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AFC NFL Draft Grades

Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

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Baltimore Ravens

Round 1 (14) - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Round 1 (25) - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Round 2 (45) – David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

Round 3 (76) - Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut

Round 4 (110) - Daniel Faalele, OL, Minnesota

Round 4 (119) - Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama

Round 4 (128) - Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

Round 4 (130) - Jordan Stout, K/P, Penn State

Round 4 (139) - Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina

Round 4 (141) - Damarion Williams, CB, Houston

Round 6 (196) - Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri

Overview: Kyle Hamilton was considered a potential top-5 selection and one of the surest things in the 2022 class. To get him at 14 is an absolute coup for a Baltimore secondary that allowed a league-high 279 passing yards per game last year. Tyler Linderbaum is another blue-chip talent at a position that is not often prioritized by teams in the first round and should hold down their center spot for years to come. David Ojabo was my fourth ranked Edge before tearing his Achilles at his pro day. He will pair with Odafe Oweh in 2023 to form an ultra-athletic and imposing pass rushing duo. With Marquise Brown getting shipped out to Arizona, the team pivoted to a 2011 New England Patriots-esque tight end heavy approach by taking both Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely to go with their current star tight end Mark Andrews. Both Senior Bowl standout Travis Jones and mammoth, 380 Pound right tackle Daniel Faalele were both projected to be taken way earlier than they ended up going. It’s hard to argue with the value Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta extracted from this year’s draft.

Grade: A

Buffalo Bills

1 (23) - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

2 (63) - James Cook, RB, Georgia

3 (89) - Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor

5 (148) - Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

6 (180) - Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State

6 (185) - Christian Benford, CB, Villanova

6 (209) - Luke Tenuta, OT, Virginia Tech

7 (231) - Baylon Spector, LB, Clemson

Overview: Buffalo traded up to get the cornerback they desperately needed if they intend to keep the high-flying passing AFC attacks of Kansas City, Los Angeles and Cincinnati at bay. James Cook fills another hole for the Bills, as the Zack Moss/Devin Singletary lacked the kind of big play ability and receiving acumen that Dalvin Cook’s younger brother, James, possesses. Though Cook isn’t a between the tackles bruiser at 5-foot-10, 199 pounds, he will immediately add a well-rounded threat to Buffalo’s backfield. With Cole Beasley departing this offseason, Khalil Shakir is a great value in the fifth round as a sharp route runner out of the slot who ran a brisk 4.42s 40 and is an 83rd percentile athlete. They also bring in SDSU Ray Guy Award winner P/K Matt Araiza in the sixth round, which was a full 50 picks later than Baltimore selected his counterpart, Jordan Stout. GM Brandon Beane did a nice job addressing specific areas of need with just three picks in the first four rounds for the AFC East champs.

Grade: B-


1 (31) - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

2 (60) - Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska

3 (95) - Zach Carter, DL, Florida

4 (136) - Cordell Volson, OL, North Dakota State

5 (166) - Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo

7 (252) - Jeffrey Gunter, LB, Coastal Carolina

After addressing their offensive line deficiencies through free agency, the Bengals weren’t subtle about their agenda at the top of the draft - to improve their secondary that got exposed by the Bills in the AFC Championship and Rams in the Super Bowl. Daxton Hill has the versatility to slide up and play the slot or drop back and play free safety, while second round CB Cam Taylor-Britt ran a 4.38s 40 time and posted a 77.3 passer rating when targeted. Also Tycen Anderson is a 95th percentile athlete who ran a 4.36s 40. In fact all three defensive backs selected ran sub-4.4s 40’s, so the Bengals are clearly trying to get faster in their secondary. Zach Carter (6’4/282) is an Edge/three tech tweener that can help to add some heft to Cinci’s defensive line, while Cordell Volson adds a developmental young tackle to the offensive line mix. All told, Owner/GM Mike Brown added a solid, if unspectacular, set of first year players.

