06 May 2015

2015 NFL Draft: Team Grades

I'm a little late with my NFL Draft recap but alas, here is how all 32 teams did with this past weekend's draft action in Chicago.

Arizona Cardinals
D.J. Humphries may have been a little bit of a surprise pick for the Cardinals but when you think about it, it is a selection that makes sense. Humphries should help the team's pass blocking but he looks like more of a left tackle than a right tackle with his skill-set and size. Markus Golden should help improve the Arizona pass rush and he is an underrated player in the run game too. David Johnson should provide a nice power complement to the explosiveness of Andre Ellington. However, the fourth round selection of pass rusher Rodney Gunter was an awful one though.
Grade: B

Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were a disaster defensively last year but they look to have made some nice improvement to that unit with their first two draft picks. I was surprised to see Vic Beasley available with the eighth pick and he is an excellent fit for new coach Dan Quinn's defensive scheme as a pass rusher off the edge. Jalen Collins has a similar build to the corners that Quinn utilized in Seattle and is very talented, albeit raw. Tevin Coleman was an excellent pick in the third round and he will be a big upgrade at the running back position and an excellent fit for Kyle Shanahan's scheme. Their next two picks, ECU wideout Justin Hardy at 107 and Clemson DT Grady Jarrett at 137, were also great value picks.
Grade: A

Baltimore Ravens
Ozzie Newsome has cultivated a reputation of being one of the top drafters in the league and he showcased that reputation this weekend in Chicago. Breshad Perriman is raw but he fills a big need for a deep threat at receiver for Joe Flacco in the wake of Torrey Smith's departure to Frisco. Maxx Williams was a great pick at 55 after trading up to acquire him and he will help fill the hole that Owen Daniels' departure created. Carl Davis was another great value pick at 90 and he should help build a stout interior of their defensive line. Za'Darius Smith provides some insurance for Terrell Suggs and Buck Allen gives them a solid backup for Justin Forsett. All in all, the Ravens addressed virtually all of their needs.
Grade: A

Buffalo Bills
The Bills were without a first round choice thanks to last year's Sammy Watkins trade and they did not do a whole lot with the picks they did have. Ronald Darby was a fine selection at 50 but he will be added to a busy cornerback mix. John Miller should help out the interior of their offensive line but they could have had him later than the third round in my opinion. The only remaining pick that I liked was the selection of Florida State H-back Nick O'Leary but the team already has players like him on the roster.
Grade: C-

Carolina Panthers
I am still surprised that the Panthers did not do more to address their atrocious offensive line, even as Daryl Williams was a nice pick at 102. Shaq Thompson is Thomas Davis-lite and while I do like him, he doesn't have a position nor does he fill a need. Devin Funchess is neither a wideout nor a tight end and does not seem to complement Kelvin Benjamin well, and the team traded up to take him to boot (as they did with Williams). I am not a huge fan of trading away picks when you have depth issues and Carolina really did not seem to address their key needs.
Grade: D-

Chicago Bears
The hosts of the draft ultimately did the hometown crowd well with a very nice performance. Kevin White was a great pick at the seventh pick as some thought that he could have been the top wideout in the draft, and he will fill a big need. Eddie Goldman should fit right in as a nose tackle in the team's new 3-4 scheme while the team made solid picks with center Hroniss Grasu and running back Jeremy Langford. Safety Adrian Amos should help fill the big need for a safety and he was a nice value at pick 142.
Grade: A-

Cincinnati Bengals
I was not surprised to see Cincinnati go with a tackle with an early selection with both Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith's contracts expiring after next season but I was surprised to see them go with two picks. Jake Fisher at 53 was a better pick than Cedric Ogbuehi was at 21 as he is talented but raw and recovering from injury. I did like much of what the team did from taking a solid tight end in Tyler Kroft, and built depth at linebacker with Paul Dawson and in the defensive backfield with Josh Shaw.
Grade: B

