It has now been 3 years since the 2014 NFL draft occurred. Because of this, I will go back and grade each pick in the 1st round. I will also incorporate my 2014 grades/analysis for each selection. It will be interesting to compare my previous thoughts to how these players have turned out.
2016 NFL Draft 1st Round Grades:
1.) Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff, QB, Cal
I wasn’t very impressed with Goff in college or at the combine. I think this trade/pick will kill the Los Angeles franchise in a couple years.
2.) Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
This pick might be even worse than the first selection of this draft. Wentz has not competed against good competition and will struggle in the NFL.
3.) San Diego Chargers – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
I have always thought Bosa was underrated during the draft process. I think he will be a very good pass rusher in the NFL. I don’t have any complaints with this pick.
4.) Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
I could not believe Dallas passed on Jalen Ramsey. Zeke is going to dominate behind that offensive line, but Ramsey filled a much bigger need.
5.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
Jalen Ramsey is the best player in this draft. Jacksonville needs a lot of help in their secondary. The Jaguars lucked out with him falling to number 5!
6.) Baltimore Ravens – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
I think Tunsil is a better prospect, but Stanley is not too far off and is a much safer pick. Baltimore needs help on the offensive line and Stanley will help on day one.
7.) San Francisco 49ers – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
I like Buckner and think he has a ton of potential. I’m not sure this was the biggest need for the 49ers, but it was a solid pick at number seven.
8.) Tennessee Titans* – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
I understand that Tunsil may be a risk, but I’m not the biggest fan of Conklin. He’s an average tackle and I think Tennessee may be reaching. I would grade them lower, but they need a lot of help on their line, so it was not
(*Trade with Cleveland)
9.) Chicago Bears* – Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
I was not a huge fan of Floyd initially, but he has impressed me over the course of the last few months. I think this is a solid pick that will help the Chicago pass rush early next season.
(*Trade with Tampa Bay)
10.) New York Giants – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Eli Apple is a great cornerback. I think Vernon Hargreaves would have been a much smarter pick with him still on board.
11.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers* – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Although he is not the most athletic cornerback in the draft, it is hard to argue that Hargreaves isn’t the most skilled. This a very good pick for the Bucs, even after moving back two spots in the first round.
(*Trade with Chicago)
12.) New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins, DE, Louisville
Rankins is a tremendous pass rusher. He can play all over the defensive line using his athleticism. The Saints need so much help on defense, so this a good selection.
13.) Miami Dolphins – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
There’s no doubt in Tunsil’s skill on the field. Off the field, he draws many red flags. The Dolphins needed some help on their line, but they definitely had more. Overall, this is a good pick because Tunsil can easily become the best player of this draft.
14.) Oakland Raiders – Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
I thought this was a bit of a reach. Joseph has some serious skill, but the Raiders could have moved back a couple picks to get him. This may be a good pick in a couple years, but I think they took him way too high.
15.) Cleveland Browns* – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
I’m a huge Coleman fan as I have him as the best receiver in the class. Cleveland needs so much help, so this will definitely help their offense. How ironic it is that RG3 gets a Baylor receiver?
(*Trade with Tennessee)
16.) Detroit Lions – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
I think Decker is one of the most underrated players in this draft. He was a 3 year starter at Ohio State and dominated during his career. The Lions need help up front, and Decker will help in the passing and rushing game.
17.) Atlanta Falcons – Keanu Neal, S, Florida
I never would have predicted two safeties drafted in the first round, let alone the top twenty. I thought Shaq Lawson would have been a better selection to pair with former teammate Vic Beasley.
18.) Indianapolis Colts – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
The Colts need so much help protecting Andrew Luck. I really like Kelly because he can play center or guard. He is a good player that fills a huge need.
19.) Buffalo Bills – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Shaq Lawson has no business falling this far. Arguably the best defensive end in college football last season, he has a ton of potential. The Bills definitely stole this pick!
20.) New York Jets – Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
Darron Lee is a freak athlete that flies all over the football field. The Jets have many needs with linebacker being one of them. Lee is probably the best available, so I think this is a good selection.
21.) Houston Texans* – Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
I’m assuming Houston moved up one pick to get their choice of receiver in fear of Minnesota moving up. I thought they would choose Doctson or Treadwell, but Fuller? He might have been a good second round pick, but this was really shocking to me.
(*Trade with Washington)
22.) Washington Redskins* – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Doctson is arguably the best receiver in the draft. I was shocked that Washington didn’t go defensive line, but many of those players are falling. Doctson will help Cousins out a lot with his size and skill. Solid pick by Washington.
(*Trade with Houston)
23.) Minnesota Vikings – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
I’m not buying all this “he’s too slow” talk at all. Watching the film, Treadwell can play. This is a good pick that will help Teddy Bridgewater out down the road.
24.) Cincinnati Bengals – William Jackson III, CB, Houston
William Jackson III is a very good cornerback. The Bengals wanted a receiver, but the top four are already gone. Jackson III will fit well in Cincinnati and eventually be their starting cornerback.
25.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Artie Burns, CB, Miami
Artie Burns is a freak athlete. The Steelers need a ton of help in their secondary, and Burns will help right away.
26.) Denver Broncos – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
I think Paxton Lynch will be the best quarterback in this class. Denver, with no quarterbacks on their roster worth starting, need to make a move fast. I think Lynch will be a very good quarterback in the NFL.
27) Green Bay Packers – Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
The Packers need help on the defensive line with BJ Raji taking a year off. I think the Packers could have gotten a better defensive tackle.
28.) San Francisco 49ers* – Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford
This trade made no sense at all. Garnett would have been available in the second round. The need is serious, but this was too much.
(*Trade with Kansas City)
29.) Arizona Cardinals – Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
I love this pick for the Cardinals. They are willing to roll the dice a little, and it worked out a couple years ago with Tyrann Mathieu. This could be the biggest steal of the draft if Nkemdiche gets everything together.
30.) Carolina Panthers – Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
This pick was not smart for Carolina. With Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, did Carolina make this pick? The secondary needed to be addressed rather than defensive tackle.
31.) Seattle Seahawks – Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Germain Ifedi is a solid offensive tackle. The Seahawks need help on their offensive line, so this pick makes a lot of sense. Seattle will need to protect Russell Wilson to get back to the Super Bowl.
1.) I cannot believe that Myles Jack was not picked. Although recovering from a knee injury, Jack is going to be a stud. I think Dallas will pick him up in the 2nd round.
2.) Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars was the best pick on the first round while Joshua Garnett to the 49ers was the worst.
3.) Robert Nkemdiche is the biggest hit/miss player of this draft.
4.) One of the biggest surprises was Houston passing on Josh Doctson to pick Will Fuller.
5.) Finally, how did Laremy Tunsil fall so far?!?!