After taking a look at the NFC’s three days of draft picks, here’s a look at the AFC teams’ picks and a grade for their efforts.
Did one conference fare better than the other?
After gutting the team following its Super Bowl win, it only made sense that the Ravens’ first four picks would be defensive ones. This included S Matt Elam, LB Arthur Brown, DT Brandon Williams and DE John Simon. Brown is a top pick and many thought the Chicago Bears would have selected him. The team also added FB Kyle Juszczyk, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore and WR Aaron Mellette, who is a little bit of a head scratcher.
The Bills, with their new regime in place, may best be remembered for drafting quarterback E.J. Manuel as the first one of the draft. While talented, he wasn’t seen as the frontrunner and many thought coach Doug Marrone would have taken his quarterack Ryan Nassib. The team did select other offensive weaspons including wide receivers Robert Woods and sleeper Da’Rick Rogers. Defensively, they selected LB Kiko Alonso and S Duke Williams.
Notre Dame’s TE Tyler Eifert was an exciting pick along with RB Gio Bernard. DE Margus Hunt might need some time to learn the NFL game. The Bengals found some gems in the later rounds with LB Sean Porter and seventh-rounder OT Reid Fragel.
After getting third and fourth rounders for next year’s draft, the Browns grabbed OLB Barkevious Mingo as their first pick and then small CB Leon McFadden. S Notre Dame safety Janoris Slaughter in the late rounds was a risky move as he’s recovering from an injury. Kind of a meh draft.
The Broncos entered the draft without too many pressing needs. DT Sylvester Williams was a great first pick and the second-round pick of RB Montee Ball is interesting. Where does he fit in? Willis McGahee’s replacement? Fifth-rounder DE Quanterus Smith is also a question mark as he’s recovering from a torn ACL. CB Kayvon Webster in the third round was interesting. This was also kinda meh.
The team’s early picks of first WR DeAndre Hopkins, then S D.J. Swearinger in the next round were great picks. The jury is still out for offensive linemen additions Brennan Williams and David Quessenberry while DEs Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams have some potential, but they’re not ready for prime time.
After last year’s top shelf QB pick, expectations were lower this year. The team’s first pick, LB Bjoern Werner, has been viewed as a head scratcher since they already have DE Erik Walden. Former wrestler G Hugh Thornton is a little green. DT Montori Hughes has off-the-field issues and S John Boyett already has bad knees. The Colts may see things that others don’t.
This team also has new regime and they cleaned up in the draft. OT Luke Joeckel is a solid pick as well as S John Cyprien. CB Dwayne Gratz could start and the offensive weapons of WR Ace Sanders and versatile Denard Robinson will add some interesting options.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs got off to a great, solid start with OT Eric Fisher. They can’t go wrong but it will be intesting to see how former quarterback TE Travis Kelce does. He’s a NFL legacy but has had some off-the-field problems. RB Knile Davis and CB Sanders Commings should see some playing time as well as DE Mike Catapano.
The first pick of DE Dion Jordan raised a few eyebrows but the jury is still out. The team did pick a few potential starters including T/G Dallas Thomas. CB Jamar Taylor was very impressive at the Combine and become a favorite of many teams.
New England Patriots
The Patriots were very business as usual with solid picks: OLB Jamie Collins, CB Logan Ryan and WR Josh Boyce. Collins has been viewed as the bright spot while the jury is still out on S Duron Harmon and WR Aaron Dobson is a hmm…Kind of a meh draft.
New York Jets
The Jets’ first pick, CB Dee Milliner, was viewed by some fans as a disappointment considering the large shoes he has to fill. DT Sheldon Richardson and G Brian Winters are both versatile. But again, there’s the second-round pick of quarterback Geno Smith has everyone talkinig. Will he meet expectations?
The Raiders wanted risky CB D.J. Hayden and got him. Then came OT Menelik Watson, who lacks experience. LB Moore is a good pick and fourth-round QB Tyler Wilson could add some good competition for Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor. The team could have used some D-line players.
The Steelers were solid on their inaugural four picks: OLB (Jarvis Jones), RB Le’Veon Bell (who beat out Eddie Lacy because of his toe injury), WR Markus Wheaton and S Shamarko Thomas. The QB Landry Jones is a solid pick. He got lost in this mediocre draft pool but he has a lot of upside.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers with all of their changes, came out and tried to address immediate needs with OT D.J. Fluker, LB Manti Te’o and WR Keenan Allen. They are all potential starters but Te’o will steal headlines this season while Allen will look to be 100 percent healthy. Defensively, the Chargers picked up CB Steve Williams and DE Tourek Williams.
The Titans picked up G Chance Warmack–a great addition. The draft continued going well for them with a broad array of picks: local WR Justin Hunter, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, OLB Zaviar Gooden, athletic C Brian Schwenke and DE Lavar Edwards. Solid but not stellar.