Cleveland Browns
A bit of a mixed bag for the Browns. I loved the Danny Shelton selection as he fills a big need for a run stuffer for the team's miserable run defense but the Cameron Erving pick was odd as he doesn't fill a need at guard or center (his best position), especially with the very good, and expensive, Alex Mack already at center. Nate Orchard helps fill a big need for a pass rusher but Duke Johnson, a solid value at 77, doesn't fill a need either. The rest of the picks were decent to good but I loved the late value of Ifo Expre-Olomu in the final round. He has big-time injury issues but also is a first round talent.
Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys
Byron Jones got a lot of attention for his crazy impressive performance at the Combine but the kid is a good football player and should fill a key need on the Dallas defense. Getting Randy Gregory with the 60th pick was a total steal even with him carrying some key questions off the field. The team could have addressed their defensive needs more than they did with the remainder of the draft but Chaz Green was a nice selection as a developmental tackle, even if the team reached for him.
Grade: B-

Denver Broncos
Even as they do not need another pass rusher in the short term, I do like Shane Ray a lot as a player and I would have been surprised if he would have fallen to Denver anyways. The team did have to address a mess of an offensive line and I don't think they did enough with the reach for Ty Sambrailo and center Max Garcia. Jeff Heuerman can be a nice weapon at tight end for Peyton Manning but the team failed to address other needs.
Grade: C

Detroit Lions
I did not think of guard Laken Tomlinson as a first round player but I don't hate the pick and liked that Detroit traded down to take him. He should be a contributor at a position of need right away. Ameer Abdullah may not be a three down back but he fits Jim Caldwell's offense very well and he is great with the ball in his hands. The team did well to build their secondary depth with corners Alex Carter and Quandre Diggs, defensive tackle Gabe Wright should be useful in a tackle rotation and the Corey Robinson pick in the seventh round should be a nice value pick.
Grade: B+

Green Bay Packers
I would have gone with Eric Kendricks with the first pick and I thought there were better defensive backs than Damarious Randall on the board but he is a solid player that should help out the secondary if he is a corner or a safety. Quinten Rollins was a solid pick and he will provide additional depth to the cornerback position. Ty Montgomery likely won't be much of a receiver since his hands are a mess but the Packers could utilize his return ability. Jake Ryan should be able to help the Packers put Clay Matthews back at outside linebacker and I absolutely loved the Brett Hundley pick. Hundley needs a lot of work but is very talented and was worth a pick in the fifth round.
Grade: B

Houston Texans
Kevin Johnson saw his stock rise at the right time and he is a player I am a fan of because he can play in multiple coverage schemes. Benardick McKinney was a fine value at 43 and he should give the Texans a nice complement to Brian Cushing at inside linebacker but getting Jaelen Strong at the 70th pick was a total steal. He should help replace the loss of team mainstay Andre Johnson. Even as much of the team's Saturday selections left some to be desired, I was a big fan of their work on the first two days.
Grade: B+

Indianapolis Colts
Considering the team still has big needs on defense and on their offensive line, it was very weird to see them take a wideout in the first round in Phillip Dorsett when they already have T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief. Save for the picks of cornerback D'Joun Smith and back Josh Robinson, I was not that much of a fan of what they did with their remaining picks and this draft feels like another opportunity wasted to make this team a real Super Bowl contender.
Grade: D

Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are not as talent-starved as they were a year ago but still entered the draft with a ton of needs and they did a very good job in addressing them. Even as their pass rush improved a year ago, they still needed to bring in a talented pass rusher and Dante Fowler is an excellent fit in Gus Bradley's defense. I was not as high on T.J. Yeldon as others were but he should be an upgrade at running back over Toby Gerhart. A.J. Cann will help a miserable offensive line, Rashad Greene was a steal in the fifth round and will help out at receiver and Michael Bennett, another steal in the sixth, will further bolster the Jacksonville defensive line.
Grade: A-

