Monthly Archives: May 2016

2016 NFL Draft Grades: NFC East

It was yet another wild and crazy season in the always unpredictable NFC East. After a huge playoff run in 2014, the Dallas Cowboys entered the season as the division favorites and failed to repeat due to Tony Romo going down with an injury. Even then, the Cowboys were in the midst of a media maelstrom having signed Greg Hardy, a convicted woman abuser.

But that wasn’t all. The Eagles plummeted after Chip Kelly was given full control of the roster. He lost the locker room and subsequently fired. The Giants lost their long-time head coach Tom Coughlin, who was virtually pushed out. As for the Redskins, ownership finally succumbed to reality and benched Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner who Washington sacrificed three years of first-round picks to move up and select, and they ended up the division winner.

With each team trying to push past the issues of 2015, each team put their attention on the draft to continue to distance themselves from the previous seasons media circuses. It didn’t take long either, as the Eagles shipped a boat load of picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up to second overall. Here is how the rest of the draft shook out.

Dallas Cowboys: A
1.) Ezekiel Elliott, RB Ohio St.
2.) Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame
3.) Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
4.) Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
4.) Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi St.
6.) Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue
6.) Kavon Frazier, S, Central Michigan
6.) Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan
6.) Rico Gathers, TE, Baylor

The Cowboys have done great each year with Stephen Jones, taking over as the loudest voice in the room. The Cowboys stuck to their board and got a huge weapon in Elliott. The team got tremendous value in Smith, early in the Round 2. Smith, was a lock Top 5 pick before blowing out his knee. They must have faith in the medicals to make this selection and if Smith returns to full health — look out. Collins and Tapper, are perfect fits for the Cowboys Tampa-2 defense. Tapper could grow into a starter sooner than later. Prescott, finally gives Dallas a legitimate backup and potential heir apparent to Tony Romo.

Sleeper: Rico Gathers
This is a no risk, huge reward pick. Gathers, was a standout basketball at Baylor over the past three years and hasn’t played football since middle school. However, all you need to do is look at Antonio Gates. A basketball star at Kent State turned undrafted prospect, turned future NFL Hall-of-Famer. I’m not saying Gathers is going to go to the hall of fame, but he has the size and skill set to excel.

New York Giants: B
1.) Eli Apple, CB, Ohio St.
2.) Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
3.) Brandian Thompson, S, Boise St.
4.) B.J. Goodson, ILB, Clemson
5.) Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
6.) Jerrell Adams, TE, South Carolina

The Giants surprised many by selecting Apple over Florida Gator Vernon Hargreaves. There is star potential with good size and movement skills, but he is raw and is a bit overly physical with receivers which could lead to flags. Shepard is the perfect pick for Giants new head coach Bob McAdoo’s west coast offense. He is a sharp route runner and has vacuums for hands. Thompson, could develop into a quality center fielder for the G-Men and allows Landon Collins to play more in the box. Goodson and Perkins add depth extra bodies to positions under producing.

Sleeper: Jerrell Adams
The Giants always seem to pluck tight ends out of obscurity and turn them into quality starters. Adams could be the next. He isn’t the most elite blocker, but is an absolute matchup nightmare with his size-to-speed ratio and strong hands.

Philadelphia Eagles: C+
1.) Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St.
3.) Isaac Seumalo, OG, Oregon St.
5.) Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
5.) Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU
6.) Blake Countless, CB, Auburn
7.) Jalen Mills, S, LSU
7.) Alex McCalister, OLB, Florida
7.) Joe Walker, ILB, Oregon

The Eagles made a big leap up to get Wentz. While, the ability is evident as he lead a powerhouse school in the FCS division, the jump in competition wil have to be something to watch. Also, the Eagles muddied their quarterback position due to the selection, having already invested a lot of guaranteed money to veterans Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. Seumalo, is a raw talent with tremendous strength. Smallwood, averaged 116 yards a game last season and has good hands out of the backfield, but has some serious red-flags off the field. Vaitai, besides having an awesome name, has starter upside and tremendous size, but is very raw.

Sleeper: Jalen Mills
A versatile defensive back, Mills has the tools to succeed and excels in man coverage. He won’t mix it up in the running game, but could be a top-end nickleback. The only concerns are off-field issues and injuries.

