Dylan White’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

It’s finally time. Time for a strange, exciting, and online(?) draft.

To be completely honest, it’s been difficult for me to get excited about this year’s draft. Normally, draft season is the best. It begins in January, with the college football postseason, where we get to see some of the most highly-touted prospects on a national stage. Then you have the Senior Bowl and the East-West game, where scouts fall in love with prospects based on less than a week’s worth of work. All of this was moving along according to plan with nothing standing in the draft’s way.

Then obviously something got in the way. The scouting combine was overshadowed by mass hysteria and nationwide concern, and after that, everything else was canceled. There were no pro days, so none of the injury-riddled athletes from the combine got to put out their official numbers. There were no real ‘official visits’ for prospects, so it’s a bit more difficult to see who teams are specifically looking at this year. And now apparently the draft is going to look like a shitty EA video game. The only good thing that’s come out of all this is the fake “Pro Days” that prospects are holding for themselves, where they magically shave .3 seconds off of their official combine-timed 40.

With all of this said, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited about this year’s draft. I can guarantee a trade in the Top 10 of the draft, with the Lions and Giants holding picks 3 and 4, dangling the hopes of drafting Tua Tagovailoa over the Dolphins and Chargers’ respective heads. Four teams have multiple first-rounders this year: the Dolphins, Jaguars, Raiders, and Vikings. I wouldn’t count out a trade-up for any organization except for the Vikings. Even though this draft will be conducted through computers, there will still be plenty of action in the first round. So without further ado, here are my predictions for the first round.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Although there are some believers in Tua over Joe Burrow, I know there’s not much to overthink here. Joe Burrow just had one of the most dominant seasons that we’ve ever seen by a pure pocket passer in college, winning every major award, including the National Championship. He rolled through secondaries that were full of NFL talent in Alabama and Clemson, and he showed very few moments of weakness. He’s accurate, calm under pressure, and has enough arm talent to be a great NFL quarterback. The Bengals are lucky that they chose this year to completely suck. Just kidding, they suck every year.

2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Taking Chase Young here is a no-brainer. I understand that cornerbacks have slightly more positional value than edge rushers. I understand that if they believe that Tua is an upgrade over Dwayne Haskins, they could take him. But Chase Young is the right pick. His draft profile is among the likes of Myles Garrett, Von Miller, and Jadeveon Clowney. The only difference is, he was twice as productive as any of them in college. Unless the Washington front office has literally zero faith in Haskins, Young HAS to be the pick here. He is as close as you can get to a guaranteed perennial All-Pro player.

3. Miami Dolphins (From DET) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

I’m not one for making trades in Mock Drafts, but it is so obvious that there’s going to be a trade in the Top 5. With two QB-needy teams sitting behind Detroit, they’d have to be completely incompetent not to have a bidding war for their pick, which would be the right to Tua Tagovailoa. Tua is a smart, athletically gifted, and productive player. There’s not much more you can ask for from a QB. The only ‘knock’ on Tua is that he played with too much NFL talent in his college career.

As you can see, there are two Alabama WRs picked in the rest of this mock, and there’s an OT from ‘Bama too. I don’t think that playing with too much talent is negative unless these receivers were consistently bailing Tua out of bad situations (ex.: Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans), but this was rarely the case. Tua maximized the production of his offense in Alabama, and I think he’ll be able to take command of an NFL offense with equivalent efficiency.

Trade Details: DET Receives: 5, 26, 56, ’21 R2, ’21 R4. MIA Receives: 3, 85, ’21 R5.

4. New York Giants – Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia

This pick honestly feels like a toss-up to me. The best player available here is clearly Jeffery Okudah, who I believe will be a franchise CB. However, the Giants have invested an insane amount of capital in the cornerback position over the past two years. They spent a first-round pick on Deandre Baker, and they completely overpaid James Bradbury, so it seems like they’ll be looking elsewhere with their fourth pick. A glaring need of theirs is at tackle with the aging Nate Solder at LT and an unsolved RT spot. Andrew Thomas was a stalwart for the Georgia Bulldogs over the past two seasons, he has prototypical LT size, and he hasn’t shown any glaring weaknesses. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dave Gettleman settled for Thomas here.

5. Detroit Lions (From MIA) – Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State

This year’s draft has the potential to be a grand slam for the Detroit Lions. They most likely will trade out of their third spot. If they manufacture a trade that lands them only two spots back to five, they’ll get the guy they would’ve picked at three anyways. After trading superstar cornerback Darius Slay, they have a glaring need for an outside cornerback. If they can luck into Okudah here, they’ll have one of the most dangerous CB groups in the league, with Okudah and Desmond Trufant outside the numbers, and Justin Coleman at slot. Okudah was an absolute lockdown cornerback at Ohio State this past year, maintaining high levels of production against teams like Clemson and Penn State. He tested well at the combine and is as smooth of an athlete that you’ll see at the CB spot. He’ll be a perfect replacement for Slay.

6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

After losing the bidding war for Tua, the Chargers will have to ‘settle’ for Justin Herbert. Herbert’s production doesn’t jump off the screen, but that’s okay. He’s as NFL-ready as they come; he has a great arm, he does well under pressure, and he doesn’t have too many concerns with accuracy. If you compare him to some of the most recent rookie QB’s taken in the 5-10 range (Josh Allen, Daniel Jones), you’ll realize that the Chargers are actually getting pretty good value here. And if you doubt that Los Angeles will be looking for a QB here, I don’t know what to tell you. The only person that believes that Tyrod Taylor is a long-term solution is Tyrod Taylor. Out of all the QB-needy teams in the draft, I think that the Chargers would be the best situation for a young QB. You couldn’t ask for much more as far as weapons go. Herbert gets to stay on the west coast, and he gets to live in Los Angeles. I don’t see a better place for the Oregon kid to go.

7. Carolina Panthers, Isaiah Simmons – LB/S/EDGE, Clemson

I want this pick to happen so badly. With the sudden and devastating retirement of Luke Kuechly, the Panthers have a gaping hole at linebacker. They also have to fill a spot at safety. They also need a better DB for their nickel&dime packages. Isaiah Simmons is one player that could account for all three of those needs. Simmons is a modern defensive Swiss Army Knife; he played about 11 different positions on Clemson’s defense. He showed his ability to rush the passer, fill gaps as a run-stuffing linebacker, and to play centerfield as a safety. He’s an absolute unicorn, and in any other draft he’d be a Top-5 pick. The Panthers would be blessed if he fell to them. Oh, by the way, he’s 6’4″, 238lbs, ran a 4.38 40, and had a 39 inch vertical.

8. Arizona Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa

This is a relatively easy pick to predict. There’s uncertainty as to who the Cardinals will take here specifically, but it’ll be an offensive tackle. Their offensive line is a complete disaster, but the rest of their offense is actually pretty damn good, especially after they fleeced Bill O’Brien out of DeAndre Hopkins. Tristan Wirfs consistently mauled Big-10 edge rushers this year, and he’s an athletic freak. The Cardinals will be able to plug him into their offensive line immediately. If Arizona can hit on this pick, I’ll be really excited to see how their offense evolves over the next few years.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Once again, a team benefits from a loaded Top-10. I feel like I’ve already said this a couple times, but Jerry Jeudy should be a Top-5 pick. He would be in most draft classes. Over the course of his Alabama career, he dominated defensive backs with his superior physical profile, superior route running, and an extraordinary knack for winning contested catch battles. He’s as much of a sure thing as you can get at receiver, and he would be a perfect weapon for sophomore QB Gardner Minshew. Jeudy can stretch the field with his speed, he has above-average RAC ability, and he can also work as a possession receiver in the middle of the field. He’s a bit thin, but if he fills out in the NFL, he’ll have a prototypical WR1 frame.

10. Cleveland Browns – Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

After trading for perennial All-Pro LT Trent Williams, the Cleveland Browns have somehow figured out their offensive line since the season ended. This opens the door for them to improve their already lethal receiving corps. As the league has become almost universally pass-first, most NFL offenses consider three wide receivers to be starters. The Browns are missing a solid third option for Baker Mayfield. Adding Ceedee Lamb to their offense would create an elite receiving trio with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Lamb would actually be reuniting with Mayfield after the both of them played at Oklahoma. Lamb shows very few weaknesses in his game. He has prototypical size, he’s lethal in the open field, and he’s a creative and refined route runner. This pick could catapult the Cleveland offense into one of the NFL’s elite.

11. New York Jets – Jedrick Wills Jr., T, Alabama

After doing Sam Darnold no favors over the first few years of his career, the Jets have to do something to help. Their receiving corps is a mess, their offensive line situation is less than ideal, and Adam Gase cannot be trusted. Rolling into 2020 with an unproven second-year right tackle and a left tackle that didn’t even start on the Seahawks(!) cannot be good for Sam Darnold’s confidence. If the Jets actually want to build something with Darnold at QB, they need to invest capital in their O-Line and their WRs. They could go with Henry Ruggs here to replace Robby Anderson, but I just think that Jedrick Wills is a safer pick for them. He’s played against the grown-ass men of the SEC for a couple years (and he dominated), and he protected Tua’s blindside as well as anyone could. He was also a superb run-blocker, creating power and leverage that’ll translate to the NFL. This would be a solid pick for New York.

12. Las Vegas Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The Raiders could go one of three ways here. In my opinion, I would trade back, letting a team jump the Buccaneers and 49ers to draft Henry Ruggs. The Raiders are in desperate need for depth at cornerback and wide receiver. They already have another first round pick, and if they could get two picks in the 20-45 range plus later capital for #12, Mike Mayock could hit an absolute home run with this draft. The value of this draft for receivers and corners is in the 20-45 range, so it’s almost a no-brainer to trade back, maybe pickup a Tee Higgins/Denzel Mims and a Jeff Gladney/Bryce Hall type guy. If they decide not to trade back, I would take Henry Ruggs III here. It’s a bit of concern that he hasn’t received a ton of volume on his Alabama team over the past couple years, but he has game-breaking speed and very few concerns with his actual level of play. He’s an elite deep threat with a clean and consistent release and 4.27 speed. He would open up the field for the Raiders, and they could have elite talent at every level of the field with Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Ruggs.

13. San Francisco 49ers – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

This is a stupid pick, and I don’t like it. The 49ers have needs in their secondary, interior offensive line, and wide receiver. The problem with that is the lack of value at each of those positions at #13. Henry Ruggs would be an absolute perfect pick for them here. Hopefully he falls to them, but if he doesn’t, they’d probably have to take the best player available here then address WR at pick 31. Derrick Brown was a monster at Auburn. San Francisco would be the perfect spot for him. They need a space eating DT, and he’d face little to no pressure due to the 49ers’ already loaded defensive line. He’d see about zero double teams next year, which is a lot different from what he saw while in the SEC. He’d be a solid pick for the 49ers here, but if Ruggs is off the board, I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Francisco trade back.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Josh Jones, T, Houston

This draft is for Tom Brady. This draft is to get him more weapons, more protection, to make sure that the GOAT is happy in his first year away from New England. Once again, Henry Ruggs would be the ideal pick here. However, the Bucs also have the 45th pick. I’m confident that they could get a K.J. Hill or a K.J. Hamler to stretch the field for Tom Brady and co. So with their first rounder, they could address the eyesore they’ve had at tackle for a few years. With the choice between Josh Jones and Mekhi Beckton, I’d be inclined to say that Tampa would go with the safer option. Jones had an extremely productive year at Houston, giving up four sacks+qb hits+hurries on 635 total snaps. The Buccaneers should be content with taking the safe route at tackle here.

15. Denver Broncos – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Broncos had a sneaky-good offseason. Their offensive line is young, but they’re set for a few seasons. They acquired Jurrell Casey and his contract for pretty much nothing. Now they have five Top-100 picks, and they’re ready to get some weapons for Drew Lock. Ideally they’ll trade up from 15 to 10, giving up 15, a third, fourth, and maybe a future third to the Browns. Jerry Jeudy or Ceedee Lamb would be a perfect complement for Courtland Sutton, but if they’re not able to do that, that’s okay. They can address their mess of a cornerback group in the first and take a WR later. Kristian Fulton is a corner with fantastic instincts, and any CB that has consistent success in the SEC should have little problems adjusting to the NFL.

16. Atlanta Falcons – C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

I have mixed feelings about the Falcons right now. They have little cap flexibility, and have major concerns at several valuable positions. But then again, this is what happens when you have a quarterback that makes >$35 million/year. After trading Desmond Trufant they have nothing at corner; no offense to Jordan Miller and Isaiah Oliver. C.J. Henderson is a prototypical man cover corner with elite physical traits. He’s not as consistent as you’d like a CB1 to be, but at 16 you can’t ask for much more.

17. Dallas Cowboys – Xaiver McKinney, S, Alabama

If McKinney falls to the Cowboys I’d be ecstatic. I’m not saying it’s unlikely, I just think he’s a perfect fit for them. He’s the total package as far as the safety position goes, he has deep coverage skills, he can be used in blitz packages, and he can move into the slot CB role if needed. He actually reminds me a lot of another Alabama safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick. For a team that is in desperate need of more talent in the secondary, McKinney should be their guy. I think McKinney and Grant Delpit are on the same tier as far as talent goes, but I think McKinney’s versatility makes him a more intriguing prospect.

18. Miami Dolphins – Grant Delpit, S, LSU

With the second of their three first-round picks, the Dolphins are free to pick the best player available. Kind of. I think Javon Kinlaw is probably the best player available here as far as class value and talent goes, but the Dolphins used their first on a d-lineman last year, so I’d think that they’d go in a different direction this year. Grant Delpit is a rangy, tall safety that can cover as well as any safety in this class. He has elite instincts in the passing game, and his length and speed will translate well to the NFL.

19. Las Vegas Raiders – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

The Raiders are in need of another man-to-man corner. It’s no secret that Gruden and Mayock love defensive players from Clemson. Put those two ideas together, and you have Las Vegas selecting A.J. Terrell with their second first rounder. He tested extremely well at the combine, and even though it may look like he was exposed by Ja’Marr Chase in the national championship, the tape on Terrell is kinder than expected. He’s a fluid athlete, he’s got good technique for a man corner, and I think the Raiders could plug him in as a day-1 starter in 2020.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

It’ll be interesting to see if Kinlaw actually falls in the draft like this. He probably won’t. I honestly think that it’s more likely that Kinlaw is selected in the Top 13 of this draft. He’s all the way down to twenty just because it’s hard to justify taking a defensive tackle that high unless he’s a game-wrecker like Aaron Donald. Defensive tackle is a position that’s becoming more and more replaceable, and Kinlaw is suffering from this. Kinlaw was an extremely effective pass-rusher at South Carolina, and he has potential to be a cornerstone piece for the Jaguars’ defensive rebuild. He has incredible athleticism for his size (6’6″ 302), I think he’ll be a quality starter for years.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

This is where the wide receivers start to fly off the board. As far as talent and NFL project-ability, I have most of these wide receivers pretty close to each other. It now comes down to fit. The Eagles need every type of receiver aside from a deep threat. And they also need a deep threat because Desean Jackson is like 50. Laviska Shenault has been on scouts’ radar since his sophomore year, as his ability to win contested catches has made for some impressive highlight tapes. He’s not just a jump-ball guy though. He has speed, and he’s as dangerous as anyone with the ball in his hands. He didn’t get much work from the slot at Colorado, but I think it’s easier for receivers to transition from outside the hashmarks to inside the hashmarks (Due to the lack of press). The Eagles have been building an offense around Carson Wentz for years, and Shenault should be one of the final pieces.

