One year later is not an adaquate amount of time to judge a draft pick and his value to a team, but there are signs which direction things will go and how much a team was improved by the decision to pick a player where they did.
I did write a final grades article, including commentary. Some of that info will be in this article, including the players and team grades. But if you want to see the individual write-up for each player, here are the articles.
49ers - B
1.2 - CB Jamar Taylor - A+ --- Best comparison(s): Leon Hall, Courtland 'Innigan
4.23 - LE Scott Wilkinson - A --- Best comparison(s): Pernell McPhee
7.30 - FS Thomas Grant - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.32 - CB Larry Greer - D+ --- Best comparison(s): backups
A year ago I gave San Francisco a B for their grade. Specifically, I loved their first pick, thought they made a good 4th round selection and for a team that once had 5 2nds should have done a lot more building.
These four players careers started more or less the way I expected. The late 7th rounders are gone. Scott Wilkinson did not start as he is not ready to take over for McPhee, and Taylor started the entire year.
Taylor is what the entire draft hinges on (besides the future picks the 49ers were able to use to maneuver 3 1st round selections and 3 seconds from this season) and he didn't blow the doors off of the league as a rookie. That said, rookie CB's don't often have a bigger impact than an average starter unless they are physically freaks and turn in some big plays that hide their struggles. Taylor only had 1 pick and his 18 deflections are not a struggle but not stardom yet. Expect his star to shine brightest starting in year 3 as he'll already has 79 AWR going into year two.
The individual grades and team grade I still like. No changes.
Cardinals - D
6.28 - CB Andre Waters - C- --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.8 - CB Charles Palmer - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.12 - SS Earl Wolff - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
One out of these three players is still on the team, Charles Palmer who had 11 tackles and 2 deflections. So he's outlived my prediction. That said, I don't see this draft class growing on me.
No change to the grade, which is generous because I couldn't determine what draft day trades the Cardinals made for players.
Rams - B
1.12 - DT Sheldon Richardson - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Fletcher Cox, Nick Fairley
3.29 - WR Levon Taylor - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Chris Matthews, Terrance Williams
6.9 - WR Ryan Lopez - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
6.13 - FB Tommy Bohanon - B+ --- Best comparison(s): backups
6.26 - SS J.J. Wilcox - A- --- Best comparison(s): backups
6.29 - WR David Austin - B --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.9 - TE Chris Gragg - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
The Rams had a change of management during the draft. They've also changed back to Richardson since then. Either way, this draft turned out to be quite good. Sheldon put together 7 sacks for this superb front 7, while Levon Taylor and David Austin combined for 60 catches, 912 yards, 3 TDs, and only 5 drops. Considering Taylor's biggest problem coming out where his hands he's looking like a better pick than I called him.
I was right about the FB, who was not a good fit for the Rams and is now and Eagles, and most of the other late picks are still with the team but not yet contributing. All things considered I would move this grade up to a B+, with Taylor and Richardson both being evaluated to move up into the A- category.
Seahawks - B+
2.30 - DT Akeem Spence - B+ --- Best comparison(s): JaQuinton Long
3.14 - TE Zach Ertz - A- --- Best comparison(s): Jordan Cameron, Luke Stocker
3.21 - QB Landry Jones - A- --- Best comparison(s): Christian Ponder, Russell Wilson
3.23 - OLB Jerry Ellis - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Shea McClellin
5.18 - HB Shaun Robinson - A --- Best comparison(s): Montee Ball
5.30 - DT Pete Owen - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
5.31 - LT Earl Cote - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Austin Laurie
6.18 - OLB Chase Thomas - D+ --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.4 - MLB Vince Williams - C- --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.18 - HB Jawan Jamison - B+ --- Best comparison(s): backups
This class lived up to what I wrote about it. Starting from the front, Spence started the entire year on the best run stopping defense and had 6 sacks. But the third round is where the money is.
Ertz and Jones both are backstopping a pro bowl-level or close young player but both showed what they could do when they had opportunities. Ertz got part time playing time as a #2 TE, occasional FB, and #3/#4 WR. He showed he needs more playing time when he did see the field. Jones was 6/7 with a TD during the regular season and 13/22 for 241 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 pick during the SB against the Steelers.
Of this group, the only other starters were Jerry Ellis who started most of the year at LOLB and Earl Cote, who earned the starting LT job by week 7 and allowed only 3 sacks of Cameron Newton.
This group I'd leave at a B+. Fantastic value where Seattle drafted but not a lot of starters yet. Keep an eye on this group and it could turn into an A.