Kansas City Chiefs
Marcus Peters was arguably the most talented cornerback in this draft class and while he does have some character concerns, I think he will be a good fit with Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Mitch Morse was a reach as I don't think he's a starting lineman in the NFL and Chris Conley has some work to do to be a starting NFL wideout. The remaining selections were pretty solid in bringing some depth to their defense but they could have done a little more to surround Alex Smith with more firepower.
Grade: C+

Miami Dolphins
Heading into a make-or-break 2015 season, the Dolphins did a solid job with their draft effort this weekend. It started with a very good selection with wideout DeVante Parker, who I did not think would be available at the 14th pick. Their second selection was also a nice value with tackle Jordan Phillips as he could really do some damage next to Ndamukong Suh. Bobby McCain should help at both defensive back and as a returner and I really liked the selection of running back Jay Ajayi, even with his knee concerns.
Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings
One year after a very promising draft provided the Vikings with a potential defensive star (Anthony Barr) and an answer at quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), the team made out really well once again. Trae Waynes was probably the best corner in the class and fills a huge need. Eric Kendricks was a fantastic value pick at 45 and he should start right away. T.J. Clemmings was also a great value and should help a mediocre offensive line. Stefon Diggs when healthy should provide some pop offensively and the team acquired lots of key depth. There is a reason to be excited in the Twin Cities.
Grade: A

New England Patriots
Malcolm Brown was a nice value at the bottom of the first round and while he is not the load that Vince Wilfork is, he should certainly help the run defense. Bill Belichick reached for some guys as he is fond of doing from time to time (safety Jordan Richards, end Geneo Grissom and long snapper Joe Cardona come to mind) but Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason will help out an offensive line that could use some of it.
Grade: B-

New Orleans Saints
Considering the massive needs that the Saints had defensively, and the lack of a need for a tackle, it was odd to see the Saints go with Andrus Peat with their first selection although I do like him as a player. Linebacker Stephone Anthony was a real surprise with better linebackers available at the time (most notably Eric Kendricks) and then pass rusher Hau'oli Kikaha is strictly a hustle guy with some injury concerns. But then they did a better job as I liked the pick of Garrett Grayson to develop behind Drew Brees and corner P.J. Williams was a great value pick at 78.
Grade: C+

New York Giants
I liked tackle Ereck Flowers more than some others did but even as he could have a claim to being the most talented tackle in the draft, he still needs a good amount of polish to improve his technique. At one point, I had the Giants taking Landon Collins in the first round and he will fill a big hole at safety. Owamagbe Odighizuwa was a great value pick in the third round as he has a lot of talent but is raw. The rest of the picks left a lot to be desired as nobody would be surprised if any of the guys taken would have gone undrafted.
Grade: B

New York Jets
Leonard Williams probably was overrated by many in the media but I still was very surprised that he was available with the sixth pick. Whether or not the team will trade Mo Wilkerson at some point, Williams makes a strong line even more fearsome with his versatility and athleticism. Devin Smith gives the offense a legitimate deep threat with his speed. Lorenzo Mauldin helps to address the need for pass rushers and while Bryce Petty has a lot of work to do in terms of development to become a starting NFL quarterback, he does have a nice arm. I would have liked to see the Jets take another running back as trading for Zac Stacy really does not help much despite giving up little.
Grade: B

Oakland Raiders
I was thinking Leonard Williams for the Raiders for much of the pre-draft process but Amari Cooper makes a ton of sense too: the team really has little around Derek Carr and Cooper should make an immediate impact. Mario Edwards was a reach at pick 35 as he does not have a position. Clive Walford was probably the second best tight end in the draft and he gives Carr another receiving option. Linebackers Ben Heeney and Max Valles were nice value selections but a good chunk of Oakland's Saturday selections were reaches.
Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly reportedly tried to sell the farm for Marcus Mariota but it ultimately did not prove to be enough and he was stuck at the 20th selection. I am not as high on wideout Nelson Agholar as others were but even I could admit that he is a very good fit for Kelly's offensive scheme that has a high priority for big receivers. Much of their second and third day picks do not look like contributors, save for cornerback Eric Rowe.
Grade: D+

Pittsburgh Steelers
I noted on KCOU this past Friday that there seems to be a trend of the Steelers having talented prospects fall into their laps in the first round and Bud Dupree continued that trend. I just don't get why he was available at 22 and he should immediately help upgrade their pass rush. They took a pair of cornerbacks that should contribute right away in Senquez Golson, who has great ball skills, and Doran Grant. Sammie Coates has some big-time athleticism but he really needs to work on his hands. Pittsburgh also addressed other needs wisely with their final four picks with a tight end (Jesse James), two linemen (Leterrius Walton and Anthony Chickillo) and a safety (Gerod Holliman).
Grade: A-

San Diego Chargers
I don't mind the team trading up a couple of spots in order to select Melvin Gordon as he is a really good running back prospect on a team that needs one. His receiving issues are less magnified with the presence of Danny Woodhead. However beyond that selection, the remaining picks were not all that exciting. Denzel Perryman does not fill a need at all given that the team already has Donald Butler and Manti Te'o. Corner Craig Mager and linebacker Kyle Emanuel can't be expected to be immediate contributors.
Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco has taken a lot of risks in the draft these past few seasons and have missed a good amount and that risk does occur here. Arik Armstead is very raw but he is also really talented and coach Jim Tomsula is a great line coach and should be able to develop him. However, he is not likely an immediate contributor. They also focused too much on the defense and not enough on the offense, the weakness of the team. Eli Harold was a great value in the third round but I really did not like anything else the team did. They also took a punter (Bradley Pinion) in the fifth round which is something I'm never a big fan of.
Grade: D

Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks did not do their due diligence with Frank Clark and that's a problem. Not to mention that they took him too early anyways at at 63. Tyler Lockett is the kind of speedster their offense really needs, but did the team really need to expend picks to trade up for him? Much of the remaining selections were reaches although I do like the pick of Towson corner Tye Smith who I think has a shot to break into the notably strong Seattle secondary.
Grade: D+

St. Louis Rams
It looks like the Rams are going to be a physical club that will pound the football on the ground with how they drafted in Chicago. Even though running back was not the biggest need, I really liked the Todd Gurley pick because he instantly becomes the team's top running back considering how talented he is (I think he's the best running back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson). The team then went heavy with offensive line picks but they reached a little on tackles Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown on Day 2. Sean Mannion was taken too early too but he could be a nice developmental option behind Nick Foles. Linebacker Bryce Hagler was a really nice value pick with the selection acquired from the Jets for Zac Stacy.
Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We all know the risks of the off-field concerns that Jameis Winston brings to the table but you can't hate the first overall selection the team made. Winston is an elite quarterback prospect that has some rare tools and you could have made the case that he was the best player in this draft. Tampa also made a couple of solid picks to upgrade their offensive line with Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet and Kenny Bell should complement the physical wideouts Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson with his speed. All in all, a solid haul.
Grade: B

Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota may not seem like a great fit for Ken Whisenhunt's scheme but he still was too talented of a quarterback prospect for them to pass up on. He should become the best quarterback the team has had since Steve McNair was traded to Baltimore in the summer of 2006. Dorial Green-Beckham is a big-time receiving talent and while he does some notable character issues, he simply was too good to pass up on in the second round. David Cobb should give the team a horse at running back and they also did nice work addressing some needs on both lines.
Grade: A

I really was not a fan of the Brandon Scherff pick at five over Leonard Williams and while Scherff should be a decent right tackle, which is the need position on the offensive line, but he really looks like a guard in the NFL. The team's best pick was Preston Smith in the second round and he will be a very useful player off the edge. They also took another guard in Arie Kouandijo who has a high ceiling but besides his selection, the rest of the draft left a lot to be desired. In particular, they could have done more to address their secondary.
Grade: C-

1 comment:

  1. Jets do have some cap space left, how come they don't re-sign Wilkerson to a long term deal? Its idiotic if they do not because he has been arguably the best Jet Defensive player for the past few years...