Team-by-Team NFL Rookie Class Report Card Heading into Preseason Week 4

Ryan RiddleCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2013

Team-by-Team NFL Rookie Class Report Card Heading into Preseason Week 4

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    Preseason football has nearly run its course. Now, the regular season is just a stone's throw away.

    This definitely seems like the perfect time to gauge the progress of the newest members of the NFL elite. Though we’re still rather early into the evaluation process, there’s still a lot to be learned from the first three weeks of NFL action.

    Continue along as we find out which rookies are on the path to stardom and which ones have all the makings of a first-class bust.

    In order to create this rookie power ranking, I painstakingly watched every single preseason game to date, focusing my attention exclusively on rookies and their performances. Furthermore, I used preseason statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (paid site) and NFL.com in order to aid in the ranking process.

    For the “draft grade” column, I used my personal big board to help determine the draft value of each prospect relative to the round they were selected in. The “overall grade” was determined by averaging the “draft grade” and “preseason grade” together. I also factored in some key undrafted free agents (when applicable) who have stood out.

Buffalo Bills

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1EJ ManuelQB 6'5" 237 AA-
    Round 2Robert Woods WR 6'0"201 C+B
    Round 2 Kiko Alonso LB 6'3" 238 C
    Round 3Marquise Goodman WR 5'9" 183 B+B
    Round 4Duke Williams 6'0" 190 D
    Round 5Jonathan Meeks DB 6'1" 210 DB+ 
    Round 6Dustin Hopkins PK 6'2" 193 CB+ 
    Round 7 Chris Gragg TE 6'3" 244 B-

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: WR Brandon Kaufman (A), QB Jeff Tuel (A), CB Nickell Robey (B+).

    First-rounder EJ Manuel flashed his vast potential through the first two preseason games, giving Bills fans new hope for the future in Buffalo.

    This rookie class was projected to be a solid group right from the start, yet they’ve managed to excel expectations after three weeks of preseason action. 

    Rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel has been turning heads all preseason long with his decision making and accuracy. He now looks to make the most of his opportunity as the injury bug continues to take its toll on Buffalo's QBs.

    Overall Grade: B

Miami Dolphins

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Dion JordanDE6'6" 248 B
    Round 2Jamar Taylor CB 5'11"192 A
    Round 3Dallas Thomas OT 6'5" 300 D+F
    Round 3Will Davis CB 5'11" 186 CD+ 
    Round 4 Jelani Jenkins LB 6'0" 243 CC- 
    Round 4Dion Sims TE 6'5" 262 CD
    Round 5Mike Gillislee  HB 5'11" 208 D-D-
    Round 5Caleb Sturgis PK 5'10" 188 CB+ 
    Round 7Don JonesS5'11"199CC+ 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: WR Chad Bumphis (A), DE Tristan Okpalaugo (B). 

    The Dolphins appeared to have a distinct plan for this draft—get faster on the defensive side of the ball. Well, they certainly did that with the additions of Dion Jordan, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis and Jelani Jenkins.

    The only question now is; did they actually get better?

    Though their top-two draft selections have struggled early on this summer, look for each of these guys to become top contributors to a defensive unit that has undergone quite the makeover.

    Dion Sims has not looked like the physically dominating blocker I watched at Michigan State. He will definitely need to adjust the speed of the NFL quickly after the disheartening season-ending injury to starting tight end Dustin Keller.

    Their biggest concern should be the depth at the tackle position considering Jake Long moved on to St. Louis via free agency. Dallas Thomas has looked horrific throughout his first NFL preseason and second-year pro Jonathan Martin is still unproven at left tackle. If this position falters, it’s safe to assume the entire offense will suffer.

    Overall Grade: C

New England Patriots

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 2Jamie Collins LB 6'3" 250 A+D+ 
    Round 2Aaron Dobson WR 6'3" 210 DB-
    Round 3Logan Ryan CB 5'11" 191 B-
    Round 3 Duron Harmon 6'1" 200 D
    Round 4Josh Boyce WR 5'11" 206 B+D-
    Round 7Michael Buchanan DE 6'5" 255 AC+
    Round 7Steve Beauharnais LB 6'1" 240 CC- 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: WR Kenbrell Thompkins (B+), TE Zach Sudfeld (A-), DT Joe Vellano (A).

    It’s always hard to critique the team-building philosophy of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. They seem to make a habit of pulling off some of the oddest moves in the league each and every draft.

    Third-round safety Duron Harmon is on early draft bust watch after failing to make tackles or cover his man this preseason.

    I was personally a big fan of pass-rusher Michael Buchanan out of college and believe the Patriots got a seventh-round steal. He has shown promise so far but has still failed to live up to my exceedingly high expectations.

    Receiver Josh Boyce has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, but so far he has appeared lost in games and cannot find his groove. This position happens to be a critical area of need for Tom Brady’s offense and would be greatly weakened should any rookie fail to meet expectations.

    One way or another, rookie receivers will be producing for the Patriots.

    Surprisingly, the first rookie to emerge in August has been undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins. His play has been so impressive that he’s pressing both Aaron Dobson and Boyce for playing time in the season opener.

    Linebacker Jamie Collins is one of my favorite players of the 2013 draft class. He has struggled a bit in pass coverage and whiffed on a few tackles, but don’t underestimate this kid’s enormous potential. He will eventually prove to be one of the most versatile and talented players on that defense.

    Oddly enough, the most impressive rookies in New England so far this summer all went undrafted.

    Overall Grade: C+

New York Jets

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Dee MillinerCB 6'0" 201 AD+ 
    Round 1Sheldon Richardson  DL 6'2" 294 A+A
    Round 2Geno Smith QB 6'2" 218 A+D
    Round 3Brian Winters  OL 6'4" 320 C-C-
    Round 5 Oday Aboushi OT 6'5" 308 D+D
    Round 6William Campbell  OG 6'4" 311 CC+ 
    Round 7Tommy Bohanon  FB 6'1" 246 BC+ 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: WR Ryan Spadola (A+).

    The New York Jets are hoping to turn their fortune around in 2013 with a much-improved offense. The only problem is they really didn’t address the offense in this draft other than grabbing quarterback Geno Smith in the second round along with a few offensive linemen. Their real need is at the skill positions.

    Sheldon Richardson was one of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the entire draft. So far his rare talents have translated well at the next level.

    Geno Smith looks uncomfortable and raw out there, but he still may be the better option at QB over the disappointing and injured Mark Sanchez.

    Expect top pick Dee Milliner to play solid football at the cornerback position despite hitting a rough patch in the Jacksonville game. His talents and NFL readiness will ultimately take over as he will be trusted to hold his own while Rex Ryan sends the house at opposing offenses.  

    This draft class is much better than it’s playing at the moment.

    Overall Grade: B-

     

Baltimore Ravens

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Matt Elam5'10" 208 B-
    Round 2Arthur Brown LB 6'0" 241 CC- 
    Round 3Brandon Williams  DT 6'1" 335 A-A
    Round 4John Simon LB/DE 6'1" 257 B+C- 
    Round 4Kyle Juszczyk FB6'1" 248 CC- 
    Round 5Ricky Wagner OT 6'6" 308 BB+
    Round 6 Kapron Lewis-Moore DL6'4" 298 C
    Round 7Aaron Mellette WR6'2"217B+B+
    Round 7Marc AnthonyCB5'11"196A-B+ 

    Top pick Matt Elam is living up to his first-round billing as he brings a mean physicality to this new-look defense.

    Arthur Brown was drafted to fill the role of Dannell Ellerbe at the Will linebacker position. His sideline-to-sideline ability is among the best of the 2013 rookie crop, however, he has struggled to take on blocks and needs to get both stronger and more physical at the point of attack. This has been my concern with him coming out of college and it seems to be haunting him early on.

    Seventh-round receiver Aaron Mellette was one of the most productive collegiate players in this draft class. He may not have all the physical tools, but he does have good size and instincts which has been on full display with his impressive touchdown grabs.

    Watch out for offensive tackle Ricky Wagner who I believe is highly underrated coming out of Wisconsin.

    General Manager Ozzie Newsome has put together another fine draft from top to bottom as the Ravens quickly look to reload as they try to defend their crown as Super Bowl champions

    Overall Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Tyler EifertTE 6'6" 251 A+B+
    Round 2Giovani Bernard RB 5'8" 202 B-A
    Round 2Margus Hunt DE 6'8" 277 A-D+ 
    Round 3Shawn Williams 6'0" 213 A
    Round 4Sean Porter LB 6'1" 229 C+
    Round 5Tanner Hawkinson OT 6'5" 298 CD+
    Round 6Rex Burkhead RB 5'10" 214 A-B+
    Round 6 Cobi Hamilton WR 6'2" 212 BC+ 
    Round 7Reid FragelOT6'8"308A
    Round 7T.J. JohnsonC6'4"310CC- 

    For those of you who are not familiar with my work, you may not know that Tyler Eifert has quickly become my new favorite player. He will play a significant role in the Bengals’ offense this season.

    This draft class is loaded with talent as Cincinnati continues to stockpile young, promising football players.

    One way or another, the Bengals are going to have to part ways with some highly talented individuals as they continue to narrow the squad down to 53 men.

    Overall Grade: B-

Cleveland Browns

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1 Barkevious Mingo LB 6'4" 241 AB-
    Round 3Leon McFadden CB 5'10" 193 AC- 
    Round 6 Jamoris Slaughter 6'0" 195 CD+ 
    Round 7 Armonty Bryant DE 6'4" 263 D
    Round 7Garrett Gilkey OT 6'6" 318 C-

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: OT Martin Wallace (A).

    The new era of Browns' football is officially upon us. Barkevious Mingo is the prize of the bunch as he showed impressive quickness off the edge in limited time this preseason before suffering a bruised lung, which landed him in the hospital.

    Cornerback Leon McFadden has not lived up to expectations so far which may change once he gets a better feel for the game.

    This draft class may be small but it should produce some solid contributors across the board.

    Overall Grade: C+  

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Jarvis JonesLB 6'2" 245 C-C+ 
    Round 2 Le'Veon Bell RB 6'1"230 B+
    Round 3Markus Wheaton WR 5'11" 189 AA-
    Round 4 Shamarko Thomas 5'9" 213 A+
    Round 4Landry Jones QB 6'4" 225 BD+
    Round 5Terry Hawthorne CB 6'0" 195 C-
    Round 6Justin Brown WR 6'3" 209 C-
    Round 6 Vince Williams LB 6'0" 247 B-
    Round 7Nick WilliamsDT6'4"309C

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: KR Reggie Dunn (A), DE Brian Arnfelt (A-).

    The Steelers know how to build through the draft, which is exactly what they did with this impressive group of rookies.

    Once Le'Veon Bell is finally healthy he should make a push for the starting running back position.

    Two of the most impressive performers thus far have been linebacker Vince Williams and DB Shamarko Thomas. These two hard-hitting defenders could end up being a formidable tandem for years to come.

    First-rounder Jarvis Jones is expected to break Steelers’ tradition and become a starter at some point during his rookie year. They need all the youth they can get on that defense.

    Receiver Markus Wheaton was a third-round steal and may end up being one of the best of his class. He should see a ton of action this season.

    Pittsburgh cannot afford to miss the playoffs for a second-straight year. This team needs to reload and replenish just as they’ve been able to do for so long. So far it appears they have done it with this talented group.

    Overall Grade: B-

Houston Texans

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1 DeAndre Hopkins WR 6'1" 214 A-B-
    Round 2D.J. Swearinger 5'10" 208 AC- 
    Round 3Brennan WilliamsOT 6'6" 318 D
    Round 3Sam Montgomery DE 6'3"263 B
    Round 4 Trevardo Williams LB 6'1" 241 AB+ 
    Round 6David Quessenberry  OL 6'5" 302 AA-
    Round 6Alan Bonner WR 5'10" 193 D
    Round 6 Chris Jones  DT 6'2" 302 D
    Round 6Ryan GriffinTE6'6"247C+A+

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: RB Cierre Wood (B+).

    The Texans addressed immediate needs in this draft by bringing in some rookies I was very high on coming out.

    As you can see in the chart above, there are four rookies I gave an “A” draft value to. One mid-round sleeper who could end up becoming a starter for years is versatile offensive lineman David Quessenberry from San Jose State. This kid has all the tools to be great someday.

    One of the biggest preseason surprises thus far has been tight end Ryan Griffin. He has excelled as a blocker, pass catcher and in special teams. Anytime you can find a multi-faceted contributor in the sixth round you're doing something right.

    Hopkins flashed his potential early on this preseason and he should be a top candidate for Rookie of the Year.

    Overall Grade: C+

Indianapolis Colts

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Bjoern WernerLB 6'3" 266 CD- 
    Round 3Hugh Thorton OG 6'3" 320 C-C
    Round 4Khaled Holmes 6'3" 302 C-
    Round 5Montori Hughes DT 6'4" 329 D-C+
    Round 6John Boyett 5'10" 204 C
    Round 7Kerwynn Williams RB 5'8" 195 C-B-
    Round 7Justice Cunningham TE 6'3" 258 CD

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: LB Caesar Rayford (A).

    Going into the season I was not a big fan of the Colts’ draft. Bjoern Werner lacked the hustle and athleticism to justify a first-round pick and none of the players they brought in afterwards really impressed me.

    They may be able to squeeze out a few contributors but don’t expect any star power to arise from this collection of mediocrity.

    This is definitely one of the least impressive rookie classes in the entire league. Their most promising new addition could be undrafted outside linebacker Caesar Rayford. He leads the league in sacks with five.

    Overall Grade: C-

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Luke Joeckel OT 6'6" 306 B+C+
    Round 2Johnathan Cyprien 6'0" 217 A+
    Round 3Dwayne Gratz CB 5'11" 201 A
    Round 4Ace Sanders WR/KR 5'7" 173 C
    Round 5 Denard Robinson OW 5'10" 199 A
    Round 6Josh Evans 6'1" 207 C
    Round 7Jeremy Harris CB 6'2" 181 C-
    Round 7 Demetrius McCray CB6'1" 187 C

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: TE Ryan Otten (B).

    Jacksonville is making a strong effort to ascend from the NFL’s basement. They may have a long way to go before serious contention but at least they should be able to keep games competitive.

    Luke Joeckel was the best offensive tackle in the draft despite being passed up by Eric Fisher for the top-overall pick. He shores up the right side with an immediate upgrade.

    Safety Johnathan Cyprien started out hot in OTA’s and mini-camps but now seems to be struggling. Don’t be too alarmed by his “F” performance. There’s no doubt this kid will be a very good football player for years to come.

    Denard Robinson has shown some of his playmaking potential but he still needs to get comfortable in his new role.

    The star so far has been cornerback Dwayne Gratz. He was one of the more physically gifted corners coming out this year, which pairs nicely with a highly productive college career.

