After seven rounds of selections, it’s time to break down the 2014 NFL draft and grade each franchise on how they handled the event.
While there were franchises that earned a top grade for stellar results from the draft, several other teams faltered under the pressure and either didn’t fill needs or reached for too many prospects.
Here are the full grades for every team in the NFL, the notable players taken and a focus on the team that dominated the draft.
|2014 NFL Draft Grades|
|Team||Picks||Notable Picks (Overall Pick)||Grade|
|Arizona Cardinals||7||SS Deone Bucannon (27), TE Troy Niklas (52)||B-|
|Atlanta Falcons||9||OT Jake Matthews (6), DL Ra'Shede Hageman (37)||B|
|Baltimore Ravens||9||ILB C.J. Mosley (17), DT Tim Jernigan (48)||B+|
|Buffalo Bills||7||WR Sammy Watkins (4), OT Cyrus Kouandjio (44)||B-|
|Carolina Panthers||6||WR Kelvin Benjamin (28), DL Kony Ealy (60)||C|
|Chicago Bears||8||CB Kyle Fuller (14), DT Ego Ferguson (51), RB Ka'Deem Carey (117)||B-|
|Cincinnati Bengals||8||CB Darqueze Dennard (24), RB Jeremy Hill (55), QB A.J. McCarron (164)||C+|
|Cleveland Browns||6||CB Justin Gilbert (8), QB Johnny Manziel (22), OL Joel Bitonio (35)||A|
|Dallas Cowboys||9||OT Zack Martin (16), DE Demarcus Lawrence (34)||C-|
|Denver Broncos||6||CB Bradley Roby (31), WR Cody Latimer (56)||B|
|Detroit Lions||8||TE Eric Ebron (10), OLB Kyle Van Noy (40)||C|
|Green Bay Packers||9||FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21), WR Davante Adams (53)||B-|
|Houston Texans||10||DE Jadeveon Clowney (1), OG Xavier Su'a-Filo (33), TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (65), DT Louis Nix (83)||A|
|Indianapolis Colts||5||OL Jack Mewhort (59), WR Donte Moncrief (90)||D+|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||9||QB Blake Bortles (3), WR Marqise Lee (39), WR Allen Robinson (61)||A-|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||DE Dee Ford (23), CB Phillip Gaines (87), QB Aaron Murray (163)||C-|
|Miami Dolphins||8||OT Ja'Wuan James (19), WR Jarvis Landry (63)||D+|
|Minnesota Vikings||10||OLB Anthony Barr (9), QB Teddy Bridgewater (32), DE Scott Crichton (72)||B+|
|New England Patriots||9||DT Dominique Easley (29), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (62)||C|
|New Orleans Saints||6||WR Brandin Cooks (20), CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (58)||B-|
|New York Giants||7||WR Odell Beckham (12), C Weston Richburg (43), RB Andre Williams (113)||C+|
|New York Jets||12||FS Calvin Pryor (18), TE Jace Amaro (49), WR Jalen Saunders (104)||B+|
|Oakland Raiders||8||OLB Khalil Mack (5), QB Derek Carr (36), OG Gabe Jackson (81)||A-|
|Philadelphia Eagles||7||DE Marcus Smith (26), WR Jordan Matthews (42)||D+|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||9||OLB Ryan Shazier (15), DL Stephon Tuitt (46), WR Dri Archer (97), WR Martavis Bryant (118)||B-|
|San Diego Chargers||6||CB Jason Verrett (25), OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (50)||C+|
|San Francisco 49ers||12||SS Jimmie Ward (30), RB Carlos Hyde (57), OG Marcus Martin (70), ILB Chris Borland (77)||B+|
|Seattle Seahawks||9||WR Paul Richardson (45), OL Justin Britt (64)||D+|
|St. Louis Rams||11||OT Greg Robinson (2), DT Aaron Donald (13), CB Lamarcus Joyner (41), RB Tre Mason (75), DE Michael Sam (249)||A|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||WR Mike Evans (7), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (38)||B-|
|Tennessee Titans||6||OT Taylor Lewan (11), RB Bishop Sankey (54), QB Zach Mettenberger (178)||B|
|Washington Redskins||8||LB Trent Murphy (47), OT Morgan Moses (66)||C|
|Source: NFL.com. Grades via Donald Wood|
Team That Dominated the Draft: Houston Texans
There were several franchises that received high letter grades, but none deserved an A more than the Houston Texans.
Having the first overall pick also helps the team’s case, but unlike many other franchises that have been slotted No. 1 overall, Houston didn’t waste its opportunities to get fundamentally better with each selection.
Instead of trading away the top pick in the draft, as many suspected would be an option, the Texans kicked off the draft by selecting the best player in the 2014 class, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
As Houston Chronicle editor Nick Mathews points out, the newspaper and columnist John McClain gave Houston an A for the Clowney pick and the entire draft:
The Texans spent their next two picks on UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo and Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, respectively. Not only did the team find value with both selections, but each prospect also fills a major need along the offensive line and in the passing attack.
Houston also managed to snag one of the biggest steals of the draft in the third round. After being dubbed a potential first-round pick, the team added Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix, who will be a perfect fit in Houston's defensive scheme.
Many experts and fans believed the Texans would have gone for a quarterback earlier, but new head coach Bill O’Brien may have found a hidden gem in the fourth round. Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage had a tumultuous college career, but he has the raw talent and maturity now to be a valuable addition to Houston.
Savage told Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com about his time away from football and the maturity he has shown in the process:
Obviously I have a lot to learn. I went 1,024 days without playing football. I played one year at Pitt and I learned a lot from coach Chryst there. But I think I have a lot to improve, and I'm excited to just get in there and start working.
With O’Brien’s ability to groom quarterbacks, Savage will have a chance to shine with the Texans.
While the team did not have a fifth-round pick, the three selections in the sixth and two in the seventh were put to good use, adding depth and talent to the roster.
In the sixth round, Houston added Alabama defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan to bolster the defensive line, LSU running back Alfred Blue to add depth at a key position and Auburn fullback Jay Prosch to give the running backs a chance to succeed.
Add in the talent the team added to the roster in the seventh round by selecting Vanderbilt cornerback Andre Hal and Memphis defensive back Lonnie Ballentine, and the franchise did a great job finding value while still addressing needs.
After faltering last season in a big way, the former Super Bowl contenders should return to postseason form with all of the positive moves Houston has made in the offseason.
Overall Grade: A
Stats via NFL.com.