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Draft Decisions

Thor's NFL Draft Snap Grades

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: April 28, 2019, 5:41 pm ET

Baltimore Ravens | Snap grade: B+

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.25 Marquise Brown WR3 29 n/a n/a DeSean Jackson
3.85 Jaylon Ferguson EDGE7 39 8.9 5.46 Marcus Davenport
3.93 Miles Boykin WR9 66 99.9 9.94 Kenny Golladay
4.113 Justice Hill RB8 132 88.5 9.35 Phillip Lindsay
4.123 Ben Powers OG8 115 n/a 4.74 Ted Karras
4.127 Iman Marshall CB26 203 12.9 5.26 Gary Baxter
5.160 Daylon Mack DL20 206 29.6 4.17 Dan Williams
6.197 Trace McSorley QB16 333 77.3 8.3 Connor Shaw


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: B

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.9 Ed Oliver DL2 3 99.5 9.87 John Randle
2.38 Cody Ford OT4 23 35.6 6.33 Brandon Brooks
3.74 Devin Singletary RB3 69 7.8 1.74 Devonta Freeman
3.96 Dawson Knox TE6 123 84.4 9.26 Dustin Keller
5.147 Vosean Joseph LB12 140 n/a 0.21 Jerome Baker
6.181 Jaquan Johnson S18 237 7.7 3.47 Quandre Diggs
7.225 Darryl Johnson EDGE28 305 19.7 6.75 Aaron Lynch
7.228 Tommy Sweeney TE14 280 23.4 5.91 Nick Vannett


The Bills absolutely crushed their first three 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, but getting three potential immediate starters righte off the bat sure helps. 


Cincinnati Bengals | Snap grade: C+

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.11 Jonah Williams OT2 7 17.7 5.51 Jake Matthews
2.52 Drew Sample TE8 141 51.6 9.02 Jack Doyle
3.72 Germaine Pratt LB10 144 32.6 8.51 Danny Trevathan
4.104 Ryan Finley QB8 162 57.2 7.84 Connor Cook
4.125 Renell Wren DL14 161 77.2 9.74 Akiem Hicks
4.136 Michael Jordan OC4 106 68.8 7.97 Alex Boone
6.182 Trayveon Williams RB10 142 15.1 4.69 Nyheim Hines
6.210 Deshaun Davis LB34 356 4.3 2.65 Hayes Pullard
6.211 Rodney Anderson RB15 163 n/a n/a Stevan Ridley
7.223 Jordan Brown CB23 181 72.0 8.13 Bennett Jackson


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: A-

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
2.46 Greedy Williams CB1 14 68.6 8.5 Dominique R-C
3.80 Sione Takitaki LB8 99 73.4 9.08 Todd Davis
4.119 Sheldrick Redwine S9 110 89.4 8.61 Jimmie Ward
5.155 Mack Wilson LB4 58 30.5 5.25 C.J. Mosley
5.170 Austin Seibert K2 295 n/a n/a Cairo Santos
6.198 Drew Forbes OG26 290 69.8 9.79 Kyle Kosier
7.221 Donnie Lewis CB44 439 n/a n/a Charles Gaines


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

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.20 Noah Fant TE2 25 98.4 9.89 Jimmy Graham
2.41 Dalton Risner OG2 33 42.0 7.69 Cody Whitehair
2.42 Drew Lock QB5 68 75.6 9.36 Blaine Gabbert
3.71 Dre'Mont Jones DL7 34 20.7 6.16 Nick Fairley
5.156 Justin Hollins EDGE14 117 74.2 9.69 Lorenzo Carter
6.187 Juwann Winfree WR65 UR 39.3 7.18 HM's Crabtree


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

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.23 Tytus Howard OT7 62 28.8 6.34 Terron Armstead
2.54 Lonnie Johnson CB8 61 92.6 9.4 Chris McCalister
2.55 Max Scharping OT5 46 n/a 8.83 Ricky Wagner
3.86 Kahale Warring TE4 80 79.3 9.41 Dallas Goedert
5.161 Charles Omenihu DL9 79 50.2 6.22 Romeo Okwara
6.195 Xavier Crawford CB21 164 57.5 4.74 Greg Stroman
7.220 Cullen Gillaspia FBX UR 54.3 8.4  


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 and Warring. In addition to the Lonnie Johnson selection, that was 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 and only would have had to sacrifice a few late-rounders to do it. You do that. You just do.

The Eagles acquired No. 22 (Dillard) from the Ravens for No. 25 (Hollywood Brown), a fourth-rounder, and a sixth-rounder. Houston would've beat that offer with No. 23, a fifth-rounder (the Omenihu pick) and a sixth-rounder (the Crawford pick). Let me ask you, reader: Would you rather have Tytus, Omenihu and Crawford or Andre 300 and a UDFA DL like Daniel Wise and a UDFA CB like Derrek Thomas?


Indianapolis Colts | Snap grade: D

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
2.34 Rock Ya-Sin CB7 49 58.5 6.18 Marlin Jackson
2.49 Ben Banogu EDGE16 122 97.1 9.71 Shilique Calhouhn
2.59 Parris Campbell WR10 76 99.3 9.77 Big Curtis Samuel
3.89 Bobby Okereke LB11 146 64.8 8.40 Jatavis Brown
4.109 Khari Willis S14 190 27.6 6.4 Jeremy Reaves
5.144 Marvell Tell III S10 124 99.4 9.26 Joshua Kalu
5.164 EJ Speed LBX UR 55.5 9.2  
6.199 Gerri Green EDGE30 318 46.6 8.08 Devon Kennard
7.240 Jackson Barton OT21 253 31.9 8.32 Emmett Cleary
7.246 Javon Patterson OC8 228 20.3 7.22 Joe Looney


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-

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.7 Josh Allen EDGE1 2 78 9.74 Anthony Barr-plus
2.35 Jawaan Taylor OT3 16 n/a n/a Trent Williams
3.69 Josh Oliver TE10 170 44.9 8.21 Austin Hooper
3.98 Quincy Williams SX UR n/a n/a  
5.140 Ryquell Armstead RB11 148 24.0 7.77 Jordan Howard
6.178 Gardner Minshew QB12 231 50.7 5.96 Chase Daniel
7.235 Dontavius Russell DL32 348 7.4 3.36 Shamar Stephen


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: D+

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
2.56 Mecole Hardman WR37 311 59.3 8.31 Travis Benjamin
2.63 Juan Thornhill S4 51 99.5 9.75 Marcus Williams
3.84 Khalen Saunders DL11 103 46.0 8.56 Zach Kerr
6.201 Rashad Fenton CB40 379 15.1 4.5 Greg Maybin
6.214 Darwin Thompson RB14 160 70.3 8.05 Tarik Cohen
7.216 Nick Allegretti OC9 248 38.0 7.56 Mark Glowinski


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 WRs I would have preferred to Hardman.

The Chiefs could have traded back an entire round and gotten Hakeem Butler (the first pick in the fourth round). The Chiefs would have gotten a minimum of a 2020 third-rounder for their troubles (for context, the Saints gave the Dolphins No. 62, No. 202, and a 2020 second-rounder for No. 48).

Or, heck, they could have stayed put and taken D.K. Metcalf. Reader, there are three boxes. I'd like you to pick a present to give to Pat Mahomes, our lord and savior. Box A: Hakeem Butler, a fifth-rounder, and a 2020 third-rounder. Box B: D.K. Metcalf. Box C: Mecole Hardman. You give that choice to a thousand men, the only one who opens Box C is Brett Veach.


Los Angeles Chargers | Snap grade: A

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.28 Jerry Tillery DL3 11 84.2 9.72 DeForest Buckner
2.60 Nasir Adderley S1 37 65.0 7.11 Jessie Bates
3.91 Trey Pipkins OT13 111 79.4 8.85 TJ Clemmings
4.130 Drue Tranquill LB7 86 88.8 9.87 Fred Warner
5.166 Easton Stick QB6 118 92.2 9.45 Taysom Trubisky
6.200 Emeke Egbule LB16 178 44.2 7.28 Christian Kirksey
7.242 Cortez Broughton DL22 214 49.9 8.13 Javon Hargrave


Making one pick late in each round, the Chargers sat back patiently waiting as the NFL slid value pick after value pick into their slot. This was less a pillaging of talent and more of an audit on the NFL, and I loved it. Tillery is a triumphant pick at 1.28, for reasons you can read about in my defensive line deep dive (links to my position reports and top-500 board are on the bottom of page 2).

Adderley was my S1, Tranquill fits where the NFL is going at LB, and Easton Stick is a Taysom Hill-level sub-package offensive weapon option in the short-term who could turn into Phillip Rivers’ heir apparent in the long-term. I think this is what people miss about Stick: Even if he never becomes a starting-caliber quarterback, he's still at minimum a decent backup NFL quarterback who can do Taysom Hill things as a sub-package and special teams player.

So let me ask you another question, reader: Where does Taysom Hill go if you redraft the 2017 NFL Draft? What round? Okay, whatever you just answered, you need to bump it up a round to account for the possibility that Stick can develop enough as a passer to become a viable starter (he's objectively superior to Hill in this phase)

Remember: Stick's going to bring elite athleticism to the position (with a frame to take hits, unlike Lamar and Kyler), so he just needs to become, say, 85% of Mitch Trubisky as a thrower to provide 100% of the value that Trubisky does, due to the value of Stick's legs. He isn't seen as a steal of a fifth-rounder, but he is. Because his floor is Taysom Hill, and Taysom Hill would have been a fifth-rounder minimum in 2017, yes? 


Miami Dolphins | Snap grade: D-

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.13 Christian Wilkins DL5 21 44.4 8.55 Kawaan Short
3.78 Michael Deiter OG6 97 26.8 5.68 Forrest Lamp
5.151 Andrew Van Ginkel LB35 357 86.6 9.25 Dadi Nicholas
6.202 Isaiah Prince OT12 104 43.8 7.63 Shon Coleman
7.233 Chandler Cox HB8 447 16.6 3.83 Dimitri Flowers
7.234 Myles Gaskin RB23 269 31.0 5.99 Bishop Sankey


I thought there were better options on the board than Wilkins, and the rest of the haul is forgettable.


New England Patriots | Snap grade: A-

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.32 N'Keal Harry WR2 22 75.4 8.42 Dez Bryant
2.45 Joejuan Williams CB9 74 68.2 8.08

Ahkello Witherspoon

3.77 Chase Winovich EDGE8 41 67.8 8.63 Markus Golden
3.87 Damien Harris RB6 83 45.5 6.43 Frank Gore
3.101 Yodny Cajuste OT10 82 n/a n/a Jermon Bushrod
4.118 Hjalte Froholdt OG4 84 44.7 9.07 Isaac Seumalo
4.133 Jarrett Stidham QB10 187 37.7 5.49 Matt Barkey
5.159 Byron Cowart DL31 345 7.1 6.44 Willie Henry
5.163 Jake Bailey P2 299 n/a n/a Ryan Winslow
7.252 Ken Webster CB25 201 99.1 9.83 EJ Gaines


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

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.3 Quinnen Williams DL1 1 83.1 9.85 Donald/McCoy
3.68 Jachai Polite EDGE10 71 0.9 1.77 Damontre Moore
3.92 Chuma Edoga OT8 64 n/a 7.79 Laremy Tunsil
4.121 Trevon Wesco HB1 221 31.5 5.89 Jonnu Smith
5.157 Blake Cashman LB3 44 90.9 9.51 Jake Ryan
6.196 Blessuan Austin CB28 218 25.5 6.57 Travis Carey


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

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.4 Clelin Ferrell EDGE5 19 n/a n/a Derrick Morgan
1.24 Josh Jacobs RB2 53 18.9 5.76 Off-brand Kamara
1.27 Johnathan Abram S8 85 36.3 7.01 Keanu Neal
2.40 Trayvon Mullen CB12 102 48.3 7.48 Kevin Johnson
4.106 Maxx Crosby EDGE11 91 88.7 9.64 Jeremiah Attaochu
4.129 Isaiah Johnson CB13 107 94.9 9.74 Rasul Douglas
4.137 Foster Moreau TE7 127 84.7 9.48 Joel Dreesen
5.149 Hunter Renfrow WR18 135 10.3 2.94 Jeremy Kerley
7.230 Quinton Bell EDGE45 493 n/a 9.88 Jeff Holland


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 on Day 1 of the draft.

Mayock took a mid-first rounder at 1.4, a second-round passing-down back with 18th-percentile athleticism at 1.24*, and an athletically-limited one-trick-pony enforcer SS with 36th-percentile athleticism at 1.27 who I predict will be outperformed by more than one safety who went on Day 3.

*(laughably, this news was leaked months in advance, probably because Mayock had loose loops about his Jacobs affinity with his NFL.com friends, who helped stoke Jacobs' out-of-control buzz by mocking Jacobs in the top-five after the national title game — 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).

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-three players 20 years down the line? Can you envision Jacobs and Abram becoming top-25 players in this class? How? At their respective positions with their respective games in the moder NFL, each would have to become superstars to qualify.

Jacobs would have to become an every-down stud (something he's never been) and Abram would have to become at least "objectively good" in coverage (something he's never been), and both will have to get their without upper-tier athleticism. Those are two new cars whose value dropped by half as they were driven off the lot.


Pittsburgh Steelers | Snap grade: B-

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.10 Devin Bush LB2 12 96.9 9.33 Shaq Thompson
3.66 Diontae Johnson WR26 210 13.1 4.22 Jeremy Kerley
3.83 Justin Layne CB6 45 87.0 8.97 Eric Rowe
4.122 Benny Snell Jr. RB17 219 9.7 3.51 Leroy Hoard
5.141 Zach Gentry TE18 373 8.4 2.54 Bryce Williams
6.175 Sutton Smith LB6 72 38.7 5.6 Joe Schobert
6.192 Isaiah Buggs DL21 211 1.8 1.93 Tyson Alualu
6.207 Ulysees Gilbert III LB29 315 86.4 8.25 Matt Milano
7.219 Derwin Gray OT18 176 12.7 3.08 DonoVan Smith


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. 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+

Pick Selection Position Rk SPQ RAS Comp
1.19 Jeffery Simmons DL4 17 n/a n/a Ndamukong Suh
2.51 A.J. Brown WR4 30 75.8 8.6

JuJu Smith-Schuster

3.82 Nate Davis OG5 96 23.8 6.17 Ben Grubbs
4.116 Amani Hooker S2 47 84.5 9.09 Kenny Vaccaro
5.168 D'Andre Walker EDGE12 93 n/a n/a Dee Ford
6.188 David Long LB15 177 9.6 9.22 Mark Barron


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. There's like a 22% chance that A.J. Brown will end up as this class' best receiver when we look back in 20 years. And his floor is as a volume-reception Leonard Fournette-sized athletic big slot. A.J. Brown is worth this slot even if he never develops even 1% better. What he is right now will play in the NFL. And he's probably going to keep improving.

Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is NBC Sports Edge’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!