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Evan Silva

NFL Draft Grades

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Draft 2016: AFC Draft Grades

Monday, May 2, 2016



Kansas City Chiefs

2 (37). Mississippi State DE Chris Jones
3 (74). Notre Dame CB KeiVarae Russell
4 (105). Cincinnati G/T Parker Ehinger
4 (106). Minnesota CB Eric Murray
4 (126). Florida WR Demarcus Robinson
5 (162). Stanford QB Kevin Hogan
5 (165). West Alabama WR Tyreek Hill
6 (178). Georgia Tech CB D.J. White
6 (203). Virginia Tech LB Dadi Nicolas

Overview: After the NFL stripped his third-round pick for pre-free agency tampering with Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs GM John Dorsey began his draft by trading out of round one, netting San Francisco's fourth- (105) and sixth-round picks (178) in exchange for dropping nine slots. Dorsey traded out again in round two, adding a fourth-round pick (106) to slide down 15 slots. Kansas City still emerged with a top-32 talent (Jones), and a potential early-career starting corner (Russell). Cornerback was the Chiefs' No. 1 need entering the draft, so Dorsey tripled down with Murray and White. Robinson and Hill are gadget-type receivers. Ehinger was a college tackle who will convert to guard, and perhaps push for snaps at left guard as a rookie. Hogan adds depth and smarts to Kansas City's already high-IQ quarterback room. Dorsey's draft approach was pretty clear: Trade down early to collect more picks, then attack needs through volume drafting. This is not a sexy class, but it added talent to the bottom of the Chiefs' roster and brought in up to three or four immediate contributors.

Grade: B-

Miami Dolphins

1 (13). Ole Miss T/G Laremy Tunsil
2 (38). Baylor CB Xavien Howard
3 (73). Alabama RB Kenyan Drake
3 (86). Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
6 (186). Texas Tech WR Jakeem Grant
6 (204). Penn State CB Jordan Lucas
7 (223). Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty
7 (231). UCLA TE Thomas Duarte

Overview: CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso are included in Miami's haul after they were acquired in a pre-draft trade with Philadelphia. At No. 13, Dolphins VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum happily stopped Tunsil's slide for a confusing and ultimately innocuous social media mishap. Miami traded up for Carroo, surrendering a sixth-rounder (186) plus third- and fourth-round picks in 2017 in exchange for No. 86. (That cost was quite high for a projected fourth receiver.) A press-man prospect, Howard should get a chance to start early for a Dolphins team in severe need of cornerback help. Sixth-rounder Lucas will also be auditioned at press corner after spending most of his time at safety for the Nittany Lions. Drake isn't a feature back candidate, but he should become a useful change-of-pace option behind Jay Ajayi. For me, 5-foot-6 Grant and non-NFL-prospect Doughty were throwaway picks. I did like the Duarte flyer late; a college wideout, Duarte averaged 16.8 yards per catch in his career at UCLA. Although this was an above-average class, the Dolphins' grade is lowered by their loss of second- and early third-day picks in next year's draft.

Grade: C

New England Patriots

2 (60). Alabama CB Cyrus Jones
3 (78). North Carolina State G/C Joe Thuney
3 (91). North Carolina State QB Jacoby Brissett
3 (96). Nebraska NT Vincent Valentine
4 (112). Georgia WR Malcolm Mitchell
6 (208). Eastern Illinois LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
6 (214). Houston LB Elandon Roberts
6 (221). Illinois OG Ted Karras
7 (225). Arizona State WR Devin Lucien

Overview: The Patriots didn't have a first-round pick after the NFL stripped it for Deflategate. Included in New England's haul is Martellus Bennett, who was acquired from Chicago in exchange for a 77-spot drop on the draft's third day. In a day-two trade with New Orleans, the Pats parlayed the 61st pick -- acquired for Chandler Jones -- into third- (Thuney) and fourth-rounders (Mitchell). New England picked up an additional 2017 fourth-round pick in a day-three deal with Seattle. Jones brings immediate special teams help -- he returned four punts for touchdowns at Alabama last season -- and should push Justin Coleman for slot corner snaps right away. Thuney may best project as a reserve utility lineman, not a starter. Valentine, Roberts, and Karras have chances to become useful role players. Brissett was a worthy gamble late on day two behind suspended Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, who had an up-and-down 2015 preseason. Mitchell slipped a round due to medical concerns, but I think his playing style fits what the Patriots like to do on offense as a superb route runner with top-notch ball skills. Here included, I suspect this draft won't receive high "grades" because it lacks star power and clear immediate impact. The grade deserves a bump when you include Martellus and the acquisition of an extra fourth-round pick in 2017.

Grade: C+

New York Jets

1 (20). Ohio State ILB Darron Lee
2 (51). Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
3 (83). Georgia OLB Jordan Jenkins
4 (118). North Carolina State CB Juston Burris
5 (158). South Carolina T/G Brandon Shell
7 (235). Sam Houston State P Lac Edwards
7 (241). Clemson WR Charone Peake

Overview: Included in GM Mike Maccagnan's haul is LT Ryan Clady, acquired from Denver in exchange for a 78-spot drop late on the third day. The Jets never did move DE Muhammad Wilkerson, which should be considered a win. Maccagnan started with a bang, taking heat-seeking-missile Lee, whom I'd expect Todd Bowles to use similarly to Arizona dime linebacker Deone Bucannon. Jenkins is an edge-setting run defender in the Courtney Upshaw or Erik Walden mold. Burris is a well-built (6'0/212) press corner prospect who held opponents to a 34% completion rate as a senior. The Jets parted with a 2017 fourth-round pick to move up for Shell. Peake has a relatively big name and made sense as a round-seven flyer; he fell due to a history of knee injuries, drops, and limited college production. Lee is a virtual lock to become an impact player, and there is a place in the league for Jenkins. When we look back in three years, I think this draft's success or lack thereof will be heavily connected to Hackenberg's development. Over the last two years, Hackenberg put little on tape or in the box score that suggests he'll become a big-league success. I really liked Maccagnan's acquisition of Clady, but didn't like his second-round pick, and didn't like that he parted with a 2017 fourth-rounder.

Grade: C

Oakland Raiders

1 (14). West Virginia S Karl Joseph
2 (44). Illinois DE Jihad Ward
3 (75). Michigan State DE/OLB Shilique Calhoun
4 (100). Michigan State QB Connor Cook
5 (143). Texas Tech RB DeAndre Washington
6 (194). Colorado State LB Cory James
7 (234). LSU OG Vadal Alexander

Overview: Joseph solidifies a suddenly imposing Raiders pass defense that will field two long, physical press corners (Sean Smith, David Amerson), 2015 NFL interceptions leader Reggie Nelson, Oakland's new first-round safety, and the Khalil Mack-Bruce Irvin edge-rush tandem, which suspended Aldon Smith should join eventually. GM Reggie McKenzie attacked a needy front seven with each of his day-two picks, before surprisingly trading up for Cook near the top of round four. With 4.49 speed and 124 college catches, Washington could give Oakland early passing-game contributions behind Latavius Murray, who has struggled in that area. James has a future on special teams and Alexander is a phone-booth mauler. Since a painfully slow start to his tenure as GM (e.g. D.J. Hayden, Mike Brisiel, the Rodger Saffold blunder, losing Jared Veldheer, Matt Flynn, Matt Schaub, Menelik Watson, Sio Moore, Tyler Wilson, LaMarr Woodley), McKenzie has caught fire and stayed hot this draft weekend. I'd expect as many as five players from this class to become early contributors in Oakland.

