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NFL Draft Grades

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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Assigning letter grades to every pick of the first three rounds, based on fit, talent versus other available, and, above all else, value.

Round 1

1. Browns -- DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: A+
The keys to building a succesful franchise are as follows: get a quarterback, protect your quarterback, get to opposing quarterbacks. If you don't feel comfortable with any of the quarterbacks at the top spot, have built your offensive line through free agency, then the best thing you can do is get a pass rusher. They got the one who is better than all the others, hands down.

2. Bears -- QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina: C
After getting fleeced by the 49ers, it was abundantly clear that the Bears either had no plan or panicked. If you fall in love with a signal caller, you have to take him, but that doesn't excuse the route they took.

3. 49ers -- DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford: A+
Getting the guy they probably would've taken at two, whilst picking up a couple of draft picks is about as good as you can do.

4. Jaguars -- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU: D
This is not an indictment of the player, but there is simply no reason to take a running back that high, especially with one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Fournette is a generational talent, but he is headed to a terrible situation.

5. Titans -- WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan: D
Superstar wideouts have become very valuable. However, none of the ones in this class seem to be elite. Davis is good, but not worthy of a top five pick.

6. Jets -- S Jamal Adams, LSU: A
Adams is a transformational talent. There's an ongoing debate about taking safeties this high, but the position is coming back into fashion, and Adams is the rare caliber of versatile safety that deserves it.

7. Chargers -- WR Mike Williams, Clemson: B
Williams has the most superstar potential of any of the receivers, but it's still to high to take someone that may not reach that top tier.

8. Panthers -- RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: F
Inexcusable, especially when the likes of Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, and Alvin Kamara were all available on day two.

9. Bengals -- WR John Ross, Washington: C-
Three receivers in the top ten of one of the deepest cornerback and edge rusher drafts in ages is ridiculous.

10. Chiefs -- QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: C-
Playoff teams should not be using top ten picks on quarterbacks, especially when theirs is still under contract for two years. Bolster a roster that could contend for championships, don't get a backup that early.

11. Saints -- CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State: A+
You can't go wrong grabbing undoubted the best cornerback in a loaded class outside the top ten.

12. Texans -- QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: A
The Texans were in the playoffs last year, with the best defense in the league (even without J.J. Watt), and no quarterback. They got the best quarterback in the draft at 12. Too easy.

13. Cardinals -- LB Haason Reddick, Temple: C
Someone should have told them Derek Barnett and Charles Harris were still available. Pandering to the Philly crowd?

14. Eagles -- DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee: A+
Now that's a crowd pleaser. Big steal for the host city.

15. Colts -- S Malik Hooker, Ohio State: A+
The only other safety, alongside Jamal Adams, worthy of top five consideration. At 15? A homerun.

16. Ravens -- CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama: A-
Widely considered the second best cornerback in the class, but I really think he's better suited at safety. Better tru corners were still there in round 2.

17. Redskins -- DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama: A+
The most sure thing in the draft. There are questions about Myles Garrett's work ethic, O.J. Howard's production, Reuben Foster's character, and Marshon Lattimore's injuries. There's no way Jonathan Allen is eating people alive for the next ten years.

18. Titans -- CB Adoree' Jackson, USC: A-
There were, in my opinion, better corners available, but not markedly better. If that's their guy, then no qualms here.

19. Buccaneers -- TE O.J. Howard, Alabama: A
Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Doug Martin, and now the best tight end in the draft... Scary offense.

20. Broncos -- OT Garrett Bolles, Utah: B+
The first offensive lineman has never fallen this far before. If you can get the, ostensibly, best tackle in the draft at 20, why not?

21. Lions -- LB Jarrad Davis, Florida: B+
Jarrad Davis is incredible, on and off the field, but taking him before Reuben Foster is insane.

22. Dolphins -- DE Charles Harris, Missouri: A
Similar to the Chiefs, this was a playoff team last year with no immediate need at quarterback, and no reason to take a flyer on one that you don't love so they bolstered an already elite front seven.

23. Giants -- TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss: B-
Like the cornerbacks and edge rushers, this is also a historically deep tight end class. Engram is a reach, especially given the caliber player you can get later on.

24. Raiders -- CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State: A-
Prior to some off the field issues, Conley was gaining traction as a top half of the first round pick. The Raiders allowed the most passes of 20 or more yards in the league, last year. That's a big need filled for a potential contender.

25. Browns -- S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: C
Peppers seems like a player that is good at everything, but not great at anything. That won't fly in the NFL, a league of specialization.

26. Falcons -- DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA: B
McKinley is probably worthy of a higher grade, purely based off talent, but there was absolutely no reason to trade up for him.

27. Bills -- CB Tre'Davious White, LSU: A+
In my opinion, the second best cornerback in the draft. Highway robbery at  27.

28. Cowboys -- DE Taco Charlton, Michigan: B+
The Cowboys were in dire of need of guys that can get to the wuarterback, but there were better players available.

29. Browns -- TE David Njoku, Miami: B+
Personally, a big fan of Njoku, but by nature of the positional depth for tight ends this year, you could get comparable players significantly later.

30. Steelers -- LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin: B-
Better edge rushers available, he's a good player but that's too high. Remember, this all about value.

31. 49ers -- LB Reuben Foster, Alabama: A+
The best inside linebacker prospect since Luke Kuechly. The steal of the entire draft. Are we sure John Lynch is a first year GM?

32. Saints -- OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin: B+
When you can take the second offensive tackle of a given draft class with the last selection of the first round, you pretty much have to.

Round 2

1. Packers -- CB Kevin King, Washington: B-
The Packers primary need was cornerback, but there were probably eight better players available. Seems like they got caught up by his size.

2. Jaguars -- OT Cam Robinson, Alabama: A+
Not sure why everyone hopped off the Robinson bandwagon. He's a mid-first round talent, and probably the best tackle in the draft. This kaes the Fournette selection at four slightly more justifiable and begins to fill an ocean of needs along the offensive line.

3. Seahawks -- DT Malik McDowell, Michigan St.: A
The Seahawks biggest needs were on the offensive line, but rather than reach for someone they weren't comfortable with, they filled their next most glaring hole with a first round talent.

4. Cardinals -- S Budda Baker, Washington: B
After losing two safeties in the offseason and replacing them with a stop-gap, at best, Baker addresses a need, beside Tyrann Mathieu. That said, there were more talented players, and better fits available.

5. Bills -- WR Zay Jones, East Carolina: B-
This is a bad reciever class. If there's a major need there, take flyers later. This was a reach.

6. Chargers -- G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky: A+
The Chargers had needs all over the offensive line, and Forrest Lamp provides roster flexibility and potential long-term starter. Great value in round 2.

7. Jets -- S Marcus Maye, Florida: C
In no way a comment on Maye, the player. The Florida safety is one of the best in the draft, and there's good value for him in the earl second round. The problem is that the Jets took Jamal Adams in the first round and those players simply do not mesh. Starting both of them means misusing at least one of them.

8. Panthers -- WR Samuel Curtis, Ohio State: C+
If this is an attempt at replacing Ted Ginn Jr., why? Even if the Panthers were deadset ona receiver, there were better ones out there.

9. Vikings -- RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State: A+
This fills a primary need, and Cook will probably be end up having the best career of any of this year's running backs. He's the prototype for the modern game.

10. Saints -- S Marcus Williams, Utah: B+
The Saints can't get enough help on defense, but after taking Lattimore in round one, there's probably better value for a front seven player.

11. Eagles -- CB Sidney Jones, Washington: A-
I personally think there were better cornerbacks available, but this is hard to hate on.

12. Rams -- TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama: A
First round talent in round two. At worst, will be a reliable safety valve from day one, for the Rams young quarterback.

13. Bears -- TE Adam Shaheen, Ashland: C+
Way better tight ends available. Not good value.

14. Colts -- CB Quincy Wilson, Florida: B
Good player, but no argument for taking him over former fellow Gator Teez Tabor.

