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2014 NFL Draft Grades

Whew! What a great draft. The past few days have been exciting and action packed. Let’s jump in with some draft grades. These grades are based on whether a team filled their needs and if the players they drafted will be impactful. I mean, whats the point of taking a good quarterback if you don’t need one? Thats almost as bad as taking a terrible quarterback when you really need one. Anyway, I’m digressing. Let’s jump in.

Arizona Cardinals – I like Deone Bucannon a lot. The guy is a machine. Troy Niklas is a bit of a project but he has potential. Kareem Martin is going to be a productive player and Ed Stinson has the talent to play right away. If Logan Thomas plays quarterback, I don’t think he’ll be the Cardinals’ signal caller of the future. I don’t like that the Cardinals didn’t address their lack of depth at cornerback and linebacker. Signing Jared Veldheer is not their solution at left tackle. Grade: C

Atlanta Falcons – I like a lot of what the Falcons did in the draft, they did a lot to improve their defense. Ra’Shede Hageman, Prince Shembo and Yawin Smallwood could become solid contributors and Jake Matthews will keep Matty Ice upright for a long time. They should have taken a tight end. Grade: B+

Baltimore Ravens – As always, the Ravens had a great draft, filling all their needs and getting very good players in the process. CJ Mosley is a great talent and as long as he’s healthy, he’ll be a good pick. Timmy Jernigan falling to the them in the 2nd round is a steal. Terrence Brooks could earning a starting spot and Mike Campanaro can become a very good player if he develops into a better route runner. Grade: A+

Buffalo Bills – The Bills didn’t address their needs at tight end or safety but they did get a good player in Sammy Watkins. I like the Cyrus Kouandjio pick and if Seantrel Henderson can focus on football instead of marijuana, we might be looking at an all time draft steal. Grade: B-

Carolina Panthers – The Panthers didn’t have a lot of different needs and they more or less filled them but I don’t think anyone they took is going to light the world on fire. Kelvin Benjamin is raw, Bene Benwikere isn’t going to replace Captain Munnerlyn and I don’t think they needed Kony Ealy, as good as he may be. Grade: C

Chicago Bears – The Bears filled all their needs, added some depth in the backfield and got some players who will contribute right away like Kyle Fuller. Plus, any team that drafts a Hurricane is alright in my book. Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals didn’t do a bad job. They got some help in the defensive backfield in Darqueze Dennard. Dennard is going to be around when their older corners aren’t. I didn’t think they necessarily needed to take Jeremy Hill and I think AJ McCarron could be their answer for whatever Andy Dalton can’t seem to do. They needed a safety and didn’t take one. Grade: C+

Cleveland Browns – Its really easy to say the Browns had a good draft. They certainly had a memorable one (because of Johnny Football) but there’s a glaring hole at wide receiver that can’t be ignored, especially now that Josh Gordon may be suspended for a year after violating the league’s substance abuse policy…again. That being said, I love the Justin Gilbert pick because he and Joe Haden can really lock things up in the defensive backfield. Joel Bitonio is a very valuable pick and I think Pierre Desir might be the reason I buy my first ever Browns jersey. Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys – I really like what the Cowboys did. They got some young guys on the defensive line, they got a really good player in Zack Martin and Devin Street could be a nice player down the road. They filled all their needs and got some very solid building blocks. Grade: A

Denver Broncos – The Broncos decided to go all in this offseason and the draft was no different. I wasn’t sure if the Cody Latimer pick was necessary but its hard to pass on a wide receiver that never drops passes. I thought Bradley Roby was a valuable pick and the filled needs by taking Matthew Paradis and Michael Schofield. Grade: B+

Detroit Lions – The Lions missed a golden opportunity to get a player they really needed and get more picks in the process. Eric Ebron is a good player and another weapon for Matthew Stafford but they needed a safety and struck out. They also needed a corner and didn’t take one until the 4th round when they took Nevin Lawson from Utah St. I don’t know much about him but I don’t think he’ll come in right away and make plays. I did like the TJ Jones pick. He’ll have to work his way up the depth chart if he wants to play though. Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers – Whats not to love about the Packers draft? They got one of the best safeties in the country, a really good wide receiver in Davante Adams and a guy people are comparing to Jordy Nelson in Jeff Janis. Grade: A

Houston Texans – We might look back in a few years and say this is the draft that set everything in motion for a very good Texans team. They didn’t address their need at linebacker but their first five picks were very good. Maybe Tom Savage is the Texans version of Brady so who better to work with him than Bill O’Brien? Grade: A-

Indianapolis Colts – They dropped the ball by not taking a defensive back when they really need one. They did, however, address their need along the offensive line. Granted, they didn’t have a whole lot to work with but with five picks, they didn’t accomplish a whole lot. Grade: C+

Jacksonville Jaguars – I’ve been saying this for a while – I think the Jags are going to have a much better season than last. I didn’t agree with taking Blake Bortles when they should have used that pick on Khalil Mack but maybe I’m wrong about him. I have to give the Jags credit for immediately drafting back to back wide receivers to help Bortles. Brandon Linder and Storm Johnson were both good picks. Grade: A

Kansas City Chiefs – While I really like their picks, the Chiefs could’ve helped their cause by taking a wide receiver or two and maybe a safety. Aaron Murray could develop into a pretty good quarterback under Andy Reid. Dee Ford could be their answer for Tamba Hali and Justin Houston leaving as free agents in the next two seasons. Grade: B

Miami Dolphins – Yuck. I like Jarvis Landry. Tremendous value. But thats it. They really should’ve taken a running back. Grade: C

Minnesota Vikings – They took Anthony Barr way too high but made up for it with Teddy Bridgewater, Antone Exum is a baller and David Yankey is super physical. They could have taken a safety but a lot of teams could’ve. There wasn’t much depth at the position in this draft. Grade: B

New England Patriots – I never know how to grade the Pats drafts. Even when they don’t fill their needs, it seems like they always hit on these late round guys. I like Dominique Easley and Bryan Stork. Jimmy Garoppolo could become the heir apparent to Tom Brady and don’t sleep on Jeremy Gallon because of his height. He’s a gamer. I’m surprised they didn’t take a tight end and they also need a safety.  Grade: B+

New Orleans Saints – The Saints did a pretty good job. I feel like they needed a pass rusher and didn’t get one but Brandin Cooks might be the best receiver in the draft and Stanley Jean-Baptiste has TONS of potential. Grade: A

New York Giants – The first four picks for the Giants are all right on the money. They might have reached a bit for some guys but they got the guys they wanted. I love that Jay Bromley is a local product. I think they should have taken a tight end. Maybe they’ll address that need with an undrafted player. Grade: B+

New York Jets – The Jets had 12 picks and really made some good choices. I think Shaq Evans was a bit of a reach but he can play. Calvin Pryor is a throwback kind of player. I’m glad he’s a first round pick because he’s going to get fined for some hard hits. Jace Amaro will contribute right away and I really like Trevor Reilly. He’s a tackle machine. The Tajh Boyd pick confuses me but you know that was just because his son goes to Clemson. Grade: A

Oakland Raiders – The Raiders might be a few pieces away from making an impact. They don’t have a legitimate wide receiver but Khalil Mack is a stud, Derek Carr might be the next starting quarterback and Gabe Jackson, if motivated, could be a great pick down the line. Grade: B+

Philadelphia Eagles – Marcus Smith was a reach but he’s a good player and he’ll be a replacement for Trent Cole if he works out. I like Jordan Matthews and as a Giants fan, I’m already a little afraid of Taylor Hart. Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers – Good organizations always draft well and the Steelers are a good organization. Ryan Shazier is super fast and athletic, Stephen Tuitt was a really valuable pick in the second round, Dan McCullers in the 6th round was great and Rob Blanchflower is going to be really good.      Grade: A+

San Diego Chargers – The Chargers got some pretty good talent throughout the draft. Jason Verrett isn’t huge but but he’s quick and he plays much bigger than he looks. Marion Grice was really productive as Arizona and Tevin Reese is going to have to put on some weight at this level. If he can, Reese could make some plays. Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers – Can’t be mad at anything the Niners did. Jimmie Ward isn’t the best fit for them because they really needed a corner but that secondary is still talented. Carlos Hyde is a bruiser and he fits right in with their scheme. I’m concerned that they might have too many running backs. Marcus Martin is a powerful run blocker, Chris Borland is a strong, stocky linebacker and Aaron Lynch is really quick off the snap.Grade: A

Seattle Seahawks – I like what the Seahawks did in the draft. Kevin Pierre-Louis in the 4th round is tremendous value and Kevin Norwood and Paul Richardson can develop into nice pieces in their wide receiving corps. They reached for Justin Britt though.Grade: B+

St Louis Rams – The Rams are scary. Really scary. NFC West quarterbacks better get their affairs in order. Carson Palmer may just die. Greg Robinson is a mauler, Aaron Donald gets compared to Geno Atkins and with Robert Quinn and Mike Brockers on the defensive line, he’s going to be awesome. LaMarcus Joyner has a little Honeybadger in him and Tre Mason is a good complement to the running game. If Sam Bradford doesn’t work out again, Garrett Gilbert isn’t a terrible replacement, as long as he’s coached up. Obviously, the Michael Sam pick is impactful but on the field, he’ll contribute. If nothing else, he’ll work hard and be a good teammate. Grade: A+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs did really well. I loved the Mike Evans pick and Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a great fit. Charles Sims is a good complement to Doug Martin. Grade: A

Tennessee Titans – It would have been nice if the Titans drafted a cornerback, DaQuan Jones is a good value pick in the 4th round and Bishop Sankey is a good replacement for CJ2K. I didn’t agree with the Taylor Lewan pick because they just signed Michael Oher to a big contract. Grade: B-

Washington Redskins –  Without a first round pick, the Redskins made some good choices. Trent Murphy can get after the quarterback, Morgan Moses in the third round was a really valuable pick, Lache Seastrunk is a nice change of piece from Alfred Morris and Spencer Long is going to fit well into that offensive line. Grade: A
The Queens native handles all things football on KeepingItRealSports.com. Stan attended Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens and SUNY Old Westbury. He's spent his post graduate career in different parts of the media, as an editorial assistant, a production assistant and a board operator. He can be followed on twitter @FunnyManStan and routinely performs standup comedy all over New York City.

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