Now that the NFL Draft is behind us and rookie drafts have begun everywhere. Here are my initial rankings of the first year quarterbacks and tight ends. I didn’t go extremely deep, only five quarterbacks and five tight ends that have more defined roles or easy to determine situations. Keep in mind there should be better situations in the 2016 draft class. Here are my rankings and some quick thoughts:
1) Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
The quarterback has a lot of talented weapons, the ability to run his offensive coordinator’s playbook, but his offensive line needs a lot of work. The change to Charles Sims could mean a more spread offense based on quick reads. Hopefully you won’t need to start him other than a bye week in year one.
2) Marcus Mariota, Tennessee
The former spread quarterback has his work cut out for him. The Titan running game is not a strong one and although Tennessee acquired a few talented receivers in the draft, no one is a superstar. If troubled Dorial Green-Beckham pans out, the rest might come into place. How much of Mariota’s college plays get integrated into the offense, could determine early success.
3) Garrett Grayson, New Orleans
The investment of a quarterback in the third round might be the result of Drew Brees showing his age. Head Coach Sean Payton likes to develop signal callers and I believe in being more safe than sorry, despite the Saints appearance of going to a more run based offense.
4) Bryce Petty, New York Jets
Another former spread quarterback that needs a lot more help in his conversion to play under center. While he has some good offensive weapons, I don’t think Petty will be able to lead this team before half way through the 2017 season.
5) Brett Hundley, Green Bay
The Packers coaching staff likes athletic quarterbacks. Hundley will get the chance to develop under one of the best in the league. If he can work on his pocket presence, there is a chance he could become a starter down the road.
1) Maxx Williams, Baltimore
The most athletic tight end ended up with the team with the biggest need. Williams does a decent job blocking, but will look good in the flat and occasionally running down the seam. He could be a good red zone threat on a team that has a more slender running back starter.
2) Clive Walford, Oakland
Former Hurricane tight end is a better blocker than Williams, but just isn’t as dynamic of a receiver. There is not a lot of difference between himself and the other tight end in Oakland, Mychal Rivera. I think Walford is slightly better than him, so they might be fighting for touches.
3) Jeff Heuerman, Denver
While he wasn’t very active his last year at Ohio State, this tight end is an able blocker and has soft hands. I think he is more of a Joker aka move tight end than an inline blocker. The biggest questions with him are health and of course Peyton Manning’s health.
4) Jesse James, Pittsburgh
He is a huge raw, target who might take a year or two to wrestle the job away from Heath Miller. This is a stash player for teams that can sock him away on a taxi squad for at least a year. If you need immediate help, this isn’t the tight end for you.
5) Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati
The Bengals usually run a two tight end system and Tyler Eifert has not been a picture of health after entering into the league. Kroft could step in if Eifert implodes again.