2020 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: My Final First Round Projection before Draft Day

The NFL Draft is right around 24 hours away, and with some extra time I’ve decided to take another crack at a mock draft.  Some people are saying this draft will be uneventful with minimal trades due to the lack of face to face communication.  Others are saying the lack of consensus about prospects will make this draft one of the craziest in recent history.  I think it will be somewhere in the middle.  There will be some predictable picks, and some big surprises.  Here’s my final projection of the draft’s first round with trades, incorporating that mix of surprise and expectation.  It also incorporates a mix of what I think should happen and what I think will happen.

1. cincinnati-bengals Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

This might very well be the only lock of this draft.  The Redskins appear to be listening to offers for the 2nd pick, and I think that’s the right move.  But there is no circumstance in which I could justify the Bengals passing on Burrow.  They have a desperate need for a QB.  I feel that Tua Tagovailoa has the highest ceiling of QBs in this draft class, but Burrow is close, and he has a much higher floor.

TRADE ALERT:

Falcons acquire: #2 overall pick

Redskins acquire: #16 overall pick, #78 overall pick, 2021 1st rounder, 2021 3rd rounder

2. atlfalcons Atlanta Falcons (via Washington)

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

This trade makes a lot more sense than you might think.  Rumors are swirling that the Falcons will look to trade up from their 16th pick in order to draft an elite defensive player.  There’s been a lot of buzz about a trade with the Lions, Falcons, or Jaguars to take someone like DT Derrick Brown or CB C.J. Henderson.  How about Chase Young for an elite defensive player?  The Redskins would actually be smart to trade this pick if the right offer is on the table, and I don’t think it’s going to the Giants like I said in my first mock.  Young isn’t a great fit in Washington, and the Redskins should prioritize upgrading the offense around QB Dwayne Haskins in this draft.  On the contrary, Young would fit perfectly on the Falcons defense as the Falcons provide a much needed upgrade to their pass rush.  There’s already a complete offer on the table for the #2 pick, could it be an offer from Atlanta?

3. Detroit Lions Logos | History team and Primary emblem Detroit Lions

Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

The Lions are another team considering a trade down, but I don’t think the Dolphins or Chargers are motivated enough to trade up for their QB, and if the Lions trade down any further than that, they risk missing out on Okudah.  CB Desmond Trufant is good, but he’s no replacement for Darius Slay.  Okudah can serve that role, and it would be foolish of Detroit to pass on him. 

4. new-york-giants-logo New York Giants

Jedrick Wills, T, Alabama

The Giants were considering ILB Isaiah Simmons with this pick, but I think their biggest need is for a right tackle to play alongside LT Nate Solder.  Wills was the right tackle for QB Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama.  He’ll fit right in with the Giants as QB Daniel Jones’ right tackle.

5. Dolphins-logo Miami Dolphins

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

The Dolphins appear to be too worried about Tua’s injury history to take him over QB Justin Herbert.  If the Chargers jump them for pick #3 and take Herbert, I could see Miami taking a chance on Tua.  But Herbert will still probably be on the board, and I see him as the safer option.  Herbert doesn’t have the potential Tua has, but I don’t think the Dolphins want to take a gamble on Tua with Herbert, another top tier QB in this draft class, still on the board.

6. Chargers make some alterations to logo for 2020 season - Los ... Los Angeles Chargers

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Chargers are a good landing spot for Tua.  If Herbert’s gone and Tua’s available at this pick, I can’t see the Chargers passing up.  QB Tyrod Taylor, who the Chargers have a level of confidence in, can serve as a bridge QB while Tua develops and recovers from the injuries that plagued his college career.  Then when Tua’s ready, he’ll hopefully become LA’s next star QB.  Who knows?  If he takes over midway through the season, maybe he can lead the Chargers on a playoff run.

7. carolina-panthers-logo Carolina Panthers

Isaiah Simmons, ILB, Clemson

The Dolphins and Chargers were desperate for QBs, so they had an excuse to pass on Simmons.  The Panthers could use a linebacker to replace Luke Kuechly, and Simmons falling to 7 would be a dream scenario for them.  Simmons is an elite defensive play-maker, and he’s not just a linebacker.  He has the versatility to play in a variety of defensive positions.  As Carolina rebuilds, they will be able to build their defense around Simmons.

8. az-cards Arizona Cardinals

Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa

DT Derrick Brown could be an option here, as the Cardinals need some d-line help.  But I feel their o-line is even more of a priority now that Arizona lost veteran T Marcus Gilbert.  They need to add some more o-line depth this year to help protect QB Kyler Murray, and Wirfs would be a great start to that.

9. jacksonvile-jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars

Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

There’s more confusion surrounding this Jacksonville pick then I’ve seen around a Top 10 draft pick in a long time.  But with Brown on the board, it’s hard for the Jags to pass up.  I’ve heard rumors of a trade down.  I’ve heard things about the Jags reaching for DT Javon Kinlaw or CB C.J. Henderson.  But there’s no reason to pass up on Brown; he’ll be the best option here if he’s on the board.

TRADE ALERT:

Broncos acquire: #10 overall pick

Browns acquire: #15 overall pick, #83 overall pick, 2021 4th rounder

10. denver-broncos-logo Denver Broncos (via Cleveland)

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

You might expect Cleveland to stick with this pick and take a top tackle like Andrew Thomas or Mekhi Becton.  But it appears they want to wait for T Ezra Cleveland, and that actually could make sense since the Browns have bigger needs.  But if the Browns aren’t taking a tackle or wide receiver here, there’s no reason to keep the pick.  I have them selling it to the Broncos, who will look to jump the Jets, Raiders, and 49ers for WR CeeDee Lamb.

11. Brand New: New Logo and Uniforms for New York Jets New York Jets

Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia

With Lamb (who the Jets reportedly want) off the board, the Jets have a few options here.  They could take one of Alabama’s star wide receivers, who are almost as good as Lamb.  They could also address their need at corner.  But I have them taking Thomas, one of this year’s elite o-linemen, to compete for a starting job with George Fant and/or Chuma Edoga.  I feel that Thomas is the most NFL ready tackle in this draft, and it’s possible he puts up a better season than both of New York’s current projected starters.

12. oakland-raiders Las Vegas Raiders

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The Raiders would probably also target Lamb here if he was available.  But Jeudy is also a great option to serve as QB Derek Carr’s new top target.  TE Darren Waller was Carr’s top target last year, but the Raiders could use a true #1 receiver, and guys like Lamb and Jeudy are the best options to fill that role.

13. San Francisco 49ers Logo F5 - Football & Sports Background ... San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis)

C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

The 49ers could opt for WR Henry Ruggs III or DT Javon Kinlaw here.  But Henderson is reportedly rising up draft boards, and it appears there’s a big drop off after Okudah and Henderson in this cornerback class.  The 49ers can worry about replacing DeForest Buckner or adding another weapon for QB Jimmy Garoppolo later.  They should take advantage of the opportunity to draft Henderson here.  Henderson and Richard Sherman could make for one of the league’s best cornerback duos if Henderson reaches his full potential.

14. tampabaybuccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mekhi Becton, T, Louisville

I originally had Tampa opting for a running back here, but they could grab a running back in Round 2 if someone like Becton is still available here.  I feel Becton is the riskiest choice of these four top tackles, explaining his fall.  But it’s hard to pass on him at 14 with Wills, Wirfs, and Thomas all gone.

15. cleveland-browns-brown Cleveland Browns (via Denver)

K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

The Browns don’t need to reach for Ezra Cleveland with this 15th pick; they’ll have a good chance at him in Round 2.  It would be a better option here to address the front seven here, and Chaisson has the versatility to play either defensive end or outside linebacker.  The Browns desperately need help at linebacker, and they could use another edge rusher to help out Myles Garrett.

16. washingtonredskins2 Washington Redskins (via Atlanta)

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

After trading down, the Redskins find themselves with the perfect opportunity to help out QB Dwayne Haskins.  Ruggs isn’t quite as good as Jeudy or Lamb in my opinion, but he’ll be a solid #2 WR for the Redskins, playing next to second year receiver Terry McLaurin.

17. dalcowboyslogonew Dallas Cowboys

Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

The Cowboys will probably consider a trade down here.  But the d-line is a top need, and if Kinlaw falls to 17, he’ll probably be the best player on the board.  With this pick, the Cowboys take advantage of Kinlaw’s slide and help fill a big need.  Making that kind of pick is more valuable than trading down.

18. Dolphins-logo Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh)

Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

With the top four tackles off the board, it could be smart for Miami to wait on a tackle, even though they have a big need there.  They could also use a safety with Reshad Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick gone, and as one of the best safeties in this draft class, McKinney is the perfect replacement.  Grant Delpit appears to have more potential than McKinney, but McKinney is a safer pick here.

19. oakland-raiders Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago)

Patrick Queen, OLB, LSU

The Raiders will probably address the offense at #12.  But with this pick, they have defensive needs to fill.  Queen was a difference maker on LSU’s defense last year, and the Raiders could use an elite player to lead their linebacker corps.  They addressed the position in free agency by signing Nick Kwiatowski and Cory Littleton, but they need more than just quality starters on defense.  They need a leader, and Queen has the potential to be that guy.

20. jacksonvile-jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams)

Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Delpit has slid down some teams’ boards.  But I think he has the potential to emerge as one of the best defensive players from this draft class, and the Jaguars need some serious secondary help.  If they decide to pass on Delpit, I think they should absolutely take another corner or safety with this pick, especially after opting to focus on the d-line at #9.

21. philadelphia-eagles-logo Philadelphia Eagles

Kenneth Murray, OLB, Oklahoma

Historically, the Eagles have rarely taken linebackers Round 1.  But linebacker is by far their biggest need in this draft, and with the top three wide receivers in this draft class off the board, it would be a smarter choice to take Murray, one of the top linebackers in this class, than a second tier wide receiver like Justin Jefferson or Denzel Mims.  Jefferson’s name has gained steam, but I don’t think the Eagles should take Jefferson over a guy like Murray, and I think they will seriously consider a linebacker here.

22. Screenshot 2020-04-05 at 12.23.14 PM Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The Vikings have a much bigger need at WR than Philly does.  With WR Stefon Diggs gone, Adam Thielen emerges as Minnesota’s surefire #1 receiver.  But the Vikings need a new #2 guy.  Jefferson, like Thielen is a slot receiver, and he’s not just any slot receiver.  He was LSU star QB Joe Burrow’s slot receiver.  But he’s a much better choice than any of the other receivers left on the board, and WR Bisi Johnson can serve as Minnesota’s outside receiver with Thielen and Jefferson handling the slot.

23. new_england_patriots New England Patriots

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

I originally said the Patriots should pair QB Jarrett Stidham with a veteran as opposed to a young QB.  But the Patriots have their sights set on drafting a QB in the first 3 rounds.  They do need some serious linebacker help with Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins on their way out.  But with Queen and Murray gone, I think the Pats should take a chance on Love.  Love had an amazing sophomore season at Utah State, and he did throw a lot of picks his junior year, but if the Patriots coaching staff has the opportunity to groom him, he’ll have insane potential.  I think the Pats should hold an open QB battle between Stidham and Love, and if neither QB impresses in training camp, the Pats have veteran QB Brian Hoyer, who knows the system and can be a bridge QB for the two younger guys.

24. nosaints New Orleans Saints

Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan

The Saints don’t have many needs to fill.  With Love gone, a Drew Brees replacement can wait.  Ruiz would be the best offensive lineman left on the board in this spot, and protecting Brees in his final years with the Saints will be very important.  The Saints already have the young Erik McCoy to play center, but they could slide Ruiz over to right guard, where he can compete for a starting job with veteran o-lineman Larry Warford.

25. Screenshot 2020-04-05 at 12.23.14 PM Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo)

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

After addressing their WR need at #22, the Vikings could use a young corner to replace Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, who left in free agency.  Fulton was among many star players in a championship winning LSU defense.  At LSU, Fulton and safety Grant Delpit headlined the secondary.  Here in Minnesota, he’ll have the chance to emerge as the #1 corner and lead alongside safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris.

26. Dolphins-logo Miami Dolphins (via Houston)

Austin Jackson, T, USC

The Dolphins have three first round picks.  They should use at least one of them on protection for their new QB.  The offensive line might very well be a bigger need for Miami than the QB position.  The top four tackles in the draft will likely be gone by this point, but I feel that Jackson is the next best, and he could end up going in the first round to an o-line needy team like Miami.

27. seattle-seahawks Seattle Seahawks

A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

Young and Chaisson will be gone by this point, but there’s still plenty of options at #27 for the Seahawks to replace Jadeveon Clowney in the pass rush.  Epenesa led the pass rush at Iowa with 26.5 sacks over 3 seasons and can eventually do the same in Seattle.

28. Baltimore_Ravens_Logo Baltimore Ravens

Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

I originally had the Ravens taking Ruiz here to replace Marshal Yanda.  But with Ruiz gone and second tier WRs like Jalen Reagor and Denzel Mims available, the Ravens should get another weapon for QB Lamar Jackson.  Jackson plans to run less and throw more this year, and he’ll need to rely on more than just WR Marquise Brown and TE Mark Andrews to do so.  Reagor will slot in as Baltimore’s #2 or #3 wide receiver, and hopefully he’ll emerge as another top target for Jackson.

TRADE ALERT

Jets acquire: #29 overall pick

Titans acquire: #48 overall pick, #158 overall pick, 2021 3rd rounder

29. Brand New: New Logo and Uniforms for New York Jets New York Jets (via Tennessee)

A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

I think any players the Titans would want to draft here could be available in the second round, and I could see a run on CBs happening late in this first round.  The Jets are a team that will not want to miss out on that after releasing CB Trumaine Johnson in March.  Terrell’s draft stock fell after his struggles in the National Championship Game, but I still see him as a 1st round pick with the potential to be a star corner in this league.  It could be tough to adjust to playing against seasoned NFL wide receivers, but Terrell has the talent to thrive against elite receivers, he’ll just need time to get used to it.  The Jets could ease him in, starting him off as a nickel corner and hoping he develops into an elite #1 corner.

30. gbpackers2 Green Bay Packers

Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

If QB Aaron Rodgers ever wants to win a Super Bowl again, he needs another quality wide receiver to play next to Davante Adams.  Devin Funchess was brought in during free agency, but adding one more wide receiver like Mims to the mix in this draft would be a smart move for Green Bay.  The Packers defense has plenty of depth, they just need time to develop.  It’s hard to say the same about their WR corps.

TRADE ALERT

Rams acquire: #31 overall pick

49ers acquire: #52 overall pick, #126 overall pick

31. Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) | Twitter Los Angeles Rams (via San Francisco)

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

The 49ers need to get their hands on some mid-round draft picks if they want good value on d-linemen and wide receivers.  The Rams don’t pick until the second half of Round 2, so they may be eager to jump other RB-needy teams to find a replacement for Todd Gurley.  There’s been a lot of debate as to who the best RB in the class is, but I feel J.K. Dobbins has the highest ceiling, and that’s good news for the Rams.  They had a star RB in Todd Gurley, and he got injured.  Drafting Dobbins could make up for that.

32. kansas-city-chiefs-logo Kansas City Chiefs

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

The Chiefs could also use a running back around this point in the draft, and with Dobbins gone, I have the Chiefs taking Wisconsin breakout RB Jonathan Taylor to pair with Damien Williams.  Williams was undrafted and emerged as a borderline starter for the Chiefs, but I can’t see him as a three-down back.  Darwin Thompson could serve as a third down RB for the Chiefs, but they could use more depth at the position.  Taylor was a no-name coming out of high school, and now he’s emerged as a top RB in this class.  Just like Williams, he has an underdog story of his own, and pairing these two underdogs together could make for a strong backfield to complement QB Patrick Mahomes’ pass-first offense.

That’s all for my final mock draft of the year.  Stay tuned for more content after the draft.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: AFC West Edition

Training camp is here, and it’s time for my final batch of NFL Draft Report Cards.  Last time, I reviewed the AFC South, where several teams struggled.  But the AFC West had some teams with much better draft classes.  Who are they?  Keep reading to see my grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

  Denver Broncos

Overall Grade: A-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Broncos put together one of the league’s best draft classes. The trade down in Round 1 was very smart, as Fant fills a huge need and was an amazing fit. They added a tackle (Risner) in Round 2, and if he can make a successful move to guard, he could really help the team. Lock was a bargain as well, and Dre’Mont Jones will fill another big need for Denver. The Broncos could’ve added more secondary help and another WR, but every pick had a purpose, and with just six picks, they filled a good amount of needs.

 Los Angeles Chargers

Overall Grade: B+

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Chargers started this draft off very strong.  But they made some confusing choices later on.  They didn’t have too many needs to fill, and they filled them early.  Tillery and Adderley were great adds, and Pipkins was a reach but should still compete for a tackle job and have success.  Later on though, they reached a bit on several picks.  It was smart to take a QB, but Round 5 is too early for Stick.  They also reached for Tranquill, Broughton, and Egbule.  Still, LA filled their needs earlier and more efficiently than any other team, making for a strong draft class where the later rounds didn’t matter nearly as much.

 Kansas City Chiefs

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Chiefs reaches on a handful of these selections, but they did filled a decent amount of needs.  They boosted the interior o-line.  They drafted extra RB and WR help.  They even added a safety with their first pick.  But even with Frank Clark on the roster, the Chiefs’ biggest need for an edge rusher, and that need has yet to be filled.  That fact, alongside the lack of interior o-line depth and the numerous reaches the Chiefs made, brings down KC’s grade.

  Oakland Raiders

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Raiders went into this draft with a handful of defensive holes and a few offensive holes as well.  They filled most of these, but they took players that they could’ve drafted in later rounds.  If they had traded down a couple times, they would likely have more help at guard and defensive tackle than they got, and they’d get some of their targets at better values.  Clelin Ferrell could’ve been taken at #24 or #27.  They took him at #4.  The Raiders did have some really good picks as well though.  I liked the choices of Trayvon Mullen, Foster Moreau, and Hunter Renfrow.  But they could have done a better job at managing their draft picks and focused more on value.


 

That’s all for my 2019 NFL Draft Report Cards.  Stay tuned for more NFL coverage as the regular season looms.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: AFC South Edition

Welcome to Part 7 of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  Last week, I reviewed the AFC North, where the Browns and Ravens boasted a couple of the best draft classes in the entire league.  The AFC South doesn’t have any teams that dominated to this extent.  In fact, one team struggled more than any other team in the entire AFC.  Keep reading to see my grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

tennessee-titans. Tennessee Titans

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

I didn’t mind this draft, as there were no terribly confusing picks and the Titans filled most of their biggest needs.  But the Titans did take some significant risks here.  I especially liked the A.J. Brown pick, as he will make an instant impact in the receiving game.  Jeffery Simmons may not play this season.  But the Titans desperately needed a DT, and it’s not a terrible late 1st round choice.  Nate Davis was a reach, but he does fill a need as well.  They also added DB depth with the selection of Amani Hooker.  They didn’t need any more OLBs even with Brian Orakpo retiring.  They could’ve added a tight end instead with Delanie Walker getting older.  But overall, this was still a solid draft that filled plenty of needs.

 

indianapolis-colts Indianapolis Colts

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

The Colts had a boatload of big needs going in, so even with 10 draft picks, it would’ve been hard to fulfill all their needs.  The Colts did fill a good number of them though.  They got some front seven help, added WR Parris Campbell, and drafted a corner early.  However, they reached quite a bit on some of these picks when it was not necessary.  Indy had much better options in many of these scenarios.  The failure to take advantage of these options definitely impacts their grade, but the filling of most needs boosts it.

 

jacksonvile-jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

img_4698

Analysis:

The Jaguars did fill most of their biggest needs, but their priorities were not quite set straight.  Jawaan Taylor was a steal in Round 2.  But did Jacksonville need a tackle?  No.  The Jags opted to take Taylor and wait on their other needs as opposed to grabbing a RB or S early.  They didn’t really address the secondary at all, instead opting to snag top players available like Gardner Minshew and Dontavius Russell in the late rounds.  At other times, they reached for picks.  Some of these picks will pay off to an extent, but others just didn’t make sense.

 

hou-texans Houston Texans

Overall Grade: C

Draft Report Card:

img_4699

Analysis:

The Texans didn’t even have that many needs to fill.  But they threw their needs aside on some of these picks.  I think the Texans were selectively targeting a group of players they believed were underrated and had a future, and the Texans are entitled to their own opinions.  They may love this draft class.  But in my eyes, many of these picks were unnecessary reaches.  For example, they took tackles Tytus Howard and Max Scharping when there were better options and they needed a guard more.  In the meantime, they failed to add depth at wide receiver and linebacker.  Many of these picks confused me.  They weren’t a fit, a bargain, or a need filler, so that significantly bogs down their grade.


 

That’s all for this portion of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  Next time, I’ll wrap this series up with the AFC West, where another two of the best draft classes in the league came from.  Which AFC West teams came out on top?  Stay tuned for my next post to find out.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: AFC North Edition

Welcome to Part 6 of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  Last week, I reviewed the home division of my New England Patriots, the AFC East.  Though the Pats should win the division, the Jets outdid them in the draft.  But in my eyes, an AFC North team was the overall draft winner.  Which team is it?  Keep reading to see my Draft Report Card for each team, including a grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

cleveland-browns-brown Cleveland Browns

Overall Grade: A

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

I feel the Browns won this year’s draft. Not only did they snag two major steals at positions of need in Greedy Williams and Mack Wilson, they also filled most of the rest of their biggest needs. In addition to Williams, a CB and Wilson, an ILB, the Browns drafted a tackle, a safety, an outside linebacker. Some of their other picks were slight reaches, but they filled most of their needs, so I really like this draft class.

Baltimore_Ravens_Logo Baltimore Ravens

Overall Grade: B+

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

The Ravens started off this draft historically strong. They grabbed their two WRs of the future (hopefully Lamar Jackson is able to throw to them). They also drafted a much needed edge rusher in Jaylon Ferguson, who happens to be a great fit. The later rounds didn’t go as well. They did make some decent picks later on. I understand the selections of RB Justice Hill and DT Daylon Mack. But the Ravens didn’t need another guard or corner, and the Ravens been fine with Robert Griffin III as Jackson’s sole backup. Overall, this is a pretty good draft class, but it was a bit top heavy, and they didn’t prioritize their biggest needs in the later rounds.

cincinnati-bengals Cincinnati Bengals

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

The Bengals made a couple great selections. They found their potential QB-LT duo of the future. The Bengals also filled all of their biggest needs. But they reached on a lot of their picks. I’m not going to make a big deal about their choice to put aside smaller needs in favor of prospects they liked. But Drew Sample, for example could’ve been found in the 4th or 5th. He isn’t 2nd round material. I do give them credit for the promptness on filling their needs though, so I didn’t mind this draft class too much.

pittsburgh-steelers Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

My favorite pick by far from this draft class was the selection of RB Benny Snell Jr.  Snell can be the primary backup for James Conner with Le’Veon Bell leaving for good. But other than that, the Steelers didn’t have an amazing draft. They didn’t fill too many needs, and the needs they did fill were filled by reaching. I didn’t mind the Devin Bush pick, as he may not be a good fit, but he can play inside linebacker as they need. Plus, Isaiah Buggs was a steal even though Pittsburgh doesn’t need a DT.  But the fact that they didn’t draft a tackle to replace Marcus Gilbert will significantly bog them down.

That’s all for this portion of my NFL Draft Grades.  Stay tuned for my AFC South Draft Grades next.  As a whole, the AFC South did not have a great draft.  But two teams tied for the worst overall grade.  Who were they?  Find out soon.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: AFC East Edition

Welcome to Part 5 of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  Today, I’ll be kicking off my AFC draft reviews with the AFC East. The New England Patriots (my team) have dominated this division for years. But did they dominate the draft? What other AFC East teams thrived? Keep reading to see my Draft Report Card for each team, including a grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

 

Jets-Logo New York Jets

Overall Grade: B+

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Jets may have reached for a couple players and they did struggle to fill all of their needs with six picks. But for the amount of picks they had, this was a pretty solid daft. I would’ve rather the Jets take Josh Allen over Quinnen Williams, as Allen is the better fit even though Williams is the better player.  They did make up for it later though, as they drafted Jachai Polite and Blake Cashman. I also really liked the selection of Chuma Edoga, an underrated player at a position of need for the Jets. The Jets opted to wait on a tight end and a corner, and when they finally drafted them, it was a reach. They also failed to fill needs at center and receiver. But the Jets did the best they could and finished with a strong draft class.

New_England_Patriots New England Patriots

Overall Grade: B

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

I wrote a more in-depth Patriots draft review in a separate article.  Check it out!

Buffalo_Bills Buffalo Bills

Overall Grade: B

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Bills made some very confusing picks, but they also drafted some quality players in between.  They did fill all their biggest needs early, as they didn’t really have many.  They earned a steal by drafting T Cody Ford in the 2nd.  They also drafted a strong TE, Dawson Knox and an OLB, Vosean Joseph in later rounds to fill their other two needs.  They did draft another TE later, but this pick was an unnecessary reach alongside some others.  I also don’t get why they took DT Ed Oliver at #9 when they didn’t need a DT and good o-linemen were available.  It was good that the Bills took a young RB, but the backfield is way to crowded for it, and Round 3 was early for Singletary.  Otherwise, I didn’t mind this draft too much.

Dolphins-logo Miami Dolphins

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

Most of these picks were understandable, but the Dolphins had better options.  It wasn’t easy for Miami in this draft, as they had a lot of needs to fill as they rebuild and they didn’t have many picks to do so.  The rebuilding will need to continue over the next couple years.  Most of these picks filled needs, so that helps Miami’s case.  But a couple of them were reaches, especially the selection of Auburn RB Chandler Cox.  In addition, the Dolphins didn’t really make a point to priorities their biggest of needs.  But overall, I didn’t mind this draft class, but this is only the beginning of a long rebuild for the Fins.

That’s all for this portion of my Draft Grades.  Stay tuned for my reviews of the rest of the AFC.  I’ll be reviewing the AFC North yet, where I feel 1 team highlighted this year’s draft.  Which team is it?  Find out in my next post.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: NFC West Edition

Welcome to Part 4 of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  Today, I’ll be wrapping up the NFC draft reviews with the NFC West.  Which NFC West teams will benefit from this draft the most?  Keep reading to see my Draft Report Card for each team, including a grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

az-cards Arizona Cardinals

Overall Grade: B

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

What I love about this draft is that every pick was made for a good reason.  New head coach Kliff Kingsbury knows Kyler Murray is capable of leading the Cards, so there was no problem with trading Josh Rosen in favor of more security.  Murphy and Thompson add secondary depth at a great value.  The team also filled needs, drafting a trio of receivers, a tackle, a center, and a couple d-linemen.

The team could’ve found a way to fill a few more holes, such as linebacker.  But there was not a single pick in this draft class that I had a real problem with, and Arizona really made their biggest needs a priority.

sf-49ers San Francisco 49ers

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

Much like Chicago, this draft class is top heavy.  The 2nd overall selection of Nick Bosa was one of my favorite picks in this draft.  He’s a great fit and could eventually lead this rebuilding defense back to glory.  I didn’t mind the Deebo Samuel pick, but D.K. Metcalf would’ve been the smarter choice.  Kaden Smith was a steal in Round 6, so I’m not going to complain there either.

But some of these other picks confused me.  Despite the steal of Smith, the rest of San Francisco’s later round picks were major reaches.  They did need a punter, but taking one in Round 4 is unheard of.  They didn’t need to draft WR Jalen Hurd either.  Deebo Samuel will provide them enough at receiver and Hurd was drafted way too early.   The strong picks early on definitely boost this draft class, but the Niners could’ve added a few more quality players and filled a couple more needs.

los-angeles-rams-symbol Los Angeles Rams

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

It’s hard to start a draft strong without a first round pick, but the Rams definitely could’ve done better.  They could’ve waited on the safety and running back till later rounds.  There was no need for a corner in Round 3, especially someone who I didn’t have being drafted.  The team did rebound in the later rounds, snagging a strong tackle in David Edwards and a replacement for Ndamukong Suh in Greg Gaines.

There were some needs that weren’t filled as early as they should’ve been or were completely ignored.  The Rams interior o-line still needs serious help.  But there were some strong selections in the later rounds that will definitely highlight this draft class.

seattle-seahawks Seattle Seahawks

Overall Grade: C

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

There weren’t too many straight up confusing picks in this draft, but there weren’t many eye popping picks either.  The team made a lot of reaches in the early rounds, and that definitely brings their grade down significantly.  But the Seahawks did, to an extent, redeem themselves.  They received a blatant steal when they drafted WR D.K. Metcalf at the end of the 2nd round.  They continued to add to their depleted receiving corps throughout this draft, as Doug Baldwin will no longer be on the team.

But while they hyperfocused on finding Russell Wilson some guys to throw to, they threw aside some of their other needs.  The team is still in desperate need of secondary depth despite drafting a safety.  It wouldn’t have hurt to take a new TE either.  But the team did manage to fill a good number of holes despite their reaches, so you have to give them some credit for that.


 

That’s all for this portion of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  Next time, I’ll shift my attention to the AFC, starting with New England’s division, the AFC East.  Did the Pats outwit their division rivals again this year?  Stay tuned to find out what I think.

 

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: NFC South Edition

Mandatory Minicamp has just concluded, and school is over for me.  So today, I’ll be resuming my NFL Draft Report Card series with the NFC South.  Teams in the NFC South either thrived in this draft or struggled mightily.  Which teams do I think benefitted the most?  Keep reading to see my Draft Report Card for each team, including a grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

carolina-panthers-logo Carolina Panthers

Overall Grade: B+

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

Overall, this was a pretty solid draft for Carolina.  They found a high upside WR in Round 7 to replace Devin Funchess.  They filled their needs at tackle and edge early.  They even took a QB in case Cam Newton fails to stay healthy.  Will Grier is a big upgrade for Carolina at backup QB as opposed to Taylor Heinicke or Kyle Allen.

The Panthers did have a lot of needs going in, and with just 7 picks, it was hard to fill them all.  But they could’ve traded down at some point, and they could’ve taken a corner to play across from Donte Jackson as opposed to RB Jordan Scarlett.  Christian McCaffrey is a long term solution for Carolina at RB1, and they are set if he gets hurt thanks to Cameron Artis-Payne.  It’s somewhat smart to add depth there in case multiple injuries occur, but they needed a corner more, and McCaffrey has not been terribly injury prone.  Despite a couple mistakes in the later rounds, this was a pretty good draft, and it would’ve been hard for Carolina to do much better.

nosaints New Orleans Saints

Overall Grade: B

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

It was hard for the Saints to succeed with only 5 picks, 4 of which were on Day 3.  But unlike Philadelphia, who was also limited to 5 picks, the Saints found a way to fill a few needs early on and make the most of their draft situation.  They drafted Erik McCoy in Round 2 to fill their biggest need as he replaces the retired Max Unger at center.  They also snagged a top safety, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson with their 2nd pick.  They could have looked for a receiver later on, and some of their later picks were reaches, but the Saints got off to a strong start and should be able to look back and admire this draft class in a few years.

tampabaybuccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis:

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Analysis:

The Buccaneers had some really strong picks, and some questionable ones.  The team will have flexibility on defense after drafting LB Devin White in Round 1 and edge rusher Anthony Nelson in the 4th.  But beyond that, the Bucs struggled in this draft.  They didn’t really fill many of their needs.  I would think they would draft a running back after the Year 1 struggles of Ronald Jones II, but maybe they need to give RoJo more of a chance before giving up on him, something other teams neglected to do for their rookie and second year busts.

The team also could’ve used more depth at WR beyond Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but they chose not to draft anyone until Round 6, when they reached for Scott Miller of Bowling Green.  They did sign Breshad Perriman, but I don’t know if that will be enough.  Expect to see a lot of 2 TE schemes with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on the roster.    The team also reached for a kicker once again.  This team didn’t have that many huge needs, so I would’ve thought they would fill more of those as opposed to drafting three unnecessary defensive backs and reaching for some other players.

atlfalcons Atlanta Falcons

Overall Grade: C

Draft Report Card:

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Analysis:

The Falcons really needed some depth at linebacker with Vic Beasley playing defensive end, but they didn’t end up drafting one.  Who will be lining up on either side of Deion Jones come Week 1?  I can’t name anyone definitively right now.  They did get o-line help, but both o-linemen they drafted in Round 1 may have been found available in Round 2, or at least someone almost as good as them.  The team did draft some secondary depth and a couple RBs to backup for Devonta Freeman, but those picks were also reaches.  All of their picks were either a reach or an unnecessary pick.  I would’ve expected a couple spot on selections.


 

That’s all for this portion of my NFL Draft Report Cards.  In my next post, I’ll be reviewing the NFC West’s draft classes.  Which NFC West teams stood out the most in this year’s draft?  Stay tuned for my next post to find out.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: NFC North Edition

Welcome to the second part of my NFL Draft Grades.  Today, I’ll be reviewing the draft classes from the NFC North.  None of the teams in this division dominated in this year’s draft, but all four teams ended up with draft classes that were at least respectable.  What prevented each of these teams from draft dominance?  Keep reading to see my Draft Report Card for each team, including a grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

Image result for detroit lions logo Detroit Lions

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The #8 pick was a bit early for the Lions to draft a tight end, but it’s hard to pass up on Hockenson, so hopefully it pays off and Hock is an instant starter over Jesse James for Detroit.  Nauta was a steal in Round 7, but at that point the team had enough tight ends on the depth chart.

The Tavai pick, on the other hand, should help fill the team’s need for linebackers, but it was a bit of a reach.  I didn’t like the Harris pick either: the team was set at safety between Miles Killebrew and Tavon Wilson.

But after this, the team turned it around, getting great value and filling their gaping hole at DE by drafting Austin Bryant.  Bryant will fill the role Ezekiel Ansah formerly played, playing across from free agent signing Trey Flowers.

The Oruwariye pick was also a steal and added some good DB depth.  But for the most part, the later rounds of the draft were a disappointment for Detroit.  They reached for several players they didn’t even need while leaving holes at OLB and G wide open.  They did add G Beau Benzschawel as an undrafted free agent, but I would’ve expected the team to fill more needs during the draft with the amount of picks they had.

chicago-bears-logo Chicago Bears

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

I can’t believe I’m saying this, because the Bears didn’t pick until Round 3.  But this draft was extremely top heavy.  The Bears started strong by finding Jordan Howard’s replacement in David Montgomery.  They added additional WR depth by drafting Riley Ridley, and I thought that was a good pick too.

But the rest of the draft was confusing.  They didn’t add depth where they needed it, and they took a couple players that shouldn’t have even been drafted at all.  They didn’t need another RB after drafting Montgomery.  An o-lineman or d-lineman would’ve contributed much more to the team.

Despite the struggles on Day 3, this was at least a decent draft as the Bears started off strong when it mattered most.

gbpackers2 Green Bay Packers

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Packers drafted some quality athletes in the early rounds.  But despite a desperate need for WR help, they didn’t draft a single receiver.  Who’s going to start across from Davante Adams at WR?  I don’t think anyone on their current roster is a viable option.  Expect to see a lot of two TE schemes, especially after the addition of Jace Sternberger.  Jenkins does help add some o-line depth, but he’s not a good fit.  He entered this draft as a center.  Now he’ll have to be pushed over to guard where Green Bay needs him most.

I am a big fan of the Darnell Savage Jr. pick though.  Expect to see him making an impact right away next to veteran Adrian Amos.  The Dexter Williams pick was smart as well.  The Packers needed the RB depth, as they have yet to find a consistent RB1.  Aaron Jones has a ton of upside, but he is far from consistent.

The rest of this draft was no more than mediocre, as they continued to ignore their need for WR depth despite drafting at least 3 other players they didn’t need.  But they deserve some credit for the few picks they did fill needs with.

min-vikings-logo2 Minnesota Vikings

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

This is a huge draft class, and some of these picks were very smart, but others were big mistakes.   The Marcus Epps selection was not necessary.  The Vikings have one of the league’s best secondaries, so adding a safety that never should’ve been drafted was not the smartest move.  I didn’t mind the Kris Boyd selection though, because the 7th round was actually a reasonable time to draft him.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Bradbury pick either.  The o-line depth is helpful, but Bradbury’s not a great fit, and they had better options: Jawaan Taylor and Cody Ford were both still on the board at #18.  The Vikings needed guards and tackles much more, and drafting Bradbury either will force center Pat Elflein to shift to guard or force Bradbury to return there.

Unless Minnesota still wants to trade TE Kyle Rudolph, there was no need to draft Irv Smith Jr. when they could’ve drafted a defensive tackle.  They ended up with a DT steal in Round 6, Armon Watts.  But in my opinion, DT was their biggest draft need after Sheldon Richardson’s departure and the need should’ve been filled much, much earlier.  In the end, the Vikes did fill the rest of their needs, and Dillon Mitchell was a bargain in Round 7.  But they made a lot of unnecessary reaches and could’ve filled most of their positional needs a lot earlier.

That’s all for this portion of my NFL Draft Grades.  Next time, I’ll take a look at the NFC South, where two teams thrived in the draft and the other two struggled mightily.

A Roller Coaster Ride: Reviewing the Patriots Draft

Welcome to my in-depth draft review for the New England Patriots.  I have already begun writing draft grades for each team (organized by division), but I figured I’d go more in depth for my favorite team.  Plus, I was able to submit this as a critical review for English class.

Read below for my draft grades for the Pats alongside my review.

In addition, I had the chance to catch up with Bob Socci about New England’s draft:

Now, let’s jump right in:

new_england_patriots New England Patriots

Overall Grade: B

Draft Report Card:

 

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Analysis:

Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Patriots should remain elite in 2019.  However, with tight end Rob Gronkowski hanging up his cleats and multiple receivers leaving through free agency, the Patriots still had a few tasks to accomplish coming into the NFL Draft.  

First of all, they needed to find quarterback Tom Brady some receivers.  Going into this draft, Julian Edelman was the only capable pass-catcher on the roster that Brady already has a strong rapport with.  Their depth behind Edelman was limited to Demaryius Thomas (coming off torn achilles) and Phillip Dorsett (has yet to prove himself dependable).  They also added Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a veteran tight end who was signed to help fill the hole Gronk left behind. But ASJ is no more than a temporary solution.  He has been terribly inconsistent throughout his career, and after playing 5 years on 3 different teams, he has never reached 400 receiving yards or 5 TDs in a season.  The Pats will eventually need to find another option there.

Second, they needed to fill some of their other positional needs.  They lack defensive line depth and are in desperate need of an elite pass rusher.  They brought Adrian Clayborn on board for 2018, but he didn’t consistently produce.  They haven’t really had a consistent one since DEs Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich left a few years ago.  The team could also use help at linebacker and in the o-line. Lastly, Brady’s not retiring anytime soon unless his stats suddenly decline.  But they still need time to start planning for the post-Brady era.

I feel the team worked towards achieving all of these objectives, but still could have done more to achieve them.  

There were rumors that New England would consider trading up to draft an elite tight end.  Instead, they opted to wait on a tight end and draft WR N’Keal Harry in Round 1. At #32, Harry was one of their best options, and he fills a need.  Once he gets into a rhythm with Brady, expect to see him starting and producing across from Edelman, so this was one of their better picks in the draft.

I wasn’t a huge fan of their 2nd round trade up for cornerback Joejuan Williams though.  Round 2 is a bit early for Williams; the Pats had bigger needs at #45. For example, they could have taken Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr.  But if they were going to trade up for a cornerback, it should have been LSU’s Greedy Williams. He ended up going to the Browns at #46. He may be a flawed prospect, as he’s not a very physical player and he opted out of visiting with teams prior to the draft.  But he has insane potential and refuses to leave receivers open.

The Pats redeemed themselves in the 3rd round.  After trading their later 2nd round pick, they managed to snag edge rusher Chase Winovich early in Round 3.  At the age of 24, Winovich is an older rookie, but he should still bring the energy to the locker room that Gronk left behind and make an instant impact in the pass rush where Ninkovich previously thrived.  This was the perfect choice for the Pats.

In this round, they also snagged a running back, Damien Harris and a tackle, Yodny Cajuste.  Harris is one of the better RB prospects in this draft, and he was a steal at #87. He has played in committees, but it’s hard to get a lot of opportunities in New England’s four-man backfield, something established in 2017.  As long as Michel is healthy, I’m not so sure they needed a fourth man. But he’s still a decent investment in my eyes.

Cajuste was one of the best tackles on the board and fills a need for the Pats, so I liked the pick.  Isaiah Wynn has yet to play a regular season game after losing his rookie year to an ACL tear, so the left tackle job is anyone’s for taking.

Though it received mixed reviews overall, one of my favorite picks in this draft was the selection of Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham in Round 4.  Stidham may have struggled at Auburn, but he wasn’t exactly a perfect fit for Auburn’s system, and I trust that he’ll fit better with the Pats and is capable of replacing Brady when he retires.

They also took guard Hjalte Froholdt in this round.  This was a bit of a reach, but he does help fill the team’s need for o-line depth.  

I was a bit disappointed at first when the Pats took DT Byron Cowart in Round 5, when better options were on the board.  But since then, I’ve looked further into this pick, and it actually makes sense. It fills a need, and as a former top high school prospect, Cowart has plenty of potential despite underperforming in college.  

On the other hand, it’s hard to argue in favor of the selection of punter Jake Bailey.  First of all, Bailey is a right footed punter, the first right footed punter on the Pats in a long, long, time.  Plus, they already resigned punter Ryan Allen. In baseball, they put right handed batters in a platoon with left handed batters.  Would the Pats consider something similar with punters? Regardless, the 5th round was a bit early to draft one.

Their drafted concluded with the addition of cornerback Ken Webster.  This pick didn’t make much sense, as they had already added depth at the position by drafting Joejuan Williams.  But it’s the 7th round, so I doubt it’ll have that much of an impact in the long run.

Overall I thought this draft class was pretty solid.  Some of the decisions they made were a bit confusing, but that was mixed in with some amazing picks, and it’s hard to doubt Bill Belichick.  This draft class makes a lot more sense now that the Pats have reunited with TE Ben Watson and LB Jamie Collins in free agency.  So if I had to give this draft class a letter grade, it would be somewhere in the B-range.

Stay tuned for more draft grades soon.

2019 NFL Draft Report Cards: NFC East Edition

It’s a little late, but now that I’ve taken a little bit of time to look deeper into the 2019 NFL draft class, I will be posting about my draft grades for each team, division by division. I’ll be starting today with the NFC East. We all know the Redskins own one of the best draft classes of the year. But what other NFC East teams had strong drafts? Which teams struggled to fill their needs? Keep reading to see my Draft Report Card for each team, including a grade for each pick as well as my final grades.  As I post more articles, I will also include links to the rest of my draft grades.

Image result for nfl draft 2019 logo

NFL Draft Report Cards 2019

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

 

washingtonredskins2 Washington Redskins

Overall Grade: B+

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

Overall, this is one of the strongest draft classes of 2019.  The Redskins started off their draft by reuniting the duo of QB Dwayne Haskins and his Ohio State WR, Terry McLaurin.  Both should expect regular roles at some point in 2019.  The team reached a bit for McLaurin, but they added another WR for additional depth later: Kelvin Harmon.  Harmon had fallen to the 6th round after projecting as a Day 1 or Day 2 pick.  This drop to the 6th round was for a reason, but he was still a steal for Washington who can also play a big role, possibly bigger than McLaurin.

The rest of the draft was spent boosting the pass rush and the o-line.  Montez Sweat is a risky pick due to his heart condition, but I think the risk was worth it.  There’s a chance that Sweat could be one of the best players from this draft and lead Washington’s pass rush.  But if Sweat turns out a bust, the Redskins also added two more LBs on Day 3.  I also really liked the Pierschbacher selection.  In Round 5, center was their biggest remaining need, and they took the best center remaining after failing to sign a big name center in free agency.

As a whole, I like this draft class because the Redskins filled almost every one of their positional needs.  But they reached for certain players they could’ve gotten a bargain on in later rounds.

new-york-giants-logo New York Giants

Overall Grade: B-

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

The Daniel Jones pick was confusing.  I like the fact that they took a QB, but if they were going to take one at #6, there were better options.  Plus, they could’ve gotten Jones at #17 and taken an elite d-lineman.

Everyone is giving New York a terrible grade solely based on this pick.  But after taking Jones, the Giants really turned it around, upgrading a weak d-line with Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines.  They also added depth to the secondary with DeAndre Baker and Julian Love.  They didn’t really need Love once they grabbed Baker, and they could’ve done better.  But Love was a steal in Round 4, so the pick is understandable.

I liked this draft as a whole.  They filled a good portion of their positional needs.  But Dave Gettleman took some players way too early.  They could’ve gotten more value at #6 and with some of their later picks.

dalcowboyslogonew Dallas Cowboys

Overall Grade: C+

Draft Report Card:

Analysis:

Some of the Cowboys individual picks were confusing.  It was smart to take a DT with their first pick, but why Trysten Hill, a player they could’ve gotten in Round 4 or 5?  The Connor McGovern pick also made no sense after the selection of T/G Connor Williams in 2018.

But as a whole, this is a strong draft class.  The Cowboys filled all three of their biggest needs (DT, RB, S) and received a good number of quality players despite the lack of early round picks.  Thanks to this, I gave them a C+ rather than a C or C- overall.

philadelphia-eagles-logo Philadelphia Eagles

Overall Grade: C

Draft Report Card:

It’s hard to have a good draft with just 5 selections.  But the Eagles still could’ve done better.  The Andre Dillard pick made no sense at all.  Lane Johnson is a solid starter at tackle, Jason Peters still has a year or two left, and the Eagles have Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the depth chart at tackle.  Vaitai will been ready to take over when Peters retires, so the Eagles wasted a valuable pick on someone they didn’t even need.

The selections of Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were at least understandable.  The team could have definitely used a bit more RB and WR depth.  But I don’t know how much playing time they’ll get after the acquisitions of RB Jordan Howard and WR DeSean Jackson.  The Thorson pick was understandable as well.  Thorson should provide Nate Sudfeld some good competition for the backup QB job.  This doesn’t mean much on most teams, but Carson Wentz could go down with an injury at any time.  The Eagles need to have a capable backup ready, a difficult task now that Nick Foles is gone.

The Shareef Miller pick was a blatant reach and the team has plenty of d-line depth.  There is no need for any more crowding.  The Eagles didn’t have that many positional needs in the first place.  They just needed one more linebacker and another safety.  But they had 5 opportunities to fill these needs, and they declined to.  Positional needs aren’t always priority #1, but they do matter.  A draft that doesn’t fill any of them cannot be considered a strong draft.

 

That’s all for my first set of NFL Draft Grades.  Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll be grading the NFC North teams.