2. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears: D+
On the other hand …
The selection of the quarterback from North Carolina was met with an extended Bronx cheer. The Chicago Bears picked up a C and three D’s. Walter Football did not give the pick a grade, but wrote, “This is one of the worst draft moves ever made” and called it a “franchise-ruining selection.” Let’s call that an F.
There was dismay that the Bears had sent picks to the San Francisco 49ers just to move up one notch in the draft. There was puzzlement over why the team had just paid Mike Glennon a lot of money to be its quarterback. There was concern over Trubisky’s brief career — just one full season — as a starter in college.
“Ten years from now, every Bears fan will still be talking about Thursday night and that jaw-dropping moment this football-crazed city will never forget, ” The Chicago Tribune wrote.
There was one exception. Dieter Kurtenbach of Fox rated the pick an A-minus. Combined with the less positive grades, the G.P.A. is 1.45. Now Trubisky has to prove almost everyone wrong.
3. Solomon Thomas, 49ers: A+
Now here was a pick everyone could get behind. Four A-pluses and two A’s for the choice of the defensive lineman from Stanford. Average: 4.20, the highest of the round. “It’s an easy pick and the right one,” Fox said.
Several graders gave bonus points to the 49ers for fleecing the Bears out of those extra picks.
Hoffman in The Times pointed out: “He will likely be asked to play tackle in the N.F.L., which may require adding some bulk to his athletic frame.”
4. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars: B-
Sometimes the consensus is good. Sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes there is no consensus.
Most graders felt that Fournette of L.S.U. was the best running back available, and maybe the best player. Hoffman wrote, “He is a throwback to the power runners of yesteryear.”
But do you really take an old-school running back this high? And is any Jags running back going to succeed with the team’s poor offensive line?
The grades for the pick ranged from A-minus to D, with an average of 2.72.
5. Corey Davis, Titans: B
The wide receiver from Western Michigan was greeted with a respectful, if not gushing, thumbs up. “The most pro-ready receiver in this class,” Sports Illustrated said. But some felt the Tennessee Titans had more pressing needs. Grade average: 2.90.
Others They Loved
The biggest cheers of the rest of the first round went to these four selections:
Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints: “A coup,” SBNation said.
Malik Hooker, Indianapolis Colts: “Could be one of the top safeties in the N.F.L.,” Walter Football said.
Jonathan Allen, Washington Redskins: “A steal,” The Times said.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “Perfect for the modern N.F.L.,” Sports Illustrated said.
But topping the list (after the No. 3 pick Thomas) with a 4.03 grade point average — three A-pluses, two A’s and a B-plus — was the choice of Reuben Foster at No. 31 by the 49ers. He was the top linebacker in the nation last year, and “a potential centerpiece for an N.F.L. defense,” according to Hoffman. But his stock plunged after an altercation with a hospital worker at the scouting combine. The graders felt that picking up a player of his caliber so low in the first round was a steal. G.P.A.: 4.03
Others They Hated
Nobody got as bad a score as Trubisky, but two were close: Some spoke highly of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but felt the Kansas City Chiefs should not have given up a package that included a first rounder next year to get him. The last pick of the round, Ryan Ramczyk by the Saints, puzzled graders, who noted that the Saints were not in need of a tackle. Both graded at 2.15.
The Jury Is Out
Perhaps the highest-profile player in the draft was Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who went at No. 12 to the Houston Texans. The pick was divisive. Fox gave it an A — “Watson fills a massive need” — but CBS went with a C-minus, faulting how much Houston gave up to move up in the draft.
The Giants’ pick at No. 23, tight end Evan Engram, got an A-minus from Bleacher Report — “Giants fans haven’t seen the likes of him since Jeremy Shockey” — but a D-minus from Fox: “Engram cannot block.”
Perhaps the hardest pick to assess was cornerback Gareon Conley by the Oakland Raiders. Conley faces a sexual-assault allegation, though he has yet to be charged and has denied the accusation. Two graders rated the pick incomplete, another gave it both an A and an F. Even for veteran draft-watchers, it’s hard to say what Conley’s future will hold.
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