Tag Archive: NFL Draft Grades


Kansas City:
1 – Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh 7.5

2 – Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State 8.0
3 – Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia 7.0
3 – Allen Bailey, DE, Miami 7.0
4 – Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado 7.5
5 – Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa 8.5
5 – Gabe Miller, OLB, Oregon 7.0
6 – Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss 8.0
7 – Shane Bannon, FB, Yale 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: I am not a big Baldwin supporter and I was a little surprised to see him go in the first round, even if it was late in the round. He has as much potential as any receiver in this class due to his rare combination of size, athletic ability and hands but I have questions about his attitude and effort level and I think he coasted a lot on his athletic ability and natural talent at Pittsburgh. He has a lot of upside and if he gets coached up and improves his route running he could be extremely dangerous and emerge as a beast opposite Dwayne Bowe in a couple of years, but that’s a risky proposition in my opinion. I like Rodney Hudson and he’s a solid guard, but probably not a great fit in a man scheme. He might need to move inside to center for KC. Justin Houston has a lot of pass rushing potential but he is much better with his hand on the ground as a DE than he is standing up and rushing the passer, and he struggles mightily in pass coverage so that hurts him in this scheme. I am not an Allen Bailey fan at all and he is one or two years away from being able to start because of his terrible hand usage. Brown is a solid pick but he is only good in man coverage and even then his upside is limited. Stanzi was a great pick this late as I thought he had the ability to get picked as high as the 3rd round. Powe was a nice pick-up in the 6th because while he is a boom/bust pick the Chiefs have little invested in him with such a late pick and he has definite upside.

Indianapolis:
1 – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College 9.0
2 – Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova 8.5
3 – Drake Nevis, DT, LSU 8.5
4 – Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse 8.5
6 – Chris Rucker, CB, Michigan State 7.0

Overall Grade: A-

Analysis: The Colts had only a few picks but they made the most of them. Castonzo is my #1 ranked OT in this class and I do not understand why some are saying he will have to start at RT in the NFL. He is ready to play LT right now, and I expect him to as a rookie before the year is up. Ijalana is a nice pick-up and will either be a RT or an OG on the Colts OL. With their first two picks they immediately upgraded their offensive line to protect Peyton immediately. Then they fill their need for a DT with a very disruptive DT in Drake Nevis to improve their defensive line. And finally Delone Carter is a nice value in round 4 and should have an immediate impact on their RB rotation. Great draft.

Philadelphia:
1 – Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor 8.5
2 – Jaiquawn Jarrett, S, Temple 8.5
3 – Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah 7.5
4 – Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon 7.5
4 – Alex Henery, K, Nebraska 7.5
5 – Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh 7.5
5 – Julian Vandervelde, OG, Iowa 7.5
6 – Jason Kelce, C, Cincinnati 7.0
6 – Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State 7.5
7 – Greg Lloyd, ILB, Connecticut 7.5
7 – Stanley Havili, FB, Hawaii 7.5

Overall Grade: C+
Analysis: The Eagles had a lot of draft picks but I didn’t think they made the most of them. Watkins was a good pick in round one to upgrade their OL, and I like Jarrett a lot in round two also. However, the rest of their picks seemed like depth guys that don’t have a ton of upside as starters, and picking a kicker in round four is tough to get behind even if Henery is a great kicking prospect.

New Orleans:
1 – Cameron Jordan, DE, California 8.5
1 – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama 9.5
3 – Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois 7.5
3 – Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville 8.5
7 – Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh 8.5
7 – Nate Bussey, LB, Illinois 7.0

Overall Grade: A
Analysis: The Saints made the most of their limited selections as well. Cameron Jordan is a nice pick-up at #24 and should immediately improve their defensive line, and Mark Ingram at #28 is one of the best values in the entire draft. If he stays healthy he is going to be one of the best backs in the league starting this year. Martez Wilson is a freak athlete but his instincts are poor, so while he has upside I wonder how much of that upside the Saints will actually see. Patrick gives the Saints more depth at corner and I really like him, and I like the Romeus pick in round 7. I thought he might go as high as round four or five despite his injury. He has top 50 pick potential when he is healthy, and if he can get healthy and come back slow without being forced in early I think he could be one of the steals of this draft. All reward and no risk, very good pick.

