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NFL Draft Grades

Silva's AFC Draft Grades

by Evan Silva
Updated On: April 29, 2019, 12:59 pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs

2 (56). Georgia WR Mecole Hardman
2 (63). Virginia S Juan Thornhill
3 (84). Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders
6 (201). South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton
6 (214). Utah State RB Darwin Thompson
7 (216). Illinois OG Nick Allegretti

Overview: Frank Clark is factored into Kansas City’s draft grade after the Chiefs got him for the 29th overall pick, which Seattle underwhelmingly used on L.J. Collier. GM Brett Veach’s first day-two move involved trading up five slots to secure Hardman in a deal that cost Kansas City its fifth-round pick. Hardman caught only 59 passes in his three-year college career but was the best punt returner in the draft and runs 4.33. I've likened him to Marquise Goodwin; Patrick Mahomes will probably turn him into the next Tyreek Hill. Thornhill was a late second-round steal with elite ball skills, athleticism, and coverage ability after holding opponents targeting him to a 43.8 passer rating and 41.9% completion rate in 2018. A 6-foot, 324-pound fire hydrant with legitimate up-field disruption skills, Saunders offers a high ceiling next to interior sack machine Chris Jones. Thompson has a chance to be a day-three steal as another elite athlete who averaged an absurd 5.1 yards after contact per carry in the Mountain West last season before destroying Utah State’s Pro Day for a 4.5 forty, 39-inch vertical, and 6.93 three-cone time. Including Clark, this draft haul has more upside than initially meets the eye.

Grade: B


Los Angeles Chargers

1 (28). Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery
2 (60). Delaware S Nasir Adderley
3 (91). Sioux Falls T/G Trey Pipkins
4 (130). Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill
5 (166). North Dakota State QB Easton Stick
6 (200). Houston LB Emeke Egbule
7 (242). Cincinnati OT Cortez Broughton

Overview: Tillery passes the eye test as a DeForest Buckner-level presence getting off the bus, but he lasted until the late first round due to on-field consistency concerns. He did hammer a huge need after the Chargers lost Darius Philon and Corey Liuget, and Tillery’s ceiling remains high if he buys into Gus Bradley’s coaching. Adderley had some first-round grades as an interception magnet with cornerback experience. He’ll play the Earl Thomas role opposite All-World SS Derwin James. Pipkins may not be pro ready making a massive jump in competition, but he crushed East-West Shrine practices after allowing two career sacks as a 43-start left tackle and tested as a top-ten athlete among O-Linemen invited to the Combine. Tranquill fits the new-age NFL as a safety-turned-linebacker, and Egbule profiles similarly. Stick went 49-3 after succeeding Carson Wentz for the NDSU Bison. I’m a big fan of these individual players, but I still wanted the Bolts to draft more surefire instant-impact blocking help for Philip Rivers up front.

Grade: B-


Miami Dolphins

1 (13). Clemson DT Christian Wilkins
3 (78). Wisconsin OG Michael Deiter
5 (151). Wisconsin LB Andrew Van Ginkel
6 (202). Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince
7 (233). Auburn RB Chandler Cox
7 (234). Washington RB Myles Gaskin

Overview: Josh Rosen is part of this haul after the Dolphins acquired him for the 62nd pick. They will owe Rosen just $6.3 million over the next three years. The extreme low-cost flyer makes all kinds of sense for a rebuild-committed team that has properly self diagnosed. GM Chris Grier pulled off another forward-thinking deal by flipping No. 48 for No. 62, No. 202, and the Saints’ 2020 second-round pick. Wilkins projects as a high-floor building-block up front, and Deiter earned 2018 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year after making starts at guard, center, and left tackle in his career. He should not struggle to win a rookie-year starting job on Miami’s talent-poor offensive line. None of the Dolphins' day-three picks jump off the page as steals or obvious duds, but I think we should appreciate this team’s overall approach. The Fins have set themselves up to lead the league in 2020 draft capital with a realistic chance at the top pick in each round next year, including No. 1 overall. Short-term sacrifices for long-term gains.

Grade: C+


New England Patriots

1 (32). Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry
2 (45). Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams
3 (77). Michigan DE Chase Winovich
3 (87). Alabama RB Damien Harris
3 (101). West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste
4 (118). Arkansas C/G Hjalte Froholdt
4 (133). Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham
5 (159). Maryland DT Byron Cowart
5 (163). Stanford P Jacob Bailey
7 (252). Ole Miss CB Ken Webster

Overview: Josh Gordon is part of this class after the Pats acquired him for the No. 170 pick, which the Browns used on a kicker. New England also snagged Chicago’s 2020 fourth-rounder in a day-two trade down; the Bears used the acquired pick on a running back. Bill Belichick proceeded to crush pick after pick, landing a powerful possession receiver with elite post-catch production in Harry, a 6-foot-4 bump-and-run corner who generated first-round grades in Williams, Rob Ninkovich clone Winovich, 2018’s Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in Cajuste, and flexible center/guard prospect Froholdt, who allowed just five QB pressures and zero sacks last year. I wasn’t impressed with Harris on tape, but he is a do-it-all back who will probably look good in New England’s system. Stidham was viewed as a candidate to be 2019’s No. 1 pick before a down senior year. No team understands the uncertainty of the draft better than the Patriots, and that’s why they consistently trade down, stockpile picks, are willing to trade picks for proven veterans like Gordon and Michael Bennett, and stay running circles around the league.

Grade: A


New York Jets

1 (3). Alabama DT Quinnen Williams
3 (68). Florida DE Jachai Polite
3 (92). USC OT Chuma Edoga
4 (121). West Virginia OT Trevon Wesco
5 (157). Minnesota LB Blake Cashman
6 (196). Rutgers CB Blessuan Austin

Overview: Kelechi Osemele is part of this year’s draft class after the Jets acquired him from the Raiders in a pick-swap trade. Ignoring DC Gregg WilliamsEd Oliver infatuation, Gang Green instead took the best player available in Williams at No. 3 and should field one of the NFL’s premier interior pass rushes for the foreseeable future. Polite’s pre-draft process couldn’t have gone much worse from interviews to his lackluster Pro Day and Combine performances, but he was a difference-making pass rusher in the SEC and was flyer worthy in round three. Behind only Andre Dillard, Edoga earned PFF College’s No. 2 pass-protection grade among draft-eligible offensive tackles as a senior at USC. Wesco projects as a blocking complement to Chris Herndon with some short-area receiving ability. Cashman erupted as a senior off-ball linebacker for the Gophers and crushed the Combine for 91st-percentile SPARQ results. I would like to have seen the Jets trade down in this draft and stockpile more picks, but I think they did well with what they had. Expect them to be active in post-draft free agency, ideally targeting a center.

Grade: B-


Oakland Raiders

1 (4). Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell
1 (24). Alabama RB Josh Jacobs
1 (27). Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram
2 (40). Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen
4 (106). Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby
4 (129). Houston CB Isaiah Johnson
4 (137). LSU TE Foster Moreau
5 (149). Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow
7 (230). Prairie View A&M DE Quinton Bell

Overview: I was prepared to give the Raiders a low draft grade after they used their three first-rounders on a severe No. 4 overall reach, a running back who never even started on his college team, and a box safety. But GM Mike Mayock did impressive work on days two and three, stealing speedy press corner and National Championship game MVP Mullen at No. 40, hyper-athletic edge rusher Crosby early in the fourth, high-upside wideout-turned-press corner Johnson, and Moreau, who popped on LSU tape for his blocking before testing as the No. 3 tight end athlete in this class behind only the Iowa guys. Renfrow is a quality slot prospect, and Bell is another converted wideout who destroyed his Pro Day. Mayock’s approach wound up being savvy. He focused on high-floor, plus-character individuals on day one, then chased upside for the rest of the draft. Despite the roughly 15-slot reach on Ferrell, this wound up as one of the league’s more impressive draft hauls when you include the addition of Antonio Brown. The third- and fifth-round picks Oakland surrendered for A.B. turned into Toledo returner/slot WR Diontae Johnson and plodding Michigan TE Zach Gentry.

Grade: A-


Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (10). Michigan LB Devin Bush
2 (66). Toledo WR Diontae Johnson
3 (83). Michigan State CB Justin Layne
4 (122). Kentucky RB Benny Snell
5 (141). Michigan TE Zach Gentry
6 (175). Northern Illinois OLB Sutton Smith
6 (192). Alabama DT Isaiah Buggs
6 (207). Akron LB Ulysees Gilbert
7 (219). Maryland OT Derwin Gray

Overview: Even if GM Kevin Colbert felt he had to do it, turning Antonio Brown into returner/slot guy Johnson and Jesse James clone Gentry reflects poorly from an on-paper grading standpoint. And Colbert kicked off the draft with a desperate trade up, sending the 52nd pick and next year’s third-rounder to Denver for an off-ball linebacker at No. 10 overall. Layne’s production-athleticism combo made him a worthwhile third-round target for Pittsburgh’s cornerback need, but Snell was a poor fourth-round investment with minimal receiving production and brutal athletic results. Smith reminded me of Shea McClellin during the pre-draft phase as a big-time small-school producer with a questionable position fit. Buggs projects as a one-trick, two-down role player. When considering all factors – including trading a Hall of Famer for peanuts – this was one of the most disappointing hauls in the league.

Grade: D


Tennessee Titans

1 (19). Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons
2 (51). Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown
3 (82). UNC-Charlotte OG Nate Davis
4 (116). Iowa S Amani Hooker
5 (168). Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker
6 (188). West Virginia LB David Long

Overview: Ryan Tannehill and Kamalei Correa are also members of this class after the Titans acquired them for 2019 picks. I’ve struggled to get behind the process of the Simmons pick because GM Jon Robinson’s job could hang in the balance if the Titans don’t take a 2019 step after three straight 9-7 seasons. Simmons (ACL) is highly unlikely to contribute this year. Each of the next five guys Robinson took very well could, however. A poor man’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, Brown was the highest-floor wide receiver prospect in this class and promisingly rounds out Tennessee’s three-wide set with Corey Davis and Adam Humphries. Davis is a bully in the trenches, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start at right guard in Week 1. Derrick Henry will love running behind him. Hooker earned 2018 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, then shined in Indy with a 4.48 forty and 6.81 three-cone time. A projected day-two pick, Walker’s fall was stunning as a player whose tape reminds of old Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley. Long is going to be a core special teamer. I wanted to see the Titans get immediate impact out of the first round, but beyond that quibble I think Robinson took advantage of the capital he had.

Grade: B-

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