Josh Katzenstein's best, questionable picks for every NFL team
The 2016 NFL draft is over, and all 32 teams hope they found players that can help them for the long term.
It’s far too early to grade the draft, but we can still look at some picks that seemed to make a lot — or little — sense.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the best and most questionable among the 253 selections:
Best pick: DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida, third round
Questionable pick: ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia, fourth round
Overview: Bullard can play multiple spots in the Bears’ 3-4 defense, and along with first-round edge rusher Leonard Floyd, gives Chicago’s defense a couple more young pieces. Although inside linebacker depth is important, the Bears had other needs, though their selection of Western Michigan receiver Daniel Braverman in the seventh could pay off.
Best pick: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama, second round
Questionable pick: LS Jimmy Landes, Baylor, sixth round
Overview: The Lions addressed their need to improve the trenches long term, taking five linemen among their 10 picks. Robinson should provide instant help in the run game. Landes could be a 10-year contributor, but the Lions took him ahead of talented players — Central Michigan safety Kavon Frazier, Michigan State wide receiver Aaron Burbridge and Eastern Michigan running back Darius Jackson all went in the next six picks.
Best pick: LB Blake Martinez, Stanford, fourth round
Questionable pick: DT Kenny Clark, UCLA, first round
Overview: Clark is a good player at a position of need, but the Packers could seriously regret passing on Myles Jack, who would’ve been the perfect solution at linebacker. Instead, Green Bay found a productive, strong player in Martinez later in the draft as well as offensive line help.
Best pick: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss, first round
Questionable pick: OT Willie Beavers, Western Michigan, fourth round
Overview: In Treadwell, the Vikings found a strong receiver whose strengths should help quarterback Teddy Bridgewater more than some deep threat. Beavers has potential, but Minnesota should’ve been looking for tackle help earlier.
Best pick: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State, first round
Questionable pick: QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State, fourth round
Overview: It would actually be a surprise if Elliott doesn’t run for 1,000-plus yards as a rookie. The value for Prescott was fine, but Jerry Jones apparently lost sleep over not moving up for Paxton Lynch. Second-round linebacker Jaylon Smith’s knees could determine this draft grade in the future.
New York Giants
Best pick: WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, second round
Questionable pick: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State, first round
Overview: Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. provide the Giants with two receivers who get open with ease. Apple, though, was a reach, especially ahead of Vernon Hargreaves and after spending on Janoris Jenkins.
Best pick: RB Wendell Smallwood, West Virginia, fifth round
Questionable pick: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State, first round
Overview: Wentz should become a solid starter, but an Eagles team with several needs likely gave up too much to move up for him. Smallwood is a great athlete who carved out a role on a pass-heavy team.
Best pick: WR Josh Doctson, TCU, first round
Questionable pick: QB Nate Sudfeld, Indiana, sixth round
Overview: Few expected Washington to start at receiver, but Doctson could be a perfect big guy that takes attention away from DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Sudfeld will struggle to make any impact.
Best pick: LB Deion Jones, LSU, second round
Questionable pick: TE Austin Hooper, Stanford, third round
Overview: Jones adds some much-needed speed to the defense. Hooper going ahead of Ohio State’s Nick Vannett was surprising.
Best pick: DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech, first round
Questionable pick: CB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, fifth round
Overview: Butler keeps defensive tackle a position of strength for the Panthers, but they took Sanchez, their second corner of the draft, over some much-needed edge talent.
Best pick: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville, first round
Questionable pick: DT David Onyemata, Manitoba, fourth round
Overview: Rankins is a stud who will help a woeful defense instantly. A fourth-round pick is fine for a project like Onyemata, but picks like that rarely pan out.
Best pick: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky, second round
Questionable pick: K Roberto Aguayo, Florida State, second round
Overview: The two cornerbacks they took, Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith, should contribute, but Spence’s quickness off the edge was key. Anything earlier than a fifth-round pick for a kicker is always questionable.
Best pick: C Evan Boehm, Missouri, fourth round
Questionable pick: DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss, first round
Overview: The Cardinals are actually a good fit for Nkemdiche with that coaching staff and other players who overcame off-field problems, but it’s still a risk. Boehm could be a Day 1 starter.
