Grading NFL Teams’ 2017 Draft Classes a few days following the draft is a fun exercise, but very often unrealistic and downright wrong. That is proven shortly just a few years later when players in the 2nd, 3rd and even undrafted free agents outperform 1st round players.
The all too common solution of grading a draft is simply giving teams a grade based on your perceived value based on YOUR evaluations of a player. You can guess an experts’ individual team’s draft ranking based on that particular draft experts ‘big board’ before the draft. If they ABSOLUTELY love a particular player and ‘said’ team drafts him, you can be sure that particular team is going to receive high marks from that draft expert.
In this article, I want to rank each team’s draft and undrafted free agents based off not just MY evaluation of the players, but the common consensus among several draft experts. Combining that with value and team need is vitally important. That is why I am going to keep all those in mind when I rank each individual team.
Overview: I love Haason Reddick and I genuinely think he can be a stud pass rusher. I trust Arians and the Cardinals coaching staff to use him and put him in the right places to make plays. Budda Baker is a stud and will be a ridiculous partner with Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary. Chad Williams is a good player that WOWed at the senior bowl but was over drafted in my views when better players were on the board still. Dorian Johnson is a good player but has some injury concerns. He’s a future starter on the offensive line.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Sojourn Shelton is an interesting CB from Wisconsin that is a bit undersized but is a solid cover guy. The Cardinals gave him quite a bit guaranteed money, so they obviously think he has a shot to make the team. Trevor Knight QB from Texas A&M is a project but displays some raw physical tools to work with. Ricky Seals-Jones is an extremely talented TE that was a 5 star WR prospect in high school. His transition to TE has not been smooth, but there’s no denying he has upside.
Overview: I like the boldness of going after Tak McKinley and coming up to get him before the Cowboys get him. He will be a nice piece to add on the other side of the line from Vic Beasley. But there are some concerns about him possibly being on PUP to start the season. Getting Duke Riley in the 3rd is a steal, Riley gives the Falcons even more speed on defense. Not a huge fan of Sean Harlow in the 4th, but getting Kazee and Saubert in the 5th rounds is an outstanding value.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Darius English is an extremely productive LB from South Carolina that could be a really nice situational pass rusher. Alex Torgerson is a highly productive QB from Penn that had an outstanding career in the Ivy League Conference. I was surprised he didn’t get drafted, he has a shot to win a roster spot.
Overview: I love the Ravens dedication to the defensive side of the ball. You can argue they didn’t do enough to upgrade their WR’s or their OL, but they drafted incredible value. I like Humphrey, but I think they drafted him a bit too early. But getting Bowser and Tim Williams where they got them is just flat out ridiculous. Both guys have 10+ sack a year potential. Tim Williams might have the best 1st step in the entire class. Whether he can stay on the field and not get in trouble will be his biggest question mark. Getting Eluemunor in the 5th round is even better value. Eluemunor should be a starter by year 2 at the very latest.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: WR Quincy Adeboyejo certainly has a chance to really impress in camp. Adeboyejo has the rare combination of size and speed, showcasing his 4.42-speed pre-draft. Another WR Tim Patrick from Utah is a huge and impressive sized target at 6’5. He had a really good last year at Utah with over 700 yards and 5 TDs.
Overview: I absolutely love what the Bills did in trading down and picking up an additional 1st round pick next year. They got a really good and versatile man cover corner in White in the 1st round. Then getting Zay Jones in the 2nd, which gives them an immediate starter at WR. I like the Dion Dawkins pick as well at the end of the 2nd round. That gives them a potential starter at either guard or RT his rookie year. Getting both Matt Milano and Stephen Peterman in the 5th round is highway robbery. You can make the argument Peterman is the most pro-ready QB in this entire draft. He has a shot to be a really solid starter and at the very least a quality backup in the NFL. Milano is so fluid and athletic, absolutely love his film.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Greg Pyke is a really good offensive lineman that was the definition of consistent at Georgia. He absolutely has starter potential. Keith Towbridge lacked the production at Louisville, but he is an old type of smash mouth TE that would be an intriguing inline TE.
Overview: I just felt the Panthers got too many niche players in this draft. I love McCaffrey and I think he’s one of the most ‘sure fire’ things in the entire draft. But drafting him top 10 is a steep price to play for a guy that will likely get 10 carries a game as a runner. And then drafting Curtis Samuel in the 2nd round, who is basically the same kind of player as McCaffrey is just too much in my opinion. Taylor Moton in the 3rd round is a good player, and likely will need some time before he’s a reliable starter at the next level. Daeshon Hall is a solid player against the run, but I felt was over drafted in the 3rd round and likely just a situational player. He’s a better LDE and isn’t a great pass rusher.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Ben Boulware is a big-game player. Tough as nails and will be a special teams animal. Bryan Cox Jr dropped far too far, in my opinion, he’s a really good player that isn’t a great pass rusher but is just SOLID in every aspect.
Overview: I don’t necessarily have a problem with what the Bears did to secure Trubisky. If you believe in a QB THAT much, and think he can be a franchise QB, you do whatever you can to secure him. My biggest problem is the draft is about combining risk/reward and both of the Bears top 2 picks are HUGE risk players that likely won’t play much this year. With a coach that is already on his last chance, that is a recipe for disaster. Shaheen has ridiculous upside but he’s never played against top flight competition in his career coming from Ashland. I do like what they did getting Cohen and Morgan in the 4th and 5th rounds. Both guys should see valuable snaps sooner rather than later.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: I love Freddie Stevenson, the FB from Florida State. He was responsible for opening up many of the big holes for Dalvin Cook. Tanner Gentry from Wyoming is an intriguing WR option that certainly has a shot.
Overview: I like John Ross more than anyone, but drafting a WR that hasn’t proven that he can ever stay healthy top 10 overall is a HUGE risk. I don’t think I need to report on Joe Mixon, everyone knows the talent of him. I absolutely love what the Bengals did in the 3rd and 4th rounds, getting Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson, and Ryan Glasgow. All three are tremendous values and should all play valuable snaps their rookie seasons. Not a huge fan of any of their 5th, 6th or 7th round picks.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Boom Williams from Kentucky is an explosive and versatile weapon that could be an asset on special teams and as a 3rd down back. I really like Hardy Nickerson Jr as well from Illinois. He’s a good 2 down linebacker that could be an immediate special teams guy.
Overview: The Browns absolutely killed it. They perfectly drafted ‘potential’ with ‘value.’ They added so much talent and depth throughout their roster. I love that they got DeShone Kizer in the 2nd round, giving them that QB to develop for the future and compete with Cody Kessler. I love Howard Wilson in the 4th as well, he’s one of the most talented CB’s in this entire draft. Then getting and taking the risk of Caleb Brantley in the 6th round is just insane.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Channing Stribling the CB from Michigan is a guy that never completely lived up to his potential at Michigan, but is still a very solid cover guy. Kenneth Olugbode from Colorado is an athletic and speedy LB that has a chance to be a solid special teams guy!
Overview: I’m not a huge fan of Taco Charlton in the 1st round, considering the Cowboys have 4 or 5 other guys that can play LDE and move inside. But I loved most of their other picks. Getting Awuzie in the 2nd and Jourdan Lewis in the 3rd immediately upgrades their secondary. I love Ryan Switzer and he instantly upgrades the return game and gives them another dynamic slot player. Then getting Xavier Woods in the 6th might be the steal of the draft.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: With the loss of Doug Free to retirement, the Cowboys signed Levon Myers and Dan Skipper who both can compete for that starting RT spot. I expected both to get drafted on day 3.
Overview: I like Garrett Bolles and Demarcus Walker, I think both are good players and fill spots of need. Neither of them gets me excited off my chair. Carlos Henderson in the 3rd and Jake Butt in the 5th is a tremendous value. Butt could end up being the steal of the draft. He’s literally a clone of Heath Miller and will be a quality starter in this league once he comes back from his injury.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Safety Orion Stewart from Baylor is a hard hitting safety that can be an SS and special teams contributor. Cameron Hunt, who is a versatile OL from Oregon has a chance to battle and compete for a swing spot.
Overview: Similarly to the Bears, the Lions drafted 2 guys that are major question marks for different reasons. Both great college players, but Davis is frequently hurt and Tabor lacks the long speed to be a top end man to man corner at the next level. Drafting Kenny Golladay in the 3rd round is a major reach, as he was a 5th to 6th rounder according to most scout gurus, including me. Perhaps my favorite pick of the draft for the Lions was Michael Roberts from Toledo in the 4th round. Roberts is a goal line nightmare, having 16 TD’s his senior year. Not a lot more to get excited about from the Lions draft.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Michael Rector from Stanford is an explosive WR that shows route craftiness and separation quickness to create spacing from DB’s. Alex Barnett from San Diego State is a DE that put up really good numbers and dominated small school competition.
Green Bay Packers
Overview: The Packers absolutely drafted a ton of depth and added valuable pieces to their team. My biggest issue with the Packers draft is value. Besides Kevin King, most of their picks went a lot earlier than their perceived value. Kevin King is a really good CB that will instantly upgrade their secondary. Josh Jones is a good SS but has some limitations. Love their pick of Vince Biegel from Wisconsin, he could be a really good OLB in their scheme.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Taysom Hill the QB from BYU has some developmental upside. Keep an eye on WR Aaron Peck as well from Fresno State. He has a chance to make an impression on special teams in camp.
Overview: I think I liked the Texans draft a lot more than most. Yes, they did have to give up next year’s 1st round pick, but that is worth it to get your franchise QB. I think Watson has a great opportunity to succeed with Bill O’Brien there. Getting Zach Cunningham in the 2nd was an awesome, awesome pick. The kid is all over the place and instantly upgrades their defense. Thought they knocked it out of the park in the 3rd and 4th rounds as well. Foreman will play plenty of snaps his rookie year and Watkins and Davenport both have chances to win starting spots in camp.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Joe Mathis the DE from Washington has had constant injury concerns, but there’s no denying he’s an outstanding pass rusher. I really like Dylan Cole from Missouri State as well. He’s all over the place as an LB and can be a really good player.
Overview: There’s no doubt the Colts got value in this draft. They upgraded the defense further but did little to help Andrew Luck on the offensive line. Their first two picks are arguably up there with the best first two picks in the entire draft. After that, they added valuable rotational pieces to the roster. Zach Banner is an interesting guy if he can keep his weight down at the next level, his size is unmatched. He will likely have to move inside.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Bug Howard and Garrett Sickels are two hugely successful college players that could make teams regret that they went undrafted. Interested to see how they do in camp.
Overview: I absolutely love what Tom Coughlin did in this class. He improved his team immensely. Fournette gives this team the toughness on offense. Cam Robinson will be an absolute mauler in the run game for them. Dawuane Smoot and Dede Westbrook are both MUCH more talented than their draft position but fell in the draft. And Blair Brown and Jalen Myrick are two difference makers that have a shot to play valuable snaps in their rookie years.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Carroll Phillips from Illinois is a talented DE that has a real shot to make the team, and Avery Gennesy was a really good LT for A&M last season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Overview: The fortune favors the brave, and the Chiefs hope they are rewarded with their selection of Patrick Mahomes. They must absolutely love him, giving up a future 1st round pick as well. The DE Tanoh Kpassagnon from Villanova is a project, but has crazy length and size and is a perfect scheme fit for the Chiefs 3-4 DE. I love Kareem Hunt, and I think he is an instant starter for Chiefs. Jehu Chesson is a really good player that never quite lived up to his potential, but has a bright future.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Damien Mama from USC is a mammoth guard that can be an absolute mauler at the next level. Gehrig Dieter from Alabama is a guy that didn’t have the production at Alabama but has a big ceiling.
Los Angeles Chargers
Overview: I really love what the Chargers did for Philip Rivers. Considering he likely has just a few years left, the Chargers added pieces all around him. Getting Mike Williams for Rivers is incredibly smart, as Rivers works great with bigger targets who can outbox smaller DBs. Love the value of getting both Lamp and Feeney in rounds 2 and 3. Their offensive line will be infinitely better with these two pieces, giving Rivers the time to succeed in the pocket.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Artavis Scott from Clemson is a WR that has a ton of ability that never should have dropped out of the draft. Dontre Wilson is an explosive guy that lacked significant snaps in college.
Los Angeles Rams
Overview: It’s hard to have a good draft when you do have a 1st round pick, but when you don’t have a 1st round pick it is even harder. I like that the Rams traded down to pick up an additional 3rd round pick, but not a huge fan of any of their early picks. In my opinion, the Rams did the best in 6th and 7th rounds. Getting Tanzel Smart, Sam Rogers and Ejuan Price at the end of the draft is a tremendous value. All 3 have a shot to play valuable roles for their team this year.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: I like RB Justin Davis quite a bit from USC, think he absolutely has a shot to make the roster. Johnny Mundt from Oregon is a project TE who has some ability to develop.
Overview: I really like the Dolphins draft and think they got significantly better. The only pick I didn’t love was McMillan in the 2nd round. He’s a 2 down LB that cannot cover and I thought to take him over Zach Cunningham was an awful, awful mistake. But besides that, the Dolphins did a nice job of adding value. One of my favorite picks in the entire draft was getting Isaac Asiata in the 5th round. He will be a plug and play starter on the interior of their line. Cordrea Tankersley in the 3rd round is great value as well, he is a really good press man to man corner that should be a starter in the league.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: De’Veon Smith from Michigan is a physical, bruising back that had some really big games in the biggest games for Michigan. I really like that they got Stringfellow as well from Ole Miss. He’s a supremely talented kid that has battled off the field concerns.
Overview: Despite not having a 1st round pick, the Vikings probably felt like they got one getting Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round. I really like Pat Elflein as well, he has versatility and will be a fixture on that offensive line for years to come. I love their 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds as well getting guys like Elijah Lee, Bucky Hodges and Stacy Coley as late as they did. They added a ton of depth in this draft and got 2 immediate starters in Dalvin Cook and Elflein.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Josiah Price from Michigan State has a real shot to be a solid player and make the roster at the TE position. Aviante Collins is another interesting guy that can battle for a swing interior spot on the OL.
New England Patriots
Overview: Despite only having 4 picks, the Patriots did a really really good job of adding value to positions of weakness. Not that the Patriots have many weaknesses, but getting a really good RDE in Derek Rivers in the 3rd round is an absolute steal. Garcia is a developmental guy at T that will need some time and likely won’t start but certainly has a huge ceiling. Deatrich Wise and McDermott are two guys that can also compete right away from playing time.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot:
I love Austin Carr from Northwestern, he reminds me so much of Danny Amendola. He’s a reception machine, and I can imagine he will fit in perfectly with Brady. Harvey Langi from BYU is a talented LB that has a chance to make the squad if he plays well on special teams.
New Orleans Saints
Overview: After initially looking at their draft, I thought it was an ‘A’ draft but thinking and dwelling it is closer to B+. Why? Almost all of their picks are and were injury prone throughout their college careers. There’s no doubt they added a plethora of talent, but can they stay healthy? We shall see. I love that Marshon Lattimore dropped to them, he has the ability to be a truly shut down guy at the next level. Getting Muhammad in the 6th round is a gamble, but a risk worth taking. We could look back at this draft in a year or two and think it’s a LOT better than we thought.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Travin Dural and Ahmad Fullwood are interesting WRs that lacked the production in the SEC, but certainly have the talent to play better in the NFL.
New York Giants
Overview: Drafting another explosive weapon on offense is the last thing the Giants need in the 1st round. Between Marshall, Odell, and Shepherd there already isn’t enough balls to go around. Their problem last year was they couldn’t protect Eli, and they did little in this draft to help him. I like Tomlinson a lot more than most, but I still think he was a bit of a reach. A 2 down NT isn’t what the Giants need, they already have a couple of those. I do like the pick of getting Davis Webb in the 3rd. He’s a HUGE ‘what if’ but they need to roll the dice to develop someone behind Eli. I do like the pick of Avery Moss, as I expect him to be a solid rotational pass rusher.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Jarron Jones from Notre Dame should never have gone undrafted, he’s far too talented for that. Injury concerns and off the field concerns caused him to drop. Chad Wheeler is another guy that I really like. He’s a developmental guy that needs more time in the weight room, but he has the foot quickness to be an LT in this league at some point.
New York Jets
Overview: The Jets certainly upgraded their secondary in this draft. I felt drafting 2 safeties in the first two rounds was a bit overkill as safety really isn’t one of the more important positions in the NFL. I absolutely love Jamal Adams and ArDarius Stewart though and think both can be really really good players, especially Adams. Getting Jordan Leggett in the 5th round is really good value, as I expected him to go in the 3rd or 4th.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Connor Harris from Lindenwood is an absolute tackling machine at LB, he certainly has a shot to make the team. Gabe Marks is a really good receiver that likely got undrafted because of off the field problems.
Overview: As far as a pure football player, Conley should have never dropped to the Raiders. He’s an absolute steal of a pick and is a guaranteed Day 1 starter at CB for them. But the rest of the draft for the Raiders was just “OK” in my estimation. They drafted quite a few potential guys, like Obi, Sharpe, Lee and Vanderdoes. Not quite sure any of those guys besides Conley is going to play vital snaps for the Raiders this year. I’m not as big of a fan as Obi as many are, he’s a project that needs time.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Ishmael Zamora from Baylor is an incredibly talented WR that has quite a few off the field concerns. Anthony Cioffi from Rutgers is a physical safety who can compete for a spot.
