Regrading the 2016 NFL Draft: Cowboys, Falcons, Bengals earn high marks, Cardinals drop from 'B' to an 'F'

You truly can't grade an NFL Draft class until three years later. It's just not fair to do so right after the draft, yet we all do it.

So that's why it's become an annual thing for me to regrade a draft three years after it occurs. In doing so, I look back at my immediate draft grades to use as a gauge, including my comments.

In those immediate grades, I offer a letter grade, best pick, questionable move and third-day gem. It's fun to look back at team misses and hits in each category, but especially my own.

In the 2016 NFL Draft, three teams landed "A+" marks in the regrade for how they picked players. They were the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys. Yes, the Bengals. 

The only failing grades go to the Arizona Cardinals -- who had six picks in the draft and not one is a sure starter in 2019; P.S.: I gave them a "B" back in 2016 -- and the Buffalo Bills, who got a "C" three years ago.

So dive in and take a look. It was fun to look back and interesting to see how teams had success based on that draft and others have had issues because of it. 

Arizona Cardinals

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: They had six picks in the draft, and not one is a sure starter in 2019. First-round pick Robert Nkemdiche has been a major disappointment, although he was better last year and could be a starter in 2019. Of the remaining four picks, only corner Brandon Williams is still with the team as a backup. 

How I did: Not well. I thought fourth-round center Evan Boehm was their best pick and he's now in Indianapolis after starting nine games for the Cardinals, mostly at guard. I thought Nkemdiche was the questionable move, and that has played true. My third-day gem was safety Marquis Christian, who is now with the Rams

New Grade: F

Atlanta Falcons

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: The Falcons had a heck of a draft in 2016. They landed safety Keanu Neal, one of their defensive leaders in the first round. Then they followed that up by getting three more starters in second-round linebacker Deion Jones, third-round tight end Austin Hooper and fourth-round linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. That's a haul, even if Neal and Jones missed significant time with injuries last year. 

How I did: I loved the pick of Jones because of his speed, which has played true. I questioned the move to take Neal because of his coverage skills, but that was wrong. My third-day gem was Campbell, who has 39 starts in three seasons. 

New Grade: A+

Baltimore Ravens

2016 Grade: B+

The Skinny: The Ravens had 11 picks in the draft, and eight of them are still on the roster and five are projected 2019 starters, counting nickel corner Tavon Young. That's a good haul. The starting left side of the offensive line came in this draft in tackle Ronnie Stanley (first round) and guard Alex Lewis (fourth). They also landed starting edge rusher Matt Judon in the fifth round. Second-round edge rusher Kamalei Correa was traded to the Titans last year after getting no sacks in his first two seasons. Third-round edge rusher Bronson Kaufusi was let go last year and is now with the Jets

How I did: I missed on Kaufusi, who I thought would end up being their best pick. Oops. I questioned taking Stanley ahead of Miami's Laremy Tunsil. My third-day gem was Lewis, so I hit that.

New Grade: B+

Buffalo Bills

2016 Grade: C

The Skinny: The Bills had seven picks in the draft, and have little to show for it. First-round defensive end Shaq Lawson has 10 career sacks in 17 starts. Second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland was traded to the Chiefs two years ago for a fourth-round pick. Nobody else from that draft is left on the roster.

How I did: I liked fifth-round running back Jonathan Williams, but he didn't work out and he was cut after one season. I questioned the pick of Lawson, and that has played true. My third-day gem was receiver Kolby Listenbee, which was a miss. 

New Grade: F

Carolina Panthers

2016 Grade: C-

The Skinny: The Panthers had five picks in this draft and two are still with the team with only second-round corner James Bradberry a starter. That's not very good. First-round defensive tackle Vernon Butler has no starts in his three season and just two sacks from his tackle spot. Bradberry is a solid corner, but they missed on third-round corner Daryl Worley, who is now in Oakland after the Panthers cut him for off-the-field issues. 

How I did: I liked using a fifth-round pick on corner Zach Sanchez, but he was let go after his rookie season. I questioned the pick of Butler, which has played true. As a whole, I didn't like this class at all. 

New Grade: D

Chicago Bears

2016 Grade: A

The Skinny: The Bears had nine picks in the draft and six are still with the team, and they just traded running back Jordan Howard, which would have made it seven. The top two picks in the draft are both starters. First-round pick Leonard Floyd starts at outside linebacker and second-round pick Cody Whitehair is the starting center. They landed some solid backups with the rest of their picks, with three having some starting experience. Howard appeared to be a great pick in the fifth round when he got off to a fast start, but they soured on him some last season and he was traded. 

How I did: I liked the choice of third-round pick Jonathan Bullard, but he hasn't been the player I expected. I questioned the choice of Floyd, mainly because I didn't think he would be an elite pass rusher. So far, he isn't. My third-day gem was safety Deon Bush, who has flashed at times when he's played. 

New Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals

2016 Grade: B+

The Skinny: They had seven picks and the first four are all starters and all seven are still on the roster. That's a good draft. First-round corner William Jackson is a rising star, while second-round receiver Tyler Boyd has developed into a nice second receiver. Third-round linebacker Nick Vigil and fourth-round defensive tackle Andrew Billings are good, solid starters. 

How I did: I liked the pick of Jackson, but questioned it because they had already drafted corners in the first round in the years before that. They knew better than I did on that one. My best pick was Vigil, and he has started 22 games the past two years. My third-day gem was Billings

New Grade: A+

Cleveland Browns

2016 Grade: C-

The Skinny: The Browns had 15 picks in this draft, and six are still with the team. This is the draft they traded out of the second spot to acquire picks and passed on taking Carson Wentz and traded down a second time to add more picks. First-round receiver Corey Coleman is now with the Giants after the Browns traded him to the Bills, who let him go. Miss. Second-round defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is a projected 2019 backup, one reportedly on the trading block. Fourth-round linebacker Joe Schobert is a starter and fourth-round safety Derrick Kindred has started and is might to do so this year. Fourth-round tight end Seth Devalve is a valuable second tight end and fifth-round receiver Rashard Higgins has been productive with a career-best 39 catches last season. 

How I did: I liked the pick of pass rusher Carl Nassib in the second round and he flashed some before being traded to the Bucs last year. I questioned the pick of quarterback Cody Kessler in the third round, and he didn't pan out. My third-day gem was Higgins, which has proven to be a hit  

New Grade:  D

Dallas Cowboys

2016 Grade: C-

The Skinny: The Cowboys had nine picks in the draft and seven are still with the team. This is the draft that built this Dallas team. They took running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth-overall pick. He has proven to be everything they expected. The took a big risk taking linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round after he tore up his knee in the bowl game. Now he's a big part of their defense, flying all over the field. But the best pick came in the fourth round when they landed quarterback Dak Prescott, who has started all 48 games. They also landed starting nickel corner Anthony Brown in the sixth round. 

How I did: I loved the pick of defensive tackle Maliek Collins in the third round, and he has been a nice part of their defense. I questioned the move to take Smith, but who didn't? Dallas was right and we were all wrong. My third-day gem was Prescott, which has really paid off. I didn't like taking Elliott because of position value, but this draft paid off in a big way. 

New Grade: A+

Denver Broncos

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: This is the draft where the Broncos made the move to trade up to take Paxton Lynch. Oops. That clearly didn't work out for John Elway. After that, the Broncos had seven more picks and six are still with the team and all six have been starters, counting fullback Andy Janovich. Second-round defensive end Adam Gotsis and third-round safety Justin Simmons have the most starts of the group.

How I did: I liked the move to go up and get Lynch, so like Elway I blew that one. I liked running back Devontae Booker as my third-day gem, but he hasn't played to that other than a few flashes. I also liked the Simmons pick. 

New Grade: B-

Detroit Lions

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: The Lions had 10 picks in the draft and the first three will be starters in 2019. First-round tackle Taylor Decker is a solid player, while second-round defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson is coming off his breakout season as a force inside. Third-round pick Graham Glasgow is the team's starting center. Fourth-round safety Miles Killebrew has three career starts, but early hope about his play as a rookie has waned the past two seasons.

How I did: I liked the pick of Decker, who has been a decent pick. I questioned the decision not to draft a receiver and my third-day gem was fifth-round tackle Joe Dahl. I said he would have to play guard, and he had three starts there in 2017 and is a backup there now.

New Grade: B

Green Bay Packers

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: The Packers had seven picks in the draft, and six are still on the roster. The big hit was first-round nose tackle Kenny Clark, who has become a dominant inside player. Second-round tackle Jason Spriggs has been little more than a backup who starts when injuries hit. Third-round linebackers Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell are both starters. 

