NFL Draft 2014: Round One Picks, Commentary & Grades


Mar 26, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome! Here is your one-stop shop for all your 2014 NFL draft needs. We will have live picks being posted just as they come in at Radio City Hall with brief commentary.

Round 1

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney

Did anyone really expect the Texans to pick anyone other than Clowney? If you have the number one pick in the draft, you can’t afford to fill in a need. Clowney is the best player in the draft by far and pairing him with JJ Watt will give the Texans the scariest line in the league.

Grade: A+

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Greg Robinson

The Rams believe in Sam Bradford, at least for another season. The offensive line will need some help to hold up against those vaunted NFC West pass rushers. Robinson is an athletic freak with pro-bowl potential who can step in and immediately make the offensive line better.

Grade: B+

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles

The Jaguars are in dire need of some playmakers, on both sides of the ball, but they elect for a QB. Blake Bortles will need some time to develop in this league before he becomes good. He has the prototypical body for an NFL QB, but his mechanics and footwork are shaky at best. There were better quarterbacks available.

Grade: C

4. Buffalo Bills (Trade with Cleveland)  – Sammy Watkins

Wow. The Bills go deep in with EJ Manuel by giving him Sammy Watkins. They gave up a first round pick this and next year along with a fourth round pick next year. Manuel must be ecstatic, as he now has one of the best receivers to come out of the draft since the likes of Julio Jones. They gave up a lot for him, let’s hope he is worth it.

Grade: B

5. Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack

The Raiders have filled a lot of needs through free agency, and have the luxury of being able to pick the best player available. Here, they draft a huge playmaker  in Mack, who can come in on the other side of Sio Moore to form a young Von Miller/ Elvis Dumervil duo. Antonio Smith, Justin Tuck, Laamar Woodley, Sio Moore and Khalil Mack will form a terrific pass rush.

Grade: A

6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews

The Falcons came into the season with Super Bowl expectations, but they compromised their future a few years ago when trading up to pick Julio Jones, and it finally caught up to them last season. Matt Ryan needs someone to protect him this season and Matthews is a real technician on the offensive line and can stabilize the tackle position for years to come.

Grade: A-

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans

Tampa Bay went on a spending free this offseason and brought in a lot of talent to fill some holes. They brought in Josh McCown to stabilize the QB position this year, so it only makes sense that they brought in a big, talented receiver in Evans to help him out this season. He and Vincent Jackson will form a deadly WR duo, similar to the one McCown had in Chicago with Marshall and Jeffery.

Grade: B+

8. Cleveland Browns (Trade with Vikings)  – Justin Gilbert

Okay, so NO ONE saw this coming. Gilbert has amazing potential at 6’0, but the Browns obviously had him high on their board to take a corner when Joe Haden is already on the team. Cleveland will definitely have one of the best CB duos in the league with major game-changing potential.

Grade: B-

9. Minnesota Vikings (Trade with Browns)   – Anthony Barr

The Vikings spiraled last season after a surprise playoff appearance in 2012, mostly due to ineptitude at the quarterback position. They already have one of the best runningbacks of all time, but the defense was ranked 31st in the NFL last season. Anthony Barr is one of the elite pass rushers in this draft, but because of his lack of experience at the position, he will struggle at first in the NFL. He has amazing potential though and his ceiling is off the charts.

Grade: B+

10. Detroit Lions – Eric Ebron

The Lions are on the most enigmatic teams in the NFL. They have a great QB in Stafford and the best (?) receiver of all time, so why can’t they win? Defense is certainly a question mark, but the Lions elect to draw attention away from megatron by drafting a big play threat in Ebron. Matthew Stafford is certainly ecstatic, but the defense still needs help.

Grade: B-

11. Tennessee Titans – Taylor Lewan

The Titans were another team that added some nice talent in the offseason. They like Jake Locker, even if his injuries are a concern, and will give him another season to prove himself. The Titans help him out a little by adding the top player on their board in Taylor Lewan. It will also save the Titans some money next offseason if they choose to move him to LT.

Grade: B+

12. New York Giants – Odell Beckham

Victor Cruz said the Giants need to pick up a wide receiver to fill in the hole that Hakeem Nicks left. Jerry Reese said that player’s opinion did not have any consideration when drafting, but Cruz still got his wish as the Giants pick up Beckham, the #3 receiver on the Giants board presumably. A defensive game changer, like Donald, would have been a nice pick here because there are plenty of good  receivers available in round 2. Can Beckham make as big as an impact as the #2 receiver as a defensive play maker could have? I don’t think so…

Grade: C+

13. St. Louis Rams – Aaron Donald

I love this pick, Aaron Donald can possibly be one of the best players to come out of this draft. The Rams keep adding to their stock hold of pass-rushers, making their defensive line one of the best in the league. They need the pressure to keep up with the quarterbacks in the NFC West.

Grade: A +

14. Chicago Bears – Kyle Fuller

The Bears went out to vastly improve the defense that fell off last season by adding Lamaar Houston and Willie Young. With the pass rush addressed, the Bears draft the top corner left on their board from Virginia Tech. Not the flashiest of moves, especially considering it is not a position of need, but this is a smart move that adds depth and talent to the secondary.

Grade: B-

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ryan Shazier

The Steelers need to get younger on the defense, a corner could have been an option here, but the Steelers pick Shazier out of Ohio State. He is an explosive linebacker that can cover and make plays. A smart, calculated player, he can immediately come into the Steelers “Steel Curtain” and make a difference.

Grade: B+

16. Dallas Cowboys –  Zack Martin

Well, we were all hoping to see Jerry Jones draft Johnny Football here, but alas the safe pick was selected. Martin is a tough specimen from Notre Dame who has been all over mock drafts. It is a good pick to help keep Romo upright. The offensive line is getting better now, but the interior of the defense still needs to be addressed.

Grade: B+

17. Baltimore Ravens – CJ Mosley

The Ravens have drafted really well the past decade, but the defending 2012 Super Bowl champions lost some talent, which led to them not making the playoffs and keeping the Super Bowl curse alive. Mosley is the best inside linebacker in this draft and can come in and fill that hole that came up when Rolando McClain retired last offseason. McClain (another Alabama product) and Mosley are polar opposites, and the Ravens are hoping that he can anchor the defense for years to come.

Grade: B+

18. New York Jets – Calvin Pryor

The Jets had an up and down season behind Geno Smith. In the offseason, they added playmakers all over the offense in hopes of shoring up the 25th rank offensive attack. In the draft though, they add a hard hitting safety in Pryor. Ed Reed won’t live forever and he was not that effective last year anyways. His replacement Pryor will need to learn how to control himself in the NFL, but he has the potential to be a perennial pro-bowler.

Grade: A-

19. Miami Dolphins – Ja’Wuan James

The Dolphins were a circus last year after their spending spree in the offseason, and it showed during the season. Ryan Tannehill was maddingly inconsistent as always and the Incognito debacle seemed to suck the entire team into a funk. They need an offensive linemen and they take a reach on James. By the way, we called this pick.

Grade: B

20. New Orleans Saints (Trade with Cardinals)  – Brandin Cooks

Cooks is the fastest receiver in this draft, clocking in a blazing 4.33 time in the 40-yard dash. The Saints franchised Jimmy Graham this offseason to give Drew Brees the underneath target, now they go out and draft a player who can stretch the field and become an explosive player for their offense.

Grade: B+

21. Green Bay Packers – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

The Packers somehow scrapped out a playoff appearance last season, despite Aaron Rodgers going down with an injury. The defense is the biggest worry though, as they were near the bottom of the league. They brought in Julius Peppers to beef up the front seven, but the secondary still needs help. Safety is the biggest position of need, and Clinton-Dix may be the top guy on there board anyways. Good, safe pick that makes a lot of sense.

Grade: B

22. Cleveland Browns  – Johnny Manziel

The Browns seemingly did the impossible, nabbed Johnny Manziel with the #22 pick. Manziel is the best quarterback in draft, an electric game-changer and will help this offense in ways… well only Johnny Football could.

Grade: A+++

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Dee Ford

Is defense really what the Chiefs should focus on in the NFL draft? Houston and Hali are some of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, so why add another pass rusher when the offense is lacking a big play threat besides Charles. They also lost 3 starting offensive linemen to free agency.  The pick would have been better used on an offensive game-changer or a tough offensive linemen. Other than that, Ford is good value at #23.

Grade: C-

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard

The Bengals have a need at corner, and Dennard is available at #24, it is a match made in heaven. Dennard was the top rated corner on many people’s draft board and the Bengals should be ecstatic that he dropped this far. They add a defensive playmaker to an already uber talented team.

Grade: B+

25. San Diego Chargers – Jason Verrett

The Chargers have a bad defense, and need major help in the secondary along with many other needs. Verrett is an undersized corner from TCU who, other than his size, has everything that you want in an NFL CB. While he goes against the typical cornerbacks that the NFL is growing accustomed to, Verrett has the potential to be the next Tyrann Mathieu with his fluid hips and nice coverage skills.

Grade: B

26. Philadelphia Eagles (Trade with Browns) – Marcus Smith

The Eagles have one of the best offenses in the NFL, but their defense needs help. Marcus Smith can immediately step in and be a starter. Was it a bit of a reach for the Eagles? Sure, but he was probably the best player left on their board and they already traded up once in this draft, so they grabbed him while they could.

Grade: B-

27. Arizona Cardinals (Trade with Saints) – Deone Bucannon

The Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and Bucannon was considered one of the most undervalued prospects in the draft. Last year they hit on Mathieu and will be looking to add to that talented secondary with Bucannon, mirroring the way the Seattle Seahawks work. Arizona may just be the first or second best team in that division now.

Grade: B+

28. Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin

The Panthers had no receivers prior to the draft, and with Benjamin slipping in the past couple of days, they relished the opportunity to add a huge  (6’5 and 240 pounds) target for Cam Newton to throw to. Possibly the third best receiver in the draft, the Panthers might have a major steal on their hands right now.

Grade: A

29. New England Patriots – Dominique Easley

The Patriots, contrary to popular belief, don’t have much talent on their defense. They win games because they have the best QB/coach combo in the league. The line needed to get better and Easley was the top man on the Patriots’ board, so they scooped him up. They have some needs, maybe greater than a defensive tackle, but the Patriots always have the luxury of picking whomever is top of their board.

Grade: B-

30. San Francisco 49ers – Jimmie Ward

The 49ers fail to address the need at wide receiver, even though Marqise Lee is still available, but safety is a need after Whitner left for Cleveland. The secondary took a huge hit, so the Niners add the player that they think can come in and help them the most. The offense needs help though, especially after Kaepernick’s inconsistent season and lack of WRs.

Grade: B-

31. Denver Broncos – Bradley Roby

The Broncos lost DRC to free agency in the offseason, but did sign Aqib Talib and TJ Ward to boost the secondary. They needed another corner though, and they went out and got the best one available. They already have one of the best offenses in the NFL and added some high level talent to an already stacked roster. He does not have the best instincts, but his talent level and potential are sky high.

Grade: B+

32. Minnesota Vikings (Trade with Seattle) – Teddy Bridgewater

The Vikings move up and grab the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft. Teddy fell in recent days for no good reason, and the Vikings capitalized on the opportunity to grab him, and his 5th year option. Teddy will have a good situation Minnesota with Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson out there on the field with him

Grade: A