NFL Draft 2017 Grades: Final Results and Grades Following Day 3

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2017

Chicago Bears' first round draft pick quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, from North Carolina, poses with a Bears' jersey during an NFL football news conference Friday, April 28, 2017, in Lake Forest , Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The 2017 NFL draft has reached its conclusion, and fans have wasted little time sorting out the winners from the losers.

Making snap judgments about any draft class is inherently silly. Sure, players have built a reputation based on their on-field performance and measured athletic ability. None of that is fully predictive of a player's future value.

If NFL executives and scouts who pore over hours of game film and conduct numerous interviews regularly fail in accurately evaluating incoming rookies, then what chance do most fans have?

Still, it's fun to put the analyst hat on and argue why a certain team succeeded or failed in the draft.

Below are brief assessments for every team and a breakdown for three of the most noteworthy draft classes.

Full Draft Results

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Draft Grades

Arizona CardinalsA-Haason Reddick addresses the need for a pass-rusher. Adding Budda Baker to a secondary with Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson should be a lot of fun.
Atlanta FalconsBTakkarist McKinley can line up opposite Vic Beasley and give the Falcons a secondary rusher off the edge.
Baltimore RavensC+Each pick makes sense on its own, but the Ravens didn't do enough to strengthen the offense. Going defense with four picks in Rounds 1-3 didn't make sense.
Buffalo BillsB+Tre'Davious White can be the shutdown corner the Bills lost with Stephon Gilmore's departure. Zay Jones should be a steal in the second round. Not a great athlete but a phenomenal pass-catcher.
Carolina PanthersBChristian McCaffrey was a smart pick in the first round, and the same would've been said of Curtis Samuel in the second if the Panthers didn't already have McCaffrey.
Chicago BearsCGeneral manager Ryan Pace is either ahead of the game or out of his mind. Pace earns points for being bold. Could pay off big or blow up spectacularly.
Cincinnati BengalsC+The selection of Joe Mixon casts a shadow over Bengals' entire draft. Bengals got great value otherwise but taking Mixon in the second round sends a terrible message.
Cleveland BrownsABrowns easily had one of the best drafts. Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku is a great haul from the first round. Cleveland didn't need to make a questionable trade to get DeShone Kizer in the second round, either.
Dallas CowboysB+Jourdan Lewis' legal situation makes his selection questionable, but taking Taco Charlton and Chidobe Awuzie was a great way to start the draft.
Denver BroncosBGarett Bolles needs to be an immediate hit, but the Broncos really looked to the long term with Jake Butt and Chad Kelly. Considering strength of Denver's roster, strategy makes sense.
Detroit LionsB-Jarrad Davis and Teez Tabor will provide much-needed help for the Lions defense. Detroit didn't do much else after the second round, though.
Green Bay PackersB+The absence of a first-round pick hurts, but the Packers maximized what they had at their disposal. Addressed multiple needs in the second round and beyond.
Houston TexansB+Zach Cunningham and D'Onta Foreman were both great value picks, but everything will hinge on the performance of Deshaun Watson. Too many questions over the Clemson star to call his selection a home run, even if he was the third QB taken.
Indianapolis ColtsAFirst-year GM Chris Ballard made a nice statement by starting off the 2017 draft with Malik Hooker and then getting Quincy Wilson and Tarell Basham.
Jacksonville JaguarsBJaguars will go as far as Blake Bortles can take them, so it makes sense to give him support on the ground (Leonard Fournette) and strengthen the offensive line (Cam Robinson).
Kansas City ChiefsC+The Chiefs hadn't taken a QB in the first round since 1983 before Thursday night. After trading up to get Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City might be scared off of drafting a first-round QB for another 20 years.
Los Angeles ChargersBMike Williams should make an immediate impact despite the absence of blinding speed. Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney will provide upgrades to offensive line.
Los Angeles RamsC+Drafting a tight end and two wideouts in the first four picks shows the Rams' emphasis on helping Jared Goff. The strategy makes sense even if the Rams' picks may not.
Miami DolphinsBThere's something to be said for getting a handful of players who should be NFL-caliber starters for years to come. Dolphins didn't get a ton of high-ceiling players but added a lot of solid pieces.
Minnesota VikingsBWith some questions over whether Latavius Murray can be the long-term successor to Adrian Peterson, Dalvin Cook made a lot of sense in the second round.
New England PatriotsC+Much of the value the Patriots received from the 2017 draft came from the veterans they packaged their picks to get (Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, Dwayne Allen).
New Orleans SaintsBMarshon Lattimore is sorely needed for one of the league's worst secondaries. The selection of Alvin Kamara in third round raises the question of how many running backs the Saints can have.
New York GiantsB-It feels like Ryan Nassib was talked about as a successor for Eli Manning, and look how that ended. Maybe Davis Webb can be that guy. It at least makes sense for the Giants to start planning for the future.
New York JetsBAnother case of a team making smart selections on their own but not as good when considered as a collective group.
Oakland RaidersBGareon Conley's off-field problems cloud his NFL outlook, much like Joe Mixon. Eddie Vanderdoes may have been a reach in the third round but provides big upside.
Philadelphia EaglesB+Eagles drafted a few guys who look good on game film (Derek Barnett, Donnel Pumphrey, Sidney Jones) but have question marks, either because of injury or physical measurables. When in doubt, always go back to the game film.
Pittsburgh SteelersBJuJu Smith-Schuster was a questionable pick in the second round with Martavis Bryant granted conditional reinstatement. Joshua Dobbs was an odd pick for Ben Roethlisberger's potential successor, too.
San Francisco 49ersAWhat more needs to be said about John Lynch's efforts in his first draft as 49ers GM? Lynch was met with fair bit of skepticism, but he hit the 2017 draft out of the park.
Seattle SeahawksB-Another draft in which the Seahawks made a number of good picks without moving the needle too much. Tough to argue with how the tactic has worked out so far.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersB+Passing game should be even better with O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin. The pressure is really on Jameis Winston to take the franchise forward.
Tennessee TitansBA good step forward for the Titans. Corey Davis is the No. 1 WR Marcus Mariota needs to truly thrive in the NFL. Adoree' Jackson is a bit risky, but the presence of Logan Ryan will help ease him into NFL.
Washington RedskinsB+Despite not having a general manager, Washington did extremely well. Jonathan Allen fell into the team's lap at No. 17, and Samaje Perine could be a steal in the fourth round.
Draft Results via NFL.com

