Radio City Music Hall was lit up like a Christmas tree on Thursday evening, as players took the stage and proudly displayed their new team colors next to commissioner Roger Goodell during the 2014 NFL draft's first 32 selections.
Each selected prospect will certainly make a big impact on their new teams—although, some will more than others.
Of course, we don't yet know how each pick will pan out, but that won't stop us from speculating.
With the first round now in the books, let's take a look at all 32 selections and give a grade for each.
|2014 NFL Draft First-Round Picks and Grades|
|1||Houston Texans||Jadeveon Clowney||A+|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Greg Robinson||A+|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Blake Bortles||B-|
|4||Buffalo Bills||Sammy Watkins||A+|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Khalil Mack||A+|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Jake Matthews||A+|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||A+|
|8||Cleveland Browns||Justin Gilbert||A|
|9||Minnesota Vikings||Anthony Barr||A|
|10||Detroit Lions||Eric Ebron||A-|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Taylor Lewan||A|
|12||New York Giants||Odell Beckham Jr.||A+|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Aaron Donald||A+|
|14||Chicago Bears||Kyle Fuller||A|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Ryan Shazier||B+|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Zack Martin||B+|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||C.J. Mosley||A|
|18||New York Jets||Calvin Pryor||A-|
|19||Miami Dolphins||Ja'Wuan James||C+|
|20||New Orleans Saints||Brandin Cooks||A+|
|21||Green Bay Packers||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||A+|
|22||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||A+|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Dee Ford||B-|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Darqueze Dennard||A+|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Jason Verrett||A+|
|26||Philadelphia Eagles||Marcus Smith||B-|
|27||Arizona Cardinals||Deone Bucannon||B|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Kelvin Benjamin||A-|
|29||New England Patriots||Dominique Easley||A-|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||Jimmie Ward||A-|
|31||Denver Broncos||Bradley Roby||A|
|32||Minnesota Vikings||Teddy Bridgewater||A+|
|Selections via NFL.com/Sean O'Donnell's grades|
Pick: No. 3
Selection: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
This was certainly a risky move from a franchise in turmoil.
The Jaguars desperately needed a quarterback; however, selecting Bortles at No. 3 overall raises some questions.
Is Jacksonville expecting to start Bortles right away? Will the Jaguars give him time to develop? Is Bortles NFL-ready?
Not much is known about the quarterback, as he burst onto the scene last season with an impressive showing at UCF. He's not exactly technically sound and could still require some work to be effective in the NFL.
According to a tweet from CollegeFootball 24/7, Michael Irvin noted exactly what the Jaguars must do next:
New York Giants
Pick: No. 12
Selection: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Eli Manning must be a very happy guy right now.
With two glaring needs on the offensive side of the ball—offensive tackle and wide receiver—the Giants opted for the latter with most top-tier tackles off the board.
It was a great move.
Beckham may wind up being one of the draft's most talented wide receivers. With a great mix of size and speed, he'll step in immediately and form a great duo with Victor Cruz.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News tweeted a very telling comment from Gil Brandt on Beckham:
St. Louis Rams
Pick: No. 13
Selection: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
After selecting Donald, it can be speculated the Rams will have one of the most dominant defensive lines in the league this season.
With Chris Long and Robert Quinn demanding plenty of attention on the ends, Donald can devastate the interior of offensive lines if he's not double-teamed.
According to a tweet from Michael Silver of NFL.com, Rams defensive line coach Mike Waufle is a very happy man:
Rightfully so. Expect big things from this defense in 2014.
Pick: No. 19
Selection: Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
This pick was a little baffling, to say the least.
Not only did James have less than a first-round grade by many analysts, but being selected at 19 overall seems like a pretty incredible reach.
Yes, Miami needed an offensive tackle. James will probably start immediately and may fit the team's scheme nicely. It's just the spot at which he was drafted that is confusing.
Certainly the Dolphins could have traded back into the late first-round and grabbed James there as well. After all, Morgan Moses and Cyrus Kouandjio—two tackles with relatively similar ratings—were still on the board.
James Walker of ESPN tweeted that James was told he wasn't worth a first-round pick prior to the draft:
Well, he is now, and he has plenty of expectations to live up to.
Pick: No. 22
Selection: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Browns played the game very well on Thursday.
Cleveland was all over the place to ensure it acquired its coveted prospects at reasonable positions. This was incredibly apparent when the Browns traded up to the No. 22 spot to select quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The quarterback position has been Cleveland's Achilles' heel for years. Manziel's ability to create yards with both his arms and his legs will allow him to make an immediate impact in a difficult AFC North division.
Manziel certainly enters the NFL with a chip on his shoulder, according to a statement by the quarterback, via a tweet from Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio:
Could this finally be the quarterback Cleveland has been waiting for since Tim Couch? We'll find out soon enough.
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