Skip to main content

2016 NFL draft grades: Analysis of second-round picks

From Noah Spence to the Bucs (A+) to Christian Hackenberg to the Jets (F), we hand out grades for every pick of the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.

The first round of the NFL draft was packed with action, but the second round certainly held its own. Like many predicted, Round 2 saw defensive players flying off the board—Myles Jack, Noah Spence and Mackensie Alexander, all players widely considered to be first-round talent, were snapped up by the Jaguars, Bucs and Vikings, respectively. Cowboys jumped on injured LB Jaylon Smith, who many considered to be a first-round prospect before he tore his ACL in the Fiesta Bowl.

But defensive players didn’t rule the show. Another QB went off the board, with the Jets taking Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. And the Bucs turned heads by trading up to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo—the highest-drafted kicker since Mike Nugent was drafted in the second round by the Jets in 2005.

Which teams made the right picks and who didn’t? Doug Farrar grades every pick.

• 2016 NFL draft tracker: Pick-by-pick results, best players left

NFL draft Round 2 order

1 (32). Cleveland Browns
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

Analysis: The Browns essentially get Ogbah with the last pick in the first round, and the former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is a stunning player at times with a lot of potential as an edge rusher. He needs to develop his arsenal of hand moves, but he has a ton of physical potential. This is a good value choice for a team with all kinds of picks in the second round.

2 (33). Tennessee Titans
Kevin Dodd, LB, Clemson

Analysis: Dodd got a bit lost in the Shaq Lawson lovefest last season, but he's an ascending prospect with a lot of upside. 2015 was his first year as a full starter, and he amassed 12 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. The question is, how well can he deal with double teams at the next level? Lawson's presence assured that he didn't see many of them.

3 (34). Dallas Cowboys
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Analysis: If Smith comes all the way back from his knee injuries and nerve damage, this is an A grade with several pluses in front of it, as Smith looked like the best player in the draft before he got hurt. The Cowboys wanted Ogbah and Dodd, struck out, and went with a high medical risk. It's a bit odd to redshirt a guy this high in the draft, but then again, Jerry Jones didn't get where he is by not taking risks.​

4 (35). San Diego Chargers
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

Analysis: In a very weak tight end class, the Chargers go forth and take the first of that position off the board. It's a major need in Mike McCoy's offense, and Henry combines catch ability with an attitude when he blocks. He's uneven at best when in pass pro, making him more of a big receiver than a traditional tight end.

5 (36). Jacksonville Jaguars (from Ravens)
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Analysis: As with the Jaylon Smith pick, this grade is all about risk. Jack is an amazing player when healthy, but he lost most of his 2015 season with a knee injury, and the Jags are seriously betting on potential here. If Jack comes all the way back, he's the model of the modern linebacker with his ability to cover all the way out to the boundary. A special player, and a worthy risk.​

6 (37). Kansas City Chiefs (from 49ers)
Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

Analysis: Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton loves gap versatility in his front seven, and Jones very much fits the bill. The 6' 6", 310-pounder plays a bit too high at times, but he has estimable power and a nice strength/speed combination.​

• ​WATCH: Chris Jones gives Roger Goodell a monster hug

​7 (38). Miami Dolphins (from Ravens)
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor

Analysis: Howard is one of the most aggressive cornerbacks in this class. He's a bigger, physical player who lapses in coverage at times, but faces up well against the run and has the potential to be an every-down asset in coverage over time.​

8 (39). Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

Analysis: Spence was scrubbed out of Ohio State for off-field issues, but cleaned himself up, did a year at Eastern Kentucky, and comes into this draft as one of the most intriguing prospects. If he keeps everything together, he could be a DeMarcus Ware-level difference-maker over time.​

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

9 (40). New York Giants
Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma

Analysis: The Giants get one of the best slot receivers in this draft class, and Shepard has the potential to move outside over time and become an ideal complement to Odell Beckham, Jr. He doesn't have a top gear on downfield routes, but he's got everything else to succeed at the next level.​

10 (41). Buffalo Bills
Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Grade: B

Analysis: The only thing that may have kept Ragland out of the first round was the reports of an enlarged aorta. But he's a perfect scheme and need fit for the BIlls because of his ability to play inside and outside linebacker on first and second down,and move up to rush the passer in other situations.​

11 (42). Baltimore Ravens
Kamalei Correa, LB, Boise State

Analysis: With a ton of pass-rushers off the board, the Ravens go with the underrated Correa, who doesn't project fully as a 4–3 end due to his size (6' 3", 243) and relative lack of strength. A very quick player who the Ravens may see as a bulk-up project.​

12 (43). Tennessee Titans (from Eagles via Rams)
Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State

Analysis: Johnson is a big force against the run who can also get some pass pressure. He's a natural fit in Tennessee's hybrid fronts, and he'll be a natural complement to Jurrell Casey in Tennessee's interior defensive line.

