These Live 2016 NFL Draft Grades will be posted minutes after each pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Follow @walterfootball
2016 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16
| Picks 17-32
| NFL Draft Team Grades
2016 NFL Mock Draft
Tennessee Titans: Tajae Sharpe, WR, UMass B+ Grade
It seems like we've mocked Tajae Sharpe to the Titans at this spot for months. It's made too much sense, as Tennessee needed a receiver and Sharpe is exactly what it was looking for. Sharpe's athleticism is lacking, but that may not matter because of his elite route-running skills. It wouldn't surprise me if Sharpe eventually emerges as a solid starter.
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Carolina Panthers: Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma: B+ Grade
This is very unlike the other two cornerback selections the Panthers have made in this draft. While James Bradberry and Daryl Worley are tall, long corners with athleticism, Zack Sanchez is a short corner who did not test well at the Combine, but he still could've been selected a bit earlier than this. It might seem odd that the Panthers are devoting so much attention to the position, but it was a big need.
San Francisco 49ers: Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian State C- Grade
It's difficult to understand this selection. I have no problem with Ronald Blair as a player, but his fit in San Francisco's defense is highly questionable. Blair, who is a poor athlete, seemed like he would be a decent 4-3 left end prospect. He doesn't translate to the 3-4, however. Chip Kelly doesn't really understand NFL concepts, so it's not a surprise to see a sketchy pick like this.
Oakland Raiders: DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech D Grade
With some talented running backs still available, such as Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, this selection is extremely questionable. DeAndre Washington is a reach at this juncture. He's an undersized runner who fumbles a lot and can't pass protect. I'm not sure he'll be on Oakland's roster for very long.
Denver Broncos: Connor McGovern, G, Missouri A- Grade
The Broncos are getting solid value with Connor McGovern, who could've been chosen at the end of Round 3 without any protest. It's not a surprise to see them select a player like this, as they needed a guard in the wake of losing Evan Mathis to Arizona. The McGovna is a very powerful blocker who should be able to help open some running lanes for C.J. Anderson and now Devontae Booker. McGovern will play guard, but has some potential at right tackle.
San Francisco 49ers: John Theus, OT, Georgia D Grade
Many teams didn't view John Theus as a draftable prospect, so it's not a surprise to see the 49ers choose him in the fifth round. They must not have been paying attention to the Senior Bowl, where Theus was constantly abused and embarrassed. I don't know if he'll be able to hold on to a roster spot for very long.
Baltimore Ravens: Matt Judon, DE/OLB, Grand Valley State B+ Grade
If Matt Judon tested better in terms of measureables or played on a higher level, he might have gone in the third round. He was highly productive at Grand Valley State, and it wouldn't be surprising if he eventually emerged as an important player for the Ravens - though he'd have to likely leap Kamalei Correa to do so.
Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Jefferson, DT, Maryland C- Grade
The Seahawks usually draft well, but I don't like this pick very much. Part of the problem is that Seattle surrendered a fourth-round pick in 2017, which will be a better class (check here for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.) As for the actual player, Quinton Jefferson was an average producer with mediocre athleticism. I had him down as a sixth-round prospect, so I don't know why Seattle moved up for him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Caleb Benenoch, OT, UCLA B Grade
This pick definitely makes sense to me, unlike the kicker selection made earlier. The Buccaneers had to find some depth at tackle with some contracts expiring soon. Caleb Benenoch needs to add some strength, but if he does, he could be a solid reserve for Tampa for quite some time.
New York Giants: Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA A Grade
We heard some teams considering Paul Perkins in the third or fourth rounds, so this is great value for the Giants. Perkins, who can play all three downs, seems to have found a nice home with the Giants, where he could emerge as the starter in the near future, partly because of the team's issues at the position.
Chicago Bears: Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana A- Grade
I'm loving these day-three running back picks. I don't know why they fell like this, but the Bears will be happy with Jordan Howard. At least during the first two downs. Howard struggles in the passing game, so he'll always be a two-down player, in all likelihood, but that's fine, as Chicago needed to find a runner to complement Jeremy Langford.
Detroit Lions: Joe Dahl, G/OT, Washington State B Grade
Joe Dahl played left tackle at Washington State, but he'll have to move inside in the pros, thanks to his short arms. That's fine, as the Lions are happy to address their interior offensive line depth. Dahl makes sense as a mid fifth-round choice.
Washington Redskins: Matt Ioannidis, DE/DT, Temple B Grade
It took a while for the Redskins to address their defensive line, as they considered doing so in the first round. They're getting a solid player in Matt Ioannidis who was productive at Temple. He tested poorly at the Combine, but he should emerge as a quality rotational lineman for Washington.
Philadelphia Eagles: Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia B Grade
The Eagles had to find a running back after losing DeMarco Murray this offseason. Ryan Mathews is now the starter, but he'll be injured at some point. I don't think Wendell Smallwood will be able to carry a full workload in the NFL, but he'll at least be a solid third-down option, thanks to his receiving skills. Smallwood tested as just an average athlete, but he was very productive at West Virginia. He makes sense in th fifth round.
Cleveland Browns: Jordan Payton, WR, UCLA B- Grade
Here's the third receiver for the Browns that I was talking about, and it's interesting that he's the complete opposite of Ricardo Louis. Whereas Louis struggled in school and tested well, Jordan Payton was very productive for UCLA, but didn't have good measureables. I don't think Payton will be able to beat coverage and separate, but if I'm wrong, he'll be a good receiver for the Browns.
Indianapolis Colts: Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State A Grade
Joe Haeg went a bit later than expected. Haeg, who protected Carson Wentz's blind side, has plenty of athleticism and length to be a left tackle, and the ability is certainly there. He didn't face the toughest competition in school, but he projects as a solid blocker. It wouldn't surprise me if he started on the right side in the near future, which is a big hole for Indianapolis.
Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas A- Grade
Another quality selection on a running back who dropped. This isn't a surprise, as the Bills needed a runner with LeSean McCoy's legal issues and an expiring contract after this season. Plus, with the value available here, why not? Williams missed all of 2015 with a foot injury. Had he played, he probably would've been chosen a couple of rounds earlier.
Tennessee Titans: LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah C Grade
It took longer than expected for the Titans to find some cornerback help, given that they would've chosen Jalen Ramsey had they kept the No. 1 pick. That's fine, but Tennessee moved up for LeShaun Sims, surrendering a 2017 sixth-rounder in the process. I don't like that, as the Titans could've obtained him or someone equal at No. 176. An average athlete, Sims played very well at Southern Utah, but the level of competition is obviously questionable.
New York Jets: Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina C Grade
This pick came out of nowhere, as the Jets weren't scheduled to be on the clock for a while. They surrendered a 2017 fourth-rounder to pick here, and they took Brandon Shell to fill their need at tackle, which hasn't been satisfied yet. The Jets are unhappy with Breno Giacomini, so perhaps Shell can take his place. I'm not sure he's the solution though, as he projects to have issues in pass protection.
Houston Texans: K.J. Dillon, S, West Virginia B Grade
The Texans wanted to add a safety at some point during the third day of the draft, so here we are. K.J. Dillon makes sense at this juncture as a projected fifth-round prospect. Dillon is an average athlete, but he was pretty productive at West Virginia and could eventually make some starts.
Minnesota Vikings: Kentrell Brothers, LB, Missouri B+ Grade
Most believed Kentrell Brothers would be picked much earlier than this, perhaps in the third round. I believed the same at one point, but he tested poorly at the Combine. It's understandable why Brothers dropped, but the Vikings are getting great value with him, as he played very well for Missouri. He'll fill a need with Chad Greenway set to retire soon.
Cincinnati Bengals: Christian Westerman, G, Arizona State A Grade
The Bengals are drafting steals like it's their job. I had Christian Westerman mocked at the end of the second round, and it was surprising to see him fall out of the second day entirely. Cincinnati has an expiring contract at guard after this season, so Westerman could legitimately compete for a starting spot in 2017. This is a great pick.
Kansas City Chiefs: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford: B Grade
I don't have Charlie Campbell's exact quote, but I remember him saying once that Kevin Hogan plays now like Andrew Luck will when he's 38. Hogan doesn't have what it takes to start, but he's a smart guy and can learn any system to become a viable No. 2. This is when teams take backup quarterbacks, so the pick makes sense.
Green Bay Packers: Trevor Davis, WR/KR, California B Grade
Trevor Davis tested as one of the top wide receivers at the Combine. However, he may not see much action at wideout, as it seems like he might just be relegated to special teams. That's perfectly fine, as he has the talent to be a dynamic return specialist in the NFL.
Philadelphia Eagles: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT/G, TCU C+ Grade
Jason Peters won't be on the Eagles much longer, and when he departs, Lane Johnson will slide over to the blind side. With Johnson moving, a new right tackle will be needed, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai has enough potential to perhaps win the job. However, Vaitai's pass-protection skills can be called into question, as he's pretty slow. Perhaps the Eagles will be able to develop him, but they probably should've obtained him a round later.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill, WR, West Alabama: D Grade
Tyreek sounds like a character from Game of Thrones. Tyreek Lannister, perhaps? That's the best analysis I have for Tyreek Hill, as he wasn't in my top 400. He was kicked off Oklahoma State's team for domestic violence. Didn't the Chiefs already draft a receiver with character concerns?
Houston Texans: D.J. Reader, NT, Clemson A- Grade
It's cool to see D.J. Reader be selected here, as we've mocked him to the Texans in the fifth round for months now. Houston wants Reader to become Vince Wilfork's replacement after this upcoming season. Reader could've been chosen about a round earlier, so I like the value.
Arizona Cardinals: Marqui Christian, S, Midwestern State C Grade
I didn't hear much buzz about Marqui Christian being drafted. I also didn't get the sense that the Cardinals were going to take a safety, as they seemed happy with that situation. This pick is surprising, though perhaps Arizona just views Christian as a core special-teamer.
Cleveland Browns: Spencer Drango, G/OT, Baylor C+ Grade
This is a bit earlier than I would've taken Spencer Drango. The Baylor product makes sense from a perspective of the Browns choosing productive college players, given how many starts he accumulated at Baylor. However, Drango showed that he's one of the worst athletes in this class with his horrific Combine performance. Perhaps he can overcome that at guard, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he doesn't develop into an NFL player.
Detroit Lions: Antwione Williams, LB, Georgia Southern C Grade
It's not surprising that the Lions drafted a linebacker, but Antwione Williams? He was not in my top 400, as he wasn't even that great of a player for Georgia Southern. He could've easily been picked up in the seventh round or as a UDFA.
Arizona Cardinals: Cole Toner, OT, Harvard B Grade
Cole Toner makes sense as a late fifth-round selection. Level of competition is obviously a concern, but Toner seems to have enough skill to latch on as a swing tackle at the very least. Perhaps he'll be able to challenge D.J. Humphries at some point.
Seattle Seahawks: Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas A+ Grade
How did Alex Collins last this long? And it's not just Collins, as numerous talented running backs fell in the 2016 NFL Draft. Collins, who could've been chosen in the third round, will be stuck behind Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise on Seattle's roster, but he'll be productive in the event of an injury. Seattle is suddenly extremely deep at running back.
Cleveland Browns: Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State B+ Grade
Many were wondering why Rashard Higgins has been mocked in the fifth round, but NFL teams were worried about both his lacking athleticism and lean body type. Higgins has no explosion, and he also seems like he could be snapped like a twig. However, he was a good football player at Colorado State, so it wouldn't surprise me if he panned out for the receiver-desperate Browns.
Cleveland Browns: Trey Caldwell, CB Louisiana-Monroe C Grade
The Browns hadn't drafted a cornerback yet, so Trey Caldwell makes sense in terms of a needs standpoint. However, this is too early for him, as he wasn't ranked in the top 400. He figures to be a slot corner for Cleveland, and he might actually make an impact, given that the team is hurting for talent everywhere.
San Francisco 49ers: Fahn Cooper, OT, Ole Miss B Grade
This tackle pick is probably better than the one the 49ers made 29 selections earlier when they picked John Theus. Fahn Cooper played right tackle his entire career at Ole Miss until Laremy Tunsil was suspended. Cooper slid into the blind side and did a solid job. Cooper has poor athleticism, but he might be able to compete for the job at right tackle at some point.
San Diego Chargers: Jatavis Brown, LB, Akron B+ Grade
2016 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades
The Chargers already added an inside linebacker to potentially replace Manti Te'o in 2017, so why add another? I guess they figured that Jatavis Brown was too good to pass up. Brown is a talented linebacker who could've easily been chosen a round earlier. The value makes sense, especially considering that Brown projects as a great special-teams player.
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