Washington Redskins: B
1.) Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
2.) Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
3.) Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
5.) Matthew Ioannidis, DT, Temple
6.) Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
7.) Steven Daniels, ILB, Boston College
7.) Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia

The Redskins stuck to their board and made a smart selection in Doctson. Many regarded him as the top receiver in the draft and with, potentially, two starting receivers up for free agency next year, Doctson gives them leverage. The Cardinals revolutionized the inside linebacker position after moving safety Deone Bucannon to the position. Cravens, fits the new hybrid linebacker/safety mold and is a tremendous talent. He can do anything and do it at a high level. Ioannidis, gives Washington a bully in the trenches. He is a classic five-technique, he has a nonstop motor and can set the edge. Marshall, was the fastest player at the combine.

Sleeper: Kendall Fuller
Fuller, could have been a first-round selection had it not been for tearing his meniscus three games into his junior year. A three-year starter, Fuller has the size and coverage skills to be a top corner.

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2016 NFL Draft Grades: AFC West

The AFC West was the division that produced the 2015 Super Bowl Champions, the Denver Broncos. It was also the division that produced some of the more interesting storylines of the season, whether it be the Kansas City Chiefs and their incredible streak of 10 straight wins after starting the season 1-5 or the Oakland Raiders taking another step forward with dynamic young talent or the bizarre fall off by the San Diego Chargers.

It was a division that saw some major turnover as well. The revels of Super Bowl success were short lived, as a mass exodus from Denver saw six starters walk via free agency. San Diego brought back former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to right the ship. With the stage set for all teams in the division to build up and restock, the draft was of keen interest. Especially for a depleted Broncos.

Denver Broncos: B
1.) Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
2.) Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech
3.) Justin Simmons, S, Boston College
4.) Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
5.) Connor McGovern, OG, Missouri
6.) Andy Janovich, FB, Nebraska
6.) Will Parks, S, Arizona
7.) Riley Dixon, P, Syracuse

With Peyton Manning retiring and Brock Osweiler departing via free agency, the team had virtually no quarterback. With Mark Sanchez, only serving as a stopgap, the Broncos moved aggressively to jump up and acquire Lynch. He could start by midseason. Gotsis, is the same unheralded addition that Derek Wolf was back in 2012. Simmons, gives the Broncos a quality safety to develop behind Darian Stewart. The offensive line was a problem last season, especially within the interior. McGovern, lives in the gym and has some roadgrading qualities to him.

Sleeper: Devontae Booker
Many thought Booker would be selected in the second-round, but he slid to the fourth. Can you say value? Booker, had over 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns in just two years. He is the perfect fit for head coach Gary Kubiak’s zone offense.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-
2.) Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi St.
3.) KeiVarre Russell, CB, Notre Dame
4.) Parker Ehinger, OG, Cincinnati
4.) Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
4.) Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
5.) Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
5.) Tyreek Hill, WR, West Alabama
6.) D.J. White, CB, Georgia Tech
6.) Dadi Nicolas, OLB, Virginia Tech

The Chiefs lost their third-round pick due to tampering charges over their acquiring of Jeremy Maclin in 2015. The Chiefs did a great job of working the draft to reacquire the pick and then some. Moving down and still landing Jones is solid, but Jones leaves a lot to desired. Russell, Murray, and White give the Chiefs a trio of young talent to develop. Russell, could grow into a starter. Ehinger, could be a Day One starter. Nicolas, is small, but has the raw tools to possibly become a pass rushing threat.

Sleeper: Kevin Hogan
Hogan, has the most wins as a starting quarterback in Stanford History. Think about that. Hogan, ran a pro-style offense for the Cardinal and has the ability to be a playmaker. He has a quirky throwing motion, but give him time and he could be Alex Smith’s heir.

Oakland Raiders: B
1.) Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
2.) Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
3.) Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan St.
4.) Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St.
5.) DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech
6.) Cory James, OLB, Colorado St.
7.) Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU

The Radiers were 26th in pass defense and their best player in the secondary, Charles Woodson, retired, leaving the safety position virtually empty. Insert Joseph. He only played in four games as a senior before tearing his ACL, but he already had five interceptions. Joseph, is expected to be ready to play in 2016 and he is a force at a safety. Ward and Calhoun, give depth and a bookend to All-Pro Khalil Mack. Ward, is versatile enough to play tackle as well. The decision to trade up to select Cook was smart. You’re only as good as your backup quarterback.

