Friday, July 29, 2016

Denver Broncos 2016 Season Preview



2015 Record: 12-4

The Super Bowl Champs had a magical run in 2015. Fueled by a relentless defense led by newly paid Von Miller and an offense tailored to an aging and physically limited Peyton Manning. But as with almost champions, the following offseason is full of attrition and change. Gone is Manning and his backup Brock Osweiler along with several other key free agents. In their place, HC Gary Kubiak is finally getting to implement the offense he wants and hopes that it plus a dominant defense can take him back to the mountaintop.


Offseason Moves:

Key Additions – QB Mark Sanchez, OT Russell Okung, OT Donald Stephenson, TE Garrett Graham, DE Jared Crick

Key Losses – QB Peyton Manning, QB Brock Osweiler, DE Malik Jackson, LB Danny Trevathan, OT Ryan Clady, TE Owen Daniels, S David Bruton, G Louis Vasquez

2016 Draft Class – QB Paxton Lynch, DE Adam Gostis, S Justin Simmons, RB Devontae Booker, G Connor McGovern


2016 Offensive Outlook:

Offensive Coordinator – Rick Dennison
Base Offense – 1 back 2 TE 2 WR zone blocking scheme

The offense the Broncos ran in 2015 will look much different in 2016. With the limitations on Payton’s mobility and arm strength, Kubiak and OC Rick Dennison scrapped a lot of the stretch runs and QB waggles normally seen in the Kubiak zone blocking scheme. With the Super Bowl capital to spend, the Broncos coaching staff will get back to their fundamentals this year.

The Broncos made the bold and almost unprecedented decision to let their “franchise QB” walk in Brock Osweiler, mostly because he is a bad fit for the scheme they want to run. In his place, the Broncos will have an open competition between veteran FA Mark Sanchez, developmental prospect Trevor Siemian and 1st round pick Paxton Lynch. Sanchez will likely get the chance to to start at first given his experience, though Siemian could surprise and win the battle in camp with his experience in this system. Lynch should probably red shirt this year as he is so raw, but might see action as the season goes on. This position will likely be the most crucial to the Broncos success in 2016 and is perhaps the shakiest on the roster.

With questions at QB, the running game will need to be better in 2016 to help compensate on offense. CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman return as the 1-2 punch in the backfield and are supplemented by rookie Devontae Booker out of Utah. Anderson will need to stay healthy and Hillman will need to stop fumbling. Booker is very talented but is still trying to recover from a knee injury in college and his own fumbling questions.

If they can get the ball consistently, the receivers group on the Broncos can be a big play force on offense. Starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders form the best duo in the division. The 3rd WR spot is up for grabs between Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer and many others. At tight end, Owen Daniels will be replaced by Texans FA Garrett Graham and 2015 draft choice Jeff Heuerman. Both should see quite a bit of time this year.

The offensive line saw quite a bit of change in the offseason. G Louis Vasquez and OT Ryan Clady are gone, replaced by FA Russell Okung and a camp battle including draftee Connor McGovern. At RT, Donald Stephenson was signed from KC. Fully adapting to the zone blocking scheme should really help this unit if they can stay healthy.

Overall the Broncos have a very talented roster on offense but will need to find the right signal caller to make it all work. If they do, they should expect to be playing in the postseason. If not it could be a disappointing title defense.


2016 Defensive Outlook:

Defensive Coordinator – Wade Phillips
Base Defense – 3-4 man coverage attacking defense

Even if you aren't a Broncos fan, it was pretty cool to Wade Phillips, the son of Bum Phillips, finally get to hoist the Super Bowl trophy. And his defense was the primary reason. But a few key pieces are gone so he will have to answer a few questions to get his crew back to the same level.

Malik Jackson got a truckload of money to take his talents to Jacksonville. His replacements are Jared Crick from Houston and rookie Adam Gostis. While this group is likely to be a bit lesser than last year, it still should be plenty good. Of interest is to see if Browns castoff and former 1st rounder Phil Taylor can make the Broncos final roster.

