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2018 NFL Draft Grades


Wow with all the build up for the NFL Draft six days ago, it seemed that the draft would never get here. All sports writers and draft analysts had over a month to dig into tape, combine results, and pro days. There has been countless NFL mock drafts done and none of them were even close as to what happened between April 26th to April 28th. Roger Goodell coming out to announce the start of the 2018 NFL Draft had a lot of people with anxiousness and the feeling “it’s finally here”. I felt was the same reaction as the late Heath Ledger’s Joker saying “And, here we go!” with the craziness that was about to ensue. Now after the dust has settled we can finally take a look at how well teams did or didn’t do in the NFL Draft.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills – The Bills landed the quarterback they wanted in Josh Allen. They believe the big hanging question mark of accuracy problems over Allen’s head will be taken care of with coaching and development. The grade on this draft class will vary depending if Allen does become that franchise QB that Buffalo sees him as. The other trade up for LB Tremaine Edmunds was well worth it and shocking that he fell as far as he did. Harrison Phillips is a reincarnation of DT Kyle Williams and will fill in nicely when Williams retires.

Grade – B

Miami Dolphins – Another fallen draftee in DB Minkah Fitzpatrick that was supposed to be a pick inside 6 or 7 landed right in Miami’s lap. He can play any position in the secondary and can fit most defensive schemes for whatever Miami runs in the future. They also added TE Mike Gesicki and will be able to contribute right away for this offense with his superb athleticism. They got a steal in RB Kalen Ballage in the fourth round and will be able to develop and learn from one of the best in RB Frank Gore.

Grade – B+

New England Patriots – I guess Bill Belichick really loved that Georgia pro day by drafting not one, but two Georgia bulldogs. Patriots picked up OT Isaiah Wynn to step in immediately for Nate Solder to make sure Brady stays upright. They also picked RB Sony Michel who joins the talented running back committee in New England. I thought they would have gone defense with the first A quiet but well valued pick was CB Duke Dawson that will help bolster the secondary. Pats added a late round wide out in Braxton Berrios who I see filling in for guys like Danny Amendola or Brandin Cooks.

Grade – B+

New York Jets – Think the Jets are one of the teams that got their quarterback in Sam Darnold that is actually going to work with the team. Darnold falls into a situation where it will be his chance to lose the starting job. I don’t think it will happen though because the Jets are in a weak AFC and have the sneaky good offensive pieces around Darnold to support him. DT Nathan Shepherd will step in day 1 and fill in the hole on the defensive line next to Leonard Williams. After losing Austin Seferian-Jenkins to free agency they added TE Christopher Herndon with a high upside for depth in the fourth round.

Grade – B-

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – Ravens had one of the worst first rounds I’ve ever seen. I think Hayden Hurst could have been taken in the second round especially with Gesicki and Goedert still on the board. QB Lamar Jackson in three years will be converting to wide receiver. Ravens saved their draft some what by grabbing multiple offensive linemen including Orlando Brown. They grabbed a steal in CB Anthony Averett adding him to an already talented secondary. WR Jaleel Scott that is very agile and adds depth to a group that before free agency and the draft was an almost empty tank.

Grade – C-

Cincinnati Bengals – Bengals had quietly one of the best drafts especially with their first five picks. Even before the draft they traded for Cordy Glenn from the Bills and then took OL Billy Price thats a day 1 starter and pair him with Glenn. Cincy’s offense also got a boost with a sneaky good RB Mark Walton that will be a nice depth to learn behind Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard. Three defensive players in S Jessie Bates, DE Sam Hubbard, and LB Malik Jefferson that should have gone in the first and second rounds should contribute right away.

Grade – A-

Cleveland Browns – A lot of people criticized Cleveland for taking QB Baker Mayfield and CB Denzel Ward. I like the picks because Mayfield has played in a pro offense in college and has a new very talented offense in Cleveland waiting on him. Ward may be small, but he plays 30 pounds heavier and 3 inches taller than what he is. Yeah they passed on Bradley Chubb, but they addressed the needs they felt were most extreme. Browns weren’t done with the offense when they added the Georgia horse RB Nick Chubb and OG Austin Corbett. Wouldn’t suprise me if the Browns won 6 or 7 games this year.

