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Live 2016 NFL Draft Grades



These Live 2016 NFL Draft Grades will be posted minutes after each pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

2016 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades

  1. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff: C- Grade
    I've already given the Rams a "D" for moving up to the No. 1 pick in my NFL Draft Trade Grades page, and part of this mark has to take the deal into account. Los Angeles was desperate for a quarterback, but didn't need to panic like this. There will be better quarterback prospects next year - check my 2017 NFL Mock Draft - and 2018 as well, with Josh Rosen set to declare. Rosen and Deshaun Watson are superior prospects - at least at the moment - compared to Jared Goff, who might not even be the top signal-caller in this class.

    Goff is a rail-thin quarterback coming out of a goofy spread offense. He had a losing record in college, and his completion percentage wasn't great. These are all red flags, and it's baffling that the Rams are ignoring them. The Rams actually liked Carson Wentz more in between the Senior Bowl and Combine, so I don't know what changed for them. Whatever it is, I don't agree with it, and our contacts around the NFL feel the same way. For example, one successful offensive coach on a team that doesn't need a quarterback was completely baffled by Los Angeles' preference, indicating that Wentz was the easy pick of the two.

    I think a C- grade is appropriate for the first-overall choice in the 2016 NFL Draft. This looks to be a bad pick, and the Rams surrendered way too much for it, but I can at least understand why they're taking a quarterback at this selection.

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  2. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State B- Grade
    As with the Rams' grade, I'm going to have to penalize Philadelphia for its trade. I gave the Eagles a Millen on my NFL Draft Trade Grades page, as they surrendered way too much. Even if Wentz hits, Philadelphia will struggle to maintain success because of a lack of resources. Think about what happened to the Falcons in the wake of the Julio Jones deal. Matt Ryan is a solid quarterback, and Jones obviously panned out, but Atlanta hasn't visited the playoffs in a while because of a severe lack of depth. Unless Wentz is the next Andrew Luck and can single-handedly carry the Eagles as Luck does with the Colts in a soft division, Philadelphia will have trouble consistently reaching the postseason for quite a while.

    Having said that, I think Wentz is the better option, so the Eagles will be given a full letter grade higher than the Rams. Wentz is seen as the superior signal-caller by most of our NFL contacts, and it's easy to understand why. While the rail-thin Jared Goff played in a goofy spread system and maintained a losing record in college, Wentz won and was more accurate in a pro system, and he doesn't look like he'll snap in half at any second.

    While it would probably be better for the Eagles to wait a year or two to land a franchise quarterback - again, check the 2017 NFL Mock Draft for what appear to be two top-five signal-callers next April - it seems like Wentz is the better option of the two available in this class.



  3. San Diego Chargers: Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State C Grade
    Wow. No one had this. Everyone we polled around the league had DeForest Buckner, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley. No one we polled, and no mock-draft analyst predicted Bosa. I'm so shocked, I'm almost at a loss for words. Almost. Bosa should be a good player, but his fit in a 3-4 is pretty questionable, and so is the decision to take him over DeForest Buckner. The Chargers weren't going to be able to trade down and get Bosa, but still, this is a reach. Some of Bosa's off-the-field stuff has to be a concern as well. I'm not a fan of this pick, but I don't hate it either.

  4. Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State D Grade
    For the past several years, the Cowboys have drafted very well. They had gotten away from the Jerry Jones-style of selecting players. Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, it's been rumored that Jones wanted Elliott, while everyone else was in favor of Jalen Ramsey. I don't know why, but the Cowboys are stupid again.

    If you draft a running back No. 4 in this day and age, you better make sure that he's the next Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders. Elliott is not that. He's not even as good as Todd Gurley. You can find very good running backs anywhere. Hell, the Cowboys found DeMarco Murray after the first round. This would be a Millen grade if I didn't like Elliott as a prospect, but selecting him in the top five is borderline insane.



  5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State A+ Grade
    Stupid teams do stupid things. The Jaguars used to be a stupid team, but they've made great strides recently, and now look like they're on the cusp of competing for the playoffs. They've taken another step toward that with this pick. Jalen Ramsey is one of the top two players in the draft. Jacksonville shouldn't have been able to obtain him with the fifth-overall selection, but it did. Congrats, Jaguars! You're one of the winners of the draft.

    This is a great pick, worthy of an A+. Ramsey is very talented, and he can play both cornerback and safety. Jacksonville's secondary was a complete mess, but that's no longer the case with Ramsey on the roster.

  6. Baltimore Ravens: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame C- Grade
    Over Laremy Tunsil? I wonder if Tunsil's bong picture/video had something to do with this. Still, picking Stanley over Tunsil doesn't make much sense. Some teams told us that they were scared of Stanley's lack of passion for the game. They were also concerned about Stanley not being tough enough. That would terrify me if I drafted him. Plus, passing on Tunsil in the process just doesn't seem like a smart move, given how talented Tunsil is. The Ravens have done well with chracter-issue guys in the past, so I don't really understand this.

  7. San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner, DE/DT, Oregon A Grade
    In the two hours in which I changed my third pick to Ronnie Stanley, I wrote that one team that won because of San Diego's stupidity was the 49ers, because it allowed DeForest Buckner to fall into their laps. Excluding Tunsil, who is now scaring teams off because of some random picture, Buckner was the best player available. He also fills a huge need. The 49ers needed help on the defensive line to replace Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. They now have that with Buckner and his Oregon teammate Arik Armstead.

    Speaking of Oregon, it's nice that Buckner has familiarity with Chip Kelly. I think it always helps when a prospect or free agent goes to a team where he's comfortable with the scheme and coaching, and that's the case here.



  8. Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, OT/G, Michigan State B- Grade
    I'm usually not a fan of teams trading up, but the Titans had tons of resources to do so. It would've been ridiculous for them to keep all of their picks, so moving up for a player they weren't going to obtain at No. 15 made a ton of sense. Right tackle was a huge need, and that has been filled with Conklin.

    What's interesting is that the Titans passed on Laremy Tunsil. It's crazy that one of the top two players in the draft continues to fall, and teams that need him are passing on him.

  9. Chicago Bears: Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia B- Grade
    The Bears felt the need to leap the Giants for Leoanrd Floyd, and rightly so. The Giants were going to take Floyd, and the Buccaneers had interest in him as well, but they obviously must have liked the trade better.

    This pick makes sense. Floyd is arguably the best 3-4 edge rusher in this class - yes, above Joey Bosa, who was a 4-3 player - and he fills a position of weakness for Chicago. I can't really say anything is wrong with this pick, as it would've been a "B" without the trade.

  10. New York Giants: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State C- Grade
    I had a feeling that Eli Apple might be chosen over Vernon Hargreaves. But that was more of teams being down on Hargreaves than front offices liking Apple. I think this is a bit of a reach. I had Apple at No. 14, but with Shaq Lawson, Hargreaves and Laremy Tunsil available, the Giants could've gone in a different direction. Still, I won't penalize the team too much, as they were blind-sided with Jack Conklin and Leonard Floyd both being snatched off the board right in front of them. However, it sounds like Jerry Reese could've moved down, but didn't because the deal wasn't good enough. A C- grade seems appropriate.

  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida A Grade
    The Buccaneers landed a prospect many consider to be the second-best cornerback prospect in this class. Even better, they did so while trading down. That's exactly how teams should draft. Cornerback has been a huge problem area for Tampa, and Hargreaves projects as an immediate upgrade. This is a big win for the Buccaneers, even if the deal to move from nine to 11 wasn't that great. I'll be grading all of the trades on a separate page. I'll have those posted later tonight.

  12. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville B Grade
    This isn't a great pick by any means, but it's definitely a solid one. Sheldon Rankins was expected to go in the 12-16 range, so this is obviously the top end of it. The Saints spoke about their dire need at three-technique defensive tackle at length during the offseason, so it's hardly a surprise that they pulled the trigger on the athletic Rankins, who should be able to provide an immediate boost to New Orleans' horrid defense. Generating a pass rush on Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston is crucial, and Rankins should help with that.

  13. Miami Dolphins: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss A+ Grade
    How did the best player in the draft (according to some) fall to No. 13? I'll be shocked if Laremy Tunsil is on Twitter ever again.

    This is a slam-dunk A+. I suppose Miami isn't the most ideal environment for Tunsil, but his talent level is unquestionable. He's a franchise left tackle with an All-Pro skill set, and Miami will need one once the injury-prone Branden Albert moves on. Taking Tunsil here is a no-brainer. The risk is well worth the reward, and this could end up being the best pick in the entire 2016 NFL Draft.



  14. Oakland Raiders: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia C Grade
    When there were rumors about Karl Joseph shooting up to the first round, we reached out to team sources and asked if they agreed with that. They didn't. Some said he might be a fringe first-rounder, but most told us that they relegated him to the second round, with his injury being somewhat of a factor. With that in mind, I think the Raiders are reaching here. I wouldn't have minded it if the Raiders moved down and took Joseph, but I think No. 14 is too early.

    That said, I don't think this is a horrible pick. Joseph is a risk because of his injury, but if he completely gets over it, he could be a very good player for Oakland. The Raiders have definitely improved this offseason and could make a run into the playoffs.

  15. Cleveland Browns: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor B+ Grade
    The Browns needed a play-maker. Actually, they needed about five play-makers. Well, one down, four to go.

    This is a bit higher than I've seen Corey Coleman projected, but part of that was the fit. Most teams like larger receivers, so it was difficult to slot him. However, Coleman is an athletic freak, and he's exactly what Cleveland had to acquire. Even better, the Browns moved down to snag him, which definitely helps this grade.

  16. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State B Grade
    Taylor Decker was projected to go in the 14-20 range, so this makes sense as far as that is concerned. He's also a good fit in terms of need. The Lions' pass protection was an abomination at times last year. They needed a left tackle, but weren't going to get that here at No. 16. The right tackle spot had to be addressed as well, however, and the Lions will be better at that spot with Decker. This deserves a solid "B" grade.

  17. 2016 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades
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