2015 NFL Draft Grades: Jags, Dolphins, Ravens, Cardinals score highest
We'll have to wait at least three years to see how Pete Prisco did, but he did find several teams worthy of praise. And a few who aren't.
It's print-and-save time, which means it's time for my immediate draft grades.
Some of you will growl at the mere mention of knee-jerk grades, and they really are tough to do, but we do these because it's fun and it puts me smack-dab in the crosshairs. I usually go back in three years from each draft to re-grade it, which means this is something that I will need in 2018.
You need three years to truly grade a draft, but when the boss says grade it now, that's what I do.
I gave out four "A" grades. They went to Jacksonville, Miami, Baltimore and Arizona. There were no "Fs" given out, but there were a few below-average grades, which I am sure will lead to outrage from the fans of those teams.
Just remember as you read this: It's quick-twitch movement, which means in three years a lot of it will make me look foolish -- sort of like my grade for the 2012 Seattle Seahawks class has done.
Best Pick: I love the pick of running back David Johnson in the third round. He will compete right away to start and gives them a little more toughness in the backfield.
Questionable move: Taking Markus Golden in the second round. He plays hard and he's tough, but will he be a big-time edge rusher? I like him, but he might be more solid than special.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Shaquille Riddick, a defensive end from West Virginia, will move to a 3-4 rush player in their scheme. He has some explosiveness off the edge that could help.
Analysis: They wanted to get a top-level offensive lineman, and they did that by drafting D.J. Humphries in the first round. Golden was a little high, but he has talent. I love the pick of Johnson. Another good haul.
Best Pick: Fifth-round pick Grady Jarrett is a huge steal. He was a dominant player at Clemson and fits Dan Quinn's defense perfectly. Love this pick.
Questionable move: Taking corner Jalen Collins in the second round will be a move that is watched closely. He has a ton of ability, but he had some off-field concerns and only started 10 games at LSU. Good player -- if focused.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round receiver Justin Hardy was a productive college player at East Carolina who can step in and fill the role vacated by Harry Douglas.
Analysis: Dan Quinn had a nice first haul for the Falcons. I don't love Vic Beasley, their first-round pick, but he can rush the passer. The rest of the draft was rock solid. Third-round runner Tevin Coleman will get plenty of action as a rookie.
Best Pick: Getting defensive tackle Carl Davis in the third round is vintage Ravens. This is a kid some had pegged in the first round. He will be a perfect 3-4 end in their scheme.
Questionable move: It's nitpicking, but why did they wait until the fourth round to take a corner? They need to get a good, young player there.
Third-day gem: I love the pick of Za'Darius Smith in the fourth round. Watching Bud Dupree on tape, this kid kept showing up. Typical Ravens pick.
Analysis: The Ravens get it. Year in and year out they draft good football players. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are among the best in the business. This class is no different. Up and down the draft board, they landed good players. I love first-round receiver Breshad Perriman in their offense.
Best Pick: It came last year when they traded this year's first-round pick as part of a package to get Sammy Watkins. This class isn't great, so it's hard to find a best pick, so let's count Watkins -- even if they gave up too much to get him.
Questionable move: Taking a corner in the second round. Ronald Darby is a nice player, but they had other needs. And that was their first pick, having traded the No. 1 to move up for Watkins last year.
Third-day gem: WR Dezmin Lewis is a small-school kid who has some big-time ability. At 6-feet-4, he has good size.
Analysis: The Bills traded their first-round pick last year to get Watkins. He's a good player, but they could have kept it and taken Odell Beckham rather than move up. The rest of this draft isn't that exciting.
Best Pick: I love third-round tackle Daryl Williams. They waited to get a lineman and they got a good one. This kid will be a violent, nasty player.
Questionable move: I didn't like the pick of Shaq Thompson in the first round. They have so many other needs. Thompson is a nice football player, but why not offensive line?
Third-day gem: Fifth-round running back Cameron Artis-Payne was a good, solid back in a big power conference. That's nice value in this spot.
Analysis: I think Panthers GM Dave Gettleman does a good job. But I have questions about the first two picks. Thompson is a good player, but there were bigger needs. Devin Funchess is another bigger, stronger receiver, like what they have in Kelvin Benjamin. Good players, but weird positions.
Questionable move: Not addressing edge rusher in the first three rounds. They are going to a 3-4 and they lack big-time players on the outside other than Pernell McPhee.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round safety Adrian Amos will bring some range to a position that badly needs it. That's good value.
Analysis: Three of their first picks were on the offensive side, which might seem surprising considering they had so many troubles on the defensive side last season. But they got two starters in White and third-round center Hroniss Grasu.
Best Pick: Third-round linebacker Paul Dawson doesn't test well, and he had some attitude issues, but he is a good football player.
Questionable move: Taking two tackles with the first two picks. I know both their starting tackles are in the final years of their contracts, and the tackles they picked are good players, but this team could have used some help now.
Third-day gem: I love fourth-round corner Josh Shaw, who I think will move inside to free safety and become a quality starter.
Analysis: The Bengals did a really nice job again in the draft. The two tackles they took were Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. They are good players, but they won't help this year. They landed solid football players the rest of the way.
Best Pick: The Browns had major issues against the run last year, so Danny Shelton in the first round is a nice move. He will clog the middle. But can he push the pocket?
Questionable move: Why not a receiver in the first three rounds? This is a team with a major need there, and they just won't take one. Why?
Third-day gem: Having said that, I do like fourth-round receiver Vince Mayle out of Washington State. He caught a lot of passes in a wide-open offense.
Analysis: They got some solid football players, headlined by Shelton. I didn't love the pick of Cameron Erving with the second pick in the first round. Third-round pick Nate Orchard could be a good pass rusher. It was a solid draft, but nothing special.
Best Pick: It has to be their first, corner Byron Jones from Connecticut. He is a good cover player who fills a major need. They had to be happy he was there when they picked.
Questionable move: Taking Randy Gregory in the second round. I like the move, but it is one that will be questioned with Gregory's off-field concerns. I think he might end up paying off big time.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round defensive end Ryan Russell has the look of a nice edge player, but he doesn't always produce. Can the Cowboys get it out of him on regular basis? If so, they could have a backup player.
Analysis: This draft will be defined by how Gregory turns things around. If he can do that, it will be a great draft. If not, big miss. I do like Jones a lot. Gregory is the key.
Best Pick: Second-round tackle Ty Sambrailo is a former competitive skier who has the athletic ability to be a good player in their scheme. He will compete at right tackle.
Questionable move: They traded up in the first round to draft defensive end Shane Ray. He has off-field issues, so there is risk. That makes it iffy, but he is talented.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round center Max Garcia is a feisty, tough player who might compete for the starting job as a rookie. This kid will battle.
Analysis: General manager John Elway got four solid players with his first four picks, which we've come to expect from him. He knows how to find good players. The Ray pick will be the key. If he can stay out of trouble, he will be a nice pass-rush addition.
Best Pick: I loved the pick of guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round. He gives them a great pair of guards with Larry Warford. They will be able to run the football now with those two power players.
Questionable move: I like running back Ameer Abdullah, but they needed to get more of a power runner and the second round was a little high for him. He also has to cut down on his fumbling.
Third-day gem: CB Quandre Diggs was a four-year starter at Texas, but he is short at 5-9. That would likely make him an ideal slot corner, but in the sixth round that is a nice pick.
Analysis: Over the course of the three days, the Lions did a solid job. It's clear they want to help their run game. They also traded to get Denver center Manny Ramirez, who should start. Tomlinson isn't a sexy pick, but he is a good player.
Best Pick: Linebacker Jake Ryan, who can play both outside and inside, will have a chance to play early at a position of need.
Questionable move: Taking two corners with their first two picks who are projections. First-round pick Damarious Randall was a safety at Arizona State, while second-round corner Quinten Rollins was a basketball player before moving to football.
Third-day gem: Quarterback Brett Hundley needs some seasoning, but in the fifth round he's worth a look. Hundley can spend a few years learning from Aaron Rodgers.
Analysis: The Packers must really like the versatility that the two young corners/safeties will give them. They need corners with the loss of two in free agency, but Randall looked more like a safety to me. Then again, Ted Thompson usually knows what he's doing.
Best Pick: Getting receiver Jaelen Strong in the third round is great value. He had first-round ability. He is big and strong and faster than people think.
Questionable move: They didn't take an edge rusher until the sixth round and they have some injury concerns at that position with Jadaveon Clowney.
Third-day gem: Seventh-round running back Kenny Hilliard flashed at times at LSU, so he's worth a look in the later rounds. You never know with a back.
Analysis: I like the pick of corner Kevin Johnson in the first round to help solidify that spot and Bernardrick McKinney helps fill a need at inside linebacker in the second round. Strong could be a real steal.
Best Pick: Getting defensive tackle Henry Anderson in the third round is a solid pick. I know some think he had first-round talent, but I think he is rotation player who will be around for a long time. Good value in the third.
Questionable move: Even though I like the move to draft Phillip Dorsett in the first round, it is a move many questioned. I like it because you can't teach speed. Another weapon for Andrew Luck is a good thing.
Analysis: The Colts got ripped for not drafting power defenders early to help improve the run defense. But getting more speed for Luck is never a bad thing. Just go outscore everybody. Dorsett can fly. Second-round corner D'Joun Smith will help give them depth in the secondary.
Best Pick: I think third-round guard/center A.J. Cann has a chance to develop into a Pro Bowl player. He is tough and strong and powerful.
Questionable move: Fourth-round safety James Sample is a box safety and they have that in Jonathan Cyprien. Why not a free safety?
Third-day gem: Fifth-round receiver Rashad Greene will step in and help as the punt returner and slot receiver. He was a productive college player.
Analysis: General manager Dave Caldwell did a nice job for the second consecutive year. His draft board is loaded with talent. This team is moving in the right direction and this draft will go a long way in helping that happen. First-round pick Dante Fowler is a beast.
Best Pick: It was their first-round pick -- corner Marcus Peters. He has a ton of coverage skills and they needed help there. Peters had some character concerns, but I heard teams really liked him as a person after checking him out.
Questionable move: Third-round receiver Chris Conley can fly, but he never played to his skill level at Georgia. Bad quarterback play didn't help.
Third-day gem: Linebacker Ramik Wilson was a good tackler in a big-time conference in the SEC at Georgia. He has speed and range, which the Chiefs will love.
Analysis: I liked the move to get Peters and fourth-round corner Steven Nelson. They will really help upgrade the secondary. Second-round pick Mitch Morse could compete at both guard and center. There is nothing spectacular here, but Peters has a chance to be a star.
Questionable move: Waiting until the fourth round to pick an offensive lineman on a team that needs help up front.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Jamil Douglas was a tackle at Arizona State last year, but I think he can be a dominant guard, his original position.
Analysis: The Dolphins had a nice draft. Whoever was making the picks -- Dennis Hickey or Mike Tannenbaum -- deserves a lot of credit. First-round pick DeVante Parker will be a nice target for Ryan Tannehill. The first two picks were outstanding.
Best Pick: I love the choice of Eric Kendricks in the second round. He is a speed linebacker who will add to the already young defense. Nice pick.
Questionable move: I like third-round defensive end Danielle Hunter, but while he has talent he needs to flash it more. He could be a big-time hit or a bust.
Third-day gem: Getting tackle T.J. Clemmings in the fourth round is a major steal. I know he has some injury concerns, but this kid has a ton of raw talent. He has a chance to be a good starter down the road if healthy.
Analysis: General manager Rick Spielman had another good draft. He has done so the past couple of years and has a good, young team on the rise. This draft is littered with a lot of productive college players. First-round corner Trae Waynes will be a starter right away.
Best Pick: It was their first pick, defensive tackle Malcom Brown from Texas. This kid is a power player who can step in and help right away in an area that needs help.
