NFL Draft grades 2016: Snap reactions to the 1st round

Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State) after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the number four overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre.

The initial outlook for the first round in the 2016 NFL Draft is mostly a positive one. Even though we saw several trades in the first round, a lot of teams navigated the draft to their favor.

Ultimately, how well they navigated the first round won’t truly be known for a few years, but way too early grades need to be handed out. These grades were decided on a number of factors: Relative value, need, system fit, risk and potential. These are snap reaction grades that we’ll revisit in a few years.

1. Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff, QB, California

As expected, the Rams took Goff after making the blockbuster trade with the Titans. Goff is the draft’s best quarterback who excels at doing the small stuff. With the way he reads a defense, works progressions and fits the ball in a tight window. This grade is only lower than you may expect because of the amount of picks the Rams had to give up. It was a steep price to pay for a quarterback who doesn’t enter the NFL with a grade as high as Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota a year ago.

Grade: B

2. Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

There is a real risk with Wentz. Obviously, taking him second overall, you assume the best. You assume he’s going to be the franchise quarterback who leads the Eagles to the playoffs consistently. You assume his impressive tools will translate to the NFL. But you also have to assume he can transition from the FCS level where he had limited starting experience. Similar to the Rams’ grade, this one gets knocked a touch because of the amount of picks the Eagles had to give up to move up six spots in the draft. Still, if you’re giving up that many picks, you do it for a quarterback you think can be a star.

Grade: B

3. San Diego Chargers – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

This was the first surprise of the first round of the draft, but if the draft was in January a lot of people probably would have expected this choice. Bosa is the draft’s best player, but got unfairly picked apart during the combine process. It’s almost like we all got bored of Bosa. The Ohio State junior is a good combo end who can stop the run and get after the quarterback. Pass rush skill will get negated some if the Chargers use him as an end in a three-man front. That’s the big issue with this choice.

Grade: B+

4. Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

There’s no mistaking that Elliott is one of the draft’s best players. He’s a complete running back who can do everything. But this is high for a running back, especially when you have Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden on the roster. Sure, they’re not world beaters or superstars like Elliott, but having them is a waste of money. Still, Elliott should be the Offensive Rookie of the Year front runner. With Elliott to go along with quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant, they have their new Triplets.

Grade: B

5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

This had to be one of the more effortless picks in the top 10 to make. Ramsey is an NFL-ready superstar who can star at cornerback. Ramsey fits perfectly in Gus Bradley’s defense, thanks to his size and physicality. With Ramsey and the addition of safety Tashaun Gipson, the Jaguars now have an imposing pass defense.

Grade: A

6. Baltimore Ravens – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Just when you thought Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome would zig, he zagged. Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil grades out higher than Stanley. He’s more athletic and more physical as a run blocker. But you wonder if the Ravens went with Stanley due to some issues about Tunsil off the field. Stanley goes this high because he’s a high-level pass blocker. Stanley can keep Joe Flacco upright, and that’s priority No. 1 for the Ravens. The grade is average solely because Tunsil has the potential to be so good.

Grade: C+

7. San Francisco 49ers – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

The expected pick happened as expected. With Buckner and Arik Armstead, the 49ers have an imposing and young defensive front. Buckner fits the system San Francisco is going to run. He’s a powerful end who fits the Calais Campbell comparison perfectly.

Grade: B+

8. Tennessee Titans – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

This is a safe pick. It’s a smart pick. It’s a pick the Titans gave up a lot to make. The Titans must have been another team really anxious about Laremy Tunsil. Conklin is a good fit, though. He’s a tough and hard-nosed blocker who will pair nicely with Taylor Lewan. Which one of them ends up on the right or left will be decided, but now the Titans have bookends to protect Marcus Mariota.

Grade: B-

Source: NFL Sports

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