Silva's AFC Draft Grades

Evan Silva
Rotoworld
Hayden Winks lists the odds to win the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year and shares his five favorite bets, including two sleeper running backs. (Getty Images)
Hayden Winks lists the odds to win the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year and shares his five favorite bets, including two sleeper running backs. (Getty Images)

Baltimore Ravens

1 (25). Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown
3 (85). Louisiana Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson
3 (93). Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin
4 (113). Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill
4 (123). Oklahoma OG Ben Powers
4 (127). USC CB Iman Marshall
5 (160). Texas A&M DT Daylon Mack
6 (197). Penn State QB Trace McSorley

Overview: Speed was the theme of the Ravens’ 2019 draft, first trading back to land DeSean Jackson clone Brown while adding fourth- and sixth-round picks before plucking the draft’s most-athletic tester in Boykin near the bottom of day two, and 4.4-flat homerun hitter Hill near the top of day three. Hill has a chance to be an Alvin Kamara-lite complement to new Ravens lead runner Mark Ingram. Mixed in was Ferguson, who coincidentally broke ex-Raven Terrell Suggs’ all-time NCAA sack record and will now be tasked with replacing him. Ferguson might have been a first-rounder if not for an off-field incident that cost him a Combine invite. The Ravens expect Powers to push Alex Lewis for a starting job immediately, and Mack profiles as a one-dimensional if still-useful role player on early downs. Scouts projected Marshall to move to safety before the draft. Coach Jim Harbaugh suggested the Ravens see McSorley as their version of Taysom Hill. This was, technically, Eric DeCosta’s first full-control draft, and I think he nailed it in terms of players selected, needs addressed, and the beneficial day-one trade down.

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Grade: B+

 

Buffalo Bills

1 (9). Houston DT Ed Oliver
2 (38). Oklahoma T/G Cody Ford
3 (74). Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary
3 (96). Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox
5 (147). Florida LB Vosean Joseph
6 (181). Miami S Jaquan Johnson
7 (225). North Carolina A&T DE Darryl Johnson
7 (228). Boston College TE Tommy Sweeney

Overview: Draft-day reports had Buffalo attempting to trade up for Oliver, so to have him fall directly into the Bills’ lap was nothing short of a coup. GM Brandon Beane took matters into his own hands early on day two, surrendering a fifth-rounder to leap the guard-needy Raiders for Ford, on whom Buffalo’s scouting department placed a first-round grade. Ford will likely be a day-one starter at right guard or right tackle for the Bills. The Singletary pick seemed like overkill considering all the bodies already in Buffalo’s backfield, although LeSean McCoy could be on his way out, and neither Frank Gore nor T.J. Yeldon is a likely 2019 lead back. Singletary was a workhorse and elite tackle breaker at FAU. Knox played in only 18 college games and never scored a touchdown, but the Bills see him as a high-ceiling project after Knox blocked well on Ole Miss tape and tested as the No. 4 SPARQ tight end in this class. Joseph plays with his hair on fire at off-ball linebacker, and Johnson was one of the best tackling safeties in college football. Neither Beane nor coach Sean McDermott should be dissatisfied with this haul.

Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

1 (11). Alabama T/G Jonah Williams
2 (52). Washington TE Drew Sample
3 (72). NC State LB Germaine Pratt
4 (104). NC State QB Ryan Finley
4 (125). Arizona State DT Renell Wren
4 (136). Ohio State G/C Michael Jordan
6 (182). Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams
6 (210). Auburn LB Deshaun Davis
6 (211). Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson
7 (223). South Dakota State CB Jordan Brown

Overview: The Bengals went by the book with first-rounder Williams in a meeting of value and need, but this draft went downhill from there. Blocking TE Sample managed 46 career catches and averaged 10.6 yards per catch as a four-year starter, never earning higher than honorable mention in the Pac 12. Finley is almost 25 years old and at best projects as a long-term backup. Even as both running back picks are intriguing prospects, they seemed like overkill for a team that already rosters Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard at affordable costs. Taking one of them and signing another back in undrafted free agency would have made more sense. Pratt, Wren, and Jordan were quality third/fourth-round stabs and helped Cincinnati’s grade as potential eventual starters. Still, there were at least a dozen prospects that went after Sample who should’ve gone before him, and the same goes for Finley near the top of round four. I think it’s entirely possible the Bengals got only two first-year contributors from this ten-man haul.

