Just thirteen minutes before the NFL draft started last Thursday a photo of the top offensive tackle in the draft, Laremy Tunsil, smoking weed appeared on Twitter. This photo led him to slide down eight picks, before he was selected by the Miami Dolphins at 13th overall. Miami got a steal here, as Tunsil was projected to be drafted by the Ravens with the 6th pick.
Whether a draft is successful, or not, is most often decided by whether one’s first round is a star, or a bust. What separates the good from the great are the athletes selected on the second and third day of the draft.
The Dolphins landed Laremy Tunsil, and I would give his selection alone an A+ grade. As for the Dolphins complete draft haul? A disappointing C. This grade is the result of Miami failing to add any other impact players n the later rounds. Here are my best and worst NFL drafts classes:
Local: Redskins: A-
|2/53||Su’a Cravens||S||Southern Cal|
|3/84||Kendall Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|7/232||Steven Daniels||ILB||Boston College|
Scot Mccloughan brought the best player on the board to Washington by selecting Josh Doctson with the 22nd pick. Doctson is an athletic freak, with an uncanny ability to contort his body to bring in tough catches. The TCU alum can do it all with deep speed, height, and hands. Su’a Cravens can double as a linebacker for the Redskins and also provides versatility to their defense. If he can recover from an ACL tear, Kendall Fuller has a strong chance to be the best cornerback of this draft class. Though he doesn’t have the speed or mesurables to make scouts love him, seventh round pick Stephen Daniels has the attitude and toughness to make it in the NFL. I also liked the pick of running back Keith Marshall in the late 7th round. Marshall has had his fair share of injury issues, but he also has enough talent to go up against any almost other drafted running back.
Best: Bengals: A
|1/24||William Jackson III||CB||Houston|
|3/87||Nick Vigil||ILB||Utah State|
|5/161||Christian Westerman||G||Arizona State|
|6/199||Cody Core||WR||Ole Miss|
Not many division winners were able to land sleepers with their late picks, but the Bengals did. This draft might be able to push them into the “elite” category for teams, as they surrounded their current cornerstones with even more talent. Cornerback William Jackson III has elite ball skills and closing speed, and was the best player on the board at 24. In the second round, general manager Michael Brown brought in wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who will replace Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones as a WR2. On day three Cincinnati got two of the biggest steals of the draft with Andrew Billings, and Christian Westerman. Billings is an effective run-stuffing nose tackle, and Westerman can start at any interior spot for the Bengals.
Chicago Bears B+
|2/56||Cody Whitehair||G||Kansas State|
|4/113||Nick Kwiatkoski||ILB||West Virginia|
|4/127||Deiondre’ Hall||CB||Northern Iowa|
|6/185||Deandre Houston-Carson||S||William & Mary|
|7/230||Daniel Braverman||WR||Western Michigan|
The Bears arrived at the draft with numerous weak spots throughout their team. After three days in the Radio City Music Hall, Chicago left with one of the best draft classes of the year. Leonard Floyd was a slight reach, but he brings athleticism and versatility to Chicago’s defense. I thought they did their best work on day two of the draft, when they picked Cody Whitehair and Jonathan Bullard in the second and third rounds. Chicago had a putrid offensive line last year, and Whitehair, who was my my top rated offensive guard, will bring talent and youth to the trenches. Jonathan Bullard has early round two grade, but the Bears were able to select him in the early third round. Out of Indiana, Howard should compete with running back Jeremy Langford immediately, as he excelled as a downhill runner in college. One of my favorite picks was the safety, DeAndre Houston-Carson. The former William and Mary safety will be an immediate asset on special teams, and could develop into a talented playmaker down the road.
|2/32||Emmanuel Ogbah||DE||Oklahoma State|
|3/65||Carl Nassib||DE||Penn State|
|3/93||Cody Kessler||QB||Southern Cal|
|5/172||Rashard Higgins||WR||Colorado State|
|5/173||Trey Caldwell||CB||Louisiana Monroe|
|7/250||Scooby Wright III||ILB||Arizona|
Somehow the Browns found a way to have an okay draft with thirteen picks in the first five rounds. Coleman has elite speed, and will be a deep threat as soon as he suits up for the Browns. Ogbah is a project pick, and even though he has good play strength, he lacked explosiveness at Oklahoma State. Carl Nassib was another reach, and the former walk-on needs to improve his change of direction and open field tackling if he wants to succeed at the next level. Cleveland did well finding receivers, as Payton and Higgins were both relative steals. Though the Browns did find talent in some circumstance, they should have found much more with the fourteen picks they had.
|1/20||Darron Lee||OLB||Ohio State|
|2/51||Christian Hackenberg||QB||Penn State|
|4/118||Juston Burris||CB||NC State|
|5/158||Brandon Shell||OT||South Carolina|
|7/235||Loc Edwards||P||Sam Houston State|
The Jets struggled mightily in the 2016 draft. Even with his speed and agility, Darron Lee is too undersized to be taken in the first round. Christian Hackenberg, on the other hand, might not beat out Geno Smith as the starting quarterback week one. Todd Bowles passed on Cardale Jones and Connor Cook in order to take the Penn State product. Hackenberg did play in a pro style offense, but had accuracy issues that will need serious fixing in New York. Charone Peake was the lone bright spot of the Jets’ draft. The Clemson alum has a great balance of speed, size, and weight, and can be an impactful player in the NFL.