SB MVP Von Miller got paid and is now the highest paid defensive player in football. And that money is well deserved and will hopefully continue to be. On the other side, DeMarcus Ware is starting to show signs of age with a bad back coming into the season but is backed up by Shane Ray so the pass rush should be great. Inside is a different story. Danny Trevathan left via free agency, leaving only Brandon Marshall and a question mark behind. If the run defense for the Broncos suffers in 2016, it will probably have a lot to do with this position.

The Broncos secondary should be the real strength of the defense in 2016, losing only 1 starter in free agency. Chris Harris Jr, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby make up one of the best CB depth charts in the league. Staying healthy and hungry is the only real question there. At safety, TJ Ward is locked at one spot and the other is between the serviceable Darian Stewart from Baltimore and rookie Justin Simmons.

Overall, the Broncos defense is likely the best in the division. But how much they have to compensate for a struggling offense and the attrition that might cause is the big question.


2016 Prediction:

Record – 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)

Super Bowl hangover and free agent losses will add up to around a .500 record. All 3 QBs on the roster will likely get starts in an effort to solve that issue and that could make the losses add up against a 1st place schedule and a tough division.


Fantasy Oulook:

Stud – Broncos Def, CJ Anderson
Sleeper – TE Jeff Heuerman, TE Garrett Graham
Bust – WR Demaryius Thomas

Monday, July 25, 2016

Kansas City Chiefs 2016 Season Preview


2015 Record: 11-5

What an amazing run the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs went on. After starting 1-5 and losing their identity on offense in Jamal Charles, the Chiefs won 11 straight games until finally falling to New England on the road in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Few people predicted a run like that from that team. But now expectations are running high in 2016.


Offseason Moves

Key Additions – WR Rod Streater, RT Mitchell Schwartz, S Stevie Brown, S Jimmy Wilson
Key Losses – QB Chase Daniel, RT Donald Stephenson, G Jeff Allen, G Ben Grubbs, DE Mike Devito, CB Sean Smith, S Husain Abdullah, S Tyvon Branch
2016 Draft Class – DE Chris Jones, CB KeiVarae Russell, G Parker Ehringer, CB Eric Murray, WR DeMarcus Robinson


2016 Offensive Outlook:

Offensive Coordinator – Brad Childress and Matt Nagy
Base Offense – 2 Back, 1 TE, 2 WR west coast offense

The departure of OC Doug Pederson to Philly leaves the offense back in the hands of HC Andy Reid. In 2015, the Chiefs were 48-52 run to pass ratio and it will be interesting to see if that continues without Pederson. The Chiefs will look to grind teams down with their running attack and then hit big plays over the top with Maclin or Kelce. It’s a good formula to work from.

Leading the way will be QB Alex Smith. While far from dynamic, Smith gets it done with efficiency and accuracy. As long as he is not asked to win too many games by himself, the Chiefs have a very competent signal caller. Behind Smith is an interesting battle of young talent including Aaron Murray, Tyler Bray and 5th rounder Kevin Hogan of Stanford. None of these guys are anything more than bus drivers and would be highly unlikely to lead the Chiefs to the promise land.

While the QB spot is a bit barren, the RB position is an embarrassment of riches. Jamal Charles returns to his rightful place as starter but backups Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware will see plenty of action as well. Don’t be surprised to see Charles lineup quite a bit in the slot as well in an effort to get all of these weapons on the field.

The other reason you could see Charles in the slot is the poor depth at the WR position. Jeremy Maclin is cemented as the #1 target and well worth his paper (though maybe not the 3rd round pick lost as a fine for tampering). Opposite him is an open competition between Albert Wilson, newly signed Rod Streater and speedster Chris Conley. While each adds interesting elements, none are a complete player and probably better served as a 3rd option. Also De’Anthony Thomas could be utilized more on offense but will probably be mostly used in the return game. An interesting darkhorse to this mix is 4th rounder DeMarcus Robinson of Florida. Robinson is like a Maclin clone, with speed and slipperiness in routes. However, his off-the-field concerns may make his potential just that: unrealized talent. The real star in the passing game will be 4th year TE Travis Kelce. With his ability to stretch the field on seam routes, the Chiefs have a Gronk-style weapon for Alex Smith. Look for the spotlight to really be on Kelce this year which may lead to some lesser numbers in fantasy.

