Grading Every NFL Team's 2018 Draft Haul

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2019

Grading Every NFL Team's 2018 Draft Haul

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    Bill Nichols/Associated Press

    Some 16 games or so later, we are one small step closer to understanding the ramifications of the 2018 NFL draft. 

    "Small," because it takes years to see the full impact of each class. Player-development arcs, fit, schematic and coaching changes, and seemingly infinite variables play into whether a draft class can help a team's long-term plans. 

    After the first year, re-grading each organization's haul boils down to a stew of instant-impact results and long-term projection. It's a fine line, of course, but it isn't any more or less dangerous than instantly grading a class after Mr. Irrelevant hears his name called. 

    Let's revise grades one year into the lifespan of the 2018 draft class, weighing each haul's performance against expectations and how it fits into each organization's bigger plan. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    UCLA QB Josh Rosen (No. 10 overall), Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk (No. 47 overall), Michigan C Mason Cole (No. 97 overall), Fordham RB Chase Edmonds (No. 134 overall), Penn State DB Chris Campbell (No. 182 overall), Cincinnati OT Korey Cunningham (No. 254 overall)

                     

    It's hard to give a tip of the cap to an organization that blundered through 2018 while misusing a former MVP candidate such as David Johnson and tying itself to the Sam Bradford train before it fired its first-year head coach, Steve Wilks, to escape culpability. 

    But it's also hard to ignore Josh Rosen. 

    The Arizona Cardinals couldn't go wrong at No. 10 with the QB, and he flashed major upside at times, which is impressive given the circumstances. Iffy coaching and an offensive line that coughed up 52 sacks were only some of the problems Rosen had to deal with. 

    Elsewhere, Christian Kirk finished second on the team in receiving and averaged 13.7 yards per catch before he landed on injured reserve in December with a broken foot. The rapport there should help the offense for a long time, especially if center Mason Cole keeps showing signs of being a starter. 

    In other words: It was a solid draft class, but the front office has to make better decisions. 

    Grade: B

Atlanta Falcons

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Alabama WR Calvin Ridley (No. 26 overall), Colorado CB Isaiah Oliver (No. 58 overall), South Florida DT Deadrin Senat (No. 90 overall), Southern Mississippi RB Ito Smith (No. 126 overall), LSU WR Russell Gage (No. 194 overall), Yale LB Foye Oluokun (No. 200 overall)

                         

    A 7-9 finish probably isn't what the Atlanta Falcons envisioned for 2018, but it's hard to win more when a handful of notable defensive playmakers end up on the shelf right away. 

    Still, the Calvin Ridley-rich-get-richer move worked, as the former Alabama star receiver feasted in the same system as Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, finishing with 821 yards and 10 touchdowns.

    Isaiah Oliver flashed when given a chance, too, even grabbing his first interception in Week 16. His continued emergence will give the team flexibility in a defensive backfield that needs cap wiggle room to pay other spots down the road. 

    What seemed like a top-heavy class didn't turn out that way—not since 200th overall pick Foye Oluokun finished second on the team in tackles at 91. It's a small example of how a lost season can accelerate the development of and unearth long-term assets. 

    Grade:

Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst (No. 25 overall), Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (No. 32 overall), Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown (No. 83 overall), Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews (No. 86 overall), Alabama CB Anthony Averett (No. 118 overall), UCLA LB Kenny Young (No. 122 overall), New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott (No. 132 overall), UCLA WR Jordan Lasley (No. 162 overall), Texas S DeShon Elliott (No. 190 overall), Wagner OT Greg Senat (No. 212 overall), Alabama C Bradley Bozeman (No. 215 overall), Ferris State DE Zach Sieler (No. 238 overall)

                

    Well, having the gall to stick with Lamar Jackson under center worked out. 

    The No. 32 pick finished with a 6-1 record and threw for six touchdowns while giving defensive coordinators nightmares with his running ability, which drummed up 695 yards and five scores on a 4.7-yards-per-carry average. 

    It wasn't a banner year for the Baltimore Ravens' passing game, so double-dipping on tight ends didn't produce immediate results. But it's a good sign that Mark Andrews snagged 34 of his 50 targets on a 16.2-yards-per-catch average. 

    The focus on the running game put a spotlight on Orlando Brown, who had a good year. He not only made everyone forget about his worst-ever combine performance—he also didn't allow a sack over 10 starts, per Pro Football Focus. Quietly, Kenny Young finished fifth on the team in tackles. 

    While the class is a bit top-heavy, knocking out the most important position (though we'll see if coordinators adapt to Jackson and force him to the air more) earns top marks. 

    Grade: A

Buffalo Bills

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Wyoming QB Josh Allen (No. 7 overall), Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds (No. 16 overall), Stanford DT Harrison Phillips (No. 96 overall), Weber State DB Taron Johnson (No. 121 overall), Jacksonville State DB Siran Neal (No. 154 overall), Virginia Tech OG Wyatt Teller (No. 166 overall), Clemson WR Ray-Ray McCloud (No. 187 overall), North Carolina WR Austin Proehl (No. 255 overall)

                              

    Though he didn't propel the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs like Jackson did the Ravens, Josh Allen looked solid. 

    The numbers (52.8 percent completion percentage, more picks than touchdowns) don't mean much given the circumstances. Allen showed a live arm and got it done with his legs via eight rushing scores, which hinted at the promise of a franchise-changing playmaker—provided he can clean up off-target throws

    Predictably, Tremaine Edmunds was the top Bills rookie, and he wrapped up his first year with 121 total tackles, two sacks, 12 passes defensed and two interceptions. 

    Sporadic, up-and-down performances from Wyatt Teller and others at least hint at solid value that's worth grooming. 

    Grade: B

Carolina Panthers

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Maryland WR DJ Moore (No. 24 overall), LSU CB Donte Jackson (No. 55 overall), Tennessee DB Rashaan Gaulden (No. 85 overall), Indiana TE Ian Thomas (No. 101 overall), Mississippi LB Marquis Haynes (No. 136 overall), Maryland LB Jermaine Carter (No. 161 overall), North Carolina LB Andre Smith (No. 234 overall), Miami DT Kendrick Norton (No. 242 overall)

                

    Like the Falcons, the Carolina Panthers didn't have things go as planned in 2018 yet still got a few productive rookies out of some early picks. 

    DJ Moore was a bit underrated in the draft process and responded with 55 grabs for 788 yards and two scores, and he was second on the team in receiving. Donte Jackson led the Panthers in interceptions with four. 

    Stats aside, linebacker Jermaine Carter got a healthy dose of snaps, and tight end Ian Thomas caught a pair of touchdowns, so a few longer-term prospects could shore up needs that may arise as soon as this offseason. 

    With quarterback cemented, nailing down quality skill-position talents while seeking out newer versions of Steve Smith Sr. and Josh Norman is the proper way to go. 

    Grade: B    

Chicago Bears

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Georgia LB Roquan Smith (No. 8 overall), Iowa C James Daniels (No. 39 overall), Memphis WR Anthony Miller (No. 51 overall), Western Kentucky LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (No. 115 overall), Delaware DE Bilal Nichols (No. 145 overall), Utah LB Kylie Fitts (No. 181 overall), Georgia WR Javon Wims (No. 224 overall)

                        

    Khalil Mack's arrival somewhat swept a stellar rookie campaign from Roquan Smith under the rug. 

    Smith was borderline unstoppable, though, tallying 122 total tackles, five sacks and an interception, and locking down the "next great Chicago Bears inside linebacker" title for a long time. 

    Now if only he hadn't held out of training camp. 

    Anyway, if Carolina's Moore was underrated, Anthony Miller was even more so coming out, yet the receiver muscled his way to a team-high seven touchdown catches, which was more than big free-agent add Allen Robinson had (4). Digging up a long-term Mitchell Trubisky target just outside the top 50 is big. And all of this shouldn't overshadow offensive lineman James Daniels, who slid into an interior spot and stabilized a weak point. 

    That's a long way of saying the Bears' grade hasn't changed much since draft night, as even a lower selection such as pick No. 145 Bilal Nichols grabbed three sacks along the way. 

    Grade: A+

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Ohio State C Billy Price (No. 21 overall), Wake Forest S Jessie Bates (No. 54 overall), Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard (No. 77 overall), Texas LB Malik Jefferson (No. 78 overall), Miami RB Mark Walton (No. 112 overall), Illinois State DB Davontae Harris (No. 151 overall), Virginia DT Andrew Brown (No. 158 overall), Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips (No. 170 overall), Toledo QB Logan Woodside (No. 249 overall), Mississippi OG Rod Taylor (No. 252 overall), Florida State WR Auden Tate (No. 253 overall)

                      

    The Cincinnati Bengals' draft class didn't pan out as post-draft grades might have predicted. 

    Billy Price suffered an early foot injury and then later returned and struggled. Top-100 pick Malik Jefferson could hardly get on the field, and most other rookies had a hard time making the main roster. 

    The only highlights were Jessie Bates and Sam Hubbard. The former, a rangy safety out of Wake Forest, not only grabbed three interceptions while constantly being near the ball, but he also led the team in total tackles at 111. The latter, an end out of Ohio State, entered the conversation late in the season after Carl Lawson tore his ACL in Week 8 and was productive while tallying six sacks. 

    Given the number of picks, two bright spots don't outweigh a whole lot of mediocrity. 

    Grade: C

Cleveland Browns

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    Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (No. 1 overall), Ohio State CB Denzel Ward (No. 4 overall), Nevada OG Austin Corbett (No. 33 overall), Georgia RB Nick Chubb (No. 35 overall), Miami DE Chad Thomas (No. 67 overall), Florida WR Antonio Callaway (No. 105 overall), Memphis LB Genard Avery (No. 150 overall), Texas A&M WR Damion Ratley (No. 175 overall), Louisiana-Lafayette CB Simeon Thomas (No. 188 overall)

             

    A-plus. The end. 

    Only kidding, at least partially. The Cleveland Browns freed themselves of a coaching issue a little too late to make the playoffs yet remained in the postseason hunt until the end because rookie QB Baker Mayfield erupted, completing 63.8 percent of his passes and throwing 27 touchdowns. 

    Mayfield is a franchise-changing presence both in attitude and performance, which has overshadowed the fact that the man drafted three spots after him, Denzel Ward, was an elite rookie as well. Ward finished the season seventh on the team in tackles and was superb in coverage, though he'll have to clean up his tackling technique to avoid further concussions

    Elsewhere, Nick Chubb led the squad in rushing with 996 yards and eight scores on a 5.2 per-carry average, and Antonio Callaway started to carve out a nice role in the passing attack. Complementary advancement behind the two biggest developments will help define the team's future. 

    Grade: A+

Dallas Cowboys

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch (No. 19 overall), Texas OG Connor Williams (No. 50 overall), Colorado State WR Michael Gallup (No. 81 overall), Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong (No. 116 overall), Stanford TE Dalton Schultz (No. 137 overall), Western Kentucky QB Mike White (No. 171 overall), Indiana LB Chris Covington (No. 193 overall), Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson (No. 208 overall), Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough (No. 236 overall)

                  

    Quietly, few rookies had a bigger impact than the Dallas Cowboys' Leighton Vander Esch. The 140 total tackles look great, but the two interceptions and seven passes defensed are reasons the Dallas defense improved. 

    O-lineman Connor Williams wasn't perfect, but it's hard to imagine an athlete of his skill level will struggle too much over the long term next to guys such as Travis Frederick—especially after the Cowboys fixed their line-coaching problems midseason. 

    It shouldn't come as surprise to hear that Michael Gallup lived up to some of his impressive tape, either, as he went over the 500-yard mark despite grabbing just 33 of his 68 targets. 

    It was a top-heavy class in terms of immediate impact, but that one impact (Vander Esch) propelled the Cowboys. The hope has to be the rest of the class will steadily do the same. 

    Grade: C

Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    NC State DE Bradley Chubb (No. 5 overall), SMU WR Courtland Sutton (No. 40 overall), Oregon RB Royce Freeman (No. 71 overall), Boston College DB Isaac Yiadom (No. 99 overall), Iowa LB Josey Jewell (No. 106 overall), Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton (No. 113 overall), Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli (No. 156 overall), Arizona State OG Sam Jones (No. 183 overall), Washington LB Keishawn Bierria (No. 217 overall), Arkansas RB David Williams (No. 226 overall).

               

    Denver Broncos president of football operations John Elway's quarterback stumbles continued in 2018, which wound up getting a head coach (Vance Joseph) fired after a six-win season.

    Somewhat lost during the subpar year were Bradley Chubb's efforts across from Von Miller, as he racked up 12 sacks and help create arguably the league's fiercest pass-rushing duo. And despite the problems under center, the team's next pick, wide receiver Courtland Sutton, finished second on the club in receiving while averaging a strong 16.8 yards per catch. His emergence helped the team feel good enough to ship out Demaryius Thomas

    Depth (CB Isaac Yiadom) or other breakouts (RB Royce Freeman) were part of the reason some of the class didn't make massive contributions. The group also wasn't effective right away. 

    Viewed through a long-term lens, the Broncos' class contains plenty of youthful depth and has interesting upside. Whether anyone but Chubb lasts into a second contract is hard to say, though.

    Grade: C

Detroit Lions

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Arkansas C Frank Ragnow (No. 20 overall), Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson (No. 43 overall), Louisiana-Lafayette DB Tracy Walker (No. 82 overall), Alabama DT Da'Shawn Hand (No. 114 overall), Oregon OL Tyrell Crosby (No. 153 overall), San Diego State RB Nick Bawden (No. 237 overall)

                  

    The Detroit Lions had one of the strangest seasons, as quarterback Matthew Stafford took 40 sacks, LeGarrette Blount rushed 154 times and the team won only six games—beating New England but losing to the likes of San Francisco and Buffalo. 

    Naturally, the draft class followed a similar trajectory. Offensive lineman Frank Ragnow was a workhorse in the trenches but a slow starter. He has a great long-term outlook, though. Running back Kerryon Johnson didn't get attention from the coaching staff right away, but when he did, it turned into 641 yards on a 5.4 per-carry average. 

    The Lions didn't make a change on Black Monday, retaining Matt Patricia, so it will be important to see how coaching affects the outlook for some of the members of this class going into next year. Ragnow looks like a safe bet to succeed, and Johnson can be special if used correctly, but the "if" status applies to the second-round pick and beyond. 

    Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Louisville CB Jaire Alexander (No. 18 overall), Iowa CB Josh Jackson (No. 45 overall), Vanderbilt LB Oren Burks (No. 88 overall), Missouri WR J'Mon Moore (No. 133 overall), Washington State OG Cole Madison (No. 138 overall), Alabama P JK Scott (No. 172 overall), South Florida WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (No. 174 overall), Notre Dame WR Equanimeous St. Brown (No. 207 overall), Cal DT James Looney (No. 232 overall), Mississippi State LS Hunter Bradley (No. 239 overall), Southeast Missouri LB Kendall Donnerson (No. 248 overall)

            

    The upside of the Green Bay Packers' 2018 class is outstanding. 

    A serious roster deficiency meant the Packers got to attack a need and grab sheer value at an important position with back-to-back cornerbacks in Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. They finished the year in the top six in total tackles on the team, missed three games between them. They should feature heavily in the plan for a long time. 

    The quantity-based approach at rebuilding the wide receiver corps wasn't as successful but wasn't a bust, either. Equanimeous St. Brown seems to have upside, though the fact that Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished third on the team in receiving (581 yards) isn't as impressive when one considers he caught just 38 of 73 targets. 

    Oren Burks also brings long-term versatility to the linebacker unit alongside Blake Martinez. From an instant-production standpoint, we'd be remiss not to mention punter JK Scott, who started the entire season. 

    Granted, the Packers only finished 6-9-1, but a fresh set of coaching eyes on the class could unlock some of its serious upside. 

    Grade: B

Houston Texans

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Stanford S Justin Reid (No. 68 overall), Mississippi State OL Martinas Rankin (No. 80 overall), UCF TE Jordan Akins (No. 98 overall), Texas Tech WR Keke Coutee (No. 103 overall), Wake Forest LB Duke Ejiofor (No. 177 overall), Mississippi State TE Jordan Thomas (No. 211 overall), Stanford LB Peter Kalambayi (No. 214 overall), San Jose State CB Jermaine Kelly (No. 222 overall)

                 

    Credit goes to the Houston Texans for making good on their one pick in the top 75, as Justin Reid was one of the best safeties in the class alongside Cincinnati's Jessie Bates. 

    The 11-win Texans got 88 total tackles and 10 passes defensed from Reid on a defense that allowed 19.8 points per game, so the mixture of future upside and immediate impact is there. 

    After that...not so much. 

    Martinas Rankin is shuffling around the line without a cemented position, and weapons aimed at helping the offense such as Jordan Akins and Keke Coutee didn't make the necessary leap. 

    While this class isn't dead in the water over the long term, that one of four top-103 picks made a big impact on a win-now team isn't a great outcome. 

    Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson (No. 6 overall), South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard (No. 36 overall), Auburn OG Braden Smith (No. 37 overall), Rutgers DE Kemoko Turay (No. 52 overall), Ohio State DE Tyquan Lewis (No. 64 overall), NC State RB Nyheim Hines (No. 104 overall), Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain (No. 159 overall), Mississippi RB Jordan Wilkins (No. 169 overall), Clemson WR Deon Cain (No. 185 overall), Houston LB Matthew Adams (No. 221 overall), Syracuse LB Zaire Franklin (No. 235 overall)

               

    Quenton Nelson's pro success isn't much of a surprise. Though hyperbole runs wild during the predraft process, he was truly the closest thing to a can't-miss prospect in the trenches. Thanks to Nelson and Braden Smith—who has gone from collegiate guard to superb right tackle quietly—quarterback Andrew Luck stayed healthy and suffered just 18 sacks all season. 

    And if those two weren't enough, let's chat about Darius Leonard.

    He didn't have the most fanfare after his selection, yet he finished the regular season with 163 total tackles, seven sacks, eight passes defensed, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. 

    Got all that? 

    Leonard did all this in 15 games, should be a shoo-in for individual awards and is one of the NFL's best linebackers. 

    The Colts nailed it, and guys such as 169th pick Jordan Wilkins are pitching in as well (5.6 yards per carry on 60 attempts), rounding out one of the best classes of the year and one sure to withstand the test of time. This shouldn't come as a surprise, but the Colts had the most rookie snaps of any team, according to ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner.

    Grade: A+

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Florida DT Taven Bryan (No. 29 overall), LSU WR DJ Chark Jr. (No. 61 overall), Alabama S Ronnie Harrison (No. 93 overall), NC State OT Will Richardson (No. 129 overall), Nebraska QB Tanner Lee (No. 203 overall), Wisconsin LB Leon Jacobs (No. 230 overall), Mississippi State P Logan Cooke (No. 247 overall)

            

    The Jacksonville Jaguars' draft class crashed and burned—just as the season did—for the five-win team a year removed from a near-Super Bowl appearance. 

    None of the team's top-100 picks suited up in all 16 games outside Taven Bryan, who was unproductive with 20 combined tackles and one sack. Breaking through along the Jacksonville line wasn't going to be easy, but he looked like a replacement player most of the time. 

    DJ Chark Jr. didn't play well in the wake of Allen Robinson's free-agent departure, either, and the two picks after him (Ronnie Harrison and Will Richardson) landed on injured reserve. 

    The good news for this draft class? Jacksonville is in a bit of cap purgatory after win-now spending and has a massive problem at quarterback in Blake Bortles, meaning a potential rebuild over the next few seasons could give these guys plenty of developmental snaps. 

    Grade: C

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Mississippi DT Breeland Speaks (No. 46 overall), Florida State DT Derrick Nnadi (No. 75 overall), Clemson LB Dorian O'Daniel (No. 100 overall), Texas A&M S Armani Watts (No. 124 overall), Central Arkansas CB Tremon Smith (No. 196 overall), Tennessee OG Kahlil McKenzie (No. 198 overall)

          

    Talk about a team that didn't need much help from its rookie class. 

