NFL Draft Grades 2014: Most Polarizing Results from This Year's Class

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMay 13, 2014

Michigan outside tackle Taylor Lewan poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Tennessee Titans as the eleventh pick in the the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

With a talented and deep draft class, on the whole, NFL general managers did a superb job in the 2014 NFL draft, which honestly is not as much fun when discussing draft grades. It's always entertaining to put a team on blast for a poor draft. 

Now, it has become customary for articles that hand out grades to have a disclaimer. You know, a little note saying that it is silly to hand out grades right after a draft and that the true value of a draft can't be measured for five seasons. 

Nonsense, I say. Grades are just as appropriate after the draft as they are five years after. Right now, I'm grading on perceived value of the draft picks and how teams addressed their needs.  

That doesn't mean that a draft class won't go on to exceed expectations and display greater value down the road; it simply means that with the information at hand, this is how I rate it. 

2014 NFL Draft Grades
Dallas CowboysACowboys showed measured restraint in this draft, which allowed them to acquire the quantity of talent they needed.
New York GiantsC+The Giants did a terrible job of maximizing their value.
Philadelphia EaglesB-The Eagles got some solid talent but waited too long to address their needs in the secondary.
Washington RedskinsBMorgan Moses was one of the steals of the draft, but Washington didn't do enough to improve its defense.
Arizona CardinalsB+It was a solid and unspectacular draft for the Cardinals.
San Francisco 49ersA+No team did a better job of maximizing its value in this draft.
Seattle SeahawksB-The Seahawks reached for most of their picks, but that's what they do. They were smart to stockpile on mid-round selections.
St. Louis RamsAThe Rams had a lot to work with in this draft and got great value with the picks they had.
Chicago BearsA-Chicago wisely stocked up on defense in this draft and did so with solid value picks.
Detroit LionsCThe Lions added just one player to a poor secondary, and they didn't do that until Round 4.
Green Bay PackersBThe Packers took advantage of a deep group of talent at WR but should've spent a little more on defense.
Minnesota VikingsAThe Vikings loaded up on defense and found a potential QB of the future.
Atlanta FalconsAThe Falcons got good value with their selection and beefed up in the offensive and defensive trenches.
Carolina PanthersDThe Panthers had two huge needs entering this draft: LT and WR. They drafted one WR and no LTs. Not good.
New Orleans SaintsAThe Saints didn't have a lot to work with in this draft, but they addressed all the right areas with the picks they had.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersB+The Buccaneers went all offense in this draft. Not terrible since new coach Lovie Smith will be able to coach up the defense.
Buffalo BillsA-The Bills were able to trade up to draft Sammy Watkins and still hit other areas of need.
Miami DolphinsBThe Dolphins reached for the offensive lineman but were left with little choice.
New England PatriotsC-The Patriots didn't get the best value with their picks and didn't take a WR until Round 7.
New York JetsAThe Jets had a good balance between offense and defense and found good value.
Denver BroncosCThe Broncos needed to find players who could help them win now. They did not.
Kansas City ChiefsDThe Chiefs reached for their picks and ignored their needs. That's a bad combo.
Oakland RaidersAThe Raiders got great value with their picks, and if Derek Carr pans out, this draft will be epic. Only knock was their inability to add a WR.
San Diego ChargersAThe Chargers filled needs and did so with value picks.
Baltimore RavensB-The Ravens had a good draft...except for the fact they essentially ignored the offensive line.
Cincinnati BengalsASolid draft for the Bengals. They hit all their big needs.
Cleveland BrownsBCleveland was poised to get an A+. Then the draft passed and they didn't take a WR. That was a massive fail.
Pittsburgh SteelersA-Throughout the draft, the Steelers looked to upgrade in speed and athleticism, which is perfect for what was an aging roster.
Houston TexansA-The Texans had a lot to work with in this draft. It was curious they didn't try to land a QB in Round 2.
Indianapolis ColtsB-The Colts only had five selections, but they did what they could.
Jacksonville JaguarsA-The Jaguars got lots of criticism for taking Blake Bortles at No. 3, but they got excellent value on the following picks.
Tennessee TitansAGreat value with their selections and they hit the right positions.


Tennessee Titans

Titans' 2014 Draft Class
111Taylor LewanOTMichigan
254Bishop SankeyRBWashington
4112DaQuan JonesDTPenn State
4122Marqueston HuffFSWyoming
5152Avery WilliamsonILBKentucky
6178Zach MettenbergerQBLSU

Grade: A

The Titans' first selection was not widely popular, but I love it. The Titans took tackle Taylor Lewan at No. 11. The pick was a good value, as Lewan projects to be a quality left tackle in the NFL. 

There is the thought that this was not a big need. The Titans have a solid left tackle in Michael Roos and signed Michael Oher to play right tackle this offseason. Roos, however, is 31 and on the last year of his contract, and Oher is awful in pass protection. 

Lewan will allow Oher to move inside to guard and give the Titans their left tackle of the future. 

The Titans then went on to find value all throughout the draft, and that included grabbing running back Bishop Sankey, who will be very productive behind a good offensive line. 


Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs' 2014 Draft Class
123Dee FordDEAuburn
387Phillip GainesCBRice
4124De'Anthony ThomasRBOregon
5163Aaron MurrayQBGeorgia
6193Zach FultonOGTennessee
6200Laurent Duvernay-TardifOTMcGill

Grade: D

Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs were led in receiving yards by running back Jamaal Charles. It's great that Charles has that kind of ability, but the Chiefs clearly need more weapons in the passing game.

So what did the Chiefs do? They made six selections, and not one was a receiver, and this was a deep draft for receivers. 

With their first pick, the Chiefs selected Dee Ford. Ford has good potential as a pass-rusher, but he was a bit of a reach. On top of that, the Chiefs already have competent pass-rushers. 

You can never have too many players with the ability to get to the quarterback in today's NFL, but the Chiefs would've been better served adding a receiver. 


Carolina Panthers

Panthers' 2014 Draft Class
128Kelvin BenjaminWRFlorida State
260Kony EalyDEMissouri
392Trai TurnerOGLSU
4128Tre BostonSSNorth Carolina
5148Bene BenwikereCBSan Jose State
6204Tyler GaffneyRBStanford

Grade: D

The Panthers badly needed a left tackle, and the only offensive lineman they drafted was guard Trai Turner in the third round. 

The Panthers spent their first pick on wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Given that the Panthers also had an intense need to add receivers, there is no knocking them for that selection. 

Carolina needed more than one receiver, however, and they didn't add another. 

The Panthers got decent value with their selections, but they did a terrible job of addressing their needs. It is now hard to see how the Panthers will field a team as good as last year's.