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Draft Decisions

Thor's NFL Draft Snap Grades

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

Arizona Cardinals | Snap grade: A-

PickNamePositionRkSPQRASComp
1.1Kyler MurrayQB220n/an/aBoom/bust Vick
2.33Byron MurphyCB22446.16.44Brent Grimes
2.62Andy IsabellaWR76050.67.03

Marquise Goodwin

3.65Zach AllenDL85554.25.17Brett Keisel
4.103Hakeem ButlerWR11580.79.48Plaxico Burress
5.139Deionte ThompsonS775n/an/aTashaun Gipson
6.174KeeSean JohnsonWR2318526.83.2Cecil Shorts
6.179Lamont GaillardOC51298.74.84Rodney Hudson
7.248Joshua MilesOG1215985.05.43Greg Senat
7.249Michael DogbeDL1818959.49.03Lawrence Thomas
7.254Caleb WilsonTE1120929.35.7Jacob Tamme

 

The Cardinals crushed every pick from Byron Murphy through to Mr. Irrelevant Caleb Wilson. A monster Day 3 effort began by absolutely stealing Hakeem Butler and Deionte Thompson. For the Day 2-3 treasure chest, I give Arizona an A++. Butler is my favorite pick in the entire draft. Monster value. Butler's absolute floor is as a one-tricky pony downfield coinflip guy who can get higher than any defensive back in NFL history.

He's got the athleticism to do it, he's got all-time dimensions and length, and he won big that way in college, where he was the nation's best downfield receiver by all stats last year despite playing in an otherwise poor passing offense (noodle-armed true freshman QB, terrible OL, no other WR, vanilla offense) and despite the high drop rate that folks fixated on in order to disconnect critical faculty and move on to the next prospect's tape. I explain the context behind Hakeem's late-breakout age and why you can't judge him like some other late-bloomers in my WR deep-dive column if you're interested in those circumstances as well. 

If Butler fixes the drop rate thing -- which I believe he can -- watch out. If he doesn't, he's still worth the slot he went in. He still has value as exactly what he is. The NFL gave the Cardinals a risk-free opportunity at Butler's Plaxico Burress ceiling.

But for a team with a Swiss-cheese roster and multiple needs, I disagreed with the decision to draft QB Kyler Murray at 1.1 and sell low on QB Josh Rosen to facilitate it. I also disagreed with the decision not to address the offensive line until Round 6. 

Kyler Murray's placement wasn't top-notch at Oklahoma, and it's not going to improve in the NFL if he's running around like a pinted-size Tecmo Bo back there because the Cardinals couldn't be bothered to take an offensive linemen until they'd first taken three receivers and 178 players had already been selected. This was a draft like I recruit in NCAA 2014. That's a compliment and an indictment all rolled into one. Kyler Murray had better pan out.

 

Atlanta Falcons | Snap grade: D+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.14Chris LindstromOG12696.69.83Joel Bitonio
1.31Kaleb McGaryOT64884.29.83Cam Robinson
4.111Kendall SheffieldCB19147n/a9.74Corn Elder
4.135John CominskyDL1919281.99.42Margus Hunt
5.152Qadree OllisonRB2935211.34.51James Conner
5.172Jordan MillerCB2720822.45.21Ken Crawley
6.203Marcus GreenWRXUR53.57.3 

 

I’m a fan of Lindstrom and McGary, and good for the Falcons for moving aggressively to fortify the OL, but I have minor quibbles with the value range on each. The rest of the class is an odd assortment of more extreme overdrafts, from boom-or-bust SPARQ stars (Sheffield, Cominsky) to low-probability moving-in-quicksand guys (last three picks).

 

Carolina Panthers | Snap grade: C

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.16Brian BurnsEDGE31094.19.9Leonard Floyd
2.37Greg LittleOT98136.33.63Greg Robinsom
3.100Will GrierQB45757.87.22Case Keenum
4.115Christian MillerEDGE17125n/a6.84Samson Ebukam
5.154Jordan ScarlettRB303753.54.75Chris Ivory
6.212Dennis DaleyOT1918315.53.95Jordan Mills
7.237Terry GodwinWR4237028.75.3Lavelle Hawkins

 

Burns was an awesome pick and a value bonanza. The Packers picked Rashan Gary ahead of this guy! Burns is gonna be a sick pass rusher, guarenteed. We know he can do one thing (and that one thing only). But that's one more thing than Rashan Gary can do right now, and Gary will never do one thing as good as Brian Burns can rush the passer. I loved the Grier pick at 4.100.

The teams with QB needs had either filled their quota or were sleeping on the wheel with Grier's eval, so the Panthers figured "screw it." Grier's floor is Case Keenum. Easy value approximation stick: Where does Keenum go in the re-draft of his class? He goes above 100. Choosing Greg Little over Cody Ford will come back to haunt, and I thought Scarlett and Godwin were throwaway picks. 

 

Chicago Bears | Snap grade: C

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
3.73David MontgomeryRB14036.45.24Kareem Hunt
4.126Riley RidleyWR2217215.44.58James Jones
6.205Duke ShelleyCBXUR7.13.18 
7.222Kerrith Whyte Jr.RB3340283.58.6Jordan Todman
7.238Stephen DenmarkCB2418698.79.36Brian Allen

 

I absolutely loved the David Montgomery pick in Round 3 — I think he’s the best back in the class — and I thought Denmark and Whyte were worthwhile lottery tickets at 7.222 and 7.238, respectively. But I can't rate the class higher than average because they took a value bath on 40% of their picks in a five-man class by going off grid on the pint-sized, unathletic Shelley and chasing Riley Ridley's mythical ceiling.

Riley Ridley's a 6-foot-1, 199-pounder with 15th-percentile athleticism who only once caught more than five balls in a game in college, only exceeded 80 receiving yards in a game three times, and produced 1,015 receiving yards in 28 games over three seasons, or 36.25 per game. Ridley had seven games with 57 or more receiving yards. Three of the seven came over the first four games he played as a true freshman in 2016.

He only topped 50 yards in a game once as a sophomore, and that was the time he exceeded five catches in a game, with six. It happened to come in the 2017 title game against Alabama.

His genetic association with the opponent's WR1 that game, Calvin, plus the insane luck of having the best performance of his 28-game career on the big stage while upstaging his Round 1 NFL WR brother in front of the nation, flattered his eval throughout with circumstantial bias. The other 27 games... weren't like that.

 

Dallas Cowboys | Snap grade: F

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
2.58Trysten HillDL109281.78.99Brandon Dunn
3.90Connor McGovernOC6151n/a9.76Roger Saffold
4.128Tony PollardRB2527272.27.24Theo Riddick
5.158Michael JacksonCB1512090.78.82Siran Neal
5.165Joe JacksonEDGE181312.32.51Za'Darius Smith
6.213Donovan WilsonS29428n/a6.97Corey Moore
7.218Mike WeberRB2427130.77.08Tashard Choice
7.241Jalen JelksED252309.04.85Erik Walden

 

I didn’t get it. And I like Trysten Hill more than most! But that pick started an over-draft party that Dallas was unable to turn the music down on (with the exception of the Round 5 Miami kids).

 

Detroit Lions | Snap grade: C+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.8T.J. HockensonTE1485.49.21Rob Gronkowski
2.43Jahlani TavaiLB5676.84.14Vontaze Burfict
3.81Will HarrisS1317983.19.64T.J. Ward
4.117Austin BryantEDGE21168n/an/aStephen Weatherly
5.146Amani OruwariyeCB1410954.98.53Pierre Desir
6.184Travis FulghamWR2823271.58.01

Mohamed Massoquoi

6.186Ty JohnsonRB2829861.58.63Jeremy Ross
7.224Isaac NautaTE173204.51.58Rany McMichael
7.229P.J. JohnsonDL434701.00.87Lowell Lotulei

 

I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying since January: Hockenson is the best TE prospect to enter the league since Vernon Davis, and if I was forced to bet my life on one player from this class making the Hall of Fame, it’d be him. Loved that pick. The rest of the class didn't do much for me, with the exception of getting Oruwariye at 5.146, a nice value. 

 

Green Bay Packers | Snap grade: C-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.12Rashan GaryEDGE63194.99.95

Robert Nkemdiche

1.21Darnell Savage Jr.S35086.58.35Antoine Bethea
2.44Elgton JenkinsOC35450.19.34Billy Price
3.75Jace SternbergerTE34222.05.25Greg Olsen-lite
5.150Kingsley KekeDL1718446.48Willie Henry
6.185Ka'dar HollmanCB4241973.79.23Dee Delaney
6.194Dexter WilliamsRB1315770.18.17Jamaal Williams
7.226Ty SummersLB2522988.29.71Nick DeLuca

 

Bizarre Day 1, as Green Bay over-drafted the heck out of Rashan Gary, who never developed at Michigan with an NFL coaching staff led by Jim Harbaugh, and then used a second-first rounder on Darnell Savage when guys like Amani Hooker, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Deionte Thompson were available on Day 3. Liked the rest of the haul, though. Sternberger is going to do real damage with Aaron Rogers. 

 

Los Angeles Rams | Snap grade: B+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
2.61Taylor RappS55631.95.65Mike Brown
3.70Darrell HendersonRB57766.97.74Tevin Coleman
3.79David LongCB43691.29.22Jaire Alexander
3.97Bobby EvansOT119045.27.36Daryl Williams
4.134Greg GainesDL1212140.26.29David Parry
5.169David EdwardsOT1716710.04.78Roderick Johnson
7.243Nick ScottS2837295.09.21Joshua Kalu
7.251Dakota AllenLB1919765.06.03Alex Anzalone

 

Strong, workmanlike draft. The Rams didn’t have a ton of draft capital but made their limited dollars stretch far by snapping up several value propositions. Les Snead and Sean McVay plucked criminally underrated CB David Long and Last Chance U star Dakota Allen, an undersized, rangy kid who gets after it in run defense.

The most fascinating pick of the class is Darrell Henderson, the only skill-position prospect the Rams selected. Are the Rams more concerned about the health of Todd Gurley than they're letting on? 

 

Minnesota Vikings | Snap grade: B+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.18Garrett BradburyOC11891.79.96Max Unger
2.50Irv Smith Jr.TE59821.74.82Trey Burton
3.102Alexander MattisonRB913763.46.88Mike Gillislie
4.114Dru SamiaOG36318.17.65James Hurst
5.162Cameron SmithLB1315577.58.35Blake Martinez
6.190Armon WattsDL13158n/a3.73Shamar Stephen
6.191Marcus EppsS-URUR78.48.5 
6.193Olisaemeka UdohOT1513360.68.16David Sharpe
7.217Kris BoydCB1713478.89.15Darqueze Dennard
7.239Dillon MitchellWR1610857.07.96Steve Breaston
7.247Olabisi JohnsonWR5043369.18.19Leonte Carroo
7.250Austin CuttingLSXURn/an/a 

 

Bradbury was a slam-dunk pick (I would have taken Dillard, but Bradbury is a perfect fit and was a fine value at 1.18). I also thought the Vikings absolutely pillaged on Day 3, consistently getting tremendous value all the way into Round 7. But I can’t go higher than a B+ because I thought the Purple had a disastrous Friday.

Irv Smith is a tweener at a position that wasn’t of pressing need. I liked Mattison more than most, but you can’t take him with the last pick of R3 over superior talents Hakeem Butler, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Anthony Nelson and Julian Love, all of whom were snapped up immediately when the draft re-opened on Saturday.

 

New Orleans Saints | Snap grade: B

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
2.48Erik McCoyOC24362.48.97Pat Elflein
4.105Chauncey Gardner-JohnsonS67366.17.86Nate Allen
6.177Saquan HamptonS1723569.29.09Morgan Burnett
7.231Alizé MackTE914360.88.56Jordan Akins
7.244Kaden EllissLB2019974.38.55Joe Walker

 

Not much to judge here, but I thought the Saints got really good value from the slots they were in.

 

New York Giants | Snap grade: D

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.6Daniel JonesQB33278.88.1Ryan Tannehill
1.17Dexter LawrenceDL627n/a9.87Linval Joseph
1.30Deandre BakerCB5389.54.58Tre'Davious White
3.95Oshane XiminesEDGE1511933.37.03Carl Lawson
4.108Julian LoveCB32860.87.06Ronde Barber
5.143Ryan ConnellyLB2321359.27.82Nick Vigil
5.171Darius SlaytonWR3932792.28.91Breshard Perriman
6.180Corey BallentineCB1612695.59.37Robert Alford
7.232George Asafo-AdjeiOT3538955.59.04Joseph Noteboom
7.245Chris SlaytonDL2525935.07.58Jaleel Johnson

 

Loved the Julian Love pick, didn't dig the rest of it. And this is coming from one of the guys who’s highest on Daniel Jones in the industry (No. 32 overall in my rankings). But taking Jones No. 6 is just reading your opponents incorrectly at the poker table. If he's your guy, fine. But you need to drop back 10 slots and pick up something real nice along the way, like a 2020 first-rounder. And if somebody snipes you on Jones in your new slot, who cares?

Daniel Jones isn't a unicorn prospect, he's a Tier 2 QB in a bad class. And the Giants already have a 2019 starter on the roster. Next year's QB class is way better, and in a hilarious twist after Gettleman passed on Sam Darnold for Saquon Barkley last year, the Giants are now hurtling toward another high draft pick in a 2020 draft that will be stacked with quarterbacks -- but they've now frozen themselves out of a chance at Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa.

And they did that because Gettleman wanted to show us media nerds that he could let his freak flag fly by impulse buying Jones over elite prospects like Josh Allen, TJ Hockenson, Ed Oliver and Jonah Williams. He showed us! Even Jones' most ardent supporters don't believe he has superstar ability. It's not about Jones, I think he's an NFL starter, that's why I graded him as a first-rounder. It's about the slot. You don't take a value bath up high like that.

 

Philadelphia Eagles | Snap grade: A-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.22Andre DillardOT1696.99.81Terron Armstead
2.53Miles SandersRB47072.99.5Cadillac Williams
2.57JJ Arcega-WhitesideWR128933.76.17Eric Decker
4.138Shareef MillerEDGE201669.76.19Andre Branch
5.167Clayton ThorsonQB11193n/an/aRicky Stanzi

 

Getting Andre Dillard at 1.22 was highway robbery. I was stunned he fell -- I think he was the offensive linemen in this class, and a top-6 overall talent. The Eagles continued to build up on offense in Day 2 with second-round RB Miles Sanders and WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. 

Arcega-Whiteside provides a sturdy red-zone target for Carson Wentz even if he never develops much beyond that, while Sanders is going to be a major player if he hits his ceiling. 

 

San Francisco 49ers | Snap grade: C

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.2Nick BosaEDGE2574.89.43Joey Bosa
2.36Deebo SamuelWR65276.37.92Christian Kirk
3.68Jalen HurdWR86575.98.21Terrelle Pryor
4.110Mitch WishnowskyP1252n/a10Richy Leone
5.148Dre GreenlawLB4241416.45

Kevin Pierre-Louis

6.176Kaden SmithTE1221211.13.86Durham Smythe
6.183Justin SkuleOT2427328.77.18Greg Senat
6.198Tim HarrisCB3226592.08.91Dontae Johnson

 

I preferred Josh Allen to Bosa, but I have no issues with that pick. I have more issues with the slight overdraft of Deebo Samuel (especially considering DK Metcalf went at the end of the round and Hakeem Butler went with the first pick in the fourth).

I loved the Jalen Hurd pick. Super underrated prospect whose floor is way higher than the draft media has implied because we know he'll at minimum be a usable big slot who can also grind out yards in short-yardage situations out of the I-formation. I thought the 49ers snoozed through Day 3.

 

Seattle Seahawks | Snap grade: D+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.29L.J. CollierEDGE131019.33.25Robert Geathers
2.47Marquise BlairS1113047.58.29Maddieu Williams
2.64D.K. MetcalfWR53599.09.66David Boston
3.88Cody BartonLB2421667.69.3Christian Sam
4.120Gary JenningsWR1913882.69.04Amara Darboh
4.124Phil HaynesOG711279.09.24Laken Tomlinson
4.132Ugochukwu AmadiS1622316.94.66Omar Bolden
5.142Ben Burr-KirvenLB910084.68.95Ben Heeney
6.204Travis HomerRB2126679.48.37Ameer Abdullah
6.209DeMarcus ChristmasDL273027.93.32Angelo Blackson
7.236John UrsuaWR5647945.16.47John Brown

 

I laughed out loud when the LJ Collier pick was announced. I fully expected a defensive John Schneider to try to spin to the media that another team wanted to trade for Collier after the pick was made, as he did after the horrifying Rashaad Penny selection. Metcalf and Burr-Kirven were good values. 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Snap grade: C-

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.5Devin WhiteLB1893.39.33Myles Jack
2.39Sean BuntingCB108794.79.65Eli Apple
3.94Jamel DeanCB118897.69.93Kevin King
3.99Mike EdwardsS1217449.37.48Rashad Johnson
4.107Anthony NelsonEDGE95978.69.49Carl Nassib
5.145Matt GayK1249n/an/aChris Boswell
6.208Scott MillerWR4338258.67.75Braxton Berrios
7.215Terry Beckner Jr.DL262611.32.19Tanzel Smart

 

Devin White was a no-brainer, and Anthony Nelson was great value shopping. The rest of the class was meh for me.

 

Washington Redskins | Snap grade: A+

PickSelectionPositionRkSPQRASComp
1.15Dwayne HaskinsQB1912.83.49Better Jameis
1.26Montez SweatEDGE41397.19.9Danielle Hunter
3.76Terry McLaurinWR139487.89.58Nate Burleson
4.112Bryce LoveRB7113n/an/aDion Lewis
4.131Wes MartinGXUR52.67.82 
5.153Ross PierschbacherOC72072.14.93Matt Skura
5.173Cole HolcombLB3334097.89.64Nathan Gerry
6.206Kelvin HarmonWR117820.74.92Laquon Treadwell
7.227Jimmy MorelandCB1813647.76.18Danny Johnson
7.253Jordan BrailfordEDGE2422777.98.48Charles Hayes

 

It feels weird to love a Redskins class, but Washington crushed it this year. Haskins at 1.15 was such a coup, as was Sweat at 1.26. Also loved the dart-throw on Love, and scooping up possession WR Kelvin Harmon at a clearance price.

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!