NFL Draft Results 2014: Initial Round 1 Grades and Updated Selection Order

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NFL Draft Results 2014: Initial Round 1 Grades and Updated Selection Order
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Only in the NFL could a night of the sport’s commissioner reading names from cue cards bring the type of excitement and drama that fans saw Thursday night. 

The first round of the NFL draft is officially in the books, and Jadeveon Clowney went No. 1 as expected, but it was Johnny Manziel’s slide that captured most of the headlines. The Cleveland Browns, after making approximately 455 trades, got him at No. 22, and the rest was history.

Here is a look at the early Round 1 grades for every single pick, and then we will dig into some detail on a few select choices:

2014 NFL Draft Round 1 Grades
Pick Team Player Position School Grades
1. Texans Jadeveon Clowney DE/OLB South Carolina A: Draft's best player and will be beast with J.J. Watt
2. Rams (from WSH) Greg Robinson OT Auburn A-: Upside a bit higher than other tackles because of athleticism
3. Jaguars Blake Bortles QB UCF B-: Could have traded down and gotten QB later
4. Bills* Sammy Watkins WR Clemson A: Arguably draft's top playmaker, needed explosive option in passing game
5. Raiders Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo A+: Needed a pass-rusher and got the best one
6. Falcons Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M A: Perhaps best-suited player to come in and start from first day
7. Buccaneers Mike Evans WR Texas A&M A: Now have one-two punch at wide receiver. Look out
8. Browns* Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State B-: Such a deep corner draft, could have gotten comparable one later
9. Vikings* Anthony Barr OLB UCLA B: Not Mack or Clowney, but solid pick
10. Lions Eric Ebron TE North Carolina C: Just too many other needs to pick a TE here, although very talented
11. Titans Taylor Lewan OT Michigan C: Like Lions, had other needs that could have been addressed
12. Giants Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSU B: Possibly fastest receiver in draft, solid pick
13. Rams Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh A: Good luck blocking this defensive line
14. Bears Kyle Fuller CB Virginia Tech B+: Needed a corner, underrated versatility
15. Steelers Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State B: Fastest linebacker in draft, only question is whether he can handle middle linebacker in NFL for 10-plus years
16. Cowboys Zack Martin OG/OT Notre Dame B-: Probably could have used help in the secondary here
17. Ravens C.J. Mosley ILB Alabama B: Nothing flashy, all production
18. Jets Calvin Pryor FS Louisville A-: Needed help at the back end of the defense and got maybe best safety in draft
19. Dolphins Ja'Wuan James OT Tennessee B-: Were more talented tackles in this draft but fills a pressing need
20. Saints* Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State B+: Will put up serious numbers in that offense
21. Packers Ha Ha Clinton-Dix FS Alabama A: Packers need serious help in secondary, and he can start right away
22. Browns* Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M A: How can you not love getting Johnny Manziel this late in the first round?
23. Chiefs Dee Ford DE/OLB Auburn C: Had some other needs, doesn't make as much sense as others would have here
24. Bengals Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State A: Great value pick this late in the draft
25. Chargers Jason Verrett CB TCU B+: Don't get caught up in the height discussions, a true playmaker
26. Eagles* (from IND) Marcus Smith DE/OLB Louisville B-: Need a pass-rusher, but weren't there better ones available still?
27. Cardinals* Deone Bucannon SS Washington State B: Not a lot of name recognition but solid football player
28. Panthers Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida State B+: Needed a receiver in the worst possible way
29. Patriots Dominique Easley DT Florida B-: Lots of upside but has to stay healthy
30. 49ers Jimmie Ward SS Northern Illinois B-: Probably had more pressing needs than safety, but solid pick
31. Broncos Bradley Roby CB Ohio State B+: Immediate need and serious upside and speed
32. Vikings Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville A-: Needed a quarterback and got a top-15 talent at the end of the first round. Great value

Grades are all personal opinion

WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Josh McCown enjoyed throwing to two elite targets in Chicago last year, and David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune pointed out that he may just get that privilege again in Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers selected Mike Evans to pair with Vincent Jackson:

Evans may not have the speed of a Sammy Watkins, but there is so much value in today’s NFL for someone who can go up and grab the ball at its highest point and outmuscle defenders.

Look for the Buccaneers passing attack to be much better next season. 

They ranked an abysmal 32nd in the league in average passing yards per game, and with Evans now in the fold, they have two potential premier playmakers on the outside. All McCown will need to do is avoid costly turnovers, and the Tampa offense will be much more formidable immediately.

It will also open up the running game, as defenses will not be able to load the box with so much talent on the outside.

CB Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have Charles Tillman in tow, but he is past his prime and missed most of last season because of injury.

They needed more depth at the corner position, and that is exactly what they got with Kyle Fuller. His versatility and athleticism allow him to guard virtually any type of receiver, from the speedy slot guys to the physical outside flankers. In addition, he is an elite special teams player, which is something the Bears put a lot of pride into every year.

General manager Phil Emery discussed Fuller, via the team’s official Twitter page:

As Emery said, Fuller could play right away, be it in on special teams or as an extra corner. There are so many elite wide receivers in the NFC North that the Bears will need him.

CB Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals

As long as we are talking cornerbacks, the Cincinnati Bengals landed arguably the best press cornerback in the draft in Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State.

The AFC North features Josh Gordon, among other wide receivers, and the Bengals have serious concerns in the age and health departments when it comes to cornerbacks. Dennard could slide right in alongside Leon Hall and make it an All-Big Ten starting lineup at the position. 

He isn’t the fastest corner in the draft, but he is probably the most physical one. That, along with his ball-hawking skills, will lead to a successful NFL career in the Queen City.

Updated Round 2 Selection Order

Now it is time to look ahead to Round 2. Notable prospects like Derek Carr and Carlos Hyde are still on the board and sure to hear their names picked on Friday. Here is a look at the updated selection order for the entire second round:

2014 NFL Draft Selection Order, Round 2
Pick Team
1 Houston Texans
2 Washington Redskins
3 Cleveland Browns
4 Oakland Raiders
5 Atlanta Falcons
6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7 Jacksonville Jaguars
8 Seattle Seahawks
9 Buffalo Bills
10 Tennessee Titans
11 New York Giants
12 St. Louis Rams
13 Detroit Lions
14 Pittsburgh Steelers
15 Dallas Cowboys
16 Baltimore Ravens
17 New York Jets
18 Miami Dolphins
19 Chicago Bears
20 Arizona Cardinals
21 Green Bay Packers
22 Philadelphia Eagles
23 Cincinnati Bengals
24 San Francisco 49ers
25 San Diego Chargers
26 New Orleans Saints
27 Indianapolis Colts
28 Carolina Panthers
29 San Francisco 49ers
30 New England Patriots
31 Denver Broncos
32 Seattle Seahawks

Make sure to tune in Friday.

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