Grade: C+

Cleveland Browns

2 (68) - Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State

3 (78) - Alex Wright, DE, UAB

3 (99) - David Bell, WR, Purdue

4 (108) - Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

4 (124) - Cade York, K, LSU

4 (156) - Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati

6 (202) - Mike Woods, WR, Oklahoma

7 (223) - Isaiah Thomas, DE, Oklahoma

7 (246) - Dawson Deaton, OL, Texas Tech

Overview: After flipping their first rounder for new QB Deshaun Watson, Cleveland, set their sites on shoring up their defense and special teams. For the second year in a row, Cleveland selected a cornerback with their first selection. Emerson was the lynchpin of a very underrated Mississippi State pass defense, receiving an 81.4 PFF coverage grade over the last two years. With the pressing need for an Edge to play opposite Myles Garrett, UAB’s Alex Wright and his impressive 11.4% win rate comes aboard. GM Andrew Berry answered the call for a compliment to Amari Cooper by selecting Purdue wideout David Bell, an extremely productive receiver who fell down the board due to concerns about his athleticism. His 4.65s 40-yard dash and 4.57s shuttle were both perilously low marks for a wideout, leading to a troubling 4.02 RAS. Perrion Winfrey had some very impressive reps at the Senior Bowl and was considered one of the more promising IDL prospects entering the Draft who could go as high as the second round. This is a solid, if unspectacular, draft class for the Browns.

Grade: C

Denver Broncos

2 (64) - Nik Bonitto, DE, Oklahoma

3 (80) - Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA

4 (115) - Demarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh

4 (116) - Eyioma Uwazurike, DL, Iowa State

5 (152) - Delarrin Turner-Yell, S, Oklahoma

5 (162) - Montrell Washington, WR, Samford

5 (171) - Luke Wattenberg, OL, Washington

6 (206) - Matt Henningsen, DT, Wisconsin

Overview: After jettisoning the #9 overall selection for the quarterback they desperately needed in Russell Wilson, The Broncos sought to solidify an already pretty talented roster. Having traded starting TE Noah Fant in the offseason, getting a talented receiving threat like Greg Dulcich in the third round was a great deal. The selection of Nick Bonitto to help replace Von Miller makes a lot of sense as well. Bonitto is one of my favorite havoc creators and the only player from this Edge class to record back-to-back seasons with a PFF pass rush grade. above 90.0. Despite having selected Patrick Surtain with the ninth picks last year, GM George Paton said adding secondary depth was a priority, and made good on that statement by using their series of fourth and fifth round picks to add a pair of DB’s. Despite not having a pick until the end of the second round, Denver managed to add a pair of instant contributors.

Grade: C

Houston Texans

1 (3) - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

1 (15) - Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

2 (37) - Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

2 (44) - John Metchie, WR, Alabama

3 (75) - Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

4 (107) - Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida

5 (150) - Thomas Booker, DE, Stanford

6 (170) - Teagan Quitoriano, TE, Oregon State

6 (205) - Austin Deculus, OT, LSU

Overview: With the Texans in the midst of a full-on organizational restructuring and no shortage of holes to fill, GM Nick Caesario took cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. to be a foundational cog in new HC Lovie Smith’s defense. He also went after ultra-versatile safety Jalen Pitre, who led the nation in red zone coverage grade according to PFF and posted the most pressures by a safety, 25, of any player since 2014. Kenyon Green is a mauling IOL who will be clearing the way for fourth round running back Dameon Pierce, who is a potential gem at a mid-round investment. Bringing in Alabama players is rarely a bad decision, though Harris is limited in coverage and Metchie is coming off an ACL while not being a particularly effective downfield receiver in his college career. Houston did what it needed to do by stockpiling talented players with upside and is clearly an improved team.

