The NFL draft grades can roll in now that the overly long action from New York has concluded.
Letter grades are by no means final, but they are a fun way to examine how each front office around the league excelled (or didn't) in a number of areas, including need and value. Grades will turn out to be much more accurate in three to four years once rookies have adapted to the game or filtered out of the league.
Let's take a look at grades for each team based on a need-value marriage and focus on a few teams that earned various grades to extrapolate the meaning behind the letters.
|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)||A|
|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)||B|
|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)||C|
|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)||B-|
|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)||D|
|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)||C|
|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)||A|
|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)||B+|
|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)||B-|
|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)||B-|
|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|
Indianapolis Colts: D
Unfortunately for the Indianapolis Colts, there is no way to avoid the Trent Richardson monster, especially now that we have gone two years without a running back in the first round.
Regardless, take that trade out of the equation and the final grade doesn't change all that much.
At No. 59, the Colts got an offensive tackle in Jack Mewhort, who is somehow supposed to discover newfound versatility and play on the inside, as noted by Rotoworld's Josh Norris:
Notable that the Colts wrote Mewhort in as a G.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) May 10, 2014
It's a strange pick considering the Colts interior is weak and a guy like USC's Marcus Martin was still on the board. Safety is an issue, and the team also passed on Florida State's Terrence Brooks.
Mississippi’s Donte Moncrief does much to stabilize the wideout corps, but linebacker Andrew Jackson from Western Kentucky in the sixth round does little to shore up that position. That safety position? Nada.
Look, the Colts seem to have stuck to their board. Fine. But completely whiffing on essential needs has no excuse. Really, value was very much debatable at each pick, too. This is not how you stop relying on only a quarterback to win games.
Buffalo Bills: C
Let's just start with this, because it sums things up rather nicely:
I'm not really sure what the #Bills are doing this weekend.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) May 10, 2014
This could be either really good or very bad.
The Bills gave up a boatload to land Sammy Watkins. He's an elite prospect, but it's a questionable move considering the depth of the class. At the same time, it's great the front office is throwing its full support behind sophomore quarterback EJ Manuel.
ESPN's Mel Kiper gives some added detail on the costly trade (subscription required):
Sammy Watkins isn't just going to be a really good player, he already is one. He was my No. 2 prospect in the entire draft. EJ Manuel has a weapon, a player who can turn simple throws into big gains, and that matters because I still don't know how effective a downfield thrower Manuel is. My issue is that this draft is loaded with wide receivers -- there are good ones already signing as undrafted free agents as I type this, in fact -- and the Bills paid a significant price to get Watkins. A future first-round pick is always a heavy price, but they threw in a fourth as well. Think about this: the Jags took a QB one slot ahead of Watkins, but still managed to get Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in Round 2.
Still, there was some good in the class. Cyrus Kouandjio in the second round shores up right tackle. Cyril Richardson was once thought to be the top guard in the class, and Buffalo got him at No. 153. The same goes for offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who wound up pick No. 237.
More so than most grades, the Bills' future success will alter this one dramatically, as ESPN's Mike Rodak muses:
It’s safe to say that the Bills have the NFL’s most depleted stock of 2015 picks. Time will tell if their gamble pays off.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 12, 2014
Minnesota Vikings: A
This. Is. How. Teams. Are. Built.
The Minnesota Vikings killed it last year with Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson, so it should come as no surprise that the front office kept the ball rolling this year.
Anthony Barr is a bit of a risk at linebacker, but new head coach Mike Zimmer knows a thing or two about getting the most out of defenders. He also landed a new franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, whose best trait caught the eye of general manager Rick Spielman, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today:
Spielman says #Vikings did analytical study that showed Bridgewater was best of QBs vs. blitz. "He's very cool and calm under pressure."— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 9, 2014
The Vikings weren't done there. Scott Crichton is a nice rotational rusher in the Zimmer mold at defensive end, while David Yankey in the fifth round has the potential to shore up the interior of the line. Antone Exum is a perfect Zimmer defensive back who can play either safety or corner, and he was added in the sixth.
All things considered, the Vikings were aggressive once again and appear to have knocked it out of the park—again.