Redrafting the Top 10 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft

The 2010 NFL Draft Class was known for a very disappointing group of quarterbacks and impressive defensive depth. We re-drafted the top 10 picks of that draft class, and found that there were some accuracies, but we saw some movement, with one player moving up from the fourth round and into the top ten.

These picks were made assuming the team would generally still want to address the same position – hence why sixth-rounder Antonio Brown doesn’t make the list, as there were no receivers taken until pick #22 in 2010. If there was not a suitable first round draft pick within a certain position, the pick was made taking into account the best available players and/or their next biggest need. Did your team make a mistake, or did they correctly identify the pick?

1. St. Louis Rams – Earl Thomas (Original Pick: Sam Bradford)
Bradford did end up being the best quarterback of the 2010 draft, but that wasn’t saying much, as the class was filled with busts at the position. Tim Tebow lit things up for a season, but he quickly fizzled. Bradford won 18 games over parts of five seasons for the Rams and then bounced around to three other teams, but he hasn’t played since 2018. So despite the Rams desperately needing a quarterback, there simply wasn’t one worth taking with the first overall pick. So they’ll address their next biggest need in the secondary with Texas defensive back Earl Thomas (don’t mind the recent headlines). Earl Thomas has been a staple of the Seattle secondary, which is unfortunate for the division rival Rams, who now face him twice a year rather than having them as their defensive cornerstone. 

2. Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh (Original Pick: Suh)
The Lions made the right choice in talent by picking Suh, who to this point has been the best defensive tackle of this very solid draft class. Character wise is a different question, but if we’re looking at on field production, taking the Nebraska star here was the right pick. 

3.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Geno Atkins (Original Pick: Gerald McCoy)
McCoy was a great pick, but Atkins competes for Suh for being the best defensive tackle of this class. He was an absolute steal in the fourth round for the Bengals, so he jumps up to third overall in this redraft. McCoy is good – Atkins is better. 

4. Washington Redskins – Trent Williams (Original Pick: Williams)
Best tackle in the draft class, and he’s played 120 games with the ‘Skins. Solid franchise tackle picked up at #4 here. 

5. Kansas City Chiefs – Devin McCourty (Original Pick: Eric Berry)
This isn’t much against Berry, who was a spectacular asset for Kansas City, but McCourty is still  playing, and has been a franchise player for the New England Patriots. Obviously due to factors outside his control, Berry was unable to play consistently after 2016, and this was a deep class of defensive backs, so the Cheifs go with McCourty here at 5th overall. 

6. Seattle Seahawks – Russell Okung (Original Pick: Okung)
By overall value, Okung was the right pick for the Seahawks in this situation – the tough pill to swallow for Seattle fans is that Okung developed consistency after leaving the Legion of Boom. His best three-year stretch was from 2016-2018 with the Broncos and Chargers, but the Seahwaks needed a tackle and picking up the Oklahoma State product was a great move, even if didn’t work out perfectly. 

7. Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden (Original Pick: Haden)
A lot of the teams in first round did get their pick right, as Haden was a great selection  – unfortunately for the Browns, he has had a career resurgence with division rival Pittsburgh. However, Haden gave the Browns probably the two best seasons of his career in 2013-2014, and with a lot of teams seeking secondary help, he’s solid value at seventh overall, with McCourty and Thomas off the board. 

8. Oakland Raiders – Sean Lee (Original Pick: Rolando McClain)
Sean Lee has become a franchise linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, but at the time, the Penn State product was not considered one of the top five at his position in his class. Instead, the Raiders went with McClain, whose career was over in four years. Outside of some injury problems, Sean Lee has been a huge asset for Dallas, and Oakland would love to get this one back. 

9. Buffalo Bills – C.J. Spiller (Original Pick: Spiller)
Running backs don’t have a long shelf life in the NFL, so Spiller’s seven-year career, mostly spent with Buffalo, is very solid, and he was the best back in a pretty shaky group in this 2010 draft. The Bills wanted help in the backfield, and Spiller, drafted out of Clemson before they became Goliaths in college football, gave the Bills his three best seasons from 2011-2013, including a Pro-Bowl effort in 2012. 

10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Gerald McCoy (Original Pick: Tyson Alualu) 

Alualu was a solid, if unspectacular, defensive tackle for the Jaguars, and he is still playing today, but as mentioned previously, this was a ridiculously deep class of defensive tackles. McCoy was originally taken third overall, but with the true value of Geno Atkins revealed, he’s here for the taking with the tenth pick. A six-time Pro-Bowler and one time All-Pro, McCoy has been a defensive stalwart for the Buccaneers, and he is simply the superior pick to Alualu, who has never had a Pro-Bowl season despite his impressive longevity.

Kirby Smart made J.K. Dobbins a draft-day steal

In the 2020 NFL Draft, with the 55th pick, deep into the second round, the Baltimore Ravens added to their lethal offense by grabbing a running back in J.K. Dobbins. While the title of ‘steal of the draft’ can go to a bevy of different players, Dobbins can most certainly stake his claim. Four years ago, in the 2016 NFL Draft, fellow Ohio State running back alumnus Ezekiel Elliot tore up the Big 10 and college football, and he was rewarded by being taken with the fourth overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, where he has developed into one of the best backs in the NFL. So it makes sense that when a player at the same position, with better stats, from the same program, emerges four years later, he would also be a prized first round pick. Yet Dobbins slipped a stunning 51 slots past where the Baltimore Ravens happily snared the Ohio State product. 

So what caused Dobbins to slip so far, where he became one of the best second-round value picks, and one of the best selections of the draft overall? There’s a few reasons, but we can start by thanking Kirby Smart of Georgia. This may be a strange place to start, but there’s a good reason for it. Kirby Smart landed a talented quarterback recruit in Jacob Eason, who was impressive in his freshman year, although the Bulldogs struggled through a disappointing 8-5 season. When Eason went down with an injury in the opening game of his sophomore season, true freshman Jake Fromm took the reins. He beat Notre Dame on the road – the last team to beat the Irish in South Bend to this date – in his first career start, and he led Georgia to the national championship game, where they suffered a heartbreaking loss to Alabama. Fromm’s success led to Kirby Smart naming him the starter, and Eason transferring to Washington.

As Fromm began his sophomore campaign, he was pressured for the starting job by star freshman recruit Justin Fields. Despite the jaw-dropping talent and athleticism Fields brought to the table, Smart kept Jake Fromm as his quarterback, despite Fromm having eclipsed 200 passing yards just five times in fifteen game his freshman year. While Fromm had a good career with Georgia, he was rarely more than a game manager, as the Bulldogs’ ground-and-pound style took most of the pressure off his shoulders. He led Georgia to an 11-3 record, again only breaking the 200-yard mark five times, never making an impact in the ground game, and losing their biggest games of the year against LSU, Alabama, and Texas. In the process, Fromm fell to 0-4 in his collegiate career in games where he attempted more than 30 passes. He finished his career at Georgia 0-6 in such contests. Despite exhibiting the signs of a decent quarterback who could never carry a team, Smart continually stuck with Fromm, forcing Fields out of Athens. Fields transferred to Ohio State, where he instantly became a star. 

Despite the extremely talented Dobbins being a major part of the offense, it was Fields who ran the show in Columbus. Whereas Fromm rarely did much to carry Georgia, Fields eclipsed that 200-yard mark 10 times, and he also contributed to the rushing attack. In six games against ranked opponents, Fields garnered 300 all-purpose yards three times, and put up at least 260 yards five times. While Fields garnered all the headlines, Dobbins chugged away out of the backfield, putting up ridiculous numbers and going relatively unnoticed. With their rookie darling quarterback making all the headlines, Dobbins quietly torched opposing defenses. He kicked off the season with a pedestrian 91-yard performance, but he quickly turned it up a notch, with at least 120 rushing yards in six of his next seven contests. In all seven of those games, he averaged at least 6.5 yards per carry. 

Ohio State’s last four games came against highly ranked opponents in Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Clemson. In those four contests, Dobbins pounded out 157, 211, 172, and then 174 yards against some of the best run defenses in the country. With the lights at their brightest and the competition at its best, Dobbins elevated his game to a whole different level. While he was regarded as one of the better running backs in this year’s draft class, Dobbins never gained the pre-draft hype that Elliot did back in 2016. But his stats, across the board, were superior to the current Dallas star. Dobbins had nearly 200 more rushing yards, averaged more yards per game, and yards per carry. They were equal with 23 touchdowns, and that was with Dobbins being far from the focal piece of the offense. Elliot had quarterback Cardale Jones, an eventual fourth round pick who has yet to gain a permanent foothold in the NFL, leading the way, while Dobbins had a potential #1 overall pick in next year’s draft taking away from his stats. Meanwhile, fellow running backs Jonathan Taylor, who was the workhorse at Wisconsin, De’Andre Swift, the feature back in Athens who kept the pressure off of Jake Fromm, Cam Akers, who dealt with a horrific offensive line at Florida State, and Clyde Edwards-Hillaire out of LSU all were drafted ahead of Dobbins, who nearly slipped all the way into the third round. 

It was an absolute steal for the Ravens to pick up Dobbins, and Baltimore wasn’t even supposed to be searching for a running back. With dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram leading the ground game, the Ravens had little reason to add Dobbins to the offense, other than the fact that it was utterly ridiculous he was on the board still late. There’s such a thing as addressing needs to a fault, or overthinking a draft pick. A lot of teams showed that by passing up on a clear first-round talent in Dobbins. While I can see one, maybe two of the aforementioned backs going ahead of Dobbins, that four teams decided they needed a running back and didn’t go with an absolute stud out of one of the premier programs in the country is insane, and there’s going to be a lot of regretful teams when Dobbins becomes a star in Baltimore.
So the Ravens will thank all the teams that passed on Dobbins, and by extension, they’ll thank Kirby Smart, the man who forced Justin Fields out of town and into Columbus, where he overshadowed the biggest steal of the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Despite Criticism, Michigan Football Remains Elite

You can say what you want about the success of Jim Harbaugh since he took over the head coaching job at Michigan back in 2015. In Harbaugh’s tenure, the Wolverines are just 47-18, have lost at least three games in every season, are only 1-4 in bowl games, and they haven’t beaten their hated rival Ohio State. But Harbaugh has had one major success at Michigan that is undeniable: He produces pros. 

The 2016-17 season at the University of Michigan was the best season Jim Harbaugh has had in Ann Arbor. In his second season as head coach the Wolverines finished the season at 10-3 losing two games by one point and the other in triple overtime, a couple of bounces away from the Playoff. But it is what happened that off-season that is even greater. 

Two big things happened for Michigan that off-season. In two years Harbaugh took in a group of underclassmen that he did not recruit and developed them into the largest draft class in Michigan history. After only having 3 players drafted in 2016, the Wolverines had 11 players selected in the 2017 draft, two of them going in the first round, the most of any team in college football. 

What also happened in the  2017 off-season is that Michigan brought in the 5th ranked recruiting class in the country, sandwiched between the 4th ranked class of USC and Florida State at #6. In three seasons, Harbaugh turned that fifth-ranked recruiting class into 10 picks in the 2020 draft, the second most of all of college football. USC and Flordia State had 3 combined players picked in this year’s draft.  

It is easy to criticize the job that Jim Harbaugh has done as the head football coach at the University of Michigan. But, after playing 14 seasons and coaching 4 years in the NFL and reaching the Super Bowl he knows what it takes to become a professional football player, and that is exactly what he turns his players into. In Harbaugh’s 5 years at Michigan, he has had 31 of his players drafted, five of them in the first round. So despite being underwhelming in the win and loss column, Michigan recruits at a high level, and they turn that talent into NFL-ready players. Make no mistake, the Wolverines are still a college football powerhouse.

2020 NFL Draft Reactions Episode: Oregon as RBU? Michigan a big draft winner?

If you’re tired of the same old “Which NFL teams won and lost the 2020 NFL Draft”, but want to still relive the only live sporting event of the past month and a half, then please check out our latest episode! We launch a must-watch show on which players made a mistake by entering this most recent draft, which college programs won and lost the draft, and who is QBU, RBU, and WRU right now in the world of college football. Check out a hot (or really cold?) take by Andrew, some controversial arguments by Cal, and Nathaniel’s undying love for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Cal Christoforo’s 3 Winners and Losers of the Draft: Where does Jalen Hurts fall?

Winner – Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals weren’t known to be searching for defense in the first round, but they obtained an absolute steal with the eighth overall pick, grabbing Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson. Simmons is listed as an outside linebacker, but he can truly play anywhere on the defensive side of the ball, and the fact that he was available at #8 was very surprising. It looked like Arizona had forfeited their chance to grab an impact player at offensive tackle, their biggest need, but somehow, in the third round, Houston tackle Josh Jones, ranked 17th overall on CBS’s draft board, was still available. The Cardinals grabbed the first round talent there, walking away with two steals. Considering their second round pick was part of the deal for DeAndre Hopkins, and the Cardinals were pretty happy with the usage of their top picks. 


Loser – Jalen Hurts

Doug Pederson may find a way to use Hurts in some creative packages, but ultimately, Jalen Hurts wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and he’s now stuck behind Carson Wentz, who is locked in for another four years in Philadelphia. It’s going to be tough for Hurts to develop, especially considering Pederson’s commitment to Wentz. If winning a Super Bowl isn’t enough to supplant Wentz, nor is his multitude of injuries, it’s going to be a long road for hurts to gain prominence at the next level.

Winner – Wide Receivers
Wide receivers flew off the board left and right, with thirty-seven total receivers hearing their name called this past weekend. Six came in the first round, and seven more in the second, as NFL squads showed a desperate wish to grab receivers, finding value in all seven rounds. As dynamic offenses continue to take hold in the NFL, skill position players, particularly receivers, are becoming huge value picks. 

Loser – Las Vegas Raiders

Henry Ruggs was a good pick, but the Raiders started reaching with Damon Arnette, and then they took two more offensive players. I get offense is the new premium in the NFL, but when you’re in a division with Patrick Mahomes, you simply have to get some impact defensive players, and the Raiders just didn’t do that. Considering the Broncos and Chargers really putting together strong drafts, the Raiders could find them at the bottom of the AFC West next season. 

Winner – LSU
14 draft picks. Absolutely absurd. LSU set all kind of records, including an SEC record with 14 picks, along with becoming the first team to have their quarterback, wide receiver, and running back selected in the first round, as Clyde-Edwards Hillaire snuck in with the final pick of the round. Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Patrick Queen made it 5 LSU players taken in the first round. You can say what you want about how last year was just an anomaly, how LSU is not really the power of the SEC, but 14 draft picks will get you somewhere in recruiting, and that’s undeniable. Also, bonus points for LSU breaking the prior SEC record of 12 draft picks by getting long snapper Blake Ferguson picked in the sixth round. You love to see that. 

Loser – ACC

This is specifically targeted at the ACC not including Clemson. Clemson had a decent draft day, as would be expected from one of the top programs in the country, but the ACC in general struggled. In the first two rounds, only 3 non-Clemson ACC players heard their name called, and only one of those was in the first round (Mekhi Becton, Louisville). Running backs Cam Akers of Florida State and AJ Dillon of Boston College were the only other ACC players to leave the draft board. As Clemson continues to dominate the ACC, the lack of NFL interest in the other teams in the conference is a tough look for teams looking to recruit heavily and begin to compete with the Tigers once more.

2020 NFL Draft Ratings and Rankings, 8-1: Bengals and Jaguars near the top, but who’s #1?

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and while there will still be flurries of signings of undrafted free agents, it’s time to hand out the grades for who nailed the draft, and who is left with more questions than answers. Here are my official draft rankings and ratings, from worst to first. Here are my top eight!
Note: Especially in the top eight, the ‘worst’ pick was usually just a position I felt didn’t need to be addressed as soon as it was. It very rarely has anything to do with the player, unless there was a clear steal available that the team passed on.

 8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Rating 67 out of 100)
Best Pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (Round 1, Pick 13)
Worst Pick: Tyler Johnson WR, (Round 5, Pick 16)
1-Sentence Analysis: I was confused why the Bucs traded up one spot in the first round to get Wirfs, who the 49ers probably weren’t targeting, but they still took the right guy there, and they filled most of their needs, really nailing their first three picks in my opinion, but I would have liked them to the defensive tackle position earlier, as adding a 5th-round receiver to the strongest part of their team does little to improve their chances of winning right away. 

7. Houston Texans (Rating 68 out of 100)
Best Pick: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU (Round 2, Pick 8)
Worst Pick: John Reid, CB, Penn State (Round 4, Pick 35)
1-Sentence Analysis: I’ll stand up for Bill O’Brien here, as I actually didn’t think Houston bombed the draft like many say they did, picking up a great talent in Blacklock, a late-round flier at receiver Isaiah Coulter, and some decent value in the trenches to both adequately fill needs and build for the future, although they probably could have done better at cornerback, as Virginia’s Bryce Hall was still available. 

6. Miami Dolphins (Rating 72 out of 100)
Best Pick: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama (Round 2, Pick 24)
Worst Pick: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn (Round 1, Pick 30)
1-Sentence Analysis: Miami was superb with attention to detail, filling lots of little holes – they even added a really good long snapper to shore up their special teams – with pretty good value, adding intriguing prospects for much of the draft, although I think I would have preferred to see Miami get a playmaker cornerback with some bigger upside with their first round pick. 

5. Baltimore Ravens (78 out of 100)
Best Pick: Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU (Round 1, Pick 28)
Worst Pick: Tyre Phillips, OT, Mississippi State (Round 3, Pick 42)
1-Sentence Analysis: The Ravens are entering a championship-or-bust window, and they excelled in picking up guys that look NFL-ready, securing huge steals in Queen, and running back JK Dobbins, and several others, filling most of their needs – Phillips is a great developmental pick, he just seemed to fit outside the ‘win-now’ mode Baltimore is in, considering they spent a third-rounder on him. 

4. Cincinnati Bengals (81 out of 100)
Best Pick: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (Round 2, Pick 1)
Worst Pick: Khalid Kareem, DE, Notre Dame (Round 5, Pick 1)
1-Sentence Analysis: Adding Higgins to give Burrow an immediate weapon was a stroke of genius, and the Bengals did a great job filling needs and finding great value along the way, as Kareem gets the nod as ‘worst pick’ largely because he, in my opinion, has the lowest ceiling, but he could still be a decent impact player for the Bengals. 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (82 out of 100)
Best Pick: K’Lavon Chaisson (Round 1, Pick 20)
Worst Pick: Laviska Shenault Jr (Round 2, Pick 10)
1-Sentence Analysis: Jacksonville came in with a wealth of draft picks and they filled most of their major needs, making a great call on Chaisson to fill a hole at linebacker in the first round, getting great value at receiver in Collin Johnson in the fifth round, grabbing a sixth-round quarterback to keep some competition for Gardner Minshew, and the only thing I would have liked to see is prioritizing a tight end selection earlier than the 6th round (Cole Kmet was available when they took Shenault).

2. Arizona Cardinals (89 out of 100)
Best Pick: Josh Jones, OT, Houston (Round 3, Pick 8)
Worst Pick: Evan Weaver, ILB, California (Round 6, Pick 23)
1-Sentence Analysis: Arizona was able to surprisingly grab defensive swiss-army-knife Isaiah Simmons with the eighth overall pick, and despite not picking until the third round, got amazing value in Jones while filling their biggest need, and they went on to add a pair of intriguing defensive tackles that should fill a hole for the Cardinals, as, all-in-all, my only minor complaint is their refusal to go get another wide receiver for Kyler Murray, but their earlier trade for DeAndre Hopkins helps alleviate that grievance.

1. Minnesota Vikings (91 out of 100)
Best Pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (Round 1, Pick 22)
Worst Pick: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State (Round 3, Pick 25)
1-Sentence Analysis: The Vikings had 14 draft picks and did well to cover all their needs, getting a steal at receiver in Jefferson, trading back and getting a good corner in Jeff Gladney, another major steal at offensive tackle in Ezra Cleveland, and that was just the start of an excellent weekend for Minnesota, whose biggest (and very minor) regret may be taking two cornerbacks in their first four picks, but you can still argue it was a position of need, and Dantzler is a very good prospect.

2020 NFL Draft Ratings and Rankings, 16-9: Was Carolina’s all-defense draft the right move?

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and while there will still be flurries of signings of undrafted free agents, it’s time to hand out the grades for who nailed the draft, and who is left with more questions than answers. Here are my official draft rankings and ratings, from worst to first. 

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (54 out of 100)
Best Pick: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame (Round 2, Pick 17)
Worst Pick: Kevin Dotson, OG, Louisiana (Round 4, Pick 29)
1-Sentence Analysis: Pittsburgh nailed it early, addressing two of their biggest needs at receiver and outside lineback in their first two picks, but the rest of their draft was a bit sketchy, as they didn’t grab a tight end, or a quarterback to groom in a division that has Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Baker Mayfield. 

15. New York Jets (55 out of 100)

Best Pick: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor (Round 2, Pick 27)
Worst Pick: James Morgan, QB, Florida International (Round 4, Pick 19)

1-Sentence Analysis: The Jets passed on their pick of the litter from this year’s receiver class to get a monster in Mekhi Becton, and they still stole Mims off the board late in the second round, but things got confusing on day 3, when the Jets took a quarterback despite a promising Darnold under center, and they failed to draft any linebackers, most definitely a need for a New York team in an AFC East that’s there for the taking. 

14. Philadelphia Eagles (58 out of 100)
Best Pick: Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado (Round 3, Pick 39)
Worst Pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (Round 1, Pick 21)
1-Sentence Analysis: CeeDee Lamb came within four spots of the Eagles, but Philly didn’t make a move to trade up and watched him fall to the Cowboys, and then they grabbed Reagor, who I didn’t think was the best available by any means, but the Eagles redeemed themselves with a great pick in Jalen Hurts and an intriguing selection of Taylor, whose speed and versatility can make an immediate impact in their defense. 

13. Los Angeles Chargers (61 out of 100)
Best Pick: K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State (Round 7, Pick 6)
Worst Pick: Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame (Round 6, Pick 7)
1-Sentence Analysis: Anyone who watched our draft preview knows I mentioned Hill as a late round steal possibility so I love the move to get him in the seventh, pairing him up with Justin Herbert, but defensively, I thought the Chargers added great value in Kenneth Murray, but I’m not sure Alohi Gilman fits into their scheme athletically despite his great ball skills, and I would have liked to see LA pick up a cornerback to improve their grade.
12. Carolina Panthers (62 out of 100)
Best Pick: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (Round 1, Pick 7)
Worst Pick: Kenny Robinson, S, West Virginia (Round 5, Pick 6)
1 Sentence Analysis: Matt Rhule didn’t mess around, drafting strictly on the defensive side, and I thought he killed it early with Brown, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Jeremy Chinn, but I felt that when he spent four of his final five picks in the secondary, he neglected to address needs at linebacker, which will need to be filled quickly for Carolina to compete in a division with Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. 

11. Dallas Cowboys (65 out of 100)
Best Pick: Trevon Diggs, Cornerback, Alabama (Round 2, Pick 19)
Worst Pick: Reggie Robinson III, Cornerback, Tulsa (Round 4, Pick 17)
1-Sentence Analysis: Most people gave Dallas heaping praise on their draft, and I found it to be a good draft, but a failure to address a need at safety, when there was good value available, and while taking CeeDee Lamb kept him away from Philadelphia, it stopped Dallas from getting an impact player on the defensive line, which I believe should have been prioritized earlier given the Cowboys’ surplus of offense. 

10. Las Vegas Raiders (66 out of 100)
Best Pick: Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky (Round 3, Pick 16)
Worst Pick: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State (Round 1, Pick 19)
1-Sentence Analysis: I’m a little higher on the Raiders’ draft than most, as I think Jon Gruden realized that the only way to beat the Chiefs is to just go blow-for-blow with them on offense, and he loaded up quarterback Derek Carr with an arsenal of weapons, including the speedy Henry Ruggs, swiss-army-knife Lynn Bowden, and Bryan Edwards of South Carolina, covering up some deficiencies in his defensive selections, namely picking Arnette in the first round and not drafting a linebacker. 

9. Denver Broncos (67 out of 100)
Best Pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (Round 1, Pick 15)Worst Pick: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa (Round 3, Pick 13)
1-Sentence Analysis: Drew Lock was smiling as he was supplied a bevy of weapons from the draft, and I thought, despite potentially reaching for the very athletic Ojemudia in the third round, Denver did a good job getting value in later rounds, recognizing that while they might make a playoff push this year, their real window to win probably starts closer to next year.

2020 NFL Draft Rankings and Ratings, 24-17: Should Detroit have gone for a quarterback?

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and while there will still be flurries of signings of undrafted free agents, it’s time to hand out the grades for who nailed the draft, and who is left with more questions than answers. Here are my official draft rankings and ratings, from worst to first. Here are teams 17-24 in our rankings:

24. Tennessee Titans (43 out of 100)
Best Pick: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia (Round 1, Pick 29)

Worst Pick: Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State (Round 3, Pick 29)

1-Sentence Analysis: Evans is really a casualty here as he’s a decent fit in Tennessee, but it seems to me that the Titans could have done better in addressing major needs at outside linebacker, or adding a weapon at tight end for Ryan Tannehill to utilize – not a bad draft, I’m just left with some questions about Mike Vrabel’s plans. 

23. Seattle Seahawks (47 out of 100)
Best Pick: Darrell Taylor, DE, Tennessee (Round 2, Pick 16)
Worst Pick: Jordyn Brooks, OLB, Texas Tech (Round 1, Pick 27)
1-Sentence Analysis: Maybe the Seahawks know something we don’t, but it seems like they could’ve gotten Brooks in the third round and definitely in the second, but at least their trade up in the second round netted them Taylor, addressing a big-time need at defensive end. 

22. Buffalo Bills (49 out of 100)
Best Pick: AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa (Round 2, Pick 22)
Worst Pick: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF (Round 4, Pick 22)

1-Sentence Analysis: A lot of people thought Buffalo had a good draft, but I just feel like after two solid value picks in Epenesa and Zach Moss, it was pretty mediocre for the Bills, who added multiple receivers to an already-strong receiving core, added a quarterback they simply don’t need and likely won’t play, and failed to grab any kind of impact player on defense after Epenesa, particularly at OLB. 

21. New York Giants (49 out of 100)
Best Pick: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama (Round 2, Pick 4)
Worst Pick: Matt Peart, OT, UConn (Round 3, Pick 35)
1-Sentence Analysis: The Giants were expected to go after an offensive tackle but to go for two in three rounds, and taking Andrew Thomas over Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, and Tristan Wirfs, seemed unnecessary and questionable given their various holes, especially at the linebacker position. 

20. Chicago Bears (50 out of 100)
Best Pick: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame (Round 2, Pick 11)
Worst Pick: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah (Round 2, Pick 18)
1-Sentence Analysis: This isn’t a knock against Johnson, who is a second round talent, but it seems like after a great first pick in Kmet, the Bears would have been better to use their second and final pick of the first two days to address a more prominent need than adding cornerback depth.
19. Detroit Lions (50 out of 100)
Best Pick: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (Round 1, Pick 3)
Worst Pick: Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky (Round 4, Pick 15)
1-Sentence Analysis: I thought Detroit was rolling early with Okudah, Swift, and Okwara, and then after grabbing a guard in Jonah Jackson, I thought Detroit made a significant error with their second fourth round pick, where I believe drafting a quarterback, given their clear issues behind Stafford, should have been done, especially with Jacob Eason still on the board, instead of picking up another guard. 18. Los Angeles Rams(51 out of 100)
Best Pick: Terrell Lewis, OLB, Alabama (Round 3, Pick 20)
Worst Pick: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida (Round 2, Pick 25)
1-Sentence Analysis: After no Day 1 picks, the Rams largely did a good job addressing needs with great value picks on day 2, but I didn’t like spending a second round pick on a wide receiver in general, given their two returning 1000-yard receivers and need for improvements at the guard position.
17. Cleveland Browns (51 out of 100)
Best Pick: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama (Round 1, Pick 10)
Worst Pick: Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic (Round 4, Pick 9)
1-Sentence Analysis: I think Cleveland did a great job getting value with each pick, but I also think they could have done better to address bigger needs, as I think going best available only goes so far when you have playoff aspirations, which the Browns undoubtedly do.

NFL Draft Rankings and Ratings, 32-25: Saints bring up the rear in 2020 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and while there will still be flurries of signings of undrafted free agents, it’s time to hand out the grades for who nailed the draft, and who is left with more questions than answers. Note: The worst pick noted by each team is very rarely an indication of the player, but rather the time of the draft, alternatives available at the time of the pick, or fit with the team that picked them.
Here are my official draft rankings and ratings, from worst to first. Here are teams 32-25 in the rankings:

32. New Orlean Saints (17 out of 100)
Best Pick: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton (Round 3, Pick 41) 
Worst Move: Losing almost all Day 3 draft capital
1-sentence analysis: With a defense that needed some help, the Saints put three out of four picks into their offense, trading away virtually every remaining pick to jump up and grab Trautman, who, while good, will not assist New Orleans’ patchy secondary. 

31. San Francisco 49ers (20 out of 100)
Best Pick: Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia (Round 5, Pick 9)
Worst Pick: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (Round 1, 14)
1-sentence analysis: Kinlaw is a beast, but so was DeForest Buckner who they traded to get the pick, leading the 49ers to replace a sure thing with a less sure thing, all while missing out on their pick of any of the three elite

30. Washington Redskins (34 out of 100)
Best Pick: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State (Round 1, Pick 2)
Worst Pick: Antonio Gibson, WR, Memphis (Round 3, Pick 2)
1-sentence analysis: The Redskins came in needing to address their defense, and although they got an elite talent in Young, they drafted only one other defensive player prior to Round 7, leaving their fans to question what needs the ‘Skins really filled this weekend. 

29. Kansas City Chiefs (38 out of 100)
Best Pick: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU (Round 3, Pick 32)
Worst Pick: Willie Gay Jr, ILB, Mississippi State (Round 2, Pick 31)
1-Sentence Analysis: Gay is a great player, but I more question the fit in Kansas City, and whether they could have gotten him later, as the Chiefs neglected to address a pressing situation in their secondary until Day 3, but at least they got a strong running back and a tackle with big-time upside to protect Mahomes. 

28. Atlanta Falcons (39 out of 100)
Best Pick: Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn (Round 2, Pick 15)
Worst Pick: Jaylinn Hawks, S, California (Round 4, Pick 28)
1-Sentence Analysis: The Falcons were reaching all weekend long, taking guys way before they were expected to fill holes, while leaving better players on the board and failing to add help at defensive end or outside linebacker, two needy positions in Atlanta.

27. New England Patriots (41 out of 100)
Best Pick: Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA ( Round 3, Pick 27)
Worst Pick: Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech (Round 3, Pick 37)
1-Sentence Analysis: Asiasi was a great pick, but to leave Trautman on the board in favor of Keene is a travesty, and overall, the Patriots just didn’t do much exciting, trading out of the first round and taking a lot of late-round guys unlikely to make an immediate impact. 

26. Indianapolis Colts (42 out of 100)
Best Pick: Michael Pittman, WR, USC (Round 2, Pick 2)
Worst Pick: Julian Blackmon, S, Utah (Round 3, Pick 21)
1-Sentence Analysis: The Colts got some great value early in Pittman and Jonathan Taylor, but in spending four of their first five picks on offense, Indy failed to do much about their defense, which could be in rough shape in 2020.

25. Green Bay Packers (43 out of 100)
Best Pick: Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati (Round 3, pick 30)
Worst Move: Not getting a wide receiver
1-Sentence Analysis: Green Bay would have nailed this draft if they were rebuilding, but they are coming off a 13-3 season so getting a lot of high-ceiling guys that don’t fit positional needs, while failing to address a gaping need at wide receiver leads to a poor grade.

2020 NFL Draft Feature: Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Oklahoma

In our individual draft features, each of our team assigns a rating from the rating system described below. We combine our ratings to give one rating, a projection for where he will get picked, and best fits in the NFL. Here is our 2020 NFL Draft profile of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Rating System

0.0-1.0 – Bust, you won’t remember this name in three years

1.0-2.0 – Mostly minor leagues and practice squads, occasionally makes the top level

2.0-3.0 – Gets some minutes off the bench, not a major contributor

3.0-4.0 – System player – not much of a ‘wow’ factor but could be utilized in a good system

4.0-5.0 – Role Player/Depth Guy (3rd down back, run block TE, etc) – can fill a hole

5.0-6.0 – Fringe Starter on the Depth Chart

6.0-7.0 – Top of the Depth Chart potential

7.0-8.0 – Starter with big season potential

8.0-9.0 – Consistent All-Star, one of the best in the league at his position

9.0-10.0 – Future Hall of Famer

Jalen Hurts

Our Grade: 5.0

Grade Range: 1.0 to 10.0

Best NFL Fits: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projection: Round 4, Pick 11 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Analysis: The Buccaneers? But they just drafted Brady? In my opinion, this is almost an ideal situation for Jalen Hurts. After what he’s been through in his college career, Hurts developed a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most mature quarterbacks in this draft class. However, he’s not going to go in the first round. There are three teams – the Bengals, Dolphins, and Chargers – that will most certainly be taking a quarterback, and they’ll be taking the consensus top 3 signal-callers in Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovailoa. I believe the next two teams to take a quarterback will be the Patriots and Colts, and while I think Hurts is a good fit for both teams, I don’t see him being selected by either.

The Patriots lack a proven starter for Hurts to learn under, and Hurts is not the prototypical pocket passer that New England usually covets. The Colts could go for the former national champion, but given their recent trauma of seeing their franchise quarterback retire early due to a multitude of injuries, my instinct is the Colts are going to be wary of a dual threat that could suffer from the same maladies. After eliminating those options, I believe the next team to be looking to draft a quarterback will be the Buccaneers. They have Brady for two years, but the man is 42 years old and whatever you say about his legacy, the age alone brings some question marks. Hurts will have a chance to learn under the most successful quarterback of all time, and then he will take the reigns in a couple of years, as Tampa Bay looks to extend their window to win.

As for our grade, we were all over the place in grading Hurts, as have many experts will be. The dual-threat quarterback is a tricky topic, and whether Hurts will be closer to Lamar Jackson or Tim Tebow is tough to tell. There’s no question he has the work ethic, and the talent is there, but can Hurts find a system to utilize his strengths, and stay healthy long enough to build a strong career?