Overview: I absolutely love the Eagles draft, and in my estimation, it was the best draft this year. Getting Derek Barnett where they got him was ridiculous. Then getting Sidney Jones, the 2nd best corner in this draft in the 2nd round is even better. There are zero picks I have a problem with, the Eagles knocked it out with every single pick. Getting Pumphrey and Gibson in the middle rounds gives them a ton of explosiveness and speed on their offense. Then adding Gerry and Qualls in the 7th round is icing on the cake. Both guys I think will make the roster and play snaps this year.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot:
Corey Clement from Wisconsin is a talented guy that has an NFL body but has had some off the field concerns. Billy Brown the TE from Shepherd is supremely talented but is a developmental guy that needs some time. I thought he was going to go in the 5th round or so.
Overview: I think the Steelers nailed all 4 of their first 4 picks. I don’t think they ever expected TJ Watt to fall in their laps. He will give them a dynamic pass rusher that they haven’t seen since the days of a younger James Harrison. Smith-Schuster, Sutton, and Connor are all really really good football players that will compete for snaps very early on. Sutton is the definition of competitive, and I think will be a starter in this league for a long, long time.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Keith Kelsey from Louisville is a really explosive and twitchy LB that has a chance to be a key piece on special teams. Nick Schuessler is an interesting kid from Clemson that didn’t get a chance to play at Clemson but has some ability.
San Francisco 49ers
Overview: There’s no denying that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan did an amazing job on their first draft. Getting both Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster is something they never thought could happen. Adding Witherspoon, who is a big physical CB is another outstanding pick. I love their picks of Trent Taylor and Joe Williams as well in the middle rounds. Plus they added additional picks for next year. The 49ers are on their way back up!
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: KD Cannon from Baylor is an explosive WR that I thought was going to go somewhere in the middle rounds, he’s very talented. Lorenzo Jerome from Saint Francis is a ball-hawking safety that dropped because of his timed speed at the combine. He’s a really good player though.
Overview: I liked what the Seahawks did. They added additional picks throughout the draft by trading down and adding quite a bit of depth. McDowell is a supremely talented kid that will battle and fight for Pete Carroll. I like Pocic a lot as well, giving Wilson another mainstay on the offensive line. Delano Hill is one of my most underrated players in this entire draft. Love that the Seahawks got him and I think it won’t be long before he is a starter for their defense.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Darreus Rogers from USC is a tough, physical receiver who catches EVERYTHING. He will battle for a spot on that team. Tyrone Swoopes from Texas was signed to play as a TE. That will be an interesting transition at the next level.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Overview: Love what the Bucs did in adding OJ Howard to their team, especially as late as they got him. Not a huge fan of Justin Evans in the 2nd round. He’s a guy that isn’t a reliable tackler and will frustrate coaches. Getting Godwin, Beckwith, and McNichols where they got them is really good value though, and no one can disagree with that. I think Godwin could be an immediate # 3 receiver on their team, coupled with Desean Jackson and Mike Evans.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Sefo Liufau from Colorado is one of my favorite developmental QBs in this class. I think he will battle and fight his butt off to make that team. Paul Magloire from Arizona is a really athletic hybrid LB/S similar to Su’a Cravens last year. He’s really athletic and makes plays all over the place.
Overview: The Titans certainly added speed and explosiveness to their team last weekend. I think they reached a bit on both the Corey Davis and Adoree’ pick, but they both are still really good players. Both of them getting over serious injury issues they had. I love their 3rd round getting Taywan Taylor and Jonnu Smith. I just wish the Titans would have addressed the offensive and defensive trenches a bit more.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: Tyler Ferguson the QB from Western Kentucky is an upside guy that has some traits to work with. Jonah Pirsig is a long and lean guy that has developmental tackle ability.
Overview: The Redskins got one of the top 3 players in this draft at pick 17. As long as Jon Allen has a 5-year career, picking him at 17 is a no brainer. I think he’s going to make all the teams that passed up on him pay. He’s such a good player and instantly adds more fear for opposing teams now. I’m not a huge fan of the Ryan Anderson pick in the 2nd round, as I thought he was closer to a 3rd or 4th round player. But their 3rd, 4th and 5th round picks knocked it out of the park. Moreau, Sprinkle, and Perine are all going to be REALLY good players for the Skins.
Undrafted Free Agents That Have a Shot: James Quick from Louisville is a shifty, crafty little receiver that can create spacing. I really like Fish Smithson from Kansas as well, he can be a really good special teams player as well as a backup FS.