22. Minnesota Vikings – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The Vikings have been waiting quite a while to get rid of Stefon Diggs and his twitter antics. They waited for the perfect year, where they could use a late first round pick to select a wide receiver that could go Top-10 in a weaker class. Tee Higgins has been the number one option for one of the nation’s best offenses for two years. Even with all this attention from the NCAA’s best defenses, he still produced at a high level. He has a fantastic blend of height, speed, route-running nuance, and ability to win at the point of the catch. He’s a wideout with very few weaknesses, and I think he’d fit perfectly with the Vikings; where he has an above-average QB, and another good wide receiver to take the attention off of him.

23. New England Patriots – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Here’s the first true reach of the draft. Obviously the Patriots have very few weaknesses, Bill Belichick is one of the greatest team-builders of this generation. They have a need for playmaking wideouts, but they can address that more effectively in the middle rounds. They do however have a glaring need for an athletic inside linebacker. Queen is a modern linebacker, specializing in coverage as opposed to run defense. In his last year at LSU, he was moved all around their defense, taking snaps as a pass rusher, slot CB, and even safety. His versatility would be maximized in New England, making him a solid pick at 23.

24. New Orleans Saints – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Saints have the most complete roster in the NFL. They have an offensive powerhouse that only got stronger after adding Emmanuel Sanders, and their defense has an above-average pass rush and secondary. Trevon Diggs was my pick here because the Saints need depth at corner, and if you add elite talent to a position that’s already solid at, you do so. Janoris Jenkins is their CB2, and he’s obviously not a long-term answer. Trevon Diggs is a press specialist, and he can lock down deep routes as well as anyone. He’s also violent at the point of attack, in regards to contested catches. He’s long and crafty, but he’s not an incredibly smooth athlete. The Saints could utilize his unique skill set correctly and make him an impact player.

25. Minnesota Vikings – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

After playing it safe and drafting Tee Higgins at 22, I’m inclined to think that the Vikings would take a bigger risk at pick 25. Jaylon Johnson reminds me of Marcus Peters: he’s extremely instinctual and physical, which ends up causing some extreme positives and negatives. He’s a smart player though, which is what allows him to play a sort of reckless style at cornerback. In his 1,256 cover snaps at Utah, he gave up three touchdowns.(PFF) He has a few weaknesses that’ll be ironed out in the pros, but he has the potential to be a game-changing player from outside the hashmarks.

26. Detroit Lions (From MIA) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

I don’t think that Epenesa will fall this far. But Detroit is an awesome fit for him and I like to fantasize. He’s extremely technically sound, and he understands the leverage game at an elite level. He doesn’t have the burst that you’d want from an edge rusher, but he can win with a big arsenal of pass rushing moves and pure strength. He’s big, strong, and he can defend at a high level against the pass and the run. He’s like Diet J.J. Watt, and that is easily good enough. He’d be perfect for Detroit, who runs a scheme that needs defensive ends that aren’t just pass-rushing specialists.

27. Seattle Seahawks – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State

Will the Seahawks take another edge rusher at the end of the first round? Yes. The addition of L.J Collier did little to nothing for Seattle’s pass rush. If they let Clowney walk, I’m reluctant to believe that Collier and a 32 year-old Bruce Irvin will provide an effective pass rush for a team that’s trying to contend for a Super Bowl. Curtis Weaver’s athleticism is severely lacking, and he’s not as fit as you’d want an NFL edge rusher to be. He produced on an otherworldly level at Boise State though, racking up 38 sacks over his three years of college football. He gives me big Jarvis Jones vibes, hopefully he can get into shape in the NFL.

28. Baltimore Ravens – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame

This would somewhat be a steal for the Ravens. The Ravens just need someone to rush the passer. That’s all they need. He’ll do exactly what the Ravens need at a very high level, and not much else. His run defending isn’t great, but that doesn’t matter. The Ravens have Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, and Derek Wolfe for that. Okwara is strong and fast, and he consistently pressured the passer at a high rate. He never really converted his pressures into sacks at a high rate, but once again, that doesn’t really matter.

29. Tennessee Titans – Mehki Becton, T, Louisville

This is another strange pick. I wouldn’t bet on this pick happening. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable spending a first-round pick on Becton, but he’s such an athletic marvel that a team is bound to take a swing on him early. He was moderately productive at Louisville, and some of his highlights are like watching Orlando Pace manhandle guys at Ohio State. Sometimes though his technique is lacking, and he gives up leverage easily due to his titanic frame. Tennessee has a need at right tackle, and Becton was exclusively a LT for Louisville this year. However, he did play RT during his Sophomore year.

30. Green Bay Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

It’s time that the Packers get Aaron Rodgers more receiving help. I know it’s a controversial take, but I had to say it. Scooping random guys off the street to play wideout for them has worked in the past, but enough is enough. Jalen Reagor is an electric player, with game-breaking speed and an unmatched ability to change direction. He’d put some juice into the Green Bay offense, which is exactly what they need.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

In a perfect world, the 49ers would get someone that can really stretch the field at #31. Denzel Mims ran a 4.38 second 40 at the combine. He can stretch the field. He has the perfect frame for the modern receiver (6’3″ 205), and his athletic profile is so elite that he can work pretty much anywhere on the field. He does have some pretty apparent weaknesses though. His hands are a problem (12.9 drop %), and he doesn’t have an expansive route tree. He’d be perfect for San Francisco though. He won’t be expected to run the route tree of a first option, or even a second option. He’ll be there to take the top off of a defense, and he’ll win contested deep balls. He could truly add another dimension to the 49ers’ offense.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

To cap off the first round, the defending Super Bowl champs will be addressing the only hole in their roster. Damien Wilson and Anthony Hitchens are simply not the answer for them at linebacker. Not only are they not productive or particularly talented, they are slow. Slow inside linebackers have pretty much been phased out of the NFL in the name of pass coverage. Kenneth Murray is explosive, and he had one purpose at Oklahoma: hunt players at his level of the field, from sideline to sideline. He does need to improve his intelligence as a football player, he’s a bit slow in reading offenses and route combos, but his speed kind of makes up for it. KC would be good for him, he could learn from one of the smartest defensive players in the league in Tyrann Matheiu.

Roughing the Caster Episode #1: NFL Draft Recap and Reactions

It’s a little late, but here’s the inaugural episode of FTS Sports’ main podcast. In this episode, FTS writers Adam Simkowitz and Dylan White give their immediate reactions to the 2019 NFL Draft. This includes their favorite and least favorite picks from the draft, and the teams who won and lost this year’s draft. It’s only 30 minutes so it’s a quick, easy, and condensed listen!

2019 NFL Draft Grades: Full Team-by-Team Analysis – NFC Edition

In a surprising turn of events, Dave Gettleman and Dan Snyder may have been two of this year’s draft winners. The same can’t be said for the Houston Texans.

Some draft analysts argue that immediate draft reactions are useless. I disagree with that. I believe that there is value in assessing a combination of how a team filled its positional needs relative to the value of the pick that the player was selected. For example, if the Falcons had a dire need for edge-rushing talent, then selected edge rushers in the sixth and seventh rounds, they did not get enough value for a positional need. This would result in a lower grade. So obviously, these teams’ grades will lean more on how the teams drafted early.

See my AFC Draft Analysis here.

It’s clearly impossible to truly tell who the winners of the draft are the day after it ended, so I wouldn’t normally put a lot of weight into immediate analysis. But I’m right about this stuff, I swear.

