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2014 NFL Draft Results: Rounds 1-3 Grades, Updated Selection Order, Storylines

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2014 NFL Draft Results: Rounds 1-3 Grades, Updated Selection Order, Storylines
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The first round is a party. The second and third rounds are where surprising stars can be unearthed. After that, teams are looking for diamonds in the rough or depth players. 

And the whole thing is a blast, isn't it?

Below, we'll cover all of the bases in this year's draft, from grading the first three rounds to going over the major storylines thus far and taking a look at the remaining picks. Stay glued to those couches, folks, we still have over half of the draft to go! 

Let's start by reviewing the draft grades for every team after the first two days.

2014 NFL Draft Grades
Team Selections Grade Analysis
Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney, Xavier Su'a-Filo, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Louis Nix A One of the steadiest, strongest drafts thus far. Clowney is obviously a potential superstar, while Su'a-Filo was the best available guard and many had Nix projected as the best 3-4 nose tackle in this draft. At least on paper, a great start to Bill O'Brien's regime.
St. Louis Rams Greg Robinson, Aaron Donald, Lamarcus Joyner, Tre Mason A Another strong draft from the Rams. Started with the best tackle and interior defensive lineman, added the versatile Joyner to the secondary and a bit of lightning in Mason to pair with the thunder of Zac Stacy.
Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, Brandon Linder A- The Bortles pick still feels like a slight reach, but the Jags identified what they wanted to improve—the passing game—and did just that. Getting Lee and Robinson in the second round was a coup.
Buffalo Bills Sammy Watkins, Cyrus Kouandjio, Preston Brown B Watkins is dynamic, but did the Bills give up too much to get him? Kouandjio and Brown were nice value picks.
Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson A How often do you find yourself agreeing with every decision the Raiders have made in a draft? They nabbed a future star in Mack, their future starter at quarterback in Carr and a mauler at guard in Jackson. Oakland is killing this draft.
Atlanta Falcons Jake Matthews, Ra'Shede Hageman, Dezmen Southward B+ Atlanta nabbed one of the safest prospects in Matthews, then got an intriguing, if inconsistent, talent for the defensive line in Hageman. Southward offers versatility in the secondary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Charles Sims B+ Well, the Bucs look a lot scarier on offense, huh? Evans is going to be a stud, and if Seferian-Jenkins can remain motivated, he really upgrades the tight end position. Sims gives the Bucs good depth behind Doug Martin at running back.
Cleveland Browns Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel, Joel Bitonio, Christian Kirksey, Terrance West A- It's hard to argue with any of the selections the Browns have made—they've taken good players and nice values across the board—especially when you consider they also secured Buffalo's first-round pick next year. But you have to wonder if bypassing the receiver position with Josh Gordon potentially facing a season-long ban was wise.
Minnesota Vikings Anthony Barr, Teddy Bridgewater, Scott Crichton, Jerick McKinnon B+ A lot of upside and projects in this draft, with the exception of Bridgewater, who is a day one starter. The Vikings have certainly nabbed some intriguing talents.
Detroit Lions Eric Ebron, Kyle Van Noy, Travis Swanson B The Lions got good players, but didn't address arguably their biggest need at corner. Tight end in particular felt like a luxury pick, though Ebron is a special talent. Interesting draft from the Lions.
Tennessee Titans Taylor Lewan, Bishop Sankey B+ Lewan was an excellent value, even if he wasn't a huge need. Sankey certainly was a big need, and will likely be a huge part of Tennessee's offense next season.
New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, Jay Bromley B Beckham gives Eli Manning another weapon to work with in the passing game. Richburg continues the revamping of the offensive line. Not the sexiest draft from New York, but a steady one.
Chicago Bears Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton B- Fuller certainly has a ton of upside, though corner didn't seem like the team's biggest need. Defensive tackle was, and they addressed that with Ferguson and Sutton, though the former was a huge reach in the second round.
Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt, Dri Archer B Was Shazier a reach? Perhaps a slight one, but he's a versatile player at linebacker. Tuitt could be one of the steals of the draft if he stays motivated. Archer gives the Steelers some sizzle to pair with Le'Veon Bell's steak.
Dallas Cowboys Zack Martin, Demarcus Lawrence B- Martin's versatility on the line makes him a plug-and-play starter, while Lawrence is an intriguing edge-rusher. Still, you wonder if the Cowboys could have done more to improve the defense thus far.
Baltimore Ravens C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan, Terrence Brooks, Crockett Gillmore B+ The Ravens really improved defensively with their first three picks. All should make an impact next season, and all were nice values. Gillmore gives them a tight end to work in with Dennis Pitta.