    Without a first-round pick, the Kansas City Chiefs were content to go with developmental prospect Breeland Speaks, a tackle-turned-end, but the project didn't pan out.

    Experiments elsewhere have gone better, as Dorian O'Daniel looks a bit like the future of inside 'backers in the NFL given his versatility in certain packages. Derrick Nnadi looks as though he could be a long-term starter inside along the defensive line. 

    The nice thing about this class is the Chiefs are in a position of luxury, so they can afford to groom and wait. And keep in mind, a solid-looking pick such as Armani Watts might have done a better job of helping an inept secondary if he had lasted more than five games before going on IR with a core muscle injury. Whiffing on the only top-50 pick is hard to forgive, though.

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Chargers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Florida State S Derwin James (No. 17 overall), USC LB Uchenna Nwosu (No. 48 overall), NC State DT Justin Jones (No. 84 overall), West Virginia S/LB Kyzir White (No. 119 overall), UCLA C Scott Quessenberry (No. 155 overall), Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell (No. 191 overall), Northwestern RB Justin Jackson (No. 251 overall).

              

    We've touched on a few superb rookie safeties, yet none come close to the Los Angeles Chargers' Derwin James. 

    James fell more than he should have on draft day, which became evident after he put up a team-high 105 total tackles with 3.5 sacks, 13 passes defensed and three interceptions. He's superb everywhere, but he might already be the league's best pressure-applying safety. 

    While it is hard to work in James' shadow, Uchenna Nwosu shouldn't go unnoticed, as the starting linebacker's recorded 3.5 sacks. D-lineman Justin Jones has put in 15 games of work as well, and linebacker Kyzir White was briefly thrown into a starting role. 

    This is a top-heavy class for a Chargers team that was already loaded with defensive stars. It isn't showing yet outside James, but the core additions could create longevity for what is quietly a top-10 scoring defense. 

    Grade: B

Los Angeles Rams

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    TCU OT Joseph Noteboom (No. 89 overall), Michigan State C Brian Allen (No. 111 overall), Stephen F. Austin DE John Franklin-Myers (No. 135 overall), Virginia LB Micah Kiser (No. 147 overall), Oklahoma LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (No. 160 overall), Tennessee RB John Kelly (No. 176 overall), Maine OG Jamil Demby (No. 192 overall), Rutgers DT Sebastian Joseph (No. 195 overall), Louisville LB Trevon Young (No. 205 overall), TCU LB Travin Howard (No. 231), SMU DE Justin Lawler (No. 244 overall)

               

    It was always going to be a wait-and-see approach on this draft class for the Los Angeles Rams. 

    Joseph Noteboom, the team's first pick, didn't get a ton of chances to prove himself until offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth left with a knee injury in Week 17. Defensive end John Franklin-Myers broke into early playing time and showed upside while applying pressure—hence two sacks over 16 games in a rotation. 

    Otherwise, Micah Kiser has been confined to special teams, and Brian Allen hasn't broken through in the offensive trenches. 

    Since Franklin-Myers is a producer and Noteboom showed promise, there's a solid outlook for a few of the picks. But overall, starting at 89th and peppering the roster with quantity instead of quality hasn't turned up positive results. 

    Grade: C

Miami Dolphins

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11 overall), Penn State TE Mike Gesicki (No. 42 overall), Ohio State LB Jerome Baker (No. 73 overall), Notre Dame TE Durham Smythe (No. 123 overall), Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage (No. 131 overall), Southern Miss DB Cornell Armstrong (No. 209 overall), Ohio LB Quentin Poling (No. 227 overall), New Mexico K Jason Sanders (No. 229 overall)

              

    Lost in a middling 7-9 season was a strong draft class for the Miami Dolphins. 

    Minkah Fitzpatrick won't get the attention classmates such as Leonard will, but he was a stud in the defensive backfield for the Dolphins, recording 80 tackles and nine passes defensed—not to mention two touchdowns, with one of those going back for a score against Minnesota in Week 15. 

    Jerome Baker is right behind him at 79 tackles and has three sacks and an interception that went back for a touchdown. Next to Raekwon McMillan, Baker and his leadership make the Dolphins look good. 

    Maybe most disappointing was Mike Gesicki, who had just 32 targets. But other offensive rookies have produced when given a chance. Kalen Ballage pounded out 123 rushing yards and a 75-yard score in Week 15. 

    With a key position solidified with a star and a weak point addressed at linebacker, not to mention Gesicki's upside, the Dolphins have a nice base to work with as they charge into a question mark of an offseason. 

    Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    UCF CB Mike Hughes (No. 30 overall), Pittsburgh OT Brian O'Neill (No. 62 overall), Ohio State DE Jalyn Holmes (No. 102 overall), Central Michigan TE Tyler Conklin (No. 157 overall), Auburn K Daniel Carlson (No. 167 overall), Appalachian State OG Colby Gossett (No. 213 overall), Tulane DE Ade Aruna (No. 218 overall), Cal LB Devante Downs (No. 225 overall)

                

    The 8-7-1 Minnesota Vikings didn't get a ton of wins out of their rookie class. 

