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.

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