The O-line really gelled more than expected in 2015. Eric Fisher finally proved adequate at LT spot. With Donald Stephenson departed for division rival Denver, the Chiefs filled that void with the talented Mitchell Schwartz from Cleveland. Inside is a bit more in question. Mitch Morse manned the center position quite well in 2015 but gone are his 2 teammates Ben Grubbs and Jeff Allen. They are replaced by some combination of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Jah Reid, Jarrod Pughsley or rookie Parker Ehringer. How this position group comes together might be the key for the entire Chiefs offense in 2016.

Overall the Chiefs are a run-first team with a pass-first playcaller in Andy Reid. If Charles can return to form, a 3rd receiving option can emerge to help Maclin and Kelce and the OL sorts itself into a fine unit, the Chiefs could easily equal or even improve on their 2015 numbers. However it will really need its defense to assist in that endeavor.


2016 Defensive Outlook:

Defensive Coordinator – Bob Sutton
Base Defense – 3-4 man coverage attacking defense

The real hero of last season for the Chiefs was their defense. DC Bob Sutton got this team to absolutely dominate games with an overwhelming pass rush and sticky coverage in the secondary. But 2016 saw the loss of some very key pieces and several others have injury or age questions. The Chiefs will need to find answers to reach that same level of success this season.
Up front, the DL was solid with Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey. To that mix they add the dynamic yet raw rookie Chris Jones from Mississippi St to add more push in the pass defense. If Jones can add that element the Chiefs could have one of the best lines in football.

Twin edge rushers with incredible speed and power seem to be the “in” thing in today’s NFL and the Chiefs boasted 2 of the best in 2015 in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. However, Hali is beginning to show his age and Houston is still trying to recover from playing on an injured leg in the playoffs last year. His return to health isn’t likely to come until sometime during the season and could be the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Behind these 2 is former 1st rounder Dee Ford who needs to finally live up to his potential. Inside the Chiefs have the ageless wonder of Derrick Johnson alongside Josh Mauga or Ramik Wilson. Though Johnson may be losing a step his role as leader of this defense is vital.

The secondary is full of youth and promise but also uncertainty. Marcus Peters was all the Chiefs could want and more as a rookie CB, but now will be asked to be the #1 guy with the loss of Sean Smith to the rival Raiders. Opposite him is an open competition between Phillip Gaines, Steven Nelson and rookies KelVarae Russell and Eric Murray. Safety also has seen some change with franchise-tagged Eric Berry still there opposite either Jamell Fleming or FA Stevie Brown. If Peters can live up to the hype and one of the younger kids can fill the #2 and #3 CB spots, the Chiefs should be just as good as 2015. If not, this weakness could be their undoing.

Overall, the Chiefs are not quite as good as their 2015 team but still show great promise. A real dependence on rookies to step in immediately falls on the shoulders of DC Bob Sutton to get them ready. That will ultimately decide how far the Chiefs go in 2016.


2016 Prediction:

Record – 9-7 (2nd in AFC West)

The Chiefs look like a really good team, but not a great one. Given that, they still may be good enough to compete and win in a down AFC West division. However, the 2016 Chiefs looks like a team in the hunt until week 17 but ultimately not a playoff team.

Fantasy Oulook:

Stud – WR Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs Defense
Sleeper – WR Chris Conley, WR DeMarcus Robinson
Bust – TE Travis Kelce





San Diego Chargers 2016 Season Preview


2015 Record: 4-12

It could easily be argued that the 2015 Chargers were the worst team in football. Yes the Titans and Browns both had more losses, but one was breaking in a new QB who got hurt and the other is hasn’t had a decent QB since the 80’s. The Chargers still have a solid though aging starting QB in Phillip Rivers, but injuries decimated the team around him. For 2016 to be different, the Chargers are going to need a lot of health and good fortune. Between that and yet another season of “relocation talk,” it could be another long year for the Bolts.


Offseason Moves

Key Additions – WR Travis Benjamin, C Matt Slauson, NT Brandon Mebane, CB Casey Hayward, S Dwight Lowry
Key Losses – S Eric Weddle, LB Donald Butler, DE Kendall Reyes, TE Ladarius Green, RB Donald Brown, CB Patrick Robinson
2016 Draft Class – DE Joey Bosa, TE Hunter Henry, C Max Tuerk, LB Josh Perry


2016 Offensive Outlook:

Offensive Coordinator – Ken Whisenhunt
Base Offense – Singleback 3 WRs 1 TE or 2WRs and 2TEs

With the return of Ken Whisenhunt to the OC spot, the Chargers are hoping to recapture some of the magic he and Rivers had a few seasons ago. Look for the offense to spend a lot more time in the no huddle. With the savvy veteran ready to make calls at the line of scrimmage, the offense should be much more dynamic and open better holes in the run game as well with option calls to take advantage of weaknesses. Behind Rivers, long-time backup Kellen Clemens should hold the clipboard all year, but might face a tough training camp challenge from Zach Mettenberger (who Whisenhunt brought back with him from Tennessee).

The running back spot was supposed to have been solved with the drafting of Melvin Gordon in the 1st round last year. But Gordon struggled through injuries and seemed to get forgotten at times on offense. While Gordon is unlikely to become the focal point in 2016, he should find a better fit running downhill from singleback sets. Behind him is complimentary back Brandon Oliver and 3rd down specialist Danny Woodhead. Also look for 6th rounder (and brother of JJ Watt) Derek Watt to get some time at FB and as a goalline option.

The addition of Travis Benjamin from Cleveland was big this offseason. As an option to stretch the field, Benjamin should nicely compliment #1 WR Keenan Allen, if Allen can just stay healthy. Stevie Johnson is the only other established wideout on the roster and he is starting to lose a step. The Chargers deciding to add another dynamic pass-catching TE in Hunter Henry of Arkansas in the 2nd round of the draft to augment their passing attack. Paired with the ageless Antonio Gates, look for the Chargers to play a lot of 12 personnel (single back, 2 TEs, 2 WRs) that is really more like a 4 WR set.

The OL really struggled in 2015 and is surprising mostly in intact this year. King Dunlap at LT was resigned shockingly, as was their best OL in 2015, RT Joseph Barksdale. With heavy investments at both spots and backup Chris Hairston, that left the Chargers out of the market on the top OTs in the draft (Tunsil, Stanley or Conklin). In the middle, Franklin and Fluker return at the guard spots, though the leash is likely short on the disappointing Fluker. At center they drafted outstanding USC Trojan Max Tuerk, but a severe knee injury might result in a red shirt year in 2016. Likely the job will fall to late FA signee Matt Slauson.

Overall, the Chargers are really hoping that new OC Ken Whisenhunt can get the most out of this group of highly drafted or highly paid players to reach their potential. If he can, the Chargers could be a real force in the West. If not, this is likely Mike McCoy’s last year as HC.


2016 Defensive Outlook:

Defensive Coordinator – John Pagano
Base Defense – 3-4 gap shooting defense

The Chargers finished 29th in yards/play in 2015 and 30th in rush yards/play. That primarily falls at the feet of DC John Pagano and must improve in 2016. To do so, the Chargers spent heavily in FA money and draft picks but the questions still remain.

On the defensive line, the Chargers jettisoned DE Kendall Reyes for 1st round pick Joey Bosa. Bosa was a surprise choice for San Diego as many saw him as a traditional 4-3 DE. However, in Pagano’s scheme, Bosa will likely be split out a bit wider than a traditional 3-4 DE and will use his excellent technique to win the individual battles. With Bosa out wider, stopping the running attack will fall a lot more on both DE Corey Liuget and the newly acquired NT Brandon Mebane from Seattle. Mebane will likely play more of a 1 technique than a true NT and use his penetration to beat the inevitable double teams he faces inside (reminiscent of the Wade Phillips scheme in Denver). The effectiveness of this strategy is the key for the 2016 Chargers run defense.

At the LB spot, the Chargers are chock full of early round drafted talent that must produce. 2nd round picks Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman man the inside of the Pagano 3-4 and must prove they can stay healthy as undersized ILBs. Josh Perry from Ohio State was drafted in the 4th round to fill the void if they cannot. Outside, the Chargers should be set with 1st rounder Melvin Ingram and 2nd rounder Jeremiah Attaochu bringing speed off the edge. But again injury concerns and little depth has this position with a big question mark.

In the secondary, Brandon Flowers should rebound from an atrocious 2015 campaign where he got paid big bucks and came in overweight. To supplement, Casey Hayward was signed away from Green Bay and should be the #2 CB allowing Jason Verrett to man the nickel. At safety the loss of Eric Weddle is huge. In his stead they signed veteran Dwight Lowry to pair with SS Jahleel Addae. This unit will be decidedly lesser and will need help from the corners and the pass rush.

Overall, the defensive outlook is very similar to that of the offense’s: highly drafted or FA talent with little depth behind it and injury concerns all over. Watching the development of Joey Bosa will be interesting but that could be the highlight of the Chargers in 2016 defensively.


2016 Prediction:

Record – 6-10 (4th in AFC West)

The Chargers are a team without a home. Putting the fans and the players through another year of stadium limbo is just cruel. Add to that a division of dynamic pass rushers and rising talent and it will be a tough year as they move to LA next season.


Fantasy Oulook:

Stud – WR Keenan Allen, QB Philip Rivers
Sleeper – WR Travis Benjamin, TE Hunter Henry
Bust – RB Melvin Gordon



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Oakland Raiders 2016 Season Preview


2015 Record: 7-9

After a big spending offseason, young emerging weapons on offense and the looming threat of moving back to LA, the 2015 Oakland Raiders were poised to have a breakout season. Through the first 8 weeks, the Raiders were 4-3 after an upset victory versus the NYJ and had many (including MMQB’s Peter King) believing in the Silver and Black. But the 2nd half of the schedule was a 3 game losing streak followed by a roller coaster of close wins and losses leading to a 7-9 finish. However, hope remains high heading into 2016 under Head Coach Jack Del Rio.


Offseason Moves

Key Additions - G Kelechi Osemele, LB Bruce Irvin, CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, LB Daren Bates
Key Losses - S Charles Woodson, DE Justin Tuck, LB Curtis Lofton, WR Rod Streater, OT Khalif Barnes, OT J’Marcus Webb, G Tony Bergstrom, S Larry Asante
2016 Draft Class - S Karl Joseph, DE Jihad Ward, DE Shilique Calhoun, QB Connor Cook, RB DeAndre Washington


2016 Offensive Outlook:

Offensive Coordinator – Bill Musgrave
Base Offense – 2 back 2 WR set

The 2016 Raiders offense is now firmly in the hands of 3rd year QB Derek Carr. After a sophomore year of 32 TDs and just 13 INTs, Carr seems ready to step forward into the upper echelon of NFL signal callers, but will need to improve on his 3rd down efficiency and accuracy (61.1%). Behind him of the depth chart, the Raiders added Spartan QB Connor Cook as insurance in the 4th round.

