My grades are based heavily on slot value. Addressing needs and in-draft trades are also considered. Below, along with each team's grade, you'll note three additional categories - draft capital, talent acquired and value - teams are ranked in.
Draft capital was calculated via Rich Hill's trade chart. Talent acquired is based on scoring the prospects on my Thor500 board through the prism of Hill's trade chart in the same way. The only other thing you need to know is that I grade on a strict curve.
Away we go.
Here is a link to the AFC Draft Grades.
Editor’s Note: John Daigle will also be weighing in with his grades, with more fantasy impact, Sunday and Monday.
ARIZONA CARDINALS | Snap grade: B-
Draft capital: 22 | Talent acquired: 20 | Value: 14
|1.16||Zaven Collins||LB3||27||Tremaine Edmunds||6'5||259||8.72|
|2.49||Rondale Moore||WR6||35||DJ Moore||5'7||181||9.33|
|4.136||Marco Wilson||CB16||141||De'Vante Bausby||6'0||191||9.99|
|6.210||Victor Dimukeje||EDGE33||283||Emmanuel Ogbah||6'1||262||5.97|
|6.223||Tay Gowan||CB27||212||L’Jarius Sneed||6'1||186||7.65|
|7.243||James Wiggins||S10||135||Glover Quin||5'11||209||9.7|
|7.247||Michal Menet||iOL20||203||Brian Allen||6'4||301||---|
Strong, workmanlike draft for the Cardinals. Arizona targeted high-octane athletes at positions of need. This strategy sounds bullet-proof, but can manifest in tunnel-vision and stubborn reaching. Not the case here: Arizona managed to get above-average value in their draft slots. Moore could be special if Kliff and crew can coax him from a screen-and-sprint/gadget guy into a receiver that can at least stress in the intermediate area. Wiggins was a superb flier in R7 that fit the class’ ethos. Class provides short-term help with long-term upside.
ATLANTA FALCONS | Snap grade: A-
Draft capital: 4 | Talent acquired: 5 | Value: 10
|1.4||Kyle Pitts||TE1||2||Tony Gonzalez||6'6||245||9.66|
|2.40||Richie Grant||S4||59||Justin Reid||6'0||197||7.8|
|3.68||Jalen Mayfield||OT9||60||Dion Dawkins||6'5||326||4.9|
|4.108||Darren Hall||CB21||169||Tye Smith||5'11||188||8.03|
|4.114||Drew Dalman||iOL22||217||Nick Hardwick||6'3||299||9.9|
|5.148||Ta'Quon Graham||DL15||178||Charles Walker||6'3||292||9.68|
|5.182||Adetokunbo Ogundeji||EDGE28||227||Jabaal Sheard||6'4||260||6.91|
|5.183||Avery Williams||CB44||389||Amik Robertson||5'8||187||7.77|
|6.187||Frank Darby||WR34||253||Riley Ridley||6'0||201||5.92|
Banner weekend for the Falcons. Atlanta did the right thing by standing pat and taking TE Kyle Pitts, arguably the most physically-gifted tight end to ever enter the NFL. Taking a QB was tempting, but would have alienated franchise face Matt Ryan and put a shot clock on his time in Atlanta, which, as Green Bay is seeing with Aaron Rodgers, is a short-term awkward move that can kill trade leverage when it inevitably comes time to split. Trading down may have been tossed around. But the forecasted fervor of teams trying to trade up for QB4 and QB5 (which turned out to be Justin Fields and Mac Jones) never materialized. Pitts will infuse a rookie Randy Moss-like impact on the Falcons’ offense immediately. Meanwhile, Richie Grant and Jalen Mayfield were solid values at positions of need.