    Cornerback Mike Hughes seemed like a sure thing since a defensive mind such as Mike Zimmer targeted him, and the rookie started to perform like it over a trio of starts before he tore his ACL in mid-October. Almost all of the picks struggled to make a difference after that, as a sure thing such as kicker Daniel Carlson got cut in September after he missed three kicks in a tie with Green Bay. 

    Brian O'Neill is the exception. 

    The offensive lineman wasn't a major name coming out of Pittsburgh and still isn't, which is a shame given the fact that he didn't allow a sack.

    Minnesota could have a great player in Hughes if he can come back healthy, and O'Neill could become the team's best lineman. But a sprinkle of bad luck and some miserable showings keep the grade low. 

    Grade: C

New England Patriots

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Georgia OT Isaiah Wynn (No. 23 overall), Georgia RB Sony Michel (No. 31 overall), Florida CB Duke Dawson (No. 56 overall), Purdue LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (No. 143 overall), Arizona State LB Christian Sam (No. 178 overall), Miami WR Braxton Berrios (No. 210 overall), LSU QB Danny Etling (No. 219 overall), Western Carolina DB Keion Crossen (No. 243 overall), Florida State TE Ryan Izzo (No. 250 overall)

               

    The New England Patriots couldn't win in the health department. 

    Offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel were a superb top-31 one-two punch after the team lost Nate Solder and Dion Lewis. Wynn didn't make it to the regular season because of a torn Achilles in August, and Michel battled knee issues, which limited him to 13 games. He still led the team in rushing, but his sub-1,000 yards despite three missed games should have fans hungry for more. 

    Duke Dawson went on injured reserve (hamstring), too, and was only activated late in the season, yet undrafted talent J.C. Jackson is getting the attention in the defensive backfield. Four other members of the draft class also landed on injured reserve. 

    It's hard to knock the Patriots too much, as Michel has top-five potential and Wynn can be a strong, versatile presence when he returns.

    Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    UTSA DE Marcus Davenport (No. 14 overall), UCF WR Tre'Quan Smith (No. 91 overall), Florida State OT Rick Leonard (No. 127 overall), Wisconsin S Natrell Jamerson (No. 164 overall), Boston College DB Kamrin Moore (No. 189 overall), Louisiana Tech RB Boston Scott (No. 201 overall), LSU C Will Clapp (No. 245)

                 

    It's all about Marcus Davenport.

    So it goes, considering the New Orleans Saints coughed up significant assets to move up and get him, which included sacrificing their 2019 first-rounder. 

    The win-now move has worked well enough, as the UTSA product's garnered 4.5 sacks over 13 games. As expected, throwing him on the same front as Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins and others has improved a quietly strong defense that only allowed 22.1 points per game. 

    Elsewhere, Tre'Quan Smith made a solid impact by finishing third on the team in receiving with 28 catches for 427 yards and five touchdowns—perhaps most importantly earning defense's respect by averaging 15.3 yards per catch. 

    And while the Saints have consistently made solid drafting decisions over the past few years, the exception is fourth-round pick Rick Leonard, who didn't even make the roster. But these things happen occasionally, and the gamble to win with quarterback Drew Brees worked.

    Grade: B

New York Giants

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (No. 2 overall), UTEP OG Will Hernandez (No. 34 overall), Georgia LB Lorenzo Carter (No. 66 overall), NC State DT B.J. Hill (No. 69 overall), Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta (No. 108 overall), Miami DT R.J. McIntosh (No. 139 overall)

              

    The New York Giants carry one of the more simpler evaluations out there. 

    While the team was misguided in doing a soft rebuild around quarterback Eli Manning by overpaying for guys like Nate Solder (four years, $62 million), Saquon Barkley was a gimme pick who ended his rookie year with 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on an average of five yards per carry—and he surpassed the 2,000-total yard threshold. 

    Will Hernandez was one of the safer picks in the class, too, and the lineman bulldozed his way to a solid year while helping increase Barkley's numbers. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter didn't produce as notably, but getting 43 total tackles and four sacks over 15 games from him was a good value. Ditto for B.J. Hill, who pounced on quarterbacks for 5.5 sacks and 48 tackles over 16 games. Keep in mind that quarterback Kyle Lauletta is waiting in the wings. 

    Viewed as a whole, the draft class is the one area the Giants didn't stumble while prepping for the future, which is a good thing for the long-term outlook. 

    Grade: A

New York Jets

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    USC QB Sam Darnold (No. 3 overall), Fort Hays State DT Nathan Shepherd (No. 72 overall), Miami TE Christopher Herndon (No. 107 overall), Tulane CB Parry Nickerson (No. 179 overall), Connecticut DT Foley Fatukasi (No. 180 overall), Virginia State RB Trenton Cannon (No. 204 overall)

               

    It could take a long time before the magic of hindsight smiles or frowns on the New York Jets for offering their 2018 first-rounder and a trio of second-round picks to the Colts to select quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 3. 

    So far, things haven't looked bad. 

    Darnold appeared in 13 games, completing 57.7 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Those aren't amazing numbers, but he was flanked by a line that let up 37 sacks, an offensive attack that didn't run the ball well, ho-hum names for receiving weapons and a defense that coughed up 27.6 points per game. 

    That isn't to say other rookies weren't trying. Nathan Shepherd pitched in on the defensive end rotation and Christopher Herndon finished second on the team in receiving—even if it was while only catching 39 of 56 targets. The rest were developmental prospects (Foley Fatukasi) or on the roster but doing little (Trenton Cannon). 

    Even if Darnold is the only one to pan out, sometimes the quarterback is the only thing that matters about a class. For now, the grade is shrug-worthy. 

    Grade: C

Oakland Raiders

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    Daniel Gluskoter/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    UCLA OT Kolton Miller (No. 15 overall), Sam Houston State DT P.J. Hall (No. 57 overall), North Carolina A&T OT Brandon Parker (No. 65 overall), LSU DE Arden Key (No. 87 overall), Wisconsin CB Nick Nelson (No. 110 overall), Michigan DT Maurice Hurst (No. 140 overall), Florida P Johnny Townsend (No. 173 overall), Washington LB Azeem Victor (No. 216 overall), Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman (No. 228 overall).

               

    The Oakland Raiders haven't done much right lately, hence the 4-12 mark and the trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper—guys who not-so-coincidentally keyed postseason runs for Chicago and Dallas. 

    Jon Gruden's bad luck extended to the draft class, as Kolton Miller's struggles aren't exactly a secret. He's a good conversation starter over the validity of the combine process, considering his great testing numbers and Orlando Brown's "bad" numbers, given their career trajectories. 

    As for the rest of the class, defensive tackle P.J. Hall only got into 14 games and didn't record a sack. O-lineman Brandon Parker is a one-dimensional run-blocker extraordinaire who gets exposed in the passing game, and defensive end Arden Key only got one sack. 

    All that aside, the Raiders look better than they should because they pounced on Maurice Hurst at No. 140 after his health-related fall, as he put up four sacks over 13 games. But as a whole, unless coaching shifts create avenues for improvement, this was a dud of a draft class. 

    Grade: D

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert (No. 49 overall), Pittsburgh CB Avonte Maddox (No. 125 overall), Florida State DE Josh Sweat (No. 130 overall), TCU OT Matt Pryor (No. 206 overall), OT Jordan Mailata (No. 233 overall)

                 

    The Philadelphia Eagles did just enough to slip into the playoffs this year, which came on the heels of a draft class that did just enough to find a starter or two. 

    Dallas Goedert, a 6'4", 260-pound hulking tight end, didn't have problems exploiting mismatches to finish fourth on the team in receiving with 33 catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns. And while his name isn't getting noticed yet, cornerback Avonte Maddox has been stellar in a key role down the stretch. 

    Otherwise, the draft class hinged on upside and guys with injury histories—such as Josh Sweat (ankle)—staying healthy, which they didn't. At the least, general manager Howie Roseman balanced the risks by finding sure things like running back Josh Adams in undrafted free agency, as the Notre Dame product wound up leading the team in rushing with 511 yards. 

    Since this class has two starters already, the defending champions had a solid beginning with their latest haul. 

    Grade: B

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Virginia Tech S Terrell Edmunds (No. 28 overall), Oklahoma State WR James Washington (No. 60 overall), Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph (No. 76 overall), Western Michigan OT Chuks Okorafor (No. 92 overall), Penn State S Marcus Allen (No. 148 overall), NC State RB Jaylen Samuels (No. 165 overall), Alabama DT Joshua Frazier (No. 246 overall)

                

    At the time, the Pittsburgh Steelers' selection of Terrell Edmunds seemed a little odd given the team's solid safety situation and the Martavis Bryant trade, which created a need at wide receiver. That made the James Washington selection look great. 

    But Edmunds flipped those expectations.

    He improved as the season continued, growing into his role in the defensive backfield and doing key things such as covering tight ends en route to garnering individual honors. Washington, on the other hand, finished with just 16 catches, which still makes plenty of sense given the depth chart at wideout. 

    Also interesting was some strong spot duty from Chuks Okorafor in the offensive trenches. Jaylen Samuels played well, too, rushing for 4.6 yards per carry and catching 26 passes after largely going ignored until the second week of December. 

    For a would-be contender, Pittsburgh had to find immediate value with non-ideal draft positioning in most rounds, which it did here.

    Grade: A

San Francisco 49ers

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey (No. 9 overall), Washington WR Dante Pettis (No. 44 overall), BYU LB Fred Warner (No. 70 overall), Southern Mississippi S Tarvarius Moore (No. 95 overall), NC State DE Kentavius Street (No. 128 overall), Kansas State DB D.J. Reed (No. 142 overall), Florida DB Marcell Harris (No. 184 overall), Temple DT Jullian Taylor (No. 223 overall), Middle Tennessee WR Richie James (No. 240 overall)

          

    The San Francisco 49ers played it safe in this draft class, which makes sense for a team that needed assured production around what it thinks is a franchise passer in Jimmy Garoppolo. 

    And 49ers general manager John Lynch had the right idea. Mike McGlinchey played solid ball over the fifth-most snaps of any rookie, according to Wagoner. Fred Warner was one spot in front of him and posted a team-high 124 total tackles. 

