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NFL Draft Grades: Assessing Each Team's Draft Haul

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NFL Draft Grades: Assessing Each Team's Draft Haul
Al Bello/Getty Images

The NFL draft is complete, and it's now time to look at how teams did with their selections. The draft offered teams with plenty of chances to improve their football teams. How teams did in the draft will go a long way in determining their future success.

As always with draft grades, it's important to remember that these grades are based on which players the team brought in, when they did so, what else was available and how they addressed their needs. 

Here is a look at grades for each team's draft haul: 

 

Arizona Cardinals: A

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The Cardinals had a great draft as they managed to get good talent early and strong value throughout the draft. Jonathan Cooper will drastically improve their offensive line which was in need of a serious makeover. Fourth-round pick Earl Watford will also add to the overall depth on the offensive line.

Adding Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington and Ryan Swope should make their offense more diverse. On the defensive side of the play, adding Kevin Minter and Alex Okafor will improve a talented front-seven. Taking a risk on Tyrann Mathieu in the third could pay off the big way.

 

Atlanta Falcons: B-

The Falcons made it clear they want to solidify their defense by adding players on that side of the ball with six of their eight picks. Trading up to get Desmond Trufant in the first round was a smart move with their high number of picks. Safety Zeke Motta gave them good value in the seventh round, but outside of that, their draft haul was fairly average. 

 

Baltimore Ravens: B+

Following the departures of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, the Ravens entered the draft with those positions as their biggest needs. They ended up drafting Matt Elam and Arthur Brown to fill in. They got great value and perfect fits for their defense. Adding Ricky Wagner with a fifth-round pick was also a good move. 

 

Buffalo Bills: C

The Bills' success in this draft will be tied to how well E.J. Manuel performs. If he reaches his potential as a capable starting quarterback, the Bills' draft will look brilliant. Adding wide receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin should give Manuel a good deal of support. 

 

Carolina Panthers: B-

The Panthers' biggest need coming into the draft was on their defensive line. With their first two picks of the draft, they got big-bodied, strong defensive tackles. Star Lotulelei with the 14th pick could turn out to be a steal. If not, the Panthers have a safety net in Kawann Short. Besides Lotulelei, the only pick I like is A.J. Klein in the fifth round to offer depth at linebacker. 

 

Chicago Bears: C-

The Bears reached at numerous points during the draft. Sometimes that works out and makes these draft grades look silly, but other times it's the opposite. Until the Bears' draft class proves itself, they get a below average grade. 

 

Cincinnati Bengals: A

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The Bengals had a notably strong draft as they added playmakers on both sides of the ball. Their first two picks, tight end Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard, will certainly help out Andy Dalton and the rest of the Bengals offense. Late-round picks Cobi Hamilton and Reid Fragel present good value and athleticism. 

Defensively, the addition of Margus Hunt could be a huge improvement to the Bengals defense. With Geno Atkins eating up space on the defensive line, Hunt should have opportunities to use his length to get to the quarterback. Overall, the Bengals brought in a a few playmakers that can help take their team to the next level. 

 

Cleveland Browns: C-

Barkevious Mingo was somewhat of a luxury pick in the draft, but his pass-rushing ability will add to the Browns defense. With only five total picks, the Browns didn't have much of an opportunity to improve their team. With holes on the offensive line and at linebacker, the Browns still have some question marks heading into next season. 

 

Dallas Cowboys: D+

Selecting center Travis Frederick in the first round was a huge surprise, and the Cowboys didn't do much to make up for it later in the draft. Gavin Escobar, Terrance Williams and J.J. WIlcox will all contribute, but the Cowboys left a big hole on their defensive line. 

 

Denver Broncos: C+

Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams was a great first-round selection for the Broncos, but their draft went downhill from there. While Montee Ball has proven himself to be a strong prospect at running back, he simply has too many miles on him. Kayvon Webster was a huge reach in the third round, but his play could prove otherwise. 

 

Detroit Lions: C+

The Lions are taking a bit of a risk with Ezekiel Ansah, but there is certainly potential for high reward as well. The raw, but freakish athlete will have a chance to compete on the Lions defensive line, but he needs to improve his technique. The Lions got decent value in the middle rounds, but the class relies on Ansah reaching his potential. 

 

Green Bay Packers: A- 

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The Packers addressed some of their biggest issues head on during the draft. They selected defensive end Datone Jones in the first round to improve their pass-rush and overall defense before going offense heavy with their next four picks, including running backs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin as well as two offensive lineman. 

With Lacy and Franklin in the backfield, the Packers should have a much better running game than last season. That should take tons of pressure off Aaron Rodgers and improve the Packers offense. The Packers will expect their six draft picks from the fifth round and on to compete heading into camp. 

 

Houston Texans: B

Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a perfect fit for the Texans offense. His presence opposite Andre Johnson will be big for Matt Schaub. D.J. Swearinger and Sam Montgomery also added great depth and will ensure the Texans defense remains one of the best. 

 

Indianapolis Colts: C

Defensive end Bjoern Werner and defensive tackle Montori Hughes should help improve the Colts defensive line, but the team still has a big need at cornerback. The value may not have been right for the Colts, but they enter training camp with that still as a concern. 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars: A-

The Jaguars added a bunch of talent and got good value throughout the draft, including the best overall player in Luke Joeckel. Adding safety Jonathan Cyprien in the second round gives that defense a young playmaker to put pieces around. Cornerback Dwayne Gratz also has the potential to come in and start right away. 

In the later rounds, adding some potential game-changing talent should improve the overall athleticism of this team. Wide receivers Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson should force roles to be built for their skill sets. Not getting a quarterback shows the team is committed to Blaine Gabbert, for better or worse. 

 

Kansas City Chiefs: D

The Chiefs' draft class is notably weak outside of adding Eric Fisher with the first overall pick. Running back Knile Davis has struggled to stay healthy during his college career, so taking him with a third-round pick is a bit of a surprise. The Chiefs didn't get many players that can come in right away and contribute. 

 

Miami Dolphins: B+

The Dolphins did a nice job of hitting on all their needs while also getting good value. Trading up for defensive end Dion Jordan got Miami off to a great start and set the tone for their draft. If they hit on fourth-round pick Dion Sims at tight end, the Dolphins' class is even better. 

 

Minnesota Vikings: B+

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The Vikings' draft class is all about hitting on the top three picks. The Vikings got great value by adding defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and cornerback Xavier Rhodes in the first round before trading back into the first round and getting wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Other than those players, the remaining picks were mostly projects. If the Vikings hit on their first-round picks, this draft class is excellent. 

 

New England Patriots: D+

The Patriots added some nice playmakers in outside linebacker Jamie Collins and wide receiver Aaron Dobson, but the rest of their draft was filled with reaches. Bill Belichick has proved himself as a talent evaluator, so there's a good chance a few of these players pan out. Until then, this draft class isn't very impressive. 

 

New Orleans Saints: B

The Saints got a big boost to their secondary with Kenny Vacarro in the first round. They added offensive tackle Terron Armstead and defensive tackle John Jenkins in the next two rounds to boost their play in the trenches. With a fifth-round pick, wide receiver Kenny Stills could prove to be a steal for that offense. 

 

New York Giants: B+

Selecting offensive tackle Justin Pugh with their first-round pick was a little surprising, but it does fill a specific need. Adding defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins and outside linebacker Damontre Moore should immediately improve their front seven. The Giants did a nice job to get value while still addressing areas of concern. 

 

New York Jets: C+

Adding Dee Milliner to replace Darrelle Revis was a strong first pick, but the selection of Sheldon Richardson with the 13th pick was questionable. The Jets don't have a need at defensive tackle so it's hard to imagine how this gives them great value. The big question mark for the Jets is whether or not Geno Smith can be a quality starting quarterback.

 

Oakland Raiders: B

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Taking D.J. Hayden with the 12th pick seemed a bit of a reach, but the Raiders seem absolutely sold on their new cornerback. The pick of Menelik Watson and Tyler Wilson could prove to be huge for the Raiders down the line. Overall, the Raiders added a bunch of decent talent with hopes of hitting on a few. 

 

Philadelphia Eagles: B

The selection of offensive tackle Lane Johnson wasn't the most exciting pick, but it was the smartest pick for the franchise. The team got great value by adding quarterback Matt Barkley with the first pick of the fourth round. Cornerback Jordan Poyer and defensive end Joe Kruger present some potential late-round steals. 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers: A-

Selecting Jarvis Jones in the middle of the first round could prove to be the biggest steal of the draft. Jones has all the potential to come in right away and be a huge force as a pass-rusher for the Steelers. Running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Markus Wheaton will be huge additions to the offense and should make life easier for Ben Roethlisberger.

 

San Diego Chargers: B-

The Chargers' first three picks, offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, linebacker Manti Te'o and wide receiver Keenan Allen were all projected as first-round picks at one point. Instead of Te'o, the Chargers could have actually taken another tackle and really improved that offensive line. 

 

San Francisco 49ers: A-

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 49ers took some risks in their draft class, but with the amount of talent they have, they can afford to do so. Players like safety Eric Reid, tight end Vance McDonald and wide receiver Quinton Patton will be able to contribute right away, while defensive end Cornellius Carradine and running back Marcus Lattimore are afforded the time to heal. 

 

Seattle Seahawks: B

The Seahawks could have had a better draft, but their biggest addition will be wide receiver Percy Harvin. Without that first-round pick, the Seahawks had to wait until the second day to get in on the action. Defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams will likely have the biggest impact as they join the defensive line. 

 

St. Louis Rams: A

The Rams were one of the more aggressive teams in the draft as they traded up to get wide receiver Tavon Austin. With Alec Ogletree late in the round, the Rams added a perfect fit for their defense. Safety T.J. McDonald, wide receiver Stedman Bailey and offensive lineman Barrett Jones offered the Rams great value in the middle rounds. 

The Rams are in a great position to take a huge leap in the NFC West next season. With the talented Seahawks and 49ers to look up to, the Rams have to make some strong moves to get on that level. They may not be there yet, but they are on the way. 

 

Which team had the best draft?

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C+

The Buccaneers didn't have a first-round draft pick because of the trade to get Darrelle Revis, but still added a cornerback, Johnthan Banks, with their second-round pick. Defensive linemen Akeem Spence and William Gholston have the best chance to come in and contribute on the league's worst defense. 

 

Tennessee Titans: B

By selecting offensive guard Chance Warmack and wide receiver Justin Hunter with their first two picks, the Titans are looking to surround Jake Locker with the talent to compete. If Locker doesn't have success now, the Titans will be needing a new quarterback. The Titans waited to add to their defense but need to hit on some of those players. 

 

Washington Redskins: B-

The Redskins didn't address their issues on the offensive line but added multiple pieces to their defensive secondary. Tight end Jordan Reed could be a huge weapon in that offense, so he has to be considered their best pickup. Overall, the Redskins addressed some needs without getting great value. 

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