NFC Draft Grades

Now we get to take a look at how the NFC teams fared in this years draft. Some teams, like the 49ers and Redskins did a tremendous job hauling in players that they needed, and other teams, like Chicago, left us shaking our heads asking what they were thinking.

NFC EAST:

Dallas Cowboys : Grade: B+

1 (28) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

2 (28) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

3 (28) Joourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

4 (27) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina

6 (7) Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech

6 (33) Marquez White, CB, Florida State

7 (10) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida

7 (21) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State

7 (28) Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado

Commentary: The Cowboys filled some big holes on defense with players that should be able to make an impact right away. Taco Charlton is a great pick, he gets after the quarterback ferociously and has a really quick first step. The Cowboys really need to improve their defensive line play if they want to compete for a Super Bowl, as seen in their playoff game against Green Bay. Two corners taken in the second and third rounds were tremendous picks for Dallas, since their secondary was depleted this offseason. Awuzie has great size, length, and strength, but at times isn’t as great in man coverage as he is capable of. Lewis is a great corner prospect that should be able to come in and play some of their nickel or dime packages. Switzer is a great addition, he can complement Dez underneath very nicely, with his explosiveness in the open field. Dallas picked up some decent talent in the later rounds, with safety Xavier Woods and Marquez White, who should both compete for playing time especially since their secondary has so many holes.

New York Giants : Grade: B

1 (23) Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss

2 (23) Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama

3 (23) Davis Webb, QB, California

4 (34) Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

5 (23) Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown St.

6 (16) Adam Bisnowaty, OG, Pittsburgh

Commentary: Evan Engram is a freakish athlete. His combination of size and speed should be able to help the Giants right away. With the addition of Brandon Marshall, they now have OBJ, Marshall and Shepard as their top 3 wide outs, so that really frees up Engram underneath to do some damage with the ball in one on ones vs linebackers. Tomlinson is a solid guy that should see some time. He is a little slow off the ball, but he can stuff the run pretty well. I like the Davis Webb pick, but he has some of developing to do if the Giants see them as their future franchise QB, hopefully Eli isn’t the one teaching him about decision making. The Giants needed a running back and they picked up a good role player in Gallman. He runs hard and fights for yards, but lacks that exceptional burst that they are looking for. Expect him to split time in the backfield with Perkins. I was honestly a little surprised and disappointed that they chose not to target a linebacker, I felt like they had some opportunities to pick up some instant impact guys.

Philadelphia Eagles : Grade: A-

1 (14) Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

2 (11) Sidney Jones IV, CB, Washington

3 (35) Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia

4 (12) Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina

4 (26) Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

5 (22) Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia

5 (41) Nathan Jerry, S, Nebraska

6 (31) Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

Commentary: Barnett will come in and start day 1. His use of hands and his play strength are just as good, or if not better than anyone else in this class. He is quick off the edge and really has a knack for getting after the quarterback. Great pick by Philly. Picking up two corners in rounds 2 and 3 was another great move especially for a secondary that needs a lot of help. Had Jones not been hurt, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been one of the first 2 or 3 corners off the board. He has an incredible motor and great ball skills, and when he is healthy I am excited to see him play. Rasul Douglas was one of the most overlooked guys in this years class. He is fast, physical and plays the ball really well, expect him to see a lot of time early. Philly found Darren Sproles 2.0 in Donnel Pumphrey, the NCAA’s all time leading rusher. Pumphrey may not have elite size, strength or speed but he has more heart than anyone I’ve seen in a while. Hollins and Gibson are two more weapons in an arsenal for Wentz that needs to make more plays if they want to compete with the rest of the division.

Washington Redskins : Grade: A

1 (17) Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

2 (17) Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama

3 (17) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA

4 (7) Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

4 (17) Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State

5 (10) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas

6 (15) Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming

6 (25) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia Southern

7 (12) Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville

7 (17) Josh Holsey, CB, Auburn

Commentary: How did Jonathan Allen fall this far? He was without a doubt a top 5 talent and somehow Washington managed to scoop him up at 17. Yes I understand that injury was concerning, but I mean this guy has elite talent. He is so disruptive in the passing and running games, he should be starter day 1 and have a great impact on this defense. Picking up two more defensive pieces was another good move. Ryan Anderson is an animal who finds the ball at will. I feel like he can be a leader on this defense in time. Moreau was a steal in the third round in my opinion, he was very overlooked especially for a guy with great speed and man coverage abilities. Perine should be able to come in and play some quality time. He could compete for the starting job considering his speed and vision are very good and there really isn’t a clear cut favorite for the spot at the moment.

