1.11 - Seahawks - OT Ryan Ramczyk - B+
As the run on offensive lineman continues, this is a pick that I like, but don't love. Ramczyk simply doesn't have the same athleticism as the other lineman coming off the board to give the same grade. With that said, I still can see him being a great fit for the type of football that Seattle likes to play. He's a big, sound blocker with great strength and good but not great athleticism. I see him as more an elite LT than RT, but he could hold his own on either side.
1.12 - Saints - DE Soloman Thomas - A+
Another pick, another A+ for the Saints. Thomas has the chance to be an elite defensive end with some work. Sure, he has one big flaw which is his lack of even good agility for a top-tier pass rusher, but he will be a multi-dimensional presence for years to come that can be a force against both the pass and the run. Great value at pick 12 here.
1.13 - Patriots - CB Grady Jones - B-
Let me start off by saying that Jones is not a bad pick here. It's pretty good value at pick 13. But the B- grade is because I cannot decipher why Jones went ahead of Gareon Conley. Height reigns supreme at this position, and Conley boasts very similar attributes at two inches taller. Like I said, not bad value, but it could have been a great pick.
1.14 - Texans - CB Gareon Conley - A+
The Patriots loss is the Texans gain. That can be tough when you're playing in the same conference. This really is a steal here all the way at pick 14. I can't remember too many times where a 6'2" CB with 94 speed and no glaring holes to his game fell this far. Maybe it's a sign that the position is getting a bit saturated, but frankly I don't care. It's a big time talent off the board almost half way through the first round, and that earns a top grade from me.
1.15 - Eagles - CB Tre'Davious White - A-
The Eagles may have come late to the CB party, but they didn't miss out as they were still able to grab a very talented player. White lacks the height of Conley or even Jones, but is the fastest of the trio and enters the league as a very polished player. It's not a straight up A because I'm not the biggest fan of sub six foot cornerbacks, and there really is more than enough to go around in this league, but White will be a monster when given the right match-up. Not bad value at this spot.
1.16 - Redskins - OL Eldon Pryer - A
Let me say it again - this class was loaded with OL talent. Pryer is quite the impressive athlete with 70 speed and 85 acceleration given he tipped the scales at 332 lbs at the combine. His strength is not elite, but he'll have a chance to work on that as he develops his game. I do have to account for the fact that there's been a few athletic sub-90 strength OTs on the open market in recent years, but Pryer is better than all of them. I like this pick even if he isn't quite a freak. Still good value.
1.17 - Bears - DT Cepheus Smith - A
I've been talking a lot about drafting the right positions at the right times, and I think the Bears nailed it here. DTs are certainly important, but typically aren't near the top when you think of the most impactful positions in Madden. It's likely why the very talented Smith fell to the 17th pick. Lucky for the Bears they knew when to pull the trigger. Smith is as talented as many DTs who have been taken in the top ten in previous drafts, maybe even more so. He has good strength, unbelievable burst, and he's a big dude at 6'5" and 325 lbs. There's also no holes in his game to be found. With a little bit of work on his strength this easily becomes an A+.
1.18 - Panthers - S Budda Baker - D+
I struggled with this grade, because Baker is certainly talented. He's extremely fast, quick, and strong for his position with great instincts. But he has one fatal flaw and that is his 5'10" height. In real life players can overcome that with great instincts or athleticism, but it's not as easy in Madden. It's always going to hinder him to a great extent. He simply won't be able to match-up with some of the better, taller receivers in the league. I think the Panthers could have gotten much better value here.
1.19 - Giants - A kicker - F
1.20 - Bills - CB Kevin King - B+
I like the potential here. The elite talent at CB has come and gone, so at pick 20 the Bills grabbed themselves a player with the potential to be an elite CB. At 6'2", King has the height to be very successful, he just needs to work on his athleticism. It will be a tall task, but if the Bills can pull it off, this pick will easily be an A, maybe an A+. He's got the potential to be a 94/94 player with 74 strength, good intangibles, and decent hands. The Bills could have done much worse here.