These are 2013 NFL Draft Team Grades. I'll be posting them throughout Sunday. Follow @walterfootball
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2013 NFL Mock Draft
Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: C Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Chiefs made an awful mistake in giving up way too much for Alex Smith. They're now stuck with him, so they need to be elite everywhere else. This means that they have to take the best players available. They have some big needs like receiver, right tackle and inside linebacker, but they can't really worry about that. With a pedestrian signal-caller like Smith under center, the Chiefs have to be very strong in all other areas.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: What if you were to tell the Chiefs that they could have obtained both Luke Joeckel/Eric Fisher and Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft? Think they still would have gone through with the Alex Smith trade? It'd be interesting to see how they would have reacted in that scenario.
As for this actual draft, Kansas City didn't fare too well. Travis Kelce is a big risk at No. 63 because of his off-the-field issues, and it's not like he stands to be much of an upgrade over the combination of Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano anyway. There were better running backs at No. 96 than Knile Davis. The Arkansas runner is a fumbling machine, which can't possibly sound appealing to fans of the Chiefs after they watched their team commit countless turnovers last year.
Sanders Commings was a nice value selection at No. 134, while Nico Johnson could be a solid complement to Derrick Johnson. It must be noted though that Andy Reid was a pretty pedestrian drafter when he was with the Eagles. That's why the Fisher-over-Joeckel selection has to be questioned, especially when the Kansas City scouts and general manager wanted the A&M blocker.
Overall, I don't feel like the Chiefs improved their roster very much via the 2013 NFL Draft. Outside of Fisher (and maybe Davis in short yardage), no one Kansas City drafted may make a positive impact in the near future.
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Jacksonville Jaguars: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Jacksonville has to completely rebuild under new general manager David Caldwell. A franchise quarterback has to be found. The offensive line must be bolstered. The pass rush has to be addressed. The secondary needs help. This is a 2-year project at the very least.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: How could the Jaguars fail to draft a single quarterback? It's seen as inexplicable by most. If you're expecting me to bash general manager David Caldwell for this, well, you've come to the wrong place.
I think it was a brilliant move not to take a signal-caller. By starting either Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne in 2013, Caldwell has ensured that the Jaguars will finish with one of the worst records in the NFL. This means that they'll be in prime position to select one of the stud quarterbacks next April (go here to see my 2014 NFL Mock Draft). Sure, the fans won't come to the games once Jacksonville starts 1-5, but the future appears bright in 2014 and beyond. Caldwell has amazing foresight.
What I will bash Caldwell for was his selection of Luke Joeckel over Dion Jordan. With $26 million in cap space, the Jaguars could have signed Andre Smith, Tyson Clabo or Eric Winston. There are plenty of right tackles available for a reason - it's not a valued position. Pass-rushers like Dion Jordan, meanwhile, don't grow on trees. Now, I've heard complaints about Joeckel really being a left tackle. He'll play that position if Eugene Monroe isn't re-signed or franchised next spring, but Jacksonville will just be right back where it started. And why wouldn't the front office retain Monroe with all of its money? Monroe is a very good blind-side protector.
I like everything else the Jaguars did, save for drafting Denard Robinson in the middle rounds. Caldwell spent a ton of resources fixing his terrible secondary. That ultimately won't matter in 2013 because Jacksonville still can't get to the quarterback, but as I noted, this was a 2-year rebuilding project. We'll see what Caldwell does next spring.
Oakland Raiders: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Oakland has the worst roster in the NFL. Most of the starters are players who would be third-stringers on most teams. The Raiders resemble an expansion franchise, and they need to treat themselves as such. They need help everywhere, starting at quarterback. They must obtain a signal-caller with one of their first three picks.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: I'm not used to giving the Raiders positive grades for their picks, but Reggie McKenzie did a good job. The only grade worse than a "B" was the first one. D.J. Hayden was a reach at No. 12 considering his health concerns. I like that the Raiders at least moved down to get him, but this class was so deep at cornerback that Oakland still could have obtained a quality player at the position at No. 42. Why not grab Star Lotulelei or Sharrif Floyd with the 12th pick?
Because the Raiders have nothing anywhere on their roster, many of their selections could start immediately. This includes Hayden, Menelik Watson, Sio Moore and Nick Kasa. Moore was my favorite pick, as he's the only pass-rusher McKenzie obtained. The Raiders are not going to beat Peyton Manning this year, but Moore will help their cause in 2014 by pressuring the future Hall of Famer.
Havng said that, the Raiders still have a long way to go. They're still the worst team in the NFL, but that won't be the case for long if McKenzie keeps drafting like this.
Philadelphia Eagles: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Eagles spent a ton of money on their defense this offseason. It's now time to address the offense. Philadelphia has no long-term quarterback on the roster (Nick Foles is an awful fit for Chip Kelly's offense) and the right tackle position needs to be addressed so that Todd Herremans can move back inside to his natural guard position. A receiver must also be added, given that both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both overrated and unreliable.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Chip Kelly hasn't been transparent at all this offseason. He's kept his mouth closed about which offensive and defensive schemes he plans on running. This secrecy is pretty arrogant and unnecessary, but we may finally have our answer. Well, at least half of it.
