Senior NFL Columnist

Draft Grades: Immediate reactions to get your blood boiling


Is there anything that infuriates people more than draft-day grades?

Get prepared to get angry again.

I truly don't think you can grade drafts for three years, but we all do it right away, which does two things. It angers the fans. And it angers the teams.

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So what?

You might not like these grades, but I'll give them anyway. I love doing them, and then wait three years to see how wrong we all were -- teams included.

So after a weekend of the draft, I awarded four "A" grades. One went to the Arizona Cardinals, one to the Cincinnati Bengals, one to the Jaguars and the other to the Minnesota Vikings. All four had great weekends picking players.

There were no "F" grades given out, but there were several drafts that didn't excite.

So dive in, and rip.

Just remember, it takes three years to really grade a draft, but we love instant analysis.

Why? To see you all turn red.

Arizona Cardinals

Best pick: Texas defensive end Alex Okafor was once considered a potential first-round pick. He had some big games as a pass rusher, so to get him in the fourth round is great value.

Questionable move: Some will say it's taking LSU corner Tyrann Mathieu and moving him to free safety. I like the idea of doing that, but can he stay out of trouble?

Third-day gem: I love the choice of Andre Ellington in the sixth round. He has speed. He is elusive and he's an air back.

Analysis: In his first draft running things, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim came up big. He landed a lot of talented players throughout.

Grade: A

Atlanta Falcons

Best pick: I love the move up to go get first-round corner Desmond Trufant. He is a cocky cover corner who will step in and start next to Asante Samuel.

Questionable move: Waiting to take a pass rusher until the fourth round. Do they have enough up front?

Third-day gem: In 2011, fourth-round tight end Levine Toilolo was a better player than teammate Zach Ertz, who went in the second round. He is a big, red-zone target.

Analysis: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff proved once again that he isn't afraid to trade up to get a key player, which he did with Trufant. They needed corners and pass rushers, and they went after both. That's why they are a good football team.

Grade: B

Baltimore Ravens

Best pick: I love second-round linebacker Arthur Brown. He is a perfect Ravens style of player. He will step in and start right away.

Questionable move: Passing on a receiver until taking Aaron Mellette from Elon in the seventh round.

Third-day gem: The Ravens have been good drafting tackles and making them guards. I think fifth-round pick Ricky Wagner might be another of those.

Analysis: Here is another team that does a great job of making picks. It's why they don't need to worry about the losses they had. Getting Matt Elam (first) and Brown will really amp up the defense. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta hit again.

Grade: B

Buffalo Bills

Best pick: I love speed. I think third-round receiver Marquise Goodwin will be a big playmaker because of his speed. He is raw, but can he run or what?

Questionable move: I just didn't see what they saw in first-round pick EJ Manuel. He has dynamic skills, but it takes a lot more than that. This is the pick that will define coach Doug Marrone.

Third-day gem: Kicker Dustin Hopkins, taken in the sixth round, is a special kicker. He has a chance to be a good one.

Analysis: I was hard on the Bills for the Manuel pick, but I think they rallied to do some good things, getting Goodwin, Robert Woods, linebacker Kiko Alonso and safety Duke Williams. But they will be defined by the Manuel pick.

Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers

Best pick: I like the pick of defensive tackle Kawann Short in the second round. He is a wide body who will help in a big way in the middle.

Questionable move: Taking running back Kenjon Barner in the sixth round. How many runners do they need?

Third-day gem: Fourth-round guard Edmund Kugbila is a player I heard about early in the process; scouts loved his power and strength. He could pay off big.

Analysis: Dave Gettleman, in his first draft with the team, made this a big-man draft. He landed two good defensive tackles in Short and first-round pick Star Lotulelei. Solid start.

Grade: B-

Chicago Bears

Best pick: I like fourth-round linebacker Khaseem Greene from Rutgers. They need to get younger at that spot.

Questionable move: Taking guard Kyle Long in the first round was a strange move, even though the kid will add some nastiness to the line. They had other more pressing needs.

Third-day gem: I like seventh-round receiver Marquess Wilson. He has talent, but he's had some off-the-field issues that led to him leaving Washington State.

Analysis: Long is a good player, and will be for a long time, but I just think they could have used that pick somewhere else. They might have over-drafted second-round linebacker Jon Bostic, too.

Grade: C

Cincinnati Bengals

Best pick: I don't usually like taking backs high, but Giovani Bernard in the second round is perfect for this team. They need a space back, and he is that.

Questionable move: It's not that first-round pick Tyler Eifert isn't a good player, but they already had Jermaine Gresham. Then again, there aren't a lot of holes on the roster.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round linebacker Sean Porter was once considered a first-day prospect. Getting him where they got him is nice value.

Analysis: For the second consecutive year, the Bengals had a big haul. They landed a lot of quality players for a roster that already had a bunch. There is no more laughing at the way they draft.

Grade: A

Cleveland Browns

Best pick: Corner Leon McFadden is a tad undersized, but he is a solid cover corner who fits a need.

Questionable move: Taking Barkevious Mingo in the first round is questionable. They had two outside rushers and had some other bigger needs. He's a good player, but not a great fit.

Third-day gem: Notre Dame safety Janoris Slaughter is coming off a torn Achilles tendon suffered early last year, so he is a risk. But if he can bounce back, he might be worth it.

Analysis: In his first draft as general manager, I just didn't get the wow factor from Mike Lombardi. I like Mingo, but I thought they had other needs. They did add receiver Devone Bess in a trade for very little.

Grade: C

Dallas Cowboys

Best pick: I love third-round receiver Terence Williams. He will be the third receiver and might soon push Miles Austin aside.

Questionable move: Trading down and taking center/guard Travis Frederick in the first round. He fills a big need, and I like his toughness, but this is a move that will be questioned.

Third-day gem: Running back Joseph Randle was a productive player in a good offense at Oklahoma State. The question is can he do it from a conventional standpoint.

Analysis: Some will kill the Cowboys for trading back and taking Frederick. I won't. He will be a quality starter. But do the Cowboys have the luxury of adding a pass-catching TE (Gavin Escobar) in the second round with Jason Witten on the roster?

Grade: C

Denver Broncos

Best pick: It was their first one, taking power DT Sylvester Williams to play inside. He can be a force.

Questionable move: I would not have taken Montee Ball in the second round. They could have landed a back later. I know it's a need pick, but that's too high.

Third-day gem: If fifth-round pick Quanterus Smith can bounce back from his torn ACL, they have landed a nice pass rusher. He did some good things against big-time competition.

Analysis: Williams was a nice need pick, but the rest of their draft wasn't as good as I expected. They could hit on some late-round picks, but it wasn't a great haul.

Grade: C+

Detroit Lions

Best pick: It was their first pick, defensive end Ziggy Ansah. He will be a pass-rush star. Think Jason Pierre-Paul.

Questionable move: Second-round corner Darius Slay fills a need, but there were better options on the board when they picked him.

Third-day gem: I like fourth-round DE Devin Taylor. At times, he looked like a pass-rush star early in his career at South Carolina. Then he fizzled some.

Analysis: Give the Lions credit for trying to fill major needs at pass rusher, corner and guard. I love the pick of Ansah, which raises their grade.

Grade: B

Green Bay Packers

Best pick: It was their first one when they took UCLA defensive end Datone Jones. He will be a good player to help improve their front.

Questionable move: Taking running back Eddie Lacy in the second round. They added Johnathan Franklin in the fourth, so who starts?

Third-day gem: Franklin. Some scouts thought he wasn't tested as an inside runner at UCLA, but I think he has that ability. Watch him beat out Lacy.

Analysis: I usually think Ted Thompson is one of the best in the business. But I wasn't enamored with his haul this year. It just didn't seem to have the same sizzle. And taking two backs lessens the grade.

Grade: C-

Houston Texans

Best pick: Third-round tackle Brennan Williams will be the starter at right tackle. He had a first-round grade by some before suffering an injury. Nice pick.

Questionable move: Taking defensive end Sam Montgomery in the third round. He is a good football player, but he has some off-the-field concerns.

Third-day gem: Outside linebacker Travardo Williams, taken in the fourth round, has a chance to help amp up the outside pass rush, which needs it.

Analysis: The Texans did a solid job in the early part of the draft, getting receiver DeAndre Hopkins in first and safety D.J. Swearinger in the second. There were some interesting later-round picks too.

Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts

Best pick: The Colts traded a 2014 fourth-round pick to get to draft Tennessee-Martin nose tackle Montori Hughes in the fifth round for a reason. The former Vols player has a chance to be their nose inside for a long time.

Questionable move: Taking Bjoern Werner in the first round is a somewhat strange move considering they paid Erik Walden. Werner is good, and you can never have enough rushers, but it's still odd.

Third-day gem: Sixth-round safety John Boyett was a good choice that late in the draft. He should be a good special-teams player early in his career.

Analysis: I have been impressed with most of what second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has done, but this wasn't a "wow" draft for me. Call it solid.

Grade: C+

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best pick: I like second-round safety Jonathan Cyprien, who will be an immediate starter. He is a safety with range, which this team needed.

Questionable move: Not taking a pass rusher in the first five rounds, when it's an apparent need. Then again, you can't fix everything in one draft.

