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Draft Grades - Round One!

Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals traded their 23rd overall pick for Marquise Brown and the 100th overall pick. Yes, disgruntled quarterback Kyler Murray and Brown have strong ties from their days at Oklahoma but this was a confusing move for a team that had other pressing needs. Grade: C-

Atlanta Falcons – I am very high on Drake London. Wide receivers were at a premium last night and London in my opinion was the best on the board who has comps to Mike Evans. Him and Kyle Pitts are going to be a problem. Grade: A-

Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens just hit home runs at the draft year after year. Kyle Hamilton is an elite talent at safety and Tyler Linderbaum has pro bowl potential for 10 years. Both prospects were two of the best going into the draft and the Ravens got them both. Phenomenal job. Grade: A+

Buffalo Bills – The Bills didn’t have a ton of glaring needs but cornerback was one of them. Kaiir Elam was moving up draft boards and ahead of some of the more established names at the position. The Bills strong pass rush should make for a smooth transition for Elam. Grade: A-

Carolina Panthers – Ickey Ekwonu was a no-brainer at the #6 pick and the Panthers should be applauded for not reaching for a quarterback. You can build a great offensive line with Ekwonu as your anchor. GM Scott Fitterer knew his good fortune stating, “We got very lucky today and we’re much better because of it.” Grade: A

Chicago Bears – The Bears did not pick this year as they traded their first rounder this year to move up to draft Justin Fields last year. Grade: Incomplete

Cincinnati Bengals – Anyone who watched the Super Bowl this year could tell you that the most glaring need for the Bengals was their offensive line. I was surprised that Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan wasn’t the pick, especially considering the drop off in offensive line talent after him. That said Daxton Hill is very versatile and will be a welcome addition to their secondary. Grade: B-

Cleveland Browns – The Browns will be without first rounders for awhile as part of their trade for Deshaun Watson. Grade: Incomplete

Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Smith has a lot of talent but is also prone to penalties. The Cowboys identity has always been around their stout offensive line and Smith is a fantastic athlete for a player his size. He’s going to need some solid coaching and time to develop but he’s in a good situation. Grade: B

Denver Broncos – Denver traded their first round pick as part of their deal for Russell Wilson, a fantastic move. Grade: Incomplete

Detroit Lions – The Lions have to be thrilled with their haul last night, nabbing defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and wide receiver Jameson Williams. Hutchinson will immediately improve the Lions pass rush and Williams may have been the first receiver off the board had he not injured his knee at the end of the season. He is a game changer who should add some fireworks to the Lions offense, even if he comes with some risk. Grade: A-

Green Bay Packers – The Packers were in a Georgia state of mind last night, selecting LB Quay Walker and DT Devonte Wyatt, two players who will instantly provide depth and athleticism to Green Bay’s defense. I think the Packers would have preferred taking a receiver with one of their picks but without trading up most of the receivers were off the board. Will be interesting to see what Mr. Rodgers thinks… Grade: B+

Houston Texans – I thought the Texans did a fantastic job last night. Derek Stingley of LSU has had some injury issues, but he has pro bowl caliber talent at the corner position and was rising up many team’s draft boards. Kenyon Green in my opinion was one of the most underrated players in the draft and he was one of my favorites after the top 3 offensive linemen. Grade: A

Indianapolis Colts – The Colts did not have a pick because this was part of their draft compensation for Carson Wentz, who they subsequently traded. Grade: F

Jacksonville Jaguars – Trayvon Walker of Georgia has a ton of potential on the Edge and I’m a huge fan of Utah LB Devin Lloyd, who can be a major disruptor on defense. Both are fantastic athletes and will improve a Jacksonville defense which is young but improving. But when you draft a franchise QB like Trevor Lawrence, using one of those picks on some offensive help would have been prudent. Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs - What a draft for the Chiefs. Trent McDuffie of Washington is one of the best defensive backs of the draft who only slipped because of some misguided size concerns. Purdue Edge George Karlaftis was considered a top 5 talent before the season and was a steal. Grade: A

Las Vegas Raiders - The Raiders traded their first rounder to acquire Davante Adams from the Packers. Grade: Incomplete

Los Angeles Chargers - - The Chargers are doing what many teams with a young quarterback should be doing and that is building a strong offensive line. Boston College linemen Zion Johnson will solidify the right guard spot and give Justin Herbert the time he needs in the pocket to excel. Grade: A

Los Angeles Rams – The Rams used this pick as part of their compensation to trade for Matthew Stafford…and won the Super Bowl last year. Grade: A+

Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins used their draft capital to move up for Jaylen Waddle last year and to trade for Tyreek Hill this year. Grade: Incomplete

Minnesota Vikings – Lewis Cine of Georgia is a good player who will bolster a defensive backfield in need of help. The draft though isn’t always about who you draft – it’s where your draft a player. The Vikings saw the draft board wasn’t breaking the way they would like at the 12 spot, and traded down with the Lions for additional picks. Very good value overall. Grade: B+

New England Patriots – Remember when I said it’s not always about who you draft but where you draft? Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches of all time. Bill Belichick the general manager needs to hand over the reins. Guard Cole Strange of Tennessee-Chattanooga was a player many teams were looking at in the Round 3-4 range. Strange has potential to be a good player, but this was horrible value for the first round. Grade: F

New Orleans Saints – Trading up for Ohio State receiver Chris Olave was a head scratcher at #11. I understand receiver is an important position but I don’t think Olave was worth giving up draft capital for. Trevor Penning of Northern Iowa was the top tackle available and the Saints have a hole there so that selection made sense. Grade: C-

New York Giants – Giants fans should be thrilled with how the draft broke for new GM Joe Schoen. Edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon and OT Evan Neal of Alabama instantly make both lines better. From a talent perspective, the Giants were able to pick not one, but two players who were at the top of some team’s draft boards. I have some slight concerns about Thibodeaux handling the NY media market, but these two picks should have Giants fans very happy this morning Grade: A

New York Jets – New York football fans should be ecstatic across the board today as the Jets also hit a home run drafting CB Sauce Gardner of Cincinnati, WR Garrett Wilson of Ohio State, and maybe the biggest surprise, Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson. For a team with a ton of needs, the Jets managed to address 3 of the most important positions on the field and are building a solid base of young talent to build around. A great night for the Jets. Grade: A+

Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles had a night. As I mentioned in my draft primer, drafting an eventual replacement for Fletcher Cox was a smart move and the Eagles did so with the talented Georgia DT Jordan Davis. Davis’s athleticism will take some of the pressure off the rest of the defensive line. Before the night was over however, the GM Howie Roseman would trade their second first round pick for talented Titans wideout AJ Brown, and sign him to an extension immediately afterwards. The Eagles still have some needs to fill but overall they have to be thrilled with their day 1 haul. Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers – QB Kenny Pickett of Pitt was curious pick in my opinion. Make no mistake, the Steelers needed a quarterback, but while he has a high floor, Pickett has limited upside and I would have preferred the Steelers either go for the fences with QB Malik Willis of Liberty or address some of their other infrastructure issues on the offensive side of the ball. Grade: C

San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers traded this pick as part of their compensation for Trey Lance last season. Grade: Incomplete

Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks could have gone in a number of directions but opted for athletic OT Charles Cross out of Mississippi State. Cross is an excellent pass protector who was one of the most talented players on the board, although he is the first of many holes that Seattle needs to fill as they have a long build ahead. Cross was a smart move. Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs traded their first round pick for additional draft compensation to the Jaguars who selected Devin Lloyd. Grade: Incomplete

Tennessee Titans – I’m a big fan of Arkansas wideout Treylon Burks. After the Titans traded AJ Brown to the Eagles, they needed to find a compliment to WR Robert Woods and may have found one with Burks who is large and physical much like Brown. He may take some time to develop – are the Titans who are coming off of the #1 seed in the AFC willing to be patient? Grade: B

Washington Commanders – WR Jahan Dotson of Penn State is good, but this feels like a reach and overreaction to other receivers coming off the board at the #16 pick overall. Yes they traded down for an additional 3rd and 2 4th round picks, but it feels like they could have drafted a more impactful player if they stayed in the 11 spot. Time will tell. Grade: C+

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