Now that the craziness of the NFL Draft is over, we can finally take a second to look back at each team’s selections. Here are my team’s draft performances ranked from worst to best…
32. Los Angeles Rams — For a team with 11 picks (10 on day three) they didn’t get a whole lot. Even though the Rams don’t have much to improve on they still could’ve done better. Their best pick was Oklahoma OLB Obo Okoronkwo in the fifth round who, if he trims down a little, can be an effective edge rusher.
31. New Orleans Saints — They gave up too much in trading up for Marcus Davenport. He has great size and speed but playing at a small school like UTSA always raises some concern in the first round. If the Saints stayed put, they could’ve given Drew Brees the tight end he needs in either Goedert or Gesicki late in the first and taken a good defensive end in the third.
30. Seattle Seahawks – Had the Seahawks addressed the offensive line in the first round and taken a running back in the second or third, they’d be higher on this list. Shaquem Griffin, their first pick in the fifth round, is more than just a feel-good story. Look for him to contribute immediately on special teams and to rotate into pass-rush packages. Fifth round selection Jamarco Jones (OL Ohio State) and UDFA Skyler Phillips (OL Idaho State) can also prove to be great values.
29. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders are continuing to show the world they aren’t a franchise that values character too much. A third-round pick for Martavis Bryant was too much to give, especially after adding Jordy Nelson this offseason. Then they added a first-round talent with off-field issues, DE Arden Key, in the third. He and another guy with first-round potential, fifth-round selection, Mo Hurst may be their best doing, but Kolton Miller at 15 was way too high.
28. Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield at number one shocked me as I consider him the fourth best QB in this draft, and he if he doesn’t work out, the Browns are back to square one. I also think they misused some other picks even though they drafted talent. Denzel Ward with Bradley Chubb on the board was wrong, and Austin Corbett wasn’t the best guard available with the first pick of the second round. Cleveland’s best pick was Nick Chubb two picks after Corbett.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers – If the Steelers took Ronnie Harrison with pick 28 instead of Terrell Edmunds, this would be a totally different story. Edmunds isn’t going to make an immediate impact, and the team did nothing to address their awful cornerback situation. Keeping James Washington and Mason Rudolph together from Oklahoma State to the pros is interesting though and might pay off three years from now.
26. Carolina Panthers – Carolina’s secondary should be much improved next year, but I’m not as high on WR D.J. Moore as most. I think offensive line should’ve been their first-round priority with many talented receivers available down the line.
25. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs did the right thing by focusing all draft picks on defense (even though reports say Kahlil McKenzie will be moved from DT to OG). It just felt like a lot of their picks were reaches when they could’ve afforded to take the best defensive player available every time.
24. Tennessee Titans – The Titans only had four picks but made the most of them. Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry are both linebackers who can immediately give Tennessee an elite defense. Taking Luke Falk with the Tom Brady pick (199) was also interesting, and he should be a fine backup to the injury-prone Mariota. Adding Iowa RB Akrum Wadley as a UDFA was a steal. Look for him to make the team as he should’ve been taken early on day three.
23. San Francisco 49ers – If you’re going to pay him, you have to protect him. That’s exactly what the 49ers did by selecting Mike McGlinchey to keep Jimmy G safe for hopefully the next decade. Christian Kirk or Anthony Miller probably would’ve been better second-round picks as Dante Pettis’s ceiling could be as a returner. They bolstered their defense nicely from the third round on and UDFA Jeff Wilson, RB North Texas, is a name to watch in camp.
22. Dallas Cowboys – Each of Dallas’s picks could be considered good, or safe, but they lack a standout. Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch might’ve been a slight reach at 19, and after losing Dez Bryant, Calvin Ridley should’ve been a no brainer there. Connor Williams at 50 was their best pick, someone who can play guard or tackle on a team that has the best offensive line in football.
21. Atlanta Falcons – Despite the glaring need at defensive tackle, when the guy Dallas should’ve taken fell to 26, there wasn’t a doubt the Falcons would pair Julio Jones with another Alabama stud receiver in Calvin Ridley. They passed on Harrison Phillips twice though, who has potential to be this draft’s best DT when things are said and done.
20. New York Jets – The Jets probably got the best quarterback in the draft with the third pick in Sam Darnold but traded so much to get him that they left him without weapons. Had they kept the sixth pick and taken Josh Rosen, they could’ve given him better offensive pieces with the two second-round picks they gave to Indianapolis
19. Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James falling to the Chargers at 17 was nothing short of a miracle. The safety might be the best overall athlete in the draft, but the rest of their draft was mediocre. After taking USC OLB Uchenna Nwosu in the second, they should’ve prioritized an offensive tackle.
18. Houston Texans – Getting Deshaun Watson last year made not having a pick until the third round this year worth it. It also helps that they got a steal with that pick in safety Justin Reid, who will be paired with a star in Tyrann Mathieu. They didn’t directly address their need for an offensive tackle by taking Martinas Rankin, who’s built more like a guard, but if he plays tackle and plays it well 18 might be a low ranking for them.
17. Cincinnati Bengals – Billy Price in the first filled a positional need but wasn’t the best center available with James Daniels on the board. Their best picks came Friday, using all three to help the defensive side of the ball. Third-rounder Sam Hubbard, DE Ohio State, might have the biggest range in the draft. He can be a first-round talent or a total bust. Logan Woodside as a seventh-round pick is appropriate, but UDFA Quinton Flowers may be better.
16. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts may have landed a future Hall of Fame lineman in Quenton Nelson at six. The rest of their picks were interesting. They need a tackle, which one of their four second-round picks, Braden Smith, has the length to play despite being a guard. Darius Leonard taken at 36 was a reach, especially with Harold Landry on the board. National champ J.T. Barrett should also make the team as a UDFA.
15. Detroit Lions – Frank Ragnow will finally give Matt Stafford some confidence in the pocket, and Kerryon Johnson complements a power-back like LeGarrette Blount beautifully. They didn’t draft their defense well which surprised me with Matt Patricia in as the new head coach but redeemed themselves by stealing Tyrell Crosby in the fifth round.
14. New England Patriots – The Pats had a great first day when they landed Georgia teammates (and roommates) Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Isaiah Oliver might’ve been a better pick than Duke Dawson at 56 because of his better physicality, but look for sixth-rounder Braxton Berrios out of Miami to be the next Wes Welker or Danny Amendola.
13. Minnesota Vikings – Mike Hughes could be a great corner opposite Xavier Rhodes, but off-field issues make him a questionable first-round pick. Brian O’Niell and Jalyn Holmes give them good linemen on each side of the ball, and they signed CB Holton Hill as a UDFA despite being a third-to-fourth-round talent. Should be a sturdy, reliable draft class.
12. Buffalo Bills – If Josh Allen ends up being the guy Mel Kiper had going first overall for weeks, the Bills could be the winners of this draft. I just don’t think he’ll pan out on arm strength alone. That said, Tremaine Edmunds is a leader who doesn’t miss tackles and Harrison Phillips adds to one of the best interior defensive lines in the league.
11. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles beat the Patriots because they had something identical to both Giants teams that beat New England – depth on the defensive line. If Michael Bennett doesn’t rejoin the team, Josh Sweat out of Florida State should step into that rotation and make an impact. Tight end Dallas Goedert fell to 49 likely because of his small-school status but, just like Carson Wentz, could be a star nonetheless. Expect the two of them to develop chemistry quickly. UDFA Josh Adams out of Notre Dame could join Corey Clement in the backfield as guys who succeed in Philly at a young age despite not being drafted.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tight end was probably the biggest need for a team that doesn’t need much, and it wasn’t addressed. Otherwise they did great. Taven Bryan gives them depth on the defensive line that they needed in the fourth quarter against New England. D.J. Chark steps in after losing Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and Ronnie Harrison was an absolute steal who will help an already stacked secondary.
