We’ve hit our fifth edition of our 2016 NFL Draft Grades and we’ve not yet hit the halfway mark. There’s no reason for us not to get right to it.
The haul: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame – Round one, Nick Martin, OG, Notre Dame – Round two, Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State – Round three, Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State – Round four, K.J. Dillon, Safety, West Virginia – Round five, D.J. Reader, DT, Clemson – Round five
The Texans didn’t have a lot of picks, but what they did have they made count. Will Fuller may not have been the wideout I would have taken from the first-round receiver crop, but you can’t call him a reach. Nick Martin was the No. 2 ranked center in this draft and could end up starting there our at guard for Houston from day one.
Miller is an interesting pick in round three. As a project, it’s hard to make the argument for taking him that high, but he has first-round ability, if not the reps. He has to be an upgrade over Cecil Shorts at any case. Reader is a solid pick in the fifth and a good exclamation point for the Texans’ final pick in this draft. He could be an impact player before the year is out. Ervin probably isn’t going to be a factor in the run game for Houston, but he could be a solid third-down back or quick-hitter in certain packages.
The haul: Ryan Kelly, Center, Alabama – Round one, T.J. Green, Safety, Clemson – Round two, Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech – Round three, Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas – Round four, Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida – Round four, Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State – Round five, Trevor Bates, LB, Maine – Round seven, Austin Blythe, Center, Iowa – Round seven
The Colts had a similar draft to the Carolina Panthers in that the desperation to improve their offensive line radiated from Chicago. The picks they made in that regard were all good, with Kelly, Clark, Haeg and Blythe all being solid additions. Two of those guys, Kelly and Clark, should become starters immediately. Haeg will more than likely move to guard, but I’d park him on the left side next to Anthony Castonzo and lock that end down.
Not wasting a single pick on a skill position, the Colts beefed up their defensive line with Ridgeway, a solid pick in the fourth. Green may have been a little of a reach in the second, but with the run on safeties in this draft you can hardly blame the Colts for not taking the chance on losing him by waiting a round. The great thing about this draft for the Colts is it will add value to last year’s Colts draft where they did load up on skill players at the detriment of their offensive and defensive fronts.
The haul: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State – Round one, Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA – Round two, Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland – Round three, Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame – Round four, Tyrone Holmes, OLB, Montana – Round six, Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas – Round six, Jonathan Woodard, DE, Central Arkansas – Round seven
For the third consecutive season the Jaguars seem to be making all the right personnel moves and they’ve made it look easy. Ramsey, who was the consensus best player in the draft, fell right to them at five. Then Jack, who was a Top Five pick before he revealed he had some knee issues, dropped right into their laps in the second.
Sheldon Day in round four could be a difference maker on the defensive line, rotating in with Malik Jackson and Roy Miller and Yannick Ngakoue is an underrated talent. He can play outside linebacker or defensive end and lived in Maryland’s opponent’s backfield last season. Allen is probably a career back up in the sixth, but he should be a hell of a lot cheaper to keep on the roster next season than Chad Henne.