Open Rants by vaughanmoore

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2016 NFL Draft Re-Grades
Published at 11/27/2021
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Other Publishings by vaughanmoore

Walt, my name is Vaughan and I'm a huge fan and longtime reader of the site (since I was 12 years old in ci2010). I'm a college student bored as hell in my off-campus apartment, so I figured I'd create some content. Enjoy. 

  1. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California

Grade: D+

While Jared Goff was not seen as a special talent coming out of Cal, he was the hometown kid that they felt was the perfect fit as the new face of the franchise in LA. There were mixed reactions at the time; most scouts/analysts preferred Carson Wentz talent-wise, but many feared Wentz’s small-town, midwestern background would be an awkward fit in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for the Rams, they screwed this one up. While you may think this is a harsh grade for a QB that “led” his team to the Super Bowl, there is a reason why there are quotation marks (or whatever they’re called) around the word. Sean McVay’s genius offensive mind and a good defense are truly what got them there. Goff was terrible as a rookie with Jeff Fisher at the helm, although to be fair it was Commander .500 and there was a serious lack of talent around him. He put up pretty stats over the years for the Rams, and has an impressive win-loss ratio as the starter, but if you watched the games, he was mostly a game manager that would make some solid throws every once in a while. The receivers were open because of McVay’s playcalling, and when they realized Goff was a liability last season, they cut bait by trading him with a couple 1st rounders for Matthew Stafford--a real franchise QB. He was efficient and was the QB of the NFC Championship team, so he doesn’t get an F; he reminds me of Nick Foles minus the clutchness/intangibles. In today’s NFL, their skill set and style make them more of backups than starting-caliber players. Having said that, Goff wasn’t a huge bust or anything and will probably hang around in the league for a while.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Grade: B

Coming out of North Dakota State, Wentz faced a lot of criticism from the media surrounding his lack of experience against NFL-caliber competition. He was known for his great size, strong arm, and surprising athleticism for someone of his stature. He was considered to have a higher ceiling but lower floor than Goff. GM Howie Roseman saw his potential and couldn’t resist trading up to #2 for him, as they needed a franchise QB with “Big Dick” Nick Foles deemed more of a good backup than starting-caliber passer (how ironic). Wentz turned out to be a much better selection than Goff, as he followed a solid rookie year with an amazing second season; he would’ve won MVP if he didn’t get hurt, and I’m positive they would’ve won the Super Bowl with Wentz too. However, his tenure with Philly came to a rough close a few years later, as his inconsistent play and tension with the organization led to his trade to the Colts this past offseason. The issue with Wentz is his growing tendency to play too reckless; he takes a lot of unnecessary hits because he refuses to throw the ball away or slide when scrambling. He plays every down like it’s his last--a mentality that comes with repercussions. As he gets more banged up, his play regresses (as with any player). That being said, he did provide elite play for a few years at the most important position, played a key role in their Super Bowl run, and brought a 1st round pick back to Philly in the trade. All in all, this was a solid pick by the Eagles; they picked the best QB available (other than Dak) when they sorely needed one.

  1. San Diego Chargers: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Grade: A+

Joey Bosa was a monster in college, but questions about his ability to play EDGE in a 3-4 scheme made him fall to the latter half of the top 10 in most mock drafts. That’s why this pick was a shocker at the time--he was a 4-3 DE his entire career, and was seen as an awkward fit as a stand-up EDGE. GM Tom Telesco knew what he was doing because those doubts proved to be dead wrong as soon as Bosa stepped on the field. He has been an elite pass rusher and run defender, using his incredible power and technique to bully opposing blockers. The Chargers justifiably awarded Bosa with a massive extension. This is an A+ all the way, as Bosa could end up in Canton at this rate. 

