Looking at the draft picks this year, most teams have added a good balance of talent, but these teams stood out more than the rest.
The Browns have seemed to turn into draft gurus, as they continue add high future picks in trade downs while continuing to add great value picks. The Browns were able to add three 1st round picks this draft and four 1st round talents, while not ruining future draft stock with a smart trade down, as well as adding a top talent QB in Deshone Kizer later in the draft who has starter potential. #1 pick Myles Garrett is considered a potential double-digit playmaker with good size, speed, and motor who should be around for the next decade. Jabrill Peppers was one of the most versatile players in the draft who could fill in at RB, WR, LB, and S; the Browns plan to use him in a variety of ways and train him to be an enforcer at safety, as his true position. TE David Njoku was considered to be a WR-like playmaker who will be much needed in an offense lacking weapons. Kizer is a big strong-armed QB who can learn a lot of HC Hue Jackson who knows how to get the best of his QB’s and WR’s; he needs to work on his consistency and decision making. The Browns also added players late in the draft who will at least fill out backend depth, but could definitely see some playing time at CB, OT, RB, DT, and K. They took a chance in the 6th round on DT Caleb Brantley who could have easily went in the 2nd round, if he wasn’t in trouble off the field, but it was a low risk, high reward pick for the Browns. The Browns are continuing to stockpile talent to a lacking roster the right way; through the draft.
The Patriots were tough to put in this ranking because most of their picks were used on trades for veteran players, but with that factored in they had a great draft. The Patriots used their 1st round pick in a trade with the Saints for WR Brandin Cooks, a solid young speed threat who can play inside or outside while making plays in space; he should take the pressure off of Edelman. With their 2nd round pick, the Pats traded for DE Kony Ealy from the Panthers a young pass rusher with good size and talent, but he needs to develop better consistency; they will maximize his production. In the 3rd round, the Pats added DE Derek Rivers, a small school prospect who projects as a LB inside and outside with the ability to provide a pass rush with both power and speed; he should eventually work his way into a starting job. OT Anthony Garcia is a potential LT with good footwork and athleticism, but he needs to get stronger and work on his technique; he is another small school prospect and both players started almost all of their games for their schools. The Pats traded a 4th round pick for TE Dwayne Allen from the Colts who is a solid young blocker with the ability to find open spots in the defense; he should make a solid duo with Gronk. The Pats also added a DE with the ability to play multiple spots on the D-line with good power and another developmental OT with good size (6’8) and power. Grade: A
The Ravens needed to add some offensive playmakers to their team to satisfy the fan base, but I believe this will come via free agency; however, the Ravens went back to their roots and stock piled a defense with a few holes and lacking depth. CB Marlon Humphrey in the 1st round was a CB all over teams’ draft boards, but he is a physical CB who doesn’t mind helping against the run; he could develop into a solid press CB similar to Jimmy Smith. In the 2nd round, LB Tyus Bowser is a prospect with good size and the versatility to play multiple positions, the Ravens will use this to their advantage with another good pass rusher; he is a former basketball player who needs to play with better technique. In the 3rd round, DE/DT Chris Wormley fits best as a 3-4 DE who plays with good technique and can stop the run with some pass rush ability, but he needs to get better as a pass rusher and fight through double teams. LB Tim Williams is a solid pass rusher who knows how to get to the QB from outside and inside and the ability to drop in coverage, but he needs to get stronger and continue to improve his pass rush moves; he has 2nd round talent. In the 4th round, G Nico Siragusa is a power RG with strong run blocking ability, but he needs to improve versus good pass rushers. In the 5th round, G Jermaine Eluemunor is a huge prospect with experience at Guard and Tackle, but he needs to continue to learn his position and improve his footwork, but the potential is there. 6th round pick DB Chuck Clark is a CB/S with solid tackling ability and good size with decent cover ability, but he plays too aggressive at times and doesn’t really offer starter potential; he could provide depth and play special teams. The Ravens needed a young pass rushers and picked up two, they needed a young RG or RT and they picked up two (guards), and they needed a talented CB to help the secondary; the mission to fix the defense is now complete.
The 49ers pulled off the best move in the draft by getting the Bears to move up one spot early in the draft gaining more picks, as they fill their many holes that gets them on this list alone. The Niners still got their man in DE Solomon Thomas one of the best pass rushers in the draft and he fills a need as they are moving to a 4-3 defense giving them a pure edge rusher. They moved back into the 1st round to grab LB Reuben Foster considered a top 5 talent, but continued off the field incidents dropped him off many teams board, but his talent is unquestionable as a sideline to sideline playmaker. In the 3rd round, the 49ers got a tall (6’3) rangy CB with good size and speed in Ahkello Witherspoon, but he needs to play more physical and work on his tackling, but any talent at this position helps. QB C.J. Beathard was a good developmental pickup for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, as he’s an accurate QB with experience in a pro-style offense that needs work on his awareness and deep ball accuracy; things Shanahan can work on. In the 4th round, RB Joe Williams is an elusive runner who can run with a good combo of power and speed, but he doesn’t offer any 3rd down back potential lacking in catching and blocking; he also needs to work on his vision at times. TE George Kittle is a good blocking TE with the speed to find open spot in the defense, but he needs to work on his route running and polish his blocking technique. WR Trent Taylor is a small WR with the potential to take over the punt returner job and eventually get reps as a slot WR due to his good hands and toughness, but he is undersized at (5’8). The 49ers also picked up depth at LB, DT, and DB later in the draft. The 49ers did a good job of bringing in talent to add to a very lacking defense, while also adding a few offensive players that fit Shanahan’s scheme.
Everyone thought the Chargers would go running for defense, but with an aging Rivers leading the way they made the right moves of surrounding him with more talent. The Chargers added WR Mike Williams in the 1st round, a prototypical #1 WR who knows how to go up and get the ball while shielding off smaller defenders; Rivers can win a lot of jump balls with him and he also provides insurance for Keenan Allen. In the 2nd round, G Forrest Lamp is a college LT who projects at RT, G, or C; simply put the Chargers will find a spot for him to start and based on the injury history at this position his versatility will be valuable. In the 3rd round, G Dan Feeney was considered the 2nd best Guard behind Lamp and he will also help protect Rivers fixing a problem area from last season. The Chargers also picked up two safeties in Rayshawn Jenkins and Desmond King filling that need as Jenkins is a big power SS type and King is a playmaker/coverage safety; both will have chances to play. The Chargers also picked up a developmental OT to provide depth and a DT/DE who can help stop the run, as a rotational lineman. It was clear the goal was to fix the O-line and protect Rivers for another big season, while adding some talent to the secondary another weak area.