2014 NFL Draft Day Three Grades

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Indianapolis Colts D+

The Colts were at a disadvantage with only three picks in the final round, but I’m not a big fan of their picks. Andrew Jackson could make an impact as a two-down linebacker and Jonathan Newsome has upside as an edge rusher, but Ulrick John is a full-blown developmental guy ticketed for the practice squad. This isn’t a bad trio (I like the Newsome pick), but the Colts should have plucked a defensive back instead of going for Jackson.

Houston Texans A-

Overall, the Houston Texans will exit this year’s draft as huge winners, and they added to their impressive haul yesterday by adding a bunch of intriguing developmental players. More importantly, they added a quarterback, as they plucked Pittsburgh Panthers product Tom Savage in the fourth round. Old QBs with footwork, accuracy, and decision-making questions are risky, but Savage isn’t exactly risky in the fourth. It will be interesting to see if Bill O’Brien can mold him into a viable quarterback, and I want to see if the Texans play him as a rookie or if they choose to develop him behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. I’m not a big Savage fan, but at least the Texans drafted somebody.

I think Andre Hal could be one of the draft’s biggest steals in the seventh round, and LSU Tigers product Alfred Blue has some good upside as a seventh-rounder. Blue will be tucked behind star back Arian Foster and solid backup Andre Brown, and his only issue is that he’s one-dimensional. Meanwhile, Hal could compete for a starting gig. Lonnie Ballentine has plenty of tools and looks like a great project player at safety, whereas Jeoffrey Pagan is a full-blown project from Alabama.

Jacksonville Jaguars A+

Wow. David Caldwell sure had a phenomenal draft this season, snagging a franchise QB in Blake Bortles, adding two top-notch receivers in Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, plucking underrated guard prospect Brandon Linder, signing project Stephen Morris in undrafted free agency, and landing a fantastic third day haul. Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith fell to the third day due to concerns regarding his size and a failed drug test, but both concerns are trivial. Smith is exactly the kind of linebacker the Jaguars needed, and he’s about as good as Ryan Shazier in coverage. Storm Johnson was a steal of a pick, and I think he’s the most underrated RB in the class; he figures to get a decent dose of touches as a rook. Chris Smith is an intriguing pass rusher from Arkansas, and he has all the tools to develop into a quality starter one day in Gus Bradley’s defense. Aaron Colvin joins a talented, underrated Jaguars secondary that features the likes of Alan Ball and Dwayne Gratz, and I think Colvin will get significant snaps as a rookie. He’s a very talented DB with plenty of ball skills, and he would have been a second-round pick if he didn’t get injured.

Tennessee Titans C+

The Titans pulled in a decent haul of prospects yesterday, with Zach Mettenberger being the biggest name of the bunch. Jake Locker has decision-making issues, but Mettenberger makes even poorer decisions and is both immobile and subpar at sensing pressure. That said, he has plenty of arm talent, and it will be interesting to see if Ken Whisenhunt can develop him into something. I mean, the value alone in the sixth round was too good to ignore. But the Titans best pick yesterday was Penn State DT DaQuan Jones, who should immediately make an impact in run defense. Kentucky Wildcats ILB Avery Williamson could push for a starting job next season, and he’s an intriguing prospect. Small-school guy Marqueston Huff brings plenty of versatility to the Titans secondary, so he counts as a “plus” pick.

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  • Old Frog

    Wow! Can’t remember the last time I saw anyone give the Boys an A after draft day.

    • Scott.

      That is exactly what I was thinking.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      To be fair, it’s actually an “A” for their work on the final day of the draft. I’d put their overall grade at around an “A-” or maybe a “B+”, depending on how I feel about the trade up for Demarcus Lawrence. I like Lawrence, don’t like the haul they gave up for him.

      • Old Frog

        Well OK then…I’ll be sure to curb my enthusiasm.

        • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

          Larry David would approve of that.

          Haha, it was still a really good draft.

      • Old Frog

        I think the ideal plan was probably Shazier in the first and OG in the second but when Shazier went to the Steelers they had to come up with plan B. I guess they could’ve traded 16 and 47 to move up for Barr and then taken Jackson or Turner in the 3rd. Would that have been better?

        • David

          I would rather they jumped one pick in front of the Steelers to get Shazier and then go O-line in the 2nd or 3rd with only losing maybe a 4th and 7th or two to do it. Quite honestly Dallas has been pretty bad with their 4-5th round picks. The Steelers screwed Dallas in the 4th as we’ll by grabbing Bryant ahead of them which sucks because that led to Hitchens.

  • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

    Nice article….thanks Joe

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Thanks for the kind words, Paul. I hope you enjoyed the draft.

  • Larry

    Can’t agree with your Rams grade. No real thought there.

  • Ron Fulton

    I agree with you on the Bengals. As long as Lewis is there they will flounder.

  • ThreeOfive Logo Ellis

    Yall should watch robert herron highlights. He cud b betta da santana moss if he can do it on the next level.

  • Paul Newbold

    I don’t know Joe, while its nice to see a grade of B+ for the Jets, I’m just not certain. Somehow I feel Idzik could have come away with a bit more from this draft. He had 12 picks at his disposal, and in my opinion, only came away with a minimum of talent. The first two picks were solid, but from the third on, I became concerned. I have to question the corner in the third, while he may be fast, I thought they stretched a bit here, especially considering Desir was still on the board. The receivers will be improve the offense from the fourth round, but I felt they may have stretched on both of these picks, especially Evans. While over all I think it was a fairly good draft, somehow I’m a little disappointed. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what we have at rookie camp and beyond. The biggest steal for the Jets in the latter rounds has to be Dozier, if he can take on NFL coaching, and take the next step in his game, he may likely start for the Jets at guard at some point in the future.

  • Buddy guy

    Finally somebody that understands the Bears draft! I’m happy to hear you gradated so high I also thought the moves of Ferguson and Sutton really helped solidify our defensive line