    Dante Pettis didn't have world-beating upside, yet he reeled in 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns, which tied for the team high. His 17.3 yards per catch led the club among players with 20 or more catches, and he did this damage over just 12 games. 

    After those three, the most notable rookie was D.J. Reed Jr., who played plenty in the defensive backfield over 15 games, finishing seventh on the team in tackles. 

    From here, the 49ers might risk more in drafts. But nailing down a quarterback protector, receiving threat and surefire linebacker play equates to a solid approach. 

    Grade: B

Seattle Seahawks

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    Chris Keane/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny (No. 27 overall), USC DE Rasheem Green (No. 79 overall), Washington TE Will Dissly (No. 120 overall), UCF LB Shaquem Griffin (No. 141 overall), Oklahoma State DB Tre Flowers (No. 146 overall), Texas P Michael Dickson (No. 149 overall), Ohio State OT Jamarco Jones (No. 168 overall), Temple DE Jake Martin (No. 186 overall), Florida International QB Alex McGough (No. 220 overall)

                 

    Some self-inflicted wounds hurt the Seattle Seahawks in the review department. 

    The coaching staff, for example, didn't play first-rounder Rashaad Penny much, giving him more than 10 carries in a game just once. A Chris Carson breakout at running back didn't help, but the potential for that made the Penny pick questionable in the first place. 

    Also questionable was grabbing tight end Will Dissly, given their other roster options. He wound up only playing in four games due to injury and is tough to evaluate, while veteran tight end Nick Vannett put together a solid season. 

    Luckily for the Seahawks, it isn't all bad. Jake Martin, the 186th pick, had three sacks. Tre Flowers could be starter material, and Michael Dickson, while a punter, went to the Pro Bowl. Linebacker Shaquem Griffin even showed promise when on the field, though he's still adjusting to different usage. 

    There is a ton of potential with this draft class, though the immediate returns were mixed. 

    Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Washington DT Vita Vea (No. 12 overall), USC RB Ronald Jones (No. 38 overall), North Carolina DB M.J. Stewart (No. 53 overall), Auburn CB Carlton Davis (No. 63 overall), Humboldt State OG Alex Cappa (No. 94 overall), Pittsburgh S Jordan Whitehead (No. 117 overall), Pennsylvania WR Justin Watson (No. 144 overall), Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy (No. 202 overall)

                

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can't win—in more ways than one. 

    Defensive lineman Vita Vea had a slow start to his rookie year and played in 13 games, tallying three sacks. He started improving noticeably down the stretch, which is why defensive coordinator Mark Duffner said Vea looked to be in "midseason form," according to Scott Smith of the team's official website. The problem was, that quote went live December 19. 

    At least Vea got started. Running back Ronald Jones played in nine games and finished behind four names in rushing. The two rookie cornerbacks didn't pick off a pass, and neither did safety Jordan Whitehead in a starting role, though he at least finished second on the team in tackles with 76. 

    There is a scenario where some of these picks will pan out, but the performance so far and track record of the organization hint at little change. 

    Grade: D

Tennessee Titans

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    James Kenney/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Alabama LB Rashaan Evans (No. 22 overall), Boston College edge-rusher Harold Landry (No. 41 overall), Arizona S Dane Cruikshank (No. 152 overall), Washington State QB Luke Falk (No. 199 overall)

            

    Rashaan Evans was a ho-hum pick for the Tennessee Titans, and he put together a ho-hum season until December, when he flipped a switch and seemed to figure things out. Over five December games, Evans picked up 26 of his 53 total tackles while the Titans won four times. 

    It was also easy to praise the team for the selection of pass-rusher Harold Landry, and he predictably responded with 4.5 sacks while working in a rotation. 

    It was a top-heavy class—especially given the limited number of picks—but the Titans had an appealing balance of surefire production and massive upside. It played out that way and should continue to do so while giving the defense two foundational pieces. 

    Grade: A

Washington Redskins

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    2018 Draft Class

    Alabama DT Daron Payne (No. 13 overall), LSU RB Derrius Guice (No. 59 overall), Louisville OT Geron Christian (No. 74 overall), Penn State S Troy Apke (No. 109 overall), Virginia Tech DT Tim Settle (No. 163 overall), Alabama LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (No. 197 overall), Virginia Tech CB Greg Stroman (No. 241 overall), SMU WR Trey Quinn (No. 256 overall)

                   

    The Washington Redskins' miserable track record for keeping players healthy (15-plus on IR in each of the past two seasons) continued in 2018 and ravaged the rookie class. Derrius Guice, Geron Christian, Troy Apke and Trey Quinn finished the year on injured reserve. 

    The only top-160 pick to make it out of the season unscathed was at least a great one, as Daron Payne plugged in brilliantly next to Jonathan Allen and keyed one of the NFL's better defenses for most of the season, grabbing five sacks along the way. 

    Tim Settle was an underrated prospect and played like it within the defensive tackle rotation, while Shaun Dion Hamilton took playing time from veterans such as linebacker Zach Brown. 

    But as we have seen here before, organizational or coaching issues seemed to get in the way of the class' development. 

    Grade: C