Sleeper: Vadal Alexander
He tested poorly during the draft process, disappointing many, but the game tape speaks for itself. He is a brute and versatile mauler, who could develop into a quality backup if not a starter.

San Diego Chargers: C+
1.) Joey Bosa, OLB, Ohio St.
2.) Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
3.) Max Tuerk, C, USC
4.) Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio St.
5.) Jatavis Brown, ILB, Akron
6.) Drew Kaser, P, Texas A&M
6.) Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin
7.) Donavon Clark, OG, Michigan St.

The Chargers draft was a curious one. An argument could be made that they reached with their first two picks and ignored more pressing needs. Regardless, Bosa could turn into a Ryan Kerrigan clone. Henry, is the heir to Antonio Gates once he retires. The Bolts have been very underwhelming at center for the past few seasons. Tuerk, has tremendous ability and movement skills but is undersized. He needs to add weight, but could be a Day One starter. Perry and Brown fix a lack of depth at inside linebacker. Perry, has starter upside. Kaser, has a field flipping leg.

Sleeper: Derek Watt
Yes, a fullback. Hear me out. The Chargers running game was terrible in 2015 and first-round pick Melvin Gordon was underwhelming. What better way to help pump some life into it than pairing Gordon with his old lead blocker? Smart pick.

2016 NFL Draft Grades: AFC South

The AFC South in 2015 was an ugly division with a lot of bright spots. Many pundits wrote the entire division off by midseason, stating that whoever the division leader would be would have a sub .500 winning percentage. That turned out to be wrong as the Houston Texans rallied to a 9-7 record and even the Colts, who lost franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, fought their way to 8-8.

After surprising so many, close attention was paid to the division when the offseason began. High end free agents such as Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller joined the Texans. While the new hip team to root for, the Jacksonville Jaguars brought in prized free agent and recent Super Bowl Champ Malik Jackson.

Next step was the draft and well, each team brought in a very impressive haul. Here is how things shaped up:

Houston Texans: B+
1.) Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
2.) Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame
3.) Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio St.
4.) Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose St.
5.) K.J. Dillon, S, West Virginia
5.) D.J. Reader, DT, Clemson

The Texans made their draft strategy clear: get playmakers. Fuller, is an explosive receiver who will take the top off any defense. Miller, could very well develop into a top flight receiver. He only has one year of experience at the position, but has incredible potential. Dillon, can provide excellent coverage. His tendency to deliver a knock out hit versus wrapping up can be a liability. Martin and Reader, provide talent in the trenches. Martin, will be a ten year starter and Reader is a mountain of a man, who could develop into Vince Wilfork’s heir apparent.

Sleeper: Tyler Ervin
While he may not be the biggest back, he sure puts up big numbers. Ervin, can do it all and put on a show as a senior, racking up 1,601 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground to go with 45 receptions and two more scores. He’ll be a quality third-down back.

Indianapolis Colts: B+
1.) Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
2.) T.J. Green, S, Clemson
3.) Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
4.) Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas
4.) Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida
5.) Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota St.
7.) Trevor Bates, LB, Maine
7.) Austin Blythe, C, Iowa

The Colts brought in a haul that could grow into a very good class. Their biggest need was to protect Andrew Luck and they addressed it with their first two picks. with two of their first three picks. Kelly, was the best center in the class and filled a big need. Clark, brings versatility as he can play either left or right tackle. The addition of Haeg in the fifth-round provided a quality developmental pick with potential starter upside. Blythe, in Round 7, bring versatility and experience. Green, has potential, but is raw with only two years experience on defense after switching over from wide receiver.

Sleeper: Antonio Morrison
Morrison posted back-to-back 100 tackle campaigns his last two seasons in Gainesville. He made his way back from a torn ACL in just six months to post 103 tackles as a senior. Another year removed from surgery he could be even better.

Jacksonville Jaguars: A+
1.) Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida St.
2.) Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
3.) Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland
4.) Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
6.) Tyrone Holmes, OLB, Montana
6.) Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas
7.) Jonathan Woodward, DE, Central Arkansas

The Jaguars landed two Top 10 talents in the first two rounds. Potential knee surgery be damned, Jack falling to the second round is insane and the Jaguars struck gold. Ramsey, at fifth overall was a gift after the Dallas Cowboys past on him. He will most likely start Day One. Day, is a quality three-technique who can play the run or pass well. He lived behind the line as a senior posting 15.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. Allen, the only offensive pick, is a developmental prospect with a lot of tools to work with. He will be worth paying attention to.

Sleeper: Yannick Ngakoue
The ex-Terrapin may not be a household name, but he will be. A pass rushing specialist, Ngakoue posted 19.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. He could become even better in head coach Gus Bradley’s aggressive system.

Tennessee Titans: A-
1.) Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan St.
2.) Kevin Dodd, OLB, Clemson
2.) Austin Johnson, DT, Penn St.
2.) Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
3.) Kevin Byard, S, Middle Tennessee St.
5.) Tajae Sharpe, WR, UMass
5.) LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah
6.) Sebastian Tretola, OG, Arkansas
7.) Aaron Wallace, OLB, UCLA
7.) Kalan Reed, CB, Auburn

The Titans worked the draft masterfully, give a lot of credit to first time GM Jon Robinson. He hit on each of the first four picks. Trading back into the Top 10 for Conklin was a tremendous move. He instantly gives the team a bookend to former-first round pick Taylor Lewan. Following up that selection with Dodd, who slid out of the first-round, gives defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau a dynamic pass rushing talent to mold. Johnson is a massive nose tackle, who provides an instant boost in the middle. Byard, isn’t dynamic in any one sense but does everything right. All of their Day 3 picks are prospects with high ceilings who could develop into quality role players.

Sleeper: Tajae Sharpe
Not many player come out of Massachusetts, but Sharpe has all the tools. A big target (6’3″), Sharpe posted back-to-back 1,000 yard campaigns. He is a quality route runner with sharp hands. Sharpe, will be a valuable safety valve for Marcus Mariota.

2016 NFL Draft Grades: AFC North

The AFC North year in and year out is one of the most exciting divisions to watch in football. It’s mean, aggressive, throwback football with some of the best talent in the league. However, some of that talent is getting older and needed a youth injection and man did they get it, with every team making huge hauls over the weekend.

As usual, the AFC North sent two teams to the playoffs in shape of the Bengals and Steelers. They squared off in one of the most memorable playoff games in recent memory for all the wrong reasons. Baltimore, was savaged by the injury bug and posted a hugely disappointing 5-11 records.

The Browns posted their worst record of the past five years despite coming off a surprise 7-9 season and a roster filled with quality, young talent. That led to the firing of GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine.

This opened the gates to one of the most interesting storylines of the offseason. The Browns completely remade their front office with wunderkind Sashi Brown hired as the VP of Football Operations and teaming him with “moneyball” executive Paul DePodesta, who helped lead the charge of sabermetrics in player evaluation in baseball. From there, the Browns hired Hue Jackson as head coach.

Now for the draft grades…

Baltimore Ravens: A
1.) Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
2.) Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise St.
3.) Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
4.) Tavon Young, CB, Temple
4.) Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
4.) Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska
4.) Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
4.) Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech
5.) Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley St.
6.) Keenan Reynolds, RB, Navy
6.) Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia

The Ravens kicked off the draft by addressing their biggest needs in selecting Stanley. Incumbent starter Eugene Monroe isn’t getting any younger and had been under-performing before getting derailed by injuries. Stanley, is the future at left tackle. Baltimore needed to get younger on defense and made sure of it taking a player from each line of defense over the next three picks in Correa, Kaufusi, and Young. Kaufausi, could provide the most immediate impact. With an embarrassment of riches in the fourth-round, the Ravens continued to bolster the same positions (and weakest links). Skill players Dixon and Moore are worth keeping an eye on.

