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2014 First Round Review

Picks 1-16

17) Baltimore Ravens - C.J Mosley (LB Alabama) CJ Mosley 2014 NFL Draft

If you want to know why the Ravens are consistently good year in and year out turn to a pick like C.J Mosley as a perfect example. The Ravens never panic, never draft for need; they simply take the best available player. In my opinion Mosley was one of the most underrated prospects in this year's draft as concerns about his minor injuries were overblown. Mosley has been a dominating force at Alabama over the past two years in a defense nearly identical to what Baltimore runs. He can play the run, play the pass and his instincts are off the charts.

Grade: A+

18) New York Jets - Calvin Pryor (Safety Louisville) Calvin Pryor Dallas Cowboys

It's hard to argue with the Jets drafting a safety which was a glaring weakness for the team but I'm just not a big fan of Calvin Pryor. I understand why people like him because he's a playmaker on the back end and he's so physical, but I just happen to think there are some fundamental flaws in his game. I was a little surprised to see them pass on Brandin Cooks here, but with the depth at receiver this year they can easily get a good one on day two. Like I said I'm not in love with Pryor but the Jets needed a safety and Rex Ryan usually knows good defensive players when he sees them so I give them benefit of the doubt.

Grade: C+

19) Miami Dolphins - Ja'Wuan James (OT Tennessee) Juwuan James NFL Draft

Clearly a panic move. Their two targets Zack Martin and Ryan Shazier had just gone off the board so the Dolphins reached for a player they liked, but not one that belonged in the top 20. Ja'Wuan James is an excellent pass protecting offensive tackle but he isn't very physical and doesn't do much as a run blocker. James will probably be a starter for them, but he'll simply be a slightly above average starter. Not terrible, but not what you should be looking for in a top 20.

Grade: C-

20) TRADE! New Orleans Saints - Brandin Cooks (WR Oregon State) Brandin Cooks NFL Draft

Love this move for New Orleans. With New Orleans' receiving core depleted to only Marques Colston and Kenny Stills they were in dire need of a receiver and Cooks was an outstanding value at 20. It wasn't New Orleans' defense last year that failed them, it was their offense which bogged down in the end. Cooks is a speedy playmaker who can work his magic over the middle as a sharp route runner with excellent hands and breakaway speed. Out of all the receivers this year Brandin Cooks might but up the best numbers.

Grade: A

21) Green Bay Packers - Haha Clinton-Dix (Safety Alabama) HaHa Clinton-Dix 2014 NFL Draft

Green Bay had some of the worst safety play in the league last year so when Haha Clinton Dix somehow fell to them at 21 they no doubt rushed to the podium to take who I feel to be the draft's top safety prospect. Dix has elite range, outstanding instincts and is more than solid in run support. He was exactly what they needed and the fact he was available at 21 makes this a huge steal.

Grade: A

22) TRADE! Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel (QB Texas A&M) Johnny Manziel 2014 NFL Draft

Maybe the movie Draft Day wasn't that far off after all! Many expected the Browns to take Johnny Manziel, but with the fourth pick, not the 22nd. This situation is eerily similar to what happened a few years back when Cleveland stopped Brady Quinn's slide but Cleveland is hoping the results are much different. In Johnny Manziel not only do the Browns get the franchise quarterback that they desperately need but the city as a whole gets a star to wrap their arms around and energize the fan base. Getting him at 22 mitigates a lot of the risk factor associated with Manziel and takes a lot of the pressure off. I'm not Johnny's biggest fan, but the fact that Cleveland came out of this with Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel and a first round pick next year was simply masterful by GM Ray Farmer.

Grade: A-

23) Kansas City Chiefs - Dee Ford (OLB Auburn) Dee Ford 2014 NFL Draft

Definitely a surprise pick here as Kansas City already has one of the best pass rushing duos in the league in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, and passed up on receiver help for Dee Ford. I like Dee Ford a lot and think he'll be a lethal third down pass rusher but I personally would have gone for a playmaker like Marqise Lee at this point.

Grade: B-

24) Cincinnati Bengals - Darqueze Dennard (CB Michigan State) Darqueze Dennard NFL Mock Draft

Definitely one of the steals of the draft here in my opinion. Darqueze Dennard is my top ranked cornerback because of his physicality and relentless tenacity and I have no qualms whatsoever about his perceived lack of elite speed. Dennard is a pit-bull type cornerback who will go toe-to-toe with any receiver for four quarters and make life hell for the guy he's up against. Great value and also fills a need for Cincy.

Grade: A+

25) San Diego Chargers - Jason Verrett (CB T.C.U) Jason Verrett 2014 NFL Draft

San Diego ranked as one of the bottom five teams in the NFL last year in pass defense. Their top three cornerbacks consisting of Richard Marshall, Shareece Wright and Derek Cox needed some serious upgrading and Jason Verrett certainly does that. Verrett is an outstanding man-to-man cover corner and he plays much bigger than his 5'9" height indicates.

Grade: A-

26) TRADE! Philadelphia Eagles - Marcus Smith (OLB Louisville) Marcus Smith Lousiville

Most people expected the Eagles to take a wide receiver in round one with guys like Marqise Lee and Cody Latimer both seemingly good fits. Louisville's Marcus Smith was certainly a surprise considering the Eagles already have a pretty solid pass rush with guys like Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole, but he certainly can add some juice. Smith was viewed as more of a second round pick because he doesn't play the run very well and doesn't have much experience in coverage. Not a bad pick but the Eagles could have done better here.

Grade: C

27) TRADE! Arizona Cardinals - Deone Bucannon (Safety Washington State) Deone Bucannon

Hard to knock a guy like Deone Bucannon who I have no doubts will be a solid reliable starting safety in the NFL. He's physical, smart, instinctive and has better range than people think. Personally, I would have gone with Ra'Shede Hageman here to help back up Darnell Dockett who is getting a little long in the tooth. But Arizona is building they're team around defense, they have a vision and Deone Bucannon fits that nicely. Don't expect him to be a Pro Bowler but Bucannon will be a reliable starter for Arizona and you can't be too critical of that.

Grade: B

28) Carolina Panthers - Kelvin Benjamin (WR Florida State) Morgan Moses Virginia

With all three of his top receivers from last year gone, Cam Newton gets his new go-to receiver in Kelvin Benjamin. Offensive tackle was certainly a need and we heard guys like Morgan Moses and Joel Bitonio were in serious consideration but in the end Benjamin is a great pickup. Benjamin is lethal in jump ball situations and we saw that in the plays he made for Florida State last year. He has underrated athleticism and is the type of receiver who can be considered always open with his ability to go up and win jump balls in double and triple coverage.

Grade: B+

29) New England Patriots - Dominique Easley (DT Florida) Dominique Easley NFL Draft

I'm not quick to criticize anything Bill Belichick and the Patriots do, I'll just simply say I wouldn't have taken Dominique Easley in the first round. Easley's game is based 100% around his speed and explosion and I have my doubts about whether he can still be effective coming off his second blown out ACL. If healthy he's a top 15 talent without question, but knee injuries really scare me.

Grade: C

30) San Francisco 49ers - Jimmie Ward (Safety Northern Illinois) Jimmie Ward

Obviously safety is not a need for the 49ers who just took Eric Reid last year and signed Antoine Bethea in free agency, but Jimmie Ward will still see the field a lot for San Francisco. Ward is listed as a safety but he spends a lot of his time covering slot receivers and tight ends, something he excels at and something that is becoming increasingly more important in today's NFL. Ward is a fluid athlete who can man-up with any athlete on the field and also supports the run exceptionally well. Just another example of forward thinking from the 49ers.

Grade: B

31) Denver Broncos - Bradley Roby (CB Ohio State) Bradley Roby

Even though Denver signed Aqib Talib to a big contract almost all of that money is guaranteed in year one, so his stay could possibly be short lived. Even with Talib the Broncos lack depth at cornerback and by taking Bradley Roby they get a guy who most view as a top 15 talent. Personally, I think Roby is one of the most overrated players in this draft and I don't think he has the mental makeup to be successful in the NFL. He's a boom or bust guy who could wind up being a steal, but I would have stayed away from Roby. Especially with Ra'Shede Hageman on the board.

Grade: C-

32) TRADE! Minnesota Vikings - Teddy Bridgewater (QB Louisville) Teddy Bridgewater 2014 NFL Draft

Without question the biggest steal in the draft in my eyes! I have stayed on the #TeamTeddy bandwagon all year and he still remains number three overall on my board. Under Norv Turner I think Bridgewater will be an assassin, using his sky-high intelligence and sharp accuracy to pick defenses apart. This is the perfect landing spot for Bridgewater as he doesn't have the pressure of being a top five pick and now he can play with a big chip on his shoulder. I fully expect Bridgewater to be a star quarterback in the NFL.

Grade: A++


Picks 1-16

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

Round Five

Round Six

Round Seven


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