NFL Draft Grades are a futile exercise in and of itself. Often we look back way down the line and see these grades were way off in trying to assess if a team did well or not. I fully recognize this, but it is still an interesting way to look and analyze a team’s draft. Keep in mind that each team is different and has different fits that could affect the value.
With all of that being said, grades are fun. If I trust my own evaluations, grades allow me to see if a team successfully got value for the players they were taking and if it was worthwhile. I do look at a team’s draft a bit differently with less being about if they took a player a round too early or late, but more within the position tier if they got a steal or reached. For each player, look at my personal position ranking vs. where they were taken within their position. That will be a big factor in my overall letter NFL Draft “Grade” for the team and per pick.
Take these NFL Draft Grades with a grain of salt ultimately, but if you want to see how each player matched up with my evaluation, this should help. Also, with NFL Draft grades actually being negatively correlated to wins, you can bet the odds on the NFL at FanDuel.
Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Grade
Round 1, Pick 26: Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan (My Grade: DL5, Drafted: DL3)
Round 2, Pick 58: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan (My Grade: TE7, Drafted: TE5)
Round 3, Pick 90: DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas (My Grade: LB5, Drafted: LB5)
Round 4, Pick 129: Villami Fehoko, EDGE, San Jose State (My Grade: EDGE21, Drafted: EDGE21)
Round 5, Pick 169: Asim Richards, OT, North Carolina (My Grade: OT12, Drafted: OT12)
Round 6, Pick 178: Eric Scott, CB, Southern Miss (My Grade: CB52, Drafted: CB21)
Round 6, Pick 212: Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State (My Grade: RB17, Drafted RB14)
Round 7, Pick 244: Jalen Brooks, WR, South Carolina (My Grade: WR56, Drafted: WR31)
The Cowboys draft was solid for their needs and fits within their team structure. Though many picks were drafted higher than my specific position grades (Mazi Smith, Schoonmaker, Scott, Vaughn, and Brooks) I can see many contributing and outperforming where I ultimately ranked them due to the team fit.
Overall, it feels unspectacular. I doubt any player here turns into an All-Pro, though players like Overshown and Richards could surprise and be Pro Bowlers with time. Mazi Smith has athletic upside to really improve the run defense, even if it won’t show up on the stat sheet. Similarly, Schoonmaker can fill the holes left, but is unlikely to be wildly productive. That is perfectly fine.
Scott was a bit controversial because I had him ranked so low, but poor conditions during his workouts and possible injury this season may have affected my evaluation. His fit in the Dan Quinn defense is spectacular though, so it may make me look silly. Fehoko is likely moving inside and will also be very intriguing there.
Solid B draft that makes the team better and the Cowboys should continue being contenders.
New York Giants NFL Draft Grade
Round 1, Pick 24: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland (My Grade: CB4, Drafted: CB4)
Round 2: Pick 57: John Michael Schmitz, iOL, Minnesota (My Grade: iOL3, Drafted: iOL5)
Round 3, Pick 73: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee (My Grade: WR4, Drafted: WR10)
Round 5, Pick 172: Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma (My Grade: RB11, Drafted: RB11)
Round 6, Pick 209: Tre Hawkins, CB, Old Dominion (My Grade: CB64, Drafted: CB26)
Round 7, Pick 243: Jordan Riley, DL, Oregon (My Grade: DL72, Drafted: DL23)
Round 7, Pick 254: Gervarrius Owens, S, Houston (My Grade: S13, Drated: S22)
This feels like a Giants draft. Tough, physical with contributors throughout Day 1 and 2 with solid depth on Day 3. The physicality of Banks and Michael Schmitz are incredible fits that attack two of the biggest needs on the team. In addition, the Hyatt pick gives a deep speed threat that was also needed. All three were drafted at or below where I had them rated by position, so that bumps up the Giants grade.
Day 3 was interesting. Gray and Owens were solid values who can add something. I didn’t rate Hawkins or Riley very highly, but can see potential depth picks. Ultimately, Day 3 doesn’t have a massive impact on a draft grade, and we could see someone like Gray or Owens emerge in a bigger role than their draft capital.
A- draft with potential to look very good down the line.
Philadelphia Eagles NFL Draft Grade
Round 1, Pick 9: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia (My Grade: DL1, Drafted: DL1)
Round 1, Pick 30: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia (My Grade: EDGE2, Drafted: EDGE6)
Round 3, Pick 65: Tyler Steen, OT, Alabama (My Grade: OT7, Drafted: OT6)
Round 3, Pick 66: Sydney Brown, S, Illinois (My Grade: S4, Drafted: S3)
Round 4, Pick 105: Keele Ringo, CB, Georgia (My Grade: CB10, Drafted: CB14)
Round 6, Pick 188: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford (My Grade: QB10, Drafted: QB11)
Round 7, Pick 249: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas (My Grade: DL19, Drafted: DL24)
It is fairly easy to get a top grade with multiple first round picks and additional capital to boot throughout the draft. The one pick move up for Jalen Carter was likely to block any other trades up for him, and the Eagles got their guy and a very talented player. Getting Nolan Smith at the end of the draft, with his potential on a defense that will utilize his talents, is phenomenal. Most of their other picks were in the wheelhouse of where I rated players. Steen, Brown, and Ringo are all contributors down the line as depth who can start. Even McKee and Ojomo late are solid selections.
Ultimately, a Super Bowl team with a top 10 pick is going to get a good grade. They don’t have a ton of glaring needs and can draft for value. Howie Roseman did that and accomplished the expected A grade from me.
Washington Commanders NFL Draft Grade
Round 1, Pick 16: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State (My Grade: CB5, Drafted: CB2)
Round 2, Pick 47: Jartavius Martin, S, Illinois (MY Grade: S3, Drafted: S2)
Round 3, Pick 34: Ricky Stromberg, iOL, Arkansas (My Grade: iOL15, Drafted: iOL8)
Round 4, Pick 118: Braeden Daniels, iOL, Utah (My Grade: iOL9 Drafted: iOL14)
Round 5, Pick 137: KJ Henry, EDGE, Clemson (My Grade: EDGE25, Drafted: EDGE22)
Rund 6, Pick 193: Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky (My Grade: RB20, Drafted: RB13)
Round 7, Pick 233: Andre Jones, EDGE, Louisiana (My Grade: EDGE39, My Grade: EDGE29)
This is a Commanders draft that may get panned by most, but I really like the approach. Take two of your biggest weaknesses (secondary and interior OL) and attack them with your first four picks. Even with many of their picks being drafted slightly ahead of my grades, I get the fits to the scheme. Forbes and Martin really turn the defense into playmakers. Forbes’ Pick 6 ability and Martin’s versatility creates turnover opportunities.
Stromberg and Daniels are great scheme fits who are far from perfect due to lack of size, but have the feet and athleticism for the zone scheme the Commanders run. I think both could actually start by 2024 (if the staff and scheme stay consistent). Solid picks, even with Stromberg being a tad overdrafted to me.
Day 3 had some solid talents, again, attacking a future position of need in EDGE to develop. KJ Henry could end up looking like a great addition in the future with his potential. Ultimately, a solid draft that improves the team.
See more NFL Draft Grades from Shane here