2021 NFL Draft Grades for Every Team

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 3, 2021

2021 NFL Draft Grades for Every Team

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Nobody's trying to pretend that draft grades issued in the immediate wake of the NFL draft are written in stone. We all know it takes multiple seasons to assess a team's draft class.

    But it's also false to believe that draft performances can't be evaluated immediately based on perceived value, needs, legitimate college tape and organizational and schematic fits.

    With those criteria in mind, and with the B/R Scouting Department's final big board factoring in heavily, here's how each team fared at first glance in the 2021 NFL draft.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Considering they used a top-10 pick last year on Isaiah Simmons, I would have preferred to see the Arizona Cardinals address a bigger need in Round 1. It's unfortunate Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II were off the board at cornerback, but loading up at off-ball linebacker seems odd when Caleb Farley and Greg Newsome II could have been had, potentially even with a trade down.

    At No. 16, Zaven Collins isn't even a great value pick—he ranked 24th on the B/R Scouting Department's final big board. And while flashy wide receiver Rondale Moore represented a lot more value in Round 2, that meant ignoring their top need (corner) until they took Marco Wilson in Round 4.

    Wilson needs to develop more, and while Collins and Moore are intriguing athletes, they don't address major needs.

    Throw in a lack of quantity (they made just three picks in the top 200) and it's extremely difficult to get excited about this draft class.

    Overall Grade: C

Atlanta Falcons

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Few would argue that tight end Kyle Pitts isn't one of the top five players in this draft class, and he should make the Atlanta Falcons better in 2021. That said, there's a chance they'll eventually regret not lining up soon-to-be 36-year-old quarterback Matt Ryan's replacement with that No. 4 overall selection.

    That brings their grade down a little, as does the fact safety Richie Grant was a major reach with the polished Trevon Moehrig still on the board in the second round.

    They got good value and addressed a major need with third-round guard Jalen Mayfield, who yours truly viewed as a potential first-round pick, but it's silly they didn't take a cornerback or edge defender until grabbing Darren Hall in Round 4 and Adetokunbo Ogundeji in Round 6.

    Pitts could be a Hall of Famer, though, and I like Ogundeji's ceiling after three years of steady progress at Notre Dame. They also loaded up with nine selections in the first six rounds, which is nice because this whole thing is a crapshoot.

    Those factors salvage Atlanta's grade.

    Overall Grade: B-

Baltimore Ravens

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    Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens needed help at wide receiver and on the edge and they addressed both areas without significantly reaching in Round 1. Rashod Bateman easily could have gone off the board earlier than 27th, and pass-rusher Jayson Oweh is a physical marvel who at pick No. 31 lands in an ideal environment to develop as a rookie.

    Beyond that, the interior offensive line has been shaky since the end of the Marshal Yanda era, so I have no qualms with the Ravens spending a third-round pick on the mountainous Ben Cleveland at guard.

    That afforded Baltimore the luxury to take a project in enticing cornerback Brandon Stephens with their other third-rounder, and they loaded up on depth with a total of eight picks in the first five rounds. They smartly doubled down on receiver and the edge, and fourth-round wideout Tylan Wallace was a particularly strong value pick. He's tough, dynamic, versatile and polished enough to make an immediate impact if needed.

    Put it all together and it was an ideal draft haul for a contending team that merely needed to tweak and patch.

    Overall Grade: A

Buffalo Bills

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills were in a similar situation, and they also smartly hit a position of need early and often by grabbing edges Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. in the first two rounds.

    Some might have been clamoring for a running back or a cornerback, but drafting backs early has been proven to be a faulty strategy and the Bills at least have Tre'Davious White and Levi Wallace at corner. Rousseau in particular might need time, but he'll get it in Buffalo because Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are there for now.

    I say "for now" because those two are 32 and 33 years old, respectively. The Bills need fresh blood beyond A.J. Epenesa on the edge, and they need as many pass-rushing weapons as they can find in order to get to Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in the quest for AFC supremacy.

    However, third-round offensive tackle Spencer Brown didn't address an immediate need at all and came off the board with plenty of really intriguing corners available. In fact, they didn't hit corner until grabbing Rachad Wildgoose and never hit running back at all.

    This particular class will need more time than most, but the good outweighs the curious for now.

    Overall Grade: B

Carolina Panthers

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Look, Jaycee Horn has the ability to become a phenomenal NFL cornerback and the Carolina Panthers also get credit for landing potential first-round receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. late in Round 2. But they took a risk drafting Horn over Patrick Surtain II and there's still a hole at left tackle in Carolina.

    Are they really comfortable with Greg Little and Cam Erving battling for the right to protect quarterback Sam Darnold's blind side in what should be a make-or-break season for the incoming signal-caller? They shouldn't be, which is why I would have given them a better grade for taking offensive tackle Rashawn Slater instead of Horn ninth overall.

    This looks a lot better if third-round offensive lineman Brady Christensen can make an early impact, especially if that comes at left tackle. But that's a huge question mark and Horn's technique isn't quite there yet either.

    Throw in that they really didn't need a receiver and tremendous Day 3 value picks Daviyon Nixon and Chuba Hubbard can't save the Panthers. At least they loaded up on quantity with 11 selections in total.

    Overall Grade: C+

Chicago Bears

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    This was the football version of going all-in, and considering that Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Allen Robinson are running out of time in their respective primes, I was OK with the Chicago Bears trading up twice to land potential franchise quarterback Justin Fields and potential Week 1 starting right tackle Teven Jenkins in the first two rounds.

    They might have sacrificed some depth, and trading up is usually a bad idea on paper, but Fields represented tremendous value outside of the top 10 anyway and Jenkins easily could have been a first-round pick.

    The former has every tool required to become an NFL star, and the latter is a relentless and versatile pass protector who should be set to make a difference on a line that began to crack in 2020.

    The Bears did make five more picks, although all came beyond Round 4 and none dramatically change their grade. That said, back Khalil Herbert should be able to contribute in support of David Montgomery, Dazz Newsome could make it easier to move on from Anthony Miller at slot receiver and sixth-round steal Thomas Graham Jr. might soften the blow associated with Kyle Fuller's release at corner.

    Overall Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    The top priority for the Cincinnati Bengals in this draft should have been to add as much support as possible for young franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. They did exactly that by taking potential star receiver Ja'Marr Chase in Round 1 and potential Week 1 starting interior offensive lineman Jackson Carman in Round 2.

    That said, trading down in the second round and settling for Carman was a mistake, especially after they gambled to an extent by selecting Chase over blue-chip tackle Penei Sewell. The Round 2 trade with New England cost them a chance to grab highly-rated offensive linemen Teven Jenkins and Liam Eichenberg in that spot, and the Patriots added insult by securing great value for defensive lineman Christian Barmore with that pick.

    That, however, is my only qualm. The Bengals drafted eight players in the next five rounds, including high-value add Joseph Ossai as a pass-rusher in Round 3. In fact, six of those final eight picks (and seven of their 10 overall) were trench players.

    That's a good way to rebuild, even if a bad team has no way to justify using a fifth-round pick on a bloody kicker.

    Overall Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    There's so much to love about the Cleveland Browns' first "home draft" that it's hard to decide where to start.

    They addressed their top need in Round 1 without reaching for cornerback Greg Newsome II. Round 2 selection Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah might have been the best-value add of the entire draft. They didn't sacrifice quantity with seven picks in the first five rounds.

    Third-round wide receiver Anthony Schwartz brings some much-needed speed to the offense and they again got tremendous value with their Round 4 selection of interior defensive lineman Tommy Togiai.

    The B/R Scouting Department had Togiai in the top 100, but what's really wild is that same big board lists Owusu-Koramoah as the second-best defensive player in the entire class. The guy never should have dropped that far, and Browns general manager Andrew Berry deserves a lot of credit for moving up to grab him.

    Overall Grade: A+

Dallas Cowboys

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    You can't be too hard on a team for having bad luck, and that was the case for the Dallas Cowboys when the Panthers and Denver Broncos unexpectedly took corners Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II eighth and ninth overall.

    But the Cowboys reacted smartly by collecting an extra third-round pick from the rival Philadelphia Eagles to move down two spots, where they picked the player they likely would have selected regardless, linebacker Micah Parsons.

    At certain points during the lead-up to the draft, the ferocious and athletic Parsons was considered a potential top-five pick. The Dallas defense simply needed more talent, and they got that with Parsons before grabbing their corner with the versatile Kelvin Joseph in Round 2.

    That said, Joseph is a risky pick as a result of a small college sample and potential off-field concerns (before transferring from LSU to Kentucky, he was suspended from a bowl game for violating team rules), and I'm dinging them for passing on the potentially awesome Asante Samuel Jr. in that spot.

    Ultimately, I love that they went to town with six picks in Rounds 3, 4 and 5. Their first six picks were defenders, but none jumped out at me except Parsons and massive corner Nahshon Wright, who was probably a Round 3 reach along with defensive linemen Osa Odighizuwa and Chauncey Golston (all were ranked outside of the top 100 by the B/R Scouting Department).

    All told, this draft contained a nice balance of quantity and quality, even if a few of the Cowboys' middle-round picks were strange.

    Overall Grade: B+

Denver Broncos

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Maybe it was because they're satisfied with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, maybe it was because they thought they could still land Aaron Rodgers, or maybe it was because they simply love cornerbacks. Regardless, the Denver Broncos didn't need to spend a top-10 pick on Patrick Surtain II.

    Surtain could become a great NFL player, but they already added Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby to work with Bryce Callahan and Duke Dawson Jr. It simply wasn't a major need for a team coming off four consecutive losing seasons, especially with Justin Fields, Micah Parsons, Rashawn Slater and Alijah Vera-Tucker on the board.

    Then, with Melvin Gordon and Royce Freeman on the roster, they trade up in the second round for a back? With all due respect to Javonte Williams, that's ridiculous. And from that point forward, there was nothing Denver could do to earn a strong grade.

    There's a lot to like about versatile third-round linebacker Baron Browning, and I'm totally down with the idea of letting fifth-round safeties Caden Sterns and Jamar Johnson battle for the right to eventually team up with Justin Simmons, but too much potential damage was done earlier.

    Overall Grade: D+

Detroit Lions

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    With Taylor Decker and Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the roster, the Detroit Lions didn't need an offensive tackle, but that doesn't change the fact they got tremendous value for No. 7 overall pick Penei Sewell, who could become dominant. Plus, Vaitai is just fine inside.

    The risk there was passing on a bigger need at wide receiver. And while DeVonta Smith would have been a nice addition for a team that was gutted at that position in March, they made up for that to a degree by getting fantastic value for fifth-round wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown.

    The USC product was the 70th-highest-rated player in the class on the B/R big board, and the elite route runner is polished enough to play an immediate role in the slot for the Lions.

    Beyond that, there was an obvious effort to bulk up and become nastier on the defensive side of the ball in particular, which isn't surprising considering that Dan Campbell runs the ship now.

    Aside from Sewell, St. Brown and steady fourth-round linebacker Derrick Barnes, I'm not sure anyone else from this class will make much of an impact early on. That's not enough for an A grade.

    Overall Grade: B

Green Bay Packers

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    I mean, we're all sort of enjoying dumping on the Green Bay Packers for the Aaron Rodgers mess and the fact that they keep passing on good receivers early in drafts. But Amari Rodgers is actually a strong, high-value wideout selection in Round 3 and there's a chance they found a replacement for the departed Corey Linsley with Josh Myers in Round 2.

    Those are quality picks and they at least addressed a need with slight first-round reach Eric Stokes at cornerback.

    Corner, center and receiver were Green Bay's top three needs and general manager Brian Gutekunst addressed all three on the first two days of the draft. Aaron Rodgers might be insulted they continue to refuse to use a first-rounder on a wideout, but let's not pretend that was a dire need with Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and Robert Tonyan in the pass-catching corps.

    That said, Stokes is a first-round risk who might need time the contender Packers can't afford to give him and none of their Day 3 picks jump off the page. It was a smarter draft than most are giving them credit for, but it wasn't exactly bold.

    Overall Grade: B

Houston Texans

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    Anyone gonna bother reading this one or should I move on to the Indianapolis Colts?

    This draft was basically Laremy Tunsil for the Houston Texans, who didn't get on the clock until Round 3 and made just five picks mainly as a result of their 2019 trade for the veteran left tackle.

    The worst part, of course, is the Texans were so bad last year that they could have landed Kyle Pitts or Ja'Marr Chase as well as a second-rounder like Christian Barmore or Teven Jenkins with the selections they sent to the Miami Dolphins.

    They also had to use a third-round pick on quarterback Davis Mills, likely because of the uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson. It's just a mess, and it has to be reflected in this grade to some degree, as does the fact fellow third-rounder Nico Collins was a mild reach at wide receiver (he ranked 122nd on the B/R big board).

    Still, Collins and fifth-round tight end Brevin Jordan fill needs, and the intriguing Jordan could easily turn into a major steal. That at least gets Houston a passing grade under brutal circumstances.

    Overall Grade: C-

Indianapolis Colts

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Indianapolis Colts top pick Kwity Paye is an imperfect prospect from a weak class of edge defenders, but when he's on top of his game he looks like a potential elite pass-rusher and there was plenty of buzz he would be a top-12 pick.

    Landing him 21st overall is at least a mild coup for a Colts team that was in desperate need of pass-rushing help. Still, I don't love that they doubled down on the edge in Round 2 with Dayo Odeyingbo, who is unlikely to factor in as a rookie due to a torn Achilles.

    It's basically now or never for this Indy team, but they didn't draft a single player besides Paye who can be reasonably expected to make a significant impact in 2021.

    Most critically, the Colts either failed or made no effort to fill a void on new quarterback Carson Wentz's blind side before Round 7. Maybe they have something up their sleeve in post-free agency there, but right now, it looks borderline negligent.

    Throw in a lack of attention paid to wide receivers and Colts GM Chris Ballard has me scratching my head.

    Overall Grade: D

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    I suppose the Jacksonville Jaguars get credit for not overthinking the first overall pick and taking potential superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But that didn't require a PhD in draftology, and a lot of those brownie points were withdrawn when a team with a cheap, undrafted sophomore back coming off a 1,000-yard season used its other first-round pick on a freakin' running back.

    Travis Etienne is a phenomenal player, but he isn't worth a top-25 selection when you've got James Robinson and as many holes as the Jags, who ignored the safety position twice more in Round 2 and are likely to regret passing on Trevon Moehrig.

    They did at least address the secondary twice on Day 2, but it was weird they started with corner Tyson Campbell considering what they've invested in CJ Henderson and Shaquill Griffin at cornerback. Third-rounder Andre Cisco hits that safety need but is not refined and coming off a knee injury. Second-round offensive tackle Walker Little is a huge risk considering his injury history and sample size.

    There isn't much to be excited about beyond that in what was a pretty disappointing draft for a team that held five of the first 65 picks.

    Overall Grade: C-

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs have rebuilt their offensive line after learning in 2020 that you can't be too sure about the line when protecting Patrick Mahomes. Center remained the weakest link before they used one of their two second-round picks on Creed Humphrey.

    The Oklahoma product should have a chance to push Austin Blythe right away, which is a good thing.

    And with their other second-rounder, they got solid value and addressed a need with linebacker Nick Bolton.

    None of it was sexy and they already used their first-rounder to land new left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. from the Ravens, but when you add it all up that's a nice haul on the first two days. Toss in that physically awesome fourth-rounder Joshua Kaindoh could be a massive steal if he blossoms as a situational pass-rusher and this was quietly a superb draft for Kansas City.

    Overall Grade: A

Las Vegas Raiders

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    The draft can be so damn weird. If you told me Thursday afternoon that the Las Vegas Raiders would come out of the first two rounds with safety Trevon Moehrig and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, I would have said Moehrig was a bit of a reach in the middle of Round 1 and Leatherwood was a bit of a reach in the middle of Round 2 but both address needs and it isn't a bad start.

    Of course, it played out differently and the former was a steal in Round 2 while the latter was a laughable reach in Round 1, which drew more attention and made the Raiders' draft look worse than it was.

    I'm more concerned with the Raiders reaching the rest of the way, doubling and tripling down on off-ball defenders in Rounds 3 and 4 despite plenty of other needs. Third-round edge defender Malcolm Koonce has an extremely low ceiling for a Day 2 pick, fellow third-rounder Divine Deablo joins a huge crowd in the box and fourth-rounder Tyree Gillespie will have trouble differentiating himself as well.

    Throw in that they only made seven picks and it's hard to be inspired by this draft.

    Overall Grade: C-

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers' draft was simple, smart, efficient and encouraging.

    First-round offensive tackle Rashawn Slater presented great value at 14 and is the perfect cherry on top to complete an offensive line rebuild for young quarterback Justin Herbert's sake. Second-round cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. was considered a potential first-rounder and addressed another major need for a secondary in transition. And then they gave Herbert two more weapons with third-round pass-catchers Josh Palmer and Tre' McKitty.

