2018 NFL Draft Grades For All 32 Teams

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 30, 2018

NFL Writer Mike Tagliere says that the Raiders made one of the best picks in the NFL Draft, bringing their grade up a bit

After months of preparation, the NFL Draft has officially concluded, and 256 prospects are headed to NFL rosters, with many others joining teams as unrestricted free agents. While some will tell you that you cannot judge a draft until years down the road, we disagree.

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Can you look back and say that they had a really good draft in hindsight? Well, yeah, but that’s not the point. Similar to trades, you have to grade them at the time they were made, which is what we’ll be doing here today. We’ll go through and list every draft pick, as well as give explanation as to why they received the grade they did.

Arizona Cardinals

1.10 – Josh Rosen (QB – UCLA)
2.15 – Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
3.33 – Mason Cole (C – Michigan)
4.34 – Chase Edmonds (RB – Fordham)
6.08 – Chris Campbell (CB – Penn State)
7.36 – Korey Cunningham (OT – Cincinnati)

It’s hard to argue with the Cardinals top two selections in the draft, as they secured two franchise players in Rosen and Kirk, who will be a strong duo and complement each other well. The fact that the Cardinals only gave up a third- and fifth-round pick to trade up for Rosen, it heavily weights their draft grade. With that being said, the offensive tackle positional needs suffered because of that. They weren’t going to turn their team around in one year, but it’s now a clear need heading into 2019. Edmonds is a rock-solid third-down running back, but cornerback also should’ve been higher on the totem pole.

Final Grade: B+

Atlanta Falcons

1.26 – Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
2.26 – Isaiah Oliver (CB – Colorado)
3.26 – Deadrin Senat (DT – South Florida)
4.26 – Ito Smith (RB – Southern Miss)
6.20 – Russell Gage (WR – LSU)
6.26 – Foye Oluokun (LB – Yale)

No one thought that Ridley would fall to the Falcons, so kudos to them for jumping on the best receiver in the draft, and it was also a major need for their team. Cornerback was another position I expected them to draft in the top three rounds, and even though I’m not high on Oliver, he fell further than most thought. The Senat pick was an odd one, especially when you consider who was still on the board (Maurice Hurst, Tim Settle), but again, they obviously had Senat higher, and the team needed to replace Dontari Poe. Smith was an excellent depth addition to the backfield, but the Gage pick fell well below expectations. Overall, though, the Falcons addressed a lot of their needs.

Final Grade: A-

Baltimore Ravens

1.25 – Hayden Hurst (TE – South Carolina)
1.32 – Lamar Jackson (QB – Louisville)
3.19 – Orlando Brown (OT – Oklahoma)
3.22 – Mark Andrews (TE – Oklahoma)
4.18 – Anthony Averett (CB – Alabama)
4.22 – Kenny Young (LB – UCLA)
4.32 – Jaleel Scott (WR – New Mexico State)
5.25 – Jordan Lasley (WR – UCLA)
6.16 – Deshon Elliott (S – Texas)
6.38 – Greg Senat (OT – Wagner)
6.41 – Bradley Bozeman (C – Alabama)
7.20 – Zach Sieler (DE – Ferris State)

Holy draft picks, Batman! The Ravens were one of the busiest teams during Ozzie Newsome’s final draft, stockpiling 12 draft picks when all was said and done. It’s really odd to see them select two of the top four tight ends off the board, especially Hurst, an older prospect who we’d have suspected a win-now team would look at. They also doubled up on wide receiver and offensive tackle, so it was clear they were trying to increase their odds of hitting at the positions. They didn’t have a clear need at cornerback, but I wouldn’t fault them for taking Averett in the fourth-round, as it was a good pick for depth. The trade-up for Jackson was a low-risk draft pick, though it could show signs of a change in the offensive philosophy. He’s much different than Flacco and would require the offense to be re-worked. This is one of those drafts we’ll want to look back on in a few years, but as of now, they had seven picks in the top four rounds, so you have to think some of them will hit.

Final Grade: B-

Buffalo Bills

1.07 – Josh Allen (QB – Wyoming)
1.16 – Tremaine Edmunds (LB – Virginia Tech)
3.32 – Harrison Phillips (DT – Stanford)
4.21 – Taron Johnson (CB – Weber State)
5.17 – Siran Neal (S – Jacksonville State)
5.29 – Wyatt Teller (OG – Virginia Tech)
6.13 – Ray-Ray Mccloud (WR – Clemson)
7.37 – Austin Proehl (WR – North Carolina)

If you’re a believer in Allen, this draft grade would get a lot better, but I’ve been clear throughout the draft process on my feelings about him being taken as a first-round pick. The way I see it, the Bills are lucky the Broncos, Giants, and Browns didn’t want to trade out of their spots, as they would’ve just wasted more draft capital on him. I’m fine with the Edmunds pick as an upside linebacker on a rebuilding franchise, but the next three picks made very little sense. After acquiring Star Lotulelei in free agency and re-signing Kyle Williams, the Bills should’ve waited until next year to select an interior defensive lineman. When you’re trying to fill as many holes as the Bills were, you can’t afford to take positions that are not necessary in the middle rounds, even in Phillips is a decent prospect. They have so many holes on the offensive line and didn’t address it until the fifth-round, though the Teller pick was solid that late. Allen also doesn’t have any wide receivers to throw to and a couple sixth or seventh rounders won’t change that.