  1. Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Grade: C

Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott had a legendary 2015 season for OSU, showcasing his rare combination of power, speed, and vision; it seemed like he ran for 200 yards and 2 TDs every week. Picking a RB in the top 5 is seen as blasphemous in today’s NFL, but only recently it was a common occurrence for an elite prospect like Zeke to get picked this high. It’s crazy how quickly that narrative changed. In hindsight, the Cowboys would’ve been much better off taking Jalen Ramsey or DeForest Buckner, but Elliott has been fantastic for the Cowboys thus far and is a big reason for their recent success. He has proven to be the bellcow back Dallas wanted. That’s the reason why I just can’t go any lower than a C. I look at this similarly to the Rams taking Todd Gurley in 2015 without the arthritis. However, there’s a couple reasons why this can’t be higher than a C. If Elliott didn’t have an OL full of All-Pros, he certainly wouldn’t have produced as much as he has. On top of that, the only justification for taking a RB in the top 5 is if the prospect is truly generational like Derrick Henry or Adrian Peterson, and Zeke is not quite in the same league as those guys. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State

Grade: A+

Coming out of Florida State, Jalen Ramsey was compared to Deion Sanders due to his amazing ball skills, lockdown potential, and fiery personality. The Jags, who were (and still are… and have always been) a laughingstock of an organization, had a ton of holes on their roster and were just going BPA--as they should have. Shockingly, David Caldwell DIDN’T fuck up a 1st round pick this time, as Ramsey has gone on to become arguably the best corner in the entire NFL. In my opinion, he has been the best since 2017 (perhaps tied with Stephon Gilmore), erasing almost every receiver he covers. Ramsey was a superstar for the Jaguars, but typical dysfunction in the organization caused friction between Ramsey and the front office. While his tenure with the Jaguars came to a brutal end, they still nailed this pick and got TWO 1st round picks from the Rams in return for his services (K’Lavon Chaisson and Travis Etienne). Getting that kind of value is tremendous.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Grade: A+ 

Another fantastic pick. I’m convinced Baltimore would have taken Laremy Tunsil, the consensus #1 OL, if not for the bullshit “gas mask” incident that shouldn’t have been a big deal. Turns out, they got lucky because Stanley is even better than Tunsil. He has been a superstar at LT for the Ravens since day one. He is a really good reach blocker downfield in the run game, being athletic enough to bounce outside and pave the way for Lamar Jackson scrambles; this is what separates Stanley from Tunsil. He is also an elite pass protector; if you watch him in any game, he rarely allows pressure, as his quick feet and tremendous length are too much for even the best of EDGE defenders to handle. This was another home run of a selection by Ozzie Newsome. 

  1. San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner (A+)

Grade: A+

Like his name suggests, DeForest Buckner is a monster of a man at 6’7 and 295 lbs. He was hyped up as the next Calais Campbell coming out of Oregon, and that comparison has proven to be spot on. Buckner is absolutely a modern day Campbell in his prime--an immovable object at the line of scrimmage who is bigger than all of your interior offensive linemen. He has had 38 sacks in his first 5 seasons, which is an incredible number for a 4-tech DT/5-tech DE. This was another home run of a pick; the 49ers only traded him because he was so good that they couldn’t afford him anymore. Plus, they got a 1st rounder in return, which ended up being a solid replacement in Javon Kinlaw. All in all, the usually anemic Trent Baalke actually nailed this pick. 

  1. Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Grade: B

At the time of the draft, Michigan State’s Jack Conklin was seen as a rock-solid offensive lineman and a safe pick to be a good starter. Some teams felt his athletic limitations could relegate him to guard, but Conklin proved those teams wrong immediately for Tennessee, being named First Team All-Pro at RT--as a rookie! Conklin was great for the Titans in all facets until he tore his ACL in the 2017 AFC Divisional Playoff loss to the Patriots. He ran into injury problems, which caused Tennessee to decline his fifth-year option and allow him to walk in free agency to the Browns. Fortunately for Conklin, he has revived his career in Cleveland, as his tough run blocking fits well in their ground and pound offense. While the Titans envisioned Conklin to have a much longer tenure with them, they did make a solid selection here and just got unlucky with his injuries. 

