By: Addison Willmon
Opinion — My ratings for individual players are based on the production I expect to see out of them in their first season. The overall draft class rating takes that into account as well, but I also look at what they mean for the franchise in coming years and how the players might develop.
Browns – A: It’s hard to not be better than last year.
B – Baker Mayfield (QB) might have been a risky pick IF he didn’t have time to develop behind Tyrod Taylor… But, he has all the time he needs. He will develop into a great franchise QB for the Browns (and might even last for more than a year).
A – Denzel Ward (CB) will be one of the best young shutdown corners in the league, mark my words. He wasn’t the player most people thought the Browns were going to take, but they knew who they wanted and took him without a second thought.
C – Austin Corbett (OL) was questionable, but he wouldn’t be the first incorrectly-sized person to play Tackle. They already have a B+ interior line, so it doesn’t make sense to move him inside. They could have probably picked up just as good of a T, or better, in a later round.
C+ – They already have good depth at RB with Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, but this could mean they saw something special in Nick Chubb (RB) and want to trade off one of the others after a year or so. We’ve seen what the Patriots have done with a 3 RB system. I’ll give it a C+… for now.
B+ – Chad Thomas (DE) was a pretty great value pick, and the Browns need someone that can pass rush opposite of Myles Garrett. Thomas has a lot of upsides and might end up being a lot better than most people thought as he grows alongside Garrett.
D+ – Antonio Callaway. He’s very talented, no doubt. But, does Cleveland really want to deal with another Josh Gordon situation? They shouldn’t. Let’s hope he’s worth the risk.
Giants – A-: Riding the Barkley Train to a wildcard spot.
A+ – Saquon Barkley (RB) is going to be “the guy” in New York. By adding a phenomenal RB and having an amazing receiving core between Odell Beckham and Sterling Shephard, this team has some of the best young talent at skill positions in the NFC.
A+ – Will Hernandez (OL) is beginning to make the left side of this O-Line look fantastic with Nate Solder being picked up in the offseason. If they can get a good center and Ereck Flowers can improve (which might be asking a lot), the running game is bound to be crazy-strong.
B – Lorenzo Carter (LB) may have been overshadowed by his teammate Roquan Smith, but he’s an excellent playmaker on his own and can contribute a lot to a linebacking core that has struggled recently. I expect to see him rotated in often as a rookie and quickly take a starting position.
B- – While “Snacks” and Dalvin Tomlinson are both great DT’s, neither one of them excel at rushing the passer. B.J Hill (DT) adds something to that side of the D-Line and gives them a good enough, young DT to rotate in for a few snaps every game. He might even be a future starter.
C- – Kyle Lauletta (QB) is a good value pick, but he’s going to see minimal play time in the next two years. New York could have easily picked up a third-string QB from free agency but allowing one to develop works well too. A QB position battle is something New York hasn’t
seen in a long time.
C – It’s always good to add depth, and it’s hard to call a fifth-round pick bad, but the Giants could have added it elsewhere. I’ll be glad to see them work R.J McIntosh (DT) in to get a few snaps a game, but that’s about it.
Bears – A-: Righting the ship.
A – Roquan Smith (LB) is a guy you plug in and play, and he can immediately make your team better. He was such a dominant force at Georgia, and there’s no reason to think he won’t do the same in Chicago. His size might worry some people, but he plays to his height very well. We know what kind of LB’s Chicago has produced in the past, and Smith will be the next in that lengthy list of elite names.
A – Chicago’s O-line was a large cause for concern last year. They couldn’t protect Trubisky and couldn’t muster a great rushing offense despite having a phenomenal young RB in Jordan Howard. James Daniels’ (OL) versatility makes Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen a much larger threat.
B+ – Another player with many uses, Anthony Miller (WR) will have great chemistry with
Trubisky. With some work on his catching skills, Miller will be someone who can get open anywhere around the field for Trubisky to look for when he’s pressured or pushed out of the pocket.
C – Joel Iyiegbuniwe (LB) will be a decent rotational LB who can develop into a part-time
starter eventually. The Bears might have reached for this pick a tad, but he fits well in their system and can provide solid special team production early on in his career.
C – Billy Nichols (DT) is an athletic depth pick. He will be a solid backup to step in and defend the run and has good special team capabilities.
C+ – A bit of a gamble. If Kylie Fitts (DL) can stay healthy, which is not a given if you look at his last two seasons, he may prove to be a valuable late-pick edge rusher. At worst, he’ll be an average fill-in that may get a sack or two.
C – Javon Wims (WR) is a valuable depth pick. Any time a franchise can get a 6’3 receiver
with more than decent production in college in the seventh round, I call that a steal.