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 pick 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.
The 2016 NFL Draft re-grade moves to the NFC North.
*All stats courtesy of pro-footbal-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: LB Leonard Floyd (9th overall), C Cody Whitehair (56), DE Jonathan Bullard (72), LB Nick Kwiatkowski (113), DB Deon Bush (124), DB Deiondre’ Hall (127), RB Jordan Howard (150), DB DeAndre Houston-Carson (185), WR Daniel Braverman (230)
Best pick: Cody Whitehair
Seventeen players have started every game the past four seasons and made at least one Pro Bowl in the process. One of them is Whitehair, who was a member of the All-Rookie Team in 2016 and invited to the Pro Bowl in 2018. He played every offensive snap for the Bears in 2016, 2018 and 2019, earning a five-year $52.5 million extension last offseason. The guy is as dependable as it gets.
Worst pick: Deiondre’ Hall
Every Bears draft pick except Braverman has more than twice as many appearances as Hall. Over half of the 165 snaps he played for the Bears over two years came on special teams. Chicago sent him to Philadelphia right before the 2018 season for a 2019 seventh round pick. Hall was used almost exclusively on special teams by the Eagles and was let go after one season.
Seven guys, including each of Chicago’s first five picks, have played in at least 48 games. Three (Floyd, Whitehair and Howard) have started at least 48 times. Howard put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Floyd has 18.5 sacks and 154 tackles in 54 games. There’s a steep drop-off after those three players, but everyone besides Hall and Braverman was active in 2019.
Picks: OT Taylor Decker (16), DT A’Shawn Robinson (46), C/OG Graham Glasgow (95), DB Miles Killebrew (111), OG Joe Dahl (151), LB Antwione Williams (169), QB Jake Rudock (191), DT Anthony Zettel (202), LS Jimmy Landes (210), RB Dwayne Washington (236)
Best pick: Graham Glasgow
Glasgow became a starter midway through his rookie year and proceeded to play every offensive snap for the Lions in 2017 and 2018. He has played a different position each of the last three seasons, moving from left guard to center to right guard. Glasgow leads Detroit’s draft class with 58 starts and is second in appearances with 62. He joined the Broncos on a four-year, $44 million deal this offseason.
Worst pick: Miles Killebrew
Killebrew leads the group in games played (63), though a vast majority of his time’s been spent on special teams. Of the 1,858 snaps he’s played, only 589 of them came on defense. Killebrew did not miss a game from 2016 to 2018 and has been absent for just one in four seasons. Three of his four starts came in 2017. He has 93 tackles and two interceptions in his career, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Zettel and Washington have 95 appearances to go with the two starting linemen Detroit got in the first three rounds. Seven of the 10 draftees have played in at least 35 games and five have started at least 16. It’s not a spectacular group, but the Lions did well with their early picks and got good value late. That is the definition of a successful draft.
Green Bay Packers
Picks: DT Kenny Clark (27), OT Jason Spriggs (48), LB Kyler Fackrell (88), LB Blake Martinez (131), DE Dean Lowry (137), WR Trevor Davis (163), OT Kyle Murphy (200)
Best pick: Blake Martinez
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2017, Martinez has not missed a game and leads the NFL in tackles with 443. After tying for the league lead in tackles in 2017, he has posted 299 tackles and eight sacks in the past two seasons. He and Darius Leonard are the only players to produce 140+ tackles and at least five sacks in a season since 2013. Martinez joined the Giants on a three-year, $30 million contract in March.
Worst pick: Jason Spriggs
Spriggs is second-to-last among Green Bay’s draft picks in games played, only trailing Murphy. He appeared in 36 games and made nine starts in three seasons with the Packers. He started five times in 2017 before landing on injured reserve with a knee injury. Spriggs was waived by Green Bay on Aug. 6, 2019. He did not play in 2019 but signed a one-year deal with the Bears in April.
Martinez, Clark and Lowry have at least 35 starts and 60 appearances. Fackrell recorded 10.5 sacks in 2018 but hasn’t played more than 500 defensive snaps in any other season. Spriggs, Fackree, Davis and Murphy all have fewer than 10 starts. Clark has 16.5 sacks in the last three years and made the Pro Bowl in 2019. A little more from Spriggs and Fackrell would have bumped this to an A-.
Picks: WR Laquon Treadwell (23), DB Mackensie Alexander (54), OG Willie Beavers (121), LB Kentrell Brothers (160), WR Moritz Boehringer (180), TE David Morgan (188), LB Stephen Weatherly (227), DB Jayron Kearse (244)
Best pick: Jayron Kearse
Kearse is the beneficiary of the lack of production from both Treadwell and Alexander. Although he has never been on the field for more than 492 snaps in a season (222 of which came on special teams), he leads the group with 62 appearances. His lone interception and three of his five starts came in 2019. Kearse agreed to a one-year deal with the Lions in March following four seasons in Minnesota. Again, he was not up against the stiffest of competition.
Worst pick: Laquon Treadwell
Fifty-three games into his career, Treadwell is averaging 1.23 receptions per contest. His first touchdown reception did not come until 2018 and he has not caught more than 35 passes in a season. The former Ole Miss Rebel struggled mightily as a rookie, hauling in one pass in nine games. On the bright side, his yards per target has increased or stayed the same every year. Treadwell posted a career-high 302 receiving yards in 2018.
Don’t be fooled by the six players with 38 or more appearances. Treadwell’s been a massive disappointment and Alexander hasn’t been much better. Beavers didn’t play in an NFL game after 2016. Brothers was almost exclusively a special teams player until last season. Still, Minnesota’s gotten 149 games and 24 starts from picks 188, 227 and 244. The Vikings are saved from an even worse grade by the reality that six of their eight picks came outside the top 120, and they did pretty well with them.
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