How I did: I liked the pick of Spriggs, which is a big miss. My questionable decision was not taking a receiver until they took Trevor Davis in the fifth round. My third-day gem was fourth-round defensive end Dean Lowry, who has been a solid backup. 

New Grade: B-

Houston Texans

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: The Texans had six picks, and three are still with the team and are expected starters in 2019. First-round receiver Will Fuller has flashed big-play ability but injuries have slowed his career. He is coming off a torn ACL. Second-round pick Nick Martin is their starting center and fifth-round defensive tackle D.J. Reader is a good starter. The missed on third-round receiver Braxton Miller 

How I did: Martin was my favorite pick. While he's been a starter, he hasn't been as good as expected. I questioned the pick of Fuller, but it's only been injury that has slowed him. My third-day gem was fifth-round safety K.J. Dillon, which didn't work out. 

New Grade: C-

Indianapolis Colts

2016 Grade: A

The Skinny: The Colts had eight picks in the draft, and used four of them on offensive lineman. Their first-round pick, center Ryan Kelly, has been a big part of the improvement of their line. Third-round tackle La'Raven Clark and fifth-round tackle Joe Haeg have both been starters at times in their three seasons. Seventh-round guard Austin Blythe now starts at guard for the Rams after being let go. They missed on second-round safety T.J. Green, who walked away from football last year while with the Seahawks. Fourth-round defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway is a solid backup 

How I did: I nailed their draft. I loved the pick of Kelly in the first round, and I questioned the move to take Green in the second. My third-day gem was Ridgeway. 

New Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars

2016 Grade: A

The Skinny: This is the draft that built the young foundation of their defense. They took corner Jalen Ramsey with the fifth overall pick, and he has been a star. They landed middle linebacker Myles Jack with their second-round pick and edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue with their third. Jack is the starter in the middle, while Ngakoue is one of the league's best young rushers. There is nobody left from the four picks after that. 

How I did: I loved the pick of Jack in the second round, making it their best pick. It hasn't live up to that yet, but there is time. I was also bullish on Ramsey as the first-round pick. I made fourth-round defensive tackle Sheldon Day their third-day gem, but that didn't work out. 

New Grade: A

Kansas City Chiefs

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They traded their first-round pick to the 49ers for three picks. That gave them nine picks in the draft. They hit big on two of them. Second-round defensive tackle Chris Jones is a rising star. Fifth-round receiver Tyreek Hill is already a star. Fourth-round safety Eric Murray has started at times and fifth-round receiver Demarcus Robinson has been a contributor. They missed on third-round corner KeiVarae Russell. 

How I did: I thought Jones was their best pick. While Hill has proven to be that, Jones isn't far behind. I thought trading away the first-round pick was risky, but they took advantage of it. My third-day gem was corner D.J. White, which didn't work out. 

New Grade:

Los Angeles Chargers

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: The Chargers had eight picks in the draft, with four still with the team. The best pick was their first, defensive end Joey Bosa. When he's been on the field, he's been dominant. Second-round tight end Hunter Henry was also a good pick, but he missed most of last season with a knee injury. He should be back starting this season. Fifth-round linebacker Jatavis Brown has started 22 games in his three seasons. Fullback Derek Watt, their sixth-round pick, starts when they use two backs. 

How I did: I loved the pick of Bosa, but who didn't? I questioned their decision to pass on secondary help and that still is a problem at times. Brown was my third-day gem, so I hit that one. 

New Grade: B

Los Angeles Rams

2016 Grade: B+

The Skinny: They traded up to land quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick, and that now is a move that has paid off in a big way -- despite the way he played in the Super Bowl. He is their franchise passer. Their next pick came in the fourth round when they took tight end Tyler Higbee, who is a starter on their offense. They got little after that 

How I did: I thought the move to land Goff was the right move, so I hit that one. I liked the pick of Higbee, but also liked fourth-round receiver Pharoah Cooper, but he is no longer with the team. 

New Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins

2016 Grade: B+

The Skinny: For a team that is in rebuilding mode now, they did a nice job in this draft. They traded down from the eighth overall pick to No. 13 and landed left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who has developed into a good starter. Second-round corner Xavien Howard is a good cover player who clearly is their top corner. Third-round running back Kenyan Drake has been a nice weapon in their offense. Sixth-round receiver Jakeem Grant has mostly been a nice return man. 

