With all 256 draft picks in, all that's left to do regarding the 2014 NFL draft is figure out how well each team selected.
Grading a draft is about more than which organizations landed the best players; otherwise, we'd just give the Houston Texans an A for picking Jadaveon Clowney first and go about our business. Rather, this is about who got the best value over the course of the weekend, leveraging whatever picks they had, early or late or in between, for the maximum gain.
Effective drafting on Saturday as well as Thursday separates the perennial powerhouses, who stay strong despite consistently picking near the end of rounds, from their lowlier counterparts, who fail to capitalize on top-10 picks year after year.
So let's evaluate the results, focusing specifically on the most successful franchises.
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|Indianapolis Colts||OL Jack Mewhort (59), WR Donte Moncrief (90), DE Jonathan Newsome (166), LB Andrew Jackson (203), T Ulrick John (232)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
NFL.com/Josh Cohen's picks
When you're in desperate need of a franchise quarterback and have the third overall pick, the debate over which prospect is right for you suddenly becomes a whole lot simpler.
Sure, Jacksonville still had to decide between Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, among others, but entering the draft with a clear direction—improving the passing game, immediately and in the long run—allows other pieces to fall into place.
Bortles' big arm was probably the best pair for Cecil Shorts—on the outside anyway—and it will be even more valuable since the Jags grabbed Marquis Lee in the second. Lee's speed and explosiveness will make him a nice counterpart to Short and give Jacksonville a varied set of receiving options for the first time in ages.
And the organization didn't even stop there. With Allen Robinson coming to town also, Bortles suddenly went from one useful receiver to potentially three good ones. After the abject failures Jacksonville experienced trying to move the ball last year, the new aerial attack will be refreshing.
Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson are both great after the catch…Blake Bortles threw a million bubble screens at UCF, we'll see more of that— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) May 10, 2014
Add Telvin Smith, an experienced and fiery linebacker nabbed in the fifth round, on top of all that offense, and an image of Jacksonville on the upswing begins to come into focus.
Minnesota needed a quarterback just as badly as Jacksonville did, but by taking the opposite tact and picking defense early, the Vikes got even greater value on offense.
Anthony Barr is the kind of edge rusher that just wouldn't be available in the second round. He came to UCLA as a running back and bulked up as he converted to linebacker. Eventually, he completing his transformation into a player capable of causing havoc on every down and being tough to contain on the outside.
Had Barr played defense all along, he'd be right in the same class as Clowney. There's some risk about how he'll translate to the professional level, but if Minnesota can foster his athleticism, he'll go down as a steal at ninth.
Mike Mayock compares Vikings OLB Anthony Barr to Jason Taylor. http://t.co/7cVPNp84MO— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) May 9, 2014
Ditto for Bridgewater at 32nd if he becomes the cornerstone QB many thought he could be.
Many young quarterbacks suffer in their development due to less-than-ideal supporting casts. Bridgewater is not going to have that problem. Between Adrian Peterson pulling every man into the box and Cordarrelle Patterson confounding defenses from any position on the field, he already has an attractive set of weapons with which to work.
Landing David Yankey in the third will give Bridgewater even more time to operate, and defensive picks in the third and fifth will help shore up Minnesota's pass defense. The Vikes won't be an NFC North punching bag much longer.
The Rams already have Sam Bradford in place under center, though they need to see whether he's the real deal. So they went ahead and made major improvements to everything around the passing game.
Greg Robinson joins Jake Long to immediately form one of the most imposing offensive tackle tandems in the NFL. Robinson has the strength and quickness to do his job from Day One, and, providing Long recovers from an ACL surgery, he won't even have to do it from the left tackle position quite yet.
On the other side of the ball, Aaron Donald adds the same disruptive pass-rushing force on the inside of the line that Robert Quinn and Chris Long already give St. Louis on the outside. He'll make every defense think twice before trying to double one of those edge guys, which will lead to more sacks for everyone.
The Rams get Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald ... best first round night.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 9, 2014
In later rounds, the Rams grabbed Tre Mason in Round 3; he will join 2013 surprise Kenneth Darby in the running back stable and help set up Bradford's passing game. And then there's another late-round guy adding a sterling college pedigree and impeccable character to the locker room in Michael Sam.
They weren't looking for a franchise QB, but the Rams still exited the draft with an enviable haul. Now Bradford just has to produce with it.