Grade – B+

Pittsburgh Steelers – They reached a little bit in S Terrell Edmunds for grabbing what they wanted instead of what was on the board with Justin Reid, Jessie Bates, and Ronnie Harrison. WR James Washington was a good pick to replace new traded Martavis Bryant. Looks like they added Ben Roethlisberger’s successor in QB Mason Rudolph. He is very raw, but has a ton of upside that can be developed especially with 1 or 2 years behind Ben. I feel the Steelers could of drafted a little more carefully with limited draft picks.

Grade – C+

AFC South

Houston Texans – Houston had a solid draft haul and adds to this already talented team to contend with Jacksonville in the division. Grabbed S Justin Reid in the first that can play right next to Tyrann Mathieu this year and now Texans have 2 field generals in the back end. OT Martinas Rankin should start soon for Houston and give Deshaun Watson that comfort of staying upright. Houston upgraded their slot WR with Keke Coutee being a mid round steal, TE Jordan Akins adds depth to the position, but is questioned with guys like Ian Thomas and Troy Fumagalli still on the board.

Grade – B+

Indianapolis Colts – Indy accumulated three extra picks from the Jets to move down 3 spots. They ended up grabbing stud OG Quenton Nelson in the first with the QB frenzy that was happening. Adding another OG in the second with Braden Smith showing that whenever QB Andrew Luck gets on the field that he will finally be protected. Ballard added DE’s Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis that both having non stop motors and can hold the edge well. Colts may have struck gold in the late rounds with WR’s Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain. These 2 are young talented WR’s that can help an ailing offense.

Grade – A

Jacksonville Jaguars – Wow a team that was one game shy of a super bowl birth gets even better adding DT Taven Bryan in the first round. A bull rushing DE that can push through double teams and still wreck plays over and over. In the second Jags added WR D.J. Chark that is gonna be Blake Bortles new weapon and red zone target. Chark played in a run heavy offense in college and should be able to jump in right away. One of the drafts big steals is S Ronnie Harrison that can be that added depth behind an already good secondary.

Grade – B+

Tennessee Titans – With the lowest picks of the draft, the Titans still managed to nail everyone of their picks. Titans landed their play caller on defense in Rashaan Evans that has sideline to sideline non-stop tenaciousness. He has experience at blitzing from inside as well. They go to the outside with Harold Landry that will most likely take over for Brian Orakpo when he retires. Adding the talented S Dane Cruikshank will solidify the secondary for Tennessee. Luke Falk fell quite a bit and some had him as an early steal, but now titans have an opportunity to build him behind Marcus Mariota.

Grade – A-

AFC West

Denver Broncos – Well I dont know if anyone noticed, but GM John Elway was it again. He had Bradley Chubb fall into his lap and now he gets to put him across from Von Miller and will be nightmares for all teams. Elway gave Case Keenum a bevy of weapons with Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, and Troy Fumagalli. Keenum did well with less last year and shouldn’t have a problem running this talented offense. Isaac Yiadom will fill in immediately for Aqib Talib and Josey Jewell will jump in right away as that 3 down thumper in the middle. Don’t be surprised if we see Denver back in playoff contention.

Grade – A

Kansas City Chiefs – Kansas City didn’t have a first round pick from trading up for Patrick Mahomes the year prior. They did trade up again, but in the second round for Breeland Speaks. He will play right away showing that they let Derrick Johnson go sign with another team. Chiefs did stock up on more defensive players with Derrick Ndani, Dorian O’Daniel, Armani Watts, and Tremon Smith trying to fill the losses from free agency and trades. Felt there were some reaches over what was on the board for the Chiefs

Grade – B-

Los Angeles Chargers – Another player that fell quite a bit was Derwin James. Chargers got a serious playmaker and puts a field general in the Los Angeles Secondary. On day 2 they picked up Uchenna Nwosu was questionable especially with better players on the board still like Lorenzo Carter. There were some weapons on the board for Phillip Rivers as well and I thought at some point would pick up another tight end behind Hunter Henry and with Antonio Gates being let go. Chargers did pick up Justin Jones and should be plugged in to the Day 1 defense next to Joey Bosa

Grade – B-

Oakland Raiders – Jon Gruden has a new term with the raiders, but the draft didnt fair well for him. Raiders took Kolton Miller that was an obvious reach in the first round with players like Isaiah Wynn on the board. P.J. Hall and Brandon Parker were picked a full round ahead of where they were supposed to go. Gruden is taking a chance on Arden Key and just completed a drug rehab center. The upside is there, but key still may have lingering issues and injuries from college. Luckily Reggie McKenzie traded for Martavis Bryant and Ryan Swtizer to give the Raiders offense and Derek Carr more weapons.

