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NFC Draft Grades

NFC

Arizona Cardinals

13. Michael Floyd,WR, Notre Dame.
80. Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma.
112. Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss.
151. Senio Kelemete, OT, Washington.
177. Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian.
185. Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State.
221. Nate Potter, OT, Boise State.

Best Value: Bobby Massie 

The Cardinals came into the draft with some serious roster issues to address, and the fact they wound up drafting three OT’s suggests that they were fully aware these deficiencies. Kelemete will probably move inside, but Massie was an incredible value for them in the 4th round. On paper, the Floyd addition makes plenty of sense and comes with reasonable value at No. 13. Fleming is a bit of a question mark, but I still like the pick, as they had to get another CB prospect to develop. They were at the end of a small run on CB’s, so it’s hard to fault them for missing out on larger CB. Pass rush is still an issue, so I would have liked to see them target an OLB at some point, but they must feel like they’re doing alright with who they currently have.

Grade: B-

 Atlanta Falcons

55. Peter Konz, G/C, Wisconsin.
91. Lamar Holmes, OT, Southern Miss.
157. Bradie Ewing, FB, Wisconsin.
164. Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy.
192. Charles Mitchell, S, Mississippi State.
249. Travian Robertson, DT, South Carolina.

Best Value: Peter Konz

Peter Konz is a very solid player, but his draft stock reportedly dipped because of concerns regarding his ankle and blood clotting. Still, the Falcons came away with a Pro Bowl potential player that should be with them for several of years. After that, I’m not sure what happened. Ewing is a rock of fullback, but they could have used that pick to provide some extra depth to their roster. They’re a good team, but what separates them from others, is their lack of depth. Massaquoi has good upside and could become an effective pass rusher at some point, but he’ll need some extra time to develop. While they grabbed decent players at other positions, it’s hard to say that this draft alone will put them over the top in the coming years.

Grade: C-

 Carolina Panthers

9. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College.
40. Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State.
103. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma.
104. Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas.
143. Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina.
207. Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin.
216. D.J. Campbell, S, California.

Best Value: Josh Norman

The Carolina Panthers No. 9 overall pick was the biggest enigma in regards to putting together a mock draft. The team did say that they had no plans to take a DT in the first-round and they certainly lived up to that much. Considering the question marks surrounding their linebackers, Luke is probably the right move for their defense. Very players came with the kind of reverence that Luke did, so hopefully he’ll be able to live to the “safest player” in the draft billing. Silatolu is certainly one of the draft darlings as Mike Mayock has been raving about him for the last three months. He should provide some toughness upfront for them, which will hopefully translate into an improved running game next year. Joe Adams and Josh Norman are decent value picks with good upside. On top of that, they also fit the Panthers needs, so I’m excited to see them in action during the preseason. Overall, I like what the Panthers did this year, but the success of this draft class with have everything to do with the Panthers coaching staff’s ability to develop their raw talent, Kuechly aside.

Grade: B-

 Chicago Bears

19. Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State.
45. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina.
79. Brandon Hardin, DB, Oregon State.
111. Evan Rodriguez, TE, Temple.
184. Isaiah Frey, CB, Nevada.
220. Greg McCoy, CB, TCU.

Best Value: Brandon Hardin 

Grabbing Shea McClellin at No. 19 was at least a small surprise, but it’s by no means a reach. Lovie Smith has said that he expects to have Shea compete with Isreal Idonije for the other DE position across from Julius Peppers. There’s still a chance that McClellin could eventually be moved to LB, but that doesn’t appear to be coming anytime soon. On paper, the Bears top-two receivers appear to give them a huge advantage next year in regards to the mismatches that their size will create, but there are still numerous concerns. Jeffery’s huge and has shown the ability to grab the over opposing CB’s, but he provides very little in terms of separation. I really what see this kid in action because his upside makes him a worthy gamble for the Bears. There’s been some talk about Hardin being a sleeper in this draft, so he too should be an interesting player to watch. I really think Chicago is a better team than the national media gives them credit for being, but I would have liked to see them target depth over need in rounds three and fourth.

Grade: C

 Dallas Cowboys

6. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU.
81. Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State.
113. Kyle Wilber, LB, Wake Forest.
135. Matt Johnson, S, Eastern Washington.
152. Danny Coale, WR, Virginia Tech.
186. James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma.
222. Caleb McSurdy, LB, Montana.

Best Value: Kyle Wilber 

Jerry Jones loves to make a splash in the first-round which is evident by the fact that he’s made in a trade in all but 6 years of his time running the Cowboys. The addition of Claiborne may have cost them a 2nd round pick, but they’re clearly walking away with the best cover-corner in the draft. A huge win for a team that was terrible in pass defense last year. Tyrone Crawford was a decent grab in the 3rd, but it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes come from this addition. After that, they didn’t walk away with anyone that’s going to push their way into consideration for a starting role. I’m a little surprised to see them pass on interior offensive lineman. considering that they could still use a center.

Grade: C

 Detroit Lions

23. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa.
54. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma.
85. Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette.
125. Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma.
138. Tahir Whitehead, LB, Temple.
148. Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion.
196. Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State.
223. Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma.

Best Value: Ronnell Lewis  

At No. 23, Reiff is basically a no-brainer considering that there wasn’t a CB on the board that worth taking at that point. Reiff’s draft stock dropped in a similar fashion to Bryan Bulaga a few year’s ago, but he’s a very athletic player that should be able to step in and play from day one. Boyles’ speed is a huge plus for them and I wouldn’t be overly concerned about his injury moving forward, but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t a surprise to see him go in round 2. Bentley is a great grab that fits an obvious need. He needs some work, but he should be a serviceable for them. The Oklahoma LB’s are both interesting picks. Stephen Tulloch is really the only standout player in regards to their LB’s, but Lewis’s are certainly two players to watch in the coming months. Detroit has a lot of talent at a number of positions and addressing the secondary was a very smart move. If they can develop theses players, they really have a shot building on their recent success.

Grade: B-

 Green Bay Packers

28. Nick Perry, LB, USC.
51. Jerel Worthy, DE, Michigan State.
62. Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt.
132. Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa.
133. Jerron McMillian, S, Maine.
163. Terrell Manning, LB, N.C. State.
241. Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State.
243. B.J. Coleman, QB, UT-Chattanooga.

Best Value: Jerel Worthy 

The Packers definitely surprised some people by moving up three times in this year’s draft, which really hasn’t been their MO in year’s past. I’ve haven’t been the biggest supporter of Nick Perry, but this pick really makes as much sense as anyone that was currently on the board at that point. With the revamped d-line and Clay Mathews playing on the other side, he’s really stepping into a great situation in GB. Worthy graded out as a fringe 1st round talent, but Ted Thompson has to be glad to have him. GB needs interior pass rush and that’s certainly one thing that he brings, even though some feel his best fit is in a 4-3. Casey Hayward is very interesting, not only because of his ball-hawking ability, but because it could end up forcing the Packers to consider moving Charles Woodson to safety, even if it’s just in a few sets. McMillian was a Combine standout and fits another need while Terrell Manning will be someone that I’m interested in watching during the preseason. No arguments for taking a shot on Datko who’s concern is a non-knee related injury. Not only did the Packers get value in this draft, but they also addressed huge concerns, without reaching for anyone. The only knock here is related to how these D-lineman fit into their scheme. Dom Capers actually used the “square peg in a round hole” reference to describe some of them.

Grade: A-

 Minnesota Vikings

4. Matt Kalil, OT, USC.
29. Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame.
66. Josh Robinson, CB, UCF.
118. Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas.
128. Rhett Ellison, FB, USC.
134. Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas.
139. Robert Blanton, CB, Notre Dame.
175. Blair White, K, Georgia.
210. Audie Cole, LB, N.C. State.
219. Trevor Guyton, DT, California.

Best Value: Josh Robinson

With so much talk surrounding the No. 3 overall pick and Morris Claiborne, the Vikings wound up drafting the OT Matt Kalil despite many fans that insisted Claiborne would be the pick. Kalil is hands down the best offensive lineman in this year’s draft and there’s no doubt that they could use some extra help in protection. Both he and Harrison Smith have the ability to become very solid players at the next level, so Rick Speilman deserves credit for adding two impact players to his roster. I really think Josh Robinson can be a great CB in the NFL. Some draft experts had him listed as a high second-round talent, so they should feel pretty good about grabbing him at No. 66 overall. Audie Cole is a stout run defender and an interesting late addition. The Arkansas WR’s are two players to watch because of their overall quickness, which is something that the Vikings have been lacking, Percy Harvin aside. Rhett Ellison could end up being utilized similar to how the Texans use James Casey in their offense. Versatile player that will probably line up at both FB and TE next season. This is the kind of draft that makes you feel good about the direction that this team is headed in, but everything comes down to Christian Ponder.

Grade: B+

 New Orleans Saints

89. Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina.
122. Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin.
162. Corey White, S, Samford.
179. Andrew Tiller, OG, Syracuse.
234. Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska.

Best Value: none

I honestly don’t love this draft for the Saints, but it’s worth pointing out that one of things that separates them from the majority of the league is their ability to develop players that draft experts weren’t exactly in love with. Both Hicks and Toon could end up becoming quality players for them. Hicks will need some extra attention and Toon’s injury history is concerning, but they’re deep enough to buy these kids some time until they’re ready. After that, it’s hard to get excited about the rest of these players. I would have liked to have seen them grab a pass rusher or even a CB. They do a good job with their offensive lineman, but their secondary was already a question mark. Hopefully Corey While can show something during training camp.

Grade: D+

 New York Giants

32. David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech.
63. Rueben Randle, WR, LSU.
94. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech.
127. Adrien Robinson, TE, Cincinnati.
131. Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn.
201. Matt McCants, OT, Alabama-Birmingham.
239. Markus Kuhn, DT, N.C. State.

Best Value: Rueben Randle & Jayron Hosely

The Giants are the perfect team to be drafting out of the No. 32 spot, as their strategy is usually related to drafting the best player available. That strategy played out perfectly in the first-three rounds of this year’s draft. I love David Wilson because of his tenacity to fight for the extra yard as well as his unbelievable balance, which allows him to bounce of hits better than most backs. RB was a huge need considering the loss of Jacobs and Bradshaw’s history of injuries. Great pick! I still can’t believe that no one grabbed Rueben Randle until No. 63. This guy has serious ability and received 1st round grades from a number of evaluators. Nicks and Cruz are already an effective combination, but Randle could end up making Manningham even more of an after thought. Hosely falls into their lap at No. 94 overall. At this point, it’s not even hard for them to look good. They round out day three with a huge upside TE that GM Jerry Reese referred to as the “JPP of tight ends,” and then grab good value OT’s to finishing things off. These kids could be asked to step in and contribute early, so the Giants issues will be getting them acclimated to their system, while ensuring their productivity.

Grade: A-

 Philadelphia Eagles

12. Fletcher Cox, DT, South Carolina.
46. Mychal Kendricks, LB, California.
59. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall.
88. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona.
123. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia.
153. Dennis Kelly, OT, Purdue.
194. Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa.
200. Brandon Washington, OG, Miami.
229. Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State.

Best Value: Vinny Curry & Brandon Boykin

How can one of the leagues best defensive fronts get a guy like Fletcher Cox? That’s just crazy! Then they follow up that pick with two very solid LB’s that could end up becoming starters for them in the near future. On paper, their front seven is as good as any in the entire NFL and having Jim Washburn only makes them even more dangerous. Switching gears real quick; I don’t like Nick Foles at all, but he does look like the perfect Andy Reid QB to get developed and shipped off somewhere to disappoint a fan base, much like Kevin Kolb did last season. I’m still waiting for someone to explain why Brandon Boykin fell to No. 123. Some had him as an early 2nd round prospect and now the Eagles have their replacement for Samuel. McNutt, Washington, Brown are three more value picks that make their roster much deeper in terms of ability, rather than name recognition like last year’s “Dream Team.” I love this draft more than any other team’s. The Eagles are primed for a great season, assuming things go according to plan.

Grade: A

 San Francisco 49ers

30. A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois.
61. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon.
117. Joe Looney, OG, Wake Forest.
165. Darius Fleming, LB, Notre Dame.
180. Trent Robinson, S, Michigan State.
199. Jason Slowey, C, Western Oregon.
237. Cam Johnson, LB, Virginia.

Best Value: Cam Johnson

While I really don’t love this draft as a collective group, the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh are another team that deserves the benefit of the doubt. We actually had them selecting A.J. Jenkins in our mock draft, but that wasn’t until the 2nd round. He’s clearly going to be utilized in their revamped passing attack along with Manningham and Moss. When you’re as deep as the 49ers are, you can take luxury pick LaMichael James, even though you have a backfield that consists of Gore, Jacobs, Hunter and Dixon. Someone out of that group is gone and it figures to be Dixon. They see Looney as starting G, which happens to one of their few roster needs. Robinson is guy that could have an impact in the near future and I really like the Cam Johnson. This should be a great team to play for as you sit and develop behind a very formidable defense. While the grade may be low, the strength of this team lies in coaching and development, so the next few months is where they really shine.

Grade: C

 Seattle Seahawks

15. Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia.
47. Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State.
75. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin.
106. Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State.
114. Jaye Howard, DT, Florida.
154. Korey Toomer, LB, Idaho.
172. Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern State.
181. Winston Guy, S, Kentucky.
225. J.R. Sweezy, OG, N.C. State.
232. Greg Scruggs, DE, Louisville.

Best Value: Jaye Howard

So much has already said about the Seahawks draft and more specifically, taking Bruce Irvin at No. 15. Several reports have surfaced that other team’s such as the Jets, 49ers and Ravens would all have taken Irvin in the 1st round, so there’s at some justification to grabbing him as early as they did. The problem is that the other 3 teams all employ 3-4 defensive schemes that would allow Irvin to come off of the edge, but he’ll now be asked to play DE as well as the run. If he had a more balanced game, it wouldn’t seem like such a strange pick. After that, they get Wagner who I believe will be a solid LB for them. I’m also on board with the Turbin and can’t wait to see their power running game in action next season. You can also count me in as a Russell Wilson supporter. Tarvaris Jackson isn’t going to be with the team much longer, if he can’t beat out Matt Flynn during training camp and depending on how things go with Flynn, Wilson could end up becoming the starter in a few year’s. If that doesn’t happen, feel free to let me know I’m crazy. Howard was a smart pick as he could fill in for recently signed Jason Jones, should he leave for greener pastures next season. I’ve been focusing on the positives here, but the question marks are related to how these players fit and make their team better in the immediate future. Wagner and Irvin should step in and play, but there’s no guaranteeing that they’re going to solid players that are worth their draft position. Drafting a 3rd string QB in the 3rd round doesn’t make a lot of sense either, but at least they have talent to work with.

Grade: C-

 St. Louis Rams

14. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU.
33. Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State.
39. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama.
50. Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati.
65. Trumaine Johnson, DB, Montana.
96. Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest.
150. Rokevious Watkins, OG, South Carolina.
171. Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western.
209. Aaron Brown, LB, Hawaii.
252. Daryl Richardson, RB, Abilene Christian.

Best Value: Chris Givens

I loved reading Michael Silvers report that Jeff Fisher slammed his glasses on the table after the Jaguars moved up and grabbed Justin Blackmon in front of them. Fisher has since said that Brockers was their guy all along, but I really doubt that was the case. Still, moving back helped them as they now have a very solid group of players to bring to a team that was void of talent at a number of positions. Brockers will be good for them, just don’t expect to see huge sack totals. Quick, Givens and Pead are all welcomed additions to an anemic offense that has consisted of just Steven Jackson for the last number of years. Their secondary has been vastly improved with the additions of Cortland Finnegan, and the two rookies. We’ve heard so much about the issues surrounding Jenkins, but that fact remains that he possesses 1st round talent. Johnson has plenty of upside as well, but still comes with consistency issues of his own. The sheer number of quality players that the Rams have added makes this a highly successful draft for Fisher and first-year GM Les Snead.

Grade: B+

 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. Mark Barron, S, Alabama.
31. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State.
58. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska.
140. Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia.
174. Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia.
212. Michael Smith, RB, Utah State.
233. Drake Dunsmore, TE, Northwestern.

Best Value: Lavonte David

At first it seemed like a crazy move by the Buccaneers to pass on the best CB in this year’s draft, to move back and take S Mark Barron, but they were still able to walk away with three impact players that should be starting for them next season. Barron has a chance to be a top-10 talent at his position and they could really use some additional help on the back-end of their defense. I can’t say enough about Doug Martin and I’m sure the Buc’s can’t either. His addition will allow LeGarrette Blount to focus on being more consistent while playing to strengths. Every has mentioned David’s sideline-to-sideline speed and propensity for being in on tackles as a huge attribute. I guess the only negative thing you could point to was not coming away with a CB until the 5th round, but the fact that no one added as much impact talent as Tampa, certainly makes this a hugely successful draft for them.

Grade: A-

 Washington Redskins

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor.
71. Josh LeRibeus, OG, SMU.
102. Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State.
119. Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas.
141. Adam Gettis, OG, Iowa.
173. Alfred Morris, RB, Florida Atlantic.
193. Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota.
213. Richard Crawford, DB, SMU.
217. Jordan Bernstine, DB, Iowa.

Best Value: Adam Gettis

When you come away with a QB prospect with a ceiling as high as RGIII’s, it’s going to be a successful draft. Washington certainly paid for it with the package of picks that they gave to the Rams, but there’s no question that he’s worth a serious investment. With that being said, the Redskins could have used this draft to fill out their roster with some additional talent. Instead, they chose to take another QB in the 4th round, with the intentions of flipping him for draft picks at a later point. Now that’s worked for other teams, but last year the Shanahan’s actually thought a QB combination of Grossman and Beck was going to be enough to succeed. There’s no guarantee that someone will be willing to send them a 3rd round pick for their 3rd string QB. It just seems crazy to me. Robinson is a little inconsistent, but he joins a decent defense that will probably help in his development. I do like the two guards that they grabbed and it was smart to get a few CB’s as well, but neither is going to push for starting job this preseason. If they do, you let me know that I was wrong.

Grade: B-

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