As the dust settles from the 2017 NFL draft, how did your team make out? Were they the ones dropping the bombs, or are they currently digging through the rubble?
Arizona Cardinals – Grade B
Entering the draft the Card’s biggest needs were at safety, linebacker and a long-term replacement at QB. In the first two rounds they hit it big with Hassan Reddick and Budda Baker, two of my favorite prospects in the draft. After that the draft fell a bit off. The trade up into the third round for Chad Williams screams reach. Since all the top QB’s went early, the Cards were left without a date for the prom.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Hassan Reddick ILB / Temple
Versatile player, fills a need and should be a difference maker from day one.
Worst Pick – Round 3 – Chad Williams WR / Grambling
Has some off-field baggage and may have been available a few rounds later.
Unfinished Business – QB
The team still has no good young passer on it, and Carson Palmer is 37 years old and looked about 73 for most of last season. This is definitely the elephant in the room if you’re a Cardinals fan.
Verdict – Winners
Any draft that you leave with three probable starters is a good draft. I think guard Dorian Johnson, Baker, and Reddick will all make major contributions this season and beyond
Atlanta Falcons – Grade B+
Good teams usually pick late in drafts, and use their picks to supplement a strong roster. That is exactly the strategy the Falcons took in this years draft. They needed another pass rushing threat to take some heat off of Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley should fill that role nicely. LB Duke Riley from LSU is another speedy addition to the leagues fastest D, and RB Brian Hill from Wyoming could be a 5th round steal.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Takk McKinley OLB / UCLA
I love everything about this kid. The way he plays, the relentless motor and hunger on the field. I love his story of perseverance, and I love his fit on this team. Would not be surprised to see him lead this team in sacks this season.
Worst Pick – Round 3 – Sean Harlow OL / Oregon St
This is nitpicking a bit. I really liked the value of all of the Falcons picks. Harlow may have to kick inside at the next level so that makes this the worst pick for me.
Unfinished Business – 28 to 3
This team needs to make sure there’s no hangover from the Super Bowl next season. No team has ever collapsed on the biggest stage the way this team did last year. If they have short memories there is no reason they can’t get back to the big game.
Verdict – Winners
Loved this draft for both value and need fits. McKinley and Riley could end up starting from the go and Hill may step in if the team either trades or parts ways with one of their stud running backs after the season.
Baltimore Ravens – Grade C
Coming into this draft, the Ravens biggest need was to add some playmakers on offense. Opposing teams are losing no sleep when game planning for the Ravens skill players. They have Mike Wallace, which would be great if it was 2011. The passing games inability to attack downfield did nothing to help a talent-starved running game. The team also lost its starting RT in free agency. So what do the Ravens do come draft day? If you guessed draft a bunch of really talented defenders you win a prize, a jar of Flacco’s tears. The Ravens have handled this offseason as if they hate Joe Flacco. I mean, as much as you can hate someone your paying over 20 million a year to throw 600+ 5 yard passes.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Tyus Bowser OLB / Houston
Bowser was one of my highest rated edge rushers in the draft. He is a great athlete who is better in coverage than you’d think. He should start immediately opposite Terrell Suggs and potentially be his heir apparent when he hangs up his cleats. Great value in the second round.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – Marlon Humphrey CB / Alabama
I really like Humphrey and believe he could be a great player and fit for the Ravens but I put this pick here because OJ Howard was still on the board. If they had drafted Howard at #16 they at least would have had a player capable of causing match-up problems to opposing defenses.
Unfinished Business – Weapons
The worst part of this draft is, I love all of the players that Baltimore picked. Humphrey, Bowser, Williams, and Wormley could all be impact players and the two young lineman they drafted could develop into starters. But not addressing weapons for Flacco is just unforgivable. The NFL has changed; it’s a passer-centric league now.
Verdict – Losers
While the team added youth and depth along the O-line and all over their defense, it drafted zero skill players. None, not even a late round flyer. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. With this roster the Ravens are destined to scapegoat yet another offensive coordinator this season. Hey Ozzie, don’t blame the Chef if he can’t make you filet mignon out of hamburger helper.
Buffalo Bills – Grade B-
The Bills have not made the playoffs since Bill Clinton was in office. The franchise has been disorganized and dysfunctional for the better part of the last 20 years, and after pulling off a rather successful draft they promptly fired their GM the day after. Way to stay in character, Buffalo. The team did have a good draft though, picking up KC’s first rounder next year in a first round pick swap, and addressing their most pressing needs at receiver and corner in the first two rounds.
Best Pick – Round 5 – Nathan Petterman QB / Pitt
The team brought back starter Tyrod Taylor this offseason on a restructured contract, showing that the new regime may not see him as the long-term answer. Enter Petterman, who could be a fifth round steal. He’s one of the drafts most accurate QBs and has experience in a pro system. In the Kirk Cousins mold, he may end up being an average NFL starter.
Worst Pick – Round 6 Tanner Vallejo OLB / Boise St
Vallejo lands here because he was so little regarded in scouting circles that ESPN didn’t have a scouting report on him.
Unfinished Business – Stability
In a very Redskins-esque way, the Bills canned Doug Whatley the day after the draft. Why wait that long? The timing was horrible and it overshadowed a nice draft. It looks like new coach Sean McDermott is czar of the power structure in Buffalo. Hopefully he steadies the ship. Lets see if they can get into the playoffs for the first time in Tom Brady’s career.
Verdict – Winners
The team filled their biggest needs with high round picks and also picked up a 2018 first rounder in the process. The grade would have been higher if it wasn’t for that whole GM firing thing. Don’t be that guy, Buffalo.
Carolina Panthers – Grade C+
The Panthers entered this draft in desperate need of adding players who could lessen the burden that Cam Newton carried in the running game. By adding Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel they did that in spades. Cam Newton should be grinning like a Cheshire Cat after those additions. The only problem is, Carolina did little else in the later rounds. With holes along both lines and injury questions to Cam and star linebacker Luke Kuechly, the Panthers didn’t do enough to address the depth at those positions.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Christian McCaffrey RB,WR, Returner / Stanford
McCaffrey is a true 4 down back. He can impact a game, rushing, receiving, or in the return game and is a solid pass blocker. He should impact every facet of the Panthers attack going forward. Good luck defending Christian & Cam in Carolina’s read-option.
Worst Pick – Round 3 – Daeshon Hall DE / Texas A&M
While DE is not the teams deepest position, at this point in the draft it would have been more prudent to look at options in the secondary or along the o-line.
Unfinished Business – Health & Wellness
The teams two best players, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, both suffered through a brutal season last year due to injuries and constant poundings. Both of these players have hall-of-fame potential and it would be a travesty if they can’t return to the form they showed in 2015.
Verdict – Losers
I love McCaffrey and Samuel but the team did nothing to bolster an awful offensive line and a secondary that was torched on the regular last season. Cam carried this team in 2015; hopefully his shoulder will be healthy enough to do it again.
Chicago Bears – Grade D
When you make the wow moment of the draft, and everyone isn’t wowing with you, they’re wowing at you, you’re not going to get a good grade. The trade up from #3 to #2 still makes zero sense to me. First off, no one else would have traded up that far for Trubisky and if the 49ers wanted him they wouldn’t have given him to you for 3 mid round picks and a bag of magic beans. The Bears outbid themselves to trade up. Secondly, you not only signed Mike Glennon to a relatively big contract this offseason, but then you sent him to be the star of your draft party. The same draft party you traded up for a player at his position. That is just wrong on multiple levels. Then with limited draft picks you spend 3 of your remaining 4 picks on players from D-2 schools and the other on a player who’ll be changing positions. All of your picks have steep learning curves and high bust-potential. This may well be either the dumbest or ballsiest draft ever. Only time will tell.
Best Pick – None
I literally disliked every pick in this draft class. All five of them are too risky and reachy for my blood.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – Mitch Trubisky QB / UNC
Trubisky only started 13 games in college. This makes him a riskier pick than usual early in a draft because there’s so little information available to scout. Not only do I think the Bears reached for Trubisky, they traded up to do it, giving up valuable mid-round picks in the process.
Unfinished Business – Proving Me Wrong
If the Bears turn out to be right and Trubinsky develops into a solid starting quarterback, no one will care about where he was drafted or what they gave up. That’s how important the position is in the modern NFL. No QB, no hope.
Verdict – Losers
As I’ve stated previously in this article, I disliked every single pick in this draft class. If you get fleeced by a rookie GM in his first rodeo, it doesn’t bode well. This draft reeks of desperation and naivety. Hopefully the Cubs make another World Series run, that way Bears fans will be happy for part of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals – Grade C
Before the draft, Joe Mixon’s fate was a hot topic of discussion. Who was going to take on a talented player with all his baggage? Many joked that the Bengals would, given their history of being a glorified halfway house. Well, the joke’s on all of us, because that’s exactly what happened. The team added Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson later in the draft, and both have good upside as pass rushers. If John Ross can stay on the field, his speed makes him a Desean Jackson-esque deep threat.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Joe Mixon RB / Oklahoma
From a purely football standpoint, this pick could be one of the best bargains in the entire draft. Mixon is a top 10 or 15 player in this draft on talent alone, and is instantly the Bengals best back by leaps and bounds. Sadly, real life isn’t all about football and that’s why Mixon lasted until pick #48. There is no defending what Mixon did, and because there is video proof of his crime, he can never escape it. All Mixon can do is continue what he has done since his transgression. He finished the legal process and completed his community service. He settled the civil part of the case as well. He’s done everything in his power to better himself from the situation but he can never do enough to make it go away. He knows this and so do the Bengals. There may be no team more experienced in players with his type of baggage. For both side’s sake, I hope it works out.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – John Ross WR / Washington
I like John Ross, but I don’t 9th pick in the draft John Ross. His injury history alone is enough to give you a bit of pause. At #9 there where many players with greater talent still available and with two teams trading up behind them to draft QBs, there may have been a chance to trade back and bring in extra draft capital.
Unfinished Business – Win A Playoff Game
The Bengals have not won a playoff game in 26 years. The majority of their roster was not even born yet. If Ross stays healthy and Mixon plays to his talent, this offense could be deadly. As patient as ownership is, Marvin Lewis can only pull a Jeff Fisher for so long before the axe drops.
Verdict – Losers
While I am all for people being given a second chance and have no problem with Joe Mixon being drafted, I can certainly see why many don’t feel the same way. On a team that already featured numerous players with off-field issues, Mixon brings un-needed negative attention. In addition to that stigma, both John Ross and Carl Lawson have long injury histories and the back-end of this draft looks very underwhelming. If I was a Bengals fan this draft would leave me with a great deal of trepidation for the upcoming season.
Cleveland Browns – Grade A-
Leading up to the draft, there was some thought that the Browns may do something irresponsibly stupid with the first pick in the draft, take Mitch Trubinsky. In the end the Browns did the smart thing with the first pick, they didn’t outsmart themselves. They stayed put and took Myles Garrett, the consensus best player in the draft. Garrett has the potential to be one of the leagues best pass rushers and should have an instant impact for the Browns. The Browns also made a shrewd move with their other first rounder at #12, trading it to the Texans for next years 1st and #25 this year. They took Jabril Peppers of Michigan with the 25th pick. Peppers is the defensive version of Christian McCaffrey, he can do so may things. He should be an impact player in the return game immediately, and can fill multiple spots in Cleveland’s back seven. The Browns then traded back into the first round at #29 and selected Miami tight end, David Njuku. Njuku automatically becomes the best match-up weapon in Cleveland not named LeBron James. He is an uber-talented receiver and developing blocker. By landing three possible studs in the first round and picking up an extra first next season, the Browns laid the foundation for the future.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Myles Garrett DE / Texas A&M
Garrett is a physical freak with the production and tape to back it up. He should develop into an absolute terror on the outside. Browns took the best player available at #1.
Worst Pick – Round 6 – Caleb Brantley DT / Florida
On talent alone, Brantley is possibly a borderline first rounder. Sadly Brantley lasted far deeper into the draft then that due to an off-field incident just prior to the draft. If he avoids punishment and keeps his nose clean, Brantley could become a vital cog in the Cleveland resurgence. If he flames out and can’t stay out of trouble he’ll be an unwanted and unneeded distraction.
Unfinished Business – Quarterback
This team is going nowhere until it gets at least average play from the QB position. Is DeShone Kizer the answer? Did the Browns really like him or did he just fall into their laps? If Hue Jackson can nurture all of Kizer’s considerable physical gifts, Cleveland might finally become relevent.
Verdict – Winner
If you have the first pick in the draft and you get the consensus top player, you usually win your draft. Add in the other two first round picks as well as the 2018 acquired from Houston and this team did extremely well on draft weekend. Hopefully soon we can talk about the Browns contending for a playoff spot. When we do I think this draft class will have a lot to say about it.
Dallas Cowboys – Grade C+
The Cowboys have entered a new era since last seasons draft. Tony Romo is out the door and it’s now the Dak & Zeke show. Dallas knew they need to upgrade the defensive side of the ball in this draft and they wasted no time. The team spent 7 of their 9 picks on defenders including the top three round picks.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Chidobe Awuzie CB / Colorado
I love watching Awuzie play football. He attacks the line of scrimmage like a missile. He’s solid in coverage and should give Dallas multiple options on how to unleash him this season. Having him on the field is like having a third safety ou there.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – Taco Charlton DE / Michigan
I felt like Charlton was a reach at #28. Even though he may eventually fill a need, there where many much better players available at this spot. Budda Baker, Tyus Bowser, Kevin King, ect.
Unfinished Business – Sophomore Slumps
The Tony Romo security blanket from last year is gone, opposing teams have had a year to study tape on Dak Prescott. Will it make a difference? Only time will tell.
Verdict – Loser
In general, the Cowboys had a low-key risky draft. I’m not in love with their first pick in Taco Charlton and the team is hoping third round pick Jourdan Lewis will be acquitted of his pending domestic violence charge. If everything pans out this could be an ok draft, with the Cowboys things never pan out.
Denver Broncos – Grade B
The story of Garett Bolles is a long, twisting tale of redemption that culminated at pick #20 when the Broncos drafted him. Despite reaching up for Bolles, there where many other good players still out there. Picking up Carlos Henderson and DeMarkus Walker, and Jake Butt could be huge additions to the Broncos in the long run,
Best Pick – Round 5 – Jake Butt TE / Michigan
If Butt doesnt tear up his knee in his bowl game, he goes at least three rounds higher than he did. He is a good blocker and a solid theat in the passing game. Should give whomever wins the QB job a nice safety blanket across the middle.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – Garett Bolles OT / Utah
I love Garett Boles story of perseverance and overcoming so many obstacles, but I still hate this pick. Bolles will be 25 before training camp starts making him up to four years older than many other rookies. Add in his off the field history and I’m surprised Denver pulled the trigger at #20
Unfinished Business – Is The Qb Of The Future On The Roster?
The team is going to have an open competition for its starting Q5ob between Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemien. The old adage is, “If you have two Qb’s, you have none”. Luckily I think the second part of that statement applies here.
Verdict – Winner
While I think the Bolles pick was a reach in the first round, I absolutely loved the DeMarcus Walker and Carlos Henderson picks in rounds two and three. And Jake Butt could be an absolute steal in the fifth. Denver should be happy with this years draft haul.
Detroit Lions – Grade C
I like what the Lions did in the first round, drafting Florida’s Jarrad Davis. He should fill the void they had at middle linebacker. Teez Tabor in the second round was a head scratcher because of his abysmal 40 yard dash times. You don’t see many NFL corners be successful when they post 4.7s. Kenny Golloway is big(6-4) and fast(4.5 40), but is not a slippery or explosive athlete. Should end up being a red zone weapon though. Miami QB Brad Kaaya was a luxury pick in the 6th round. He could end up being Stafford’s longterm understudy, or he could get cut.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Jarrad Davis MLB / Florida
Davis attacks whomever has the football like a heat-seeking missile. He is a sideline to sideline tackling machine. Should step into a starting spot right away in the Detroit D.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Teez Tabor CB / Florida
Tabor is a much better player on film than his testing numbers would lead you to believe. That being said, I can see a team taking a flyer on a corner who runs a 4.7 40 in the 4th or 5th round. Taking on in the second round is just asking for trouble.
Unfinished Business – Pass Rush
Last season Ezekiel Ansah was the Lions only real pass rushing threat, and he missed 11 games. The team did little to address that in this draft. Davis and Reeves-Maybin are players better suited to either dropping into coverage or stuffing the run game then they are getting to the quarterback.
Verdict – Loser
Outside of Davis, I just don’t see a whole lot of impact out of this class. Reeves-Maybin and Tabor may develop into starters, but overall this is an uninspiring group.
Green Bay Packers – Grade B
Due to the way the Packers operate, the draft is arguably more important to them then to any other franchise. Since they usually sign so few free agents, they need to hit on as many draft picks as possible. The team entered this years draft needing to upgrade a secondary that was shredded all season either by injury or opponents. While the team did dip into the free agent pool and sign game changing tight end Martellus Bennett, it would have been nice to see Aaron Rodgers get a few more new toys.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Kevin King CB / Washington
The teams secondary was horrible in coverage last season. After trading back out of the first round, the team pounced on King early in the second. A 6-3 corner with good speed and cover skills, that should be music to Packer Fans ears.
Worst Pick – Round 3 – Montravius Adams DT / Auburn
Adams is a very large, very talented man. He is also a potentially very large liability. Multiple scouts had reservations about his lack of effort, and his tape shows he phoned in almost the entire 2015 season. The Pack better hope they can keep him motivated, but this is the same team that couldn’t keep Eddie Lacy under 300 lbs.
Unfinished Business – The Running Game
This offseason, Eddie Lacy ate his way to Seattle leaving converted receiver Ty Montgomery as the only veteran on the roster. This was a deep draft at the position, but the Packers waited until the 4th round to dip into it. And on top of that, the player they took comes with more questions than answers. Jamaal Williams brings quite a bit of baggage with him from BYU, where he was suspended and then sat out a season for personal reasons. The meer presence of Aaron Rodgers should help any running game, but the Packers continue to undervalue its importance.
Verdict – Winner
The Packers needed help in the secondary in the worse way, and spent their top two picks on it. King at corner and safety Josh Jones should help solidify the packers back 4. Vince Biegel could be a steal in the 4th round as could 7th rounder Malachi Dupre. I rated Dupree as a possible 3rd or 4th rounder, and if he had any semblance of a QB at LSU he would have certainly been drafted higher.
Houston Texans – Grade C+
The Houston Texans have had a merry-go-round of below average quarterbacks over the last few years, and still managed to finish those seasons with a division title. This season it seems the desperation to bring in a good QB boiled over and they made a panic move in the first round. If DeShaun Watson becomes an above-average starting quarterback in the league, then all will be forgotten. But this whole draft class, and next season revolves around how Watson develops.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Zach Cunningham ILB / Vanderbilt
Cunningham is good all around middle linebacker. He is good to great in coverage and can make tackles from sideline to sideline. The Texans got a first round talent in the second round.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – DeShaun Watson QB / Clemson
This pick being a loss is more about what the Texans gave up to get him. Having already sacrificed a second round pick in order to get rid of Brock Osweiler, they also gave up this years and next years first rounders for Watson. That is a whole lot of draft capital to give up to draft a QB with accuracy issues.
Unfinished Business – Is Watson The Answer?
I personally will be rooting for DeShaun Watson. He seems like a very likeable guy who overcame a tough upbringing to get to this point. But as a football player, there are some potentially serious issues. Thirty issues to be exact. That’s how many picks Watson threw over the last two seasons. While he looked very good in the last two national title games, he had too many off nights on film as well. Bill O’Brien has a reputation as a quarterback guru who has produced zero good quarterbacks. He better hope Watson is his first, or he may be looking for a new job.
Verdict – Losers
The team has invested and failed so much into the quarterback position that Watson needs to become a Pro-Bowler soon or things could get ugly in Houston. I loved the pick of Cunningham, and bringing in D’Onta Foreman to pair with Lamar Miller was a shrewd move in the third round.
Indianapolis Colts – Grade B
The Colts have been notorious for the last few seasons of ignoring the fact that an offensive line exists. The Colts inability to keep Andrew Luck upright is borderline criminal. If you have a franchise quarterback, the goal is not just to surround him with weapons but also protect him. A shoulder injury and bruised spleen later and the COlts yet again did little to beef up their line in the draft. Sneakily, drafting USF tailback Marlon Mack in the 4th round may be a saving grace. Mack has the talent and versatility to give the Colts a better run game, which in turn should slow down opponents pass-rush. For Andrew Luck’s sake I hope he didn’t lose his insurance in the Obama-Care repeal.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Malik Hooker S / Ohio State
Hooker was a top-10 talent in the draft, and due to other teams reaching fell in the Colts lap at #15. He’s a true centerfield safety and should do wonders for the Colts pass defense.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Quincy Wilson CB / Florida
Wilson may turn out to be a fine player, but there where arguably higher regarded corners still available as well as more talented players at other positions of need still on the board.
Unfinished Business – Will Andrew Luck Survive The Season?
While I do like picking Zach Banner in the 4th round, the Colts waited far to long in the draft to address the O-line. The team also didn’t draft a tight end to replace the traded Dwayne Allen. Andrew Luck could be in for another painful season.
Verdict – Winner
Getting Hooker without trading up, and adding O-lineman Zach Banner and pass-rusher Tarell Basham where all good picks by the Colts. I was very high on Mack entering the draft and think he can be the answer in the Colts running game. If Luck can stay healthy all season, this drafts a win.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Grade C
The Jags entered the draft needing to upgrade the O-Line, the running game, the quarterback play, and beef up the secondary. Rather than waste yet another top 5 pick on an undeserving quarterback, the Jags scooped up Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick. Fournette is physically a once in a generation talent at runningback. Humans his size usually just aren’t that fast, explosive and nimble. Getting Cam Robinson in round 2 was a steal as well, I thought he was the best lineman in this class.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Cam Robinson OT / Alabama
The Jags O-Line is a mess, Robinson could be a steal in the second round. Robinson was arguably the best tackle in the draft and the Jags did well to nab him.
Worst Pick – Round 4 – DeDe Westbrook
Westbrook comes into the league with enough baggage to fill a moving truck. He has a checkered injury history and a small frame, so durability is a concern. Far more troubling is his off-field baggage. He has been arrested and charged with domestic violence on at least two occasions. That is a lot of risk for a slot receiver on a team with no quarterback.
Unfineshed Business – One More Year On The Bortles Bus?
