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

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NFL Draft Grades 2014: Most Polarizing Results from This Year's Class
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
Team Grade Note
Dallas Cowboys A Cowboys showed measured restraint in this draft, which allowed them to acquire the quantity of talent they needed.
New York Giants C+ The Giants did a terrible job of maximizing their value.
Philadelphia Eagles B- The Eagles got some solid talent but waited too long to address their needs in the secondary.
Washington Redskins B Morgan Moses was one of the steals of the draft, but Washington didn't do enough to improve its defense.
Arizona Cardinals B+ It was a solid and unspectacular draft for the Cardinals.
San Francisco 49ers A+ No team did a better job of maximizing its value in this draft.
Seattle Seahawks B- 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 Rams A The Rams had a lot to work with in this draft and got great value with the picks they had.
Chicago Bears A- Chicago wisely stocked up on defense in this draft and did so with solid value picks.
Detroit Lions C The Lions added just one player to a poor secondary, and they didn't do that until Round 4.
Green Bay Packers B The Packers took advantage of a deep group of talent at WR but should've spent a little more on defense.
Minnesota Vikings A The Vikings loaded up on defense and found a potential QB of the future.
Atlanta Falcons A The Falcons got good value with their selection and beefed up in the offensive and defensive trenches.
Carolina Panthers D The Panthers had two huge needs entering this draft: LT and WR. They drafted one WR and no LTs. Not good.
New Orleans Saints A The 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 Buccaneers B+ The Buccaneers went all offense in this draft. Not terrible since new coach Lovie Smith will be able to coach up the defense.
Buffalo Bills A- The Bills were able to trade up to draft Sammy Watkins and still hit other areas of need.
Miami Dolphins B The Dolphins reached for the offensive lineman but were left with little choice.
New England Patriots C- The Patriots didn't get the best value with their picks and didn't take a WR until Round 7.
New York Jets A The Jets had a good balance between offense and defense and found good value.
Denver Broncos C The Broncos needed to find players who could help them win now. They did not.
Kansas City Chiefs D The Chiefs reached for their picks and ignored their needs. That's a bad combo.
Oakland Raiders A The 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 Chargers A The Chargers filled needs and did so with value picks.
Baltimore Ravens B- The Ravens had a good draft...except for the fact they essentially ignored the offensive line.
Cincinnati Bengals A Solid draft for the Bengals. They hit all their big needs.
Cleveland Browns B Cleveland was poised to get an A+. Then the draft passed and they didn't take a WR. That was a massive fail.
Pittsburgh Steelers A- Throughout the draft, the Steelers looked to upgrade in speed and athleticism, which is perfect for what was an aging roster.
Houston Texans A- 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 Colts B- The Colts only had five selections, but they did what they could.
Jacksonville Jaguars A- The Jaguars got lots of criticism for taking Blake Bortles at No. 3, but they got excellent value on the following picks.
Tennessee Titans A Great value with their selections and they hit the right positions.

 

Tennessee Titans

Titans' 2014 Draft Class
Round Pick Selection Position College
1 11 Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
2 54 Bishop Sankey RB Washington
4 112 DaQuan Jones DT Penn State
4 122 Marqueston Huff FS Wyoming
5 152 Avery Williamson ILB Kentucky
6 178 Zach Mettenberger QB LSU

NFL.com

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
Round Pick Selection Position College
1 23 Dee Ford DE Auburn
3 87 Phillip Gaines CB Rice
4 124 De'Anthony Thomas RB Oregon
5 163 Aaron Murray QB Georgia
6 193 Zach Fulton OG Tennessee
6 200 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif OT McGill

NFL.com

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
Round Pick Selection Position College
1 28 Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida State
2 60 Kony Ealy DE Missouri
3 92 Trai Turner OG LSU
4 128 Tre Boston SS North Carolina
5 148 Bene Benwikere CB San Jose State
6 204 Tyler Gaffney RB Stanford

NFL.com

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. 

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