15. Ravens -- LB Tyus Bowser, Houston: C+
This definitely tries to address a need, but there were a lot of better edge rushers out there.

16. Bengals -- RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma: A+
Not to make light of Mixon's non-football issues, but elite talents with perceived (or legitimate) character problems are one of the most easily exploitable market ineffeciencies in the NFL. The Bengals took advantage in a big way.

17. Redksins -- LB Ryan Anderson, Alabama: B
Identical to the Colts taking Quincy Wilson over Teez Tabor, Anderson is a good player, but there's no argument for taking him ahead of his former teammate Tim Williams.

18. Buccaneers -- S Justin Evans, Texas A&M: A
Good value, good talent, good fit. This probably the player the Jets should have drafted.

19. Broncos -- DE Demarcus Walker, Florida State: A
A safe pick, but the Broncos got pretty good value and filled a need.

20. Browns -- QB Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame: C+
Seems like the Browns should have continued to improve the rest of their roster and wait for their guy to come around. If they really loved Kizer, they would have taken him in round one. Take a flyer on a quarterback later and get a surefire contributor in round two.

21. Lions -- CB Teez Tabor, Florida: A+
A top three cornerback at pick 53? Way to go, Detroit!

22. Dolphins -- LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State: A
Personally like Zach Cunningham better, but McMillan could have been a first rounder in a less defensively talented draft so good value.

23. Giants -- DT Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama: A
Zach Cunningham probably would have been a better pick here, too, but there's nothing to not like about Tomlinson to the Giants.

24. Raiders -- S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut: A
The Raiders are going to keep hammering the secondary until it's better, so even with Conley in round one, this is a good pick, since this is about the only glaring hole on the roster.

25. Texans -- LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt: A
This not an immediate need, and they probably would have been better suited going for one of the cornerbacks, but a talent of this caliber is hard to pass on.

26. Seahawks -- OL Ethan Pocic, LSU: A-
Pocic may never be the best offensive lineman, but he could be the fourth or fifth guy on an elite offensive line. The trick here is the flexibility for which he allows. He could play pretty much any of the five spots with some degree of success.

27. Chiefs -- DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova: B-
Addresses a need, but there are so many better players available at the same position.

28. Cowboys -- CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado: B+
Addresses a need, good fit, plus value. There may have been incementally better cornerbacks out there, but Awuzie is solid.

29. Packers -- S Josh Jones, NC State: C
No need for the Packers to take a safety, especially this early.

30. Steelers -- WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC: A-
High upside, low floor, but at least there is amore value here. Now's the time where it starts to become alright to take flyers on recivers in a positionally weak class.

31. Bills -- G Dion Dawkins, Temple: B+
Fine, but Moton is better.

32. Panthers -- G Taylor Moton, Western Michigan: A
Good job snagging the best guard available right after the Bills passed on him for a player at the same position.

Round 3

1. Browns -- DT Larry Ogunjobi, UNC-Charlotte: D+
No problem with Browns trying to further improve the defensive line here, but there were probably ten better options at defensive tackle.

2. 49ers -- CB Akhello Witherspoon, Colorado: B+
Definite upside to Witherspoon, but there were better cornerbacks available.

3. Saints -- RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee: A
Incredible value and fit for diet Dalvin Cook, but they've put too much into an ancillary position at this point.

4. Jaguars -- DE Dawuane Smoot, Illinois: C+
Better players available and this probably should have been an offensive lineman or tight end.

5. Rams -- WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington: C
There were just better wide receivers with higher upside out there.

6. Vikings -- C Pat Elflein, Ohio State: B+
Solid pick, but the value just isn't great there.

7. Chargers -- G Dan Feeney, Indiana: B+
All about working on the offensive line, but right after taking Forrest Lamp? This porbably should have been an edge rusher.

8. Titans -- WR Taylor Taywan, Western Kentucky: C+
Also should have looked pass rusher here, and there were better wideouts available.

