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Green Zone League Articles

2017 Draft Grades (21-32)
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

Here's the last installment of my draft grades. Unlike picks 1-20, I thought there were some questionable picks on the backend of the first round and didn't hesitate to say so. No offense tended, of course.

1.21 MLB CJ Mosely, Eagles. Mosley had a big game in the All-Star game with 10 tackles and likely will be a good MLB for the Eagles. He was definitely the best MLB left on the board but his selection here feels a little early. Philly had multiple 2nd round picks and likely could have gotten him later in the draft. Mosely has great acceleration and is one of the better tacklers in the class, but is also a bit undersized (234 lbs) and has below average strength. GRADE: B-

1.22 HB Tre Mason, Cardinals. With Beanie Wells leaving the team after a stellar career in the Valley of the Sun, the Cardinals needed a replacement. As Hyde was gone, the Cardinals went with Mason. Mason will likely be a solid starter for the Cardinals, though hes undersized (58, 207) and lacks elite speed, strength and agility. This definitely feels like a stretch, and for a team that going into the draft had no CBs on its roster, its an odd choice. Perhaps it would have been better to go with former 1,000 yard rusher Jahvid Best for a year and see what stud HBs are available in 2017. GRADE: C

1.23 DE Trent Murphy, Bucs. I like this pick, though I think Murphy may be a borderline 2nd rounder. He is an intriguing talent who has boom or bust potential. Murphy has great speed (85 SPD) and acceleration (86 ACC), but has below average strength (69 STR). I tend to trust AFs judgment and will give him the benefit of the doubt here, but time will tell. GRADE: B+

1.24 OT Bo Schneider, Falcons. After Robinson and Price, the offensive line class thins considerably. By my count there were three or four solid guards or tackles that were late first round, early second round talents. As to which of these is better is a personal choice. Schneider has exceptional agility and acceleration and is a big body lineman. On the negative side, he has average speed and is not a very finished blocker. Still, theres a lot of talent here to develop. GRADE: B

1.25 TE Eric Ebron, Lions. League history was made with Ebron, who is the first TE ever drafted in the first round. History will decide if this was the right move as the Lions gear up for another Arena league season. Its hard to imagine that there are any passes left to go around. Still, its not hard to see what Detroit liked about Ebron hes one of the fastest Tight Ends in the game and has skills more like a WR. GRADE: B+

1.26 DE Yasmin Ferguson, Patriots. Perhaps Im missing something here, but I dont really see the appeal of Ferguson. I think hes too small (248 lbs) to play DE and his physical attributes arent enough to make him an intriguing prospect at the position. Hes probably better suited for an outside linebacker, but on my board hes the third best at that position. GRADE: D

1.27 QB Johnny Manziel, Bengals. On my board there was only 1 quarterback worth taking in the first round, Bo Callahan. Manziel is too small (60, 207 lbs) and too fast (85 SPD) to have a good chance and being successful. Whats odd is that QB wasnt even a need as the Bengals have veteran Philip Rivers and former first rounder Ryan Tannehill on the roster. Manziel isnt even the best Texas A&M QB on the depth chart. GRADE: D-

1.28 OG Brandon Thomas, Steelers. This is a good, if unsexy pickup by the Steelers. Thomas is perhaps the most athletic of the second tier of lineman in this draft. Hes got good speed and great acceleration, perfect for a Guard. Hes also a nice pass blocker as a rookie. The biggest knock on him is a potential injury risk, but thats about it. GRADE: B+

1.29 DE Bradley Simmons, Ravens. Justin Tuck is gone from Baltimore and the Ravens need another big body to pair with DaQuan Bowers. Simmons fits the bill, as the Ravens seem to like bigger Ends. Simmons looks to be average across the board without being a standout at any particular attribute. Still, he looks like a solid starter in a week Defensive End class. GRADE: B

1.30 CB Darqueze Dennard, Bills. More than one mock draft pegged Dennard as a late first round prospect, but the rookie CB did not reach such a position on my board, though hes not far off here from my early 2nd round projection. Still, its curious Buffalo went with Dennard when Vontae Riggins was still available. Dennard does have elite acceleration, but beyond that has only average to slightly above average attributes. Not to say that Dennard isnt a talented player, but I would argue there were more talented players available. GRADE: C+

1.31 CB Vontae Riggins, Bears. Riggins did not get much pre-draft buzz, but I almost wondered if this was because some owners didnt want to tip their interest. Riggins has the potential to be the complete package and this late in the draft is an absolute steal. The rookie CB has very good size (61, 210), speed comparable to Sherman and Gilbert, and the second best agility in the class (95 AGI). Even better he has great jumping skills and is a great kick returner. GRADE: A+

1.32 QB Malik McNabb, Eagles. Its the second coming of McNabb in Philly, and it should be interesting to watch how this one develops. The Eagles have the luxury of developing their rookie as starter Aaron Rodgers has some gas left in the tank. McNabb is hard to figure out his STR is higher than his THP and his SPD is higher than his THA so clearly hes not a prototypical QB. GM Wintermute says McNabb is his new challenge. Even if not successful, itll be interesting. GRADE: C
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