How I did: I loved the move back then using the pick to take Tunsil, even if I also said it was questionable because of character concerns. So far, he's had no issues off the field. My third-day gem was Grant, who has proven to be worth the sixth-round pick. 

New Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: The Vikings had eight picks in the draft and just one is a starter, that being nickel corner Mackensie Alexander. First-round receiver Laquon Treadwell has proven to be a major flop so far and is little more than a backup. They did land four backups with the rest of their picks, with all of them coming in rounds five and lower. The best of that group is edge rusher Stephen Weatherly, who came in the seventh round. 

How I did: I liked the pick of Treadwell, which makes it a miss for me, just like the Vikings. I questioned the pick of Alexander, mostly because I didn't think it was a need. My third-day gem was fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers, who has been a reserve. 

New Grade: D

New England Patriots

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: The Patriots had nine picks in the draft – no first-round pick – and they have just one full-time starter from this group. That's left guard Joe Thuney, their second-round pick. Sixth-round linebacker Elandon Roberts has started games and is a contributor, so he's a solid pick. That's about it. The Patriots didn't have a first-round pick after losing it in the Deflategate scandal. The Patriots did get receiver Philip Dorsett from the Colts in 2017 in exchange for 2016 third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett, so that pick landed something. 

How I did: I made second-round corner Cyrus Jones their best pick, but that didn't play out. I liked him as a return man, but also thought he could be a good cover corner. He's now with the Ravens. My third-day gem was receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who flashed as a rookie but then tore up his knee and recently announced his retirement. 

New Grade: D

New Orleans Saints

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: The Saints had just five picks, but they made the most of them. First-round defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was becoming a force inside last year before he tore his Achilles tendon in the playoffs. Second-round receiver Michael Thomas is one of the best in the league and is a big hit from this draft. Safety Vonn Bell, also a second-round pick, is a solid starter and fourth-round defensive tackle David Onyemata started four games last season. This was a good draft. 

How I did: I liked the pick of Rankins, but questioned the Onyemata pick, but he has paid off. I also liked the Thomas pick. My third-day gem was running back Daniel Lasco in the seventh, but that didn't pan out. 

New Grade: A

New York Giants

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: Of the Giants' six picks, just two are projected starters in 2019. They are receiver Sterling Shepard, who came in the second round, and fourth-round linebacker B.J. Goodson. First-round corner Eli Apple was traded to the Saints last year after inconsistency in New York. Third-round safety Darian Thompson was a miss. 

How I did: I liked the pick of Shepard, which has been a solid pick. I thought taking Apple in the first was a risk, so I hit that one. My third-day gem was fifth-round running back Paul Perkins, who has been little more than a backup. I also like Goodson. 

New Grade: C-

New York Jets

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: The Jets had seven picks in the draft and three are projected 2019 starters, including seventh-round punter Lachlan Edwards. The others are third-round edge Jordan Jenkins and fifth-round right tackle Brandon Shell. First-round pick Darron Lee is being peddled in trade talks after three so-so seasons and the signing of C.J. Mosley. Second-round quarterback Christian Hackenberg was a major bust and is out of the NFL

How I did: I blew this one as bad as any. I loved the Hackenberg pick and was way off on that one. Beat me up for that prediction. I also thought Lee would be a nice player. My third-day gem was Shell, which is a hit. 

New Grade: D+

Oakland Raiders

2016 Grade: B+

The Skinny: The Raiders had seven picks in the draft and just one – safety Karl Joseph – is a starter. The only others still on the team are third-round pass rusher Shilique Calhoun and fifth-round running back DeAndre Washington. Second-round defensive tackle Jihad Ward was traded to the Cowboys and then released by Dallas. 

How I did: I liked the first three picks, and thought Joseph had star potential, so I wasn't good on those. I made taking Connor Cook in the fifth round the questionable move and that played out. My third-day gem was Washington. 

New Grade: D

Philadelphia Eagles

2016 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They traded up to land quarterback Carson Wentz, a move that appears to have paid off since he looks like their long-term guy. He just has to stay healthy. Second-round guard Isaac Seumalo has started games and will be their left guard this year. They also got backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and backup runner Wendell Smallwood in the fifth round. Seventh-round corner Jalen Mills has been a starter when healthy, which makes him a great value pick. 

How I did: I liked the aggressive approach to get Wentz, but I didn't love it. Seumalo was my choice as their best pick, while Mills was my third-day gem. 

New Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: They took corner Artie Burns in the first round, and that clearly hasn't worked out. Second-round safety Sean Davis is a quality starter. Third-round nose tackle Javon Hargrave is the best pick from this draft. The other four picks produced nothing. 

How I did: I liked Davis, but said he would be a star. He isn't that yet. I questioned the decision to draft corner Burns and not land William Jackson, who has proven to be a better player. My third-day gem was edge rusher Travis Feeney, which didn't work out. 

New Grade: C-

San Francisco 49ers

2016 Grade: C

The Skinny: The 49ers had 11 picks in the draft, but only three are still with the team and just one – first-round defensive end DeForest Buckner – is a starter. That's not close to being good enough for that number of picks. Buckner is a heck of a player, but they missed badly on guard Josh Garnett, who is a backup. They traded back into the first round to take him with the 28th overall pick. Fifth-round defensive end Ronald Blair is a solid backup.

How I did: I nailed this class. I loved the pick of Buckner, making him the best pick and projecting future stardom. I didn't like the rest of the class and made third-round corner Will Redmond the questionable move and an ankle injury led to his release in 2017. My third-day gem was corner Rashard Robinson, and he started 14 games before being traded to the Jets. 

New Grade: C-

Seattle Seahawks

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: They had 10 picks in the draft, and four will head into the 2019 season as starters. First-round pick Germain Ifedi is the starting right tackle, while second-round pick Jarran Reed is a starter at defensive tackle. The other starters are third-round tight end Nick Vannett and fifth-round defensive end Quinton Jefferson. There are no stars there, but it's a nice haul. 

How I did: I made Reed their best pick, and that has played true. He's a good, productive player on the inside. My third-day gem was fifth-round running back Alex Collins, but he didn't work out in Seattle, but did have success in Baltimore before being released this year for off-field issues. I questioned taking running back C.J. Prosise in the third round. 

New Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016 Grade: C+

The Skinny: This is the draft where the Bucs took kicker Roberto Aquayo in the second round. That proved to be a disaster. First-round corner Vernon Hargreaves hasn't lived up to the hype and neither has pass rusher Noah Spence, their other second-round pick. Fourth-round corner Ryan Smith has 16 starts in three years, while fifth-round guard Caleb Benenoch is also a solid starter. Sixth-round linebacker Devante Bond had four starts last year and will push for time this season. 

How I did: I made Spence their best pick, and that hasn't played out after a good rookie year. I ripped the move to take Aguayo, which did prove to be true. My third-day gem was Smith.

New Grade: D

Tennessee Titans

2016 Grade: C-

The Skinny: They had a plenty of picks – including three in the second round – after a big trade with the Rams, who moved up to get Jared Goff. The Titans hit on some of their picks, but missed badly on others. First-round tackle Jack Conklin has proved to be a nice player when healthy. Second-round running back Derrick Henry hasn't been as good as expected, but he flashed late last season. They missed on second-round edge rusher Kevin Dodd, but hit big on third-round safety Kevin Byard, who has been a Pro Bowl player. Defensive tackle Austin Johnson, their other second-round pick, started nine games last year. Fifth-round receiver Tajae Sharpe has 23 career starts, but has just 67 catches and fifth-round corner LeShaun Sims has started and is a nice backup. 

How I did: I had Byard as my best pick in their class, and that has played out that way. I made the Henry pick the questionable decision, while my third-day gem – guard Sebastian Tretola -- played just one game for the Titans and is out of the league. 

New Grade: B-

Washington Redskins

2016 Grade: B

The Skinny: They took receiver Josh Doctson with the 22nd overall pick. He has 26 starts after missing 14 games as a rookie, but he has just 81 career catches. That's not good enough. Second-round safety Su'a Cravens is in Denver now and third-round corner Kendall Fuller is in Kansas City after being peddled in the Alex Smith trade. Fifth-round defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis has turned into a quality starting tackle. 

How I did: I liked the pick of Fuller in the first round, and he has developed into a good corner – too bad it's in Kansas City now. I questioned the move to take Doctson and my third-day gem was Ioannidis, which is a hit. 

New Grade: C-

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories