At the conclusion of each annual NFL Draft, every media outlet sets out to deliver a grade on each team's picks. Usually, they'll note at the beginning that it's a fruitless task, since we won't know how good or bad these players will be until a few years down the road. But they'll still put a grade out there, and we'll still read it.
Here's a look at what the analysts around the web thought of the Buffalo Bills' 2016 NFL Draft class.
Burke (like many analysts) loved the pick of Reggie Ragland, who he called "a potential first-round fit for their defense." He noted the Top 10 potential of Shaq Lawson and the versatility of Adolphus Washington, while calling Cardale Jones "an ideal developmental candidate" as a fourth-round pick.
Fairburn has some individual grades for each pick that are worth checking out. He dings Lawson (shoulder) and Ragland (enlarged aorta) a bit for their health issues, but notes that they should be great players when they're on the field. Jones was "worth the risk" at the end of the fourth, and Jonathan Williams and Kolby Listenbee should improve after recovering from injuries.
Kadar says Ragland "will be a starter for years in Buffalo." Like most others, he calls Jones the most questionable pick, but hedges it by noting that he's "only questionable in the sense that Jones is a big project." He calls Listenbee "one of [his] favorite picks of the draft."
While Reuter says Lawson "isn't the physically dominating player Mario Williams is," he likes the pick. Even more, he thinks Ragland will "lead the Bills' defense for ten years." He believes that Williams "would have been a second- or third-round pick without the injury, so that was a good pull," and that Kevon Seymour "is a better player than his sixth-round draft status indicates."
The analytics site calls Lawson a Top 10 defender against the run and the pass, but notes Ragland's weakness in pass coverage. They praise the Washington pick, giving him the "third-best pass rush grade among the draft’s interior defensive linemen in 2015." Jones is "worth a developmental shot, even though his accuracy between six and 30 yards is among the worst in the class," and Listenbee "may be the fastest player in the draft."
The preeminent draft guru is fine with the Bills' class, praising the picks of Lawson and Ragland despite Lawson's shoulder issues and the price of trading up for Ragland. He says of Washington, "
Prisco is "not a big fan of first-round pick Shaq Lawson." He's also much cooler on Ragland than most, which does a lot to drop the grade to average. He does call Williams a "second-round talent" and Listenbee "a burner who can amp up the passing game."