With the 2022 NFL Combine taking place this weekend and the NFL Draft approaching in the next few months, we took a look back and evaluated every NFL teams’ previous four draft classes (2018-2021) and ranked their overall performance.
In case you missed it, below are the rankings of the Bottom 8 Teams (No. 25-32).
Here are the next 8 teams in the rankings: (No. 17-24).
These next 8 teams on this list have all proved for the most part, that they are not one of the ‘worst teams’ at drafting. Most of these teams have done an average job at drafting. Some of them are very talented teams that have made good picks, but have made some flaws which prevent them from being ranked higher on the list.
17. Kansas City Chiefs
Top Value Picks: C Creed Humphrey (2nd), G Trey Smith, CB Rashad Fenton (6th), CB L’Jarius Snead (4th), S Juan Thornhill, Nick Bolton (2nd), OL Nick Allegretti (7th)
Worst Value Picks: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (1st), Breeland Speaks (2nd), DT Khalen Saunders (3rd), WR Mecole Hardman (2nd), WR Cornell Powell (5th)
Plays for Another Team: CB Thakarius Keyes (7th, Bears)
Pros: Kansas City desperately needed to address their No. 1 major need – protecting Patrick Mahomes. Their prayers were recently answered in the 2021 draft, where GM Brett Veach bolstered the interior of their o-line — with the additions of center Creed Humphrey in the 2nd round and guard Trey Smith in the 6th round. Humphrey, was the No. 1 overall center graded on PFF & finished the year with highest Pass Block Win Rate of any center (98% via ESPN). Smith, was arguably the biggest steal and best value pick of the entire 2021 draft, he finished 2nd in the NFL amongst guards in Pass Block Win Rate & 3rd in Run Block Win Rate.
Veach also has done a great job building out the secondary around Tyrann Mathieu, with contributing low-round picks such as former 2019 6th-round pick Rashad Fenton (6th-ranked CB on PFF), CB L’Jarius Snead, and S Juan Thornhill.
Cons: The Chiefs have only made one 1st-round selection since drafting Pat Mahomes in 2017.. which was in 2020, when they drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire. CEH has not been a major ‘disappointment’ as a player, but the value of selecting him in the first round was not great.. They could’ve solidified the other wide receiver position on the opposite side of Hill – by selecting a player such as Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman. Or they could have moved back a few picks in the second round and waited to draft a RB such as Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, D’Andre Swift, Antonio Gibson and AJ Dillon.
Overall: With having only one 1st-round pick to work with, the Chiefs have done a pretty good job working with what they have.. They have drafted pretty well in recent years under GM Brett Veach, but it would be most likely be assumed with all of their recent success, that they would be much higher on the list. While the additions of Humphrey, Smith and Bolton this past draft might have been his best work since drafting Mahomes, the three years prior were nothing too special, which prevents them from being ranked higher.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
Top Value Picks: WR Diontae Johnson (3rd), TE Pat Freiermuth (2nd), RB Najee Harris, WR Chase Claypool (2nd), OLB Alex Highsmith, G Kevin Dotson, OT Chukwuma Okorafor (3rd), DB Tre Norwood (7th), TE Zach Gentry (5th)
Worst Value Picks: QB Mason Rudolph (3rd), RB Benny Snell (4th), RB Jaylen Samuels (5th), LB Sutton Smith (6th), WR James Washington (2nd), Isaiahh Loudermilk (5th), S Terrell Edmunds (1st), CB Justin Layne (3rd)
Plays for Another Team: OLB Quincy Roche (6th – Giants)
Pros: The Steelers have done an excellent job at adding very talented offensive playmakers the past few drafts — something this organization seems to have always strived on. Last draft, they found great value by adding a potential future star TE in the 2nd round with Pat Freiermuth, (ranked 9th out of 70 TEs graded on PFF). The previous round, they added former Alabama star RB Najee Harris, who had a very solid rookie season, rushing for 1200 YDS & 7 TDS; while also catching 74 passes for 467 YDS-3 TDS.
