Draft grades are silly things and often tell you more about the person giving the grade than it does the teams that took the players. They’re written, however, to give our opinions on the moves our team made and to try and look ahead to how the team may look in the coming season. Since the staff of Pride of Detroit is so efficient, we’ve already seen several looks at what the draft class brings to the Lions. Instead I’m going to take a look at the other teams in the NFL and whether or not it looks like they had a good draft class (But totally not as good of a class as the Lions) or if they botched it in a point and laugh kind of way.
Winner: Cleveland Browns
Best Picks: Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Austin Corbett, Genard Avery, seriously screw these guys for taking so many of the guys we wanted
I know it seems like every year Big Media tells us the Browns had such a great draft class, but I think they really nailed it this time, you guys. Baker Mayfield is a truly franchise changing type of player, similar to how Matthew Stafford came to Detroit and changed the culture and national opinion of the team. On top of that, they picked up not one, not two, but at least three players that Lions fans prized through the draft process in Chubb, Corbett, and Avery. They even got Antonio Callaway, and while I didn’t want him, our own Jerry Mallory really liked him, so that makes at least four. They also brought in prized UDFAs Desmond Harrison and Christian DiLauro.
Loser: Oakland Raiders
Worst Picks: Kolton Miller, Arden Key, Johnny Townsend
Prior to the draft, it became increasingly clear teams around the league were going to reach for the players in the underwhelming tackle class. This leads to a player like Kolton Miller with an elite athletic profile getting drafted in the top 20. What makes this pick so cringeworthy was that all of my conversations with Raiders fans leading up to the draft were about how bad it would be to pair a player like Kolton Miller with Tom Cable, the Raiders offensive line coach.
Jon Gruden, the coach who cut one of the best punters in the league for dancing too much, went on to draft Mr. Red Flag himself in Arden Key, followed by ANOTHER developmental tackle in the third round, and an injured corner in the fourth, a freaking punter in the fifth (if only they had one on the roster!). The only thing that kept the draft class from being a complete disaster was stopping the draft slide of Maurice Hurst, though the risk of that piece being a mistake isn’t negligible.
Winners: Indianapolis Colts
Best Picks: Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, Kemoko Turay
I’m a bit surprised people aren’t talking about how much the Colts crushed this one. Not only did they net the most likely to be an All-Pro rookie Quenton Nelson, they picked Braden Smith in the second and will put those two on either side of 2017 first-round pick Ryan Kelly to have one of the most athletic interior OL in the NFL. They went on to select a sleeper in Darius Leonard and two of the most agile pass rushers in the class, Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis. They even got speedsters Nyheim Hines and Daurice Fountain. It’s not a loud class with the top picks being guards, but it could easily be one of the best.
Losers: Baltimore Ravens
Worst Picks: Hayden Hurst, Orlando Brown, Jordan Lasley
Prior to the draft, there were only a few players that I was completely out on and the Ravens managed to draft two of them. I’m not against a first-round tight end on principle, so if I believed Hayden Hurst was that kind of talent, then I wouldn’t have dinged them for the pick. He was an unproductive player with mediocre tape and poor blocking skills taken only a few months before his 24th birthday.
I thought they were going to turn it around by taking the most exciting player in the draft, Lamar Jackson, after trading back into the first round, but, instead, they doubled down on this poor tight end class to take another one in the third round.
They then took Orlando Brown and his undraftable athletic profile in the third round, which was bad on its own but was made even worse when you consider he may be blocking for Jackson one day.
Jordan Lasley is an intriguing talent, but the Ravens already had problems with their receivers dropping footballs and there’s only one thing that Lasley is truly known for (Spoilers: It’s dropping footballs).
Winners: Green Bay Packers
Best Picks: Jaire Alexander, Joshua Jackson, Kendall Donnerson
Like every Lions fan in existence, I hate the Packers. It pains me to look at their draft class and try to poke holes in it, only to come up well short. If it helps, this class is likely going to look like an abject disaster in year one. Both Alexander and Jackson are chirpy playmakers, and I expect both to gamble more than they ought to as rookies. They gamble, however, because both are exceptionally great talents that could be nightmares for NFCN passers in the years to come.
Kendall Donnerson is an elite athlete and one of the biggest sleepers of the class. While I like the selections of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, and they’re being lauded as huge steals, the more I read about the reasons each was available late, the more I think we’ll get to make fun of them for those late rounders down the road.
Losers: Washington Redskins
Worst Picks: Da’Ron Payne, Geron Christian, Tim Settle
The Pride of Detroit war room was never louder than when the Washington Redskins mercifully selected Da’Ron Payne prior to the Lions being on the clock. Like the Lions selection of Da’Shawn Hand, Payne is a run defender that some believe could eventually develop into a solid pass rush threat. Unlike Hand, Payne was selected in the first round instead of the fourth.
The Redskins stopped Derrius Guice’s draft slide, but would go on to select Geron Christian to be a starting tackle in the third round, a move I have a hard time seeing as good. They selected Troy Apke, he of the first-round body and undraftable tape in the fourth round, and followed it up with the selection of Tim Settle, he of the third-round tape and undraftable body in the fifth. Their best pick may have been Trey Quinn, and he was Mr. Irrelevant.
There were so, so many more. I’m not sure how close attention you all paid to this draft class, but it was bonkers. It seemed like every other pick was either a surprise reach or a player that fell so far you forgot he was still on the board. After reviewing the Lions draft class, my arbitrary grade is a clean A-, despite the value being less that I would have liked. As much as I like the class personally, I’d have to stretch my imagination quite a bit to call it the best class of the draft. Likewise, it’s impossible for me (as much as I’d like to) to think of the Bears, Packers, or Vikings as having the worst class. So let’s hear it. Let us know in the comments who you think nailed the draft or made the worst possible picks they could have made.