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Green Zone League Articles

2016 Draft Grades, 21-32
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

Here are the last of my Draft Grades for 2016. By the end of the first round we start to see more and more variety in who will be picked. Even so, there were mostly excellent picks.

1.21 – CB Kyan McGrady, Patriots. This is a good value pickup from the Patriots. McGrady is lumped in with the stellar group of CBs that came after Booker and Hasty. Depending on your preferences, any of them could be the third off the board. For awhile I had McGrady as the number three corner on the board and it’s easy to see why. He has nice size (6’0”) and was the fastest CB in the class (97 SPD). Beyond that, however, McGrady’s attributes are only average, and he has a poor vertical lift. Still, getting such a prospect this late is a nice addition. GRADE: A-

1.22 – OLB Oliver Nixon, Texans. While outside linebackers tend to be undervalued come draft day, it’s hard to argue with Nixon’s skills. Only three other OLBs in the league feature Nixon’s combination of speed (84 SPD) and strength (79 STR). Plus, Nixon is a big boy who will be versatile and dynamic in Houston. His only downside is his poor hands. Nixon would also make a tremendous middle linebacker. GRADE: A-

1.23 – FS Sergio Fields, Dolphins. The Dolphins went Free Safety here and it’s tough to judge this selection. Like the pick of SS McFarland, I didn’t put much effort in scouting the Safeties. On the plus side, Fields has great size as he is 6’2”. Plus he’s the fastest Safety in the draft, which is a potent combination. However, there are a few question marks as well. He lacks average strength, even for a Free Safety, and he has poor agility, crucial at the position. GRADE: B

1.24 – WR Jorge Lloyd, Bucs. As usual, the Bucs stole a great player with their selection of WR Lloyd. Easily the fastest WR in the draft (98 SPD), Lloyd fell this late because he lacks elite size (5’11”, 185). However, it’s likely that if he measured an even six feet tall, he’d have gone in the Top 10. It’s likely NFC South defenses will be paying for that one inch for years to come. GRADE: A

1.25 – LE Clay Linton, Giants. The Giants got a nice little boost to the defensive line with the drafting of Linton out of Auburn. With a weak DE class, Linton was one of only two potential first rounders. Linton isn’t super fast or super strong, but outside of Amos Houston, the best combination available. Linton does have superb agility and acceleration, which should cause fits for Offensive Tackles. The only potential knock on Linton is his injury risk. GRADE: A-

1.26 – MLB Ed Holliday, Bucs. With this pick the Bucs get a solid middle linebacker who can step in almost right away. I didn’t have a first round grade on Holliday, but it’s easy to see why Tampa Bay liked him. First, Holliday is one of the biggest mikes in the draft. And while he lacks elite speed (82 SPD), he’s got decent wheels. An area of concern in Holliday’s game is his poor agility. The Bucs will need to work with the rookie in this area. GRADE: B

1.27 – C Fernando Wilson, 49ers. The Niners grab the player everyone wanted, but no one until now could find the time to select. Wilson is one of two Centers in the game with 67 SPD and 94 STR. Plus, he’s the most agile Center to come out and is a polished blocker, ready for his first start. GRADE: A+

1.28 – OLB Larry Pittman, 49ers. San Francisco follows up the pick of Wilson with another gem, LB Larry Pittman. Pittman is a versatile player who can play inside or out. On my board he was the third overall outside linebacker, behind Mays and Nixon. But as a MLB, I had him ranked higher than Holliday, selected at 1.26. Pittman needs to hit the books (59 AWR) to play inside, but can develop into a stud at either position. GRADE: A+

1.29 – DE Vincent Hardy, Packers. The Packers snagged one of the steals of the draft at the end of the round. The Packers played a mix of 3-4 and 4-3 in 2015 so it’ll be interesting to see where they play Hardy. Though he comes out of college as an End, it’s just as easy to see Hardy as an undersized DT who is a pass rushing specialist. Hardy has crazy speed (75 SPD) and solid strength (88 STR) and is very quick (74 AGI). Either way, the Packers have one hell of an athlete. GRADE: A

1.30 – OLB Jermaine Newsome, Jaguars. Newsome should turn into a solid pro for Jacksonville and is a good value here. He has great speed (85 SPD) and good strength (73 STR) for an outside linebacker. Newsome is a little undersized (6’0”, 231) but should be a nice starter for years to come at the Will position. Usually I’m not big on selecting an OLB in the first unless they have monster attributes. But Newsome has some nice potential. GRADE: B+

1.31 – OG Shannon Crockett, Broncos. Crockett is the first OG off the board and probably the second best lineman after Michael Millen. The Denver running game will really benefit from Crockett’s fine skills and attributes. Few possess such speed (68 SPD) and power (87 STR), coupled with ready-to-start blocking abilities. One would usually prefer lineman to be stronger, but look for Crockett to dominate defenders in the years to come. GRADE: A-

1.32 – SS Josh Ware, Lions. Rounding out the bottom of the first round, the Lions grab SS Josh Ware. I didn’t have a first round grade on Ware, but I thought he could go early in the second round. Going 1.32 is about as close to the early second round as you can go, so this isn’t too much of a stretch. The first thing one notes about Ware is his frame – physically he looks like a clone of Jacquez Stokes taken earlier in the first. Ware lacks Stokes’ speed (91 vs 88), but is stronger (73 STR). Plus he’s the best tackling SS in the class. GRADE: A-
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