NFL Draft Recap

How the bottom nine teams improved in the three day event

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Logan

This shows the top nine picks in this year’s draft, with trades that occurred. The Miami Dolphins originally held the third overall pick, but traded it to San Francisco for pick 12, to which they also made a trade back into the top ten with Philadelphia, to select Waddle. Photo by Logan Moseley.

Logan Moseley, Staff Reporter

From Friday, April 29to Saturday, May 1, the annual National Football League draft went underway with all 32 teams making selections to try and improve their respective program. Unlike the National Basketball Association, the NFL uses a worst record system to allow teams to strengthen their roster.

The team with the worst record this year was the Jacksonville Jaguars starting the season with a win over the Indianapolis Colts only to lose the next 15 games, and finished the season 1-15. 

Before there were any draft day trades, the Philadelphia Eagles led the league with 11 picks in the seven round draft, and the Seattle Seahawks had the least, with three selections to make.

(This does not have trades of ant type, rather how teams placed. This means rather than having the San Francisco 49ers with the third slot, it would be the Houston Texans, as they held the original third pick in this year’s draft.)

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)

Picks owned- 1, 25, 33, 45, 65, 106, 121, 145, 209

Best Pick- QB Trevor Lawrence (1) – The Jaguars drafted the star quarterback from Clemson, Trevor Lawrence. They did this as quarterback play was one of the deciding factors that led them to a 1-15 season. I like this pick a lot because Lawrence is by far the best player in the draft, and he should bring a winning culture alongside new head coach Urban Meyer. (For you crazy stat nerds out there, unless the Jaguars go 17-0 this year, Lawrence is set to lose his first ever regular season game, as he never lost one in college or high school).

Worst Pick- RB Travis Etienne (25)- This is not discrediting Etienne for being a good player, rather this was a bad pick as this was not a position of need. The Jaguars already had a cheaper player in James Robinson, who was a top five rusher this year, and had 10 total touchdowns this year. This pick was awarded as a part of the Jalen Ramsey trade, and they should have addressed a need on defense. The main upside to this pick is how he is teamed back up with Lawrence, both teammates at Clemson.

Sleeper Pick – OT Walker Little (45) – Little is an interesting prospect, as he has a chance to be one of the top tackles in the league. I expect him to play limited snaps, but if Cam Robinson leaves in free agency next year, he should be able to be a plug and play player, and provide good protection for the new golden boy in Lawrence. 

Draft Grade: Overall I would give a B to Jaguars, as they did a good job addressing needs, but I feel like they should have focused a bit more on defense, especially with the 25th pick, as that is what cost them games, especially when they were close.

 

New York Jets (2-14)

Picks owned – 2, 14, 34, 107, 146, 154, 175, 186, 200, 207

Best Pick- WR Elijah Moore (34) – New York got a steal in Moore, as many mocks had him going in the first round. Moore is a product of Ole Miss, who has produced current NFL stars such as DK Metcalf and AJ Brown. The goal for the Jets is to provide weapons for newly drafted Quarterback Zach Wilson, and trying to put an end to what seems to be cursed history at that position.

Worst Pick- Michael Carter (II) (107&154) – The Jets actually had a really good draft, and the only “bad” pick was New York taking two players with the same name in Running Back Michael Carter and CB Michael Carter II. The only bad part about these picks goes to those who struggle with name-number correlation, and that mix does not help.

Sleeper Pick- OL Alijah Vera -Tucker (14) – New York traded up with the Minnesota Vikings for the 14th pick in the draft, and took the Trojan standout. Tucker was very good in his time at the University of Southern California, and was praised as one of the most raw lineman in the draft, but having an average floor with a high ceiling.

Draft Grade: I would give the Jets a B+ draft, as this is the first time in a while since New York has had a draft like this one. They addressed the QB position, added projection and weapons, and also built onto the defense.

 

Houston Texans (4-12)

Picks owned- 67, 89, 147, 170, 195

Best Pick- QB David Mills (67) – The Stanford product had a chance to go in the first round according to some experts but he fell to the third. With the Texans in a state of dumpster fire, they took a safe pick with Mills, after DeShaun Watson and his actions off the field.

Worst Pick – The Texans had few draft picks after trading them to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for OT Laremy Tunsil. There is no “bad” pick in this draft class, as the team traded for pieces, and picked up players in free agency.

Sleeper Pick- TE Brevin Jordan (147) – The Texans added a pass catcher in Brevin Jordan, and he looks like he could also add protection in the run and play action game. The Miami product had a quiet career, but he looks like he can be a player to help stabilize the offense, and hopefully help provide stability for the organization.

Draft Grade: I would give the Texans a C for their efforts in trying to revamp the franchise, but this turn around in Houston is going to be a long, hardfought one.

 

Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

Picks owned- 4, 40, 68, 108, 114, 148, 182, 183, 187

Best Pick – TE Kyle Pitts (4) – Kyle Pitts is an absolute monster of a player, and the best athlete in the draft. He is 6’6, 245 pounds with a 4.44(!!!!!!!) 40 yard dash time. He has the potential to thrive in Atlanta, joining WRs Juilo Jones, Calvin Ridley, and QB Matt Ryan.

Worst Pick- WR Frank Darby (187) – This is a pick that doesn’t fill any needs, and seems like they could have done more defensively. One of the most well known things about the Falcons is how they always manage to mess things up on defense, most notably, blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI. While they did take those picks earlier on, I would have liked to see a linebacker with this pick.

Sleeper Pick- I have such high expectations for Kyle Pitts that he is the sleeper pick for the Falcons. This kid is special.

Draft Grade: The Falcons did a good job picking players at positions of need, and revamped the offensive line. For their good value picks, they receive a B+, and if addressed more defensive picks, would have received an A-.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)

Picks owned – 5, 46, 69, 111, 122, 139, 149, 190, 202, 235

Best Pick- WR Ja’Marr Chase (5) – Instead of providing protection for new golden boy QB Joe Burrow, they drafted an old friend in Chase, his teammate at LSU. Hoping they can replicate a historic season the year before. Chase opted out of the 2020 collegiate season, but that didn’t stop the Bengals taking a chance on the deep threat. We saw his teammate Justin Jefferson dominate his rookie year in Minnesota, so this offense could be limitless under Zac Taylor.

Worst Pick- OL Jackson Carman (46)- With the Bengals releasing new uniforms this spring, we saw a new “white tiger” uniform, and their goal is to make sure that the white stays white, and not green by protecting Joe Burrow. Had Burrow not made his recommendation in Chase, the team might have considered drafting the top lineman, Oregon standout Penei Sewell. They waited until their next pick, and reached drafted Carman. If they were to draft Center Creed Humphry out of Oklahoma, this draft would be much better.

Sleeper Pick – K Evan McPherson (149)- Many would say that this addition by the Bengals is not that great, as they had back-to-back 10 loss seasons. If you look back at the film however, you will soon learn that this is one of the best value picks in the draft. Looking at the box score alone shows that they could have gone 8-8 if former place kicker Randy Bullock didn’t shank four potential game winning/tying field goals.There was a reason this kid was the first kicker off their board, as this clip went viral for an insane trickshot. 

Draft Grade: While the Bengals didn’t do great with their top picks in addressing positions of need, I think they did a good job with their later picks, redeeming their draft and earning a respectable B.

 

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)

Picks owned – 10, 37, 73, 123, 150, 189, 191, 224, 234

Best Pick- WR Devonta Smith (10) – This pick was a very interesting pick as the Eagles have always struggled with drafting wideouts. They took the 2020 Hiesman winner with the 10th pick, trading up with the rival Dallas Cowboys. This was a good pick for them as it gives them a solid receiver in Smith, and as QB Jalen Hurts had a good connection with him at Alabama.

Worst Pick – With the Eagles having so many needs, none of their picks are bad picks.

Sleeper Pick – C Landon Dickerson (37) – I think Landon Dickerson is a 1st round talent, but fell due to teams not needing him. He was a starter on Bama’s offensive line, which has produced big name players. This was a great addition by the Eagles.

Draft Grade: I give the Eagles a B for effort, but next year’s draft will be much better. After trading QB Carson Wentz, they can have an additional first round pick, and with many holes still left to fill, and more picks, the future looks bright in Philly.

 

Detroit Lions (5-11)

Picks owned – 7, 41, 72, 101, 112, 153

Best Pick –  OL Penei Sewell (7) – The best lineman in the draft. As a Rams fan I can tell you that giving Jared Goff a good offensive line is the best thing possible. This kid is being compared to Anthoney Munoz, arguably the greatest tackle of all time. This should be a great pick here by Detroit.

Worst Pick – With Brad Holmes as the new GM, there are no bad picks. I will forever stand by this.

Sleeper Pick – WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (112) – This kid has burners. Providing a deep threat to Goff like what Brandin Cooks was to him. This was the perfect pickup.

Draft Grade: The Lions receive an A for having what seems like a Top 5 draft.

 

Carolina Panthers (5-11)

Picks owned- 8, 59, 70, 83, 126, 158, 166, 193, 204, 222, 232

Best Pick – CB Jaycee Horn (8) – Horn is a great pickup here as it will help bolster the defense. He was described as more of a raw player, and also one with the same floor as the other corner in this class, Pat Surtain. 

Worst Pick – LS Thomas Fletcher (222) – The only reason this was a bad pick is because you usually can get a long snapper in the Undrafted Free Agency market. The call that was made to Fletcher shows that he was a great locker room pick.

Sleeper Pick – RB Chuba Hubbard (126) – Chuba Hubbard is one of the more underrated players coming out of Oklahoma State, and was a monster the year before. I personally think he could have gone in the second round just because of his historic past, and this is what makes it a great pick for Carolina.

Draft Grade: B+. For the first time in Matt Rhule’s short time in Carolina, he took offensive players, and being paired up with Sam Darnold, I think this could work well in building towards the future.

 

Denver Broncos (5-11)

Picks owned – 9, 35, 98, 105, 152, 164, 219, 237, 239, 253

Best Pick –  CB Pat Surtain (9) – Pat Surtain was the most pro-ready corner in the draft. After losing Cris Harris Jr. in free agency last year, this is a great pick to what was a dark horse squad last year, before injuries took their toll.

Worst Pick – S Jamar Johnson (164) – This was a luxury pick that I do not agree with purely because they have depth at this position already. Johnson is a good player, but not the right pick here.

Sleeper Pick – OL Quinn Meinerz (98) – This was the best pick for the value, as Meinerz showed off at the senior bowl. His power and strength earned him this high of a choice, and I think it was a perfect way to make holes in the running game, and to give Drew Lock time.

Draft Grade: B -. The Johnson pick really throws me off as there were more needs that they could have gone for but overall this was a great draft, and should help trying to take down the empire in Kansas City