Friday, April 29, 2016

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

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