Seattle:
1 – James Carpenter, OT, Alabama 8.0
3 – John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin 8.0
4 – K.J. Wright, ILB, Mississippi State 8.0
4 – Kris Durham, WR, Georgia 7.5
5 – Richard Sherman, CB, Stanford 7.5
5 – Mark LeGree, S, Appalachian State 7.0
6 – Byron Maxwell, CB, Clemson 7.0
7 – Lazarius Levingston, DT, LSU 7.0
7 – Malcolm Smith, LB, USC 7.0

Overall Grade: B-
Analysis: The Seahawks got pretty good players with their first five picks, I like them all, but they didn’t great value with any of them. Carpenter will be a very nice RT for them starting from day one and I envision him having a long NFL career. Moffitt is actually a solid value in round three and I like that the Seahawks paid attention to the OL early. With Okung, Carpenter and Moffitt they have a really nice, young core of offensive linemen to work with. K.J. Wright is a linebacker that I like a lot and Durham was a guy that I was high on as a late round pick but I was pretty surprised he went as high as he did. Sherman is solid CB or Safety depth, and the rest of the guys strike me as depth and special teams contributors. So they did an alright job, but they could have done better I think.

Baltimore:
1 – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado 8.5
2 – Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland 8.0
3 – Jah Reid, OT, Central Florida 6.5
4 – Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana 7.5
5 – Chykie Brown, CB, Texas 7.5
5 – Pernell McPhee, DE, Mississippi State 8.0
6 – Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech 7.5
7 – Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech 6.0

Overall Grade: B-
Analysis: The Ravens are typically a very good drafting team but I was not very taken with their draft. I like Jimmy Smith for them at #26, and Torrey Smith provides them with a lot of speed and playmaking ability that they have been sorely lacking recently. I wonder about his body catching though so I wonder how good he is going to be, and I don’t think he will contribute much early on as a rookie. I am not a Jah Reid fan and I haven’t been since the East-West Shrine Game. He looked like a waist bender to me and he is a RT at best, so while he is big I am not a fan of that pick. Doss and Brown are solid pick-ups in rounds four and five, but I like McPhee a lot in a 3-4. I think that is his best scheme, so he will have to bulk up and get stronger to fit in their scheme. I like the Tyrod pick too, he will be a developmental guy behind Flacco like Troy Smith was back in the day.

Atlanta:
1 – Julio Jones , WR, Alabama 8.5
3 – Akeem Dent, LB, Georgia 8.0
5 – Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State 9.5
6 – Matt Bosher, K/P, Miami 7.0
7 – Andrew Jackson, OG, Fresno State 7.5
7  – Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina 7.5

Overall Grade: B+
Analysis: This was a tough one for me to grade because I’m a Falcons fan, but overall I liked our draft. It was definitely not what I was expecting so it took some time for me to think it over and decide what I thought of it but overall I like it. Julio was a very nice pick-up for us and with his ceiling and Roddy mentoring him hopefully he will live up to his massive potential, plus he should take a lot of pressure off of Roddy once he gets on the field. Plus, once Roddy starts to decline Julio will be ready to step up as the #1 guy, which is another reason I love this move. Akeem Dent was a pick I was skeptical of early, and it seemed high for him, but he should be a reliable run stopper for us even if he doesn’t have a lot of ability in coverage. Jacquizz Rodgers in round 5 was definitely my favorite pick in the draft for us, and maybe in the entire NFL draft. He is so underrated because of his size that he fell much farther than he should have and I can’t wait to see him in a Falcons uniform. He is EXACTLY what we needed behind Turner at RB. Bosher is a pick I was not a big fan of because I didn’t think he was anything incredibly special as a kicker or as a punter, but I liked the depth additions of Jackson and Matthews because while they won’t contribute immediately they have upside. We gave up far too much for Julio to get an A, but a B+ definitely fits I think.

Chicago:
1 – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin 9.0
2 – Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State 8.5
3 – Chris Conte, S, California 7.5
5 – Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho 8.0
6  – J.T. Thomas, LB, West Virginia 7.0

Overall Grade: B+
Analysis: I really liked a few of the Bears picks. I’m a big Carimi fan and I think he is going to be a great addition to their offensive line. Hell, he may be their best offensive lineman the second he walks into their training camp facility, that’s how bad their offensive line is. Paea is a nice pick-up in round two also because DT is a serious need for the Bears too, so they got two players who can upgrade two of their serious needs in their first two picks. That’s a good start. Conte is solid safety depth with some upside, and I am a big Enderle fan so I was happy to see him get picked in round 5.

New York Jets:
1 – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple 8.5
3 – Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton 8.5
4 – Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville 9.0
5 – Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU 8.0
7 – Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama 8.0
7 – Scotty McKnight, WR, Colorado 7.5

Overall Grade: A-
Analysis: I like Wilkerson a lot and grabbing him at 30 is a pretty nice value. Ellis has definite upside as a NT so I like that pick and value in round three, and Bilal Powell is a nice power back that should fit their scheme perfectly. Kerley is a very versatile pick-up in round 5, and I really liked their late round picks with McElroy and McKnight. They are both underrated and I was surprised they were both there, but I like both pick-ups for the Jets and I think they will be nice depth for them.

Pittsburgh:
1 – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State 9.5
2 – Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida 8.0
3 – Curtis Brown, CB, Texas 8.0
4 – Cortez Allen, CB, The Citadel 8.0
5 – Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State 8.0
6 – Keith Williams, OG, Nebraska 7.5
7 – Baron Batch, RB, Texas Tech 7.5

Overall Grade: A
Analysis: The Steelers had a very nice draft. Heyward was one of the best values in the draft at #31 overall and I think he will be viewed as one of the steals of the draft in a few years once he is anchoring the Steelers 3-4 defense at DE. Gilbert is a big, powerful RT prospect that will fit their scheme well, and Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen add much needed depth at cornerback and they have definite upside. I don’t think Chris Carter is a perfect fit as a 3-4 OLB but as a situational pass rusher and I think he will be valuable in nickel packages when he can rush with his hand down, which is when I think he is at his best. Baron Batch is a nice pick-up also who has the potential to be a 3rd down back in the NFL.

Green Bay:
1 – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State 9.0
2 – Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky 10.0
3 – Alex Green, RB, Hawaii 8.5
4 – Davon House, CB, New Mexico State 9.0
5 – D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas 8.0
6 – Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah 7.0
6 – D.J. Smith, OLB, Appalachian State 7.0
6 – Ricky Elmore, OLB, Arizona 7.5
7 – Ryan Taylor, TE, North Carolina 7.0
7 – Lawrence Guy, DE, Arizona State 8.0

Overall Grade: A+
Analysis: The Packers are one of the best teams in the league at drafting and this year was no exception. Getting Sherrod to play LT in their zone blocking scheme was a great pick-up and a good value, and getting Cobb, a guy I graded as a 1st rounder, at #64 overall was a fantastic pick-up and value. Alex Green adds much needed talent to the RB position, and Davon House was a great value at the end of the fourth round when I thought he could have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick. DJ Williams is a pretty good value in round 5 as well and should be a solid #2 TE for them, and the rest of the guys provide nice depth. Lawrence Guy has a lot of upside too so he might end up being a pretty nice pick in the 7th round depending on how he develops. Overall, the Packers had the best draft of anyone in my opinion.

That concludes my NFL Draft grades! Look out for my upcoming previews in the coming days! Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Houston:
1st– J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin 9.0
2nd– Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona 8.5
2nd– Brandon Harris, CB, Miami 9.0
4th– Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech 8.5
5th– Shiloh Keo, SS, Idaho 7.0
5th– T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina 7.0
7th– Derek Newton, OT, Arkansas State 7.0
7th– Cheta Ozougwu, OLB, Rice 7.5

Overall Grade: A

Analysis: I thought Houston had a great draft. I am a big fan of J.J. Watt and honestly I am high on the first four selections they bagged in this draft. I think J.J. Watt is a perfect fit for a 3-4 scheme as a DE and the Houston really needed a 3-4 DE, so getting a great player that fills a huge need is about as good as it gets. Brooks Reed gives them a pass rusher off the edge and he is a very good fit for the 3-4 scheme as an OLB. I thought Brandon Harris was a top 25 lock but getting him and then Carmichael in the 4th improves their entire defense. They got better on the defensive line, at the linebacker level and they drastically improved their group of cornerbacks. Between Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris and Rashad Carmichael they have a lot of young talent at that position now. Keo is more of a back-up/special teams type, and Yates is a career back-up in my opinion, but I think Ozougwu has the potential to be a solid back-up in a 3-4 scheme.

Minnesota:
1st– Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State 8.0
2nd– Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame 8.0
4th– Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa 8.0
5th– Brandon Burton, CB, Utah 7.5
6th– DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas 7.5
6th– Mistral Raymond, S, South Florida 7.0
6th– Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock 7.0
6th– Ross Homan, OLB, Ohio State 7.0
7th– D’Aundre Reed, DE, Arizona 8.0
7th– Stephen Burton, WR, West Texas A&M 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: Ponder was a significant reach at #12 but if he is their quarterback and he pans out as a solid starter then it might be worth the pick, though it may never end up being a good value pick. Ponder has potential and I liked him as a late 1st round pick, but I was surprised by this selection. Rudolph was largely considered the #1 TE in the class but he had first round potential before his injury. It may not have been a huge need but it was still a good value pick. I personally would have picked Rahim Moore here considering their huge need for a safety, but that’s just me. Ballard is a pretty good value in round four. I’m not a big fan of Brandon Burton or DeMarcus Love, but in the 5th and 6th rounds they are merely depth additions with some upside. I like D’Aundre Reed though and he has upside, so grabbing him in the 7th round has the potential to be a steal.

Detroit:
1st– Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn 9.0

2nd– Titus Young, WR, Boise State 8.0
2nd– Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois 8.0
5th- Doug Hogue,LB, Syracuse 7.0
7th- Johnny Culbreath, OT, South Carolina State 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: Detroit may not have had a lot of picks, but they made the most of them. Fairley was a terrific value at #13 overall and should help team with Ndamukong Suh to create a dynamic duo at defensive tackle for the Lions. Titus Young has a lot of speed to threaten down the seam for the Lions and might help draw some attention away from Calvin Johnson eventually. Mikel LeShoure has ability and in the late 2nd round area he was a solid value and should help provide more consistent production than Jahvid Best, allowing him to be a complementary 3rd down back.

St. Louis:
1 – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina 8.5
2 – Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin 8.5
3 – Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State 6.0
4 – Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii 7.5
5 – Jermale Hines, S, Ohio State 7.5
7 – Mikail Baker, CB, Baylor 7.0
7 – Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin 7.0
7 – Jonathon Nelson, S, Oklahoma 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Quinn has a lot of potential as a RE, and Kendricks was my favorite TE in the draft. He was a great pick in the 2nd round, and should help give Bradford another reliable target to throw to. I don’t think Pettis has much upside at all but that’s just me. He also will struggle to separate in the NFL, so I question that pick. Salas strikes me as a reliable slot receiver, and the rest of their picks should be solid depth and special teamers at worst.

Miami:
1 – Mike Pouncey, OG,  Florida 6.5

2 – Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State 6.5
4 – Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene-Christian 7.5
6 – Charles Clay, FB, Tulsa 7.5
7 – Frank Kearse, NT, Alabama A&M 7.5
7 – Jimmy Wilson, CB, Montana 7.0

Overall Grade: C

Analysis: I thought the Dolphins had a pretty bad draft. Selecting Mike Pouncey #15 overall, even higher than Maurkice was selected last year (#17 overall) is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion, especially considering the fact that he is a poor drive blocker and his intangibles aren’t as impressive as Maurkice’s. I also don’t like Thomas much, he runs upright and is not nearly as physical as you might think considering his size. He is a finesse runner in a power back’s body. Gates has a lot of explosiveness because of his elite speed and might be able to provide them with some of what they were looking for from Ted Ginn years ago. Clay should be a pretty good FB for them, and Kearse is a big body that might pan out as a 3-4 NT.

Jacksonville:

1 – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri 8.5
3 – Will Rackley, OG, Lehigh 8.5
4 – Cecil Shorts III, WR, Mount Union 8.0
4 – Chris Prosinski, S, Wyoming 7.0
5 – Rod Issac, S, Middle Tennessee State 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Gabbert has a lot of upside and he landed in a very good situation in Jacksonville. With David Garrard still entrenched at quarterback he has time to get comfortable in the NFL, and he will need a year or two before he is ready to start. So landing on a team with a quarterback ready to start for another year or two is an ideal situation for him. I am very high on Will Rackley as well, and I think he will be a good addition to their offensive line. Cecil Shorts III has some potential as a slot receiver also.

Oakland:
2 – Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State 8.0
3 – DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami 5.0
3 – Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU 7.0
4 – Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State 7.5
4 – Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington 7.0
5 – Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee 7.5
6 – Richard Godron, TE, Miami 7.0
7 – David Ausberry, RB, USC 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: Oakland again had a sub-par draft in my opinion. Wisniewski has good potential as a C, but Van Dyke was severely overdrafted just because of his speed. I could not believe he went in the 3rd round. I would have had a hard time justifying selecting him in the 7th. Barksdale is a solid OT but he will have to play RT. Chekwa is another speed demon, same with Taiwan Jones and Denarius Moore, but I wonder how significant their impact will be.

New England:
1 – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado 7.0

2 – Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia 8.0
2 – Shane Vereen, RB, California 8.5
3 – Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU 8.5
3 – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas 8.0
5 – Marcus Cannon, OG, TCU 8.5
5 – Lee Smith, TE, Marshall 7.5
6 – Markell Carter, OLB, Central Arkansas 7.0
7 – Malcolm Williams, S, TCU 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: I thought Solder was overdrafted at #17 overall so it will be interesting to see if that pick pans out for the Patriots. I thought Dowling at #33 might be a bit high, but I really like Vereen and Ridley and they are bringing a lot of talent to the Patriots backfield. Mallett in round 3 was a very interesting pick in round 3 but he obviously has a ton of upside with limited risk. Cannon in round 5 is a great pick-up despite some of his health concerns as well.

San Diego:
1 – Corey Liuget, DE, Illinois 8.
2 – Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson 7.5
2 – Jonas Mouton, LB, Michigan 8.0
3 – Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State 8.5
3 – Shareece Wright, CB, USC 7.5
6 – Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut 7.5
6 – Steve Schilling, OG, Michigan 7.5
7 – Andrew Gachkar, OLB, Missouri 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Liuget should be a good pick at 3-4 DE and he definitely has upside. I’m not a big Gilchrist fan but he definitely has a nice combination of size and speed. Vincent Brown is one of my favorite picks in the 3rd round and I think he will have a more significant impact than people expect. He’s a very good route runner with great hands, so I really liked that pick. I was surprised Todman fell to the 6th, but with his speed and potential that could be a nice upside pick in the future.

New York Giants:
1 – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska 8.5

2 – Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina 8.0
3 – Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy 8.5
4 – James Brewer, OT, Indiana 8.0
6 – Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State 8.0
6 – Tyler Sash, S, Iowa 7.5
6 – Jacquian Williams, LB, South Florida 7.0
7 – Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: The Giants stayed patient and ended up with a significant upgrade to the cornerback position with Amukamara, and they got a very talented defensive tackle in Marvin Austin in round two. He has a ton of potential but I am not sure he will ever reach it because of his attitude and work ethic. Jernigan is going to be a very dynamic slot receiver for the Giants in my opinion. Brewer has potential as a RT, Jones was a great value in round six. The rest are solid depth, though Sash has some upside.

Tampa Bay:
1 – Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa 8.0
2 – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson 8.0
3 – Mason Foster, LB, Washington 8.5
4 – Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee 8.5
5 – Ahmad Black, S, Florida 8.5
6 – Allen Bradford, RB, USC 7.5
7 – Anthony Gaitor, CB, Florida International 7.0
7 – Daniel Hardy, TE, Idaho 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Clayborn and Bowers were two interesting additions to a defensive line with a couple of very talented defensive tackles. Foster has a lot of potential as well and getting him in round three was a great value in my opinion. Stocker has good potential too and he is a well-rounded TE. Black has great intangibles and while he doesn’t have elite size and athleticism he could very well plug the hole the Bucs have had at safety.

Thanks for reading! One more round of draft grades will be up in the next day or two and then I’ll have some names to look out for next year in two posts!

–Tom

First Round Draft Grades

1st– Carolina- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn:
Grade: C
Analysis: I don’t think Cam Newton is the best player in the draft and I think they made this pick because they felt like they had to. They could have gotten Marcel Dareus, a better player in my opinion, and filled a huge need at the same time. I don’t think Cam Newton will live up to his immense potential that has more to do with his physical ability than his accuracy and intangibles. I don’t think Cam will be a great quarterback in the NFL and that makes it hard to like this pick.

2nd– Denver- Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M:
Grade: B-
Analysis: If Denver was running a 3-4 I would give this pick an A+. Miller is a perfect 3-4 OLB and he would have formed a great tandem at OLB with Elvis Dumervil if he came back healthy. However, they are moving to a 4-3 defense and Miller will still have to be a strong-side linebacker in that defense. I think he can play this position which speaks to his athleticism, but it isn’t going to maximize his potential as a pass rushing linebacker which really is too bad. So I give this pick a B- because they got a good player, but they are limiting his potential by moving to a 4-3.

3rd– Buffalo- Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama:
Grade: A+
Analysis: Dareus is one of the best players in the draft and the Bills got him at #3. The Bills like to use 3-4 and 4-3 looks and Dareus is versatile enough to play 3-4 DE like he did at Alabama or play 4-3 DT which he did at times in Alabama’s nickel packages. I think he is going to be a very good player for Buffalo and that is why I gave them a great grade.

4th– Cincinnati- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia:
Grade: A
Analysis: The Bengals had a huge need at WR with TO likely leaving and Chad Johnson getting older. Jordan Shipley has ability as a slot receiver but they needed a future #1 and A.J. Green is absolutely that guy. He is the best receiver I have scouted since Calvin Johnson without a doubt and he should be a very good receiver in the NFL. He is as well rounded as any player at any position in this draft and he was the #1 player on my draft board for that reason. This is a great pick for the Bengals and they must have really liked him because reportedly they turned down a lot of picks from Atlanta to get him.

5th– Arizona- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU:
Grade: A
Analysis: Patrick Peterson is one of the best players in the draft and the Cardinals stood pat and let him fall to them. They had a great shot at getting one of Dareus, Miller, Peterson or Gabbert and they had their choice and I think they made the right one. Peterson will provide them a potentially elite corner to pair with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a guy who had a bit of a down year last year. He fills a need and provides a lot of talent to a secondary that really needs a playmaker.

6th– Atlanta- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama:
Grade: B-
Analysis: The pick looks really good because Julio has a lot of talent and could form a very formidable duo with Roddy White in Atlanta, however the price that the Falcons paid to move up to #6 and get Julio Jones was extremely high. It also feels to me like the Falcons tried to move up to #4 to get A.J. Green and then “settled” for Julio at #6. I personally wouldn’t have made that move, but it is a gamble and I’m glad that the Falcons identified the guy they wanted and made an aggressive move to get him. I just wish they hadn’t given up so much to do it. Regardless, I like the player and I think that Roddy will be able to mentor him effectively and help him improve his concentration which is something Roddy struggled with early in his career. I hope Julio pans out because otherwise this could be a very problematic for the Falcons in the future.

7th– San Francisco- Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri:
Grade: B-
Analysis: I love the player, I am very high on Aldon Smith and I think I had him #6 on my big board, but I don’t think he is a very good fit in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker. He has impressive speed and burst off the edge but I don’t think he is a fluid enough athlete to drop into coverage and I thought he was best with his hand in the dirt. It will be interesting to see if he is still effective in the 3-4, but I thought he had the most upside as a defensive end in a 4-3 which is why I gave the pick a lower grade.

8th– Tennessee- Jake Locker, QB, Washington:
Grade: B-
Analysis: When I watched Jake Locker he didn’t strike me as a franchise QB, and I thought that while he has a lot of potential and great intangibles he won’t be a great QB in the NFL. If he can be brought along slowly for a year or two I think he could be a pretty good QB in the NFL and it’s hard to doubt a kid with his work ethic and leadership capability, but I don’t know how good he will be in the NFL. I like him, but I liked him more as a pick in the 20’s than I do #8. It will be interesting to see how he develops, but I don’t think I would have picked him here.

9th– Dallas- Tyron Smith, OT, Southern Cal:
Grade: B
Analysis: Smith is a solid pick here. Not the best value, but they needed a LT and Smith will fit that bill for them. I don’t think he will be able to start at LT right away for them because while he has a ton of potential he needs coaching up on his technique in my opinion. I think he might be able to play later on in his rookie year but I think he would be best starting as a back-up, developing and then playing when he is ready. Hopefully he isn’t forced in early.

10th– Jacksonville- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri:
Grade: B+
Analysis: Gabbert is a good pick here and I think he is going into a good situation for him. He needs a year or two to develop without being pressured into the starting position and with Garrard still playing pretty effective football at QB for the Jags Gabbert should be able to learn from him and get coached up. This is a good situation for him and I obviously like him a lot as a QB as he was my #1 ranked QB in the draft.

11th– Houston- J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin:
Grade: A
Analysis: Watt is a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense that the Texans are switching to and he might be able to play significantly as a rookie. Watt really gives the Texans some talent at a position of need and he helps bolster a front seven that was in need of a talent upgrade. I am a big fan of Watt and I think this is going to end up being a great pick. Watt loves the game, has an incredible passion for it and I think he will work extremely hard to continue to improve.

12th– Minnesota- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State:
Grade: C
Analysis: This fills a position of need obviously but I think that it was a significant reach. I like Ponder, but his injury concerns and his down year this year would have given me pause if I was thinking about pulling the trigger here. Personally I would have drafted Nick Fairley at 12, improved my defensive line and then traded back into round one if Ponder was my guy. Just no value with this pick, and it felt like a desperation move because they couldn’t find a team to trade down with.

13th– Detroit- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn:
Grade: A
Analysis: I caught a little flak for saying that Fairley would slide to #12 in my final mock draft and not only did he last that long he made it to #13 which I was very surprised about. Fairley has a ton of potential and teaming him with Suh on their interior defensive line is borderline terrifying. Obviously he has work to do and he needs to keep working, but if he keeps improving and developing the Lions could have a terrifying pair of defensive tackles for the next 5-10 years. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses because he has a ton of ability but there is some boom/bust potential with him. But at this point he is definitely worth the risk.

14th– St. Louis- Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina:
Grade: B+
Analysis: The Rams needed some pass rush help here as Leonard Little is getting older and Quinn has the potential to be a very effective pass rusher. There is boom/bust potential with this pick as well because there isn’t much tape on Quinn since he was suspended during his junior season. It is interesting to note how his season long suspension was not deemed as significant as Dez Bryant’s suspension over seemingly less wrong-doing, but that is just my personal opinion. Quinn has a lot of potential so it will be interesting to see how he develops over the next three years.

15th– Miami- Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida:
Grade: D+
Analysis: This is a very bad pick in my opinion. He might end up being a pretty good guard in the NFL, but I don’t think he is worth this high of a selection at all. I personally think he is very overrated and a lot of that has to do with his brother Maurkice being a pro-bowler at center for the Steelers as a rookie. The mind-boggling thing is that I haven’t heard one person say that they think Mike is going to be a better NFL player than Maurkice, and yet he was drafted two picks higher than Maurkice was! That is absolutely mind-boggling to me. Pouncey has the potential to be a pretty good guard in the NFL, but I think he is overrated and I don’t think he will live up to such a high selection for a guard.

16th– Washington- Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue:
Grade: C+
Analysis: I like Kerrigan a lot as a player but I thought his best fit was as a LE in a 4-3 defense, not as a 3-4 OLB. I never thought he looked like a fluid enough athlete to play that position, so I was pretty surprised when the Redskins, a new 3-4 team, drafted him to play 3-4 OLB. Very surprising. I love his motor and work ethic so I think he will get the most out of his ability, I just don’t think he is a good fit for this scheme.

17th– New England- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado:
Grade: C-
Analysis: I know it seems like I am giving a lot of bad grades, but some guys that I am not high on were going higher than I thought they should have. Solder is a guy that I would have picked in round 2 but I am not high on him. He has a lot of athletic ability and has good potential to play LT, but I think he is overrated as a LT prospect. The Patriots have a great drafting track record so it will be interesting to see if they prove to be right, but I definitely don’t like this pick.

18th– San Diego- Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois:
Grade: B+
Analysis: I like Liuget as a prospect. He will be a pretty good fit at 3-4 DE for the Chargers and he should have a good impact against the run and should be able to penetrate upfield and disrupt plays in the backfield. I’m pretty high on Liuget so I liked this pick for the Chargers.

19th– New York Giants- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraksa:
Grade: A
Analysis: The Giants needed help at corner and I think they had to be surprised that Amukamara slid this far, so I think this is a very good value pick here. Amukamara has some technique work to do but going to a Giants team that has a thriving pass rush and some veteran experience at corner so hopefully he won’t be forced into playing time too early.

20th– Tampa Bay- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa:
Grade: B-
Analysis: I am not a big Clayborn fan and I am wary of him because of his down year this past season when he seemed to be throttling it down. I think he has the potential to prove me wrong, but he was a risk that I wouldn’t have felt comfortable taking without being able to evaluate his personality to see if he was as hard of a worker as everyone seemed to make him out to be. So I am not sold on him at 20, but he could very well prove me wrong.

21st– Cleveland: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor:
Grade: B-
Analysis: This is a pretty good pick and I would probably give it a B+ or A- if the Browns were still running a 3-4 but they are running a 4-3 and having Rubin and Taylor inside will mean they will be getting almost no interior pass rush from their starters. They will need to bolster their interior line depth with some more athletic pass rushers to ever get a pass rush. However, their run defense should be formidable and I like Phil Taylor as a prospect so they still get a pretty good grade.

22nd– Indianapolis- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College:
Grade: A
Analysis: I thought Castonzo was a top 20 lock so this is good value for him here, plus he was my #1 ranked offensive tackle when it was all said and done, over Tyron Smith. I think he will be a good LT for the Colts for a very long time and I think Castonzo is an underrated prospect when it comes to playing the LT position. The Colts are a savvy team when it comes to the draft and I think they made a very good pick here, I’m a big Castonzo fan.

23rd– Philadelphia- Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor:
Grade: B+
Analysis: Watkins is a player I like but he is older than the average draft pick at 26 years old which limits his upside but I think he will be able to contribute early in his career which makes up for it to a degree. He should be a big help at guard for the Eagles who generally target offensive and defensive linemen in the first round of the draft.

24th– New Orleans- Cameron Jordan, DE, California:
Grade: B+
Analysis: I don’t think Jordan is a great fit as a 4-3 DE but I think he will be pretty good there. I think he would have been better in a 3-4 system though. Regardless, he is a very fundamentally sound player and he should be able to contribute early on in his career as a Saint and I definitely like him a lot as a prospect, plus they got a good value for him here. If he was a better scheme fit, in my opinion, he would have gotten an A or A+ from me here.

25th– Seattle- James Carpenter, OT, Alabama:
Grade: B
Analysis: I think they could have gotten him a bit later but clearly they were high on him and I understand why. He isn’t a flashy guy but I think he is going to have a long, successful NFL career at right tackle in the NFL. I don’t think he will be a guard, I think he will be a very good right tackle. So while they didn’t get great value they did get a good player at 25.

26th– Kansas City- Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh:
Grade: C+
Analysis: I wouldn’t have picked Baldwin this high and I have questions about his fundamentals (such as route running, short area quickness) and I also have questions about his character. He has a ton of potential because of his size and freakish athletic ability but I am just not sold on him living up to that immense potential. It will be interesting to see how he develops because if he learns how to run better routes he could very well live up to his potential because he has great athletic ability, attacks jump balls well and adjusts to the ball in the air as well as any receiver in this draft.

27th– Baltimore- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado:
Grade: B+
Analysis: I’m not a huge Jimmy Smith fan but he is a good fit for the Ravens scheme and he will be able to play a lot of man coverage on an island for them. He needs to work on some things, particularly his foot work, but he has a lot of potential as a man coverage corner even if I don’t think he has very good ball skills.

28th– New Orleans- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama:
Grade: A+
Analysis: Ingram is going to turn out to be one of the best players from this draft class but because he isn’t a flashy running back he fell this far, that and because of a lack of need for RB’s early and often in the first round. However, Ingram is going to prove to be a great addition to the Saints and trust me I hate saying that as a Falcons fan. If his knee holds up he will put up 1,000+ yards and 8+ TD’s consistently for the next eight years.

29th– Chicago- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin:
Grade: A+
Analysis: I think Carimi is EXACTLY what the Bears needed. They needed an offensive lineman who can run block effectively which he can and a guy who can pass block well which he can. He won’t be able to stick at LT in the NFL but he has the potential to be a pro-bowl right tackle and the Bears have to be doing back-flips because he lasted this long. This was a huge step in the right direction for the Bears offensive line.

30th– New York Jets- Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple:
Grade: B
Analysis: Wilkerson is a solid value and he has a lot of potential so I like the pick, I just don’t love it as much as some others. I think he will fit in well in their 3-4 scheme so I think this is a good pick as far as need but they also got a talented player.

31st– Pittsburgh- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State:
Grade: A+
Analysis: I love this pick, absolutely love it. I am a huge Heyward fan and I think he is going to be one of the biggest steals in this draft when it is all said and done. He won’t ever be a big sack guy in the NFL but he is going to be an impact player against the run and he should be an anchor on this Pittsburgh defensive line for the next ten years. This is one of the best picks of the draft in my opinion.

32nd– Green Bay- Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State:
Grade: A
Analysis: The Packers made a great pick to finish the first round with Sherrod. I wrote in my scouting report that I thought his best fit might be in a zone blocking scheme because of his good first step and his ability to wall off defenders in the run game. He struggles as a drive blocker so his max value would be in a zone blocking scheme because he wouldn’t be asked to drive block as often, and that is why I love this pick so much. Sherrod won’t be asked to drive block as much as he would in a man scheme which makes him more valuable, plus he should be able to play LT for the Packers allowing Bulaga to remain at RT where I think he is a better fit.

That’s all I have for the first round of the draft. I’ll try and get grades out for day two tomorrow or Sunday! Thanks for reading!

–Tom