    The Jags could end up with three or four starters from this rookie class—which by all standards is considered a successful draft.

    Overall Grade: C+

Tennessee Titans

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Chance Warmack OG 6'2" 317 BC- 
    Round 2Justin HunterWR 6'4" 196 C+C-
    Round 3 Blidi Wreh-Wilson CB6'1" 195 C+
    Round 3 Zaviar Gooden LB 6'1" 234 B
    Round 4Brian Schwenke 6'3" 314 BC- 
    Round 5 Lavar Edwards DE 6'4" 277 C+
    Round 6Khalid Wooten CB 5'11" 210 C-
    Round 7  Daimion Stafford 6'0" 221 C-D- 

    I currently had this group of rookies rated fairly high heading into the season. So far they have failed to yield much in terms of production this preseason. Perhaps the Titans will be able to harvest the full fruits of this draft class once the season starts because nobody has really stood out yet.

    Chance Warmack was widely considered the safest prospect heading into last April’s draft. So far he has failed to live up to his elite status as a human bulldozer. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it this early. He has still played decent and should only get better once he stops thinking too much.

    Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been absolutely atrocious in nearly all phases of the game. At this point it would be a miracle if he somehow develops into a solid starter in this league. His deficiencies seem far too great to overcome.

    This group does have some talent; they just haven’t realized it yet.

    Overall Grade: C-

Denver Broncos

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Sylvester WilliamsDT6'3" 313 B
    Round 2Montee Ball RB 5'10" 214 BD+
    Round 3 Kayvon Webster CB 5'10" 195 BA+ 
    Round 5 Quanterus Smith DE 6'5" 250 A+C+
    Round 5 Tavarres King WR 6'0" 189 A
    Round 6 Vinston Painter OL6'4" 306 C-C-
    Round 7 Zac Dysert QB 6'3" 231 A+C

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: RB C.J. Anderson (B).

    I absolutely love what the Broncos did in the first five rounds of this draft. Sylvester Williams isn’t fully healthy yet and it shows in his play, but look for him to be among the league’s best interior linemen before his career is over.

    Kayvon Webster is also going to be a top-tier cornerback and was a steal in the third round. He’s having one of the best summers in the NFL so far.

    Quanterus Smith happens to be the pass rusher who impressed me the most in college. This guy has the most impressive array of moves I’ve seen all year. He is recovering from major knee surgery and will take some time to get back to full strength.

    Don’t sleep on RB C.J. Anderson either. This kid could end up working his way into the rotation at running back after his impressive debut performance against the 49ers’ defense. His development has since been placed on hold as he recovers from a chipped bone in his knee.

    Overall Grade: B-

     

     

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Eric FisherOT 6'7" 306 B-D-
    Round 3Travis Kelce TE 6'5" 255 BC- 
    Round 3 Knile Davis RB 5'10" 227 CC-
    Round 4Nico Johnson LB 6'2" 248 D-B- 
    Round 5Sanders Commings CB 6'0" 216 A-
    Round 6Eric Kush 6'4" 305 CD+
    Round 6Braden Wilson  FB 6'3" 251 C
    Round 7 Mike Catapano  DE6'3" 271 D+D+ 

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: S Bradley McDougald (B+).

    The Chiefs had the dubious honor of drafting first overall in this year’s draft. They decided to grab the very athletic tackle out of Central Michigan, Eric Fisher. So far he has failed to play like the best offensive tackle drafted, let alone the best player.

    Alabama’s inside linebacker Nico Johnson has been the biggest surprise so far along with undrafted safety Bradley McDougald.

    Running Back Knile Davis could turn into a nice weapon for Andy Reid and Co. if he can hold onto the ball.

    Sometimes it just takes a little patience when waiting for rookies to hit their stride.

    Overall Grade: C-

Oakland Raiders

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1D.J. HaydenCB 5'11" 191 B-D
    Round 2Menelik Watson OT 6'5" 310 D-
    Round 3 Sio Moore LB 6'1" 245 BA- 
    Round 4Tyler Wilson QB 6'2" 215 B+D+
    Round 6Nick Kasa TE 6'6" 269 C
    Round 6 Latavius Murray RB6'2" 223 CC- 
    Round 6Mychal Rivera TE 6'3" 242 CD
    Round 6 Stacy McGee  DT 6'3" 308 D
    Round 7Brice ButlerWR6'3"205CA+
    Round 7David BassDE6'4"262DC+ 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: DE Ryan Robinson (B). 

    When you’re strapped by the salary cap and have no money to spend, you try to build through the draft as much as possible. This is the fate of the Oakland Raiders, a team looking to completely purge the roster and start anew.

    Receiver Brice Butler has looked fantastic so far and could be competing for the WR3 position. If he continues to make spectacular catches each week, he may actually end up in the starting lineup before the season is out—not bad for a guy taken in the seventh round.

    Sio Moore is another young guy who has established himself as a starter on this defense. He’s a player who I was very impressed with coming out of college yet has continued to exceed my expectations.