Notable Draft Classes

Chicago Bears

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27:  Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina poses after being picked #2 overall by the Chicago Bears (from 49ers) during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Penns
Elsa/Getty Images

It wasn't enough for the Chicago Bears to probably bid against themselves and move up to the second overall pick to get Mitchell Trubisky. General manager Ryan Pace followed up by using three of his remaining four selections on players from non-FBS schools.

"If we want to be great, we can't sit on our hands," Pace said Friday, according to the team's official Twitter account. "I just don't want to be average around here. I want to be great."

As the cliche goes, there's a fine line between genius and insanity.

It's one thing for a contending team to go off the radar and take a player from Kutztown University. The New England Patriots are routinely praised for selecting players the majority of NFL fans have never heard of.

The Bears, on the other hand, haven't made the playoffs since 2010 and haven't had a winning season since 2012. The franchise's rebuild starts in the NFL draft.

Regardless of the player's talent, selling fans that somebody from Ashland University (Adam Shaheen) is the tight end of the future won't be easy for Pace given how much the team has stagnated.

If this all works out, then Pace may be hailed as the next great NFL personnel guru. There's also the chance Pace is out of a job in another year or two and the Bears' 2017 NFL draft class is the epitaph on his figurative tombstone.

Philadelphia Eagles

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27:  (L-R) Derek Barnett of Tennessee poses with Commissioner of the National Football League Roger Goodell after being picked #14 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia
Elsa/Getty Images

The Eagles did well through the first two days, selecting Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas.

Barnett doesn't have the physical gifts of Myles Garrett but is a productive pass-rusher nonetheless. As Pro Football Focus noted, Barnett will partner well with Brandon Graham:

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Brandon Graham was one of the NFL's best left-side pass-rushers in 2016, while RD1 pick Derek Barnett was one of CFB's best from the right. https://t.co/LtMvstaHgJ

Philadelphia then beefed up its secondary with Jones and Douglas. Jones' Achilles injury makes him a risk in the second round. Based on his talent and potential, though, he was more than worth the gamble. He and Douglas could anchor the Eagles pass defense for years to come.

The momentum continued into Day 3, particularly with the addition of Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round.

At 5'8" and 176 pounds, Pumphrey will never be an every-down back in the NFL. Still, a player who ran for 6,405 yards 62 touchdowns should be able to have a productive career in the right role at the next level.

The Eagles are a great landing spot for Pumphrey, who should benefit simply from watching Darren Sproles at practice. And with Sproles turning 34 in June, Pumphrey is an obvious successor for the veteran running back.

Denver Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, CO - JANUARY 12:  Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway fields questions from the media during a press conference to introduce Vance Josepf as the new head coach at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on January 12, 2017 in Englewood
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Before suffering a torn ACL in December, Jake Butt was widely considered one of the best tight ends in this year's draft class. The Denver Broncos got him with the first pick in the fifth round.

Broncos general manager John Elway offered a peek behind the curtain as the team targeted Butt:

John Elway @johnelway

We were holding our breath these last few picks hoping to get Michigan TE Jake Butt. A top-notch TE we're fortunate to select in the 5th.

Butt broke through in his final two years at Michigan, catching 97 passes for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. And, remember, Jake Rudock and Wilton Speight were the Wolverines' primary quarterbacks in 2015 and 2016.

Butt's knee injury will preclude him from giving much to the Broncos in 2017, but he has the potential to be a solid receiver and blocker for them in the years ahead.

With the final pick of the 2017 draft, Denver took a flier on Chad Kelly.

Kelly has plenty of off-field concerns after being dismissed from Clemson in April 2014 and getting into an altercation at a Buffalo, New York, nightclub months later.

As CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli argued, the Broncos are a great landing spot for Kelly:

🇦🇷 Tom Fornelli 🇦🇷 @TomFornelli

For real, Chad Kelly is Mr. Irrelevant, and he might already be the best QB on the Broncos roster.

At the very least, Kelly would seemingly have as good a chance as Paxton Lynch of being Denver's quarterback of the future.


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