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 weekend. 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 draft.
With Eugene Monroe failing to live up to expectations thus far, it seemed clear that Baltimore would take an offensive tackle at No. 6 overall and Ronnie Stanley is a plug-and-play option with the size, athleticism, durability and consistency to help immediately. While athletic, Stanley does not play with the toughness and tenacity that I prefer. While Stanley is viewed as "only" a left tackle, I love the versatility of the Ravens' next two picks, edge rushers Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kaufusi, each of whom offer unique athleticism and production. General manager Ozzie Newsome has nailed several middle- and late-round picks during his Hall of Fame career and could have some day three diamonds this year as well, with cornerback Tavon Young, offensive tackle Alex Lewis, defensive tackle Willie Henry and running backs Kenneth Dixon and Keenan Reynolds all intriguing prospects.
Cornerback was not necessarily perceived to be one of Cincinnati's greatest areas of concern, but scouts were excited about the length, speed and playmaking ability of William Jackson III, who led the nation with 28 passes defensed in 2015, including five interceptions. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd is a terrific route runner with excellent hands. He'll prove an upgrade over departed free agents Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu, though it might take him a year or two. Inside linebacker Nick Vigil is an instinctive, athletic tackler. Guard Christian Westerman and defensive tackle Andrew Billings were overrated in media circles but possess the weight room strength and tenacity to help relatively early in their NFL careers.
If the "Moneyball" approach means taking players with terrific production at the college level, than Sashi Brown and his staff in Cleveland have it all figured out. Analyze it however you'd like, by twice trading down in the first round, the Browns acquired a boatload of picks in the 2016 draft (as well extra first- and second-round picks in 2017 and a second in 2018) and still addressed one of their primary positions of need with playmaking wideout Corey Coleman at No. 15 overall -- one of a staggering five (yes, five!) receivers selected by the Browns. There are legitimate questions about how quickly Coleman will be able to acclimate to an NFL offense, however, and similar doubts for many of Cleveland's other picks, including the instincts of edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, the athleticism of Carl Nassib and the arm strength of quarterback Cody Kessler. My favorite picks for the Browns came in the middle rounds with Shon Coleman and Joe Schobert. The Browns' NFL-high 14 picks look great on paper, but if Carson Wentz proves a legitimate franchise quarterback in Philadelphia (and Kessler does not), the passionate fans in Cleveland will once again be left disappointed.
The Steelers' secondary was a sieve in 2015 and Miami's Artie Burns offers the length, playmaking skills and toughness (on and off the field) to help remedy that. Speaking of toughness, second-round selection Sean Davis is one of the more physical defensive backs in the draft and offers position versatility. Javon Hargrave may look like former Steelers standout Casey Hampton at a stout 6-1, 309 pounds, but his game is based on quickness rather than raw power. He'll help the interior pass rush. Former LSU tackle Jerald Hawkins has the length and experience at both tackle positions to potentially groom as a swing tackle. Travis Feeney is a terrific athlete at outside linebacker with the burst and bend to rush the passer, but he lacks strength at the point of attack and has a history of shoulder injuries.