Josh Katzenstein's best, questionable picks for every NFL team

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
View Comments

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:

NFC NORTH

Chicago

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.

Detroit

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.

Green Bay

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.

Minnesota

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.

NFC EAST

Dallas

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.

Philadelphia

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.

Washington

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.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta

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.

Carolina

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.

New Orleans

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.

Tampa Bay

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.

NFC WEST

Arizona

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.

Los Angeles

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.

San Francisco

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.

Seattle

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.

AFC EAST

Buffalo

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.

Miami

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.

New England

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.

AFC NORTH

Baltimore

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.

Cincinnati

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.

Cleveland

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.

Pittsburgh

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.

AFC SOUTH

Houston

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.

Indianapolis

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.

Jacksonville

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.

Tennessee

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.

AFC WEST

Denver

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.

Kansas City

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.

Oakland

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.

San Diego

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.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

View Comments