Posted April 28, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Grades: Jaguars, 49ers, Rams top the class

Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins
tavon-austin

Speedy wide receiver Tavon Austin was the jewel in an extremely deep St. Louis Rams draft class. (John Albright / Icon SMI)

Now that all 254 picks have been made in the 2013 NFL Draft, it’s time to take a look at where things stand.

Our draft grades try to sort out all that went down at Radio City Music Hall from Thursday to Saturday. Did your team get the job done?

Team-by-team picks | BURKE: Steals and reaches

Arizona Cardinals

The headliner here is CB Tyrann Mathieu, but it’s actually what Arizona did elsewhere that made this a very solid draft. G Jonathan Cooper (and later Earl Watford) will improve an awful O-line, while LB Kevin Minter was a solid add in Round 2 and DE/OLB Alex Okafor a steal in Round 4. Don’t sleep on the Stepfan Taylor-Andre Ellington duo at RB. Grade: B-plus

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons absolutely had to find some help in the secondary, so they moved up for CB Desmond Trufant, then doubled down on Robert Alford. The move for Trufant did cost them a third-rounder, which left them taking a shot on DE Malliciah Goodman in Round 4. Sleeper here: QB Sean Renfree in the seventh. Grade: B

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens used their first four picks on defense: S Matt Elam, LB Arthur Brown, DT Brandon Williams and DE John Simon. All could contribute, but the aggressive move for Brown was impressive. There’s value throughout here, too, with FB Kyle Juszczyk, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore and WR Aaron Mellette all intriguing picks. Grade: A-minus

Buffalo Bills

The best move of Buffalo’s entire weekend might turn out to be signing undrafted WR Da’Rick Rogers. That’s a low-risk gamble, one that pairs well with the selections of WR Robert Woods, LB Kiko Alonso and S Duke Williams. It’s also the opposite of using pick 16 on QB EJ Manuel. The Bills’ 2013 draft hinges on Manuel being able to shine. Grade: B-minus

Carolina Panthers

Carolina almost had no choice but to take DT Star Lotulelei after he fell to No. 14. From there, it was a pretty nondescript effort, save for the head-scratcher pick of G Edmund Kugbila in Round 4. Also not sure how RB Kenjon Barner fits in a crowded backfield. LB A.J. Klein could be a solid contributor. Grade: C

Chicago Bears

The Bears addressed a couple of needs, but did they get enough done here? OL Kyle Long, as he should as a first-rounder, will help the most. That pick of pass-rushing LB Cornelius Washington in Round 6 might be a steal, too. But why LB Jon Bostic over Arthur Brown? Grade: B-minus

Cincinnati Bengals

TE Tyler Eifert brings a dynamic presence to this offense and RB Gio Bernard could, too. DE Margus Hunt might need some time to learn the NFL game. Cincinnati actually did quite well in the mid- to late rounds, with LB Sean Porter and seventh-round OT Reid Fragel shaping up as very smart selections. Grade: B-plus

Cleveland Browns

A bit of an unusual draft for the Browns, who landed an impact defender in OLB Barkevious Mingo at No. 6 and then picked just once more (CB Leon McFadden) in the next 167 selections. Cleveland did pick up a third- and fourth-rounder in 2014. Plus, remember, the Browns traded in this year’s second-rounder to get WR Josh Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft. That Gordon gamble paid off and the Browns will have lots of choices in 2014. Strictly in terms of the 2013 draft, though, there’s not much to go on here — slightly disappointing for a team hoping to make big strides. Grade: D-plus

Dallas Cowboys

The Travis Frederick selection was a reach. A major reach. Fellow C Brian Schwenke was taken 76 picks later and it’s hard to say Frederick is noticeably better. It got better from there, with TE Gavin Escobar, WR Terrance Williams and S J.J. Wilcox, for starters. The Cowboys, though, still need help at RT, possibly a backup RB, another pass rusher and some linebacker help. They didn’t address many needs in this draft. Grade: C-plus

Denver Broncos

It sort of goes without saying since immediate draft grades are pure guesswork, but I have no clue what will happen with this Denver class. DT Sylvester Williams ought to see plenty of run, but is RB Montee Ball going to fit in this offense? Will DE Quanterus Smith come back healthy? What’s with that third-round pick of CB Kayvon Webster? Interesting draft here, to say the least. Grade: C-plus

Detroit Lions

My favorite pick of Detroit’s draft: G Larry Warford in Round 3. He’s a monster and the Lions badly need a player like him up front. TE Michael Williams (Round 7) also will fit in nicely. The picks of DEs Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor and of CB Darius Slay could help, too, but all three have warts. Plus, a Round 5 punter? Grade: B-minus

Green Bay Packers

So…no one else wanted RBs Eddie Lacy or Johnathan Franklin? Well, good luck trying to stop them in Green Bay’s offense. DE Datone Jones also has a perfect look for the Packers’ front. G/T David Bakhtiari gives the Packers another option along the O-line (as does J.C. Tretter), while S Micah Hyde will be in the mix on defense. Grade: A-minus

Houston Texans

WR DeAndre Hopkins is just what the doctor ordered for this offense. Same goes for S D.J. Swearinger on the other side of the ball. Beyond that, we’ll see. Offensive linemen Brennan Williams and David Quessenberry and defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams have potential, but they’ll have to work to crack the lineup. Grade: B

Indianapolis Colts

Their top pick, Bjoern Werner, has a long way to go before he can be a reliable 3-4 OLB — he was a better fit for a 4-3. And just about every pick here comes with some hesitation. G Hugh Thornton is pretty raw, DT Montori Hughes carries significant red flags and S John Boyett had issues with both knees. Hard to see it all falling into place for this group. Grade: C

Jacksonville Jaguars

If this draft is any indication, the new regime in Jacksonville will accomplish some great things. OT Luke Joeckel is a stud, and S John Cyprien easily could have been a Round 1 pick. Pencil in CB Dwayne Gratz as a starter, as well. Best of all, the additions of WR Ace Sanders and RB/WR/QB/KR/shoelace boycotter Denard Robinson will allow the Jaguars to be a lot more creative on offense. Grade: A

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs could not go wrong choosing between OT Eric Fisher and Joeckel at No. 1. They might have gone wrong after that, depending on how well TE Travis Kelce walks the straight and narrow or when RB Knile Davis can contribute. CB Sanders Commings could win playing time, and I actually think seventh-round pick DE Mike Catapano will stick on this roster. Grade: B

Miami Dolphins

I’m very much on the Dion Jordan bandwagon, but he told me himself that he fit better on a 3-4 defense than at 4-3 end. So, either Miami needs to adjust or Jordan has to prove himself wrong to avoid the Dolphins busting out on their big Round 1 trade. Elsewhere, there might be four or five legitimate starters here, including T/G Dallas Thomas. CB Jamar Taylor was a favorite of mine at that position. Grade: B-plus

Minnesota Vikings

This is all about the three-man first round for Minnesota. DT Sharrif Floyd, CB Xavier Rhodes and WR Cordarrelle Patterson should all play huge roles for the next several years. Does it really matter, then, that the rest of this draft (save for maybe OLB Gerald Hodges) was pretty ho-hum? The Vikings went for broke in Round 1, and came out looking golden. Grade: A-minus

New England Patriots

This was a very Patriots draft — a couple of chances on fairly anonymous players, versatile defenders and a host of Rutgers guys. New England traded out of the 29th pick to add No. 52 (OLB Jamie Collins), No. 83 (CB Logan Ryan), No. 102 (WR Josh Boyce) and a seventh-round selection it later traded. Does that collection of players make up for passing on a late first-rounder? The Patriots need WR Aaron Dobson to be a weapon. Oh, and who knows on that Round 3 pick of S Duron Harmon. Grade: C-plus

New Orleans Saints

The Saints ought to be thrilled with S Kenny Vaccaro, their first-round selection. They were not on the clock for 60 selections after that and only made five total picks. The best of the rest might be DT John Jenkins, who’s faster than he looks. OT Terron Armstead was a value at 75, but he will not help the Saints’ issues at tackle until at least 2014. Grade: C

New York Giants

They took G/T Justin Pugh higher than I expected him to go, though he might pan out to be worthy of that spot. DT Johnathan Hankins and DE Damontre Moore both were typical Giants picks and should pitch in on defense. The trade up for QB Ryan Nassib was a classic Giants value pick, too — though, if Eli Manning sticks around for a few years, Nassib will either sit on the sideline or be traded. Lots of upside here. We’ll have to see how much immediate impact the Giants get. Grade: B

New York Jets

The first round was disappointing. DT Sheldon Richardson is kind of miscast in the Jets’ current defense, and CB Dee Milliner broke the rule that you don’t try to replace a player you just traded away by drafting someone at the same position. G Brian Winters has a nasty streak and Rex Ryan will like that. But, of course, the spotlight will shine brightest on QB Geno Smith. Is he the answer New York needs at that position? Or are there ample reasons to justify his drop into Round 2? Grade: C

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders, short a second-round pick heading into the draft, traded down from No. 3 to No. 12 and remedied that problem. They then took CB D.J. Hayden at 12 and OT Menelik Watson at 42. There are worries both spots — Hayden’s health and Watson’s inexperience. LB Sio Moore at 66 is my favorite pick of Oakland’s. Then there’s the swing for the fences in Round 4: QB Tyler Wilson, who may put the heat on Matt Flynn. All things beings equal, the Raiders did well for themselves. Except, where’s the D-line help? Oakland failed to address an awful unit until a couple of late Hail Marys. Grade: B-minus

Philadelphia Eagles

Until we know more about Chip Kelly’s plans, let’s just chalk the Matt Barkley pickup to finding a potential first-round QB at No. 98. The rest of this class figures to be more important in 2013. No one more so than OT Lane Johnson, who has the athleticism to thrive under Kelly. TE Zach Ertz could be a dangerous weapon in this offense, too. Defensively, expect DT Bennie Logan to help and CB Jordan Poyer to possibly prove the steal of the draft. Grade: B-plus

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers hit on four needs with their first four picks: OLB (Jarvis Jones), running back (Le’Veon Bell, who fits this offense but may not have warranted pick 48), receiver (Markus Wheaton) and safety (Shamarko Thomas). And then they picked QB Landry Jones. It’s a great fit for Jones — Ben Roethlisberger’s frequently hurt and the Steelers’ aerial attack plays to Jones’ strengths. The pick was still a surprising one. Grade: B-plus

San Diego Chargers

In OT D.J. Fluker, LB Manti Te’o and WR Keenan Allen, the Chargers added three starters. Allen, at 76, will easily outplay that draft slot if he’s 100 percent. San Diego did not cobble together much depth — CB Steve Williams and DE Tourek Williams are fringe roster guys. This Chargers’ class will live and die on the first three rounds, with most eyes focusing on Te’o. Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers

This got kind of silly for a while. The 49ers traded up for S Eric Reid, who should replace Dashon Goldson. Then, they stole DE Tank Carradine at 40, TE Vance McDonald at 55 and WR Quinton Patton at 128. In between those picks, San Francisco also added quick DE/OLB Corey Lemonier and RB Marcus Lattimore, the latter of whom could be a star if his rehab from a catastrophic knee injury works out. Grade: A

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle used its Round 1 pick to acquire Percy Harvin, so it had to wait until pick 62 to get working. Actually, the Seahawks’ best decisions came at 137 (DT Jesse Williams) and 138 (CB Tharold Simon). The Seahawks had a roster built to roll the dice a bit in the draft, and that’s just what they did with their first three picks. Grade: B-minus

St. Louis Rams

The NFC West is going to be pretty, pretty good. St. Louis stacked up as the third-best team in that division heading into the draft, behind San Francisco and Seattle, and the Rams loaded up. They traded up for electrifying WR Tavon Austin, then added his former college teammate Stedman Bailey — oh, and LB Alec Ogletree — after trading down later. St. Louis also found a possible starting safety in T.J. McDonald, a proven and versatile lineman in Barrett Jones and do-everything RB Zac Stacy. Grade: A

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers sacrificed their Round 1 pick for CB Darrelle Revis, so the rest of this was icing on the cake. CB Johnthan Banks further upgraded a terrible pass-defense unit; DT Akeem Spence will add some punch inside. The real doozy: QB Mike Glennon in Round 3. Glennon is a long, long way from being an NFL starter, so what’s the game plan here? The trade for Revis gets an “A”. The draft was only so-so. Grade: C

Tennessee Titans

You know what? I loved this draft. G Chance Warmack might be the best player in the whole class, and Tennessee scored him at 10. The Titans kept right on rolling after that, with five more gems — WR Justin Hunter, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, OLB Zaviar Gooden (one of my favorite under-the-radar guys this year), C Brian Schwenke and DE Lavar Edwards. An interior defensive lineman would have been nice, but the Titans improved a bunch regardless. Grade: A-minus

Washington Redskins

Washington knew this year would be lean after dealing its 2013 first-rounder as part of that package to land RGIII. The fourth-round pick of ball-hawking safety Phillip Thomas moved the needle more than that of up-and-down CB David Amerson in Round 2 (even if the Redskins later took sleeper Bacarri Rambo, a very similar player to Thomas). TE Jordan Reed could be fun to watch in this offense. There’s nothing great here, but all in all, it’s decent. Grade: C-plus

7 comments
longbordr52
longbordr52

No one truly knows how these classes will play out. Seattle's Wilson reminded us of that last year. But in (pure projection) terms of star athletes that have been put in positions where they will most likely succeed as NFL pros, the 49ers GM Baalke is simply on another level compared to his counterparts in the NFL. Three of his first four picks should have been 1st rounders, and all fit the few needs an already-stacked roster has. Then his fourth-round selection would have been a top-10 draftee before a catastrophic knee injury. We might be looking at the best RB from this entire class in Lattimore if he returns healthy; if not, then it's a loss of a fourth round luxury pick on an dominant roster. Big whoop. Baalke obliterated the draft this year, even if a few don't turn out the way they're projected.

The thing is, the rest of the NFC West also had great drafts that addressed their needs. Seattle's roster (at least on paper) is already a nightmare. So while their draft doesn't appear to match the few needs they have, I'll give the benefit of the doubt to them based on previous successes in recent drafts. Fisher is quietly building a powerful team in Saint Louis that will stun people when they are in contention for a playoff spot late in the season (comparable to the Bengals). Arizona addressed many of their needs, though the Cardinals are still significantly behind the other three teams. I think the Cardinals will win 6 or 7 games next year, but might be a 9-win team in a weaker conference.

RidetheLightning
RidetheLightning

@longbordr52 Baalke only has a 2 or so years under his belt. Don't get me wrong, he's done great but maybe when he composes his own team will he be mentioned among top GMs such as Ozzie Newsome, Jerry Reese, and the also head coach Belichick. You can't say the 49ers would be as good as they are now without McLoughin's picks, despite most of them being relatively high first-rounders (hey whatever works - Willis, Goldson, Crabtree, Staley, Iupati, V. Davis, A. Davis, etc). Give it some time, and then you can give Baalke his credit. AJ Smith was a top GM but later mismanagement and the hiring of Norv Turner screwed things over. We all like instant production, but it's all about the long haul when evaluating GMs

doghockey
doghockey

@pandah462 Now that is the type of in-depth analysis that has been missing around here.