Final Grade: D

Carolina Panthers

1.24 – D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
2.23 – Donte Jackson (CB – LSU)
3.21 – Rashaan Gaulden (S – Tennessee)
4.01 – Ian Thomas (TE – Indiana)
4.36 – Marquis Haynes (DE – Mississippi)
5.24 – Jermaine Carter (LB – Maryland)
7.16 – Andre Smith (LB – North Carolina)
7.24 – Kendrick Norton (DT – Miami)

It’s somewhat shocking to see them not select a single offensive lineman in this draft, as they don’t have one of the better offensive lines in football. Taking Moore in the first was fine, but the pick of Jackson in the second is where they lost me. Sure, he’s fast, but Jackson is 178 pounds and will be consistently bullied by Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Mike Evans in six games. Cornerback was a need, so I cannot completely dock them for taking the position, but I think it was the wrong player. After watching running backs fly off the board in the first two rounds, it’s hard to say they should’ve reached for one in the third-round, so expect them to snag one of DeMarco Murray or C.J. Anderson in free agency. Thomas is a perfect replacement for Greg Olsen, as he’s going to take time to develop. But in the end, I ask myself – did the Panthers get noticeably better in this draft? My answer would be no.

Final Grade: C

Chicago Bears

1.08 – Roquan Smith (LB – Georgia)
2.07 – James Daniels (C – Iowa)
2.19 – Anthony Miller (WR – Memphis)
4.15 – Joel Iyiegbuniwe (LB – Western Kentucky)
5.08 – Bilal Nichols (DT – Delaware)
6.07 – Kylie Fitts (DE – Utah)
7.06 – Javon Wims (WR – Georgia)

The Bears are widely considered to have had one of the best drafts this year, though there were some mediocre picks on Day 3. The reason to grade them so high, though, is due to the top of the draft where their first three selections may have won them the competition. Smith is a plug-and-play linebacker and should thrive under Vic Fangio, while Miller is going to be a perfect compliment to Allen Robinson. Daniels was considered a steal, though the Bears are talking about moving him to guard, which could be a mistake. It was surprising to see them pass on cornerbacks in this draft, even if they did re-sign Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara. For the most part, though, the Bears did hit on the positions they needed.

Final Grade: B+

Cincinnati Bengals

1.21 – Billy Price (C – Ohio State)
2.22 – Jessie Bates (S – Wake Forest)
3.13 – Sam Hubbard (DE – Ohio State)
3.14 – Malik Jefferson (LB – Texas)
4.12 – Mark Walton (RB – Miami)
5.14 – Davontae Harris (CB – Illinois State)
5.21 – Andrew Brown (DT – Virginia)
5.33 – Darius Phillips (CB – Western Michigan)
7.31 – Logan Woodside (QB – Toledo)
7.34 – Rod Taylor (OG – Mississippi)
7.35 – Auden Tate (WR – Florida State)

Another team that compiled a lot of draft picks, though it didn’t help as much as you’d think. Their first-round pick of Price was solid, as he can play either guard or center, but why take Bates in the second when you have your starting safeties locked up? If he was a tremendous value, I’d get it, but that was maybe earlier than he was even expected. With holes at linebacker, guard, and tackle, you’d think they would’ve been more aggressive attacking those positions. They did have a solid third-round, grabbing Hubbard and Jefferson, but then took two steps back with the Walton pick, who will rot behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. Not addressing the right tackle position is a big mistake, as they had the draft capital to improve the position. With Jefferson being the only linebacker, they’d better hope he can play inside, because they didn’t take any others and Vincent Rey isn’t your solution. The final pick of Tate was solid, as A.J. Green can likely help him with a few things.

Final Grade: C-

Cleveland Browns

1.01 – Baker Mayfield (QB – Oklahoma)
1.04 – Denzel Ward (CB – Ohio State)
2.01 – Austin Corbett (OG – Nevada)
2.03 – Nick Chubb (RB – Georgia)
3.03 – Chad Thomas (DE – Miami)
4.05 – Antonio Callaway (WR – Florida)
5.13 – Genard Avery (LB – Memphis)
6.01 – Damion Ratley (WR – Texas A&M)
6.14 – Simeon Thomas (DB – Louisiana-Lafayette)

“Are you surprised the Browns took Mayfield?!” No, I am not shocked that a QB-needy team took the best quarterback in the draft at No. 1 overall. The Ward pick was surprising, but I don’t hate it at all, as he reminds me somewhat of Darrelle Revis. The second-round was not great, however, as Corbett plays guard, a position they don’t need. With Connor Williams on the board to potentially replace Joe Thomas, this docks them in a big way. In fact, they didn’t even attempt to draft Thomas’ replacement with any of their nine picks. While Chubb may be a really good player, it’s a luxury position and they have two pretty dang good running backs on the roster. Love the Thomas pick in the third-round. Callaway failed his drug test at the Combine, so pairing him with Josh Gordon seems odd, right? Well, if anyone can relate, it’s Gordon. Callaway has talent if he can stay on the field. But failing to draft a defensive tackle and a left tackle severely impacts their draft grade, as they were two of the biggest needs. If you took away their top two picks, this draft would look a lot worse.

