Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Los Angeles Rams 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Los Angeles Rams? What are they saying about the Rams' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: B

Analysis: The run on offensive players in Round 1 allowed the Rams to land a bargain edge rusher (which they really needed) in Verse, their first first-round pick since 2016. Fiske will help make up for the loss of Aaron Donald to retirement, but we'll have to see if it made sense to trade a 2025 second-rounder to acquire him instead of getting Michael Hall at their original pick (No. 52; he went to the Browns 54th overall). Corum will play bigger and faster than his numbers indicate, and Kinchens is a downhill player at a soft spot for the Rams.

Jackson and Davis bolster the depth on the defensive line with former Florida State teammates Verse and Fiske. The Rams needed to find a kicker in his draft, and they chose Karty over Cam Little (who went to the Jags at No. 212). Limmer and Leveston should be long-time pros at center and guard, respectively. Rookie cornerbacks not drafted this weekend should be getting calls from the Rams.

ESPN - Grade: B+

Top needs entering the draft: Edge defender, cornerback, offensive line

The Rams were back in Round 1 for the first time since 2016, and despite rumblings that they wanted to trade up, they stayed put and took the most complete edge defender in the class. Jared Verse (19) dominated at times at Florida State but also disappeared too often for my tastes, making him a difficult evaluation. The traits are there, though. He can be a 10-sacks-per-season guy. L.A. got excellent rookie seasons from Byron Young and Kobie Turner in 2023, and GM Les Snead has started putting together his plan for life without Aaron Donald, who retired this offseason.

Speaking of, Snead traded up in Round 2 for a potential starter at defensive tackle in Braden Fiske (39), getting Carolina's pick but surrendering Nos. 52 and 155 along with an extremely valuable 2025 second-rounder. Fiske had 11.5 sacks when lined up as DT over the past two seasons, which were the second most in the FBS. He isn't going to be Donald -- one of the greatest defensive linemen in NFL history -- but Fiske can wreak some havoc. Still, I have to downgrade it a little bit because of that 2025 pick.

Blake Corum (83) is a powerful running back who reminds me a little bit of Kyren Williams, the Rams' starter. Safety Kamren Kinchens (99) had 11 interceptions over the past two seasons but ran a subpar 4.65-second 40-yard dash at the combine. I love the way outside linebacker Brennan Jackson (154) plays the game. Use him in a situational role and he can make an instant impact. Joshua Karty (209) is my No. 1 kicker.

Man, I want to give this class an A- because of the bevy of talented players, but I have to knock it down a tier because Snead gave up his second-rounder next year for Fiske.

The Ringer - Grade: B-

THE RAMS WASTED NO TIME IN BUTTRESSING A DEFENSIVE FRONT THAT JUST LOST A FUTURE HALL OF FAMER IN AARON DONALD, grabbing a pair of Florida State teammates—pass rusher Jared Verse in the first round and defensive tackle Braden Fiske in the second. The Rams paid a heavy cost to move up for Fiske, surrendering a 2025 second-rounder to do so, but with Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp both getting long in the tooth, this team has no time to waste. I thought the third-round selection of Michigan running back (and Kyren Williams clone) Blake Corum made sense, giving Sean McVay another heady, three-down running back who can take some of the workload off of Williams in 2024. Safety Kamren Kinchens brings ball-hawking skills and the intimidation factor to the safety position, giving L.A. nice depth at safety.

USA Today - Grade: A-

They drafted in Round 1 for the first time in eight years, which kicked off a run that seemed to bring four immediate contributors in the first three rounds: Edge rusher Jared Verse (Round 1), DT Braden Fiske (Round 2) — the former Florida State teammates thrilled to transfer once again and reunite ahead of their collective task to replace retired DL Aaron Donald — before Michigan RB Blake Corum and Miami (Fla.) S Kamren Kinchens landed in Round 3. The loss of Donald is massive figuratively and literally, but it feels like a team that's turned over so extensively since its Super Bowl 56 triumph remains firmly on the upswing.

Fox Sports - Grade: B

Sean McVay prepared for life without Aaron Donald by selecting five defensive players, including four who can play along the front seven to generate a pass rush. The Rams selected in the first round for the first time since taking Jared Goff No. 1 overall in 2016, grabbing powerful edge rusher Jared Verse at No. 19. They followed that by taking Verse's teammate at Florida State in the second round in defensive tackle Braden Fiske. Michigan RB Blake Corum gives L.A. a similar runner to spell Pro Bowler Kyren Williams. And Stanford product Josh Karty being selected in the sixth round is L.A.'s latest attempt to solve this team's kicking woes. Overall, the Rams put together a solid class to follow up a very productive group from last year. —Williams

CBS Sports - Grade: A

Best Pick: I loved the pick of Washington State defensive end Brennan Jackson in the fifth. He will bring a relentless style that will keep him in the league for a long time. He is perfect for the Rams defense.

Worst Pick: I didn't love the pick of running back Blake Corum in the third. They have a good back in Kyren Williams, who they got in the fifth round. They could have waited to take a back.

The Skinny: They finally had a first-round pick after not having one since 2016 and used it on edge Jared Verse. He fills a need and will be a tough, edge player. They followed that up by trading up to take Florida State defensive tackle Brandon Fiske in the second. They gave up a lot to get him, so they must love him. Les Snead had another good draft.

Sporting News - Grade: A-

Analysis: The Rams, finally back in the first round under GM Les Snead, would have been "B" just on the strength of taking Verse and Fiske from the same Florida State defense back-to-back to help new coordinator Chris Shula. Those were the high-priority positions, and safety was also addressed. Corum adds the right change-of-backup to Kyren Williams for Sean McVay.

SI - Grade: B

Analysis: I want to know who thought it was a good idea to let Rams running backs coach Ron Gould get his hands on Corum, one of the smartest backs in this class. Los Angeles spent last year revamping its running game, utilizing it as a weapon to propel its passing attack. Meanwhile, Verse becomes the team's first first-round pick since the Obama administration. If he's anything like some of GM Les Snead's mid-rounders, he should be playing well and playing right away.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A

The Rams made their first first-round pick since 2016, but they did pretty well for being out of practice. Jared Verse might be my favorite edge defender in this class, his power profile is very much like Houston's Will Anderson Jr., the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Now, Verse will do his thing on the same line as Kobie Turner, who had my vote for that award. Pair him with the productive and underrated Brennan Jackson, and the Rams are cooking with gas all of a sudden with their pass rush plan, bereft of Aaron Donald as it may be. Safety Kamren Kinchens had an off-year in 2023 after two much better seasons before, and he's got al the tools to succeed.

As GM Les Snead and his crew have been so good with their later-round picks, it's important to mention Jordan Whittington, who isn't afraid to the dirty work, and Clemson's Tyler Davis, who could help complete that defensive line in a rotational sense.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Atlanta Falcons 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Atlanta Falcons? What are they saying about the Falcons' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: C+

Day 1 grade: C
Day 2 grade: C
Day 3 grade: B

Analysis: It was a strange draft for the Falcons, primarily because of the Penix selection, which was perplexing given their investment in Kirk Cousins this offseason. Penix's strong arm and accuracy from the pocket could make him a star if the injury woes that plagued him at Indiana don't return. Trading up to grab the athletic Orhorhoro was a reach, in my opinion, especially given the team's need at corner. Trice met a crucial need on the edge.

Dorlus fits the mold of Atlanta's defensive linemen. He should be able to play 5-technique or 3-technique depending on where he is needed. Bertrand should contribute on special teams before moving to defense in time. McClellan and Washington -- who broke out as a senior at Illinois -- offer depth at the skill positions. They'll need to find cornerbacks in the undrafted free agent pool after failing to address the position in the draft.

