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NFL Draft Grades Using Analytics

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: May 6, 2019, 5:18 am ET

Oakland Raiders (D)

With Antonio Brown included, I'd give the Raiders a B.

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

4

Clelin Ferrell

F

252

-0.21

Brian Burns

24

Josh Jacobs

C+

173

0.00

Optimal Pick

27

Johnathan Abram

B-

117

0.00

Optimal Pick

40

Trayvon Mullen

B

95

-0.07

Joejuan Williams

106

Maxx Crosby

B+

45

-0.03

Justin Hollins

129

Isaiah Johnson

A-

20

0.00

Optimal Pick

137

Foster Moreau

B-

122

-0.04

Kaden Smith

149

Hunter Renfrow

D-

250

-0.23

Dillon Mitchell

230

Quinton Bell

B-

152

-0.02

Jordan Brailford

 

Gruden and Mayock put on a clinic on how to blow three first-round picks, but drafting Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 was particularly egregious. Ferrell is a good prospect, but my models have some concerns. Ferrell didn’t participate in all athletic tests -- he skipped the 40-yard dash, the broad jump, and the vertical -- and he was average in the tests he did participate in. Like I mentioned before, athletic testing for defensive linemen is a big piece of the puzzle, so it’s risky to spend a top-5 pick on an edge rusher without it. But what made this pick my model’s 252nd favorite was the opportunity cost of drafting Ferrell over better edge rushers like Josh Allen, Brian Burns, and Montez Sweat, and that opportunity cost would even be larger if I expanded the calculation outside of the position to include Dwayne Haskins. And then there’s the demand aspect. If the Raiders loved Ferrell so much, they had no choice but to trade down. There was no reported demand for Ferrell inside the top-10, so they could have drafted Ferrell while trading down to pick up more mid-round picks. … The important thing to remember with the Josh Jacobs pick is that he is a running back, and, therefore, doesn’t matter (for the most part). But what makes Jacobs a bad first-round running back is his questionable athletic profile -- particularly his 4.64 speed and 9’4” broad jump -- and low-end Alabama total production. Of the two concerns, I’m way more concerned about the athleticism, but there really should be zero concerns about a running back if he’s going in the first round. … Johnathan Abram was the top available safety according to my model, so the only issue I have with this pick is the opportunity cost of drafting a safety over CB Deandre Baker, OT Cody Ford, or QB Drew Lock. … Trayvon Mullen wasn’t the best corner on the board at the time of his pick -- my model liked Joejuan Williams more -- but this was a pretty good pick overall. Mullen was really strong in pass-coverage, and my model puts more weight into a corner’s strength of schedule than you’d probably guess, which helps Mullen out. … Foster Moreau is more athletic than most realize, but his low-end production makes this a pretty forgettable pick. … Hunter Renfrow, age 36, was a rare 14-year producer at Clemson, but he failed to reach 500 yards in any of those seasons despite playing with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence.

Fun Fact: The Oakland Raiders had the worst 1st Round success rate over 2004-2014.

 

Philadelphia Eagles (B+)

With DeSean Jackson included, I'd give the Eagles an A.

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

22

Andre Dillard

B+

47

0.00

Optimal Pick

53

Miles Sanders

C

197

-0.04

Damien Harris

57

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

C+

180

-0.14

Andy Isabella

138

Shareef Miller

B-

159

-0.12

Justin Hollins

167

Clayton Thorson

B-

108

-0.08

Gardner Minshew

 

Andre Dillard (92nd percentile OT prospect) was a really strong first-round pick. Not only does he enter the league with more pass-blocking reps as any offensive line prospect, but he also is one of the most athletic OTs in the class. Dillard is a member of the elite OL speed score club and also made Josh Norris’ short shuttle hall of fame. … Miles Sanders was drafted too early -- remember that he is, in fact, a running back -- and my model liked Darrell Henderson and Damien Harris more, despite being drafted after Sanders. However, the Penn State running back does check all athletic boxes and went off in his only non-Saquon Barkley season, so he is certainly one of the best backs in the class. That just doesn’t mean a whole lot this year. … JJ Arcega-Whiteside would be graded more favorably if my model didn’t knock the opportunity cost of not drafting Andy Isabella. However, my models do like Arcega-Whiteside in a vacuum and I’m bullish on JJAW becoming a multi-year starter for Carson Wentz, especially after surprising the #haters with a 4.50 forty at 225 pounds. … Clayton Thorson hasn’t been good in years, but I’m an advocate of drafting quarterbacks, so I can’t hate the pick that much. It just should have been Gardner Minshew who showed signs analytically that he could be a high-end backup.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (D+)

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

10

Devin Bush

B

96

0.00

Optimal Pick

66

Diontae Johnson

D

245

-0.16

Hakeem Butler

83

Justin Layne

B-

125

-0.10

Julian Love

122

Benny Snell

B

88

0.00

Optimal Pick

141

Zach Gentry

C+

167

-0.07

Kaden Smith

175

Sutton Smith

B

83

0.00

Optimal Pick

192

Isaiah Buggs

B-

134

0.00

Optimal Pick

207

Ulysees Gilbert

C

192

-0.05

Deshaun Davis

219

Derwin Gray

B-

154

-0.02

Jackson Barton

 

Devin Bush was a decent pick -- he finished as a 99th percentile linebacker prospect in my model -- but trading up in the first round, especially for a linebacker, is very questionable. … Diontae Johnson was one of the worst picks in the draft with Hakeem Butler and other receivers still on the board. Johnson is undersized (5’10/183), is a below average athlete (4.53 speed with a 33.5-inch vertical), and only posted a 49-761-8 receiving line at Toledo. … Justin Layne was a good value at No. 83, but my model would have preferred All-American Julian Love. Layne does have the explosion and agility of a high ceiling corner, however. … Benny Snell is a running back, so this was a pretty forgettable pick already, but Snell’s 4.66-second 40-yard dash made it worse. What’s the upside here? … Zach Gentry is a plodder.

 

San Francisco 49ers (D+)

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

2

Nick Bosa

C-

223

-0.08

Brian Burns

36

Deebo Samuel

D+

237

-0.19

Andy Isabella

67

Jalen Hurd

B-

110

-0.02

Hakeem Butler

110

Mitch Wishnowsky

C-

219

0.00

Literally anyone else

148

Dre Greenlaw

C-

212

-0.14

Blake Cashman

176

Kaden Smith

B+

46

0.00

Optimal Pick

183

Justin Skule

C-

210

-0.11

Oli Udoh

198

Tim Harris

A-

27

0.00

Optimal Pick

 

My model doesn’t like how much time Nick Bosa (91st percentile EDGE prospect) missed in college and living up to the expectations of a 2nd overall pick can be tough as a defensive player, so I knew the Bosa pick would be graded harshly. With that said, I do think Bosa is a really strong prospect when healthy, so this pick may come down to how many healthy seasons the 49ers can get out of him. … Deebo Samuel is another risky prospect given his injury history, age (23), and average production, so my model wasn’t as bullish as others. In fact, my model preferred the healthier, younger, and more productive Andy Isabella by a wide margin. … Jalen Hurd is big and athletic with experience playing all over the field, so my main issue with the pick is the opportunity cost of drafting him over Hakeem Butler. … Mitch Wishnowsky is not only a punter, but he’s a 27-year old punter. John Lynch should have been fired on the spot (maybe). … Kaden Smith has athletic limitations, but he has the production profile to make this pick somewhat worthwhile.

 

Seattle Seahawks (B-)

With Duane Brown included, I'd give the Seahawks an A-.

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

29

L.J. Collier

C+

182

-0.10

Ben Banogu

47

Marquise Blair

C

189

-0.06

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

64

D.K. Metcalf

B

78

0.00

Optimal Pick

88

Cody Barton

B+

72

-0.05

Ben Burr-Kirven

120

Gary Jennings

C+

178

-0.09

Dillon Mitchell

124

Phil Haynes

B-

136

-0.05

Ross Pierschbacher

132

Ugo Amadi

B

73

0.00

Optimal Pick

142

Ben Burr-Kirven

A

11

0.00

Optimal Pick

204

Travis Homer

C

204

-0.07

Rodney Anderson

209

DeMarcus Christmas

C-

216

-0.06

Chris Slayton

236

John Ursua

B-

106

-0.07

Dillon Mitchell

 

L.J. Collier was a really bad first-round pick. His athletic profile is that of a Day 3 or UDFA, and Collier had very limited production until his senior season at TCU. Collier’s teammate Ben Banogu, who was selected after No. 29, is way more athletic and had more solo tackles, total tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. … Marquise Blair was another non-optimal pick with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on the board, but Blair is a high-end athlete, so it could have been worse. … D.K. Metcalf went from underrated to overrated to underrated in a span of four months, and my models believe this pick at No. 64 is going to be a good one. Metcalf doesn’t have the athletic profile of a receiver who will win all across the route tree, but there’s no denying that he has elite-level deep ball skills at 6’3/228. Even if Metcalf is on the Martavis Bryant spectrum, he could be a top-20 receiver in the NFL if his injury history allows it. … Cody Barton was graded well because he has quality 4.64-speed and made a very nice 69 solo tackles last year. … I think my model slightly undersells Gary Jennings a bit because his year-to-year production was all over the place. As a junior, Jennings was a (really good) high-volume chain mover, and he then became an explosive big-play receiver as a senior when he scored 13 touchdowns and averaged 17.0 yards per catch. … Ben Burr-Kirven is a steal at No. 142. Not only did he leave the Combine as a high-end athlete, but he also left Washington coming off a 94-solo tackle season! How fast and how many tackles does a dude have to rack up to get some Day 2 love? … Travis Homer is athletic enough and had enough rushing production to be worthy of a flier, but his size (5’10/201) may limit him to pass-catching duties. The good news is Homer caught 18 and 19 passes over his last two seasons. … John Ursua’s size (5’9/178) and speed (4.56) are concerns, but he did have a ridiculous amount of production (89-1,343-16) in Hawaii’s high-flying offense.

Fun Fact: The Seattle Seahawks had the best Day 2 success rate over 2004-2014.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (C+)

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

5

Devin White

B-

140

0.00

Optimal Pick

39

Sean Bunting

D+

232

-0.18

Joejuan Williams

94

Jamel Dean

B+

55

-0.06

Julian Love

99

Mike Edwards

B

80

-0.04

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

107

Anthony Nelson

B-

132

-0.09

Justin Hollins

145

Matt Gay

C

203

0.00

Roberto Aguayo

208

Scott Miller

B+

41

-0.03

Dillon Mitchell

215

Terry Beckner

B-

155

-0.01

Chris Slayton

 

Devin White is a 99th percentile linebacker prospect according to my model, but it is just hard for an off-ball linebacker to return the expectations of the 5th overall pick. … Sean Bunting is a plus-athlete, but my model dings him because of Central Michigan’s strength of schedule and because Joejuan Williams was still on the board. … Jamel Dean was a strong mid-round pick because of his elite athleticism. Dean also was well-liked by my model for his size and since he came from a high-end football program. … Mike Edwards is an above-average athlete and had quality tackling production, so this was a solid pick. However, my model would have selected Chauncey Gardner-Johnson instead. … I did not expect Scott Miller to get drafted, but I’m excited that he did. Miller had tons of production at Bowling Green and ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. Miller is your favorite analyst’s favorite analyst’s favorite sleeper.

 

Tennessee Titans (B-)

With Ryan Tannehill included, I'd give the Titans a B.

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

19

Jeffery Simmons

B+

42

0.00

Optimal Pick

51

A.J. Brown

B-

142

-0.11

Andy Isabella

82

Nate Davis

C+

179

-0.09

Connor McGovern

116

Amani Hooker

A-

26

0.00

Optimal Pick

168

D'Andre Walker

C-

214

-0.12

David Long Jr.

188

David Long Jr.

B+

53

0.00

Optimal Pick

 

Jeffery Simmons (95th percentile DT prospect) is a stud, so this pick was all about accessing the value of a rookie season since Simmons won’t have one (ACL). My model liked this decision on the surface, and I think the Titans should be aiming for a 2020 or 2021 Super Bowl run -- they don’t have the roster of a contender for 2019 -- so this was a nice long-term move. … A.J. Brown is one of the best wide receivers in the class -- he had early-age production and has above average athleticism -- so No. 51 was a nice value. My model’s only concern with the pick was drafting Brown over Andy Isabella. … Nate Davis comes from a smaller school (UNC Charlotte) and is less athletic than Penn State’s Connor McGovern who was drafted after Davis. … Amani Hooker grades well because of his high-end athleticism, age (21), and on-field production (7 pass deflections and 4 interceptions). ... David Long Jr. was D'Andre Walker's optimal pick, but the Titans drafted him with their next pick. There's still an opportunity cost with this since the Titans could have drafted Long at No. 168 and a better player at No. 188.

 

Washington Redskins (B+)

Pick

Prospect

Pick Grade

Pick Rank

AV/G Opp. Cost

Could've had...

15

Dwayne Haskins

A+

1

0.00

Optimal Pick

26

Montez Sweat

A+

4

0.00

Optimal Pick

76

Terry McLaurin

F

254

-0.24

Hakeem Butler

112

Bryce Love

B-

135

-0.03

Benny Snell

131

Wes Martin

D+

230

-0.14

Ross Pierschbacher

153

Ross Pierschbacher

B+

51

0.00

Optimal Pick

173

Cole Holcomb

C-

224

-0.13

David Long Jr.

206

Kelvin Harmon

C-

227

-0.18

Dillon Mitchell

227

Jimmy Moreland

C-

215

-0.06

Stephen Denmark

253

Jordan Brailford

B-

113

0.00

UDFA Options

 

Dwayne Haskins (91st percentile QB prospect) was the best pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. First off, the Redskins had a huge quarterback need with everyone’s leg broken, but the Redskins also managed to stay at No. 15 overall to draft Haskins instead of spending capital to move up. On top of that, Haskins has the on-field production of a high-end quarterback prospect. In his first season as a 21-year old at Ohio State, Haskins tossed 50 touchdowns and I really don’t want to hear about the #system that helped him. Throwing 50 frickin touchdowns is insane. But his production goes deeper than that. Haskins had the third-best Passing EPA among all college quarterback seasons since 2016, only trailing Baker Mayfield’s 2017 season and Kyler Murray’s 2018 season. Haskins also showed solid accuracy at all depths of the field, so my only concern surrounding Haskins as a prospect is his Statue of Liberty-level lateral mobility. That, of course, really helps young quarterbacks as they learn how to deal with the NFL’s speed, so Haskins may be more of a late-bloomer. Overall, I don’t think Haskins is in Kyler Murray’s tier, but Haskins can be an above average starting quarterback. I just wish he was surrounded by more talent. … If Dan Snyder really took over the 1st Round, then we might need to award him Executive of the Year since he scooped up Montez Sweat (96th percentile EDGE prospect) 11 picks after stealing Dwayne Haskins. If Sweat’s heart condition never affects his on-field ability, Sweat could prove to be the best pick in the entire draft. His athleticism is actually unheard of at the position, and he had lots of production at Mississippi State as a senior (14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks). For those two reasons, Sweat ended up as a 99th percentile edge prospect in my model. … After knocking the first two picks out of the park, the Redskins made the worst pick in the draft (according to my model) when they took Terry McLaurin with the No. 76 overall pick. Now, I don’t actually think McLaurin is actually the worst pick in the draft for a few reasons. One, my model doesn’t put any value into leadership and future non-returning special teams production, so it’s selling McLaurin short already. But my model also knocks McLaurin for having close to zero production before his age-22 season at Ohio State, and it’s fair to assume that it’s harder to see the field as a youngster at Ohio State than other schools, so that makes McLaurin look even worse. On top of that, my model doesn’t directly account for some of the advanced on-field metrics that McLaurin lit up because there isn’t a large enough sample size to test its predictability. With all of that said, I’m still not a big fan of this pick because the lack of production is still worrisome and because the Redskins could’ve drafted Hakeem Butler. … Bryce Love’s ACL injury seems worrisome, so I’ll leave it at that. … Kelvin Harmon is a below average athlete, so my model preferred Dillon Mitchell.

 

Final 2019 NFL Draft Grades

A: Cardinals

A-: Panthers, Broncos, Patriots

B+: Bills, Colts, Saints, Eagles, Redskins

B: Bengals, Browns, Packers, Jaguars, Titans

B-: Falcons, Ravens, Chargers, Vikings, Jets, Seahawks

C+: Texans, Rams, Dolphins, Buccaneers

C: Cowboys, Lions, Chiefs, Giants

D+: Steelers, 49ers

D: Raiders

D-: Bears

 

More Rotoworld Draft Grades

 

More of My NFL Draft Columns