clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 NFL Draft Grades: Jaguars, Titans get top draft grades in AFC

A look at how the AFC teams fared in this weekend's NFL Draft.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It's the aftermath of the NFL Draft and that can mean only one thing; it's time to hand out much-too-early draft grades for every team. I'm not a fan of instant analysis and immediate reactions so I'd like to mention at the top of this article that these grades are based more on how the teams selected their players than on the talent of the players themselves. If a team reached on a player, that's fine because they have a better understanding of how they will fit on their roster than anyone else does. However, if you did something stupid like take a guy who is an exact clone of someone you just cut, you're probably going to lose a letter grade.

Baltimore Ravens

Draft Grade: C+

Favorite Pick: Maxx Williams (TE)

I really think this team could have gone in another direction in the first round if they just resigned Torrey Smith. Breshad Perriman is so similar and uses up valuable opportunity cost. Maxx Williams in the second round is where this draft haul hit its sweet spot. Williams gives Flacco a safety valve and clarifies a position in flux amidst indecision surrounding Dennis Pitta who underwent hip surgery each of the last two years.  Carl Davis in the third round is a steal, but I just can't forgive the Perriman/Smith situation.

Buffalo Bills

Draft Grade: D

Favorite Pick: John Miller (OG)

It's difficult to have a good draft if you don't have a first-round pick, but it's even harder when you misunderstand what your team needs. The Ronald Darby pick in the second round was a Rex Ryan-oriented move akin to Dee Milliner and Kyle Willson with the New York Jets. The team doesn't need another cornerback, and desperately needed some line help, but the Bills waited until the third round for that. In the fourth, they took the troubled Karlos Williams to add to an already crowded backfield.

Cincinnati Bengals

Draft Grade: A

Favorite Pick: Paul Dawson (LB)

This is a team that legitimately has four starting offensive tackles. Andre Whitworth is a lock to keep his job but Andre Smith could be replaced with one of their first two draft picks, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, with the other challenging Clint Boling at left guard. This could be the best offensive line in the league right now and it's not the only area they improved upon. I love the Paul Dawson pick in the third round as he is definitely capable of beating out Rey Maualuga or Emmanuel Lamur for a starting spot.

Cleveland Browns

Draft Grade: B-

Favorite Pick: Ibraheim Campbell (SS)

The Browns clearly got better from this draft but their priorities still seem to lack calibration for the offensive side of the ball. Cameron Erving is an expensive but necessary replacement for Alex Mack, who has a player-option in his contract at the end of next season. Duke Johnson and Vince Mayle are luke-warm additions to areas that had a lot of depth but no elite talent. On the other side, they added some strong defensive pieces with an immediate starter in Danny Shelton and an enforcer type safety in Ibraheim Campbell.

Denver Broncos

Draft Grade: C+

Favorite Pick: Darius Kilgo (NT)

The Broncos were lucky that Shane Ray fell into their laps but other that there isn't a ton to be excited about. They took Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia in rounds two and four, which I assume are moves toward building a more Gary Kubiak-friendly offensive line. Darius Kilgo in the sixth is a good developmental pick that could develop into a long-term replacement for Terrance Knighton at nose tackle. Another high point is the seventh-round flier they took on Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian who injured his ACL at the end of last season. He gets to learn behind Peyton Manning and potentially compete for the starting job with Brock Osweiler in a year or two.

Houston Texans

Draft Grade: B

Favorite Pick: Benardrick McKinney

First two picks were spent bolstering an already lethal defense and cementing the Texans' formula for winning this season. Looking at the pieces added on the other side is a bit more interesting, though. I like the addition of Jaelen Strong to an Andre Johnson-less receiver corps, and Kenny Hilliard with their final pick of the draft is a worthwhile gamble. That defense though ... oh boy. It now has the potential to be a 1985 Bears style. You know, like where it doesn't even matter if you have offensive production at all, because the other team can't stay on the field long enough to gain yardage let alone points.

Indianapolis Colts

Draft Grade: D+

Favorite Pick: Henry Anderson (DE)

I don't understand Ryan Grigson at all. For this team to take a wide receiver in the first round shows no self-awareness whatsoever. What was your last game? Why did you lose it? It sure as hell wasn't because the football lacked air pressure. Phillip Dorsett is fine. He's a good player. This was just a move that annoyed me more than it should. I like watching the Colts. I like watching Andrew Luck specifically. It'd be nice to see him playing in a few important games where they aren't down by 35 points at halftime. Elsewhere in this draft, Henry Anderson is a good pickup who fits the blueprint for what this team could be if they were constructed a little better.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Draft Grade: A+

Favorite Pick: Michael Bennett (DT)

Nobody really understands why Michael Bennett fell so far in the draft. Many, including myself, projected him to go very early in the second round. Perhaps even to Jacksonville, so for them to land him with the 180th pick overall is a dream scenario. This team needed a stronger pass rush and some offensive production and they addressed those needs as well as anyone could hope. Some receiving options and a lead back in T.J. Yeldon will make game-day a bit easier on Blake Bortles. Overall, I think this draft netted the team four or five new starters. Well done, Duval.

Kansas City Chiefs

Draft Grade: B-

Favorite Pick: Chris Conley (WR)

In an ideal world, this team should have shot for Nelson Agholor but getting a field-stretcher like Chris Conley in the third round should help as well. While Alex Smith is the king of throwing behind the first down marker, Conley should at least open up those underneath routes if he's not the primary target. Alongside Jeremy Maclin, De'Anthony Thomas in the slot and Travis Kelce eating up the middle of the field, this offense could take a step forward next season. On the other side of the ball, they add cornerback Marcus Peters in the first round to likely start from opening day. This is a fun team to watch when they're at full strength but a bit of a chore when they're not hitting their stride.

Miami Dolphins

Draft Grade: B

Favorite Pick: DeVante Parker (WR)

DeVante Parker is the type of receiver the Dolphins needed when they signed Mike Wallace a few years ago. This is the latest addition to a completely retooled receiver group and Parker should slot in as the much-needed every-down receiver. Elsewhere, this team added defensive tackle Jordan Phillips who can either play alongside Ndamukong Suh on early downs or spell him on passing downs.  With their final pick, they announced Tony Lippett as a cornerback instead of as a receiver. The upside is a defensive back with great hands, the downside is reverting him to his previous position as depth. It's win-win. Jay Ajayi in the fifth round was also worth the risk because his upside as a top running back is a very real possibility.

New England Patriots

Draft Grade: A-

Favorite Pick: Trey Flowers (EDGE)

This team opened Day 3 of the draft with a pair of fourth-round selections spent on edge rusher Trey Flowers and guard Tre Jackson. These guys just keep landing in the Patriots' lap and it's not fair. It was bad enough this team got Malcolm Brown at the end of the first round as an immediate replacement for Vince Wilfork. Taking a long-snapper from Navy in the fifth round should cost this team a few grade points, but it doesn't because it's such a Belichick move to get the inspirational leader who, if nothing else, provides some context for how lucky players are to be in an NFL training camp.

New York Jets

Draft Grade: A

Favorite Pick: Devin Smith (WR)

Well, Geno Smith, here is your shot at glory. You better make the most of it because there are zero excuses now. Adding Devin Smith and Bryce Petty means this team is determined to cover their bases regardless of how holdovers from the last regime play out. On top of that, this team built on its  strengths and took Leonard Williams with the sixth overall pick, which lets them run the unconventional "linemen on the shoulders of linemen hiding under a giant jersey to seem like one player" scheme. They could have used some more help on the line, but this is a great first draft for the new management of Mike Maccagnan.

Oakland Raiders

Draft Grade: B

Favorite Pick: Amari Cooper (WR)

Congratulations, Oakland! You managed to make both the flashy pick and the safe pick at the same time. Amari Cooper is the perfect weapon for a previously weaponless offense. On top of that, this team added Clive Walford as a pass-catching tight-end. Derek Carr is now primed to make the jump to the next level, and if he doesn't, at least there will be no excuses about a lack of receiving options. For defense, I thought Mario Edwards was too risky a pick for a team like Oakland to be making. Good teams can take risks on guys with weight issues because they may have replacements should things go wrong. The Raiders don't have the talent capital to throw away a second round pick. Let's hope it works out.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Draft Grade: B+

Favorite Pick: Jesse James (TE)

Unlike some of my other Big Blue View counterparts, I wasn't sold on Bud Dupree as a viable 4-3 prospect for the Giants. The fit for Dupree is the Steelers' attacking 3-4 and he will see significant playing time behind an aging James Harrison. Behind that front, Senquez Golson has ample opportunity to earn a starting spot on a non-threatening cornerback depth chart. After addressing the defense with their first two picks, Pittsburgh turned their attention to the offense and added a pair of dynamic pass catchers in tight-end Jesse James and receiver Sammie Coates, both of whom were linked to the Giants as potential mid-round picks.

San Diego Chargers

Draft Grade: D

Favorite Pick: Denzel Perryman (ILB)

You do not want to be one of the first teams to take a running back. Whoever it is, it's probably not worth one of your first two picks, but the San Diego Chargers are hell-bent on recapturing the glory years of LaDanian Tomlinson when instead they should be focused on building a set of receiving options and a sturdy offensive line. They spent their first round pick on Melvin Gordon, and then ignored the offense for the rest of the draft. Denzel Perryman should play well next to Manti Te'o which should, in turn, help one of the worst run defenses in the league.

Tennessee Titans

Draft Grade: A+

Favorite Pick: Marcus Mariota (QB)

This team rejected a franchise-altering trade from Chip Kelly's Eagles and in turn, became interesting for the first time since Chris Johnson's 2k season. Marcus Mariota and Ken Whisenhunt will have to adapt to one another and make concessions to each other's strengths, but I think this draft class already proves this team is all-in on the Oregon quarterback. They selected two receivers, two offensive linemen and two running backs. The Titans front office is clearly committed to its valuable new quarterback and it's this dedicated approach to drafting around your key players that earns this team such a high grade.