2013 NFL Draft Grades: Letter Grades for Each Team
The first round of the NFL draft presented teams with a chance to improve and determine the future of their franchise. Naturally, some teams did better than others with regard to their performance during the draft's first night.
The depth of this class actually allowed most teams to end up with very good value. Most teams seemed to end up with players that they really wanted.
Here is a look at the grades for each team that made a selection in the first round. A handful of teams didn't have selections.
Complete First Round Results
Arizona Cardinals: B (Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina)
The Cardinals need to improve their offensive line and Cooper was a strong pick with the three top tackles off the board. Cooper is one of the safest picks in the draft with an incredible ceiling as an interior offensive lineman. Now when the Cardinals are ready to find their franchise quarterback, he should be better protected from the pass rush up the middle.
Atlanta Falcons: A (Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington)
The Falcons came into the first round with double-digit draft picks as ammunition to trade up. Instead of bringing that many players to training camp and likely having to cut them, the Falcons made a smart choice to package some of those picks and turn them into Desmond Trufant. The fast cornerback from Washington should be able to come in and help to replace Brent Grimes.
Baltimore Ravens: B (Matt Elam, S, Florida)
The Ravens could have gone in two different directions with the final pick of the first round. Instead of taking a linebacker to fill the hole in the middle of their defense, they selected Matt Elam to fill the other hole in their defense. While Elam won't be Ed Reed, he's a physical player that will be able to come in and contribute while maintaining the Ravens' edge.
Buffalo Bills: D (E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State)
The Bills traded back from the eighth pick and made E.J. Manuel the first quarterback selected in the draft. This just wasn't a good pick. Manuel has tremendous upside, but he's extremely raw, presenting a big risk for the Bills. This is the type of pick that can backfire and get a coaching regime fired.
Carolina Panthers: A (Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah)
The Panthers almost got their pick of Sheldon Richardson, Sharrif Floyd or Star Lotulelei, before Richardson went with the 13th pick. It would make sense that Lotulelei would have been the pick either way. The Panthers defense was fairly good last season and should be much better with even more push up front.
Chicago Bears: C- (Kyle Long, OG, Oregon)
The Chicago Bears could have addressed their holes on defense, but opted to improve their offensive line. With Jay Cutler frequently running for his life, it was a smart decision to do so. The issue here is that Long likely would have been available a bit later in the draft. The better value would have been grabbing a linebacker or cornerback.
Cincinnati Bengals: A- (Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame)
The Bengals are putting weapons around Andy Dalton and building a nice offense in the process. Eifert and A.J. Green are receiving targets that any quarterback would love. The Bengals have a big need at safety, but should be able to take advantage of the incredible depth at that position.
Dallas Cowboys:F (Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin)
The Cowboys made one of the most questionable selections in the first round as they took a center that was expected to available much later on. After trading down from the 18th pick, the Cowboys could have done much better and gotten a player that would have a big impact.
Denver Broncos: B+ (Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina)
The Broncos quietly made a wonderful pick by grabbing big-bodied Sylvester Williams late in the first round. Adding a player who can collapse the pocket and allow Von Miller an easier route to the quarterback could take the Broncos defense to the next level.
Detroit Lions: B- (Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young)
Drafting Ansah with the fifth overall pick is a huge risk, but his natural athleticism makes him a potential high-reward player. Ansah will have a chance to join Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the defensive line and have an impact. With strong offenses in the NFC North, this is a good move for the Lions.
Green Bay Packers: B- (Datone Jones, DE, UCLA)
The Packers got their man in Datone Jones, but there are serious concerns about this size as a defensive end. At around 280 pounds, Jones doesn't have the ideal size to be a threat as a 3-4 end. Jones is athletic enough to still have an impact, but the Packers will need to get creative in how they use their new end.
Houston Texans: A (DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson)
The Texans benefitted from the lack of wide receiver action and made DeAndre Hopkins the second wide receiver selected. Instead of taking a risk on Cordarralle Patterson, the Texans went with less risky Hopkins, who will be a better fit for their offense. He can come in right away and take attention off of Andre Johnson.
Indianapolis Colts: B (Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State)
The Colts got a playmaker in Werner, but the better pick here might have been Datone Jones from UCLA. Werner is capable of having an impact on that defense, but the coaching staff has to get the most out of him on a regular basis. He disappeared quite a bit in college and can't afford to do so at the NFL level.
