New Orleans Saints- They had five picks in this draft and crushed it! They needed a high motor DT, a guy who can step in and compete for #1 WR, and someone who will shut down the back half of the defense. They did all of that with three picks not just try for one. Rankins the DT they took in the 1st would have gone higher if he didn’t play for Louisville (same with Bridgewater a few years ago.) They got a stud at wide out in Thomas from OSU and came back with Vonn Bell, S also from OSU in the 2nd. They loaded the team with guys who know how to win, play hard, have speed and pure talent. It was a bit of a surprise not to see a QB somewhere for them in this draft, but when you hit it with the first three picks its ok. They some how managed to get three players in two rounds who at some point all had first round grades, and have been all in the first round on analysts mock drafts.
Could have: Gotten a low-end QB for depth at the back end of the draft, and I would like to have seen them go RB in the 4th over DT with some of the guys left on the board.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Well this was one of the more interesting teams to grade. Hard to want to give a good grade to a team who traded “UP” in the 2nd round for a kicker, but Hargreaves will be solid and the #1 CB day one. Corner has been a massive need for them for about four years. They also came back and got Noah Spence who if he did not have off the field issues and stayed at OSU could have been a top 15 pick this year. If he gets his act together they got two top 15 picks. Hargreaves was my highest CB (I think Ramsey is a S) and Spence was a top 5 DE in one of the deepest class we have seen. As much as I hate seeing a team trade up for a kicker in such a massively high round, he was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history his one knock would be 14-22 from 40+ yards, I expect that number to be better in the NFL. Overall it was a decent draft for a team who is loaded on offense and needed to fix the defense.
Could have: Not traded up for a kicker and went S in the 3rd round.
Atlanta Falcons- Atlanta is one of only a few teams who got a better player in the 2nd round then they did in the 1st round. Deion Jones the pick in the second round a LB from LSU could become an all-pro and will flourish in that system. Neal the first round pick was my 2nd rated safety after Ramsey, but they had massive holes on OL and LB that could have been much better fits there. I was also massively concerned they did not grab a WR until round 7. They have a Qb in Ryan who does not have many high end years left, with only one true target in Julio Jones and a good RB, not going out for a WR or trying to focus on the OL could come back to bite them as everyone else upgraded DL and DB this draft in the division.
Could have: Gone OL or LB in the 1st and WR in the 3rd.
Carolina Panthers- The team that went to the Super Bowl and lost did not help them selves this off season as Josh Norman their best DB left in FA and they didn’t help them selves at all in this draft. Butler was not even a top 5 DT for me and they took him in the 1st and then after the they proceeded to draft nothing but CB and a TE to try and replace there aforementioned Josh Norman. If you need three CB to replace one you might be doing it wrong, not to mention they forgot about OL. It doesn’t look like Artis-Paynes is the answer for the RB of the future and with several left in the later rounds they didn’t make a move for one. I know they got to the Super Bowl, but you cant get back by losing your best players and not trying to replace them or upgrade the positions you saw get exploited in the only game you had to win. This is a draft they will want to forget for years to come.
Could have: Gone OL in the 1st period.