2014 NFL Draft Results: Full Listings of Grades for 1st-Round Selections

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2014 NFL Draft Results: Full Listings of Grades for 1st-Round Selections
Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

The freakish athleticism and pass-rushing potential of Jadeveon Clowney made him the pick for the Houston Texans with the No. 1 overall selection. 

That was not a surprise, but Johnny Manziel's tumble down the draft board was. Quarterback-needy teams passed on the first freshman to ever win the Heisman all the way until the 22nd pick when he landed with the Cleveland Browns. 

In all, it was an exciting night and a solid effort for most teams. Here are grades for each selection. 

 

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

After it's all said and done, the Texans drafted the most physically dominant player in this draft. Jadeveon Clowney is an amazing blend of size and speed. 

I'm not going to knock the Texans for taking the best player available, but I also can't rave about it. He is not a great fit for the Texans 3-4. He will spend plenty of snaps rushing the passer as a defense end, but he will have to spend time as a linebacker. This is not ideal for him. 

Grade: A-

 

2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

This was a great pick for the Rams. Greg Robinson has all the physical tools to be a dominant lineman in the NFL

The Rams' biggest need did not come at tackle, but Robinson will be a boost to the line. He may start off as guard while he refines his pass blocking, but he will be a great fit for the Rams for a long time. 

Grade: A

 

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida 

In a position to go for a relatively safe pick with a player like Khalil Mack, the Jaguars rolled the dice in the hopes of identifying their quarterback of the future. 

Blake Bortles is not a huge reach here, but his lack of arm strength and accuracy leave question marks around him. This franchise will have a hard time surviving another wasted pick on a quarterback. 

Grade: B

 

4. Buffalo BillsSammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

I can't knock the Bills for not being aggressive. As CBS' Jason La Canfora reports, the Bills sent the ninth pick in this draft and their first- and fourth-round picks in the 2015 draft to move up to No. 4. 

Sammy Watkins is the best receiver in this draft, and he will help open up the Bills' passing game, but with plenty of talented receivers in this draft, he was not worth the value that Buffalo gave up. 

Grade: C 

 

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo 

Khalil Mack is a fantastic athlete with the potential to be a great linebacker in all phases of the game. 

The Raiders have many needs, but they took the best player available, and Mack will boost their pass rush, which was one of the team's biggest needs. 

Grade: A

 

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M 

The Falcons entered this draft needing help in the trenches on offense and defense. They drafted the best player available at those areas of need and perhaps any area. 

Jake Matthews is a polished pass-protector. He will be an upgrade in that department from Day 1. His ceiling may not be as high as Robinson's, but he is still a great prospect. 

Grade: A 

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just gave quarterback Josh McCown the kind of weapon he had so much success with in Chicago last season.

The Buccaneers now have two lengthy and big receivers with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. They rival the Bears' combination of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

This selection is a good value and fit.  

Grade: A-

 

8. Cleveland BrownsJustin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

The Browns stayed on the phones after trading down from pick No. 4, and as La Canfora reports, they gave up their pick in the fifth round to move up one spot.

When news of the trade filtered down, it seemed likely that the Browns were trading up to ensure a shot to draft a quarterback. Both the Vikings and Browns have a need in that department.

Instead, they drafted a great athlete but not the most complete corner in Justin Gilbert. They gave up too much value to draft a corner in a class with plenty of corner talent available. 

Grade: D 

 

9. Minnesota VikingsAnthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

The Vikings are beefing up their front seven to improve a soft defense. Anthony Barr is a potentially dynamic piece with great promise as a pass-rusher. 

He has the athleticism to be that, but he is raw. This was too early to draft him. 

Grade: C-

 

10. Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina 

The Detroit Lions' passing game just got a little scarier. Already having the NFL's best wide receiver in Calvin Johnson, the team added a dynamic tight end with Eric Ebron. He will help keep safety attention off Johnson, and he is an exciting selection.

The Lions would have been better served to add someone to their defense, however. The passing offense was already the strength of this team. 

Grade: B-

 

11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Plenty will question this pick. The Titans have Michael Roos at left tackle and signed Michael Oher this offseason to play right tackle. 

Still, Roos is 31, and his contract is up at the end of the season, and Oher was poor last season. 

Lewan is good enough to play right away and be a dominant left tackle going forward. 

Grade: A

 

12. New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

The Giants needed to add another pass-catcher, so Odell Beckham Jr. is a great fit. He is explosive and a threat down the field. This is exactly what Eli Manning needed to help open up the field for his deep passes. 

Grade: B+

 

13. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald brings a rare amount of explosiveness to the interior of the defensive line, and since he is bringing that to St. Louis, the Rams now have a menacing front four. 

He will team up with defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long to give the Rams a great defensive line. 

Grade: A

 

14. Chicago Bears: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech 

The Bears entered this draft with a need in the secondary. Chicago's defense had needs all over the place, however, and pass defense is not the greatest concern. The Bears finished last this past season in rush defense. 

Kyle Fuller is a good value here and a strong prospect, but the Bears should have addressed their defensive line. 