Third-day gem: RB/WR Denard Robinson. This former quarterback has great speed and elusiveness in the open field. He will be a nice weapon to move around.

Analysis: In his first draft as general manager of the team, Dave Caldwell did a nice job. They had major needs at all spots in the secondary and he addressed it early and often. The choice to take tackle Luke Joeckel in the second was a good pick.

Grade: A-

Kansas City Chiefs

Best pick: I love the choice of third-round tight end Travis Kelce. He might be the most talented tight end in this draft. He can catch and block. Nice choice.

Questionable move: Taking Arkansas running back Knile Davis in the third round. He's had a lot of injury concerns. If he can stay healthy, he'll be the backup.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Sanders Commings is a bigger corner who has also played safety. He won't start, but could be in the mix down the road.

Analysis: They made a good choice in getting left tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick. He is an immediate starter. Kelce was also a good pick and they landed some nice picks elsewhere.

Grade: B-

Miami Dolphins

Best pick: I like second-round pick Jamar Taylor, the corner from Boise State. He will be a starter soon.

Questionable move: Trading up to go get first-round pick Dion Jordan. He has pass-rush ability, but he's raw. Was he worth the move up? If he's a double-digit sack guy the answer will be yes.

Third-day gem: I like tight end Dion Sims, their second fourth-round pick, to step in and become their blocking tight end. He's good at it.

Analysis: Jeff Ireland made a bold move to go up and snag Jordan. Since he liked him that much, he deserves credit for that. Taylor and third-round pick Dallas Thomas address major needs.

Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings

Best pick: They have to be thrilled that Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd fell to them at No. 23. He has a chance to be dominant.

Questionable move: Trading back into the first round to land receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He's a good player, but they gave up a lot to do it.

Third-day gem: Defensive tackle Everett Dawkins, their seventh-round pick, had 41 career starts for the Seminoles, which means something. He has a chance.

Analysis: The Vikings hit on three starters with Floyd, corner Xavier Rhodes and Patterson. That's a heck of a haul. The only knock is giving up picks to go back in and make Patterson the third first-round pick.

Grade: A

New England Patriots

Best pick: Getting Jamie Collins in the second round is a heck of a pick. This kid has a lot of talent and could end up being special.

Questionable move: I didn't like the second-round pick of receiver Aaron Dobson. I thought there were better options and he isn't a flyer, which they need.

Third-day gem: I like the choice of fourth-round pick Josh Boyce. He is a quality receiver who will help.

Analysis: The Patriots traded out of the first round for more picks and then landed a heck of a pick in Collins. They hit on a few others, but third-round safety Duron Harmon was a reach.

Grade: B-

New Orleans Saints

Best pick: It was their first-round pick of safety Kenny Vaccaro, who will add range to a secondary that needs it.

Questionable move: They have to be concerned somewhat with third-round pick John Jenkins, who has a tendency to get heavy. If he can control it, I like the pick.

Third-day gem: They landed a playmaker in the fifth round in receiver Kenny Stills. He will be a big part of their offense in a year.

Analysis: They addressed two important needs with their first two picks in Vaccaro and left tackle Terron Armstead (third). If Jenkins can keep his weight down and start on the nose, they hit big.

Grade: B+

New York Giants

Best pick: Second-round defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was dominant at times in college and fills a major need.

Questionable move: It's their first-round pick of tackle Justin Pugh. I think there were better options on the board.

Third-day gem: Hard to call him a third-day gem, but getting quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round to develop makes sense.

Analysis: The pick of Pugh in the first round was a bit high, I thought. One pick that could make this draft is third-round defensive end Damontre Moore. He was once thought of as a potential first-round pick. The Giants do know defensive ends.

Grade: B-

New York Jets

Best pick: He doesn't look like a fit in their current defense, but Sheldon Richardson, their second first-round pick, is a heck of a player.

Questionable move: Taking Dee Milliner in the first round. Milliner has a lot of injury concerns and they had other needs.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round guard Oday Aboushi is a college tackle who will have to move inside on the next level.

Analysis: They took solid players with their two first-round picks and then came back to take Geno Smith in the second round. Smith will push for a job as the starting quarterback, so he will be the key to grading this down the road.

Grade: C

Oakland Raiders

Best pick: I love the pick of corner D.J. Hayden after they traded down in the first round. He will be a longtime starter.

Questionable move: Trading out of the third spot with Miami and not landing a major haul for it on the trade chart. Did they panic?

Third-day gem: I really like the pick of quarterback Tyler Wilson in the fourth round. He could push for the job soon.

Analysis: They wanted Hayden and got him, but I think they could have held out for more in the trade. I like the pick of tackle Menelik Watson in the second round.

Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles

Best pick: I love third-round pick Bennie Logan. He had a really good 2011 season and should be in the mix to be a part of the rotation.

Questionable move: Taking Zach Ertz in the second round is an odd move when you consider they have Brent Celek and James Casey.

Third-day gem: USC quarterback Matt Barkley is a nice choice in the fourth round. The value was there. But how does he fit in Chip Kelly's scheme?

Analysis: They did some good things in this draft, but are they things that help right away? First-round pick Lane Johnson will be a special player. It was a nice start for the new regime.

Grade: B

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best pick: I love third-round receiver Markus Wheaton out of Oregon State. He could be the next mid-round pick to star at receiver.

Questionable move: Taking Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell in the second round. I just think he takes too long to get to the line of scrimmage. He is more of a plodder.

Third-day gem: I love fifth-round corner Terry Hawthorne to fit in nicely in what the Steelers want from their corners.

Analysis: General manager Kevin Colbert is one of the best in the business. He likes picking productive college players. First-round pick Jarvis Jones was that and more. The Bell pick lowers the grade.

Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams

Best pick: I love third-round pick Stedman Bailey, a receiver out of West Virginia. Tavon Austin, their first-round pick, will be a star but Bailey will be a quality starter down the road.

Questionable move: I think third-round safety T.J. McDonald is too much of a box safety for the way the game is played now. He is stiff in coverage.

Third-day gem: Alabama center-guard-tackle Barrett Jones will bring a lot of versatility to a line that needs help.

Analysis: Second-year general manager Les Snead had another big haul over the three days. He first traded up to go get Austin, who I love, then traded down to get another quality player in linebacker Alec Ogletree.

Grade: B+

San Diego Chargers

Best pick: It's first-round pick D.J. Fluker, the tackle from Alabama. He fills a huge need at right tackle.

Questionable move: Taking linebacker Manti Te'o in the second round is a risky pick, especially when they could have used another tackle.

Third-day gem: Sixth-round defensive end Tourek Williams will move to outside linebacker and has a chance to upgrade the pass rush.

Analysis: I liked the pick of Fluker, but not the choice of Te'o. They might hit on third-round pick Keenan Allen, but he is coming off an injury.

Grade: C-

San Francisco 49ers

Best pick: I love the pick of Corey Lemonier in the third round. He will covert to an outside rusher in their 3-4 and make a nice transition.

Questionable move: Using two picks on two players coming off major ACL injuries. Then again, they can afford to do it.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Quinton Patton, a receiver from Louisiana Tech, has second-round talent. He put up some big numbers against some good teams.

Analysis: They did a nice job trading up to get safety Eric Reid in the first round to fill a major hole on the defense. They then added a lot of quality college players the rest of the way.

Grade: B

Seattle Seahawks

Best pick: Third-round defensive tackle Jordan Hill will be a factor in the middle of their defense right away.

Questionable move: Trading their first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for Percy Harvin. Is he worth it?

Third-day gem: I like Chris Harper, the fourth-round receiver out of Kansas State, to help amp up an outside passing game that needs it.

Analysis: Without the first-round pick, the Seahawks still did a nice job of adding quality players. They also added some players with some character concerns, which doesn't seem to bother this team.

Grade: B (counts Harvin)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best pick: Fourth-round defensive tackle Akeem Spence can step in and start next to Gerald McCoy. They stole him in the fourth round.

Questionable move: Trading their first-round pick to the Jets to get Darrelle Revis, who is coming off an ACL.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round defensive end William Gholston has a lot of ability, but didn't always play to it. Can they get him to do that?

Analysis: If you count Revis, they had a nice draft. They also took corner Johnthan Banks in the second round for more corner help. Third-round pick Mike Glennon could be an indictment of Josh Freeman.

Grade: B+ (counts Revis)

Tennessee Titans

Best pick: Second-round pick Justin Hunter could easily have been a first-round pick with his talent. He will help the passing game in a big way.

Questionable move: With so many other needs, and already having paid Andy Levitre, why draft a guard in the top 10, which is what they did with Chance Warmack?

Third-day gem: Fourth-round center Brian Schwenke could step in and be a starter soon. He is an athletic center who can move.

Analysis: They landed a sure starter in Warmack, and addressed needs with Hunter and third-round corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson.

Grade: C+

Washington Redskins

Best pick: I love the choice of second-round corner David Amerson. He fills a need, and had the look of a first-round pick in 2011. The talent is there.

Questionable move: Not taking an offensive lineman in the first five rounds.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Brandon Jenkins was starting ahead of Tank Carradine, a second-round pick, before hurting his ACL. If he can get healthy, they have an edge rusher.

Analysis: They had to find players to help in the secondary, which they did. They did a decent job for not having a first-round pick they traded away to get Robert Griffin III last year.

Grade: B-

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

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