After what seemed like endless speculation, could the 2014 NFL draft actually be—dare I say it—over?
That's right. With 256 selections in the books and a three-day spectacle now complete, all 32 teams can put to rest the tireless preparation and get to work with their picks. But for some, those draft classes are better than others.
A few teams will enter 2014 with renewed energy and a heap of incoming talent from the draft, while others failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Here's a look at grades for every team with a closer look at some select squads.
|Arizona Cardinals||SS Deone Bucannon (27), TE Troy Niklas (52), DE Kareem Martin (84), WR John Brown (91), QB Logan Thomas (120), DE Ed Stinson (160), WR Walt Powell (196)||B|
|Atlanta Falcons||OT Jake Matthews (6), DL Ra'Shede Hageman (37), S Dez Southward (68), RB Devonta Freeman (103), LB Prince Shembo (139), CB Ricardo Allen (147), LB Marquis Spruill (168), LB Yawin Smallwood (253), LB Tyler Starr (255)||B+|
|Baltimore Ravens||ILB C.J. Mosley (17), DT Tim Jernigan (48), S Terrence Brooks (79), TE Crockett Gilmore (99), DT Brent Urban (134), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (138), G John Urschel (175), QB Keith Wenning (194), WR Michael Campanaro (218)||A-|
|Buffalo Bills||WR Sammy Watkins (4), OT Cyrus Kouandjio (44), LB Preston Brown (73), CB Ross Cockrell (109), G Cyril Richardson (153), LB Randell Johnson (221), T Seantrel Henderson (237)||C-|
|Carolina Panthers||WR Kelvin Benjamin (28), DL Kony Ealy (60), G Trai Turner (92), S Tre Boston (128), CB Bene Benwikere (148), RB Tyler Gaffney (204)||B|
|Chicago Bears||CB Kyle Fuller (14), DT Ego Ferguson (51), DT Will Sutton (82), RB Ka'Deem Carey (117), S Brock Vereen (131), QB David Fales (183), P Pat O'Donnell (191), T Charles Leno (246)||B-|
|Cincinnati Bengals||CB Darqueze Dennard (24), RB Jeremy Hill (55), DE William Clarke (88), C Russell Bodine (111), QB A.J. McCarron (164), LB Marquis Flowers (212), WR James Wright (239), CB Lavelle Westbrooks (252)||B-|
|Cleveland Browns||CB Justin Gilbert (8), QB Johnny Manziel (22), OL Joel Bitonio (35), LB Charles Kirksey (71), RB Terrance West (94), CB Pierre Desir (127)||B+|
|Dallas Cowboys||OT Zack Martin (16), DE Demarcus Lawrence (34), LB Anthony Hitchens (119), WR Devin Street (146), DE Ben Gardner (231), LB Will Smith (238), S Ahmad Dixon (248), DT Ken Bishop (251), CB Terrance Mitchell (254)||B-|
|Denver Broncos||CB Bradley Roby (31), WR Cody Latimer (56), T Michael Schofield (95), LB Lamin Barrow (156), C Matt Paradis (207), LB Corey Nelson (242)||C+|
|Detroit Lions||TE Eric Ebron (10), OLB Kyle Van Noy (40), C Travis Swanson (76), CB Nevin Lawson (133), DE Larry Webster (136), DT Caraun Reid (158), WR T.J. Jones (189), K Nate Freese (229)||C+|
|Green Bay Packers||FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21), WR Davante Adams (53), DT Khyri Thornton (85), TE Richard Rogers (98), LB Carl Bradford (121), C Corey Lindsey (161), WR Jared Abbrederis (176), CB Demetri Goodson (197), WR Jeff Janis (236)||B+|
|Houston Texans||DE Jadeveon Clowney (1), OG Xavier Su'a-Filo (33), TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (65), DT Louis Nix (83), QB Tom Savage (135), DE Jeoffrey Pagan (177), RB Alfred Blue (181), RB Jay Prosch (211), CB Dre Hal (216), S Lonnie Ballentine (256)||A-|
|Indianapolis Colts||OL Jack Mewhort (59), WR Donte Moncrief (90), DE Jonathan Newsome (166), LB Andrew Jackson (203), T Ulrick John (232)||C|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||QB Blake Bortles (3), WR Marqise Lee (39), WR Allen Robinson (61), G Brandon Linder (93), CB Aaron Colvin (114), LB Telvin Smith (144), DE Chris Smith (159), C Luke Bowanko (205), RB Storm Johnson (222)||A-|
|Kansas City Chiefs||DE Dee Ford (23), CB Phillip Gaines (87), RB De'Anthony Thomas (124), QB Aaron Murray (163), G Zach Fulton (193), T Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (200)||C|
|Miami Dolphins||OT Ja'Wuan James (19), WR Jarvis Landry (63), T Billy Turner (67), CB Walt Aikens (125), TE Arthur Lynch (155), LB Jordie Tripp (171), WR Matt Hazel (190), DE Terrance Fede (234)||B-|
|Minnesota Vikings||OLB Anthony Barr (9), QB Teddy Bridgewater (32), DE Scott Crichton (72), RB Jerick McKinnon (96), G David Yankey (145), CB Antone Exum (182), CB Kendall James (184), DT Shamar Stephen (220), LB Brandon Watts (223), CB Jabari Price (225)||B+|
|New England Patriots||DT Dominique Easley (29), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (62), C Bryan Stork (105), RB James White (130), T Cameron Fleming (140), G Jon Halapio (179), DE Zach Moore (198), S Jemea Thomas (206), WR Jeremy Gallon (244)||C-|
|New Orleans Saints||WR Brandin Cooks (20), CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (58), LB Khairi Fortt (126), S Vinnie Sunseri (167), LB Ronald Powell (169), T Tavon Rooks (202)||B+|
|New York Giants||WR Odell Beckham (12), C Weston Richburg (43), DT Jay Bromley (74), RB Andre Williams (113), S Nat Berhe (152), LB Devon Kennard (174), CB Bennett Jackson (187)||B|
|New York Jets||FS Calvin Pryor (18), TE Jace Amaro (49), CB Dex McDougle (80), WR Jalen Saunders (104), WR Shaq Evans (115), T Dakota Dozier (137), LB Jeremiah George (154), CB Brandon Dixon (195), WR Quincy Enunwa (209), DE IK Enemkpali (210), QB Tajh Boyd (213), LB Trevor Reilly (233)||B+|
|Oakland Raiders||OLB Khalil Mack (5), QB Derek Carr (36), OG Gabe Jackson (81), DT Justin Ellis (107), CB Keith McGill (116), CB T.J. Carrie (219), DE Shelby Harris (235), S Jonathan Dowling (247)||A-|
|Philadelphia Eagles||DE Marcus Smith (26), WR Jordan Matthews (42), WR Josh Huff (86), CB Jaylen Watkins (101), DE Taylor Hart (141), S Ed Reynolds (162), DT Beau Allen (224)||C|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||OLB Ryan Shazier (15), DL Stephon Tuitt (46), WR Dri Archer (97), WR Martavis Bryant (118), CB Shaquille Richardson (157), C Wesley Johnson (173), LB Jordan Zumwait (192), DT Dan McCullers (215), TE Rob Blanchflower (230)||B+|
|San Diego Chargers||CB Jason Verrett (25), OLB Jeremy Attaochu (50), G Chris Watt (89), DT Ryan Carrethers (165), RB Marlon Grice (201), WR Tevin Reese (240)||B+|
|San Francisco 49ers||SS Jimmie Ward (30), RB Carlos Hyde (57), OG Marcus Martin (70), ILB Chris Borland (77), G Brandon Thomas (100), WR Bruce Ellington (106), CB Dontae Johnson (129), DE Aaron Lynch (150), CB Keith Reaser (170), CB Kenneth Acker (180), DT Kaleb Ramsey (243), FB Trey Millard (245)||A-|
|Seattle Seahawks||WR Paul Richardson (45), OL Justin Britt (64), DE Cassius Marsh (108), WR Kevin Norwood (123), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (132), DT Jimmy Staten (172), T Garrett Scott (199), S Eric Pinkins (208), FB Kiero Smal (227)||D+|
|St. Louis Rams||OT Greg Robinson (2), DT Aaron Donald (13), CB Lamarcus Joyner (41), RB Tre Mason (75), S Maurice Alexander (110), CB E.J. Gaines (188), QB Garrett Gilbert (214), T Mitchell Van Dyk (226), S C.B. Bryant (241), DE Michael Sam (249), C Demetrius Rhaney (250)||A-|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||WR Mike Evans (7), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (38), RB Charles Sims (69), G Kadeem Edwards (143), T Kevin Pamphile (149), WR Robert Herron (185)||B|
|Tennessee Titans||OT Taylor Lewan (11), RB Bishop Sankey (54), DT DaQuan Jones (112), CB Marqueston Huff (122), LB Avery Williamson (151), QB Zach Mettenberger (178)||A-|
|Washington Redskins||LB Trent Murphy (47), OT Morgan Moses (66), G Spencer Long (78), CB Bashaud Breeland (102), WR Ryan Grant (142), RB Lache Seastrunk (186), TE Ted Bolser (217), K Zach Hocker (228)||C|
NFL.com/Steven Cook's grades
Baltimore Ravens: A-
As if there was any doubt which side of the ball was the emphasis of this franchise before, the Ravens made their defensive preference known again in Radio City Music Hall this weekend.
