These Live 2014 NFL Draft Grades will be posted minutes after each pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Follow @walterfootball
2014 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16
| Picks 17-32
| Team Grades
2014 NFL Mock Draft
Houston Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: B- Grade
So, the Texans either think they can land a quarterback they really like much later, or they're in love with Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's strange that they didn't take a quarterback at this spot, but the C.J. Fiedorowicz pick makes sense. Houston lost Owen Daniels, so a tight end was needed. It's a bit early for Fiedorowicz, but it's not a major reach.
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Washington Redskins: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: A Grade
Morgan Moses has his flaws, but he could have easily been chosen as high as No. 28 to Carolina (or No. 19 to Miami because the Dolphins like to reach). I actually had Moses going to the Redskins - in the second round. Washington had to find an upgrade at right tackle, as the offensive linemen will have to be more talented with Mike Shanahan gone.
Miami Dolphins: Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State: B Grade
The Dolphins didn't reach for a tackle this time. Billy Turner is a skilled left tackle who should be able to step in right away, given Miami's offensive line woes. Turner figures to be an upgrade, though you could say that for many linemen. I actually had Turner going to Miami in the third round of my mock draft, so I believe this is the right range for him.
Atlanta Falcons: Dez Southward, S, Wisconsin: C- Grade
The Falcons started off well with Jake Matthews, but they've headed southward since. Get it, southward? Meh. Dez Southward is a reach; I had him in the sixth round of my mock, and I haven't heard any team that had him much higher. I get that Atlanta is desperate for safety help, but it could have waited for Southward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia: I'M THE MILLEN, I'M THE MILLEN, I'M THE MILLEN Grade
The Buccaneers have Doug Martin, Mike James and Bobby Rainey. Where does Charles Sims fit in? I could understand this pick if the Buccaneers thought they were getting a steal - hello, Tre Mason - but Charles Sims is a fourth-round prospect. So, not only does this not fill a need whatsoever; Tampa is reaching. This is an obvious Millen pick - and named after the awful ESPN song that keeps playing.
San Francisco 49ers: Marcus Martin, C, USC: A Grade
Finally, a San Francisco pick that I really like. Marcus Martin was discussed as a potential late first-round pick. I had him in the second, but the fact still remains that this provides good value. Center is a big need with Jonathan Goodwin gone, so Martin should be able to step in right away and start.
Cleveland Browns: Christian Kirksey, ILB, Iowa: D Grade
I don't have a big issue with Christian Kirksey. He's fine in the third round, and the Browns had to find another linebacker after losing D'Qwell Jackson. But who the hell is Johnny Manziel going to throw to? The Browns created all of this excitement with Manziel; the least they could do is give him a functional receiver. As of now, Manziel's starting wideouts are Andrew Hawkins and Greg Little. Blegh.
Minnesota Vikings: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: A- Grade
With Anthony Barr and Scott Crichton on the team, the Vikings are definitely going to put much more pressure on the quarterback in 2014. It's understandable that Minnesota is adding all of these pass-rushers, as it had to compensate for the loss of Jared Allen. This is nice value for Crichton, who could have easily gone in the middle of Round 2.
Buffalo Bills: Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville: B- Grade
I had the Bills taking Preston Brown in the fourth round, 36 picks later. I feel as though it's a slight reach, but it obviously makes sense. Buffalo signed a couple of short-term fixes at linebacker in free agency, but it needed an answer for the future at the position.
New York Giants: Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse: C- Grade
I get the fact that the Giants needed a defensive tackle, but that doesn't mean that they should have spent a third-round pick on a sixth-round prospect. This is a major reach, though Jay Bromley will have a chance to contribute soon, given the hole at the position.
St. Louis Rams: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: C+ Grade
This is like the Buccaneers' Charles Sims pick, except the Rams aren't reaching at all. This is actually solid value for Tre Mason, but it doesn't fill a need at all. The Rams are fine at running back, and there's a better class at that position coming up next year, so I wish St. Louis would have addressed another position.
Detroit Lions: Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas: B Grade
This is a pretty decent pick. Travis Swanson fits the range as a mid third-round selection. He also fills a need because the Lions had to find a long-term answer at the center position. I think I had Swanson mocked to the Lions at this spot at one point, so it obviously makes a lot of sense to me.
San Francisco 49ers: Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin: A Grade
It's odd to see the 49ers select a defender with short arms, but maybe they just saw great value with him at this spot. Chris Borland is a very good football player, but lacks the athleticism. That's why he was projected to go in the second round. Picking him there would have been fine, but San Francisco is getting a bit of a steal with him here.
Washington Redskins: Spencer Long, G, Nebraska: D Grade
The good news is that the Redskins are filling yet another need on the defensive line, as Spencer Long can eventually take over for the pedestrian Chris Chester. The bad news is that Washington reached for him. Long was a Round 5-7 prospect, so taking him at this juncture, especially with someone like David Yankey on the board, is a bit crazy.
Baltimore Ravens: Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State: A- Grade
The Ravens were considering Calvin Pryor in Round 1, but passed on him. They liked Jimmie Ward, but couldn't get him in Round 2. They finally found their safety in Round 3. Terrence Brooks could have gone toward the end of the second frame, so Baltimore is getting pretty good value while filling a need. Very good pick.
New York Jets: Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland: D Grade
I thought something Mel Kiper said was very telling: "Great job by Rex Ryan finding a player no one else liked." If no one else liked Dexter McDougle, why pick him so early? I actually had the Jets picking McDougle in my mock draft - at Pick No. 233! New York could have chosen the Maryland product much later and found another, better player here.
Oakland Raiders: Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State: A- Grade
Gabe Jackson was the top guard on some teams boards - I thought the Raiders would take him in the second round in my re-mock - so it's pretty remarkable that they were able to land him in the middle of the third. With Jackson in the mix, Austin Howard can play right tackle, and that should completely shore up Oakland's offensive line.
Chicago Bears: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State: B+ Grade
This Chicago defensive tackle pick is not a reach. Will Sutton was seen as a potential first-round prospect entering the 2013 season, but he struggled mightily this past fall. If Sutton can lose the bad weight he put on, he could regain his great pass-rushing ability, which will obviously come in handy against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
Houston Texans: Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame: A+ Grade
Wow. How the hell did Louis Nix fall this far? Nix was seen as a possibility at Nos. 25 and 29 to San Diego and New England, respectively, and no one would've had an issue if Houston chose him with the 33rd pick. The Texans had to find a new nose tackle, and they may have secured an instant starter with the Notre Dame prospect.
Arizona Cardinals: Kareem Martin, DE/DT, North Carolina: B+ Grade
The Cardinals had to find a successor for Darnell Dockett, who won't be around much longer. Kareem Martin could qualify as a long-term starter. The North Carolina product has his flaws, but he has loads of potential, and if he can be coached up, he could develop into a solid five-technique for Arizona.
Green Bay Packers: Khyri Thornton, DE/DT, Southern Miss: C Grade
The Packers wanted to get quicker on the defensive line to put more pressure on Colin Kaepernick and the other mobile quarterbacks. Khyri Thornton should help them, though he's a bit of a reach (I had him as a Round 4-5 player). The other issue is that Thornton has some off-the-field concerns, so it's a bit surprising to see Green Bay take him.
Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Huff, WR, Oregon: D Grade
Josh Huff isn't even the best Huff in the draft. I had the Oregon wideout going to Dallas in the seventh round, and I haven't heard any buzz about him at all. I get that Chip Kelly knows him well, but there's no reason for him to reach so egregiously like this. Philadelphia probably could have obtained Huff in Rounds 5 or 6.
Kansas City Chiefs: Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice: A- Grade
There's talk that the Chiefs could trade Brandon Flowers, so it makes sense that they spent a mid-round selection on a cornerback. Phillip Gaines didn't get any national attention because he played at Rice, but he was terrific, albeit against inferior competition. He's also very athletic, so it wouldn't surprise me if he emerged as a solid starter down the road.
Cincinnati Bengals: Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia: C Grade
I'm not a big fan of this scheme fit because I thought Will Clarke would be better off in a 3-4. However, he fills a need as a defensive end, given that Cincinnati lost Michael Johnson in free agency to Tampa Bay. Clarke probably should have gone in the fourth round, so this is only a very slight reach.
San Diego Chargers: Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame: C- Grade
The Chargers have drafted well thus far, but I don't like this selection nearly as much. Chris Watt is a late-round prospect, so San Diego is making a major reach. Watt at least fills a need though, given that the Chargers had to bolster the interior of their offensive front.
Indianapolis Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: B Grade
Donte Moncrief is raw, so he won't be able to play for a while. That's fine, given that the Colts have Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks atop the depth chart. However, Wayne is old and Nicks wasn't signed long-term, so Moncrief might be asked to be a big contributor as early as 2015. This is a nice stash pick for the Colts, who are getting very good value with the Ole Miss product.
Arizona Cardinals: John Brown, WR, Pitt State: C- Grade
Over Bruce Ellington? That's confusing. John Brown was a Round 5-7 prospect, while Ellington would have provided good value at this juncture. Either way, the Cardinals wanted to find another receiver in the wake of losing Andre Roberts. Brown will be good as a returner, but didn't Arizona get Tedd Ginn for that?
Carolina Panthers: Trai Turner, G, LSU: C+ Grade
I had Trai Turner slotted at the beginning of the third round, so this is decent value for Carolina. I just don't get how the team can pass on a receiver or a left tackle for the second time on Friday. The Panthers have nothing at those positions. Turner fills a lesser need, but who is Cam Newton going to throw to, and who is going to protect his blind side?
Jacksonville Jaguars: Brandon Linder, G, Miami: D Grade
The Jaguars just had to trade up to this spot... for Brandon Linder? There's no reason they should have been that desperate for a mediocre mid-round guard prospect. I don't have a huge problem with Linder - and he does fill a need - but it's pretty ridiculous that David Caldwell felt like he needed to trade up for him. Caldwell seems in way over his head as a general manager.
Cleveland Browns: Terrance West, RB, Towson: B- Grade
I got an e-mail from a Cleveland fan as soon as this pick was made: "Browns are smoking dope with Gordon. I swear this is one of the worst drafts ever." It's shocking that the Browns haven't addressed the receiver position yet, but I don't mind this selection very much. This is the right range for Terrence West, and Cleveland had to obtain another running back because Ben Tate doesn't have the best durability history.
Denver Broncos: Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan: C Grade
Michael Schofield probably should have gone a couple of rounds later, but the Broncos are getting a tough lineman who should provide solid depth in the wake of Zane Beadles heading to Jacksonville. The Broncos are moving Orlando Franklin to guard, so they had to find someone to play behind Chris Clark.
Minnesota Vikings: Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern: C Grade
The Vikings had to find some depth behind Adrian Peterson after losing Toby Gerhart to Jacksonville. However, there were better running backs available than Jerick McKinnon, who doesn't really have a natural position. I thought McKinnon would come off the board around Round 5, so this is a slight reach.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State: B+ Grade
Pro Football Talk had Dri Archer in the first round of their mock draft, so they must love this value for the Steelers. In reality, Archer was always seen as a third-round prospect. This is a solid choice, as Pittsburgh didn't have anyone on its roster who resembled what Archer will bring to the table. He can serve as a Darren Sproles-type weapon for Ben Roethlisberger.
Green Bay Packers: Richard Rodgers, TE, California: C+ Grade
A Rodgers out of California worked the first time, so why not try it again? There were mixed reviews on this Rodgers, as there were on the previous one. Some thought Richard would be a mid-round prospect, while others had him in the late rounds. The Packers obviously fell into the former category, but there's no doubt that their new tight end will compete for a starting job at a big position of need.
Baltimore Ravens: Crockett Gilmore, TE, Colorado State: C Grade
The Ravens would have drafted Eric Ebron if he fell to them at No. 17. I could understand that, given Ebron's talent level. This makes less sense, however, as Crockett Gilmore could be the third tight end on the roster for a while. I know Gary Kubiak loves his tight ends, but I wish Baltimore went in a different direction. I don't hate this pick though, as Crockett Gilmore fits the range and could see some playing time if the fragile Owen Daniels gets hurt.
San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Thomas, OT/G, Clemson: A Grade
The 49ers love to redshirt and stash players. They did so with Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore last year, and they're doing the same thing with Brandon Thomas in this draft. Thomas would have been a late-first, early-second-round prospect had he not torn his ACL a few months ago. He'll be ready to go in 2015, and he should serve as a solid starting lineman at some point over the next couple of seasons. With extra selections, why not?
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2014 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Team Grades
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