Grade: A-

Indianapolis Colts

2 (53) - Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

3 (73) - Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia

3 (77) - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

3 (96) - Nick Cross, S, Maryland

5 (159) - Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State

6 (192) - Andrew Ogletree, TE, Youngstown State

6 (216) - Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati

7 (239) - Rodney Thomas II, LB, Yale

Overview: With T.Y. Hilton hitting free agency, finding a running mate on the outside for Michael Pittman Jr. was a pressing need for the Colts. They addressed that concern right away by selecting Cincinnati deep-threat Alec Pierce with their first selection. Though his route tree will need to be expanded, Pierce is a high caliber athlete who ran a 4.41s 40 to go with his superb 9.83 RAS. GM Chris Ballard was understandably reticent to enter the season with Mo Alie-Cox as his TE1. Accordingly he went out and got another athletic freak in UVA’s Jelani Woods who blew away the Scouting Combine by posting one of the greatest tight end testing performances of all-time, recording a perfect 10 on the Relative Athletic Score athletic model. He was one of the most impressively built players I saw at the Combine at 6’7/253, he looks like a cross between Robocop and The Predator. Bernhard Raimann was mocked in the first round on many pre-draft boards and is a steal at 77 overall. Nick Cross is also a quality stab in what I perceive to be a deep safety class, as Indy made each of their three, third round picks count. Can’t argue with Ballard’s approach and results as this is a well-rounded class.

Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars

1 (1) - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

1 (27) - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

3 (65) - Luke Fortner, C, Kentucky

3 (70) - Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

5 (154) - Snoop Conner, RB, Mississippi

6 (197) - Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita Baptist

6 (198) - Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU

7 (222) - Montaric Brown, CB, Arkansas

Overview: The rumors were all true, GM Trent Balke took Travon Walker first overall and continues his cold war against Michigan’s prickly HC Jim Harbaugh by passing on ultra-talented DE Aidan Hutchinson. In his defense, Walker is one of the most perfectly proportioned human beings in history when it comes to playing the Edge position with 35.5” arms and a near perfect 9.99 RAS. The emphasis on improving their front-seven continued as Jax traded up to take the consensus best linebacker in the class, Devin Lloyd, when he tumbled to pick number 27. Luke Fortner should step in and be a reliable center while the emphasis on beefing up their linebacker corps continued with the selection of tackling machine Chad Muma in the third round. Bonus points for selecting CB Gregory Junior who went to “Ouachita Baptist”, which is a school I never knew existed. GM Balke had a mission to improve on the lines, so the Jags’ draft was a success in that respect.

Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

1 (21) - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

1 (30) - George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

2 (54) - Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

2 (62) - Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati

3 (104) - Leo Chanel, LB, Wisconsin

4 (135) - Joshua Williams, DB, Fayetteville State

5 (145) - Darian Kinnard, OG, Kentucky

7 (243) - Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State

7 (251) - Isiah Pacheco, RB, Rutgers

7 (259) - Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall

Overview: With Kansas City allowing the third-most yards and fourth-most points per game of any team in the NFL, an overhaul on the defensive side of the ball was sorely needed if they want to keep Denver, San Diego and Las Vegas at bay in the NFC West. Trent McDuffie was an ace zone-corner for a Washington defense that allowed 25 less passing yards per game than any other team in the nation. He will start immediately. George Karlaftis is a powerful edge setting DE who collapses the pocket with his bull rush and posted the seventh-highest pressure rate in the country last year. Skyy Moore and his giant 10 ¼” hands was the best case scenario for a Tyreek Hill replacement once the top wideouts were gone in the first 18 picks, and Brian Cook is a downhill enforcer at the strong safety position who will make receivers think twice about crossing the middle of the field. Leo Chanel is a big throwback two-down run stuffing linebacker, while Darian Kennard can kick inside to right guard and be a solid rotational lineman for a fifth round flyer. Kansas City aggressively addressed their deficiencies with quality players.