Honestly, no quarterback in this draft was worth the fourth pick. Also, no matter how not-good Blake Bortles is, he’d still probably be able to out perform any rookie they would have taken this season. Even though the Jags picked up his fifth year option, there is a new regime in Jacksonville and this season is make it or break it time for Bortles. My money would be on the Jags taking a QB awful high in 2018.
Verdict – Losers
They are rolling with Bortles for at least one more year, and no team can win doing that. After Fournette and Robinson I really disliked all of the other picks in this class. The team has dumped truckloads of money on free agents lately, hopefully they pan out.
Kansas City Chiefs – Grade B+
Alex Smith once went an entire season without throwing a touchdown to a wide receiver. Sadly for Chiefs fans, this wasnt 1930 and they were not running the wishbone. Adding Jeremy Maclin a few years ago helped, but if you saw any of the video of Smith playing dodgeball at the pro bowl, you know its time KC looked elsewhere for a QB. Fortune favors the bold, and the Chiefs moving from #29 to #10 to nab Mahomes is about as bold as you can get. Under Andy Reid Mahomes could reach his potential and give KC the franchise QB they havent had since Len Dawson.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Pat Mahomes II QB / Texas Tech
Mahomes was my favorite prospect in the entire draft. His improvisation and elite arm talent lead me to believe he could be a special player at the NFL level. The Chiefs seemed to agree with me, as they traded up and took him at #10.
Worst Pick – Round 5 – Ukeme Eligwe MLB / Georgia Southern
This pick has less to do with what player was picked, but on why it took till the 5th round to bring a middle linebacker into the fold. It was arguably the teams biggest question mark coming into the draft and im not sure Eligwe is the answer.
Unfinished Business – How Much Is Left In The Tank?
Derrick Johnson(35) and Tamba Hali(33) are nearing the end of the line. Alex Smith is 32, but has the arm strength of someone much older. These three are still vital cogs in the current Chiefs machine, will they make it till the end of the season?
Verdict – Winners
As I said, Mahomes was my favorite player in this draft. Tanoh Kpassagnon in the second round is another player with substantial upside, and 3rd rounder Kareem Hunt is one of the most complete backs in the draft. If Mahomes reaches his ceiling, the Chiefs will be contenders for years to come.
LA Chargers – Grade B+
The Chargers did well in this draft surrounding Phillip Rivers with talent/. If they can just keep most of their starters healthy, and they adjust to playing in LA, this team could be one of the leagues most improved franchises.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Forest Lamp OT / Western Kentucky
Lamp was projected to be one of the top linemen in this class and the Chargers stole him in the second round. He is versatile enough to play all 5 positions along the line, and most likely start somewhere for the Chargers week one.
Worst Pick – Round 4 – Rayshawn Jenkins S / Miami
If you draft someone in the 4th round that doesn’t have profile on Scouts Inc, that’s a reach. There where arguably better players available at this point.
Unfinished Business – Finishing Games
Last season the Chargers had two major problems. The lost way too many close games late in the fourth quarter, and they just couldn’t stay healthy. This team is far too talented to be 5-11. If health and luck greatly improve this season, the playoffs are a real possibility.
Verdict – Winners
Getting one of the drafts best receivers and two of the best offensive linemen make this draft an easy one for the win column. The only question remains why in such a deeply talented draft, did they fail to address the safety position sooner.
LA Rams – C
The Rams gave up this tears 1st and 3rd round picks in the Jared Goff trade last year. Losing that much capital makes this draft harder to judge, they just don’t have the ability to add much. I like Cooper Kupp as a slot receiver and Gerald Everett is a player who is very much in the Jordan Reed mold for new head coach Sean McVey. The Rams biggest question is will they be able to block anybody, they couldn’t last year.
Best Pick – Round 3 – Cooper Kupp WR / Eastern Washington
Kupp exploded onto the national radar at the senior bowl. He was a highly productive player at a small school. He should be an excellent slot weapon in the Rams new system, and safety blanket for Jared Goff.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Gerald Everett TE / South Alabama
While i like this pick for the upside it provides, I hate the fit. This team could block nobody last year and their first pick is a tight end who can’t block anybody. Everett should develop into a dangerous weapon in the passing game, hopefully Goff will be upright enough to get him the ball.
Unfinished Business – Can Goff Play?
The Rams sold the farm to move up and select Goff #1 last season, and Goff did little in the short time he played to merit the pick. The team brought in McVey from the Redskins to get the most out of Goff. McVey has spent the last few seasons helping Kirk Cousins throw for over 9,000 yards in DC. If he can get Goff on the right track, the team will be heading in the right direction.
Verdict – Losers
The team compounded not having a first round pick by reaching or over drafting on almost all of the picks that they did have. The true grade for this draft will depend on how Goff eventually turns out. Color me not optimistic.
Miami Dolphins – Grade B
The Dolphins have a solid roster and are coming off a playoff season. The biggest concern entering the drat was along the offensive line. They pulled an Indianapolis Colts and chose to ignore it. Luckily they did well in upgrading their overall team talent. Charles Harris is a stud pass rusher in the first round, and Reakwon McMillan is a tackling machine in the second round. Cordrea Tankersly may end up starting at corner from day one as a third round pick as well.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Charles Harris – DE / Missouri
Harris was rated as one of the drafts best pass rushers. With the teams current ends a little long in the tooth, bringing in Harris should invigorate the pass rush.
Worst Pick – Round 5 – Isaac Asiata OG / Utah
Many saw Asiata as a reach in the fifth round. Asiata may end up starting this season. Those two things don’t bode well for Dolphins fans.
Unfinished Business – Blocking, Is That Still A Thing?