Jacksonville Jaguars: B- (Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M)
Getting Joeckel with the second pick gave the Jaguars the best available player left, but they could have addressed a bigger need with the second pick. The Jaguars defense held them back throughout the season, so it would have been nice to see them get a defensive playmaker with the second pick.
Kansas City Chiefs: B (Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan)
The Chiefs got decent value with Eric Fisher as the top pick. He's a nasty, athletic offensive tackle that will immediately come in and improve their offensive line. Luke Joeckel would have been the safer pick, but Fisher's ceiling is just as high, if not higher.
Miami Dolphins: A- (Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon)
When the Dolphins traded up to the third pick overall, it was expected they would take Lane Johnson and get their tackle. Instead, Dion Jordan will be a great addition to their defense. The best part of the trade up was that the Dolphins didn't have to give up much to get their man. The Dolphins have added a ton of pieces that will help them compete next season.
Minnesota Vikings: A- (Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida; Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State; Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee)
The Vikings ended up with the tremendous haul in the first round of the draft. Getting three talented players, all at great value, will definitely to help the young up-and-coming football team. Floyd was the best pick of the night as the Vikings were able to capitalize on the defensive tackle's first-round slide. The only reason the Vikings didn't get an A grade is because of how much they gave up in order to get Patterson.
New Orleans Saints: C (Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas)
The Saints got the best safety in the box in Kenny Vaccaro, but Jarvis Jones would have been a better selection. The Saints needed to improve their pass rush, but it's hard to argue against the talented safety.
New York Giants: C+ Justin Pugh, OG, Syracuse
This isn't the most attractive pick, but it could quietly work out great for the Giants. This team has multiple needs including pass-rusher and tight end. With players such as Tyler Eifert and Bjoern Werner still available, the Giants could have gotten a player with a much bigger immediate impact. That said, it's nice to see the team put an emphasis on protecting Eli Manning.
New York Jets: D+ (Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama and Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri)
The Jets made some surprising selections and most notably passed on making Geno Smith their quarterback. Tavon Austin would have been a great option for the Jets, but the St. Louis Rams jumped them to snag him with the eighth pick. With Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson already on the roster, the Richardson pick makes little sense.
Oakland Raiders: D (D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston)
While Hayden's journey to the NFL is a great story, this wasn't a good pick for the Raiders. With Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes still on the board, the Raiders could have gotten a better player at the position. Drafting a cornerback was a smart choice, but Hayden wasn't the best pick.
Philadelphia Eagles: B (Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma)
Adding Lane Johnson was a smart decision for the Eagles, who desperately need to improve their offensive line. Whoever ends up being the quarterback will have a better chance of making it through the season this way. It wasn't the most exciting pick, but it was the smartest pick for the Eagles.
Pittsburgh Steelers: B (Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia)
Jones is a strong pick for the Steelers, giving them a pass-rusher to replace James Harrison. The Steelers defense needed some young talent to stay relevant and they'll get that in Jones. In a very balanced AFC North division, the Steelers need their defense to carry them into the playoffs.
St. Louis Rams: A (Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia and Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia)
The Rams are definitely one of the big winners from the first round of the NFL draft. They got two great playmakers for each side of the ball. Austin will be a big weapon in the slot for Sam Bradford, while Ogletree can cause havoc on that defense. With an already young and improving defense, the Rams are looking at having a top defense in NFC.
San Diego Chargers: A- (D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama)
The Chargers got a starting caliber offensive tackle without having to move up. While it would have been nice for them to get one of the top three available, but Fluker is definitely the next best thing. At the 11th pick, the Chargers got great value with a starting right tackle.
San Francisco 49ers: C- (Eric Reid, S, LSU)
Getting a safety was a strong move for the 49ers, but I don't like trading up here to get Eric Reid. The better pick probably would have been Sharrif Floyd to improve that defensive line and bank on the depth at safety later in the draft. The 49ers didn't give up too much, but trading up to get Reid doesn't seem worth it.
Tennessee Titans: B- (Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama)
The Titans would have liked to add Jonathan Cooper with their first pick, but Warmack still gives them strong value. With Jake Locker as their guy at quarterback, the Titans need to make sure to protect him and open up lanes for Chris Johnson. Warmack is a good addition to that offensive line.
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