Sleeper: Keenan Reynolds
I’m not sure a Heisman Trophy candidate can be a sleeper, but Reynolds is. A dual-threat quarterback, Reynolds posted more rushing yards than passing in each of the past three years. Worth monitoring how his military commitment shakes out.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+
1.) William Jackson III, CB, Houston
2.) Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
3.) Nick Vigil, ILB, Utah St.
4.) Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
5.) Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona St.
6.) Cody Core, WR, Ole Miss
7.) Clayton Fejedelem, S, Illinois

For the insane amount of trades this division made on draft day, the Bengals made none and still walked away with a high end class. Jackson, kicked things off and is a great fit for a team who needed a young playmaker at the position. He could develop into a shutdown corner. Boyd, is another perfect fit. He reminds me so much of when Allen Robinson came out of Penn State and could have a very similar career. Vigil was a bit of a reach, but the position is thin in regards to depth. Billings fall was surprising, but could not have landed in a better place than Cincinnati. He has star potential if he continues to develop.

Sleeper: Christian Westerman
He is everything you want in a guard. He is quick, mean, and can anchor in pass protection. He needs to generate more power in the running game, but he has the strength and skill set to develop into a starter. Quality depth for now.

Cleveland Browns: A
1.) Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
2.) Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB, Oklahoma St.
3.) Carl Nassib, DE, Penn St.
3.) Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
3.) Cody Kessler, QB, USC
4.) Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin
4.) Ricardo Louis, WR, Auburn
4.) Derrick Kindred, S, TCU
4.) Seth Devalve, TE, Princeton
5.) Jordan Payton, WR, UCLA
5.) Spencer Drango, OG, Baylor
5.) Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado St.
5.) Trey Caldwell, CB, Louisiana-Monroe
7.) Scoobey Wright III, ILB, Arizona

Where do we even start with this loot. The Browns draft was going to be fun to watch unfold with their new “moneyball” front office and it lived to the hype. A lot of trades led to a lot of picks and talent. Cleveland spent three of their first six picks on pass rushers in Ogbah, Nassib, and Schobert. Schobert, could ultimately move inside and has starter upside. Coleman, beat cancer and is continuing to develop into a premier tackle. He is worth watching. Kessler, was a bit of a surprise, but he has tons of starter experience at and has already been thrust into the battle for starting quarterback. Wright, at the end of the draft is a steal. He plays a lot like former Miami Dolphins great Zach Thomas and for good reason, the only problem is injuries. If he stays healthy, look out.

Sleeper: Rashard Higgins
This is a perfect marriage. The Browns effectively have no wide receiving corps. Higgins could make an immediate impact coming from a pro-style offense. He posted back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons. If he develops properly, he could turn heads.

Pittsburgh Steelers: C+
1.) Artie Burns, CB, Miami
2.) Sean Davis, S, Maryland
3.) Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina St.
4.) Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
6.) Travis Feeney, ILB, Washington
7.) DeMarcus Ayers, WR, Houston
7.) Tyler Matakevich, ILB, Temple

The Steelers most pressing need for years now has been the defensive secondary and they went out and they addressed it head on. Burns, has tremendous size and potential, but he still has some growing to do. Flags could be an issue to start. Davis, is another big defender and versatile enough to play corner or safety. Hargrave, is one of the most disruptive linemen in the draft and comes from the same college as Steelers legend Donnie Shell. It will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh uses him more as a nose tackle or five-technique. Hawkins, adds needed depth and versatility to a thin tackle position. Feeney and Matakevich, do the same at linebacker.

Sleeper: DeMarcus Ayers
Ayers burst onto the scene this year, posting 98 receptions and 1,222 yards with six touchdowns. He is small, but has reliable hands and with Martavis Bryant suspended for the year others will have to step up. Ayers has a knack for making big plays.

2016 NFL Draft Grades: AFC East

The AFC East in 2015 was…well, the AFC East. The Patriots ran away with the division while others nipped at their heels. However, there were glimmers that there may be a David rising to take on the Goliath of the division.

The Jets made huge strides under first-year head coach Todd Bowles. Gang Green finished top ten in both total offense and total defense last year, setting the foundation for something potentially great to happen in the Meadowlands.

In Buffalo it was another Bills, with Rex Ryan behind the wheel (his first year with the club), finished .500 although it didn’t feel like that. Ryan, blustered his way through the season, as he always does, and it seemed to be a distraction for the team at times.

And lastly, the Dolphins. Perhaps the most ordinary team of the past five years, things could be finally looking up. They landed the hottest coaching prospect in Adam Gase, who will lead a team for the first time this year. Hopefully, he can turn them around this season.

