Arizona Cardinals: A-
Analysis: Whether there were, by Josh Rosen’s ever-changing calculations, nine mistakes or three mistakes made by the teams drafting ahead of Arizona, the Cardinals made an excellent move to trade up in the opening round to get Rosen at No. 10. He’s the most polished QB in this draft class and could take over as the starter relatively quickly if Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon aren’t the answers. Getting WR Christian Kirk midway through the second round was a good value. Third-round C Mason Cole could help.
Washington Redskins: B+
Analysis: The Redskins did well. They seemed intent on bolstering the middle of their defensive line in the first round and took Da’Ron Payne just after fellow DT Vita Vea went to Tampa. Using a second-rounder on RB Derrius Guice was justified despite the speculation about off-field issues; there has been little to no substantiation of that to this point. Getting T Geron Christian in the third round was very good value.
Green Bay Packers: B+
Analysis: The Packers improved their secondary significantly by getting CBs Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the first two rounds. Emerging with the Saints’ first-round pick next year was a major bonus. The only issue is whether more should have been done in the early rounds to help the offense around QB Aaron Rodgers.
Chicago Bears: B
Analysis: Chicago fortified its defensive front seven with a solid first-round selection in LB Roquan Smith, a very good and versatile defender, and helped its offensive line with second-rounder James Daniels, who could play guard or center.
Carolina Panthers: B
Analysis: It’s interesting that the Panthers made D.J. Moore, not Calvin Ridley, the first WR taken in the draft at No. 24 overall. But that’s defensible, given that some analysts had Moore even with Ridley or slightly ahead of him, and it addressed a major need for the Carolina offense. Focusing on the secondary in the second and third rounds made sense, particularly with second-round CB Donte Jackson.
Atlanta Falcons: B
Analysis: Getting WR Calvin Ridley at No. 26 overall falls into the better-lucky-than-good category. He could be very productive as a receiving complement to fellow Alabama alum Julio Jones. The rest of the Falcons’ draft wasn’t all that exciting but they did address some areas of need on defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B-
Analysis: The Bucs’ approach was sound, trading down in the first round before taking DT Vita Vea and then focusing on the secondary in Round 2 with CBs M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis. Even so, some would have liked to have seen S Derwin James, a potential difference-making playmaker in the secondary, taken after the first-round trade-down. Second-round RB Ronald Jones should help the offense after the release of Doug Martin.
Minnesota Vikings: C
Analysis: The Vikings addressed needs with first-round CB Mike Hughes and second-round T Brian O’Neill. But after spending all that money on QB Kirk Cousins in free agency, perhaps Minnesota should have given Cousins another playmaker or two on offense.
San Francisco 49ers: C
Analysis: The draft’s ninth overall choice might have been a bit high for T Mike McGlinchey, but the 49ers clearly were interested in protecting the big investment they made earlier in the offseason by re-signing QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Second-round WR Dante Pettis could develop into a reliable complementary receiver.
Philadelphia Eagles: C-
Analysis: The Eagles traded out of the first round but still were able to get TE Dallas Goedert in the second round. He’ll fit in nicely. The Eagles were short on early-round picks, in part because of the Carson Wentz trade two years ago. They have a franchise QB and a Super Bowl trophy to console them.
Dallas Cowboys: C-
Analysis: The Cowboys had their choice of any wide receiver in the draft at No. 19 overall. But, even after just releasing Dez Bryant, they passed over Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore to go with LB Leighton Vander Esch. He should help the defense but not getting a wideout until the third round could end up being something the Cowboys regret. If Jason Witten indeed retires, an early-round TE also might have been a good idea, although Dalton Schultz came in Round 4. The Cowboys’ best value pick might have been getting G-T Connor Williams in the second round.
Detroit Lions: C-
Analysis: The Lions made a far-from-glamorous first-round pick by taking C Frank Ragnow but he should help. Getting DE Da’Shawn Hand in Round 4 was excellent value. It’s questionable whether the Lions’ trade up to get RB Kerryon Johnson in the second round was justified.
Los Angeles Rams: C-
Analysis: The Rams made their biggest moves earlier this offseason with big-name veterans, including the trade of their first-round pick for WR Brandin Cooks. They didn’t have a choice until the third round and focused initially on adding depth to the offensive line. Such an approach isn’t sustainable for long but the Rams clearly are in win-now mode and little will be expected immediately of this draft class.
Seattle Seahawks: C-
Analysis: It’s fine if Seattle wanted RB Rashaad Penny, but the Seahawks probably didn’t need to use the No. 27 overall selection to get him. The defense is in serious transition and the Seahawks didn’t begin addressing that until the third round. Using a fifth-round pick on LB Shaquem Griffin not only is a feel-good story; it also could turn out to be a meaningful addition.
New Orleans Saints: D+
Analysis: The Saints’ draft class a year ago was terrific. This time around, things didn’t go as well. Their big trade-up in the first round for DE Marcus Davenport was puzzling. Davenport very well could become a productive pass rusher, although he must make a significant jump to the NFL from Texas-San Antonio. But to give up next year’s first-round pick as part of the trade package to move up 13 spots to get Davenport was curious, to say the least. The Saints seem to think they are adding a final piece or two to a championship team and they can afford to mortgage some of the future. They’d better be right. Davenport had better be very good and they’d better remain in Super Bowl contention.
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