  1. Chicago Bears: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

Grade: B+ 

This is a perfect example of when a team takes the right player for the wrong scheme. He is more known for his excellent play with the Rams (that led to a 4 year, $64 million deal) than his 4 years with the Bears because the Chicago coaching staff didn’t know how to get the best out of his rare combination of athleticism, length, and size. Bears fans grew tired of him because he didn’t fill out the stat sheet like they had hoped, but he played better on film than the box score indicated. They released him in the 2020 offseason, where the Rams scooped him up on a 1 year “prove it” deal. He has blossomed into an All-Pro caliber player in LA with great coaching from Brandon Staley and Raheem Morris. Floyd can drop into coverage due to his length and speed, having the ability to play the middle of the field in zone and keep up with athletic TEs in man. He is also an effective pass rusher with a non-fluky 10.5 sacks in 2020. He provides versatility via effective play at both 4-3 OLB and 3-4 EDGE. Floyd is good value as a top 10 pick; unfortunately, the Bears were unable to capitalize on that value (as usual). 

  1. New York Giants: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

Grade: F

Finally, a bust! This was a highly-criticized and surprising pick at the time for the Giants, who just missed out on the two guys they wanted, Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin. GM Jerry Reese, being the boomer he is, passed on Laremy Tunsil because of the devil’s lettuce and took Apple instead. I envision his thinking process: “Eli Manning… Big Apple… Eli Apple! It was meant to be!” Wrong. Apple was a disaster for the Giants, being torched routinely and proving all the haters right. After just 2 seasons of poor play, NY shipped him to the Saints for a 4th round pick, where he didn’t fare better at all. In 2021, he is still a terrible player for the Bengals and is the liability of their defense whenever he is on the field. 

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Grade: F

As with Apple, I give F grades for players that showed nothing in their NFL career to warrant the selection, and Hargreaves has been extremely disappointing in the pros. He’s been slightly better than Apple but this pick still gets an F. In hindsight, taking a 5’10 corner who runs a 4.5 and can’t play in the slot with the 11th overall pick is pretty stupid. The elite instincts he showed at Florida did not translate to the NFL either. He just got benched playing for the Texans after somehow earning the starting spot at the start of the season. If you are the worst guy at your job at the worst company in your industry, you should probably find another line of work.  

  1. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Grade: B-

Sheldon Rankins dominated the ACC in his final year of college football for Louisville, leading to his stock skyrocketing in the months leading up to the draft. He generated comparisons to Gerald McCoy as an athletic 4-tech DT who can rush the passer from the interior. The Saints nabbed Rankins here; unfortunately, his career with the Saints was decimated by injuries. He had a phenomenal rookie year before playing hurt his 2nd season. Then, he broke out as a star interior pass rusher in 2018, recording 40 tackles and 8 sacks; unfortunately, he suffered a torn Achilles in the divisional round of the playoffs versus the Eagles, and was never the same player for them. He proceeded to play two more injury-plagued seasons with New Orleans before signing a 2 year, $17 million deal with the Jets in free agency. While Rankins’ career with the Saints obviously didn’t live up to their expectations as the 12th overall pick, they could not have foreseen the injuries. Plus, when he was healthy, he was one of the best players on their defense and almost certainly would have panned out in a big way if he was able to stay on the field. I can’t penalize the Saints for that. That being said, they did pass on some significantly better players at more important positions. 

  1. Miami Dolphins: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Grade: A+ 

As a top recruit coming out of high school, Laremy Tunsil had NFL hype from the first time he stepped on the field as a true freshman for Ole Miss. He was extremely impressive against top-flight SEC pass rushers--especially in pass protection, which is even more important for the NFL. He was seen as a top-5 lock before the controversial gas mask incident. GM Chris Grier, unlike the other boomers that passed on him, recognized that smoking pot is no big deal; half the players in the NFL do it anyway as an effective pain reliever. While Tunsil has merely been above average in the running game, he has arguably been the top pass protecting LT in the league the past few years. This selection was a home run not just because of his excellent play, but because they were able to gauge 2 first round picks (Austin Jackson and Jaylen Waddle) out of clueless Billy O’Brien and the Texans in 2019 to kickstart their rebuild. This is arguably the best “return of investment” pick in this entire draft (other than Dak Prescott).  

  1. Oakland Raiders: Karl Joseph, FS, West Virginia

Grade: D

This selection has always confused me. It doesn’t get an F because unlike Apple and Hargreaves, Karl Joseph was actually a solid player for a couple years. For whatever reason, his play got more inconsistent towards the end of his rookie deal, leading the Raiders to decline his fifth year option. Now, he’s just a backup that has been on two other teams and one more opportunity with the Raiders in 2021--only to be released as part of final cuts. Joseph proved to be a terrible value with the 14th overall pick; his career can be compared to the average 3rd round pick. They should’ve taken Taylor Decker, Ryan Kelly, William Jackson, or even Keanu Neal. This was a big mistake, and Joseph definitely qualifies as a bust.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

Grade: F

Corey Coleman was a great in college for Baylor, being arguably the greatest receiver in Bears’ history. He put together an incredible 20 touchdowns on 74 catches his last year there. He’ll always be a Baylor legend, but that’s about it because his NFL career was an absolute disaster. Coleman did get drafted by a dysfunctional organization (at the time) that never paired him with a competent QB during his time there, but he proved to have work ethic and character issues. In 2017, in what became the epitome of his career, he dropped a crucial 4th down pass in Week 17 against the Steelers that sealed the fate of the 0-16 Cleveland Browns. He demanded a trade in the 2018 offseason because they wouldn’t make him the starter, even though he was coming off of a miserable sophomore campaign. They traded him without hesitation to the Bills for a seventh round pick; he didn’t even make the team. After a short stint with the Giants, Coleman is now out of the league. This selection was even worse than the Apple and Hargreaves ones, because at least those guys are still hanging on to the edge of their NFL careers. Coleman is one of the bigger WR draft busts in NFL history. 

  1. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Grade: A

In a long line of disappointing 1st round picks by Detroit, Taylor Decker is a shining bright spot. He’s been a great player for the Lions even through all the losses he has been a part of, much like any other good player they have ever had. Most people probably don’t know Decker because he isn’t flashy and he plays for the Lions, who the media never focuses on. He has been a top 10 pass protector in football for the duration of his career. At 6’7 and 318 lbs, he towers over most defenders and has a phenomenal anchor. He signed a massive 5 year, $70 million contract extension to stay with the Lions for years to come. He is important to Detroit’s rebuild as an experienced vet who can serve as a building block for years to come. Great pick. 

  1. Atlanta Falcons: Keanu Neal, FS, Florida

Grade: B

Even though Florida’s Keanu Neal was seen as a bit of a reach here in the middle of the 1st round, the Falcons needed all the secondary reinforcements they could get. As a rookie, Neal served as the best DB on the 2016 Falcons team that went to the Super Bowl. He was tremendous his first couple years in the league and was on his way to reaching All-Pro status before the injury bug bit him badly. He tore his ACL in Week 1 of his 3rd season, then tore his Achilles in Week 3 of his 4th season. After a mediocre 5th season, the Falcons let him go, and now he’s on the Cowboys on a 1 year prove-it deal. DC Dan Quinn, who ironically was his HC in Atlanta, decided to move him to weakside linebacker. Let’s see how that plays out. The Falcons had the right idea taking Neal here and could not have predicted his injuries. 

  1. Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama 

Grade: A

Unless you’re a Colts fan, you may not know who Ryan Kelly is because he has a boring name, plays a boring position, and has a boring personality unlike Quenton Nelson. However, every Colts fan knows who Kelly is because he is a staple in the middle of their OL. He is a strong player with good size and perfect technique, and has no weaknesses to his game. In 2020, he was rightfully rewarded with a 4-year, $50 million deal that made him the highest paid center in the NFL. With 2 Pro Bowls and a Second-team All-Pro nod already under his belt, it’s safe to say the Colts found their first franchise center since Jeff Saturday. 

  1. Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson, EDGE, Clemson

Grade: C

Meh. Shaq Lawson was seen as a safe bet to be a good all-around 4-3 DE that had enough athleticism to play stand-up EDGE from time to time. He was great in college during the Deshaun Watson years and was a big name. Turns out, the Bills took the wrong EDGE named Lawson here. While Auburn’s Carl Lawson has turned into a great player, Shaq’s career has left much to be desired. Lawson only played four average seasons for the Bills before getting his fifth-year option declined and leaving in free agency. He’s exactly what he was coming into the NFL: a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none defender who only really fits as a DE in a 4-3 scheme. He is a decent player who I’d consider to be a passable starter. That being said, there’s a reason why he was traded for a mere 6th round pick--on two separate occasions--within a span of 7 months. 

  1. New York Jets: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Grade: F

Blegh. Darron Lee was regarded as the next hyper-athletic linebacker that could be molded into a Telvin Smith-like player (minus the pedophilia). He had all the tools to be a Pro Bowl-level 4-3 OLB or 3-4 ILB. Unfortunately, in order to be a good football player, you need to develop skills beyond your natural talent. Lee was never able to develop enough to competently drop into coverage, rush the passer, or stop the run. In fact, he was absolutely terrible at all three. He was so bad in pass coverage for the Jets that it was impressive. With PFF grades of 38.8 in 2016 and 34.9 in 2017, he was rated as not only the worst linebacker in the entire league, but one of the worst players in all of football regardless of position. Lee was truly the Nathan Peterman of linebackers. He’s already out of the league; even if he was an undrafted free agent, he’d be a bust. 

  1. Houston Texans: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Grade: B

In high school, I recall all my Notre Dame fanboy friends hyping up Will Fuller as the next coming of OBJ. He put up consecutive 1,000 yard seasons his last 2 years in college and ran a blazing 4.32 at the combine, confirming his deceptive speed. The Texans intended to team him up with superstar franchise QB Brock Osweiler to form an elite offensive juggernaut. Sadly, like many receivers of his ilk, Fuller has suffered through a plethora of injuries throughout his career, starting in his rookie season. He is a dangerous deep threat who can take the top off of a defense whenever he is 1) healthy and 2) playing with a competent QB. If I had a strong-armed QB and needed a deep threat, I’d absolutely buy low on Fuller right now. He isn’t a good fit on the Dolphins due to Tua’s hesitance (and inability) to throw outside the numbers. This is a solid grade because, in spite of the injuries, Fuller is a good player who is light years better than the other two WRs the Texans could’ve taken over him (see the next two picks). 

  1. Washington Redskins: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

Grade: F

Ah, the good old Redskins. Before the social justice warriors saved the world by protesting the team name and ultimately getting it changed, the Redskins were a proud organization with a legitimate team name and tradition going back over half a century. Unfortunately, they can’t say they were proud of this selection, as Josh Doctson was a bonafide bust. I never bought the hype pre-draft because, like the scrub taken next, he was projected to be a possession-type WR2 whose hands and size could overcome his lack of speed or explosiveness. Little did the Redskins know, speed would soon become prevalent for the WR position, and Doctson looked slow as a snail whenever he took the field for the Redskins in the NFL. He couldn’t cut it on special teams either for the Redskins. He did put up 500 yards in consecutive seasons for the Redskins, but only because Kirk Cousins force-fed him the ball on the Redskins; he was a 1st round pick, so the Redskins didn’t want to look bad. The Redskins cut ties with him after 3 underwhelming seasons, and he hasn’t played a down since. The Redskins really fucked up here. 

  1. Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Grade: F

Speaking of huge WR busts, Laquon Treadwell dominated SEC corners with his excellent size and natural catching ability on 50-50 balls, hence the comparisons to DeAndre Hopkins (LOL). I’ll admit--I was wrong about this one. I thought Treadwell actually had the hands, size, and jump-ball ability to compensate for his lack of foot speed. Unbeknownst to me, he ran a despicable 4.65 at his pro day, which would’ve changed my opinion of him for sure. The Vikings knew they had a budding superstar in Stefon Diggs, but were bereft of other receiving options for the remarkably mediocre and noodle-armed Sam Bradford (how was he their QB at the time?!). Turns out, they already had him on the roster (Adam Thielen), and he quickly fell down the depth chart in training camp. He finished 2016 with a whopping 1 catch for 15 yards in arguably the worst rookie season for a 1st round WR in NFL history. He simply does not have the ability to separate from NFL corners, and he’s not big enough to make the move to tight end either. I’ll give him credit for being a good blocker for a receiver, which is probably why he’s still in the league, but he sucks at literally everything else. It worked out for Minnesota in the end because Thielen turned into a gem, but what a disaster. 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: William Jackson III, CB, Houston

Grade: A

Houston CB William Jackson showed flashes of greatness on the field, and tested well athletically, but had major medical red flags coming into the NFL. No one had heard of him until about a month before the draft, when he started appearing on every analyst’s “most underrated prospects” list. His hype picked up even more steam after rumors from insiders indicated he could be a 1st round pick. Lo and behold, the Bengals took him here even though it seemed like they were spending their 1st rounders on corners every year (Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, etc. much like the Vikings now). Initially, it seemed like the injury bug was going to follow him to the pros after getting knocked out for the season during training camp with a torn pectoral muscle. However, despite not getting much press in Cincinnati, he rebounded the next season and continued to improve year-to-year. I remember him being the only guy who could lock up Antonio Brown during his prime. Quietly, he was arguably a top 10 corner in football from 2018-2020 even though the stats don’t show it. Like many shutdown corners, his lack of interceptions is actually a byproduct of his elite coverage; QBs felt it was best to just avoid throwing to his side of the field. I thought it was curious that they didn’t re-sign him after his fifth year, allowing him to sign a huge deal with the Redskins. They must’ve known something because Jackson has been one of the most disappointing players in the league this year. Perhaps he lost his passion for the game once he got the bag. Either way, the Bengals made a great pick here, even if he didn’t last long with the team. 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Artie Burns, CB, Miami

Grade: D-

Man, there were a lot of busts towards the end of this 1st round! Miami’s Artie Burns was another late riser in the draft process, although I think his rising stock was mostly because so many teams needed corners at the time. To his credit, Artie Burns has been better than Apple and Hargreaves, so I won’t give this an F. He certainly lived up to his name in Pittsburgh, getting burned constantly in his first couple seasons. I only noticed him on the field when he was getting beaten deep down the field for big plays on Redzone. To be fair, he was thrown into the fire immediately as a raw prospect because the Steelers were so bad at corner at the time (their CB1 was William fucking Gay… not that there’s anything wrong with that). Burns did improve a bit over time, but was never good enough to remain in the starting lineup consistently. The Steelers ultimately declined his fifth year option, letting him walk to Chicago on a one year prove-it deal. A rare miss from GM Kevin Colbert. 

  1. Denver Broncos: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Grade: F

Out of all the busts in this first round, this selection is arguably the most egregious. I’ll admit, I was a fan of quarterback Paxton Lynch coming out of Memphis. He had the athleticism, size, and stats to thrive on the field, and was a big part of turning around the Memphis football program that had been an embarrassment for years. He certainly looked the part and showed the confidence in pre-draft interviews that everybody wants in their starting QB. Seen as the consensus QB3 in this draft, the Broncos had a void at the QB position thanks to Peyton Manning’s decrepit performance and eventual retirement, so John Elway pulled the trigger on who he thought was the best option. Lynch’s dreadful play in training camp raised eyebrows among the coaching staff, and he ultimately got beaten out by second year late round pick Trevor Siemian. To save face, they threw Lynch in as soon as Siemian had a stretch of bad games, and he somehow proved to be an even worse option. The leadership and intangibles he showed at Memphis simply did not translate to the pros; some people are able to lead boys in college (see Jerry Sandusky), but cannot lead men in the NFL (see Urban Meyer). Not only that--his accuracy woes were exposed by his inability to improve his footwork or ability to read defenses. Also, reports surfaced that he was too immature to win over the locker room. He was cut after two seasons; he is now unemployed, according to the expert insider website Wikipedia. The only question is: was this even worse than the Tebow selection in 2010? I think so. 

  1. Green Bay Packers: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA 

Grade: A+

I still remember watching this draft in my living room with my younger brother, who is a Packers fan. He wanted Myles Jack to replace aging media darling A.J. Hawk, and he also would have been a good pick here. Luckily, my 16 year old brother (at the time) does not run an NFL organization because GM Ted Thompson (RIP) made an even better choice. UCLA’s Kenny Clark was an overlooked prospect because he didn’t have flashy stats or measurables. He was regarded as a high floor prospect that had a lower ceiling than guys like Robert Nkemdiche or Vernon Butler. Sometimes, getting distracted by the potential of highly athletic prospects can lead to mistakes, so credit to Thompson for not falling for those other guys. Clark is now a top 10 DT in the league, performing very well in all areas. Thompson performed another one of his classic draft robberies with this pick. 

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford

Grade: F

...and now we get to more busts! Everyone in the media was taken aback by this pick because Josh Garnett appeared in approximately zero mock drafts and got no hype in the leadup to the draft. From Day 1, Garnett was athletically overmatched in the NFL and a liability whenever he took the field blocking for the radical SJW lunatic at QB who shall not be named. Unfortunately, there’s really not much to say about this pick, as Garnett was a boring bust. He was simply not NFL caliber and was quickly out of the league. So, I’ll use this space to blast Madden about including Unnamed Social Justice Warrior as a free agent in the new game. WTF?!?!?! This seems like an effort to appease losers on Twitter, but who cares what they think? He clearly does not want to play anymore, as he’d rather make more money as a radical, corrupt activist making racist Netflix documentaries. So if he doesn’t play football anymore… why is he in the game? Not only that--he’s fucking 81 OVERALL. 81. In other words, Madden considers him to be a top 20 QB in the NFL right now… after 5 years of not playing a down. Does a solid starting QB get benched for Blaine Gabbert, cut after the season, and remain unsigned for 5 years? Maybe on Planet Woke, but not on Earth. 

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss 

Grade: F

I saw this one coming from a mile away. Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche was dripping with potential as the #1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school. That hype carried him through a mediocre college career and led to his 1st round projection. Whenever I watched him play in college, he looked like a chicken with its head cut off. He had no football IQ and never played up to his potential, despite some dominant performances against weak competition. Still, he was so naturally gifted that teams couldn’t ignore him. Coming off an NFC Championship appearance, the Cardinals figured they could fix him up under the tutelage of fellow superstar DL Calais Campbell. Wrong. Even though he is somehow still in the league, Nkemdiche never developed in the mental side of the game and continued to show poor work ethic with Arizona. Bruce Arians openly criticized Nkemdiche’s dedication to the team and cut him after only 3 seasons. Another example of a player relying too much on his talent in college. This is a stain on Steve Keim’s otherwise impressive resume. 

  1. Carolina Panthers: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

Grade: D

Like the Josh Garnett pick, this is as forgettable as it gets. The Panthers were coming off a Super Bowl appearance and didn’t have a ton of holes on their roster, so they took a flier on LA Tech’s Vernon Butler, who was a late riser in the draft process. While Butler isn’t an awful player, he is merely a serviceable rotational guy on the defensive line who is slightly below average in all areas. He can take advantage of liabilities at times but rarely makes an impact. The Panthers found no reason to pick up his fifth year option or retain him after his rookie deal for a reason. Basically, Butler is what you want out of your 4th round pick, so this is terrible value for the 31st overall pick. 

  1. Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, G/T, Texas A&M

Grade: C+

The Seahawks have had OL struggles for Russell Wilson’s entire tenure with the team, and it was arguably at its peak ineptitude in 2016. GM John Schneider must have liked Germain Ifedi’s versatility and athleticism, especially considering they had holes at multiple spots up front. Ifedi quickly entered the starting lineup, and it wasn’t pretty for a while. He has improved enough to be considered a passable starter who has the ability to play inside or outside. After leaving the Seahawks, he signed with the Bears in free agency. For Chicago, he has been arguably better than he ever was in Seattle, and hopefully he will continue his upward trajectory. This wasn’t a good selection by any means, but Schneider could’ve done much worse.

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