Now that the NFL Draft is complete, and all the action has subsided, we need to take a look at each division and break down what was accomplished in their draft, in terms of fantasy production.
The Ravens put together a very solid draft, especially on offense. The first selection was Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame, who will help this offensive line that struggled in 2015. Behind the offensive line, they selected running back Kenneth Dixon from Louisiana Tech, who I had as the number two back in the draft. He has the talent to come in and start pretty much from the get go. The team also added two receivers in Chris Moore from Cincinnati and Keenan Reynolds from Navy. Reynolds is one of the more interesting players in the draft, as he ended up breaking the records for both total and rushing touchdowns in his career. He has a nose for the endzone.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens used three of their first four picks to acquire OLB Kamalei Correa, DE Bronson Kaufusi and CB Tavon Young, all very high talents and likely to contribute immediately. They added Maurice Canady later in the draft, and he could end up being a steal for them. The aging defense definitely got a shot in the arm, and they should be followed very closely in the offseason, as if they are clicking, this could be a nice defensive add.
The Bengals really only did a minimal amount of work on the offense in the draft. The team took Tyler Boyd and Cody Core at the receiver position. Boyd should be a day one contributor, though it will be interesting to see how he does alongside with AJ Green and Breshard Perriman. Core projects to be more of a developmental player.
The Bengals stayed one step ahead of the Steelers by selecting William Jackson, CB from Houston. This was a good move for a team that really needed help at the position. The team also chose Nick Vigil, ILB from Utah State, and Andrew Billings, DT from Baylor. I really like both picks. Billings will add to the defensive line in a big way, and Vigil was an absolute monster at Utah State and he projects as a quality starter in the NFL.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many draft picks in my life. The Browns absolutely restocked their depleted team, which is exactly what they needed to do. The team selected 5 (!) wide receivers, including first round selection Corey Coleman. Coleman is a very talented, highly athletic player who should be one of the top rookies in the league in terms of production this year. Ricardo Louis, Seth Devalve, Jordan Payton and Rashard Higgins could all be instant contributors as well. Devalve could wind up opposite Gary Barnidge. Louis is likely to return kickoffs and can be a gadget player. Higgins is an amazing route runner, and also led the NCAA in receiving in 2014. Payton is one of the most sure handed receivers in the draft. They vastly improved at the position. They also improved the offensive line by taking Shon Coleman and Spencer Drango, who could both start immediately. Finally, the team selected accurate quarterback Cody Kessler. He certainly has limitations, but he fits a specific need for the team.
On the defensive side of the ball, they just raked. Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib could be amazing edge rushing, finally giving this team a threat to the QB. Joe Schobert and Scooby Wright, who was an absolute STEAL in the seventh round, will probably start on special teams, but have the talent to develop into starters. Derrick Kindred and Trey Caldwell will help the defensive backs that were bad in 2015, and Jamar Taylor also comes over in the trade with the Dolphins. This isn’t a defense you want to draft in 2016, but could be good in the future.
The Steelers didn’t have a very strong draft. They didn’t get the benefit of having a quality player slip to them per usual. The team did very little on offense, adding Jerald Hawkins, OT from LSU, and Demarcus Ayers, WR from Houston. The OL had problems at time in 2015, so hopefully the addition of a quality player will improve the unit. Ayers flashed talent in 2015 at Houston, but this offense is pretty packed with talent. It wouldn’t surprise me though to see him contribute in some ways in 2016.
The first pick of the team was Artie Burns. It fits a need at cornerback, but it really isn’t a scheme fit. Ultimately though, he can likely be taught, and he’s probably better than what they have now. They also took safety Sean Davis. Hopefully that will bring the yards per game allowed down, but I’m not holding my breath. The team also took Javon Hardgrave, Travis Feeney and Tyler Matakavich. These players are mostly developmental, but add depth to the unit. This still isn’t a defense I am looking at as any more than a streaming option.