NFC NORTH:

Chicago Bears : Grade: D

1 (2) Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

2 (13) Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

4 (5) Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama

4 (13) Tarik Cohen, RB, NC A&T

5 (3) Jordan Morgan, OG, Kutztown

Commentary: I am still scratching my head. What was Chicago thinking? They gave up so much to move up one spot for someone who nobody else was going to move up to take. They just paid Mike Glennon all that money, and now THAT is the guy mentoring their future “franchise” QB. Do not get me wrong, Trubisky has a lot of potential but the move to trade up and get him is a head scratcher since he has a lot of developing still to do. All of their picks were a stretch, with so much talent still left on the board. They could have made some decent picks but went with guys that were more of projects. Eddie Jackson is really the only pick I like, but he is coming off an injury, so we can’t know what to expect when he returns.

Detroit Lions : Grade: C-

1 (21) Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida

2 (21) Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

3 (32) Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois

4 (18) Jaylen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee

4 (21) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo

5 (21) Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego State

6 (21) Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas

6 (32) Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

7 (32) Pat O’Connor, DE, Eastern Michigan

Commentary: The Lions could have done better. I like Davis a lot, he should be a day one starter, but Foster was still on the board. Davis played in a great system at Florida so it shouldn’t take long for him to adjust, he is a tackling machine. Teez Tabor was just a bad pick. I had Tabor marked as a 3rd-4th round talent. He lacks speed and man coverage ability that the Lions really needed. I felt like they reached for him, and on top of it, his attitude can get in the way. Saying you’re the best corner in the draft then showing up to the combine and running a 4.62 for your 40 isn’t wowing anybody. There was a lot of talent still left on the board for them to pick up in the later rounds and i feel like they didn’t capitalize on their opportunities. Still scratching my head with the Brad Kaaya pick, but who knows maybe he can learn a lot from Stafford.

Green Bay Packers : Grade: B+

2 (1) Kevin King, CB, Washington

2 (29) Josh Jones, S, NC State

3 (29) Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn

4 (1) Vince Beigel, OLB, Wisconsin

4 (28) Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU

5 (32) Deangelo Yancey, WR, Purdue

5 (39) Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP

6 (29) Kofi Amichia, OT, USF

7 (20) Devante Mays, RB, Utah State

7 (29) Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

Commentary: I liked what the Pack did with their draft choices. Obviously the secondary was a major need to address coming into the draft (they don’t need to be reminded of the Atlanta game). Kevin King was without a doubt a first round talent at corner and some NFL.com experts had Josh Jones going in the late first early second round as well. King has unusually great instincts and is a ball hawk. Jones is an aggressive tackler and has prototypical size, strength and speed. Adams was a good pick because he can be the run stuffer they need on the inside. Beigel (despite recently breaking his foot) is really aggressive and should complement Clay quite nicely, both with that vicious downhill tackling approach. Picking up 3 running backs wasn’t such a bad idea, keep an eye out for Williams, he is a very decisive runner with great size and agility.

Minnesota Vikings : Grade: B

2 (9) Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

3 (6) Pat Elfin, C, Ohio State

4 (2) Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa

4 (14) Ben Gedeon, ILB, Michigan

5 (27) Rodney Adams, WR, USF

5 (37) Danny Isidora, OG, Miami

6 (17) Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech

7 (1) Stacy Coley, WR, Miami

7 (2) Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern

7 (14) Elijah Lee, OLB, Kansas State

7 (27) Jake Tocho, CB, NC State

Commentary: With AP heading to New Orleans, Dalvin Cook was an awesome pickup. I am surprised Cook fell as far as he did, but he fell into good hands with the Vikings. Cook has incredible balance and footwork that will help him succeed in this offense, he should be a starter day 1. Elfin was a solid pick, especially with a line that could use a little work. He is physical and gets to the next level in the running game which should help to free Cook. The Vikings had a lot of lower round picks and I am interested to see how some of these guys pan out, since a lot of them had very interesting tape. One guy that catches my eye is Bucky Hodges, who I think can come in and compete for a starting job because he is big, physical, helpful in the run game and can catch.

NFC SOUTH:

Atlanta Falcons : Grade: B

1 (26) Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

3 (11) Duke Riley, ILB, LSU

4 (30) Sean Harlow, C, Oregon State

5 (5) Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

5 (12) Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming

5 (31) Eric Saubert, TE, Drake

Commentary: McKinley is a perfect fit for Atlanta. He is the type of player with the passion and attitude toward the game that will help bring Atlanta back to the Super Bowl. A rush off the edge would have helped big time in the Super Bowl, and McKinley helps to add the athleticism they need. He is a bit raw but he has an incredible ability to get after the quarterback and rack up tackles for loss, which is what the Falcons need. Duke Riley is a solid player that should develop well behind Jones, expect to see him come in and be consistent, although he lacks major physicality. The Falcons didn’t really have much to work with for their picks but they made their first two really worth it, and expect Hill to learn a lot from Freeman and Coleman, expect to see him get involved with special teams right away.

Carolina Panthers : Grade: B

1 (8) Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford

2 (8) Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State

2 (32) Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan

3 (13) Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M

5 (8) Corn Elder, CB, Miami

6 (8) Alexander Armah, DE, West Georgia

7 (15) Harrison Butker, K, Georgia Tech

Commentary: McCaffery is the perfect fit for Carolina and here is why. Jonathan Stewart is getting older and can’t contribute too much to the passing game besides the screen game. McCaffery can come in and play anywhere, which is a huge weapon for Cam because once the pressure is off him a little, this Panthers team can be dangerous. Expect to see McCaffery line up a lot in the slot, with match-ups against linebackers and safety’s that he takes advantage of. Expect to see him get 15 or so carries a game. He will be a big weapon for that offense. Curtis Samuel will also be another big weapon for these guys, because he can create the same mismatches that McCaffery can. I love the pick of Daeshon Hall, who didn’t get nearly enough credit throughout the season because he had Myles Garrett lined up opposite him. He is quick off the edge and is almost as good as Garrett off the ball, be careful of him making a run for a starting spot come time for the season to start.

New Orleans Saints : Grade: C+

1 (11) Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

1 (32) Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

2 (10) Marcus Williams, S, Utah

3 (3) Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

3 (12) Alex Anzalone, ILB, Florida

3 (39) Trey Hendrickson, DE, FAU

6 (12) Al-Quadin Muhammed, DE, Miami

Commentary: Draft day didn’t go as planned for New Orleans, with Mahommes coming off the board just before them and Foster literally on the phone with them as the 49ers picked him. However, they got a real good quality player in Lattimore. He plays like Vontae Davis, and is very physical with great athleticism. Ramczyk was a decent pick and should be a started from day 1. Ramczyk is very physical in the run game but needs to improve as a pass protector, but he should be stable enough to help keep Brees off of the turf. Marcus Williams is a ball hawk that should be able to help out their depleted secondary. Williams is very instinctive and has good decision making abilities that should help them out. Kamara was a bit of a head scratcher for me, maybe you guys can help explain this for me. Why pick up a running back when they just signed Adrian Peterson, and let us not forget that they still have Mark Ingram. I feel from an educational perspective, he can learn a lot from those two guys, but he is the kind of back that could help a team out right away.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers : Grade: B+

1 (19) OJ Howard, TE, Alabama

2 (18) Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M

3 (20) Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State

3 (43) Kendall Beckwith, ILB, LSU

5 (18) Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State

7 (5) Stevie Tu’Ikolovatu, DT, USC

Commentary: Winston is licking his chops right now. Howard is a top 10 talent and fell all the way to the Bucs at 19. Howard has size, speed, agility, athleticism and he can make big time plays, just what the doctor ordered for Winston. Howard should come in and be a starter right away, and should compliment Evans pretty nicely. Godwin also helps out Winston big time as well. Godwin can make big plays, and can help take the load off of Evans in the receiving game. McNichols was another good pick especially since nobody really knows what is going on with Doug Martin and their running back situation. McNichols has good speed and open field ability which should help contribute to their offense. On the defensive side of the bal they added Evans and Beckwith, who should both be very useful. The Bucs needed a lot of help at safety and Evans provides a good tackler that can make good decisions and tackle. Beckwith is a little raw, but he can develop nicely into a role player.

NFC WEST:

Arizona Cardinals : Grade: B+

1 (13) Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple

2 (4) Budda Baker, S, Washington

3 (34) Chad Williams, WR, Grambling

4 (8) Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh

5 (13) Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt

5 (36) TJ Logan, RB, North Carolina

6 (24) Rudy Ford, S, Auburn

Commentary: Haason Reddick is an animal. He will cause a lot of problems for any offense that they face. He has a nose for the ball, is an outstanding tackler and has tremendous athleticism. He should be a day 1 starter. Budda Baker is another fantastic addition to their defense, and can be a hybrid safety-nickel-dime-corner. He is a hard hitter and plays a similar style to that of Bob Sanders. Williams was a bit of a head scratcher for me, with other good receivers still available, but he should be a role player on offense. Dorian Johnson was a fantastic pick. He is big, physical, is quick to the point of attack and gets to the next level in the run game. TJ Logan should be a good weapon for their special teams game, which needed improving.

Los Angeles Rams : Grade: C

2 (12) Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama

3 (5) Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Kentucky

3 (27) John Johnson, S, Boston College

4 (10) Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

4 (19) Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington

6 (5) Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane

6 (22) Sam Rogers, FB, Virginia Tech

7 (16) Ejuan Prince, OLB, Pittsburgh

Commentary: Not too impressed with the Rams draft. Everett is a bit of a project for them, but he has the raw athleticism to be turned into a good player. I think one of the most underrated players in this years draft was Cooper Kupp. He is fast, can catch and creates extremely well in space. Expect Jared Goff to look to him to be a big contributor this year. John Johnson was a bit over-drafted and a lot of their other picks had better options available at those positions. The Rams need to really start getting their acts together on draft days.

San Francisco 49ers : Grade: A

1 (3) Solomon Thomas, DT, Stanford

1 (31) Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama

3 (2) Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado

3 (40) CJ Beathard, QB, Iowa

4 (15) Joe Williams, RB, Utah

5 (2) George Kittel, TE, Iowa

5 (34) Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech

6 (14) DJ Jones, DT, Ole Miss

6 (18) Pita Taumoepenu, DE, Utah

7 (11) Adrian Colbert, S, Miami

Commentary: Wow. What a terrific first draft by John Lynch. The 49ers got two top 5 caliber players with their first two picks. They believed the Bears wanted to trade up to take Thomas, and were prepared to take Foster with the third pick. Thomas has big play ability with elite strength, quickness and tackling ability. He should have an immediate impact on the defensive line and should disrupt backfields from the get-go. Foster is an incredible steal at 31. Yes, shoulder injury was a concern as well as character, but when it boils down to it, he will be an elite football player. He has tremendous instincts and a great tackling ability. He has an elite playmaking range, and should be expected to be an instant starter with pro bowl potential in a few years. Witherspoon is a big, long corner, which their secondary desperately needs. He is fast, physical and plays the ball well. Beathard is a project pick in my opinion, he lacks elite arm strength and accuracy, but I feel that Shanahan has some tricks up his sleeve for him. Joe Williams had some character issues and lacks prototypical NFL size and strength, so that was an interesting pick. Kittel was a solid pick, expect him to see some playing time early on, he can be a weapon.

Seattle Seahawks : Grade: C+

2 (3) Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

2 (26) Ethan Pocic, C, LSU

3 (26) Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF

3 (31) Delano Hill, S, Michigan

3 (38) Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina

3 (42) Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan

4 (4) Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado

6 (3) Mike Tyson, S, Cincinnati

6 (26) Justin Senior, OT, Mississippi State

7 (8) David Moore, WR, East Central

7 (31) Christopher Carson, RB, Oklahoma State

Commentary: Seattle could have done better, there were better options on the board where they picked but nevertheless, they did scoop up some decent talent. McDowell is a very raw player, but has great athleticism and is a run stuffer. Shaquill Griffin can help out in the passing game, he is fast and can play one on one very well. Seattle went with a lot of guys that didn’t put up big numbers at the combine, instead they went with guys who had the raw traits that they look for, for turning guys into big time players. I am curious to see how this draft class pans out for them.

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