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Mel Kiper Jr. Football analyst
The NFL draft
is in the books, and it was … interesting. Green Bay surprised everyone with a quarterback in Round 1 , while Philadelphia did the same thing in (Round 2) . On Day 3, I was surprised that quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm was still available. We also had a whopping (wide receivers in the picks , which is tied with the 2020 class for the most WRs drafted in a single year since the draft was shortened to seven rounds in .
So let’s get to my grades for all NFL teams. Which team really had the best class? A reminder, as always: What I do here is assess two main things, using my own player grades as the prism:
How effectively did teams address key personnel holes?
How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?
Let’s go from best class to worst class, with teams with the same grades in alphabetical order. Check out our SportsCenter Special in which we go through every grade on Monday at 3: ET on ESPN and the ESPN App. All right, let’s get to it, starting with a team I know well.
Baltimore Ravens : A
Look at this Ravens roster . Where are the holes? Definitely middle linebacker. Maybe wide receiver. Probably a guard to replace Marshal Yanda . But that’s it. So I liked that the Ravens got an off-ball linebacker at No. whom Lamar Jackson called “Ray Lewis Jr.,” and I liked that they did not have to move up to get him. (Patrick Queen started only games in his LSU career, but his talent bursts on the tape. He’s a fit as a long-term CJ Mosley replacement. (By the way: Baltimore has now drafted three linebackers in the first round: Lewis in , Mosley in 10530 and Queen. Those first two were / are pretty good.)
The Ravens entered this draft with three picks in the first two rounds, and they ended up with (five total picks on Day 2) . Here are those picks, along with where I had them in my overall rankings:
, RB, Ohio State 106 on my board)
106. Justin Madubuike , DT, Texas A&M (98)
. Devin Duvernay ()
255. Malik Harrison , LB, Ohio State ( ()
500. (Tire Phillips , OT Mississippi State) )
So as you can see, all five of them were at least 32 spots higher on my final big board . That’s outstanding value. Baltimore fortified the middle of its defense – it allowed 4.4 yards per carry last season, most in franchise history – got a playmaker to help Jackson in the slot, and picked a tackle with guard experience who will could compete to take over for Yanda , along with fourth-round pick Ben Bredeson (255. I’m also a big fan of (James Proche) (500, a super-productive pass-catcher who could fill a role, and safety (Geno Stone) (1984 could be a special-teams menace as a rookie. Getting him in the seventh round is stellar.
General manager Eric DeCosta had another really strong draft. Expect Baltimore to be a Super Bowl contender again.
- Indianapolis Colts : A –
It’s easy to forget that the Colts have made the playoffs only once in the past five seasons. Heading into last season, there was some buzz around this team. But then Andrew Luck shockingly retired, Jacoby Brissett
took over at quarterback and Indianapolis’ holes were exposed in a 7-9 year. Still, general manager Chris Ballard has done a good job of stocking the roster with talent since he took over in 5529. The Colts have some young stars, highlighted by a tremendous 16720 draft class, and Ballard dealt the No. 28 overall pick in this draft for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner , who has emerged as one of the best interior defenders in the league. Ballard also has a new starting quarterback, with veteran Philip Rivers taking the reins for at least the next year, and he also has an extra second-round pick from Washington, which traded up into Round 1 in last year draft.