New York Jets Calvin Pryor, Jace Amaro, Dexter McDougle A- I love the first two picks. Pryor is a Rex Ryan guy, and he'll be an excellent safety at the next level. Amaro isn't an in-line blocker at tight end, but he'll be an excellent receiver and security blanket as the Jets continue to improve the offense.
Miami Dolphins Ja'Wuan James, Jarvis Landry, Billy Turner C James was the biggest reach of the first round. Turner is a project, though he has upside. The Dolphins knew they needed to rebuild the offensive line, but did they find the right guys to do it? Landry will give Ryan Tannehill another nice weapon in the passing game.
New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks, Stanley Jean-Baptiste B+ Only two players, but two very, very intriguing players. Cooks is a dynamo after the catch and will take over the Darren Sproles role in this offense, while Jean-Baptiste is a bigger corner that will likely be in vogue now, given the success of Richard Sherman.
Green Bay Packers Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Khyri Thornton, Richard Rodgers B+ The Packers have addressed their biggest needs, and Clinton-Dix and Adams in particular were strong selections. A nice draft thus far.
Kansas City Chiefs Dee Ford, Phillip Gaines C Ford was a surprise, with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston already on the edge. Gaines has talent but feels like a project. These are picks that could make a ton of sense in three years, but don't seem to help the Chiefs a ton in the short term.
Cincinnati Bengals Darqueze Dennard, Jeremy Hill, Will Clarke B Dennard falling into their laps was nothing short of a blessing. Hill is an intriguing pick and likely signifies the end of the road for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Clarke will be added to the defensive line rotation.
San Diego Chargers Jason Verrett, Jeremiah Attaochu, Chris Watt B+ Quietly a strong draft from the Chargers. Verrett is a plug-and-play starter and Watt was a nice value in the third round that will upgrade the offensive line. Attaochu is a project, but his upside is immense and he was easily the best 3-4 OLB remaining in this draft.
Philadelphia Eagles Marcus Smith, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff C+ A bit of a curious draft from the Eagles. Smith was a reach, but the Eagles did add a pick when they traded back and he addresses a huge need off the edge. Matthews was an excellent selection and should be this team's slot receiver immediately. Huff will be a special-teamer early on, but does a little bit of everything for you at receiver. Will they address the secondary in day three?
Arizona Cardinals Deone Bucannon, Troy Niklas, Kareem Martin, John Brown B Interesting players across the board. Not finding Carson Palmer's eventual replacement a bit curious. Brown is hardly known and tiny, but very explosive at wide receiver. Could be a reach, or could be the "Where did this guy come from?" pick of the draft.
Carolina Panthers Kelvin Benjamin, Kony Ealy, Trai Turner B Benjamin fills a huge need, though he's a project. Turner is another player with talent but in need of some polish. Ealy was a great value for where he was selected.
New England Patriots Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garoppolo B- Easley has top-15 talent. He's also torn the ACL in each of his knees in the past three years. Huge risk, potentially huge reward. Garoppolo was clearly drafted to be Tom Brady's heir apparent, but was it wise to go that route in the second round for a team competing for the Super Bowl?
San Francisco 49ers Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Martin, Chris Borland, Brandon Thomas B+ Such an interesting draft. Ward fills a need, as the Niners see him initially as a slot corner. Hyde may have been the best running back on the board, but he joins a pretty crowded backfield. Martin may be the best center in this draft. Borland isn't very big or athletic, but he's here to play. Thomas will have to sit a year due to injury, but his upside is big. Hard to judge this draft in the present, but sure looks like the Niners added a lot of quality players.
Denver Broncos Bradley Roby, Cody Latimer, Michael Schofield B Roby and Latimer have big upside, though both may be projects, and Schofield gives them added depth on the offensive line. Solid start for the Broncos.
Washington Trent Murphy, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long C- Moses was a great value, but both Murphy and Long were reaches. Add in the fact that they didn't have a first-round selection (though that RG3 guy is pretty good) and this has been a disappointing draft for Washington.
Seattle Seahawks Paul Richardson, Justin Britt C Question Seattle's draft at your own peril—their unorthodox picks at the time seem to always turn to gold down the road—but both selections carry question marks. Richardson is lighting in a bottle at wide receiver given his blazing speed, but he is very slight. Britt was a bit of a reach given some of the other offensive lineman on the board. Still, Seattle has been right more than they've been wrong in recent years, so time will tell.
Indianapolis Colts Jack Mewhort, Donte Moncrief B- Mewhort is very versatile on the offensive line and could contribute immediately. Moncrief is more of a project and will probably be buried on the depth chart at wide receiver, a pretty deep position in Indy.

 

Major Storylines

Elsa/Getty Images

Once Jadeveon Clowney was selected with the top overall pick, most folks probably thought Johnny Manziel's landing spot would become the major talking point. And while it eventually would, a few other surprises superseded the Johnny Football circus.

For starters, the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting Blake Bortles surprised most folks. Give the Jags credit—they hid their intentions expertly, though some folks thought Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins would have represented better value. But the Jags came into this draft knowing they wanted to upgrade the passing game and did just that, also adding wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round.

Gus Bradley may be a defensive coach, but he certainly has an improved offense now.

Things heated up even more at No. 4, when the Bills traded the No. 9 pick and first- and fourth-round picks in 2015 to the Cleveland Browns for the right to move up to No. 4 and select Sammy Watkins (the team would later get that fourth back by trading Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers).

It was about that point that the Browns became the center of this year's draft. When it was their turn to pick at No. 8 (they traded with Minnesota to move up a spot), everyone eagerly anticipated the selection of Manziel. Instead, it was Justin Gilbert who was selected.

And thus began Manziel's slide. When he was available at No. 16 for the Dallas Cowboys, the Internet basically imploded. Would Jerry Jones do it? Would he add the Manziel circus to the Cowboys circus?

No, he wouldn't. Neither would Chip Kelly at No. 22, as the Eagles traded the pick to the Browns, who finally ended Manziel's slide and capped off a huge day for Cleveland. Gilbert, Manziel and a 2015 first-rounder—could life get any better for the Browns?

Heck, Johnny Football even answered every question he was presented with at his first team press conference with aplomb. Here are a few highlights, via the Browns' official Twitter account and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:

But things got worse before they got better. Before the second round began on Friday, it leaked that Josh Gordon could be suspended for an entire season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, via SportsCenter on Twitter:

Yikes. And the Browns upper echelon knew about this well before the draft, yet decided against drafting a receiver in the first round. That was somewhat understandable, given the depth at the position this year. But surely the Browns would draft a receiver at some point in the second or third round then, right?

Well, no, they didn't. And now, the team's need for a player at the position is one of the biggest storylines remaining in the draft. 

In general, those are the types of storylines that remain. Will the Cowboys continue to get help on defense? Will the Arizona Cardinals draft Carson Palmer's eventual replacement? Will the Texans draft a quarterback at all to compete for the starting job?

Depth is now the name of the game for most teams. But, as always, it will be fascinating to see which teams unearth those hidden gems. 

 

Remaining Picks

Rounds 4-7 NFL Draft Order
Pick Overall Team
Round 4
1 101 Philadelphia Eagles (from Houston)
2 102 Washington Redskins
3 103 Atlanta Falcons
4 104 New York Jets (from Tampa Bay)
5 105 New England (from Jacksonville)
6 106 San Francisco (from Cleveland)
7 107 Oakland Raiders
8 108 Seattle Seahawks (from Minnesota)
9 109 Buffalo Bills
10 110 St. Louis Rams
11 111 Seattle Seahawks (from Detroit)
12 112 Tennessee Titans
13 113 New York Giants
14 114 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Baltimore)
15 115 New York Jets
16 116 Oakland Raiders (from Miami)
17 117 Chicago Bears
18 118 Pittsburgh Steelers
19 119 Dallas Cowboys
20 120 Arizona Cardinals
21 121 Green Bay Packers
22 122 Tennessee Titans (from Philly)
23 123 Cincinnati Bengals
24 124 Kansas City Chiefs
25 125 Miami Dolphins (from San Diego)
26 126 New Orleans Saints
27 127 Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)
28 128 Carolina Panthers
29 129 San Francisco 49ers
30 130 New England Patriots
31 131 Denver Broncos
32 132 Seattle Seahawks
33 133 Detroit Lions (compensatory)
34 134 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)
35 135 Houston Texans (compensatory)
36 136 Detroit Lions (compensatory)
37 137 New York Jets (compensatory)
38 138 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)
39 139 Atlanta Falcons (compensatory)
40 140 New England Patriots (compensatory)
Round 5
1 141 Philadelphia Eagles (from Houston)
2 142 Washington Redskins
3 143 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4 144 Jacksonville Jaguars
5 145 Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland)
6 146 Detroit Lions (from Oakland via Seattle)
7 147 Atlanta Falcons
8 148 Minnesota Vikings
9 149 Buffalo Bills
10 150 San Francisco 49ers (from Detroit via Jacksonville)
11 151 Tennessee Titans
12 152 New York Giants
13 153 Buffalo Bills (from Rams)
14 154 New York Jets
15 155 Miami Dolphins
16 156 Chicago Bears
17 157 Pittsburgh Steelers
18 158 Dallas Cowboys
19 159 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Baltimore)
20 160 Arizona Cardinals
21 161 Green Bay Packers
22 162 Philadelphia Eagles
23 163 Kansas City Chiefs
24 164 Cincinnati Bengals
25 165 San Diego Chargers
26 166 Indianapolis Colts
27 167 New Orleans Saints
28 168 Carolina Panthers
29 169 New Orleans Saints (from New England via Philadelphia)
30 170 San Francisco 49ers
31 171 Miami Dolphins (from Denver via San Francisco)
32 172 Seattle Seahawks
33 173 Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory)
34 174 New York Giants (compensatory)
35 175 Baltimore Ravens (compensatory)
36 176 Green Bay Packers (compensatory)
Round 6
1 177 Houston Texans
2 178 Washington Redskins
3 179 New England Patriots (from Jacksonville)
4 180 San Francisco (from Cleveland)
5 181 Houston Texans (from Oakland Raiders)
6 182 Atlanta Falcons
7 183 Chicago Bears (from Tampa Bay)
8 184 Minnesota Vikings
9 185 Tampa Bay (from Buffalo Bills)
10 186 Tennessee Titans
11 187 New York Giants
12 188 St. Louis Rams
13 189 Detroit Lions
14 190 Miami Dolphins
15 191 Chicago Bears
16 192 Pittsburgh Steelers
17 193 Kansas City Chiefs (from Dallas)
18 194 Baltimore Ravens
19 195 New York Jets
20 196 Arizona Cardinals
21 197 Green Bay Packers
22 198 New England Patriots (from Philadelphia)
23 199 Cincinnati Bengals
24 200 Kansas City Chiefs
25 201 San Diego Chargers
26 202 New Orleans Saints
27 203 Indianapolis Colts
28 204 Carolina Panthers
29 205 Jacksonville Jaguars (from San Francisco)
30 206 New England Patriots
31 207 Denver Broncos
32 208 Seattle Seahawks
33 209 New York Jets (compensatory)
34 210 New York Jets (compensatory)
35 211 Houston Texans (compensatory)
36 212 Cincinnati Bengals (compensatory)
37 213 New York Jets (compensatory)
38 214 St. Louis Rams (compensatory)
39 215 Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory)
Round 7
1 216 Houston Texans
2 217 Washington Redskins
3 218 Cleveland Browns
4 219 Oakland Raiders
5 220 Atlanta Falcons
6 221 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7 222 Jacksonville Jaguars
8 223 Minnesota Vikings
9 224 Buffalo Bills
10 225 Carolina Panthers (from N.Y. Giants)
11 226 St. Louis Rams
12 227 Seattle Seahawks (from Detroit)
13 228 Tennessee Titans
14 229 Dallas Cowboys (from Chicago)
15 230 Pittsburgh Steelers
16 231 Dallas Cowboys
17 232 Indianapolis Colts (from Baltimore)
18 233 New York Jets
19 234 Miami Dolphins
20 235 Oakland Raiders (from Arizona)
21 236 Green Bay Packers
22 237 Philadelphia Eagles
23 238 Dallas Cowboys (from Kansas City)
24 239 Cincinnati Bengals
25 240 San Diego Chargers
26 241 St. Louis Rams (from Indianapolis)
27 242 Denver Broncos (from New Orleans via 49ers)
28 243 San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina)
29 244 New England Patriots
30 245 San Francisco 49ers
31 246 Denver Broncos
32 247 Oakland Raiders (from Seattle Seahawks)
33 248 Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
34 249 St. Louis Rams (compensatory)
35 250 St. Louis Rams (compensatory)
36 251 Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
37 252 Cincinnati Bengals (compensatory)
38 253 Atlanta Falcons (compensatory)
39 254 Dallas Cowboys (compensatory)
40 255 Atlanta Falcons (compensatory)
41 256 Houston Texans (compensatory)

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