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2019 NFL Draft Recap: Grades for All 32 Teams

It was Saturday evening and the Arizona Cardinals had just selected UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson as the 254th pick of the NFL Draft giving him the endearing title of “Mr. Irrelevant”. That pick concluded the seventh round and put an end to the third and final day of an event I’d spent months researching. It was also really fun being smattered across the network last week and I achieved my goal of getting the title Senior NFL Draft Analyst, which I actually made up and effectively spoke into existence.

However, I was exhausted from a combination of watching the draft late, going in early, and having a 6-month old with inconsistent sleep patterns. But even after the “Mr. Irrelevant” selection, I kept getting tweets and messages that people were curious for how I viewed their team’s draft and I simply will not let those questions go unanswered. I didn’t become Senior NFL Draft Analyst one day only to immediately abandon my responsibilities once the draft concluded. Some people are even saying I deserve a fake promotion in addition to my fake title:

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While I mull over if I deserve that or not, here is how I grade out all 32 teams on the draft. This will be my last draft related column until 2020 #DraftSzn and I wanted to let you know it was an honor to serve you. Without further ado, I’m going to make it easy by going by division:

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: A-

The Bills had a great draft with DT Ed Oliver (Houston), who I called to Buffalo at #9, falling to them. They also jumped in front of my Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take OT/OG Cody Ford (Oklahoma) at #38. They reportedly had a 1st round grade on him and tried to trade up even higher. Devin Singletary (FAU) is a nice player, but they now have five RBs which, even though LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore are near retirement, is a bit of a strange fit. Dawson Knox (Ole Miss) is a big time project but has potential and fills a big need at TE.

Miami Dolphins: A-

DT Christian Wilkins (Clemson) is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is just sign a high character guy to go along with a great player, he’s the perfect culture pick for a new coach in Brian Flores. He also almost took out Goodall on stage. They traded their late 2nd rounder, #62 overall, plus a 5th rounder to Arizona for Josh Rosen which is a terrific buy-low move as Arizona has already paid most of his salary. They can still #TankForTua while getting a look to see if Rosen is indeed the QB they’ve been looking for since Dan Marino.

New England Patriots: B+

Surprisingly, the Pats didn’t draft a tight end to replace Rob Gronkowski. They drafted N’Keal Harry (Arizona State) to end the 1st round and followed that up with a very solid Day 2 highlighted by Joejuan Williams (Vanderbilt) who is a very tall, long, athletic corner that fits just what they look for in that position. EDGE Chase Winovich (Michigan), a Coley Mick “lock” for the Pats to draft, will become an instant fan favorite with his long hair and Wildman style.

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New York Jets: C+

DT Quinnen Williams (Alabama) is arguably the best player in the draft, but the fact that they were unable to move out of that spot to recoup some of the assets they lost in the trade up with the Colts last year was a downer. Williams is also a little redundant as the Jets have DT Leonard Williams who was the 6th overall pick in 2015. 3rd round EDGE Jachai Polite (Florida) was a fringe 1st rounder going into the off-season, but he put on a lot of bad weight at the combine and didn’t take well to criticism during film sessions with NFL coaches. Good luck there.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: A

1st year GM Eric DeCosta crushed this draft. He traded back in the 1st round (as predicted by yours truly) to pick up an extra 4th but they also got the receiver they were targeting in Hollywood Brown (Oklahoma). They took the fastest RB, Justice Hill (Oklahoma State) and seem to be going all-in on Lamar Jackson as they’re building a track team around him. QB Trace McSorely (Penn State) is a very interesting pick in the 6th round and with RG3 just having re-signed there, I wonder if he’ll play a Taysom Hill-type role. Their best pick was in the 3rd round where they took the new NCAA record holder for sacks, EDGE Jaylson Ferguson (Lousiana Tech). The last time they took that record holder, he became a future Hall-of-Famer for them (Terrell Suggs).

Cleveland Browns: A-

They traded their 1st rounder (17th overall) for Odell Beckham Jr., so I’m factoring that into this grade. In the 2nd round, they took CB Greedy Williams (LSU) who slipped to them. Williams is a polarizing player that Todd McShay described to me as a “buffet tackler” because he picks and chooses when he actually wraps up ball carriers. LB Mack Wilson (Alabama) is a nice pickup in the 5th round as he was projected as a Day 2 guy.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

OT/OG Jonah Williams (Alabama) is going to be a solid player, I don’t care if his arms are one inch shorter than ideal for a left tackle. G/C Michael Jordan (Ohio State) is a nice value at the end of round 4, but TE Drew Sample (Washington) was a bit high for my liking. My favorite pick was RB Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M) in the 6th round. He’ll likely not only make the roster, but contribute which is more than you could ask for from any 6th rounder in his rookie year.

Pittsburgh Steelers: B

The Steelers traded up to #10 by giving up their 1st (#20 overall), 2nd (#52 overall), and a 2020 3rd round pick. That’s pretty pricey, but they got the guy they wanted in LB Devin Bush (Michigan). They apparently inquired about trading all the way up to #3 with the intentions of taking LB Devin White (LSU), but didn’t offer the requisite compensation for the Jets to seriously consider it. CB Justin Layne (Michigan State) was a really nice pick in the 3rd round as he slipped. WR Diontae Johnson (Toledo) was a puzzling selection at the top of the 3rd round as he carried a Day 3 grade. But if there is one position Pittsburgh knows how to scout, it’s wide outs.

AFC South

Houston Texans: D+

The Texans were in need of a left tackle after dealing Duane Brown to Seattle last year and everybody knew it. Eagles GM Howie Roseman was especially aware as they were also in the market for a left tackle with Jason Peters continuing to ponder retirement. The Eagles leapfrogged the Texans and took who many view as the top LT in the draft in Andre Dillard (Washington State). The Texans stood pat at #23 and took T Tytus Howard (Alabama State). Howard was a carried a late 2nd/early 3rd round grade, so this was a tough pick to get on board with. In round 2, CB Lonnie Johnson (Kentucky) is a polarizing player that drew 1st round grades from some and 4th round grades from others. T Max Scharping (Northern Illinois) hedges a bit against Howard’s pick, but Houston’s draft was seen as a lot of reaching for need.

Indianapolis Colts: B

GM Chris Ballard crushed last year with OG Quenton Nelson, LB Darius Leonard, and OG Braden Smith as his first three picks as GM. This year Ballard traded back again, this time out of the 1st round entirely. However, they still got the corner they needed in CB Rock Ya-Sin (Temple). WR Parris Campbell (Ohio State) is a nice gadget player HC Frank Reich can get creative with. I don’t believe this year’s haul is anywhere close to as strong as last year’s, but still had a few bright spots.

Jacksonville Jaguars: A          

The Jaguars got very fortunate a few times this draft. They had EDGE Josh Allen (Kentucky) fall in their laps at #7 after just a few days ago, it seemed impossible he’d fall out of the top five. The player they were most commonly mocked to take at #7, RT Jawaan Taylor (Florida) fell to their 2nd round pick at #35 due to a medical issue. The Jags still got their guy and this draft reminds me of the 2016 draft where they took CB Jalen Ramsey and top-15 LB Myles Jack fell to them in round 2 due to a medical. Oh by the way, they also they took stud DE Yannick Ngakoue in the 3rd round that year. Over the weekend, GM David Caldwell called Taylor’s medical grade “passable”, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt based on recent injury history as Myles Jack is fine.

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Tennessee Titans: A

GM Jon Robinson had himself a helluva draft. At #19, they took a guy they’ll need to redshirt in DT Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State), but when healthy, he’s a top 5 player in this draft. In round 2, they gave Marcus Mariota another weapon with WR A.J. Brown (Ole Miss). They also beefed up both lines with G Nate Davis (UNC-Charlotte) and EDGE D’Andre Walker (Georgia). But my favorite pick was their 6th rounder, LB David Long (West Virginia). He is a bit smaller than your modern day LB, but he’s always around the football. At worst he’ll be a special teams standout, at best a productive LB they got in the 6th round.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: B-

The Broncos traded back to #20 and picked up some extra ammo in the process. They took underperforming TE Noah Fant (Iowa) at #20 which could go either way. The 2nd round will make or break this draft with QB Drew Lock (Missouri) and OT/OG Dalton Risner (Kansas State). GM John Elway was apparently head over heels about Lock, but if that was really the case, they wouldn’t have passed on him in the 1st. Lock also has very small hands at 9” which could be an issue when it comes to gripping the football in the Denver cold.

Kansas City Chiefs: A

The Chiefs traded their 1st rounder (#29 overall) to the Seahawks for DE Frank Clark last week. Clark is a stud who fits their 4-3 defense well and is still very young. With the whole Tyreek Hill situation looking very serious, Kansas City took WR Mecole Hardman (Georgia) who will attempt to try to fill Hill’s role. S Juan Thornhill (Virginia) is a crazy athlete that has great instincts in coverage. Backflipping DT Khalen Saunders (Western Illinois) is a nice project who could serve as Chris Jones insurance if he gets too pricey.

Los Angeles Chargers: C+

The Chargers took DT Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame) 28th overall. Tillery is a high ceiling player who is enormous, but not consistent. The big question around him is if he loves football and that always scares me as 50% of the draft misses are not about on-field production, but more about missing on the neck up. At #60, S Nasir Adderly (Delaware) is a steal and will likely form the league’s best safety tandem with Derwin James. QB Easton Stick (North Dakota) is an interesting pick in the 5th, but I wonder if he’ll even be on the roster with Tyrod Taylor there. He may be bound for the practice squad.

Oakland Raiders: C

I’ll be the first to admit, former NFL Media Draft Czar/Current Raiders GM Mike Mayock is way smarter than me about the Draft. That being said, this was a tough one for me to swallow. DE Clelin Ferrell (Clemson) was the most shocking pick since the Jags took the BOAT at #3 in 2014. Word is they tried to trade down but didn’t have any takers. In Ferrell they drafted almost as much character as they did the player as they have to be careful to get the right type of guys in there with a pending move to Las Vegas next year. Ferrell comes from a military background and will see this as a career and not take it for granted. They also took RB Josh Jacobs (Alabama) at #24 to replace Marshawn Lynch and S Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State) at #27 but I’m not as high on Jacobs as everyone else and Abram is at his best as a box safety, so not super versatile. Let’s not forget they have picks #24 & #27 because they dealt Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. And while the new guys are cheaper, they won’t come close to producing the same as those veterans. EDGE Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan) was a nice selection near the top of round 4. This grade is bolstered from a “D” to a “C” since they got Antonio Brown for a 3rd rounder.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: B+

The Cowboys traded their 1st, which turned out to be #27 overall to Oakland for Amari Cooper. That is a big win for them as it propelled them to the playoffs last season and he’ll likely be signed to an extension. DT Trysten Hill (UCF) has potential and I love G/C Connor McGovern (Penn State) in the 3rd, but it’ll be interesting to see how that effects G Connor Williams who Dallas drafted last season.

New York Giants: C+

This was a difficult evaluation, because I don’t hate QB Daniel Jones (Duke), I just hate him at #6. Especially considering Josh Allen was miraculously available. GM Dave Gettleman says he knows for a fact two teams would have taken Jones before they picked again at #17, but I just don’t think he’s very confident at maneuvering up and down a draft. But on the flip side, if you love a quarterback, you gotta take him. DT Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) is a huge space eater who is an athlete at 342 lbs. As I predicted in my mock, the Giants traded back into the 1st round to finish with three 1sts taking CB Deandre Baker (Georgia). EDGE Oshane Ximines (BYU), CB Julian Love (Notre Dame), & LB Ryan Connelly (Wisconsin), and WR Darius Slayton (Auburn) are all solid picks, but this draft will be completely dependent on how Jones fairs at the next level.

