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, NFL Draft 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. As we approach the season, check out the NFL odds.
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.
Round 1, Pick 6: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State (My Grade: OT2, Drafted: OT1)
Round 2, Pick 41: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU (My Grade: EDGE11, Drafted: EDGE10)
Round 3, Pick 72: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse (My Grade: CB15, Drafted: CB10)
Round 3, Pick 94: Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford (My Grade: WR13, Drafted: WR13)
Round 4, Pick 122: Jon Gaines, iOL, UCLA (My Grade: iOL16, Drafted: iOL15)
Round 5, Pick 139: Clayton Tune, QB, Houston (My Grade: QB7, Drafted: QB9)
Round 6, Pick 180: Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville (My Grade: CB25, Drafted: CB22)
Round 6, Pick 213: Dante Stills, DL, West Virginia (My Grade: DL20, Drafted: DL19)
The Cardinals are in fairly full rebuild mode and this draft shows it. They did execute getting some key positions for down the line in Johnson and Ojulari at LT and EDGE rusher, which is solid. Williams as a pick down the line when he recovers from injury, but a bit early for my tastes.
Gaines might end up the steal of the draft despite being drafted right around my grade. His agility is off the charts and he fits the offense well. Rest of the Day 3 picks were solid. As a whole, it was unspectacular, but a B+ building block draft.
Los Angeles Rams
Round 2, Pick 36: Steve Avila, iOL, TCU (My Grade: iOL5, Drafted: iOL2)
Round 3, Pick 77: Byron Young, EDGE, Tennessee (My Grade: EDGE12, Drafted: EDGE13)
Round 3, Pick 89: Kobie Turner, DL, Wake Forest (My Grade: DL13, Drafted: DL10)
Round 4, Pick 128: Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia (My Grade: QB11, Drafted: QB8)
Round 5, Pick 161: Nick Hampton, LB, Appalachian State (My Grade: LB13, Drafted: LB12)
Round 5, Pick 174: Warren McClendon, OT, Georgia (My Grade: OT14 Drafted: OT14)
Round 5, Pick 175: Davis Allen, TE, Clemson (My Grade: TE13, Drafted: TE13)
Round 6, Pick 182: Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU (My Grade: CB24, Drafted: CB23)
Round 6, Pick 189: Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska (My Grade: EDGE41, Drafted: EDGE26)
Round 6, Pick 215: Zach Evans, RB, Mississippi (My Grade: RB12, Drafted: RB15)
Round 7, Pick 223: Ethan Evans, P, Wingate (My Grade: P6, Drafted: P3)
Round 7, Pick 234: Jason Taylor, S, Oklahoma State (My Grade: S18, Drafted: S19)
Round 7, Pick 259: Desjuan Johnson, DL, Toledo (My Grade: DL30, Drafted: DL25)
The Rams are back to making picks and it was adding a ton of depth to a thin roster. With ver heavy focus ont he OL and front of the defense, it is the building blocks for a rebuild. Avila was a bit early for me, but his versatility works for the Rams future. I also liked Byron Young to replace some of the pass rush I’ve lost, again, with versatility. Nick Hampton later also hits that EDGE need.
There were some reached at points like Kobie Turner and Stetson Bennett, which knocks the grade down for me, but I think building blocks like Warren McClendon and Tre Tomlinson were not bad selection on Day 3. Ultimately, it is a stopgap draft until next year when the heavy picks are used to rebuild core pieces.
San Francisco 49ers
Round 3, Pick 87: Ji’Ayir Brown, S, Penn State (My Grade: S6, Drafted: S5)
Round 3, Pick 99: Jake Moody, K, Michigan (My Grade: K1, Drafted: K1)
Round 3, Pick 101: Cameron Latu, TE, Alabama (My Grade: TE12, Drafted TE9)
Round 5, Pick 155: Darrell Luter, CB, South Alabama (My Grade: CB23, Drafted: CB18)
Round 6, Pick 216: Dee Winter, LB, TCU (My Grade: LB17, Drafted: LB17)
Round 7, Pick 247: Brayden Willis, TE, Oklahoma (My Grade: TE17, Drafted: TE15)
Round 7, Pick 253: Ronnie Bell, WR, Michigan (My Grade: WR25, Drafted: WR32)
Round 7, Pick 255: Jalen Graham, LB, Purdue (My Grade: LB27, Drafted: LB18)
With no Round 1 or 2 picks, it would be hard to “Grade” highly for the 49ers. But, they did have a number of comp picks (and few needs) to utilize. Similar to other contenders, the 49ers attacked their needs with not much regard for pure value. Kicker in the Top 100? Done. They hit S, TE, and CB right in a row with some good fits. Though the values weren’t there, I recognize how players like Brown, Latu, Luter, and even Willis fit in the with the 49ers. Solid draft.
Round 1, Pick 5: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois (My Grade: CB3, Drafted CB1)
Round 1, Pick 20: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (My Grade: WR1, Drafted: WR1)
Round 2, Pick 37: Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn (My Grade: EDGE9, Drafted: EDGE8)
Round 2, Pick 52: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA (My Grade: RB3, Drafted: RB3)
Round 4, Pick 108: Anthony Bradford, iOL, LSU (My Grade: iOL10, Drafted: iOL11)
Round 4, Pick 123: Cameron Young, DL, Mississippi State (My Grade: DL13, Drafted: DL18)
Round 5, Pick 151: Mike Morris, EDGE, Michigan (My Grade: EDGE24, Drafted: EDGE23)
Round 5, Pick 154: Olu Oluwatimi, iOL, Michigan (My Grade: iOL17, Drafted: iOL17)
Round 6, Pick 198: Jerrick Reed, S, New Mexico (My Grade: S44, Drafted: S16)
Round 7, Pick 237: Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia (My Grade: RB15, Drafted: RB18)
It gets easier to have a high grade with two first and second round picks. Though Witherspoon was drafted higher than I would have had him, he was plenty coveted by NFL teams. JSN felt like a real value at 20 while Hall and Charbonnet both were appropriate values. I do wonder what Charbonnet’s fit will be with Kenneth Walker there, so some judgment is reserved there.
Day 3 was fairly solid value wise. The only player way off the board was special teamer Jerrick Reed, and the Seahawks do well picking DBs late. Building the line and adding RB depth isn’t bad and should keep the Seahawks as contenders in the division.
See more NFL Draft Grades from Shane here