Oratry NFL Draft Grades: AFC and NFC South
The NFL Draft is in the books and I thought it would be fun to write a Draft Grades article. I’m at least as qualified as half the people who do them anyway. And in three years I can go back and write an article mocking myself for how wrong I was.
I will not be grading each individual pick. I will grade the teams first round pick, the best day two pick, the best day three pick, and the worst pick of each team. Since the Oratory started as a wrestling website, I’m going to ditch letter grades and go with Star Ratings, just for funsies.
As I don’t know every player intimately, my grades will be based on my opinion, and also a consensus among different draft experts. I will not be including ESPN because I refuse to pay for articles that other sites give for free.
With all of that said, Lets continue with the AFC and NFC South Divisions.
1st Round Pick: Will Fuller, Notre Dame WR ** 1/2: Will Fuller is fast WR but he doesn’t have the best hands. I’m not sure hes worth s first round pick because of that. He fits a need but there were better more dynamic WRs still available.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Nick Martin, Notre Dame C ***1/2: A solid Center who will start for years to come in the NFL. I like the pick a lot. Many thought they should have gone with a QB in the second, but the Texans want to see what they have in Savage who would have started for them last year if he wasn’t hurt in camp.
Best 3rd Day Pick: KJ Dillon, West Virginia SS *****: This is a home run. This kid can play. He had a 2nd round grade on a lot of boards. They got him all the way in the 5th. When you play Andrew Luck and Blake Bortles every year you need good players in your secondary.
Worst Pick: Tyler Ervin, San Jose State RB *: A small very fast RB. Its hard to see where he will playing the Texans depth chart. He has talent, I’m just not sure if he can make the field in Houston.
Overall ***: The Texans had all 6 of their picks in the first 5 rounds. It’s not hard to get solid talent. They whiffeda bit on a couple picks, but the rest were solid to great. If they had made a better first round choice they’d be a 4* Overall.
1st Round Pick: Ryan Kelly, Alabama C *****: Best pick of the first round. The Colts needed a center. They needed to protect Luck so what happened this year doesn’t happen again. He will anchor the line for years like the Colts are used to from the center position.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech OT **** 1/2: If the team in front of his name said Texas or Texas A&M this kid is a first round pick. He will start at RT right away and could grow into an NFL LT. Luck is going to be protected.
Best 3rd Day Pick: Hassan Ridgeway, Texas DT ****: He will push to start right away. Strong and athletic just the kind of DL player they love in Indy.
Worst Pick: Trevor Bates, Maine DE **: One dimensional pass rusher. He’ll only play on passing downs. Really good at what he does.Not good at anything else. A project player and Depth.
Overall *****: Most of their day three picks were meh, but one 4* pick there plus three more 4*+ picks means the Colts are in the running for best draft.
1st Round Pick: Jaylen Ramsey, Florida FS ****: A great player. He can play Corner and Safety. He will start right away and make a difference. Best DB in the draft.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Myles Jack, UCLA OLB *****: If only I could give more than 5* The best defensive player in the draft. Fell to the 2nd Round because of overblown injury concerns. He will be a force. What a steal.
Best Day 3 Pick: Tyrone Holmes, Montana OLB *****: The best defensive player in the FCS. He’s a pass rushing machine who will move to DE in Jacksonville. Will start within a year or two.
Worst Pick: Jonathan Woodard, Central Arkansas DE ***: A 3 year starter and another pass rushing monster from FCS. Not as big an upside as Holmes,but will contribute Depth and Special Teams.
Overall *****: The BEST draft of anyone. Two 5* Picks, Two 4* picks and the worst pick was 3*. The Jaguars finally get it. Too bad the Fans don’t care. Their eventual new city will love this team.
1st Round Pick: Jack Conklin, Michigan State OT ***: They traded down from 1st and then traded up for the third best OT in the draft. They should have been able to stay put and get him. But that stupid video of Tunsil got them too.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Austin Johnson, Penn State DT ***: A good Line player that could start right away. He’s peaked so what you get now is what you always will get from him.
Best 3rd Day Pick: Tajae Sharpe, UMass WR ****: A great player with great ball skills. If he played for a bigger school he’s a 2nd Day pick. He’s gonna be a good target for Mariota.
