean Davis, S, Maryland
3 (89) Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
4 (123) Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
6 (220) Travis Feeney, OLB, Washington
7 (229) (from New York Giants) Demarcus Ayers, WR, Houston
7 (246) Tyler Matakevich, ILB, Temple

Player Draft Hinges On: CB Artie Burns
Analysis: Normally, the Steelers sit back and take the best talent that falls to them. This year, though, the need in the secondary led them to reach early. Burns is more athlete than football player at this point and seems unlikely to fix the woes of the Steelers secondary this year. Davis is a decent safety but I had rated in the mid-3rd round. Quality picks like Hargrave and Marakevich kept this from being a total disaster.

New York Jets

Grade: C-

1 (20) Darron Lee, ILB, Ohio State
2 (51) Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
3 (83) Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
4 (118) Juston Burris, CB, NC State
5 (158) (from Washington) Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
7 (235) (from Los Angeles via Houston and Denver) Lachlan Edwards, P, Sam Houston State
7 (241) Charone Peake, WR, Clemson

Player Draft Hinges On: QB Christian Hackenberg
Analysis: Good thing this draft wasn't in New York as the Jets fans might have exploded. A very unimaginative effort led to a finesse LB in the 1st, a somewhat-pedestrian OLB in the 3rd and a poor pass-blocking RT in the 5th. But it all comes down to the rebooting of Hackenberg for the 2016 Jets draft class. If he can recapture his form, the Jets will have finally found their savior. If he busts, the Jets will be looking for a new GM soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 2 Winner and Losers plus Best Available

Through 2 days of the 2016 NFL Draft, there has been a lot of drama and a lot of reaches. Here are your winners, losers and riskiest drafts thus far:

Best Drafts so far:

Jacksonville Jaguars - 1st S Jalen Ramsey, 2nd LB Myles Jack, 3rd LB Yannick Ngakoue

Minnesota Vikings - 1st WR Laquon Treadwell, 2nd CB Mackenzie Alexander

Seattle Seahawks - 1st OT Germain Ifedi, 2nd DT Jarran Reed, 3rd RB CJ Prosise TE Nick Vannett

Detroit Lions - 1st OT Taylor Decker, 2nd DT A'Shawn Robinson, 3rd C Graham Glasgow

Indianapolis Colts - 1st C Ryan Kelly, 2nd S TJ Greene, 3rd OT LeRaven Clark

Buffalo Bills - 1st DE Shaq Lawson, 2nd LB Reggie Ragland, 3rd DT Adolphus Washington

Worst Drafts so far:

New York Jets - 1st LB Darron Lee, 2nd QB Christian Hackenburg, 3rd LB Jordan Jenkins

New England Patriots - 2nd CB Cyrus Jones, 3rd G/T Joe Thuney QB Jacoby Brissett DT Vincent Valentine

Atlanta Falcons - 1st S Keanu Neal, 2nd LB Deion Jones, 3rd TE Austin Hooper

Carolina Panthers - 1st DT Victor Butler, 2nd CB James Bradbury, 3rd S Daryl Worley

Pittsburgh Steelers - 1st CB Artie Burns, 2nd S Sean Davis, 3rd DT Javon Hargreave

Riskiest Drafts so far:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1st CB Vernon Hargeaves, 2nd DE Noah Spence K Robert Aguayo

Miami Dolphins - 1st OT Laremy Tunsil, 2nd CB Xavien Howard, 3rd RB Kenyan Drake WR Leonte Caroo

Dallas Cowboys - 1st RB Ezekial Elliott, 2nd LB Jaylon Smith, 3rd DT Maliek Collins

Best Players still available:

QBs - Connor Cook, Dak Prescott, Cardale Jones, Jeff Driskell
RBs - Kenneth Dixon, Devonte Booker, Kenneth Dixon, Alex Collins, Paul Perkins, Jordan Howard
WR - Pharoah Cooper, Rashard Higgins, Kenny Lawler, Kolby Listenbee, Charone Peake
TEs - Jerrell Adams, Tyler Higbee, Thomas Duarte
OTs - Jerald Hawkins, Fahn Cooper, Willie Beavers, Joe Haeg
G/CST - Christian Westerman, Joe Dahl, Connor McGovern, Vadal Alexander
Edge - Charles Tappper, Mattt Judon, Jason Fanaika, Dadi Nicholas
DTs - Andrew Billings, Matt Ioannidis, DJ Reader, Willie Henry, Greg Millhouse
LBs - Josh Perry, Kentrell Brothers, Joe Schobert, Scooby Wright, Tyler Matakevich
CBs - Ryan Smith, Harlan Miller, Eric Murray, Maurice Canady
Ss - Jeremy Cash, DeAndre Houston-Carson, KJ Dillon, Miles Killebrew, Tyvis Powell

For all the latest draft info follow me @sportsnarrative

Friday, April 29, 2016

Round 2 Mock Draft

Here's another exercise in futility!

32. Cleveland Browns - Su'a Cravens, LB/SS, USC
33. Tennessee Titans - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
34. Dallas Cowboys - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
35. San Diego Chargers - Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi St
36. Baltimore Ravens - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
37. Kansas City Chiefs - Mackenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson
38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Noah Spence, OLB/DE, E Kentucky
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Vonn Bell, S, Houston
40. New York Giants - Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
41. Chicago Bears - Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
42. Miami Dolphins - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
43. Tennessee Titans - Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio St
44. Oakland Raiders - Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
45. Tennessee Titans - Xavien Howard, CB/S, Baylor
46. Detroit Lions - Jonathan Bullard, DE/DT, Florida
47. New Orleans Saints - Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas City
48. Indianapolis Colts - Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
49. Buffalo Bills - Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio St
50. Atlanta Falcons - Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
51. New York Jets - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
52. Houston Texans - Anthony Johnson, DT, Penn St
53. Washington Redskins - Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian St
54. Minnesota Vikings - Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Sterling Sheppard, WR, Oklahhoma
56. Seattle Seahawks - Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame
57. Green Bay Packers - Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah St
58. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise St
59. Kansas City Chiefs - Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St
60. New England Patriots - Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan St
61. New England Patriots - Hasean Ridgeway, DT, Texas
62. Carolina Panthers - Jalen Mills, CB/S, LSU
63. Denver Broncos - Deion Jones, LB, LSU

For all the latest from the draft floor, follow me @sportsnarrative

Day 1 Draft Grades and Best Players Available

As is always the case, Day 1 of the NFL Draft turned into more of a spectacle than anyone anticipated. From gas mask bongs and crazy stepfathers to half-shirt suits and spiky gold shoes, it is hard to remember at times that this is about building a championship roster, And, alas, it seems as though many of the team's forgot that as well. Here is a look at the first round and my grade for each pick:

1. Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff, QB, California

Grade: B
While the Rams paid a king's ransom for the #1 pick, at least they got the guy they coveted. Though I didn't think they needed to take all 10 mins to figure that out.

2. Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Grade: B
Again, the Eagles traded up and got their guy. That gets them a solid B.

3. San Diego Chargers - Joey Bosa, OLB/DE, Ohio St

Grade: B+
The Chargers get a B+ not for the pick of Bosa (though I do like the fit replacing the oft injured Melvin Gordon) but more for the fake out they gave Mike Mayock and the rest of the draft media. Well played.

4. Dallas Cowboys - Ezekial Elliott, RB, Ohio St

Grade: C+
This pick came down between Ramsey and Elliott and Jerry broke the tie. Going for sizzle over substance, the Cowboys made their fans happy (especially the ones who only play Daily Fantasy) but failed to address any of the actual needs of this team. Don't get me wrong, I think Elliott will be phenomenal behind the offensive line. But if I was a scout for the Cowboys today, I might be putting my resume in with some other teams. Time will tell if this pick was the right one, but as of today I am strongly leaning toward no.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida St

Grade: A+
For the 2nd year in a row, the best player in the draft falls out of the Top 4. The Jags are thrilled to get Ramsey for their defense. Too bad their fans will have to fly to London soon to watch him play in person.

6. Baltimore Ravens - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Grade: B
The Ravens took Tunsil completely off their board after the infamous hack, which works out as they likely preferred Stanley over him anyway. If he remains interested in playing football, this is a solid choice.

7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Grade: B+
The Niners coveted Buckner to pair with fellow Duck Armstead at DE and were measured as he fell right to them. Doesn't make up for their later move, but we will get to that.

8. TRADE! Tennessee Titans - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan St

Grade: B+
With Tunsil off many boards, the Titans needed to find a way to get Conkin ahead of the Giants and did so with the Browns at 8. Giving up a 3 this year and a 2 in 2017, the Titans preserved their three 2nd round picks. Very well done.

9. TRADE! Chicago Bears - Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia

Grade: B
The Bears get ahead of the Giants to draft the pass rushing Bulldog they wanted. With the departure of Shea McClellin, Floyd fills that role. Bears fans just hope that he has more impact than McClellin ever did.

10. New York Giants - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio St

Grade: D
The Giants bore the brunt of the Tunsil slide, as their 2 targets (Conklin and Floyd) were scooped up ahead of them. Panicked the Giants take the 3rd or 4th best corner in the draft at 10. Shame on their front office not being fully prepared, even for the gas mask bong.

11. Tampa Bay Bucccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Grade: A-
The Bucs did everything right: they traded down, got extra picks and still got their man. Hargreaves is the best man cover corner in this draft.

12. New Orleans Saints - Sheldon Rankings, DT/DE, Louisville

Grade: B
The Saints stayed steady in amongst the chaos, taking the best pass rushing tackle in the draft and not getting tempted by sliders or QBs.

13. Miami Dolphins - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Grade: A or F-
On the one hand, the Dolphins may have potentially landed a Top 3 talent in this draft at 13. On the other hand, there is no possible way they had time to vet this guy so it is more like buying a lottery ticket than investing in your future. If he stays out of the commissioner's office or worse, the Fish got their LT for the next 10 years. If not, it will be another failed Dolphin first round pick.

14. Oakland Raiders - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

Grade: B-
Now things are just getting silly. Now I really like Joseph as a player and with the Raiders. Just not at 14 given that knee issue. However, given what the Falcons did at 17 I guess I understand.

15. Cleveland Browns - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

Grade: C
Love the trade down. Knew they were targeting a WR. But Coleman? WIth Treadwell on the board? When was the last time a Baylor WR worked out in the NFL? When your analysis is full of rhetorical questions, your grade will reflect that.

16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio St

Grade: B-
I am not the biggest fan of Decker, but only because I see him as a RT only in the NFL and that is not a premium position. However, it was a need for the Lions and a solid choice.

17. Atlanta Falcons - Keanu Neal, S, Florida

Grade: D
So the Falcons take a mid second round player at 17. I understand Dan Quinn is looking for his next Kam Chancellor, but Chancellor was a 5th round pick. Biggest reach of round 1.

18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

Grade: B
Nice strong pick to begin the effort to keep Luck upright. Well done.

19. Buffalo Bills - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Grade: B+
Predictable, the Bills grab a Clemson kid as his Rex's son just went to school there. Lawson will be a nice compliment to Hughes on the other side and much better that Mario Williams in the effort department.

20. New York Jets - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio St

Grade: B-
While I think Jets fans are relieved they didn't chase Lynch or a WR, the pick of Lee is a bit under whelming. Lee does add speed to a need in desperate need of it.

21. TRADE! Houston Texans - Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Grade: B-
The Texans jump up 1 spot to grab the very speedy Irish receiver ahead of the Bengals. Fuller's speed is outstanding and his clutch seems very appropriate in Clutch City. However, His tiny hands and drop percentage (9.1%) make me wonder if this isn't another Tavon Austin.

22. Washington Redskins - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

Grade: B+
Nice maneuvering and selection for the Skins. Doctson gives them a great sompliment to Jackson, Garçon and Crowder as a jump ball winner and red zone guy.

23. Minnesota Vikings - Laquon Teadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Grade: A
The Vikings just sat back and took the player they needed and wanted at 23. They get Bridgewater the #1 WR he needs.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - William Jackson III, CB, Houston

Grade: B-
Not sure if a grade can improve by keeping a player away from a division rival, because that is about the best thing I can say for this pick. Like the SF Giants winning the World Series, the Bengals select a 1st round corner every other year now (Kirkpatrick 2012, Denard 2014 and Jackson III 2016).

25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Artie Burns, CB, Miami

Grade: C
The Steelers got squeezed as the run on secondary earlier in the round hurt them. Burns is alright, but very raw and more athlete than corner.

26. TRADE! Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Grade: B+
The Broncos get their QB of the future (they hope) and don't give up everything to get him. Outbidding several other teams including the Browns, Chiefs, Cowboys and Cardinals is a job well done for Elway.

27. Green Bay Packers - Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA

Grade: B-
The Packers addressed a portion of need with a player that fits the bill. But given the options still remaining of the board, not sure if I would have gone Clark over Billings, Jones or Reed.

28. TRADE! San Fancisco 49ers - Josh Garnett, G/C, Stanford

Grade: F
Let me begin by saying I really like Garnett as a player and he was my #1 guard on the board. But he also carried a mid-2nd round grade. Why would the Niners think they need to trade up to land him? Seems foolish but that is Trent Baalke for you.

29. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss

Grade: A-
Great pick for Arizona landing the sliding Nkemdiche at 29. If they can always book him on the ground floor of hotels, this could be a steal.

30. Carolina Panthers - Vernon Butler, DT, LA Tech

Grade: B+
Love the value of this pick, even though DT was not really a need for the Panthers. But this does give them leverage for future contract negotiations with Short and Lotulelei and clearly we know they like to have the upper hand with veterans in contract talks (see Josh Norman).

31. Seattle Seahawks - Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

Grade: B
The Seahawks drop down and still get the OL help they wanted. Ifedi is raw but has a mean streak in the run game that fits the 12th man (or 12) vibe.

Best Players Still Available:

LB Myles Jack, UCLA (pending medical check)
DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama (medical question)
DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
DT A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DE Noah Spence, E Kentucky (pending background check)
CB Mackenzie Alexander
WR Michael Thomas, Ohio St
LB Su'a Cravens, USC
DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida
WR Tyler Boyd, Pitt
CB Xavien Howard, Baylor
QB Connor Cook, Michigan St
RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
S Vonn Bell, Ohio St

Sent from my iPad