GRADES

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A look at how all the NFL teams fared in the draft

NFL draft grades — an an­nual ex­er­cise of hubris as “draft ex­perts” tell the league’s front of­fice ex­ec­u­tives and scouts how they per­formed over the course of three days. (And let’s note here, it’s vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to as­sign any fair as­sess­ment to a player un­til he’s been a pro for at least three sea­sons.) But in this era of in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, who wants to wait un­til 2021?

For what it’s worth, here’s our “first im­pres­sion, ahem, grades” for all 32 teams:

New York Gi­ants: A-plus

New GM Dave Get­tle­man just nailed it. First, give him credit for tak­ing Penn State RB Saquon Barkley at No. 2 rather than reach­ing for a quar­ter­back. Ex­pect Barkley’s im­pact to be wide-reach­ing in the short and long run. G Will Her­nan­dez and OLB Lorenzo Carter should be starters by train­ing camp.

At­lanta Fal­cons: A

Looks like an­other mas­ter­ful job by GM Thomas Dim­itroff. He didn’t over­think it when WR Calvin Ri­d­ley was sit­ting there at No. 26 or when CB Isa­iah Oliver was there at No. 58. Nei­ther ad­dressed a need, yet both pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant up­grades to a stacked ros­ter.

Chicago Bears: A

At No. 8, they may have got­ten the draft’s best line­backer, Ge­or­gia’s Ro­quan Smith, who’s plenty ca­pa­ble of ex­pand­ing on a proud Chicago tra­di­tion. At No. 39, they may have got­ten the draft’s best cen­ter in Iowa’s James Daniels. And, af­ter trad­ing up to No. 51, yes, they just may wind up get­ting the most im­pact­ful re­ceiver with Mem­phis’ An­thony Miller. Bravo, Ryan Pace.

Den­ver Bron­cos: A

GM John El­way must be liv­ing right with a gift like pass rusher Bradley Chubb sit­ting there at No. 5. He could re­store this de­fense to dom­i­nance. Thir­dround RB Royce Free­man could make Bron­cos Coun­try for­get C.J. An­der­son, and sec­ond-round WR Court­land Sut­ton may even­tu­ally do the same to De­mary­ius Thomas.

Ari­zona Car­di­nals: A-mi­nus

They were star­ing at a bleak fu­ture in a di­vi­sion that seems laden with young quar­ter­back­ing roy­alty. But GM Steve Keim pulled a rab­bit out of his hat by ob­tain­ing pick No. 10 for QB Josh Rosen. It’s worth won­der­ing if Bruce Ari­ans re­grets re­tir­ing now that Rosen and sec­ond-round WR Chris­tian Kirk should be con­nect­ing for years as part of a promis­ing trio that in­cludes RB David John­son.

Jack­sonville Jaguars: A-mi­nus

If QB Blake Bor­tles was held in higher re­gard, we’d be talk­ing about this team as a jug­ger­naut. First-round DT Taven Bryan, sec­ond-round WR D.J. Chark and third-round S Ron­nie Har­ri­son might all make in­stant splashes as rook­ies if they played else­where. But all will have to scrap for snaps here.

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots: A-mi­nus

Their eval­u­a­tion al­ways re­quires a deeper dive, though Bill Belichick did fill sev­eral needs (even if he’d cringe at that fram­ing). Isa­iah Wynn, as­sum­ing he can han­dle an NFL tackle’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties de­spite pro­jec­tions he’d fit bet­ter at guard, could take over for Nate Solder. RB Sony Michel is far more ex­plo­sive than Dion Lewis was. Sec­ond-round CB Duke Daw­son eases the Mal­colm But­ler di­vorce.

New York Jets: A-mi­nus

GM Mike Maccagnan’s gam­ble to trade up three spots to No. 3 (for three sec­ond rounders) paid off more hand­somely than he prob­a­bly could have imag­ined. Eight months ago, Jets fans won­dered if their team would go 0-16 in order to se­cure QB Sam Darnold. New York fin­ished 5-11 but got Darnold, who’d likely win an elec­tion as the draft’s top pass­ing prospect, any­way.

Bal­ti­more Ravens: B-plus

This draft feels be­fit­ting of out­go­ing GM Ozzie New­some’s Lom­bardi-plated legacy. Yes, ma­jor gam­ble tak­ing QB La­mar Jack­son, but it could pay off in spades — and may as well get that fifthyear op­tion with a roll of the dice like this af­ter New­some deftly worked back into the end of Round 1.

Buf­falo Bills: B-plus

Must ad­mire GM Bran­don Beane’s ag­gres­sive­ness in his first draft, as he com­pleted his weeks-long trek up the board to get Wy­oming QB Josh Allen at No. 7 be­fore deal­ing up a sec­ond time for Vir­ginia Tech LB Tre­maine Ed­munds at No. 16. Both have mas­sive ceil­ings but should be af­forded pa­tience to de­velop.

Green Bay Pack­ers: B-plus

In­ter­est­ing maiden draft for GM Brian Gutekunst. A trade with the Saints net­ted a 2019 first-rounder. The Pack’s first two picks were un­der­stand­ably spent on corners Jaire Alexan­der and Josh Jack­son. Su­per-sized WR Equanimeous St. Brown (6-5, 214) is an in­trigu­ing project who went later than ex­pected in Round 6. But did Gutekunst re­ally need to draft a punter and a long snap­per?

Hous­ton Tex­ans: B-plus

Re­mark­able haul given they didn’t pick un­til Round 3. S Justin Reid and OL Marti­nas Rankin should step into start­ing roles. Keep an eye on sixth-round DE Duke Ejio­for, who could flour­ish op­po­site J.J. Watt. And don’t for­get, the Tex­ans’ first rounder was spent last year in their ma­neu­ver to get Deshaun Wat­son. Worth it.

Los An­ge­les Charg­ers: B-plus

Get­ting S Der­win James at No. 17 was a steal. GM Tom Te­le­sco never stopped in­fus­ing tal­ent into an al­ready formidable de­fense, thought it did need to get much bet­ter against the run. LB Uchenna Nwosu, DT Justin Jones and LB Kyzir White may col­lec­tively el­e­vate the Bolts to Su­per Bowl dark horse.

Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers: B-plus

GM Ja­son Licht was ag­gres­sive, wind­ing up with three sec­ond rounders, while wisely procur­ing tough­ness. Firstround DT Vita Vea, sec­ond-round CBs M.J. Ste­wart and Carl­ton Davis and third-round G Alex Cappa ad­dressed needs. Round 2 RB Ron­ald Jones is a home run wait­ing to hap­pen as Doug Martin’s re­place­ment.

Cincin­nati Ben­gals: B

There may not be a Pro Bowler among

C Billy Price, S Jessie Bates, DE Sam Hub­bard, LB Ma­lik Jef­fer­son or RB Mark Wal­ton. Yet all could quickly con­trib­ute for a fran­chise that gen­er­ally doesn’t get enough recog­ni­tion for draft­ing ef­fec­tively.

Dal­las Cow­boys: B

Leighton Van­der Esch dis­missed ru­mors about his neck, though med­i­cal con­cerns have sadly be­come com­mon­place in Dal­las’ line­backer room. As­sum­ing he’s OK, he was a good de­ci­sion in Round 1 rather than reach­ing for a WR. Jerry Jones and Co. got leapfrogged in the sec­ond round by Philadel­phia, which took TE Dal­las Goed­ert ... who might have been a fine re­place­ment for Ja­son Wit­ten. Still, the Cow­boys got an ex­cel­lent player 50th over­all in Connor Wil­liams, who will fur­ther strengthen what’s ar­guably the league’s top O-line.

Kansas City Chiefs: B

Low on sex ap­peal, and that’s fine. The buzz fac­tor was burned up when this year’s first rounder was used to snag QB Pa­trick Ma­homes in 2017. But DL Chris Jones will surely ap­pre­ci­ate qual­ity re­in­force­ments Bree­land Speaks and Der­rick Nnadi.

Mi­ami Dolphins: B

First-round DB Minkah Fitz­patrick should be a slam dunk, not to men­tion a po­ten­tially ef­fec­tive Gronk an­ti­dote.

Philadel­phia Eagles: B-mi­nus

Champs of­ten draft for depth, and GM Howie Rose­man traded down to get more. Steal­ing TE “Dal­las” Goed­ert in Jerry Jones’ back­yard was a nice touch. But get­ting Florida State pass rusher Josh Sweat in Round 4 might wind up be­ing Rose­man’s best pick.

Ten­nessee Ti­tans: B-mi­nus

They’re bank­ing that qual­ity trumps quan­tity given trades re­duced them to a four-player bounty. Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry could her­ald the pass­ing of the torch in the lineback­ing corps. They bet­ter.

Detroit Lions: C-plus

Sec­ond rounder Ker­ryon John­son will get the head­lines, as­sum­ing he can break with re­cent tra­di­tion and hold up bet­ter than other highly drafted Lions tail­backs. Oth­er­wise, new coach Matt Pa­tri­cia and GM Bob Quinn were busy for­ti­fy­ing their lines, start­ing with firstround C Frank Rag­now.

Oakland Raiders: C-plus

Drafts are re­plete with boom-or-bust prospects. Jon Gru­den’s re­turn pro­duced what looks like a boom-or-bust draft. Trad­ing a third rounder to Pitts­burgh for WR Mar­tavis Bryant could be a coup ... if Bryant’s head is screwed on soundly. Gru­den clearly pri­or­i­tized of­fen­sive tack­les, cor­rectly mov­ing down in Round 1 for Kolton Miller be­fore tak­ing North Carolina A&T’s Bran­don Parker in the third. Were ei­ther over­drafted in a thin tackle class? Stay tuned.

Pitts­burgh Steel­ers: C-plus

Ter­rell Ed­munds was a reach in the first round, though the de­fense did need safety help. But this draft is more likely to be de­fined by Ok­la­homa State stars James Wash­ing­ton and Ma­son Ru­dolph, po­ten­tial heir ap­par­ents to WR An­to­nio Brown and QB Ben Roeth­lis­berger, re­spec­tively.

San Fran­cisco 49ers: C-plus

Tak­ing Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 would have felt like a huge reach last week, but it be­came ap­par­ent closer to the draft that the Nin­ers couldn’t wait to get him. Still, too high a price for a right tackle whose value might have been in­flated in a weak draft at the po­si­tion? Sec­ond rounder Dante Pet­tis adds im­me­di­ate juice to the spe­cial teams, but at 6-1 and 186 pounds may be too slight to hold up at re­ceiver.

Cleve­land Browns: C

Ul­ti­mately, it boils down to No. 1 pick Baker May­field, whom GM John Dorsey ap­par­ently couldn’t live with­out. If May­field lives up to his billing, the rest is gravy. But de­bate re­mains as to whether Darnold, Allen or even Rosen should have been the choice. Given RB Nick Chubb was taken in Round 2, also worth ques­tion­ing if Saquon Barkley should have got­ten the call at No. 1 with the guar­an­tee that a QB — pos­si­bly even May­field — would have re­mained avail­able at No. 4. Then there’s the no­tion that DE Bradley Chubb was a much bet­ter op­tion with that fourth pick than CB Den­zel Ward given how hard it is to col­lect qual­ity pass rush­ers (even though Myles Gar­rett is al­ready aboard), and the wealth of corners in this draft.

Los An­ge­les Rams: C

Very hard to peg this. GM Les Snead gave up his first-round pick for WR Brandin Cooks, who’s cur­rently un­der con­tract for one more year. Snead used his sec­ond rounder last year in a trade for WR Sammy Watkins, and that turned out to be a rental.

Carolina Pan­thers: C-mi­nus

First-round WR DJ Moore is a nice player, but how much does he di­ver­sify an of­fense that al­ready has so many short-area pass­ing tar­gets.

In­di­anapo­lis Colts: C-mi­nus

GM Chris Bal­lard snagged three sec­ond rounders from the Jets (two in this draft) to move down three spots. He still got the player, Notre Dame G Quen­ton Nel­son, who might have been pick had Indy stayed put. Per­fect choice.

Min­nesota Vik­ings: C-mi­nus

Coach Mike Zim­mer is surely happy to add a third first-round corner (Mike Hughes) to his sec­ondary. Hughes will help in nickel pack­ages and as a re­turner right away. Beyond that, hard to see many rook­ies here who will play im­me­di­ately — un­less sec­ond-round T Brian O’Neill proves he’s ahead of sched­ule from a strength stand­point.

Wash­ing­ton Red­skins: C-mi­nus

DL Da’Ron Payne is made to order for the league’s worst run de­fense, and fifth-round NT Tim Set­tle will also help. In sec­ond-round RB Der­rius Guice, Wash­ing­ton took a player who could add of­fen­sive rocket fuel ... as­sum­ing con­cerns that ap­par­ently scared so many teams off prove un­founded.

New Or­leans Saints: D

Sean Pay­ton and GM Mickey Loomis had an epic draft in 2017, but this one seems fraught with peril. When they sur­ren­dered next year’s first rounder to jump from 27th to 14th in the first round, it ap­peared like a cal­cu­lated gam­ble for QB La­mar Jack­son. But New Or­leans ac­tu­ally paid that hefty price for DE Mar­cus Daven­port, a tan­ta­liz­ing prospect but one who may not be ready to ad­vance the all-or-noth­ing Su­per Bowl man­date this move clearly sig­nals.

Seattle Seahawks: D

Let’s be­gin by say­ing that GM John Schneider and coach Pete Car­roll have built a pow­er­house while mak­ing draft “graders” look silly. Yet still ... RB Rashaad Penny seemed like a first-round reach on merit and es­pe­cially be­cause Seattle al­ready had sev­eral backs on the ros­ter. No qualms with USC DE Rasheem Green in Round 3, but the de­ci­sion to vir­tu­ally ig­nore the corner and of­fen­sive line (again) crops is puz­zling.

CATALINA FRAGOSO / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

New York Gi­ants first-round draft pick Saquon Barkley meets with the me­dia. Barkley was the sec­ond over­all pick.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cor­ner­back Mike Hughes was the Min­nesota Vik­ings' selec­tion in the first round of the NFL draft.

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