ESPN - Grade: C

Top needs entering the draft: Edge defender, cornerback, wide receiver

With the No. 8 pick, I long considered the Falcons as owning the biggest pivot point in Round 1. Would they trade down to make a deal with a team moving up for a quarterback? Would they stay put and take the first defender off the board? They had options, all of which could help a defense that had just 16 takeaways last season, which ranked 29th in the league. With the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins, this is a team built to win the NFC South now, but it had to draft significant contributors on the other side of the ball.

And then Atlanta's selection was turned in on Thursday night, and there were mouths agape in the crowd here in Detroit. Look, we can debate Michael Penix Jr.'s (8) talent all we want, but the Falcons had a chance to improve their defense with the best prospects still on the board and didn't take it. Instead, they chose a quarterback to sit behind a guy to whom they just gave $100 million guaranteed. I just don't get the logic here, and it's not like Penix is raw, either. He turns 24 in May and has played a ton of football. It was one of the most shocking picks I can remember in Round 1.

GM Terry Fontenot got much better value on his next three picks. Defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro (35) is a stout run-defender, but Fontenot had to give up his extra third-rounder to move up eight spots to get Orhorhoro. Atlanta doubled up at the position with Brandon Dorlus (109), who I thought could sneak into Round 3. Fontenot also snagged edge rusher Bralen Trice (74), who had 16 sacks over the past two seasons. At least the Falcons helped their needs here.

It's not very difficult to grade this one in the moment based on the value of what Fontenot did in Round 1, even if I like a few other players in the class.

The Ringer - Grade: C

THE MICHAEL PENIX JR. SELECTION WAS AS PERPLEXING AS ANY PICK IN THIS DRAFT, and I say that as someone who actually likes Penix and believes he can be a future starter. It's just tough to reconcile with the fact this team just gave Kirk Cousins a four-year, $180 million deal that keeps him in Atlanta for at least two seasons. We may not see the soon-to-be 24-year old Penix until 2026, or beyond, which makes passing on a day-one contributor a tremendous opportunity cost. Outside of the Penix pick, Atlanta did well to beef up their defensive front on Day 2 and Day 3: The team traded up for Clemson defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro in the second round, before adding a disruptive edge rusher in Washington's Bralen Trice in the third and the versatile Oregon defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus in the fourth. The Falcons got better on their defensive front, but the short-term implications of taking Penix so early pulled down their overall grade.

USA Today - Grade: D

They did the expected by reinforcing the defense with a highly talented but not all that productive front seven player (Ruke Orhorhoro, Round 2) — when they could have had Newton — and a highly productive but not physically remarkable front seven player (Bralen Trice, Round 3). But, naturally, their draft will forever be regarded and defined by the shocking decision to select Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 selection.

There's no legit argument against opting for quality depth under center given the annual league-wide attrition at the position — Cousins a prime example of the issue in 2023. But this is a highly suspect way to resource it after signing him to a four-year, $180 million deal last month, when he said he looked forward to retiring in Atlanta. And that also cuts to the handling of the matter — if the Falcons' brain trust knew they wanted Penix, there was little chance they wouldn't get him at No. 8 ... which suggests the right thing to do would have been to share the plan with Cousins much earlier than when the team went on the clock Thursday. Maybe this team has set up a seamless succession plan between an established passer and a highly compelling prospect. And maybe the well has been poisoned, and a team that should have been totally focused on loading up around Cousins made a royal miscalculation.

Fox Sports - Grade: C-

Taking quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 — after giving Kirk Cousins $100 million guaranteed last month — was easily the most criticized pick of the draft. Giving up a third-round pick to slide up eight spots for DT Ruke Orhorhoro in the second round felt like a reach, though Atlanta made a concerted push to upgrade its defensive front, using five of eight picks there. If Penix finds success in the next two years, it's at the expense of a huge investment in Cousins, and the class as a whole feels underwhelming. —Greg Auman

CBS Sports - Grade: C-

Best Pick: Fourth-round defensive tackle Brandon Dorlus from Oregon has a chance to be an early rotation player. He's not huge at 6-3, 295, but he can push the pocket. He will be a steal in the Grady Jarrett mold.

Worst Pick: It's not that taking Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick was a bad move, but rather signing Kirk Cousins and then taking him was the bad move. If you liked him so much, don't sign Cousins.

The Skinny: This draft will be all about how the Falcons play out the Cousins-Penix dynamic. They had a chance to get a much-needed edge rusher if they didn't take Penix. Trading up to get defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro in the second round was questionable as well. They did add some good players in third-round edge Bralen Trice and Dorlus.

Sporting News - Grade: C-

Analysis: GM Terry Fontenot got plenty of heat from every direction for taking Penix in the top 10 after the team committed big money to Kirk Cousins. Penix's big arm is a good fit in the new passing offense, but the Falcons left a lot of elite, impact talent on the board as part of the opportunity cost. Not surprisingly, they chased that misstep by going defense-heavy for new coach Raheem Morris. McClellan and Washington were real offensive reaches on Day 3.

SI - Grade: A

Analysis: Call me crazy, but I'm a huge fan of the Penix pick. The quarterback landscape could be great in two years. It could be barren. But if the Falcons are truly building toward the future, why not make the inevitable transition easy. I think there's a lot of pro-Kirk Cousins sentiment out there, but Cousins will be 36 in August and is coming off an Achilles injury. He has also never reached a conference title game, so it was time to explore all options.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: D

Well. There's really no way to excuse the pick of Michael Penix Jr. this high with Kirk Cousins having signed a four-year, $180 million contract with $100 million guaranteed in March, and with all the needs on defense here. We don't have enough space here to detail the ways in which the Falcons blew this pick, but it is what it is. Way to potentially erase the first 2-3 years of Penix's NFL career, guys.

As if that wasn't YOLO enough, the Falcons traded UP to select Ruke Orhorhoro, a pretty good defensive lineman, with Illinois' Johnny Newton and a whole lot of other defensive talent still on the board. I do like the addition of Washington Bralen Trice here — he's a highly productive edge-rusher with some upside. And Brandon Dorlus was one of my favorite multi-gap pass-rushers. The sleeper here is Illinois receiver Casey Washington, a big-framed target with some unlocked ability as a deep receiver.

The grade is all about those first two picks, and the Falcons getting cute in a draft that could have made them contenders.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

San Francisco 49ers 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the San Francisco 49ers? What are they saying about the 49ers' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: B

Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: B-
Day 3 grade: B

Analysis: Pearsall's quickness and hands warranted first-round consideration, and the team needed a receiver with the potential trading away of Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk down the road. The 49ers could have also picked a cornerback or tackle at that spot. Green and Puni will contribute in areas of need, but trading up for Puni was a bit of a stretch. They did not re-sign Chase Young after sending a third to Washington at the deadline.

Mustapha, picked with the selection gained from Dallas for quarterback Trey Lance, should see time on defense and special teams as a rookie. The 49ers hope to get more from Guerendo than recent running back picks Trey Sermon and Tyrion Davis-Price. Cowing is small but crafty, and Kingston's guard/tackle versatility makes him a valuable backup.

ESPN - Grade: B-

Top needs entering the draft: Offensive tackle, cornerback, wide receiver

The 49ers' roster is solid from top to bottom, but I would have liked to see GM John Lynch bring in competition for right tackle Colton McKivitz, who allowed 11 sacks last season and also was a below-average run-blocker. That was San Francisco's biggest need in Round 1, in my eyes. Lynch went a different direction, reaching a little bit for Ricky Pearsall (31), my 10th-ranked wide receiver. Pearsall has great hands and will be an asset in the run game as a blocker, but there were better players available at the end of Round 1.