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Philadelphia Eagles: A-

GM Howie Roseman worked the phones to perfection as they nabbed LT Andre Dillard (Washington State) one pick ahead of the Texans who needed an LT. They had two 2nds and went with RB Miles Sanders (Penn State) who should offer another dimension Jordan Howard can’t bring. My favorite pick is WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Stanford), the jumbo-sized WR who wins almost every jump ball possible. I think he’ll eventually replace Alshon Jeffrey. QB Clayton Thorson (Northwestern) did provide a laugh out loud moment during the draft.

Washington Redskins: A

Should Dan Snyder be eligible for GM of the year? Dwayne Haskins falling to Washington at #15 was a game of chicken the owner won and he gets to select the local product. This was my personal lock of the draft as I identified them as a match back in early February. Washington also traded back into the back end of the 1st to take falling EDGE Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) who ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine. In the 4th, they took injured RB Bryce Love (Stanford) who will give them insurance on RB Chris Thompson. CB Jimmy Moreland (James Madison) in the 7th is a fantastic pick for a guy who can come in and start at nickel CB who was extremely productive and has the ability to create takeaways. Nate also thinks this was a great haul for his Skins

NFC North

Chicago Bears: A

This grade factors in Khalil Mack which cost them the #24 overall pick and a 6th this year. Their first selection wasn’t til the 3rd round and they took one of my favorite players in the draft, RB David Montgomery (Iowa State). Montgomery will be able to fill in what Jordan Howard left as he’s similar to a Matt Forte, just with less receiving skills. WR Riley Ridley (Georgia) as a value pick in the 4th as he carried a Day 2 grade.

Detroit Lions: C-

This is where I’ll differ from a lot of analysts as I hate picking a tight end early (I am aware my Buccaneers picked O.J. Howard in the 1st round two years ago and he’s a stud). TE T.J. Hockenson (Iowa) does a lot of things really well, but his best trait is likely his run blocking. So to think about drafting a tight end who run blocks well at #8 doesn’t sit well with me. Especially with DT Ed Oliver on the board. I thought the 2nd round selection of LB Jahlani Tavai (Hawaii) was a bit early, but conversely, I liked the picks of DE Austin Bryant (Clemson) and CB Amani Oruwariye (Penn State) in the 4th & 5th rounds respectively.

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Green Bay Packers: B

This draft is a tough evaluation as DE Rashan Gary (Michigan) is the wild card. The Packers took him 12th overall and he may need shoulder surgery. They also traded up to get speedy S Darnell Savage (Maryland) a little early than the run on safeties went. C Elgton Jenkins (Mississippi State) and TE Jace Sternberger (Texas A&M) will help Aaron Rodgers out a ton.

Minnesota Vikings: B+

GM Rick Spielman knew he needed to upgrade the interior of his offensive line and took C Garrett Bradbury (NC State) in the 1st and OG Dru Samia (Oklahoma) in the 4th. Both were really good picks where likely best player available matched need. TE Irv Smith (Alabama) provides some speed at the tight end spot and RB Alexander Mattison (Boise State) gives them some insurance behind oft-injured Dalvin Cook.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: B+

Matt Ryan is going to need a little more time in offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s down-field attack. They addressed it early with OG Chris Lindstrom (Boston College) and RT Kaleb McGary (Washington). They also got a replacement for Tevin Coleman who left via free agency in RB Qadree Ollison (Pittsburgh) in the 5th round.

Carolina Panthers: B+

EDGE Brian Burns (Florida) is a speed merchant coming off the edge. His lightning quick get-off will help their defense, but will he be able to hold up against the run? I’m not big on LT Greg Little, although they did need to upgrade that spot. OT Dennis Daley (South Carolina) was great value in the 6th, but QB Will Grier at pick #100 was a great pick as they get a local kid who has some potential and may get some time early with Cam Newton’s health in question. He’s also a friend of the program, and shoutout to Caleb Pressley for having the best live draft coverage out there.

New Orleans Saints: A-

They didn’t have a 1st rounder after trading up for Marcus Davenport last year. GM Mickey Loomis had an unexpected hole to fill at center with the retirement of Max Unger. They nabbed C Erik McCoy (Texas A&M) in round 2 and also upgraded their secondary with S/CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Florida) who was a great value in round 4.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B-

That pains me to write, but there are a few things that could make this an “A” draft. It just is tough to see right now. I figured they would go LB Devin White (LSU) at #5 and I love the player. That being said, I was surprised they passed on Josh Allen who was available. They also need some help at EDGE and that would have been a nice fit. They are super high on White and they trust the LSU LB pipeline as they drafted both Kwon Alexander and Kendall Beckwith from the Bayou over the past few years and they’ve been good players when healthy. They loved White’s leadership, speed, and coverage ability and it’s hard to argue with that pick at #5. I really like CB Sean Bunting (Central Michigan) at #39. It’s hard to knock a corner who didn’t give up a single touchdown all year. However, Cody Ford went the pick before and he would have been my top target going into the 2nd round as they need help at both RG & RT.  GM Jason Licht traded down from the 70th pick where there was a lot of talent like Jaylon Ferguson, Chase Winovich, & Connor McGovern for #94 and #99. CB Jamel Dean (Auburn) seemed redundant with the Bunting pick, but I must be assuming the team likes their current stable of corners. S Mike Edwards (Kentucky) is a player I really like for DC Todd Bowles attacking defense as he’s a great blitzer from the safety position. DE Anthony Nelson (Iowa) is a huge 5-technique defensive end that can hopefully provide a little more pass rush than Will Gholston offers from that spot. K Matt Gay (Utah) was a tough selection to swallow after our history with kickers in the draft (see: trading up for Roberto Aguayo in the 2nd round in 2016), but there is no denying it’s a position of need. WR Scott Miller (Bowling Green) was on almost nobody’s radar and a surprise pick in the 6th, he’ll look to be an Adam Humphries replacement. DT Terry Beckner Jr. (Missouri) is a high upside player who has battled injuries, but worth a flier as he was a 5-star recruit at one time. If Licht’s goal was the change the identity of this defense, he succeeded. It just pains me that the offensive line was not addressed in a make-or-break year for Jameis Winston.

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NFC West:

Arizona Cardinals: B-

QB Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) was the right pick for the air raid offense. My issue was that they didn’t address the offensive line, which was the worst unit in the league last year, until the 6th round. Murray will go from having the best offensive line in the country to the worst in the pros. S Deionte Thompson (Alabama) was a value pick due to a medical and I really like WR Keesean Johnson (Fresno State) in the 6th. WR Andy Isabella (UMass) was also a weird pick considering DK Metalf was on the board at the time.

Los Angeles Rams: B

GM Les Snead traded out of the 1st round to increase his number of picks. They didn’t pick until #61 overall and took S Taylor Rapp (Washington) who will be awesome learning from Eric Weddle. RB Darrell Henderson (Memphis) is a nice back who gives them some insurance from Todd Gurley’s knee situation. 3rd round CB David Long (Michigan) is a raw corner that has good instincts.

San Francisco 49ers: C-

DE Nick Bosa (Ohio State) is a slam dunk pick, but outside of that I didn’t really like their draft. WR Deebo Samuel (South Carolina) is an interesting prospect who is competitive as hell, but WR Jalen Hurd (Baylor) is super raw as a receiver. He could be used as a jumbo-sized RB a lot Cordarrelle Patterson. They also took a punter in the 4th round which is far too high.

Seattle Seahawks: C+

Seattle traded back in the 1st, but still had the 29th overall selection after dealing Frank Clark. They tried to find his replacement in DE L.J. Collier (TCU), but I didn’t love the S Marquise Blair (Utah) pick as there were higher ranked safeties on the board at the time. WR DK Metcalfe (Ole Miss) was their best pick as he fell to #64.

Until next year, this is Senior NFL Draft Analyst Steven Cheah, signing off.