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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