I really do not like to give draft grades. If you look at some other sites, it basically boils down to “blah blah blah got picked 7 picks higher than I had him ranked, the team should have traded down and still got the guy, F.”
People need to realize the cost that it takes for teams to move up. We saw two future first round picks change hands last night, and those were from teams who simply moved up into the teens. Moving into the top ten for a non quarterback is just worth the cost. So, in turn, we might see some reaches, but teams value positions and guys, and it’s all tiered anyway, so draft position is very fluid.
So in this feature I will simply rank the draft picks 1 through 32. I will take into consideration the player drafted, fit, players passed on and what a team had to give up to make the trade.
1. Washington Redskins – DE Jonathan Allen (17th overall). Jonathan Allen is a top five player in this class, and to land him at 17 is a steal. On top of that, he probably fills the biggest need on the roster. He is an ideal fit as a 3-4 end.
2. Indianapolis Colts – FS Malik Hooker (15th overall). New GM Chris Ballard has done a fantastic job of undoing Ryan Grigson’s mistakes, and drafting Malik Hooker is the latest in a series of home runs. He is a big time play maker, and something the Colts have not had since Bob Sanders.
3. Arizona Cardinals – OLB Haason Reddick (13th overall). The Cardinals were able to sit back and land the player who I think will be the second best defender in this class. He will be a perfect fit at middle linebacker in the 3-4 defense, and can play some edge as well.
4. San Francisco 49ers – DE Solomon Thomas (3rd overall). New GM John Lynch had a great night, and it started when he was able to sucker the over matched Bears into giving up multiple picks to move down one spot and draft the guy he wanted anyway.
5. Cleveland Browns – DE Myles Garrett (1st overall). Props to the Browns for actually taking the best player available and not giving in to terrible owner Jimmy Haslem’s wishes. That is what got Cleveland Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TE OJ Howard (19th overall). Tight end might not have been the biggest need but OJ Howard is a huge get. He will help improve blocking and gives Jameis Winston yet another big target.
7. San Francisco 49ers – MLB Reuben Foster (31st overall). There is a large chance that Reuben Foster knuckleheads his way out of the NFL, but at the very end of the first round, he is tremendous value and a perfect fit in San Francisco.
8. Atlanta Falcons – DE Takkarist McKinley (26th overall). The Falcons desperately need more bodies along the defensive line. McKinley might not ever be an all around end, but gives Atlanta another talented pass rusher. Those guys are hard to find at the end of the first round.
9. New Orleans Saints – CB Marshon Lattimore (11th overall). Thanks to the unexpected run on offensive players, New Orleans was able to sit back and draft the best cornerback in this class. He fills a monster need.
10. New York Jets – SS Jamal Adams (6th overall). The Jets are going to be very bad for a very long time. They did great by standing pat and drafting the best talent available, who also happens to fill a very big need.
11. Cleveland Browns – TE David Njoku (29th overall). I give Cleveland major props for building the roster first and adding a quarterback later. The 2018 quarterback class looks great, and they could also go after some talented free agent signal callers. Njoku is better than Evan Engram and is a steal at 29.
12. Miami Dolphins – DE Charles Harris (22nd overall). The Dolphins identified pass rush as a draft need right away and were able to land one of the drafts best pass rushers.
13. Kansas City Chiefs – QB Patrick Mahomes II (10th overall). This is definitely a huge risk that could blow up for the Chiefs but I love it. It was clear that Alex Smith was not going to get the Chiefs over the hump. Mahomes is an unknown, but giving up what will likely be a pick in the 20’s next year to move up almost 20 spots is a no brainer.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars – HB Leonard Fournette (4th overall). I absolutely think Leonard Fournette is going to be a fantastic pro but this is not an ideal landing spot for him. The Jaguars have a weak offensive line. But they needed to give Blake Bortles a chance with a strong running game.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – OLB TJ Watt (30th overall). Picking low in the first round, Pittsburgh was going to get a flawed prospect, but they needed pass rushing and Watt can do that.
16. Denver Broncos – OT Garett Bolles (20th overall). The Broncos absolutely had to pick an offensive lineman, and Bolles was the best available. I do not think he has what it takes to be a left tackle, but he will probably be tried there.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – WR Mike Williams (7th overall). On paper this looks like a questionable fit but the Chargers simply cannot count on Keenan Allen to stay healthy. Williams looks like a Vincent Jackson clone and Rivers loves tall receivers.
18. Oakland Raiders – CB Gareon Conley (24th overall). There is definitely risk with this pick but if Conley gets cleared of charges (which I think he will) Oakland has a steal.
19. Dallas Cowboys – DE Taco Charlton (28th overall). I would have liked to see the Cowboys go after a cornerback but they simply needed help everywhere on defense. Charlton should become a quality regular.
20. Baltimore Ravens – CB Marlon Humphrey (16th overall). I do not think Marlon Humphrey was a bad pick but with Jonathan Allen staring them in the face, I think they went the wrong direction here.
21. Tennessee Titans – CB Adoree’ Jackson (18th overall). Jackson is a major work in progress defensively, but he has the chance to be a dynamic return man, and at the worst, a solid nickel back.
22. Tennessee Titans – WR Corey Davis (5th overall). Drafting an injured receiver number five overall is a big risk, but Davis is the most talented all around receiver in this class and would have been a top ten lock had he participated in the pre draft process. This was the biggest need for Tennessee.
23. Cleveland Browns – SS Jabrill Peppers (25th overall). I think this pick will look better in a few years than it does now. Peppers will likely eventually settle in as a weakside linebacker like Mark Barron. The Browns got an additional first round pick, and it is not like the Texans are a given to make the playoffs.
24. Philadelphia Eagles – DE Derek Barnett (15th overall). I really love Derek Barnett as a player and prospect, but he will be a backup here. The Eagles might regret passing on Malik Hooker.
25. Carolina Panthers – HB Christian McCaffrey (8th overall). I am interested to see how Christian McCaffrey fares in the NFL. Carolina’s running game needed a shot in the arm, but coaches have really struggled to properly utilize gadget players (Reggie Bush, Tavon Austin, CJ Spiller) in the past.
26. Chicago Bears – QB Mitchell Trubisky (2nd overall). I do not hate the pick. Mike Glennon clearly is not a starting caliber quarterback. However, to trade picks when you need talent, and to not wait on next year’s superior class is puzzling. With John Fox gasping for his coaching life, Trubisky is being set up to fail.
27. Detroit Lions – MLB Jarrad Davis (21st overall). Jarrad Davis was good, not great, at Florida, and does not make plays you look for in a first round linebacker. The Lions definitely needed an upgrade at the position, but linebacker is not often a first round need.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – WR John Ross (9th overall). John Ross simply has too many question marks to be a top ten pick, especially injury wise. However, if you ignore the draft position and the players Cincinnati passed on, he is in a perfect situation to succeed as a deep threat opposite AJ Green.
29. New Orleans Saints – OT Ryan Ramczyk (32nd overall). Ryan Ramczyk is good value here but the Saints simply needed to draft another defender if they want to squeeze one more playoff appearance out of Drew Brees.
30. Houston Texans – QB Deshaun Watson (12th overall). I love Deshaun Watson and applaud the Texans for trading up to get him, but you cannot ignore how much the Brock Osweiler signing set this team back. It cost them two second round picks and a future first rounder to rid the roster of him and draft his replacement.
31. Buffalo Bills – CB Tre’Davious White (27th overall). The Bills passed on Marshon Lattimore to draft a slot corner and pick up a future first round pick that will likely be in the 20’s next year. Buffalo still does not get it.
32. New York Giants – TE Evan Engram (23rd overall). The worst pick in the first round by far. Jerry Reese does not understand how this drafting thing works. A year after passing on Laremy Tunsil he passes on Ryan Ramczyk to take a thick, slow wide receiver, after signing Brandon Marshall. I like Engram, but he is not a blocker and will be fourth in the pass catching pecking order. On top of that, he is not as good of a prospect as David Njoku. Terrible pick.