Grade – C-

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys – Jerry Jones took over the draft war room and did his famous first round reach with Leighton Vander Esch when you had players like Rashaan Evans still there. Second round brought them Connor Williams who is very inconsistent and gets beat by speed rushers easily so he will have to play inside at guard with his shorter arms. Cowboys redeemed themselves by grabbing a talented Michael Gallup to replace Dez Bryant. Cowboys missed out on some serious tight end talent, but still grabbed Dalton Schultz. They did add a back up plan in Mike White that could start someday.

Grade – B

New York Giants – Giants picked up Saquon Barkley and he will show why he was the number one prospect coming out of college. He will add on 2 or 3 more years to Eli Manning’s career that will add more balance in the offense. After adding Nate Solder in free agency they add Will Hernandez next to him that is a making of wall of an O-Line. They hit on Lorenzo Carter and should move right into Jason Pierre Paul’s old spot and show his athleticism. Giants grabbed a possible successor in Kyle Lauletta that has shown flashes of starter ability.

Grade – A

Philadelphia Eagles – Howie Roseman does it again in the draft, but with only 5 picks this time. With Zach Ertz only on the roster, Dallas Goedert is Philly’s first pick and adds athleticism, soft hands, and a big catch radius. Their offense is gonna be some how even better next year. They added Avonte Maddox who will replace Daryl Worley and he brings that feisty attitude. I cant believe Josh Sweat dropped as far as he did and philly adds him to an already talented D-Line. In the seventh round, Eagles picked Jordan Mailata and he is 6’8″ 350 lbs. Not bad for a flyer taken on a former rugby player.

Grade – A-

Washington Redskins – Redskins continued to shore up their defensive line with Da’Ron Payne that excel on this D-line next to old teammate Jonathan Allen in the leagues worst run defense. They took falling Derrius Guice that should give Alex Smith a work horse running back that is gonna balance the offense. I like the Geron Christian pick to add depth behind Trent Williams when he decides to retire. Two mid to late round picks in Troy Apke with the speed and Tim Settle with power that adds that to the lacking defense last year.

Grade – B

NFC North

Chicago Bears – Chicago might have had the best draft overall. They already had a top 10 def and they add stud Roquan Smith to be paired with Danny Trevathan at ILB. James Daniels is a solid pick in the middle of the line and can play guard if need be as well. keeping their young QB upright is important for a rebuilding team. In the third round one of my favorite picks came off the board in Anthony Miller. He can be played all over the field and produce. Smart move by the bears adding three defensive depth picks in the later rounds as well.

Grade – A

Detroit Lions – Detroit built the middle of their line with stout Frank Ragnow that will play center and will put Graham Glasgow at OG. Lions may have solved their running problems by adding Kerryon Johnson in the second round and is a true workhorse running back they can finally rely on for Matthew Stafford. Two defensive picks were added, but i Liked the Dashawn Hand pick better because it adds bulk to a weak interior D-Line that had trouble stopping the run last year. Tackle Tyrell Crosby is another hidden steal where he was supposed to go two rounds higher and has the size to be a final depth piece for the O-line.

Grade – B+

Green Bay Packers – Brian Gutekunst said he was gonna be aggressive. He traded for a 2019 first round pick from the saints and then trading back up to get Jaire Alexander who they originally wanted. A falling Josh Jackson landed right in Gutekunst’s lap and landed two of the top 3 cover CB’s in the draft. A cover linebacker in Oren Burks adds size and speed that’s versatile in a Mike Pettine scheme. Packers were lacking WR size before Gutekunst picked J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimous St. Brown that can compete for the outside spot across from Davante Adams. Cole Madison is a versatile OL that adds depth to the unit and can start one day as well. Packers upraded the whole team even drafting J.K. Scott and Hunter Bradley for special teams.

Grade – A

Minnesota Vikings – Vikings bolstered the defense with Mike Hughes that is a tough CB who can learn from Terrence Newman and Xavier Rhodes. Brian O’Neill for the O’Line adds depth and can start sooner than later for a needy OL unit. Tight end Tyler Conklin is an underrated pick because he wouldve been higher if he wasnt injured. His 16 tape shows athleticism that can get up the field in a hurry and has soft hands for locating the ball. I like the Daniel Carlson pick because the kicking game has been really inconsistent the past couple of years. Colby Gossett comes from a small school, but also can play C or OG with a physical punch off the line.

Grade – B+

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons – Taylor Gabriel’s spot was filled very quick with Calvin Ridley that can play inside or outside especially in a Steve Sarkisian offense he played in college.  Isaiah Oliver is good pick because he adds that missing corner that’s long and can adjust in routes to play the ball rather than the receiver. Deadrin Senat replaces Dontari Poe and Senat can get throught lines wreaking havoc while knowing how to get skinny in running lanes. Ito Smith was a bit of a reach and a shock knowing there is Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman on the roster.

Grade – B+

Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton was handed a new weapon for a lagging offense on the receiving end. D.J. Moore can play any wide receiver spot that has soft hands, runs routes crisp, and has acceleration speed along with top speed. Donte Jackson and Rashaan Gaulden that both bring physicality on the back end that its been lacking for a few years now. Ian Thomas adds depth behind Greg Olsen and can learn behind the all pro tight end to unlock his potential. They added three LB’s in Marquis Haynes, Jermaine Carter, and Andre Smith that are all raw, but adds depth when Thomas Davis is out to start the season.

Grade – A-

New Orleans Saints – I was shocked that after the big trade up that the saints took Marcus Davenport. He is raw, talented, has the size, speed, and can learn behind Alex Okafor and Cameron Jordan. Tre’Quan Smith adds depth in a stacked already WR room and should get even minimal targets with Drew Brees running the offense. Safety Natrell Jamerson has a good chance at being behind Marcus Williams that just needs to hone his game. Rick Leonard was taken way to high and is a project pick that could have been picked 2 rounds later. Saints had a rough draft this year, luckily they already have a dang good team.

Grade – D

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Is this the remake of a 2002 Bucs defense? It’s starting to feel like it. With the first pick is Vita Vea that’s 350 pounds who is really agile that will get single blocks because of the superior talent next to him. Muscle hamster who? Ronald Jones is a good replacement in Tampa and has shown in college he can handle the load. Grabbing M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis adds and solidifies the secondary for the back end that are both aggressive off the line. Alex Cappa is gonna be starting for the O-line very soon and should have been picked a little higher. Bucs picked another steal in Jordan Whitehead and with him and other db’s earlier form a young talented secondary.

Grade – A-

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals – Arizona seemed dead in the water after most of their WR core left for free agency and Carson Palmer was gone. They picked Josh Rosen that fell to them when they traded up before he fell any longer. Cards only gave up mid round picks to move up for a player of his potential as well. Christian Kirk is the next pick a superstar in the making learning from one of the best in Larry Fitzgerald. He has great hands and if you put it in his radius, he is going to catch it. Mason Cole adds depth to any O-Line position having played all at Michigan. Christian Campbell is a versatile late round DB that fills a role like Tyrann Mathieu.

Grade – A

Los Angeles Rams – Rams already won the draft before it happened landing Brandin Cooks for a first round pick giving Jared Goff that everything in one WR. It was a move that can have the Rams win now rather than building up later. Joseph Noteboom is a OT that can play either side and adds depth to a position that didn’t have backups before him. With limited picks on day 3, Rams needed to trade Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn to accumulate more picks from losing picks on bringing in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Rams did add to LB’s in Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Micah Kiser that can jump in sub packages and add depth to an already talented defense.

Grade – B

San Francisco 49ers – John Lynch brought in Mike McGlinchey for trying to find a cornerstone LT. He can run block well and has potential for pass protection which just needs to be developed. Pick was questionable with a ton of defensive studs still on the board. In the second they picked Dante Pettis that can go from week 1 and gives Jimmy Garoppolo a talented receiving roster.  From the third round Fred Warner the ILB that can come in and be a solid three down linebacker that will do anything the coach asks and excel at it. Tarvarius Moore has a shot to come in and replace Eric Reid’s old spot and only thing holding him back is him being raw without enough starting experience.

Grade – B-

Seattle Seahawks – From the house cleaning that John Schneider and Pete Carroll did I would have assumed that defense was going to take priority. That wasn’t the case with picking Rashaad Penny two to three rounds way to early. He is a talented RB, but not first or second round worth. Seattle redeemed themselves somewhat adding talented defensive players like Rasheem Green, Shaquem Griffin, and Tre Flowers. These three guys will fill in right away with the lack of starters and depth Seattle lost during free agency and trades.

Grade – D

 

 

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