Considering years of work goes into each team's various trips to the podium at the NFL draft, several organizations blew it in the 2014 iteration and will receive negative draft grades.
Grades are the source of much controversy, especially considering they can dramatically change after three or four years, but they are an important way to look at a team's draft class as a whole.
A lot can happen in the heat of the moment in a team's war room, and fans need some way to gauge how their front office of choice performed based on a need-value marriage determined by what we know of each roster and individual prospect.
Here's a look at a letter grade for each team.
|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 Gillmore (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 Rodgers (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 Terrence 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 Zumwalt (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 Small (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|
Team That Blew Away the Rest of the Field: San Francisco 49ers (A)
This was an overly positive draft, with most classes being gifted a sound score, which seems to be the byproduct of a very deep class that provided strong value in most rounds.
But among the greats was predictably the San Francisco 49ers, a team that certainly didn't need a ton of help via the draft.
There's literally nothing to complain about. Safety Jimmie Ward may be labeled a reach by some, especially if he only plays a rotational role as a rookie, but one has to remember that three players at the position were off the board by the time the 49ers made the selection.
Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler surmised the consensus opinion well:
This 49ers draft just isn't fair.— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) May 10, 2014
The best running back in the class in Carlos Hyde is headed to San Francisco to pair with Frank Gore after coming off the board at No. 57. Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas can be starters on the inside of the offensive line.
Chris Borland is a wicked backup at middle linebacker. Bruce Ellington—who is similar to Brandin Cooks and went about 80 picks later—is the deep threat the team needed, and Aaron Lynch is a low-risk, high-reward move that could make the defense even better.
Oh, and the 49ers swung a trade with the Buffalo Bills for wideout Stevie Johnson. Coach Jim Harbaugh hits the nail on the head:
Harbaugh on Stevie Johnson: “This has a chance to be something special.” #49ersDraft— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 10, 2014
Hats off to the folks in the 49ers front office. They walked a tightrope of delicate balance between current need and future roster holes. Not only are they better than ever as contenders, the championship window just got extended in a big way.
Team That Looked a Bit Lost: New England Patriots (C)
It's so easy to blindly praise Bill Belichick and call it a day.
Not this time.
Rather than aggressively hit on current needs to best surround Tom Brady with talent for another Super Bowl run before he hangs up the cleats, the New England Patriots opted for a forward-looking approach, as Christopher Price of WEEI.com notes:
It's becoming increasingly evident that this draft is all about 2015, 2016 and beyond for Patriots.— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) May 10, 2014
Dominique Easley in the first round is meant to eventually overtake Tommy Kelly, but multiple ACL tears at the collegiate level make him a massive risk and a rotational piece only for the time being. He's a heck of a player, sure, but a massive reach.
Jimmy Garoppolo is the heir apparent to Brady but offers little in the present tense. Center Bryan Stork was easily the best pick of all, although running back James White figures to be a nice committee piece.
Look, this is a class we may look back on with great praise. It's either going to be a genius approach that the front office elected to insulate itself for Brady's upcoming departure, or a horrific mistake that the organization didn't chase another ring before he takes a bow.
There's a lot riding on the first two picks of the draft, to say the least.