Every NFL draft is entertaining, but this one had a little bit of everything.
With a ton of trades, four quarterbacks going in the top 10, a Heisman Trophy winner being selected with the first and last picks of the first round … it was an entertaining three days for the NFL.
Now we look at how each team did in the draft. As always with draft grades, it’s a snapshot. Some of the poor grades below will go up tremendously when a late-round pick becomes an unexpected star. Conversely, the moves that look great on paper today won’t look so good when that top-10 pick becomes a memorable bust. And that will happen, because it always does.
While we don’t know how each team’s draft class will ultimately turn out, we can analyze how each team did over the NFL draft. Here are the 2018 NFL draft grades (with the round a player was picked in parentheses):
Picks: QB Josh Rosen (1); WR Christian Kirk (2); C Mason Cole (3); RB Chase Edmonds (4); CB Chris Campbell (6); OT Korey Cunningham (7).
Analysis: The Cardinals fixed a big quarterback problem by taking Josh Rosen, considered by some the best QB in the class, and didn’t overpay to trade up for him. Hard to knock that. Receiver Christian Kirk in the second round was a fantastic pick given how the Cards need to restock the position. Center Mason Cole helps a line that needs it, though the Cardinals could’ve done more to address the tackle or guard spots. The Cardinals also ignored much needed cornerback help until the sixth round.
Picks: WR Calvin Ridley (1); CB Isaiah Oliver (2); DT Deadrin Senat (3); RB Ito Smith (4); WR Russell Gage (6); LB Foye Oluokun (6).
Analysis: The Falcons got a good value pick with receiver Calvin Ridley at 26th overall. Isaiah Oliver is the type of bigger cornerback the Falcons like, and they hope big tackle Deadrin Senat helps fix their defensive line need. The Falcons were mostly quiet in trades but when they did trade up, it was to get receiver and special teams ace Russell Gage in the sixth round. That’s a great late pick because at a minimum he’ll have an instant impact in the kicking game.
Picks: TE Hayden Hurst (1); QB Lamar Jackson (1); OT Orlando Brown (3); TE Mark Andrews (3); CB Anthony Averett (4); ILB Kenny Young (4); WR Jaleel Scott (4); WR Jordan Lasley (5); S Deshon Elliott (6); OT Greg Senat (6); C Bradley Bozeman (6); DE Zach Sieler (7).
Analysis: Tight end Hayden Hurst was a need pick, and not an inspiring one. It made less sense when the Ravens doubled down with tight end Mark Andrews in the third. If Orlando Brown plays like he did in college he’s a good value acquisition in the third, but his lack of athleticism (he had a historically bad combine) is concerning. Cornerback Anthony Averett was a solid find in the fourth. But the most interesting piece of the draft class is clearly quarterback Lamar Jackson. If he’s used right, Ozzie Newsome’s last first-round pick as GM will be a huge part of his Ravens legacy.
Picks: QB Josh Allen (1); ILB Tremaine Edmunds (1); DT Harrison Phillips (3); CB Taron Johnson (4); S Siran Neal (5); G Wyatt Teller (5); WR Ray-Ray McCloud (6); WR Austin Proehl (7).
Analysis: If you like Josh Allen, this was a great draft. If you don’t like Allen, you hated the Bills trading two second-rounders to go get him at No. 7 — they also traded left tackle Cordy Glenn earlier in the offseason to move up to No. 12, which they used to move up to No. 7, so getting Allen was not cheap. The Tremaine Edmunds pick is an easy one to like. So is Harrison Phillips, a super-strong tackle for the middle of the defense. But waiting until pick No. 187 to take their first offensive playmaker was strange. This draft rides on Allen. The bionic Allen could become a star. But it’s a huge gamble on someone who wasn’t even first- or second-team all-Mountain West last season. And they paid a lot to get on that ride.
Picks: WR D.J. Moore (1); CB Donte Jackson (2); CB Rashaan Gaulden (3); TE Ian Thomas (4); OLB Marquis Haynes (4); LB Jermaine Carter Jr. (5); LB Andre Smith (7); DT Kendrick Norton (7).
