Here’s the second part of the segment that was started yesterday: the NFL teams report card of how each did in the draft:
Miami Dolphins: Grade B+
Miami got their big name wide receiver in Devante Parker, who some see as the best WR in this draft. The pick that really stood out to me was Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, a guy I had as a second round grade drafted in the fifth and can really help the Dolphins run game this season and going forward.
Minnesota Vikings: Grade A-
The Vikings found value and need throughout the draft; whether it was the top corner in this draft Trae Waynes from Michigan State, Tj Clemmings from Pittsburgh in the fourth round, who some had going in the first round or Stefon Diggs, a wide receiver from Maryland who will be highly successful as a slot WR in the league. The best pick of their draft though was in the second round: inside linebacker Eric Kendricks who should come in and QB that defense on day one.
New England Patriots: Grade C
Defensive tackle Malcolm Brown from at the end of the first round is a player who should replace the recently departed Vince Wilfork in the defense. However, after that much like any other Patriot draft, Belichick drafts based on his system – a wait and see if he out-smarted the NFL again because the players drafted in rounds four through seven have a potential to maybe be special teams players.
New Orleans Saints: Grade B+
I get the need pick of Stanford tackle Andrus Peat in the first round, but fact is Peat is going to need a lot of work and there were bigger needs with the Saints at this point. Inside linebacker Stephone Anthony from Clemson will slide inside and have to contribute from day one. Garrett Grayson in the third round is a pocket quarterback from Colorado State, who with the time to develop behind Drew Brees can turn into a franchise QB.
New York Giants: Grade B+
The first two picks of this class were exactly what was needed for the Giants. Ereck Flowers, the tackle from Miami, can slide right in at right tackle this season and help further stabilize the Giants offensive line. Trading up for Landon Collins, the safety from Alabama, who is a perfect fit in the constant blitzing defense of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The unknown player from this group is Texas safety Mykkele Thompson who is going to have to play rotationally in the secondary – a tall task for a fifth round pick.
New York Jets: Grade A
When you get the top overall prospect, Leonard Williams, with the sixth pick and create a defensive line that has QBs fearful in May, an A is well deserved. Williams will now allow the Jets to move from a 3-4 defense over to the 4-3 which also will help the outside linebacking group that has struggled in recent seasons. Deep ball threat Devin Smith from Ohio State may not have flashy numbers this season, but once a true QB is found in New York, look out for this guy who flat out burns people. If somehow Bryce Petty, the quarterback from Baylor, turns into a franchise QB this draft class the Jets he’ll be known as the one that turned the franchise around.
Oakland Raiders: Grade B
Amari Cooper, the best wide receiver in this draft class, has been called a faster Reggie Wayne which has a mile wide smile on Raiders QB Derrick Carr’s face. Throw in defensive end Mario Edwards from Florida State who can help this defensive line that was down right dreadful last season. Great story from this draft comes from guard John Feliciano from Miami (Florida) who has a story that reminds many of Forrest Gump.
Philadelphia Eagles: Grade B+
Chip Kelly may have confusing free agent and trade moves, but his draft was done very well. Nelson Agoholar, the wide receiver from USC, is going to be a threat every time he’s on the field in this offense. Eric Rowe is arguably the most versatile secondary player in the draft being able to slide in at corner or safety. JaCorey Sheppard the corner from Kansas in the sixth round is somebody who under the right coaches can become a slot corner in time.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Grade A
It was one of those perfect drafts for Pittsburgh as BPA (best player available) lined up with needs. Bud Dupree from Kentucky is an edge rusher (That I had as the second best in this draft class) and he fell to the Steelers laps who have continued success developing strong edge rushers. Beyond that, tight end Jesse James from Penn State is a guy in the fifth round who will understudy Heath Miller and eventually replace him. Even the seventh round pick Gerod Holliman, the safety from Louisville, is a prospect with considerable upside something most teams don’t get in the seventh round.
San Diego Chargers: Grade B
First round pick Melvin Gordon, the running back out of Wisconsin, fills a definite need for the Chargers and will inherit the starting running back job. The pick that confuses me and causes the B is the second round pick Denzel Perryman, the inside linebacker out of Miami. San Diego seemingly has two starting inside backers with Teo and Butler, neither of which are old, so it’s difficult to see where Perryman will slide into this defense.
San Francisco 49ers: Grade B-
The Niners went Arik Armstead, the defensive end from Oregon, in the first round and it’s difficult to see why as he reminds many of Justin Smith, the recently retired 49er defensive end. Issue is this comparison isn’t supported much by the actual game tape and he doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the strength Smith had to rush in that 3-4 defense. The pick that saves this class from nightmare is the outside linebacker Eli Harold from Virginia in the third round who can line up opposite Aldon Smith and really get after quarterbacks.
Seattle Seahawks: Grade D
The picks made by the Seahawks are ultra confusing as they overvalued guys who are going to need a lot of work. The most interesting part is how they failed to get a big body wide receiver to help Russell Wilson get more passes down the field.
St. Louis Rams: Grade C+
Todd Gurley the running back from Georgia is an interesting place to start for the Rams as they already had Tre Mason who had a great season last year. The second round pick of Robert Havenston, the tackle from Wisconsin, should improve the run blocking along the line, but still needs work in pass protection. This means new QB Nick Foles will be running for his life this season.
Tampa Bay Bucs: Grade A-
Florida State QB Jameis Winston and offensive lineman Ali Marpet is enough to make this a great draft class for the Bucs. In Winston, they get that franchise quarterback as he reminds me a lot of Ben Roethlisberger as far as pocket awareness and unreal arm strength with some great weapons on the outside to help him out. Ali Marpet is a guard who will be a staple for the Bucs next ten years.
Tennessee Titans: Grade A
Quarterback Marcus Mariota from Oregon will need to work on his pro-style throws, but is a guy I see as a franchise QB for the Titans – especially with QB guru Ken Wisenhunt as head coach. The other pick I really liked by the Titans is Dorial Green Beckham, the wide receiver from Oklahoma, who has all the talent and will be a scary connection for other secondaries.
Washington Redskins: Grade B+
Brandon Scherff offensive tackle from Iowa will give some much needed time to RG3 as he will be one of the premier right tackles as a rookie. Preston Smith, the defensive end from Mississippi State, is a raw talent but I feel will turn into a stud pass rusher once he gets that NFL coaching.
Agree/disagree on these grades? Comment below.