Best draft move for every NFL team since two thousand eleven

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 6:15 AM

So who are considered the best draft selections by all thirty-two teams over the past five years? NFL Nation delves into each roster. AFC E Buffalo Bills The Bills weren't considered to be in the market for a cornerback when they selected Ronald Darby in the second circular in two thousand-fifteenth, nor were they in necessity of a running back when they took Karlos Williams in the fifth round.

Best draft move for every NFL team since two thousand eleven

We hear it every year: The best teams are built through the draft. So who are considered the best draft selections by all thirty-two teams over the past five years? NFL Nation delves into each roster.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

The Bills weren't considered to be in the market for a cornerback when they selected Ronald Darby in the second circular in two thousand-fifteenth, nor were they in necessity of a running back when they took Karlos Williams in the fifth round. But following a setback in Leodis McKelvin'south recovery from a broken ankle and the astonishment release of Fred Jackson, Darby and Williams became immediate contributors for Buffalo and were among the NFL'south best rookies latest season. The Bills view both selections as a validation of their philosophy to choose the best players available instead of simply addressing positional needs. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins didn't necessity receivers in two thousand-fourteenth, when they drafted Jarvis Landry in the second round. Starters Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline were already on board and below contract. However, the team stuck to its best-player-available philosophy and selected Landry, who formed a dynamic duo with companion Odell Beckham Jr. at LSU. Landry set a rookie record with eighty-four receptions and then broke the team record the following year with one hundred ten receptions latest season to become a major building obstruct for the future. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

The Patriots' trade out of the first circular of the two thousand thirteen draft with the Vikings -- in which they shipped the No. twenty-nine choose to MN for a second-round choose (LB Jamie Collins), third-round choose (CB Logan Ryan), fourth-round choose (WR Josh Boyce) and seventh-round choose (traded for RB LeGarrette Blount) -- was particularly strong. The Vikings picked WR Cordarrelle Patterson. So the trade ended up being Collins, Ryan, Boyce (number longer on team) and Blount for Patterson. -- Mike Reiss

NY Jets

The Jets have made only two stellar moves since two thousand eleven: picking DE Muhammad Wilkerson at No. thirty overall in two thousand-eleventh and DE Sheldon Richardson at No. thirteen in two thousand-thirteenth. We'll give the nod to Richardson, who was drafted with the choose acquired in the Darrelle Revis trade. There was speak about how Richardson didn't fit Rex Ryan's 3-four scheme. They weighed talent over scheme fit, and it turned out to be an outstanding choice. The team also considered QB Geno Smith, but wound up taking him in the second round. -- Wealthy Cimini

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens whiffed mightily in two thousand-thirteenth, when they selected safety Matt Elam and linebacker Arthur Brown in the first two rounds. But Baltimore's two thousand thirteen draft class was saved by NT Brandon Williams, who's gone from a third-round choose to one of the top interior linemen in the league. The Ravens took a gamble on Williams because he was coming from FCS MO Southern State. A couple of seasons later, he was one of four defensive tackles with at least thirty solo tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed. The Ravens are looking to sign Williams to an extension to hold him from becoming a sought-after free agent in two thousand-seventeenth. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Five straight Pro Bowl nods means a player is beautiful good, right? Because of how dominant A. J. Green has been from the moment he entered the league -- during the lockout year, number less -- we've to consider his choice in two thousand-eleventh as the Bengals' best draft move of the past five years. Green was taken fourth overall that year. Thirty-one picks later, Cincinnati doubled up on a powerful start to that draft by selecting his quarterback, Andy Dalton. The two have formed a tandem that's helped get the Bengals to five straight playoffs. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have drafted so poorly and let so many youthful free agents leave that there are few options here. The best? Guard Joel Bitonio, a second-round choose in two thousand-fourteenth. Bitonio was a natural from Day one, and should've a long career in Cleveland. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have made several successful draft picks since two thousand eleven, including All-Pro guard David DeCastro in the late first round of two thousand twelve. But the choice of Le'Veon Bell with the forty-eighth overall choose in two thousand-thirteenth was their most forward-thinking. Running backs weren't trendy that year. Number tailbacks went in the first round. Bell wasn't considered a blazer coming out of MI State, which played in the Large Ten, residence of the so-called plodding running back. None of that mattered to Pittsburgh, which jumped at the chance to choose the top tailback on its board that year. Bell rewarded that faith by slimming down slightly from his 230-pound college wt and becoming a quick-twitch force as a rusher and receiver. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans

In two thousand-eleventh, there was a debate in the building about whether

Aldon Smith or J. J. Watt would be the right fit, but when the eleventh choose came around, Smith was already gone, the Texans didn't trade up for him and instead took Watt. In the years since, Wade Phillips, who was then the Texans' defensive coordinator, credited Bobby Grier, presently the Texans' senior personnel adviser, for advocating for Watt. He's already won three Defensive Player of the Year awards and is easily the best defensive player in franchise history -- maybe the best player in franchise history. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts

This is a no-brainer: selecting quarterback Andrew Luck over Robert Griffin III with the No. one overall choose in two thousand-twelfth. Luck has already led the Colts to back-to-back AFC S titles in two thousand-thirteenth and two thousand fourteen, going undefeated in the div those two years. He also led the Colts to the AFC Championship in just his third NFL season. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars jumped at the chance to get WR Marqise Lee near the top of the second circular in two thousand-fourteenth because they didn't think he'd be available. They really liked another receiver, which they'd planned on taking with the choose they used on Lee. Common manager Dave Caldwell didn't wish to get a chance that the player wouldn't be available in the third round, so he traded the team's third- and fifth-round picks to San Francisco to move back into the second circular to get Allen Robinson. The WR set a franchise record with fourteen TD catches latest season, in addition to catching eighty passes for one.400 yards and making the Pro Bowl. -- Mike DiRocco

TN Titans

In two thousand-eleventh, the Titans hit a third-round residence running when they selected defensive lineman Jurrell Casey out of USC with the seventy-seventh choose in the draft. Casey is a disruptive pass-rusher who thrived in a 4-3 and presently does the same in a 3-4, playing finish in base and emotional interior in nickel. He'south a smart, relentless football player who sets a tone for the defense. Casey has twenty-eight sacks and missed only one game. -- Paul Kuharsky

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos

The Broncos had the No. two choose overall in the two thousand eleven draft -- a scarce spot for a team that's more Super Bowl trips than losing seasons in Pat Bowlen'south tenure as the team'south owner. John Elway went with an edge rusher, selecting linebacker Von Miller. The Broncos had a pile of quality picks in that draft and the ones that followed, but Miller has turned into an elite player on the league'south best defense. And while things looked dicey in two thousand-thirteenth, when Miller was suspended to open the season and suffered a torn ACL to near that year, his Super Bowl fifty MVP award showed how distant he's come. And presently the Broncos are trying to complete a long-term deal with Miller to hold him in Denver for the foreseeable future. -- Jeff Legwold

KS City Chiefs

Alex Smith hasn't been a franchise quarterback for the Chiefs in the true meaning of the phrase, but he's brought stability to a most necessary position. Smith, acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, cost the Chiefs their second-round draft picks in two thousand-thirteenth and two thousand fourteen. KS City'south other options for finding a quarterback were unappetizing. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders

In two thousand-fourteenth, the Raiders had been linked to receiver Sammy Watkins, but when the Bills selected the WR at No. 4 overall, Oakland made the bright choice to draft  Khalil Mack one choose later. Mack has started all thirty-two games his first two seasons, and he made history latest season by being selected first-team All Pro at two positions -- exterior linebacker and defensive end. -- Paul Gutierrez

San Diego Chargers

Despite a knee injury and a unhurried 40-yard time, the Chargers selected Cal product Keenan Allen in the third circular of the two thousand thirteen draft. And they've been rewarded with a talented, productive receiver. Allen was on a historic pace statistically latest year before suffering a lacerated kidney that slice brief his two thousand fifteen campaign. Even though he's missed eleven games in three seasons, Allen has averaged seventy-two catches, eight hundred fifty-one receiving yards and five touchdowns per season. -- Eric D. Williams

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

Before two thousand eleven, the Cowboys hadn't selected an offensive lineman in the first circular of the draft in the Jerry Jones' era. Then Tyron Smith came along. It worked out so well the Cowboys picked middle Travis Frederick in two thousand-thirteenth and guard Zack Martin in two thousand-fourteenth -- both in the first round. The Cowboys had a chance to trade down to accumulate picks, but they ended up taking Smith, who's developed into one of the best tackles in the game. After beginning as a right tackle, Smith moved to left tackle in two thousand-twelfth and has missed just one game in his career. He's been named to the Pro Bowl the past three seasons and is a two-time All Pro. Even better for the Cowboys, Frederick and Martin have joined Smith at the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. -- Todd Archer

NY Giants

Sometimes the obvious is obvious for a reason: Odell Beckham Jr. Sure, you can obtain picky and declare Devon Kennard could be a fifth-round thieve (if he can obtain healthy), but the best draft move the Giants have made in the past five years is selecting Beckham with the twelfth overall choose in two thousand-fourteenth. They kind of couldn't miss there, since they were torn between Beckham and eventual All-Pro offensive lineman Zack Martin. And Aaron Donald was there for them if they wanted him, too. The center of the two thousand fourteen first circular was a genuine sweet spot. But the Giants came out of it with a true No. 1 receiver who's electrified the league and become an instant superstar during an otherwise moribund time in Giants franchise history. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles

In two thousand-twelfth, the Eagles traded up from the No. fifteen choose to draft defensive lineman Fletcher Cox with Seattle'south No. twelve pick. The deal cost the Eagles fourth- and sixth-round picks and netted them a versatile, talented Pro Bowler. Cox had five.5 sacks as a rookie defensive tackle, then spent three years as a DE in a 3-4 scheme. It'll be fascinating to look how Cox (still only twenty-five years old) is deployed in coordinator Jim Schwartz's scheme. -- Phil Sheridan

WA Redskins

Drafting Kirk Cousins in the fourth circular of the two thousand twelve draft worked out beautiful well. There have been other excellent moves -- taking Ryan Kerrigan in the first circular in two thousand-eleventh; drafting tight finish Jordan Reed, their best offensive player, in the third circular of two thousand thirteen. But the Redskins hedged their bet on Robert Griffin III by selecting Cousins in the same draft, adding depth if nothing else. Instead, they may have found their long-term starter at the game'south most necessary position. Presently he just has to chase up on a strong two thousand fifteen season. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

This one is easy: Kyle Long at No. twenty overall in two thousand-thirteenth. The remarkable portion of the Long choose is that he started only five career games at OR before entering the draft. Still, ex-Bears common manager Phil Emery thought Long had sufficient raw talent and athleticism to warrant going in the first round. Long rewarded the Bears' faith. He's made three straight Pro Bowls, and is expected to slide back to his natural right guard position in 2016. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Ezekiel Ansah was a raw prospect in two thousand-thirteenth. But the Lions saw potential in a freak athlete who grew up playing soccer, went to BYU to attempt and play basketball, ended up running track and walked on to the football team. Ansah, the No. 5 choose in two thousand-thirteenth, has become one of the best defensive ends in the league, making the Pro Bowl latest season and being named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. He's become a premier pass-rusher. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Fourth-round picks are supposed to be solid players who eventually turn into serviceable starters. They're not supposed to be Mike Daniels. Undersized by NFL defensive line standards, Daniels has become the Packers' best overall lineman since he was taken at No. one hundred thirty-two overall in two thousand-twelfth. The Packers rewarded Daniels with a four-year, $41 million contract extension in December, making him among the highest-paid 3-4 defensive linemen in the league. -- Rob Demovsky

MN Vikings

Vikings GM Rick Spielman has made a custom of trading back into the first circular in recent years, emotional up to grab a player he liked at a spot in which the Vikings could obtain an additional year of control. The first of three such trades might've been Spielman'south best. The Vikings sent the thirty-fifth and ninety-eighth picks to the Baltimore Ravens so they could trade back up to No. twenty-nine and choose Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith. In four years, Smith has become one of the best safeties in the league, unleashing his versatile skill set in Mike Zimmer'south defense and reaching his first Pro Bowl after the two thousand fifteen season. -- Ben Goessling

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

It might be debated for years because of how much was surrendered in that process, but the Falcons giving up five draft picks to move up for Julio Jones in two thousand-eleventh is still the Falcons' best draft move in the past five years. Jones is a dynamic, game-changing receiver who's arguably the best in the game at his position. Common manager Thomas Dimitroff has had issues with making terrible draft selections, but he can always keep Jones on his rèsumè as one he got right. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Common manager Dave Gettleman received some criticism for selecting defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Brief in the first two rounds of the two thousand thirteen draft. There was the feeling the team could've gone for a bigger necessity in the second round. But Gettleman believes huge men give you a chance to win, and the tackles have made others believers, too. Brief had a team-best eleven sacks this past season and made his first Pro Bowl. He and Lotulelei anchored the defense that helped Carolina reach the Super Bowl. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

The Saints got a thieve in the two thousand thirteen third circular when they drafted offensive tackle Terron Armstead out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. A terrific athlete for his size, Armstead has emerged as a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle for the Saints. Sean Payton said latest year he wouldn't trade him for any other left tackle in the league. The Saints have also fared beautiful well in the first circular since two thousand eleven ( Cameron Jordan, Tag Ingram, Kenny Vaccaro, Brandin Cooks, Andrus Peat, Stephone Anthony). But they've struggled mightily in later rounds, which is one of the large reasons why they've slipped out of playoff contention. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs had to select between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in two thousand-fifteenth, and GM Jason Licht went with the former FL State standout. It was the exact choice. Winston became the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to toss for more than 4.000 yards. He'd the Bucs at 6-6 and in the playoff race in early December before a four-game losing streak to close the season. Mariota didn't have a horrible rookie season, but the Bucs show up to have landed a franchise quarterback. -- Mike DiRocco

NFC WEST

AZ Cardinals

Most of the Cardinals' draft picks since common manager Steve Keim was hired in two thousand-thirteenth could be considered here, but one stands out as the best decision: The Honey Badger. Taking a risk on safety Tyrann Mathieu has paid off beyond what nearly everyone expected. Despite two major knee injuries in three seasons, Mathieu was named an All-Pro this year and has established himself as one of the NFL'south top defensive backs -- not just safeties -- all while staying out of the kind of trouble that erased the two thousand twelve season for him at LSU. -- Josh Weinfuss

LA Rams

When the Rams took DT Aaron Donald with the thirteenth choose in the two thousand fourteen draft, they'd more pressing needs at wide receiver, quarterback, safety and on the offensive line. But there was number greater necessity than finding more legitimate blue-chip players, regardless of position. The Rams stuck to their board instead of reaching for necessity and chose Donald, who'd surprisingly slipped out of the top ten. Donald is already the team'south best player and one of the best youthful defensive players in football. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers

Let'south go with longevity and success here and see at the two thousand eleven draft. Sure, Aldon Smith was a first-round gamble that paid off immediately with forty-two sacks in his first forty-three games, but he'south number longer with the team. And second-round choose Colin Kaepernick burst upon the scene the following year, but his play has fallen off and he presently wants out of Santa Clara. Fullback Bruce Miller, though, was taken in the seventh circular and the converted fullback -- he was a defensive finish in college -- has been a mainstay, appearing in seventy-seventh of eighty games. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks

There are a lot of excellent options, but it'south impossible to go against Russell Wilson here. The Seahawks got him in the third circular (seventy-fifth overall) back in two thousand-twelfth. Wilson hasn't missed a game -- or a practice -- in four NFL seasons, and the Seahawks have gone 46-18 since he joined the team. It'south simple to forget, but in two seasons below Pete Carroll without Wilson, the team was just 14-18. In a league where teams are constantly searching for franchise quarterbacks, Wilson was passed over seventy-four times. He led the NFL in passer rating in two thousand-fifteenth and is in position to hold the Seahawks in contention for years to come. -- Sheil Kapadia

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