Analysis: The Panthers needed secondary help, and added fast cornerback Donte Jackson and physical, versatile safety Rashaan Gaulden. Tight end Ian Thomas was a nice pick to start the fourth round; he could be Greg Olsen’s eventual replacement. First-round pick D.J. Moore, the first receiver selected, will help Cam Newton. Assuming Moore can be a difference maker, it’s easy to like what the Panthers did.
Picks: LB Roquan Smith (1); C James Daniels (2); WR Anthony Miller (2); LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (4); DL Bilal Nichols (5); DE Kylie Fitts (6); WR Javon Wims (7).
Analysis: The Bears spent free agency fixing their offensive skill positions, so it made sense to invest in a defensive difference maker in the first round. Roquan Smith will make an impact from Week 1 on. Then it was back to the offense. Center James Daniels was a borderline first-round talent. Receiver Anthony Miller was highly productive at Memphis and will be another target for Mitchell Trubisky. That could turn out to be a great pick. The Bears did very well with those three picks in the first two rounds.
Picks: C Billy Price (1); FS Jessie Bates (2); DE Sam Hubbard (3); OLB Malik Jefferson (3); RB Mark Walton (4); CB Davontae Harris (5); DT Andrew Brown (5); CB Darius Phillips (5); QB Logan Woodside (7); G Rod Taylor (7); WR Auden Tate (7).
Analysis: When you consider how the Bengals allowed their offensive line to fall apart, it’s hard to rip the pick of center Billy Price in the first. They just have to hope Price, who tore a pectoral muscle at the combine, is all the way back by the start of the season. They also picked up left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Bills in a pre-draft trade, moving back nine spots in the first round. Safety Jessie Bates should help at free safety right away. Defensive end Sam Hubbard and outside linebacker Malik Jefferson add athleticism to the front seven, though Hubbard’s lack of production at Ohio State is a concern. Mark Walton was presumably the highest player left on Cincinnati’s board when they grabbed him in the fourth, and Auden Tate is an interesting dart throw in the seventh. If one of the mid-round corners pans out, it’s helps a solid draft.
Picks: QB Baker Mayfield (1); CB Denzel Ward (1); G Austin Corbett (2); RB Nick Chubb (2); DE Chad Thomas (3); WR Antonio Callaway (4); LB Genard Avery (5); WR Damion Ratley (6); DB Simeon Thomas (6).
Analysis: Baker Mayfield is a quarterback who analytics loved, and he was a good pick. He checks every box for a quarterback except height. Denzel Ward was the draft’s best cornerback, a position that has tremendous value. That pick has been wrongly criticized; Ward is going to be a very good player at a key spot. Austin Corbett was a curious pick at the top of the second round because the Browns need a left tackle and Corbett was projected by many as a guard. Hue Jackson said they’ll try out Corbett at tackle and guard, and see where he fits, which means he’s not the obvious answer to replace Joe Thomas. Nick Chubb, the third pick of the second round, seemed redundant since the Browns just paid Carlos Hyde in free agency, though Hyde will probably be gone next year. Fourth-round receiver Antonio Callaway has clear talent, but he can’t stay out of trouble. There was a lot of volume here, with four picks in the top 35. Yet, Cleveland’s haul still seems underwhelming – though better considering some picks went for Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor. If Mayfield answers the quarterback fiasco in Cleveland, nothing else matters.
Picks: ILB Leighton Vander Esch (1); G Connor Williams (2); WR Michael Gallup (3); DE Dorance Armstrong (4); TE Dalton Schultz (4); QB Mike White (5); LB Chris Covington (6); WR Cedrick Wilson (6); RB Bo Scarbrough (7).
