How all 31 first-round picks have played this season

Senior Analyst Sam Monson breaks down the play of every 2016 first-rounder this season.

| 5 months ago
Eagles QB Carson Wentz

(Rob Leiter via Getty Images)

How all 31 first-round picks have played this season

With just one game remaining in the NFL regular season, we’ve seen a decent sample size from most 2016 first-rounders. While some stars have emerged from later rounds in this class (think Saints WR Michael Thomas and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott), top-level talents like Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa have lived up to—or even exceeded—their billing so far in their short pro careers.

Here we take a look at how every 2016 first-round pick has played this season, as well as their snap count and overall grade entering Week 17. Please note that this list is ordered by draft selection—this is not a ranking.

1. Jared Goff, QB, Rams (California)

Snaps: 345

PFF overall grade: 42.9

The decision to play Jared Goff eventually came down from on high before head coach Jeff Fisher was ultimately fired for his body of work this season, and so far, Goff has shown why Fisher was reluctant to put him in sooner. The former Cal standout has looked every bit like a rookie struggling to adjust, and a poor offensive line with limited receiving weaponry hasn’t aided his cause. The best the team can hope for is that this experience is constructive, and not harmful for Goff’s future prospects.

2. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles (North Dakota State)

Snaps: 1,038

PFF overall grade: 77.3

Carson Wentz began the season on fire, but has steadily declined since then (though he did produce a quality outing against Washington in Week 14). After beginning his career with a record-breaking streak of pass attempts without an interception, Wentz has now thrown at least one pick in six straight games, and 13 in his last 10 performances. The jury is still out on what Wentz can become, but his upside is still significant.

3. Joey Bosa, DE, Chargers (Ohio State)

Snaps: 507

PFF overall grade: 88.8

Finally getting on the field in Week 5, Joey Bosa has looked like a dominant force for the Chargers. He has 54 total QB pressures on the season, playing a mixture of defensive end and outside linebacker for the Chargers—that’s a comparable pressure total to Jason Pierre-Paul, but on almost 300 fewer snaps. Bosa has looked like a star from day one, and even if he doesn’t get any better, he has been a ready-made Pro-Bowl caliber player for San Diego.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys (Ohio State)

Snaps: 712

PFF overall grade: 86.3

If you haven’t been paying attention, Ezekiel Elliott has been doing pretty well for Dallas. He leads the league in rushing with over 1,600 yards, is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, almost 3 yards per carry after contact, and has scored 15 rushing touchdowns behind the league’s best offensive lines. It’s hard to find much fault with Elliott’s rookie year—though four fumbles on carries is a little more than you’d like to see—and he should be a big part of the Cowboys’ playoff push.

5. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jaguars (Florida State)

Snaps: 990

PFF overall grade: 83.1

The first half of the season saw Jalen Ramsey flash big potential, but over the past few weeks, he has begun to look more like a shutdown corner. Over the past four weeks, in fact, he has been the league’s highest-graded cornerback, allowing just 12 of the 35 passes (34.3 percent) thrown into his coverage to be caught, picking off two of them and breaking up another eight.

6. Ronnie Stanley, LT, Ravens (Notre Dame)

Snaps: 761

PFF overall grade: 78.2

Like Ramsey, over the past month, Ronnie Stanley has been the league’s best-graded tackle, narrowly edging Houston’s Duane Brown. Outside of one wretched game earlier in the year against Pittsburgh, he has been playing pretty well, especially in pass protection, and seems to be hitting his best form. Stanley looks like a quality offensive tackle going forward.

7. DeForest Buckner, DE, 49ers (Oregon)

Snaps: 943

PFF overall grade: 77.6

There has been little help for DeForest Buckner on a San Francisco defense that has been ground into dirt at times by teams. He has almost topped 1,000 snaps already, which is 322 more snaps than any other rookie interior defender, and overall, has played reasonably, albeit with some ugly games in there. Buckner has 45 total QB pressures and 34 defensive stops on the year.

8. Jack Conklin, RT, Titans (Michigan State)

Snaps: 1,001

PFF overall grade: 89.2

One of the surprises of the season, Jack Conklin has been excellent for the Titans. Tennessee certainly gives him (and LT Taylor Lewan) more help than many offensive tackles receive, minimizing the snaps they spend isolated on an island against elite pass-rushers, but that results in the two doing what they do best: dominating on the ground with power. Conklin has surrendered only two sacks all season and been penalized only twice.

9. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Bears (Georgia)

Snaps: 537

PFF overall grade: 65.1

Leonard Floyd’s rookie season has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. He had been largely anonymous until a midseason run of fine play made it seem as if something had clicked, but then he disappeared again in recent weeks (albeit against some of the best pass-blocking linemen in the game). Overall, Floyd looks to have big potential as a pass-rusher, but still has work to do to realize it.

10. Eli Apple, CB, Giants (Ohio State)

Snaps: 646

PFF overall grade: 71.0

Cornerback is one of the toughest positions in the game to come in and play well at as a rookie, and Eli Apple has typified that expected level of play. He has allowed 60.7 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught and surrendered a passer rating of 92.6 when targeted, but has shown good coverage on plenty of plays. His best play is likely ahead of him.

11. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Buccaneers (Florida)

Snaps: 968

PFF overall grade: 62.3

Vernon Hargreaves III is leading all rookie corners in receiving yards allowed this season (971), and is likely approaching the ugly landmark of a 1,000-yard year. He has only given up one touchdown, but has allowed 71.8 percent of passes thrown into his coverage to be caught (100.4 passer rating when targeted).

12. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Saints (Louisville)

Snaps: 325

PFF overall grade: 42.5

A broken fibula suffered in the preseason kept Sheldon Rankins off the field well into his rookie season, and he has struggled since his return. We won’t see the real Rankins until 2017.

13. Laremy Tunsil, OL, Dolphins (Ole Miss)

Snaps: 743

PFF overall grade: 70.6

Laremy Tunsil has started at left guard for Miami, but has moonlighted at left tackle when injuries called for changes. He has still allowed just one sack all season (and that came at left tackle), and has been the reason his quarterback hit the ground just five times (three of which came at left tackle). Has been solid, if unspectacular.

14. Karl Joseph, S, Raiders (West Virginia)

Snaps: 590

PFF overall grade: 79.9

Karl Joseph has been a pretty consistent presence for Oakland’s secondary, with a series of positive performances punctuated by just two poor games. Joseph has missed just two tackles all season while racking up 53 solo and 11 assisted tackles.

15. Corey Coleman, WR, Browns (Baylor)

Snaps: 473

PFF overall grade: 53.5

It’s hard to judge anything in the Cleveland offense this season given the revolving door at quarterback. Corey Coleman has a 58-yard reception to his name and has broken eight tackles after the catch on only 28 receptions, but he has also caught only 50.9 percent of the passes thrown his way and dropped four balls.

16. Taylor Decker, LT, Lions (Ohio State)

Snaps: 971

PFF overall grade: 81.7

Tackle, like cornerback, is one of the tougher positions in the league to succeed at right away, but you wouldn’t know it from this rookie class. Taylor Decker has played pretty well from the outset for the Lions. He has allowed nine total sacks or hits over his 15 games so far, and run-blocked well.

17. Keanu Neal, S, Falcons (Florida)

Snaps: 853

PFF overall grade: 81.0

The Falcons found a real impact player in Keanu Neal, at least judging by his rookie season. Neal has shown the ability to deliver big hits, and has so far avoided the missed tackles those can cause, missing just five of an attempted 95 tackles. He has also been able to come up and make tackles short of the first-down marker in coverage. Simply put, the Atlanta defense is a much better unit when Neal is on the field.

18. Ryan Kelly, C, Colts (Alabama)

Snaps: 947

PFF overall grade: 81.2

Ryan Kelly still hasn’t surrendered a sack this season, and has only been the cause of Andrew Luck hitting the turf three times, with two of those three hits coming in the first four weeks. His run blocking has been a little more inconsistent, but Kelly has been—at minimum—a safe, solid player in his first season.

19. Shaq Lawson, DE, Bills (Clemson)

Snaps: 218

PFF overall grade: 46.2

Shoulder surgery shut Shaq Lawson down before he had a chance to get near the field, and the Bills have been trying to get something out of his rookie season in recent weeks. He has two sacks and 12 total QB pressures, but has been, if anything, a downgrade on the players he has taken snaps from. Buffalo will be hoping that year two reveals the player they thought they were drafting.

20. Darron Lee, LB, Jets (Ohio State)

Snaps: 593

PFF overall grade: 38.8

Darron Lee has all the athleticism and measurables in the world, but it’s looking less and less likely that there is a football player operating the controls. He is the lowest-graded rookie linebacker in the league and has allowed a passer rating of 132.9 when thrown at in coverage. In fact, the only area PFF measures that Lee has graded well in is discipline, thanks to just two penalties on the season.

21. Will Fuller, WR, Texans (Notre Dame)

Snaps: 756

PFF overall grade: 68.6

Quarterback woes have hamstrung the entire Houston offense, so it’s hard to know what Will Fuller could have achieved with some more competent play there, but he has put up 611 receiving yards on 44 catches, scoring twice. He also has six drops to his name and a few more that have flirted with the floor before being brought in.

22. Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins (TCU)

Snaps: 31

PFF overall grade: N/A

Josh Doctson’s rookie season has been blighted by injury, and he had only seen the field in two games—the first two of the year—before being placed on IR, ending his season.

23. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Vikings (Ole Miss)

Snaps: 79

PFF overall grade: N/A

At midseason, Laquon Treadwell had seen just 11 snaps on offense, and while that workload has increased exponentially over the second half of the year, his total still sits at just 79. He has seen three targets all season, catching one pass for 15 yards the first time the ball was thrown his way.

24. William Jackson III, CB, Bengals (Houston)

Snaps: 0

PFF overall grade: N/A

A torn pectoral muscle suffered in the first padded practice quickly ended Jackson’s rookie season; he has been on IR all year.

25. Artie Burns, CB, Steelers (University of Miami)

Snaps: 508

PFF overall grade: 76.3

No rookie cornerback has surrendered more touchdown catches than Artie Burns, but he also has three picks, five pass breakups, and has allowed fewer than 60 percent of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught. One 95-yard catch-and-run by Mike Wallace skews his numbers, and Burns has shown a marked improvement over the second half of the season.

26. Paxton Lynch, QB, Broncos (Memphis)

Snaps: 174

PFF overall grade: 40.2

Since midseason, Paxton Lynch received one more opportunity to get on the field, with an injury to Trevor Siemian giving him the start in Week 13 against Jacksonville. He was arguably worse than his previous start, completing only 12 passes for 104 yards (just 4.3 yards per attempt). Lynch may be the QB of the future in Denver, but everything he has shown so far says that future is a long way off.

27. Kenny Clark, DT, Packers (UCLA)

Snaps: 318

PFF overall grade: 68.0

The Packers have worked Kenny Clark into the defensive-line rotation all season, and while he has flashed the occasional good play, they have been 300 largely non-descript snaps. Clark has just nine total QB pressures and 12 defensive stops on the year.

28. Joshua Garnett, RG, 49ers (Stanford)

Snaps: 655

PFF overall grade: 45.7

After entering the starting lineup in Week 5, Joshua Garnett has started 11 games for the 49ers at right guard, and struggled badly in both run blocking and pass protection. He has surrendered 33 total QB pressures, which is 10th-most among guards, despite playing four fewer games than most; only Arizona’s Earl Watford has a lower pass-blocking efficiency mark than Garnett’s 93.7.

29. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Cardinals (Ole Miss)

Snaps: 82

PFF overall grade: N/A

A high-ankle sprain kept Robert Nkemdiche off the field early in the season, but he then found his way into head coach Bruce Arians’ doghouse, and has barely been seen all year.

30. Vernon Butler, DT, Panthers (Louisiana Tech)

Snaps: 204

PFF overall grade: 67.1

An injury limited Vernon Butler over much of the season, but he has played in the past six straight games, with 20-plus snaps in each. Over that time, though, he has flashed rather than performed consistently, with five total QB pressures and four defensive stops.

31. Germain Ifedi, OL, Seahawks (Texas A&M)

Snaps: 777

PFF overall grade: 37.6

Germain Ifedi has been one of the league’s worst offensive linemen in his rookie season, playing guard on a team that seems stacked with them. He has surrendered 38 total QB pressures (tied for fourth-most among guards), despite playing only 12 games, and been flagged eight times. His run blocking has at least been passable, but his pass protection needs to improve immeasurably for him to be a viable starter.

Want more rookie grades? Check out Pro Football Focus’ Player Grades now

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • CP72

    You guys really panned the Artie Burns and Sean Davis picks. Wrong on both accounts. I believe your draft grade for the Steelers as a whole was a D. What it actually turned out to be is they drafted 3 long term starters on defense that have pro bowl potential. Talk about a big swing and a miss on your evaluation.

    • John

      Yeah, I have been noticing that Davis and Burns are getting better and better. And, as for Paxton Lynch, I would give him an incomplete. In his first start, he had Ty Sambrailo out there trying to protect him, and that didn’t go over well. Denver’s offensive line has been beyond terrible this year.

    • Anthony

      It’s been 1 season. Relax

      • pittfan

        Relax nothing. Burns was ranked as one of 5 biggest mistakes. Big miss.

        • MAtt

          Missing on average talent in the first round is a big miss? lololol

          • LostAlone

            If PFF wants to be taken seriously then they can’t miss by such a wide margin. They had Burns down as a 5th round pick on their board, and in fact by the PFF position ranking he wouldn’t even have been drafted at all (42nd ranked corner vs 24 CBs taken in the draft). They thought he was trash.

            Let’s compare Burns to a CB who was actually taken in the 5th round; that titan Zack Sanchez. He was cut for roster size, bounced to the Panther’s practice squad and only saw play time at all because someone else was cut. That’s the kind of guy that PFF thought Burns was. A guy that might not even make the roster. That’s what 144 on the draft board means.

            Sure, Burns isn’t a stupendous first year talent or anything but (as PFF says in this same article) “Cornerback is one of the toughest positions in the game to come in and play well at as a rookie, and Eli Apple has typified that expected level of play.” Apple was ranked as their 3rd best corner going in. Burns was PFFs 40th ranked corner and has played better.

            The point isn’t that Burns is amazing. You’re right, he’s an average NFL role player right now. But PFF believed he wasn’t even good enough in his position group to be worth a draft pick. So when that guy is playing at the pro level with a solid ‘average’ grade then they have missed by a long way on him.

            They can’t queue up fast enough to make excuses for Apple.
            They say that Apple was EXPECTED to have a patchy, average season while giving him a firm first round grade. But when Burns has a better season than Apple when they didn’t think he was worth taking they are strangely silent.

    • kirmie

      Talk about trying to make somebody it crow early. Either of these two could be the next Alfred Morris or BJ Raji or the countless others who looks good early and then start rolling downhill.

    • MAtt

      LMAO Burns and Davis are average at best stop making it seem like these guys are DROY canidates and PFF snuffed them.

      • StolenUpVotes

        Sure their entire body of work has been average but during this win streak they have played good football. Looks like the light flipped on a bit and they are showing growth every week.

  • Franklin

    Rankins’ rating is entirely too low given the performance he has displayed since his return!

  • Coach48

    Would be interesting to see Peyton Manning, Phil Simms, Troy Aikman, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rogers, Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford compare to Wentz ???

    • MikeD_VABeach

      He’s not as good.

      • Coach48

        Talking about their rookie year PFF grades

  • a57se

    Darron Lee, another brilliant pick by the NY Jets…

    • MikeD_VABeach

      I’m REALLY surprised by that, though. I thought Lee would be one of the best players to come out of this draft and I wanted my Raiders to pick him up……glad they didn’t….

      • Mark G Hunter

        You can’t say that just yet. And maybe he would’ve been better off with Oakland instead of NY. These are the NYJets were talking about here.

        • McGeorge

          And people were saying “These are the Raiders were talking about here …” a few years ago.
          Karma that Carr gets hurt at the end of the season, oh well, there is always next year …

    • GiveNoFuq

      Darren Lee would probably be better as a hybrid LB/S or weak side lb in 3-4.

    • McGeorge

      I guess Maccagnan is better than Idzik, but not by much.
      I can’t wait to see how he mishandles the Nick Mangold contract situation.

  • Brett77

    Wentz will be fine. He has literally no wideouts but Jordan Matthews. He had 2-3 offensive lineman hurt most of the year, and Ryan Mathews missed a lot of games. Plus he had a bad defense that could not get off the field. He also had the hardest schedule in the entire NFL.

    • GordonGekko

      All true. Wentz looks like a franchise QB, he needs lots of help, though.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The irony here of course is that the team that had no first round pick will be entering the playoffs as the SB favorite.

  • MikeD_VABeach

    Who would have thought that Vernon Hargreaves III would have had such a poor season? There’s always next year, but that’s a high draft pick to blow on such poor production….

    • Dk

      Hargreaves didn’t have a poor season?
      Number one, PFF grades are NOT the end all be all.

      Number two, he had shit safety help behind him

      Number three, he was really good in run defense and looks like a guy who genuinely wants to win.

      Number four, he’s a 21 year old rookie logging almost 1,000 snaps at one of the hardest positions to play as a rookie, and he only allowed one single touchdown.

      He did not have a poor season whatsoever. Don’t be blind to what PFF says and watch even a minute of tape.

      • MAtt

        Your right that his PFF grade is not the end all be all but they give you the reasons behind his poor grade and yet you ignore it.
        1000 passing yards allowed is good? 72% completion percentage when throwing into his coverage is good?
        Not an excuse. Good or bad he had help over the top which some corners in the league don’t always get yet those CB’s don’t give up 1000 yards…
        THAT I can agree with you on. His coverage skills this year were suspect but I never questioned his ability to tackle.

    • GordonGekko


  • GordonGekko

    Wentz will be a star QB once the Eagles get him RBs, WRs, and a OL. Yes, that is plural, it’s that bad.

    • Brian Nagy

      The eagles have one of the best tackle combos in the league and a good right guard when healthy.

      • GordonGekko

        Peters is getting old, although he played well this year but he has over $11 million cap number. As for RT Johnson, he’s very good but he’s been popped for 2 PED suspensions, which means the 3rd time he’s out for 2 years. The Eagles have lots of holes to fill including RB, WR, OL, CB. LB.

    • kirmie

      So what you’re saying is… Wentz will never be a star QB?

  • Robert barrett

    Weird how the last half of players pick in first round mostly injured.

  • Scott West

    Hole is Draft has been severely underrated for the Patriots. Considering how the production of Chip on the Shoulder really fell off last season, the emergence of Hole in Draft couldn’t have come at a better time. Really lifting the play of the entire team, making everyone around it better. Could be the X factor in this year’s playoffs. 😉

  • Joe L. Garcia

    I disagree with the Zeke grade. He’s a 90 or above. He leads the league in rushing yards, is top 5 in touchdowns, is a huge threat out of the backfield (example: Steelers screen play), and IS A LEGITIMATE MVP CANDIDATE. What more does he have to do to be a 90 grade player??? 2,000 yards, 18 touchdowns, AS A ROOKIE???

  • Dan Moore

    Mr Monson – check your data please! You say Eli Apple was rated at 71 – NO. His final snap count (week 18) was 71. His PFF score was 55.9. Just saw this pointed out on a Giants board, and the poster is right, you messed up. Almost as bad as Apple.