CAROLINA PANTHERS | Snap grade: A
Draft capital: 9 | Talent acquired: 7 | Value: 8
|1.8||Jaycee Horn||CB2||13||Aqib Talib||6'1||205||9.99|
|2.59||Terrace Marshall Jr.||WR7||36||Courtland Sutton||6'2||190||9.77|
|3.70||Brady Christensen||OT8||53||Eric Fisher||6'5||302||9.84|
|3.83||Tommy Tremble||TE3||74||Delanie Walker||6'3||241||8.91|
|4.126||Chuba Hubbard||RB10||150||Tevin Coleman||6'0||210||8.44|
|5.158||Daviyon Nixon||DL4||57||Tommie Harris||6'3||313||8.38|
|5.166||Keith Taylor||CB28||234||Isaiah Johnson||6'2||187||6.54|
|6.193||Deonte Brown||iOL13||125||Solomon Kindley||6'3||344||1.49|
|6.204||Shi Smith||WR19||136||Jamison Crowder||5'9||186||6.79|
|7.232||Phil Hoskins||DL33||405||Jason Bromley||6'4||313||6.67|
Last year, I felt that Carolina should have taken Javon Kinlaw instead of Derrick Brown in R1, but I agreed with most of the other decisions. This year, same thing, with Jaycee Horn playing Brown and Patrick Surtain playing Kinlaw. This is nitpicky, though, as Carolina took my No. 13 overall player in the class at 1.8, not terrible value if you have a conviction. The rest of the class is what won me over.
Reuniting Terrace Marshall Jr. with his college passing-game coordinator Joe Brady was a stroke of genius when the NFL shied from Marshall due to reports of a leg issue. The Panthers scored enormous value with the Christensen, Tremble and Nixon picks, and I think they found a couple long-term roster cogs in R6 with Brown and Smith. Carolina's staff has leveraged the intimate knowledge they had of prospects from their recent time on the college gridiron to bargain shop with the best of them the past two processes.
CHICAGO BEARS | Snap grade: A+
Draft capital: 17 | Talent acquired: 8 | Value: 3
|1.11||Justin Fields||QB2||3||Deshaun Watson||6'3||227||---|
|2.39||Teven Jenkins||OT4||22||Joe Thuney||6'6||317||9.74|
|5.151||Larry Borom||OT23||258||Chad Ward||6'5||322||8.66|
|6.217||Khalil Herbert||RB7||114||Olandis Gary||5'9||210||6.18|
|6.221||Dazz Newsome||WR45||336||Russell Gage||5'10||190||2.18|
|6.228||Thomas Graham Jr.||CB20||165||Salvion Smith||5'10||192||5.65|
|7.250||Khyiris Tonga||DL14||175||Danny Shelton||6'2||325||7.24|
The trade-up for Justin Fields was a franchise-altering decision, yes. Also a life-changing one for members of the Ryan Pace-led Bears front office, who were heading into a Green Mile season, a 16-game walk towards inevitable execution and a franchise restart in Chicago. Instead, the Bears, directionless and hopeless only three days ago, are now back in business with a stud young quarterback thanks to the NFL’s evaluation hubris.
It cost next year’s first-rounder (and fourth) plus a fifth-rounder this year, juice worth the squeeze from a long-term value perspective if Fields even plateaus as a league-average starter (and if I’m right about Fields, it will be highway larceny). Another genius move came in Round 2 when the Bears dealt a third-round pick to move up for free-falling top-25 talent OT Teven Jenkins (Chicago also moved up 53 slots on Day 3 as part of a pick-swap sweetener included in the trade).
I’ll repeat what I said on our live post-draft show Thursday night after Round 1: Ryan Pace just saved tacked at least one more year onto his reign. More importantly: The Bears are relevant again.
DALLAS COWBOYS | Snap grade: D+
Draft capital: 8 | Talent acquired: 15 | Value: 21
|1.12||Micah Parsons||LB2||15||Myles Jack||6'3||246||9.59|
|2.44||Kelvin Joseph||CB11||84||Eli Apple||5'11||197||9.02|
|3.75||Osa Odighizuwa||DL12||122||Sheldon Rankins||6'2||282||7.64|
|3.84||Chauncey Golston||EDGE23||192||Calvin Pace||6'5||269||7.58|
|3.99||Nahshon Wright||CB48||415||Johnthan Banks||6'4||183||2.47|
|4.115||Jabril Cox||LB5||41||Cory Littleton||6'3||232||---|
|4.138||Josh Ball||OT13||92||Ryan Schraeder||6'8||308||7.8|
|5.179||Simi Fehoko||WR20||139||Josh Gordon||6'4||222||9.17|
|6.192||Quinton Bohanna||DL19||237||Gabe Watson||6'4||327||2.28|
|6.227||Israel Mukuamu||CB23||179||Joejuan Williams||6'4||212||---|
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. The Cowboys were rumored to be sitting dead-red on CB Patrick Surtain, with a strong fallback option in CB Jaycee Horn, to address their long-standing need. Instead, the two teams in front of them, Carolina and Denver, ended up trading for quarterbacks and removing themselves from the class’ QB derby. The Cowboys' audible -- picking up a third-round pick (No. 84, DE Chauncey Golston) to move down two spots to take Parsons -- was a much better idea than reaching for CBs Greg Newsome or Caleb Farley.
But the restraint that move showed was lacking on Day 2. The Cowboys, clearly still smarting from the double-snipe of corners in front of them in R1, began the day by reaching for talented problem child Kelvin Joseph and ended with a breathtaking reach for Oregon CB Nahshon Wright, a skyscraper with 4.49 speed. Unfortunately, it’s the build-up variety (5th- and 26th-percentile splits with a 4th-percentile vertical), and he changes directions like the captain of the stuck Suez Canal tug. Keith Taylor, a player so athletically similar that he shows up on Wright's Mock Draftable page, was taken at 5.166 (I prefer Taylor, but that isn’t even my point).
I saw Odighizuwa and Golston as fourth- and sixth-round talents, respectively, two more picks that felt like in-the-moment reaches based on position-need tunnel vision.
DETROIT LIONS | Snap grade: A
Draft capital: 7 | Talent acquired: 6 | Value: 9
|1.7||Penei Sewell||OT1||4||Trent Williams||6'5||331||8.99|
|2.41||Levi Onwuzurike||DL2||37||Leonard Williams||6'3||290||8.73|
|3.72||Alim McNeill||DL5||69||Javon Hargrave||6'2||317||8.53|
|3.101||Ifeatu Melifonwu||CB12||86||Ahkello Witherspoon||6'2||205||9.69|
|4.112||Amon-Ra St. Brown||WR12||78||Sterling Shepard||6'1||197||7.14|
|4.113||Derrick Barnes||LB12||129||Jarrad Davis||6'0||238||8.42|
|7.257||Jermar Jefferson||RB15||202||Ronald Jones||5'9||206||2.28|
Lions GM Brad Holmes took advantage of good fortune and a thrift-shopper’s eye for value throughout in landing the most impressive Lions' draft haul in years. Penei Sewell -- the best offensive linemen I've evaluated in five years doing this -- will spend his career in Detroit because Miami felt it couldn't do without a receiver up top and called an audible for Jaylen Waddle, not Sewell, after Cincy decided to reunite WR Ja’Marr Chase with his college quarterback.
Detroit did something very rare with this draft -- the ever-rare zero-reach draft with a full complement of picks. All seven of Detroit's selections are ranked higher on my board than the slot Detroit purchased them in. This is what the draft is all about: Coming out with more talent than should have been possible in your slots. The Lions managed to do this while addressing all of their roster needs save (arguably) quarterback.
Even with this class, the Lions will of course stink next year. That will gift them the draft slot needed to swap out Jared Goff. What this class does is provide hope that the next quarterback will be surrounded by a stronger foundation than Matthew Stafford was.
GREEN BAY PACKERS | Snap grade: F
Draft capital: 26 | Talent acquired: 29 | Value: 32
|1.29||Eric Stokes||CB8||56||Sidney Jones||6'1||194||9.37|
|2.62||Josh Myers||iOL11||99||Tyler Biadasz||6'5||310||---|
|3.85||Amari Rodgers||WR22||149||Devin Duvernay||5'10||211||5.37|
|4.142||Royce Newman||iOL15||144||Brandon Shell||6'5||310||8.73|
|5.173||Tedarrell Slaton||DL16||185||Khyri Thornton||6'4||330||7.96|
|5.178||Shemar Jean-Charles||CB41||320||Mackensie Alexander||5'10||184||4.27|
|6.214||Cole Van Lanen||OT26||349||Tanner Hawkinson||6'4||305||8.5|
|6.220||Isaiah McDuffie||LB17||158||Matthew Adams||6'1||227||7.33|
|7.256||Kylin Hill||RB14||198||Marion Barber||5'10||214||7.31|
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst appears to be in over his head. In last year’s snap grades, I called the decision to trade up for QB Jordan Love “bizarre, organizationally.” That move has already come back full-circle for him. Yahoo's Charles Robinson reported that Rodgers won’t return unless Gutekunst is fired. "The fracture points between Rodgers and Gutekunst largely revolve around the drafting of Jordan Love in 2020," Robinson wrote. But Love was the least of my concerns with Green Bay's 2020 class, as I wrote at the time: "The issue with the rest of the class is that the Packers reached time and time again – curiously, not once for a receiver, an acute need amid the deepest receiver class in memory."
Green Bay's 2021 draft didn't feature a flashy, controversial pick to light up talk radio as Love did. What lingered was Gutey's receiver-aversion and habit of reaching. This class was four-deep in Tier-1 corners. When Greg Newsome, the last of the four, got popped three slots ahead of Green Bay, Gutey could have regrouped by gobbling up picks to trade out of R1 with an idea of getting a corner in the next tier anywhere in the top-half the R2. Instead of being okay with a consolation prize of extra picks and a choice of most Tier-2 corners, Gutey had to get his favorite of the group, Eric Stokes. Only one corner would go on to be selected over the next 14 picks. I'm clearly lower on Stokes than Green Bay is, but what was more concerning to me was seeing another example of rotten board management.
Gutekunst finally did get around to taking a WR at 3.85. But even that decision was a head-scratcher, with the Packers deciding on Amari Rogers, a glorified running back in the Ty Montgomery mold that only catches screen passes and the like. Question for you, reader: If you have one of the NFL's all-time most accurate downfield quarterbacks, would you prefer a receiver who can make plays downfield, or a gadget player who must receive the ball around the line of scrimmage in order to gain possession of it at all? Jordan Love threw a lot of screens at Utah State, and the (Amari) Rodgers pick may very well be a nod to the Jordan Love Packers' offense of the future (perhaps present, depending on how the drama in Green Bay shakes out). My point is that if (Aaron) Rodgers is still your quarterback, there were better options on the board.
Gutekunst put Aaron Rogers' time in Green Bay on a shot clock when he took Love. Ironically, his decisions the last two drafts have put him on a shot clock of his own. If Aaron Rodgers stays, how does Gutey? And if Aaron Rodgers is traded for picks, I'd want someone else making them.
LOS ANGELES RAMS | Snap grade: D
Draft capital: 30 | Talent acquired: 30 | Value: 28
|2.57||Tutu Atwell||WR11||75||Hollywood Brown||5'9||155||6.26|
|3.103||Ernest Jones||LB15||152||Micah Kiser||6'1||230||6.4|
|4.117||Bobby Brown III||DL8||102||B.J. Hill||6'4||321||9.82|
|4.130||Robert Rochell||CB15||113||Xavier Crawford||6'0||193||9.65|
|4.141||Jacob Harris||WR33||249||Dezmon Patmon||6'5||211||9.88|
|5.174||Earnest Brown IV||EDGE35||314||Jalyn Holmes||6'4||270||4.7|
|7.233||Jake Funk||RB19||251||Mike Boone||5'9||204||9.76|
|7.249||Ben Skowronek||WR58||410||Lawrence Cager||6'3||220||---|
|7.252||Chris Garrett||LB29||279||Michael Divinity||6'3||241||---|
The Rams entered another draft with very little draft capital due to their wont of trading for established veteran players. This strategy appears likely to end in a dystopian future. For the second consecutive year, the Rams took a receiver with a second-round pick instead of addressing an offensive line badly in need of young blood (it was WR Van Jefferson last year; the Rams also took RB Cam Akers with a second second-rounder).
But whereas last year, the Rams finally took an interior iOL in R7, this year they didn’t pick one at all. I actually like Tutu Atwell -- he's a nice fit with Stafford in particular because of his wheels -- but would have preferred him in the top-half of R3, not the middle of R2. This isn't about him, though. I'm confused why the Rams, always so pick-poor, continue to invest all the Round 2 picks into offensive skill players.
The Rams started out Day 3 strong with a pair of nice fourth-rounder picks, but instead of focusing on infrastructure late, Los Angeles couldn't help itself from adding two more receivers and another running back to a roster that doesn't have room for them but could badly use youth elsewhere.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS | Snap grade: C+
Draft capital: 14 | Talent acquired: 18 | Value: 17
|1.23||Christian Darrisaw||OT3||16||Duane Brown||6'5||322||---|
|3.66||Kellen Mond||QB8||124||Josh Dobbs||6'2||211||---|
|3.78||Chazz Surratt||LB9||110||Telvin Smith||6'2||229||8.47|
|3.86||Wyatt Davis||iOL6||64||Trai Turner||6'4||315||---|
|3.90||Patrick Jones||EDGE18||153||Mathias Kiwanuka||6'4||261||6.28|
|4.119||Kene Nwangwu||RB17||233||Charles Sims||6'0||210||9.89|
|4.125||Camryn Bynum||CB18||155||Jordan Poyer||6'0||196||7.82|
|4.134||Janarius Robinson||EDGE19||160||Cornelius Washington||6'5||263||9.33|
|5.157||Ihmir Smith-Marsette||WR32||243||Paul Richardson||6'1||181||6.81|
|5.168||Zach Davidson||TE5||115||A.J. Derby||6'6||245||8.8|
|6.199||Jaylen Twyman||DL17||195||Mike Bennett||6'2||301||4.42|
The Vikings had one of the finest Thursday nights in the NFL, with a big assist from Mike Mayock, who we will discuss later. The Vikings picked up a pair of badly-needed third-round picks (and sent back a mid-R4) in trading down from 1.14 to 1.23 -- receiving 370 trade chart points from the Jets and sending back 340 -- and somehow ended up with OT3 Christian Darrisaw. The Vikings likely would have taken Darrisaw at 1.14 if they'd been stuck there. That trade essentially erased Minnesota GM Rick Spielman's mistake of the Yannick Ngakoue trades, which was the reason Minny didn’t have a R2 pick.
The Darrisaw and Davis picks were both no-doubt winners, great values at a spot of glaring need. Both will start from Day 1. The rest of the draft didn’t go the same. Using a R3 pick on Kellen Mond was odd for a roster with so many needs. Mond projects as a solid backup, but his arm talent doesn’t extend to the deep sector, and both he and the defense knows it. If the idea was to prepare for a Kirk Cousins future, that pick achieved the goal only in providing Cousins’ successor a low-ceiling backup of his own.
Surratt is athletic and vacuums up tackles, but he’s old for a prospect (24), only has two years' experience at LB, is poor in coverage, and has T-rex arms and an unrefined approach that led to a bloated missed-tackle rate at UNC. I loved the flier on Davidson -- if he impresses, he could get on the field immediately as the inline TE… in my opinion, the Vikings have zero of those on the roster, and two H-Backs in Irv Smith and Tyler Conklin.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS | Snap grade: D-
Draft capital: 25 | Talent acquired: 27 | Value: 29
|1.28||Payton Turner||EDGE9||70||Deatrich Wise Jr.||6'5||270||9.74|
|2.60||Pete Werner||LB8||107||Nick Kwiatkoski||6'3||238||9.52|
|3.76||Paulson Adebo||CB7||51||D. Rodgers-Cromartie||6'1||198||9.55|
|4.133||Ian Book||QB14||302||Trace McSorley||6'0||211||7.39|
|6.206||Landon Young||OT22||240||Yodny Cajuste||6'6||310||9.18|
|7.255||Kawaan Baker||WR37||268||Anthony Ratliff-Williams||6'0||210||9.08|
Paulson Adebo was one of my favorite defensive sleepers in this class. I absolutely adored that pick at 3.76. A few tweaks to his game could yield a top-20 overall player from this class. The rest of the Saints’ haul didn’t impress.
New Orleans clearly wanted to pump athleticism into its roster -- every prospect the Saints picked outside of Ian Book had a 90th-percentile or above size-adjusted athletic composite. But they passed on superior players time and time again. Guarantee you the Bills, Ravens and Bucs -- who went on a three-EDGE run of Gregory Rousseau, Jayson Oweh and Joe Tryon to close shop on Thursday night -- were thrilled the Saints reached for Payton Turner. I actually like Turner, an ascending prospect. But does he have more ceiling than Rousseau or Oweh? Is he a better player than Tryon? I just didn’t get the decision.
Lighting a fourth-round pick on fire to take Ian Book, Trace McSorley’s doppelganger, was bad enough. But it feels even worse when you consider the Saints had dealt their sixth-round pick a year ago when Sean Payton got into a pissing match with Carolina over in-draft UDFA negotiations for Tommy Stevens. Payton thought he'd gotten the last laugh by trading a 2022 R6 to acquire the 2021 R7 pick needed to select Stevens. But Stevens was cut in November -- he's now on… the Panthers -- to create an opening for Payton's newest sure-to-fail science project, Book.
Instead of being able to use that R6 pick wasted on Stevens and the R4 pick air-mailed on Book as part of a package to move into late-R2 or early-R3 to get in on the Kyle Trask-Kellen Mond-Davis Mills QB run, the Saints chased developmental losses and likely added to its debt ledger.
Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!
NEW YORK GIANTS | Snap grade: C
Draft capital: 20 | Talent acquired: 23 | Value: 26
|1.11||Kadarius Toney||WR9||65||Curtis Samuel||5'11||194||9|
|2.50||Azeez Ojulari||EDGE4||28||Shaqil Barrett||6'2||249||8.17|
|3.71||Aaron Robinson||CB9||76||D.J. Hayden||5'11||186||8.38|
|4.116||Elerson Smith||EDGE16||137||Yannick Ngakoue||6'6||252||9.72|
|6.196||Gary Brightwell||RB30||341||DeeJay Dallas||6'1||218||4.62|
|6.201||Rodarius Williams||CB25||199||A.J. Green||6'0||189||8.14|
Gettleman unplugged! Trader Dave!
After years of sticking in his slot and taking trench players -- prior to Thursday night he had never traded back -- Gettleman let his freak flag fly, trading down in the first round and doing so again in the second. That was good fun. During a delicious stretch of NFC East parlor intrigue on Thursday night, the Cowboys traded back two slots with the Eagles after getting sniped on the class’ top-two corners and, in so doing, facilitated Gettleman himself getting sniped when the Eagles popped Devonta Smith on intel New York would a pick later if they didn’t.
Gettleman did well in the immediate aftermath of that bombshell, acquiring Chicago’s 2022 R1 and R3 picks along with a fifth-rounder. Make no mistake: That was fabulous value, taking advantage of Ryan Pace’s need to move up the board to stop Justin Fields’ fall and save his job. Gettleman then picked up Miami’s 2022 R3 by dropping back a mere eight spots in R2. Gettleman got exceptional value even after that when he stole Azeez Ojulari at 2.50. Robinson was fine value in R3.
This grade is middle-of-the-pack because of the one poor decision I felt Gettleman made over the weekend -- taking older gadget prospect Kadarius Toney at 1.20. Gettleman ought to have considered Rashod Bateman or Elijah Moore if it had to be a receiver.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES | Snap grade: B
Draft capital: 11 | Talent acquired:10 | Value: 11
|1.10||Devonta Smith||WR2||8||Keenan McCardell||6'1||170||---|
|2.37||Landon Dickerson||iOL3||50||Frank Ragnow||6'6||333||---|
|3.73||Milton Williams||DL3||48||Turk McBride||6'3||284||9.96|
|4.123||Zech McPhearson||CB34||293||Corey White||5'11||195||9.56|
|5.150||Kenneth Gainwell||RB8||117||Raheem Mostert||5'11||201||5.7|
|6.189||Marlon Tuipulotu||DL10||116||Foley Fatukasi||6'2||307||6.78|
|6.191||Tarron Jackson||EDGE32||281||Dawuane Smoot||6'2||254||5.67|
|6.224||JaCoby Stevens||S18||229||Greg Blue||6'2||230||7.85|
|7.234||Patrick Johnson||EDGE20||167||Derek Barnett||6'2||240||7.25|
The Eagles' punking Gettleman in Round 1 was high comedy. It had to feel especially sweet for Philly to get the last top-tier receiver and leave the hated Giants to panic-reach on the limited utility of Kadarius Toney. A strong Day 2 followed, with good value found on both Dickerson and Williams.
The Williams pick produced the most hilarious moment of draft weekend, when Howie Roseman's run around the war room for congratulatory fist-bumps hit a snag when he offered knuckles to senior scout Tom Donahue, who was seething in rage away from his colleagues who had clearly disagreed with his alternate suggestion for the Williams pick. Donahue exchanged terse words to a visibly confused Roseman. Incredibly, the exchange was caught during a live ESPN look into the Eagles war room.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS | Snap grade: B
Draft capital: 6 | Talent acquired: 12 | Value: 20
|1.3||QB3||Trey Lance||7||6'4||224||---||Steve McNair|
|2.48||iOL5||Aaron Banks||61||6'5||325||7.21||Rodger Saffold|
|3.88||RB4||Trey Sermon||67||6'0||215||9.66||Joe Mixon|
|3.102||CB13||Ambry Thomas||103||6'0||191||8.97||Jourdan Lewis|
|5.155||OT16||Jaylon Moore||121||6'4||311||7.48||Donald Stephenson|
|5.172||CB31||Deommodore Lenoir||266||5'10||199||7.59||Damon Arnette|
|5.180||S13||Talanoa Hufanga||187||6'0||199.0||5.77||Andrew Wingard|
|6.194||RB11||Elijah Mitchell||168||5'10||201||9.5||Royce Freeman|
The 1.3 pick of Trey Lance provided Thursday night with an epic M. Night Shyamalan twist very early into the plot. I was so giddy I could barely speak -- but I didn’t have a choice, having been pre-slotted to do a reaction video for NBCSE immediately after the pick was announced. I did manage to express my main takeaway in that moment: “This is one of the great smokescreens in NFL history.”
By Monday, I had a conviction that Lance was going to be the pick, so I wasn’t as much surprised by that as I was in awe of Shanahan and Lynch’s high-risk pony-up and brilliant execution of a targeted media strategy that kept everyone guessing until the end. Just brilliant theater. The fact that it was Lance made all the confusion we’d experienced regarding San Francisco’s intentions in the lead-up suddenly make sense.
Same with Lance himself. The idea of Mac Jones at 1.3, preposterous on its face, nevertheless captured public imagination to the degree that Jones was the betting favorite to go 1.3 for an estimated 90-percent of San Francisco’s ownership of the pick. San Francisco’s No. 20 ranking in slot value is a bit deceiving -- my crude, top-heavy point system, based off the Rich Hill trade chart, is penalizing them for taking my No. 7 prospect at the No. 3 slot. If Lance pans out, he’ll be worth his weight in gold. If he doesn’t, a potential Mad Max dystopian future spawning a Dolphin dynasty, as Miami owns San Fran’s next two R1 picks. This is going to be really freaking fun.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS | Snap grade: D
Draft capital: 32 | Talent acquired: 32 | Value: 19
|2.56||D'Wayne Eskridge||WR13||88||Mecole Hardman||5'9||190||6.73|
|4.137||Tre Brown||CB19||163||John Reid||5'10||185||6.36|
|6.208||Stone Forsythe||OT12||83||Jared Veldheer||6'8||307||8.78|
I like the Forsythe flier late -- especially for an organization that always need offensive line help -- but felt any gains Seattle made there only served to help offset the losses of the Eskridge reach. Non-factor draft by a team that doesn't appear to value the draft much.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS | Snap grade: D
Draft capital: 28 | Talent acquired: 28 | Value: 30
|1.32||Joe Tryon||EDGE7||43||Robert Quinn||6'5||259||9.29|
|2.64||Kyle Trask||QB9||184||Trent Edwards||6'5||236||5.94|
|3.95||Robert Hainsey||OT18||157||Joe Haeg||6'4||306||8.07|
|4.129||Jaelon Darden||WR18||128||Isaiah McKenzie||5'8||174||7.15|
|5.176||K.J. Britt||LB20||171||Antonio Morrison||6'0||235||4.7|
|7.251||Chris Wilcox||CB39||315||Holton Hill||6'2||198||8.8|
|7.259||Grant Stuard||LB30||284||Brandon Magee||5'11||230||---|
The Buccaneers earned one of only two A+ grades I gave out after last year’s draft. They had taken my OT1 Tristan Wirfs and S1 Antoine Winfield Jr. prospects I ranked No. 6 and 29 overall respectively, at 1.13 and 2.45. Both turned out to be the steals I thought they’d be, and both were key components of a Super Bowl winning team. This year, I had no earthly idea what Tampa Bay was doing. If they were going to get criticized for a draft strategy, my assumption was it was going to be because they took an RB in R1 and triggered the analytic nerds. I was okay with the Tryon pick, but the rest of the class provides neither immediate help nor future upside.
I assume Tampa is cocksure in the idea they began the three-QB run at the end of R2, but they ought not be, coming away with the worst prospect of the three. Trask’s an unathletic late-bloomer that didn’t pop until he was playing with all-time CFB TE Kyle Pitts, top-20 NFL Draft pick Kadarius Toney, and Trevon Grimes, who also has an NFL future. When those three skipped the bowl game against Oklahoma, the pixy dust wore off and Trask was just the statuesque pocket-passer with placement issues he’d been before. Instead of using the pick as a ceremonial nod to the future, why not, you know, increase your odds of repeating as Super Bowl champs next year? Instead of taking Trask, the Bucs could have had, for instance, Trey Sermon, who would have been a Week 1 starter. We can argue running back value all day. But if Trey Sermon doesn't end his career with more win shares than Trask, I'll eat this column, and he assuredly would have improved next year's team.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM | Snap grade: D
Draft capital: 16 | Talent acquired: 21 | Value: 27
|1.19||Jamin Davis||LB4||29||Willie Gay Jr.||6'3||234||9.94|
|2.51||Samuel Cosmi||OT6||44||Kolton Miller||6'6||314||9.99|
|3.74||Benjamin St-Juste||CB17||146||Tre Flowers||6'3||202||8.13|
|3.82||Dyami Brown||WR16||96||Darius Slayton||6'0||189||8.38|
|4.124||John Bates||TE13||265||C.J. Fiedorowicz||6'5||260||6.8|
|5.163||Darrick Forrest||S15||205||Chuck Clark||5'11||206||9.69|
|7.240||William Bradley-King||EDGE25||201||Kamalei Correa||6'3||252||9.18|
|7.246||Shaka Toney||EDGE24||194||Trent Cole||6'2||242||9.47|
|7.258||Dax Milne||WR48||347||Chad Hansen||6'1||193||4.59|
I grade as a first-rounder. I don’t have a huge problem with Washington popping him there if it has a conviction -- Davis is high-variance prospect, but his risk is mitigated by his athleticism and coverage utility, and his ceiling is obviously quite high -- but there were multiple prospects on the board at that point that I felt had similar ceilings but came with lower bust odds.
I really liked Washington’s pick of the underrated Cosmi at 2.51. Wasn’t as big a fan of the rest of the haul. St-Juste’s future may be at safety. I was a vocal critic of Dyami Brown’s all process. It turned out the NFL more or less agreed with my assessment. I understand WFT's thinking, here, bringing in a field-stretcher opposite Terry McLaurin. But deep routes were the only routes Brown ran at UNC, and he drops too many balls and engages in too much hand-fighting downfield for a one-tricky pony. He's got skill, but is further away than was depicted during his process -- the opposite of McLaurin's process, in other words.