13 (44). Oakland Raiders
Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois

Ward was overlooked in the 2016 class during his regular season, but he really showed up at the Senior Bowl as a guy who could combine estimable speed and shocking power. He's a bit of a project, technique-wise, but the Raiders got a good one here.​

14 (45). Tennessee Titans (from Rams)
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

The Titans have been looking for a solution at running back for a long time, and Henry might fit the bill in conjuction with DeMarco Murray. Henry is primarily a north-south power back with very little agility and wiggle to his game, but few backs in recent years are better when it comes to blasting through tackles. The Heisman winner is a very productive player with some workload issues.​

• ​​FARRAR: Derrick Henry’s strengths, weaknesses and more

15 (46). Detroit Lions
A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Analysis: Losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley over the last couple of years put a major hole in Detroit's defensive line. Robinson can put a lot of that to rest with his combination of two-gap power and one-gap pursuit ability. Those who malign him as a one-trick pony need to watch his 2013 tape, when he blew up blocks and pressured quarterbacks very well.​

16 (47). New Orleans Saints
Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

Analyis: Thomas fills a clear need for the Saints as an outside receiver who can also move inside—he's a physical presence on the field from the slot to the boundary. He was most likely debited for his lack of deep speed, but just as they once did with Marques Colston, New Orleans finds a way to use tough receivers who don't burn through vertical routes.​

17 (48). Green Bay Packers
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

Analysis: Spriggs needs to bulk up a bit and work on his overall play strength, but over the next year or two, he could become one of the best left tackles in this class. He's got great agility at the point and in space, and he's a very technically sound player. He's an ideal fit for Green Bay's high-volume passing offense.​

18 (49). Seattle Seahawks
Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama 

Analysis: This doesn't do anything to fix Seattle's obvious holes on the offensive line, but it does take care of the vacancy left by Brandon Mebane's departure in free agency. Reed is an every-down tackle who excels against the run and could develop into a bit of a pass-rusher over time​.

19 (50). Houston Texans
Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame

Analysis: Martin, the younger brother of the Cowboys' Zack, is a technically sound and powerful player, who struggles at times to maintain agility at the second level. For the Texans, he'll provide excellent base-level blocking and give Lamar Miller lanes up the middle.​

20 (51). New York Jets
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

Analysis: Hackenberg is a good developmental quarterback, but to take him in the second round with their current quarterback situation—including another recent second-round pick in Geno Smith—doesn't speak well for things. Hackenberg struggles to see the field under pressure, and he's wildly erratic with his ball placement. A very curious pick here. He's not even the best quarterback left on the board.​

21 (52). Atlanta Falcons
Deion Jones, LB, LSU

A tackling machine in 2015 after just one start before that, Jones is an instinctive, smart, aggressive linebacker who could develop into a top-tier starter.​

22 (53). Washington Redskins
Su'a Cravens, LB, USC

Analysis: The Redskins just got their own Deone Bucannon, and defensive coordinator Joe Barry will have a field day moving him around. Some teams didn't know whether Cravens was a linebacker or safety in college, but the truth is, he's both—and he'll be a great asset to Washington's defense, especially with Josh Norman now in the fold.​

23 (54). Minnesota Vikings
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Analysis: How Alexander dropped to the end of the second round is a mystery, except to say that a lot of teams have biases against 5' 10" cornerbacks when they shouldn't. Alexander is the best man coverage cornerback in this class, and he'll be a perfect fit in Mike Zimmer's aggressive defense. In the slot or outside, Alexander is at least a round better than this pick would indicate.​

• ​​​FARRAR: Watching tape with Mackensie Alexander

24 (55). Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

Boyd broke all of Larry Fitzgerald's records at Pitt, and branched into running back territory at times. He's a very smooth runner with get-up speed, making him a great complement to A.J. Green. He'll have to learn a full route tree, but he's a tough kid with good NFL potential.​

25 (56). Chicago Bears
Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State

Analysis: Whitehair may project as a tackle for the Bears, but many see him as a future guard, and he could very well be a good one. He's not an especially agile player, but he's got a ton of power, leadership and potential.​

26 (57). Indianapolis Colts
T.J. Green, CB, Clemson

Analysis: Green has been one of the sleepers in this class for many analysts, and it's a bit surprising to see him go this low. He'll be a real asset to Indy's defense as a coverage player who can make up a lot of ground in a big hurry. Where he needs to improve is in his tacking consistency.​

27 (58). Pittsburgh Steelers
Sean Davis, S, Maryland

Analysis: The Steelers have picked defensive backs in the first two rounds, and Davis projects at corner and safety, depending on where they want to put him. Primarily, he's an intimidator in the box with a nasty tackling demeanor, and if he plays more than slot corner in the NFL, he'll have to iimprove his backpedal and footwork.​

28 (59). Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State

Analysis: This one is quite simple: You don't trade up in the second round to draft a kicker. 

• ​Get to know Bucs’ second-round draft pick, K Robert Aguayo

29 (60). New England Patriots
Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama

Analysis: New England has had success with a number of smaller cornerbacks over the last few years, with Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan as prime examples. Jones fits in that category, as a good boundary cornerback with an aggressive demeanor. His size may limit him in the NFL, but he'll be good in the slot and dynamite on returns.​

30 (61). New Orleans Saints
Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State

Analysis: Jairus Byrd has been a mammoth bust in the Big Easy, and Bell could be Byrd's replacement sooner rather than later with his coverage abilities. He does everything from curl/flat and deep seam routes, and faces up well against the run. Great value here on a first-round talent.​

31 (62). Carolina Panthers
James Bradberry, CB, Samford

Analysis: Bradberry went from Arkansas State to Samford when Hugh Freeze wouldn't let him play cornerback, and he could turn into an interesting Josh Norman replacement over time as a good press cornerback with excellent speed. Strength of competition is an issue, but Bradberry is an underrated player. Second round might be a bit high for him, though.​

32 (63). Denver Broncos
Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech

Analysis: The Australian native was lightly recruited until Georgia Tech gave him a shot, and he projects as a Malik Jackson replacement with his tremendous athleticism and intensity. He's raw and will need some time to learn the subtleties of the position, but over time, he may work his way past rotational status and into the starting lineup.