Monday, May 2, 2016

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.

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