The biggest steal was WR Diontae Johnson, a 3rd-round pick in 2019, who just earned his first Pro Bowl selection. Johnson quietly hs 32 more career receptions than any other receiver from the 2019 Draft (which included D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, Hunter Renfrow and Marquise Brown). On the defensive side, that found nice value in the 3rd with OLB Alex Highsmith, who had the 8th-highest Run Stop Win Rate for an NFL edge-rusher in 2021.
Cons: Pittsburgh has typically been know as a team that historically has always performed well in the draft. Besides hitting the jackpot in 2017 with Defensive MVP T.J. Watt — the past several years they have not had any bad drafts, but the one issue has been they have not real added much significant talent on defense..
Their highest overall pick was in 2019, when they traded up for ILB Devin Bush -who tore his ACL in 2020 and struggled this past season – (finishing 82nd out of 87-ranked LBs via PFF). Their other first round pick was in 2018 – safety Terrell Edmunds, who is not by any means a bad player, but has had struggles (ranked 86th out of 88 safeties in run defense). There was a lot more valuable players sitting on the board there and the next two safeties picked were Jessie Bates & Justin Reid.
Following the Edmunds pick, the back-to-back selections in the 2nd-3rd rounds of former Oklahoma State duo of Mason Rudolph & James Washington did not turn to be great value. They passed on players such as Fred Warner, Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown, Sam Hubbard. Rudolph has been their primary backup for the past four years and Washington hasn’t had much production for a 2nd-round receiver (114 career receptions) as there have been 5 TEs & 3 RBs from that class who have more receptions.
Overall: The headline of their recent drafts have been offensive skill players such as Harris, Johnson, Claypool, Freiermuth, but the rest of their draft picks besides a few have not had much contribution, which puts them ranked in the middle of the pack.
One factor that would help either move them up or drop them in the rankings, determines upon the development of four offensive linemen: Kendrick Green, Kevin Dotson & Chukwuma Okorafor & Dan Moore. They were all either a 3rd or 4th round pick and started at some point in 2021 — if half or the majority of them pan out, it would really benefit their offense.
Longtime GM Kevin Colbert recently announced he is stepping down following the 2022 draft, so look for him to end his tenure by ‘making a splash’ with a pick that will hopefully set them up for the future.. This could possibly be selecting a potential future franchise QB to replace Big Ben – similarly to how Ozzie Newsome did in last draft in Baltimore, when he picked Lamar Jackson.
19. Denver Broncos
Top Picks: CB Patrick Surtain (1st), WR Courtland Sutton, RB Javonte Williams, G Dalton Risner (2nd), OLB Jonathan Cooper (7th), C Lloyd Cushenberry, G Quinn Meinerz (3rd), TE Albert Okwuegbunam, LB Josey Jewell (4th), G Netane Muti (6th)
Worst Value Picks: RB Royce Freeman (3rd), QB Drew Lock (2nd), CB Issac Yiadom, DT McTelvin Agim (3rd), WR DaeSean Hamilton (4th), TE Troy Fumagalli (5th)
Plays for Another Team: RB Royce Freeman (3rd – Panthers), CB Issac Yiadom (3rd – Packers), LB Justin Hollins (5th – Rams), WR Juwann Winfree (6th – Packers)
Pros: Despite not making the playoffs since 2015, the Broncos have actually done a pretty solid job over the last few years, especially in the mid-rounds (2nd-4th). George Paton made an immediate impact in his first draft as GM – adding several impactful rookies including CB Patrick Surtain, RB Javonte Williams, OL Quinn Meinerz, S Caden Sterns & OLB Jonathan Cooper.
Before Paton took over, they did a nice job adding offensive players in the mid-rounds such as WR Courtland Sutton (received contract extension), Dalton Risner (94% Pass Block Win Rate in 2021 was 10th-highest), C Lloyd Cushenberry (9th-highest Run Block Win Rate for a Center).
