2015 NFL DRAFT

Grading the 2014 NFL Draft: Patriots, Jets tops in AFC East

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Draft coverage: Picks and grades | Prospect Rankings | Sam goes No. 249 | News

Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu rather than waiting to actually taste the food. It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend. But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a take at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2014 draft.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills
Wideout Sammy Watkins may very well be the difference-maker that Buffalo is looking for to help take the pressure off of 2013 surprise first round quarterback EJ Manuel but the Bills gave up two first round picks to get him, which I believe will prove too much. I do like the focus on blockers with second rounder Cyrus Kouandjio, fifth rounder Cyril Richardson and the late gamble on the talented but troubled Seantrel Henderson. Defensive back Ross Cockrell could surprise and I like Preston Brown's physicality in the middle. Grade: C

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins checked off most of their areas of concern with a very logical draft but I don't know the club received great value at any of their selections, starting with Jawuan James at No. 19 overall. WR Jarvis Landry and TE Arthur Lynch are solid, pro-ready players but neither has the athleticism to ever likely more than complementary players in the NFL. Frankly, I'm more intrigued by the upside of the relative "small-schoolers" in Billy Turner, Walt Aikens and Jordan Tripp. James will start right away and Turner will develop into a starter relatively soon, as well, filling huge gaps in Miami's offensive line but are the Dolphins closer to overtaking the Patriots with this draft? Grade: C+

New England Patriots

The Patriots' draft will be panned by some but I like the mix of gambling and safety. Certainly if Dominique Easley is fully healthy - and his trainer Tony Villani - told us on CBSSports.com's Draft Grades Live that he is - than he offers the type of disruptive ability in the middle the Patriots have been missing for years. I'm also a big fan of the Jimmy Garoppolo selection because his sharp mind and lightning release make him a nice fit in New England's offense. 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

New York Jets

Calvin Pryor was my top-rated safety and I have no doubt that he's going to be Broadway hit for the Jets. He plays with the instincts and physicality to star in Rex Ryan's aggressive scheme. I not as high on the physicality factor of the Jets' skill-position additions of TE Jace Amaro and WRs Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans but they each offer speed and are mismatches that Geno Smith (or Michael Vick) can exploit. I like the upside of Day Three picks Brandon Dixon (CB) and Quincy Enunwa (WR) and feel that OLB Trevor Reilly is going to prove a steal. Reilly is an older prospect (turns 26), which is why he dropped to the 7th round, but he'll make this squad. Grade: B

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