Arizona Cardinals: A+

  • Round 1 (1): Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma – A+
  • Round 2 (33): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington – A+
  • Round 2 (62): Andy Isabella, WR, UMass – A
  • Round 3 (65): Zach Allen, DE, Boston College – A-
  • Round 4 (103): Hakeem Butler, WR, Arizona State – B
  • Round 5 (139): Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama – A
  • Round 6 (174): KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State – A
  • Round 6 (179): Lamont Gallard, C, Georgia – A
  • Round 7 (248): Joshua Miles, OT, Morgan State – C
  • Round 7 (249): Michael Dogbe, DE, Temple – C
  • Round 7 (254): Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA – A

The Cardinals by far had the flashiest draft this year. Almost every pick saw either huge college production or huge athletic numbers this past year. The Cardinals are a team with a lot of holes in their roster, so their clear strategy of selecting the best player available will hopefully work out for them. They drafted three extremely polarizing wide receiver prospects this year. It’s going to be interesting to see how they mesh with Kyler Murray, perhaps the most polarizing overall prospect in the draft. Not only did they find value early after selecting my CB1 in the second round, but they also found tons of value late, Lamont Gallard, Caleb Wilson, and KeeSean Johnson are three of my favorite late-round picks this year. This could be a franchise-altering draft for Arizona. The only concern is that they didn’t address their putrid offensive line until late, which could delay their rebuild.

Atlanta Falcons: C+

  • Round 1 (14): Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College – B+
  • Round 1 (31): Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington – B+
  • Round 4 (111): Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State – C
  • Round 4 (135): John Cominsky, DE, Charleston – C
  • Round 5 (152): Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh – C-
  • Round 5 (172): Jordan Miller, CB, Washington – C
  • Round 6 (203): Marcus Green, WR, Louisiana-Monroe – C

The Falcons had one of the stranger draft classes this year. They reached for Chris Lindstrom, who was almost universally graded as a late first-early second rounder. They traded back into the first round to select Kaleb McGary, who I also thought was a bona fide second rounder. They didn’t add anyone to their pass rush until late in the fourth round, which is an area of concern for them.

Carolina Panthers: A-

  • Round 1 (16): Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State – A
  • Round 2 (37): Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss – A
  • Round 3 (100): Will Grier, QB, West Virginia – B+
  • Round 4 (115): Christian Miller, LB, Alabama – B+
  • Round 5 (154): Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida – B
  • Round 6 (212): Dennis Daley, OT, South Carolina – C
  • Round 7 (237): Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia – C

The Panthers were the true beneficiaries of the surplus of pass-rushing talent in this year’s draft. In almost any other class, Brian Burns almost certainly would have been drafted in the Top 12. He’s an athletic unicorn with somewhat refined pass-rush moves, and he has a high motor. Greg Little is another prospect that I love. Per PFF, Little allowed 26 total pressures and three sacks in 993 pass-blocking snaps over his past two seasons. He’s been consistently productive, has no major injury concerns, and no athletic red flags. He’s perfect for a Carolina O-Line that needs work. The third-round selection of Will Grier could be hit-or-miss for Carolina. He has an incredible arm, but his feet and decision-making are iffy. He has great poise, and his issues are definitely fixable. With Cam Newton’s status up in the air for this season and no real backup, Grier is a good pick.

Chicago Bears: D+

  • Round 3 (73): David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State – B+
  • Round 4 (126): Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia – B+
  • Round 6 (205): Duke Shelley, CB, Kansas State – C
  • Round 7 (222): Kerrith Whyte Jr., RB, FAU – C
  • Round 7 (238): Stephen Denmark, CB, Valdosta State – C

The Bears had very few selections due to the Khalil Mack trade, which is a problem I’m sure they’re content with. David Montgomery is a great between-the-tackles runner (Tarik Cohen is not.), and he’ll serve as a good two-down runner for them. Riley Ridley is a pass catcher that slid in this draft, probably due to athletic limitations and average college production. I still believe he’ll be productive for the Bears, although their depth chart at receiver is a little clogged up right now.

Dallas Cowboys: C

  • Round 2 (58): Trysten Hill, DT, UCF – C
  • Round 3 (90): Connor McGovern, G, Penn State – B
  • Round 4 (128): Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis – C
  • Round 5 (158): *Michael Jackson, CB, Miami – B
  • Round 5 (165): Joe Jackson, DE, Miami – B
  • Round 6 (213): Donovan Wilson, S, Texas A&M – C
  • Round 7 (218): Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State – B
  • Round 7 (241): Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon – B

This may be my least favorite draft class from this year. Although Trysten Hill will likely become a starter on the Dallas D-Line in a couple years, I still feel like they reached for him at 58. It does fill a positional need for them, with the bizarre, seemingly substance-influenced surprise retirement of David Irving this offseason. Connor McGovern was a solid player at Penn State, and Jason Garrett will be able to move him throughout the interior of his offensive line in the future. Past that, I don’t see a ton of impact from their late-round players, except for some potential from Michael Jackson, the defensive back from Miami.

Detroit Lions: C+

  • Round 1 (8): TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa – A-
  • Round 2 (43): Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii – D+
  • Round 3 (81): Will Harris, S, Boston College – B
  • Round 4 (117): Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson – B
  • Round 5 (146): Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State – A
  • Round 6 (184): Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion – C
  • Round 6 (186): Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland – C
  • Round 7 (224): Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia – C
  • Round 7 (229): P.J. Johnson, DT, Arizona – C

I didn’t exactly understand the game-plan with the Lions’ draft. I’m not going to argue the T.J. Hockenson pick, I think he’ll be a great pro, but they already put resources into the TE spot this offseason with the signing of Jesse James. They have needs at almost every defensive position, which I’m assuming explains the apparent overcorrection that followed Hockenson, drafting defensive players in rounds 2-5. I don’t love Jahlani Tavai, I never really saw anything that made him deserving of a second round pick, but I have no quarrels with the 3rd and 4th round picks of Harris and Bryant. A pick that I actually do like is of Amani Oruwariye in the fifth round, which I think is excellent value for a player of his caliber. I didn’t see any apparent reasons for his fall to the fifth, he put up good production in coverage and performed fine in his workouts. Overall, it was a confusing draft from the Lions.

Green Bay Packers: A-

  • Round 1 (12): Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan – B-
  • Round 1 (21): Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland – A
  • Round 2 (44): Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State – A
  • Round 3 (75): Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M – A-
  • Round 5 (150): Kingsley Keke, DT, Texas A&M – A
  • Round 6 (185): Ka’Dar Hollman, CB, Toledo – C
  • Round 6 (194): Dexter Williams, RB, Notre Dame – C
  • Round 7 (226): Ty Summers, LB, TCU – C

Despite all of the negative press surrounding the Packers’ selection of Rashan Gary, I kind of love their draft class. Even if Gary doesn’t pan out, they still may have built the most dangerous young secondary in the NFL, adding Darnell Savage Jr. to a secondary with Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Josh Jackson. Stealing Elgton Jenkins from the Saints in Round 2 was one of the more underrated moves from the draft, and adding Kingsley Keke to their already-dominant defensive line was a great move. Jace Sternberger was one of my higher-rated tight ends in this class, he has one of the more refined route trees in this year’s loaded class. Overall, the Packers added serious firepower to their defense, and they gave Aaron Rodgers another weapon at tight end.

Los Angeles Rams: A+

  • Round 2 (61): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington – A
  • Round 3 (70): Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis – A-
  • Round 3 (79): David Long, CB, Michigan – A+
  • Round 3 (97): Bobby Evans, OT/OG, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 4 (134): Greg Gaines, DT, Washington – A
  • Round 5 (169): David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin – A-
  • Round 6 (243): Nick Scott, S, Penn State – C
  • Round 7 (251): Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech – C

The Rams maximized the values of their respective picks this year. They drafted secondary early, added another playmaker to their electric offense, added depth to their defensive line, and added depth and versatility to their offensive line. My philosophy for building winning football roster goes something like this: When you already have a quarterback, the next most important thing is bolstering your linemen on both sides, and being able to cover on defense. The Rams did exactly this in their draft. I love Taylor Rapp’s versatility on defense, although his strong suit is in the box. Darrell Henderson averaged an insane 8.9 YPC over his last two seasons at Memphis, his explosiveness will be properly utilized in Sean McVay’s offense. David Long is an undersized corner out of Michigan, but his production, instinct, and cover skills will make him a valuable part of the Los Angeles defense. I see him having a similar impact to what Desmond King does for the Chargers, or more realistically what Jourdan Lewis does for Dallas.

