2014 NFL Draft

NFL Draft 2014: Team-by-Team Analysis and Grades for Rounds 1-3 Results

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles poses with NFL commissioner Roger Gooddell after being selected as the third pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Craig Ruttle/Associated Press
Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2014

We are less than 24 hours removed from the end of the NFL draft’s third round, so naturally it's time to make sweeping generalizations about players who won’t make a name for themselves in the professional ranks for a number of years.

However, even though these grades may be a bit early, there are still initial impressions that can be made. With that in mind, here is a look at team-by-team marks for the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and then we dig into a bit more analysis for a few notable squads.

2014 NFL Draft Grades
TeamRound 1 Pick(s)Round 2 Pick(s)Round 3 Pick(s)GradeExplanation
Houston TexansJadeveon ClowneyXavier Su'a-FiloC.J. Fiedorowicz, Louis Nix IIIA-Got the best player in the draft and help along the offensive line and at defensive tackle
St. Louis RamsGreg Robinson, Aaron DonaldLamarcus JoynerTre MasonA+Incredible first round; added two of the more underrated players in Rounds 2 and 3 in Joyner and Mason
Jacksonville JaguarsBlake BortlesMarqise Lee, Allen RobinsonBrandon LinderCBortles was a huge stretch; taking one receiver in the second round is good, but two?
Buffalo BillsSammy WatkinsCyrus KouandjioPreston BrownBGave up a lot to get Watkins; added some depth on the offensive line
Oakland RaidersKhalil MackDerek CarrGabe JacksonACarr is a risk, but he and Mack provide answers to two areas of need
Atlanta FalconsJake MatthewsRa'Shede HagemanDez SouthwardBNothing wrong with getting two potential starters on both sides of the line
Tampa Bay BuccaneersMike EvansAustin Seferian-JenkinsCharles SimsAApparently Tampa Bay is going to play basketball with all of those tall receiving options
Cleveland BrownsJustin Gilbert, Johnny ManzielJoel BitonioChris Kirksey, Terrance WestACompletely knocked the first round out of the park; the rest is just icing on the cake
Minnesota VikingsAnthony Barr, Teddy BridgewaterN/AScott Crichton, Jerick McKinnonB+Got their quarterback and one of the best defensive players in the draft early
Detroit LionsEric EbronKyle Van NoyTravis SwansonBThe later picks are better than a stretch in the first round
Tennessee TitansTaylor LewanBishop SankeyN/AB-Carlos Hyde was the better choice at running back; Lewan is a solid tackle who provides depth
New York GiantsOdell Beckham Jr.Weston RichburgJay BromleyCReally should have taken a defensive player in the second round, although Beckham fills a need
Chicago BearsKyle FullerEgo FergusonWill SuttonBThe picks fill needs, but there were better players available at each position drafted
Pittsburgh SteelersRyan ShazierStephon TuittDri ArcherBCould have used a corner in the first two rounds with so many talented ones on the board
Dallas CowboysZack MartinDemarcus LawrenceN/AAReally like the second-round pick; smart to pass on the temptation of Manziel in Round 1
Baltimore RavensC.J. MosleyTimmy JerniganTerrence Brooks, Crockett GillmoreBNothing wrong with adding a couple of defensive playmakers who can contribute right away
New York JetsCalvin PryorJace AmaroDex McDougleAPryor is a beast on defense, and Amaro is an underrated contributor
Miami DolphinsJa'Wuan JamesJarvis LandryBilly TurnerCReach in every round of the draft
New Orleans SaintsBrandin CooksStanley Jean-BaptisteN/AAFilled need with a speedy receiver early and got great value later in the draft
Green Bay PackersHa Ha Clinton-DixDavante AdamsKhyri Thornton, Richard RodgersAGreat first round, and then added a replacement for James Jones in the second
Kansas City ChiefsDee FordN/APhillip GainesBGot great talent early in Dee Ford
Cincinnati BengalsDarqueze DennardJeremy HillWilliam ClarkeBDennard is a great pick that fills a need in the first round, but why not Hyde in the running back spot?
San Diego ChargersJason VerrettJeremiah AttaochuChris WattAAdded some of the most underrated players in the draft
Philadelphia EaglesMarcus SmithJordan MatthewsJosh HuffBSolid picks, but there were better options at the positions drafted
Arizona CardinalsDeone BucannonTroy NiklasKareem Martin, John BrownCDrafted their initial picks much earlier than they had to with those players
Carolina PanthersKelvin BenjaminKony EalyTrai TurnerBNeeded a receiver and got one; Ealy is a solid pick, although he doesn't fill a need
New England PatriotsDominique EasleyJimmy GaroppoloN/AB-Garoppolo worth keeping an eye on as a potential backup next year
San Francisco 49ersJimmie WardCarlos HydeMarcus Martin, Chris Borland, Brandon ThomasB-Stop me if you've heard this before: The 49ers took a running back in the draft (although at least it was a very good one)
Denver BroncosBradley RobyCody LatimerMichael SchofieldA-Needed a corner and got an incredible athlete in Roby; Peyton Manning has yet another weapon at receiver now as well
Seattle SeahawksNAPaul Richardson, Justin BrittN/ABSolid picks that help fill some needs
Washington RedskinsNATrent MurphyMorgan Moses, Spencer LongB-Helps make up for lack of first-round pick with Moses so late
Indianapolis ColtsNAJack MewhortDonte MoncriefCNo first-round pick makes grading harder, but a bit high for Mewhort
Grades are my personal opinion

 

St. Louis Rams

Selecting linemen on either side of the ball isn’t always the most exciting route to go in the NFL draft, but the St. Louis Rams hit the first round out of the park. 

They added Greg Robinson with the No. 2 pick overall as a foundation-type player at offensive tackle and then defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the No. 13 pick overall. The Rams defensive line, which was already intimidating enough as it was, got all the more imposing, as Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead and ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie pointed out:

The Rams weren’t done, though, and they added two of the most underrated players in the draft in the second and third rounds in Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner and Auburn’s Tre Mason.

Joyner brings some height concerns to the table for a pure corner, but his versatility is what makes him so special.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Look for him to play in the slot against spread offenses and even see some time at safety as his rookie season progresses. He absolutely lays the lumber on opposing ball-carriers and receivers too, small stature or not.

What’s more, he can contribute in the special teams department as a returner or flanker who can come after punts in blocking situations. 

As for Mason, his elusiveness and speed makes him a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars couldn’t have felt great about watching the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings grab top-notch quarterbacks in the later portion of the first round after grabbing Blake Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick.

The Jaguars could have likely traded down, loading up with other assets, and still ended up with Bortles if he was their man. Considering they are more than a couple of pieces away from competing for a playoff spot, that may have been the wise move.

At least Jacksonville grabbed some help in the wide receiver department, which was desperately needed, but it was a bit strange to see the same team take two wideouts in the same round. Mike Mayock of NFL Network commented on Jacksonville’s decision to take Marqise Lee of USC, via NFL.com

Keep in mind, Justin Blackmon -- their first-round pick from a couple years ago -- is indefinitely suspended. The Jaguars aren't expecting anything out of him. The Jaguars needed a wide receiver and for Lee to be available at pick No. 39 is a bonanza for this franchise.

 

Dallas Cowboys

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The storylines were right there for the taking.

Johnny Manziel was still on the board when it was the Dallas Cowboys’ turn to draft at No. 16 overall, but they resisted the temptation and went with offensive tackle Zack Martin out of Notre Dame. It may not have been the most popular move with the fans, but the Cowboys have a number of needs and signal-caller is certainly not one of them.

Martin has the versatility to play either guard or tackle, and he provides some much-needed depth along the offensive front.

What’s more, Dallas added one of the best edge-rushers in the draft in Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, which will help fill the void left over from DeMarcus Ware’s departure. Lawrence is an explosive athlete who can play on the outside or inside, so look for him to contribute early in a number of ways for the Cowboys. 

The Cowboys have a ton of picks remaining at the end of the draft, so this will be a team to keep an eye on Saturday.

 

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