May 7, 2016 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s NFL Draft Grades Part 1
Great value picks throughout the draft, Lawson and Ragland were perfect fits falling in their lap. Jones is a much needed addition to the QB room, as he does have the tools to be a starter. Everyone else should provide depth and contribute in some kind of way.
The Bills select DE Shaq Lawson, out of Clemson, with their 1st round pick and he should be a solid fit as a tough player with pass rush ability to replace DE/OLB Mario Williams. Lawson has good size making him a good fit for the 3-4 defense and he has the ability to move inside on passing downs if needed. The Bills may have gotten a steal in the 2nd round in LB Reggie Ragland, out of Alabama, who fell due to a medical concern. Ragland was the top rated ILB on most boards and has the ability to play inside or outside, but he doesn’t have much speed. However, he is a sure tackler who will help against the run. DT Adolphus Washington, out of Ohio State, is a pass rushing DT who has solid pass rush moves and quickness, but he needs improve his conditioning and technique which will come with coaching. QB Cardale Jones, out of Ohio State, is a big, strong-armed QB who has a lot of potential with his pocket presence and athleticism, but he must polish his game and improve his accuracy. RB Jonathan Williams is a big back with tackle breaking ability, solid hands and blocking ability, but he is coming off a foot injury that caused him to miss the 2015 season; he should provide depth in a backfield that suffered many injuries. WR Kolby Listenbee is a track star turned WR with solid size, speed, hands, and the ability to adjust to the ball, but he must get stronger and continue to polish his game. CB Kevon Seymour is a fast CB, who could excel as nickel CB, but he must continue to get stronger and avoid injuries; he provides extra value on special teams.
Panthers loaded up at the CB position after losing Josh Norman, but each prospect has flaws in their game. Butler was a solid pick, as he as a unique skill set, but the Panthers already have two productive defensive tackles. Overall, Panthers picked up solid depth, but no player who should make an immediate impact.
In the first round, the Panthers select DT Vernon Butler, out of Louisiana Tech, a huge prospect with quick feet and the ability to stop the run, as well as, make plays behind the line; he must continue to work on his technique. In the 2nd round, the Panthers select CB James Bradberry, out of Samford, he is a huge DB who has transferred out of Arkansas State to play CB instead of S, but he has good press skills, quickness, and the ability make plays on the ball. However, Bradberry will need to adjust to playing against better competition, work on his technique, and run support/tackling. In the third round, the Panthers traded up to get CB Daryl Worley, out of West Virginia, another big DB with good strength and playmaking ability, but he lacks speed; however, he must continue to polish his game and footwork, but could be another press zone CB. In the 5th round, CB Zack Sanchez, out of Oklahoma, is a quick, playmaking CB with good cover skills who takes a lot of risks; he needs to work on his tackling and polish his skills, but he could be a good nickel CB eventually. In the 7th round, Panther take a flyer on TE Beau Sandland, out of Montana State, a big pass catching TE with developing run blocking skills, who played for Pierce College, University of Miami, and Montana State, but a productive TE who needs to polish his game, but could be a solid find.
Cardinals: B –
Chandler Jones boosts the grade immediately helping the pass rush along with the addition of Nkemdiche brings toughness to the front 7. Good picks based on need, but more of a C+ draft without Chandler Jones.
With their 1st round pick, the Cardinals went with DT/DE Robert Nkemdiche, out of Ole Miss, who has a lot of talent and the potential to be a difference maker for a defense that is already causing problems. Nkemdiche needs to prove that his off the field problems are not an issue, but he will be an instant upgrade on the D-line. They traded their 2nd round pick for DE/OLB Chandler Jones from the Patriots who is one of the best pass rushers in the league and an instant upgrade over the vets the team brought in last year. CB Brandon Williams, out of Texas A&M, is a converted RB to CB who has good speed, size, and tackling ability, but must continue to polish his skills and get stronger. C Evan Boehm, out of Missouri, is a converted guard with 3 years of experience as a center. He is a strong prospect who does a good job of reading blitzes; he should compete for the starting job or worst case, provide interior depth. SS Marqui Christian is a small school prospect who is an undersized hard hitting safety who can provide depth and contribute on special teams. He must continue to get stronger and polish his cover skills. T Cole Toner is an Ivy League prospect who should provide depth at the RT spot or compete for a job, as he continues to get stronger and polish his footwork. CB Harlan Miller is a small school prospect with solid cover and tackling skills, but he is not very fast and not very big; he could provide depth at CB or compete for a spot.
Solid picks based on need, a bit of a reach for Neal who was projected more as a 2nd round pick, but he is a good fit and might be the best pick they chose. The rest should find a way to contribute on a team in need of depth.
In the 1st round, the Falcons went with SS Keanu Neal, out of Florida, who went a lot earlier than expected, but he is a hard hitting safety who likes to leave his mark. Neal must continue to polish his cover skills and going for the big hit which leads to missed tackles, but will be used to his strengths. OLB Deion Jones, out of LSU, is a very fast linebacker with the ability to make plays all over the field; however he is undersized and could be moved to safety if he doesn’t pick up weight. TE Austin Hooper, out of Stanford, is a big TE who has the ability to create separation and he has good blocking skills, however he must continue to work on his hands and playing more physical, but he has the skills. OLB De’Vondre Campbell, out of Minnesota, is a big pass-rushing LB with good speed and athleticism, but he must improve his coverage and awareness; he should improve with coaching and more reps. OG Wes Schweitzer is a big run blocking guard with good footwork, who must polish his game and improve his pass-blocking; he should provide depth or compete for a spot. WR Devin Fuller is a converted QB who has played through some injuries, but has been a great returner and after running a good 40yd dash he could fight for a job as a slot WR.