First Round Draft Grades

Our coverage of the NFL Draft continues here on The Aftermath. The first round is in the books. The second round is under brown, and there are some really good players still on the board. (Myles Jack, Reggie Ragland, Sterling Shepard, Derrick Henry and Jarran Reed to name a few)

Let’s take a look at how each team did in the first round. I am looking at not just the player each team took, but how he fits into the team’s philosophy, how he projects in the team’s system and where they selected him.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Arizona Cardinals: Robert Nkemdichie, Defensive Tackle, Ole Miss
Grade: A-
This wasn’t exactly a need for the Cardinals but this team has been looking to improve the pass rush for the last few years. Adding Chandler Jones this offseason started the trend and Nkemdichie makes it even better. He has some off the field concerns, but I think Bruce Arians will handle that well.

Falcons logoAtlanta Falcons: Keanu Neal, Safety, Florida
Grade: C+
Atlanta certainly had a need here, getting a nickle safety who is physical enough to drop down into the box and provide run support. He was probably a bit of a reach at 17 though, but after Karl Joseph went 14 to the Raiders, the Falcons did not want to wait though which is why this pick does not score higher.

Ravens logoBaltimore Ravens: Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Grade: B+
Larmey Tunsil is probably the better player, but clearly his social media antics caused him to slide. Stanley will improve this offensive line, eventually at left tackle but probably beginning at right tackle. Stanley is a much better pass protector than run blocker, and Baltimore really needed the latter, but Stanley is still a good pick.

Bills logoBuffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson, Defensive End, Clemson
Grade: A-
Rex Ryan gets another defensive player and a Clemson guy in one pick. He will lessen the blow of Mario Williams leaving in free agency. Overall, Lawson should aid the pass rush right away and down the line become a great three-down lineman. Kyle Williams is coming off knee surgery at age 33 as well, making this pick even more of a need.

Panthers logoCarolina Panthers: Vernon Butler, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana Tech
Grade: B+
The Panthers did a good job not to panic and reach on a corner at this spot. Instead, they take one of the best players left on the board in Butler. However, this is already a very talented defensive line, so it will probably be a while before we see him get significant playing time.

Bears logoChicago Bears: Leonard Floyd, Outside Linebacker, Georgia
Grade: B+
The Bears needed to improve their pass rush and they accomplished that by taking Floyd. He has a bit of a ways to go before he is a complete linebacker, but he should help a rebuilding defense from day one. Bonus point to them for sneaking ahead of the Giants to snag him too.

Bengals LogoCincinnati Bengals: William Jackson III, Cornerback, Houston
Grade: A-
This was a great selection for Cincy. They have spent a lot of first round selections on corners but I think Jackson is a better fit. He has great speed that makes him a natural fit at nickle corner as a rookie and he can grow into the defense as he develops.

Browns logoCleveland: Corey Coleman, Wide Receiver, Baylor
Grade: A
Cleveland nailed this one. Coleman is probably the receiver in this draft with the highest ceiling. The Browns are not going to be a contender this year so grabbing a receiver with high upside makes sense. On top of that, they raked in a bunch of early round picks over the next three drafts. That’s a good way to start rebuilding.

Cowboys logoDallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliot, Running Back, Ohio State
Grade: A
The likelihood is Dallas might have been able to trade down a few spots and still take Elliot. However, Elliot is a slam dunk pick for Dallas. NFL.com compared him to Edgerrin James. I think he is like LeVeon Bell. This kid is going to be really good in the NFL.

Denver_BroncosDenver Broncos: Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis
Grade: D
The Broncos needed a quarterback in the worst way after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler spurned them for Houston, but this was not the one to take. Lynch is going to need a few years of sitting on the bench before he can really contribute, but the Broncos have a roster built to win now. That pairing doesn’t seem to make much sense.

Lions LogoDetroit Lions: Taylor Decker, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
Grade: B+
Many thought the Lions would go receiver with this pick but the move to take Decker is a smart one. Riley Rieff’s contract expires after this season and the Lions need to give Matt Stafford more time in pocket. He should also improve a struggling Detroit running game.

Packers logoGreen Bay Packers: Kenny Clark, Defensive Tackle, UCLA
Grade: C-
The Packers are usually one of the best team’s on draft day, so maybe I just don’t understand the genius of this pick, but with Jarran Reed, A’Shawn Robinson and Vernon Butler still on the board, taking Clark is confusing. I also still think this should have been Reggie Ragland, so Green Bay could finally move Clay Matthews back outside.