The running game will also need to improve in 2016 for the Raiders to ease above .500. Latavius Murray will again be the feature RB alongside FB Marcel Reece. Murray seemed to wear down as the season went on last year and will need solid support from 3rd down backs Roy Helu Jr and the draft choice DeAndre Washington. Washington could be a strong fantasy sleeper by mid-season as HC Del Rio could see visions of Maurice Jones-Drew in the diminutive back from Texas Tech. The Raiders will need to find more success in early downs to improve upon the run-to-pass balance as too often 2nd-and-long got this team behind the chains.

At the skill positions, the first rounder Amari Cooper will continue to be the focus of the passing attack. His health and the continued success of Michael Crabtree as a complimentary piece are vital in 2016. The emergence of a true #3 WR is also a big need, be it Andre Holmes, Seth Roberts, UDFA KJ Brent or any of the other young players at wide receiver. Tight End is also a position in flux, with hopes pinned on the former 3rd round pick Clive Walford to finally be healthy and see his potential.

Up front, the Raiders spent big once again on a free agent target. This time they snag Osmele away from the Ravens to add punch to the RG spot. With him, last year’s big money prize in C Rodney Hudson and G Gabe Jackson competing with 6th round choice Vadal Alexander, the Raiders should improve between the tackles. Outside, Donald Penn continues to be adequate at LT but Austin Howard will need to be better to justify the big money he received last year. Super sub Menelik Watson stands poised to fill either gap.

Overall, the Raiders face a division of tough pass rushing defenses in Denver, San Diego and Kansas City. Their ability to run the ball enough in order keep the pressure off of Carr and find him solid outlets that result in more than checkdown 6 yard plays is crucial.


2016 Defensive Outlook:

Defensive Coordinator – Ken Norton Jr
Base Defense – Hybrid 4-3 with man coverage

The big money this offseason was spent of defense for the Raiders. Grabbing Bruce Irvin from Seattle, Reggie Nelson from Cincy and Sean Smith from division rival KC was huge. But more work will be needed to get this defense to a playoff level.

The defensive line begins with All-Pro and superstar Khalil Mack. Whether lining up at DE or standing at OLB, Mack has become the glue for the Raiders pass rush. Unfortunately, the secondary and double teams limited Mack’s impact as the year went on. On the otherside of the line, Mario Edwards Jr was great early on, but a severe injury has not only his season but possibly his career in jeopardy. Jihad Ward, a brutish DE from Illinois, was drafted in round 2 to help with depth as was Michigan St DE Shilique Calhoun. The rest of the DL is comprised of run stuffers Dan Williams and Justin Ellis.

At the LB spot, the speedy Bruce Irvin was added as another speed rusher off the edge with Mack (trying to imitate the Broncos pair of Von Miller and Demarcus Ware). Malcolm Smith is locked in at one inside LB but the other spot will be a competition between incumbent Ben Heeney and free agent Daren Bates. The Raiders could use some better run defense out of this group.

The Achilles heel of the 2015 Raiders was its secondary and wholesale changes have been made. Sean Smith was stolen away from the Chiefs to man one corner and David Amerson was retained at the other. Travis Carrie and former 1st round pick DJ Hayden will compete for the nickel. At safety, Reggie Nelson was brought in from Cincinnati to play tough versus the run and be a veteran presence. Across from him is the explosive Karl Joseph, taken with the 14th pick in round 1. If he can fully recover from a knee injury, many believe he could be a true playmaker in the run and passing game.

Overall on defense, the Raiders have added a ton of speed on defense. With the aggressive Ken Norton Jr calling the shots, Oakland could return to their defensive prowess from days of yore.

2016 Prediction:

Record – 10-6 (1st in AFC West)
While the Raiders will be greatly improved in 2016, this is prediction is really more of a result of the degradation of the other AFC West bunkmates. The depth on this team still worries me at many positions (RB, WR, LB, CB) but given health there is no reason the Raiders can’t be a playoff team.

Fantasy Oulook:

Stud – WR Amari Cooper, Raiders Defense
Sleeper – RB Deandre Washington, TE Clive Walford
Bust – K Sebastian Janikowski


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.