Best pick: QB Jared Goff, Cal, first round
Questionable pick: WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina, fourth round
Overview: Already with a strong defense, the Rams made a blockbuster trade for their quarterback of the future. Cooper was a reach with some of the other receivers left.
Best pick: DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon, first round
Questionable pick: CB Rashard Robinson, LSU, fourth round
Overview: Buckner is a stud who would’ve gone top five if not for the quarterback demand. Robinson has limited experience and is skinny.
Best pick: TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State, third round
Questionable pick: C Joey Hunt, TCU, sixth round
Overview: Vannett is a do-it-all tight end who can contribute on a team needing pass catchers. Hunt is undersized on a team that needs to be more physical up front.
Best pick: LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama, second round
Questionable pick: RB Jonathan Williams, Arkansas, fifth round
Overview: Ragland was a great value 41st overall, but it was stunning to see Williams go ahead of fellow Razorbacks RB Alex Collins.
Best pick: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss, first round
Questionable pick: RB Kenyan Drake, Alabama, third round
Overview: Tunsil’s slide was stunning, and the Dolphins lucked out. Taking Drake over some better backs, Devontae Booker and Kenneth Dixon, will haunt them.
Best pick: G Joe Thuney, N.C. State, third round
Questionable pick: QB Jacoby Brissett, N.C. State, third round
Overview: Thuney is a big, athletic lineman, but Brissett was a reach at a position the Patriots used for a high pick two year ago.
New York Jets
Best pick: LB Darron Lee, Ohio State, first round
Questionable pick: QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State, second round
Overview: Coach Todd Bowles will know how to utilize Lee’s speed. Hackenberg just isn’t good based on his college tape.
Best pick: DL Bronson Kaufusi, BYU, third round
Questionable pick: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame, first round
Overview: Kaufusi is as smart and versatile as any defensive lineman in the draft. Stanley is good, but passing on DeForest Buckner and Laremy Tunsil could be regrettable.
Best pick: WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh, second round
Questionable pick: DT Andre Billings, Baylor, fourth round
Overview: Not questioning Billings talent at all, but wondering why he fell. Boyd is a really strong receiver with great routes that will fill a big need.
Best pick: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor, first round
Questionable pick: QB Cody Kessler, USC, third round
Overview: Coleman will be highly productive because he’s an expert at getting open. Kessler went way too high. Good on Cleveland for stocking up with 14 picks.
Best pick: DT Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State, third round
Questionable pick: CB Artie Burns, Miami, first round
Overview: Hargrave is big and explosive. Burns is fine, but the pick looks questionable after seeing the Steelers find another talented corner in Sean Davis the next round.
Best pick: RB Tyler Ervin, San Jose State, fourth round
Questionable pick: S K.J. Dillon, West Virginia, fifth round
Overview: With Ervin and receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, the Texans clearly wanted to add speed.
Best pick: S T.J. Green, Clemson, second round
Questionable pick: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama, first round
Overview: Value of centers is up for debate, but give the Colts credit for finding a decent tackle in Le’Raven Clark later.
Best pick: DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame, fourth round
Questionable pick: DE Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland, third round
Overview: With their first two picks, Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, the Jaguars might’ve gotten the best two players in the draft, in addition to Day’s interior disruption.
Best pick: RB Derrick Henry, Alabama, second round
Questionable pick: S Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee State, third round
Overview: GM Jon Robinson ended up with five of the first 64 picks in his first draft.
Best pick: S Justin Simmons, Boston College, second round
Questionable pick: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis, first round
Overview: Most people agree Lynch won’t help in 2016, but the Broncos still traded up. Simmons adds to an already strong secondary.
Best pick: DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State, second round
Questionable pick: CB Eric Murray, Minnesota, fourth round
Overview: Athleticism on the interior is a big factor on good defenses, and Jones should help that remain a strength for the Chiefs.
Best pick: QB Connor Cook, Michigan State, fourth round
Questionable pick: DL Jihad Ward, Illinois, second round
Overview: The Raiders seemed to reach for their first couple picks, but added serious talent on Days 2 and 3.
Best pick: TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas, second round
Questionable pick: FB Derek Watt, Wisconsin, sixth round
Overview: Taking Joey Bosa third overall was a surprise, but the Chargers ended up with a bunch of talented defensive players.