Grade: A

Las Vegas Raiders

3 (90) - Dylan Parham, OL, Memphis

4 (122) - Zamir White, RB, Georgia

4 (126) - Neil Farrell Jr, DT, LSU

5 (175) - Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee

7 (238) - Thayer Munford, OL, Ohio State

7 (250) - Brittain Brown, RB, UCLA

Overview: While the Raiders didn’t have much draft capital to work with, they got good value with Dylan Parham, who was widely ranked as a fringe top-5 guard in the class. Clearly they aren’t enamored with current starter Josh Jacobs because they didn’t pick up the option on Jacobs and drafted two young running backs behind him. Zamir White is a former number one overall RB recruit who had two ACL surgeries in the past, but still ran a blazing 4.4s 40-time and could be an immediate factor in the backfield. Neil Farrell had a ghastly workout that scored in the bottom eighth percentile athletically while Matthew Butler had bursts of impressive play during his Tennessee tenure. There really isn’t much to comment on here due to the lack of first or second round picks, though I like how the Raiders used their available draft capital.

Grade: C

Los Angeles Chargers

1 (17) - Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

3 (79) - JT Woods, S, Baylor

4 (123) - Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

5 (160) - Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA

6 (195) - Jamaree Salyer, OT, Georgia

6 (214) - Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest

7 (236) - Deane Leonard, CB, Mississippi

7 (260) - Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

Overview: Chargers GM Tom Telesco takes an offensive lineman in the first round for the second year in a row, as Zion Johnson joins Rashawn Slater in helping to keep Justin Herbert upright and healthy. Johnson is a very safe and projectable IOL who comes with exceptional football character and a high floor. The Bolts landed last year’s Big 12 interception leader in JT Woods who backed up his play speed with a 4.36s 40 and 9.43 RAS. Isaiah Spiller fills a vital void behind all-purpose weapon Austin Ekeler as a bruising two-down back that can pickup the short yardage touches and do the between the tackles dirty work to help Keep Ekeler’s workload manageable. Spiller was the consensus RB3 in the draft community, so picking him up in the fourth was a pleasant surprise. Otito Ogbonnia is a defensive tackle who has the potential to make the defensive line rotation in short order and Jamaree Salyer is a tweener type who slid because lack of a position fit, but was a road grader for the National Champion UGA Bulldogs. Though their draft lacks sizzle, the Chargers addressed positions of need.

Grade: C

Miami Dolphins

3 (102) - Channing Tindal, LB, Georgia

4 (125) - Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech

7 (224) - Cameron Goode, OLB, California

7 (247) - Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State

Overview: Trading for superstar wideout Tyreek Hill depleted Miami’s draft assets, leading to Miami almost sitting out the 2022 Draft. Channing Tindall is an explosive, two-down linebacker who is a monster in run support and recorded 5.5 sacks last year as a ferocious blitzer. Erik Ezukanma is a promising, underrated pass catcher who could carve out a role for himself as a big, outside wide receiver compliment to the smaller, shiftier Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Not much more to discuss here.

Grade: D

New England Patriots

1 (29) - Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga

2 (50) - Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor

3 (85) - Marcus Jones, CB, Houston

4 (121) - Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State

4 (127) - Pierre Strong Jr, RB, South Dakota State

4 (137) - Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky

5 (183) - Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina

6 (200) - Sam Roberts, DL, Northwest Missouri State

6 (210) - Chasen Hines, G, LSU

7 (245) - Andrew Stueber, OT, Michigan

Overview: New England has a type of player they like at each position and rarely stray from their orthodoxy. Their selection of Cole Strange sent shockwaves through the league, as Sean McVay went viral saying they thought they could get him with their 104th selection to replace the departed Marcus Cannon and rebuild the interior of the line. It should be noted that Strange tested as a 95th percentile athlete and held his own at the Senior Bowl against a strong defensive line crop. Trading up for Tyquan Thornton and his 4.28s 40 speed underscored just how badly the Patriots needed a field stretching WR to open up space for underneath guys like Kendrick Bourne and Jacobi Myers. With Stephen Gilmore and J.C. Jackson gone addressing the corner position was imperative, though the decision to do so with a pair of undersized, 175 pound corners was an interesting way to do it. Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris are a pair of good shots at running back for a team that is clearly ready to let Damien Harris walk. The Patriots simply do what they do with little regard for what the rest of the league thinks.

Grade: C

New York Jets

1 (4) - Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

1 (10) - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

1 (26) - Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State

2 (36) - Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

3 (101) - Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

4 (111) - Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana

4 (117) - Micheal Clemons, DE, Texas A&M

Overview: The Jets had an arsenal of early picks and put them to good use, first taking lockdown Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner, who has never allowed a touchdown in coverage, with the #4 overall selection. GM Joe Douglas then gave last year’s number-two overall pick, QB Zach Wilson, the weapons he desperately needs in OSU technician Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall. Both of whom you could make a strong case for being the top players in the draft at each respective position. When potential top-10 pick Jermaind Johnson II fell to 26, the Jets used some of their draft capital to move up and take the Senior Bowl standout who gave the offensive line hell in practice drills all week. Jeremy Ruckert is a well-rounded tight end who can play inline and block while also having plenty of juice on the receiving end to be the safety valve QB Wilson needs. For the first time in recent memory, the Jets made a series of good draft day decisions and have greatly strengthened their roster.

Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (20) - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

2 (52) - George Pickens, WR, Georgia

3 (84) - DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M

4 (138) - Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis

6 (208) - Connor Heyward, TE, Michigan State

7 (225) - Mark Robinson, LB, Mississippi

7 (241) - Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State

Overview: The Steelers desperately needed a quarterback but given the relative dearth of quality signal callers in this draft, Kenny Pickett included, they probably could have waited to take the tiny-handed gunslinger until R2 since every other QB of any renown went in the third round. Talent-wise, George Pickens was considered a late-first, early-second round pick, however rumors of his attitude being questionable likely caused him to fall a bit to 52. He could be a great value at that spot, while Calvin Austin III is one of the most dynamic small wideouts in this class and could be a dynamic slot receiver in short order. DeMarvin Leal was considered a potential first-round selection at this time last year, but a 5.00 40-yard dash and tweener size has teams viewing him as a three tech who put up just 17 bench reps. He’s going to need to add strength to survive in the NFL. Longtime GM Kevin Colbert concluded the final draft of his career with a offense-heavy player haul.

Grade: C-

Tennessee Titans

1 (18) - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

2 (35) - Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

3 (69) - Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

3 (86) - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

4 (131) - Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan

4 (143) - Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland

5 (163) - Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA

6 (204) Theo Jackson, CB, Tennessee

6 (219) Chance Campbell, LB, Mississippi

Overview: Titans GM Jon Robinson had a very interesting draft, switching out the contract hungry A.J. Brown for a reasonable facsimile in Treylon Burks. They then managed to land The SEC’s best cornerback last season in Roger McCreary, who if he didn’t have 29-inch arms would have almost assuredly landed in the first round, while Nicholas Petit-Frere is a solid tackle prospect who has starting potential. Their splash selection was stopping the fall of Malik Willis at #86 overall, as the pre-draft hype surrounding the Liberty QB reached a crescendo that did not reflect his value to the league. There’s no doubt he has a big arm and exceptional mobility, however he played in a Mickey Mouse offense at Liberty, led the nation in both QB scrambles and sacks the last two years and looked lost against Ole Miss his lone SEC opponent. Haskins is the perfect Derrick Henry backup, Okonkwo ran a blazing 40-yard dash and was a valuable third-down option for Maryland and Kyle Phillips is a crafty slot receiver who could be the next Hunter Renfro. Not a bad few days at the office for GM Robinson.

Grade: B+