Grade: B+

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (25). Miami CB Artie Burns
2 (58). Maryland DB Sean Davis
3 (89). South Carolina State DT Javon Hargrave
4 (123). LSU OT Jerald Hawkins
6 (220). Washington LB Travis Feeney
7 (229). Houston WR/PR DeMarcus Ayers
7 (246). Temple ILB Tyler Matakevich

Overview: Heavily linked to Eli Apple and Karl Joseph before the draft, the Steelers were zoned in on early-round defensive backs. More of a project than most first-rounders, Burns is a raw boom-bust prospect who was widely not seen as a top-32 player. That pick looks like a need-driven reach. Davis is an impressive athlete, but coughed up ten touchdown passes over his final two college seasons and is a corner-safety 'tweener. Hargrave was my favorite Steelers pick. While not necessarily a solution at nose tackle, Hargrave is a disruptive interior presence who wrecked the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, twice winning MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. A sub-baseline-NFL athlete, Hawkins was another reach in round four. Feeney, Ayers, and Matakevich will likely max out on special teams. Although GM Kevin Colbert hit on some needs, I wasn't thrilled with the value he got from this draft and I'm not convinced the Steelers came away with many (any?) early-career impact players.

Grade: C-

San Diego Chargers

1 (3). Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
2 (35). Arkansas TE Hunter Henry
3 (66). USC C Max Tuerk
4 (102). Ohio State LB Josh Perry
5 (175). Akron LB Jatavis Brown
6 (179). Texas A&M P Drew Kaser
6 (198). Wisconsin FB Derek Watt
7 (224). Michigan State OG Donavon Clark

Overview: The Chargers smokescreened leading up to the draft, convincing some they wanted a tackle and others that they'd consider Jalen Ramsey or DeForest Buckner. Bosa was never so much as rumored to be San Diego's target. He was, and will now book end RE Corey Liuget on San Diego's line, which was supplemented with NT Brandon Mebane in free agency. For my money, Bosa was the best player in the draft, Hunter the best tight end, and Brown one of the better value picks. Assuming he is recovered from last year's ACL tear, Tuerk could supplant disappointing Chris Watt as the Chargers' starting center. Seventh-rounder Clark is an ideal swing lineman with starting experience at guard and both tackle spots. Struggling GM Tom Telesco badly needed a solid draft, and I think he got one.

Grade: B


Tennessee Titans

1 (8). Michigan State OT Jack Conklin
2 (33). Clemson DE/OLB Kevin Dodd
2 (43). Penn State DT Austin Johnson
2 (45). Alabama RB Derrick Henry
3 (64). Middle Tennessee S Kevin Byard
5 (140). UMass WR Tajae Sharpe
5 (157). Southern Utah CB LeShaun Sims
6 (193). Arkansas OG Sebastian Tretola
7 (222). UCLA LB Aaron Wallace
7 (253). Southern Miss CB Kalan Reed

Overview: Rookie GM Jon Robinson's debut offseason has been busy, emerging from his first draft with the above 10 players, DeMarco Murray, and the Rams' first- and third-round picks in 2017. Tennessee's day-one jump for Conklin shored up the opening opposite Taylor Lewan, but cost Robinson a 2016 third-round pick (76) and a 2017 second-rounder in exchange for climbing just seven slots in round one. My favorite Titans picks were Henry -- who I fully expect to outplay Murray in 2016 -- and ball-hawking Byard, who might have been viewed as a first-round pick had he attended a bigger school. Dodd will play 3-4 outside linebacker in Tennessee, a transition that could prove difficult for a career defensive lineman with sub-par athleticism. Targeting top-end athletes was not a theme of Robinson's draft, showing up in the Dodd, Johnson, Sharpe, and Tretola picks. The Titans still came out of this draft with a lot of quality prospects and immediate contributors in each of the first three rounds. My main gripe is that Tennessee surrendered what amounted to two second-day draft picks in the Conklin trade up. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but Robinson could have sat tight and taken Ohio State's Taylor Decker at 15. Decker is arguably an equal or superior prospect to Conklin.


Grade: B-



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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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