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2016 NFL draft grades: How all 32 teams fared

Three days and 253 picks later, the 2016 NFL draft is in the books. Find who out who received our highest and lowest marks below, as Chris Burke and Doug Farrar grade each and every team’s class.

Three days and 253 picks later, the 2016 NFL draft is in the books. Although the top two picks went according to script after the smoke cleared from two blockbuster pre-draft trades, not much else did from then on. The first draft for the Browns’ new progressive front office left some scratching their heads, while the Titans made solid use of the draft picks they received for trading out of the No. 1 pick. The defending Super Bowl champs grabbed their next quarterback of the future, while last year’s runners-up reloaded at the position where they found themselves surprisingly thin after letting a superstar walk.

Find out who received our highest and lowest marks below, as Chris Burke and Doug Farrar grade each and every team.

Jump to your favorite team:

AFC: Bengals | Bills | Broncos | Browns | Chargers | Chiefs | Colts | Dolphins | Jaguars | Jets | Patriots | Raiders | Ravens | Steelers | Texans | Titans

NFC: 49ers | Bears | Bucs | Cardinals | Cowboys | Eagles | Falcons | Giants | Lions | Packers | Panthers | Rams | Redskins | Saints | Seahawks | Vikings

Arizona Cardinals: B

First pick: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss (No. 29)

Other notable picks: Brandon Williams, CB, Texas A&M (92); Marqui Christian, S, Midwestern State (167); Cole Toner, OT, Harvard (170)

Nkemdiche has among the best tape of anyone in this draft class, but he dropped to 29th because of on- and off-field concerns. If Cardinals coach Bruce Arians can corral Nkemdiche’s talent and keep him on the straight and narrow as he has done with Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals got a real steal. Williams, a third-round cornerback from Texas A&M is a former running back with top-level athleticism, but he’s a project at the NFL level. Missouri center Evan Boehm could start right away if Arizona can work around his lack of athleticism. Christian is one to watch—winner of the Cliff Harris Award as the nation’s best small-school defensive player last year, he is a concussive hitter. Toner jumped up in national awareness after a nice week at the Senior Bowl. Overall, the Cards are going on future potential here, as opposed to filling immediate needs. The Nkemdiche pick will determine the success or failure of this draft, and that’s a bit of a risk.​ —DF

Atlanta Falcons: D

First pick: Keanu Neal, S, Florida (No. 17)

Other notable picks: Deion Jones, LB, LSU (52); Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford (81); De'Vondre Campbell​, OLB, Minnesota (115)

The Falcons’s personnel braintrust of Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff has had iffy results in the last few drafts, with Dimitroff as the more tenured veteran in the organization. On its face, this draft looks like another head-scratcher. The Falcons did little to address their defensive line needs, instead spending the 17th pick on Neal, who looks like a reach there. Jones is a speed linebacker with some safety-level assets—not a bad player, but perhaps another reach. Hooper should help fill a need that’s been glaring since Tony Gonzalez retired, and Campbell is another speed ’backer. In the larger view, it appears Atlanta spent draft capital on players it could have traded down to get and didn’t address its defensive line need early in a draft that has as much D-line talent as any in recent NFL history. That’s hard to swallow.​ —DF

Baltimore Ravens: B+

First pick: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (No. 6)

Other notable picks: Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise State (42); Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech (134); Keenan Reynolds, WR, Navy (182)

True to Ozzie Newsome’s reputation, the Ravens did yeoman’s work on Days 2 and 3 of the draft. They didn’t start off too poorly either in nabbing Stanley. Would that pick have been Laremy Tunsil under different circumstances? Either way, Newsome found a long-term left tackle to replace Eugene Monroe, sooner rather than later. Bronson Kaufusi and Willie Henry will boost a depth-starved defensive front; Correa and Matt Judon could be good for 10-plus sacks between them off the edge next season if all goes well. Offensively, Dixon and Reynolds just happened to finish 1-2 all time on the NCAA touchdowns list. The former looks like a significant value as a fourth-round compensatory pick, and he could ascend to the top of the Ravens’ RB depth chart in short order. The only potential negative from Baltimore’s weekend: It failed to land any help at inside linebacker.​ —CB

McCANN: Potential legal fallout from Laremy Tunsil’s tweet crisis

Buffalo Bills: A-

First pick: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (No. 19)

Other notable picks: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama (41); Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (139); Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas (156)

The Bills used their first three picks on defense, even trading up to get Ragland (at a steep cost: the No. 49 selection and two fourth-rounders). He was a potential first-round fit for their defense, so finding the ILB hammer still available at the 41st pick has to be considered a win. The same really goes for Lawson, who was considered a possibility for teams like Tampa Bay and the Giants within the top 10. Third-round DT Adolphus Washington rounded out the Buffalo run, and the brothers Ryan have to like his versatility. What the Bills did on the other side of the ball is intriguing, to say the least. Cardale Jones is an ideal developmental candidate behind starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor—it does not require much imagination to see Jones uncorking deep balls to burner Kolby Listenbee in the near future. Running back Jonathan Williams will outplay his draft slot if he’s healthy, although he enters a crowded backfield.​ —CB

Carolina Panthers: C

First pick: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech (No. 30)

Other notable picks: James Bradberry, S, Samford (62); Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia (77); Zack Sanchez​, CB, Oklahoma (141)