Analysis: The Cowboys’ draft might be remembered for what could have happened. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the first-round pick, is a good player but the Cowboys passed every receiver in their post-Dez Bryant world to get him. It seemed they were primed to grab tight end Dallas Goedert at No. 50 overall, but the Eagles traded to No. 49 and took him. The Cowboys took offensive lineman Connor Williams instead. The third round netted receiver Michael Gallup, a good prospect who will be under a lot of pressure because of the Cowboys’ need at the position. Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz became a necessity in the fourth round due to Jason Witten’s reported impending retirement, but he’s not a dynamic receiver. At some point the Cowboys are going to have to seriously invest in premium targets for Dak Prescott (and trading away slot receiver Ryan Switzer and trading for Rams bust Tavon Austin doesn’t meet that need).
Picks: DE Bradley Chubb (1); WR Courtland Sutton (2); RB Royce Freeman (3); CB Isaac Yiadom (3); LB Josey Jewell (4); WR DaeSean Hamilton (4); TE Troy Fumagalli; C Sam Jones (6); LB Keishawn Bierria (6); RB David Williams (7).
Analysis: The Broncos had a pretty easy pick when Bradley Chubb fell to them at No. 5. Home-run pick. The draft might turn, good or bad, on whether size-speed receiver Courtland Sutton develops into a No. 1 receiver out of the second round. That could happen. I really liked the third-round pick of running back Royce Freeman, who seems like a safe bet to be a very productive early down back for Denver. There were other picks who were college stars: Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton and Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli. Just because the Broncos drafted a lot of big names doesn’t mean they’re good picks, but the Broncos got plenty of players who we know can play well on a high level. This group should be ready to contribute immediately.
Picks: C Frank Ragnow (1); RB Kerryon Johnson (2); SS Tracy Walker (3); DE Da’Shawn Hand (4); G Tyrell Crosby (5); RB Nick Bawden (7).
Analysis: Center Frank Ragnow is a good player, but it still feels the Lions needed to get premium pass rush help early on. Running back Kerryon Johnson didn’t seem like a good selection with the 11th pick of the second round, and Detroit gave up a fourth-round pick to move up eight spots to take him. You have to wonder if the Derrius Guice rumors scared them off the better player there. Safety Tracy Walker seemed like an even bigger reach in the third round. Alabama defensive lineman Da’shawn Hand and Oregon offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby were fine value picks, though Crosby’s reported concussion issues are an obvious concern. It’s an underwhelming class.
Green Bay Packers
Picks: CB Jaire Alexander (1); CB Josh Jackson (2); OLB Oren Burks (3); WR J’Mon Moore (4); G Cole Madison (5); P JK Scott (5); WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5); WR Equanimeous St. Brown (6); DT James Looney (7); LS Hunter Bradley (7); LB Kendall Donnerson (7).
Analysis: I like how the Packers played the first round, practically moving back four spots to take CB Jaire Alexander – a very good player who fills a big need – while picking up a 2019 first-rounder from the Saints. Doubling down on cornerback to take Josh Jackson in the second round was a strong move. The Packers had a pass-rush need, but the cornerback need was apparently more pressing. Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, a 6-foot-5 speedster who had nine touchdowns with Notre Dame in 2016 before slumping last season, seems to be a nice fit in the sixth round. The Packers will be fine if one of the three receivers they took pan out. Taking a punter and long snapper seemed odd, but the Packers had a lot of picks.
Picks: SS Justin Reid (3); OL Martinas Rankin (3); TE Jordan Akins (3); WR Keke Coutee (4); DE Duke Ejiofor (6); TE Jordan Thomas (6); LB Peter Kalambayi (6); DB Jermaine Kelly (7).
Analysis: Don’t forget, the Texans didn’t have an early second-round pick because they had to dump Brock Osweiler’s terrible contract. And they traded their first to take Deshaun Watson last year. No regrets with that at least. They made a good pick in the third, with versatile safety Justin Reid. Receiver Keke Coutee made a lot of plays at Texas Tech and also tested well at the combine — he could be a good one. The Texans were hamstrung without those top two picks, and did what they could with what they had.
Picks: G Quenton Nelson (1); OLB Darius Leonard (2); G Braden Smith (2); DE Kemoko Turay (2); DE Tyquan Lewis (2); RB Nyheim Hines (4); WR Daurice Fountain (5); RB Jordan Wilkins (5); WR Deon Cain (6); LB Matthew Adams (7); LB Zaire Franklin (7).
Analysis: The safest player in the draft was probably guard Quenton Nelson. And he helps a Colts line that has had major holes for years. The Colts had four second-round picks, and they loaded up in the defensive front seven: linebacker Darius Leonard, a very productive player at South Carolina State, and pass rushers Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis. The other second-round pick, Braden Smith, was another guard and probably a reach with many good running backs on the board. N.C. State running back Nyheim Hines is a fun player but not the every-down back the Colts need, though Indianapolis also took a shot on running back Jordan Wilkins in the fifth. Maybe it would have been better to invest in one good back early instead of a second guard. The Colts also took two receivers in the fifth and sixth rounds including Deon Cain, who unexpectedly slipped.
Picks: DT Taven Bryan (1); WR D.J. Chark (2); FS Ronnie Harrison (3); OT Will Richardson (4); QB Tanner Lee (6); LB Leon Jacobs (7); P Logan Cooke (7).
Analysis: The Jaguars know what type of team they want to be. They already had a good defensive line but took Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan to make it even better. The second-round pick of LSU receiver D.J. Chark is a reasonable gamble on an athletic freak who didn’t produce much in college, perhaps due to bad quarterback play. Third-round pick Ronnie Harrison, a safety from Alabama, and fourth-round pick Will Richardson, a tackle from N.C. State, could each contribute soon.
Kansas City Chiefs
Picks: DT Breeland Speaks (2); DT Derrick Nnadi (3); OLB Dorian O’Daniel (3); S Armani Watts (4); CB Tremon Smith (6); G Kahlil McKenzie (6).
Analysis: Defense, defense, defense. It’s clear where the Chiefs thought they needed help. The challenge was getting impact players without a first-round pick (traded last year in the Patrick Mahomes deal), and it’s hard to see a huge infusion of help. Breeland Speaks did very little before his final Ole Miss season, Derrick Nnadi didn’t test well, Doran O’Daniel should help on special teams right away but doesn’t look like an early defensive starter.
Los Angeles Chargers
Picks: SS Derwin James (1); Uchenna Nwosu (2); DT Justin Jones (3); S Kyzir White (4); C Scott Quessenberry (5); WR Dylan Cantrell (6); RB Justin Jackson (7).
Analysis: We might look back at safety Derwin James being the best value pick of the draft, at No. 17. He could have been a top-10 pick. The Chargers keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to finding Philip Rivers’ successor at quarterback but they got multiple players, even on the third day, who can contribute right away. Scott Quessenberry could develop into a starter someday and Justin Jackson might be a solid second running back. If athletic Uchenna Nwosu hits, adding to an already strong pass rush, this was a nice draft.
Los Angeles Rams
Picks: OT Joseph Noteboom (3); C Brian Allen (4); DE John Franklin-Myers (4); LB Micah Kiser (5); DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (5); RB John Kelly (6); G Jamil Demby (6); DT Sebastian Joseph (6); LB Trevon Young (6); LB Travin Howard (7); DE Justin Lawler (7).
Analysis: The Rams’ draft class is basically Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Los Angeles didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds due to trades. And the Rams did fine finding lower-cost offensive line and edge rush help with what they had. One interesting pick is Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who was an outstanding edge rusher for Oklahoma and fell to the fifth round. The same can be said for Micah Kiser, an inside linebacker who was a tackling machine at Virginia and came in the fifth round. John Kelly is the type of late-round running back who could return a lot of value, and the Rams need someone behind Todd Gurley. While trading picks for veterans in a salary-cap league has its downside, the Rams aren’t complaining.
Picks: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick (1); TE Mike Gesicki (2); OLB Jerome Baker (3); Durham Smythe (4); RB Kalen Ballage (4); DB Cornell Armstrong (6); LB Quentin Poling (7); K Jason Sanders (7).
Analysis: You have to wonder if they would have taken Josh Rosen had he slipped one more spot. As is, the Dolphins had to be thrilled with Minkah Fitzpatrick, once considered a possible top-five pick. Mike Gesicki is a great athlete who will be a good receiving tight end that Adam Gase can get creative with, and he matches well with blocking tight end Durham Smythe, a fourth-round pick. Jerome Baker seems to be too much of a situational player to really love him in the third round, and the lack of pass rush help is curious.
Picks: CB Mike Hughes (1); OT Brian O’Neill (2); DE Jalyn Holmes (4); TE Tyler Conklin (5); K Daniel Carlson (5); G Colby Gossett (6); LB Ade Aruna (6); LB Devante Adams (7).
Analysis: Cornerback Mike Hughes was a best-player available pick for a team with few holes. Offensive tackle Brian O’Neill is a good athlete, which is in line with the Vikings’ offensive philosophy, and Minnesota doesn’t need him to play immediately. Later on the Vikings made the ultimate luxury pick: Kicker Daniel Carlson in the fifth round. It’s nice to draft when you don’t have a lot of needs, though it’s not like this class will blow anyone away.
New England Patriots
Picks: G Isaiah Wynn (1); RB Sony Michel (1); CB Duke Dawson (2); LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (5); LB Christian Sam (6); WR Braxton Berrios (6); QB Danny Etling (7); DB Keion Crossen (7); TE Ryan Izzo (7).
Analysis: The Patriots kept making trades, pushing some of the picks to next year. That’s generally smart. The picks they did make weren’t slam dunks. Assuming Isaiah Wynn can play left tackle (he doesn’t have ideal height and many thought he’d be an NFL guard), that should be a good pick. The first-round selection of running back Sony Michel, ignoring some defensive needs there, was curious. The Patriots might be the best team in the league at identifying cheap running back talent and it seemed strange they’d invest a first-round pick in one. Cornerback Duke Dawson isn’t considered a can’t-miss NFL starter, but the Patriots needed cornerback depth. And the Patriots previously traded picks for veterans like Danny Shelton and offensive tackle Trent Brown, which helps. Bill Belichick’s moves could pay off down the line, but it’s hard to get excited now.
New Orleans Saints
Picks: DE Marcus Davenport (1); WR Tre’Quan Smith (3); OT Rick Leonard (4); S Natrell Jamerson (5); CB Kamrin Moore (6); RB Boston Scott; C Will Clapp (7).
Analysis: Marcus Davenport might be an exceptional pass rusher but you can’t ignore that the Saints gave up an extra first-round pick next year to take him. That’s a bad value proposition. The next pick was in the third round, and it was receiver Tre’quan Smith. There are better receivers in this class, but Smith lands in a fantastic offense. Offensive tackle Rick Leonard switched from defense to offense during his college career, so he should be a developmental pick. It’s hard to get past the overpayment for Davenport. He needs to make multiple Pro Bowls for that trade to make sense.
New York Giants
Picks: RB Saquon Barkley (1); G Will Hernandez (2); OLB Lorenzo Carter (3); DT B.J. Hill (3); QB Kyle Lauletta (4); DT R.J. McIntosh (5).
Analysis: A running back early in the first round needs to be a luxury pick, not one you make when fading quarterback Eli Manning is 37 years old. Saquon Barkley needs to be unbelievable to justify the Giants taking him at No. 2 (and to not even consider offers to trade down?), but the good news is he’s the best RB prospect in many years. The Will Hernandez pick helps an offensive line that needs it, and Lorenzo Carter is a freaky athlete and a good pick in the third. The Kyle Lauletta pick seems like a waste (or, last year’s Davis Webb pick was a waste … probably both). I love Barkley as a player but I just can’t buy into the Giants taking him when they had a chance to address the quarterback situation.
New York Jets
Picks: QB Sam Darnold (1); DT Nathan Shepherd (3); TE Chris Herndon (4); CB Parry Nickerson (6); DT Foley Fatukasi (6); RB Trenton Cannon (6).
Analysis: Sam Darnold was a perfect pick for the Jets, who were lucky the Giants didn’t take him at No. 2 (which they probably should have). There’s not too much else to get excited about — I get the need for quarterback but trading a lot of picks to move up when you have a thin roster is a tough proposition. Maybe Fort Hays State’s Nathan Shepherd will be a small-school star, and Chris Herndon will be an answer at tight end. I like the Darnold pick — though I hated how much they spent to get him — but if he doesn’t work out there’s not much else to get excited about here.
Picks: OT Kolton Miller (1); DT P.J. Hall (2); OT Brandon Parker (3); DE Arden Key (3); CB Nick Nelson (4); DT Maurice Hurst (5); P Johnny Townsend (5); LB Azeem Victor (6); WR Marcell Ateman (7).
Analysis: Taking a gamble on a pick or two with red flags can work out. How about taking chances on just about every pick? Jon Gruden’s first draft in his return was a boom-or-bust clinic. In the grade you have to include the trade for Martavis Bryant (who is hard to depend on), and the Raiders used an extra pick gained in a first-round trade down for that. Offensive tackle Kolton Miller is very athletic but also needs to be developed. That pick could go either way. Arden Key has great talent but also as many off-field red flags as anyone. Nick Nelson slipped because of a torn meniscus in a pre-draft workout. Maurice Hurst obviously fell far due at least in part to a heart issue found at the combine. Drafting Johnny Townsend, the third punter off the board in the fifth round, doesn’t exactly bump up the grade. Then the Raiders capped it with Azeem Victor, who was suspended twice last season, once for a reported failed drug test and another for a DUI arrest. Any one of Oakland’s high variance picks could work out. This grade could end up being a strong “A” in three years if everything works out. But it’s hard to remember the last single draft class that contained this much risk.
Picks: TE Dallas Goedert (2); CB Avonte Maddox (4); LB Josh Sweat (4); OT Matt Pryor (6); OT Jordan Mailata (7).
Analysis: The Eagles made the smart move to bail out of the first round and pick up a 2019 second-round pick in the process. Moving one pick ahead of the Cowboys to draft tight end Dallas Goedert at No. 49 was smart; he replaces Trey Burton in the offense. Avonte Maddox is a slot cornerback who can replace Patrick Robinson, who left in free agency. There are concerns about Josh Sweat’s knee, but that’s why he was there in the fourth round and that’s a fine gamble. The pick of mountainous Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata is a fun one. The champs did fine without much ammunition.
Picks: SS Terrell Edmunds (1); WR James Washington (2); QB Mason Rudolph (3); OT Chuks Okorafor (3); S Marcus Allen (5); TE Jaylen Samuels (5); DT Joshua Frazier (7).
Analysis: The first-round pick of Terrell Edmunds was curious because safety didn’t seem like a big need and Edmunds wasn’t a slam-dunk first-round prospect. Pittsburgh also drafted safety Marcus Allen in the fifth. The Steelers needed immediate help at inside linebacker and didn’t get it. That stings. Receiver James Washington made sense in the second round after the Steelers traded Martavis Bryant. Mid-round picks at quarterback are often a waste and while Mason Rudolph in the third round isn’t the worst gamble, you can easily see him getting tossed to the discard pile when the Steelers go looking for someone better, as they did with 2017 fourth-round pick Joshua Dobbs. Fifth-round pick Jaylen Samuels is a tight end/fullback/H-back, and he could be a fun piece in a great offense. But overall, it was a strange draft (if Rudolph turns out to be a good starter in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era, the grade will move way up).
San Francisco 49ers
Picks: OT Mike McGlinchey (1); WR Dante Pettis (2); OLB Fred Warner (3); FS Tarvarius Moore (3); DE Kentavius Street (4); CB D.J. Reed (5); S Marcell Harris (6); DT Jullian Taylor (7); WR Richie James (7).
Analysis: The 49ers march to their own beat. Tackle Mike McGlinchey seemed like a bit of a reach at No. 9, especially ahead of some defensive stars. The 49ers traded up to draft receiver Dante Pettis in the second when it seemed he would have been around later. Kentavius Street came at a discount because of a torn ACL, but he’s a fourth-round pick who probably won’t play as a rookie and the 49ers haven’t had good luck drafting players who slipped due to medical issues. My favorite pick was probably Fred Warner, a versatile and athletic player for the defense. But if you look at the totality of the 49ers’ moves during the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch regime, we’d have many more questions about them had they not been gifted Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade. But you can’t just yada yada trading a second-round pick for a quarterback like Garoppolo since that’s looking like one of the all-time steals, so …
Grade: D+ for the draft, A if you include Garoppolo
Picks: RB Rashaad Penny (1); DE Rasheem Green (3); TE Will Dissly (4); LB Shaquem Griffin (5); S Tre Flowers (5); P Michael Dickson (5); OT Jamarco Jones (5); LB Jake Martin (6); QB Alex McGough (7).
Analysis: I’m not sure what the Seahawks were doing. Pete Carroll told ESPN’s Louis Riddick the Seahawks want to “reset” and get back to running the ball (h/t to Mike Clay of ESPN) which seems like a bad idea in a pass-first league when Seattle has one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But the picks of Rashaad Penny in the first round and blocking tight end Will Dissly in the fourth align with that philosophy. This probably sums up the Seahawks’ draft: They picked a punter before an offensive lineman, and they desperately need help on the line. And the Seahawks traded up for that punter (though Michael Dickson is a good one). Penny might have been the most surprising pick of the first round, Seattle was drafting to be a ground-and-pound team instead of getting help for Russell Wilson in the pass game, and in general it treated the draft like it could make luxury picks instead of filling holes on a roster that is suddenly in decay. Though I do love that Seattle gave us a wonderful moment with the Shaquem Griffin pick (and I do like that pick strictly from a football standpoint), I’m stunned by its approach this offseason.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Picks: DT Vita Vea (1); RB Ronald Jones (2); CB M.J. Stewart (2); CB Carlton Davis (2); G Alex Cappa (3); S Jordan Whitehead (4); WR Justin Watson (5); LB Jack Cichy (7).
Analysis: Big Vita Vea completed Tampa’s overhaul on the defensive line, though it’s hard to see Vea having much of an impact on passing downs. Ronald Jones is an interesting second-round pick: Can he be an every-down back? He had some high-volume games at USC, and his game-breaking ability is undeniable. Cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis need to contribute soon. Overall it’s nothing to get too excited about, unless Jones becomes an elite back right away.
Picks: ILB Rashaan Evans (1); DE Harold Landry (2); S Dane Cruikshank (5); QB Luke Falk (6).
Analysis: The Titans lost Avery Williamson, and replaced him with Rashaan Evans. That was smart. Harold Landry fell further than anticipated, reportedly due to medical issues, but if he’s healthy that’s an outstanding value pick in the second round. It also fills a need because the Titans need a young pass rusher. The Titans had only two other picks, in the fifth and sixth rounds. The sixth-round pick was quarterback Luke Falk, who perhaps can develop into Marcus Mariota’s backup. Tennessee added only two players who are likely to contribute much right away, but both were smart picks assuming Landry is healthy. It’s not without risk, though: If Landry isn’t healthy then this class is incredibly thin.
Picks: DT Da’Ron Payne (1); RB Derrius Guice (2); OT Geron Christian (3); S Troy Apke (4); DT Tim Settle (5); LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (6); CB Greg Stroman (7); WR Trey Quinn (7).
Analysis: Payne could end up being a nice get. Watch his film from the College Football Playoff for proof; he can be a true disruptor. Derrius Guice was a great value pick, but there’s a reason he fell. However, if there are no more off-field issues with Guice, Washington got a first-round talent near the end of the second round. I’m fine with that gamble. Washington needed some offensive line depth, and tackle Geron Christian in the third round helps. The fourth-round pick of Troy Apke was odd because he didn’t do much at Penn State, but the safety is fast and athletic and maybe can develop while he helps on special teams. I firmly believe Guice ends up being a great pick, which bumps up Washington’s grade.
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