NFL DraftNFL Draft Grades 2017: Final Results and Team-by-Team Letter ChartMaurice MotonFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2017Darron Cummings/Associated Press
As the dust settles on the 2017 NFL draft, we'll look at what all 32 front offices attempted to accomplish with fresh talent.
This year's draft set a record in attendance (in Philadelphia) and trades, per NFL.com's Chase Goodbread. The opening round presented early curveballs, starting with the Chicago Bears moving up to No. 2 to secure a potential franchise quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky.
Two AFC South teams chose offensive skill players at the top of the draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars went with running back Leonard Fournette at No. 4, and the Tennessee Titans chose wide receiver Corey Davis with the following pick.
On Day 2, three University of Washington defensive backs came off the board within the first 11 selections—cornerback Kevin King led the trio as the No. 33 overall pick to the Green Bay Packers.
The draft ended with a notable prospect named as Mr. Irrelevant. The Denver Broncos selected Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly with the No. 253 overall pick with a little help from his uncle, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
John Elway on Chad Kelly’s issues: "I called his uncle and he said he's a good kid."
4/29/2017, 11:23:33 PM
Which team put together the best draft class? Which group draws the most intrigue? Did draft gurus and analysts overlook an underrated bunch?
|2017 NFL Draft Grades|
|Arizona Cardinals||C||The Cardinals don't need Haason Reddick to start right away, but it's risky to open a draft with a defensive end converting to linebacker.|
|Atlanta Falcons||B+||Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley should form a fierce pass-rushing duo. Keep an eye on running back Brian Hill if Devonta Freeman doesn't get an extension.|
|Baltimore Ravens||C||Sometimes Marlon Humphrey will allow deep passes over his head. Linebacker Tim Williams is the prize within this class.|
|Buffalo Bills||A||The Bills filled Stephon Gilmore's void and added wideout Zay Jones to line up opposite Sammy Watkins. Both picks filled pressing needs.|
|Carolina Panthers||B-||The Panthers move away from a traditional ball-carrier to a versatile tailback and raw wide receiver in the first two rounds. This could work out extremely well or very poorly.|
|Chicago Bears||D||There are two surprises here: the decision to trade up for Mitchell Trubisky and not drafting a cornerback among a deep class. If the Bears found their franchise quarterback, upgrade this grade to an A in a few years.|
|Cincinnati Bengals||C-||The Bengals likely felt pressured into taking a wide receiver after watching Corey Davis come off the board. The front office decided to bring Joe Mixon into the locker room with Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict. That's not good.|
|Cleveland Browns||A||The Browns made the right choice in choosing Myles Garrett at No. 1. Under head coach Hue Jackson, DeShone Kizer could develop into a solid quarterback, but we won't compare him to Tom Brady, ever.|
|Dallas Cowboys||B||Many analysts looked at Taco Charlton and Chidobe Awuzie as decent prospects. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will have both playing great football.|
|Denver Broncos||C||Garett Bolles will need time to develop. Jake Butt could be effective if he stays healthy. Demarcus Walker's value saves this class.|
|Detroit Lions||B-||Jarrad Davis has played fewer than 10 regular-season games in three out of four seasons at Florida. Durability is a huge concern for him. Teez Tabor brings hits and solid coverage.|
|Green Bay Packers||A-||The Packers waited until the second round to address the secondary and landed two top-notch prospects at their positions. As a rookie, Jamaal Williams will steal carries from Ty Montgomery.|
|Houston Texans||A||The Texans may finally have their franchise quarterback. They also added a coverage linebacker to offset the passing offenses within the division. D'Onta Foreman will ease Lamar Miller's workload and take on short-yardage situations.|
|Indianapolis Colts||A||General manager Chris Ballard immediately added two playmakers to the secondary. Tarell Basham will compete for sack leader in a year or two. It's a great start for the new personnel executive.|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||B-||Tom Coughlin's old-school mentality manifests itself with the Fournette and Cam Robinson combination. The ground attack should help Blake Bortles keep his job in Jacksonville.|
|Kansas City Chiefs||B-||The Chiefs' draft class doesn't have much immediate impact, but fans have to like Mahomes as the future under center. Kareem Hunt may handle a significant rookie load.|
|Los Angeles Chargers||A-||The Chargers doubled up at guard and safety with four quality prospects. Mike Williams gives Philip Rivers a big red-zone target as an alternative to oft-injured Keenan Allen.|
|Los Angeles Rams||B||It's the " help Jared Goff" class. The Rams drafted three pass-catchers within their first four picks. Josh Reynolds looks like the breakout star among the group.|
|Miami Dolphins||B+||The Dolphins add another pass-rusher in Charles Harris to mess with Tom Brady's head. Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor offer complementary skill sets, which provides a solid rotation along the defensive line.|
|Minnesota Vikings||B-||Can the Vikings trust Dalvin Cook off the field? If so, he's a dynamic offensive weapon alongside Latavius Murray in the backfield. Pat Elflein isn't a flashy pick, but it's a necessary addition at center.|
|New England Patriots||D||The Patriots barely had a draft class after the offseason trades. Among the four prospects, Conor McDermott could challenge for early snaps at right tackle.|
|New Orleans Saints||B+||Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams will immediately boost the secondary and pose a threat to the Falcons' high-octane aerial attack. The Saints defense has young promising playmakers capable of putting together a solid year collectively.|
|New York Giants||A||Eli Manning gets another pass option in Evan Engram. Wayne Gallman, with Paul Perkins, adds balance to the offense. Here's an upset alert, Adam Bisnowaty takes Ereck Flowers' job at left tackle.|
|New York Jets||B+||The Jets decided not to draft a quarterback and bolstered the secondary with two quality prospects at safety. For the second time, Devin Smith tore his ACL, which explains ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen as consecutive picks.|
|Oakland Raiders||B-||The Raiders made a bold move in taking Gareon Conley amid rape accusations, but Obi Melifonwu and Treyvon Hester addressed a couple of needs. Who starts at inside linebacker for the upcoming season?|
|Philadelphia Eagles||A||The Eagles landed the second-best pass-rusher among the draftees in Derek Barnett. They'll stash Sidney Jones for a year. In the meantime, Rasul Douglas should jump off to a good start as a perimeter defender.|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||B+||The Steelers retooled the linebacker corps with T.J. Watt, then added insurance for Martavis Bryant at wide receiver. Ben Roethlisberger may hand the baton over to Joshua Dobbs in a few years.|
|San Francisco 49ers||A||The 49ers landed Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster in the opening round. Both should see ample playing time for the upcoming season. Expect Joe Williams to share the load with Carlos Hyde in the backfield.|
|Seattle Seahawks||A||The Seahawks selected Malik McDowell in the second round. If he's consistent in his pocket pressure and receives coaching well, he's going to make teams apologize for passing on him in the first round.|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||A||The Buccaneers front office is spoiling Jameis Winston with receivers. O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin should help elevate Winston's stats. With a wink and a nod, the front office drafted Jeremy McNichols, but they're happy with Doug Martin. Right.|
|Tennessee Titans||B-||The Titans decided to go with Davis, then Adoree' Jackson in the first round. If Lattimore develops into a Pro Bowler, and that's very likely, Tennessee will regret putting its faith in a slot cornerback at No. 18 overall.|
|Washington Redskins||B+||Alabama prospects Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson will stick together in Washington. They should develop into solid assets for a leaky run defense. Fabian Moreau needs time to develop, but he's a good addition to the secondary.|
Best Draft Class: Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard garnered early praise for taking ball-hawking safety Malik Hooker off the board at No. 15:
Gregg Doyel @GreggDoyelStar
The more research I do into Colts' No. 1 pick Malik Hooker, the more I want to repeat: Well done, Chris Ballard. For every possible reason.
4/28/2017, 2:26:11 AM
Ballard's brilliance continued with his choice of cornerback Quincy Wilson as a second-rounder. Hooker provides deep range in pass coverage, while Wilson brings toughness on the perimeter. Indianapolis earned its label as a soft defense, and the unit logged the second-fewest interceptions during the previous campaign. Now, the pass defense should be able to come up with stops and shorten drives.
Defensive lineman Tarell Basham, the Colts' third-round pick, out of Ohio could develop into the team's best pass-rusher in a year or two. He'll likely take on a role as a rush linebacker off the edge. With his athleticism, he should adjust accordingly.
The front office also picked up running back Frank Gore's likely successor in Marlon Mack, who rushed for 3,609 yards and 32 touchdowns in three seasons at South Florida. Overall, the front office deserves credit for adding assets who can bring an immediate impact on defense and depth to help balance the offense.
Most Intriguing Draft Class: Carolina Panthers
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
The Carolina Panthers like to keep pounding, which sounds archaic in today's league with so much passing downfield and players racking up yards in space. General manager Dave Gettleman took a different approach in upgrading his offense with Fournette off the board.
The Panthers will have to find creative ways to put the ball in Christian McCaffrey's hands as a running back and wide receiver out of the backfield. He's an all-purpose back, who can best help a team that knows how to maximize his dual-threat qualities. With running back Jonathan Stewart still on the roster, expect McCaffrey to handle 10 to 12 carries with six to eight pass targets per contest.
Carolina took Curtis Samuel in the second round, which seems like a bit of a head-scratcher. Nonetheless, the versatile receiver could cause matchup issues in the slot due to his speed. He ran a 4.31-second 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine. At Ohio State, he accumulated 1,636 yards from scrimmage as a ball-carrier and receiver.
Offensive lineman Taylor Moton has the ability to win the starting right tackle spot as a rookie, which gives quarterback Cam Newton time to spread the ball.
Most Underrated Draft Class: New York Giants
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Last offseason, the New York Giants went all-in to improve the defense and it paid off. For the upcoming season, general manager Jerry Reese made a concerted effort to provide quarterback Eli Manning all the tools to put up 35-plus points per game.
The Giants passing offense features an elite wideout in Odell Beckham Jr., a veteran pass-catcher Brandon Marshall and a budding slot receiver in Sterling Shepard. The front office added tight end Evan Engram, who projects as a matchup nightmare for the opposition. He ran a 4.42 40 time and racked up 926 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as a senior at Mississippi. The sleek tight end will become the fourth option in the Giants' aerial attack.
While adding weapons, Reese attempted to take pressure off Manning, directly and indirectly. Running back Wayne Gallman will join Paul Perkins in the backfield to split the rushing workload. Sixth-rounder Adam Bisnowaty may challenge for snaps at either tackle position.
The Giants executive turned to quarterback Davis Webb in the third round as the potential future-in-waiting under center. Big Blue also drafted defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins' replacement in Dalvin Tomlinson at No. 55. New York comes out of this draft with a Grade-A group.
Stats provided by Sports Reference and Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.