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Draft Decisions

Thor's NFL Draft Snap Grades

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: April 28, 2019, 5:41 pm ET

Baltimore Ravens | Snap grade: B+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.25Marquise BrownWR329n/an/aDeSean Jackson
3.85Jaylon FergusonEDGE7398.95.46Marcus Davenport
3.93Miles BoykinWR96699.99.94Kenny Golladay
4.113Justice HillRB813288.59.35Phillip Lindsay
4.123Ben PowersOG8115n/a4.74Ted Karras
4.127Iman MarshallCB2620312.95.26Gary Baxter
5.160Daylon MackDL2020629.64.17Dan Williams
6.197Trace McSorleyQB1633377.38.3Connor Shaw

 

Loved the first three picks. Fate of class will be decided by the soundness of Hollywood Brown’s foot, whether or not Sack Daddy Ferguson’s speed-to-power heavy game translates (myself and Jim Nagy are among the crowd that thinks it will, most of #DraftTwitter is on the other side), and whether Miles Boykin can play up to his athletic ability. The athleticism on Baltimore's offense with Lamar Jackson, Justice Hill, Hollywood, Boykin (and, to a lesser extent, Mark Andrews) is unreal. Dibs on Ravens in Madden. 

 

Buffalo Bills | Snap grade: B

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.9Ed OliverDL2399.59.87John Randle
2.38Cody FordOT42335.66.33Brandon Brooks
3.74Devin SingletaryRB3697.81.74Devonta Freeman
3.96Dawson KnoxTE612384.49.26Dustin Keller
5.147Vosean JosephLB12140n/a0.21Jerome Baker
6.181Jaquan JohnsonS182377.73.47Quandre Diggs
7.225Darryl JohnsonEDGE2830519.76.75Aaron Lynch
7.228Tommy SweeneyTE1428023.45.91Nick Vannett

 

The Bills absolutely crushed their first three picks. Buffalo is going to love Ed Oliver, or as I call him, John Randle 2.0. I thought the rest of the haul was pretty weak, but getting three potential immediate starters righte off the bat sure helps. 

 

Cincinnati Bengals | Snap grade: C+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.11Jonah WilliamsOT2717.75.51Jake Matthews
2.52Drew SampleTE814151.69.02Jack Doyle
3.72Germaine PrattLB1014432.68.51Danny Trevathan
4.104Ryan FinleyQB816257.27.84Connor Cook
4.125Renell WrenDL1416177.29.74Akiem Hicks
4.136Michael JordanOC410668.87.97Alex Boone
6.182Trayveon WilliamsRB1014215.14.69Nyheim Hines
6.210Deshaun DavisLB343564.32.65Hayes Pullard
6.211Rodney AndersonRB15163n/an/aStevan Ridley
7.223Jordan BrownCB2318172.08.13Bennett Jackson

 

Getting Jonah at 1.11 was clutch. I thought the Bengals had a regrettable Day 2, but they roared back with a strong Day 3.

 

Cleveland Browns | Snap grade: A-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
2.46Greedy WilliamsCB11468.68.5Dominique R-C
3.80Sione TakitakiLB89973.49.08Todd Davis
4.119Sheldrick RedwineS911089.48.61Jimmie Ward
5.155Mack WilsonLB45830.55.25C.J. Mosley
5.170Austin SeibertK2295n/an/aCairo Santos
6.198Drew ForbesOG2629069.89.79Kyle Kosier
7.221Donnie LewisCB44439n/an/aCharles Gaines

 

Despite not having a first-round pick, the Browns emerged with a first-rounder — free-falling CB Greedy Williams. Assuming he’s healthy (rumors suggest the fall had to do with an undisclosed health concern), that’s highway robbery. The Browns also got a linebacker infusion with Tatitaki, a kid I'm bullish on, and Mack Wilson, whom the NFL gifted Cleveland a no-risk flier on in Round 5.

Mack shouldn't have declared -- I think he could have been a first-rounder next year if he'd answered questions the NFL had about him -- and is rawer than the linebackers Bama typically sends to the pros. Mack has been described as boom-or-bust. That's not exactly right. He's average-or-savage. He's an awesome special teams player whose floor as a linebacker is good backup/replaceable starter. What is that profile worth on a dirt-cheap four-year contract? A fifth-round pick or so, right? So you've now removed the risk from his profile and given Cleveland a coinflip chance of a boom for free. 

