Grading the Season 39 Rookie Draft

by Cale_45390 3 months ago

We're are now halfway through season 40, meaning the Season 39 rookies have had roughly 24 games to get their footing in the SML. Where are they now, and how have they performed? 

  • #1 overall, DE Denario Simmons, Kansas City, Star Dev, 85 overall

Simmons recorded 5.5 sacks, an accomplishment for any player this cycle, in his first season along with 5 TFLs, and recovered a fumble and it took it 29 yards to the house, although he recorded just 23 tackles. In his second season thus far, only 1 sack, but tackle numbers are up with 19 already, but he seems to be in the middle of a sophomore slump. Simmons very well might've been the only bright spot for a near-historically bad defense. This is a hard pick to grade, because this defense needed/needs a lot, but Simmons is a solid start.

Grade: B-


  • #2 overall, QB Edward Meier, Seattle, Normal Dev, 76 ovr

Oh boy... Meier might've been the only QB in this first round, but that says more about the class that it does for poor Eddy. 16 TDs, 37 INTs, 62 rating. On top of a crappy, frankly, terrible season, he only increased 3 overall from 73. Then to top it off, Tiny said "You know what, Meier is the problem here" and hands superstar, 33 year old, Carson Wentz 64 million dollars. So instead of sticking with the 22 year old and using that 30 mil AAV somewhere else on the team, but relegated Meier to holder duty (thats 8.5 million for a holder by the way), and signed an old vet. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

Grade: F-


  • #3 overall, DE Nate Massie, Detroit, Star Dev, 80 ovr

Massie had an up and down rookie year, mostly down, posting just 3 sacks and 6 tackles, but he may be beginning to adjust to SML life with 2 sacks, 4 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles halfway through year two. This is a Lions team who needed help, and Massie still has potential, but as of now, nothing special.

Grade: B


  • #4 overall, LB Ben Lincoln, Chicago, Star Dev, 78 ovr

The first of 4, yes 4, Bears first round picks in this draft, Lincoln has only progressed 2 ovr from a 76, but he recorded 35 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and a pick in his rookie year. His sophomore year so far has been nothing short of disatrous so far, only recording stats in 3 games, garnering just 1 sack and 5 solo tackles. He was the 4th overall pick, but this is a deep LB room, I wouldn't be surprised to see some other players challenge for snaps soon if Lincoln doesn't return to his rookie year form. Oh, and the Bears might've been the worst defense of all time last season.

Grade: C+


  • #5 overall, DE Xavier Jennings, Tampa Bay, Normal Dev, 74 ovr

Ok, before we dig into his stats, I wanted you to just remember this pick when you see some of the picks later in the round. Normal dev, 72 ovr at #5, yikes. That alone would be enough to be a bad grade, but ok, maybe his production was solid and warranted a top 5 pick? no? oh. Wait, you're telling me he's had 7 solo tackles and 1 sack in his first 24 games? No way, you're lying, I don't believe you.

Grade: F


  • #6, DT Pat Winters, Indianapolis, Normal Dev, 78 ovr

I don't remember how the Colts got this pick, nor do I care, because people keep thinking its a good idea to give the defending super bowl champion a top 10 pick, but thats besides the point. The entire league released a collective sigh of relief when they saw 75 normal on draft night. On top of that, DT's tend not to do that much in Madden 21, unless they have insane attributes or abilities. Winters has 83 block shed, and thats about it, and that resulted in 9 solo tackles, though he did recover a fumble for a TD. He's sitting behind Deforest Buckner, so I'm not sure why you draft DT2 at #6, but hey, maybe you didn't scout much and he was the "best available", which I don't believe, but sure. Just meh.

Grade: C


  • #7, S, Keenan Watters, New York (the good one), Star Dev, 78 ovr

This is a pick that I don't really understand, and here's why. Watters is the Giants starting Free Safety, BUT, he's the teams 4th highest rated safety. Yes, overall doesn't tell the full story, but when you invest the 7 pick in a position where you already had a higher rated 5th year Symere Woods, and 4th year PJ Pryor, you're going to open the door to questions. That said, depsite it being a deep position group, Watters came in and snagged 3 picks and 39 solo tackles as a day 1 starter. He's having a bit of a down season thus far in season 40, with just 1 pick and 9 solo tackles. If, 24 games into his career, he wasn't sharing the safety room with 3 other guys with equal or higher coverage ratings, I would've given this a slightly higher grade, but with the state of the team, I'll keep it where I have it. Good pick. Interesting, but good.

Grade: B+


  • #8, DT Bobby Preston, and #9, DE Taj Felix, Pittsburgh

I'm lumping these two together because this is my article and I can do what I want, also, same team, back to back picks. Preston is an XF, so uh, nice. 81 overall, but he hasn't done much so far in his career, because as I mentioned earlier DT's dont do much, but you always want the XF on your team when you can get him. Nothing crazy in the attribute area, but he will develop nice. Taj Felix is kinda a let down following up Preston, but he had a dev game and earned star dev despite starting as a 74 normal, and he's progressed to 77. Felix has collected 4 sacks, 15 solo tackles, and he's forced a fumble so far. Both these grades would go up significantly if production had been better, but I am also accounting for the fact that these two picks immedietly preceeded the best season for the Steelers this cycle and maybe ever for owner KJ

Grades: Preston A, Felix C+


  • #10, CB Mike Sweat, Chicago, Star Dev, 81 ovr

45 solo tackles, 6 interceptions including a pick 6 thus far for Sweat, and he recorded a sack in his rookie season. I really like Sweat and I think he was a solid, borderline great pick. But like Sweat's fellow Bears teammates on this list, his grade is gonna take a hit due to the tragic, disgusting performance turned out by Chicago's defense in season 39. If he was drafted 2 seasons earlier, I think Sweat has what it takes to become one of the best CBs in the league.

Grade: A-


  • #11, G Najee Gore, New York (the not so good one), Normal Dev, 75 ovr

I'm gonna spend as much time writing this as I think a subpar OL at #11 deserves

Grade: D


  • #12, LB DJ McMillian, Cincinnati, 76 ovr, Normal Dev, 76 ovr

Ok wow, I love this pick. 91 speed at MLB. In a division with Lamar Jackson. McMillian straight up flies around the field, and thats what you need if you're going to be playing Lamar Jackson and Nick Chubb 4 times a year. DJ was an immediate impact, making 77 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks, snagging a pick, and scoring a TD. A torn labrum is forcing him out for 5 weeks this season, but you know what, I dont even care. I dont even care that he's normal dev. The Colts passed on him, the Bears and Steelers passed on him twice, and you can not sit here and tell me that McMillian wouldn't have been a better pick than Edward fucking meier. Ok I'm good now, got that out of my system

Grade: A-


  • #13, S Calvin Laws, Atlanta, Normal Dev, 76 ovr

Lawyer, come on buddy, you're better than this... I get it, you're a lawyer, this guys name is Laws, haha, irony, whatever. I'm pressing charges for criminal misconduct at mismanaging a football team, and robbing a young man of promising career. I would like to enter the Falcons depth chart as evidence for consideration. Your honor, Keanu Neal is an 85, and Eddie Jackson is an 84. Now I present Mr. Laws career stats through 24 games; 5 solo tackles. That's it your honor. Ok, gotta go, Law and Order is back from commercial break.

Grade: F is for Falcons


  • #14, TE Damien Carney, New Orleans, X-Factor, 83 overall

Alright look, I was fully prepared to roast this pick... mostly because it was a top 15 tight end and Alvin Kamara gets like 100 targets a season, and honestly I thought Hayden Hurst was still on the team. But then I clicked the roster, saw he was TE1, and then I saw XF and my eyes got a little wide... Why haven't we heard more about this dude? Wait don't answer that, it's because the Saints suck. They're 6-16-1 since they drafted Carney. Sure, is it his fault? No. Am I going to take it out on him a little bit? Yes. Carney has nearly 100 career catches, and just over 1500 receiving yards already, to go along with 13 TDs. Listen, Colton, I vouched for you. Hard. I'm gonna need you carry my casket at my funeral so that you can let me down one last time. You and PJ both. Maybe Nole too. I'm sorry, this is a little unfounded, but this is my only outlet, and I have a lot of pent up emotions involving my former Unior brothers, so this is what you get. 

Grade: A+


  • #15, DT Emmanuel Dodson, Normal Dev, 78 ovr

It's fine. I guess. Like I said before, DTs unless elite, don't do much. I'd still rather have the higher rated one, but like, it is what it is. Dodson has 15 solo tackles and sack in 24 games.

Grade: C+


  • #16, S Tyronne Banks, Chicago, Star Dev, 79 ovr

Banks was a great pick. +4 overall from 75 already, and record 40 solo tackles, but only had 2 picks his rookie year. He's grabbed 2 picks and 18 solo tackles already this season, and looks like he could be a stud.... in another scheme. This Bears defense is... oof. Can't fault the pick though.

Hi there! Future Meats here. I just saw the next pick, and now I have to change this grade. I had a B+, but the Bears just cant catch a break and I am now lowering it.

Grade: C+


  • #17, S Tyron Vernon, New England, X-Factor, 85 overall

Ok WTF is going on now? Three X-Factors in the top 20? I didn't think they made 3 in a single draft ever. Ok, so this might be the best pick of the draft, regardless of anything else. Not only is the highest rated so far, but he's gone up TEN overall already. Down season so far in season 40 for Vernon, but who cares because the Patriots are 7-0 at the time of this writing. Vernon snagged 9 picks as a rookie, and that was near the league lead.

Grade: A+


  • #18, LB Pete McCain, Green Bay, Normal Dev, 76 ovr

On the surface, I like it. 88 speed. But with only 22 solo tackles, you expect more out of a starting middle linebacker, and on pace for exactly that same amount this season, though he did grab an INT already this season. Nothing remarkable, but could be a solid plug and play player/starter for the remainder of the cyle.

Grade: C-


  • #19, DT Enrique Riddick, Arizona, Superstar, 80 ovr

Woohoo, another DT, I am thrilled. Riddick was the 4th DT, and 8th DL off the board, but only the 2nd superstar or better. Starting as a 74, he's gained +6 overall. Like I said, I know I was the one who drafted him, and personally I think it was the right pick, but DT's do almost nothing, so like cool, but also whatever. Riddick has 13 solo tackles through 24 games, but already has 8 in 8 games this season. 

Grade: B


  • #20, C Connor Galloway, Los Angeles (the Mediocre one), Normal Dev, 76

So this is a fine area to be taking an OL, especially if you feel you dont have any holes, but you need to make sure you actually need your first round pick. DW once had the lowest paid OL in the league. Now 24 games into his career, Galloway is the starting RG, but only 2 ovr higher than Forrest Lamp, and he was lower than Lamp when he was drafted. Lamp is kinda old, but still a solid player, I don't think you need to invest a first rounder into this line, especially when your team has other holes you can fill. I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but O LINE, BAD, REEEEEE

Grade: C I guess?


  • #21, CB Tyrell Reede, Dallas, Superstar, 82 ovr

Ok I'm fairly confused. On daddyleagues it says Reede started as a 70 normal. So did he get 2 dev games? a dev game and a year end boost? I'm assuming the year end boost because 9 rookie year INTs is awesome. Reede's zone coverages have gone from 63 to 85. yeah. wow. I want to fault this pick because it was a meh borderline pick on draft night, but I can't fault the production or development.

Grade: A


  • #22, OL Calvin Meredith, formerly Oakland, Normal Dev, 78 ovr

sigh.... *copy paste* "According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible."

Grade: B is for Bee Movie


  • #23, S David Hillman, San Fransisco, Normal Dev, 74 ovr

It's year 2 for Hillman, and he is currently sitting behind a 75 ovr, 30 year old Tarvarius Moore. I remember Dump saying he didnt like the pick at the time, and it's pretty evident in Hillman's playing time. Hillman has solid atts, 88 speed, 74, zone, 75 man, not great, but serviceable at worst, but the usage just hasn't been there. Only reason this grade is not an F is because Hillman has 19 solo tackles and a pick in limited snaps.

Grade: D


  • #24, TE Kevin Hoffman, Green Bay

Why? That is all. This may have been an auto draft, and I hope it was. The Packers have a MONSTER in TE Luke Moreland, who by the way, just signed a 6 year deal for over 45 million, and you take a TE in the first round? Hoffman has caught one catch for 9 yards in his career. Mikey, you better not argue with this one.

Grade: F


  • #25, WR Darrell Davidson, Cleveland, Normal Dev, 76 ovr

I can't believe it took 25 picks for the first WR to come off the board. *clicks Browns depth chart* Ok what the fuck Woods? So let's count: 1. Odell, 2. Javon Williams, 3. Carl Ellerbe, 4. Donovan Peoples-Jones.... and then Davidson, in his rookie year. So you take pick #25 and turn it into WR5? Why? And then to top it off, you get LaDarius Michaels from Detroit (either trade or sign idk) mid-season, so now you got a guy at WR6 that will never see the field that you spent a first on. Davidson somehow still managed 33 catches for 549 and 3 TDs, but all those numbers are down this season as Davidson is the 6th highest rated WR on the Browns roster and currently holding the WR4 spot on the depth chart. I just don't understand the pick.

Grade: C-


  • #26, WR Tyreke Foster, Carolina, Star Dev, 81 ovr

This is a really good pick, because while none of his attributes really pop, he was a 75, which at 26 is great value, and then on top of that he's already an 81. Awesome pick for coach Dom, but I want to see more from Foster before I give this an A.

Grade: B+


  • #27, LB George McLeod, Chicago, Star Dev, 75 ovr

George had a great rookie season opposite fellow rookie Ben Lincoln. McLeod record 23 solo tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Despite this, the Bears front office thought it was a cool idea to sign an aging Zach Cunningham, and then START CUNNINGHAM over McLeod. I get it, Cunningham is a superstar, but even so, you sign a guy who had 2 tackles and 1 sack on a great defense in Denver last season, and you think he's gonna singlehandedly turn your defense around... Cunningham has recorded 7  solo tackles... thats it. McLeod has sparingly seen the field this season but still has 1 sack. PLAY McLEOD and this grade will go up.

Grade: D+


  • #28, WR Joey Ware, Washington, Normal Dev, 76 ovr

We got a run on WRs folks! Ware appears to be WR2 at the time he was drafted, but I can not confirm that, so it was a need draft for sure. You like the 95 speed and 81 catching, and his rookie production at 44 catches, 566 yards, and 7 TDs... but then this offseason happened. Washington brings in Brandin Cooks and Mike Evans to the equation, giving them a LOADED WR room, and Ware doesn't have a single catch to show for it this season. I like it, but the situation changed in a hurry.

Grade: C


  • #29, LB Sam Webber, Philadelphia, Superstar, 76 ovr

I'm not sure how to feel about this one. Superstar, yeah, awesome! BUT he only has 82 speed, 78 tackling, and he might as well be Vita Vea in coverage. 20 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles so far, so the production doesn't appear to be hindered, but I just worry some of those attributes may put a relatively low ceiling on Sammy.

Grade: B


  • #30, HB Connor Church, Green Bay, Superstar, 85 ovr

Let's go Mike, this is what I like to see. I'm glad you decided Robert Bigsby was not the answer. Connor Church went from 75 normal to an 85 superstar in just one season. NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year following 1200 yardsa nd 14 TDs. In year 2, his YPC is up by a full yard, and is on pace for the same amount of  TDs. Mike, I want you to use him more. Give him 300 carries. Cut down on picks. Win some games. I believe in you <3.

Grade: A-


  • #31, DT Trenton Smith, Los Angeles (the pretty good one), Normal, 75 ovr

Rumor has it that Trenton was so intimidating last season that he forced Aaron Donald into retirement this season because of how scared he was. The bright side is that Smith moves up to DT2. The down side is that Smith can not pass rush for shit. He can however hold his own against the run, but in this division, I'm not sure 80 block shed will cut it. As for the fit, I like it. Donald was old, and subsequently retired, so it was a move for the future for a strong contender with a great team. Production wise? Say it with me: DTs don't do anything. 4 solo tackles is all Smith has managed in a season and a half. And for that reason, I'm out

Grade: C-- (not quite a D+, not quite a C-)


  • #32, TE Laron Fox, New England, Star Dev, 78 ovr

Awesome pick from every angle. TE1 from day 1. 87 speed. 1000+ receiving yards in year one, 85 catches, 14 (!!) tuddies! His numbers are down in year 2, probably from the lack of needing to spam him, but he's still working out great.

Grade: A

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