Then, the 49ers had the biggest reach of Round 2, selecting my No. 21 cornerback Renardo Green (64) about two rounds too high. That was a confusing one, as there were still some good corners on the board. I do like what Lynch & Co. did after that, though. Dominick Puni (86) has the potential to be a starting guard in time. Safety Malik Mustapha (124) is impressive in coverage and will be a dynamo on special teams. Running back Isaac Guerendo (129) ran a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the combine and averaged 6.1 yards per carry last season, though he had only one year of steady production. The 49ers traded Nos. 173 and 176 to get Gurerendo, so they must like him a lot.

Snagging Puni keeps the 49ers' grade out of C territory, though I do think Pearsall will be a good pro.

The Ringer - Grade: A-

THE 49ERS HAD THE DISADVANTAGE OF PICKING NEAR THE BACK OF THE ROUND FOR JUST ABOUT EVERY PICK THEY MADE, BUT IT DIDN'T SEEM TO MATTER MUCH. I like the haul the defending NFC champs brough away from this draft, a group that includes two playmaking receivers in Ricky Pearsall and Jacob Cowing. Pearsall boasts high-end route-running skills, great hands, and tons of toughness both at the catch point and as a blocker. Cowing, meanwhile, is electric, both deep down the field and when running away from defenders after the catch. San Francisco added talent to their secondary with the selections of cornerback Renardo Green and safety Malik Mustapha as well, the latter of whom I believe should've gone off the board a full round earlier. Mustapha is a rangy, hard-hitting safety who could be a big-time tone-setter for an already-excellent defense. Third-round offensive lineman Dominick Puni also brings the potential to start at guard early in his career.

USA Today - Grade: B

First-round Florida WR Ricky Pearsall and second-round Florida State CB Renardo Green have the ability to contribute heavily to another Super Bowl push while also being foundational pieces beyond 2024 — especially if Pearsall has to eventually replace former Arizona State teammate Brandon Aiyuk's production. Third-round OL Dominick Puni (Kansas) might also crack the rotation this season but many of the players might struggle to make this roster — one reason the Niners spun two of their 10 picks into future drafts.

Fox Sports - Grade: B-

The 49ers picked in the first round for the first time since moving up to take Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft. Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall was somewhat of a surprise at No. 31, but he gives San Francisco another pass catcher who can operate in the slot and make plays over the middle of the field. The 49ers found a potential cover corner in the second round in Renardo Green and an explosive runner on Day 3 in Louisville's Isaac Guerendo. However, the 49ers needed offensive line help and didn't secure upgrades up front offensively until moving up in the third round to grab promising Kansas offensive lineman Dominick Puni, and later in Day 3 in USC offensive lineman Jarrett Kingston. San Francisco should have focused on this obvious need earlier in the draft. —Williams

CBS Sports - Grade: C+

Best Pick: Second-round corner Renardo Green fills a need and might be able to be their corner right away. Green had just one pick in college, but he is a playmaker and would fit in their scheme.

Worst Pick: First-round receiver Ricky Pearsall will be a good player, but I don't think he will ever be a star. There were better receivers left when they took him late in the first round.

The Skinny: The 49ers clearly are drafting for the future with Pearsall in the first -- or readying to trade one of their starters, either Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel. Third-round offensive lineman Dominick Puni could develop into a starter -- probably at guard. Green will be good value, while fourth-round receiver Jacob Cowing could be a sleeper.

Sporting News - Grade: C-

Analysis: The 49ers had a rare curious draft under John Lynch for many reasons. They added two more wide receivers despite not trading Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel and making plans to extend Jauan Jennings. They also took some luxury again at running back behind Christian McCaffrey in the speedy Guerendo. Puni and Mustapha are easily the best picks, and they project for depth at first. As a Super Bowl hopeful, there's nothing here that put loaded San Francisco over the top in relation to top NFC rivals.

SI - Grade: B

Analysis: Kyle Shanahan played wide receiver and evaluates the wide receiver class each year for the 49ers. He's had tremendous success at picking the position so far during his tenure as the team's coach, and Pearsall seems like a player who can also help San Francisco blend a little bit of McVay into the system by involving the versatile wideout into their blocking scheme intimately.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: B+

Whether the selection of Ricky Pearsall is supposed to keep the 49ers' offense straight after the potential trades of Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel is now a moot point, at least in the near term. Really, Pearsall is more of a slot/outside hybrid guy who knows how to get open in the Amon-Ra St. Brown mold, and there's nothing wrong with that. Perhaps the best pick in this draft for San Francisco is Renardo Green, who locked Pearsall down last season, and he also made Malik Nabers' life quite frustrating. Green didn't get a lot of love as a first-round talent, but the tape does not lie. Dominick Puni didn't allow a single sack in two years as Kansas' left tackle, though he's likely to kick inside to guard unless Kyle Shanahan sees him as the right tackle solution this offense desperately needs. Isaac Guerendo, who blew up the combine with his testing numbers, is a natural outside zone runner (thus fitting his new offense perfectly), and he'll be a valuable part of that running back rotation.

I also like Malik Mustapha as a frenetic downhill closer in the Talanoa Hufanga mold, and the 49ers found out last season that their defense doesn't work as well when Hufanga isn't in there.

As far as sleepers go, watch out for Arizona receiver Jacob Cowing, who is a smaller slot target with nice explosive play potential on go, seam, and over routes. The lack of a top-tier offensive tackle might sting a bit, and maybe more linebacker depth would be nice, but not a bad haul at all.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Dallas Cowboys 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Dallas Cowboys? What are they saying about the Cowboys' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: B

Analysis: Gaining a third-round pick in a move down the board and still landing a starting tackle made for a successful Thursday night for Dallas. Kneeland and Beebe should prove to be excellent values, while Liufau will be a solid addition to the middle of the Cowboys' defense. The Notre Dame 'backer was picked a bit early for my taste, though.

In Round 5, Dallas added Carson, a versatile corner/safety who was considered a Day 2 prospect near the start of last season. Flournoy has the tools to make the squad his rookie year. The Cowboys did not take a running back with any of their eight picks, leaving a sizable hole on their roster they'll still need to fill this offseason. Dallas had four picks within the top 90 selections, but were without a fourth-rounder, having sent theirs to San Francisco last August for Trey Lance. That investment could work out quite well if the former No. 3 overall pick is able to find his game at the pro level.

ESPN - Grade: B-

Top needs entering the draft: Offensive line, running back, linebacker

The Cowboys have been hamstrung by their salary cap situation this offseason, resulting in the departures of starters at several key positions, including offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz, running back Tony Pollard and wide receiver Michael Gallup. They haven't really replaced any of those players; the only free agent addition they've made is linebacker Eric Kendricks. That made this draft extra important for Dallas, which absolutely had to take rookie starters in the first and second rounds. So how did team owner Jerry Jones & Co. fare?

Not bad. The Cowboys were able to trade down five spots in Round 1, pick up an extra third-rounder and still get their guy. Tyler Guyton (29) is going to get a chance to be their starter at left tackle, and from what I see on tape, I think he can make the move over from the right side. He has special ability as a pass-protector and can get to the second level in a hurry in the run game.

Defensive end Marshawn Kneeland (56) and guard Cooper Beebe (73) have the talent to step in and play significant snaps as rookies. Kneeland is excellent against the run and has developed pass-rush moves. Marist Liufau (87) was a reach on my board, but I know Dallas wants to be better against the run, and he'll help there. Caelen Carson (174) is an underrated cornerback who was a starter for four seasons at Wake Forest.

What keeps Dallas from a higher grade? Not taking a running back in place of Liufau, particularly with several really good ones available.

The Ringer - Grade: A-

THE COWBOYS ATE THEIR VEGETABLES IN THIS DRAFT, grabbing a trio of tough and physical trench players with their first three picks. Dallas added a highly athletic offensive tackle in the first round in Tyler Guyton, who's raw but moves exceptionally well and could emerge as their future blindside stalwart. I loved the Marshawn Kneeland pick; he's an explosive, long-levered pass rusher with great size and a solid repertoire of pass-rush moves and will complement Micah Parsons well on that defensive front. And Cooper Beebe is an ass-kicker of an interior lineman who moves people in the run game. Adding three tone-setting future starters is good work by Dallas.

USA Today - Grade: D

An organization that's allegedly "all in" uses its first-rounder on a tackle (Oklahoma's Tyler Guyton) with tremendous upside but who may or may not be ready to play immediately. And while Dallas needed help in the trenches (second-round DE Marshawn Kneeland, third-round G Cooper Beebe) and potentially filled a hole with third-round Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau, what's the plan at tailback? Run it back with Ezekiel Elliott? All ... in?

Fox Sports - Grade: B

For a team that had so many holes to fill after they did nothing in free agency, the Cowboys made some curious choices. They did a great job plugging two key holes on the O-line (Oklahoma LT Tyler Guyton in Round 1 and Kansas State C Cooper Beebe in Round 2). But no running back? No receiver until Round 6? Instead, in Round 2, they took Western Michigan edge rusher Marshawn Kneeland, who could be terrific in 2025, but might not be a huge help now, when they're supposedly "all-in." Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau felt like a big reach in the third at another position where they needed help. —Vacchiano

CBS Sports - Grade: B-

Best Pick: Third-round offensive lineman Cooper Beebe can play anywhere on the line, although I think he will be an inside player for Dallas. Beebe played tackle at Kansas State.

Worst Pick: I didn't love the pick of defensive lineman Marshawn Kneeland in the second. He's a power end who plays hard, but I think they had better options.

The Skinny: I thought the Cowboys had a solid draft. Trading down and adding an extra pick and taking tackle Tyler Guyton in the first was a hit. He will start as a rookie and has the tools to do so. They added some good football players the rest of the way, guys like Beebe and Wake Forest corner Caelen Carson (fifth). It wasn't splashy, but it was solid.

Sporting News - Grade: C

Analysis: The Cowboys settled for Guyton in the first round after some more plug-and-play blocking-ready players were taken ahead of him. He likely will need time to be groomed as Tyron Smith's replacement. Beebe has a better chance to start. Kneeland and Liufau fit their schemes, but they did reach a little for both.

SI - Grade: D+

Analysis: We discussed this on the MMQB podcast, but Dallas's continued insistence on behaving and drafting like a team that has already won something of consequence is puzzling. Guyton may have the highest upside of any tackle in this class, but owner Jerry Jones has to consider who benefits from a longer-term project when everyone on his staff is being held to the fire this year. There needs to be some thought put into Guyton's long-term development.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: B-

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! If your only experience with the Cowboys' thought process is Jerry Jones' weird pressers, you're sleeping on Dallas' scouting department, led by Will McClay, and you really shouldn't.

Guyton is one of my favorite pass-blocking tackles, though he'll need a few protein shakes and Metallica workouts to get up to speed in the run game. Marshawn Kneeland is one of my favorite prospects in this class; a ready-made quarterback disruptor who can win from every gap. Woe to the offensive linemen who have to deal with Kneeland and Micah Parsons on stunts this season.

Cooper Beebe is a phone-booth mauler who might kick inside from guard to center. I also really like Caelen Carson as a hyper-smart cornerback who will have the hang of the playbook as quickly as possible. Would I have appreciated more done at receiver outside of Ryan Flournoy? Absolutely, and the Cowboys dithering at receiver and running back remains a problem.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Indianapolis Colts 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Indianapolis Colts? What are they saying about the Colts' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: B+

Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: B
Day 3 grade: A-

Analysis: Latu was the most consistent pass rusher in the draft class and will be productive if the neck injury he suffered while at Washington is not an issue moving forward. The team found a potential steal in Mitchell, provided his game matures, while trading down for two Day 3 picks. Trading up for Gonclaves seemed unnecessary, though he should be at least a solid swing tackle; he's been recovering from a foot injury but said after the draft that he feels 100%.

Bortolini looks like Ryan Kelly's heir apparent; he also has the experience, strength and athleticism to play guard until needed in the middle. Gould brings real value as a returner, especially with the new kickoff rules. Carlies moves from safety to linebacker for the Colts. Simpson could man corner or safety; the athletic defender played both spots in college. Abraham is the son of former NFL player Donnie Abraham and a tough-minded corner in his own right, but the team is still looking for depth at edge.

ESPN - Grade: B

Top needs entering the draft: Cornerback, wide receiver, safety, edge defender

The Colts were one of the teams coming into Round 1 with a clearly defined biggest need. They really had to get a cornerback who could step in and start as a rookie for a defense that struggled to stop No. 1 wide receivers last season. While I thought they might also target a pass-catcher to give second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson more help, corner was the biggest hole for GM Chris Ballard & Co. So color me surprised when not only did Ballard pass on a corner in Round 1 -- when he had his choice of the entire class -- but he didn't take one until Round 6.

Indianapolis instead went with edge rusher Laiatu Latu (15), who will help this team as a rookie. I love the player but don't quite understand what Ballard sees in his defensive back room that I don't. He could have gone with Cooper DeJean, Terrion Arnold or Quinyon Mitchell and upgraded at corner.

Outside of that move? I like the majority of Ballard's class. Wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (52) could be a steal if he lives up to his potential. He was uncoverable at times at both Georgia and Texas. Matt Goncalves is a good offensive tackle with interesting tools. Tanor Bortolini (117) is a solid sixth offensive lineman option. Safety Jaylin Simpson (164) is a safety/nickel hybrid who tested extremely well at the combine. As ESPN's Matt Miller said on the broadcast Saturday, Jonah Laulu (234) got rave reviews at his pro day and is a Round 7 flier worth taking.

I like the players in Ballard's class, but I'm still curious about why he didn't take a corner earlier. That's a miss ... unless there's some sort of trade for a veteran coming down in the weeks after the draft.

The Ringer - Grade: B+

THE COLTS MADE ONE OF MY FAVORITE PICKS IN THIS DRAFT IN UCLA PASS-RUSHER LAIATU LATU, who was my top-ranked defender in this class. Latu gives the team a tenacious hand-fighter on the edge and the potential to produce double-digit sacks if he can stay healthy. The selection of Adonai Mitchell in the second round is one of the most interesting picks from this weekend; the former Texas star is a boom-or-bust playmaker who brings top-tier upside if he can harness all his physical tools. Mitchell never produced big-time numbers in college, but he gives second-year QB Anthony Richardson a big-time ball-winner and red zone weapon. Colts GM Chris Ballard also added depth to the offensive line and bolstered the team's safety position later in the draft—but those first two picks, if they hit, could become foundational pieces for this roster.

USA Today - Grade: A-

They might have gotten the draft's best defender, UCLA pass rusher Laiatu Latu at No. 15 before getting a Round 1-caliber wideout in Adonai Mitchell at No. 52 — and he arrives carrying an ax to grind with the rest of the league. Mid-round O-line upgrades (Pitt's Matt Goncalves and Wisconsin's Tanor Bortolini) are rarely a bad idea, though a corner in one of those spots might have made more sense.

Fox Sports - Grade: C+

Four of the Colts' first five picks addressed the offense. They've done everything they can to make quarterback Anthony Richardson, returning this season after an abbreviated rookie year, as comfortable as possible — and you can't blame them. Receiver Adonai Mitchell represented great value late in the second round. With that being said, Indianapolis could have used a cornerback high. The team has some uncertainty at the spot, which is especially important in the receiver-loaded AFC South. That represents a gamble for Indy. —Arthur

CBS Sports - Grade: B+

Best Pick: I love the pick of receiver Adonai Mitchell in the second. He is a tall, fast receiver who will give them a nice addition to Michael Pittman and Josh Downs.

Worst Pick: I like third-round offensive lineman Matt Goncalves from Pittsburgh, but he went a round or two too high. He will be a backup early in his career and might end up being a guard.

The Skinny: I liked the Colts' first four picks, but I would have taken Dallas Turner at No. 15 rather than Laiatu Latu, the pass rusher the Colts took. Latu does fill a need. Mitchell might end up being a steal. He is big and can run. The Colts had a good, solid haul.

Sporting News - Grade: B-

Analysis: Latu and Mitchell were absolute coups to start the draft for GM Chris Ballard. Indy reached a little for offensive line and secondary help, but that extra depth was needed for the defense. Gould brings one more versatile weapon for second-year QB Anthony Richardson, too.

SI - Grade: B+

Analysis: This is a quality class for GM Chris Ballard. The Colts snagged Latu to bolster their pass rush before getting a steal in Mitchell, who many believed was a top-25 pick. If those two picks hit, this is already a good haul, not to mention the bevy of high-upside selections in the third round and beyond. Ballard built up his skill-position talent and lines, giving Anthony Richardson the best chance to succeed.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A

General manager Chris Ballard's NSFW rant against anonymous scouts after the second day of the draft wound down should be placed in the Louvre. Put your name on it, or shut the bleep up.

Anyway, the Colts didn't have much else to complain about here. They got the best pass-rusher in this class in Laiatu Latu, who probably would have been a Top 10 pick without the medical concerns. And Adonai Mitchell — the prospect Ballard was defending — can be the X receiver the Colts need if he can keep his head in the game when he's not the target. That's me saying that, and it's based on tape study.

Another receiver to watch out for is Oregon State's Anthony Gould, who projects as a speed slot receiver who can win in the NFL right away. Combine star Tanor Bortolini is a highly athletic center, and maybe head coach Shane Steichen had Jason Kelce flashbacks from his days as the Eagles' offensive coordinator. Not to compare Bortolini to Kelce at his Hall of Fame best, but in 2011, Kelce was a sixth-round afterthought. You just never know.

Selecting two safeties picked on the third day when the Colts already have Julian Blackmon and have been known for single-high looks may presage more two-deep stuff from Gus Bradley. If that's the case, I especially like Auburn's Jaylin Simpson in that role.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Arizona Cardinals 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Arizona Cardinals? What are they saying about the Cardinals' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: B
Day 3 grade: A

Analysis: The Cardinals did a nice job over the first two days of the draft. They acquired picks via trade, found home-run hitters on offense in Harrison and Benson and added an inside/outside pass-rush threat in Robinson. They landed athletic corners in Melton and Elijah Jones, as well. Adams and Reiman also met needs, though they were picked a bit earlier than I expected.

Taylor-Demerson was my pick for the Cardinals in the fourth round of my seven-round mock draft because of his quickness as a slot defender and tackling ability. Thomas is athletic enough to stand up on the edge for the Cardinals, while Christian Jones and Palmer have the talent to take back-end roster spots and compete for playing time down the road.

ESPN - Grade: A

Top needs entering the draft: Wide receiver, cornerback, edge defender

I really could have listed a few more needs above, including each position on defense. While the Cardinals surprised most everyone by winning four games last season, this is still a team with a below-average roster. They really needed a talent infusion in this draft, and they entered Thursday with 11 picks, tied for the most in the league. So, yes, general manager Monti Ossenfort could have traded down from No. 4 to add even more capital, but I like that he went with both the best prospect available and the team's biggest need. Marvin Harrison Jr. (4) has everything it takes to be a future All-Pro wide receiver.

Darius Robinson (27) dominated against top prospects at the Senior Bowl, which made him rise into the Round 1 discussion. While he didn't always live up to his talent level at Missouri, his potential is tantalizing. I didn't love all of Ossenfort's selections on Day 2, but I can see the strategy behind them, and he made two trades down to add capital. Offensive lineman Isaiah Adams (71) and tight end Tip Reiman (82) were both reaches on my board. Max Melton (43) should play immediately as the slot corner, while Trey Benson (66) has speed to burn. Benson thrived when bouncing runs to the outside then flying by defenders.

Arizona added even more to the secondary with corner Elijah Jones (90), safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (104) and corner Jaden Davis (226), each of whom was a value on my board. Christian Jones (162) is a steal in my rankings, as I have him at No. 98 overall; that's a stellar value pick by Ossenfort.

All in all, Ossenfort used 12 picks and hit all of the Cardinals' top needs, including throwing four defensive backs at a porous pass D. This is a well-rounded and super-talented class.

The Ringer - Grade: A+

THE CARDINALS CAME INTO THIS DRAFT WITH A TON OF FIREPOWER, AND GM MONTI OSSENFORT USED HIS PICKS WISELY. The team made the right choice in sticking and picking at no. 4 overall to take receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who is my second-ranked player overall. Harrison will be a force multiplier for the offense and give Kyler Murray a true no. 1 target for years to come. Arizona turned around later in the first round and grabbed a long and powerful defensive lineman in Darius Robinson, who brings versatility and disruptiveness to their defensive front. Ossenfort scooped up a tenacious ball-hawking corner in Max Melton in the second round and then grabbed my top-ranked running back in Trey Benson in the third. Benson is an explosive home-run hitter who pairs perfectly with James Conner in the short term and gives the team a successor at running back in the long term. I also really liked the Cardinals' selection of safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson at 104th overall, a huge value for my 77th-ranked player. All in all, Arizona got more explosive on offense and really beefed up their secondary in this draft.

USA Today - Grade: B-

They didn't overthink it off the top, staying put at No. 4 for Ohio State WR stud Marvin Harrison Jr. before getting Mizzou DL Darius Robinson at the bottom of Round 1. Second-round CB Max Melton also has huge upside at a position that was bereft of talent. But it didn't feel like the Cards got quite enough despite having seven of the top 90 picks? Admittedly, third-round RB Trey Benson could pay off if incumbent starter James Conner gets banged up again ... or gets too expensive. Third-round TE Tip Reiman of Illinois felt like a luxury ... and a cruel decision given he doesn't believe in birds but has to play for the Cards and constantly face the Seahawks.

Fox Sports - Grade: A

Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort lived up to his reputation as a wheeler and dealer. Since taking over in 2023, Ossenfort has brokered 11 trades, including six on draft day and a pair on draft day this year. Ossenfort's moves helped Arizona secure a handful of impact players, led by the best receiver in this year's draft in Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. Arizona drafted much-needed pass rush help in Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson and Clemson's Xavier Thomas. The Cardinals also added an explosive running back in Florida State's Trey Benson and two cover corners in Rutgers' Max Melton and Boston College's Elijah Jones. The 12 picks by Arizona are the most in a single draft by the team since 1992. —Eric D. Williams

CBS Sports - Grade: A

Best Pick: Loved the pick of running back Trey Benson in the third round. That is the right area to take a back, and Benson was my top-rated back. He will give them a nice 1-2 combo with James Conner.

Worst Pick: I didn't love the pick of tight end/H-back Tip Reiman in the third round. He's a brute when it comes to blocking, so I get it, but if they needed a tight end I thought there were better options.

The Skinny: The Cardinals had a lot of ammunition with 12 picks and Monti Ossenfort used it well. I liked a lot of their picks, starting with receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who is a much-needed, dynamic playmaker. They added a bunch of potential starters the rest of the way, giving this rising team a lot of talented players. They also added four defensive backs, which was a must.

Sporting News - Grade: B

Analysis: Harrison and Robinson alone would give this busy class a high floor. Harrison is a can't-miss go-to guy for Kyler Murray, and Robinson should thrive for defensive-minded Jonathan Gannon. GM Monti Ossenfort had massive volume and could afford to take a few calculated positional risks afterward. Between Melton and Jones, there wasn't good value, but landing Taylor-Demerson later was a redemptive move. This comes down to Harrison and Robinson being awesome, immediate impact players for the passing game and pass rush.

SI - Grade: B+

Analysis: Harrison is a middle of the fairway pick for the Cardinals, who have fallen into another generational wide receiver prospect. After seeing how adept this offensive staff was at getting their best playmakers the ball, the expectations for Kyler Murray will be undoubtedly high this year. Arizona dominated the middle rounds and did a great job of obtaining some players who will compete for starting jobs before the projected talent cutoff, which drops significantly after Round 3.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A+

The Cardinals came into this draft with a roster as bereft of top-line talent as any in the NFL, and general manager Monti Ossenfort did his level best to reverse that curse. The pick of Marvin Harrison Jr. is obvious, and he reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald — another highly-drafted Cardinals receiver. Seems to me that worked out pretty well. Ossenfort also loaded up on My Guys with Darius Robinson (a multi-gap terror), Trey Benson (who reminds me of Isiah Pacheco), Max Melton (a great man/match cornerback), Elijah Jones (maybe the best pure island cornerback in this class), and Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (my favorite safety overall).

A sleeper to watch is Clemson's Xavier Thomas, who had 43 quarterback pressures last season, and foiled blockers on the edge, and when he kicked inside in passing situations.

Just hit after hit for Ossenfort and his staff. Right now, this looks like the best haul in the 2024 draft.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Philadelphia Eagles 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Philadelphia Eagles? What are they saying about the Eagles' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: A

Analysis: Don't forget about the Eagles when identifying 2024 NFC title contenders, especially after this draft. Getting Mitchell to help the cornerback room without having to trade up was a major win. They moved up for DeJean like Detroit did for Brian Branch last year; I suspect he'll have a similar impact as a rookie. Hunt's potential on the edge was worth the third-round pick. The grade reflects the trade of this year's third-round pick for cornerback Kelee Ringo last year; the result is still uncertain.

General manager Howie Roseman traded several times Saturday, flipping the script on last year's Ringo deal by getting 2025 third- and fifth-round selections. All-purpose back Shipley and receiver Smith will likely play on special teams and the offense as rookies. My favorite pick of the day was Roseman trading for Trotter, a fine player and legacy pick for the Eagles. McMahon could start at center this year if Cam Jurgens does not, and Keegan was a great pick late to add youth to the guard depth chart.

ESPN - Grade: A

Top needs entering the draft: Cornerback, wide receiver, offensive line

There's no question the Eagles were one of the league's most disappointing teams in 2023, as they went from Super Bowl LVII to coach Nick Sirianni being on the hot seat following a blowout loss to the Bucs in the wild-card round, all in the span of a year. This is an important draft for Sirianni and GM Howie Roseman, who saw their defense collapse late in the season. They made some solid signings in free agency to help that unit, but I thought they had to go with a cornerback in Round 1 to add an injection of youth to their secondary, even if it meant trading up.

How about one in Round 2, as well? Roseman landed both of my top-ranked corners in Cooper DeJean (40) and Quinyon Mitchell (22), though DeJean has the versatility to play safety too. As I wrote Friday night, the Eagles crushed Day 2, also getting my favorite outside linebacker in the class in Jalyx Hunt (94). All three will help a defense that ranked 30th in points allowed per game (25.2).

The fun didn't stop there for Roseman, as he made a whopping eight trades over the weekend, the most of any team since 1990. Among those deals were collecting 2025 third-, fourth- and fifth-round selections (one of each), setting up Philadelphia for success in next year's draft. As for the Day 3 picks he actually used, running back Will Shipley (127) is an interesting one. He put up 1,200 all-purpose yards in each of the past three seasons. Could he carve out a spot as the third-down back? Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (155) is a value in my rankings; I have him at No. 108 overall -- and, of course, his dad is an Eagles legend. I'm also intrigued by 6-foot-6 wideout Johnny Wilson (185), who dropped too many passes but who has size that can't be taught.

Because of everything Roseman acquired in next year's draft and because of the talent he accumulated this weekend, I feel great about making this class an A.

The Ringer - Grade: A+

THE EAGLES CAME INTO THE DRAFT WITH MASSIVE QUESTION MARKS AT CORNERBACK, THEN CAME OUT OF THE WEEKEND WITH TWO OF MY TOP-RANKED PLAYERS AT THE POSITION. Philly somehow managed to land Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell (my no. 12 player) at 22nd overall before turning around in the second round and trading up to nab Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean (my no. 17 player) at 40th overall. Not shabby! Philly GM Howie Roseman did his typical thing, moving up and down the board to position the team to draft the guys they wanted (making eight trades in all, adding third, fourth, and fifth-rounders in 2025 along the way). In the end, the Eagles picked nine times—finishing with a haul that includes two very intriguing receivers in Texas A&M's Ainias Smith and Florida State's Johnny Wilson. I'll be watching those two pass-catchers closely; Smith is a diminutive and versatile slot receiver who brings return value, while Wilson is a jumbo-sized receiver who has the talent and tools to eventually emerge as the team's no. 3 option behind A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith.

USA Today - Grade: A

They got, arguably, the draft's best defensive back (Toledo first-rounder Quinyon Mitchell). They got, arguably, the draft's most athletic and versatile defensive back (Iowa second-rounder Cooper DeJean). Third-rounder pass rusher Jalyx Hunt is an intriguing project, and fourth-round Clemson RB Will Shipley could maximize the plays Saquon Barkley takes off. Michigan G Trevor Keegan and Florida State WR Johnny Wilson are high-ceiling Day 3 picks, and fifth-round Clemson LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. puts the cherry on top with the sentimental homecoming factor ... at a position that's seemingly been unsettled since dad left.

Fox Sports - Grade: A-

Eagles GM Howie Roseman is a wizard. After trying to trade up in the first round for a CB, the top one — Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell — fell right to him at 22. Then he got another corner with a first-round grade by trading up for Iowa's Cooper DeJean in Round 2. That alone would've made it a great weekend for Philly, but Roseman added to it with a Day 3 deal to bring LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. to his father's old franchise. Their one curious move was taking Houston Christian edge rusher Jalyx Hunt in the third, but the Eagles can afford a high-ceiling project like that. Oh, and all of Roseman's trades got them some 2025 draft capital, too. —Vacchiano

CBS Sports - Grade: B+

Best Pick: Rather than panicking and trading up, they stayed put and landed the top cover corner in the draft in Quinyon Mitchell in the first round. It was a gamble that paid off.

Worst Pick: Third-round edge Jalyx Hunt has some explosive ability, but he probably went a little higher than I would have taken him. He will take some time. But the Eagles clearly know he is a developmental player.

The Skinny: General manager Howie Roseman usually likes to trade up on draft night, but he refrained from that in the first round and it worked by landing Mitchell. He did trade up in the second to land corner-safety Cooper DeJean. In fact, he made eight trades enhancing his reputation as the trader GM. The best thing is a team problem in coverage last year likely got fixed with the first two picks.

Sporting News - Grade: A

Analysis: GM Howie Roseman somehow ended up with arguably the two best corners in the class to fill a big need. Hunt can tap into his big small-school pass-rush upside for Vic Fangio. Shipley, Smith, and Wilson are valuable, versatile cogs for Jalen Hurts to support Saquon Barkley, the expensive wideouts, and tight ends.

SI - Grade: A

Analysis: Similar in complexion to the Lions draft, this was a targeted rebuild as well as a big swing in the third round to take a former safety-turned-edge rusher who could end up being one of those draft gems. Cooper DeJean is going to shine in the zone-heavy Vic Fangio scheme, and the Eagles, in a division with the pick-prone Dak Prescott and Daniel Jones, plus a rookie in Jayden Daniels, are suddenly a daunting opponent.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A

Darius Slay is still a good player, but he turned 33 on New Year's Day. James Bradberry led the NFL with 10 touchdowns allowed in coverage. Guess where the Eagles went with the top of their draft? Yup. Quinyon Mitchell wasn't just my favorite cornerback in this draft class; he was my favorite defensive player. His athletic, hyper-aggressive playing style brings Slay at his peak to mind.

And while I'm not sure how defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will deploy Cooper DeJean, he's an ideal Fangio DB with his quickness and recognition skills, and he could have a similar effect on this defense that 2023 rookie Brian Branch did for the Lions. Jalyx Hunt, who Fangio reportedly pounded the table for, is a hyper-athletic pass rusher with a lot of upside, added to a group in need of youth and athleticism.

But the third-day steal might be the most interesting. Florida State's Johnny Wilson has resisted the thought that he should move to tight end, because there aren't a lot of 6'6⅜', 231-pound receivers out there. OC Kellen Moore could use Wilson's attributes credibly in some move TE situations (just don't tell him), and Wilson can also scald cornerbacks downfield with some speed.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Minnesota Vikings? What are they saying about the Vikings' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: B+

Day 1 grade: A-
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: B-

Analysis: The Vikings gave up pick value in 2023, Day 3 picks this year and much of their 2025 draft in moves that landed them McCarthy, tight end T.J. Hockenson (in a 2022 deadline deal with Detroit) and edge rusher Turner. McCarthy and Turner possess the skill set to make that investment worthwhile, though McCarthy will need to continue his winning ways at the next level and Turner must be an impact defender.

Jackson is a Riq Woolen-type corner, long and quick-footed, who presents excellent value in the fourth round. Rouse is a strong, experienced lineman who takes over for departed veteran Oli Udoh as the swing tackle. Don't overlook Jurgens' chances of making the roster. Reichard is the FBS' all-time leading scorer, and the Vikings need a reliable field goal kicker; I'm interested in how his career compares with that of Cam Little, who was picked by the Jags with pick No. 212.

ESPN - Grade: C+

Top needs entering the draft: Quarterback, cornerback, wide receiver

So long, Kirk Cousins; hello, J.J. McCarthy (10). One of the most intriguing storylines to watch over the past two months was the Vikings likely having to make a trade up if they wanted to get the fourth quarterback on the board. Turns out, they didn't need to move as high as we thought ... and they actually got the fifth passer in the class because of Atlanta's surprising selection of Michael Penix Jr. As I wrote Thursday night, McCarthy lands in a spot with excellent pass-catchers and a gifted game-planner; he's going to be put in a position to succeed in Year 1.

My qualm about GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's class has more to do with mortgaging the future of this Minnesota roster. He made the move in March to get an extra first-rounder at No. 23, which cost him a second-round pick next year. And to trade up from No. 23 to No. 17, he had to give the Jaguars his 2025 third- and fourth-rounders. That means the Vikings have just three selections next year: one in Round 1 and two in Round 5. With a rookie quarterback under center, are they really in position to go all-in right now? This is after they had just two picks in Rounds 1-3 this year.

Dallas Turner (17) is my top-ranked edge rusher, but Minnesota had a greater need at cornerback. This defense ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed to receivers (3,019) last season. I was a little surprised Adofo-Mensah didn't target one of the top corners instead. He finally went corner with his next pick, but that was all the way in Round 4. Khryee Jackson (108) is a 6-3 defensive back who allowed just one touchdown in coverage last season.

Walter Rouse (177) could be Minnesota's swing tackle as a rookie. The Vikings started a run on kickers in Round 6, but they took Will Reichard (203), my third-ranked player at the position, ahead of the top two.

Can coach Kevin O'Connell turn McCarthy into a top-10 passer? That's the question that will linger with this Minnesota class, which is extremely top-heavy. Plus, I'm factoring in Adofo-Mensah's moves that upended the team's 2025 draft.

The Ringer - Grade: C+

WHILE MANY HAD EXPECTED THE VIKINGS TO MAKE A MAJOR MOVE UP THE BOARD FOR A QUARTERBACK ON DRAFT NIGHT, MINNESOTA ENDED UP MAKING JUST A SMALL, ONE-SPOT JUMP TO SECURE THEIR FUTURE FRANCHISE PASSER. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy will be the defining pick for this class for the Vikings, but I'm bullish on his potential as he lands on a team with a strong supporting cast. Throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson gives the 21-year old signal-caller a chance to excel early in his career. The Vikings also leveraged later picks (a fifth-rounder this year plus third- and fourth-rounders in 2025) to move up and grab a high-upside pass rusher in Alabama's Dallas Turner, giving the team an ascending defender to pair with newly-signed Jonathan Greenard. Ultimately, though, the team is putting a whole lot of eggs into two baskets. Minnesota mortgaged future picks to land McCarthy and Turner (Turner alone cost the Vikings six total picks, when counting the trade up into the 23rd spot prior to the draft), leaving the team with very little draft capital in 2025 (a first and two fifths, plus a conditional 7th). It's a big gamble, and if either player falls short, it could set Minnesota back dramatically.

USA Today - Grade: A-

After losing QB Kirk Cousins in free agency, they went on the offensive and obtained a second first-round choice from Houston last month — a move presumed to necessitate a subsequent climb up the board. But GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah played his cards right and got to select twice in Round 1 — coming away with highly regarded but highly divisive Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy and highly regarded (period) Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner. The third-round spot was cashed in two years ago as part of a trade deadline deal for Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson. The kicking game should be boosted by sixth-rounder Will Reichard of the Crimson Tide.

Fox Sports - Grade: A

The Vikings needed a quarterback and got one. Though he likely wasn't their first choice (they reportedly tried to trade up to No. 3 presumably to select Drake Maye), this may have ended up being the ideal scenario. They needed to trade up just one spot from their first pick at No. 11 to select Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was still aggressive with the No. 23 pick, trading up to No. 17 to get Alabama edge Dallas Turner, widely considered one of the best defenders in the draft. Both are arguably top-10 prospects. The drawback is that the Vikings are now extremely low on draft capital next year. They have their first-round pick and just two fifth-round picks. They should expect at least one if not two third-round compensatory picks for losing Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter to free agency, but their roster is in solid shape, especially after adding another corner in Khyree Jackson from Oregon and multiple offensive linemen for depth. The Vikings almost certainly won the first round, but they may win the entire draft if McCarthy pans out. —Vitali

CBS Sports - Grade: B-

Best Pick: The Vikings moved up in the first round to take pass rusher Dallas Turner. That was a good move. He will be a big-time rusher in Brian Flores' scheme. Turner's best pass-rushing days are ahead of him.

Worst Pick: I get the whole idea of finding a quarterback, and landing J.J. McCarthy where they did makes sense, but I don't love his game. He just shot up boards after the season, and I never saw it. I thought he would be a late first-round pick.

The Skinny: Like all the teams that took quarterbacks, their drafts will be defined by how well they play. That's the Vikings with McCarthy. Even if Turner becomes a true star, which I think he will, this draft is about McCarthy. Period. They also traded a lot of future picks to get McCarthy and Turner, so they better be stars.

Sporting News - Grade: A

Analysis: The Vikings could have rested on McCarthy for their passing game and both Turner and Jackson for the pass defense and had a solid draft. GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn't waste time pleasing Kevin O'Connell and Brian Flores to accelerate a rebuild. They made good use of moving up to go for high-upside quality over pure quantity. Reichard also filled a key need.

SI - Grade: C+

Analysis: I think I am going to regret my dislike of the Vikings draft, just like I did with the Texans draft a year ago. I didn't quite see the value of the Dallas Turner trade, but if defensive coordinator Brian Flores can get the best out of him, what's the difference at the end of the day? I thought the Vikings should have been more aggressive to get the quarterback they really wanted, but I also think that Kevin O'Connell is going to make it work with McCarthy.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: C+

Trading up for a quarterback in McCarthy whose skill set most closely resembles Alex Smith in a league that covets explosive plays and the prevention of explosive plays most of all is certainly... a decision.

But trading up again for an edge-rusher in Dallas Turner who can scald off the edge and adds his name to a group that already includes Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel? Well, defensive coordinator Brian Flores is going to have some serious guys to execute his insane blitz packages. I'm a big fan of Khyree Jackson as a scheme-transcendent cornerback, and Walter Rouse has interesting potential as a power tackle.

But man... this draft all hinges on McCarthy and a defense that didn't get as much help as it needed, and that's kind of scary.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

Monday, April 29, 2024

Baltimore Ravens 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Baltimore Ravens? What are they saying about the Ravens' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: B
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: A

Analysis: The Ravens had yet another solid draft. Wiggins' elite recovery speed earned him a first-round slot, but he must answer questions about how his lean frame and inconsistent tackling translates to the next level. Rosengarten and Isaac were great value picks at two need spots.

I liked the selection of Walker, an outside playmaker, early in Round 4, even after the team re-upped Rashod Bateman. Tampa's size and strength at the catch point made him worthy of a Day 2 pick, but Baltimore landed him on Day 3. Ali is coming off a biceps injury suffered at the Senior Bowl. Leary's arm and experience gained him a draft spot. Samac's a powerful interior lineman.

ESPN - Grade: B+

Top needs entering the draft: Cornerback, offensive line, edge defender

The Ravens parted ways with a handful of starters from their 13-4 team, including guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson, right tackle Morgan Moses, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Ronald Darby and linebacker Patrick Queen. They have a few players from the 2022 and 2023 drafts who could step up as starters this season, but there are big shoes to fill at important positions. So, what did GM Eric DeCosta do on the first two days of this draft? He landed three guys in my top 51, all of whom could be big-time rookie contributors, and got value with each selection.

Nate Wiggins (30) is one of the fastest cornerbacks in this class, a long and gifted cover man with good instincts. Though he's a little light at 173 pounds, he'll grow into his frame in time. Roger Rosengarten (52), one of my favorite prospects in the entire draft, could step in and start at right tackle in 2024. Edge rusher Adisa Isaac (93) went a full round below where I rated him. He had 16 tackles for loss last season and outshined teammate Chop Robinson on tape, though Isaac doesn't have the same kind of upside as a pass-rusher.

Wideout Tez Walker (113) and cornerback T.J. Tampa (130) were tremendous picks on Day 3. I thought Tampa might end up in Round 1 at one point, but there are questions about his recovery speed. Baltimore has had a great history of late-round running backs, and Rasheen Ali (165) could be the next one to make the team.

DeCosta did it again in this class; there are some excellent prospects here. It's not quite in the "A" tier, though.

The Ringer - Grade: B-

THIS WAS A DOWN-THE-FAIRWAY DRAFT FOR THE RAVENS, who did what they always seem to do each year by picking up a handful of talented future contributors. I liked the selection of cornerback Nate Wiggins in the first round, giving the team an uber-athletic, plug-and-play starter on the outside. The team turned around in the second round and grabbed a smooth-moving right tackle in Roger Rosengarten, who lacks power and ballast as a blocker but brings quick feet and good hand work to a position of need. Rosengarten has the traits to play at either left or right tackle. Penn State's Adisa Isaac gives the Ravens another disruptive pass rusher to add to the rotation, and North Carolina receiver Devontez Walker is a field stretcher who could work his way onto the field as a big-play threat. Baltimore got excellent value with their selection of corner T.J. Tampa late in the fourth round. He was my 83rd ranked player overall, and combines excellent length with playmaking instincts. He adds to the Ravens' depth to that position and could emerge as a future starter. All in all, an unflashy but solid haul for the Ravens.

USA Today - Grade: B

When you're drafting at the end of every round, maybe you reach just a little in spots. Yet it seems like they did a good job — per usual — marrying value, talent and need. First-round CB Nate Wiggins (Clemson) is a supreme athlete, and his tackling will improve — because the Ravens will demand that. Second-rounder Roger Rosengarten (Washington) should be the new right tackle, while third round OLB Adisa Isaac (Penn State) could be a factor on passing downs straight away. And the value picks kicked in on Day 3 with deep threat WR Devontez Walker (North Carolina) and CB T.J. Tampa (Iowa State), who could give Wiggins a battle to get on the field first.

Fox Sports - Grade: B

To be fair, the Ravens' patience doesn't always pay off — but damn if it isn't impressive anyway. Given their holes on the offensive line, it was interesting when they opted for cornerback Nate Wiggins in the first round. Not to worry; they hung out at the back of the second round and got a starter-caliber tackle in Roger Rosengarten, anyway. Adding deep threat receiver Devontez Walker in the fourth round feels like a sneaky good value, too — which would be a fun development for Lamar Jackson. It's worth noting that Baltimore has yet to find a star edge rusher, but those guys are tough to find when you're consistently picking late. —David Helman

CBS Sports - Grade: B

Best Pick: Fourth-round corner T.J. Tampa will prove to be really good pick. He can play the corner, but I also think he can move inside to safety. Versatility is huge in the Ravens defense.

Worst Pick: Fourth-round wide receiver Devontez Walker can run, but he is inconsistent. If he can be more consistent and catch the ball better, he will be a steal. For now, it's risky.

The Skinny: The Ravens and general manager Eric DeCosta are usually among the best in the league when it comes to drafting. This was a solid draft as usual, filling a bunch of needs. First-round corner Nate Wiggins should be a long-term starter. He can cover, but needs to work on tackling.

Sporting News - Grade: A

Analysis: The Ravens once again locked into their key positions of need under Eric DeCosta and practiced patience in letting values drop to them. Wiggins and Tampa have a chance to be a special starting cornerback duo in time. Issac is their style of edge rusher, while Walker provides a key missing element at receiver to help Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman. Baltimore doesn't make bad picks in relation to having the right talent available. Ali added needed backfield depth behind Derrick Henry, and Leary is a good developmental athlete.

SI - Grade: A-

Analysis: Baltimore used the first round to reinforce its secondary, nabbing Wiggins as a tough, undersized corner at 173 pounds. In the second round, general manager Eric DeCosta replaced departed right tackle Morgan Moses with Rosengarten, then found a productive edge in Isaac to round out the first two nights.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A

The Ravens are more consistent in the draft than most teams because they have a type, and they stick with it. They want guys who hit the field with aggressiveness and technical refinement, and it's hard to argue with the approach. Wiggins is one of the stickiest and most aggressive pass defenders in this class. Rosengarten may have slipped in the minds of some because he's a right tackle, but remember that Michael Penix Jr. is a lefty, so Rosengarten protected the blind side of a quarterback who attempted 117 passes of 20 or more air yards last season, by far the most in the NCAA. And as much as Chop Robinson shows freaky athletic potential, I preferred Adisa Issac among the Penn State edge-defenders, because Isaac can do more from more gaps.

The Ravens absolutely stole T.J. Tampa in the fourth round (how did the Buccaneers not take this guy?), and in terms of locking receivers down, that might be the sleeper pick. Tampa allowed an opponent passer rating of 54.8 last season.

So, the Ravens didn't get weird, they took their kinds of guys, and it all looks great. What else would you ever expect?

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups