Consensus NFL draft grades: NFC

The Chicago Bears were active in free agency and had the best draft in the NFC, according to a consensus of three web sites handing out way-too-early grades. The Bears were one of only two teams that didn’t grade in the “B” range, but the other team was on the losing end.

Draft grades in the days following the NFL’s three-day offseason pinnacle are becoming a staple of coverage, and we surveyed three national web sites – CBS, NFL.com and Pro Football Focus – that issued draft grades, to get a consensus on which teams are considered to have drafted better than others.

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

The Bears did the best in the NFC and the Panthers did the worst, according to the consensus grades. Here is how the NFC teams graded out in order (AFC consensus grades here), with the best or worst comments on the team, depending on the most divergent opinion:

Chicago Bears 34 (A-)

NFL: Chicago needed a pass rusher in the worst way, and Vic Fangio found one in (Leonard) Floyd. Not everyone is sold on his ability to be an elite player, however. Normally, giving up a fourth-round pick wouldn’t be a big deal; in this deep draft, that’s like giving up a starter. Getting better on the offensive and defensive lines was a priority for the Bears, and (Cody) Whitehair and (Jonathan) Bullard presented excellent value. 

Washington Redskins 30 (B+)

PFF: Day 1: Washington gets the No. 2 receiver on the PFF draft board in Josh Doctson, who posted the top receiving grade in the nation last year at +28.9 despite playing only 582 snaps. He adds another dimension to a well-rounded group of pass-catchers in Washington, as he uses his outstanding body control to make plays down the field. He may end up as the most productive deep receiver in the class.

Green Bay Packers 29 (B+)

NFL: There wasn’t much question that the Packers were going to bolster their front seven with their opening pick. Another no-brainer will be fan comparisons of the careers of their selection, (Kenny) Clark, and two available Alabama studs: linebacker Reggie Ragland and nose tackle Jarran Reed. Green Bay desperately needed help at the tackle position, and trading up for (Jason) Spriggs filled that hole. It was an atypical move for Ted Thompson, giving up a mid-round choice for a nine-spot move upwards. (Kyler) Fackrell has good potential to help rush the passer on the outside.

Los Angeles Rams 28 (B)

NFL: (Jared) Goff is the best quarterback in the class, so there’s no issue there. The team gave up a lot of picks to get him; the Rams received a bunch of picks in the RGIII trade, however, and it didn’t improve the team because it needed a quarterback. So I can’t seriously downgrade the move. The Rams didn’t have any Day 2 picks due to the trade up for Goff.  It was a bit of a surprise when (Tyler) Higbee came off the board in the fourth round given his off-field issues. He’ll be a seam threat if he can stay on the straight and narrow, though. The Rams kept giving Goff weapons with a solid pick in (Pharoh) Cooper, (Temerrick) Hemingway and (Mike) Thomas. I like Forrest as an inside linebacker, but the receiver picks left the team without any offensive line or defensive back help.

Minnesota Vikings 28 (B)

NFL: General manager Rick Spielman got the most physical receiver in the draft in (Laquon) Treadwell. There’s no reason he won’t be a to-go guy for Teddy Bridgewater. (Mackensie) Alexander is an excellent defender, even without the turnover production. Then Spielman picked up two 2017 mid-round selections from Miami. That’s building draft capital. Spielman found quality players in (Willie) Beavers, (Kentrell) Brothers, (Stephen) Weatherly, and (David) Morgan. (Jayron) Kearse was worth a shot in the seventh round. (Moritz) Boehringer’s upside is highly intriguing.

New Orleans Saints 28 (B)

CBS: They nailed their first-round pick with (Sheldon) Rankins, and I like Michael Thomas in the second round, but the rest of the draft was just OK. If Vonn Bell can take over as one of the starters at safety, then the grade will be higher.

New York Giants 28 (B)

NFL: (Eli) Apple fills a need and the young man has a lot of potential. There’s a gamble here, though, especially when Vernon Hargreaves was available. The receiver position was looking a bit thin for the Giants, so picking up a bargain in Shepard was brilliant. (Darian) Thompson didn’t test well, but he plays like a boss against the pass and is not contact-shy versus the run. (B.J.) Goodson is a strong pick in the fourth round. I figured he would go in the third. (Paul) Perkins isn’t the biggest back, but he’s going down without a fight. (Jerell) Adams is one of the best values in the entire draft in the sixth round. Those three picks should be immediate contributors for the Giants.

Seattle Seahawks 27 (B)

PFF: We saw (Germain) Ifedi as more of a mid-round developmental option, even though he has the size, length and athleticism that coaches covet. He had some ugly plays in pass protection, finishing with the No. 67 grade in that area in the draft class. He was better in the running game, ranking No. 23 in the class, but he has a ways to go to live up to his first-round selection. The Seahawks really need to improve their line play, as Russell Wilson was under pressure at the second-highest rate of any NFL QB last season.

San Francisco 49ers 26 (B)

CBS: I love the pick of (DeForest) Buckner in the first round, but the rest of the draft has major questions. There are some real gambles in this group and trading back up to the first round to get a guard is questionable.

Arizona Cardinals 24 (B-)

PFF: (Robert) Nkemdiche has interior pass-rush potential after grading at +23.4 as a rusher, ninth in the class. He’s not great against the run, but if he can line up over tight ends on early downs before kicking inside to rush the passer, the Cardinals can maximize his value.

Atlanta Falcons 24 (B-)

PFF: With so much talent on the board in the middle of the first round, drafting a safety that earned just the No. 93 grade in the nation is a curious move. (Keanu) Neal is a big hitter who will likely try to fill the “Kam Chancellor role” in Atlanta’s defense as a safety who spends a lot of his time in the box, but players with his skill set are littered throughout the draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 (B-)

CBS: Landing first-round corner Vernon Hargreaves and (Ryan) Smith helps fill a major need. I also like (Noah) Spence. But this draft grade is dropped down by the move to trade up and get the kicker (Roberto Aguayo) -- no matter how good he becomes.

Dallas Cowboys 23 (B-)

CBS: I don’t like taking backs high, so I ding the Cowboys for taking Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth spot, even if he’s a good player. They also get two players – (Jaylon) Smith in the second and (Dak) Prescott in the fourth -- who won’t help right away. That’s troubling. I did like some of their other picks, but not a great draft for me.

Detroit Lions 23 (B-)

PFF: We had a second-round grade on (Taylor) Decker, so we like him overall as a player, just not this high in the draft. He’s a mauling run-blocker (eighth in the nation in 2014 in run-block grades), but two straight years of average grades in pass protection have us concerned.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 (B-)

NFL: The Eagles are gambling big (gave up CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso, 2017 first-round pick, two top-100 picks this year, 2018 second-rounder) on the ability of Carson Wentz to become a legitimate top-tier starter. We’ll see. Howie Roseman had just one pick in the third round after the trade for Wentz. (Isaac) Seumalo is an athletic guard prospect who should play well for them. I like (Wendell) Smallwood as a complement to Ryan Mathews, and (Blake) Countess was a solid pick for depth in the secondary. Countess, (Jalen) Mills, and (Alex) McCalister will make a difference.

Carolina Panthers 16 (C-)

PFF: Carolina adds another option at defensive tackle, as (Vernon) Butler is strong against the run (+32.1 grade, fifth-best in the class in 2015). He can play up and down the line of scrimmage, and his 2015 improvement as a pass-rusher will give him a chance to see the field early.


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