Home NFL 2016 NFL Draft Re-grade: AFC North

2016 NFL Draft Re-grade: AFC North

by Joshua Doering

Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any picerk plays a down of professional football. 

For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis. 

These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.  

Stop three in the 2016 NFL Draft re-grade is the AFC North. 

*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season. 

Baltimore Ravens

Picks: OT Ronnie Stanley (6th overall), DE Kamalei Correa (42), DE Bronson Kaufusi (70), DB Tavon Young (104), WR Chris Moore (107), OT Alex Lewis (130), DT Willie Henry (132), RB Kenneth Dixon (134), DE/LB Matt Judon (146), RB Keenan Reynolds (182), DB Maurice Canady (209)

Best pick: Matt Judon

Judon became a regular starter in 2017 after registering four sacks in a reserve role as a rookie. Since 2017, Judon has played in all 48 games while starting 36 times and compiling 24.5 sacks. He is one of 14 players with at least seven sacks each of the past three seasons. Judon started all 16 contests and made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2019, finishing the season with 9.5 sacks and 54 tackles. 

Worst pick: Bronson Kaufusi

Kaufusi’s nine career appearances are the fewest of anyone Baltimore selected besides Reynolds. A broken ankle suffered in training camp cost him the entire 2016 season and he played in three games for the Ravens in 2017. Baltimore waived Kaufusi during final roster cuts in 2018. He has spent the past two seasons with the Jets, moving between their practice squad and active roster. Kaufusi played a career-high 105 total snaps in 2019. 

Grade: B+

Stanley’s lived up to his billing as a top-10 pick, earning First Team All-Pro honors last season. His 56 starts are 20 more than the next player in the group (Judon). Four players — Stanley, Correa, Moore and Judon — have played in at least 35 games. Those four and Young are the only ones with more than 10 starts. Stanley and Judon are a terrific starting point but the rest of the group hasn’t done enough to earn an A-. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Picks: DB William Jackson III (24), WR Tyler Boyd (55), LB Nick Vigil (87), DT Andrew Billings (122), OG Christian Westerman (161), WR Cody Core (199), DB Clayton Fejedelem (245)

Best pick: Tyler Boyd

Boyd has really emerged the past two seasons, catching 166 passes for 2,074 yards and 12 touchdowns since 2018. In that time span, he is one of 12 players with more than 160 receptions and one of 16 with more than 2,000 receiving yards. The only season he has not caught 50+ passes was 2017, when a knee injury limited him to 10 games. Boyd enters 2020 with 242 receptions, 2,902 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns. 

Worst pick: Christian Westerman 

Westerman is the only member of this draft class with fewer than 45 appearances and less than six starts. The former fifth round pick played in 16 games over two seasons with Cincinnati. He decided to retire in August 2019, changed his mind, re-joined the Bengals and was let go by the end of the month. Westerman has not been with an NFL team since. 

Grade: B+

Cincinnati’s first four picks have an average of 50.5 appearances and 35 starts. Core has caught 22 passes in 51 games. Fejedelem leads the group with 64 appearances with most of his playing time coming on special teams. It’s an incredibly deep group without much top-notch talent, though Boyd could change that narrative if he keeps producing at the level he is right now. 

Cleveland Browns

Picks: WR Corey Coleman (15), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (32), DE Carl Nassib (65), OT Shon Coleman (76), QB Cody Kessler (93), LB Joe Schobert (99), WR Ricardo Lewis (114), DB Derrick Kindred (129), TE Seth Devalve (138), WR Jordan Payton (154), OG Spencer Drango (168), WR Rashard Higgins (172), DB Trey Caldwell (173), LB Scooby Wright III (250)

Best pick: Joe Schobert

Three players have more tackles than Schobert since he became a full-time starter in 2017. The former Wisconsin Badger made the Pro Bowl that season following a 144-tackle campaign in which he was on the field for every defensive snap. Schobert followed that up with three sacks and 103 tackles in 2018. Last year, he picked off four passes and contributed two sacks to go along with his 133 tackles. This was a no-brainer. 

Worst pick: Corey Coleman 

Coleman caught 56 passes in two seasons with the Browns. He was traded to the Bills for a 2020 seventh round pick in August 2018 and got released less than a month later. New England signed him and then released him to make room for Josh Gordon. Coleman joined the Giants’ practice squad on Oct. 19, 2018, and he got promoted to the active roster less than a week later. He missed the 2019 season with a torn ACL and re-signed with the Giants on a one-year deal in March. 

Grade: B-

The Browns wound up with a little bit of everything from their 14 picks. Both Colemans have been quite disappointing while Ogbah and Nassib have a combined 76 starts and 36 sacks. Kessler was released by the Jaguars, Eagles and Patriots between May 2019 and April 2020. Only Ogbah, Nassib and Schobert have more than 20 starts in their career. While not all 14 selections are going to turn out well, Cleveland missed pretty badly on three of its six top-100 picks. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Picks: DB Artie Burns (25), DB Sean Davis (58), DT Javon Hargrave (89), OT Jerald Hawkins (123), LB Travis Freeney (220), WR Demarcus Ayers (229), LB Tyler Matakevich (246)

Best pick: Javon Hargrave

Hargrave’s 63 appearances are tied with Matakevich for the most in the group and his 52 starts are 11 more than anyone else. The only time he missed a game was 2016 and he’s started at least 12 times all four years of his career. Hargrave posted a career-high 6.5 sacks as well as 49 tackles in 2018. Last season, he recorded four sacks and a career-best 60 tackles. Hargrave signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Eagles this offseason. 

Worst pick: Jerald Hawkins

Hawkins missed all of 2016 and all of 2018 due to injuries. He played in five games as a backup offensive lineman for the Steelers in 2017, making one start. Pittsburgh traded Hawkins to the Buccaneers on Aug. 31, 2019, and he was on the field for three snaps last season. He signed with the Texans on Aug. 10, 2020. 

Grade: B

Four of the seven guys Pittsburgh drafted have played in at least 48 games and Hawkins lost two full seasons to injuries. The Steelers’ first three picks all turned into reliable contributors, especially Davis and Hargrave. Freeney never played in an NFL game and Ayers played in two. This is one of those average classes where there just isn’t a whole lot to say. 

Click here to see the entire draft grades series. 

Photo by Erik Drost / Wikimedia Commons

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