May 9, 2016 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s NFL Draft Grades Part 3
The Saints picked three solid players who should offer immediate help in positions of need in Rankins, Thomas, and Bell. Rankins gives them an active DE on the other side of Cameron Jordan who can also draw double teams, Thomas helps them replace veteran WR Marques Colston, and Bell gives them insurance in case veteran FS Jairus Byrd doesn’t return to form. Onyemata and Lasco are developmental prospect; Lasco should see time on special teams at the least.
In the 1st round, the Saints select DT Sheldon Rankins, out of Louisville, an undersized, quick lineman with a good inside push who can cause problems drawing double teams, but he needs to get bigger and may end up playing DE and NT on passing downs. In the 2nd round, the Saints take WR Michael Thomas and FS Vonn Bell, both out of Ohio State. Michael Thomas is a big possession WR with big hands, good catching ability, and good leaping ability; he is the nephew of former WR Keyshawn Johnson. Vonn Bell is a good coverage safety who can cover WR’s, but he must work on his run stopping ability and he is not very fast. In the 4th round, the Saints select DT David Onyemata, out of Manitoba (Canada), a raw athlete with good size, strength, and playing power, but he must continue to polish his skills and learn the game to become a nose tackle in the future. In the 7th round, the Saints pick RB Daniel Lasco, out of Cal, a productive RB with good size and speed, but he has had issues with injuries and teams question his vision, but he does over coverage value on Special Teams.
The Giants surprised people by picking CB Eli Apple, but he may be the only other CB with real #1 potential outside of Jalen Ramsey. Shepard gives Eli Manning a much needed target and playmaker in the slot. Goodson gives them a run stopping LB in a division of teams who will push the running game, while Thompson helps the depth at safety giving them another playmaker. Perkins and Adams provide solid depth at positions that could use more competition.
In the 1st round, the Giants surprise people by making CB Eli Apple, out of Ohio State, the 1st pure CB off the board. Apple is a huge prospect with long arms, good speed and coverage ability, but he must continue to polish his technique to avoid penalties; he has all the tools to be a solid #1 CB. In the 2nd round, Giants select WR Sterling Shepard, out of Oklahoma, a small, but quick WR who can get in and out of his routes, but his must get stronger and show that he can break from the top press CB’s in the league. In the 3rd round, Giants pick S Darian Thompson, out of Boise State, a playmaking safety with good size who can play in the box, but he must play better in coverage and he is not very fast, which dropped him into the 3rd round. In the 4th round, OLB B.J. Goodson, out of Clemson, is a tough, run-stuffing LB who fits best as MLB who may be able to see time on the SLB, but he is not very fast and he is not very good in coverage; however, he could be a good 2-down MLB. In the 5th round, Giants select RB Paul Perkins, out of UCLA, a good one cut RB, from a football family, who can also catch out of the backfield and pass block, but he must get stronger and do a better job of breaking tackles; he could be a solid 3rd down /change of pace back. In the 6th round, TE Jerell Adams, out of South Carolina, is a big TE with good speed and jumping ability who can stretch the field and he is also a willing blocker, however he must show more consistency and awareness in the passing game; he has all the skills to be a playmaker.
The Jets did a good job of picking based on need with OLB’s Lee and Jenkins instantly upgrading the outside LB positions on an aging core. Hackenberg fills a need at QB, but he is an enigma and must play to his potential; however, the Jets must feel they can take him to the next level. Shell should compete and take over the RT spot. Burris and Peake should provide depth at positions that could use a real playmaker. Edwards will take over the job at punter and should upgrade the unit immediately.
In the 1st round, the Jets selected OLB Darron Lee, out of Ohio State, a nice pass rushing addition to add on the weak side who can go sideline to sideline and drop in coverage; he really adds a new dimension to an already active front seven. In the 2nd round, the Jets made the surprise pick of QB Christian Hackenberg, out of Penn State, an inconsistent QB with all the tools to be a starter, but definitely needs to be coached up. Hackenberg is willing to stand in the pocket and keep his eyes down field, but he needs to work on his accuracy and decision making. In the 3rd round, OLB Jordan Jenkins, out of Georgia, is a productive college LB with experience playing both outside spots and DE, he projects as a strongside LB in the league, as he isn’t that fast, but a good run stopper and decent in coverage. Jenkins has some pass rush ability, but is not considered a legit pass rusher. In the 4th round, CB Juston Burris, N.C. State, is a big DB with good speed and cover skills who is a willing a solid tackler, but he must continue to polish his game; he should find his way onto the field with his skillset. In the 5th round, Jets select T Brandon Shell, out of South Carolina, a huge, long –armed lineman who plays with good strength exceling at run blocking, while improving at pass protection, but he needs to work on his technique and footwork; Shell is the nephew of Hall of Fame Raiders Tackle Art Shell. In the 7th round, Jets picked P Lac Edwards, out of Sam Houston State, and WR Charone Peake, out of Clemson. Edwards is a good punter at putting the ball inside the 20, but is still a bit raw coming from Australia playing Rugby and other sports; Jets needed an upgrade. Peake is a huge prospect with good speed and the look of a #1 WR, but he has a problem staying healthy and a problem dropping the ball; he is an intriguing developmental prospect.
The Raiders picked Joseph higher than expected, but based on his talent and potential it could be a smart pick; he also fills a need. Ward is a solid inside/outside D-lineman who should be a solid replacement for veteran DE/DT Justin Tuck. Calhoun gives the team another pass rusher to develop along with James who is more of a project. Washington adds more versatility to the backfield, as a possible 3rd down back, to compete with the vets. Cook is a solid backup and developmental prospect who could pay off eventually. The only position that should have been addressed that wasn’t was CB.
In the 1st round, the Raiders select S Karl Joseph, out of West Virginia, a small, compact safety who is a hard hitter and playmaker. Joseph is best in the box, but has proven he can handle hold his own in coverage; he will be a perfect fit for this defense as a physical, tough-nosed player. In the 2nd round, the Raiders select DE Jihad Ward, out of Illinois, a huge defender who was athletic enough to go from a WR/S to a D-line prospect who can play inside and outside with a good display of power, but he needs to develop a mean streak, continue to get bigger, and develop his game as a pass rusher; he has all the tools to eventually start somewhere on the D-line. In the 3rd round, the Raiders select DE/OLB Shilique Calhoun, out of Michigan State, a former high school basketball player who is an athletic pass rusher with a high motor, but he needs to polish his skills and show more aggression to fight through double teams and continue to get stronger; he will be a rotational pass rusher to start his career. In the 4th round, the Raiders get a steal in QB Connor Cook, out of Michigan State, who was projected as a late 1st round/2nd round pick, however, some teams questioned his leadership. Cook is a smart QB with all the tools to be a starter down the line and he is in the perfect position to polish his skills. In the 5th round, Raiders select RB DeAndre Washington, out of Texas Tech, a small, compact RB with good strength and quickness who proved that he can carry the load and catch out of the backfield, but he must get bigger to help more in pass protection and work on his turnovers. In the 6th round, OLB Cory James, out of Colorado State, an undersized LB with good speed and experience inside and outside, as well as, solid pass rushing ability and the ability to make plays behind the line, however, he must get bigger before he can see the field and continue to polish his pass rushing skills as that seems to be his best fit. In the 7th round, G Vadal Alexander, out of LSU, is a huge lineman with experience at guard and tackle, who plays with good strength, toughness and power, but he needs to improve his footwork, continue to improve his conditioning, and work on his mental mistakes.