28 April 2013

2013 NFL Draft Team Grades

Let's be frank for one moment, championship teams are truly built through the NFL draft. Therefore, how did the 32 NFL clubs do these past few days at the 2013 edition? Here are my team-by-team grades.

1st Round Grades
2nd & 3rd Round Grades
Best Picks of Day 3

Arizona Cardinals
I really liked what the Cardinals did in this draft. I don't care about drafting a guard early in the draft if the player warrants the selection, and without a doubt Jonathan Cooper is worth a top ten pick, even if I did prefer Chance Warmack. Kevin Minter was good value in the second round and while I don't love Tyrann Mathieu, he was a quality pick in the third and should help out immediately at safety. Alex Okafor was fantastic value at 103 and should start right away and Stepfan Taylor could end up as the best back in the Arizona backfield.
Grade: A

Atlanta Falcons
For the Falcons to get back to the NFC Championship, if not further, they had to draft well on defense and they certainly did that. I loved their first two picks at corner in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford who both will really help fortify a position hurt by free agency. Double dipping at end as well was a solid move with Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga and Levine Toilolo could be their tight end of the future, even if he was a little overdrafted.
Grade: A-

Baltimore Ravens
Ozzie Newsome is a shrewd drafter and he showed that once again this year. He didn't panic to move up to take a safety like the 49ers did and got a good one in Matt Elam. Arthur Brown at 56 was grand larceny and he is a great fit for their defense. I also really liked the Brandon Williams pick in round 3 and the John Simon pick in the following round was solid as well, even if a need wasn't really filled there.
Grade: A-

Buffalo Bills
You cannot discuss the Bills' draft without noting how bad of a pick E.J. Manuel was at 16, not only for the fact that Manuel is going to be a bust but also because so few quarterbacks went early in this draft, there was no urgency when they could've traded down again or taken him in the next round. Robert Woods was a good pick at 41 but their next two picks, Kiko Alonso and Marquise Goodwin, were reaches. This will probably be the draft that gets GM Buddy Nix canned.
Grade: D-

Carolina Panthers
I did not necessarily agree completely with double dipping at tackle despite the huge need considering their defense was just such a mess, but they got two really good ones in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, who should complement each other really well. They only had three more selections but I thought Kenjon Barner made sense at pick 182.
Grade: B+

Chicago Bears
The Bears panicked at the run on offensive lineman and took Kyle Long a round too early. He is talented and a solid developmental guard or tackle, but they needed guys that can play right away. The rest of their draft was very good as both linebacker selections in Jon Bostic and especially with Khaseem Greene. Their last two picks were steals in end Cornelius Washington and wideout Marquess Wilson.
Grade: B

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati really went hard at taking the best player available regardless of need and you saw that with their very good pick of tight end Tyler Eifert, who should help make a strong tight end combo with Jermaine Greshem, and their second second rounder in end Margus Hunt, a pick which I didn't love but could work out really well. I like Gio Bernard a lot and I thought he was the best running back in this draft, and he should bring some explosion to a running game that has not had it in a long time.
Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns
I really did not like Cleveland's draft at all and it starts with their first selection. Barkevious Mingo was nonexistent this past year at LSU and is a one-trick pony while over-utilizing his speed. I think he is the next Vernon Gholston. The rest of their draft was underwhelming as well, so an auspicious start to Michael Lombardi's tenure in running the Browns.
Grade: D

Dallas Cowboys
This draft for the Cowboys was a mixed bag. They did not start off that well as they really reached for guard Travis Frederick in the 1st round as well as for tight end Gavin Escobar in the 2nd. However, from the 3rd round on, they made some very good selections, with those I especially like are wideout Terrence Williams (74), safety J.J. Wilcox (80), corner B.W. Webb (114) and back Joseph Randle (151.
Grade: C

Denver Broncos
Save for a couple of picks, I really liked what the Lions did this weekend. Sylvester Williams was a steal at 28 and he will immediately improve the Broncos at defensive tackle. Running back Montee Ball was a reach at 58, I don't see him being more than a short-yardage back, and corner Kayvon Webster was a bad reach at 90. The rest of their draft was pretty strong in my opinion and addressed much of their needs.
Grade: B+

Detroit Lions
This was a good draft for the Lions in my opinion, but their grade will be brought down because they failed to address to any extent their hole at left tackle. I really liked the Ezekiel Ansah selection at five and I think with this coaching staff, he can become a Pro Bowler. Darius Slay was a solid value at 58 and should help out at corner, while guard Larry Warford was fantastic value at 65. They helped to build their depth with their remaining picks, but I think they took a punter too early with Sam Martin at 165.
Grade: A-

Green Bay Packers
As noted countless times before, Ted Thompson is an excellent drafter and he showcased that this past weekend with really good picks. Datone Jones was thought to have been gone by 26 by some folks and he should immediately help improve the Green Bay pass rush from their 3-4 front. They made a great double-dip at running back with getting good values in Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin and also drafted a couple of versatile linemen in David Bakhtari and J.C. Tretter who should add depth along a consistently depleted offensive line.
Grade: A

Houston Texans
The Texans really made some good picks in this draft and I think it will put them on a track to go deep in the postseason. I loved the DeAndre Hopkins pick at 27, he gives them a strong threat opposite Andre Johnson. D.J. Swearinger was a smart selection at 57 to help out their safety corps and I actually liked the Sam Montgomery pick at 95, even if he has issues giving his all. And I really loved the David Quessenberry selection at 176 to give their line some much-needed depth.
Grade: A

Indianapolis Colts
The Colts' draft to me was neither hot nor cold. I liked the Bjoern Werner pick at 24 and I think he can play the 3-4 at outside linebacker, and I have shifted my opinion on that front. Hugh Thornton at 86 was a fine pick to build some depth at guard, but Khaled Holmes at 121 was a bad reach. The rest of their picks were nothing special, but they did fill a bunch of needs.
Grade: C

Jacksonville Jaguars
I have no idea why in the world the Jaguars failed to draft a single quarterback. Even if I like Matt Scott, who they signed as an undrafted free agent, what the heck are they thinking? I mean, next year's draft is expected to be full of talented quarterbacks, but why not take a flier on someone, particularly the guys that fell? I didn't love the Luke Joeckel pick because I fail to see why a team would take a right tackle second, particularly when there were some quality available in free agency. Jon Cyprien was a steal at the top of the 2nd round but Dwayne Gratz was a reach with his better teammate on the board, and I just do not see how Denard Robinson fits in the NFL.
Grade: C-

Kansas City Chiefs
I did not love what the Chiefs did beyond their first two selections. I would have taken Luke Joeckel over Eric Fisher at one, but going with the latter was still a pretty good pick as Fisher has a higher ceiling. Plus, he fills a big need at tackle. I actually liked the Travis Kelce pick at tight end despite the fact that the Chiefs are solid at tight end and with his off-the-field issues because he is one of the most well-rounded tight ends in this draft.
Grade: C

Miami Dolphins
I still have no idea what the Dolphins were doing with the move up for Dion Jordan, it just did not make any sense. The rest of their draft was pretty good though. Jamar Taylor was a steal at 54 and should start at corner with all the problems Miami has there. They found some depth at line, found some linebacker depth, possibly found a quality running back in Mike Gillislee, and I even liked their pick of a kicker in Caleb Sturgis.
Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings
I loved what the Vikings did in the first round and as a whole, they did great work. To get Sharrif Floyd at 23 was a felony, he will be a big upgrade at defensive tackle. Xavier Rhodes at 25 will play right away at corner and while they had to give up some picks, Cordarelle Patterson can make for a great tandem with Greg Jennings at wideout. The rest of their draft was very solid and kudos to them for taking a chance on Michael Mauti late.
Grade: A

New England Patriots
Save for one terrible pick, I liked what the Patriots did at the draft. The terrible selection was Rutgers safety Duron Harmon at 91, who probably should not have been drafted. That said, they made solid picks to get depth at defensive end, wide receiver and linebacker.
Grade: B

New Orleans Saints
Even with only five picks in this draft, the Saints really did some great work this year. Kenny Vaccaro was a very smart pick at 15 and he will upgrade their safeties right away. Terron Armstead at 75 was a smart selection as well and he could develop into their left tackle of the future. John Jenkins was a steal at 82 and should start right away at nose tackle, and Kenny Still was a good pick as well at 144.
Grade: A

New York Giants
Normally I love what the Giants do at the draft, but this year was a little different as save for the Johnathan Hankins pick at 49 and Damontre Moore at 81, I really did not love what they did. Justin Pugh was a reach in the first round, and I think they panicked with the run on offensive linemen early. I also didn't love the Ryan Nassib pick either, although I see why they would make the pick. Everybody looks at the Patriots taking Ryan Mallett as that sort of model, but the trade market for him hasn't been as strong as once thought.
Grade: C+

New York Jets
Save for the fact that they did not draft any weapons, considering the fact they don't have much at the skill positions, although I do love the Chris Ivory move, a very good draft. Dee Milliner will not be Darrelle Revis but he should be a very good corner in this league, even if he isn't a ballhawk. I loved the Sheldon Richardson pick because he will help out their pass rush and now they have a quick and talented defensive line. Geno Smith gives them some hope at quarterback and was a great value in the second round, and kudos to the club allowing him to fall into their laps. Brian Winters should help out a weak guard crop as well.
Grade: A-

Oakland Raiders
Reggie McKenzie made the best of a bad hand in this draft and was able to accumulate picks while finding a bunch of quality players that will help out the cause. Personally I don't love D.J. Hayden like others do but trading down to accumulate a second round pick was very smart as he would have been a disastrous pick at 3, as was rumored. Every pick that followed I liked at varying levels. Menelik Watson can develop into a quality tackle, Sio Moore was a steal at 66 and could Tyler Wilson Russell Wilson Matt Flynn?
Grade: A-

Philadelphia Eagles
Some good stuff and some questions. I was not as high on Lane Johnson as others were as he is very raw, so I didn't love that pick at five. Zach Ertz and Bennie Logan were both really good picks on day two but until we know what the Eagles are planning at quarterback, Matt Barkley doesn't make any sense. However, they did make one of the picks of the draft with cornerback Jordan Poyer at 218.
Grade: B

Pittsburgh Steelers
Everybody saw the Jarvis Jones selection coming and it was a glorious one for the Steelers, he should have gone much earlier. I also really liked their picks of tackle Markus Wheaton at 79 and Schmarko Thomas at 111. However, Le'Veon Bell was taken too early with better backs on the board and Landry Jones is a clown, no ifs ands or buts.

St. Louis Rams
I think the Rams had the best draft of 2013, I thought they kicked ass this year. I loved that they got aggressive and took Tavon Austin, who I love, after moving up and then moved back and got a great value in Alec Ogletree. Steadman Bailey should complement Austin once again, Barrett Jones brings great versatility to the line and Zac Stacy should be a solid contributor in the backfield.
Grade: A

San Diego Chargers
Save for two picks on day two, I really did not like that much what the Chargers did. They probably wanted to move down but got stuck and reached for D.J. Fluker at 11, a pick I was not feeling but I understood with their big needs on the offensive line. I did like their pick of Manti Te'o in the second and I absolutely loved their selection of Keenan Allen in the third.
Grade: C

San Francisco 49ers
These guys have turned into fantastic drafters, but I do think they panicked in the first round by moving up to 18 to take safety Matt Elam, who probably could have been there at 31. Everything else was really strong. Tank Carradine was a great value pick at 40, Quinton Patton was great value at 128 and could Marcus Lattimore develop into one of the best picks of this draft?
Grade: A

Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks disappointed, in my eyes, in this year's draft. I really did not get the Christine Michael pick at 62, they didn't need a back nor was he the best one available. I did like their tackle double-dip with Jordan Hill and their steal of Jesse Williams but beyond that, I was not crazy about a bunch of their selections. Then again, didn't I say that last year?
Grade: C-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers made one really questionable pick that brings down their draft grade and that was Mike Glennon at 73. Why are you taking a quarterback in the 3rd round when you are trying to be a playoff team, and why of all the quarterbacks available, you are taking Mike Glennon? Awful, awful pick in my opinion. That said, the Bucs really did not do a whole lot special, but I loved the Jonathan Banks selection at 43 as he should make the cornerbacks even stronger.
Grade: C

Tennessee Titans
I loved what the Titans did in this draft, they really made some shrewd moves. I love Chance Warmack, he fills a big need at guard and playing for Mike Munchak, he should become a star at guard. Justin Hunter bolsters the receiving corps, Blidi Wreh-Wilson was a steal and will help out big time at corner, linebacker Zaviar Gooden was a good pick at 97 and the rest of their picks were good values.
Grade: A

Washington Redskins
The Skins did not have a lot of picks to work with mostly due to the Robert Griffin III trade but I thought they made some solid selections. They desperately needed help in the secondary and they made solid selections in David Amerson (51), Phillip Thomas (119) and Bacarri Rambo (191). There was no need for another tight end, but I think Jordan Reed is a good fit. End Brandon Jenkins (162) and back Jawan Jamison (228) were both steals.
Grade: B+

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