 

Denver Broncos | Snap grade: B

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.20Noah FantTE22598.49.89Jimmy Graham
2.41Dalton RisnerOG23342.07.69Cody Whitehair
2.42Drew LockQB56875.69.36Blaine Gabbert
3.71Dre'Mont JonesDL73420.76.16Nick Fairley
5.156Justin HollinsEDGE1411774.29.69Lorenzo Carter
6.187Juwann WinfreeWR65UR39.37.18HM's Crabtree

 

I’ve been a Drew Lock’s-not-a-first-rounder truther for over a year, but, even though I wouldn’t have done it, I’m not going to bash taking him at 2.42. I thought the rest of the picks were nice, particularly stealing Dre’Mont Jones in Round 3.

 

Houston Texans | Snap grade: B

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.23Tytus HowardOT76228.86.34Terron Armstead
2.54Lonnie JohnsonCB86192.69.4Chris McCalister
2.55Max ScharpingOT546n/a8.83Ricky Wagner
3.86Kahale WarringTE48079.39.41Dallas Goedert
5.161Charles OmenihuDL97950.26.22Romeo Okwara
6.195Xavier CrawfordCB2116457.54.74Greg Stroman
7.220Cullen GillaspiaFBXUR54.38.4 

 

The Texans could have traded a nominal amount of draft capital to move up a few spots to take Andre Dillard, and instead overdrafted Tytus Howard when the Eagles beat them to the punch. That was a regrettable sequence. But after that, the Texans killed it pick after pick.

Houston took verified #myguys Scharping and Warring. In addition to the Lonnie Johnson selection, that was three straight picks right around where I had them slotted overall. I felt like we were sharing draft boards. I wish I could grade them higher than a B, but they'd have had an A+++ with Dillard and only would have had to sacrifice a few late-rounders to do it. You do that. You just do.

The Eagles acquired No. 22 (Dillard) from the Ravens for No. 25 (Hollywood Brown), a fourth-rounder, and a sixth-rounder. Houston would've beat that offer with No. 23, a fifth-rounder (the Omenihu pick) and a sixth-rounder (the Crawford pick). Let me ask you, reader: Would you rather have Tytus, Omenihu and Crawford or Andre 300 and a UDFA DL like Daniel Wise and a UDFA CB like Derrek Thomas?

 

Indianapolis Colts | Snap grade: D

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
2.34Rock Ya-SinCB74958.56.18Marlin Jackson
2.49Ben BanoguEDGE1612297.19.71Shilique Calhouhn
2.59Parris CampbellWR107699.39.77Big Curtis Samuel
3.89Bobby OkerekeLB1114664.88.40Jatavis Brown
4.109Khari WillisS1419027.66.4Jeremy Reaves
5.144Marvell Tell IIIS1012499.49.26Joshua Kalu
5.164EJ SpeedLBXUR55.59.2 
6.199Gerri GreenEDGE3031846.68.08Devon Kennard
7.240Jackson BartonOT2125331.98.32Emmett Cleary
7.246Javon PattersonOC822820.37.22Joe Looney

 

I assume #DraftTwitter will love this class, but I think the Colts, feeling themselves, got cute after the Rock Ya-Sin pick (and perhaps even with it). Banogu never put it together at TCU under one of the best defensive staffs in the nation, Parris Campbell can’t catch balls more than 10 yards downfield, and Indy may get very little out of their six Day 3 picks.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars | Snap grade: A-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.7Josh AllenEDGE12789.74Anthony Barr-plus
2.35Jawaan TaylorOT316n/an/aTrent Williams
3.69Josh OliverTE1017044.98.21Austin Hooper
3.98Quincy WilliamsSXURn/an/a 
5.140Ryquell ArmsteadRB1114824.07.77Jordan Howard
6.178Gardner MinshewQB1223150.75.96Chase Daniel
7.235Dontavius RussellDL323487.43.36Shamar Stephen

 

Jacksonville destroyed their first two picks, getting one guy I didn’t think had any chance of dropping to 1.7 in the first place and then a guy many thought would go at 1.7 in the second. Outside of the bizarre Quincy Williams pick, I liked what Jacksonville was doing.

 

Kansas City Chiefs | Snap grade: D+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
2.56Mecole HardmanWR3731159.38.31Travis Benjamin
2.63Juan ThornhillS45199.59.75Marcus Williams
3.84Khalen SaundersDL1110346.08.56Zach Kerr
6.201Rashad FentonCB4037915.14.5Greg Maybin
6.214Darwin ThompsonRB1416070.38.05Tarik Cohen
7.216Nick AllegrettiOC924838.07.56Mark Glowinski

 

Thornhill was a really strong value at 2.63, and I think Darwin Thompson is going to surprise, particularly now that he wound up in KC. He’s a great receiver and a freak athlete in the Tarik Cohen mold. But, man, the Hardman pick was rough, and Fenton feels like a wasted pick. There were multiple UDFA WRs I would have preferred to Hardman.

The Chiefs could have traded back an entire round and gotten Hakeem Butler (the first pick in the fourth round). The Chiefs would have gotten a minimum of a 2020 third-rounder for their troubles (for context, the Saints gave the Dolphins No. 62, No. 202, and a 2020 second-rounder for No. 48).

Or, heck, they could have stayed put and taken D.K. Metcalf. Reader, there are three boxes. I'd like you to pick a present to give to Pat Mahomes, our lord and savior. Box A: Hakeem Butler, a fifth-rounder, and a 2020 third-rounder. Box B: D.K. Metcalf. Box C: Mecole Hardman. You give that choice to a thousand men, the only one who opens Box C is Brett Veach.

 

Los Angeles Chargers | Snap grade: A

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.28Jerry TilleryDL31184.29.72DeForest Buckner
2.60Nasir AdderleyS13765.07.11Jessie Bates
3.91Trey PipkinsOT1311179.48.85TJ Clemmings
4.130Drue TranquillLB78688.89.87Fred Warner
5.166Easton StickQB611892.29.45Taysom Trubisky
6.200Emeke EgbuleLB1617844.27.28Christian Kirksey
7.242Cortez BroughtonDL2221449.98.13Javon Hargrave

 

Making one pick late in each round, the Chargers sat back patiently waiting as the NFL slid value pick after value pick into their slot. This was less a pillaging of talent and more of an audit on the NFL, and I loved it. Tillery is a triumphant pick at 1.28, for reasons you can read about in my defensive line deep dive (links to my position reports and top-500 board are on the bottom of page 2).

Adderley was my S1, Tranquill fits where the NFL is going at LB, and Easton Stick is a Taysom Hill-level sub-package offensive weapon option in the short-term who could turn into Phillip Rivers’ heir apparent in the long-term. I think this is what people miss about Stick: Even if he never becomes a starting-caliber quarterback, he's still at minimum a decent backup NFL quarterback who can do Taysom Hill things as a sub-package and special teams player.

So let me ask you another question, reader: Where does Taysom Hill go if you redraft the 2017 NFL Draft? What round? Okay, whatever you just answered, you need to bump it up a round to account for the possibility that Stick can develop enough as a passer to become a viable starter (he's objectively superior to Hill in this phase)

Remember: Stick's going to bring elite athleticism to the position (with a frame to take hits, unlike Lamar and Kyler), so he just needs to become, say, 85% of Mitch Trubisky as a thrower to provide 100% of the value that Trubisky does, due to the value of Stick's legs. He isn't seen as a steal of a fifth-rounder, but he is. Because his floor is Taysom Hill, and Taysom Hill would have been a fifth-rounder minimum in 2017, yes? 

 

Miami Dolphins | Snap grade: D-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.13Christian WilkinsDL52144.48.55Kawaan Short
3.78Michael DeiterOG69726.85.68Forrest Lamp
5.151Andrew Van GinkelLB3535786.69.25Dadi Nicholas
6.202Isaiah PrinceOT1210443.87.63Shon Coleman
7.233Chandler CoxHB844716.63.83Dimitri Flowers
7.234Myles GaskinRB2326931.05.99Bishop Sankey

 

I thought there were better options on the board than Wilkins, and the rest of the haul is forgettable.

 

New England Patriots | Snap grade: A-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.32N'Keal HarryWR22275.48.42Dez Bryant
2.45Joejuan WilliamsCB97468.28.08

Ahkello Witherspoon

3.77Chase WinovichEDGE84167.88.63Markus Golden
3.87Damien HarrisRB68345.56.43Frank Gore
3.101Yodny CajusteOT1082n/an/aJermon Bushrod
4.118Hjalte FroholdtOG48444.79.07Isaac Seumalo
4.133Jarrett StidhamQB1018737.75.49Matt Barkey
5.159Byron CowartDL313457.16.44Willie Henry
5.163Jake BaileyP2299n/an/aRyan Winslow
7.252Ken WebsterCB2520199.19.83EJ Gaines

 

And another one! Harry was an awesome pick, Winovich was a Round 3 steal, and I think both Cajuste and Froholdt will outplay their draft slots.

 

New York Jets | Snap grade: A

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.3Quinnen WilliamsDL1183.19.85Donald/McCoy
3.68Jachai PoliteEDGE10710.91.77Damontre Moore
3.92Chuma EdogaOT864n/a7.79Laremy Tunsil
4.121Trevon WescoHB122131.55.89Jonnu Smith
5.157Blake CashmanLB34490.99.51Jake Ryan
6.196Blessuan AustinCB2821825.56.57Travis Carey

 

Sensational. You get the best player in the class at 1.3, you get strong value on all three Day 2 picks, and then you get the biggest steal in the latter portion of the draft in Blake Cashman in Round 5. Assuming Cashman’s shoulders hold up, he’s going to surprise.

 

Oakland Raiders | Snap grade: F

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.4Clelin FerrellEDGE519n/an/aDerrick Morgan
1.24Josh JacobsRB25318.95.76Off-brand Kamara
1.27Johnathan AbramS88536.37.01Keanu Neal
2.40Trayvon MullenCB1210248.37.48Kevin Johnson
4.106Maxx CrosbyEDGE119188.79.64Jeremiah Attaochu
4.129Isaiah JohnsonCB1310794.99.74Rasul Douglas
4.137Foster MoreauTE712784.79.48Joel Dreesen
5.149Hunter RenfrowWR1813510.32.94Jeremy Kerley
7.230Quinton BellEDGE45493n/a9.88Jeff Holland

 

I actually loved what the Raiders did on Day 3, but I refuse to bump them up to a D- for the small-potatoes stuff. Thursday night, Mike Mayock’s first day in charge of the draft, was one of the most breathtaking squanderings of draft capital that we’ve even seen on Day 1 of the draft.

Mayock took a mid-first rounder at 1.4, a second-round passing-down back with 18th-percentile athleticism at 1.24*, and an athletically-limited one-trick-pony enforcer SS with 36th-percentile athleticism at 1.27 who I predict will be outperformed by more than one safety who went on Day 3.

*(laughably, this news was leaked months in advance, probably because Mayock had loose loops about his Jacobs affinity with his NFL.com friends, who helped stoke Jacobs' out-of-control buzz by mocking Jacobs in the top-five after the national title game — and yet no team bothered to hop Oakland for Jacobs, all the indication you need that Mayock and Jon Gruden were on an island with regards to Jacobs' value range).

These weren’t even Las Vegas-esque high-upside gambles. Where's the upside here? Can you envision Farrell becoming one of the class’ top-three players 20 years down the line? Can you envision Jacobs and Abram becoming top-25 players in this class? How? At their respective positions with their respective games in the moder NFL, each would have to become superstars to qualify.

Jacobs would have to become an every-down stud (something he's never been) and Abram would have to become at least "objectively good" in coverage (something he's never been), and both will have to get their without upper-tier athleticism. Those are two new cars whose value dropped by half as they were driven off the lot.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers | Snap grade: B-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.10Devin BushLB21296.99.33Shaq Thompson
3.66Diontae JohnsonWR2621013.14.22Jeremy Kerley
3.83Justin LayneCB64587.08.97Eric Rowe
4.122Benny Snell Jr.RB172199.73.51Leroy Hoard
5.141Zach GentryTE183738.42.54Bryce Williams
6.175Sutton SmithLB67238.75.6Joe Schobert
6.192Isaiah BuggsDL212111.81.93Tyson Alualu
6.207Ulysees Gilbert IIILB2931586.48.25Matt Milano
7.219Derwin GrayOT1817612.73.08DonoVan Smith

 

The Steelers made a nice move up to take Devin Bush, my second favorite linebacker in this class, but their later selections were hit-and-miss. Both Zach Gentry and Benny Snell are replacement level pieces at best, and taking Diontae Johnson over Hakeem Butler was front office malpractice. That said, I was gaga for the selection of NIU’s Sutton Smith in the fifth round. He’ll will outplay that slot. Guaranteed.

 

Tennessee Titans | Snap grade: A+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.19Jeffery SimmonsDL417n/an/aNdamukong Suh
2.51A.J. BrownWR43075.88.6

JuJu Smith-Schuster

3.82Nate DavisOG59623.86.17Ben Grubbs
4.116Amani HookerS24784.59.09Kenny Vaccaro
5.168D'Andre WalkerEDGE1293n/an/aDee Ford
6.188David LongLB151779.69.22Mark Barron

 

This is how you do it. Simmons was an inspired pick — he likely would have gone in the top-10 if not for the ACL tear — and Brown, Hooker and Walker were all mega-steals. There's like a 22% chance that A.J. Brown will end up as this class' best receiver when we look back in 20 years. And his floor is as a volume-reception Leonard Fournette-sized athletic big slot. A.J. Brown is worth this slot even if he never develops even 1% better. What he is right now will play in the NFL. And he's probably going to keep improving.

Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is NBC Sports Edge’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!