Cons: The Broncos’ biggest kryptonite for quite some time now has easily been drafting a quarterback.. After drafting a QB three-straight years between (2015-17), the past four drafts they have only drafted Drew Lock in the 2019 2nd round. While it is unfair to say Lock has been a complete disappointment, the value of the pick was not great as he was primarily a backup still after 3 seasons with the team.
In 2018, the year before they selected Lock in the 2nd round, they took Bradley Chubb, just two picks before Josh Allen was selected.. Allen, who played collegiately at Wyoming, could have potentially fit well in Denver. Another criticism, is that they have selected 7 wide receivers in the last four draft and half of them have not panned out.
Overall: While it appears that the Broncos have a lot working against them.. They have not made the playoffs since Peyton Manning was their starting QB, they currently don’t have a starting QB, ownership just listed the franchise for sale and new head coach.. but ironically there is a lot of optimism about the future of the Broncos with Paton in-charge.
Paton did such a nice job in his first year — it won’t be surprising to see them continue to draft strong under his guidance. This should ultimately help improve the trajectory of the franchise going further and hopefully for their sake, they find a reliable starting QB in either the draft or free agency.
20. Chicago Bears
Best Value Picks: WR Darnell Mooney, DL Bilal Nichols (5th), RB David Montgomery (3rd), CB Jaylon Johnson (2nd), LB Roquan Smith (1st), RB Khalil Herbert (6th), NT Khyiris Tonga (7th), EDGE Trevis Gipson (5th), TE Cole Kmet (2nd), G James Daniels (1st)
Worst Value Picks: WR Anthony Miller (2nd), ILB Joel Iyiegbuniwe, WR Riley Ridley (4th)
Plays for Another Team: WRs Anthony Miller (2nd – Steelers)
Pros: Despite their recent lack of success on the field and firing of their former GM Ryan Pace, Chicago surprisingly has added a solid amount of talented players in the mid/late rounds the past few years. Despite only only having 2 first round picks in the past 4 drafts (Roquan Smith & Justin Fields), they have found two great values in the 5th round with starting DL Bilal Nichols & WR Darnell Mooney.
Mooney, was a tremendous value pick in the 2020 5th round. In a draft that was stacked with talented wide receivers, Mooney has the 3rd-most receptions, trailing only Jefferson & Lamb. He has more receptions through 2 seasons than Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Jerry Jeudy, Chase Claypool and Brandon Aiyuk (who all were 1st or 2nd round picks). Pace also found great mid-round value in the 2020 2nd round with the selection of starting CB Jaylon Johnson, and the previous year selected starting RB David Montgomery (2nd-most rushing yards in the 2019 class) in the 3rd round. Also drafted RB Khalil Herbert (15th-ranked RB on PFF) in the 6th round in 2021.
Cons: Surprisingly, Chicago have not had too many “misses”, despite their recent struggles the past several years.. Their two biggest missed were wide receivers Anthony Miller & Riley Ridley, and it shows on the field, they’ve lacked in depth and have had to rely upon free agency.
Overall: Former GM Ryan Pace had an all-time mistake passing up on Patrick Mahomes for Mitch Trubisky in 2017, but since that Pace’s past few drafts have actually been pretty good, especially in 2020, even without a first round pick- adding players like Johnson, Mooney, Kmet, Gipson. The lack of picks has been their biggest downfall of the roster, as they lack depth all across their roster, but the ones they’ve had have turned out to be good.
21. Green Bay Packers
Top Value Picks: CB Jaire Alexander (1st), G Elgton Jenkins (2nd), OLB Rashan Gary (1st), RB AJ Dillon (2nd), G Jon Runyan (6th), WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5th), G Royce Newman (4th), S Darnell Savage (1st), C Josh Myers (2nd), OLB Jonathan Garvin (7th)
Worst Value Picks: CB Josh Jackson (2nd), TE Jace Sternberger (3rd), WR J’Mon Moore (4th), G Cole Madison, P J.K. Scott (5th), LB Oren Burks (3rd), RB Dexter Williams (6th), LB Kamal Martin, DL Kingsley Keke (5th)
Plays for Another Team: TE Jace Sternberger (3rd – Steelers), LB Kamal Martin (5th – Panthers), DT Kingsley Keke (5th – Texans),
Pros: GM Brian Gutenkurst has received a lot of heat for not drafting wide receivers to help his MVP QB Aaron Rodgers out. While he has not really drafted any impactful receivers in his tenure, besides Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the 5th round in 2018, he instead has hit on several defensive players in the first round: CB Jaire Alexander, OLB Rashan Gary & S Darnell Savage – who have all been much-needed impactful additions to their defense.
Where Gutenkurst has had the most success in the draft the past four years, in terms of value, has been addressing the offensive line. The most valuable non-first round pick has easily been the versatile OL Elgton Jenkins. He also found value in the later rounds, with starting guards Royce Newman (4th) & Jon Runyan (6th). Another pick that was criticized, but has turned out to look great is RB A.J. Dillon (2nd round) who combined with Aaron Jones to rush for 1,000 yards in 2021.
Cons: Although Gutenkurst has found success in the 1st & 2nd rounds, he has made several awful picks in the mid rounds (3rd-5th), where the majority of picks have not panned out for the Packers, or for any other NFL team.. For example, in 2018 the Packers had 11 draft picks, 7 of those 11 players are currently not on an NFL team.. Among those players, was a long snapper and a punter, a WR who plays in the USFL, and a guard who retired before ever suiting up..
The following draft in 2019, 4 of their 8 picks are already no longer on the team. Then in 2020, he drafted Jordan Love, which it would be unfair to label it as a ‘bad value pick’, if he ultimately ends up becoming their franchise QB, but if Rodgers signs an extension this would easily be their worst value pick.
Overall: Even though the Packers have not lost more than 3 games in a season in the past 3 seasons, their drafts have been pretty average and are not the main contributing reason for their recent success.. They would be much higher on this list if they didn’t miss on so many picks in the mid-rounds, such as Josh Jackson, Jace Sternberger, Oren Burks, J’Mon Moore, Cole Madison.
22. Atlanta Falcons
Top Value Picks: CB A.J. Terrell (1st), G Chris Lindstrom (1st), TE Kyle Pitts (1st), Russell Gage (6th), C Matt Hennessy (3rd), LB Foye Oluokun (6th), WR Calvin Ridley (1st)
Worst Value Picks: DT Deadrin Senat (3nd), RB Ito Smith (4th), OT Kaleb McGary (1st), DT Marlon Davison (2nd), John Cominsky (4th), CB Jordan Miller, RB Qadree Ollison (5th), WR Marcus Green (6th)
Pros: The Falcons have done an excellent job the previous few years in the first round. In 2019, they drafted WR Calvin Ridley (who sat out the rest of last season, but was excellent when on the field). The previous 3 drafts, they’ve added G Chris Lindstrom (6th-ranked G on PFF), CB A.J. Terrell (2nd-ranked CB on PFF) and TE Kyle Pitts (5th-ranked TE on PFF).
They’ve also found some very solid late-round gems, including two in the 6th round in 2018: with the selections of tackling-machine, LB Foye Oluokun and WR Russell Gage (ranked 31st out of 118 WRs on PFF) who has had 2x season with at least 65 REC-700 YDS-4 TDS.
Cons: Their biggest issue has been in the mid-rounds (2nd-4th). Besides starting center Matt Hennessy (3rd round), the majority of their picks have not turned out so great. Defensive line seems to be their biggest draft weakness, as Deadrin Senat, a former 3rd-round pick was released and Marlon Davison (2nd) has yet to make any significant impact.
Overall: Atlanta actually have overall done a solid job the last few years in the first round and have found a few players in the later rounds to rank higher than would be expected. Their biggest issue has been finding talent in the later rounds, and it has shown on the field, as they’ve lacked depth all across their roster.
23. New England Patriots
Top Value Picks: OL Michael Onwenu (6th), QB Mac Jones (1st), RB Damien Harris (3rd), S Kyle Dugger (2nd), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (5th), OT Isaiah Wynn (1st), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (4th)
Worst Value Picks: WR N’Keal Harry, RB Sony Michel (1st), CB Duke Dawson (2nd), TE Dalton Keene, TE Devin Asiasi, OT Yodny Cajuste (3rd), K Justin Rohrwasser (5th), G Hjalte Froholdt (4th)
Plays for Another Team: RB Sony Michel (1st – traded to Rams), CB Duke Dawson, (2nd – Broncos), Hjalte Froholdt (4th – Texans), WR Braxton Berrios (6th – Jets),
Pros: The Patriots have recently made some great value picks – highlighted by this year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist Mac Jones, who fell to them at 15th overall. Jones led all rookie quarterbacks in passing and his team to the playoffs.
On offense, they’ve done a really nice job at drafting two quality running backs in the mid-rounds with Damien Harris (3rd) & Rhamondre Stevenson (4th) and found a massive steal with OL Michael Onwenu (3rd-highest ranked OT on PFF) in the 2020 6th round. On defense, two of their most valuable picks have been safety Kyle Dugger (2nd) & ILB Ja’Whaun Bentley (5th).
Cons: New England has definitely had some notable hits and misses over the last several years.. Among their biggest notable misses, selecting RB Sony Michel in the 2018 first round, where instead they could have added Browns Pro Bowl RB Nick Chubb (who was Michel’s college teammate) or Colts LB Darius Leonard.
The following year, they selected WR N’Keal Harry in the first round, who in three years only has a combined (57 REC-598 YDS-4 TDS). The next receiver selected after Harry, was Deebo Samuel (167 REC-2,598 YDS-10 REC TD; 550 RUSH YDS-11 RUSH TDS). Another mistake was releasing All-Pro returner and reliable slot receiver Braxton Berrios – who they drafted in the 6th round in 2018 and now starts for the Jets.
Overall: Their recent drafts have not been perfect by any means, but it’s been pretty adequate for the most part. The addition of Mac Jones this past draft definitely helps their overall ranking, but missing on two first round picks (Harry & Michel) and several other mid-round picks, prevents them from being ranked higher.
24. New Orleans Saints
Top Value Picks: DB C.J Gardner-Johnson (4th), CB Paulson Adebo (3rd), ILB Pete Werner (2nd), TE Adam Trautman (3rd), DE Marcus Davenport (1st), OLB Kaden Elliss (7th), C Erik McCoy (2nd), DE Payton Turner (1st)
Worst Value Picks: OT Rick Leonard (4th), DB Natrell Jamerson (5th), OLB Zack Baun (3rd), QB Ian Book (4th)
Plays for Another Team: DB Natrell Jamerson (5th), RB Boston Scott (6th – Eagles)
Pros: The Saints have done a nice job in the mid-rounds, adding several contributors on both sides of the ball. They’ve found success finding defenders in the mid-rounds, including DB C.J Gardner-Johnson (4th) and this past draft, ILB Pete Werner (2nd; 6th-highest ranked ILB on PFF) and CB Paulson Adebo (3rd).
Cons: Their biggest weakness in the last several years has been the lack of skill players that have been drafted, which demonstrated on the field without Michael Thomas and Jared Cook.. They’ve drafted 2 QB’s: (Ian Book & Tommy Stevens), 1 RB (Boston Scott), 2 WRs: (Tre’Quan Smith & Kawaan Baker) & 2 TEs (Adam Trautman & Alize Mack).. The only two players that have had made any impact for the Saints has been Smith & Trautman.
Overall: The Saints have overall been pretty efficient at drafting the past four years, but what their drafts have lacked is star power. If this list included their 2017 draft, they would easily be in the Top 10, off just that class alone. Their 2017 class, which included CB Marshon Lattimore, OT Ryan Ramczyk, RB Alvin Kamara, DE Trey Hendrickson, S Marcus Williams & LB Alex Anzalone might have been the best draft class in the past 5 years.
Stay tuned for the next group of teams in our rankings: No. 9-16.