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NFL Draft Grades

2020 NFL Draft Grades: NFC

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: April 27, 2020, 12:55 am ET

NFC South

 

Buccaneers (B+)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

13

OT Tristan Wirfs

A

8

45

S Antoine Winfield Jr.

B

49

76

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn

C

100+

161

WR Tyler Johnson

-

100+

194

DT Khalil Davis

-

100+

241

LB Chapelle Russell

-

100+

245

RB Raymond Calais

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 13 and 245

No. 14 and 117

B

 

To guarantee Tom Brady was going to be protected, the Bucs moved up one spot for Wirfs, my OT2. The Iowa alum has experience at both tackle spots and at guard, so he’ll assuredly have a starting spot immediately while the Bucs chase their one-year window for a Super Bowl… Winfield will help that young Bucs secondary that struggled covering tight ends and deep balls last season. The Minnesota product has high-end ball skills and instincts as a free safety. This was a solid pick… Vaughn certainly fills a need and will push Ronald Jones for the starting job, but he is a very replaceable-level prospect with 41st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.51 forty). Not many quality NFL starters played at Illinois or Vanderbilt either. My concerns, however, probably won’t matter in this stacked offense. 

 

 

Falcons (D)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

16

CB A.J. Terrell

C-

30

47

DL Marlon Davidson

B

47

78

IOL Matt Hennessy

B+

61

119

LB Mykal Walker

C

100+

134

S Jaylinn Hawkins

F

100+

228

P Sterling Hofrichter

-

100+

 

After discussing a move up the board, Atlanta opted to stay put and fill a position of need with Terrell, my CB4. The Falcons were in a tough spot with the top-two corners and defensive tackles off the board, but they should have explored a trade down instead of slightly reaching for a good, not great, prospect. Terrell has 67th percentile athleticism and allowed 8.9 yards per target last season… Davidson made 6.5 sacks while operating as an oversized edge rusher at Auburn, but he will likely kick inside in the NFL and work from the gut. His 34th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism limits his overall ceiling. He should be an average starter for the Falcons… Hennessy didn’t allow a sack last season and tested in the 71st percentile at the NFL Combine. He’ll need to get stronger to be a quality starter, but this was a solid third-round pick. He will make many rookie contract starts… Walker was highly productive at Fresno State (96 tackles) but his 43rd percentile athleticism (4.65 forty, 33-inch vertical) limits his upside. He’ll be a special teamer and forgettable depth option in the NFL… Hawkins was the 30th-ranked safety prospect on The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s board. I’m struggling to see the appeal here, especially because he’s just a 54th percentile athlete… To top things off, the Falcons used one of their six picks on a damn punter. 

 

 

Panthers (C+)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

7

DT Derrick Brown

B-

11

38

EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

A

19

64

S Jeremy Chinn

B+

50

113

CB Troy Pride

C+

100+

152

S Kenny Robinson

-

100+

184

DT Bravvion Roy

-

100+

221

CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 64

No. 69 and 148

C

 

First off: I had to ding the Panthers overall class for not drafting a single offensive player… Brown will be a strong player -- I think a future Pro Bowler -- but he profiles more as a stud run-stuffer than an elite pass rusher. In a league built around the pass, spending a top-10 pick on a defensive tackle is iffy to me. He was the safe pick, however… Gross-Matos was a first-round player that slipped into their laps. He fills a need, had quality production at Penn State, and has 68th percentile athleticism with 99th percentile length. He will pair nicely with Brian Burns… Chinn was a savage at Southern Illinois. He flew all over the field on tape and unsurprisingly showed 99th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at the NFL Combine. He is a hybrid linebacker/safety like Isaiah Simmons. Chinn is the perfect developmental project for a rebuilding Panthers club… Pride will be capped by his size (5’11/193), but he has 4.40 wheels and can be an asset on special teams if he can’t win a starting corner job. 

 

 

Saints (A-)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

24

IOL Cesar Ruiz

A-

20

74

LB Zack Baun

B+

46

104

TE Adam Trautman

B+

78

240

QB Tommy Stevens

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 74 and 244

No. 88 and 2021 3rd

B

No. 105

No. 130, 169, 203, and 244

B

No. 240

2021 6th

B

 

New Orleans didn't have many needs, but the interior offensive line was one of them. Ruiz, 20, is my top interior offensive lineman in the class, and it’s not particularly close. He can start at center or guard and has the athleticism to be an asset in the run game on pulls and finding second-level defenders. He’ll be a starter immediately… Baun would’ve been even lower on my latest rankings to reflect his failed PED test, but it’s hard to complain with him at No. 74. He was a productive edge rusher at Wisconsin (11.5 sacks) and should be an asset on subpackages as a blitzing outside linebacker. His age (23) is a concern for his ceiling… Trautman posted a 96th percentile three cone at the Combine but lacks overall juice (4.80 forty). His run-blocking ability will get him rookie year snaps as Jared Cook’s backup.

