The 2014 NFL draft ended the same way it began—with the Houston Texans on the clock.
After Lonnie Ballentine became this year's Mr. Irrelevant, the last of 256 prospects found a new home in the NFL.
Each team improved through the draft; however, we won't know the full impact of this year's draft class for quite some time.
As it appears, some teams look to have improved in a more significant manner than others based on prospects' schematic fits and the position in which they were drafted. That's where draft grades come in.
We can evaluate each team's draft based on what we think their draft hauls will yield. Of course, this is absolutely subject to change, but that won't halt some early speculation.
Let's take a look at each NFL franchise's draft report card and highlight some teams that stood out—either in a good way or otherwise.
|Arizona Cardinals||7||Deone Bucannon||B|
|Atlanta Falcons||9||Ra'Shede Hageman||B+|
|Baltimore Ravens||9||C.J. Mosley||B+|
|Buffalo Bills||7||Sammy Watkins||B|
|Carolina Panthers||6||Kony Ealy||C|
|Chicago Bears||8||Kyle Fuller||C|
|Cincinnati Bengals||8||Darqueze Dennard||C+|
|Cleveland Browns||6||Johnny Manziel||A|
|Dallas Cowboys||9||Zack Martin||C-|
|Denver Broncos||6||Bradley Roby||B|
|Detroit Lions||8||Eric Ebron||C+|
|Green Bay Packers||9||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||B-|
|Houston Texans||10||Jadeveon Clowney||A|
|Indianapolis Colts||5||Donte Moncrief||C|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||9||Marqise Lee||A-|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||De'Anthony Thomas||C-|
|Miami Dolphins||8||Jarvis Landry||C-|
|Minnesota Vikings||10||Teddy Bridgewater||B+|
|New England Patriots||9||Cameron Fleming||D+|
|New Orleans Saints||6||Brandin Cooks||B-|
|New York Giants||7||Odell Beckham Jr.||B|
|New York Jets||12||Jace Amaro||B+|
|Oakland Raiders||8||Khalil Mack||A-|
|Philadelphia Eagles||7||Jaylen Watkins||D+|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||9||Ryan Shazier||B-|
|San Diego Chargers||6||Jason Verrett||C|
|San Francisco 49ers||12||Marcus Martin||C+|
|Seattle Seahawks||9||Kevin Norwood||D+|
|St. Louis Rams||11||Aaron Donald||A|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||Mike Evans||B-|
|Tennessee Titans||6||Bishop Sankey||B|
|Washington Redskins||8||Morgan Moses||C|
Sean O'Donnell's Grades
Best Selection: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Questionable Selection: Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
The Texans undoubtedly had one of the draft's best hauls.
It all began with the first overall selection of Clowney. An athletic freak, Clowney has all the tools to become a superstar in the NFL. He may have a bit of a learning curve ahead, as he transitions from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Adding Louis Nix in the third round was brilliant. A true 3-4 nose tackle, Nix will shore up the middle of the defensive line and let J.J. Watt and Clowney wreak havoc on the outside.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweeted his thoughts on how this defensive line will take shape in 2014:
Louis Nix fills a huge need for the Texans. If he stay son the field and plays RT in passing situations, he'll be between Watt and Clowney.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) May 10, 2014
Houston was in dire need of a quarterback entering the draft, and the team didn't quite do enough by selecting Savage in the fourth round. More of a developmental quarterback, Savage probably won't be able to contribute immediately, which could leave the Texans in the same state as the 2013 season.
New England Patriots
Best Selection: Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Questionable Selection: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
This doesn't appear to be a great effort from Bill Belichick and Co.
The Patriots took a huge risk in the first round by selecting Dominique Easley. Is Easley a first-round talent? Absolutely. Although, after tearing his ACL in September, his recovery could hinder his production in the NFL.
The Garoppolo selection in the second round was equally as questionable. Yes, Tom Brady won't be around forever; however, adding the former Eastern Illinois quarterback will not improve this team in the immediate future.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeted the explanation of the Garoppolo selection from a source within the Patriots organization:
Patriots source explained on Garoppolo, they need to find Brady’s replacement at some point. He’ll be 40 during Jimmy G’s deal. Is this it?— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 10, 2014
A developmental quarterback, Garoppolo could flourish by learning under Brady. The Patriots just need to be absolutely sure he can be the guy going forward.
One nice move by the Patriots was the addition of Fleming in the fourth round. A hard-working offensive tackle who is very intelligent and sturdy, Fleming is a nice addition at a great value.
Best Selection: Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
Questionable Selection: Justin Britt, OT, Missouri
Let's preface this by saying since Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks, drafts have looked questionable—but they've absolutely worked out.
This could mark another year in which the Seahawks fool us all.
Selecting Paul Richardson in the second round wasn't exactly a bad pick, but considering other receivers still on the board—Cody Latimer, Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, etc.—it sure seemed like a reach.
That same trend followed Seattle later in the second round. Britt may be a prospect the Seahawks coveted; however, he really had no business being drafted so early. Britt was given a fifth-round grade by CBSSports.com, and there were plenty of available prospects who seemed to be better additions.
A need for a lineman was certainly there, as a tweet from ESPN Stats & Info explains:
Seahawks finish up the 2nd round with OT Justin Britt. Russell Wilson was pressured at the 3rd-highest pct last season #SEApick— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 10, 2014
The Norwood pick was probably Seattle's best. He's not a burner, but he is a very reliable possession receiver who can contribute immediately on special teams while he develops.
This certainly doesn't appear to be a stellar draft for the Seahawks; however, at this point, it's difficult to question them.