    Overall Grade: C

San Diego Chargers

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1D.J. Fluker OT 6'5" 339 BB-
    Round 2Manti Te'o LB 6'1" 241 AD+ 
    Round 3Keenan Allen WR 6'2" 206 A-B-
    Round 5Steve Williams CB 5'9" 181 B+
    Round 6 Tourek Williams DE 6'3" 260 C
    Round 7Brad Sorenson QB 6'4" 229 CA-

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: DT Kwame Geathers (B).

    This was a solid draft class for the Chargers and their new regime. Keenan Allen is a highly talented receiver who expects to see a lot of run with numerous injuries at the position.

    Media magnet Manti Te’o looked good throughout mini-camps but has been sidelined with a foot injury. He is expected to be an early starter for this defense but needs to get more reps if he hopes to succeed in the regular season.

    Seventh-round quarterback Brad Sorenson has become a hot commodity after lighting up defenses this preseason. He should have a firm grasp on the backup QB job.

    Overall Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Travis Frederick6'4"312 DF
    Round 2Gavin Escobar TE 6'6" 254 C+F
    Round 3Terrance Williams WR 6'2" 208 BD
    Round 3J.J Wilcox 6'0" 213 DD+ 
    Round 4B.W. Webb CB 5'10" 184 C+
    Round 5Joseph Randle RB 6'0" 204 B-B+
    Round 6 DeVonte Holloman LB 6'1" 243 BA+ 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: LB Brandon Magee (A-), LB Taylor Reed (B).

    This has got to be the league’s worst collection of drafted rookies this year. Center Travis Frederick cannot seem to get comfortable in the offense despite a nice start in the preseason opener. Since then he has been showing his inexperience through this difficult adjustment period. 

    The Cowboys top-four draft picks have each played poorly up to this point in the preseason.

    A few positives that can be taken from this rookie class all happen to come from the latter part of the draft and beyond, particularly with linebacker DeVonte Holloman. This kid has been an absolute stud in all phases of the game, including some huge pass breakups and a couple of interceptions in pass coverage.

    They also have two undrafted rookies at linebacker who have been making it extremely difficult for the Cowboys to cut them.

    It could be time for Jerry Jones the general manager to hang it up and give the job to someone more qualified.  

    Overall Grade: C

New York Giants

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Justin Pugh OL  6'4"307 D-C- 
    Round 2Johnathan Hankins DT 6'3" 320 C-C+
    Round 3 Damontre Moore DE 6'4" 250 A-A-
    Round 4Ryan Nassib QB 6'2" 227 BD
    Round 5Cooper Taylor 6'4" 228 D
    Round 7Eric Herman  OG 6'4" 320 C-
    Round 7Michael Cox RB 6'1" 214 D

    When the Giants decided to draft offensive lineman Justin Pugh in the first round I was blown away.

    Watching Pugh throughout college, it was hard to see the ability that would suggest he'd be an elite-level blocker in the NFL. Teams should never waste a first-round pick on a player who has little to no chance to be one of the best at his position. This is exactly what the Giants did when they valued Pugh’s versatility over his actual ability to block at a high level.  

    In terms of steals, they may have landed one of the biggest steals of the year with the selection of DE Damontre Moore in the third round. Moore’s athleticism and consistency has been a huge bright spot for this crop of rookies. His success may just overshadow their first-round failure.    

    Overall Grade: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Lane Johnson OT 6'6" 303 BC-
    Round 2Zach Ertz TE 6'5" 249 C-C-
    Round 3Bennie Logan  DT 6'2" 309 C-A
    Round 4Matt Barkley QB 6'2" 227 A-C
    Round 5Earl Wolff 5'11" 209 CC+ 
    Round 7Joe Kruger DE 6'6" 269 C+
    Round 7Jordan Poyer CB 6'0" 191 A+C+ 
    Round 7 David King DE 6'5" 286 D+D- 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: RB Matthew Tucker (B+), OT Matt Tobin (A).

    One of the more interesting storylines of last April’s draft was trying to figure out what type of offense new head coach Chip Kelly was going to implement. We knew it would be fast paced, but we had no idea if he was going to replicate what he had in Oregon.

    Drafting Matt Barkley in the fourth round sent a strong message throughout the league that coach Kelly was going to adapt his offense to the talent he has around him.

    Cornerback Jordan Poyer could be a real steal in the seventh round. Keep an eye on his impressive ability to take the ball away.

    Overall Grade: C+

     

Washington Redskins

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 2David Amerson CB 6'1" 205 AC+ 
    Round 3Jordan Reed TE 6'2" 236 C-
    Round 4Phillip Thomas 6'0" 208 B+D+ 
    Round 5Chris Thompson RB 5'7" 192 DD- 
    Round 5Brandon Jenkins LB 6'2" 251 D-C- 
    Round 6 Bacarri Rambo 6'0" 211 AB- 
    Round 7 Jawan Jamison RB 5'7" 203 CC- 

    The Redskins’ rookies have not looked as impressive as some of the other teams so far but David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo have each flashed enormous potential.

    Rambo has to get better with his pursuit angles as to not give up the big play. Amerson has been looking solid and displayed a surprising willingness to be physical against the run.

    Washington fared pretty well for a team without a first-round selection.

    Overall Grade: C

Chicago Bears

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    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Kyle Long OG 6'6" 313 D-A+
    Round 2Jonathan Bostic LB 6'1" 245 C
    Round 4 Khaseem Greene LB 6'1" 241 AC- 
    Round 5Jordan Mills OT 6'5" 316 DB-
    Round 6Cornelius Washington  OLB 6'4" 265 BA-
    Round 7Marquess Wilson WR 6'3" 194 C+B

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: RB Michael Ford (B-).

    Clearly I was not high on Kyle Long as a draft prospect. So when the Chicago Bears drafted him in the first round I was extremely surprised. Apparently they saw something in this guy I was unable to see. Long has been the Bears' most impressive offensive lineman throughout this entire preseason.

    In the second round the Bears decided to address replacing Brian Urlacher by drafting the very athletic linebacker Jonathan Bostic out of Florida. Bostic seemed to lack instincts while at Florida as he struggled to find the ball or make plays with any regularity. Yet here he is on the big stage racking up impressive highlights throughout the preseason.

    The biggest sleeper of this entire group could be the receiver Marquess Wilson, whose stock fell after being kicked off the team while at Washington State.

    Cornelius Washington is another guy who could end up vastly outperforming his draft position. His big issue seems to be an inability to finish the play.

    As a whole the Bears have done great job adding rookie talent this year.

    Overall Grade: B- 

Detroit Lions

22 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Ziggy Ansah DE 6'5" 271 D-C
    Round 2Darius Slay CB 6'0" 192 D+D+ 
    Round 3Larry Warford  OG 6'3" 332 C-B
    Round 4Devin Taylor DE 6'7" 266 AB-
    Round 5Sam Martin 6'1" 205 CB-
    Round 6Corey Fuller WR 6'2" 204 D-C- 
    Round 6Theo Riddick RB 5'10" 201 DB-
    Round 7 Michael Williams TE 6'5" 278 D-D+
    Round 7Brandon HepburnLB6'2"240CB- 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: TE Joseph Fauria (A).

    The Detroit Lions were able to bring in a solid group of guys who should be able to contribute in some fashion this season. I don’t see any future stars in this rookie crop which is why I believe they reached big-time for Ziggy Ansah.

    Devin Taylor could emerge as the better DE when all is said and done. His measurables and athleticism are arguably more impressive than Ansah's, and he has significantly more football experience.

    One of the bright spots on the team has been the play of undrafted tight end Joseph Fauria out of UCLA. This kid has been doing everything right so far in his brief NFL career.

    One of the major concerns with Fauria coming out of college was that he was too soft and wouldn’t be able to block in the NFL. So far he appears to have turned his weakness into a real strength. Fauria has been outstanding as a blocker and could become a deadly weapon in the red-zone for quarterback Matthew Stafford.  

    Overall Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

23 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1 Datone Jones DE 6'4" 283 AD+ 
    Round 2Eddie Lacy RB 5'11" 231 BB-
    Round 4David Bakhtiari OT 6'4" 299 C
    Round 4J.C. Tretter OT 6'4" 307 C+
    Round 4Johnathan Franklin RB 5'10" 205 A+D-
    Round 5Micah Hyde CB 6'0" 197 C-A- 
    Round 5Josh Boyd DE 6'3" 310 B+A-
    Round 6Nate Palmer LB 6'3" 240 CB- 
    Round 7Charles JohnsonWR6'2"215DC- 
    Round 7Kevin DorseyWR6'3"210DC- 
    Round 7Sam Barrington LB6'1"246D+

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: S Chris Banjo (B).

    Could this be the year Aaron Rodgers finally has a viable running game?

    The Packers did a nice job in last April’s draft strengthening both sides of the ball. We can already expect their first three picks to start in Week 1.

    Josh Boyd has looked even better than advertised this summer by making plays consistently on the front line. He could end up playing his way into a steady rotation if he continues to impress with each opportunity.

    There were high hopes for Johnathan Franklin heading into the season as I had him rated much higher than the fourth round. He has looked completely unprepared for the speed of the NFL, lacking the strength, vision and quickness to hit the holes before they collapse. However, it is still very early in the evaluation process and Franklin is not one we should give up on just yet.

    Overall Grade: C

     

Minnesota Vikings

24 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1 Shariff Floyd  DT 6'3" 297 BB+
    Round 1Xavier Rhodes CB 6'1" 210 C-A- 
    Round 1 Cordarrelle Patterson WR 6'2" 216 B-A
    Round 4Gerald Hodges LB 6'1" 243 B-C- 
    Round 5Jeff Locke 6'0" 209 CD+ 
    Round 6Jeff Baca  OG 6'3" 302 AD
    Round 7Michael Mauti LB 6'2" 243 CC- 
    Round 7 Travis Bond  OG 6'6" 329 C
    Round 7Everett DawkinsDT6'2"292D+D+ 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: FB Zach Line (B+).

    Anytime you get the luxury of having three first-round draft picks in a single draft you have a distinct advantage over the competition. So far each of the Vikings top-three picks have been impressive.

    It’s somewhat surprising to see offensive guard Jeff Baca struggle this much. I considered him one of the better guards in this draft.

    The strength of this draft class appears to be in Minnesota’s first-round additions. Following the draft I considered each of those players to have high bust potential. If they keep playing like they have so far, those concerns will soon be a distant memory.    

    Overall Grade: C+

Atlanta Falcons

25 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Desmond Trufant CB 6'0" 190 AD- 
    Round 2Robert Alford CB 5'10" 188 B-A- 
    Round 4 Malliciah Goodman DE 6'4" 276 AB-
    Round 4Levine Toilolo TE 6'8" 260 D
    Round 5 Stansly Maponga DE 6'2" 256 C
    Round 7 Kemal Ishmael DB 5'11" 206 DD+ 
    Round 7Zeke Motta 6'2" 213 C+
    Round 7 Sean Renfree QB 6'3" 219 C-

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: LB Paul Worrilow (A).

    Many people believed cornerback Desmond Trufant was overrated; I was not one of those people. As it turns out, it appears I was wrong. But one of the benefits of “double dipping” in an area of need is that you increase your chances of finding the right guy. So far that guy appears to be Robert Alford.

    Malliciah Goodman is a nice pickup in the fourth round who should be able to add some much-needed depth on the DL. His upside makes him a great value pick while also filling a big-time need for the Falcons.

    Keep an eye on undrafted free agent LB Paul Warrilow. This guy has been a tackling machine.

    Overall Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers

26 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Star Lotulelei DT 6'2" 311AC+
    Round 2 Kawann Short  DT 6'3" 299 C+A-
    Round 4Edmund Kugbila  OG 6'4" 317 D
    Round 5A.J. Klein LB 6'1" 250 CD- 
    Round 6 Kenjon Barner RB 5'9" 196 A+C-

    The Panthers are looking extremely stout in the middle with rookies Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short plugging things up. Each of these players seems to have Pro Bowl potential and should make for a highly frustrating duo for years to come against opposing offenses.

    Rookie RB Kenjon Barner was supposed to be a big-time steal in the seventh-round, but so far he’s played the part of underachiever.

    The Panthers still need help at the receiver position but at least they have some young pieces on defense to build upon.

    Overall Grade: C

     

New Orleans Saints

27 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Kenny Vaccaro 6'0" 214 AA- 
    Round 3 Terron Armstead OT 6'5" 306 B-A
    Round 3John Jenkins  DT 6'4" 346 B-C+ 
    Round 5Kenny Stills WR 6'0" 194 CA+
    Round 6Rufus Johnson DE/LB 6'4" 266 C-B- 

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: RB Khiry Robinson (B+), DE Glenn Foster (A).

    Last year the Saints had the worst defense in the NFL. So it only makes sense that their first priority in the draft would come on the defensive side of the ball.

    Kenny Vaccaro reminds me a lot of a Troy Polamalu-type at safety. He recklessly throws his body around and loves getting in the mix of a scrum. So far he has lived up to expectations and he will need to play a pivotal role for the Saints defense in 2013.

    Receiver Kenny Stills has emerged this preseason as one of the best young wideouts in the game.

    It’s saying something when there’s not a single grade below a “C” throughout the entire class of rookies.

    Overall Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

28 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 2 Johnthan Banks CB 6'2" 185 A+
    Round 3Mike Glennon QB 6'7" 225 C-B
    Round 4 Akeem Spence  DT 6'1" 307 DB-
    Round 4William Gholston DE 6'6" 281 B-A
    Round 5Steven Means DE 6'3" 260 C+
    Round 6Mike James RB 5'10" 223 D+A

    One of my favorite players from this draft is cornerback Johnthan Banks. Long, lean and equipped with the quickness to close the gap fast. He's also one of the most impressive playmakers entering the NFL this year.

    Mike Glennon was drafted to put heat on Josh Freeman at quarterback, but it doesn’t seem like he’s anywhere near ready to start an NFL game.

    The Bucs may not have had a first-round draft pick, but they did get a first-round talent in Banks.

    Overall Grade: B-

Arizona Cardinals

29 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Jonathan Cooper  OG 6'2" 311 A-B
    Round 2Kevin Minter LB 6'0" 246 B+C+ 
    Round 3 Tyrann Mathieu DB 5'9" 186 A-
    Round 4Alex Okafor LB 6'4" 264 A
    Round 4Earl Watford  OG 6'3" 300 DC+
    Round 5 Stepfan TaylorRB 5'9" 214 BB-
    Round 6Ryan Swope WR 6'0" 205 B+F
    Round 6 Andre Ellington RB 5'9" 199 A-C-
    Round 7D.C. JeffersonTE6'6"255C+D

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: WR Charles Hawkins (A+), S Tony Jefferson (A).

    The Cardinals may have arguably the best draft class of 2013.

    Unfortunately they will be without their first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper for the remainder of the season. He was having a great summer before breaking his leg in last week’s exhibition game.

    This crop of rookies could eventually yield five or six starters, including two talented former LSU Tigers, Kevin Minter and Tyrann Mathieu. These guys provide an instant upgrade and attitude to the defense.

    Receiver Ryan Swope was forced to retire before his career even began after suffering yet another concussion. He has a history of concussions dating back to his time at Texas A&M.

    This crop of rookies is sure to make the Cardinals a much more competitive team in the years to come.

    Overall Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams

30 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Tavon Austin WR 5'8" 174 AC-
    Round 1Alec Ogletree LB 6'2" 242 C-C- 
    Round 3T.J. McDonald 6'2" 219 AC+ 
    Round 3 Stedman Bailey WR 5'10" 193 A
    Round 4Barrett Jones  OG 6'4" 306 C+C-
    Round 5Brandon McGee CB 5'11" 193 C-C- 
    Round 5 Zac Stacy RB 5'8" 216 A+D

    Overachieving undrafted free agents: LB Ray-Ray Armstrong (A), S Rashard Hall (A-).

    The Rams brought in a promising draft class in 2013; adding talent and speed to both sides of the ball. It’s clear they coveted linebackers who can cover and wanted to surround Sam Bradford with dangerous weapons on offense.

    Tavon Austin should be an exciting addition as he is joined by his college teammate Stedman Bailey. These two receivers know how to make people miss and pose a deadly threat to defenses each time they touch the ball.

    Fifth-round running back Zac Stacy has struggled early which has taken him out of the hunt for the starting running back job. However, this kid is built in the same mold as Tampa Bay’s phenomenal running back Doug Martin. Expect Stacy to have a productive career once he becomes familiar with the pace of the NFL game.

    Overall Grade: B-

San Francisco 49ers

31 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 1Eric Reid 6'1" 213 CB+ 
    Round 2 Cornellius Carradine DE 6'4" 276 C-
    Round 2Vance McDonald TE 6'4" 267 AA
    Round 3Corey Lemonier LB 6'3" 255 A+
    Round 4Quinton Patton WR 6'0" 204 AC+ 
    Round 4Marcus Lattimore RB 5'11" 221 A
    Round 5Quinton Dial DE 6'5" 318 C-
    Round 6 Nick Moody LB 6'1" 236 C-C+ 
    Round 7B.J. DanielsQB6'0"217C+
    Round 7Carter Bykowski OT6'6"306DD
    Round 7Marcus CooperDB6'2"192C+

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: DL Mike Purcell (B).

    San Francisco knew they could address their future in the 2013 draft which is exactly what they did when they picked up Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore.

    Eric Reid was their top prize when they traded up in the first round to snag him. He should step in as the immediate starter at free safety, filling the void left by the departure of All-Pro Dashon Goldson.

    Receiver Quinton Patton looked impressive in his Week 3 performance against the Vikings. He could end up playing a major role in this offense due to several key injuries at the position.

    Tight end Vance McDonald is a tough, hard-nosed guy that Jim Harbaugh loves to have on his team. He should help keep defenses from overloading their coverage on Vernon Davis.

    Corey Lemonier is a dynamic pass-rusher who has first-round talent. He has shown an incredible burst off the edge this summer and should be able to provide some added help in passing situations.

    The core of this 49ers’ draft class is promising on both sides of the ball.  

    Overall Grade: C+

Seattle Seahawks

32 of 32
    Draft RoundPlayerPositionHeightWeightDraft GradePreseason Grade
    Round 2Christine Michael RB 5'10" 220 AA+
    Round 3Jordan Hill  DT 6'1" 303 C+B
    Round 4Chris Harper WR 6'1" 229 C+
    Round 5Jesse Williams  DT 6'3" 323 D+C- 
    Round 5 Tharold Simon CB 6'2" 202 C
    Round 5Luke Wilson TE 6'5" 251 CB+
    Round 6Spencer Ware RB 5'10" 228 CB+
    Round 7 Ryan Seymour  OG 6'5" 300 CD+ 
    Round 7Ty PowellDE/LB6'2"249D+C+ 
    Round 7Jared SmithDT6'3"302C
    Round 7Michael BowieOT6'5"330CC- 

    Overachieving undrafted free agent: OLB/DE Benson Mayowa (A).

    One of the most physically gifted athletes in the NFL has been added to an already stellar unit of running backs. Christine Michael is as fun to watch as he is hard to tackle. He should eventually replace Marshawn Lynch as the featured back in a few years down the line.

    The Seattle Seahawks are loaded with talent and only continue to get better with each passing year. It’s hard to tell which of these gifted rookies will contribute the most in Year 1 given the depth at each position. Unfortunately, they seem to be underperforming at the one position group where they could use the most help: wide receiver.

    Chris Harper is big, fast and loaded with potential, but he needs to step it up if he’s going to receive playing time in the regular season.   

    Pete Carroll may have found some mid-round gems in tight end Luke Wilson and running back Spencer Ware. So far each of these players has made a strong case for a spot on the final roster. 

    The stage is now set for this team to make the final push for dominance in the NFC West.

    Overall Grade: C