5 worst picks from Day 1 of the NFL draft

These Round 1 selections could prove to be big mistakes for the teams that made him, including Seattle's choice of OT Germain Ifedi.

| 7 months ago
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

5 worst picks from Day 1 of the NFL draft


Not every NFL team made the right choice with its first-round pick of the 2016 NFL draft. Here are the five worst picks of Day 1:

1. Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

To say we differed from the Seahawks’ assessment of Ifedi, their selection at No. 31 overall, is an understatement. Ifedi had a sixth-round grade on our big board and was our 12th overall tackle in the class. He simply did not grade well at all, finishing with a negative pass-blocking grade a season ago. Sure, he is strong, and has a fantastic frame for the position, but his technique is nowhere near an NFL level yet. It will take him a few years to even get to an NFL starter’s level, and then at that point the Seahawks will have to break out the checkbook for his second contract.

2. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

This was an odd pick, as offensive tackle wasn’t a huge need for the Lions after they signed Geoff Schwartz, and on our board Decker was a fairly generous reach in the middle of the first round (Detroit took him at No. 16 overall). Decker had the second-lowest pass-blocking grade (after Ifedi) of any offensive lineman drafted in the first round, and it was his second straight season with poor pass-blocking numbers. At a position where pass blocking outweighs run blocking in a big way, that’s concerning. Decker has far fewer concerns in the run game, but the Lions aren’t exactly a run-heavy offense.

3. Atlanta Falcons: Keanu Neal, S, Florida

Dan Quinn wanted his version of Kam Chancellor, his star strong safety when he was defensive coordinator in Seattle, so badly he went out and jumped at the first player he saw offering anything similar. Neal didn’t grade out close to Chancellor’s level a year ago, however, and not even close to the level of Karl Joseph, the safety who went three picks prior to Oakland. Neal graded out negatively in run defense and pass coverage, and his 16 missed tackles were the sixth-most among draft-eligible safeties.

4. New York Jets: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Fellow PFF analyst Bobby Slowik told me that Lee reminded him a bit of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington when he was coming out of college. It might be that Jets coach Todd Bowles, who used to coach Washington, felt similarly. The problem is that comparing two players doesn’t mean they’ll turn out the same, and simply put, Lee is a project. 45 percent of his snaps a year ago came from the slot, and when he was asked to play in the box, his run reads weren’t on an NFL level. He also managed to only grade out right around average in coverage, and only got his hands on two passes all season long — while ranking fourth-worst in the class in tackling efficiency in coverage.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Artie Burns, CB, Miami (FL)

Pittsburgh left itself with such a desperate need at cornerback that a reach in the draft was unfortunately inevitable. Burns’ tape doesn’t do much to suggest he is worth a first-round pick. He had six interceptions last season at Miami, but it wasn’t necessarily indicative of a high level of performance. Burns graded out right around average, and what’s most concerning was his lack of feel in zone coverage. The Steelers played zone at one of the highest rates in the NFL last season.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Anthony

    Agree with all of them. Treadwell to the Vikings was bad too.

    • Craig W.

      LOL…he was the pick they’ve wanted since the beginning of the draft process. Perfect receiver for the Vikings scheme. They have enough guys with speed. Charles Johnson, Patterson, Wright and Diggs can all run.

      • Adam Fogarty

        But will he have enough speed to be a number 1 receiver that’s what Minnesota needs is a go to receiver

        • http://thesnarkitects.tumblr.com/ the snarkitects

          Bridgewater can’t throw far enough for a no. 1 receiver…

          • Adam Fogarty

            You don’t need to be a deep threat to be a go to receiver just look at Jarvis Landry he plays the slot

          • http://thesnarkitects.tumblr.com/ the snarkitects

            No. 1 receivers don’t primarily play slot… “go-to” doesn’t equal No. 1 receiver… if Bridgewater can’t throw that far, they don’t need a true No. 1, they adjust to his abilities

          • SkolBro

            Sadly true, but still – having someone is better than no one.

          • cka2nd

            Except that in the games I saw last year, Bridgewater was overthrowing on the long balls, not underthrowing. I wonder more that the problem is timing, touch or trying to do too much than that he doesn’t have the arm strength.

      • Anthony

        LOL… You’re smug as fuck. Listen, a Wide Receiver that can’t get separation and a quarterback that doesn’t throw 50 50 balls makes for a horrible pairing . I don’t give a shit how long they wanted him. That’s plain as day to see if you watched any of Treadwell. Which I guarantee you didn’t. So why don’t you fuck off.

        • Dr. Marino

          Anthony: you have the right to disagree with Craig but any point you have is lost by you being a vulgar rude asshole. Are you an elementary school bully? Grow up man.

          • enai D

            Well, he didn’t actually have a point- acting like an 8 year old throwing a temper tantrum can hardly diminish a point he didn’t actually make. As anyone who actually watches football (or follows PFF) knows, Teddy’s deep-ball is much better than the conventional wisdom would have it, and Treadwell routinely got open (as in, completely wide-freakin-open) not from pure speed but from tossing his defender at the LoS (best release of any WR in this draft) or from stopping on a dime while his defender keeps running 10 yards upfield (excellent route-runner). Funny that Anthony is here blasting others, when he clearly hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about and is just going by something he read someone else say they heard someone else say someone they knew saw one time.

          • Anthony

            Deep balls and 50 50 balls aren’t the same thing. I said nothing about deep balls. Don’t talk to me saying i don’t know what i’m talking about when you can’t even comprehend what i wrote.

          • enai D

            Speaking of reading comprehension… I mentioned PFF with respect to Bridewater’s deep passing (and most “50/50″ passes are on deep routes btw, with the exception of e.g. fades in the red zone), not Treadwell. But PFF was complementary of Treadwell’s release and route-running anyways (even in Monson’s generally critical article on Treadwell, he mentions that creating separation through release technique and route-running is among Treadwell’s strengths).

            You should probably just take a deep breath and count to 10 before you post/respond to football articles, unless you don’t mind having your posts disregarded because all the swearing and name-calling makes you sound like a bratty teenager (particularly when this bluster is a placeholder for saying anything substantive).

          • Anthony

            Yeah and you don’t come off like a pompous asshole at all hahaha You’re a clown.

          • enai D

            The irony…

          • Anthony

            If you think that was vulgar, you haven’t spent much time on the internet. Also, as you can see my original comment said nothing wrong just and opinion and he tried to make me feel like an idiot so i returned the favor. So i’ll say it again to you this time, why don’t you fuck off 😉

          • Kirk

            Anthony you are an idiot. Jerry Rice didn’t have separation speed and he turned out OK. Treadwell is a big target and will go get the ball. If you watched him at Ole Miss you would have seen he was always open. Now shut your potty mouth up!!

          • Michael Trettel

            I agree with dr. Marino. Not knowing any other part of the conversation. There is no need for that. It’s like reality tv. Make your point, like a man. Whatever the point is. It isn’t personal, when it becomes personal, it has no place on a forum.

  • Lingyu Wang

    I’m not familiar with Artie Burns. But when I heard that Bengals selected William Jackson, I only said “OMG”. I hated Bengals so much!!.. Whatever, let’s go, Burns!!

    • Adam Fogarty

      With how much he uses his hands I question how good his technique is plus he’s gonna get penalized a lot in the nfl

    • SeattleSteve

      I remembered hearing that the Steelers liked Will Jackson III, so I chuckled at the Bengals troll picking them.

    • Melo D

      Oh, come on, I really hope you don’t think that Cincy did that just to troll the Steelers. That’s crazy. All the top receivers were gone so they took the best player available, which happened to be the Steelers guy. Maybe Pitt should have had a backup plan rather than just reaching for another CB…

      • Dan

        Given how quickly the Steelers submitted their pick, they more than likely had a backup plan, and just because it didn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean that it didn’t make sense to them. The Steelers are a team that builds itself almost exclusively through the draft, and I’d say they’ve been quite successful with this approach, given that they’re the winningest team since the AFL/NFL merger, and the second-winningest team since 2000. In order to have that kind of success over such a long period of time, a team has to have a front office that knows what it’s doing, so it’s outrageously insulting to suggest that the Steelers didn’t have a backup plan. The Steelers are masters of the draft, and the Washington Post even said so a week and a half ago, when they illustrated that the Steelers ranked #1 of all NFL teams in terms of player value drafted from 1996-2015.

        Furthermore, no, Artie Burns was not a reach, considering the final mock draft on NFL.com had Daniel Jeremiah projecting him to the Panthers at #30, Mike Mayock projecting him to the Cardinals at #29, Bucky Brooks projecting him to the Chiefs at #28, and Charles Davis projecting him to — get this — the Steelers at #25. By the way, all the players who were projected from late in the first round through the middle of the second round had similar value, so highlighting a mock draft or two that had Burns being drafted in the middle of the second round proves nothing, really, because his value in those mock drafts still wasn’t much less than any of the players they projected to be drafted late in the first round. Teams that didn’t need CBs probably had Burns lower on their draft boards, and teams that did need CBs probably had him higher. Speaking of which, did you notice how the Chiefs, whom Burns was projected to in several mock drafts, traded down shortly after the Steelers drafted him? Weird, huh?

        Right now, I can’t help but remember how everybody trashed the Seahawks when they drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round of the 2012 Draft.

    • Steve Johnson

      lol, my heart nearly dropped when they selected him. I just knew the Steelers had him once the Jets passed on him.

  • codered5

    The years before starter level technique stuff for Ifedi is definitely above the pay grade of this article’s creator, but outside of that I think these were pretty accurate evaluationso of the over-drafts fromantic the first day

  • cka2nd

    If Lee was drafted primarily to rush the passer, the pick doesn’t look so bad. As for Treadwell, Anthony, I would have preferred Michael Thomas but I can’t say the pick was bad since Treadwell was probably the second best big, possession receiver available at that point. If it was a reach, it wasn’t that much of a reach.

    • Adam Fogarty

      I think if he played in a 4-3 as a weak side linebacker he’ll be better

      • cka2nd

        Except Lee’s coverage skills are supposedly lacking, and that, rather than rushing the pass rusher, is generally considered a central responsibility of a 4-3 WLB where rushing the passer is an okay specialty in a 3-4 OLB. Today’s selection of Jenkins confirms that the Jets are desperately trying to get some pressure on the QB’s from the linebacking corps, I’m guessing that they see Lee and Jenkins as a one-two punch in that regard.

  • Adam Fogarty

    What are you talking about offensive tackle wasn’t a need for Detroit, their right tackle is terrible, I personally don’t like the pick though only because I think Taylor Decker and Riley Reiff are both better suited for right tackle

  • Adam Fogarty

    How about San Francisco pick of Joshua Garnett on this list, not a bad player but they could’ve stayed where they were at in the second round and still got him

    • Kris

      Not necessarily. Seattle was likely going OL and if SF felt Garnett was their guy then it was a great move. The fact that Seattle drafted a guard a few picks later gives some credence to that.

      • Tim Edell

        Seattle drafted Ifedi to play OT junior!!

        • Kris

          I haven’t read anything indicating he’s more than a project tackle at this point. Maybe that’s what they see, but it seems more likely he sees play at guard for now at least.

          • AndrewB

            He’ll get snaps at RT but you’re right, ultimately they’ll probably move him into guard

      • AndrewB

        I like Garnett but it’s basically fact that the Hawks did not have him on their board. He simply doesn’t fit the team’s precise physical requirements for the oline. Any talk otherwise is lazy journalism

        • Kris

          That’s very possible/probable. The reality is no one knows everyone’s board so moving up or down is a gamble. And at the end of the day it’s usually years before we know how well a team drafted so instant grades are about as useful as mock drafts.

  • PittsburghSports

    You’ve never seen PIT run Cover-2 and jam the WRs at the line? That’s what Burns does best, and PIT realy doesn’t have anyone capable of doing that well. Now we do. He’s a perfect fit for what we needed.

    • Vault Dweller

      Bears fan/Cover-2 fan here. That’s definitely a valuable asset and Burns should be fine as a press corner in a cover-2 shell… but nobody can just sit back in cover-2 35 snaps a game, you know?

      Burns is going to really need to improve as a man-coverage guy… in addition to getting better at feeling out the various other zone coverage looks NFL Defenses utilize.

      • Dan

        Well, the good news is that the Steelers are a well-coached team. I’m sure they can teach him a thing or two.

    • AJP

      Sure….. Pittsburgh is going to change the entire defense because they drafted a corner who stinks in zone? The cover -2 is an outdated copycat defense.

      • PittsburghSports

        PIT’s D evolved quite a bit last year, and yes they used some Cover-2 principles, but when did I ever say they’d be changing their defense?

  • Dr. Marino

    Four years in a row now the Steelers pat themselves on the back and over praise their pick- then realize they have a project that can’t play full time at the NFL level. This brain trust is adept in making First round farts! They panicked when the Bengals took their guy turning their card in almost immediately. What did they do throw a dart at their board?
    After 50 years following our team the conclusion is now inevitable: they are trending toward the Browns. This Coach and GM have had enough time to prove themselves. What they have proven is they are NOT up to the task of replenishing a competitive team. Tomlinson only won with Cower’s players. Once Ben retires or gets hurt again they will be toast-not even making the Playoffs.

    • Jim

      There is so much wrong with this statement that I don’t even know where to begin…

    • Thomas Crawford

      Three star players out of the game and an injured QB and they still came within 7 points of playing in the Super Bowl and your statement is “What they have proven is they are NOT up to the task of replenishing a competitive team.”? I’m not sure what you consider competitive, but you’ve lost all credibility with me.

    • Matt McCartin

      LOL TRENDING TOWARDS THE BROWNS?! You have no idea what you are talking about

    • elwd1

      I totally agree. First impression I had, as well as many talking head types was “Who did they pick?” Nice human interest story but it sounded like we have a new PI king in town. Notice that the NFL preempted the analysis of Artie with ” Breaking news from Denver…”

    • AJP

      Indeed…. but Hargrave in the 3rd is a great pick! even if they are in total denial about their 1st one.

    • SouthPhillyCavaliere

      LOL, you are a complete TOOL. The Steelers had a great year last year overcoming injuries to 3 of the best players at their positions. You are clearly a Steeler hater due to jealousy that your team (obviously either the Ravens, Bengals, or Browns) haven’t even come close to the level of the Steelers. Wait until you see what happens this year, and you will be eating those words for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. SMH

    • Dan

      You’re a fucking moron, and I’m being polite. First of all, the Steelers have finished 11-5 and 10-6 in the last two seasons, qualifying for the playoffs both times, winning the AFC North in 2014, and advancing to the Divisional Playoffs in 2015, in which they lost a close game to the eventual Super Bowl champions. Furthermore, the defense has improved, ranking 11th in points allowed in 2015, versus 18th in 2014. And I question your legitimacy as a Steeler fan in the first place, considering you think a guy named “Tomlinson” is our current head coach, and you misspelled “Cowher” to boot. And yeah, I’ll pick at the spelling if I want to, because “Cowher” is easy to learn how to spell.

  • Alex K

    Isn’t it just POSSIBLE the Steelers picked Burns because they want to run more man press and just haven’t previously because they haven’t had players who could do it? Maybe they’re use of zone was due to the personel they had?

    • Derek1966

      I figured Burns in the late 3rd or 4th round. I’m a fan of the kid. Hurricane fan for 50+… It’s not a bad pick. It was just done at the wrong spot. Steelers could have added more talent and still left the draft with Burns iwith their 2nd or 3rd pick f the were that high on him.

      • Alex K

        I agree with that. He should have gone in the 2nd but they needed CB help desperately AND have no money to get a good FA. The draft was their only shot.

    • AJP

      or maybe they picked Burns because they were determined to pick a corner, even if their were no good ones left? The only people that love this pick are the Steeler fans who think their team is never wrong.

      • Dan

        Well, considering the Steelers are the winningest team since the AFL/NFL merger, the second-winningest team since 2000, and the best team in the NFL in terms of player value drafted from 1996-2015 per the Washington Post, I think I trust them more than I trust you. They have a proven track record, and you’re just somebody on the internet.

      • Alex K

        Did I say it was a good value pick? No, I said they might be willing to change their system to fit their players. They most certainly reached for a corner but that doesn’t mean he can’t work in their scheme.

  • AndrewB

    Darron Lee and Keanu Neal were incredible picks in my opinion. PFF just has no idea how to grade or classify tweeners, in the mold of Deone Buchanon or Kam Chancellor. As for Ifedi, it’s common knowledge that Olinemen are no longer prepared in college for NFL snaps. Everyone’s technique is horrible. You pick the best slab of granite you can get your hands on, depending on your system, and let your coaches chisel. To have Ifedi ranked 12th overall is absurd

    • Mike Jones

      neal is a smaller version of william moore,a safety who makes big hits but misses tons of tackles and struggles in coverage,so they cut moore to draft another moore who pretty much everyone had going in the 2nd round and not at #17

  • Young Jizzy

    I disagree with the Taylor Decker assessment. A) The Lions signed Geoff Schwartz primarily as a guard. With all the lower body injuries that hes had over the past couple of years, him being out in space, even on the strong side, was not something the Lions wanted to see on a regular basis. B) I watched the VT tape on YouTube. I didn’t see all of the deficiencies in pass pro. I don’t know if VT had NFL caliber edge rushers, but he sure made it look easy with a really good kick-slide and the ability to mirror and wash out games and stunts on his side. Plus he was very ‘sticky’ in the run game. smaller guys weren’t able to get off of him and he consistently got into his guy and turned him out if his assigned lane. Granted this was a very small sample size, but it looked good. You guys had him the 3rd round and based on his measurables, the tape I saw and the competition he faced year in and year out, I don’t see how hes a middle round prospect.

  • hawkmode

    Seahawks should hire Mike Renner as their new offensive line he obviously knows more than Tom Cable.

    • crosseyedlemon

      But if Mike replaces Cable then we’d have to read posts by Tom in this space…..and I’m pretty sure Chris Collinsworth isn’t that desperate yet.

  • Matt McCartin

    Seems like no one wants to talk about upside with Burns. Maybe the best athlete in the draft. Elite track athlete in the 110m hurdles, and if you watch his tape it DOES translate into football. Yeah the dude gets about as lost as I would playing zone but a natural at man coverage

  • Po Paul

    I’m always amazed when a NOBODY like Mike Renner, who NOBODY knows or cares about, pretends he knows more than all the best and highest paid GMs and scouts in the league, when in reality he knows NOTHING!

    • cka2nd

      And yet you can look at almost any draft five or ten years down the road and half or more of the first round picks chosen by those highly paid GM’s and scouts were busts or mediocrities. To take the example I’m most familiar with, Rick Speilman’s first round selections on defense (Smith, Rhodes, Flloyd, we’ll see about Waynes) look a lot better than his choices on offense (Ponder, Patterson, Kalil and the jury is still out on Bridgewater). Player evaluation is still almost as much art as science.

      And let’s also acknowledge that as much as it rubs some people the wrong way, PFF has won significant, if not universal, support in the world of professional football. That doesn’t make them gods, but it does give them some street cred.

    • JamesAllen

      So why are you bothering to READ the NOTHING this NOBODY writes?

  • TJ

    “How many Super Bowls have the guys evaluating talent at profootballfocus.com won? I think I’ll trust the seahawks.” – Unmade Bed on TexAgs.

    This says it all. Pretty sure whoever wrote this article is incompetent.

  • slewof damascus

    Let me tell you something, Karl Joseph was not only the best safety in this draft he was the best football player (defensively), he is in the mold of Ronnie Lott, a fierce hitter who takes great angles, he can play at every level of the defense and make BIG plays, his ball skills are better than Jalen Ramsey by so much that it’s embarrassing for the team who selected ramsey, who will only be able to play CB in the NFL – why would you use a top 4 pick to select a player with highly questionable ball skills and a very poor effort-index, which is the exact opposite of Joseph who flies around like a banshee. The reason I am comparing joseph to Ramsey is that Pamsey was hyped as a safety prospect but his safety film is a disaster, but worse it points to disturbing tendencies about his passion for the game.

  • lacrossemonkey89

    Completely bias Steelers fan opinion. They get a man coverage corner who causes turnovers in round 1 and a hard hitting, zone-coverage safety/corner in round 2. Individually he might be a questionable pick but in conjunction with each other, exactly what Steelers need.

    I get this article is about round 1 only, but just my 2¢.

    • AJP

      6 turnovers isn’t really enough to get excited about……………. and where are the other 3 or 4 DB’s who love to play man coverage since the entire rest of the team is built for zone?

  • Ben

    This guy is slow

  • JPVan

    I agree that these picks are pretty bad, especially Lee who’s fast and athletic but small and a horrible tackler. Still, they all will see the field while the Jets committed suicide by picking guaranteed bust Christian Hackenberg on day two — the D-3 free agent signed by the Packers is a better prospect.

  • AJP

    As a Steeler fan, yup……. I agree 100% we were determined to take a corner, even if their weren’t any good ones left.. Thank goodness we got a gem with our 3rd pick in Hargrave,

  • NEdonn

    Bosa instead of Ramsey. Definition of insanity. 2009 undersized DE from 4 man front in the 1st round with the hope of adding weight or moving the guy to OLB in a 3 down lineman system. LARRY ENGLISH. How did that work out. Drafting a fullback to block for last year’s #1 draft pick (pussy) cause once again the Chargers will not draft offensive linemen that are good run blockers in the first two rounds. They needed a OT so they draft a guard and a center that can’t be moved to the edge.
    A- ????

    • sjt2115

      A different regime drafted Larry English, and he’s not the same player as Bosa. And they didn’t need an OT, they needed a Center. Center was by far their weakest position on the line. I’m really glad it wasn’t you in the war room.

  • Steve Johnson

    I’m not going to lie, never heard too much about this kid. What I do know is this though, the Steelers needed to improve their secondary and it appears they did. Now, whether or not this guy eventually plays like a first Rd pick is another thing. I do understand the pick though, I don’t think he would have lasted until pick #58.