The team has to have serious concerns about the offensive line. Hopefully Pouncey comes back healthy at center. Ryan Tannehill historically struggles dealing with blitzes, and seeing as he may still be hobbled come week one that could be bad news.
Verdict – Winners
The top three picks in this class should be regular contributors from the get-go. If the team can keep Tannehill healthy, the Dolphins have the best chance in the division to unseat the Patriots. That being said, they still may have a better chance of winning the Powerball jackpot.
Minnesota Vikings – Grade B
The Vikings used this years first round pick to acquire Sam Bradford just before last season, after Teddy Bridgewater’s leg exploded. The move paid off for the first five weeks of the season. as Bradford led the Vikings to a 5-0 start. Sadly the NFL schedule has 16 games on it. Over the last 11 games the Vikings blocked nobody and Bradford was forced to either throw a check down, or get sandwiched by multiple defenders. On the bright side, he led the league in completion percentage.
Best Pick – Round 3 – Pat Elflein C / Ohio State
Elflein was one of the highest rated centers in the draft. He should slot in as a day one starter either at center or guard as long as he has a pulse. Yes, the Vikings line is that bad.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Dalvin Cook RB / Florida State
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Dalvin Cook. And I love the value of getting Dalvin Cook in the second round. What i don’t love is letting Dalvin Cook get him 3 yards deep on most carries because your offensive line is hot garbage.
Unfinished Business – Is It Water Under The Bridge?
The Vikings did not have this years first round pick due to the Sam Bradford trade. The team did not exercise the fifth year option on QB Teddy Bridgewater because they still have no idea when or if he’ll ever play again. The o-line may still be bad enough that neither QB survives the season. Shaun Hill better get warming up in the bullpen.
Verdict – Winners
Cook could end up being the best back in this class, and Elflein should help the line out a ton. Third rounder Jaleel Johnson could be a gem at DT and I also like TE Bucky Hodges in round six.
New England Patriots – Grade A+
The Patriots traded most of their draft picks away before the draft and wound up acquiring WR Brandin Cooks, DE Kony Ealy, TE Dwayne Allen, & RB Mike Gillislee. All four should have prominent roles in New England this season and beyond.
Best Pick – Round 3 – Derek Rivers OLB / Youngstown State
One of the few holes the Pats had entering the draft was depth at pass rusher. Rivers was a small school star and could blossom in New England.
Worst Pick – None
The team only had four picks and they where all third rounders or later. If any of them bust I don’t see “The Hoodie” losing any sleep over it.
Unfinished Business – Not Falling Behind 28-3
With any luck, the players the Pats have added this offseason will enable them to not fall behind by 25 points in next years Super Bowl.
Verdict – Winners
When you add four proven impact NFL players in draft, it’s got to be a win. More than likely the Pats will get more production out of Cooks, Ealy, Allen, and Gillislee than they would out of four rookies. Tom Brady doesn’t play like he’s almost 40, but the window wont be open forever, and after these moves the Pats have to be the favorites to repeat.
New Orleans Saints – Grade A
The Saints had an extra first round pick after dealing Brandin Cooks to New England. They manages to come out of the first round with arguably the drafts best cornerback in Marshon Lattimore, and one of the its best o-lineman in Ryan Ramczyk.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Marshon Lattimore CB / Ohio State
Latimore was the highest ranked corner in this draft and he landed in the Saints lap. He is probably the Saints best corner the moment he signs his rookie deal.
Worst Pick – Round 3 – Alex Anzalone MLB / Florida
Anzalone just can’t stay healthy. If the Saints can keep him out of the training room it will be a miracle.
Unfinished Business – No Pressure, No Diamonds
The Saints have no edge rusher to help take some pressure off of Cameron Jordan. Hopefully either rookie Trey Henderson or one of the scrap-heap veterans they brought in can muster up some production. If not, opposing quarterbacks feast on the Saints D like its Fat Tuesday.
Verdict – Winners
Lattimore was a great pick in round one, as was Ramczyk. Marcus Williams in round two is a probable day one starter as well. Alvin Kamara enters a crowded backfield, but may be the best back there by the end of the season. If Trey Henderson can get to the opponents QB a little bit, this draft could be one of the leagues best.
New York Giants – Grade C
The Giants had two large needs entering the draft. O-line help and tight end with a pulse. With Evan Engram in the first round they accomplished half of that. As for an o-lineman? Well luckily Eli gets rid of the ball quick.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Evan Engram TE / Ole Miss
The last time the Giants had a tight end that another team had to account for was Jeremy Shockey. Engram is receiver playing tight end. He is a true match-up nightmare in the passing game. If his game has a weakness, much like LT Erik Flowers he can’t block anybody. Should give the Giants already dynamic passing game yet another dimension.
Worst Pick – Round 3 – Davis Webb QB / California
Davis Webb is probably a wasted pick in the third round. He has good arm strength but is woefully inaccurate and has worse footwork. This pick, like most of the others in this draft should have been used on an offensive lineman.
Unfinished Business – The Texas 2 Step, Drop
The Giants did nothing to address their troubles on the offensive line. If the protection does not improve, Eli may have more time than he expected to eat Papa Johns at Peyton’s Place.
Verdict – Losers
They filled a huge hole at tight end with Engram but really accomplished not much else. Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round may have been a bit of a reach and I don’t really love any of the other picks. Taking Davis Webb seems like their just throwing that pick away.
New York Jets – Grade A
The Jets roster is a dumpster fire. They need help everywhere. While they obviously could use a franchise quarterback, the team is years away from really helping one develop. They added some good talent in this class and hopefully they develop it the right way.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Jamal Adams S / LSU
Adams could become the best safety in the league in the very near future, he’s that good. He can cover in man or zone, and loves bringing the lumber down in the box. I thought he was the second best player in the draft behind Myles Garrett.
Worst Pick – None
The Jets didn’t really reach on any pick, and with such a barren roster consistently went best player available. One draft wasnt going to make this team a contender anyways.
Unfinished Business – Chad Pennington Isnt Walking Through That Door…
The Jets QB situation is a mess. Josh McCown is 37 years old and a career bad back-up. Bryce Petty is relatively unproven, and what he has proved is that he’s not very good. And that brings us to last years second round pick Christian Hackenberg. Despite the Jets being out of contention by week 3 of the pre-season, Hackenberg never threw a pass in 2016. Luckily he managed to leave his mark on his coaches in practice. One coach reportedly claimed that Hackenberg was so inaccurate that he couldn’t hit the ocean from the beach. In Hack’s defense, the wind does blow in off the water.
Verdict – Winners
The Jets didn’t do anything stupid like draft Christian Hackenberg in the second round this year. That alone is a win. For all non-Jets fans this is probably the last we think about them unless they trade Sheldon Richardson. Start the countdown to the 2018 draft now.
Oakland Raiders – Grade D
The Raiders are a solid team with few glaring holes entering the draft. The secondary was the biggest reason for concern and they went to work addressing it with their first two selections. CB Gareon Conley and Safety Obi Melifonwu could both end up as day one starters in the Bay area. That is provided Conley’s off the field issues are cleared up, and that’s a pretty big if at this point.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Obi Melifonwu S / UCONN
Melifonwu is a dynamic player with excellent athleticism. Should be a major upgrade to the Raiders secondary. A good fit at both value and need in the second round.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – Gareon Conley CB / Ohio State
Two days before the draft, rape allegations surfaced against Conley. In this country everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but not in the court of public opinion. Drafting Conley despite the allegations was a horrible PR move by the Raiders. If charges are filed against Conley it could turn into a disaster. Even if he is acquitted and found innocent, Conley would face months of negative publicity and court appearances. Any criminal charge would more than likely disrupt his entire rookie season. The risk the Raiders took with this pick is inconceivable on so many levels.
Unfinished Business – Will The Raiders Taste The Rainbow?
If Marshawn Lynch is healthy and ready to go, the Raiders could be unstoppable on offense. You can’t load the box with Carr, Crabtree, and Cooper. The Beastmode could feast on front sixes or sevens.
Verdict – Losers
By drafting Conley in the first round, with so much still up in the air it just sends the wrong message. The potential risk involved is just too great. On top of the possible shit-storm that the Conley pick could become, I honestly didn’t like the rest of this class sans Melifanwu. Poor showing by a team on the rise, if Carr can get back on track this team should still be considered a Super Bowl contender.
Philadelphia Eagles – Grade B
The Eagles need to add depth in the secondary and at pass rusher in this draft. Mission accomplished Philadelphia. First rounder Derek Barnett is a savvy edge rusher and the team used its second and third round picks on corners.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Derek Barnett DE / Tennessee
Barnett was a college sackmaster, knocking Bruce Smith off as Tennessee’s all time sack king. He isn’t the most explosive athlete, but he has elite hand usage when rushing the passer. Should slot right into the line-up in Philly and make an impact as a rusher.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Sidney Jones CB / Washington
Achilles injuries are no joke, and there are numerous cases where players never fully recover. Using a second round pick on a player who may miss his whole rookie season is a big risk here for the Eagles.
Unfinished Business – Will Wentz Fly Like An Eagle?
The Eagles went out this offseason and upgraded the leagues worst receiving core. Did they bring in enough weapons to help Carson Wentz take the next step? Can Alshon Jeffery stay healthy enough to make it through training camp?
Verdict – Winners
The Eagles did a good job of adding depth and filling holes in positions of need in the draft. If Barnett becomes a solid edge rusher and if Jones returns from injury his old self, this draft will be monumental success.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Grade B+
The Steelers are a solid team with few glaring needs entering this draft. If anything they need to use the draft to add youth and depth. They did that with this class in spades. If Josh Dobbs becomes ana average starter, this draft class could be something special.
Best Pick – Round 3 – James Conner RB / Pitt
I like James Conner as a runner and he should develop into a solid back-up for the Steelers. But I love James Conner the person even more. Conner is a cancer survivor who beat lymphoma and returned to rush for over 1,000 yards as a senior.
Worst Pick – Round 6 – Colin Holba LS / Louisville
Don’t draft a long snapper, don’t draft a punter, and dont draft a kicker. Just don’t do it. It’s a wasted pick 90% of the time. Just say no.
Unfinished Business – Has Big Ben’s Time Run Out?
This past season Big Ben cryptically talked about retirement. The Steelers need to plan for life after Ben. They drafted Josh Dobbs in the fourth round and he has a ton of talent and potential. If the Steelers can develop him right, they could be in good shape.
Verdict – Winners
I loved first round pick TJ Watt, he should eventually replace the ageless James Harrison. Second round receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster may become another cog in the Steelers passing machine. Minus the long snapper, this was a pretty good draft.
San Francisco 49ers – Grade A+
The 49ers entered the draft with a rookie head coach who just choked in the Super Bowl, and a rookie GM who had spent all of his post-playing career as an average color-commentator. This whole situation could have ended very badly. But not only did the 49ers have a great draft, they made other teams look stupid in the process.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Soloman Thomas DE / Stanford
This pick gets an extra boost thanks to the picks the niners got by trading back a pick with the Bears. Oh you’ll give us 3 mid-round picks and we’ll still get the guy we wanted at #2? I don’t know Chicago, you drive a hard bargain…
Worst Pick – None
Much like the Jets and Browns, the 49ers roster is so bereft of talent that its years away from being a serious contender.
Unfinished Business – The Waiting Game
The 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley this offseason as bridge QBs. With Kirk Cousins still yet to sign a longterm extension and his past connections to Kyle Shannahan, are the 49ers just biding their time to swoop? Next offseason could be interesting.
Verdict – Winners
Getting both Soloman Thomas and Reuben Foster in the first round is a serious coupe for new Gm John Lynch. The rest of the class is solid, look out for 5th round slot receiver Trent Taylor. He has a little bit of Julian Edelman in him.
Seattle Seahawks – Grade C
The Seahawks went to the same school of thought as the Colts, who needs an offensive line? Shoot last year they signed a LT who hadn’t played there since high school. It’ll all be ok, if Russell Wilson dies on the field im sure Future will spit hot fire about it.
Best Pick – Round 2 – Ethan Pocic – C / LSU
Pocic was one of the best interior linemen in this class and he could be an instant starter at center or guard for the Seahawks.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Malik McDowell DT / Michigan State
McDowell was considered one of the best interior d-linemen in this class. He fell into the second round due to concerns about his effort and mental make-up. If the Seahawks can get him motivated this pick could be a steal, but this was their first pick in the draft and the risk of a bust is high with McDowell.
Unfinished Business – Bye, Bye Legion Of Boom?
Rumors swirls for weeks before the draft of the Seahawks trading star corner Richard Sherman. Are they keeping him around now? Could a trade still happen? Sherman is still one of the leagues best players at a key position, if he changes teams it could have a huge impact on multiple teams.
Verdict – Losers
For the love of god please take the offensive line seriously for once. Draft some players or sign some good free agents maybe. Sorry guys but Luke Joeckel doesn’t count. Russell Wilson has a child now, I’m sure he’d like to live long enough to watch his first steps in a few months.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Grade A
The Bucs entered the draft with no real pressing needs but just hoping to accent their roster. They accomplished much more than that. They added multiple weapons to Jameis Winston’s arsenal. From TE OJ Howard, to WR Chris Godwin, and even RB Jeremy McNichols. Winston has been given more than enough talent to succeed this season. Hard Knocks should be watchable this summer.
Best Pick – Round 1 – OJ Howard TE / Alabama
Howard is the rare TE in this draft who can affect a game both catching and blocking. His receiving numbers are low due to how he was used at Alabama. But anyone who say the last two national title games know how dangerous he is in the pass game.
Worst Pick – Round 2 – Justin Evans S / Texas A&M
Evans was a bit of a reach here and I felt there where better safeties still on the board. But saying this is their worst pick is just nitpicking.
Unfinished Business – Now Or Never?
The Bucs have added DeSean Jackson, OJ Howard, Chris Godwin, & Jeremy McNichols this offseason to a group of skill players that already had MIke Evans and Cameron Brate. If Winston can’t take a leap forward this year, with those weapons there could be trouble. If Winston falters, the Bucs may need to look more closely at their franchise passer.
Verdict – Winners
Loved having OJ Howard fall to #19. Godwin and McNichols are solid complimentary pieces too. This season should be Winston’s time to shine.
Tennessee Titans – Grade B+
The Titans have built a solid team from the ground up around emerging star Marcus Mariota. Strong O-line, good defense, solid running game, and a security blanket tight end. The one thing they lacked was good receivers. To take that next step Mariota need some playmakers, and the Titans delivered early and often in this draft.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Corey Davis WR / Western Michigan
The Titans need a big play #1 receiver, enter Davis. Davis is by far the most talented receiver Mariota has had in the NFL to date. If the two of them develop early chemistry, Davis should put up the best numbers of any receiver in this class.
Worst Pick – Round 1 – Adoree’ Jackson CB / USC
Corner was a major need for the Titans, but I considered Jackson a reach at #18. If the Titans really wanted him they may have been able to trade back into the early second and get him. Also with a player like OJ Howard still on the board, the Titans could have done better.
Unfinished Business – Is Mariota Ready To Cut Footloose?
Mariota’s season was ended before the final week when he suffered a broken ankle. The Titans major question entering this season is his health. If he’s good to go for training camp, it could go a long wat towards fostering chemistry with new targets in Davis, fellow receiver Taywan Taylor, and tight end Jonnu Smith.
Verdict – Winners
The team needed receivers and a corner. Those positions became filled early with Davis, Taylor, and Jackson. If Mariota takes that next step, the Titans wont just be contending to win the division. They could be a dark horse for the Super Bowl.
Washington Redskins – Grade B+
The Redskins entered the draft in desperate need of help along the defensive line, but not in their wildest dreams did they think Jonathan Allen would still be available at #17. The team also needed help in the secondary and at running back. The Skins seemed to pull off a nice draft that mixed best player availible with team needs. Not bad for a team that fired their GM a month before the draft.
Best Pick – Round 1 – Johnathan Allen DT / Alabama
Allen was the top DT in the draft class, and he slipped due to concerns about possible future shoulder issues. The Redskins seem comfortable with his health and feel like they had one of the steals of the draft. Perfect pairing of need and fit.
Worst Pick – Round 6 – Robert Davis WR / Georgia State
This is the only pick that the skins made that gave me any pause. Six round picks rarely pan out and Davis is facing long odds to make the final roster. If he’s lucky he may stick to the practice squad.
Unfinished Business – The Curious Case Of Kirk Cousins…
The Elephant in the Redskins locker room is whats going on with Cousins. Can he and the team come to a long-term agreement? Will he play this year under the tag again? WIll he leave for the 49ers in the offseason? The Redskins have mismanaged the situation so badly it may be beyond repair at this point.
Verdict – Winners
The Skins added a ton of talent to their D in this draft. Allen, OLB Ryan Anderson, and CB Fabian Moreau all have starter potential. And 4th round runner Samaje Prince could be the goal-line back the team has need for years. The team shored up some holes with the draft, lets see if its enough to return to the playoffs this season?