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NFL Draft Grades 2014: Full Results, Analysis and Reaction from Round 1

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08:  Jadeveon Clowney of the South Carolina Gamecocks stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #1 overall by the Houston Texansduring the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Sean ODonnellContributor IIINovember 20, 2016

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
PickTeamPlayerGrade
1Houston TexansJadeveon ClowneyA+
2St. Louis RamsGreg RobinsonA+
3Jacksonville JaguarsBlake BortlesB-
4Buffalo BillsSammy WatkinsA+
5Oakland RaidersKhalil MackA+
6Atlanta FalconsJake MatthewsA+
7Tampa Bay BuccaneersMike EvansA+
8Cleveland BrownsJustin GilbertA
9Minnesota VikingsAnthony BarrA
10Detroit LionsEric EbronA-
11Tennessee TitansTaylor LewanA
12New York GiantsOdell Beckham Jr.A+
13St. Louis RamsAaron DonaldA+
14Chicago BearsKyle FullerA
15Pittsburgh SteelersRyan ShazierB+
16Dallas CowboysZack MartinB+
17Baltimore RavensC.J. MosleyA
18New York JetsCalvin PryorA-
19Miami DolphinsJa'Wuan JamesC+
20New Orleans SaintsBrandin CooksA+
21Green Bay PackersHa Ha Clinton-DixA+
22Cleveland BrownsJohnny ManzielA+
23Kansas City ChiefsDee FordB-
24Cincinnati BengalsDarqueze DennardA+
25San Diego ChargersJason VerrettA+
26Philadelphia EaglesMarcus SmithB-
27Arizona CardinalsDeone BucannonB
28Carolina PanthersKelvin BenjaminA-
29New England PatriotsDominique EasleyA-
30San Francisco 49ersJimmie WardA-
31Denver BroncosBradley RobyA
32Minnesota VikingsTeddy BridgewaterA+
Selections via NFL.com/Sean O'Donnell's grades

Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: No. 3

Selection: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Grade: B-

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

Grade: A+

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

Grade: A+

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.

 

Miami Dolphins

Pick: No. 19

Selection: Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

Grade: C+

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.

 

Cleveland Browns

Pick: No. 22

Selection: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Grade: A+

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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