 

 

NFC West

 

49ers (B-)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

14

DT Javon Kinlaw

B

18

25

WR Brandon Aiyuk

B-

33

153

OT Colton McKivitz

-

100+

190

TE Charlie Woerner

-

100+

217

WR Jauan Jennings

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 14 and 117

No. 13 and 245

A

No. 25

No. 31, 117, and 176

C

 

San Francisco found DT DeForest Buckner’s replacement immediately and was able to pick up a better mid-round by moving down one spot with the Bucs. Kinlaw has high-end burst but needs development with his pass-rushing moves to finish off those near sacks. With the 49ers’ elite pass rush, Kinlaw should develop quickly, although his profile is one of a boom-bust player… The Niners took that extra pick in the Kinlaw trade to move up from No. 31 to 25 for Aiyuk, the late-blooming yards after catch star from Arizona State. He’s a straight-line player who excelled on screens and go routes in college, something that perfectly lines up with coach Kyle Shanahan’s quick-hitting offense. He should be third in targets behind Deebo Samuel and George Kittle as a rookie. 

 

 

Cardinals (B+)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

8

LB Isaiah Simmons

A-

6

72

OT Josh Jones

A-

41

114

DT Leki Fotu

C+

100+

131

DT Rashard Lawrence

C+

100+

202

LB Evan Weaver

-

100+

222

RB Eno Benjamin

-

94

 

Arizona could have addressed right tackle with an elite prospect -- protecting Kyler Murray would have been my priority -- but they instead opted to plug up the middle of the field on defense with the versatile Simmons. He’ll play outside linebacker and box safety with his main goal being to shut down tight ends (George Kittle, Tyler Higbee) and dual-threat quarterbacks (Russell Wilson). We can kiss the “Arizona Tight End Flow Chart” goodbye with this selection… Jones fell further than expected, which made the decision to take Simmons over an offensive tackle in the first round a good one if we use the benefit of hindsight. Jones is very experienced (four-year starter) and has 60th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism but is already 23 years old. He will either play left guard or right tackle as a rookie… Fotu is an oversized nose tackle with limited college production (4.0 sacks in two seasons) but can plug up rushing lanes… Lawrence is in the same boat. He only had 4.0 sacks last season at LSU and is a 31st percentile athlete. He’ll be a rotational piece who will be better against the run than the pass.  

 

 

Rams (D)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

52

RB Cam Akers

C+

56

57

WR Van Jefferson

D

100+

84

EDGE Terrell Lewis

A-

45

104

S Terrell Burgess

B+

68

136

TE Brycen Hopkins

B-

99

199

S Jordan Fuller

-

100+

234

LB Clay Johnston

-

100+

248

K Sam Sloman

-

100+

250

OG Tremayne Anchrum

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 136, 248, and 250

No. 126

B

 

The Rams offensive line is a disaster, especially considering their quarterback is awful against pressure. Not selecting a single offensive lineman early was brutal for the outlook of this roster and Jared Goff’s development… Akers is going to be a good pro, but he just can’t find a good offensive line to run behind. Florida State’s offense held Akers back from even more rushing production (1,184 yards, 14 TDs). Akers will likely end any hope for us Darrell Henderson truthers. Sad… I understand Jefferson has good tape and is a nuanced route runner, but he never surpassed 700 yards in college and will be a 23-year-old rookie. If the Rams use 12-personnel, then Jefferson won’t see the field much either with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp obviously starting… Lewis has second-round talent and athleticism, but his knee injuries and lack of plan during his pass rush are very concerning. Still, finding a potential edge starter with the No. 84 pick is a worthwhile gamble… Burgess played all over the Utah defense and only allowed 4.75 yards per target in coverage. His shaky speed (4.46 forty) and size (5’10/202) limit his upside, but he could be a starter throughout his rookie contract… Hopkins was a very productive tight end at Purdue (61-830-7) and has playable wheels (4.66 forty) but he’s already 23 years old and doesn’t have a straight-line path to playing time given the depth chart. 

 

 

Seahawks (F)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

27

LB Jordyn Brooks

F

64

48

EDGE Darrell Taylor

F

100+

69

OG Damien Lewis

C

86

133

TE Colby Parkinson

B

73

144

RB DeeJay Dallas

D

100+

148

EDGE Alton Robinson

B-

100+

214

WR Freddie Swain

-

100+

251

WR Stephen Sullivan

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 48

No. 59 and 101

D

No. 69 and 148

No. 64

B

No. 251

2021 6th

B

 

Seattle unsurprisingly overdrafted prospects early and focused on the run game while the rest of the league modernizes with efficient passing attacks… Brooks is a 78th athlete (4.54 forty) and uber-productive in college (108 tackles), but his iffy agility made him a liability in pass coverage. For a first-round linebacker, I’d want a plus pass defender, not a run-stuffer. Making matters worse, LSU LB Patrick Queen was still on the board… The Seahawks sent a horrible trade offer to move up for Taylor, who reportedly kicked a teammate in the face during a fight. On the field, Taylor was moderately productive (8.5 sacks) but is already 23 years old and didn’t participate in the pre-draft process due to injury. That’s a very sketchy use of a mid-second round pick… Lewis is a complete mauler in the run game and fits the Seahawks’ culture, but he’s an average athlete and allowed four sacks last season at LSU. He’s much better run-blocking… Parkinson is an underrated pass-catching tight end (6-foot-7 and productive at Stanford), but the Seahawks have one million tight ends on the roster already. With that said, I’d burn late-round dynasty picks on Parkinson if I was in need of a tight end sleeper. He could be a starter in a couple of seasons… Dallas ran the forty in 4.58 seconds and has never handled 115 carries. He’s a forgettable running back prospect. He’s insurance to Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny… Robinson is a 65th percentile athlete and fills a position of need with Jadeveon Clowney still on the market. 

 

The AFC grades can be found here.