    Those last two Day 2 picks don't look like steals by any means, but they were a good indication of what the Chargers are focused on. If this is going to work, they have to support the heck out of Herbert.

    And with the Melvin Ingram III era seemingly over, they found a nice situational pass-rusher to replace him with fourth-rounder Chris Rumph II.

    With a solid nine picks in total, it was a strong haul in terms of both quality and quantity.

    Overall Grade: A

Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    It's almost as if the Los Angeles Rams are not legally allowed to possess a first-round pick. The last time they used their first-round pick was 2016, and because of multiple trades the next time they'll pick in the first round again is 2024.

    That puts more pressure on Les Snead and Sean McVay to nail their Day 2 selections, and it's difficult to get fired up about miniature wide receiver Tutu Atwell and stiff, one-dimensional linebacker Ernest Jones.

    Jones addresses a key need. Atwell? Meh. Dude is 155 pounds and was taken with former LSU standout Terrace Marshall Jr. still on the board. And both of those guys were ranked outside of the top 145 by the B/R Scouting Department.

    They at least loaded up with seven Day 3 selections, and it's easy to get excited about fourth/fifth-round physical marvels Robert Rochell at cornerback, Jacob Harris at wide receiver (the bizarro Atwell) and 
    Earnest Brown IV on the edge.

    That said, there's no way the big picture is worth an overly positive grade.

    Overall Grade: C+

Miami Dolphins

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Jaylen Waddle could easily become the best wide receiver in this class, while Jaelan Phillips is the No. 2 Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite at DraftKings. Both are now members of the Miami Dolphins, who addressed needs with both selections without reaching.

    In other words, they nailed Round 1.

    Beyond that, they got good value and completed their offensive line with second-round offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg, and added a perfect complement to Mike Gesicki at tight end in third-rounder Hunter Long.

    I thought second-round safety Jevon Holland was a bit of a reach with Trevon Moehrig available, but the Oregon product's versatility should make him a nice fit in Miami, so that's a nitpick at this point.

    And yeah, they made only seven total selections, but at least five of those came on Day 1 and 2. This draft wasn't about adding depth but instead putting the roster over the top.

    Waddle, Phillips and Eichenberg just might accomplish that.

    Overall Grade: A

Minnesota Vikings

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    Matt Gentry/Associated Press

    After a trade with the New York Jets, the Minnesota Vikings essentially ended up with offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw and tantalizing project quarterback Kellen Mond with their first-round pick, which is unreal considering Darrisaw would have been a tremendous selection before they traded down from 14 to 23 in Round 1.

    That was a coup, and they addressed a weak offensive line again in satisfactory fashion when they used the other third-round pick they received from the Jets on potential steal Wyatt Davis at guard. The Ohio State product was a borderline first-round pick by the B/R Scouting Department's standards.

    Beyond that, they also found space to use two Day 2 picks on front-seven defenders Chazz Surratt and Patrick Jones II. The former could play a role right away and the latter might need time but nonetheless put up 17.5 sacks his last two years in college.

    There were some reaches along the way, but the Vikings crushed it off the top and added 11 draftees in total. It was a promising weekend.

    Overall Grade: A-

New England Patriots

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Mac Jones could very easily bust at the NFL level, but there was chatter he could be a top-five pick and a New England Patriots team in need of a quarterback landed him 15th overall without a trade-up. That's ideal. As was grabbing this class's best interior defensive lineman, Christian Barmore, in Round 2.

    The first-team All-SEC defensive lineman and College Football Playoff National Championship Defensive MVP recorded eight sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles as a sophomore in the best conference in college football last year. The Pats should be thrilled with that Alabama 1-2 punch to kick off the draft.

    They also got good value for former Oklahoma pass-rusher Ronnie Perkins in the third round, added a unique tool to the offense with large fourth-round back Rhamondre Stevenson and doubled down on some needs throughout Day 3.

    I would have liked to see them get in on the receiver party earlier than Round 7, but that's about the only bone I'd pick here.

    Overall Grade: A-

New Orleans Saints

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    You can't earn a top grade with a six-player draft class that includes no selections in the top 25 and a reach in Round 1. That's where the New Orleans Saints stand after taking the B/R Scouting Department's 106th-highest-rated player with the 28th overall pick.

