1.1 - Saints - CB Tre Deveroux - A+
This one is as easy to grade for me as it probably was to grade for GM Spencer. I've already spoke very highly of the Saints in this draft as they killed it, and it all started here with Deveroux. A 6'3" freak of nature athlete with all the intangibles you look for, Deveroux will be shutting down even the best of receivers for a long time to come. The Saints got a true stud here.
1.2 - Broncos - WR Ferdinand Buford - A+
Another easy grade here, and another slam dunk for the team on the clock. Like I've mentioned many times previously, Buford was the offensive counterpart to Deveroux in this draft. With a 6'3" frame, outstanding athleticism, brute strength, and plentiful intangibles, you can check everything off your list. Don't overlook the 98 JMP, 71 BTK, or the fact that he weighed in at 240 lbs at the combine while still running a great 40. Buford instantly upgrades the Denver offense.
1.3 - 49ers - WR Ismael Butler - A+
Is this getting boring yet? I'm getting a little bored. Easy pick, easy grade, yada yada yada. Hey, it's all true. A 6'4" frame, uncanny athleticism (94 AGI especially), outstanding strength, and even better hands than Buford. Butler can do it all, and my job just got a lot harder trying to cover him. This kicked off a great draft for the 49ers.
1.4 - Falcons - HB Joe Mixon - A
Hey, things just got interesting - a team didn't get an A+. The Falcons don't get an A+ here because this isn't a slam dunk pick like the rest. I hear your counter arguments, and yes Mixon is extremely talented, but I've become a bit wary of the RBs at the top of the draft. There's be too many that haven't returned equal value, and a lot of teams who took the plunge have moved on in short order. Mixon could change all that given his talent, but I'm still not quite sold. The top five pick carries quite literally a huge price tag in terms of salary, and there's always the argument that good running backs can be found later. But as I've already mentioned, the flip side of it is talent, and Mixon might be the most talented back since Derrick Henry, who has arguably lived up to the billing (and price tag). Look, I'm trying to keep these short and sweet, so before I write too much more let's just see how it pans out in a few years.
1.5 - 49ers - OT Sebastian Black - A-
Let me start this by saying Sebastian Black is a phenomenal player and talent. He has everything you look for - strength, athleticism, size, technique. He can do it all, and he does it a very high level. He will be a cornerstone RT for this franchise. My only gripe, and it's a bit of a nitpick since I like to nitpick, is that this class was absolutely LOADED with offensive line talent and I feel like the 49ers could have maximized their value by trading down and still selecting a great lineman. It's not absurd to think that they could have picked up another first rounder if they found the right deal. Still, you can't argue with staying pat and picking the best player available, and that's good enough for an A- here.
1.6 - Colts - OT Garrett Bolles - A
I'd argue that Bolles is arguably a better player than Black who went with the last pick, but it really comes down to a mater of preference when the players are both so talented. Bolles has the edge in strength and is even more agile than Black, but Black has a massive frame that will make him a nightmare to deal with. Again, a slight knock for all the offensive line talent still on the board, but a little bit less of a knock given the run on said talent has been triggered.
1.7 - Steelers - HB Damon Washington - C
I don't see it with this pick. Washington is talented, sure, but there's much better talent on the board, at more valuable positions. His 235 lb frame paired with his burner speed is a positive for sure, but again, we're talking about a top ten pick here with a top ten salary, and I just think there were better players on the board.
1.8 - Chargers - QB DeShaun Watson - F
I'm on the record many times over talking about the QB talent available in free agency every single year. It's always there, there's never much competition, and a team could theoretically thrive on it for at least long enough to develop a third round quarterback prospect. There's simply no need to spend a top ten pick on a quarterback. I get that the Chargers missed the pick, but the result is the same. It's a failing grade as far as I'm concerned.
1.9 - Titans - OLB TJ Watt - B
I like this pick, but I don't love it. Watt is certainly a good player. He could be very good. But he simply isn't elite. His 6'5", 250 lb is certainly appealing, and his instincts are quite good entering the league as well. But he simply isn't all that explosive and he also lacks some strength, at least for top ten pick linebacker standards. And, quite frankly, unless he's being moved to middle linebacker I'm always a bit wary of taking an outside linebacker in the top ten. There are arguably some cases where it's understandable or even advisable, but I just don't think Watt is on that level. Not a bad pick, but not a great one either.
1.10 - Cardinals - OL Keith Williams - A+
Here's a player that speakers to the points I made for picks 5 and 6 in this draft. Williams is arguably just as good as either of the players taken at those spots. If he's not, he's damn close. The difference between the fifth pick in the draft and the tenth is estimated as a mid-round second according to the value chart, and I'm not sure GMs wouldn't be able to get more than that in this league. I don't know about you guys, but I'd take Williams and the 2nd all day every day. Good value here and a great player.