Questionable move: Second-round safety Jordan Richards probably went two rounds too high, but Bill Belichick likes to take chances with secondary players.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round defensive end Trey Flowers is a heck of a pick. This kid has a ton of pass-rush ability and is great value in this spot.
Analysis: Brown will be a good player, but I have some questions about Richards and some others in this draft. But it's hard to argue with the success of this team over the years.
Best Pick: Second-round pick Hau'oli Kikaha has a ton of pass rush ability. The only concerns are health issues. But he fits their defense perfectly as an outside 3-4 scheme.
Questionable move: Linebacker Stephone Anthony, who they took with their second first-round pick, was a bit of a reach. He's a solid player, but he isn't a first-round talent in my mind.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round linebacker Davis Tull is a linebacker who could help right away on special teams. He is a tough guy who plays hard.
Analysis: They took Andrus Peat in the first round, but where does he play right away? The Saints indicated he might not start in 2015. That's weird. Anthony is a reach as their other first pick, acquired in the trade for Jimmy Graham from Seattle. They must really like third-round quarterback Garrett Grayson.
Best Pick: Third-round pick Owamagbe Odighizuma is a perfect Giants defensive end. They always seem to find a way to get one.
Questionable move: Trading up in the second round to take Alabama safety Landon Collins. They need help there, but is he any more than a box safety?
Third-day gem: Seventh-round pick Bobby Hart was a college tackle, but he will move inside to guard. He has talent, but he needs to be more focused on the task. If he is, he can make the team.
Analysis: I like first-round pick Ereck Flowers, an offensive tackle, who will start right away. He is tough and physical. Collins will hit people, but can he cover?
Best Pick: It was their first pick, defensive tackle Leonard Williams. He is the best player in this draft. And they got him in the sixth spot.
Questionable move: Trading up to get Bryce Petty. They like him as a potential starting quarterback and he can push Geno Smith.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round guard Jarvis Harrison was a quality starter on some good lines. He is a tough guy who needs to improve his pass protection.
Analysis: I love their first two picks, Williams and receiver Devin Smith, but the rest of the draft was so-so. Williams will be a dominant addition to a good defense.
Best Pick: I love the pick of tight end Clive Walford in the third round. He will become a 65-catch player for Derek Carr.
Questionable move: What are they getting in Mario Edwards? He has played heavy at times, but when he's lean he's a much better player. So what is it?
Third-day gem: Sixth-round outside linebacker Max Vallas flashed on the tape I watched of Virginia while studying Eli Harold. He has a chance to make the team.
Analysis: I was surprised they passed on Leonard Williams in the first round to take Amari Cooper. I like Cooper, but I liked Williams more. I'm not sure about the rest of their draft after Walford.
Best Pick: I love second-round pick Eric Rowe, a big corner who fits with what teams want now. He could also play safety if needed.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Jordan Hicks, a linebacker from Texas, has talent, but he has been plagued by injuries. The third might have been a little high.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round corner JaCorey Shepherd is a former receiver who has a lot of athletic ability. He has a chance to push for a roster spot.
Analysis: The Eagles didn't make the big move to go up and get Marcus Mariota, although they tried, so they kept their picks. They picked receiver Nelson Agholor in the first round, which I like. I love the Rowe pick as well. Nice job, Chip Kelly.
Best Pick: I loved the pick of outside linebacker Bud Dupree in the first round. He is a power player who fills a major need. There was talk of him being a top-10 pick, and he lasted until the 22nd pick. That's value.
Questionable move: Taking Sammie Coates in the third round is a bit high. But Coates has speed. He just needs more consistency.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round pick Anthony Chickillo is a tough guy pass rusher who will move from defensive end to rush linebacker. I like the pick.
Analysis: The Steelers got a break when Dupree fell to them to fill a major need. They landed a couple of corners in Rounds 2 and 4, which they had to do. It was a solid draft, one I like more than most because I like Dupree.
Best Pick: Third-round pick Jamon Brown was a tackle in college, but I think he can be a good guard and gives them a nice prospect inside.
Questionable move: Drafting a running back in the top 10 is always risky, but it's also a luxury for teams and I am not sure the Rams can afford that. Todd Gurley is a good runner, but he is a back -- and they don't decide titles anymore. That was a strange move for the Rams.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round receiver Bud Sasser is a taller receiver, which the Rams like, and he should be able to get in the rotation.
Analysis: This draft has the stamp of Jeff Fisher all over it, a team that wants to run the ball a lot more. Gurley is a good back, but is this is a team that can afford that luxury? They did get a couple of much-needed offensive linemen.
Best Pick: I don't usually condone taking backs in the first round, but they did a good thing taking Melvin Gordon. He is a good runner who they need to take the pressure off Philip Rivers in the passing game. Unlike St. Louis, I think they can afford the luxury.
Questionable move: Corner Craig Mager, their third-round pick, is a raw prospect who might need time to develop. It's a little high for him.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Kyle Emanuel, an outside linebacker, showed some pass rush ability at North Dakota State. This will be a jump in competition, but he has talent.
Analysis: I like their pick in the first round, but the rest of the draft was just OK. They have to hope second-round pick Denzel Perryman is a hit.
Best Pick: Fourth-round pick Blake Bell is a former quarterback who has developed into a nice tight end. He blocks better than you would think for a former passer.
Questionable move: I am not a big fan of third-round pass rusher Eli Harold. He plays a bit soft, but he does fit their scheme.
Third-day gem: WR DeAndre Smelter, who tore an ACL last year, was taken in the fourth round. He is a big receiver who can help stretch the field when healthy.
Analysis: They landed a player in Arik Armstead in the first round who has the boom-or-bust ability. The talent is there, but can he turn it into more production? It was just an OK draft for me.
Best Pick: Second-round defensive end Frank Clark had some off-field issues, but he can flat-out play. Clark is a perfect addition to the Seattle front.
Questionable move: Waiting until the fourth round to pick an offensive lineman. They did draft a couple later, so it's nitpicking.
Third-day gem: Doesn't this have to be a secondary player, considering their recent past? I will go with seventh-round pick Ryan Murphy, a safety who did some good things at Oregon State.
Analysis: They didn't have a first-round pick, trading it away for Jimmy Graham, which I think is a good move. Then John Schneider got two good football players with his first two picks in Clark and Tyler Lockett.
Best Pick: It was their first one, quarterback Jameis Winston. They had to take a player who I think will be a future top-10 passer in the league. He is a pure pocket passer, which they needed.
Questionable move: It's a big transition from Division III to the NFL, yet that's the move third-round guard Ali Marpet will make for the Bucs. That's a big jump.
Third-day gem: I really like the pick of receiver Kenny Bell in the fifth round. He is a polished receiver who put up some nice numbers at Nebraska without great quarterback play.
Analysis: Getting Winston with the first pick makes this draft. It was the easy pick. I like Donovan Smith in the second and some of their other picks were solid. It's all about Winston, who I think will be good.
Best Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round was great value. Yes, he had some character concerns, but he is a big-time playmaker and a guy who can stretch the field.
Questionable move: Taking Marcus Mariota with the second pick. Is he really a fit for their offense? I just don't think he will pan out. He's a project.
Third-day gem: I really thought fifth-round running back David Cobb would go two rounds higher. He will be a nice backup to Bishop Sankey and add a power dimension.
Analysis: The way Mariota develops will be what ultimately decides this grade. If he hits it big, it will be a good draft. If not, they have big problems. The rest of the draft was just OK.
Best Pick: Second-round pick Preston Smith played defensive end in college, but will move to linebacker for the Redskins. It will be a transition, but he has the tools to make it work.
Questionable move: Brandon Scherff is a nice, solid player, and he should be a good starter for a long time, but why not a pass rusher early? I like Scherff but No. 5 is a bit high.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round guard Arie Kouandijo was a quality starter at Alabama and has a chance to push for time right away. He is tough guy in the run game.
Analysis: They added some solid pieces and ended up with a solid haul. Scot McCloughan does a nice job with the draft. Scherff is a good player, but that seems high to me. Even so, it was a nice draft.
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