    That player—former Houston edge defender Payton Turner—could turn into a solid NFL pass-rusher, but it appears they could have had him a lot later on Day 2. Second-round linebacker Pete Werner was also viewed as a third-round pick by B/R, and third-round corner Paulson Adebo was considered to be worthy of only Day 3.

    The Saints generally draft well so these might not all turn out to be reaches. At least they addressed key needs with each of their Day 1 and 2 selections, and I'm OK with spending a fourth-rounder on wild-card quarterback Ian Book.

    Still, this was a pretty underwhelming draft haul.

    Overall Grade: C+

New York Giants

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    I'm all for the Giants landing an extra first-round pick next year and extra middle-round picks in 2021 and 2022 in exchange for a nine-pick drop from 11 to 20 in Round 1, but I was disappointed to see them reach a bit for a slot-oriented gadget-type wideout in that spot.

    Kadarius Toney makes them better on offense, but he doesn't address a glaring need and he was ranked 60th in the class by the B/R Scouting Department. With potential top-12 picks Kwity Paye and Christian Darrisaw still on the board at edge defender and offensive tackle, respectively, the Toney pick is a huge risk at 20.

    They did address the edge with golden second-round selection Azeez Ojulari, who has the polish and explosiveness to make an immediate impact and could have been a top-20 pick. Third-rounder Aaron Robinson could help out in slot coverage right away as well. But they drafted just three players the rest of the weekend and none jump out at you.

    This class could easily rock or flop, but the lack of quantity is at least balanced by the fact that they gained more 2022 draft capital.

    Overall Grade: B-

New York Jets

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Nobody will suggest the New York Jets didn't get a lot better this weekend, but I don't think they fully capitalized on their immense draft capital.

    No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson is a huge risk at quarterback after one good season in college, and they might regret passing on the much more established Justin Fields. They essentially sacrificed a strong Day 2 selection in order to move up for offensive linemen Alijah Vera-Tucker, only to discover that the similarly-rated Christian Darrisaw made it to their original pick at 23. And while second-round pick Elijah Moore has a high NFL ceiling, it was a slightly odd selection considering the presence of Jamison Crowder.

    I would have been all over a player like Asante Samuel Jr. in that spot, but the Jets didn't take a corner until Round 5 and that position is still a joke on their depth chart.

    But they did take two safeties and a running back before selecting that cover man (Jason Pinnock), for some reason. OK, I actually like the Michael Carter pick (the back, not the safety they drafted with the same name), but backs are generally pretty easy to find and the Jets were neglecting the cornerback spot at that point.

    It's still neglected.

    Overall Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Did the Philadelphia Eagles really need to trade up in the first round for a receiver one year after drafting a wideout in Round 1? In the process they passed on Justin Fields, who would have widely been viewed as a significant upgrade over Jalen Hurts at quarterback.

    I mean, the No. 12 overall pick and a third-round selection is a lot to pay for the undersized DeVonta Smith, especially with Jalen Reagor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Travis Fulgham on the roster and plenty of receiver talent (as always) available on Day 2.

    I'd absolutely take Fields and Rondale Moore or Terrace Marshall Jr. over Smith and injury-prone project offensive lineman Landon Dickerson (who Philly took in Round 2).

    There's a lot to love about the athletic and versatile Milton Williams as a third-round defensive lineman, and they addressed a need with underrated corner Zech McPhearson in Round 4, but that and a high quantity of picks in the later rounds doesn't make up for some questionable decisions early.

    Overall Grade: C

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    The way the Pittsburgh Steelers dug in with Le'Veon Bell a few years ago indicates they understand that it's easy to find good running backs these days. That's why it's so odd a team that suddenly has several glaring weak spots felt it had the luxury of using a top-25 selection on a back.

    Najee Harris has all the tools to become a Pro Bowl player, but none of the NFL's top seven rushers last season were first-round picks. A team hasn't used a high pick on a back and then won a Super Bowl thanks in large part to that player's impact since the turn of the century.

    The Steelers instead should have been all over an offensive lineman like Teven Jenkins or Liam Eichenberg or a pass-rusher like Gregory Rousseau or Azeez Ojulari. They could have even traded back for one of those guys.

    They did make eight picks beyond that, but second-round tight end Pat Freiermuth was also a luxury selection that didn't address a major need. They did get solid value for potential offensive line starter Kendrick Green in Round 3, though, and sixth-round edge Quincy Roche has an intriguing ceiling.

    That's just not enough for them to earn a good grade.

    Overall Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    To be clear, the San Francisco 49ers paid two first-round picks and a third-round selection just for the right to draft Trey Lance. The pick itself is part of the investment, which means a quarterback who barely played in 2020 and threw just 318 passes at the FCS level in his college career cost the 49ers three first-round picks and a third-rounder.

    Considering the high quarterback bust rate in Round 1, that's ludicrous.

    The 49ers could have paid so much less for the much more proven Justin Fields. At least they had three more selections on Day 2, but second-round guard Aaron Banks seems like an odd fit for the 49ers' zone stretch.

    Third-rounders Trey Sermon and Ambry Thomas are good fits and address needs at running back and cornerback, respectively, but neither of them were ranked in the top 150 by the B/R Scouting Department (the latter wasn't ranked at all).

    It'll likely come down to whether or not Lance succeeds, but the odds aren't in this class' favor.

    Overall Grade: D

Seattle Seahawks

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    This is basically an "N/A" because the Seattle Seahawks drafted just three players, thanks mainly to their trade for star safety Jamal Adams. Sub him in for their first- and third-round spots, making speedy second-round wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge their only selection before Round 4.

    Eskridge doesn't fill a major need and ranked 141st on the B/R big board. The Seahawks left the significantly higher-ranked Terrace Marshall Jr. on the board with that selection.

    The front seven also needed some attention but Seattle took no defensive linemen or linebackers and it reached for fourth-round corner Tre Brown. That said, the Seahawks got good value for the massive and overlooked Stone Forsythe as an offensive tackle prospect in Round 6.


    Overall Grade: D+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    When your roster is stacked and without holes and you pick last in Round 1, nobody expects waves. That said, edge Joe Tryon was a reach in the 32nd spot with intriguing defensive linemen Christian Barmore and Azeez Ojulari on the board for the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    They could, however, afford to try to line up quarterback Tom Brady's potential successor. And while I think Kellen Mond has the most upside among the second-tier options at that position, I won't fault them for giving a shot to Kyle Trask.

    The Florida product is a big, proven Heisman Trophy finalist who very well could make it possible for the Bucs to remain afloat if Brady goes down or even extend a window beyond Brady's retirement in 2035.

    The rest of their picks were purely for depth, but don't be surprised if fourth-round receiver Jaelon Darden factors in as a "slot machine."

    Overall Grade: B+

Tennessee Titans

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Considering that Tennessee Titans 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Wilson is already off the roster, I expected the Titans to take a more conservative approach in the first round this year.


    Tennessee is making a pretty large gamble on cornerback Caleb Farley, whose injury history is a concern. He also opted out in 2020, so there's some murkiness about his durability. That said, the Virginia Tech product is 6'2" and 207 pounds with sub-4.4 speed, which makes him a major outlier at that position. He also intercepted four passes and allowed completions on only 36 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2019, per PFF.

    If he lives up to that in the NFL, he'll be a steal 22nd overall. And since he addresses a need, I'm OK with the risk.

    That said, it was shocking that the Titans didn't get in on receiver action until reaching for our 262nd-rated player, Dez Fitzpatrick, early on Day 3. And they essentially replaced the Wilson pick in Round 3, but I think Jalen Mayfield would have been a safer O-line pick than Dillon Radunz.

    Overall, they did at least load up on depth in the first four rounds, and they got a good deals for their second cornerback draftee, third-round Washington product Elijah Molden, as well as fourth-round edge Rashad Weaver.

    It was a mixed bag that has a higher variance than most classes.

    Overall Grade: B+

Washington Football Team

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    If I ran the Washington Football Team, I would have taken Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah over fellow linebacker Jamin Davis 19th overall. But JOK dropped all the way into the bottom half of the second round, so it's clear a lot of other teams disagree.

    Regardless, Davis fills a need and isn't a reach because, despite being a bit of a project, he has the tools to become an All-Pro off-ball presence in D.C.

    They also got great second-round value for prototypical left tackle Samuel Cosmi, although he also may need some time. And beyond Round 2, they at least swung the bat on eight more picks, with the highlight coming when they stole exciting vertical threat Dyami Brown with No. 82 overall selection.

    I would have preferred to see the WFT make more picks that have a higher likelihood of paying off right away because the team is in such quality shape defensively. However, that doesn't change the fact they found lots of value and addressed some glaring soft spots.

    Overall Grade: B


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