Grade: C

  

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a wonderful job of drafting linebackers over the years. I believe Shazier was a bit of a reach here, but if the Steelers felt he was worthy of this selection, I'm not going to argue with them. 

Pittsburgh needed more athleticism in the front seven, and Shazier will bring that. 

Grade: B

 

16. Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame 

It all seemed to set up perfectly. Johnny Manziel was going to be a Cowboy. Instead, Dallas went with the polished and experienced Zack Martin. 

Dallas' offensive line is now a real strength, but its defense is still terrible. This pick would have been better used on the defensive side of the ball. 

Grade: C

 

17. Baltimore Ravens: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

The Ravens made an effort to fill the huge shoes left behind by middle linebacker Ray Lewis. C.J. Mosley is the best interior linebacker in this class. 

He is a heady and athletic player who will add consistency to the defense. This is a good fit and value. 

Grade: A-

 

18. New York Jets: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

The Jets offense remains in need of playmakers, but New York opted to add defense. It is not a terrible selection, given the talent available. 

Calvin Pryor is a bruising safety. He will be a real credit in the run game and has the athleticism to be solid in pass defense. 

Grade: B

 

19. Miami Dolphins: Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee  

The Miami Dolphins entered this draft with a gaping need along the offensive line. This found them reaching for Ja'Wuan James. 

He is a solid prospect with the tools to play right away, but Miami should have traded down to maximize its value. 

Grade: C+

 

20. New Orleans Saints: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State *Trade

The Saints moved up to make this selection. La Canfora reports they sent a third-round selection in this draft to the Cardinals.

They then ensured their offense would remain explosive by adding the dynamic Brandin Cooks. Still, with the talent in this draft at receiver, and the Saints' needs in the front seven, they gave up too much.

Grade: B-

 

21. Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama 

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is an exciting cover safety, and the Packers' biggest need entering this draft was at safety. 

This was an easy and smart selection for the Packers. 

Grade: A-

 

22. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M *Trade

Well, the Browns weren't content with anything in this draft. As La Canfora reports, they sent their third-round selection to Philadelphia to grab this spot and get Johnny Manziel. 

I don't think anyone would have been shocked to see the Browns take Manziel at No. 4. The fact that they got him at No. 22 is a huge win. 

As for Manziel, as this tweet from Fox 8 News shares, he feels he is right where he should be: 

Grade: A

  

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn

The Chiefs got off to a blistering and surprising start this past season thanks in large part to a dominant pass rush. That rush fell off a bit as the season progressed and so did the Chiefs defense. 

Dee Ford will help ensure the Chiefs keep their pass rush going on high next season. Still, Kansas City would have been better off grabbing one of the talented receivers who were still on the board. 

Grade: C 

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard is my favorite corner in this draft. He is physical and effective. He is now a great selection for the Bengals who have to prepare for the decline of 35-year-old Terence Newman.  

Grade: B+

 

25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett is just 5'9", but his cover skills are fantastic. Perhaps his height will always limit him to covering the slot, but the Chargers will take his cover skills wherever he can lend them. 

San Diego's pass defense was poor last season. It is a little better now. 

Grade: A-

 

26. Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville *Trade

The Eagles had a safety on the board who would have instantly helped them improve on their last ranking in pass defense this past season. He went with the next pick to the Arizona Cardinals. 

Instead, they went with a defensive lineman who will help them put pressure on the quarterback. I don't agree with this selection. 

Grade: C-

 

27. Arizona CardinalsDeone Bucannon, S, Washington State *Trade

The Cardinals were in an interesting position. They could have gone for a quarterback to groom behind the aging Carson Palmer. Instead, they helped bolster an already tough defense. 

Deone Bucannon is a playmaking safety and a good boost to the Cardinals secondary. 

Grade: B+

 

28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State 

The Panthers had several needs to fill in this draft, and this selection had to come down to a selection between the best tackle and wide receiver on the board. 

They went with the receiver, and it was a smart move. Kelvin Benjamin's height at 6'5" will make him an instant threat. 

Grade: B+

 

29. New England Patriots: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

Perhaps Dominique Easley will turn out to be a steal of a draft choice. Also, maybe the Patriots knew other teams were high on this prospect, and the media hadn't caught wind of it. 

He would have likely been on the board far past this selection, and the Patriots did a terrible job of maximizing their value. 

Grade: C-

 

30. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois 

The 49ers have a bit of reshaping to do in their secondary and especially at corner. That leads me to believe that Ward was selected to be a corner. At 5'10", he has the size of a corner. 

There was still talent at corner available here, however, and this looks like a reach. 

Grade: C-

 

31. Denver Broncos: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

The Broncos almost had to go defense with this pick, and dipping into the deep pool of corner talent was a wise decision. 

Bradley Roby has to refine his skills, but he has the athleticism to become a shutdown corner. 

Grade: B

 

32. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville *Trade

The Vikings decided to leapfrog the early selections of the second round to ensure they got a quarterback. According to La Canfora, the Vikings gave up the 108th selection to jump up eight spots. 

Given their need of a signal-caller to build around and the massive production of Bridgewater in college, giving up that value was well worth it. 

Grade: A

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