Minnesota Vikings: B-

  • Round 1 (18): Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State – A
  • Round 2 (50): Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama – B-
  • Round 3 (102): Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State – C
  • Round 4 (114): Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma – C
  • Round 5 (162): Cameron Smith, LB, USC – C
  • Round 6 (190): Armon Watts, DT, Arkansas – B
  • Round 6 (191): Marcus Epps, S, Wyoming – C
  • Round 6 (193): Oli Udoh, OT, Elon – C+
  • Round 7 (217): Kris Boyd, CB, Texas – C
  • Round 7 (239): Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon – C
  • Round 7 (247): Olabisi Johnson, WR, Colorado State – C
  • Round 7 (250): Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force – B

It’s rare that a non-playoff team has few holes to fill come draft day. It’s not rare when a roster stages a mutiny on its offensive coordinator, and when their offensive line and defense is ravaged by injuries. The Vikings have the second worst offensive line out of any team over .500 from this past year, second to the Texans. I would’ve been happy for the Vikings if they had selected an offensive lineman with every pick in this draft. That (obviously) didn’t happen, and they rolled with Garrett Bradbury in the first round. Although interior linemen aren’t nearly as valuable as tackles, I like Bradbury as the 18th pick in the draft. Irv Smith Jr. is an understandable pick in the second round. Kirk Cousins historically works well with athletic tight ends, and he’s yet to have one in Minnesota. None of their later round picks stand out to me, but I do like Armon Watts out of Arkansas.

New Orleans Saints: C+

  • Round 2 (48): Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M – B
  • Round 4 (105): Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida – A
  • Round 6 (177): Saquan Hampton, S, Rutgers – C
  • Round 7 (231): Alizé Mack, TE, Notre Dame – C
  • Round 7 (244): Kaen Eliss, LB, Idaho – C

With a lack of picks due to the Marcus Davenport trade, the Saints had few opportunities to address their team needs. After Max Unger’s surprise retirement, center was the highest priority for the Saints. They picked a center, Erik McCoy with their first pick, a player that I think has a bright future. The stopped the slide of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the fourth round, a safety with little experience and subpar instincts.

New York Giants: B (Excluding Daniel Jones: A+)

  • Round 1 (6): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – D+
  • Round 1 (17): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson – B
  • Round 1 (30): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia – A
  • Round 3 (95): Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion –A
  • Round 4 (108): Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame – A
  • Round 5 (143): Ryan Connelly, LB, Wisconsin – C
  • Round 5 (171): Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn – C
  • Round 6 (180): Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn – A-
  • Round 7 (232): George Asafo-Adjei, OT, Kentucky – C
  • Round 7 (245): Chris Slayton, DT, Syracuse – C

I see the Giants’ draft class in two different respects. There is a clear good and a clear bad side. Here’s the good side: I think that they built an extremely strong foundation to their defense, rebuilding their aging secondary with Deandre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine. Dexter Lawrence II is another player that I think will be a difference-maker for their defense, although I don’t really know how valuable a 340 pound, run-stuffing DT is these days. (See: Damon Harrison Trade) Oshane Ximines was one of my favorite picks in the third round, he was an extremely productive player in college, even though his competition at Old Dominion may not have been too strong. Here’s the bad: Daniel Jones. I’ve never seen a pick that was more universally hated than Daniel Jones. It seems as if every expert, analyst, and general fan of football knows that Jones was a complete reach at pick six. I agree with these sentiments. Although he has the somewhat prototypical size for an NFL quarterback, he has severe concerns with accuracy. He also has a subpar arm, there’s rarely any ‘zip’ on his passes. It seems likely that David Gettleman may have wasted the sixth overall pick. It’s not a franchise-crippling pick though, due to their success in the later rounds.

Philadelphia Eagles: A-

  • Round 1 (22): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State – A+
  • Round 2 (53): Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State – B-
  • Round 2 (57): J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford – A-
  • Round 4 (138): Shareef Miller, EDGE, Penn State – B+
  • Round 5 (167): Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern – C+

The Eagles had a productive draft despite their lack of picks. They traded up in the first round to take offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Jumping ahead of the offensive-line needy Houston Texans was another savvy move by GM Howie Roseman. They swapped first-rounders with the Ravens, sending them back only three spots, so the compensation that they had to give for the 22nd pick wasn’t too bad (They gave up the 127th and 197th overall picks). Andre Dillard may be the second most NFL-ready tackle prospect behind Jonah Williams, he as ideal size and experience in a pass-happy offense at Washington State. In the second round, they added more offensive weapons to compliment Carson Wentz. This was a necessary move, their running back corps has been weak for years, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside will be a red-zone target to draw attention from Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery. Clayton Thorson will hopefully develop into a solid backup quarterback, and Shareef Miller will eventually serve as valuable pass-rushing depth.

San Francisco 49ers: B (Excluding Nick Bosa: D+)

  • Round 1 (2): Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State – A++
  • Round 2 (36): Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina – B
  • Round 3 (67): Jalen Hurd, WR/RB, Baylor – C-
  • Round 4 (110): Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah – C-
  • Round 5 (148): Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas – C
  • Round 6 (176): Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford – C
  • Round 6 (183): Justin Skule, OT, Vanderbilt – C
  • Round 6 (198): Tim Harris, CB, Virginia – C+

I have mixed opinions about the 49er’s draft. They were able to take Nick Bosa with the second pick, who I believe is the best player in this draft. I don’t really like the rest of their draft though. They needed offensive weapons to pair with Jimmy Garoppolo, but I think they could’ve drafted better talent than Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. The picks make sense, Kyle Shanahan runs a west-coast scheme that will normally have Garoppolo going through his progressions quickly, throwing a good amount of shallow, quick routes. Both Deebo Samuel and Hurd are crisp route-runners, and they produced mostly from the slot in college. Jalen Hurd is 6’4”, an absurd height for a slot receiver, it’ll be interesting how he’s able to separate early given his big frame. It’ll also be interesting to see if they both remain lined up in the slot in the NFL because picking two slot receivers with your second and third round selections don’t make a ton of sense value-wise. They picked a punter in the fourth round which is strange, but if John Lynch thinks he has the 49ers’ punter for the next 10 years, it’s not a bad pick.

Seattle Seahawks: B-

  • Round 1 (29): L.J. Collier, EDGE, TCU – B
  • Round 2 (47): Marquise Blair, S, Utah – B-
  • Round 2 (64): D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss – A
  • Round 3 (88): Cody Barton, LB, Utah – C
  • Round 4 (120): Gary Jennings Jr., WR, West Virginia – B+
  • Round 4 (124): Phil Haynes, OG, Wake Forest – C
  • Round 4 (132): Ugochukwu Amadi, S, Oregon – C
  • Round 5 (142): Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington – C
  • Round 6 (204): Travis Homer, RB, Miami – C
  • Round 6 (209): Demarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State – B+
  • Round 7 (236): John Ursua, WR, Hawaii – C

I would question the selections of L.J. Collier and Marquise Blair if this was any team but the Seattle Seahawks. At first glance, I saw these selections as complete reaches. I thought of Collier as a mid to late second round pick, and Blair as a third. I then watched a solid amount of film on both of them, and my opinions changed. Collier has an extremely powerful first step, which is one of the more important qualities of a college pass-rusher. He has a solid variety of pass-rushing moves, and he displays the ability to counter. Marquise Blair is a linebacker in a safety’s body. He hits with reckless abandon, and his closing speed while defending the run is impressive. I think that Pete Carroll could turn him into one of the league’s best box safeties, if not converting him into a hybrid safety/SAM linebacker. D.K. Metcalf was one of the more highly-touted prospects coming into the draft. He has insane straight-line speed, but he has concerns with change of direction and footwork. His route-running will be questionable in the NFL, but he’s been blessed with Russell Wilson, who has turned Tyler Lockett and David Moore into elite-seeming players.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B

  • Round 1 (5): Devin White, LB, LSU – B+
  • Round 2 (39): Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan – B
  • Round 3 (94): Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn – B+
  • Round 3 (99): Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky – B+
  • Round 4 (107): Anthony Nelson, EDGE, Iowa – B
  • Round 5 (145): Matt Gay, K, Utah – C-
  • Round 6 (208): Scott Miller, WR, Bowling Green – C
  • Round 7 (215): Terry Beckner, DT, Mississippi State – C

Tampa Bay came into this draft with a clear strategy: building a foundation for their defense. With the loss of Kwon Alexander and Brent Grimes, their defense has been their priority for their entire offseason. They signed Shaq Barrett, made a splashy hire as Todd Bowles as their defensive coordinator, and used 6 of their 8 draft picks on their defense. Sean Bunting, Mike Edwards, and Anthony Nelson were relatively safe picks, they were productive in college and had solid workouts. Jamel Dean was one of the winners of this year’s combine, dominating almost every event. Overall, it was a productive draft for the Bucs, although their franchise turmoil will likely not end until they figure out the quarterback position, as this year is pretty much Jameis Winston’s last shot to prove himself as a franchise quarterback.

Washington Redskins: B+

  • Round 1 (15): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State – A+
  • Round 2 (26): Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State – A
  • Round 3 (76): Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State – B
  • Round 4 (112): Bryce Love, RB, Stanford – C+
  • Round 5 (131): Wes Martin, OG, Indiana – C
  • Round 6 (153): Ross Pierschbacher, OG, Alabama – C
  • Round 7 (173): Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina – C
  • Round 6 (206): Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State – A
  • Round 6 (227): Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison – C
  • Round 6 (253): Jordan Brailford, DE, Oklahoma State – B+

The Redskins won this year’s award for Luckiest Team on draft night. They didn’t trade up for a quarterback (which they were rumored to do), and Dwayne Haskins fell into their lap. In my eyes, Haskins is the second most talented quarterback in this draft, behind Kyler Murray. He has an NFL-ready body, and he has the anticipation, timing, and arm talent necessary to become a franchise quarterback. They traded up for Montez Sweat and barring any career-threatening injuries, he could be one of the best picks of the draft. Sweat is undoubtedly the best athlete for his position in this class, and there are no limits on his potential in the league. It’s just a question of work ethic and motor with Sweat, both of which have never been problems for him. They added two offensive weapons to complement Haskins, but I’m not crazy about either of them. Terry McLaurin was the primary deep-pass receiver for the Buckeyes this past season and will be good with Haskins from a chemistry standpoint. I don’t love the selection of Bryce Love. Love was once a Heisman Hopeful who had his college career derailed by an ACL injury, and there have been several roadblocks on his path to recovery. I doubt that he will ever return to full strength.

2019 NFL Draft Grades: Full Team-by-Team Analysis – AFC Edition

In a surprising turn of events, Dave Gettleman and Dan Snyder may have been two of this year’s draft winners. The same can’t be said for the Houston Texans.

Some draft analysts argue that immediate draft reactions are useless. I disagree with that. I believe that there is value in assessing a combination of how a team filled its positional needs relative to the value of the pick that the player was selected. For example, if the Falcons had a dire need for edge-rushing talent, then selected edge rushers in the sixth and seventh rounds, they did not get enough value for a positional need. This would result in a lower grade. So obviously, these teams’ grades will lean more on how the teams drafted early.

It’s clearly impossible to truly tell who the winners of the draft are the day after it ended, so I wouldn’t normally put a lot of weight into immediate analysis. But I’m right about this stuff, I swear.

Baltimore Ravens: A

  • Round 1 (25): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 3 (85): Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech – A-
  • Round 3 (93): Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame – A
  • Round 4 (113): Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State – A-
  • Round 4 (123): Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma – C
  • Round 4 (127): Iman Marshall, CB, USC – B
  • Round 5 (160): Daylon Mack, DT, Texas A&M – C
  • Round 6 (197): Trace McSorely, QB, Penn State – D+

As a Steeler fan, it pains me to see Baltimore continuing to draft well. They drafted three playmaking athletic freaks; Miles Boykin’s athletic profile is almost identical to D.K. Metcalf’s, Justice Hill is as explosive as any RB in this class, and Marquise Brown s pretty much a more refined Desean Jackson. Their offensive is slowly morphing into a powerhouse, but it all depends on whether or not Lamar Jackson can consistently throw the ball accurately. If his ball placement improves, the Ravens will wreak havoc on NFL defenses for the next 5-8 years with these playmakers. One last thing- Jaylon Ferguson may be the most productive pass rusher in college football history, and him being on the Ravens’ defense scares me.

Buffalo Bills: A-

  • Round 1 (9): Ed Oliver, DT, Houston – A+
  • Round 2 (38): Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 3 (74): Devin Singletary, RB, FAU – B
  • Round 3 (96): Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss – B+
  • Round 5 (147): Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida – B
  • Round 6 (181): Jaquan Johnson, CB/S, Miami – B
  • Round 7 (225): Darryl Johnson Jr., DE, North Carolina A&T – C
  • Round 7 (228): Tommy Sweeney, TE, Boston College – C

The Bills were lucky enough to have Ed Oliver fall to them at #9. This is what made their draft, I see him being a perennial All-Pro player in the NFL, his lateral, vertical, and north-south athleticism is off the charts, and once he fills into his frame completely, he’ll be close to unstoppable. I also really like Cody Ford, who successfully protected Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray’s respective blindsides for the past two years. I see Dawson Knox becoming a productive starter in the league, and between Singletary, Jospeh, and Jaquan Johnson, there will be at least two starters from that group. this was a fantastic draft from the rebuilding Bills.

Cincinnati Bengals: B-

  • Round 1 (11): Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama – A++
  • Round 2 (52): Drew Sample, TE, Washington – C+
  • Round 3 (72): Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State – B
  • Round 4 (104): Ryan Finley, QB, NC State – B
  • Round 4 (125): Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State – C
  • Round 4 (136): Michael Jordan, G, Ohio State – C
  • Round 6 (182): Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M – C
  • Round 6 (210): Deshaun Davis, LB, Auburn – C
  • Round 6 (211): Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 7 (223): Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State – C

Jonah Williams at #11 is my favorite pick of the draft, and it’s not close. He’s about as much of a sure-thing prospect as Quenton Nelson was last year, and he plays a much more valuable position. Not only did the Bengals get insane value with Williams, it was also at a position of need. The second round pick of Drew Sample fills the hole left by Tyler Kroft and the oft-injured Tyler Eifert, and Germaine Pratt will add depth at inside linebacker, their weakest position. I also really like Rodney Anderson, a big, powerful runner with receiving skills and a solid amount of elusiveness. He has severe injury concerns though.

Cleveland Browns: B+

  • Round 2 (46): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU – A
  • Round 3 (80): Sione Takitaki, LB, BYU – B
  • Round 4 (119): Sheldrick Redwine, S, Miami – B+
  • Round 5 (155): Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama – B
  • Round 5 (170): Austin Seibert, K, Oklahoma – B+
  • Round 6 (189): Drew Forbes, OT, Southeast Missouri State – B
  • Round 7 (221): Donnie Lewis Jr., CB, Tulane – C

It’s very possible that Greedy Williams and Austin Seibert end up being the only starters from the Cleveland draft class. However, Greedy Williams will be a very good starter for the Browns. It’s widely believed that Williams slid in this draft due to concerns with tackling. My response to that is the same of John Dorsey’s: “Cornerbacks are paid to cover.” Williams was the best man corner from this draft, and his long arms and good range will directly translate to the league. Denzel Ward and Greedy will make for one of the scariest secondaries in the NFL come 2022. I don’t love the selections of Sione Takitaki and Sheldrick Redwine, who are also two of my nominees for the best worst names of the draft. Redwine fills the Browns’ only true need at safety though, and I like his athletic profile. Mack Wilson is a young, raw inside linebacker with a lot of room to grow. I absolutely believe that the Browns could turn him into an impact starter. Do I think they will, though? Probably not.

Denver Broncos: A-

  • Round 1 (20): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa – B+
  • Round 2 (41): Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State – A
  • Round 2 (42): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri – A-
  • Round 3 (71): Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State – A
  • Round 5 (156): Justin Hollins, LB, Oregon – C
  • Round 6 (187): Juwann Winfree, WR, Colorado – C

The Broncos did about as much as they could’ve with the lack of picks that they had this year. They masterfully traded back from the 10th spot, acquiring the picks necessary to trade up for Drew Lock while simultaneously being able to fill a need, drafting Noah Fant, adding a playmaker that they desperately needed. With the departure of Demaryius Thomas and the tragic achilles injury to Emmanuel Sanders, there are almost zero dynamic pass-catchers on the roster, Courtland Sutton has yet to prove himself. Dalton Risner is one of the most versatile linemen in this draft class, playing highly-graded seasons at center, right tackle, and left tackle at Kansa State. He will likely become the center for the Broncos, but if needed, he can shift around the line. I didn’t love Drew Lock coming into this year’s draft, but he’s well worth the position at which the Broncos were able to select him. The biggest issue with his QB play is his inconsistent footwork, but being around two longtime NFL quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and John Elway will absolutely help him. Dre’Mont Jones was one of my favorite mid-round picks in this draft. On film, he’s an extremely slippery defensive tackle, moving laterally as if he were a linebacker. His workout numbers don’t match that, which caused him to slip in the draft. The Broncos have been thin at DT ever since the departure of Malik Jackson, Dre’Mont Jones will be a good piece for them.

Houston Texans: D+

  • Round 1 (23): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State – C+
  • Round 2 (54): Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky – B-
  • Round 2 (55): Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois – B
  • Round 3 (86): Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State – C
  • Round 5 (161): Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas – C
  • Round 6 (195): Xaiver Crawford, CB, Central Michigan – C
  • Round 7 (220): Cullen Gillaspia, RB, Texas A&M – C

Personally, I really didn’t love what the Texans did this year. Not one of their picks was on my pre-draft Top 60 board, and they made 3 picks in the top 60. Tytus Howard felt like a total reach to me, probably as a result of the Eagles leapfrogging them to draft Andre Dillard, the far superior tackle prospect. Lonnie Johnson Jr. is a somewhat understandable pick at 54, filling the absence of Kevin Johnson and the eventual departure of Jonathan Joseph. I appreciate the Texans’ effort to bolster their offensive line, but they may have gone about it in the wrong way.

Indianapolis Colts: B+

  • Round 2 (34): Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple – B+
  • Round 2 (49): Ben Banogu, LB, TCU – A
  • Round 2 (59): Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State – A
  • Round 3 (89): Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford – A
  • Round 4 (109): Khari Willis, S, Michigan State – B
  • Round 5 (144): Marvell Tell III, S, USC – C+
  • Round 5 (164): E.J. Speed, LB, Tarleton State – C
  • Round 6 (199): Gerri Green, DE, Mississippi State – C
  • Round 7 (240): Jackson Barton, OT, Utah – C
  • Round 7 (246): Javon Patterson, C, Ole Miss – C

Chris Ballard seems to have temporarily figured out the draft. The Colts figured out their team needs (WR, Secondary,LB), found out where the value was for these positions (picks 30-90), and put their resources into dominating that section of the draft. Rock ya-Sin is a physical, instinctual corner with a good amount of room to grow. Ben Banogu and Bobby Okereke are both ridiculous athletic specimens in pretty much opposite ways. Parris Campbell is a modern Swiss Army Knife at WR. This class could easily become as successful as their class from last year.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B-

  • Round 1 (7): Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky – A
  • Round 2 (35): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida – N/A (Injury Questions)
  • Round 3 (69): Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State – C
  • Round 3 (98): Quincy Williams, LB, Murray State – C
  • Round 5 (140): Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple – C
  • Round 6 (178): Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State – C
  • Round 7 (235): Dontavius Russell, DT, Auburn – C

It’s going to be interesting to see where the Jaguars utilize Josh Allen in their front seven. His blend of size, strength, speed, and instincts already make him one of the versatile linebackers in the NFL. I hope that they use Allen in a way that’s similar to Chandler Jones in Arizona; majorily as a pass-rusher. I gave Jawaan Taylor a N/A grade, he has concerns with a degenerative knee problem. The Jaguars have no problem with taking risks on talent with injury history, though (Myles Jack). If Taylor remains healthy, he’s pretty much the perfect tackle for Jacksonville. He’s powerful and quick as a run blocker, and he’s had plenty of experience as a pass blocker too. Aside from those prospects, I don’t see much else impact from their class. Josh Oliver is a big, fast tight end that is mostly seen as a project, but he does have a relatively high ceiling.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

  • Round 2 (56): Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia – C+
  • Round 2 (63): Juan Thornhill, CB/S, Virginia – A-
  • Round 3 (84): Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois – A
  • Round 6 (201): Rashad Fenton, CB, South Carolina – C
  • Round 6 (214): Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State – A-
  • Round 7 (216): Nick Allegretti, G, Illinois – C

The fact that Kansas City used their first pick of this years’ draft to select a small, fast, receiver highlights a more significant issue that arose this weekend. With the possible absence of Tyreke Hill for the entire 2019 season and perhaps longer, the Chiefs are thin outside the hashmarks. Before the draft, they had by far the weakest cornerback room out of any playoff team from 2018. They didn’t exactly address cornerback, either. They took Juan Thornhill in Round 2, an athletic freak that I love as a prospect. He has an athletic profile that strongly resembles Donte Whitner’s, so I don’t really know if they’ll be able to relocate him to cornerback. Khalen Saunders is possibly my favorite pick from the third round, he’s undersized but incredibly explosive, I think he can be a disruptor on the interior of Kansas City’s line. Overall, they didn’t really fill their most significant needs, but they drafted a solid amount of talent.

Los Angeles Chargers: B+

  • Round 1 (28): Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame – A
  • Round 2 (60): Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware – A
  • Round 3 (91): Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls – D
  • Round 4 (130): Drue Tranquil, LB, Notre Dame – C
  • Round 5 (166): Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State – C
  • Round 6 (200): Emeke Egbule, LB, Houston – C
  • Round 7 (242): Cortez Broughton, DT, Cincinnati – C

For the second year in a row, the Chargers knocked it out of the park in the first round. Jerry Tillery was an extremely efficient pass-rusher at Notre Dame this past year, and he may be an immediate starter for their lackluster interior defensive line. Nasir Adderley was a best-player-available pick for Los Angeles in the second. He showed out at the Senior Bowl, and performed well in his workouts. I see them as two impact starters by the end of this season, but I don’t see much else in the rest of their draft. Trey Pipkins is pretty much the definition of a project prospect at a position that takes some time to develop. Drue Tranquil is an athletic inside linebacker, he’ll provide depth for them behind Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman.

