Image Credit (Jeff Risdon/USA Today Sports)
The 2022 NFL Draft is less than a month away. As a hype up for the Draft, I have decided to regrade NFL drafts in the past few years. I am starting with the 2017 NFL Draft which was a very fun draft to watch where a lot of interesting selections were made. Keep in mind as always if I label a grade as a HACKENBERG it is obviously an F Grade. So let's start the regrading of the draft by looking at the Cleveland Browns who picked 1st overall.
1. Cleveland Browns - DE/EDGE Myles Garrett Grade: A
Myles Garrett has been a wrecking ball since he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. Excluding his rookie season, Garret has had double-digit sacks each year. He has single-handedly become one of the faces of Cleveland's defense and the Browns absolutely nailed this pick.
2. Chicago Bears - QB Mitchell Trubisky Grade: HACKENBERG There are picks made that a team can make that make a player dead on arrival. This felt like one of those picks from the Get-go. Mitchell Trubisky was seen as a project QB and failed to properly develop. Hopefully, a change in scenery in Pittsburgh will help after he was backing up Josh Allen in Buffalo. At least he was solid during the 2018 season.
What makes it worse was the trade-up as it is absolutely ridiculous. I laughed when I heard the details. Two third-round picks and a 4th round selection to move up one spot. I mean a complete overpayment. It gets worse as to who those selections turned into S Tedric Thompson (Never amounted to much but was a decent special teams player), LB Fred Warner (Averaged 118 tackles each season and one of the leaders on the 49ers defense), and RB Alvin Kamara (One of the best running backs in the NFL today). I mean you could not have failed a trade if you tried.
3. San Francisco 49ers - DE/EDGE Solomon Thomas Grade: D
If I was just grading the trade the 49ers had this grade would have been higher. However, I can’t say the same for the 49ers selecting Solomon Thomas who was a disappointing pick. Thomas is not completely terrible and was mainly a rotational piece in San Francisco and Las Vegas. But that is not why a team spends a 3rd overall pick on a player.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - RB Leonard Fournette Grade: C+
Leonard Fournette was one of my favorite offensive players to watch during the 2017 NFL season. I thought there would be plenty more years of Fournette doing that in Jacksonville. It did not work out as he had issues staying healthy. While he had another 1,000 rushing yard seasons it was not enough as the team decided to cut him before the 2020 season began. The Buccaneers came and signed him and became a contributor to the Buccaneers winning a Super Bowl. So far he has resurfaced with the team but for now, I have to give this a C+ grade.
5. Tennessee Titans - WR Corey Davis Grade: C-
Davis was not terrible for the Titans but mainly mediocre. To be honest I originally thought Davis was not a Top 10 player in this draft class. I had him going in the mid 1st round of this draft. He had flashes of brilliance during his time with the Titans but was never consistent. It also hurts that he has a bit of an injury bug on him as he has not played a full season throughout his career. He signed with the New York Jets and hopefully he can revive his career but he was not great in his first season as a Jet.
6. New York Jets - S Jamal Adams, Grade: B+
A few months ago when I revisited the 2017 NFL Draft class for the Jets I gave the Jamal Adams grade an A. I decided to now downgrade the pick to a B+ due to how bad he has been playing with the Seattle Seahawks. But I can’t grade him below that as he was great with the Jets and filled a big need at safety during the time when the Jets drafted him. I just wish the Jets did not hire Adam Gase as head coach because Jamal did not like him as a coach and demanded a trade. At least the team got two 1st round picks by trading him.
7. Los Angeles Chargers - WR Mike Williams Grade: B+
At the beginning of his career Mike Williams was not great and In the aftermath of the first year, I contemplated making him a HACKENBERG Grade. But Mike Williams is an example of why I never give a draft grade to any rookie that was selected in the previous draft. I normally wait 2, maybe 3 years to fully grade a prospect as it is their rookie season and it takes time for some prospects to fully develop. Williams is that player and has been a great receiver for the Chargers offense.
8. Carolina Panthers - RB Christian McCaffrey, Grade: B
This one is a tough one to grade. Christian McCaffery is one of the best running backs in the NFL especially when he is catching the football. The problem is that he can’t stay healthy in the last two seasons he has only played a total of 10 games. If McCaffery was healthy I would have graded this selection an A, but with the injuries, McCaffery has had and the fact that Mahomes went a few picks later, I have to downgrade this grade to a B grade.
9. Cincinnati Bengals - WR John Ross, Grade: HACKENBERG
This is a no-brainer here. The only reason why Ross was drafted this high was when he ran a 4.22 at the combine. People seem to have forgotten that Ross injured himself while running that time at the combine. It should have been a red flag to many teams. It also did not help that on the field he was not good also. John Ross was absolutely horrendous during his time with the Bengals and it doesn’t help that the next pick is one of the greatest QBs in the NFL Today. Speaking of which…
10. Kansas City Chiefs - QB Patrick Mahomes, Grade: A+
I mean, is there really a debate here. Patrick Mahomes is one of the best QB’s in the NFL today. He won a Super Bowl already with the Chiefs and has signed a 500 million dollar extension. The Chiefs would not be where they are today if Mahomes was not the QB for the team and they absolutely benefited from trading up with the Bills.
11. New Orleans Saints - CB Marshon Lattimore Grade A+
No question with this grade as well. I don’t blame the Saints for not taking Watson as Drew Brees was still playing well. Lattimore has been a slam dunk pick. He has easily been one of the best cornerbacks and has the ability to shut down any receiver he covers.
12. Houston Texans - QB Deshaun Watson, Grade A-
I would have given this pick an A+ but due to the legal issues surrounding Watson I have to give it an A-. Watson when on the field is one of the best QB’s in the league as well. Who knows how well he will perform after a year off but if he plays well I would absolutely change the pick to an A+. I will admit that I was wrong about Watson as I thought he was going to bust in the NFL.
13. Arizona Cardinals - DE/EDGE Haason Reddick, Grade C+
Reddick was a late bloomer as he was absolutely terrible at the beginning of his career. But he improved a lot in the last few years and was a fit in both Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Rhule’s system. His hard work gave him a well-deserved three-year contract worth 45 million dollars with the Philadelphia Eagles. Hopefully, he continues to play well for the Eagles as he impressed me during his time in Carolina.
14. Philadelphia Eagles - DE/EDGE Derek Barnett, Grade C+
This may be a higher grade than it should be but let me explain. Barnett has mainly been mediocre throughout his career with the Philadelphia Eagles thus the reason I gave him a C. The + Grade is his impact during the Eagles' playoff performance when they won Super Bowl 52. Keep in mind Barnett had a strip-sack on Case Keenum in the NFC Championship game and Recovered a Fumble that sealed the victory for the Eagles.
15. Indianapolis Colts - S Malik Hooker Grade: C- Malik Hooker showed a lot of flashes of being an excellent safety in the NFL. The problem is that Hooker can’t stay healthy. His injuries have affected his durability and his play on the field. He regressed a lot and was signed to a new deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He was solid with the team but was not completely impressed. It is a shame as Hooker, if healthy, could have been one of the best safeties in the league.
16. Baltimore Ravens - CB Marlon Humphery Grade A+ No debate here as Marlon Humphery has been a shutdown corner since getting drafted by the Ravens. He has been excellent every time he is on the field. Hopefully, he continues to play well as he is coming off a torn ACL.
17. Washington Redskins - DE/EDGE Jonathan Allen A
Allen would have been a high pick if he was not diagnosed with arthritis in one of his shoulders and had to have surgery. But those issues have not affected him including his rookie season he has been a wrecking ball on Washington’s defense. He has been an excellent run stopper and has been a decent pass rusher as well.
18. Tennessee Titans - CB Adoree’ Jackson, Grade B
Adoree Jackson was a solid pick for the Titans but if this pick was redone the Titans would have chosen Tre’Davious White. But I don’t hate this selection by the Titans as he shined in coverage for the Titans and was a weapon on special teams. He would still be a titan today if it was not for the Titans cap situation.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - TE OJ Howard, Grade C-
At the time I thought this was going to be a value pick as OJ Howard was way too good for the Buccaneers to pass up on. But he never really developed well. He showed flashes in his first two seasons but has not done much and he has not been healthy at all. Maybe a change in scenery could help as Howard recently signed with the Buffalo Bills but it could be his last chance in the league.
20. Denver Broncos - OT Garett Bolles Grades B+
Boles was a late bloomer as he struggled his first few seasons in the league. Once he got into rhythm he was a great offensive lineman for the Broncos and helped protect the many QBs that have played in Denver. He got paid like it as he signed a four-year, $68 million contract extension with the team. Boles is getting better and should protect Russel Wilson well next season.
21. Detroit Lions - LB Jarrad Davis Grade: D-
Jarrad Davis has mainly been a mediocre/special teams player since getting drafted. All he has going for him is that he is a solid tackler. The problem is he is not good at every skill a linebacker needs to succeed including covering offensive players well. At least Davis is still in the NFL and signed another contract in Detroit after a brief stint with the Jets.
22. Miami Dolphins - DE/EDGE Charles Harris Grades: D
This was a flop of a selection for the Miami Dolphins as he was expected to be a solid piece to the Dolphins defense. He did not work out, only getting 3 sacks his entire stint with the team. But Harris may be a late bloomer as he was excellent last season as he had 7.5 sacks with the Detroit Lions. Hopefully, he continues to impress and revive his career.
23. New York Giants - TE Evan Engram Grade: C
Evan Engram had a lot of potential to be one of the best Tight Ends in the league. He showcased it during his rookie season. But he just regressed after that one season. He had injury concerns and of course, had an obvious issue catching the football. Hopefully, he can revive his career in Jacksonville.
24. Oakland Raiders - CB Gareon Conley, Grade: HACKENBERG
When this pick was made at the time I was in shock. Especially as days before the draft began Gareon Conley was accused of Rape and I thought that Conley was undraftable. Luckily, for the Raiders a grand jury later in the year ruled not to charge Conley for the crime. The Conley pick did not pan out well. Yes I know he had 3 interceptions in 2018 but those were mainly in garbage time excluding a pick-six against the Browns but Conley was awful throughout his time with the Raiders. It did not help that he could not stay healthy as well. He was eventually traded to the Houston Texans for a 3rd Round Pick and did not impress. The third-round pick if you want to know turned into TE Devin Asiasi who plays for the New England Patriots. Conley has not played since 2019 and has been out of the league since.
25. Cleveland Browns - S Jabrill Peppers, Grade: D
Peppers has been a disappointment so far in his career. I will admit that I was very high on him entering the draft but he proves why players labeled as a swiss army knife is not a positive attribute. The Browns did not know how to utilize him and Peppers was traded to the Giants. He had flashed on the Giants but could not stay healthy. Peppers is now a New England Patriot and hopefully, he can stay healthy and impress to stay in the NFL.
26. Atlanta Falcons - DE/EDGE Takkarist McKinley, Grade: C
McKinley was solid with the Atlanta Falcons during his first two seasons in the NFL. It stinks that he was not able to replicate that further in his career. McKinley kept having issues with his shoulders and could not get rid of the durability issues. It also did not help that McKinley tore his Achilles during his time with the Browns and is likely out of the league. I wonder what McKinley’s career could have been if he stayed healthy and not left Atlanta on bad terms by demanding to be traded.
27. Buffalo Bills - CB Tre’Davious White, Grade A+
This is a true win-win trade as the Bills traded down with the Chiefs who took Patrick Mahomes. It's hard to take a player that is as talented as Mahomes is but boy the Bills made an excellent pick here. Tre’Davious White is a shutdown cornerback and look at how this Bills defense was not the same since he Tore his ACL. Hopefully, he continues playing well but a well-done move selecting White.
28. Dallas Cowboys - DE/EDGE Taco Charlton, Grade: HACKENBERG
Charlton had his moments but he was a complete bust in the NFL. He was absolutely terrible and lacked a ton of awareness in games. He has been on 4 teams in 2 years and is currently out of the league as of this moment. By the way, did you know that his tenure with the Cowboys was one of the shortest for a first-round draft choice in franchise history, that didn't involve a career-ending injury?
29. Cleveland Browns - TE David Njoku, Grade: C
This one is a tough one. I wish I could grade Njoku higher but he has been very inconsistent throughout his time in Cleveland. Even on the field, he was not overly impressive. To add to it Njoku has had a lot of injuries. Cleveland recently placed the franchise tag on him so they must still see something in him. Hopefully, he has a strong season next year.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers - DE/EDGE TJ Watt, Grade A+ No brainer grade here. Despite the Steelers making questionable moves in the past few years, this was a slam dunk pick. TJ Watt has been a transcendent talent on their defense and is getting better the more I see him play. JJ Watt should be proud of how his brother is playing and I can’t wait to see Watt play for many years to come.
31. San Francisco 49ers - LB Reuben Foster, Grade: HACKENBERG (Wasted Potential Edition)
Talk about wasted potential. Excluding the brutal knee injury (Torn ACL, LCL, MCL) that pretty much ended his career. Here was a guy who had all of the talent in the world, could have been a Top 10 pick in this draft, could have been one of the leaders on the 49ers defense (Years later would make the Super Bowl), to get out of a job. What a waste of talent because if you saw him play in Alabama he was very great with the way he played. It is a shame Foster could not stay out of trouble. He was a liability to both the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. Quite a fall from grace for Reuben Foster.
32. New Orleans Saints - OT Ryan Ramczyk, Grade A+
This was a risky pick at the time due to Ramczyk’s injury concerns that almost made him leave the game of football but it was a pick well worth it. Ramczyk is one of the top right tackles in the NFL today and the Saints should do whatever they can to keep Ramczyk a Saint throughout his career.