News & Analysis

Draft History: Grades and stats for every first- and second-round pick since 2015 AFC South edition

By Mike Johnson
Feb 22, 2019

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Dec 30, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) points after rushing for a first down against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft will be here before we know it but before then, the NFL’s free agency period will open up, and teams will be looking to bolster their lineups with new signees while also looking to keep on board players who have shined bright since their arrival with their franchise. One big thing for the 2019 free agency period is that, for the first time, a rookie class that we had at least a college year of data from, have all now either finished their rookie contract or those select first rounders have had their final year exercised to stay with their team.

With that in mind, we decided to take a look back at some grades and PFF advanced statistics and data for every team’s first- and second-round pick since that 2015 season. While some of these players are no longer with their respective team, the players listed below were all drafted by the team mentioned and the grades and stats represented are just from their time with their drafted team.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

2015:

Phillip Dorsett, WR

Round 1, Pick 29

Career-high overall grade: 65.9 (2018)

Now a Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Dorsett struggled in his first two seasons with the Colts. The fourth-year receiver hauled in only 51 of his 92 targets during his first two seasons in Indy. His best season, thus far, came last season where he generated a 102.1 passer rating when targeted and a 74.0 percent catch rate with the Patriots.

2016:

Ryan Kelly, C

Round 1, Pick 18

Career-high overall grade: 72.4 (2016)

Kelly has been the backbone of the Colts’ offensive line at center over his first three seasons. His rookie season offered intriguing promise with an 80.2 pass-blocking grade and only 20 pressures allowed in 675 pass-blocking snaps. Since then, he’s battled through a host of injuries with his neck and back, but when he’s in the lineup, he continues to play well. On 1,481 pass blocking snaps in his three-year career, Kelly has allowed only one sack.

T.J. Green, S

Round 2, Pick 57

Career-high overall grade: 64.0 (2017)

T.J. Green didn’t play a down in the 2018 season after signing with the Seahawks and is rumored to have walked away from the NFL. In two seasons with the Colts, he generated 24 defensive stops and an 85.1 run-defense grade in the 2017 season.

2017:

Malik Hooker, S

Round 1, Pick 15

Career-high overall grade: 79.7 (2018)

After an injury shortened his rookie year, Hooker bounced back nicely with a 79.7 overall grade and an 82.2 coverage grade last season. In 616 coverage snaps in 2018, he was targeted only nine times and allowed only four receptions for 51 yards with two interceptions and two pass breakups.

Quincy Wilson, CB

Round 2, Pick 46

Career-high overall grade: 71.1 (2017)

Wilson has been a relatively consistent player when he’s been on the field since being drafted in 2017. He’s allowed 50 receptions on 76 targets while in coverage, with six combined interceptions and pass breakups over the course of two seasons. His 91.7 passer rating allowed ranks 10th among cornerbacks drafted two seasons ago.

2018:

Quenton Nelson, G

Round 1, Pick 6

Career-high overall grade: 76.7

Nelson was a slam-dunk selection for the Colts last season with the sixth overall pick. He finished with a 76.7 overall grade with 24 pressures allowed. Nelson’s 83.5 pass-blocking grade finished in the top-10 among all guards in the NFL in 2018 and as a result, he landed on PFF’s Second-Team All-Pro list as a rookie.

Darius Leonard, LB

Round 2, Pick 36

Career-high overall grade: 81.8

Darius Leonard was a steal for the Colts at pick number 36 in the second round. He was in the rookie-of-the-year discussion for almost the entire season finishing with an overall grade of 81.8 and an 84.8 grade in coverage. Including the playoffs, his 66 defensive stops were the most among all linebackers, and his play earned him a spot on PFF’s All-Rookie team in 2018.

Braden Smith, T

Round 2, Pick 37

Career-high overall grade: 71.4

Selected a spot behind Leonard, the Colts received another impact player in the second round. Braden Smith took over the right tackle spot along the offensive line and allowed only 38 pressures on 966 pass-block snaps. His 71.4 overall grade ranked second-best among right tackles from the 2018 draft.

Kemoko Turay, EDGE

Round 2, Pick 52

Career-high overall grade: 62.9

Quietly, Kemoko Turay had a strong rookie season coming off the edge for the Colts in terms of pressuring the quarterback. He generated 40 total pressures with 12 combined hits or sacks in 296 pass-rush snaps.

Tyquan Lewis, EDGE

Round 2, Pick 64

Career-high overall grade: 53.2

A toe injury forced him to miss the first half of the season, but Tyquan Lewis certainly factored into the defensive line rotation from Weeks 10-17. He generated 17 pressures in 203 pass-rush snaps with three resulting in sacks throughout his debut season.

TENNESSEE TITANS

2015:

Marcus Mariota, QB

Round 1, Pick 2

Career-high overall grade: 76.8 (2018)

Titans’ signal-caller, Marcus Mariota, has shown improvement by increasing his overall grade in each of his four seasons with Titans. Last season, Mariota finished with a 76.8 overall grade and a career-high 78.5 percent adjusted completion rate from a clean pocket despite battling through a host of arm injuries.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR

Round 2, Pick 40

Career-high overall grade: 71.0 (2015)

Due to troubles on and off the field, the Titans quickly moved on from Green-Beckham by sending him to Philadelphia via trade prior to the 2016 season. The former second-round pick lasted only two seasons in the NFL with 941 total receiving yards and an uninspiring 75.2 passer rating when targeted.

2016:

Jack Conklin, T

Round 1, Pick 8

Career-high overall grade: 80.6 (2016)

Conklin has been a day-one starter for the Titans at the right tackle position since being drafted in 2016. His rookie season was his best year to date with an overall grade of 80.6 and a pass-block grade of 81.0, second-best at his position. A knee injury cut his 2018 season short, but he’ll continue to be a mainstay along the Titans’ offensive line for the foreseeable future.

Kevin Dodd, LB

Round 2, Pick 33

Career-high overall grade: 62.2 (2017)

Linebacker Kevin Dodd only lasted two seasons with Titans before his 2018 release from the team. In two years, Dodd never topped 200 defensive snaps in either season and only recorded seven stops in limited action.

Austin Johnson, DI

Round 2, Pick 43

Career-high overall grade: 69.1 (2017)

Interior defender Austin Johnson has worked himself into the defensive line rotation with the Titans over the last two seasons. Over 2017 and 2018, he’s played a combined 790 defensive snaps and totaled 12 pressures and 26 defensive stops.

Derrick Henry, RB

Round 2, Pick 45

Career-high overall grade: 87.0 (2018)

Henry demonstrated what he’s capable of when he was given a full workload over the final stretch of the 2018 season. He finished the year with the second-highest overall grade among running backs at 87.0, and his 4.21 yards after contact average was also the second-best in the league. Last season was the most carries he’s had in a season with 215, but look for that number to increase next season in the Titans’ run-heavy offense.

2017:

Corey Davis, WR

Round 1, Pick 5

Career-high overall grade: 76.4 (2018)

Improvement has been shown in each of Davis’ first two seasons with Tennessee, but the team’s passing-game inconsistency has left some wondering if he’ll emerge as a true number-one receiver. His passer rating when targeted jumped greatly from 2017 (65.0) to 2018 (95.1), and his receiving grade of 75.8 was over ten points higher last season than his rookie mark.

Adoree’ Jackson, CB

Round 1, Pick 18

Career-high overall grade: 74.6 (2017)

Adoree’ Jackson has found a home in the Titans’ secondary since being drafted in the first round two seasons ago. He’s logged over 2,100 snaps on defense in two years and contributed with 24 pass breakups over that stretch. Jackson’s 59.6 percent catch rate allowed ranks top-five among cornerbacks drafted in 2017.

2018:

Rashaan Evans, LB

Round 1, Pick 22

Career-high overall grade: 67.6

Evans’ season got off to a slow start, but the rookie linebacker came on strong in the second half of the 2018 season. During weeks 13-15, Evans produced a 90.9 overall grade with 11 defensive stops over the three games. Overall, he finished the year with 22 defensive stops and missed only four tackles on 53 attempts.

Harold Landry, EDGE

Round 2, Pick 41

Career-high overall grade: 63.5

In his debut season, Harold Landry was in the mix as a rotational edge rusher through the year. He logged 592 total snaps with 371 being pass-rush reps over the course of 2018. The Boston College product finished the season with 34 total pressures with 12 being quarterback hits or sacks.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

2015:

Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE

Round 1, Pick 3

Career-high overall grade: 67.3 (2018)

In two full seasons with Jacksonville following his 2015 injury, Fowler never reached a 60.0 overall grade despite generating 39 (2016) and 46 (2017) total pressures per season. His underperformance as a top-five draft selection led to the Jaguars trading him to the Rams before the 2018 deadline, where Fowler found himself in the midst of a Super Bowl run. He offered up arguably the play of the game in the NFC Championship with a quarterback hit of Drew Brees that led to the game-clinching interception over the Saints.

T.J. Yeldon, RB

Round 2, Pick 36

Career-high overall grade: 71.8 (2015)

Four-year running back T.J. Yeldon has factored into the Jaguars’ offense as both a rusher and receiver throughout his career. Despite his overall grade decreasing in each season thus far, Yeldon continued to produce in 2018 with 104 total rushing attempts and a career-high 70 targets as a pass catcher. In 2017, he generated a 77.4 grade as a receiver out of the backfield, but that dropped significantly in 2018 to 56.4 due in part from a career-high eight drops.

2016:

Jalen Ramsey, CB

Round 1, Pick 5

Career-high overall grade: 91.3 (2017)

Jacksonville found a playmaker with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft in Jalen Ramsey. He’s logged over 1,000 snaps on defense in each of his three seasons and has never graded below 72.8 in his career. Ramsey broke out in a major way during the 2017 season with an elite 91.3 overall grade, tops among cornerbacks including the playoffs. He’s recorded a remarkable 42 combined interceptions and pass breakups over the course of his first three seasons.

Myles Jack, LB

Round 2, Pick 36

Career-high overall grade: 79.0 (2017)

Myles Jack was drafted 36th overall with some injury risk prior to 2016, but he’s proved to be an ironman over the last two seasons by lining up on over 1,000 snaps each year. He’s contributed 96 total defensive stops over his career and has been a standout linebacker in coverage, highlighted by his 82.4 coverage grade in 2017, seventh-best at his position.

2017:

Leonard Fournette, RB

Round 1, Pick 4

Career-high overall grade: 70.2 (2018)

Fournette has battled through his share of injuries over his first two NFL seasons, but still finished with a 70.2 overall grade in 2018. He finished the year with only 133 rush attempts, 205 less than his 2017 total. In limited action, he generated 2.35 yards after contact per attempt and nine rushes of 10-plus yards, down from his total of 25 from his rookie year.

Cam Robinson, T

Round 2, Pick 34

Career-high overall grade: 60.2 (2018)

Left tackle Cam Robinson only saw action in two games this season before a torn ACL forced the former second-round pick to miss the remainder of the year. In 2017, Robinson allowed 50 total pressures including three sacks on 1,079 pass-block snaps.

2018:

Taven Bryan, DI

Round 1, Pick 29

Career-high overall grade: 71.1

Taven Bryan was buried a bit by Jacksonville’s deep defensive line depth but still saw the field on a rotational basis for 301 total snaps. The 2018 first-rounder displayed flashes of potential en route to his 71.1 overall grade, including an 80.4 game grade against the Texans in the season finale in which he generated three quarterback pressures. Overall, Bryan finished the season with 24 combined pressures and defensive stops.

D.J. Chark, WR

Round 2, Pick 61

Career-high overall grade: 52.4

The Jaguars knew Chark was somewhat of a project when drafting him with the 61st overall pick in the second round, and that’s exactly what he proved to be this season. The speedster wide-out saw the field for 291 snaps and only caught 14 passes on 31 targets for a lowly 45.2 percent catch rate. Quarterback play was partly to blame as Chark generated a 49.7 passer rating when targeted, third-worst among receivers.

HOUSTON TEXANS

2015:

Kevin Johnson, CB

Round 1, Pick 16

Career-high overall grade: 81.2 (2016)

Cornerback Kevin Johnson is another AFC South early-round draft pick that has dealt with injury after injury in his career. He displayed promise in his rookie campaign with a 60.6 overall grade on 826 snaps, but it was the first part of the 2016 season where his career was beginning to take off. Johnson produced an 81.2 overall grade in his first six games before a foot injury forced him to miss the rest of the year. Since then, Johnson hasn’t been the same player.

Benardrick McKinney, LB

Round 2, Pick 43

Career-high overall grade: 81.3 (2018)

McKinney has been a rock in the Texans’ defense over the last three seasons averaging almost 1,000 snaps per year from 2016-2018. Last season was breakout of sorts for the fourth-year linebacker, setting career-highs in overall grade with a mark of 81.3 and run-defense grade at 89.2 – third-best at the position. Over his career, he’s generated 169 defensive stops and missed only 29 tackles on 418 attempts.

2016:

Will Fuller V, WR

Round 1, Pick 21

Career-high overall grade: 81.2 (2018)

When he’s been on the field, Fuller has been an outstanding compliment to All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The third-year wide-out was on track for his best season yet before a torn ACL derailed his 2018 run. Fuller hasn’t topped 550 total snaps in each of his last two years, and now faces an uphill battle to regain his form from last season. In three years with Houston, he’s totaled a 60.6 percent catch rate and a 102.6 passer rating when targeted.

Nick Martin, C

Round 2, Pick 50

Career-high overall grade: 62.7 (2017)

Nick Martin has been a two-year starter at center for the Texans and is coming off a season where he allowed only 18 pressures on 733 pass-blocking snaps. Despite his above-average pass-blocking grade of 79.1 in 2018, his overall grade remained low at 59.3 due to his underperformance in the running game.

2017:

Deshaun Watson, QB

Round 1, Pick 12

Career-high overall grade: 80.7 (2018)

Quarterback Deshaun Watson was the Texans’ prized selection of the 2017 draft, and he came out of the gates blazing with 1,699 passing yards and 21 total touchdowns in his first seven games. He was on pace for a historic rookie campaign before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the 2017 season. Watson, however, bounced back nicely with an 80.7 overall grade last season en route to his first playoff appearance. Watson was particularly great from a clean pocket with an elite 90.8 overall grade and a 78.4 percent adjusted completion rate when kept clean.

Zach Cunningham, LB

Round 2, Pick 57

Career-high overall grade: 68.9 (2018)

Linebacker Zach Cunningham has topped 800 or more defensive snaps in each of his first two seasons and displayed slight improvement from his rookie year with a 68.9 overall grade. The rangy hybrid linebacker was tested often in coverage last season with 74 targets, 12th-most at the position including playoffs, allowing a 100.6 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. His 96 total defensive stops are the most among linebackers drafted in 2017.

2018:

The Texans didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

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