I’m going to grade each teams pick based on 3 factors. The first will be the player themselves. Is the player good? Is he worth taking that high? Will he help the team? The 2nd factor is value. Was the player a reach or was he a steal? The last factor would be how the player fits the team and how big of a need the player filled. I’ll grade each separately and then come out toÂ an average grade for the pick.
1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton – QB
I’m not a fan of Cam Newton and I think he has a lot of bust potential, but it was the right move for the Panthers. Clausen won’t win them games and neither would a defensive tackle or a corner. It’s a risk they are willing to take and you can’t fault them for it. If Newton pans out, they will have a great franchise QB.
2. Denver Broncos – Von Miller – LB
Von Miller is a great player but why on earth would you take a 4-3 linebacker 2nd overall? It makes no sense to me. They have a huge need at DT and instead they draft a weakside linebacker with blitz potential. I think they could have gotten a better player here.
3. Buffalo Bills – Marcell Dareus – DT
The Bills got a great player that will be a huge addition to their defense. Dareus was good value and filled a need. I really don’t know if Fitzpatrick is the answer however and I’m not sure Dareus will make a huge impact in terms of a win perspective. They will get better, but they still have a lot of holes to fill.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green – WR
Great pick here. Got a great player and fills a big need. This could also entice Palmer to come back to the team, but we’ll have to wait and see.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson – CB
This was a good pick since Peterson fills a need and was good value at 5. However, they passed up on a potential franchise QB and I wonder if this move will really help the team. Skelton is currently the teams starter and I don’t know if that will be enough.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Julio Jones – WR
Everyone says the Falcons gave up a lot to get Julio, and they did. A 1st, 2nd and two 4th’s is a lot for an unproven rookie. However, I have to applaud Dimitroff for trading up and having some balls to get the guy he wanted. He’ll be a welcomed addition to the offense.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Aldon Smith – OLB
I really like Aldon Smith and had him ranked high on my big board so I don’t think this is a reach. However, I question how he will fit in the 3-4. I think he is a much better fit at end in the 4-3. That’s preventing this pick from being an A.
8. Tennessee Titans – Jake Locker – QB
I like this pick maybe more than most. Jake Locker still has a lot of the tools to be a franchise QB, and unlike Vince Young he is a hard worker. He filled the teams biggest need and was good value here. Now he has to put it all together to be successful and that’s still a big question mark.
9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith – OT
Tyron Smith is a good player with the potential to be an elite left tackle in the NFL so I can’t blame the Cowboys for taking him. They do have bigger needs in the secondary though and on the defensive line so there’s some uncertainty about what they will do there.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blaine Gabbert – QB
I really liked this pick. Gabbert can be a franchise QB and many projected him to go to the Cardinals, the Titans or the Redskins. I wasn’t expecting him to fall to #10 so this was great value. David Garrard is not the answer but Gabbert goes to a perfect situation. He won’t be forced to start and will have more valuable time to adjust to the NFL game.
11. Houston Texans – J.J. Watt – DE
Good pick here for the Texans. They needed to add a piece for their 3-4 defense and they did. I just don’t know who they will play at OLB though.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Ponder – QB
Christian Ponder was a reach and I’m sure the Vikings we’re trying to trade down but no one was interested. He does fill a big need but he is a 2nd round talent at best and is certainly not worth the 12th overall pick.
13. Detroit Lions – Nick Fairley – DT
The Lions got a steal here. He’ll be a beast matched up with Suh but Fairley still has a lot of bust potential and they still haven’t gotten a left tackle for Stafford. I know they draft BPA but this is concerning.
14. St. Louis Rams – Robert Quinn – DE
Great pick for the Rams here. Filled a huge need, outstanding value and they got themselves a good player. They should be very happy.
15. Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey – OG
The Dolphins did need help along the offensive line but Pouncey is not worth getting drafted this high. He’s not as good as his brother was yet he got drafted even higher. Teams we’re hot after Pouncey though so the Dolphins had to snatch him up here or he was gone.
16. Washington Redskins – Ryan Kerrigan – OLB
The Redskins got a great player here but unfortunatelyÂ for the wrong defense. Ryan Kerrigan will struggle as an OLB because he’s a stiff athlete. He’ll be awful in coverage and has never played LB before. This pick could come back to haunt the Redskins.
17. New England Patriots – Nate Solder – OT
I’m not a fan of Solder but he does fill a need for the Patriots. The Patriots tend to draft well so I’m interested in seeing how Solder pans out in the NFL.
18. San Diego Chargers – Corey Liuget – DE
I’m not sure how Liguet fits in the 3-4 and I wasn’t a fan of him to begin with. He does have potential though and the Chargers did address their biggest need.
19. New York Giants – Prince Amukamara – CB
People are quick to call Amukamara a steal but I think this is the area where he should have gotten draft. He could have easily been drafted much higher though. Can’t fault the Giants with this pick at all.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Adrian Clayborn – DE
The Bucs got a DE that they desperately needed but at the same time he won’t help their pass-rush much. Clayborn is a better fit for the 3-4 and he’s not the type of guy that will get you 8+ sacks consistently every year. The Bucs still have to get a pass-rushing end.
21. Cleveland Browns – Phil Taylor – DT
This pick doesn’t make sense to me at all. The Browns had much bigger needs at DE and WR yet they take a nose tackle. They already had Rubin at NT so unless they really don’t like him, they’re left with two NT’s starting who will get zero pass-rush. Meanwhile there is still a huge hole at defensive end.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Castonzo – OT
Peyton Manning just got a new left tackle. He has to be very happy. Castonzo can play left tackle and was good value here. Great pick by the Colts.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Danny Watkins – OT/OG
The Eagles may have reached for Watkins here but he is a good player. His age is concerning though and they still have to do something about the CB position.
24. New Orleans Saints – Cameron Jordan – DE
I initially didn’t like the Jordan pick to the Saints because they took a strong side end in the first round. He does fill a need though and although he was better suited for the 3-4, he can succeed in the 4-3. He was also really good value this late in the first.
25. Seattle Seahawks – James Carpenter – OT
Probably the worst pick in the first round here. Carpenter was a major reach and he is a 2nd round talent at best. He is also a right tackle only and will struggle if he we’re to play left tackle. At least he filled a need though, preventing this pick from being an F.
26. Kansas City Chiefs – Jonathan Baldwin – WR
The Chiefs got Matt Cassell another weapon to pair up with Bowe similar to the Falcons drafting Jones. However, Baldwin isn’t a first round guy in my opinion. He has a lot of question marks about his game and could potentially have some character concerns. The Chiefs also had bigger needs. Their OL is still going to struggle.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Jimmy Smith – CB
The Ravens took care of their biggest need and got a solid corner. I’m not as high on Smith as most are but if he they take care of his issues and guide him, he can be a good player for their defense.
28. New Orleans Saints – Mark Ingram – RB
Straight A’s on my three factors for the Saints earns them an A+ pick. Great player? Check. Great value? Check. Filled a big need? Check. Well done.
29. Chicago Bears – Gabe Carimi – OT
Nice pick here for the Bears. Carimi will certainly be an upgrade on their offensive line. He can’t play left tackle though, but they need help every where on the line.
30. New York Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson – DE
A good pick for the Jets here. I really like Wilkerson and I think he’s a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense. Definitely worthy of a first round pick imo.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cameron Heyward – DE
The Steelers had some bigger needs but defensive end still had to be addressed. Heyward is a solid player and while he won’t start right away, he’ll be good when he gets his chance.
32. Green Bay Packers – Derek Sherrod – OT
Another good pick for the Packers. Sherrod was good value here considering they got a guy who can play left tackle. The OL needed help and Sherrod will give them a boost.