Their first three picks off the board were defensive players, all of which were NFL-ready prospects at all three levels—secondary, linebacking, line—of the defense. Four of the first five Baltimore picks were on defense.
The first two were home runs. Baltimore nabbed C.J. Mosley with the 17th pick, and Timmy Jernigan with pick No. 48 in Round 2—both were mid-first rounders heading into the draft and could start by midseason of their rookie campaigns.
Terrence Brooks gives Baltimore a young safety to develop, and yet another player with a winning pedigree as Brooks and Jernigan are from Florida State and Mosley hails from Alabama—the last two national champions.
And for anyone who watches plenty of college football, it was quite a haul per SportsOnEarth.com's Matt Brown:
The Ravens getting C.J. Mosley and Timmy Jernigan seems ridiculously unfair from the college football person perspective.— Matt Brown (@MattBrownSoE) May 10, 2014
Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Ravens have been big on defense in the last two drafts:
Timmy Jernigan #BALPick FSU DT Joins LB CJ Mosley. Keeps up defensive trend. First four picks for BAL last year were defense.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 10, 2014
It wasn't ideal to sacrifice drafting one of the many solid wideouts near the top of the board, but with the massive improvements Baltimore made on the defensive side, it should pay off. If Mosley and Jernigan both pan out in an already formidable defense looking for young studs, the Ravens defense will re-emerge as one of the NFL's best.
New England Patriots: C-
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have a knack of making draft pundits eat their words. With that said, New England offered plenty of head-scratchers early on in its draft.
With the 29th pick, the Pats selected Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley—a boom-or-bust prospect who is coming off a second torn ACL from his playing days with the Gators. If healthy, he's a menacing pass rusher and run stuffer that could play a big role in the defense, but that's a big if.
Drafting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round could pay off with Tom Brady's career nearing the end, but they must see an awful lot in him to believe he's the future starter—otherwise a second-round pick isn't really justified when juxtaposed against the high-value quarterbacks going off the board in Rounds 5 and 6 (Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger).
CSN New England's Tom E. Curran summed up best what it will mean if either see the field in 2014:
We'll see how much either of the Patriots first two picks play this season. Good news if Easley does. Awful news if Garoppolo does.— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) May 10, 2014
The Patriots are evidently looking for some long-term Vince Wilfork insurance, but they must expect the worst of Easley's health problems to be behind him with such a high pick. Chances are, they could have traded down to get him or waited until the second round and traded up if Easley was their guy.
There are destined to be a few diamonds considering it's a Patriots draft class, but a few of the early picks might not pan out.
Oakland Raiders: A-
It seems like once in a blue moon that Oakland has itself a good draft, but 2014 was one of those years.
Grabbing Khalil Mack at the No. 5 pick is simply outstanding. The Buffalo linebacker would have been a top-pick talent in many drafts and was even considered that at a time in this process. The Raiders haven't had a menacing defensive player of Mack's caliber in years, and now they have that much-needed Von Miller-esque pass rusher in the AFC West.
Not to be outdone by that massive advancement on the defensive side, Oakland potentially got its future franchise quarterback early in the second round in Derek Carr.
That gave Oakland quite the early-round haul, as ESPN's Mike Greenberg thought:
I think the #Raiders may have gotten the best defensive player and best QB in this draft. Better times ahead for silver and black.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) May 10, 2014
The Raiders' draft-day shortcomings have been well documented over the years, but on the surface this weekend looked to be potentially franchise-changing. They can build the defense around Mack, and Carr figures to be more NFL-ready than any quarterback in this year's class.
They weren't done there. The Raiders added defensive tackle Justin Ellis with the 107th pick and cornerback Keith McGill at No. 116, injecting even more young talent into a defense that has been adding promising players in recent seasons.
Oakland hasn't seen much success in recent years, and to survive in the AFC West, the Raiders will need a gunslinger at quarterback and a relentless, elite pass rusher.
They now potentially have both.