Here are our draft grades for each team…

Buffalo Bills: B
1.) Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
2.) Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
3.) Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio St.
4.) Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio St.
5.) Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
6.) Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU
6.) Kevon Seymour, CB, USC

The Bills did strong in the draft. They addressed needs with top quality at whatever time they were picking. Lawson, fills in the gap left by Mario Williams. Ragland, helps beef up the run defense. Washington, can do a little bit of everything and has great movement for a man his size. The great thing here is that each candidate is versatile enough to handle 3-4 or 4-3 duties. Jones, in the fourth-round could be a steal. He has a cannon for an arm, but his sample of play is very small. He could develop into a quality starter. Listenbee, gives depth to a receiving corps that was depleted in the offseason. Same goes for Seymour.

Sleeper: Jonathan Williams
Williams, was coming of a 1,190 yard and 12 touchdown season entering 2015. Unfortunately, a foot injury cost him the entire season. If he can remain healthy, he could be a true starter. This was a very low risk, very high reward pick.

Miami Dolphins: B
1.) Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2.) Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
3.) Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
3.) Leontee Caroo, WR, Rutgers
6.) Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech
6.) Jordan Lucas, S, Penn St.
7.) Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
7.) Thomas Duarte, TE, UCLA

Tunsil, makes this draft class. It was a luxury pick after dropping down draft boards following the release of his bong/gas mask video. Tunsil, will most likely start on the right side with Ja’Wuan James moving to guard. The luxury pick forced the Dolphins to wait till Round 2 to address their biggest need, cornerback and they got a good one in Howard. Caroo, in Round 3 is a bit of head-scratcher, but he provides quality depth and size. Their aggressive nature on the first two days led to few picks on Day 3 with Doughty, the best amongst them.

Sleeper: Kenyan Drake
Some see him as a third-down back, some see him as a feature back candidate. I fall into the later group. There are injury concerns, but he could become a surprise feature back. Drake, will also provide a spark on kick returns.

New England Patriots: C
2.) Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama
3.) Joe Thuney, OG, North Carolina St.
3.) Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina St.
3.) Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska
4.) Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia
6.) Kamu Grugier-Hill, OLB, Eastern Illinois
6.) Elandon Roberts, ILB, Houston
6.) Ted Karras, OG, Illinois
7.) Devin Lucien, WR, UCLA

The Deflategate sanctions hindered the Patriots draft from the get-go. Jones, is still learning the finer points of the position, but should contribute early. The third-round surprised many. Thuney, is the versatile technician the Patriots covet, Brissett puts some heat on backup Jimmy Garoppolo, and Valentine is the massive nose tackle they need to fill Vince Wilfork’s shoes. All their maneuvering left the Patriots with six sixth-round picks at one time, they flipped three for a high fifth-round pick, and then flipped that for a fourth-rounder next year to replace another lost pick via Deflategate. Ultimately, a smooth move by Bill Belichick.

Sleeper: Malcolm Mitchell
He tore is ACL in 2013 and that hindered his progress, but the raw talent is there. He is a freak athletically, with good size and sharp route running. Playing in an offense with Tom Brady, could help him realize his great potential.

New York Jets: B+
1.) Darron Lee, ILB, Ohio St.
2.) Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn St.
3.) Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
4.) Juston Burris, CB, North Carolina St.
5.) Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
7.) Lac Edwards, P, Sam Houston St.
7.) Charone Peake, WR, Clemson

The Jets brought in a quality haul. Lee, will most likely shift to inside linebacker in the Jets 3-4 scheme resembling the move fellow ex-Buckeye Ryan Shazier did for the Steelers circa 2014. The second-round, continued the quarterback carousel in NYC. Working with coordinator Chan Gailey should help Hackenberg get back to the potential he showed as a freshman. Jenkins and Burris, provide a youth injection to two positions that need it. Shell, the nephew of Hall-of-Famer Art Shell, is a developmental pick with starter upside.

Sleeper: Charone Peake
Peake, in Round 7 could prove to be a mega steal. He tore is ACL in 2013 and then had to sit behind the likes of DeAndre Hoppkins, Sammy Watkins, and Martavis Bryant. But Peake proved his skills last season and is a big (6’2″) target.