2018 AFC Draft Grades

Sam Darnold ended his holdout on Monday, but will the rookie be under center for Week 1? Jesse Pantuosco discusses in Tuesday's Dose

Here is a link to my NFC Draft Grades.

Baltimore Ravens

1. (25) South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst
1. (32) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson
3. (83) Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown
3. (86) Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews
4. (118) Alabama CB Anthony Averett
4. (122) UCLA LB Kenny Young
4. (132) New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott
5. (162) UCLA WR Jordan Lasley
6. (190) Texas S DeShon Elliott
6. (212) Wagner OT Greg Senat
6. (215) Alabama C Bradley Bozeman
7. (238) Ferris State DE Zach Sieler

Overview: Hurst didn’t belong anywhere near the first round as a 25-year-old rookie with three career receiving TDs. Ozzie Newsome redeemed himself in his final draft as Ravens GM by leaving behind Baltimore’s quarterback of the future in Jackson. Moving up for Jackson did cost the Ravens their 2019 second-round pick. Brown bombed the Combine but has first- or second-round tape. Whereas Hurst can play in-line tight end, Andrews is best used as a catch-first seam stretcher in the slot. Andrews reminded me of ex-Broncos TE Tony Scheffler. I don’t think Averett has an NFL future beyond special teams. Young and Elliott were big-school producers who checked athleticism boxes before the draft, raising the probability they’ll outkick their draft position. Scott and Lasley add more mediocrity to Baltimore’s pedestrian wideout corps. Senat, Bozeman, and Sieler probably aren’t long for the league.

Grade: B-

Editor's Note: With the 2018 draft here, fantasy football season has begun. Compete in a live best ball draft! It's season long but with no management. Just set it and forget it! Once you're done drafting, that’s it - no trades or waivers - you don’t even have to set your lineup. Your best players get automatically selected and you'll get the best score, every week. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link

Buffalo Bills

1. (7) Wyoming QB Josh Allen
1. (16) Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds
3. (96) Stanford DT Harrison Phillips
4. (121) Weber State CB Taron Johnson
5. (154) Jacksonville State DB Siran Neal
5. (166) Virginia Tech OG Wyatt Teller
6. (187) Clemson WR Ray-Ray McCloud
7. (255) North Carolina WR Austin Proehl

Overview: Trading up to draft Josh Allen over Josh Rosen was a regrettable-if-foreseeable move by a Bills personnel department that has struggled since making Sean McDermott one of the NFL’s most powerful head coaches. All told, Buffalo’s dual first-round trades up from Nos. 22 and 12 to 16 and 7 for Allen and Edmunds cost them the Nos. 53, 56, and 65 picks. I didn’t think such a talent-deficient team should have been willing to surrender so much capital for an inaccurate quarterback and off-ball linebacker. Phillips is more run defender than pass rusher, but he is a high-floor addition as an active interior presence who will have a perfect mentor in longtime Bills DT Kyle Williams. Johnson tested more like a safety than cornerback before the draft, and Neal’s NFL position is unclear after he shuttled between safety, linebacker, and corner in D-IAA. Teller was my favorite day-three pick, addressing a need after Richie Incognito and Eric Wood’s retirements. I don’t have much hope for McCloud or Proehl. The Bills’ draft grade gets further docked for including Kelvin Benjamin, for whom they surrendered this year’s 85th overall pick. Benjamin has bad knees, doesn’t get open, and is a net-negative for an offense.

Grade: D-

Cincinnati Bengals

1. (21) Ohio State C Billy Price
2. (54) Wake Forest S Jessie Bates
3. (77) Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard
3. (78) Texas LB Malik Jefferson
4. (112) Miami RB Mark Walton
5. (151) Illinois State CB Davontae Harris
5. (158) Virginia DT Andrew Brown
5. (170) Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips
7. (249) Toledo QB Logan Woodside
7. (252) Ole Miss OG Rod Taylor
7. (253) Florida State WR Auden Tate

Overview: LT Cordy Glenn warrants inclusion in this haul after Cincinnati acquired him in a pre-draft first-round pick swap with the Bills. The Bengals seemed fixated on a round-one center, settling for 2017 Rimington Award winner Price after Detroit selected known-Cincy target Frank Ragnow at No. 20. Bates, Hubbard, and Jefferson look like good bets to become significant contributors if not starters after producing at high levels for big schools and testing like big-league athletes before the draft. I was a big fan of Walton’s game, but he seems redundant behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, who are both signed cheaply for multiple more years and aren’t going anywhere. Probably only one of Harris and Phillips will make the team. Brown is built like a three-technique pass rusher but moves more like an undersized nose tackle. Tate is built like a wideout but moves like a tight end. Woodside is an obvious long shot, but he was one of my favorite quarterback sleepers before the draft. Taylor is a project who checks enough boxes to be seventh-round flyer worthy.

Grade: B-

Cleveland Browns

1. (1) Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
1. (4) Ohio State CB Denzel Ward
2. (33) Nevada OG Austin Corbett
2. (35) Georgia RB Nick Chubb
3. (67) Miami DE Chad Thomas
4. (105) Florida WR Antonio Callaway
5. (150) Memphis LB Genard Avery
6. (175) Texas A&M WR Damion Ratley
6. (188) Louisiana-Lafayette S Simeon Thomas

Overview: Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, and Damarious Randall warrant inclusion in this haul after the Browns used 2018 draft capital to acquire them. Cleveland’s new decision makers took a high-risk approach on draft weekend, ignoring conventional wisdom about quarterback height to pass on Sam Darnold for Mayfield, then surprisingly using the No. 4 pick on 183-pound corner Ward. They began day three with a trade up for Callaway, whose off-field issues were so significant he didn’t even play football last year. GM John Dorsey, formerly of the Chiefs, likely envisions Callaway as his next Tyreek Hill. Corbett and Chubb are good players, but both were redundant picks at positions of strength. Thomas was a college underachiever who lacks NFL pass-rush ability and didn’t belong anywhere near the top-70 picks. Avery was my favorite Browns day-three selection as a college inside linebacker who rushed the passer so well he could be tried at edge rusher. Ratley had almost no college production, and Thomas was a nightmare off the field. The Browns have improved this offseason, but I thought they could have made better use of their bounty of picks.

Grade: C+

Denver Broncos

1. (5) NC State DE Bradley Chubb
2. (40) SMU WR Courtland Sutton
3. (71) Oregon RB Royce Freeman
3. (99) Boston College CB Isaac Yiadom
4. (106) Iowa LB Josey Jewell
4. (113) Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
5. (156) Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli
6. (183) Arizona State OG Sam Jones
6. (217) Washington ILB Keishawn Bierria
7. (226) Arkansas RB David Williams

Overview: The Broncos added a lot of good players in this draft after moving 2018 capital to acquire S/LB Su’a Cravens and RT Jared Veldheer, who should be included in the class. Chubb is a high-floor edge presence who reminded me of Brian Orakpo on tape and will form a fearsome duo with Von Miller. Sutton’s addition should move Emmanuel Sanders into the slot, where Denver has sorely lacked a playmaking presence in the middle of the field. Freeman offers a workhorse pedigree and will compete for Denver’s lead back job with Devontae Booker. Yiadom is a better gunner than cornerback prospect. Jewell should also focus on special teams early but has a chance to become a lower-end starting inside linebacker. Hamilton is a technician with a versatile route-running background. Fumagalli, Jones, Bierria, and Williams all look like backups. My main quibble with this draft is that it didn’t include a quarterback. Apparently all in on Case Keenum, Denver passed on Josh Rosen and Josh Allen at No. 5.

Grade: B

Houston Texans

3. (68) Stanford S Justin Reid
3. (80) Mississippi State T/G Martinas Rankin
3. (98) UCF TE Jordan Akins
4. (103) Texas Tech WR Keke Coutee
6. (177) Wake Forest OLB Duke Ejiofor
6. (211) Mississippi State TE Jordan Thomas
6. (214) Stanford LB Peter Kalambayi
7. (222) San Jose State CB Jermaine Kelly

Overview: Although they lacked first- and second-round picks after trading both to the Browns last year, the Texans did well to parlay their initial two selections into prospects with starting potential. Reid has first-round ball skills, size, and athleticism, and Rankin was a first-team All-SEC pick who should push for snaps immediately at tackle or guard. Akins is a great athlete and plays a position of need, but he is already 26 years old after spending four seasons in the Texas Rangers’ minor-league system. Coutee profiles as a Taylor Gabriel-type situational lid lifter with 4.43 wheels and a history of making plays downfield. Ejiofor is a legitimate pass-rush prospect with nearly 35-inch arms and lots of tackle-for-loss and sack production in the ACC. Thomas, Kalambayi, and Kelly figure to have brief NFL stays. The Texans entered the draft at a disadvantage because of their traded picks, but I thought they made the most of their first five selections.

Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts

1. (6) Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson
2. (36) South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard
2. (37) Auburn OG Braden Smith
2. (52) Rutgers DE Kemoko Turay
3. (64) Ohio State DE Tyquan Lewis
4. (104) NC State RB Nyheim Hines
5. (159) Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain
5. (169) Ole Miss RB Jordan Wilkins
6. (185) Clemson WR Deon Cain
7. (221) Houston LB Matthew Adams
7. (235) Syracuse LB Zaire Franklin

Overview: The Colts hammered their interior offensive line on days one and two, taking the hands-down best guard in the draft at No. 6, then following up with Smith, who dominated in the SEC and posted top-five SPARQ results in this interior line class. Leonard destroyed his D-IAA competition, then showed elite pass-coverage skills in man-to-man drills at the Senior Bowl. He should be given every opportunity to start right away at weak-side linebacker and play all three downs in Indianapolis’ new 4-3 defense. Turay dealt with bad injury luck in college, but his natural pass-rush repertoire was every bit second-round caliber. GM Chris Ballard doubled down on pass rush 12 picks later with Lewis, an elite athlete who earned first-team All-Big Ten in each of his final two seasons. Although probably not a future feature back, Hines adds explosiveness and slot versatility to the Colts’ backfield. Fountain and Cain were solid adds to a wideout position where Indy is thin behind T.Y. Hilton. Wilkins, Adams, and Franklin profile as special teams help. The Colts also have the Jets’ second-round pick next year after their pre-draft trade.

Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars

1. (29) Florida DT Taven Bryan
2. (61) LSU WR D.J. Chark
3. (93) Alabama S Ronnie Harrison
4. (129) NC State OT Will Richardson
6. (203) Nebraska QB Tanner Lee
7. (230) Wisconsin LB Leon Jacobs
7. (247) Mississippi State P Logan Cooke

Overview: Marcell Dareus should also be included here after the Jaguars acquired him for the No. 166 pick. Although Bryan is not a finished product, he is an excellent scheme fit in Jacksonville as a relentless up-field disruptor. I think Bryan would have gone to the Chargers at No. 17 had Derwin James not fallen into L.A.’s lap. Chark is a one-trick-pony deep threat who best profiles as a role player but was a more viable pick at No. 61 than late in the first round, where some pre-draft mocks had him. Harrison is a playmaking tone setter who can learn behind 30-year-old SS Barry Church. Richardson provides insurance behind 32-year-old RT Jermey Parnell. Lee was a head-scratching throwaway pick. Jacobs and Cooke will get opportunities to contribute on special teams.

Grade: C-

Kansas City Chiefs

2. (46) Ole Miss DT Breeland Speaks
3. (75) Florida State DT Derrick Nnadi
3. (100) Clemson ILB Dorian O’Daniel
4. (124) Texas A&M S Armani Watts
6. (196) Central Arkansas CB Tremon Smith
6. (198) Tennessee G/DT Kahlil McKenzie

Overview: The Chiefs traded their first-round pick in last year’s Pat Mahomes deal. They fell in love with Speaks, sending away No. 78 to climb from 54 to 46. It was a strangely aggressive move for an undersized interior pass rusher with underwhelming college production. Kansas City traded up again for Nnadi on day two, coughing up the No. 122 pick to climb 11 spots. Nnadi is an early-down space eater, which have become a dime a dozen around the NFL. O’Daniel’s calling card is special teams. Watts was a high-impact SEC safety who fell due to athleticism concerns. Smith was a field-flipping ballhawk in D-IAA. He ran 4.32 before the draft. McKenzie will try to convert from defensive tackle to offensive guard. The Chiefs exited the draft with lasting concerns at left guard, edge, and cornerback.

Grade: D

Los Angeles Chargers

1. (17) Florida State S Derwin James
2. (48) USC OLB Uchenna Nwosu
3. (84) NC State DT Justin Jones
4. (119) West Virginia S/LB Kyzir White
5. (155) UCLA G/C Scott Quessenberry
6. (191) Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell
7. (251) Northwestern RB Justin Jackson

Overview: GM Tom Telesco kicked off this nuts-and-bolts draft by stealing James, the best safety prospect in this class and an Eric Berry-level talent capable of matching up with tight ends like Travis Kelce and Jared Cook in man coverage. Nwosu led the nation in batted-down passes (11) in 2017 and had the second-most QB pressures (61) among all draft-eligible edge defenders, per PFF College’s charts. Jones projects as a five-technique role player. White ran 4.69 before the draft, but he was an excellent cover safety for the Mountaineers and will go to work as a sub-package linebacker in Gus Bradley’s scheme. O-Line evaluators I trust viewed Quessenberry as a starter-level talent at center. Cantrell had the highest SPARQ score in this wideout class and is incredibly quick in a short area for his size (6’3/226). He has big-slot potential. Jackson was a seventh-round steal and should put immediate heat on Austin Ekeler.

Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins

1. (11) Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick
2. (42) Penn State TE Mike Gesicki
3. (73) Ohio State LB Jerome Baker
4. (123) Notre Dame TE Durham Smythe
4. (131) Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage
6. (209) Southern Miss CB Cornell Armstrong
7. (227) Ohio LB Quentin Poling
7. (229) New Mexico K Jason Sanders

Overview: Although Fitzpatrick was seen in some circles as a draft-day “faller,” his skill set always aligned more closely with a mid-first-rounder than the top-five selection early mock drafts pegged him to be. Dolphins GM Chris Grier stated after the draft Fitzpatrick will start out at safety, but his best position is slot corner in a Tyrann Mathieu-like role. Gesicki won’t block anyone, but he is a remarkable athlete with great hands and brings an element Adam Gase’s offense was previously sorely missing. Whereas Gesicki should line up in the slot and out wide, Smythe is an in-line complement who will handle dirty work in the trenches. Baker’s best fit is as a sub-package linebacker, but his ability to cover running backs and tight ends is increasingly valued and has been absent from Miami’s defense. Baker famously held Saquon Barkley in check in the passing game last October. Ballage is a toolsy all-purpose back who was confusingly short on college production. Armstrong, Poling, and Sanders are probable throwaway picks. DE Robert Quinn, LB Stephone Anthony, and C Daniel Kilgore should be included in this haul after they were acquired for the Nos. 111, 147, and 227 picks before the draft.

Grade: B-

New England Patriots

1. (23) Georgia T/G Isaiah Wynn
1. (31) Georgia RB Sony Michel
2. (56) Florida CB Duke Dawson
5. (143) Purdue LB Ja’whaun Bentley
6. (178) Arizona State LB Christian Sam
6. (210) Miami WR Braxton Berrios
7. (219) LSU QB Danny Etling
7. (243) Western Carolina CB Keion Crossen
7. (250) Florida State TE Ryan Izzo

Overview: The Patriots are always a difficult team to assign post-draft “grades” because they view the draft differently than other teams, using their picks as bait to acquire proven veterans and trading down to collect more chances to hit. They take this approach because they understand the NFL draft is a low-probability, luck-driven event. RT Trent Brown, NT Danny Shelton, KR Cordarrelle Patterson, LB Marquis Flowers, and CB Jason McCourty must all be included in the Pats’ draft class because they were acquired for 2018 picks. New England also landed the Bears’ 2019 second-round pick and the Lions’ 2019 third-rounder in trades down. The Pats still solved their left tackle need by selecting Wynn, who allowed just five QB pressures in 15 games at the highest level of college football last year, and added playmaking ability via Michel. Dawson should push for slot corner snaps right away. My favorite late-round stab was Berrios, a twitchy slot prospect with punt return value who will compete to replace Danny Amendola.

Grade: B

New York Jets

1. (3) USC QB Sam Darnold
3. (72) Fort Hays State DT Nathan Shepherd
4. (107) Miami TE Chris Herndon
6. (179) Tulane CB Parry Nickerson
6. (180) UConn DT Foley Fatukasi
6. (204) Virginia State RB Trenton Cannon

Overview: The Jets’ aggressive move to trade three second-round picks to climb just three spots in the draft paid off beautifully, landing top-rated quarterback Darnold after his surprising fall. Shepherd destroyed his D-IAA competition as an athletic space eater, but will be a rare 25-year-old rookie after bouncing around schools. On tape, Herndon reminded me of Charles Clay as an H-back/slot tight end. The Jets got a discount on Herndon because he tore his MCL in the Hurricanes’ regular season finale and could not test at full speed before the draft. Nickerson was one of the best later-round slot cornerback prospects in the draft with 4.32 speed, elite ball skills, and a 45% completion rate allowed when targeted over his final two seasons. As a wide body with plus length and size-adjusted athleticism, Fatukasi should have gone earlier. Cannon is a tiny (5’10/185) scatback without an NFL future. My favorite move of the Jets’ draft was their acquisition of stud DE Henry Anderson from the Colts for the No. 235 pick. When healthy, Anderson is one of the NFL’s best young 3-4 ends.

Grade: A-

Oakland Raiders

1. (15) UCLA OT Kolton Miller
2. (57) Sam Houston State DT P.J. Hall
3. (65) North Carolina A&T OT Brandon Parker
3. (87) LSU DE Arden Key
4. (110) Wisconsin CB Nick Nelson
5. (140) Michigan DT Maurice Hurst
5. (173) Florida P Johnny Townsend
6. (216) Washington ILB Azeem Victor
7. (228) Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman

Overview: The Raiders were one of the NFL’s most active teams on draft weekend, acquiring Martavis Bryant for the 79th pick, trading down before drafting Miller, and trading up for Hurst, Parker, and Key. OL coach Tom Cable was known to be infatuated with Miller’s athleticism despite Miller’s up-and-down tape. Hall was a second-round surprise, but his production and movement ability were off the charts for his size. Parker is a small-school project for Cable to mold. Oakland then took three straight high-risk prospects in Key (off field), Nelson (knee), and Hurst (heart) before replacing Marquette King with big-legged Townsend. Victor also carries several off-field concerns stemming from drugs and DUI. Ateman doesn’t run well enough to make it in the pros. I’m not grading the class highly because I think the Raiders passed on better prospects with their first three picks, but this was an interesting and fun draft to watch unfold. The Raiders embraced and even welcomed volatility and risk from start to finish.

Grade: D+

Pittsburgh Steelers

1. (28) Virginia Tech S/LB Terrell Edmunds
2. (60) Oklahoma State WR James Washington
3. (76) Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph
3. (92) Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor
5. (148) Penn State S Marcus Allen
5. (165) NC State TE/RB Jaylen Samuels
7. (246) Alabama DT Joshua Frazier

Overview: Pittsburgh was known to be targeting safeties in round one, but Edmunds was a surprise selection at No. 28 after a fairly nondescript college career. After Edmunds went off the board, 26 picks lasted before the next safety was drafted. The Steelers may ask Edmunds to play inside linebacker on passing downs. The Steelers turned Martavis Bryant into possible quarterback-of-the-future Rudolph, who was the most aggressive downfield passer in college football last year. Often the recipient of those vertical throws, Washington should see immediate playing time in three-receiver sets alongside Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster following the Bryant trade. Okorafor is a project who tested poorly before the draft but is still growing into his body at age 20. Allen should have a future on special teams and perhaps as a situational strong safety or sub-package linebacker. A swiss-army knife fullback-H-back-running back-tight end, Samuels has mismatch-creating potential if used creatively by OC Randy Fichtner. Frazier is a one-trick-pony run stuffer at nose tackle.

Grade: C-

Tennessee Titans

1. (22) Alabama LB Rashaan Evans
1. (41) Boston College OLB Harold Landry
5. (152) Arizona S Dane Cruikshank
6. (199) Washington State QB Luke Falk

Overview: The Titans wound up making just four selections because they were aggressive in trades up, sending Baltimore the 125th pick to climb three spots for Evans, then sending Oakland the 89th pick to move from 57 to 41 for Landry. Evans and Landry both addressed major needs and put first-round talents in Nashville. Evans upgrades on free-agent loss Avery Williamson at inside linebacker, and Landry was arguably the most dynamic outside pass rusher in the draft. Cruikshank offers safety and corner experience and was one of the top athletes in this year’s secondary class. Falk was a sensible sixth-round stab for a Titans team that has failed to properly back up Marcus Mariota. Although this class lacked quantity, GM Jon Robinson found enough quality to earn a passing grade.

Grade: C+