Bennie Logan is a poor fit for a pure 3-4, so the Eagles might be moving to a 4-3 Under look. Logan would be a solid fit as the three-technique in that formation. Fletcher Cox would play the five, with Isaac Sopoaga manning the nose. That's not bad. The offensive system, however, still remains a mystery. Matt Barkley would have been a poor fit in Chip Kelly's offense back in Oregon, so if the Eagles plan on starting him in the near future, they need to feature more of a West Coast look. Having said that, I'm not sure Barkley is in the Eagles' long-term plans. Had they viewed him as an eventual starter, they would have selected him in the second or third round. The fourth round is designated for backups (see Kirk Cousins), so the offense that Kelly plans on using is still up in the air, as far as I'm concerned.
As for the other picks, Lane Johnson was a reach at No. 4. He has great potential, but is way too raw to take that early. Zach Ertz provided much more value in the second round. My favorite selection was in the seventh with Jordan Poyer. He has second-round talent, but fell because of speed concerns.
Overall, the Eagles had a solid draft. They made some improvements on their roster, but there are still plenty of holes and no long-term solution at quarterback.
Detroit Lions: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Lions are the only team in the top 10 that has its quarterback position shored up. Thus, they have to build around their franchise signal-caller. Matthew Stafford must be protected, and linemen are needed more than ever in the wake of Jeff Backus' retirement. Another wideout has to be found. On the other side of the ball, a pass-rusher must be obtained to help beat Aaron Rodgers.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Lions had to address both sides of the line of scrimmage. They may have fixed one. Ezekiel Ansah has monstrous pass-rushing talent. He showcased it at the Senior Bowl, where he was coached by Jim Schwartz and the rest of Detroit's staff. Devin Taylor (No. 132) was a needed second defensive end. The Lions lost Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, but they now have two promising prospects as replacements.
The offensive line is still in shambles, however. Detroit had to find two upgrades: one left tackle and another blocker, either a right tackle or a guard depending on where the team wanted to use Riley Reiff. It appears as though Reiff will remain at tackle because Larry Warford was taken in the third round in what I thought was a tremendous pick. However, as it stands now, Reiff, Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox are the only tackles on the roster. With Clay Matthews, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers in the division, there's a good chance Matthew Stafford doesn't make it through the 2013 season.
The Lions made some decent picks elsewhere, though they did burn a mid-rounder on a punter when one could have just been obtained after the draft. The team is definitely better now, but its No. 1 glaring issue still remains.
Cleveland Browns: C- Grade
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Cleveland has a new regime, and based on Michael Lombardi's decision to go with scheme over personnel, this franchise will likely be looking for a new front office in a few years. The only way Lombardi can keep his job long-term is if he finds a franchise quarterback. Elsewhere, the interior offensive and secondary are the two areas that must be addressed. If the Browns don't like Geno Smith, they must trade out of the No. 6 pick.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Scheme over personnel never works. Cleveland fans saw it fail with Romeo Crennel recently, and it's capsized other franchises countless times elsewhere. The Browns had a very solid defense last year that kept the team in a lot of games. Despite this, Lombardi came in and decided to move to a 3-4, which meant that two of the stop unit's better players, Jabaal Sheard and Ahtyba Rubin, were no longer good fits. This is why the Lombardi regime will ultimately fail.
Barkevious Mingo was chosen No. 6 overall because of the poor Sheard fit. Mingo will start across from Paul Kruger and will probably struggle in the early going. He was dreadful this past season and completely quit at times. He was definitely a reach at No. 6; he probably should have gone in the early teens just based purely on potential.
None of Cleveland's other picks scored higher than a "B". Nothing really stood out, and it's inexplicable that a potential starting quarterback wasn't added. That's just inexcusable.
Given their selections and scheme change, the Browns are worse now than they were at the end of the 2012 season. That's why I'm giving them a bad grade.
Arizona Cardinals: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: At least two early picks must be spent on the offensive line. There's no doubt about that, especially given Carson Palmer's lack of mobility. A long-term quarterback and some pass-rushing help have to be obtained as well.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It turns out that the Cardinals were comfortable about their tackle situation after all, as they didn't draft a single player at the position. With Levi Brown coming back and Bobby Massie playing well at the end of the year, the interior was viewed as the more dire need. Arizona addressed that with Jonathan Cooper and Earl Watford.
I'm not a fan of selecting a guard early in the first round because it's a position that can be addressed almost anywhere. However, there's no doubt that Cooper improves the team. Elsewhere, Kevin Minter and Alex Okafor figure to bolster the defense almost immediately.
The selection that drew the most attention was Tyrann Mathieu in the third round. Mathieu is an unbelievable play-maker who would have been chosen a round earlier if it weren't for his off-the-field issues. Those concerns are a bit quelled, however, because Mathieu did not test positive at the Combine. If he stays clean, he'll help Arizona defend against the read-option.
I liked Arizona's draft class overall. The team is still a long way from being in contention for the NFC West crown, but the Cardinals are at least moving in the right direction.
Buffalo Bills: C- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Buffalo spent so much money and effort on improving the defense last year, but it didn't matter because the team didn't have a franchise quarterback. Kevin Kolb is definitely not the answer, so the Bills' No. 1 priority is finding a long-term franchise quarterback. Obtaining help at receiver and the offensive line is also important.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Thirty-one NFL teams knew how terrible this quarterback class was. No franchise wanted any part of those signal-callers. Except for the Bills. They went with E.J. Manuel at No. 16 overall, which was a colossal reach, considering that they could have obtained him or any other quarterback in the second round. In hindsight, Buffalo should have gone with Tavon Austin at No. 8 and then grabbed the signal-caller of its choice early on Day 2.
The Bills came away with a bunch of receivers, but all of them have major questions. Robert Woods comes from USC, a school that has produced tons of wideout busts. Marquise Goodwin is a very raw player. Da'Rick Rogers, a UDFA, has huge character issues. Put all of these players together with a mentally weak quarterback, and you have the potential for a very turnover-prone offense.
Rogers wasn't the only red-flagged athlete who was added. Kiko Alonso and Duke Williams also have character questions. They're both talented though, so they could pan out if they stay clean.
There are a ton of "ifs" in Buffalo's draft. There's potential, but it could just as easily blow up in Buddy Nix's face.
New York Jets: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Jets are a complete mess. They're about to cut the top quarterback on their roster for moronic reasons, so they'll need to find a franchise signal-caller at some point. There are holes everywhere else as well, with only the left tackle, center and defensive end positions not needing to be upgraded.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Regardless of their other picks, the Jets' draft has to be considered a success because they can finally move on from Mark Sanchez. Geno Smith, drafted in the second round, will be the team's quarterback going forward. To avoid a controversy that capsized the team last year, they need to cut Sanchez. They need to get past that ugly era.
The problem is that Smith doesn't have much to work with. Santonio Holmes will be back, but he's unreliable. Stephen Hill is still raw. Chris Ivory, acquired for a mid-round pick, will at least be a better option than Shonn Greene in the backfield. However, the offensive line is still a major question mark. The Jets drafted Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi as potential upgrades, but they may not be ready to start in 2013.
New York should be better defensively. The defensive line is as strong as ever with Sheldon Richardson joining Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, while Dee Milliner fortifies a cornerback group that of course lost Darrelle Revis. Questions remain at inside linebacker and safety, but this was a 2-year rebuilding project.
Mike Tannenbaum ruined this team with his poor draft picks and terrible contracts, but new general manager John Idzik appears to be doing a good job of bringing this franchise back to prominence.
Tennessee Titans: A- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Tennessee isn't going anywhere with Jake Locker, but this front office will be forced to stick with him for one more year. Adding some help around Locker at receiver, tight end and guard will help a bit, but it ultimately won't matter. Meanwhile, the defense is in shambles, so something must be done about that.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: There are no more excuses for Jake Locker. The front office signed Andy Levtire in free agency and then drafted Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke to completely bolster the offensive line. Justin Hunter, meanwhile, offers an upgrade at receiver. The Titans have done a tremendous job of placing talent around Locker. It's all on him now.
Tennessee's defense figures to be better as well. Blidi Wreh-Wilson was a steal in the third round, and he could start sometime soon. Zaviar Gooden gives the Titans some injury insurance at linebacker - something they didn't have last year. Lavar Edwards provides needed depth at defensive end.
I'm a big fan of what general manager Ruston Webster was able to accomplish this weekend. The issue, of course, remains Locker. If he can mature and cut down on his mistakes, Tennessee can compete for a playoff spot. I'm not too confident in that, however. If Locker stinks again, Webster could be fired - which would be a shame considering what he was able to accomplish in the 2013 NFL Draft.
San Diego Chargers: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Is Philip Rivers done? This is something the Chargers must find out, and they can do so by bolstering the offensive line. Unfortunately, they'll be out of range for Lane Johnson at No. 11. People talk about trading up, but I'd rather move down, add picks and perhaps pick up someone like Justin Pugh in the mid-20s. If the Chargers stay put, they should draft the top player available at 11 and then upgrade the offensive line after that.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Chargers were in a really tough spot at No. 11. The top three tackles and two guards were gone, so they had a decision - they could either reach for the sixth-ranked offensive lineman or address a lesser need with the No. 1 player available. They opted for the former.
I can't say I'm a fan of San Diego's decision. I can see why the front office did it - Philip Rivers was absolutely wrecked last year because of poor blocking in front of him. However, D.J. Fluker was a reach. He can't play left tackle, so that position is still a big need. Right tackles are a dime a dozen, so perhaps the better route would have been to grab Star Lotulelei or Jarvis Jones at No. 11 and then look at a right tackle or guard in Round 2.
Keenan Allen was San Diego's best choice. There's no way he should have fallen to the third round. The pick that drew the most attention, meanwhile, was Manti Te'o. The media is bound to create a distraction with him, but San Diego is one of the smaller markets, so it won't be as bad as if he went to Minnesota or New York.
The Chargers had an OK draft overall. They made some improvements, but still have the same glaring issue. How will Rivers make it through another season behind a terrible offensive line?
Miami Dolphins: B- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Miami is out of range for an offensive tackle. Barring a trade, the Dolphins need to add the top player on their board and then attack the offensive line and cornerback positions in Rounds 2-4.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: No one was surprised when the Dolphins moved up to No. 3, given that they had so many picks at their disposal. What shocked everyone was whom they drafted. Dion Jordan came out of left field, considering that he's not an ideal fit for most 4-3 defenses, including Miami's. It's unclear if the Dolphins plan on moving to a 3-4, but it makes sense because they have all the personnel for it. Having Jordan and Cameron Wake rush from the outside with Randy Starks causing havoc on the interior will give opposing offensive coordinators many sleepless nights.
Miami complemented its upgraded pass rush rather well with a couple of solid secondary acquisitions. Jamar Taylor was a steal at No. 54, considering that he could have easily gone at the end of the first round. Will Davis didn't provide as much value at the end of the third, but he should be a solid depth player.
I liked some of the Dolphins' other picks, but the issue with their draft class is that they didn't come away with an option at left tackle. Dallas Thomas is a guard, or at best, a right tackle. What is Miami going to do across from Jonathan Martin? Why couldn't a trade for Branden Albert come through?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The important thing for the Buccaneers is not to reach for a cornerback. This includes both drafting Xavier Rhodes at No. 13 or trading a bunch of picks for Darrelle Revis. They have to fix the corner position at some point, but Tampa Bay can just do that in Rounds 2-4. The No. 13 selection should be used on the best player available - preferably a defensive lineman.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Buccaneers did indeed trade for Darrelle Revis, but they didn't nearly give up as many selections as anticipated. Thus, I feel like they did a good job of bolstering their cornerbacks when taking that deal and the Johnthan Banks selection into account.
Tampa Bay made some other solid choices, but the one pick that really sticks out was Mike Glennon in the third round. I think general manager Mark Dominik sent a terrible message to his players by selecting the N.C. State signal-caller. The team seemed to quit last year when Dominik dealt Aqib Talib, as there was apparent frustration because it seemed like the front office didn't think it could win now. Dominik is once again doing the same thing. Instead of helping this group win by giving Josh Freeman a tight end or slot receiver to work with, Dominik spent a valuable pick on the future. It's like he can't make up his mind.
Then again, it could be argued that the Buccaneers can't win with Freeman period because he's too inconsistent. That would be a valid point, but Glennon in no way is an upgrade of any sort. Had he been considered one, he would have gone much earlier than the 73rd pick.
Carolina Panthers: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Adding some help around Cam Newton would be nice, but the Panthers have to repair one of the worst defensive units in football. If they want to pass the Falcons and Saints, they'll need to at least slow down Matt Ryan and Drew Brees just a bit.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Panthers had just five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, but they seemed to be off to a very good start during the first two days. They lucked into having Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd fall right into their laps, thanks to the inept teams drafting in front of them. They opted for the former and then went back to the same position in the second round with Kawann Short. I had no issue with this, given how terrible the defensive tackle group was for Carolina last year.
The problem I have with the Panthers' draft class was their failure to address their woeful secondary. Sure, they'll have much more of a push up front, but Drew Brees and Matt Ryan will still be able to torch their putrid defensive backfield.
I understand that Carolina had limited options because of its five selections, but not spending one pick on the secondary was pretty inexcusable.
New Orleans Saints: A Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: New Orleans is in the same position as most of the teams in their division in terms of needing to add tons of upgrades to its defense. A left tackle for Drew Brees has been discussed, but that's more of a luxury than a big need because of how quickly Drew Brees can release the football.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Despite having just five selections, the Saints had one of the top draft classes. Four of their selections scored an A- or better, and they were able to fill some key needs.
The secondary has always been an issue for New Orleans, so its fans have to be thrilled that the front office landed the top safety in the class, Kenny Vaccaro. The Texas product was projected by some to go to the Jets at 13 or Panthers at 14, so it was definitely the right range for him. A better value, meanwhile, was John Jenkins, obtained at No. 82. Some pegged the monstrous nose tackle as a late first-round prospect, so getting him in the middle of the third was quite a feat.
Speaking of steals, Terron Armstead shouldn't have been available at No. 75. He may not be ready to start now, but he has unbelievable athleticism and the potential to develop into a stud left tackle. He should be able to help Drew Brees, as will Kenny Stills, who could replace the departed Devery Henderson.
My one gripe with New Orleans' draft class is that it didn't find a pass-rusher until No. 183. But with limited resources, thanks to the Spygate penalty, you can't exactly blame the front office for that.
St. Louis Rams: A- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Rams are stuck with Sam Bradford for at least one more year, so they need to continue to bolster their offensive line to make sure their brittle quarterback is protected as best as possible. Bradford also needs help at receiver and running back. On the defensive side of the ball, St. Louis must find upgrades to its back seven.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: St. Louis pretty much accomplished all of its goals without reaching often, so this has to be considered a successful draft for them.
It started early when the Rams made a big splash to move up to No. 8 for Tavon Austin. There was no way Austin was making it to No. 16 - the Jets were reportedly set to take him at No. 9 - so St. Louis did a nice job of landing the top play-maker in the class. The front office then came back and recouped its traded selections when it moved down from 22 to 30, all while managing to land its intended target, Alec Ogletree. The Georgia linebacker has off-the-field issues, but the Rams have a strong coaching staff that has worked well with these types of players before. If Janoris Jenkins can thrive in St. Louis, so can Ogletree.
I really liked some of the Rams' other choices, most notably Barrett Jones. The versatile Alabama lineman was considered a first-round possibility once upon a time, but his medical sunk his draft stock. He'll eventually be healthy though, so St. Louis was lucky to land him at No. 113. Stedman Bailey, meanwhile, chosen at No. 92, should work well with Austin, considering that the two starred together at West Virginia. It's all up to Sam Bradford now.
St. Louis needed two more upgrades on its defense, both at the safety position. It was able to obtain only one safety, T.J. McDonald, who was chosen a bit too high for my liking because he can't cover. I was also disappointed that the Rams didn't spend an earlier selection on a running back, though Zac Stacy did provide some value at No. 160.
All in all, I really liked what the Rams did on Draft Day. They greatly improved their roster, giving themselves a chance to stay competitive in the NFC West.
Pittsburgh Steelers: A- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Steelers lost a number of key veterans this offseason like James Harrison, Keenan Lewis, Willie Colon, Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace. They need to replace those departed players. Of course, they won't reach to fill these holes; Pittsburgh, as it always does, will take advantage of the dumb teams drafting in front of them and catch falling prospects.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Sure enough, Pittsburgh's front office laughed as the top pass-rusher in this class, Jarvis Jones, fell right into its lap at No. 17. It's amazing that despite being designed to help the lesser teams, all the NFL Draft does is strengthen the superior ones.
The Steelers had a number of outstanding selections. Markus Wheaton, considered a second-round prospect, could be a worthy replacement for Mike Wallace despite being chosen at No. 79. The next pick (No. 111), Shamarko Thomas, was also snagged off the board a round later than projected. Thomas won't start right away, but will eventually be pushed into the starting lineup once Pittsburgh's aging safeties move on or get injured.
Pittsburgh addressed some needs late with some sound selections, but two picks weigh this class down. I'm not a fan of Le'Veon Bell as a second-rounder because he's yet another slow back out of the Big Ten. The Landry Jones choice was even worse. There were undrafted free agent quarterbacks who are better than him - Matt Scott and Tyler Bray, for example.
Despite these two picks, the Steelers still deserve a high grade for yet another successful draft class.
Dallas Cowboys: C Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Cowboys have decided to stick with Tony Romo for the long term, so they absolutely need to make sure he's protected for a change. They need help at right tackle, guard and center. Some pieces for their new 4-3 also have to be obtained.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Everyone quickly forgot about the Bills' antics with E.J. Manuel when the Cowboys spent the 31st-overall selection on third-round prospect Travis Frederick. If there are any Dallas homers who still believe that this wasn't a reach, head coach Jason Garrett admitted as much. Garrett said the team panicked when all of the guards were flying off the board. This is exactly why the Cowboys need a real general manager.
Dallas wasted another selection with Gavin Escobar in the second round, but quickly recovered in Round 3. I liked many of the team's later picks, including J.J. Wilcox and B.W. Webb. Both were taken in the right range, and they'll undoubtedly help a mediocre secondary. Terrance Williams and Joseph Randle will be nice weapons for Tony Romo down the road.
Having said that, a "C" grade feels about right. There were more good picks than bad ones, and I liked that the Cowboys at least moved down in the first round. However, taking Frederick was inexcusable, and I don't know why Dallas refrained from adding any new pieces to its new 4-3 until the 185th pick. Why was Sharrif Floyd not an option at No. 18? He would have been a force in between DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, and he was a perfect fit as a three-technique in Monte Kiffin's defense.
New York Giants: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Giants, like the Steelers, are a smart organization that catches falling prospects. Look for them to take the best players available to bolster their roster. They don't need to do anything specific, outside of finding help for their linebacking corps.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Like the Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Baltimore general managers, Jerry Reese is usually patient and lets top prospects fall to him. He changed his plans in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, however, reaching for Justin Pugh at No. 19 overall. It wasn't nearly as egregious of a reach as Dallas with Travis Frederick, but the Syracuse lineman was selected too early nonetheless.
Reese seemed to snap out of it after that, as his next three selections, Johnathan Hankins, Damontre Moore and Ryan Nassib, were all picked later than they were projected to go. The middle choice is especially interesting, as Moore was once projected to go No. 2 overall to the Jaguars. His stock plummeted because of a terribly slow 40 and some character concerns, but the Giants will get the most out of his natural ability.
Outside of taking Pugh, the one thing I'd change about this solid draft class is the Giants' refusal to take a linebacker. Instead of Hankins at No. 49, I would have opted for Arthur Brown. He would have been a tremendous boost in a weak linebacking corps.
Chicago Bears: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Different year, same strategy: The Bears must build around Jay Cutler. The Martellus Bennett and Matt Slauson signings were nice, but help is still needed at left tackle. A speed receiver and another tight end would really help as well. And of course, Brian Urlacher is gone, so a new middle linebacker will have to be considered.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Chicago's draft class very much mirrors the Giants'. Like Justin Pugh at 19, Kyle Long was a reach at 20, but again, it wasn't nearly as bad as what the Cowboys would do 11 selections later. And like New York, the Bears would recover and draft solid talents who filled positions of need.
The Bears did a good job of bolstering their linebacking corps. Jon Bostic will be the heir apparent to Brian Urlacher, while Khaseem Greene, a major steal at No. 117, will be an effective player on the outside in the future.
Excluding Greene, my favorite pick of Chicago's was Cornelius Washington at No. 188. Many considered him a mid second-day prospect, so to obtain him in Round 6 as a potential future replacement for Julius Peppers was phenomenal. The next pick, Marquess Wilson (No. 236), provides tons of upside. He quit on his football team at Washington State, but that may not have been entirely his fault. He has the potential to be a solid weapon for Jay Cutler down the road.
Overall, I'm a fan of what Chicago did, save for its first-round choice. As I did with the Giants, I'm rewarding this front office with a solid "B".
Cincinnati Bengals: B Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Bengals have some holes on their defense (as well as right tackle and running back) that they'll have to address. Fortunately, they have tons of picks to take care of that. With lots of cap space, Cincinnati is in a great spot.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Bengals have reached the playoffs twice with Andy Dalton, but they've scored a total of 23 points in the two games. They needed to give Andy Dalton some weapons to work with outside of A.J. Green, and they managed to accomplish that with their first two picks, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard.
Everyone expected Cincinnati to go for a back like Bernard, so the Eifert selection was more interesting. Tight end wasn't a perceived need with Jermaine Gresham already there, but the two-tight end set is becoming more and more popular, and it'll be extremely useful for Dalton, who doesn't have the strongest arm in the world.
The Bengals made some other solid selections like Sean Porter in the fourth round, but I didn't like a few of their choices. Margus Hunt is extremely raw and didn't fill a need at No. 53. Shawn Williams, meanwhile, was a slight reach in the third frame, though he does fit well in Mike Zimmer's defense. I also don't know what to make of Tanner Hawkinson at 156 or Rex Burkhead at 190. Why not actually fill needs there?
Cincinnati came away with a quality draft overall. I would have changed some things, but the front office definitely improved its roster.
Washington Redskins: B- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Redskins are missing their first-round pick because of the Robert Griffin trade. This is unfortunate because they're desperate for some help in their secondary. A receiver must also be obtained because Griffin doesn't have much to work with outside of Pierre Garcon.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Considering that Washington didn't have a first-round pick to work with, the front office did a solid job of finding players who could improve the roster.
The Redskins were desperate for secondary help going into the weekend, which is why they acquired three defensive backs to help them stop Eli Manning. I wasn't a big fan of David Amerson in the second round, but Phillip Thomas (No. 119) and Bacarri Rambo (No. 191) were both tremendous steals. Thomas was taken a round later than expected, while Rambo could have easily gone off the board 100 selections earlier.
I didn't like two of Washington's picks. Jordan Reed was a luxury selection, while Chris Thompson was just unnecessary, especially when the team obtained Jawan Jamison two rounds later. Still, the Redskins undoubtedly improved their chances of repeating as NFC East champions by bolstering their defensive backfield.
Minnesota Vikings: A- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: It's all about replacing recently departed players for the Vikings. Percy Harvin was traded, so a receiver is needed despite the signing of Greg Jennings. Antoine Winfield was released on March 12, so a replacement has to be found. Pat Williams hasn't been around since 2010, but Minnesota still hasn't found his replacement. Jasper Brinkley leaving for Arizona has created an even larger hole at middle linebacker, but this was an area that had to be addressed when he was on the roster.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: I don't think the Vikings ever imagined that Sharrif Floyd would be available to them at No. 23. Expected by many to go third overall, Floyd's draft-day tumble was inexplicable. Minnesota now has the potential to be as strong in the interior as it was in the Williams Wall days.
The Vikings' other two first-rounders were also solid. Xavier Rhodes fills a need at corner, while Cordarrelle Patterson has tons of upside. Patterson could very easily be deemed a bust in the future - and he'll never reach his full statistical potential because of Christian Ponder's limitations - but he's worth the risk. I'm normally not crazy about teams moving up, but Minnesota could afford it because it had tons of other picks.
Speaking of the other selections, I was a huge fan of what the Vikings did on the third day, save for their pick of punter Jeff Locke. The best choice was Michael Mauti. He was regarded as a second- or a third-round prospect prior to tearing his ACL. If he can recover, he could definitely be in the starting lineup come 2014.
Minnesota did a very good job this weekend. It fill needs with quality talents and only really reached for one player.
Indianapolis Colts: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Giving Andrew Luck some protection and weapons to work with is definitely a priority. Fixing the front seven is something the Colts need to do as well. With a decent amount of needs, Indianapolis can probably take the top player available each time.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Colts completed all of the goals that were required of them in the 2013 NFL Draft, but they made some odd choices while filling their needs.
It started in the first round with Bjoern Werner. The Florida State product was regarded as a pure 4-3 left end, so it'll be interesting to see how he transitions into the 3-4. Remember that Indianapolis let Dwight Freeney walk because he struggled in his move from the 4-3 to the 3-4, so I don't know why the front office believes Werner will be more successful in his attempt to do so.
As for bolstering Andrew Luck's protection, I'm fine with the selection of Hugh Thornton, but the Khaled Holmes pick is puzzling. Holmes was barely functional last season, and many thought he'd go undrafted. Picking him early on Day 3 was very questionable.
I had no issues with any of Indianapolis' other choices. They could have been better, but also could have been worse. That pretty much sums up the Colts' draft class as a whole.
Seattle Seahawks: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Seahawks have done so well in free agency this offseason that they don't really need to do anything in the 2013 NFL Draft, save for obtaining a right tackle upgrade. All they figure to do is take the top player available to bolster their roster.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Seahawks barely had any needs to take care of, so they spent the 2013 NFL Draft taking the presumed best players on their board all while making sure they have replacements for the future as well as injury insurance for a potential Super Bowl run.
Having said that, there were a couple of odd choices. I can get Christine Michael, but why Spencer Ware as well? That seems unnecessarily redundant. Also, I don't know what Seattle is going to do with two guards (Ryan Seymour, Jared Smith). It's going to be difficult for both of them to make the roster.
I did love some of the Seahawks' picks though. Chris Harper could succeed Sidney Rice if the injury-prone wideout gets hurt again. Ty Powell was a steal at No. 231. The best pick, however, was Jesse Williams, who was taken 137th overall. Some thought Williams would be a first-round pick, so to get him on Day 3 was phenomenal.
Seattle had an OK draft, but there were too many questionable picks. The right tackle position should have been addressed.
Green Bay Packers: A+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Outside of the running back, center and safety positions, the Packers don't have a glaring need on the roster. They can pretty much sit back and take the best player available, though they need to keep in mind that they have several key players hitting free agency in 2014 like James Jones, Jermichael Finley and Morgan Burnett.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Ted Thompson is one of the best general managers in the NFL, so it's no surprise that the Packers came away with one of the top draft classes this year. They filled needs all while taking players who were great values at each pick.
Datone Jones was a solid first-round selection, as he'll give the Packers a much-needed pass-rushing presence up front. There were even better choices later, as Eddie Lacy inexplicably fell to No. 61 despite being discussed as a first-round option early in the draft process. The Packers also added another running back, Johnathan Franklin, in the fourth round even though he was considered by some to be the top player at his position in this class. Green Bay couldn't run the ball at all last year, and now the team suddenly has a tremendous backfield.
The Packers also made some other solid picks, including David Bakhtiari, who has left tackle potential. Micah Hyde, chosen on the third day (No. 159), played corner at Iowa, but could move to safety to fill a hole at that spot.
Houston Texans: A Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Texans have such a limited offense because Andre Johnson is the only downfield option for Matt Schaub. They need to fix that. Finding help in the middle of their defense - safety, inside linebacker and maybe nose tackle - is something they must do as well.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It was fairly obvious the Texans were going to target a receiver at No. 27 because their offense was so limited with nothing across from Andre Johnson. They wanted DeAndre Hopkins, with Justin Hunter being a fall-back option. They got their man without moving up, so they have to be commended for their patience.
Houston made a bunch of other quality selections. Second-rounder D.J. Swearinger will fill the void created by Glover Quin's absence. Trevardo Williams (No. 124) will do the same with Connor Barwin's. My favorite late-rounder was David Quessenberry, who can play every single position up front. Quessenberry could have easily be taken in the third round, so there was a ton of value with him at No. 176.
I really liked the Texans' draft overall, though there was one pick I wasn't a fan of whatsoever. I have no idea why Houston chose Sam Montgomery at the end of the third round. Sure, Montgomery has talent, but he flat-out quit last season and even admitted to doing so. The Texans value character very much, so it's quite puzzling that they drafted him.
Denver Broncos: C+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: How did the Broncos lose to the Ravens in the playoffs? Their secondary was torched, while their pass protection was easily beaten, thanks in part to injuries at the running back position. Denver must address both the offensive and defensive backfields. And of course, don't forget about the defensive line. Tackle was a need, but now end must be addressed because of Faxgate.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Broncos didn't draft poorly, but their class as a whole was fairly disappointing. Their second- and third-round selections, Montee Ball and Kayvon Webster, weren't very good. Ball is just a Big Ten plodder with tons of mileage on his body, so he's not a very promising prospect. Webster, meanwhile, was considered a sixth- or seventh-round cornerback. It's going to be tough to find a roster spot for him with so many corners already on the team.
It was also discouraging that Denver didn't come away with upgrades at defensive end or safety. The front office made up for the former by signing Shaun Phillips after the draft. He should be a fine short-term replacement. However, the safety position is still a mess.
It wasn't all bad though. I loved the Broncos' first pick (Sylvester Williams), who will definitely provide some much-needed pass rush in the interior. Tavarres King and Vinston Painter (Nos. 161 and 173, respectively) were all solid choices.
New England Patriots: B- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: It's odd to see the Patriots with only three picks in the first six rounds. It's a good thing then that they don't need to do much in the draft. Finding help at receiver, defensive tackle and cornerback is New England's primary goal.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Patriots uncharacteristically had a massive shortage of picks, so they did a good job of moving out of the No. 29 pick to obtain more selections from the Vikings.
New England used those extra choices on receivers in an attempt to fill their greatest position of need. Bill Belichick took two of them in the first four rounds, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. However, if recent history is any indication, both of these players will be busts. Belichick has done a terrible job of drafting receivers, so it's no surprise that he signed Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet a few weeks ago. That plan wasn't successful, so he had to grab a pair of rookies. It's not a good sign that both Dobson and Boyce were chosen a round earlier than their projection.
Elsewhere, the Patriots took prospects like Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan and Michael Buchanan right where they were supposed to go. However, they really reached on one of their third-rounders, Duron Harmon, a safety out of Rutgers. Harmon told the media that he was watching the NFL Draft as a fan, and he was completely shocked to hear his name called. New England could have obtained Harmon in the seventh round, so I don't know what the front office was thinking with that one.
The Patriots did an OK job overall with this class. They turned three picks in the first six rounds into five, and only one was an egregious reach.
Atlanta Falcons: A- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Atlanta's offense is pretty much set, save for some depth issues. What the Falcons need to concentrate on is their defense. They need help at every level. Two defensive linemen, a linebacker and two cornerbacks have to be obtained.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Thomas Dimitroff is a strong general manager who likes to attack needs without reaching. He utilized his strategy extremely well again this year.
The Falcons absolutely had to shore up two areas: defensive end and cornerback. Given what Dimitroff tends to do, it's no surprise that he doubled up on corners right away and then selected a pair of pass-rushers on Day 3.
The corners are both very good prospects. Dimitroff traded up eight spots for Desmond Trufant, which was probably a necessary move because a couple of teams drafting ahead of him needed a corner. Robert Alford provided much more value at No. 60, given that there were reports that he would be a "top-42 lock." The defensive ends, meanwhile, both fit the range. Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga complement each other very well.
Almost all of Atlanta's other selections were pretty solid. I wish the Falcons would've found some help at linebacker, and I wasn't crazy about Kemal Ishmael (No. 243), but that was an extremely late pick not worth fretting about.
San Francisco 49ers: A- Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: San Francisco's roster is loaded, so the team has way fewer needs than most franchises. Something the 49ers absolutely have to address, however, is the secondary. Both the corner and safety positions are the weakest areas on the roster.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The 49ers ignored the cornerback position but made sure they bolstered their safety group by moving up from No. 31 to 18 for Eric Reid. I wasn't a fan of this; the safety class was loaded, so San Francisco could have stayed put and drafted either Matt Elam or Jonathan Cyprien at its original spot.
General manager Trent Baalke has proven himself very capable though, so it wasn't surprising at all to see him rebound from that blemish. He traded down from his next selection and still obtained Tank Carradine, who was a major steal at No. 40. Carradine will bulk up and be Justin Smith's successor at the five-technique position. That would explain Corey Lemonier at No. 88. The smaller Lemonier will provide depth at rush linebacker and will almost certainly compete for a starting job down the road.
Baalke's top selections came at the end of the fourth round. Quinton Patton was an absolute steal at No. 128 because he was considered a second-round prospect. Three picks later, the 49ers chose Marcus Lattimore, who was a first-round projection prior to shredding his knee this past fall. Lattimore will essentially be redshirted. Frank Gore's contract expires in 2015, so Lattimore could take over as the starter then.
The 49ers showed why they have one of the premier front offices in the NFL. They were able to strengthen their roster by seldom reaching, all while filling some needs. I wish they would have drafted a cornerback and avoided moving up for Reid, but the latter isn't a huge issue because they were armed with a ton of picks.
Baltimore Ravens: A Grade
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Super Bowl champions lost some key members of their franchise this offseason. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are the obvious ones, but Bryant McKinnie and Anquan Boldin's absences might be felt most. McKinnie's outstanding play in the postseason gave Joe Flacco the pass protection he needed, while Boldin reemerged as an awesome possession target. All of these players have to be replaced.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It appears as though the reports of the Ravens' demise have been greatly exaggerated. After losing many key veterans, all the media could talk about was how much Baltimore regressed. That was an obvious story angle, given the departures of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and other players of renown. However, what people seemed to forget was that Ozzie Newsome is one of the elite general managers in the NFL.
Newsome made some solid signings in free agency and then was able to complement those with a terrific draft class. Baltimore's first three picks were a work of art. Matt Elam is a perfect fit in the Ravens' defense. Second-rounder Arthur Brown, was seen by many as a first-round prospect, is very talented and fully capable of replacing Lewis. Meanwhile, Brandon Williams was another steal at No. 94. Seen by many as a second-rounder, Williams can be the long-term solution at nose tackle.
The Ravens didn't stop there. They made numerous quality third-day picks, such as John Simon, who should blossom into an effective pass-rusher. Aaron Mellette and Marc Anthony were both steals at Nos. 238 and 247, respectively.
Baltimore came away with one of the league's top draft classes. The only thing keeping this from being an A+ is that the team didn't target a receiver or a left tackle earlier. It could have done so where a fullback was taken (No. 130), but then again, who am I to question the great Newsome?
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