June 17, 2016 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s NFL Draft Grades #8
The Steelers’ biggest need was in the secondary making Burns and Davis much needed picks; Burns should be a favorite to get a starting job and could be the #1 CB for the long term, while Davis will get a chance to take the starting FS job or provide depth everywhere. Hargrave adds solid depth inside and should provide some pass rush up the middle. Hawkins will provide depth on an O-line that could use some; he should compete for the starting RT spot in the future. Feeney, Ayers, and Matakevich all should contribute on special teams and provide depth at their positions.
As expected, the Steelers selected a CB with their 1st round pick in CB Artie Burns, out of Miami, a potential shutdown CB with good size and speed, as a he also ran track. Burns is a physical, press CB who needs to continue to polish his skills, but his athleticism and ball skills gives him #1 CB potential. In the 2nd round, the Steelers select CB/S Sean Davis, out of Maryland, is a big DB, who is considered to be a better fit at safety, with the ability to make plays, especially hard hits to jar the bar loose. Davis needs to polish his coverage and decrease his missed tackles due to going for the big hit. In the 3rd round, Steelers select DT Javon Hargrave, out of South Carolina, is a playmaking DT with good athleticism and a high motor to make plays behind the line getting after the QB, but he is a bit undersized at 6’1; he needs to continue to polish his skills. In the 4th round, Steelers select T Jerald Hawkins, out of LSU, a long armed tackle with solid pass blocking skills and experience at both tackle spots, but mostly RT; he needs to get stronger and polish his technique, but he fits as a RT or guard. In the 6th round, the Steelers select OLB/S Travis Feeney, out of Washington, a standout special teams performer who has converted to OLB using his coverage skills and athleticism to get after the QB, however he needs to continue to get bigger, avoid injuries, and continue to learn the position; he has playmaking potential. In the 7th round, the Steelers select WR Demarcus Ayers, out of Houston, and OLB Tyler Matakevich, out of Temple. Ayers is an undersized WR who knows how to make plays and space and provides value as a returner; he will compete for a return job while providing depth at WR as he polishes his skills. Matakevich is a blue collar LB who is a tackling machine making plays all over the field with decent coverage skills, but he is undersized and not very fast; he has a good awareness, but needs to avoid getting caught in blocks and has problems with speedy RB’s, he will have to make a name on special teams.
The Browns had one of their best drafts in recent years, Coleman, Louis, Payton, and Higgins are all playmakers when they get the ball in their hands and add solid depth to a very weak receiver core; Coleman and someone else should emerge out the bunch. Ogbah and Nassib are solid defensive end prospects on a team in need; one or both could emerge as a starter, but both will see meaningful snaps. Coleman and Drango are tough run blockers who should help a weak O-line. Schobert and Wright are tough, blue collar linebackers who should work their way up the depth chart while starting on special teams. Kessler is an accurate QB who will be a project for Hue Jackson to mold, in his Andy Dalton role. Devalve will continue to learn how to be a playmaking TE, which is necessary in Hue Jackson’s system. Kindred and Caldwell will provide depth in the secondary, as they continue to polish their games.
The Browns pulled off a lot of trades during the draft to set them up for future years and even a trade down in the 1st round, where they selected WR Corey Coleman, out of Baylor. Coleman is a very fast WR with good deep speed, the ability to make plays in space, and he was the go to guy at Baylor, but he needs to work on his route running, avoid dropping the ball, and avoid injury; he also has experience playing with RG3 in college. In the 2nd round, the Browns select DE Emmanuel Ogbah, out of Oklahoma State, is a big DE who plays with good strength and power allowing him to set the edge or push his way into the backfield with experience all over the D-line, but he needs to improve his awareness and show a more consistent motor. In the 3rd round, the Browns select DE Carl Nassib, out of Penn State, T Shon Coleman, out of Auburn, and QB Cody Kessler, out of USC. Nassib is a former walk-on who went from special teams to a full time starter and playmaker as a senior. He has good size, quickness, and a high motor, but he needs to improve his overall awareness, tackling, and show that he is more than a one year wonder; he is a hard worker and very coachable. Coleman is a big lineman with experience at both tackle spots, who plays with good strength and toughness, but he could use some improvement on his footwork and technique; he a solid run blocker who has overcame Leukemia to return as a high level player. Kessler is a very accurate QB, who can move around in the pocket and make smart decisions to pick teams apart, but he is undersized and doesn’t have the biggest arm or athleticism. In the 4th round, the Browns select OLB Joe Schobert, out of Wisconsin, WR Ricardo Louis, out of Auburn, FS Derrick Kindred, out of TCU, and TE Seth Devalve, out of Princeton. Schobert is another walk-on who worked his way into being one of the top college LB’s, he is playmaker with a nose for the ball and solid tackling ability to match his high motor, but he needs to continue polish his pass rush and clean up his missed tackles. Louis is a fast WR with good size and the ability to make plays in space, as well as, down field, but he must clean up his drops and polish his route running. Kindred is a tough safety with solid tackling ability while playing best in the box, but he needs to clean up his missed tackles and improve his deep coverage. Devalve is a former WR who needs to get bigger and improve his blocking. In the 5th round, the Browns select WR Jordan Payton, out of UCLA, G Spencer Drango, out of Baylor, WR Rashard Higgins, out of Colorado State, and DB Trey Caldwell, out of Louisiana-Monroe. Payton is a compact built possession WR who uses his body to push off CBs and shield them away from the ball, but he isn’t very fast and has problems breaking some press coverage. Drango is a strong power run blocker who played tackle in college, but may move to guard in the league with good size to move lineman; however, he needs to polish his pass blocking skills and polish his technique. Higgins is a quick WR with the ability to make plays in space and go deep, he was a very productive college WR, as the top playmaker on his team; however, he needs polish his route running skills and get stronger to break press coverage. Caldwell is a small DB known for his athleticism and tackling ability; he should provide depth all over the secondary. In the 7th round, ILB Scooby Wright III, out of Arizona, is an undersized LB who plays with good instincts, a high motor, and solid tackling ability, but he’s stiff and not very fast; he could make an impact on special teams.
The Patriots love to add tough, technically sound CBs and Jones fits the bill, he should see meaningful snaps during the season. Thuney is a versatile lineman who should provide depth at every spot, but LT and Karras is a strong lineman who should provide depth at guard adding power. Brissett is a solid strong-armed prospect to join the QB room and challenge Garroppolo. Valentine could be groomed to be the future NT, if he can clean up his conditioning, but he could see time on early downs to stop the run. Mitchell is the Pats type of WR, but he will need time to polish his skills. Grugier-Hill and Roberts should help on special teams and provide depth, as they continue to polish their games. Lucien will have to fight for a roster spot.
The Patriots had to forfeit their 1st round pick, so in the 2nd round they selected CB Cyrus Jones, out of Alabama, a solid press corner with good ball skills and great return skills, mostly as a punt returner; however, his size limits him to mostly being a nickel CB and he needs work with his zone coverage. In the 3rd round the Pats select, G Joe Thuney, out of NC State, QB Jacoby Brissett, out of N.C. State, and DT Vincent Valentine, out of Nebraska. Thuney is a versatile lineman with experience at every position and solid run blocking skills; however he fits best as a guard in the league and needs to polish his game. Brissett is a big, strong-armed QB who can make plays with his feet and he has good accuracy on the move and on intermediate throws, however he needs to work on his technique and deep ball accuracy. Valentine is a strong DT who plays with good power to fight double teams and overpower smaller lineman, however he needs to work on his conditioning and avoid injuries. In the 4th round, the Patriots select WR Malcolm Mitchell, out of Georgia, a reliable pass catcher with good ball skills who doesn’t mind going across the middle and has the quickness to go deep, however he needs to show that he can consistently get separation and he has had a prior ACL injury. In the 6th round, the Pats select OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill, out of Eastern Illinois, ILB Elandon Roberts, out of Houston, and G Ted Karras, out of Illinois. Grugier-Hill is an undersized LB with great speed, tackling ability, and run stopping ability, however he needs to get bigger and stronger and prove that he can play at a higher weight. Roberts is a productive LB with good leadership and run stopping skills, but he is not very fast and doesn’t have good hands in coverage; he led college football in solo tackles. Karras is a strong lineman from a football family who plays with good technique and pass-blocking skills keeping penalties at a minimum, but he isn’t very athletic and fits best in a power run game. In the 7th round, WR Devin Lucien, out of Arizona State is a playmaking WR with good size and speed, but very little production despite the last 3 games of the season; he must show more consistency, the ability to create separation, and improve his route running.
Buckner is a solid addition to a D-line that could use some active bodies, while Blair should be able to help the equation. Garnett is a much needed addition on an O-line that lost some talent inside, while Theus and Cooper provide depth outside. Redmond, Robinson, and Iworah will provide depth at CB while fighting for meaningful snaps at a very thin position. Driskel is a raw QB with tools for Kelly to work with as the 3rd string. Taylor could find carries in an offense lacking a true backup RB; he could be a change of pace or 3rd down back. Burbridge will provide depth for a weak WR core with the opportunity to go anywhere from 2nd – 5th on the WR depth chart.
The 49ers missed out on the top QB’s, but in the 1st round the 49ers select DE/DT DeForest Buckner, out of Oregon, to anchor their D-line. Buckner is a strong prospect, with great size and athleticism with the ability to get after the passer and stop the run, but he is a bit raw and could use some technique work; he fits as a DE. The 49ers traded back into the 1st round to select G Joshua Garnett, out of Stanford, a son of a former NFL player with good size and strength as a power run blocker, but he needs to improve his conditioning and pass blocking. In the 3rd round, the 49ers select CB Will Redmond, out of Mississippi State, an aggressive man cover corner with good run support ability, however he is undersized and coming off an ACL tear; he would fit nicely as a nickel CB. In the 4th round, the 49ers select CB Rashard Robinson, out of LSU, a big CB with solid press cover skills and good speed, but he has limited experience after getting suspended due to off the field issues, but he has potential. In the 5th round, the 49ers select DE Ronald Blair, out of Appalachian State, T John Theus, out of Georgia, and T Fahn Cooper, out of Mississippi. Blair is a balanced DE with some pass rush skill and experience playing inside and outside, but he needs to work on his conditioning and could use some work on his technique; he fits best a rotational D-lineman. Theus is a lineman with good fundamentals and experience at both tackle spots, but he is a better pass blocker than run blocker and needs to get stronger. Cooper is a strong, tough lineman with power run blocking skills and experience at both tackle spots, but he needs to improve his pass blocking and footwork; he could be moved to guard. In the 6th round, the 49ers select QB Jeff Driskel, out of Louisiana Tech, RB Kelvin Taylor, out of Florida, and WR Aaron Burbridge, out of Michigan State. Driskel is a big QB with good arm strength and athleticism to make plays with his feet, but he needs to improve his ball placement and deep ball accuracy, but he has some tools to work with. Taylor is a quick back with good fundamentals, ball protection, and vision, but he is more of a rotational back due to his lack of tackle breaking ability; he is the son of former RB Fred Taylor. Burbridge is a reliable receiver with decent size, good run blocking, and good route running, but he needs to prove that he can get open from press coverage and make plays after the catch or he will be restricted as a slot WR. In the 7th round, CB Prince Charles Iworah, out of Western Kentucky, a very fast, small cover corner with good recovery and chase down skills, but he needs to polish his game.