Final Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

1.19 – Leighton Vander Esch (LB – Boise State)
2.18 – Connor Williams (OT – Texas)
3.17 – Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
4.16 – Dorance Armstrong Jr. (DE – Kansas)
4.37 – Dalton Schultz (TE – Stanford)
5.34 – Mike White (QB – Western Kentucky)
6.19 – Chris Covington (LB – Indiana)
6.34 – Cedrick Wilson (WR – Boise State)
7.18 – Bo Scarbrough (RB – Alabama)

I really thought the Cowboys were going to pay a big price for passing on a wide receiver in both rounds one and two, but landing Gallup in the third-round was a gift. The Vander Esch pick was not my favorite, and despite everyone preparing for life without Sean Lee, they’re not there yet and the Cowboys have plenty of holes. While I absolutely love Williams, them taking him in the second-round after acquiring Cameron Fleming in free agency is odd to say the least. They also could’ve gone with an interior defensive lineman in the fourth-round over Armstrong, as edge wasn’t a big need for them. Oh, and after Jason Witten decided to screw them after Day 1 of the draft, they failed to secure a big-name tight end. So, Dallas, welcome to rebuild mode. They did land some solid talent, but their needs were not met, which affects the grade.

Final Grade: C-

Denver Broncos

1.05 – Bradley Chubb (DE – NC State)
2.08 – Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
3.07 – Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
3.35 – Isaac Yiadom (CB – Boston College)
4.06 – Josey Jewell (LB – Iowa)
4.13 – DaeSean Hamilton (WR – Penn State)
5.19 – Troy Fumagalli (TE – Wisconsin)
6.09 – Sam Jones (OG/C – Arizona State)
6.43 – Kelshawn Bierria (LB – Washington)
7.08 – David Williams (RB – Arkansas)

Kudos to the Broncos for being unwilling to trade out of the fifth pick after Chubb fell to them, as he was arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft. Slotting him on the same defensive line with Von Miller is going to be nasty. Taking Sutton in the second and Hamilton in the fifth is a sign of the changing of the guard after 2018, as both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are likely to be cap casualties. Both are players who the Broncos got later than expected. Freeman is a baller and one who I’d expect to run with C.J. Anderson‘s old job. I don’t know if Yiadom is going to be able to fill Aqib Talib‘s shoes, but they’re certainly going to try after selecting him in the third-round, which felt like a reach with Nick Nelson and Anthony Averett still on the board. They also were looking at a lot of linebackers, so to land Jewell in the fourth was decent value. Overall, they had a really solid draft, though I would’ve expected them to draft a guard higher than the sixth-round.

Final Grade: B+

Detroit Lions

1.20 – Frank Ragnow (C – Arkansas)
2.11 – Kerryon Johnson (RB – Auburn)
3.18 – Tracy Walker (S – Louisiana-Lafayette)
4.14 – Da’Shawn Hand (DE – Alabama)
5.16 – Tyrell Crosby (OT – Oregon)
7.19 – Nick Bawden (RB – San Diego State)

This was one of the smaller hauls in the draft, but the Lions made it count. While the Johnson pick seemed like it was two rounds early, running backs came off the board fast and furious in the top two rounds. Still, they traded up for him to take him, so I’d dock them for that pick even though I don’t necessarily hate Johnson as a player (just don’t believe he’s worth of a top-45 pick). Ragnow shot up draft boards before the draft, but should’ve been in the first-round conversation all along. Getting Crosby in the fifth-round was one of the better picks in the draft, as he provides solid depth and maybe starter material. The issue with so few picks is that the Lions failed to address tight end and outside linebacker, which were two gaping holes for them with the exits of Eric Ebron and Tahir Whitehead.

Final Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers

1.18 – Jaire Alexander (CB – Louisville)
2.13 – Josh Jackson (CB – Iowa)
3.24 – Oren Burks (LB – Vanderbilt)
4.33 – J’Mon Moore (WR – Missouri)
5.01 – Cole Madison (OL – Washington State)
5.35 – J.K. Scott (P – Alabama)
5.37 – Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – South Florida)
6.33 – Equanimeous St. Brown (WR – Notre Dame)
7.14 – James Looney (DE – California)
7.21 – Hunter Bradley (LS – Mississippi State)
7.30 – Kendall Donnerson (DE – Southeastern Missouri)

The draft started out amazing for the Packers, who immediately realized what their division is all about with Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, and Mitch Trubisky throwing at their secondary. Adding Alexander and Jackson provides immediate relief combined with last year’s second-round pick Kevin King. After adding Tramon Williams in free agency, you can even say it was overkill because they passed on someone like James Washington in the second-round. Instead, they did a similar strategy that they did in 2017 (which didn’t work) and take three wide receivers in rounds 4-6. I will say that the St. Brown pick was one that I liked even more than the Moore pick two rounds earlier. Outside their top two picks, I don’t know if I’m in love with any of their other ones (maybe St. Brown). They will rely on Josh Jones to replace Morgan Burnett and also hope that they don’t have more offensive line injuries, because they didn’t really address the position with any urgency, as Madison is considered to be very raw, particularly in pass-protection.

