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2024 NFL Draft Grades: Who Improved, Who Faltered

NFL Draft grades

The 2024 NFL Draft has officially concluded, and it's safe to say all 32 teams are feeling good about how they utilized their resources. Well, except maybe the Atalanta Falcons. Regardless, it's hard to judge a team's early picks without the context of their later ones, as it can often take all seven rounds for a franchise's plan to unfold in front of our eyes. With that context in mind, let's dive in as we grade the totality of every NFL team's draft.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals started off by taking the second most nailed-on pick of the draft behind only Caleb Williams at No. 1 by choosing Marvin Harrison Jr wit the No. 4 overall pick. MHJ was the only true correct pick there, allowing them to provide an opportunity for Kyler Murray's rebirth with a young, defensive guru for a coach and a prolific weapon.

The rest of the draft, however, can be best described as unspectacular. They picked Darius Robinson with their second first rounder, who neither has the pass-rushing chops and fluidity of EDGEs picked later on like Chris Braswell or Marshawn Kneeland nor the stoutness to stick strong in the middle like Johnny Newton and Kris Jenkins. Coach and defensive game planner Johnathan Gannon likely wants to use him as a hybrid, who will provide strong run defense on the outside by kick inside in passing situations.

CB Max Melton is a juiced-up athlete who has the potential to develop into a versatile weapon in the secondary. Big, fast DBs are always nice to have. RB Trey Benson is a fun pick, but the No. 66 overall pick might have been better utilized on another WR or a stud LB like Junior Colson.

Tip Reiman was drafted about 100 picks earlier than he should have been, going at No. 82. The Illinois TE tested great at the NFL Combine and features a huge body to target in the passing game. Except, 420 yards over the course of 38 games doesn't exactly scream "weapon." He's a solid blocker thanks to his 6-foot-5, 270-pound frame, and there's hope he can develop into a solid pass-catcher given his athletic testing, but he plays nowhere near as fluid on the football field. You know, the important part?

Arizona rounded out the draft with some depth in the trenches and secondary, leaving them with a decent haul to move forward.

Grade: B

Atlanta Falcons

After Atlanta splashed out to get QB Kirk Cousins in free-agency, many had them as real contenders if they could pull off a smart draft. Those hopes went out the window about an hour into Thursday night when they picked Michael Penix Jr., a 24-year-old to sit behind Cousins for a minimum of two years.

Given the fact their sack leader last season was the tattered remains of Calais Campbell and AJ Terrell's decline from shutdown CB to decent starter, many assumed that defense was the pick. Their offensive firepower is essentially set in place, with QB Desmond Ridder thought to be the only thing holding them back last year. Even so, they could have stacked the offense further by adding beefy WR Rome Odunze or local yard-after-catch machine Brock Bowers. Apparently they didn't just want to get rid of Ridder, but to stack as many QBs better than him on the roster as possible.

Maybe General Manager Terry Fontenot thought it was a two-QB superflex league in fantasy football. Maybe he got Penix and JJ McCarthy's birthdates confused. Maybe they want to run a flea-flicker-based offense with two QBs on the field at once. Maybe Owner Arthur Blank told him "go get the Washington kid" when he was actually referring to Odunze. Maybe he just forgot they signed Cousins. Whatever the excuse is, that alone is enough to earn an F grade.

But it gets worse. Atlanta traded picks No. 43 and No. 79 to move up to No. 35, receiving pick No. 186 in return as well. They then used this to draft project DT Ruke Orhorhoro, roughly 30 spots ahead of his placement on the consensus big board—one spot ahead of Newton. They also "aggressively tried to trade back into the first round to select UCLA EDGE Laiatu Latu" rather than aggressively just picking him at No. 8 overall.

Then, they picked project EDGE Bralen Trice, who showed flashes against weaker competition but neither has the natural fluidity and athletic ceiling to ensure high potential nor the technique or strength to consistently wrap-up ballcarriers. They could have picked Latu in the first, Newton in the second, and Spencer Rattler in the third or fourth if they wanted a developmental QB so badly. This is the blueprint for how to go all-in, then immediately take yourself all-out.