You think Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was loading up on cornerbacks after dropping Josh Norman? After selecting Butler in the first round—a no-argument player who may be the next Muhammad Wilkerson—the Panthers went CB with three straight picks. The most intriguing could be Bradberry. He transferred from Arkansas State when then coach Hugh Freeze wouldn’t let him move from safety and played well enough at Samford to gain a Senior Bowl invitation. He’s a big press cornerback who needs development, like Norman once was. Worley led the Big 12 in picks last season and has every attribute but blazing speed downfield. Sanchez is an interception monster whose size may keep him in the slot, but he’s a real player. The debit in the grade here goes to the fact that the Panthers didn’t do anything to address the offensive line that may have kept them from winning Super Bowl 50.​—DF

Chicago Bears: B

First pick: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia (No. 9)

Other notable picks: Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State (56); Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida (72); DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary (185)

The Bears may have reached a tad for Floyd unless they can turn him into an NFL-level pass rusher, but there’s not much to argue with otherwise. Second-rounder Whitehair is a plug-and-play guy at either guard or right tackle, and he’ll add toughness and consistency to that line. Bullard is a perfect fit in Vic Fangio’s defense with his ability to play multiple gaps very well. Miami safety Deon Bush will add value on special teams and could crack the defensive starting lineup over time. Watch out for the sixth-round cornerback Houston-Carson from William & Mary—the small-school star has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.​ —DF

Cincinnati Bengals: A+

First pick: William Jackson III, CB, Houston (No. 24)

Other notable picks: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh (55); Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (122); Christian Westerman, G, Arizona State (161)

Just about every time the draft had one of those "it feels like player X is falling" moments, along came the Bengals to scoop up a steal. Jackson might wind up being this class’s best cornerback—landing him one pick before the CB-needy Steelers hit the clock was a bonus. Boyd should be a favorite of Andy Dalton, due to the number of ways he can excel with the football. And Billings and Westerman back-to-back in Rounds 4 and 5 was downright stunning. How either of those players was still available when the Bengals drafted them almost defies logic. In all, that’s four players capable of starting immediately. Sixth-round WR Cody Core is a name to remember from Cincinnati’s picks. He was the Robin to Laquon Treadwell’s Batman at Ole Miss but can be a big-play threat in his own right. LB Nick Vigil was a slight reach in the third round at a position where the Bengals have some depth. ​—CB

Cleveland Browns: C+

First pick: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (No. 15)

Other notable picks: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE/OLB, Oklahoma State (32); Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin (99); Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State (172)

In its first draft, Cleveland’s revamped front office took four wide receivers plus a pass-catching tight end. The Browns need Coleman to prove himself worthy of being the first receiver off the board, period. Their best bet for production in 2016 otherwise probably comes from Higgins, the last of the WR/TE burst. He saw a heavy volume of target at Colorado State and could do the same for Hue Jackson now. The Browns also sound as if they like QB Cody Kessler a ton, straying quite a bit from the feeling outside their building. But how the Browns’ class looks in hindsight will depend on how well Ogbah, Carl Nassib and offensive tackle Shon Coleman fit. Both Ogbah and Nassib would have been obvious fits in a 4–3 scheme and are more projections for a 3–4, so we’ll see. Schobert led off the fourth round and is one of the draft’s better under-the-radar picks—an effective, active linebacker. We have to take into account the extra picks Cleveland got in future drafts for trading down twice from the No. 2 pick. How many of this year’s 14 newcomers will stick?​ —CB

Jump to your favorite team:

AFC: Bengals | Bills | Broncos | Browns | Chargers | Chiefs | Colts | Dolphins | Jaguars | Jets | Patriots | Raiders | Ravens | Steelers | Texans | Titans

NFC: 49ers | Bears | Bucs | Cardinals | Cowboys | Eagles | Falcons | Giants | Lions | Packers | Panthers | Rams | Redskins | Saints | Seahawks | Vikings

Dallas Cowboys: A-

First pick: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (No. 4)

Other notable picks: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame (34); Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska (67); Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (135)

If Smith is able to return from the knee issues that now hamper his NFL future, this is a lead-pipe A+. He was the best player in this class, and the Cowboys took a manageable risk in spending their second-round pick on him. There’s no question that Elliott will help the Dallas offense return to form. Fourth overall is a high pick for a back, but Elliott does it all and does it well. Collins is a bit of a project, but he’s a good athlete who will vie for a rotational slot early on. Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper is a more developed player who will be an asset against the run, with pass rush as a bonus attribute. Prescott is a big, mobile quarterback who has shown a lot of mental development over time, and he’s in the perfect situation to continue to grow—as long as Tony Romo stays healthy.​ —DF​

•​ Watch: Jaylon Smith, other prospects react to being drafted

Denver Broncos: B+

First pick: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (No. 26)

Other notable picks: Justin Simmons, S, Boston College (98); Devontae Booker, RB, Utah (138); Connor McGovern, G, Missouri (144)

Denver put an end to its off-season-long quarterback conundrum by moving up to nab Lynch, who still found himself available 24 picks after Jared Goff and Carson Wentz landed 1-2. He (eventually) should be a nice fit within the Gary Kubiak offensive scheme; it’s probably Mark Sanchez’s team in Week 1. Second-rounder Adam Gotsis will help replace Malik Jackson—he is coming back off an injury but has definite starter qualities. Simmons, Booker and McGovern are the types of picks that can help keep a team on top. Booker actually may wind up as the Broncos’ starting running back before all is said and done, despite John Elway’s recent financial commitment to C.J. Anderson. Elway did not find a linebacker he liked in the draft. Simmons and Will Parks (sixth round) may help fill the gap, allowing Denver to get creative with multiple safeties. ​—CB