Consensus NFL draft grades: Jaguars win the AFC

In a survey of three national web sites heavily involved in assessing the NFL draft, we find the consensus winners and losers from the weekend.

How ‘bout them Jaguars?

It would seem the way-too-early consensus winner of the 2016 NFL Draft is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were also ultra-active in their free-agent moves.

In a survey three web sites – CBSNFL.com and Pro Football Focus – that issued draft grades, the Jaguars did best, averaging just about an A grade, getting A’s from the NFL.com and the only A+ issued to teams among the surveyed sites, that coming from CBS.

Pro Football Focus, as always, took an analytic approach to the draft, referencing the statistics and numbers that have brought it into prominence. In addition to giving the Jaguars an A, the only other straight A it gave out belonged to the Browns.

NFL.com gave A’s to the Colts, Titans, Vikings, Seahawks and Chiefs, along with the Jaguars.

No team registered an F, but the Falcons got a D+ from PFF; the Browns, Panthers, Titans and Cowboys got a C- from CBS; the Panthers got a C- from the NFL.com.

To come out with a consensus grade among the three, we assigned a number to each grade, starting with a 1 for an F and working our way up to 13 for an A+, adding the three numbers for the three sites together. With that method, here is how the consensus scores would grade out:

A=36
B=27
C=18
D=9
F=3

Here is how the AFC teams graded out in order (tomorrow, we’ll post the findings for the NFC teams), with the best or worst comments on the team, depending on the most divergent opinion:

Jacksonville Jaguars 37 (A)

CBS: They had to improve the defense and they used six of their seven picks on that side of the ball. That was smart. But they also landed top talent in first pick Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. The rest of the board was solid as well.

Indianapolis Colts 31 (B+)

PFF: Day 2: The second and third round featured pure projection picks for Indianapolis. Green has excellent size and speed, but his -10.8 coverage grade ranked last among the safeties in the class. He may switch to cornerback in the pros, but either way he is a risk at this point in the draft. Clark has the size and length at tackle, but he struggled with speed rushers off the edge at times in college, and that got exposed further during Senior Bowl week. He did finish ninth in the class with a +14.4 run-blocking grade.

San Diego Chargers 30 (B+)

PFF: Day 1: There was little discussion that Bosa would be the pick for the Chargers at No. 3, because of a perceived lack of ideal scheme fit, but they took the top player on our draft board and he will immediately upgrade their weak defensive front. Our top-graded edge defender each of the last two years, Bosa is strong against the run and he topped the nation with a +44.1 pass-rush grade. Whether he sees snaps on the outside at linebacker or he bulks back up to play 3-4 defensive end doesn’t really matter — Bosa simply defeats blockers in both phases of the game, and San Diego will take a major step forward with his addition.

Baltimore Ravens 29 (B+)

PFF: Day 1: The Laremy Tunsil controversy might have pushed the Ravens to take Stanley, but they still got one of the draft’s best pass-protecting offensive tackles. The No. 16 player on the PFF draft board is a smooth-mover who rarely gets beaten cleanly in the pass game. He doesn’t bring a lot of power to the run game (+9.3 grade, No. 19 in the class), but he should be a good fit for Baltimore’s outside-zone scheme.

Buffalo Bills 29 (B+)

CBS: I know they needed pass-rush help, but I am not a big fan of first-round pick Shaq Lawson. There is a tendency to over-draft pass rushers, and this could be a case of that.

Cincinnati Bengals 29 (B+)

NFL:  I’ve been high on (CB William) Jackson for a long time, so the pick could be good. But picking yet another cornerback in the 1st round is leaving other areas of the team bereft of talent. 

Kansas City Chiefs 28 (B)

NFL: Trading out of the first round was a great move for general manager John Dorsey. He gets early second and fourth round picks, along with a sixth. Beautiful. Dorsey picked up additional picks with another trade down, which means they’ll do more damage early on Day 3 (where the value isn’t much different than the third round). Russell would have been an early second-round pick, at worst, without the injury. 

Miami Dolphins 28 (B)

NFL:  (Laremy) Tunsil is the best pass protector in the draft, and Ryan Tannehill really needed help up front. Can’t give out an “A”, though, given the question marks surrounding his off-field character. Before the draft even began, Miami got two solid players from the Eagles in cornerback Byron Maxwelland linebacker Kiko Alonso for the price of just five draft slots -- a nice deal.

Oakland Raiders 28 (B)

CBS: The Raiders continued their recent success of having good drafts. I love their first three picks in (S Karl) Joseph and defensive ends Jihad Ward and Shilique Calhoun. They upgraded their defense in a big way.

Cleveland Browns 27 (B)

CBS: The Browns had 14 picks, thanks to a bunch of trade-downs, and they landed a lot of decent players. But this is a draft that will be defined by how well Carson Wentz plays for the Eagles since they traded out of the second spot with a chance to pick him. If he is great, this draft will be irrelevant. If he’s not, the Browns win. There are some good players here to help the rebuild, but numbers aren’t always the best thing if they don’t pan out. 

Denver Broncos 26 (B)

NFL: Paxton Lynch has work to do to become an NFL quarterback, but why not take a chance when you’ve got an amazing defense? If they force him onto the field, though, it will hurt his development. The only question is whether Connor Cook turns out to be just as good, and the Broncos wouldn’t have had to give up third round pick to get him. 

Pittsburgh Steelers 26 (B)

PFF: (CB Artie) Burns is a curious fit for the Steelers, as he’s more of a press-man corner and the Steelers played more zone coverage than any team in the league last year. He struggles to change directions, and while he’s physical in press, his nine penalties were the third-most in the draft class. It all added up to a +2.8 coverage grade that ranked No. 42 among this year’s CBs. He has good size and straight-line speed, but unless Pittsburgh is looking to incorporate more man coverage concepts on defense, this is not a good fit on paper. He ranked just No. 144 on our draft board.

Tennessee Titans 26 (B)

CBS: (Jack)  Conklin will start, but I thought they had better options. I don’t get the Derrick Henry pick at all and I don’t like Kevin Dodd much in the second round. With a big haul of picks after moving down out of the top spot, I expected more.

New England Patriots 25 (B-)

NFL: The Patriots forfeited their first-round selection after the NFL determined that their deflating of footballs violated league policies upholding the integrity of the game.  (Joe) Thuney is a typical Patriots offensive lineman, intelligent and tough; that’s a good pick. (Jacoby) Brissett has real potential to stick in the league for a long time as at least a valued backup. Vincent Valentine’s consistency is lacking, but Bill Belichick might be able to get the most out of him. The Pats picked up yet another fourth-round pick in a trade, as well. They’ll be able to find help at the skill positions on Day 3 in this draft. 

New York Jets 25 (B-)

PFF: We don’t hate (Darron) Lee as a player, but we saw him as more of a second- or third-round player than a first-round option. His athleticism stands out, but it hasn’t translated into the strong coverage ability in college everyone has projected for him in the NFL. He posted a negative grade in coverage in 2014, and an average mark in 2015. However, he’s shown to be an excellent blitzer and that should be a weapon in head coach Todd Bowles’ scheme, which blitzed 43.3 percent of the time last season, third in the NFL.

Houston Texans 24 (B+)

PFF: Houston jumped up to take (Will) Fuller, one of the best deep threats in the entire draft. His 4.32 speed shows up on the field, and over 50 percent of his yards came on deep passes, so whether or not he can become a viable all-around receiving threat is the big question with him. He ranked No. 116 and 113 in the nation in drop rate the last two years, so it’s boom-or-bust with Fuller on a week-to-week basis.


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