News & Analysis

5 worst picks from Day 1 of the NFL draft

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Germain Ifedi #74 of the Texas A&M Aggies blocks against the Duke Blue Devils during the Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Texas A&M won the game 52-48. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Germain Ifedi

Not every NFL team made the right choice with its first-round pick of the 2016 NFL draft. Here are the five worst picks of Day 1:

1. Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

To say we differed from the Seahawks' assessment of Ifedi, their selection at No. 31 overall, is an understatement. Ifedi had a sixth-round grade on our big board and was our 12th overall tackle in the class. He simply did not grade well at all, finishing with a negative pass-blocking grade a season ago. Sure, he is strong, and has a fantastic frame for the position, but his technique is nowhere near an NFL level yet. It will take him a few years to even get to an NFL starter's level, and then at that point the Seahawks will have to break out the checkbook for his second contract.

2. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

This was an odd pick, as offensive tackle wasn’t a huge need for the Lions after they signed Geoff Schwartz, and on our board Decker was a fairly generous reach in the middle of the first round (Detroit took him at No. 16 overall). Decker had the second-lowest pass-blocking grade (after Ifedi) of any offensive lineman drafted in the first round, and it was his second straight season with poor pass-blocking numbers. At a position where pass blocking outweighs run blocking in a big way, that’s concerning. Decker has far fewer concerns in the run game, but the Lions aren’t exactly a run-heavy offense.

3. Atlanta Falcons: Keanu Neal, S, Florida

Dan Quinn wanted his version of Kam Chancellor, his star strong safety when he was defensive coordinator in Seattle, so badly he went out and jumped at the first player he saw offering anything similar. Neal didn’t grade out close to Chancellor’s level a year ago, however, and not even close to the level of Karl Joseph, the safety who went three picks prior to Oakland. Neal graded out negatively in run defense and pass coverage, and his 16 missed tackles were the sixth-most among draft-eligible safeties.

4. New York Jets: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Fellow PFF analyst Bobby Slowik told me that Lee reminded him a bit of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington when he was coming out of college. It might be that Jets coach Todd Bowles, who used to coach Washington, felt similarly. The problem is that comparing two players doesn’t mean they’ll turn out the same, and simply put, Lee is a project. 45 percent of his snaps a year ago came from the slot, and when he was asked to play in the box, his run reads weren’t on an NFL level. He also managed to only grade out right around average in coverage, and only got his hands on two passes all season long — while ranking fourth-worst in the class in tackling efficiency in coverage.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Artie Burns, CB, Miami (FL)

Pittsburgh left itself with such a desperate need at cornerback that a reach in the draft was unfortunately inevitable. Burns' tape doesn’t do much to suggest he is worth a first-round pick. He had six interceptions last season at Miami, but it wasn’t necessarily indicative of a high level of performance. Burns graded out right around average, and what’s most concerning was his lack of feel in zone coverage. The Steelers played zone at one of the highest rates in the NFL last season.

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