9. Miami Dolphins – Minkah Fitzpatrick at 11 is undoubtedly a top-10 talent, and Mike Gesicki should quickly become a favorite target in the red zone. By not taking a quarterback the Dolphins’ front office has given Ryan Tannehill their full confidence, even though a guy like Luke Falk who didn’t go until the sixth round might’ve been a better fourth-round value than a second tight end. This year should be Tannehill’s last chance.
8. Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals got a very good quarterback by trading up for Josh Rosen at 10, but had they kept their original pick at 15 could’ve gotten Lamar Jackson, someone I’m high on as a quarterback and who comes without the character concerns. Christian Kirk gives Rosen an immediate weapon to pair up with Larry Fitzgerald. Kirk is a precise route runner with great speed and the hands to match.
7. Washington Redskins – Derrius Guice falling to 59 shocked many and makes up for the Redskins reaching on DT Da’Ron Payne with pick 13, one they planned on taking Vita Vea with before Tampa Bay snatched him at 12. Geron Christian in the third round gives them a great tackle who needs some polishing but already has better footwork than most. UDFA Simmie Cobbs and seventh-rounder Trey Quinn should both be good weapons that Alex Smith can get more out of than most.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vita Vea was a questionable pick at 12 considering Derwin James (who many people had the Buccs taking at seven) was still on the board. With that said, he adds to their now stacked defensive line, and after taking RB Ronald Jones II early in the second round, they addressed cornerback needs with their last two second round picks. Tampa should improve by three-to-four wins next year.
5. Chicago Bears – Roquan Smith is everything you want in a linebacker. His strength, speed, coverage abilities and open-field tackling make him a potential pro-bowler in year one. James Daniels was a first-round talent they got in the second who can sure up the inside of their offensive line, and Anthony Miller’s precise routes and speed should make him an early go-to guy for Mitch Trubisky. The Bears are closer to winning than people think.
4. New York Giants – Not often do three-win teams look to win the next season. The Giants are an exception. Saquon Barkley is an immediate game changer who, paired with Odell Beckham Jr., can make Eli Manning’s life a lot easier. Will Hernandez should’ve gone in the first round and along with Nate Solder gives the Giants a potentially dynamic left side to their offensive line. Lorenzo Carter, B.J. Hill and RJ McIntosh were all tremendous value picks on defense by new GM Dave Gettleman. If this team addresses some looming secondary needs, they could go from last to first in the NFC East in just one year.
3. Green Bay Packers – I had the Packers taking Iowa CB Josh Jackson in the first round. They got him in the second round after taking Louisville CB Jaire Alexander in the first. That’s the kind of draft it was for Green Bay, who seemed to make all the right moves. Of the three receivers they took in an attempt to replace Rodgers’s favorite target, Jordy Nelson, sixth-rounder Equanimeous St. Brown has the size and hands to be the best receiver taken that late since…Antonio Brown.
2. Baltimore Ravens – Ozzie Newsome went out with a bang in his last draft as GM of the Ravens. While I see his first pick, TE Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina, as a number two tight end at best, he took care of the team’s future by adding QB Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the first round. Joe Flacco is out of guaranteed money after 2018 and that move might solidify this year as his last in Baltimore. Orlando Brown was a first-to-second-round pick before his embarrassing combine so taking him in the third is fine, and Jaleel Scott (New Mexico State) and Jordan Lasley (UCLA) add depth to what has suddenly become a competitive receiving core.
1. Denver Broncos – Not only did Denver address all of their needs, but John Elway may have landed the best defensive player in the draft when he took DE Bradley Chubb with the fifth pick. Royce Freeman could step in and start at running back after C.J. Anderson was cut a few weeks ago, and Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton give Case Keenum plenty of options in addition to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Like the Giants, expect Denver to go from a top-five pick to a playoff contender next season.