New York Jets draft grade:
2017 draft picks:
Round 1(6th overall) – Jamal Adams – Safety – LSU
Round 2(39th overall) – Marcus Maye – Safety – Florida
Round 3(79th overall) – ArDarius Stewart – Wide Receiver – Alabama
Round 4(141st overall) – Chad Hansen – Wide Receiver – California
Round 5(150th overall) – Jordan Leggett – Tight End – Clemson
Round 5(181st overall) – Dylan Donahue – Defensive End – West Georgia
Round 6(188th overall) – Elijah McGuire – Running Back – Louisiana-Lafayette
Round 6(197th overall) – Jeremy Clark – Cornerback – Michigan
Round 6(204th overall) – Derrick Jones – Cornerback – Ole Miss
The Jets came into the draft with tons of areas of need which is why it was kind of surprising that they drafted two safeties with their 1st and 2nd round pick. I really like the Jamal Adams pick and I was kind of surprised that he was available with the 6th overall pick for the Jets. Adams is an elite safety that will be a big upgrade over former 1st round pick Calvin Pryor. However, I was absolutely shocked that the Jets drafted yet another safety in the 2nd round with Marcus Maye. New York already had Marcus Gilchrist, so they didn’t really need another starting safety. Maye is a good safety, but they should have addressed another need like at the cornerback position. I really like the pick of wide receiver Aradrius Stewart in the 3rd round. Stewart gives the Jets a much needed explosive receiver on offense and he gives the team a major threat for several years to come. Chad Hansen is another receiver that should help the terrible Jets passing game. Hansen is more of a possession receiver that might not see much of a role right away, but he could be a decent starter a couple of years from now. Also, I really like the selection of tight end Jordan Leggett in the 5th round. The Jets have been struggling to find a tight end that can catch the ball for many years and Leggett provides them with a reliable pass catcher that can make plays after the catch. New York didn’t address the cornerback position until the 6th round when they drafted Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones. Neither are going to be starters, but they at least provide some much needed depth to the position and they could at least see some defensive snaps considering the Jets weakness at cornerback. Overall, I like the additions of Adams, Stewart, and Leggett a lot and I thought the Jets improved their roster in the draft. However, the drafting of safety Marcus Maye in the 2nd round is a puzzling move that lowers their grade to a B-.
New England Patriots Draft Grade:
2017 Draft Picks:
Round 3(83rd overall) – Derek Rivers – Defensive End – Youngstown State
Round 3(85th overall) – Antonio Garcia – Offensive Tackle – Troy
Round 4(131st overall) – Deatrich Wise – Defensive End – Arkansas
Round 6(211th overall) – Conor McDermott – Offensive Tackle – UCLA
The Patriots didn’t have a pick until the 3rd round after they traded their 1st round pick to the Saints for Brandin Cooks and they traded their 2nd round pick to the Panthers for Kony Ealy. New England didn’t get a full-time immediate starter for 2017 with their draft picks, but they certainly added some quality depth. Derek Rivers is a defensive end/outside linebacker who is really good at getting after the quarterback. Rivers won’t start right away, but he could be valuable as a rotational pass rusher for the Patriots. My favorite pick for the Patriots was when they drafted offensive tackle Antonio Garcia out of Troy in the 3rd round. Garcia adds some very good depth to the offensive tackle position right away and he could be a good fill-in if needed. However, he is a player that could be a good starting left tackle or right tackle for the Patriots in a few years. Deatrich Wise provides some much needed depth at defensive end and he could see a limited role early on for the Patriots. Also, they drafted Conor McDermott in the 6th round who will probably just battle for a roster spot as a backup offensive tackle. Overall, the Patriots didn’t draft any immediate starters for 2017, but they are getting Rivers and Garcia who could be starters in a couple of years.
Tyson Alualu – Defensive Tackle – From: Jacksonville Jaguars
Coty Sensabaugh – Cornerback – From: Buffalo Bills
Lawrence Timmons – Inside Linebacker – To: Miami Dolphins
Markus Wheaton – Wide Receiver – To: Chicago Bears
Jarvis Jones – Outside Linebacker – To: Arizona Cardinals
The strategy for the Pittsburgh Steelers recently has been to build their team mostly through the draft rather than being active during free agency and they stuck to that strategy once again this offseason. Pittsburgh only made a few low-level signings as they signed defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh. Alualu provides some defensive line depth as he will likely be a rotational player at defensive tackle and possibly even defensive end. Alualu never lived up to the expectations of being a 1st round pick with the Jaguars. However, he could be a really good bargain signing for the Steelers even if he is just a depth piece. Meanwhile, the team also signed Coty Sensabaugh to a 2-year deal as he will likely just be a depth addition as a 4th cornerback for the Steelers. Sensabaugh could possibly play as a nickel cornerback for Pittsburgh, but ultimately his biggest contributions will probably be on special teams coverage. The Steelers didn’t add any players that will make much of an impact next season, but they certainly did lose some impact players in free agency. For example, starting inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons left to sign with the Dolphins. Timmons was a very productive player for Pittsburgh for many years, but now they will have to address that position in the draft at some point. The Steelers also lost former 1st round pick Jarvis Jones who never lived up to expectations as a starting outside linebacker for the team. However, Jones was still important to the Steelers as he provided solid depth at linebacker. Also, the Steelers lost some wide receiver depth with the departure of Markus Wheaton. He never made much of an impact at wide receiver and Pittsburgh is so deep at the position that his departure doesn’t impact them much. Pittsburgh still has a great roster because of how well that they have drafted recently, but they still have several holes on their roster that they didn’t fill. The Steelers didn’t get much worse in free agency, although they certainly aren’t any better than they were last season.
Tony Jefferson – Strong Safety – From: Arizona Cardinals
Brandon Carr – Cornerback – From: Dallas Cowboys
Danny Woodhead – Running Back – From: Los Angeles Chargers
Ricky Wagner – Right Tackle – To: Detroit Lions
Kyle Juszczyk – Fullback – To: San Francisco 49ers
Lawrence Guy – Defensive End – To: New England Patriots
Kamar Aiken – Wide Receiver – To: Indianapolis Colts
The Baltimore Ravens made some major improvements to their team in free agency especially in their secondary as they signed Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson to 4-year deals. Carr was inconsistent for the Cowboys, but he still is an above average starting cornerback. Carr is able to match up with good wide receivers and he is versatile enough to be a slot cornerback as well. Baltimore had a big weakness for a 2nd cornerback and by bringing in Carr they now have a good cornerback duo with Carr and Jimmy Smith. Also, the team paid a large contract in order to sign strong safety Tony Jefferson away from the Cardinals. Jefferson is a physical safety that tackles well, although he doesn’t cause many turnovers as he only has 2 career interceptions. Jefferson was the best safety in free agency and his signing turns the Ravens secondary from a weakness into a strength as he will be paired with pro-bowler Eric Weddle at the safety position. Baltimore also made somewhat of an impact on offense as they signed running back Danny Woodhead to a 3-year deal. Woodhead is coming off of a major knee injury last season, yet he is another threat that the Ravens will have in their offense. Woodhead isn’t going to carry the load in the running game, but he is a tremendous pass catcher which makes him a really good 3rd-down back for the Ravens. He can also be used as a slot receiver at times for Baltimore and he is a very dangerous player in open space. Woodhead will be the type of weapon that will be used in many ways for Baltimore just like Kyle Juszczyk was used in a variety of ways last season. Juszczyk is now with the 49ers, but bringing in Woodhead gives the team a versatile player in order to replace him. However, the one big loss for the Ravens this offseason was starting right tackle Ricky Wagner leaving for Detroit. Wagner was a very good player for the Ravens last season and Baltimore’s offensive line will be very weak heading into next season without him. The issue is that the Ravens don’t have much depth at right tackle and their starting right tackle right now would be James Hurst who has struggled as a starter before. Baltimore has needs at a few offensive line positions, but right tackle is now a major void that they must fill after the departure of Ricky Wagner in free agency. Overall, I give credit to Baltimore for really improving their secondary with the additions of Jefferson and Carr. However, the loss of right tackle Ricky Wagner hurts their free agency grade a little bit as that is now a position that they must address in the draft.
Kevin Zeitler – Guard – From: Cincinnati Bengals
Kenny Britt – Wide Receiver – From: Los Angeles Rams
J.C. Tretter – Center – From: Green Bay Packers
Jordan Poyer – Free Safety – To: Buffalo Bills
Josh McCown – Quarterback – To: New York Jets
Terrelle Pryor – Wide Receiver – To: Washington Redskins
Stephen Paea – Defensive Tackle – To: Dallas Cowboys
The Browns came into this offseason with a ton of money to spend and they certainly didn’t hold back as they made three big money signings in free agency. Cleveland especially made major improvements along their offensive line as they signed guard Kevin Zeitler and center J.C. Tretter to long-term deals. Zeitler is one of the top guards in free agency and he is only 27 years old, so he still has several years of quality play likely left in him. It is very difficult to find quality starting guards these days and give credit to the Browns for signing one of the top guards in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Browns also signed Tretter to a 3-year deal to fill their vacant center position after the departure of Alex Mack last offseason. Tretter isn’t nearly as good as Mack is, but Tretter is still a very good center and he is only 26 years old. The Browns offensive line was already really good with Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, and Cameron Erving. However, the Browns now can legitimately say that their offensive line is one of the best in the entire NFL as they don’t have any weakness along the offensive line. The team continued to improve their offense as they signed former Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt to a 4-year/$32.5 million deal. Cleveland now has Britt and 2016 1st round pick Corey Coleman as their top wide receivers as they now have a decent wide receiver duo. Britt is a big possesion receiver that had his first 1,000 yard receiving season in 2016 for the Rams despite poor quarterback play. The starting quarterback for Cleveland is a major unknown right now, but Britt will give the Browns quarterback a really good option to throw to. I don’t know if Britt is worth $8 million per year since he had never had more than 48 receptions in a season prior to 2016. Britt isn’t an elite receiver, but he at least improves the Browns receiving group by giving them a reliable option in the passing game. Free agency was also good for the Browns since they didn’t lose much as their biggest loss was wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. However, it was probably good that they let Pryor go despite his success last season as last season was only his first full season playing wide receiver after transitioning from quarterback. The Browns have a lot of work left before they are a competitive team and they will need to find a good starting quarterback soon. However, the Browns improved their offense substantially by making their offensive line one of the best in the NFL as well as making their wide receiver group more respectable. Cleveland has tons of draft picks to continue to improve this team, but I give credit to them by making some big signings to at least show that they aren’t just going to try and tank next season.
Kevin Minter – Inside Linebacker – From: Arizona Cardinals
Andre Smith – Right Tackle – From: Minnesota Vikings
Kevin Zeitler – Guard – To: Cleveland Browns
Andrew Whitworth – Left Tackle – To: Los Angeles Rams
Domata Peko – Defensive Tackle – To: Denver Broncos
Margus Hunt – Defensive End – To: Indianapolis Colts
Rex Burkhead – Running Back – To: New England Patriots
The Cincinnati Bengals once again didn’t do much in free agency and they ended up losing a few key players as well. The most notable loss for the Bengals was guard Kevin Zeitler who signed a big 5-year/$60 million contract with the in-state rival Cleveland Browns. Zeitler has been one of the best guards in the NFL and the Bengals didn’t address the position at all in free agency. Cincinnati will probably draft a guard early in the draft next month, but finding a quality guard like Zeitler will be extremely difficult to accomplish. The Bengals also lost another longtime offensive lineman as left tackle Andrew Whitworth left for the Rams. However, the Bengals were just planning on letting him go anyway since the team drafted Jake Fisher a couple of years ago in order to replace Whitworth. The team also lost longtime starting defensive tackle Domata Peko in free agency, but they already had Pat Sims at defensive tackle to fill his void. Cincinnati is coming off of a disappointing 2016 season and now they didn’t even do much to improve their team as they only made two signings. The Bengals signed Kevin Minter to a 1-year deal and he is expected to replace Rey Maualuga at the inside linebacker position. I like the signing of Minter because he is only 26 years old and he is also much more durable than Maualuga who has struggled to stay healthy in his career. Minter might only be with the Bengals for one season, but he is an upgrade at the inside linebacker position. I also really like the Bengals signing of right tackle Andre Smith who was actually a former 1st round pick of the team not too long ago. Smith never turned out to be a very good starting right tackle, but he provides some much needed quality depth for the team behind Cedric Ogbuehi at right tackle. Overall, the Bengals should have made some more big moves to try and improve their team from a poor 2016 season and they ended up just getting worse especially after the departure of Kevin Zeitler.
Stacy McGee – Defensive Tackle – From: Oakland Raiders
Terrell McClain – Defensive Tackle – From: Dallas Cowboys
D.J. Swearinger – Safety – From: Arizona Cardinals
Terrelle Pryor – Wide Receiver – From: Cleveland Browns
Pierre Garcon – Wide Receiver – To: San Francisco 49ers
DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver – To: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Baker – Defensive Tackle – To: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ricky Jean Francois – Defensive Tackle – To: Green Bay Packers
It has been a rough offseason so far for the Redskins as they fired general manager Scot McCloughan just prior to the start of free agency. Washington also lost several key players including their two starting wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Garcon and Jackson both had 1,000 receiving yards for the Redskins last season, so their production won’t be easily be replaced. Washington did attempt to fill their void a little bit in free agency as they signed former Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor to a 1-year/$6 million deal. Pryor had a breakout season last year as he transitioned from quarterback to wide receiver for Cleveland. Pryor ended up with 1,007 receiving yards last season despite having poor quarterback play. Last season might have been a fluke though as it was his first season as a wide receiver. However, it is a low-risk signing for the Redskins since he only has a 1-year deal. Pryor has only played wide receiver for one full season in the NFL, so it is reasonable to wonder whether he will have the same success in Washington. Also, Pryor is more of a possession receiver which means the Redskins will have to find a new deep threat after the departures of deep threat receivers Garcon and Jackson. The Redskins also lost two key players on the defensive line as defensive tackles Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois both departed in free agency. However, the Redskins were quick to find replacements at defensive tackle as they signed Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain to long-term deals. Both players are just average defensive tackles and it remains to be seen whether they can be as productive as Chris Baker was with the team. The Redskins also tried to address the safety position as they signed strong safety D.J. Swearinger to a 3-year deal. Swearinger is known for his ability to stop the run and he also had 3 interceptions with Arizona last season. However, Swearinger is a liability in coverage at times which isn’t a good characteristic for a starting safety since he will be the last line of defense for the Redskins. Overall, D.J. Swearinger doesn’t bring too much of an upgrade to the strong safety position since he is basically the same type of player as Donte Whitner. The Redskins did a decent job of finding replacements for the key players that they lost in free agency. However, there is no doubt that this team isn’t any better after free agency especially after they lost their two top wide receivers.