Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu. It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared this eekend. But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a take at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2016 NFL draft.
AFC West Draft Grades: 2016 NFL Draft
You have to admire John Elway's aggression in trading up to nab Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. The strong-armed and athletic passer is also a terrific schematic fit in Gary Kubiak's offense, which calls for lots of bootlegs and some of the quick screens that Lynch used so effectively with the Tigers. Lynch requires patience, however, which means that Mark Sanchez might be the starter for the Broncos in 2016. Patience could be the operative word with the rest of Denver's class, which featured several players coming off injury, including second-round defensive tackle Adam Gotsis (ACL) and running back Devontae Booker (meniscus). Third-round safety Justin Simmons might wind up making the most immediate impact for the Broncos, though Lynch, Gotsis and Booker all have legitimate starting talent, once ready. Of Denver's day three picks, athletic guard Connor McGovern stands out as a good schematic fit and punter Riley Dixon will be given every opportunity to make the roster.
The Chiefs have won big with freakishly athletic big man Dontari Poe and general manager John Dorsey is hoping to duplicate that success with similarly long and agile defensive lineman Chris Jones, who can play or out in a three-man front. Offering similar versatility is Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell, who could help at cornerback opposite last year's Rookie of the Year, Marcus Peters, or slip inside to play safety. Either way, Russell's athletic and physicality are NFL-caliber as is Minnesota corner Eric Murray, who popped off tape. Perhaps the most intriguing selection for the Chiefs, however, were wideouts Demarcus Robinson and Tyreek Hill. Each come with character red flags, but Andy Reid's history as a player's coach and the leadership in the locker room in Kansas City could unlock their undeniable talent. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan is going to make this roster as a fifth-round pick, taking the place of Chase Daniels as Alex Smith's primary backup.
The Raiders pulled of the major surprises of the first round with safety Karl Joseph at No. 14 overall. Joseph warranted this high of a pick, as he is a fierce hitter, with terrific ball skills and is the consummate locker room guy, but he is coming off a torn ACL, potentially impacting his ability to play right away. Oakland gambled up upside in the second round with former wide receiver and safety turned defensive lineman Jihad Ward, who really turned heads at the Senior Bowl. Third-rounder Shilique Calhoun was a three-time All-American defensive end at Michigan State. His burst, agility and refined hands could make him a very effective edge rusher in the NFL, too. Much will be made of the selection of Connor Cook in the fourth round. Rather than an indictment on youngster Derek Carr, this could be an example of Reggie McKenzie following in the footsteps of Ron Wolf in Green Bay, who was known for investing in young quarterbacks in the hopes of developing them and peddling them for future picks. Vadal Alexander's stock slip in 2015 because he played out of position at right tackle, but Oakland's seventh-round selection could prove a "surprise" if slid back inside at guard, where his lack of agility would be mitigated.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco fooled us all with pre-draft reports that the club was focusing on other players but instead taking the safer route with the pro-ready Joey Bosa at No. 3 overall. Bosa projected best as a traditional 4-3 defensive end, but it was his versatility, power and instincts that will be put to great use by defensive coordinator John Pagano. Expect to see Bosa line up wide as a stand-up rusher as well as drop down to a defensive end and even slip inside to defensive tackle on passing downs. He lacks the burst and bend most associate with a pick this high, but there is little bust factor with a player this polished. It is easy to be excited about San Diego's next three moves, as well, as the club found a true complement (and eventual replacement) for Antonio Gates with the sure-handed Hunter Henry in the second round, arguably the draft's most versatile offensive lineman in Southern Cal's Max Tuerk in the third and do-everything linebacker Joshua Perry, who was overshadowed a bit by all of the talent at Ohio State but could flourish in Pagano's scheme because of his length and power. Another versatile defender, Jatavis Brown -- a Combine snub -- could surprise, as well.