AP NFL draft grades: Bears earned highest mark after landing Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze – Metro US

AP NFL draft grades: Bears earned highest mark after landing Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze

APTOPIX Bears NFL Draft Football
Chicago Bears No. 9 draft pick wide receiver Rome Odunze, left, and No. 1 draft pick quarterback Caleb Williams, right, hold up jerseys as they pose for a photo during an NFL football news conference in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, April 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Some teams see an immediate impact from an NFL draft class.

Others have to wait on a return.

The Houston Texans went from worst to first in their division last season after selecting quarterback C.J. Stroud and edge Will Anderson Jr. back to back with the second and third overall picks.

The Carolina Panthers ended up with the worst record despite taking Bryce Young No. 1 overall so they have to be patient.

The Chicago Bears are the leading contender to have a Texans-like turnaround after getting QB Caleb Williams with the first pick and wide receiver Rome Odunze at No. 9.

The Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Commanders also had excellent drafts.

It usually takes three years to fairly grade a draft, but here are AP’s early grades on each team’s overall draft:

Got the best receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (4) in the draft and upgraded the rush with edge Darius Robinson (27). CB Max Melton, RB Trey Benson and CB Elijah Jones highlighted the team’s five picks on Day 2. DB Dadrion Taylor-Demerson and OT Christian Jones are potential starters from Day 3.

QB Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 was the most stunning pick of the draft because Kirk Cousins just received $100 million guaranteed. DL Ruke Orhorhor (35) and DE Bralen Trice (74) bolster the defense. Reached on some of their Day 3 picks after starting strong with DL Brandon Dorius in the fourth round.

CB Nate Wiggins (30) and DE Adisa Isaac (93) can make an immediate impact. OT Roger Rosengarten (62) had some first-round grades. CB T.J. Tampa and RB Rasheen Ali could become Day 3 steals.

Traded out of the first round and saw three more receivers go before ending up with WR Keon Coleman (33). Got better value with S Cole Bishop (60) and DL DeWayne Carter (95) later in Day 2. OL Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, LB Edefuan Ulofoshio and LB Javon Solomon are outstanding picks in the fifth round.

Added playmakers to help Bryce Young with three of their first four picks, selecting WR Xavier Legette (32), RB Jonathon Brooks (46) and TE Ja’Tavion Sanders.

Getting QB Caleb Williams (1) and WR Rome Odunze (9) in the top 10 will help them compete for a playoff spot this season. OL Kiran Amegadjie (75) provides more protection Williams. Took Tory Taylor, the best punter in the draft, a little early in the fourth.

OT Amarius Mims (18) has major upside but isn’t as much of a slam dunk as other linemen who went in the first round. Had a strong second day, getting DT Kris Jenkins, WR Jermaine Burton and DL McKinnley Jackson. TE Tanner McLachlan in the sixth has plenty of potential.

Getting DL Michael Hall Jr. (54) made it worth the wait for the last team to draft. WR Jamari Thrash is a sleeper in the fifth. LB Nathaniel Watson could be a steal in the sixth.

Traded down and still filled a major hole with OT Tyler Guyton (29). Addressed more needs on Day 2 with DL Marshawn Kneeland (56) and OL Cooper Beebe (73). Added depth and value on Day 3 with CB Caelen Carson and WR Ryan Flournoy.

Taking QB Bo Nix in the 20s instead of at No. 12 would’ve been ideal but they didn’t want to risk losing him. Made excellent picks the rest of the way with DE Jonah Elliss (76), WR Troy Franklin, CB Kris Abrams-Draine and RB Audric Estime. Franklin is a first-round talent who slipped to the fourth.

Traded up to get CB Terrion Arnold (24) and strengthened the pass defense even more with CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr. in the second round.

OT Jordan Morgan (25) fills a need though they may have passed up more talented linemen. LB Edgerrin Cooper (45) and S Javon Bullard (58) will improve the defense. RB MarShawn Lloyd (88) and LB Ty’Ron Hopper (91) capped an outstanding Day 2.

Hard to follow up a draft where they took C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. Top pick CB Kamari Lassiter (42) can step right in and play. S Calen Bullock (78) is cream of the rest of a crop that includes OT Blake Fisher (59) and TE Cade Stover.

Made edge Laiatu Latu the first defensive player selected at No. 15 when he wasn’t the highest-graded prospect at his position. Traded back and got talented WR Adonai Mitchell, a first-round talent, with the 52nd pick. OT Matt Goncalves (79) and S Jaylin Simpson (164) are the best of a solid group on Days 2-3.

Traded down to No. 23 and got a player many projected they’d take at 17 in WR Brian Thomas Jr. Filled defensive needs with DL Maason Smith (48) and S Jarrian Jones (96).

Traded up for WR Xavier Worthy (28) and took a shot on raw OT Kingsley Suamataia. TE Jared Wiley, S Jaden Hicks, OL Hunter Nourzad and CB Kamal Hadden give opponents more reason to fear the two-time defending Super Bowl champions.

Brock Bowers (13) is by far the best tight end in the draft but they already have Michael Mayer. Jackson Powers-Johnson (44) might be the top interior lineman in a strong class and OT Delmar Glaze (77) can be a steady starter. Nailed Day 3 with CB Decamerion Richardson, LB Tommy Eichenberg, RB Dylan Laube, S Trey Taylor and CB M.J. Devonshire.

Gave Justin Herbert protection and a playmaker with their first two picks: LT Joe Alt (5) and WR Ladd McConkey (34). Jim Harbaugh got his Wolverine in LB Junior Colson (69). Got a WR with the best genes in the draft in the seventh round when they took Brenden Rice, son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

Edge Jared Verse (19) was the first pick in the first round since Jared Goff in 2016. He fits a major need. So does DT Braden Fiske (39) after Aaron Donald’s retirement.

Edge Chop Robinson (21) has AP Defensive Rookie of the Year potential. OT Patrick Paul (55) doesn’t seem to fit the team’s preferred style of athletic tackles. WR Malik Washington is a sleeper in the sixth.

QB J.J. McCarthy (10) isn’t the 10th-best player in the draft but they didn’t want to risk losing him. Moved up to get possibly the best defensive player in the draft, DE Dallas Turner (17). CB Khyree Jackson was great value in the fourth.

Drake Maye (3) isn’t a lock to become a franchise quarterback. Versatile WR Ja’Lynn Polk (37) went higher than expected. Day 3 was strong. Got OL Layden Robinson and WR Javon Baker in the fourth and CB Marcellas Dial and strong-armed QB Joe Milton in the sixth. TE Jaheim Bell in the seventh could be a steal.

OT Taliese Fuaga (14) is an immediate starter and fills a need. Traded up for solid CB Kool-Aid McKinstry (41). QB Spencer Rattler (150) once was a projected first-rounder and has upside. He highlighted an impressive haul on Day 3.

WR Malik Nabers (6) fills a major void. Boosted the secondary on Day 2 with S Tyler Nubin (47) and CB Andru Phillips (70). RB Tyrone Tracy Jr. is raw but has potential.

Passed up Bowers to get OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu (11) and then got Aaron Rodgers more playmakers in WR Malachi Corley (65) and RB Braelon Allen (134). QB Jordan Travis is coming off ACL surgery but has time to develop. “Mr. Irrelevant,” S Jaylen Key, has the skill set to be a core special teams player.

CBs Quinyon Mitchell (22) and Cooper DeJean (40) are a significant boost to the secondary. Took a risk on developing LB Jalyx Hunt (93). WRs Ainias Smith (152) and Johnny Wilson (185) are excellent value. Got LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. in the fifth round could be a steal.

Gave Russell Wilson more protection with top two picks: OL Troy Fautanu and OL Zach Frazier. WR Roman Wilson (84) fills a hole in the slot. LB Payton Wilson (98) has first-round talent. OL Mason McCormick provides more depth.

WR Ricky Pearsall (31) was an odd choice unless Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel are getting traded. CB Renardo Green (64) and OL Dominick Puni (86) are ideal fits. CB Malik Mustapha (124), WR Jacob Cowing (135) and OL Jarrett Kingston headlined a nice Day 3 haul.

DT Byron Murphy (16) and G Christian Haynes (81) could be the best players at their positions in this class. TE A.J. Barner (121), OL Sataoa Laumea (179) and CB D.J. James (192) are high value.

Versatile OL Graham Barton (26) fills a major need and edge Chris Braswell (57) is a productive player. WR Jalen McMillan (92) is steady and RB Buck Irving (125) could be a steal.

RT JC Latham (7) will make the transition to the left side to protect Will Levis’ blindside. Gambled on DT T’Vondre Sweat (38) earlier than expected but he’s a big man who fits a need on the D-line. Came away with a talented group on Day 3, including LB Cedric Gray, WR Jha’Quan Jackson, S James Williams and LB Jaylen Harrell.

Got their franchise quarterback in Jayden Daniels (2) and kept on adding. DT Johnny Newton (36) is a first-round player. Day 2 picks CB Mike Sainristil, TE Ben Sinnott, OT Brandon Coleman and WR Luke McCaffrey are building blocks.

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl