2014 SURGEX NFL Draft Grades

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Today we at SURGEX take a look at which teams appear to have received B grades at this years NFL draft.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: If Dominique Easley is fully healthy  then he offers the type of disruptive ability in the middle the Patriots need with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly aging.  A nice fit in New England’s offense is the selection of Jimmy Garoppolo because his sharp mind and lightning release. Center Bryan Stork is a technician who also fits well and Cameron Fleming and Jon Halapio add toughness to New England’s front. Watch out for diminutive playmakers James White, Jemea Thomas and Jeremy Gallon to also carve out niches.

Grade: B

BALTIMORE RAVENS: CJ Mosley offers instincts, athleticism and physicality and instantly upgrades the defense. Defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan and Brent Urban are tough run-stuffers with upside and safety Terrence Brooks could be the centerfielder to complement last year’s first round in-the-box hitter Matt Elam. Two great addition’s are tight end Crockett Gillmore and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro. Don’t be surprised if wide receiver Michael Campanaro makes this club as a slot receiver.

Grade: B+

CINCINNTI BENGALS: The franchise has evolved into one of the better drafting teams in the league, consistently filling gaps in the roster via cheaper college prospects rather than over-paying veterans. Darqueze Dennard may lack the flashy athleticism to get scouts excited but he’s a pro-ready corner who plays with toughness and poise against the pass and run. Jeremy Hill is a tough, downhill runner who will complement last year’s pickup of air-back Gio Bernard quite well and defensive end Will Clarke offers the length and blue-collar work ethic to do the same with last year’s gamble on Margus Hunt. AJ McCarron will get the press, but interior lineman Russell Bodine is the one who could make an impact in Cincinnati as he has the grit and strength to push for time at center or guard.

Grade: B

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Pittsburgh realized that this was a critical draft for the rejuvenation of an aging franchise. Their dedication paid off with one of the year’s better draft classes – at least on paper. Linebacker Ryan Shazier, versatile weapon Dri Archer and wideout Martavis Bryant offer pure explosiveness. Defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers have first round traits, as well. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was born to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, bringing a physical nature that will endear him to coaches and fans, alike. There is a lot to like about the Steelers’ selections but with a few of these players struggling to play up to expectations throughout their career, there is some boom-or-bust factor here that must be acknowledged.

Grade: B+

HOUSTON TEXANS: Dominant pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney was the the Texans 1st rd, overall #1 pick, this fact alone gives them major props. The Texans added only QB Tom Savage to a position group currently headlined by journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Versatile offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo was a first-round talent that the Texans were fortunate to have slip to No. 33 and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz will also be solid. Sixth-rounders Jeoffrey Pagan and Alfred Blue could also surprise.

Grade: B

TENNESSEE TITANS: The selection of Taylor Lewan in the first round was a surprise given the fact that the Titians are stacked at O line. Running back Bishop Sankey in the second round was a nice pick, he is a tough player and grounded person with a terrific blend of instincts, burst and hands. Fantasy enthusiasts should take note of him. Of Tennessee’s Day Three picks, I’m especially high on Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, who is a wide-bodied run-stuffing presence with size to complement the smaller, quicker interior rushers already on the roster. Adding Zach Mettenberger in the seventh round is a low-risk gamble that could pay off big.

Grade: B

DENVER BRONCOS: I really like the addition of tough and talented cornerback Bradley Roby at No. 31. He needs to play with greater consistency but the talent is undeniable. Wide receiver Cody Latimer adds to the length, speed and toughness of a group that failed to match Seattle’s physicality in the Super Bowl — with the notable exception of star Demaryius Thomas. Michael Schofield and Matt Paradis are no-nonsense blockers who also fill a need for depth along the offensive line and there is ample athletic upside in linebackers Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson. This wasn’t a breath-taking draft for the Broncos but few clubs did more with less (six) picks

Grade: B

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: The addition of Dee Ford in the first round was a surprise being that the Chiefs already have two nice pass rushers in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, that being said-adding impact edge rushers is never a bad idea, especially in a division featuring relatively immobile pocket passers like Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. Running back De’Anthony Thomas and quarterback Aaron Murray are the club’s offensive skill-position prospects.

Grade: B-

OAKLAND RAIDERS: Pass rusher Khalil Mack was a no-brainer at No. 5 overall and I would argue that quarterback Derek Carr was in the second round. The Raiders nabbed two athletic, wide-bodied interior linemen with guard Gabe Jackson in the third and defensive tackle Justin Ellis in the fourth. The length of the three defensive backs Oakland nabbed in this draft is noteworthy, especially given the size of the top receivers in this division.

Grade: B

DALLAS COWBOYS: It looked for a few minutes there like Jerry Jones mightdraft Johnny Manziel but he exercised restraint, taking offensive lineman Zach Martin in the first round. A day later, with an aggressively went after defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, a gifted pass rusher who fills a glaring hole with DeMarcus Ware now with the Denver Broncos. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens, wideout Devin Street and versatile defensive lineman Ben Gardner close out Dallas’ effort.

Grade: B

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Louisville pass rusher Marcus Smith was drafted in the first round by the Eagles, the former quarterback was a nice players in this draft because of his athleticism, instincts,  hustle, and is a good schematic fit for the Eagles. The additions of Jordan Matthews and former Oregon Duck Josh Huff as pro-ready receivers are well equipped to be effective in Chip Kelly’s offense. Cornerback Jaylen Watkins flashed talent throughout his career at Florida and was highly impressive at the Senior Bowl. He and former Stanford safety Ed Nelson could fill significant needs. The additions of Taylor Hart and Beau Allen on Day Three, a couple of players who are more athletic than they look and also could surprise.

Grade: B+

NEW YORK GIANTS:The Giants started off their 2014 class with a surprise in playmaking wide receiver Odell Beckham and the year’s top center in Weston Richburg, each of whom should be able to help Eli Manning return to form. Three of their next four picks were spent on instinctive, passionate defenders with underrated athleticism in defensive tackle Jay Bromley, safety Nat Berhe and pass rusher Devon Kennard. Running back Andre Williams is a no non-sense grinder who could give Tom Coughlin the featured back that David Wilson has failed thus far to become. Each of the four comes with question marks, however, as Bromley and Berhe lack ideal size, Williams has only average top-end speed (despite a solid 40-yard dash time) and Kennard has struggled with durability. Other than Beckham, this wasn’t a flashy draft for the Giants. With some luck it could be very effective.

Grade: B-

DETROIT LIONS: Playmaking tight end Eric Ebron was a surprise selection at No. 10 overall given the Lions’ already explosive offense, but it is hard to fault the team for adding playmakers considering the point-scoring capabilities of NFC North opponents. Most of the rest of Detroit’s selections were rightly spent on the defensive side of the ball with underrated linebacker Kyle Van Noy coming in to supplement last year’s project Ziggy Ansah (also from BYU) and high-effort defensive tackle Caraun Reid, whose motor could help push Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley to reach their awesome potential. The surprise of the draft could very well wind up being cornerback Nevin Lawson, a highly athletic and competitive cover corner who could push for playing time immediately.

Grade: B+

ATLANTA FALCONS: The Falcons’ primary goal in the offseason was to get bigger and tougher at the line of scrimmage and despite focusing on that during free agency, it was again the play throughout the draft, beginning with the safest player in the 2014 class, OT Jake Matthews. Defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman lacks Matthews’ polish or consistency but his extraordinary athleticism for a 6-6, 310-pounder speaks to his upside. The Falcons addressed two other significant areas of concern with free safety Dezmen Southward and one of the top backs in the draft in Devonta Freeman, a Ray Rice-clone who could spell (and eventually replace) Steven Jackson. Day Three linebackers Yawin Smallwood and Tyler Starr are interesting prospects who could find a niche in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s hybrid scheme.

Grade: B

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: nabbing 6-5, 231-pound wide receiver Mike Evans in the first round and 6-6, 258-pound tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second to complement incumbent star Vincent Jackson (6-5, 230) re vamps the Buc’s WR corps. Landing players similar to those whom Lovie Smith coached in Chicago was clear he and new GM Jason Licht landed Charles Sims, an elite pass-catcher at running back very much in the mold of Matt Forte. Speedy slot receiver Robert Herron, could surprise as a sixth round pick.

Grade: B-

ARIZONA CARDINALS: Deone Bucannon didn’t generate as much pre-draft hype as some of the other safeties in this class but the 6-1, 211-pounder aptly named — he closes on ball carriers lightning quick. Fitting in won’t be a problem for tight end Troy Niklas or big-play wideout John Brown, terrific fits in Bruce Arians’ offense, which asks the tight end to block often and could put the former Pittsburg State speedster in a similar position to streak downfield. The Cardinals took calculated risks with defensive lineman Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson, as well as quarterback Logan Thomas but at palatable points in the draft.

Grade: B+

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Wide receiver Paul Richardson (4.3 40) offers a pure vertical speed element that could keep opponents from crowding the box to slow down Seattle’s run-heavy attack. Kevin Norwood doesn’t possess Richardson’s rare acceleration but is pro-ready with the build and body control to also make the roster. Offensive tackle Justin Britt was a surprise in the second round but his length, functional strength and tenacity could help him vie for playing time as a rookie. Combative edge rusher Cassius Marsh and Jimmy Staten provide depth at the LEO and five-technique positions, respectively. Kevin Pierre-Louis is a similarly gifted athlete with eye-popping college production. No team has enjoyed more recent success on Day Three of the draft than the Seahawks and of their late selections, athletic offensive lineman Garrett Scott and hulking safety Eric Pinkins look especially promising.

Grade: B

 

 

2 comments

  • Nice to see you think Big Blue received a B+. What happened to the Redskins in the draft? Did they have draft picks? Odell Beckham Jr. will do just fine for Big Blue no worries here.

    • Thanks Man Child for reaching out.
      Yes, the Redskins did have picks-
      see todays NFL draft C grade post to learn more!

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