Because PFW draft expert Greg Gabriel began with the good, I'll first share the five NFL draft classes that elicited the biggest meh from this author — including one that was among the most impressive from Greg's vantage point.
Before I do, I want to make clear that it's Greg's vantage point that I rely most heavily on each draft season, when my main job is editor and I watch as much tape as possible, but obviously not in Greg's stratosphere. So in putting together this list, one of the most important factors is which teams seemingly maximized draft value, and I couldn't do it without Greg's exhaustive work. I hope you enjoy — and receive as much help from — it as I know I do.
So let's do it. Five draft classes (in draft order) that made me go meh:
San Francisco 49ers
Even if I prefer Quinnen Williams to Nick Bosa, I'm not going to drag the Niners for addressing their biggest need with a potential Pro Bowler and one of the draft's top two or three prospects with the second overall pick. But after trading a second- and third-rounder last year to move up and nab Dante Pettis at No. 44, Kyle Shanahan doubling up in Rounds 2-3 on Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd felt like a luxury this team can't currently afford. Speaking of which, following that up with Utah P Mitch Wishnowsky in Round 4 at No. 110 overall — 39 spots ahead of rookie All Pro Michael Dickson a year earlier — with at least three far better values coming off the board over the next six picks (Dru Samia, Christian Miller, Amani Hooker) was bizarre. In Round 6, Kaden Smith represented good value.
New York Giants
I talked to two personnel people Friday morning who liked the Daniel Jones pick at No. 6 — the Giants weren't going rogue in their QB evaluations. But I still think he was badly over-drafted and has the lowest ceiling of the Tier 1 passing prospects, including Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, who went nine and 36 (!) picks later, respectively. Dexter Lawrence has special traits but still might be a two-down player, and taking him No. 17 with Dalvin Tomlinson on the roster perhaps was redundant. I really like the corners they found in Deandre Baker (No. 30) and Julian Love (No. 108), but Big Blue is building a pretty small secondary in a division with the Eagles power forward pass catchers, and the cost to move up seven spots and back into Round 1 was steep (fourth- and fifth-rounders).
I like the idea of reloading Matt Ryan's protection, and Atlanta clearly entered the weekend in search of two plug-and-play options, which they found in OG Chris Lindstrom (No.14) and RT Caleb McGary (No. 31). But do you like the value as much as, say, what Minnesota obtained in its likely pair of Day 1 starters at center (Garrett Bradbury, No. 18) and Dru Samia (No. 114)? We clearly don't because we had McGary pegged for the middle of Day 2 and the Falcons parted with pick Nos. 45 and 79 to move up 14 spots and back into Round 1, a net loss of 45 points on the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart. That meant missing out on the huge CB run early in Round 2 and settling for developmental guys in Kendall Sheffield and Jordan Miller and largely neglecting their dicey EDGE stable.
It's possible Houston solved its glaring bookend problems for years to come in first-rounder Tytus Howard and second-rounder Max Scharping. But it seems likely that both players would have been available later on and the Texans panicked after Philly jumped one spot ahead of them for Andre Dillard, who has as high of a ceiling as Howard but not nearly the same learning curve. This might look better long range, but the Texans had immediate pressing needs up front to protect Deshaun Watson, who could again be under siege this season. We weren't the only outlet with an early Day 3 grade on physical press CB Lonnie Johnson, who went in the bottom half of Round 2. Kahale Warring has a very exciting future and was a fine value in the third, but they drafted two promising tight ends named Jordan (Akins in Round 3; Thomas in Round 6) who contributed as rookies last season. They might have found a steal in Round 5 in Charles Omenihu, who played out of position at Texas.
We include Pete Carroll and John Schneider with trepidation, as they entered draft week with a league-low four picks and ended up with an 11-man class, plus a 2020 second-rounder in the Flank Clark return. We also have looked awfully silly panning previous Seahawks drafts, albeit almost a decade ago by now. Yet it's hard to get over the first- and second-round reaches for rugged and late-rising DL L.J. Collier (No. 29) and aggressive but wiry S Marquise Blair (No. 47) despite them addressing the team's two biggest needs: We projected each to last at least two rounds later than where Seattle pounced. The Seahawks rebounded in a big way with D.K. Metcalf at No. 62, a pick they acquired from New England to spend on the yoked-up viral sensation who just might leave the Patriots and countless other clubs with egg on their faces. He should fit extremely well with Wilson's late-in-down big-play ability. But they again reached too much for our liking on LB Cody Barton (No.88) and WR Greg Jennings (No. 120). This class leaves us impressed from a quantity standpoint but wary over its quality.