Grade: C-

 

Cleveland Browns

2 (46). LSU CB Greedy Williams
3 (80). BYU Sione Takitaki
4 (119). Miami S Sheldrick Redwine
5 (155). Alabama LB Mack Wilson
5 (170). Oklahoma K Austin Seibert
6 (189). Southeast Missouri OG Drew Forbes
7 (221). Tulane CB Donnie Lewis

Overview: Cleveland’s stone-cold robbery of the Giants in the Odell Beckham trade gives this draft class’ grade a rocket booster after New York came away with only Jabrill Peppers, Dexter Lawrence, and Oshane Ximines in exchange for a Hall of Fame talent. Stopping Williams’ reportedly medical-related freefall is another feather in GM John Dorsey’s cap; there wasn’t a better press corner in this draft. Takitaki is an over-aged off-ball linebacker who had a tumultuous college career, and Redwine is a height-weight-speed project who may max out on special teams. Wilson gives the Browns a potential fallback option if they don’t extend MLB Joe Schobert’s deal, and Forbes is a plus athlete who dominated his FCS competition but is limited by short arms. All in all, I found this to be a boom-or-bust draft. When you factor in OBJ, of course, it becomes an exponentially more impressive haul.

Grade: A-

 

Denver Broncos

1 (20). Iowa TE Noah Fant
2 (41). Kansas State T/G Dalton Risner
2 (42). Missouri QB Drew Lock
3 (71). Ohio State Dre’Mont Jones
5 (156). Oregon DE Justin Hollins
6 (187). Colorado WR Juwann Winfree

Overview: Joe Flacco is included in this class after Denver acquired him for the No. 113 pick. GM John Elway executed a savvy day-one trade with the Steelers, netting the No. 52 pick and Pittsburgh’s 2020 third-rounder in exchange for a ten-slot first-round drop, there knocking out a need with the draft’s most-athletic tight end in Fant. Risner is the Broncos’ probable new starting right guard, Lock is their potential quarterback of the future, and Jones offers immediate-impact potential as a sub-package inside rusher. Hollins blends plus athleticism with plus college production and will help replace Shaq Barrett behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. I think Elway maximized his picks, pulled off a very plus-expected-value trade, gave himself monster upside if Lock becomes a hit, added a future day-two selection, and got three probable year-one impact players from this six-man class. That’s pretty good.

Grade: B+

 

Houston Texans

1 (23). Alabama OT Tytus Howard
2 (54). Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson
2 (55). Northern Illinois T/G Max Scharping
3 (86). San Diego State TE Kahale Warring
5 (161). Texas DE Charles Omenihu
6 (195). Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford
7 (220). Texas A&M RB Cullen Gillaspia

Overview: The Texans’ draft began in disastrous fashion, getting leapfrogged by Eagles wizard GM Howie Roseman to Andre Dillard, for whom Philadelphia traded up at No. 22. Texans GM Brian Gaine accepted the loss, simply looking directly down his offensive line board and settling for small-schooler Howard, who will frighteningly be counted on as a first-year starter straight out of the FCS. Gaine bounced back on day two for a plus-traits press corner in Johnson and 53-game college starter Scharping, who reminds of Saints LG Andrus Peat. Warring was a terrific in-line blocker at SDSU, but his passing-game projection is up in the air based on his limited receiving resume. Omenihu best projects as a five-technique end at 280 pounds with 36-inch arms. Crawford is too small to cover outside and not physical enough to man the slot. All in all, I thought this was a mixed-bag draft.

Grade: C-

 

Indianapolis Colts

2 (34). Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin
2 (49). TCU DE Ben Banogu
2 (59). Ohio State WR Parris Campbell
3 (89). Stanford LB Bobby Okereke
4 (109). Michigan State Khari Willis
5 (144). USC S Marvell Tell
5 (164). Tarleton State LB E.J. Speed
6 (199). Mississippi State DE Gerri Green
7 (240). Utah OT Jackson Barton
7 (246). Ole Miss C Javon Patterson

Overview: On-fire Colts GM Chris Ballard’s first move of the 2019 draft was to trade down and keep his future draft-capital cupboard stocked, accepting a 20-spot plunge from No. 26 to 46 but netting the Redskins’ 2020 second-round pick. Ballard also landed a near-free fifth-round dart by sliding from No. 46 to No. 49 in a deal with the Browns. Ballard crushed it on day two with Ya-Sin – the No. 1 corner on Indy’s board – Banogu, the most-athletic edge player in this year’s draft, speedy slot-receiver upgrade Campbell, and rangy off-ball LB Okereke, who reminds of a poor man’s K.J. Wright. Ballard executed a rare trade up for Willis on day three; the Michigan State alum offers plus versatility with experience at both safety spots and covering the slot. Tell, a freakshow athlete with a 42-inch vertical and 6.63 three-cone time, was viewed as a potential press-cornerback convert after playing safety for the Trojans. The Colts entered this draft with very few needs, addressed whatever weaknesses they did have, got lots better as a team, and netted a potential 2020 top-50 pick in the Redskins deal. Just Ballard being Ballard.

Grade: A

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

1 (7). Kentucky DE Josh Allen
2 (35). Florida OT Jawaan Taylor
3 (69). San Jose State TE Josh Oliver
3 (98). Murray State Quincy Williams
5 (140). Temple RB Ryquell Armstead
6 (178). Washington State QB Gardner Minshew|
7 (235). Auburn DT Dontavius Russell

Overview: Jacksonville was the top beneficiary of the Raiders’ Clelin Ferrell overdraft and Giants’ panic reach for Daniel Jones, as SEC sack machine Allen fell right into GM Dave Caldwell’s lap. A true edge bender, Allen finished second in the nation in sacks (17) last year and offers legitimate coverage skills as a cross between Von Miller and Anthony Barr. Taylor fell over knee concerns, but he was another easy by-the-board pick at No. 35 to round out an offensive line that should be among the best in the league if it gets better injury luck. Oliver is a possession-slot tight end prospect. Armstead posted one of the top Speed Scores in this year’s running back class with a 4.45 forty at 220 pounds, although the rest of his workout metrics disappointed, and Armstead was never much of a passing-game contributor at Temple. Minshew finished fifth in 2018 Heisman voting and was a worthwhile sixth-round dart. Williams was the most surprising pick with limited production at Murray State; his claims to fame are a 4.56 forty time and being Quinnen Williams’ brother. Overall, I saw this as a solid meat-and-potatoes draft, although I was disappointed the Jaguars didn’t add more to their pass-catcher corps.

Grade: B-

Kansas City Chiefs

2 (56). Georgia WR Mecole Hardman
2 (63). Virginia S Juan Thornhill
3 (84). Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders
6 (201). South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton
6 (214). Utah State RB Darwin Thompson
7 (216). Illinois OG Nick Allegretti

Overview: Frank Clark is factored into Kansas City’s draft grade after the Chiefs got him for the 29th overall pick, which Seattle underwhelmingly used on L.J. Collier. GM Brett Veach’s first day-two move involved trading up five slots to secure Hardman in a deal that cost Kansas City its fifth-round pick. Hardman caught only 59 passes in his three-year college career but was the best punt returner in the draft and runs 4.33. I've likened him to Marquise Goodwin; Patrick Mahomes will probably turn him into the next Tyreek Hill. Thornhill was a late second-round steal with elite ball skills, athleticism, and coverage ability after holding opponents targeting him to a 43.8 passer rating and 41.9% completion rate in 2018. A 6-foot, 324-pound fire hydrant with legitimate up-field disruption skills, Saunders offers a high ceiling next to interior sack machine Chris Jones. Thompson has a chance to be a day-three steal as another elite athlete who averaged an absurd 5.1 yards after contact per carry in the Mountain West last season before destroying Utah State’s Pro Day for a 4.5 forty, 39-inch vertical, and 6.93 three-cone time. Including Clark, this draft haul has more upside than initially meets the eye.

Grade: B

 

Los Angeles Chargers

1 (28). Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery
2 (60). Delaware S Nasir Adderley
3 (91). Sioux Falls T/G Trey Pipkins
4 (130). Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill
5 (166). North Dakota State QB Easton Stick
6 (200). Houston LB Emeke Egbule
7 (242). Cincinnati OT Cortez Broughton

Overview: Tillery passes the eye test as a DeForest Buckner-level presence getting off the bus, but he lasted until the late first round due to on-field consistency concerns. He did hammer a huge need after the Chargers lost Darius Philon and Corey Liuget, and Tillery’s ceiling remains high if he buys into Gus Bradley’s coaching. Adderley had some first-round grades as an interception magnet with cornerback experience. He’ll play the Earl Thomas role opposite All-World SS Derwin James. Pipkins may not be pro ready making a massive jump in competition, but he crushed East-West Shrine practices after allowing two career sacks as a 43-start left tackle and tested as a top-ten athlete among O-Linemen invited to the Combine. Tranquill fits the new-age NFL as a safety-turned-linebacker, and Egbule profiles similarly. Stick went 49-3 after succeeding Carson Wentz for the NDSU Bison. I’m a big fan of these individual players, but I still wanted the Bolts to draft more surefire instant-impact blocking help for Philip Rivers up front.

Grade: B-

 

Miami Dolphins

1 (13). Clemson DT Christian Wilkins
3 (78). Wisconsin OG Michael Deiter
5 (151). Wisconsin LB Andrew Van Ginkel
6 (202). Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince
7 (233). Auburn RB Chandler Cox
7 (234). Washington RB Myles Gaskin

Overview: Josh Rosen is part of this haul after the Dolphins acquired him for the 62nd pick. They will owe Rosen just $6.3 million over the next three years. The extreme low-cost flyer makes all kinds of sense for a rebuild-committed team that has properly self diagnosed. GM Chris Grier pulled off another forward-thinking deal by flipping No. 48 for No. 62, No. 202, and the Saints’ 2020 second-round pick. Wilkins projects as a high-floor building-block up front, and Deiter earned 2018 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year after making starts at guard, center, and left tackle in his career. He should not struggle to win a rookie-year starting job on Miami’s talent-poor offensive line. None of the Dolphins' day-three picks jump off the page as steals or obvious duds, but I think we should appreciate this team’s overall approach. The Fins have set themselves up to lead the league in 2020 draft capital with a realistic chance at the top pick in each round next year, including No. 1 overall. Short-term sacrifices for long-term gains.

Grade: C+

 

New England Patriots

1 (32). Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry
2 (45). Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams
3 (77). Michigan DE Chase Winovich
3 (87). Alabama RB Damien Harris
3 (101). West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste
4 (118). Arkansas C/G Hjalte Froholdt
4 (133). Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham
5 (159). Maryland DT Byron Cowart
5 (163). Stanford P Jacob Bailey
7 (252). Ole Miss CB Ken Webster

Overview: Josh Gordon is part of this class after the Pats acquired him for the No. 170 pick, which the Browns used on a kicker. New England also snagged Chicago’s 2020 fourth-rounder in a day-two trade down; the Bears used the acquired pick on a running back. Bill Belichick proceeded to crush pick after pick, landing a powerful possession receiver with elite post-catch production in Harry, a 6-foot-4 bump-and-run corner who generated first-round grades in Williams, Rob Ninkovich clone Winovich, 2018’s Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in Cajuste, and flexible center/guard prospect Froholdt, who allowed just five QB pressures and zero sacks last year. I wasn’t impressed with Harris on tape, but he is a do-it-all back who will probably look good in New England’s system. Stidham was viewed as a candidate to be 2019’s No. 1 pick before a down senior year. No team understands the uncertainty of the draft better than the Patriots, and that’s why they consistently trade down, stockpile picks, are willing to trade picks for proven veterans like Gordon and Michael Bennett, and stay running circles around the league.

Grade: A

 

New York Jets

1 (3). Alabama DT Quinnen Williams
3 (68). Florida DE Jachai Polite
3 (92). USC OT Chuma Edoga
4 (121). West Virginia OT Trevon Wesco
5 (157). Minnesota LB Blake Cashman
6 (196). Rutgers CB Blessuan Austin

Overview: Kelechi Osemele is part of this year’s draft class after the Jets acquired him from the Raiders in a pick-swap trade. Ignoring DC Gregg WilliamsEd Oliver infatuation, Gang Green instead took the best player available in Williams at No. 3 and should field one of the NFL’s premier interior pass rushes for the foreseeable future. Polite’s pre-draft process couldn’t have gone much worse from interviews to his lackluster Pro Day and Combine performances, but he was a difference-making pass rusher in the SEC and was flyer worthy in round three. Behind only Andre Dillard, Edoga earned PFF College’s No. 2 pass-protection grade among draft-eligible offensive tackles as a senior at USC. Wesco projects as a blocking complement to Chris Herndon with some short-area receiving ability. Cashman erupted as a senior off-ball linebacker for the Gophers and crushed the Combine for 91st-percentile SPARQ results. I would like to have seen the Jets trade down in this draft and stockpile more picks, but I think they did well with what they had. Expect them to be active in post-draft free agency, ideally targeting a center.

Grade: B-

 

Oakland Raiders

1 (4). Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell
1 (24). Alabama RB Josh Jacobs
1 (27). Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram
2 (40). Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen
4 (106). Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby
4 (129). Houston CB Isaiah Johnson
4 (137). LSU TE Foster Moreau
5 (149). Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow
7 (230). Prairie View A&M DE Quinton Bell

Overview: I was prepared to give the Raiders a low draft grade after they used their three first-rounders on a severe No. 4 overall reach, a running back who never even started on his college team, and a box safety. But GM Mike Mayock did impressive work on days two and three, stealing speedy press corner and National Championship game MVP Mullen at No. 40, hyper-athletic edge rusher Crosby early in the fourth, high-upside wideout-turned-press corner Johnson, and Moreau, who popped on LSU tape for his blocking before testing as the No. 3 tight end athlete in this class behind only the Iowa guys. Renfrow is a quality slot prospect, and Bell is another converted wideout who destroyed his Pro Day. Mayock’s approach wound up being savvy. He focused on high-floor, plus-character individuals on day one, then chased upside for the rest of the draft. Despite the roughly 15-slot reach on Ferrell, this wound up as one of the league’s more impressive draft hauls when you include the addition of Antonio Brown. The third- and fifth-round picks Oakland surrendered for A.B. turned into Toledo returner/slot WR Diontae Johnson and plodding Michigan TE Zach Gentry.

Grade: A-

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (10). Michigan LB Devin Bush
2 (66). Toledo WR Diontae Johnson
3 (83). Michigan State CB Justin Layne
4 (122). Kentucky RB Benny Snell
5 (141). Michigan TE Zach Gentry
6 (175). Northern Illinois OLB Sutton Smith
6 (192). Alabama DT Isaiah Buggs
6 (207). Akron LB Ulysees Gilbert
7 (219). Maryland OT Derwin Gray

Overview: Even if GM Kevin Colbert felt he had to do it, turning Antonio Brown into returner/slot guy Johnson and Jesse James clone Gentry reflects poorly from an on-paper grading standpoint. And Colbert kicked off the draft with a desperate trade up, sending the 52nd pick and next year’s third-rounder to Denver for an off-ball linebacker at No. 10 overall. Layne’s production-athleticism combo made him a worthwhile third-round target for Pittsburgh’s cornerback need, but Snell was a poor fourth-round investment with minimal receiving production and brutal athletic results. Smith reminded me of Shea McClellin during the pre-draft phase as a big-time small-school producer with a questionable position fit. Buggs projects as a one-trick, two-down role player. When considering all factors – including trading a Hall of Famer for peanuts – this was one of the most disappointing hauls in the league.

Grade: D

 

Tennessee Titans

1 (19). Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons
2 (51). Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown
3 (82). UNC-Charlotte OG Nate Davis
4 (116). Iowa S Amani Hooker
5 (168). Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker
6 (188). West Virginia LB David Long

Overview: Ryan Tannehill and Kamalei Correa are also members of this class after the Titans acquired them for 2019 picks. I’ve struggled to get behind the process of the Simmons pick because GM Jon Robinson’s job could hang in the balance if the Titans don’t take a 2019 step after three straight 9-7 seasons. Simmons (ACL) is highly unlikely to contribute this year. Each of the next five guys Robinson took very well could, however. A poor man’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, Brown was the highest-floor wide receiver prospect in this class and promisingly rounds out Tennessee’s three-wide set with Corey Davis and Adam Humphries. Davis is a bully in the trenches, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start at right guard in Week 1. Derrick Henry will love running behind him. Hooker earned 2018 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, then shined in Indy with a 4.48 forty and 6.81 three-cone time. A projected day-two pick, Walker’s fall was stunning as a player whose tape reminds of old Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley. Long is going to be a core special teamer. I wanted to see the Titans get immediate impact out of the first round, but beyond that quibble I think Robinson took advantage of the capital he had.

Grade: B-

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