Grade: F-

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore has long been one of the league's best in large part due to their adept drafting. This continues this year, as they bet on athleticism with many of their picks. CB Nate Wiggins height-speed combo (ran 4.28 at 6-foot-1) intrigued many, but the Ravens were the ones to pull the trigger. Tackling is a weakness, but Wiggins has the athletic profile to run with any wideout in the NFL. Assuming Baltimore can add muscle to his frame and improve his technique, Wiggins should make a nice bookend to Marlon Humphrey before eventually replacing him.

Next up, the Ravens picked OT Roger Rosengarten out of Washington. Though he lacks an ideal frame and strength, Rosengarten is one of the most agile Tackles in the class and has the footwork to match. The Ravens have been some of the best at developing Line talent and this should continue here with a solid lump of clay to mold.

Adisa Isaac is an EDGE out of Penn State with, you guessed it—great athleticism. Isaac has issues with gap discipline, which will need to be coached out of him. He could also stand to gain some mass and play stronger in the running game. However, his experience rushing the passer from both two-point and three-point stances, as well as his mental fortitude to recover from a torn Achilles in 2021 makes Isaac a solid pick and addition to a Ravens EDGE room that desperately needs youth.

On Day three, Baltimore made one of the best value picks according to the consensus board, as they selected expected second-rounder TJ Tampa at pick No. 130. The Ravens have set themselves up with development potential and contingency plans at numerous positions, lining them up for another deep playoff run this year. However, Devin Leary is a puzzling selection. I'm not a fan of taking a late QB unless you have an aging veteran under center or you're hedging your bet on your first-round QB. That pick easily could have been used to strengthen depth at a number of different spots. Anytime you draft somebody where the best-case scenario is that he never sees the field, that's a bad pick.

Grade: B

Buffalo Bills

The Bills traded away Stefon Diggs, let Gabe Davis walk, handed Xavier Worthy to the Chiefs on a silver platter, and then traded up for Keon Coleman. The last thing I would do to rebuild a WR room is pick a slug who can't separate. Dalton Kincaid prepare to get fed, because Buffalo's current WR corps couldn't eat if you gave them a feeding tube.

Cole Bishop out of Utah is a solid pick for a team who lost both their starting safeties, and DeWayne Carter is a decent run-stuffer but suffers from limited pass-rushing ability. Though Ed Oliver beside him is sure to help mitigate that.

They picked bruiser RB Ray Davis out of Kentucky and Georgia Center Sedrick Van-Pran Granger, seemingly trying to rebrand into a smashmouth-style team on offense to compensate for lack of WR talent. Unfortunately, the Bills window seems to be closed and this draft reflects a team trying to pivot their focus.

Grade: C

Carolina Panthers

Here lies Bryce Young's career, we hardly knew you. We saw Young nearly get killed last season due to a poor roster who could neither protect him, nor reliably get open. They needed draft capital to flesh out the roster and put many young pieces around Young to grow together in synergy. Instead, they traded up twice to double-down on WRs who can't separate and acquire an injured RB.

I can stomach the Xavier Legette pick if you pick him in the late second to early third, already have a WR room filled with technicians as the Chicago Bears do. Trading up to draft another stiff, brick-handed WR after seeing Jonathan Mingo have one of the worst rookie seasons last year is moronic, and screams continued meddling from Owner David Tepper, who seems to have taken the mantle from disgraced Washington Owner Dan Snyder as the worst owner in the NFL.

I love Jonathon Brooks the player. I abhor Jonathan Brooks, the trade up for an injured RB in the second round in a deep class to further burn more draft capital while ignoring the gaping holes at impact positions. Trevin Wallace, LB from Kentucky and Texas TE JT Sanders are a decent pair of picks, providing the defense with an energetic and athletic body to rally around as well as a solid safety net for Young, but those can't wash out the bad taste of the asset mismanagement of the first two picks. Carolina needed to hit a home run and they grounded out to first base. The worst part is that they squandered all the capital they received from the Christian McCaffery trade in 2022 by trading most of it to the Bears, who have in turn built one of the best situations for a young QB in the league.

Grade: D

Chicago Bears

The Bears were guaranteed to get no less than an A after what they did on night one. Everybody knows the story about Williams and Odunze, so I'll save you the trouble. It's hard to even fathom those two moves not immediately bearing fruit. Expect Chicago in the playoffs this season.

NFL Draft grades
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Their next moves were a little unexpected, but not egregious. They picked T/G out of Yale Kiran Amegadije, who has solid upside. The biggest question mark on him is level of competition in college, but he otherwise seems like a coachable protector who will have a decent career at the next level, either at guard or tackle. Selecting Iowa Punter Tory Taylor in the fourth is a bit of a head-scratcher. I never advocate for taking specialists that high, but if you're going to do it, you'd better take the best one. The good thing is that Taylor got plenty of reps by virtue of playing for Iowa, so you definitely know what you're getting.

Raw but talented EDGE Austin Booker rounds out a small, five-pick draft, but the two picks at the top will be enough to turn the Bears from some of the worst passing in the NFL last season to a top-10 offense and finally bring some excitement to a team desperate for it.

Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were faced with three pressing issues going into next season: keeping Joe Burrow healthy, strengthening their defensive line and getting WR depth to possibly replace Tee Higgins if they can't work out a deal. Cincinnati attempted all three with their first four selections.

RT Amarius Mims is a giant with loads of potential, however he barely played in college. He played only 803 snaps over the course of his college career, barely scratching a full season. Still, Mims has a high ceiling with the possibility of becoming a staple at right tackle and a floor of being a decent guard.

IDL Kris Jenkins out of Michigan is a solid gap-plugger who will help keep the LBs clean to stop the run, but his pass-rushing ability is somewhat lacking. Regardless, the Bengals can go toe-to-toe with anybody in a shootout, so stopping the run is the most important thing here. Doubling down on this attitude, they also picked beefy IDL McKinnley Jackson from Texas A&M.

In terms of on-field talent, WR Jermaine Burton is likely a top-10, maybe even top-5 WR in the class. The problems stem from his attitude and character concerns. He allegedly struck a female Tennessee fan in the head after a loss in 2022, which likely took him off of a few team's boards altogether. Regardless, he's electric on the field, and if they can pair him with veteran leadership to allow him to grow and mature, he will be a dangerous weapon for the Bengals.

Cincinnati has also lacked TE production essentially since Tyler Eifert was healthy a decade ago—a few infrequent big games from CJ Uzomah included. So, they doubled up on TE, picking generic safe-handed, good-blocking Erick All from Iowa and lanky Tanner McLachlan out of Arizona. Stop the run and light up the skies seems to be the goal for the Bengals, and they did a solid job of it here.

Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns

The Browns had minimal draft capital thanks to the DeShaun Watson trade, so there wasn't much they could do here. I struggle to think of anything other than an "OK" and a shrug for their selections. IDL Michael Hall Jr. from Ohio State needs to grow into his body to be more effective, but he has time to do so as he turns 22 in June. The third round seems awfully high to draft a guard who is unlikely to play this year due to injury, but I suppose Cleveland just loved Zak Zinter's tape that much. Jamari Thrash? Sure, I guess. Cleveland seems like a team that already regrets selling the farm for Watson as they collect developmental pieces to set up a plan for three years from now, rather than doing their best to contend today.

Grade: C

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas oddly went with a first-round project pick in a season they're expected to compete, either signifying that coach Mike McCarthy is dumb, they're angling for their next head coach with prospects who have upside, or both. I'm not a huge fan of raw OT Tyler Guyton for a team who has said many times they are "all-in," but Dallas has coached up some of the best offensive linemen of the past decade—from Tyron Smith to Zack Martin to Travis Frederick to Tyler Smith just last season. They could make it work, but I feel they would have been better off grabbing a beast for their IDL in Newton from Illinois.

Their second-rounder, EDGE Marshawn Kneeland played weak competition at Western Michigan, but he might play harder than anybody else in the draft. He has great burst and quickness and now has the opportunity to learn from long-time pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence and total freak Micah Parsons. Their blitz packages are going to be filthy.

The Cowboys topped it off with a steady guard from Kansas State in Cooper Beebe and a fiery LB from Notre Dame in Marist Liufau to counteract Leighton Vander Esch's retirement. Overall, a decent draft that could have been a very good one by picking a ready-made stud at the top.

Grade: C+

Denver Broncos

The Bo Nix pick stinks. I am not a fan. When a guy plays 61 games in college, you know who he is at this point. Nix struggled to up his game against top competition, highlighted by his production blossoming after moving away from the Southeastern Conference but still going 0-3 against Washington. He's a crafty playmaker but lacks the ability to consistently scan the field and make the right throws unless it is spoon-fed to him via a screen or run-pass-option. Worse, Sean Payton gloated that he baited the Vikings into trading up to get McCarthy. Unfortunately for him, Payton doesn't seem to realize that the Vikings did that just to ensure they didn't have to take Nix.

Denver counteracted one of the worst picks of the first round by simply not missing value-wise for the rest of the draft. Denver did not panic and reach for any of their needs, simply letting the board fall into place and taking the best player available as often as possible. Jonah Ellis out of Utah is a solid, but undersized pass rusher who plays with fight and leverage, similar to former Bronco Elvis Dumervil albeit with non-elite flexibility and bend. I would have taken a guy like Kamren Kinchens to take over for Justin Simmons at safety, but I suppose his poor athletic testing scared them away.

Post-first round, that was the worst pick, and you couldn't even call it anything less than "above-average." Oregon deep-threat Troy Franklin was expected by most to go in the second, and some even thought he could sneak into the first. Instead, he fell to the Broncos at No. 102, rendering this an easy steal. Kris Abrams-Draine is a scrappy, well-rounded CB whose size could limit him to the slot but was still expected to go in the top 100. He fell to No. 145. Then, they grabbed power RB Audric Estime just two spots later who was also expected to go within the top 100. Simply put, Denver read the board masterfully after the first round and collected a very nice group of players. If Payton can prove me wrong and turn Nix into a solid starter, this could end up as the turning point for the franchise.

Grade: B-

Detroit Lions

Detroit has to be absolutely buzzing. With one of the most well-rounded offenses in the league, a great offensive line, a strong front seven and a solid safety room, all that was left for the Lions to truly become elite was improved CB play. So, they went out and got Terrion Arnold, the best CB in the draft, and Ennis Rakestraw Jr., the best slot CB in the draft. Those two moves round out their starting lineup and leaves essentially no holes.

Next up was a reach, however. Giovanni Manu is a little-known OT/G out of the University of British Columbia in Canada. Many only had him as a late-seventh rounder or even a undrafted free agent. Still, Dan Campbell obviously daydreamed about the amount of kneecaps you could bite off with a 6-foot-7, 350-pound tackle of Tongan descent who ran an insane for his size 5.07 in the 40-yard and has a 33.5-inch vertical jump. If molded into a real player like the Philadelphia Eagles did with Jordan Mailata, this could be a great sleeper pick.

Finishing up with some trench depth and versatile Utah safety Sione Vaki, the Lions continued to set their culture of being the bullies of the NFL while also fixing their biggest hole on the roster. Way to impress the home crowd.

Grade: A

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay must have a lot of faith in their player development following the emergence of Jordan Love and the surprising effectiveness of their makeshift WR room last year. Taking a project OT in Morgan was an odd choice in the first round, given their struggles against the run and creating turnovers on defense. In addition, they reached for Edgerrin Cooper despite Payton Wilson and Colson still being on the board. Javon Bullard is a nice addition to the secondary given his championship-caliber experience for Georgia and Marshawn Lloyd helps to infuse more life into the RB room behind Josh Jacobs. However, the Packers reached for another LB by drafting Ty'Ron Hopper in the third. Cooper is in the same realm as Wilson and Colson, so that's understandable, but a raw LB who has tackling issues in the top 100? That's a big stretch, especially considering Jeremiah Trotter Jr. went over 60 picks later. Green Bay's positional coaches will have their hands full and it is up to them to turn this draft into a hit. Notable late-round pick is Penn State CB Kalen King, who was regarded as a top prospect before a poor 2023 season and a slow 40-time tanked his stock.

Grade: C

Houston Texans

The Texans had an unspectacular, yet solid draft that sets them up to continue their success this season. Georgia CB Kamari Lassiter was tested by fire, going up against a number of draft-bound WRs due to Georgia's tough schedule every year. He should make a nice young partner with Derek Stingley Jr. on the other side.

Given Houston struggled massively with injuries to the offensive line last year, it felt like a lock for them to draft some. Many people likely found Blake Fisher while watching film of Joe Alt, and may have been attracted to a more forceful tackle. However, his footwork can be downright poor at times, and he was a fourth rounder to me. Drafting him in the second with hyper-athletic projects Roger Rosengarten and Kingsley Suamataia on the board feels like a massive reach.

Calen Bullock provide some extra security on the backend, TE Cade Stover allows for the Texans to run some two-TE sets with Dalton Schultz, and Jawhar Jordan is a fun RB who provides a bit of juice to a lackluster RB room. Houston, we have liftoff.

Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts heavily pursued extra toys for Anthony Richardson on offense as well as extra protection to keep him healthy, drafting two WRs and offensive linemen each. Laiatu Latu is a sturdy EDGE who will add some beef to their pass rush and seal off the outside running lanes as well. I'm not a huge fan of Adonai Mitchell, as often it seems he can try too hard on his routes, throwing off the timing of plays. Conversely, he doesn't try at all sometimes when he knows he's not getting the ball.

Pittsburgh OT Matt Goncalves is a long body with experience playing either side, and Wisconsin center Tanor Bortolini is very athletic with experience at tackle, guard and center, though he had some troubling issues with snapping the ball.

Drafting three DBs and one late-round IDL is a bit odd given the need for better run defense, but coach Shane Steichen likely expects the Colts offense to be among the best in the league, rendering bolstered pass defense more important.

Indy came up with a solid and acceptable draft, but it feels like it's lacking that extra something.

Grade: C+

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville drafted a deep-threat for Trevor Lawrence to air it out to in Brian Thomas Jr., ignoring the fact they just gave that same archetype a three-year $39 million deal in Gabe Davis. There could have been worse picks, though. The Jags picked a duo of LSU IDL in Maason Smith and Jordan Jefferson to add some strength and swagger to their run defense. Add in some athletic CBs and tackle help, and Jacksonville came out of this alright.

Grade: C+

Kansas City Chiefs

The reigning champions just gave Patrick Mahomes the fastest WR in the draft, Xavier Worthy. They also added a pure athletic freak of a tackle in Kingsley Suamataia from BYU, and Jared Wiley—a TE who compares athletically to Travis Kelce, whom he will now learn under. Given that tackle play and offensive weapons were the biggest issues for the Chiefs, they are poised to match last year's performance and set themselves up for the future.

Grade: A-

Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas might have had the best top two picks in the whole draft. They drafted a top-5 and top-20 player on my big board with TE/YAC-freak Bowers, and interior mauler Jackson Powers-Johnson. Simply going best player available earned them the luxury of these two players, who will be impact starters in any role necessary from day one.

NFL Draft grades
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The wheels fell off soon after. Maryland OT Delmar Glaze was ranked as low as No. 257 by some draft boards, but General Manager Tom Telesco thought he was worthy of a third round pick. This is as much of a reach as Muggsy Bogues trying to grab the rim while standing flat-footed. Mississippi State CB DeCamerion Richardson wasn't as much of a reach, but was still taken around 40 picks higher than he was projected to go. Athletic but raw, Richardson struggles with ball-tracking and can give up big plays due to no getting his head around in time. These two major reaches are enough to derail what could have ended up as the best class of the draft.

Grade: B-

Los Angeles Chargers

Despite my gripes with Alt, both the player and the pick, the Chargers turned it around to be one of the best drafts this year. They read the board masterfully and selected nearly every pick at optimal value for their spot. Their top four picks, OT Alt, WR Ladd McConkey, LB Colson and IDL Justin Eboigbeare are likely to start, with the first three essentially being nailed-on as soon as their name was called. They also picked physical CBs Cam Hart and Tarheeb Still, aligning with the Jim Harbaugh-motif of toughness and grit while puffing up their secondary. They completely re-tooled their WR room with three picks, all coming with differing skill sets—one of which coming by way of the surprising fall of USC WR Brenden Rice who was listed as high as No. 53 on some boards and as low as No. 150 on others. The Chargers landed him at pick No. 225. The Chargers hit on essentially every major need besides developmental center, but this is a great start for the Harbaugh era.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Rams

The Chargers' neighbor hit it out of the park as well. Pairing up violent Florida State teammates, EDGE Jared Verse and IDL Braden Fiske is going to have NFC West offensive lines in hell for the next six to eight years. Either of those guys would have been great picks, but to get both is spectacular. Verse and Fiske both bring a controlled-rage play, but it is most evident on passing downs. Both players have a solid arsenal of moves, but their bread and butter is the bull rush, which can knock any OL stumbling backward like a fool.

Besides those two freaks, the Rams slightly overdrafted Michigan RB Blake Corum but he could play nice in the committee system the Rams usually run with their RBs. The real steal here is Miami Safety Kamren Kinchens. I don't care about his 40 time. I don't care about any of his athletic testing. That is a such a complete anomaly that I am convinced he was injured. When you watch Kinchens on the field, he plays like a prototypical deep roaming free safety. He is going to be a stud and may very well become the steal of the draft. Add in some trench depth on both sides of the ball, and the Rams are ready to gear up for one more Super Bowl run with Matthew Stafford.

Grade: A

Miami Dolphins

Miami went with a pair of EDGEs, one of them hyper-athletic and not very productive (Penn State's Chop Robinson, No. 21 overall), one of them fairly athletic and very productive (Colorado State's Mohamed Kamara, No. 158 overall). Robinson needs a ton of polish to turn into a truly effective player, but at minimum, he will provide speed and disruption as a situational pass-rusher. Kamara is somewhat raw, but brings a similar level of intensity and is another huge sleeper pick for me. Patrick Paul out of Houston is a sold tackle prospect to help keep Tua Tagovailoa on the field, and speedster RB Jaylen Wright out of Tennessee adds yet another layer of explosiveness to the fastest team in the league.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings spent most of their draft capital on two moves. One of which was getting who they hope to be their franchise QB in McCarthy, and one of which was acquiring Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner to add more explosiveness to their pass rush.

Despite my disapproval of the McCarthy pick, he has a much higher ceiling than Nix does, or any of the QBs next year for that matter. Turner has the potential to be a very successful player in this league, competing with a fire you simply can't coach. It's time for Minnesota to re-tool, and they picked two players with upside at two out of the four most important positions on the field.

Grade: B

New England Patriots

New England lands their QB of the future in Drake Maye, alongside two weapons for him to use on a team that lacks fire power. Ja'Lynn Polk was overshadowed at Washington by Odunze, but his physicality and catching ability will make for a solid big-play threat early on in Maye's career. UCF's Javon Baker is of a similar ilk, but has more explosiveness with the ball in his hands at the cost of more polished route running. Jaheim Bell has potential as a rugged YAC threat at TE, providing Maye with a capable group to target with the rock. Throw in some solid offensive line picks in tackle Caedan Wallace from Penn State and guard Layden Robinson from Texas A&M, and you have a decent foundation to begin the next era of Patriots football.

Grade: B+

New Orleans Saints

Another team lacking in a ton of draft capital due to various penalties or acquisitions, New Orleans is building a foundation for the QB who will come after Derek Carr. Picking Taliese Fuaga at No. 14 is awesome—he was my OT1 of the class and can swing over to the left side while Ryan Ramczyk holds down the right or kick inside and maul defensive players. He's one of the nastiest players in the class. He'll need a bit of coaching to reel in his aggression and refine his hand usage, but he's going to be a monster.

Kool-Aid McKinstry is a solid pick in the second round. Though he can be a bit passive, that means he rarely gets torched and can force the ball short of the sticks. A good addition for a team who has to find a way out of cap hell without restructuring every single contract every single year. I'm glad people stopped trying to act like Spencer Rattler was anything above a day three pick. His arm talent comes with a lack of mobility for his body type and a slender frame that is easy to bring down. He plays like if Mahomes had the speed and agility of Jimmy Garoppolo. However, a spot like New Orleans is one of the best landings for him. He won't need to play right away. He can add more weight to his frame and improve his athleticism in an NFL-caliber workout program and tighten up his mechanics and field-scanning ability in an attempt to blossom into an NFL starter. Nothing was really going to put the Saints in contention this year, so bundling up for the long haul is smart.

Grade: B-

New York Giants

How do you draft Malik Nabers and still come away feeling underwhelmed? Besides Nabers, the Giants didn't draft the best player remaining at the position they chose a single time. Nabers is electric, but banking on Relative Athletic Score (RAS) monsters who look like sloths on the field such as Theo Johnson or athletic CBs who never managed to pick off a single pass in college like Andru Philips is the way to wind up right back in this spot next year. Nabers is the only reason this class even gets above a D.

Grade: C-

New York Jets

The Giants' stadium-mates on the other hand had a pretty nice draft. Olu Fashanu brings some heft to a poor offensive line who have needed a genuine left tackle since all 6-foot-7 and 365 pounds of Mekhi Becton flamed out. Adding to an already solid array of weapons, WR Malachi Corley from Western Michigan has a violent running style which either tells DBs to get out of the way or get run over on his way to good YAC. The double-up on RBs was somewhat unnecessary given the fact that they have Breece Hall, but they balanced out drafting an overrated RB (Wisconsin's Braelon Allen) with an underrated one (South Dakota State's Isaiah Davis). Round it out with some secondary picks with potential and a flier on a QB to learn under Aaron Rodgers, and the Jets have positioned themselves to compete this year as well as grow after the Rodgers experiment is over.

Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia's chances to get back into the Super Bowl last year were largely foiled by poor secondary play. General Manager Howie Roseman committed the early portion of the draft to eliminating that possibility this year. Going back to back CBs with their first two picks, Toledo's hyper-athletic Quinyon Mitchell and Iowa's do-it-all man on defense, Cooper DeJean.

It won't be as simple as just chucking them in the lineup though. Mitchell needs to be battle-tested in practice against legit NFL players given the lack of an opportunity to do so playing in the MAC. DeJean has an NFL-ready skill set, just not at CB. I know the cliche, but DeJean wasn't really asked to play a conventional NFL-style CB at Iowa. Often, he would backpedal without a man and drift to the middle of the field, playing a sort of hybrid safety/moneybacker role and lurking for lousy passes over the middle or to neutralize a run-and-catch threat in front of him. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio likes to play soft zone schemes, which is likely to fit DeJean's capabilities in a more versatile role than being pigeon-holed as a CB.

Later on, the Eagles added some fun new weapons for Jalen Hurts. Will Shipley, Ainias Smith and Johnny Wilson all provide wildly different skill sets to provide extra wrinkles to Philadelphia's offense as Kellen Moore looks to bounce back from a disappointing season as offensive coordinator for the Chargers.

Throw in explosive EDGE project Jalyx Hunt who competed in the Junior Olympic Games in both the Triathlon and Long Jump, as well as the son of a former fan favorite in Jeremiah Trotter Jr., and you have a remarkably solid draft that puts Philly back in the mix once again.

Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh comes around with a very Steelers-esque draft. They selected a trio of offensive inemen, with OT Troy Fautanu (No. 20 overall), center Zach Frazier (No. 51 overall) and guard Mason McCormick (No. 119 overall) all possessing a nasty streak and a desire to make anyone who lines up across from them never want to suit up again. The Steelers have to commit to running the ball, as Russell Wilson is far from the franchise QB he used to be. However, they added a weapon to their already solid WR room with the Roman Wilson pick. To top it off, they added even more Pittsburgh toughness by drafting LB who played without an ACL, and simply didn't care. The draft could have been better with a late round developmental QB pick or a Tackle with more length, but it's hard to truly dislike anything they did.

Grade: A-

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco is an odd case, because they never seem to draft particularly well, but they always have one of the most talented rosters. They reached on back-to-back picks, selecting Florida WR Ricky Pearsall and Florida State CB Renardo Green about a round earlier than they should have gone. I see the vision with both. Pearsall is a YAC beast with a penchant for explosive plays and Green shut down Nabers when they played.

NFL Draft grades
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Still, it comes down to accurate and efficient use of resources. Pearsall has a skill set that was attainable later in the draft with other WRs such as Rice and Jalen McMillan, and Green had issues with penalties and turning swats into picks. Will Pearsall and Green be good players? Yes, in a certain role. However, the efficient use of resources to make this draft even better is not there.

The 49ers also reached for combine warrior Isaac Guerendo. Though I like Guerendo, I like him as a sixth to seventh rounder, not in the fourth. Guerendo tested exceptionally at the combine, but the production is not there. He may very well make for a good change-of-pace from McCaffery, but his stiffness means he's unlikely to ever shoulder a load.

I like the Jacob Cowing pick. He should play well as a shifty slot WR who can act as a true pain-in-the-ass when you finally cover Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and CMC only for this guy to squeak over to an opening for a first down.

In short, the 49ers could have gotten everybody they wanted later than they did and been able to have more impact players selected earlier such as Newton, Powers-Johnson or Fiske. An okay draft that had potential to be great.

Grade: C+

Seattle Seahawks

With a solid running game, offensive weapons, and a decent enough starting QB, Seattle needed to beef up their defense this draft. They did, somewhat. IDL Byron Murphy II out of Texas was their first round pick, which is a bit of an overdraft in my opinion. People have loved Murphy throughout the draft process and I just never fell in love with the guy. He needs way too much polish for somebody who's expected to be a day-one starter. Though he plays strong, I don't know if his style will hold up at the next level when he barely scratches 300 pounds. I feel that he would have been better suited for a team with an established veteran defensive line presence, lessening the load and providing learning opportunities early on for Murphy.

They then selected a slow LB who played against subpar competition in Conference USA, Tyrice Knight. It's not 2002 anymore, stiff thumpers who can't cover aren't the way to build a LB corps. Besides those two picks, Seattle had an acceptable draft. Auburn CB Nehemiah Pritchett has both the length to hold up outside and the quick feet to play the slot, allowing for flexibility in a CB room now filled with athletes, including Devon Witherspoon, Auburn teammate DJ James and Riq Woolen.

Seattle also bolstered their offensive line, adding valuable depth. Does this draft make them contenders? No, but they have a solid foundation to play some competitive football and make a bit of noise.

Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Following a season where they exceeded expectations and renewed Baker Mayfield's career, Tampa isn't just going to let the Falcons take the NFC South away from them. Drafting Graham Barton to play center following veteran Ryan Jensen's retirement due to injury issues is a great move. Though I prefer Powers-Johnson as a player, I understand not wanting to take a risk on another guy with reported injury problems. Barton is a very smart and versatile player who lacks the strength of JPJ, but can exceed his freakish speed, partially due to being less of a load. Regardless, Barton will be a starter on that line for two contracts and provide stability to an oft-injured unit.

Bolstering their pass rush, the Bucs then selected EDGE Chris Braswell out of Alabama. Though not as physically talented as his teammate Turner, he plays with the same fire. In addition to the defense as well is Georgia safety Tykee Smith, who brings extra championship pedigree to a safety duo with Antoine Winfield Jr.

Tampa also added extra juice on the offense, selecting Washington WR Jalen McMillan and Oregon RB Bucky Irving, giving Mayfield a platform to possibly improve upon what was already a career year. Tampa Bay killed it, and look for them to fight like hell to keep their grip on that division.

Grade: A

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee seemingly took their "Titans" moniker literally, drafting two big slugs with their first two picks. Instead of picking a tackle No. 7 overall, they picked a guard pretending to be a tackle. Fashanu, Fuaga and Mims were all there if they wanted a beefy OT, but they picked the guy who can't move his feet.

Fellow immobile blob, T'Vondre Sweat was their second-round selection. How many 360-pound defensive players have ever made a Pro Bowl? The answer is two—Ted Washington, who was drafted over 30 years ago, and Kris Jenkins Sr,, who came into the league at 318 pounds and also outperformed Sweat at the combine in 40 time, vertical jump and broad jump. Neither Jenkins nor Washington got a DUI right before the draft either. Next question, how many 360-pound defensive players started more than 30 games in their entire career? The answer is still the same two players previously mentioned out of seven who have entered the league. You can't just be big and lean forward to be a space-eater anymore, the ability to stay low, and mental drive, which Sweat does not have.

They then picked a Kenneth Murray clone to go with the real Murray in their LB corps. Cedric Gray out of UNC lacks the tackling technique to make use of his explosiveness and doesn't have the instincts to stay with a man in coverage. They picked a better LB in the seventh, former Miami Safety James Williams.

It's hard to be excited about any of these picks. The post-Mike Vrabel era in Tennessee is off to a rough start.

Grade: D-

Washington Commanders

Washington is in the running for best draft of the year. Their first four picks were such home runs that what they did afterward almost didn't matter. They drafted the QB who fits their scheme the most, the best IDL (Newton), the second-best slot CB (Michigan's Mike Sainristil) and the second-best TE, by a wide margin (Kansas State's Ben Sinnott). All four players will be impact starters off the bat. On top of that, they picked one of the most agile guards with versatility in the class, TCU's Brandon Coleman. Adding Luke McCaffery as a supplement to the WR room doesn't hurt either, and nor does adding a rangey LB named Jordan Magee to Dan Quinn's defense. Time for Washington to escape the constant joke status they've held for the past 20 or so years.

Grade: A

1 Comment

Excellent breakdown. Very insightful and entertaining opinions. Thanks!

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