NFL Draft Picks 2014: List of Round 1 Grades and Updated Order for Each Team

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NFL Draft Picks 2014: List of Round 1 Grades and Updated Order for Each Team
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The uncommon depth that characterizes the 2014 NFL draft saw several teams wind up with underrated picks in Round 1, garnering strong Thursday grades with plenty of selections still in hand.

While Jadeveon Clowney made headlines as the top pick to the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns swung multiple trades and landed Johnny Manziel, other less heralded prospects landed in ideal situations to thrive as rookies.

Those fortunate franchises got instant upgrades at marquee positions, and all of them should have chips on their shoulder to prove themselves based on how the order shook out. Whether it was others at their positions going before them or pre-draft criticism, these draftees figure to use it as fuel going forward.

Here is a look at complete letter grades and brief analysis for all 32 picks in Round 1, along with a more detailed breakdown of those that were most underrated.

 

2014 NFL Draft Grades - Round 1
Pick Team Player Grade Quick Analysis
1. Texans Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina A The no-brainer pick to pair opposite J.J. Watt. Should become a terrifying combination off the edge.
2. Rams (from WSH) Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn A Mauler who is especially good in the running game. A dream for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who will pound the rock with RB Zac Stacy.
3. Jaguars Blake Bortles, QB, UCF F General manager Dave Caldwell will be relieved of his duties in no more than two years. One of the worst picks in recent draft history.
4. Bills* Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson B With such a deep receiver class, was the cost of a 2015 first-round pick really worth it?
5. Raiders Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo A+ Tempting to choose Mike Evans here, but GM Reggie McKenzie makes the right call to shore up the defense.
6. Falcons Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M A Safe pick. Matthews can play anywhere on the line, helping both dimensions of the offense.
7. Buccaneers Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M A Big, strong and fast—similar complement to Bucs WR Vincent Jackson.
8. Browns* Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State A- Unpolished prospect, yet most physically gifted corner came at minimal cost.
9. Vikings* Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA B+ Time will tell if Barr lives up to his potential. Having Mike Zimmer as coach helps.
10. Lions Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina A- What a talent Ebron is. Defense should be the big priority moving forward.
11. Titans Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan B- Second straight first-rounder on the offensive line. No excuses for Jake Locker.
12. Giants Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU A+ Experience in Cam Cameron's offense at LSU will ease his transition to the NFL.
13. Rams Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh A Luxury pick—bolsters Rams front seven even more.
14. Bears Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech B+ Strong corner prospect who can provide spark in return game.
15. Steelers Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State C Pittsburgh hasn't drafted all that well lately. Shazier has upside…a bit of a reach here.
16. Cowboys Zack Martin, OG/OT, Notre Dame B- Gives offensive line versatility. But what about that defense?
17. Ravens C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama A- Not an overwhelming need. A smart pick nevertheless.
18. Jets Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville A Jets get a boomer on the back end. Coach Rex Ryan has to be thrilled.
19. Dolphins Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee C- Total needs-based choice. A bit of a reach.
20. Saints* Brandin Cooks, WR, Oklahoma State A+ Drew Brees must be ecstatic to have his best slot weapon ever.
21. Packers Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama A Brings attitude and a high football IQ to bolster a suddenly strong secondary.
22. Browns* Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M A+ Ray Farmer delivers the dream scenario for Cleveland fans.
23. Chiefs Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn D+ Brings a ton of speed to pressure the QB. Chiefs have plenty of that already. What else?
24. Bengals Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State B+ Great value pick; Could be the best cover corner in the class.
25. Chargers Jason Verrett, CB, TCU A- Can play outside or in the slot. Verrett helps the league's 29th-ranked pass defense.
26. Eagles* (from IND) Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville B+ Wise choice on a smart player. Invested on the proper side of the ball.
27. Cardinals* Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State B- Helps the Cardinals stay physical in the NFC West. Was it too rich at No. 27?
28. Panthers Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State A- Some don't like this pick. Back shoulder throws for days.
29. Patriots Dominique Easley, DL, Florida C- Injury red flags abound. Tom Brady didn't get a receiver upgrade.
30. 49ers Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois C Time will tell if Ward can become anywhere near the player Donte Whitner was.
31. Broncos Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State B Coming off a bad season. Aqib Talib not the greatest mentor, but athleticism and potential are undeniable.
32. Vikings* Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville A Putting a cerebral QB in a great situation to thrive.

Asterisk indicates traded picks

 

Highlighting Most Underrated Round 1 Picks

New York Giants (No. 12): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning threw a whopping 27 interceptions in 2013, often unable to get on the same page with his receivers. A poor rushing attack and pressed decision-making also contributed to the poor performance, but some may argue bringing in a rookie wideout isn't the answer to solve those woes.

However, Beckham is not only a deep threat who can get behind any secondary, but he can also provide a spark on special teams. ESPN's Chris Mortensen pointed out a unique connection between Manning and his new weapon:

The best thing about Beckham is that he can run just about any route New York will ask him to. That's thanks to being in an extremely intricate, complex offense at LSU under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Ed Werder of ESPN reported before the draft that Beckham could even go before Texas A&M star receiver Mike Evans, who eventually went seventh to Tampa Bay:

Beckham should be driven to prove his football acumen in the Big Apple—and that the gap between him, Evans and new Buffalo Bills wideout Sammy Watkins isn't as big as it was perceived to be leading up to the draft.

Few, if any, receivers are as pro-ready as Beckham from a schematic standpoint to come in and contribute as a rookie. Although Watkins and Evans have various attributes that are superior to what Beckham brings to the table, the ex-LSU star has all the ability to be the most productive rookie receiver.

Between Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, Manning already has two stellar options to throw to, and should have plenty of opportunities to get Beckham into favorable matchups he can capitalize on.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

An aging secondary and the departure of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to Minnesota creates some uncertainty on that side of the ball for the Bengals. This roster is well-built to win now, but Cincinnati invested in both the short-term success and a player for the long haul in Dennard.

As part of an elite Spartans defense, the scrappy corner won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. That he fell all the way to No. 24 was a bit of a surprise.

Michigan State Radio host Adam Ruff noted how Dennard wasn't recruited too heavily, and how this instance of slipping in the draft seemed an appropriate parallel:

Dennard plays a physical, bump-and-run style that the Seattle Seahawks used to great effectiveness in winning the most recent Super Bowl. The Bengals don't have the personnel at safety to bail out Dennard if he gets too aggressive in that regard, but he is also among the best technicians at his position in this 2014 class.

It's possible that drawing flags could be a problem for Dennard at the NFL level, so he must refine the way he attacks receivers and be mindful of the dangers of illegal contact and pass interference penalties. Youth was necessary on the last line of defense in Cincinnati, though, and the Bengals couldn't do much better than to secure Dennard late in the first round.

The first cornerback off the board was Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert, who went No. 8 to the Cleveland Browns. Now that Dennard will be in the same AFC North division, he should have a big chip on his shoulder to prove he could've been worth gaudier draft status.

 

Minnesota Vikings (No. 32): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

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Speaking of players who took a tumble, once upon a time there was talk of Bridgewater being chosen near the top of the order—perhaps with the No. 1 overall pick. It took a trade by the Vikings to prevent Bridgewater from falling out of Round 1 entirely.

But the bold move should pay massive dividends in the Twin Cities. Bridgewater is easily the most pro-ready QB, and his cerebral nature is an excellent fit for an offense run by play-caller Norv Turner.

Adrian Peterson is in the backfield to take pressure off, while Zimmer is a defensive-minded head coach who will try to instill that identity into the team. That was evident by Minnesota's first Round 1 choice in athletic outside linebacker Anthony Barr.

The numbers in college were strong for Bridgewater, as he completed 71 percent of his passes with 31 touchdowns to just four interceptions this past season. Zimmer is a bottom-line type of man, and he digs the results Bridgewater has managed, per NFL Network's Albert Breer:

Bridgewater also has a loaded supporting cast of targets to throw to. Cordarrelle Patterson is ready to break out into a premier playmaker in his second year, and Greg Jennings is a legitimate No. 1 receiver. There's also Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Rudolph, speedy receiver Jerome Simpson and even Jarius Wright.

With the proper signal-caller to distribute the ball to those many capable skills players, there's reason to believe the Vikings could return to the playoffs as early as 2014. Matt Cassel isn't going to be a long-term answer—he's had the chance to be the face of the franchise and ultimately fallen short.

Christian Ponder can be safely characterized as a 2011 first-round bust, paving the way for Bridgewater to be the Vikings' franchise savior.

Pro Football Focus brings up this good point about how the incumbent QBs on Minnesota's roster have fared:

To see the likes of Blake Bortles go to Jacksonville in the top three and Johnny Manziel outshine Bridgewater for his magnetic personality, the former Cardinal has to be livid on the inside with what's happened to his draft stock. The Vikings are getting a true champion and the face of Louisville's program who is accustomed to being viewed as the great hope for a football team.

Bortles is not in an ideal situation to succeed with the Jaguars, and the quarterback curse that seems to hex Cleveland could lead Bridgewater to hit the field first. Bridgewater is the best prepared, and is now even more ready to handle the scrutiny that comes with being an NFL quarterback for the grilling he's endured amid a fall to the 32nd overall pick.

It's going to be a number of years before it can be determined who the best of these "big three" QBs are, but Bridgewater has all the faculties to get it done with his loaded complementary pieces in Minnesota and sharp football IQ.

 

Round 2 Draft Order
Pick Team
33 Houston Texans
34 Washington Redskins
35 Cleveland Browns
36 Oakland Raiders
37 Atlanta Falcons
38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
39 Jacksonville Jaguars
40 Seattle Seahawks (from Minnesota Vikings)
41 Buffalo Bills
42 Tennessee Titans
43 New York Giants
44 St. Louis Rams
45 Detroit Lions
46 Pittsburgh Steelers
47 Dallas Cowboys
48 Baltimore Ravens
49 New York Jets
50 Miami Dolphins
51 Chicago Bears
52 Arizona Cardinals
53 Green Bay Packers
54 Philadelphia Eagles
55 Cincinnati Bengals
56 San Francisco 49ers (from Kansas City Chiefs)
57 San Diego Chargers
58 New Orleans Saints
59 Indianapolis Colts
60 Carolina Panthers
61 San Francisco 49ers
62 New England Patriots
63 Denver Broncos
64 Seattle Seahawks

Source: NFL.com

 

Round 3 Draft Order
Pick Team
65 Houston Texans
66 Washington Redskins
67 Oakland Raiders
68 Atlanta Falcons
69 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
70 Jacksonville Jaguars
71 Cleveland Browns
72 Minnesota Vikings
73 Buffalo Bills
74 New York Giants
75 St. Louis Rams
76 Detroit Lions
77 San Francisco 49ers (from Tennessee Titans)
78 Dallas Cowboys
79 Baltimore Ravens
80 New York Jets
81 Miami Dolphins
82 Chicago Bears
83 Philadelphia Eagles (from Cleveland Browns through Pittsburgh Steelers)
84 Arizona Cardinals
85 Green Bay Packers
86 Philadelphia Eagles
87 Kansas City Chiefs
88 Cincinnati Bengals
89 San Diego Chargers
90 Indianapolis Colts
91 Arizona Cardinals (from New Orleans Saints)
92 Carolina Panthers
93 New England Patriots
94 San Francisco 49ers
95 Denver Broncos
96 Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks)
97 Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory selection)
98 Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection)
99 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory selection)
100 San Francisco 49ers (compensatory selection)

Source: NFL.com

 

Round 4 Draft Order
Pick Team
101 Houston Texans
102 Washington Redskins
103 Atlanta Falcons
104 New York Jets (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
105 Jacksonville Jaguars
106 Cleveland Browns
107 Oakland Raiders
108 Seattle Seahawks (from Minnesota Vikings)
109 Buffalo Bills
110 St. Louis Rams
111 Detroit Lions
112 Tennessee Titans
113 New York Giants
114 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Baltimore Ravens)
115 New York Jets
116 Miami Dolphins
117 Chicago Bears
118 Pittsburgh Steelers
119 Dallas Cowboys
120 Arizona Cardinals
121 Green Bay Packers
122 Philadelphia Eagles
123 Cincinnati Bengals
124 Kansas City Chiefs
125 San Diego Chargers
126 New Orleans Saints
127 Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts)
128 Carolina Panthers
129 San Francisco 49ers
130 New England Patriots
131 Denver Broncos
132 Seattle Seahawks
133 Detroit Lions (compensatory pick)
134 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory pick)
135 Houston Texans (compensatory pick)
136 Detroit Lions (compensatory pick)
137 New York Jets (compensatory pick)
138 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory pick)
139 Atlanta Falcons (compensatory pick)
140 New England Patriots (compensatory pick)

Source: NFL.com

 

Round 5 Draft Order
Pick Team
141 Houston Texans
142 Washington Redskins
143 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
144 Jacksonville Jaguars
145 Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland Browns)
146 Seattle Seahawks (from Oakland Raiders)
147 Atlanta Falcons
148 Minnesota Vikings
149 Buffalo Bills
150 St. Louis Rams (from Jacksonville Jaguars)
151 Tennessee Titans
152 New York Giants
153 St. Louis Rams
154 New York Jets
155 Miami Dolphins
156 Chicago Bears
157 Pittsburgh Steelers
158 Dallas Cowboys
159 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Baltimore Ravens)
160 Arizona Cardinals
161 Green Bay Packers
162 Philadelphia Eagles
163 Kansas City Chiefs
164 Cincinnati Bengals
165 San Diego Chargers
166 Indianapolis Colts
167 New Orleans Saints
168 Carolina Panthers
169 New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots through Philadelphia Eagles)
170 San Francisco 49ers
171 Denver Broncos
172 Seattle Sehawks
173 Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory selection)
174 New York Giants (compensatory selection)
175 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory selection)
176 Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection)

Source: NFL.com

 

Round 6 Draft Order
Pick Team
177 Houston Texans
178 Washington Redskins
179 Jacksonville Jaguars
180 Cleveland Browns
181 Houston Texans (from Oakland Raiders)
182 Atlanta Falcons
183 Chicago Bears (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
184 Minnesota Vikings
185 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Buffalo Bills)
186 Tennessee Titans
187 New York Giants
188 St. Louis Rams
189 Detroit Lions
190 Miami Dolphins
191 Chicago Bears
192 Pittsburgh Steelers
193 Kansas City Chiefs (from Dallas Cowboys)
194 Baltimore Ravens
195 New York Jets
196 Arizona Cardinals
197 Green Bay Packers
198 New England Patriots (from Philadelphia Eagles)
199 Cincinnati Bengals
200 Kansas City Chiefs
201 San Diego Chargers
202 New Orleans Saints
203 Indianapolis Colts
204 Carolina Panthers
205 Jacksonville Jaguars (from San Francisco 49ers)
206 New England Patriots
207 Denver Broncos
208 Seattle Seahawks
209 New York Jets (compensatory selection)
210 New York Jets (compensatory selection)
211 Houston Texans (compensatory selection)
212 Cincinnati Bengals (compensatory selection)
213 New York Jets (compensatory selection)
214 St. Louis Rams (compensatory selection)
215 Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory selection)

Source: NFL.com

 

Round 7 Draft Order
Pick Team
216 Houston Texans
217 Washington Redskins
218 Cleveland Browns
219 Oakland Raiders
220 Atlanta Falcons
221 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
222 Jacksonville Jaguars
223 Minnesota Vikings
224 Buffalo Bills
225 Carolina Panthers (from New York Giants)
226 St. Louis Rams
227 Detroit Lions
228 Tennesse Titans
229 Dallas Cowboys (from Chicago Bears)
230 Pittsburgh Steelers
231 Dallas Cowboys
232 Indianapolis Colts (from Baltimore Ravens)
233 New York Jets
234 Miami Dolphins
235 Oakland Raiders (from Arizona Cardinals)
236 Green Bay Packers
237 Philadelphia Eagles
238 Dallas Cowboys (from Kansas City Chiefs)
239 Cincinnati Bengals
240 San Diego Chargers
241 St. Louis Rams (from Indianapolis Colts)
242 San Francisco 49ers (from New Orleans Saints)
243 San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers)
244 New England Patriots
245 San Francisco 49ers
246 Denver Broncos
247 Oakland Raiders (from Seattle Seahawks)
248 Dallas Cowboys (compensatory pick)
249 St. Louis Rams (compensatory pick)
250 St. Louis Rams (compensatory pick)
251 Dallas Cowboys (compensatory pick)
252 Cincinnati Bengals (compensatory pick)
253 Arlanta Falcons (compensatory pick)
254 Dallas Cowboys (compensatory pick)
255 Atlanta Falcons (compensatory pick)
256 Houston Texans (compensatory pick)

Source: NFL.com

 

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