Miami Dolphins: C+

  • Round 1 (13): Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – B+
  • Round 3 (78): Michael Deiter, G, Wisconsin – B+
  • Round 5 (151): Andrew Van Ginkel, LB, Wisconsin – A-
  • Round 6 (202): Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State – C
  • Round 7 (233): Chandler Cox, RB, Auburn – D
  • Round 7 (234): Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington – D

The Dolphins did’t have a super flashy draft this year. With their two Top-100 picks, they elected to stay in the trenches with Wilkins and Deiter. I appreciate the Dolphins draft strategy though, linemen are the first position that you want to draft when beginning a rebuild. I like the selection of Andrew Van Ginkel, a raw, rangy inside linebackers with similarities to fellow late-round pick Fred Warner. I don’t like their late-round running back picks, they have their running back depth chart pretty much set with Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage.

New England Patriots: A

  • Round 1 (32): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State – C
  • Round 2 (45): Joejuan Williams, CB/S, Vanderbilt – A
  • Round 3 (77): Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan – A
  • Round 3 (87): Damien Harris, RB, Alabama – B
  • Round 3 (101): Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia – A
  • Round 4 (118): Hijalte Froholdt, OG, Arkansas – A
  • Round 4 (133): Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn – B
  • Round 5 (159): Byron Cowart, DT, Maryland – C
  • Round 5 (163): Jake Bailey, P, Stanford –B
  • Round 7 (252): Ken Webster, CB, Ole Miss – C+

This draft would have been an A++ if it weren’t for the N’Keal Harry pick at the end of the first round. Harry is a fine prospect, he reminds me of Dez Bryant in good and bad ways. He has ideal size for a WR at 6’2″ 228 lbs, and his workout numbers are outstanding, but he struggled to create separation in college, and he definitely will struggle in the NFL. The Patriots had a need at safety before the draft due to injuries to Patrick Chung, and it seems that they selected the oversized, fast Joejuan Williams to develop as a safety. Getting Chase Winovich at 77 is a classic perfect Patriots pick. He’s a high-motor, high-production, high-athleticism player. The only reason for him to slide to the third round is the fact that he’s 24 years old, but that’s a bad excuse not to take a player like him. Yodny Cajuste and Hijalte Froholdt are both players that don’t seem like great picks right now, but after four years of coaching from Dante Scarneccia, they’ll probably be the league’s highest-paid players at their respective positions. (Sarcasm?) Jarret Stidham is a fundamentally sound QB that throws the ball inconsistently, it’ll be interesting to see if Tom Brady mentors him similarly to Jimmy Garoppolo.

New York Jets: B+

  • Round 1 (3): Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama – A
  • Round 3 (68): Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida – B+
  • Round 3 (92): Chuma Edoga, OT, USC – B
  • Round 5 (157): Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota – B
  • Round 6 (196): Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers – C

The Jets had a relatively successful draft given their lack of picks. There were several reports that Quinnen Williams was the #1 player on multiple teams’ draft boards. There was even a report that Jachai Polite was the #2 pass-rusher on the Jet’s board despite his lackluster workout showings. Blake Cashman was another player that was hurt by combine his performance and measurements. It was clear that the Jets’ strategy in this draft was chasing college production. Chuma Edoga was a player the received a ton of draft hype before this college football season due to his athleticism and success protecting Sam Darnold. His play declined this year, but getting him in the late third round way a steal for the Jets. The Jets had an extremely successful offseason. They fixed their most glaring issues as well as they could have, addressing their lack of playmaking in free agency with Le’Veon Bell, and stocking up on pass rushers in the draft. Their interior offensive line is still relatively weak, but it’s not a crippling issue.

Oakland Raiders: A-

  • Round 1 (4): Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson – B+
  • Round 1 (24): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama – C+
  • Round 1 (27): Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State – A
  • Round 2 (40): Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson – B+
  • Round 4 (106): Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan – B
  • Round 4 (129): Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston – C
  • Round 4 (137): Foster Moreau, TE, LSU – A
  • Round 5 (149): Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson – C
  • Round 7 (230): Quinton Bell, DE, Prairie View A&M – C

The quality of the Raiders’ draft class may be the the most universally disagreed upon by draft analysts. Drafting a running back in the first round is pretty much criminal these days, and experts are arguing whether or not Jonathan Abram is just a box safety. Personally, I liked the Raiders’ draft. It could have been better, but it’s not going to set them back as a franchise. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden were clear in their attempt to create a winning culture in Oakland, they drafted four players who played in this years’ CFB Championship. I love the selection of Foster Moreau late in the fourth, he has exceptional athleticism, he was a captain and leader of the LSU team for the past few years, and he fits into most blocking schemes. The Raiders had a clear plan for this year’s draft, and that’s about all you can ask for given the chaos that preceded their draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers: A-

  • Round 1 (10): Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan – A
  • Round 3 (66): Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo – A-
  • Round 3 (83): Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State – A
  • Round 4 (122): Benny Snell Jr., RB, Kentucky – B-
  • Round 5 (141): Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan –C+
  • Round 6 (175): Sutton Smith, DE, Northern Illinois – C
  • Round 6 (192): Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama – C
  • Round 6 (207): Ulysses Gilbert III, LB, Akron – C
  • Round 7 (219): Derwin Gray, OT, Maryland – C

For the seventh year in a row, the Steelers have drafted a defensive player in the first round. And in the words of fellow FTS writer Adam Simkowitz, “Their defense is still not good.” I think Devin Bush will be an immediate impact player for the Steelers, I can see him finding his place in the front seven by week ten. I like the mid-round picks for Pittsburgh too. They’ve had a need for a good corner for about 25 years, so I’m guessing that Justin Layne is the answer. Diontae Johnson is a wideout that severely underperformed in the combine, but his on-field speed is unreal. He’s undersized, he creates separation at an elite level, and he’s one of the best route-runners in this class. Sound familiar? As for the rest of their draft, they seem to have picked some depth for James Conner, even though Jaylen Samuels performed at a high level as a rookie. This enables them to properly utilize Jaylen Samuels’ true versatility. Zach Gentry should end up serving as a replacement for Jesse James, who they lost to Detroit in free agency. Overall, it was a solid draft for the Steelers. Much better than last year.

Tennessee Titans: A-

  • Round 1 (19): Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State – A-
  • Round 2 (51): A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss – A
  • Round 3 (82): Nate Davis, OG, Charlotte – C
  • Round 4 (116): Amani Hooker, S, Iowa – A
  • Round 4 (121): Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia – B+
  • Round 5 (168): D’Andre Walker, OLB, Georgia – A
  • Round 6 (188): David Long Jr., LB, West Virginia – A

This draft for Tennessee has been par for the course on their upwards trend as a franchise. They’ve built an extremely deep roster, due to their ability to hit on a high percentage of late-round picks. Amani Hooker and D’Andre Walker were both picks of a high value, as they both produced at an elite level at their respective Power-5 schools. Amani Hooker has tackling concerns, but he’ll be able to cover well in the NFL. As for their early round picks, they selected Jeffery Simmons in the first, who’ll likely succeed Jurrell Casey as their cornerstone interior defender. He has character concerns stemming from an incident from high school, as everyone saw on national TV on Thursday, but he’s remained clean throughout college. He also tore his ACL, but it wasn’t a severe tear. It’s likely that he’ll return to full strength and go back to the extremely powerful, disruptive defender that he was at Mississippi State. A.J. Brown was my favorite receiver from the draft. He runs like a running back after the catch, and he’s able to create separation at a borderline elite level. He struggles with breaking the press, so he’ll produce the most from the slot in the league. The middle of the field will be open for him, as Delanie Walker is being phased out of the offense, and former first-rounder Corey Davis mostly works outside the hash marks. Of course all of their superb years of drafting will become obsolete if Marcus Mariota continues to be plagued by injury, never reaching his full potential.