Texans logoHouston Texans: Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Grade: F
Yeah, I really don’t like this pick. Fuller is a straight line speed guy who struggles to run routes. He has small hands and a small frame. He is a deep threat, but not a first round talent. Also, why the heck did you give up a sixth round pick to move up one spot to take him? Yeah, I just really don’t like how this went down.

Colts logoIndianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly, Center, Alabama
Grade: A-
I really thought the Colts could have traded down and still grabbed Kelly, but he is a great player and it definitely fills a need. Andrew Luck has to be very happy about this selection.

Jaguars logoJacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, Cornerback, Florida State
Grade: A
Jacksonville was patient and ended up landing probably the best prospect in the draft, much like the Jets did last year with Leonard Williams. Gus Bradley has to be thrilled with this pick, but now he is out of excuses. This defense needs to perform this year.

Chiefs LogoKansas City Chiefs: No Selections
Grade: B
Kansas City was smart to trade back and rack up a couple more selections. There weren’t any receivers going at that point. Now they sit early in the second round, and picked up a fourth and sixth.

Los Angeles Rams logoLos Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, Quarterback, California
Grade: C+
The Rams gave up a lot to take Goff, who doesn’t really fit the system Jeff Fisher runs. However, he should be the best quarterback on the Rams’ roster by the end of 2016. He might take a little while to get going, but he should be a solid player.

Dolphins logoMiami Dolphins: Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss
Grade: A+
The Dolphins ended up with the likely steal of the first round. Tunsil is a future stud and while Miami might not be the best environment given his off the field antics, the Dolphins’ offensive line is set with him and Juwan James for the next several years.

Vikings logoMinnesota Vikings: LaQuon Treadwell, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
Grade: A
This fills a need for Minnesota and it is the right guy for their system. Treadwell should be a good possession receiver to compliment the explosive potential of Stefon Diggs and Corradelle Patterson. Also a great run blocker for a team that has Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Teddy Bridgewater needs to deliver now.

Patriots LogoNew England Patriots: No Selections
Grade: C

No movement to speak of for the Patriots, they will get two picks at the end of round two. For right now, they are just average.

Saints logoNew Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle, Louisville
Grade: B+

This is what many assumed the Saints would do at 12. Passing on Lynch was a good move for them. They had the worst defense in the league last year so any defensive player was a smart move for them.

Giants LogoNew York Giants: Eli Apple, Cornerback, Ohio State
Grade: C-

I have to admit I was a little confused by this one. Hargreaves was still on the board and this wasn’t a major need for the Giants. Apple will be a good player, but this definitely a reach.

Jets logoNew York Jets: Darron Lee, Outside Linebacker, Ohio State
Grade: B+

The Jets didn’t take Paxton Lynch, which already makes this a good pick. Lee is far from perfect, but this Jets’ linebacking core has needed an infusion of athleticism for a long time. They get that with Lee.

Raiders logoOakland Raiders: Karl Joseph, Safety, West Virginia
Grade: B-
Oakland definitely jumped the gun by taking Joseph at 14, but they got their guy. He is a big play safety with a nose for the ball. The Raiders needed someone to bolster the secondary. Slight injury concern with him, but still a solid pick.

Eagles LogoPhiladelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, Quarterback, North Dakota State
Grade: B
Wentz might end up being the best quarterback in this draft when all is said and done. However, Philly created a major quarterback controversy with this pick and had to give up some high draft picks to make this selection. The future is set, as long as the locker room survives it.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logoPittsburgh Steelers: Artie Burns, Cornerback, Miami
Grade: C
Pittsburgh filled a need with this pick, but Artie Burns is a questionable first round selection. Obviously, the Steelers would have preferred if William Jackson had fallen just one more pick. Pittsburgh addressed a problem in the secondary, but not with the best player.

Chargers logoSan Diego Chargers: Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State
Grade: B
He isn’t a great system fit, as he would have done better in a 4-3 system, but Bosa is a great player for San Diego. He definitely helps a Chargers defense that ranked 27th against the run last year. He is a polished product ready to contribute from day one.

49ers LogoSan Francisco 49ers: Deforest Buckner, Defensive End, Baylor and Joshua Garnett, Guard, Stanford
Grade: B
Trading up into the first round for Garnett hurts this grade. Buckner was a great pick for the 49ers and should be a force from day one. Garnett is a good player and fills a need for San Francisco, but trading up to get him didn’t make a whole lot of sense considering that no one else was likely to take him.

Seahawks logoSeattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Grade: A-
Trading back and still getting offensive line help is a big win for Seattle. He is a tough, physical and will be able to contribute fairly early in his career. Picking up some extra picks in the process makes it even better.

Buccaneers logoTampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, Cornerback, Florida
Grade: A
Tampa needed this guy all along to help fix their secondary. They also added a fourth round pick for their swap with Chicago. He plugs in as a starter from day one.

Titans logoTennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle, Michigan State
Grade: B-
Conklin fills a major need here for Tennessee, who needs to better protect Marcus Mariota. However, even with the character concerns, Tunsil was still on the board and the Titans had to give up some picks to get up to take Conklin. Probably smart to move ahead of the Giants, but still a little bit early for him.

Washington made up logoWashington: Josh Docston, Wide Receiver, TCU
Grade: B
Not necessarily a need for Washington, but Docston should help make Kirk Cousins look even better. Bonus points for adding an extra draft pick by moving down one spot. Not sold on Doctson yet, but he shows some potential with that big body.

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NBA Draft Rapid Reactions

The draft is barely in the books but it is time to react to all that happened tonight. There were plenty of winners and losers and even more head scratching selections. The implications going forward are huge as well. Let’s get started.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Selections: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky, Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Towns will be a superstar and compares well to another Timberwolf in Kevin Garnett. He, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine give the Wolves an exciting young core to build around. The Jones selection is a little troubling. He is unproven and Minnesota has a number of young guards.

Los Angeles Lakers
Selections: DeAngelo Russell, PG, Ohio State, Larry Nantes Jr., PF, Wyoming, Anthony Brown, SF, Stanford
The Lakers made the right choice in selecting Russell. He and Julius Randall certainly give the Lakers some hope for the future. Nantes and Brown infuse some youth and some potential into a team that desperately needs it.

Philadelphia 76ers
Selections: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke, Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green, Arturuas Gudaitas, C, Lithuania, J.P. Tokoto, SG, UNC, Luka Mitrovic, PF, Serbia
Philly had the most picks in the draft and still came away with more. Okafor will be a great player and his presence makes either Joel Embiid or Nerlens Noel expendable. If one of the second rounders can develop then this will be a success for the 76ers rebuilding project.

New York Knicks
Selection: Kristaps Portzingis, PF, Latvia, Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame, Willy Hernangómez, C, Spain
Knicks fans aren’t happy with Portzingis being selected at four and it might have been a bit of a reach. However, if they are patient he could be a steal. I love that they landed Grant though as he should be a playmaker on a team that lacks one.

Orlando Magic
Selections: Mario Herzonja, SG, Croatia, Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington
All signs say that Herzonja is a lights out shooter and with his size he could be a small forward. That might lessen the blow of Tobias Harris potentially leaving. Harvey needs some time but the Magic have to be happy with their draft.

Sacramento Kings
Selection: Willie Caulie-Stein, C, Kentucky
When your star player demands you take a certain prospect, you usually do it. DeMarcus Cousins and Caulie-Stein will be quite the frontcourt duo in Sacramento. Shame he is the only rookie they got.

Denver Nuggets
Selections: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China, Nikola Radicevic, PG, Serbia
Apparently the Nuggets felt they needed a point guard. Mudiay is a huge question mark but oozes upside. Ty Lawson is likely on his way out though with Radicevic being selected as well.

Detroit Pistons
Selections: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona, Darrun Hillard, SG, Villanova
Johnson may very well be great someday but with Justise Winslow still on the board I don’t fully understand this one. Darrun Hillard offers some playmaking ability but nothing eye-popping. Decent hall for Detroit but could have been better.

Charlotte Hornets
Selection: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
Only one pick means that Charlotte failed to do more. Kaminsky is a talented player though and should contribute immediately. Won’t make Charlotte a contender overnight but definitely a step in the right direction.

Miami Heat
Selections: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke, Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee
Winslow at 10 might end up being a huge steal for the Heat. Richardson won’t contribute right away but he could be a key bench player in a year or two. Good draft for Miami. If only they could find a way to pay all their free agents now…

Indiana Pacers
Selections: Myles Turner, C, Texas, Joseph Young, SG, Oregon
The selection of Turner means that Roy Hibbert is moving. Plain and simple. The team has already begun shopping him. Young is a bit undersized for a shooting guard but he could still turn in a solid player to spell a starter down the line.

Utah Jazz
Selections: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky, Olivier Hanlan, PG, Boston College
Lyles is without a doubt a talented player. He is very raw all the way around but he has a lot of potential. Pairing him with Rudy Gobert will be a lot of fun to watch. Hanlan is a good pick too and could be a future starter for the Jazz.

Phoenix Suns
Selection: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky,
Only one pick but they made it count. Phoenix didn’t make themselves a contender in the draft but they took a valuable piece who should be a starter soon. His shooting alone with get him on the court this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Selections: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State, Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
Drafting a pro ready point guard to spell Russell Westbrook means the Thunder are realizing how small their championship window is at the moment. Selecting Johnson helps them prolong that potential window a little longer too.

Atlanta Hawks
Selections: Marcus Erikkson, SF, Spain, Dimitrios Agravanis, PF, Greece
Two second rounders don’t exactly scream championship builders. Neither does Tim Hardaway. No idea what the Hawks were thinking, especially when they had a talent like Kelly Oubre fall into their lap.

Boston Celtics
Selections: Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville, R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State, Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU, Marcus Thornton, SG, William & Mary
Rozier is good but a bit of a head scratcher with Jerian Grant still on the board. Mickey and Hunter are very solid picks though and should immediate contribute to this young Celtics team.

Milwaukee Bucks
Selection: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
He is a steal. Vaughn is a talented scorer coming from a good program. He will be a solid bench piece right away and help a woefully bad Bucks team on offense. Griveis Vasquez isn’t a bad add either, but it came at too steep a price.

Houston Rockets
Selections: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin, Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
Passing on Jerian Grant seems a little foolish but Dekker is a top talent. He showed he could do it all this year at Wisconsin. Harrell will be a good bench asset right away. If the Rockets find a point guard in free agency, they could very easily find themselves in the finals next year.

Washington Wizards
Selections: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas, Aaron White, PF, Iowa
Landing Oubre for jump change was ingenious. He is in a spot too where he can develop for a year as well coming off the bench. Aaron White provides some depth, about what you would expect from a second round pick.

Toronto Raptors
Selections: Delon Wright, PG, Utah, Norman Powell, SG, UCLA
Wright landed in a good spot and now the Raptors have a contingency plan when Louis Williams or Kyle Lowry becomes too expensive. Powell won’t see much action to start but could be in the mix next season.

Dallas Mavericks
Selections: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia, Satnam Singh, C, India
Anderson could one day be an All-Star if he reaches his full potential. Rick Carlisle will probably get it out of him too. Singh is another big body who can eventually rotate in and disrupt the paint when Tyson Chandler needs a breather.

Chicago Bulls
Selection: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas,
The frontcourt is looking very crowded at the moment and with it likely that either Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler will be gone next year getting a guard might have been good. However, Portis is a steal at 22 and will give the Bulls some depth, or a bargaining chip.

Portland Trailblazers
Selections: Pat Connaughton, SG, Notre Dame, Daniel Diez, SF, Spain
Add in Mason Plumlee as well. With LaMarcus Aldridge set to leave and Nicolaus Batum already gone this team is thinking youth movement. Portland certainly accomplished that.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Selections: Cedi Osman, SF, Macedonia, Rakeem Christmas, PF, Syracuse, Sir’Dominic Pointer, SF, St. John’s
Cleveland landed too high floor, low ceiling prospects in Christmas and Pointer as well as one for the future in Osman. This team is trying to win a title. They made some really good strides toward doing that.

Memphis Grizzlies
Selections: Jarell Martin, PF, LSU, Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky
Athleticism with lots of potential was the trend for Memphis. These two picks were definitely risky but they could pay off in the end. No short term help for the Griz though.

San Antonio Spurs
Selections: Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia, Cady Lalanne, PF, UMass
Of course the Spurs took an international player that most of us had never heard of. I can’t fault them though cause that usually works out pretty well for them. Lalanne could be a role player as well as the Spurs make one last push for a title with their current core.

New Orleans Pelicans
Selection: Branden Dawson, SF, Michigan State
About all you can hope for when you are picking on in the second round. Dawson has some upside and had flashes of brilliance this season for Michigan State. It is doubtful but he could end up like another former Michigan State second-rounder (Draymond Green).

Los Angeles Clippers
Selections: None
Not much to say other than they better have a plan. The Clippers really could have used some new blood so this really hurts.

Brooklyn Nets
Selections: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona, Chris McCollough, PF, Syracuse, Juan Vaulet, SF, Argentina
Giving up Plumlee is no fun but Hollis-Jefferson could be a star one day. McCollough has a ton of potential as well as a highly recruited prospect before he tore his ACL. Vaulet is a prospect for down the road. Good draft for Brooklyn.

Golden State Warriors
Selection: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
Looney fits Golden State’s idea of small ball as a stretch 4. With all of Looney’s potential as well, this could be a great pick for the defending champs when we look back in about three years.