Draft Grade: B-

Houston Texans

3.04 – Justin Reid (S – Stanford)
3.16 – Martinas Rankin (OG/C – Mississippi State)
3.34 – Jordan Akins (TE – Central Florida)
4.03 – Keke Coutee (WR – Texas Tech)
6.03 – Duke Ejiofor (DE – Wake Forest)
6.37 – Jordan Thomas (TE – Mississippi State)
6.40 – Peter Kalambayi (DE – Stanford)
7.04 – Jermaine Kelly (DB – San Jose State)

I’m not sure the Texans and I were looking at the same roster while making these picks. Unless they want Deshaun Watson to die, they really needed to address the offensive line after free agency offered little solution. They drafted one offensive lineman. Granted, it’s Rankin who is considered someone who’s versatile and can play tackle, guard, or center, though guard is likely the best spot for him. Reid fell further than he should’ve, but his pick caused them to miss on some other positions. The Akins pick was completely out of left field and a mistake. I love Coutee and his explosiveness, but will he be behind Bruce Ellington, who they just re-signed? He shouldn’t be for long. Ejiofor was a steal in the sixth-round, even if it wasn’t one of the biggest needs for them. But seeing them pass on offensive tackles to take a 26-year-old tight end is a massive miss, especially when he was considered a potential undrafted prospect. They also failed to add a cornerback with a pick in the top four rounds, again, another mistake. There were a couple bright spots in this draft, but it’s almost like they ignored their team’s clear needs. Their offensive line might be the new Seahawks if they keep doing this.

Draft Grade: D+

Indianapolis Colts

1.06 – Quenton Nelson (OG – Notre Dame)
2.04 – Darius Leonard (LB – South Carolina State)
2.05 – Braden Smith (OG – Auburn)
2.20 – Kemoko Turay (EDGE – Rutgers)
2.32 – Tyquan Lewis (DE – Ohio State)
4.04 – Nyheim Hines (RB – NC State)
5.22 – Daurice Fountain (WR – Northern Iowa)
5.32 – Jordan Wilkins (RB – Mississippi)
6.11 – Deon Cain (WR – Clemson)
7.03 – Matthew Adams (LB – Houston)
7.17 – Zaire Franklin (LB – Syracuse)

Operation: Protect Andrew Luck. That was apparently the strategy as the Colts selected two offensive guards inside the first 40 picks of the draft. Overkill? Probably, as they did sign Matt Slausen this offseason and retained Jack Mewhort as well. The reason I have an issue with it is because they didn’t draft a single cornerback (one of their biggest needs) despite multiple ones being there in the second-round, like Josh Jackson. It’s also puzzling what they’re doing at running back, as it seemed they didn’t trust Marlon Mack last year, and now they drafted two pass-catching running backs in the top five rounds. Cain was a great pick in the sixth-round, but again, you typically get what you pay for at wide receiver and the Colts depth chart at the position is among the worst in the NFL. I don’t know if they got a big-impact player on the defensive side of the ball, either, as Leonard and Turay are solid, though not spectacular. Had they drafted a cornerback instead of Smith in the second-round, I’d have given them a better grade.

Draft Grade: C+

Jacksonville Jaguars

1.29 – Taven Bryan (DT – Florida)
2.29 – D.J. Chark (WR – LSU)
3.29 – Ronnie Harrison (S – Alabama)
4.29 – Will Richardson (OT – NC State)
6.29 – Tanner Lee (QB – Nebraska)
7.12 – Leon Jacobs (EDGE – Wisconsin)
7.29 – Logan Cooke (P – Mississippi State)

I’m sorry, but passing on Mason Rudolph not once, but twice to take two players who won’t contribute very much in 2018 will come back to haunt them. Coming into the draft, we knew that the Jaguars didn’t have many holes which would allow them to go in so many different directions, but knowing that your first three draft picks will not start in 2018 is a big deal. Bryan is fourth on the depth chart behind Malik Jackson, Marcel Dareus, and Abry Jones. Chark is the fourth or fifth on the wide receiver depth chart. They need an outside linebacker with Myles Jack going back to inside linebacker, but they didn’t draft a single one. They could’ve used more help on the offensive line, but took just one lineman, and on Day 3. Richardson was actually a solid pick, but to increase odds of hitting on lineman, increase the amount of players taken in the middle rounds. Some love Harrison, but being surrounded by playmakers at Alabama allowed him to appear better than I believe he is, and the reason he fell to the end of the third-round. They also failed to replace the departed Aaron Colvin with another cornerback, despite this being a deep class. This was one of my least favorite drafts.

Draft Grade: D

Kansas City Chiefs

2.14 – Breeland Speaks (DE – Mississippi)
3.11 – Derrick Nnadi (DT – Florida State)
3.36 – Dorian O’Daniel (LB – Clemson)
4.24 – Armani Watts (S – Texas A&M)
6.22 – Tremon Smith (CB – Central Arkansas)
6.24 – Reginald McKenzie (OG – Tennessee)

They didn’t have many picks to work with, but the Chiefs had plenty of holes to fill on defense. The Speaks pick is interesting because they are going to slot him at defensive end, whereas he played a lot of snaps on the interior of the defensive line. He offers some versatility, but he’s going to play edge with them taking Nnadi in the very next round. Nnadi is going to be a run-stuffer, but lacks much of a pass-rush. O’Daniel was one of my favorite mid-round picks of the draft, as I think he’s been overlooked by many. Watts provided solid depth at safety, though they didn’t take a single cornerback until the sixth-round, which is where going after the front-seven so much may have hurt them. Their starting cornerbacks right now are David Amerson, Steven Nelson, and Kendall Fuller. They also took defensive tackle McKenzie with their final pick, but plan to transition him to offensive guard. That’s just really odd to me. All in all, the Chiefs attacked a lot of the positions they needed to, primarily on defense, so their fans should be satisfied, though missing a first-round pick/talent is obviously going to affect the grade a tad.

Draft Grade: B

Los Angeles Chargers

1.17 – Derwin James (S – Florida State)
2.16 – Uchenna Nwosu (EDGE – USC)
3.20 – Justin Jones (DT – NC State)
4.19 – Kyzir White (S – West Virginia)
5.18 – Scott Quessenberry (C – UCLA)
6.17 – Dylan Cantrell (WR – Texas Tech)
7.33 – Justin Jackson (RB – Northwestern)

If there’s one round where I would tell teams that they really shouldn’t care much about position of need, it’s the first-round, because if you can get a player like Derwin James at No. 17, you do it. Jahleel Addae occupied the strong safety slot last year, but it would seem that James will get that job. The addition of White in the fourth is likely competition for the free safety position, though they should be open to re-signing Tre Boston. They did attack position of need for the most part, but taking Nwosu for depth over an inside linebacker could bite them, which is easily the biggest hole on their defense. They also took Jones to take their defensive tackle opening with multiple guys who were better on the board. Personally, I believe they should’ve taken a chance on Maurice Hurst. The Chargers had talked about getting a better backup for Melvin Gordon, and the late-round addition of Jackson might surprise some people if he were to get on the field. He’s got a lot of miles on his tires, but could handle a full workload. It wasn’t a bad draft, but also wasn’t a great one.

Draft Grade: B-

Los Angeles Rams

3.25 – Joseph Noteboom (OT – TCU)
4.11 – Brian Allen (C – Michigan State)
4.35 – John Franklin-Myers (DE – Stephen F. Austin)
5.10 – Micah Kiser (LB – Virginia)
5.23 – Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (EDGE – Oklahoma)
6.02 – John Kelly (RB – Tennessee)
6.18 – Jamil Demby (OG – Maine)
6.21 – Sebastian Jospeh (DT – Rutgers)
6.31 – Trevon Young (EDGE – Louisville)
7.13 – Travin Howard (LB – TCU)
7.26 – Justin Lawler (DE – SMU)

After not having a single pick in the top two rounds, the Rams accumulated 11 picks in rounds 3-7. They approached the draft like a team who is already built to win and is adding depth to the offensive line, then attacking value later in the draft. Okoronkwo landed in a perfect spot because I don’t believe he’d succeed if he was asked to be one of the primary studs on defense as he’s undersized, but adding him to this front-seven should work out well. Kelly was one of the best targets for them to back-up Todd Gurley, so despite fantasy fans being mad he landed there, it was a great pick by the Rams. This draft was not bad for the lack of early-round picks, as they’d be happy if just two or three of these guys panned out.

Draft Grade: C+

Miami Dolphins

1.11 – Minkah Fitzpatrick (S – Alabama)
2.10 – Mike Gesicki (TE – Penn State)
3.09 – Jerome Baker (LB – Ohio State)
4.23 – Durham Smythe (TE – Notre Dame)
4.31 – Kalen Ballage (RB – Arizona State)
6.35 – Cornell Armstrong (DB – Southern Miss)
7.09 – Quentin Poling (LB – Ohio)
7.11 – Jason Sanders (K – New Mexico)

Over the first two rounds, I felt like the Dolphins understood where they were as a franchise and needed to take the best player available. I think they did a phenomenal job taking Fitzpatrick and Gesicki who are widely considered as can’t-miss prospects. Baker addressed a need as a linebacker and was expected to go in that range, but the Smythe pick lost me. It just felt like there was no need for another tight end with so many holes on the team, including defensive tackle, offensive line, and even cornerback. There was a lot of talent on the board when they drafted Smythe. Ballage was extremely interesting, as he makes a great compliment to Kenyan Drake with upside for more. They didn’t draft a quarterback or draft any offensive lineman, so we have to dock their draft a tad, but they hit in the draft where they really needed to.

Draft Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

1.30 – Mike Hughes (CB – UCF)
2.30 – Brian O’Neill (OT – Pittsburgh)
4.02 – Jalyn Holmes (DE – Ohio State)
5.20 – Tyler Conklin (TE – Central Michigan)
5.30 – Daniel Carlson (K – Auburn)
6.39 – Colby Gossett (OG – Appalachian State)
6.44 – Ade Aruna (EDGE – Tulane)
7.07 – Devante Downs (LB – California)

It’s hard not to like the Vikings draft, as they didn’t have many holes to fill, but addressed two of the biggest ones right out of the gate with Hughes and O’Neill. Adding Hughes opposite Xavier Rhodes is called preparing for the passing league upon us. It was somewhat shocking to see them pass on defensive tackles, as they lack depth at the position after losing a couple this offseason. Their starters are more than okay, though. Holmes was a puzzling pick, as I don’t know how he fits in the 4-3 defense that the Vikings run. Conklin should be a good No. 2 tight end to stay in and block, though he won’t be Kyle Rudolph‘s long-term replacement. Apparently the Vikings also snagged Holton Hill as an undrafted free agent, who was a top-five cornerback on my board.

Draft Grade: B+

New England Patriots

1.23 – Isaiah Wynn (OT – Georgia)
1.31 – Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
2.24 – Duke Dawson (CB – Florida)
5.06 – Ja’whaun Bentley (LB – Purdue)
6.04 – Christian Sam (LB – Arizona State)
6.36 – Braxton Berrios (WR – Miami)
7.01 – Danny Etling (QB – LSU)
7.25 – Kelon Crossen (DB – Western Carolina)
7.32 – Ryan Izzo (TE – Florida State)

After trading back and acquiring picks later in the draft, the Patriots wound up with six picks in the final three rounds, though they may have found one of the steals of the draft there with Sam, who provides depth at linebacker, a position of need. The pick of Wynn is extremely puzzling, as he was viewed as a guard at the next level and not the left tackle position they drafted him to play. He’s just under 6-foot-3, a bit smaller than Nate Solder, who was 6-foot-8. Michel was my second favorite running back in this draft, though I must say it was surprising to see the Patriots draft him in the first-round, as the position has never been one they put much equity into. Dawson was a rock-solid pick, though I would’ve expected them to add an edge rusher or linebacker with one of their first three picks. In the end, they must not have loved the draft class, so they chose quantity over anything else. It was also odd to see them pass over Mason Rudolph twice when it’s clear that Tom Brady has a year (maybe two) left. If Wynn pans out, they will have done a great job, but I’ve got my questions about him protecting Brady’s blindside in Week 1.

Draft Grade: B-

New Orleans Saints

1.14 – Marcus Davenport (DE – UTSA)
3.27 – Tre’Quan Smith (WR – Central Florida)
4.27 – Rick Leonard (OT – Florida State)
5.27 – Natrell Jamerson (S – Wisconsin)
6.15 – Kamrin Moore (CB – Boston College)
6.27 – Boston Scott (RB – Louisiana Tech)
7.27 – Will Clapp (C – LSU)

Before talking about their draft picks specifically, I’d like to applaud the Saints front office for going all-in while the window is closing with Drew Brees. Most suspected they were trading up for a quarterback or maybe Derwin James, but they went with Davenport. While puzzling as not a clear “need” for their team, they went and got the guy they wanted. Taking Smith in the third-round felt too early for him, but if there’s someone who understands how to use wide receivers, it’s Sean Payton. Still, I don’t think he’s worth a third-round pick. Offensive tackle was another position they didn’t have a clear need for, but they chose to take depth over a tight end or outside linebacker. The fact that they didn’t draft either position definitely hurts them, as those were two of the holes on their team. Overall, it felt like the Saints drafted their guys and may have even overpaid to get them. While I give them credit for recognizing they have a window, I also think they could’ve done a better job while doing that and filling holes on their roster.

Draft Grade: C-

New York Giants

1.02 – Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
2.02 – Will Hernandez (OG – UTEP)
3.02 – Lorenzo Carter (EDGE – Georgia)
3.05 – B.J. Hill (DT – NC State)
4.08 – Kyle Lauletta (QB – Richmond)
5.02 – R.J. McIntosh (DT – Miami)

This is a draft that I have entirely mixed feelings about. While I understand and agree with the anti-drafting running backs early crowd, it you could tell me the Giants could land Hernandez at 2.02 and Carter at 3.02, I’d have been more okay with the Barkley pick. They filled the edge role they needed, while getting the best player in the draft, and adding a blocker for him. After that, though, it was a mess. Hill was considered a depth pick at a position they have no holes at, and then they go and select another defensive tackle in the fifth-round. On top of that, the front office continued to mention that Eli Manning and Davis Webb are their quarterbacks and they’re happy with them, they draft Lauletta early in the fourth-round. If you knew you wanted more competition, you take Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen at No. 2, period. It’s the most important position in sports. It would’ve been better to pass on quarterback to actually promote what you’ve been selling the entire offseason.

Draft Grade: C

New York Jets

1.03 – Sam Darnold (QB – USC)
3.08 – Nathan Shepherd (DT – Fort Hays State)
4.07 – Chris Herndon (TE – Miami)
6.05 – Parry Nickerson (CB – Tulane)
6.06 – Foley Fatukasi (DT – Connecticut)
6.30 – Trenton Cannon (RB – Virginia State)

If you were to remove Darnold from this draft class, it’s likely the worst in the league. The Jets had a ton of holes to fill and not a lot of picks to do it, so they needed to make them count and maybe take chances on some players who presented some off-the-field risk. The fact that they didn’t draft an offensive lineman is not only bad, it’s unacceptable. Instead, they drafted two defensive tackles when they already have Steve McLendon starting at nose tackle. I’m sure it’s them believing that Shepard can play on the edge, but it’s a risk you don’t need to take when there was still talent on the board at the start of the third-round. The only value they may have gotten was from Nickerson, who was expected to go in the fifth-round, and Fatukasi, who plays the position they have already filled in the draft (and already have on the roster). Fatukasi could turn out to be the best pick they made outside Darnold, which says a lot about how I feel about the Shepard and Herndon picks in rounds three and four. They get a respectable grade because they got their franchise quarterback, but that’s about it.

Draft Grade: C-

Oakland Raiders

1.15 – Kolton Miller (OT – UCLA)
2.25 – P.J. Hall (DT – Sam Houston State)
3.01 – Brandon Parker (OT – North Carolina A&T)
3.23 – Arden Key (EDGE – LSU)
4.10 – Nick Nelson (CB – Wisconsin)
5.03 – Maurice Hurst (DT – Michigan)
5.36 – Johnny Townsend (P – Florida)
6.42 – Azeem Victor – (LB – Washington)
7.10 – Marcell Ateman (WR – Oklahoma State)

This draft started out not-so-great for the Raiders, though it oddly got much better after the first two rounds. It’s not that Miller can’t pan out, but I felt that the Raiders could’ve traded back even more. The Hall pick is the one that confused me most, as Justin Ellis is their starting nose tackle and has given them no reason to want to change. Hall might be a player down the road, but with holes at inside linebacker, they should’ve looked elsewhere. In fact, they didn’t draft a linebacker until the end of the sixth-round, meaning they’ll likely bring Navorro Bowman back on a one-year deal. With the addition of Parker in the third, they are obviously preparing for life after Donald Penn, while Miller and Parker are the future tackles for them. Key is an upside pick and one that could be great if the off-the-field questions are answered. Nelson was thought to be a steal in the fourth, though we did find out he needed minor surgery on his knee this offseason, which is why he dropped a bit. Hurst was the pick of the draft – loved it. The odds of a fifth-rounder panning out are extremely low and it’s usually an area you address special teams, but they got a top-20 talent in this draft who some teams crossed off due to a heart condition. If he plays one contract, this will have been more than worth it. Ateman is also solid size for the depth chart. Oh, and they acquired Martavis Bryant for a third-round pick. It feels kind of pricey, but it added another dimension to their offense and can allow Jordy Nelson to move into the slot.

Draft Grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles

2.17 – Dallas Goedert (TE – South Dakota State)
4.25 – Avonte Maddox (CB – Pittsburgh)
4.30 – Josh Sweat (EDGE – Florida State)
6.32 – Matt Pryor (OT – TCU)
7.15 – Jordan Mallata (OT – None)

Coming off winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles are a team with few holes, though they didn’t exactly fill all their needs with just one pick in the first three rounds. They replaced Trey Burton with Goedert, who some considered to be the best tight end in the class. After taking the highest cornerback on their board in Maddox, who figures to fight for the nickel cornerback slot that was occupied by Patrick Robinson last year, they got a steal when they took Sweat, who if not for injury concerns, would have been a first-round pick. He dislocated his knee in high school and tore three ligaments, which will force him to come off the field at times, as well as miss practice. But when on the field, he’s a force to be reckoned with, even if the Eagles didn’t need an edge rusher. They never filled their inside linebacker need and didn’t add anyone to the stable of wide receivers, which is a letdown. They also drafted a guy who’s never played a down of football in his life. Seriously. He’s a rugby player they plan on trying to make work on the offensive line.

Draft Grade: C+

Pittsburgh Steelers

1.28 – Terrell Edmunds (S – Virginia Tech)
2.28 – James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
3.12 – Mason Rudolph (QB – Oklahoma State)
3.28 – Chukwuma Okorafor (OT – Western Michigan)
5.11 – Marcus Allen (S – Penn State)
5.28 – Jaylen Samuels (TE – NC State)
7.28 – Joshua Frazier (DT – Alabama)

They selected one of the worst three picks in the first-round, and I’d argue that it would compete for the worst. Why? Well, Edmunds wasn’t projected to go until Day 3, maybe sneak late into Day 2. They also snagged Allen four rounds later, who might just be the better player. After adding Morgan Burnett in free agency and that they’re supposed to be sliding Sean Davis over to free safety, these picks are questionable, at best. They made up for it in rounds two and three, selecting the pair of Washington and Rudolph, and then snagging Okorafor as depth on the offensive line. Washington is essentially who they got when trading away Martavis Bryant, which is likely to be a win for them. It’s extremely odd that they didn’t draft a single linebacker, as they have needs both on the inside and outside. Samuels is a hybrid do-it-all player who is listed as a tight end, but is more like a fullback than anything. All in all, the Steelers landed some solid players, but they also butchered what was their biggest one, and that hurts.

Draft Grade: B-

San Francisco 49ers

1.09 – Mike McGlinchey (OT – Notre Dame)
2.12 – Dante Pettis (WR – Washington)
3.06 – Fred Warner (LB – BYU)
3.31 – Tarvarius Moore (S – Southern Miss)
4.28 – Kentavius Street (DE – NC State)
5.05 – D.J. Reed (CB – Kansas State)
6.10 – Marcell Harris (S – Florida)
7.05 – Julian Taylor (DT – Temple)
7.22 – Richie James (WR – Middle Tennessee)

Man, looking back over the 49ers draft is just as frustrating as it was while watching live. While some mocked the McGlinchey pick, I loved it. Offensive tackle is an underrated position by many, but the 49ers realized they need to protect their investments in Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon, so they gave them protection. He’s going to be very good for a long time. But that was the draft trend of the 49ers going “against the grain” of what people thought. While I was okay with McGlinchey, it seemed every pick they made was reaching for “their guy” instead of taking the value on the board. I have no issue with trusting your scouts, but don’t reach on every pick. Pettis would’ve been there without trading up, and if not, you would’ve landed Anthony Miller or Christian Kirk, who are much better receivers, though they won’t contribute on special teams like Pettis will. Still, trading up in the second-round for someone who’s best attribute is special teams? Warner is solid for them, even if it was a smidge early. They needed linebacker depth, though he was the only one drafted by them. Street tore his ACL at his Pro Day causing him to fall, so he may wind up as a value on the depth chart. All in all, I just feel like the 49ers reached too often, which is not to say the players they took will be bad, but again, we have to judge it as it stands.

Draft Grade: C-

Seattle Seahawks

1.27 – Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
3.15 – Rasheem Green (DE – USC)
4.20 – Will Dissly (TE – Washington)
5.04 – Shaquem Griffin (LB – Central Florida)
5.09 – Tre Flowers (S – Oklahoma State)
5.12 – Michael Dickson (P – Texas)
5.31 – Jamarco Jones (OT – Ohio State)
6.12 – Jake Martin (EDGE – Temple)
7.02 – Alex Mcgough (QB – Florida International)

Oh, boy. Let me start by saying that if the Seahawks didn’t walk into a goldmine with Russell Wilson, their entire front office might not have jobs. Without him, they would likely be a bottom-five team in football, which is depressing considering how dominant that defense was just a few years ago. Drafting a running back who cannot pass-block at No. 27 overall when you have the worst offensive line in football? No… just… no. That’s a luxury position and they do not have the luxury of taking one with all the pieces they’ve lost on that team. They were lucky to land Jones in the fifth-round, as he may be able to provide some value, though he is a bit undersized. The fact that they drafted a punter with Tyrell Crosby still on the board in the fifth-round lacks common sense and Seahawks fans should be mad about it. Green wasn’t a bad pick in the third, but following it up with Dissly in the fourth? This is not going to be their pass-catcher at the position, but rather a blocker who was expected to go in the sixth- or seventh-round. Griffin was another one who fell enough where I could see the value and they needed an outside linebacker on the team. But just one offensive lineman at the end of the fifth-round and NO cornerbacks? That’s just not good.

Draft Grade: D

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1.12 – Vita Vea (DT – Washington)
2.06 – Ronald Jones (RB – USC)
2.21 – M.J. Stewart (CB – North Carolina)
2.31 – Carlton Davis (CB – Auburn)
3.30 – Alex Cappa (OG – Humboldt State)
4.17 – Jordan Whitehead (S – Pittsburgh)
5.07 – Justin Watson (WR – Pennsylvania)
6.28 – Jack Cichy (LB – Wisconsin)

I loved what the Bucs did from the start, by trading back and acquiring some picks, but still getting a top-10 player in this draft. Vea is going to be a player for a long time and adds to a front with Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Vinny Curry. I applaud them because playing against Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton, you need to get pressure, and they’ll get it. After that, there was a clear trend in what the Bucs did, as they adjusted to the positions being valued extremely well. Some would’ve said that Jones at 2.06 would be rich, but knowing that eight running backs went in the first two rounds tells me that they got him right where they should’ve. Cornerbacks started flying off the board, so they snagged both Stewart and Davis, a position of great need for them. I would’ve liked them to get a tackle somewhere in there, but they may have felt they were reaching. Cappa is solid offensive line depth, while Whitehead could be good if he had more size, but he’s built like a slot receiver even though he plays safety. Cichy could be a steal late in the sixth, as the talent was there, though he did miss a ton of time over the last two seasons with injuries. Overall, I felt the Bucs were trendsetters in this draft.

Draft Grade: A

Tennessee Titans

1.22 – Rashaan Evans (LB – Alabama)
2.09 – Harold Landry (EDGE – Boston College)
5.15 – Dane Crulkshank (S – Arizona)
6.25 – Luke Falk (QB – Washington State)

It’s awfully hard to make a massive team impact with just four picks in the draft, but the Titans did a solid job of attacking their needs. By trading up for both Evans and Landry, they filled a couple of their biggest needs on defense. Most thought Landry would go inside the top-12, though I was never really too big of a fan taking him that high. It spoke volumes when the Lions passed on him, as one of his coaches from Boston College joined Matt Patricia’s coaching staff and they had a clear need at outside linebacker/edge defender.

Draft Grade: B-

Washington Redskins

1.13 – Da’Ron Payne (DT – Alabama)
2.27 – Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
3.10 – Geron Christian (OT – Louisville)
4.09 – Troy Apke (S – Penn State)
5.26 – Tim Settle (DT – Virginia Tech)
6.23 – Shaun Dion Hamilton (LB – Alabama)
7.23 – Greg Stroman (CB – Virginia Tech)
7.38 – Trey Quinn (WR – SMU)

Loved the way the Redskins started this draft with Payne and Guice. There were just two defensive tackles worthy of going that high and Payne was one of them, who’ll now play alongside his old teammate Jonathan Allen. While I wasn’t one who believed Guice was a first-round guy, getting him as the seventh running back off the board is theft, provided he stays clean and on the field, which I believe he will. When they took Christian and Apke is where they kind of lost me though, as they severely needed cornerback help after trading Kendall Fuller and not re-signing Bashaud Breeland (which might change soon). They waited until the seventh-round to snag a cornerback – tell me how that works out against Odell Beckham Jr. and Alshon Jeffery a couple times a year, because Josh Norman doesn’t shadow anymore. Even though they snagged Payne, the Redskins saw far too much value to let Settle slip any more. This was one of my favorite picks in the draft, as I kept checking my sheet to make sure I didn’t miss him being drafted. Someone should be trading the Redskins for him, though getting some practice reps won’t hurt the young interior lineman. They made some great picks in this draft, though they ignored some clear needs.

Draft Grade: B


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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