9. Bengals -- LB Jordan Willis, Kansas State: A-
Tim Williams is still on the board and that is mind blowing, but this is good value for a good player.

10. Ravens -- DL Chris Wormley, Michigan: B+
Really good value, but not much of a need.

11. Falcons -- LB Duke Riley, LSU: C
TIM WILLIAMS!

12. Saints -- LB Alex Anzalone, Florida: B+
Love the Saints commitment to defense, but, again, TIM WILLIAMS!

13. Panthers -- DE Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M: D+
Addresses a need. but there are plenty better defensive ends available, at this point. The impact of playing alongside Myles Garrett is immeasurable.

14. Ravens -- LB Tim Williams, Alabama: A+
About time.

15. Jets -- WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama: C
With the tight end talent still out there, and the lack of need at receiver, the Jets should have done better.

16. Colts -- DE Tarell Basham, Ohio: B
The Colts addressed this position plenty in free agency, and should have looked for a linebacker here.

17. Redskins -- CB Fabian Moreau, UCLA: C
Better corners available.

18. Broncos -- WR Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech: C+
Poor value.

19. Patriots -- DE Derek Rivers, Youngstown St.: B
Definite need addressed. A few better players out there, but Rivers is a great scheme fit.

20. Buccaneers -- WR Chris Godwin, Penn State: B
Hardly a need, but good value and talent.

21. Patriots -- OT Antonio Garcia, Troy: A
So Patriots. Not a major need, but, arguably the best player available.

22. Chiefs -- RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo: A-
Not a need, but good value.

23. Giants -- QB Davis Webb, Cal: C+
If they really wanted to take a flyer on a project quarterback, they could have waited. Poor value.

24. Raiders -- DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA: B-
Not a need, Foreman, who went a pick later, would have been the pick here.

25. Texans -- RB D'Onta Foreman, Texas: B+
Great value, but not a need. Jourdan Lewis or Cam sutton would have been the way to go.

26. Seahawks -- DB Shaquill Griffin, UCF: B+
Lewis or Sutton would have been better here, as well, but this is solid all the way around.

27. Rams -- S John Johnson, Boston College: C+
Much more pressing needs. Poor value. Should've looked offensive line here.

28. Cowboys -- CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan: A+
One of the four or five heists of the draft.

29. Packers -- DT Montravius Adams, Auburn: A-
Not a dire need, but one of the better players available.

30. Steelers -- CB Cam Sutton, Tennessee: A+
Total steal.

31. Seahawks -- S Delano Hill, Michigan: B-
Good player but the pick doesn't make sense.

32. Lions -- WR Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois: D
Much more pressing needs, and this is a reach anyway.

33. Dolphins -- CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson: A+
Incredible value for an incredible talent.

34. Cardinals -- WR Chad Williams, Grambling St.: F
Not a need. Bad value.

35. Eagles -- CB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia: A-
Finally through the bulk of the incredibly deep, elite cornerback class, this was one of the best available.

36. Titans -- TE Jonnu Smith, FIU: D
Plenty of better tight ends still available.

37. Broncos -- CB Brendan Langley, Lamar: B+
Good value, but not a need.

38. Seahawks -- DT Nazair Jones, North Carolina: B
Not great, after taking Malik McDowell earlier, but there's no such thing as too much defensive line depth.

39. Saints -- LB Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic: A-
Good value, fit, and fills a need.

40. 49ers -- QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa: B-
They had to take one somewhere, if this is the guy you're willing to gamble on then it's hard to argue with.

41. Steelers -- RB James Conner, Pittsburgh: A
Given Le'Veon Bell's injury problems, this is great value, and an impeccable fit.

42. Seahawks -- WR Amara Darboh, Michigan: D
More pressing needs, and if they were set on a receiver, there were guys with higher upside out there.

43. Buccaneers -- LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU: B-
Really could have used an offensive tackle here, but there's good value for Beckwith at the end of the third round.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP