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 2017 NFL Draft re-grade turns its attention to the NFC North.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: QB Mitchell Trubisky (2nd overall), TE Adam Shaheen (45), DB Eddie Jackson (112), RB Tarik Cohen (119), OG Jordan Morgan (147)
Best pick: Eddie Jackson
Jackson has picked off multiple passes, forced at least one fumble, recovered at least one fumble and recorded more than 50 tackles in each of his three seasons. By the end of year two, he had eight interceptions, five touchdowns (all while playing defense) and a First Team All-Pro selection. The two-time Pro Bowler played every defensive snap as a rookie and started all 16 games for a second time last season.
Worst pick: Adam Shaheen
It would be easy to put Trubisky here, but he has won almost as many games (23) as Shaheen has played in (27). Shaheen caught 12 passes for 127 yards in his rookie season as he filled in for the injured Zach Miller. He spent time on injured reserve the past two years and has only played in 14 games since 2017. Shaheen has been targeted 33 times in his career, which is way too low of a number for a tight end taken in the second round.
This is still an above-average draft class even with Trubisky’s struggles and Shaheen’s ineffectiveness. Cohen is over 1,000 yards rushing and 1,500 yards receiving. He was a First Team All-Pro along with Jackson in 2018 as a return specialist. Trubisky may not be a franchise quarterback but he is one of the best 32 on the planet. A pick can only be so bad when the team wins 56% of its games with him under center like the Bears have with Trubisky.
Picks: LB Jarrad Davis (21), DB Teez Tabor (53), WR Kenny Golladay (96), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (124), TE Michael Roberts (127), DB Jamal Agnew (165), DE Jeremiah Ledbetter (205), QB Brad Kaaya (215), DE Pat O’Connor (250)
Best pick: Kenny Golladay
Golladay had an unremarkable debut season, catching 28 passes for 477 yards in 11 games. His targets, receptions and receiving yards more than doubled in 2018. The result was a 70-catch, 1,063-yard season with five touchdowns. Last season, Golladay evolved into more of a big play threat (18.3 yards per reception) and led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns. He is one of 13 players to post 1,000-yard seasons the past two years.
Worst pick: Teez Tabor
Tabor’s stock plummeted in the leadup to the draft due in large part to poor performances in running drills. He saw action in 22 games and made five starts in his two forgettable years with the Lions. Detroit released Tabor on Aug. 30, 2019. He spent the 2019 season as a member of the 49ers’ practice squad and was waived on July 6, 2020.
Daivs produced 100 tackles and six sacks when he was healthy for all 16 contests in 2018. He has 259 tackles, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles in his 41-game career. The severe drop-off comes after him and Golladay. Nobody else has more than five starts and one of the two players with five is Tabor. Davis, Golladay, Reeves-Maybin and Agnew have made at least 32 appearances.
Green Bay Packers
Picks: DB Kevin King (33), DB Josh Jones (61), DT Montravius Adams (93), LB Vince Biegel (108), RB Jamaal Williams (134), WR DeAngelo Yancey (175), RB Aaron Jones (182), C Kofi Amichia (212), RB Devante Mays (238), WR Malachi Dupree (247)
Best pick: Aaron Jones
The numbers have gotten better every season for Jones. His rushing yards have increased by roughly 300 each year, leading to a 1,000-yard season (1,084) in 2019. He doubled his rushing touchdowns from four to eight and then again from eight to a league-leading 16 last year. Jones tied Christian McCaffrey for the most touchdowns by a non-quarterback with 19. He is averaging five yards per carry for his career.
Worst pick: DeAngelo Yancey
The five players Green Bay took ahead of Yancey have 30+ appearances to his zero. He failed to make the team as a rookie and spent the 2017 season on the Packers’ practice squad. Green Bay waived Yancey again on Sept. 1, 2018, and re-signed him to the practice squad. He joined the Jets’ practice squad in December 2018 and spent three weeks with the Titans in August 2019. Yancey was the first player taken by the New York Guardians in the XFL Draft.
The Packers had three top-100 picks and landed six guys who have played in at least 30 games. Of those six players, however, nobody has more than 28 starts and four have 17 or fewer. Green Bay got a total of 10 appearances from the other four guys, who of whom never played a down. Williams has over 2,000 total yards in 46 games and King stayed relatively healthy for the first time last season.
Picks: RB Dalvin Cook (41), C Pat Elflein (70), DT Jaleel Johnson (109), LB Ben Gedeon (120), WR Rodney Adams (170), OG Danny Isidora (180), TE Bucky Hodges (201), WR Stacy Coley (219), DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (220), LB Elijah Lee (232), DB Jack Tocho (245)
Best pick: Dalvin Cook
Cook takes this spot despite missing multiple games in all three seasons. He was averaging 88.5 yards through four games before tearing his ACL in 2017. After battling a hamstring issue in 2018, Cook played in more than 11 contests for the first time last season. He rushed for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns, caught 53 passes for 519 yards and made the Pro Bowl. Cook’s career average of 72.6 yards per game would give him 1,162 in a full 16-game season.
Worst pick: Rodney Adams
Adams made the Vikings’ roster out of training camp and saw the field once before being released on Oct. 30, 2017. He joined the team’s practice squad and signed a future/reserve contract with the Colts on Feb. 2, 2018. Indianapolis placed him on the reserve/retired list on April 9, 2018. Adams was reinstated by the NFL on Jan. 29, 2020, waived by the Colts on Aug. 2 and signed by the Bears on Aug. 20.
Minnesota nailed its first two picks by acquiring an elite tailback in Cook and a starting center in Elflein. The other noteworthy member of the group is Odenigbo, who had played in one game prior to last season. He got his chance in 2019 and delivered seven sacks for the Vikings. Lee is third in the group with 38 appearances. Though the overall production outside Cook and Elflein isn’t great (only Gedeon has more than six starts), the Vikings did a decent job finding useful players in the later rounds.
Click here to see the entire draft grades series.
Photo by Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons