On The Blog: KILJ’s Day 1 NFL Draft Grades

By: Nathan Bloechl — sports@kilj.com 

KILJ — The NFL Draft presented it’s usual entertainment with reaches, trades and drama last night. Here’s a look at the entire first round with grades and analysis.

Also, bonus points for no technical malfunctions. For an all virtual draft, things went pretty seamless last night for the Shield.

1.) Cincinnati Bengals — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Grade: A+

  • Burrow is the cleanest and safest prospect to enter the draft since probably Andrew Luck. He lit the NCAA on fire and the Bengals made no funny business by selecting the hometown hero.

2.) Washington Redskins — Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Grade: A

  • Another chalky selection, Young is probably pound-for-pound the best talent in the class. The selection gives Washington one of the scarier fronts with four first round selections. Young will be an instant impact defender.

3.) Detroit Lions — Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State 

Grade: A

  • I thought Detroit might trade down a few spots and still take the draft’s top corner, but instead they stayed put and did not risk it. Okudah will be the Lions top corner on Day One and it’s a logical decision after they traded Darius Slay. Urban Meyer cleaned up shop with his 2017 recruiting class, Burrow, Young and Okudah all were at Ohio State together for two seasons.

4.) New York Giants — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Grade: C+

  • I didn’t think Thomas was the best tackle prospect in the class but it was a glaring need for G-Men. With Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones and now Thomas, the Giants are starting to form an identity on offense, even if I thought it was a bit of a reach.

5.) Miami Dolphins — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Grade: A+

  • It’s hard to argue against the Dolphins winning the draft last night. Not only did they secure the second best quarterback in the class, they did it without having to move up. Tagovailoa can rest up this season behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and make sure that surgically repaired hip is 100% before taking flight as the Fins full-time starter in 2021. He’s been compared to Drew Brees.

6.) Los Angeles Chargers — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon 

Grade: B-

  • I thought this too was a slight reach, but it’s hard to fault the Bolts for thinking Herbert can be “their guy.” As enigmatic as they come, Herbert has shown flashes of brilliance as well as ineptitude. He can learn the ropes behind journeyman Tyrod Taylor before taking over the job in 2021.

7.) Carolina Panthers — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Grade: C-

  • Ew. Another reach at a position in which you can find players to fill a similar role later. I like Brown in a vacuum, but I don’t see the pass rush upside that a prospect would need to be a defensive tackle taken this high. Especially when Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons was still on the board. I didn’t like it.

8.) Arizona Cardinals — Isaiah Simmons, ILB, Clemson 

Grade: A

  • Hard to dislike this pick. Simmons was rumored to go inside the top-5 and the Cards snag the versatile defender here at 8. Arizona is going to be to very good in a short time. Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Chandler Jones, Isaiah Simmons. That’s a good nucleus. Plus Kliff Kingsbury is one of the coolest coaches in the NFL. I mean look at that living room.

9.) Jacksonville Jaguars — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida 

Grade: B

  • A fine, if unspectacular pick, Henderson fills a need for the Jags. I was surprised they did not look to trade back — perhaps with Atlanta — at this spot.

10.) Cleveland Browns — Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Grade: A

  • I thought Wills was the top tackle prospect in the class, so Cleveland getting him at 10 is nice value. Baker Mayfield desperately needed better offenisve line play and the Browns did not veer off of their top need. When top value meets top need it’s always an “A” in my book.

11.) New York Jets — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville 

Grade: B

  • The run on tackles was really real. I was surprised this wasn’t Wirfs, but as always NFL teams’ boards always look different than the general consensus. I think Becton is fine. Plus, ESPN showed a video of him pushing a truck after being selected. That’s the content we all need.

12.) Las Vegas Raiders — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama 

Grade: C-

  • The Raiders are not afraid of going against the group-think. With CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy there for the taking, the Raiders instead opted for WR3 Henry Ruggs. Ruggs is… fast — but not much else. I hope for their sake this isn’t Darius Heyward-Bey 2.0.

13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TRADE) — Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa 

Grade: A

  • Whether you think Wirfs best spot at the next level is guard or tackle, getting a talent like him at this spot in the draft is a win. The Buccaneers are building something special and now have all the right ingredients around Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

14.) San Francisco 49ers (TRADE) — Javon Kinlaw, iDL, South Carolina 

Grade: B+

  • I thought they might go with one of the two top WR’s left but opted to fill the need upfront with the powerful Javon Kinlaw. The Niners rode their defensive line to the Super Bowl last year and after trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts, they use the selection they got back for him for his cheaper replacement.

15.) Denver Broncos — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama 

Grade: A-

  • Love this pick for John Elway’s Broncos. Now with Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos continue stockpiling unique weapons for second-year signal caller Drew Lock.

16.) Atlanta Falcons — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson 

Grade: D+

  • A major reach. Terrell was a second round player in my eye and the Falcons made him the 16th overall selection. They had a huge need in their barely-there secondary, but I thought LSU’s Kristian Fulton was a better selection.

17.) Dallas Cowboys — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma 

Grade: A+

  • A grand slam. The Cowboys just sat and got one of the draft’s top talents in OU wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. The Cowboys now have Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb. That is very scary for their NFC counterparts.

18.) Miami Dolphins — Austin Jackson, OT, USC 

Grade: B

  • I like Jackson. He’s a dancing bear with room to improve, but he’s got athleticism at tackle you just can’t teach. Miami taking the analytical approach to the draft: quarterback and left tackle. Jackson also has one of the coolest pre-draft stories:

19.) Las Vegas Raiders — Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State 

Grade: F

  • What the heck is Jon Gruden doing? Arnette is fine. But he’s a player that was projected as a 3rd or 4th round choice. To take him at 19? That’s borderline insane. I just don’t get it.

20.) Jacksonville Jaguars — K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Grade: B

  • Another pick that doesn’t need much analysis. Chaisson will fill in for Yannick Ngakoue whenever he gets dealt.

21.) Philadelphia Eagles — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU 

Grade: C+

  • Why Reagor went before Justin Jefferson is a mystery only the good lord above will know. Reagor is a fine player — he was hamstrung at TCU by bad, awul QB play — but I thought there were more talented players on the board. He fills a need.

22.) Minnesota Vikings — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU 

Grade: A+

  • Jefferson falling into the laps of the Vikings is so hard to see as a Packer guy like myself. Jefferson is so silky smooth and he’s an elite route runner. Just a home run for Minny.

23.) Los Angeles Chargers (TRADE) — Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma 

Grade: C

  • I hate that the Chargers gave up two Day Two picks to move up fourteen spots to select an ILB. I like Murray as a prospect, just not where he was selected and the assets it took to acquire him. He is, however, everything you look for in a modern three-down NFL linebacker.

24.) New Orleans Saints — Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan 

Grade: C-

  • Another head-scratcher as the Saints go back to center for the second consecutive draft. Last year it was Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy, this year it’s Ruiz. I see why they did it — Drew Brees kryptonite is interior pressure — but I thought there were better options available.

25.) San Francisco 49ers (TRADE) — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State 

Grade: A

  • Love the player, love the fit. Love everything about it. Aiyuk is going to be a monster in San Francisco with Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers have an embarrassment of riches. A grand slam.

26.) Green Bay Packers (TRADE) — Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Grade: F

  • Brutal. Incomprehensible. Irresponsible. For a team that two years ago inked Aaron Rodgers to a monster extension, Brian Gutekunst taking his successor this early is a really tough reality. It’s compounded by them trading up to do so. Love is massively unrefined. He has a strong arm and not much else. There’s no selling this pick to Packer fandom. It was straight up a bad pick. Quite clearly, the only way we look back fondly on this selection is if he turns into Patrick Mahomes. I have my reservations.

27.) Seattle Seahawks — Jordyn Brooks, ILB, Texas Tech 

Grade: D

  • The Seahawks suck at drafting in the first round. Rashaad Penny (bad), L.J. Collier (who?) and now Brooks, the Seahawks last three first round choices all make zero sense. Maybe they think Brooks’ athleticism will translate, but his tape at Texas Tech wasn’t great. I had a second/third round grade on him.

28.) Baltimore Ravens — Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU 

Grade: A+

  • How is it that Baltimore always sits tight and gets good players? Queen is just the next in line of great Ravens interior defenders following in the footsteps of Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs. The rich get richer.

29.) Tennessee Titans — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia 

Grade: B-

  • Tennessee went offensive line: good. They did not take Josh Jones: bad. I had a late second round grade on Wilson. I just don’t think he has athletic ability to hold up on the left side of the line. He might kick in at guard. The Titans needed to replace the departure of Jack Conklin, they did just that.

30.) Miami Dolphins — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn 

Grade: C+

  • Not a great selection value-wise, but I really like the player. Igbinoghene is a tough, in your chest corner and he certainly fits the mold of a Brian Flores player. They have a bit of a “No-Fly Zone” deal going on with Byron Jones, Xavien Howard and now Igbinoghene. I just think they could have traded down into the second to get him. It takes two to tango, however.

31.) Minnesota Vikings — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU 

Grade: A

  • Minnesota had a really strong Day One. With Justin Jefferson in tow, Rick Spielman addresses his concerns in the secondary with Horned Frog dynamo Jeff Gladney. I really, really like Gladney. I think he has #1 corner ability and swagger. He’s in your face and feisty. You can’t coach that type of demeanor. He’ll team up with Mike Hughes.

32.) Kansas City Chiefs — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU 

Grade: A

  • A luxury pick few get to achieve, the world champion Chiefs were able to take the best availbale player regardless of position. They’re so loaded. Edward-Helaire is a great pass catching back and is rocked up at 5’8. He’s going to be fun to watch there. He reminds of former Florida State Seminole Warrick Dunn.