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NFL Draft Grades

2018 NFC Draft Grades

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The 2018 NFL draft concluded Saturday evening. Rotoworld blurbed every single selection, pick Nos. 1 (Baker Mayfield) through 256 (Trey Quinn). You can click on the linked players’ names here or use our search engine in the top right-hand corner of this page to access our in-depth player profiles on each rookie.

After a grueling three days, we’ll put the finishing touches on our intensive draft coverage with post-draft grades. Here they are for all 16 NFC teams.

Arizona Cardinals

1. (10) UCLA QB Josh Rosen
2. (47) Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk
3. (97) Michigan C Mason Cole
4. (134) Fordham RB Chase Edmonds
6. (182) Penn State DB Christian Campbell
7. (254) Cincinnati OT Korey Cunningham

Overview: To leapfrog the Dolphins at No. 11, the Cardinals climbed from No. 15 to 10 by sending the Raiders third- and fifth-round picks to land their franchise quarterback. Kirk is a high-floor slot weapon who should earn early passing-down snaps and eventually replace 35-year-old Larry Fitzgerald inside. Cole will be given a chance to start at center right away, competing with underwhelming incumbent A.Q. Shipley. Edmonds is a nifty scatback with plus versatility and a workhorse track record. He upgrades on D.J. Foster and T.J. Logan behind David Johnson. Campbell and Cunningham were worthy late-round developmental flyers with intriguing athletic traits. The Cards could not solve all of their needs in one draft – cornerback, linebacker, and offensive tackle loom as trouble spots on GM Steve Keim’s roster -- but this Rosen-headlined haul significantly improves Arizona’s long-term outlook.

Grade: B

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Atlanta Falcons

1. (26) Alabama WR Calvin Ridley
2. (58) Colorado CB Isaiah Oliver
3. (90) South Florida DT Deadrin Senat
4. (126) Southern Miss RB Ito Smith
6. (194) LSU WR Russell Gage
6. (200) Yale LB Foyesade Oluokun

Overview: Thin behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, the Falcons rounded out their high-powered three-receiver package with Ridley, who can win in the short-area and deep games and is ready to play on day one. Wideout was an underrated pre-draft need in Atlanta. Corner wasn’t necessarily a glaring weakness, but Oliver offers first-round size, length, and press-coverage ability. Senat did address a need but will likely max out as a two-down run stopper. Smith upgrades on Terron Ward as the Falcons’ No. 3 back, and might ascend to No. 2 in 2019 if contract-year RB Tevin Coleman walks in free agency. Gage and Oluokun will play special teams. This was a solid-if-unspectacular haul.

Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers

1. (24) Maryland WR D.J. Moore
2. (55) LSU CB Donte Jackson
3. (85) Tennessee DB Rashaan Gaulden
4. (101) Indiana TE Ian Thomas
4. (136) Ole Miss DE Marquis Haynes
5. (161) Maryland LB Jermaine Carter
7. (234) North Carolina LB Andre Smith
7. (242) Miami DT Kendrick Norton

Overview: The most discouraging aspect of this class was Carolina’s failure to upgrade a worrisome offensive line which lost LG Andrew Norwell and will ask Cam Newton to take deeper drops in new OC Norv Turner’s vertical system. Moore, Jackson, and Gaulden did address needs but were all drafted a bit earlier than expected and have warts. Jackson can fly (4.32) but is too slight (5’11/178) and short armed (29 ½”) to function anywhere but the slot. Gaulden tested as one of the worst athletes in this defensive back class. Thomas’ lack of production in college is a concern, and Haynes was one of the oldest prospects in the draft; he turns 25 later this year. (Tremaine Edmunds was the draft’s youngest player; he turns 20 in a few days.) Carter, Smith, and Norton were probable throwaway picks.

Grade: C-

Chicago Bears

1. (8) Georgia ILB Roquan Smith
2. (39) Iowa C/G James Daniels
2. (51) Memphis WR Anthony Miller
4. (115) Western Kentucky ILB Joel Iyiegbuniwe
5. (145) Delaware DE Bilal Nichols
6. (181) Utah OLB Kylie Fitts
7. (224) Georgia WR Javon Wims

Overview: Smith was arguably a top-three non-quarterback prospect in this draft and an easy pick at No. 8 for GM Ryan Pace, shoring up a need and giftwrapping for DC Vic Fangio his next Navorro Bowman. Iowa offensive linemen usually have high floors and pro-ready games, and Daniels fits the bill. Although he mostly played center at Iowa, Daniels will compete at left guard as a rookie. The Bears were extremely aggressive targeting Miller, sending the Patriots their 2019 second-round pick to climb from pick No. 105 to 51. Iyiegbuniwe is an undersized probable special teamer. Pace sees Nichols as a five-technique defensive end who can rush from the interior on passing downs. Fitts would have been drafted higher if not for bad injury luck. Wims offers some possession-receiver potential. A solid class, but I would have liked to see the Bears emerge from this draft with pass-rush help.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

1. (19) Boise State ILB Leighton Vander Esch
2. (50) Texas G/T Connor Williams
3. (81) Colorado State WR Michael Gallup
4. (116) Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong
4. (137) Stanford TE Dalton Schultz
5. (171) Western Kentucky QB Mike White
6. (193) Indiana LB Chris Covington
6. (208) Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson
7. (236) Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough

Overview: Tavon Austin should be mentioned after the Cowboys acquired him for the No. 192 pick, although he doesn’t quite move the needle. Austin will play running back in Dallas, providing a change of pace for Ezekiel Elliott. Taking Vander Esch at No. 19 was a tacit admission the Cowboys never should have taken Jaylon Smith in the top-35 picks of the 2016 draft. Smith will now be pulled on passing downs in favor of Vander Esch and Sean Lee. The next three picks after Smith in that draft were Hunter Henry, Myles Jack, and Chris Jones, all of whom would be much higher-impact contributors to the Cowboys than Smith. Nevertheless, Vander Esch and Williams are near-certain Week 1 starters, and Gallup easily could be too in a weak wideout corps presently led by Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Allen Hurns. Edge prospect Armstrong managed 1.5 sacks last season and showed limited explosion in pre-draft testing. Schultz is mainly a blocker and needs a heavy dose of weight-room work for that skill to translate to the pros. I expected Wilson to be a higher pick as a versatile wideout with NFL lineage and deceptive big-play ability. I don’t think Covington, White, or Scarbrough will last.

Grade: C

Detroit Lions

1. (20) Arkansas C Frank Ragnow
2. (43) Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson
3. (82) Louisiana-Lafayette S Tracy Walker
4. (114) Alabama DL Da’shawn Hand
5. (153) Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby
7. (237) San Diego State FB Nick Bawden

Overview: GM Bob Quinn’s continued pass-rush avoidance is confusing. Ragnow addressed a need, but trading up for an ordinary running back in Johnson unnecessarily cost Detroit a top-120 pick. An upright runner who didn’t dominate in college, Johnson reminds of a less-explosive version of Darren McFadden stylistically. It was surprising to see Walker go in the third round after he managed third-team all-conference honors in the Sun Belt last year. Walker himself admitted after the draft he expected to go multiple rounds later. Moving up for college underachiever Hand cost Detroit its 2019 third-round pick in a trade with the Pats. Crosby is an intriguing project to develop at right tackle or guard. Bawden was the best blocking fullback in the nation the last two years. It doesn’t help that the Lions coughed up their sixth-round pick in last year’s trade for Greg Robinson, who is no longer on the team.

Grade: D

Green Bay Packers

1. (18) Louisville CB Jaire Alexander
2. (45) Iowa CB Josh Jackson
3. (88) Vanderbilt LB Oren Burks
4. (133) Missouri WR J’Mon Moore

5. (138) Washington State T/G Cole Madison
5. (172) Alabama P JK Scott
5. (174) South Florida WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
6. (207) Notre Dame WR Equanimeous St. Brown
7. (232) California DT James Looney
7. (239) Mississippi State LS Hunter Bradley
7. (248) Southeast Missouri State OLB Kendall Donnerson

Overview: The Packers acquired the Saints’ 2019 first-round pick in Thursday night’s trade down from No. 14 to 27, where Green Bay still landed my No. 2-rated cover corner in the draft behind only Denzel Ward. Jackson at 45 was not overkill; the Packers were immensely cornerback needy, and Jackson was a legitimate round-one talent. Trading up for Burks shows new GM Brian Gutekunst has a handle on where the league is headed; Burks is a high-level athlete with a safety background and ideal sub-package linebacker traits. Moore is raw with rumored off-field concerns, but he was one of the most dynamic wideouts in this class. On tape, I thought his ball skills were much better than Valdes-Scantling or St. Brown’s. Madison did not dominate in the Pac 12 and is a below-average athlete. Scott and Bradley offer cheap special teams help. Looney and Donnerson are longer shots with athletic upside.

Grade: B

Los Angeles Rams

3. (89) TCU OT Joseph Noteboom
4. (111) Michigan State C Brian Allen
4. (135) Stephen F. Austin DE John Franklin-Myers
5. (147) Virginia ILB Micah Kiser
5. (160) Oklahoma OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
6. (176) Tennessee RB John Kelly
6. (192) Maine OG Jamil Demby
6. (195) Rutgers DT Sebastian Joseph
6. (205) Louisville OLB Trevon Young
7. (231) TCU LB/S Travin Howard
7. (244) SMU OLB Justin Lawler

Overview: Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib should be included in this class after the Rams acquired them for 2018 picks. Noteboom, Allen, and Demby look like long-term backups on the line. GM Les Snead took four day-three shots on pass rushers in Franklin-Myers, Okoronkwo, Young, and Lawler. Kiser was a consistent playmaker in college and is a well-above-par athlete. He will push for snaps right away following Alec Ogletree’s departure. Kelly is better than in-place backup RB Malcolm Brown, Joseph will compete for a rotational role, and Howard has the skill set to play nickel/dime linebacker, an increasingly valued position. I don’t think the Rams will get a ton of year-one impact from their rookies, but proven high-impact veterans Cooks, Peters, and Talib make this haul a strong one.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

1. (30) Central Florida CB Mike Hughes
2. (62) Pittsburgh OT Brian O’Neill
4. (102) Ohio State DT Jalyn Holmes
5. (157) Central Michigan TE Tyler Conklin
5. (167) Auburn K Daniel Carlson
6. (213) Appalachian State OG Colby Gossett
6. (218) Tulane DE Ade Aruna
7. (225) California LB Devante Downs

Overview: Hughes married need with value at the 30th pick, bringing to Minnesota press-corner skills and elite return ability after scoring three return TDs for UCF last year. The Vikings need help at slot corner and will have to make a difficult decision on LCB Trae Waynes after this season. O’Neill needs a year in the weight room to improve his core strength. By then, he could be ready to take over as the Vikings’ long-term left tackle. Holmes is an undersized three-technique tackle with a low ceiling. Conklin reminded me of a poor man’s Austin Hooper coming out. Gossett dominated in the Sun Belt Conference and is a good-enough athlete with zone-blocking experience. Aruna was a top-four SPARQ scorer in this year’s edge class. Carlson and Downs should be helpful special teams contributors.

Grade: B-

New Orleans Saints

1. (14) Texas-San Antonio DE Marcus Davenport
3. (91) Central Florida WR Tre’Quan Smith

4. (127) Florida State OT Rick Leonard
5. (164) Wisconsin S Natrell Jamerson
6. (189) Boston College CB Kamrin Moore
6. (201) Louisiana Tech RB Boston Scott
7. (245) LSU C Will Clapp

Overview: The Saints put together one of the best draft classes of the last decade in 2017, then followed up with a head-scratching clunker. New Orleans sent Green Bay No. 147 and its 2019 first-round pick to move from No. 27 to 14 for talented but raw small-school pass rusher Davenport. Smith was one of college football’s most dangerous deep threats last year, but he figures to struggle for early snaps behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Cameron Meredith, and Brandon Coleman. Leonard is a right tackle only and was a surprising fourth-round reach. Neither Jamerson nor Moore demonstrated plus ball skills in college. Scott is a Dion Lewis-like talent but will struggle to see the field behind Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Clapp is another sub-par athlete. He is a multi-position backup.

Grade: D

New York Giants

1. (2) Penn State RB Saquon Barkley
2. (34) UTEP OG Will Hernandez
3. (66) Georgia OLB Lorenzo Carter
3. (69) NC State DT B.J. Hill
4. (108) Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta
5. (139) Miami DT RJ McIntosh

Overview: The Giants emerged from this draft with an improved roster, but their grade is lowered by GM Dave Gettleman’s refusal to maximize the value of the No. 2 overall pick, which could have netted the G-Men their quarterback of the future or a draft-pick bounty had they shopped it to QB-needy teams. Gettleman never even listened to trade offers. The consolation prize is a shiny one, of course; Barkley is a faster, more elusive version of David Johnson. Hernandez is a day-one starter and butt kicker at left guard, and Carter was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC. Hill was a top-70 reach as a two-down run plugger with limited pass-rush impact. Lauletta combines NFL-caliber size with dominant small-school production but questionable arm strength. I still think he was a good investment in the fourth round. McIntosh was a better run defender than pass rusher at The U. Alec Ogletree is included in this class after the Giants acquired him in a third-day pick swap with the Rams.

Grade: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

2. (49) South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert
4. (125) Pittsburgh CB Avonte Maddox
4. (130) Florida State DE Josh Sweat
6. (206) TCU OG Matt Pryor
7. (233) Rugby OT Jordan Mailata

Overview: The Eagles didn’t have many picks after trading No. 96 to the Bills for Ronald Darby and No. 131 to the Dolphins for Jay Ajayi, but those players remain under contract with the team and are considered part of this draft class. As is Michael Bennett, although he is currently in legal hot water. The Eagles also acquired the Ravens’ 2019 second-round pick in Thursday’s Lamar Jackson trade. Philly began its draft by leapfrogging the division-rival Cowboys for Goedert, the best two-way tight end in this class and a surefire Dallas target with Jason Witten retiring. Maddox is a feisty slot corner with lightning-quick short-area agility, helpful when covering quicker-than-fast interior receivers like Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley, and Sterling Shepard. Sweat has first-round athleticism and pass-rush potential. He fell due to knee problems that have plagued him since high school. Pryor’s probable ceiling is a long-term swing guard-tackle backup. Massively athletic rugby freak Mailata was a seventh-round shot in the dark.

Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers

1. (9) Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey
2. (44) Washington WR Dante Pettis
3. (70) BYU OLB Fred Warner
3. (95) Southern Miss S Tarvarius Moore
4. (128) NC State DE Kentavius Street
5. (142) Kansas State CB D.J. Reed
6. (184) Florida S Marcell Harris
7. (223) Temple DT Jullian Taylor
7. (240) Middle Tennessee WR Richie James

Overview: Roquan Smith would have been a preferred selection at No. 8 overall, but the Bears weren’t going to let him slip, and McGlinchey filled a need when the Niners dealt RT Trent Brown to New England. Coach Kyle Shanahan clearly fell in love with Pettis; the 49ers traded up from 59 to 44 to land him. Pettis profiles as a slot-flanker receiver and was one of the top return men in this draft. Warner has a chance to fill the K.J. Wright role in DC Robert Saleh’s Seahawks-style defense, and Moore is a superb athlete with true centerfield safety skills. Street and Harris came at injury discounts. Reed is a slot corner only with kickoff-return value. Among draft-eligible defensive tackles, only Taven Bryan logged better SPARQ results than Taylor. As the 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo for the 43rd overall pick, he must be included in this haul and provides a significant boost to San Francisco’s draft grade.

Grade: A

Seattle Seahawks

1. (27) San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny
3. (79) USC DE Rasheem Green
4. (120) Washington TE Will Dissly
5. (141) Central Florida LB Shaquem Griffin
5. (146) Oklahoma State DB Tre Flowers
5. (149) Texas P Michael Dickson
5. (168) Ohio State T/G Jamarco Jones
6. (186) Temple DE Jacob Martin
7. (220) Florida International QB Alex McGough

Overview: The Seahawks have struggled in the draft in recent years, and this haul looks like another uninspiring attempt to resume heading in the right direction. Penny was my second-favorite back in this draft behind Saquon Barkley, but I was shocked he went in the first round with passing-game question marks as both a receiver and blocker. With Taven Bryan, Harold Landry, and a slew of quality interior offensive linemen still available, I think the Seahawks failed to maximize the 27th pick. Green has some similarities to outgoing DE/DT Michael Bennett. Dissly is a blocking tight end. Griffin reunites with brother Shaq in Seattle and will compete for playing time right away at weak-side linebacker. At worst, he should be a gung-ho special teamer with situational pass-rush value. 2017 Ray Guy Award winner Dickson is a legit stud at punter. Flowers may be tried as a press corner with nearly 34-inch arms and 4.45 speed at 6-foot-3, 202. Jones was a decorated collegiate, then bombed the Combine. He will likely convert from left tackle to guard. It would be surprising if Martin or McGough had NFL futures. Duane Brown was acquired from the Texans for this year’s 80th pick and warrants inclusion in the haul.

Grade: D+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. (12) Washington DT Vita Vea
2. (38) USC RB Ronald Jones
2. (53) North Carolina CB M.J. Stewart
2. (63) Auburn CB Carlton Davis
3. (94) Humboldt State T/G Alex Cappa
4. (117) Pittsburgh S Jordan Whitehead
5. (144) Pennsylvania WR Justin Watson
6. (202) Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy

Overview: By dropping from No. 7 to 12, the Bucs turned the pick that became Josh Allen into Vea, Stewart, Davis, and Whitehead. The knock on Vea is his pass-rush capability; I would like to see him drop 20 pounds and become lighter on his feet. I never understood the pre-draft enthusiasm for Jones, a straight-line speedster without passing-down skills. Slot/safety prospect Stewart and press-corner Davis should compete for snaps right away in an undermanned secondary. Cappa is making a huge competition leap with just-barely-viable NFL athleticism, and Whitehead is an undersized strong safety lacking man-coverage skills. I do like Watson and Cichy; Watson for his combination of elite measurables and production, and Cichy for his value after an injury-ruined year. Jason Pierre-Paul is included in the haul after the Bucs acquired him for the 69th pick and a day-three swap with the Giants.

Grade: B-

Washington Redskins

1. (13) Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne
2. (59) LSU RB Derrius Guice
3. (74) Louisville OT Geron Christian
4. (109) Penn State S Troy Apke
5. (163) Virginia Tech DT Tim Settle
6. (197) Alabama ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton
7. (241) Virginia Tech CB Greg Stroman
7. (256) SMU WR Trey Quinn

Overview: Alex Smith warrants inclusion here after the Skins acquired him for the 78th pick. I liked that Washington poured resources into its defensive line, which has been a makeshift unit for too long. Payne should start right away at nose tackle and flashed enough pass-rush potential down the stretch of last season that he won’t necessarily have to leave the field on passing downs. Fellow DL acquisition Settle also offers a more diverse skill set than his body type (6’3/329) may suggest. Guice fell for vague “off-field concerns,” rendering him one of the draft’s top value picks. I don’t think Christian profiles as an eventual NFL starter, and Hamilton and Apke are best suited for special teams. Stroman was arguably the best corner in the ACC last year, but he fell after struggling badly in pre-draft workouts. Quinn is a slot prospect who gets open and catches everything. Jamison Crowder is in a contract year.

Grade: C+

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