Baltimore Ravens | Snap grade: B+
Loved the first three picks. Fate of class will be decided by the soundness of Hollywood Brown’s foot, whether or not Sack Daddy Ferguson’s speed-to-power heavy game translates (myself and Jim Nagy are among the crowd that thinks it will, most of #DraftTwitter is on the other side), and whether Miles Boykin can play up to his athletic ability. The athleticism on Baltimore’s offense with Lamar Jackson, Justice Hill, Hollywood, Boykin (and, to a lesser extent, Mark Andrews) is unreal. Dibs on Ravens in Madden.
Buffalo Bills | Snap grade: C+
The Bills absolutely crushed their first two picks. Buffalo is going to love Ed Oliver, or as I call him, John Randle 2.0. I thought the rest of the haul was pretty weak.
Cincinnati Bengals | Snap grade: C+
Getting Jonah at 1.11 was clutch. I thought the Bengals had a regrettable Day 2, but they roared back with a strong Day 3.
Cleveland Browns | Snap grade: B+
Despite not having a first-round pick, the Browns emerged with a first-rounder — free-falling CB Greedy Williams. Assuming he’s healthy (rumors suggest the fall had to do with an undisclosed health concern), that’s highway robbery. The Browns also got a linebacker infusion with Tatitaki, a kid I’m bullish on, and Mack Wilson, whom the NFL gifted Cleveland a no-risk flier on in Round 5.
Mack shouldn’t have declared — I think he could have been a first-rounder next year if he’d answered questions the NFL had about him — and is rawer than the linebackers Bama typically sends to the pros. Mack has been described as boom-or-bust. That’s not exactly right. He’s average-or-savage. He’s an awesome special teams player whose floor as a linebacker is good backup/replaceable starter. What is that profile worth on a dirt-cheap four-year contract? A fifth-round pick or so, right? So you’ve now removed the risk from his profile and given Cleveland a coinflip chance of a boom for free.
Denver Broncos | Snap grade: B
I’ve been a Drew Lock’s-not-a-first-rounder truther for over a year, but, even though I wouldn’t have done it, I’m not going to bash taking him at 2.42. I thought the rest of the picks were nice, particularly stealing Dre’Mont Jones in Round 3.
Houston Texans | Snap grade: B+
The Texans could have traded a nominal amount of draft capital to move up a few spots to take Andre Dillard, and instead overdrafted Tytus Howard when the Eagles beat them to the punch. That was a regrettable sequence. But after that, the Texans killed it pick after pick.
Houston took verified #myguys Scharping, Motor Singletary and Warrring with three straight picks right around where I had them slotted overall. I felt like we were sharing draft boards. I wish I could grade them higher than a B, but they’d have had an A+++ with Dillard for the price of perhaps the Omenihu pick. You do that. You just do. Let me ask you, reader: Would you rather have Tytus and Omenihu or Andre 300 and a UDFA iDL like Daniel Wise or Gerald Willis?
Indianapolis Colts | Snap grade: D
I assume #DraftTwitter will love this class, but I think the Colts, feeling themselves, got cute after the Rock Ya-Sin pick (and perhaps even with it). Banogu never put it together at TCU under one of the best defensive staffs in the nation, Parris Campbell can’t catch balls more than 10 yards downfield, and Indy may get very little out of their six Day 3 picks.
Jacksonville Jaguars | Snap grade: A-
Jacksonville destroyed their first two picks, getting one guy I didn’t think had any chance of dropping to 1.7 in the first place and then a guy many thought would go at 1.7 in the second. Outside of the bizarre Quincy Williams pick, I liked what Jacksonville was doing.
Kansas City Chiefs | Snap grade: C-
Thornhill was a really strong value at 2.63, and I think Darwin Thompson is going to surprise, particularly now that he wound up in KC. He’s a great receiver and a freak athlete in the Tarik Cohen mold. But, man, the Hardman pick was rough, and Fenton feels like a wasted pick. There were multiple UDFA free agents WRs I would have preferred to Hardman.
Los Angeles Chargers | Snap grade: A
Making one late pick in each round, the Chargers methodically sat back and took a bunch of guys who fell into their laps, starting with Tillery. Adderley was my S1, Tranquill fits where the NFL is going at LB, and Easton Stick is a Taysom Hill offensive weapon option in the short-term who could turn into Phillip Rivers’ heir apparent.
Miami Dolphins | Snap grade: D-
I thought there were better options on the board than Wilkins, and the rest of the haul is utterly forgettable.
New England Patriots | Snap grade: A-
And another one! Harry was an awesome pick, Winovich was a Round 3 steal, and I think both Cajuste and Froholdt will outplay their draft slots.
New York Jets | Snap grade: A
Sensational. You get the best player in the class at 1.3, you get strong value on all three Day 2 picks, and then you get the biggest steal in the latter portion of the draft in Blake Cashman in Round 5. Assuming Cashman’s shoulders hold up, he’s going to surprise.
Oakland Raiders | Snap grade: F
I actually loved what the Raiders did on Day 3, but I refuse to bump them up to a D- for the small-potatoes stuff. Thursday night, Mike Mayock’s first day in charge of the draft, was one of the most breathtaking squanderings of draft capital that we’ve even seen. Mayock took a mid-first rounder at 1.4, a second-round passing-down back at 1.24 (laughably, this news was leaked months in advance — and yet no team bothered to hop Oakland for Jacobs, all the indication you need that Mayock and Jon Gruden were on an island with regards to Jacobs’ value range) and then an athletically-limited one-trick-pony enforcer SS at 1.27 who I predict will be outperformed in his career by more than one safety who went on Day 3.
These weren’t even Las Vegas-esque high-upside gambles. Where’s the upside here? Can you envision Farrell becoming one of the class’ top-five players 20 years down the line? And we don’t even need to go to the effort of that effort with Jacobs and Abram becoming top-30 players in the class. Those are two new cars whose value dropped by half as they were driven off the lot. NFL teams: If you’re still into hiring media members to run draft rooms after witnessing what Mayock did on Thursday, I solemnly promise not to use first-round picks on committee backs with 18th-percentile athleticism and run-stopping strong safeties with 36th-percentile athletics who can’t cover. Call me!
Pittsburgh Steelers | Snap grade: C+
The Steelers made a nice move up to take Devin Bush, my second favorite linebacker in this class, but their later selections were hit and miss. Both Zach Gentry and Benny Snell are replacement level pieces at best, and taking Diontae Johnson over Hakeem Butler was front office malpractice — indefensible in the moment and likely to become more so as time goes on. That said, I was gaga for the selection of NIU’s Sutton Smith in the fifth round. He’ll will outplay that slot. Guaranteed.
Tennessee Titans | Snap grade: A+
This is how you do it. Simmons was an inspired pick — he likely would have gone in the top-10 if not for the ACL tear —and Brown, Hooker and Walker were all mega-steals.