Worst Pick: Derrick Henry, Alabama RB **: He’s not a 2* talent, but hes a bad pick for Tennessee. They brought in Murray. He’s not a RB by committee type of RB so bringing in Henry now could lead to the same issues that Philly had with Murray. If they bring Henry in as a clear backup it’s a wasted Round 2 pick. It’s lose lose.
Overall ***: The high star picks didn’t come until day 3 and they had quite a few questionable picks. Thanks to sheer volume they had an average draft.
1st Round Pick: Keanu Neal, Florida SS **1/2: Talented player, but a bit of a reach. There were definitely better DBs available. He will be a good player but hes a 2nd round pick at best.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Deion Jones, LSU OLB ****: Best pick the Falcons made. Fast as can be LB. Will be a force for years. Filled a serious need for the Falcons.
Best 3rd Day Pick: De’Vondre Campbell, Minnesota OLB ***: I like his pick more than the consensus by about a 1/2*. Hes a project but has a lot of upside. He’ll need to spend time in the film room getting better at his reads to go with his physical skills.
Worst Pick: Devin Fuller, UCLA WR *1/2: Your classic Fast but no hands WR. The kind of player Al Davis would take in round 2. Falcons got him in the 7th. His best shot is returning kicks.
Overall **: The Falcons just don’t seem to get it. They reached all over the place when better talent was available. When the Ravens Steelers and Patriots do that, they get the benefit of the doubt because they have wins to show for it. The Falcons don’t get that benefit. Ryan’s window is closing and this isn’t going to help him.
1st Round Pick: Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech DT **: Good Talent, Bad fit. The Panthers have an elite Defense and a great QB. They should be putting more weapons around Cam, not using 1st Round picks for depth.
Best 2nd Day Pick: James Bradberry, Samford CB **1/2: They needed to replace Norman, but I dont think this was the player to do it. Hes big and good in a zone, but he played FCS so hes going to need to get used to speed hes never seen.
Best 3rd Day Pick: Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma CB **: The third CB they’ve taken. Maybe they are planning on merging them together into one player to replace Norman. A project, much like the other two.
Worst Pick: Beau Sandland, Montana State TE *: They finally get a weapon for Cam and hes a Practice Squad TE. Probably could have got him as a rookie Free Agent.
Overall *: Thank god the Panthers are so good, because I think this team whiffed bad in this draft. They threw three picks at DB hoping one sticks, and didn’t add a potential weapon for Cam until the 7th round, and hes not likely to make the team.
1st Round Pick: Sheldon Rankins, Louisville DT ****1/2: Hesbeen compared to Aaron Donald, and watching him in college I can see it. The Saints needed a force in side and they got it. I love this pick for them.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Michael Thomas, Ohio State WR ***: Drew Brees is going to love this player. Hes going to be very good very fast.
Best 3rd Day Pick: David Onyemata, Manitoba DT **: He played in Canada, so hes obviously a project, but hes got all the physical tools. I can see him contributing on Special Teams as he learns.
Worst Pick: Daniel Lasko, California RB **: He’s fast, very fast. Could make the team as a back up. There are some injury concerns, thats why he fell to the 7th.
Overall ***: The Saints had a solid draft because they had three picks in the first two rounds. Is it good enough to get them back in the Playoffs? I don’t know. They arent winning the division, and the Wild Card is tight on the NFC side.
1st Round Pick: Vernon Hargreaves, Florida CB ****: The Bucs play three good QBs, so having a talented DB is a necessity. He is going to start right away and make a difference. He was the number 1 CB on a lot of scouts boards.
Best 2nd Day Pick: Noah Spense, Eastern Kentucky DE ***1/2: High risk High Reward. His off the field issues are well documented, but if he can keep his head on straight hes a first round talent. I’ll be routing for him to do just that.
Best 3rd Day Pick: Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central CB ***1/2: He can play CB and SS and started for three years in FCS. His Ball skills are questionable, but his coverage and tackling is stellar. A project with high upside.
Worst Pick: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State K 0*: What pick is worse than drafting a long snapper? Spending a 2nd Round pick on a kicker. I don’t care if hes the best kicking prospect in a decade. Hes a kicker. And they traded up to get him. They had needs everywhere and they gave up two picks for a kicker.
Overall **1/2: I subtracted an entire * for the kicker fiasco. Otherwise it was a solid draft for a team that is still a year away. Still, Kicker.
That’s it for the dirty south. The East Coast elites are next.