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Grading All 32 First-Round NFL Draft Picks

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Grading All 32 First-Round Draft Picks

2014 NFL Draft
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The 2014 NFL Draft's first-round concluded last night with plenty of excitement from picks 1-32. From Jadeveon Clowney to Johnny Manziel, this round had plenty of intrigue and trades were aplenty.

So in this world immediate validation, how did each of the teams selecting in the first-round grade out. Here are my first-round grades.

1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina
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1. Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina
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With no trade offers that were good enough to sway the Houston Texans out of the top spot, the Texans found the best player available in Clowney and teamed with J.J. Watt, have the potential to be a dynamic pass rush duo. The motor and consistency are not what are idea for a No. 1 pick, but no one else was worthy of being No. 1,

Grade: A-

2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson Auburn
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2. St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Greg Robinson Auburn
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In a division with tremendous defenses, the St. Louis Rams chose to protect their franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford instead of replacing him by selecting the best offensive tackle in the draft in Auburn's Greg Robinson. Robinson is still a project in terms of pass protection, but the athleticism was too good to pass up. Hopefully, Robinson is more like Orlando Pace rather than Jason Smith.

Grade: B+

3. Jacksonvill Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Blake Bortles Central Florida
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3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Blake Bortles Central Florida
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Instead of reaching for the pick that would put fans in the seats in Johnny Manziel, the Jaguars chose the quarterback with the best skill set to thrive in the NFL in Blake Bortles. Bortles is not ready to start now, but in 2015, Bortles will be the face of the franchise.

Grade: B

4. Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins Clemson
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4. Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Sammy Watkins Clemson
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The Bills were the most aggressive team last night, giving up a 2015 1st-round pick to go get Sammy Watkins, this year's most dynamic offensive skill player. Watkins' arrival clearly means the end for Stevie Johnson and while this is a great pick for Buffalo, if they can get a second-rounder for Johnson, that would be even better.

Grade: A-

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, Buffalo

Khalil Mack Raiders
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, Buffalo

Khalil Mack Buffalo
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If the Raiders think that Mack is a stand-up linebacker, this pick would be a D+, but I believe the Raiders think that he is a defensive end. Mack has the potential to not only match Clowney, but exceed him in terms of production. For No. 5, the Raiders got what they wanted.

Grade: B+

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews Texas A&M
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

6. Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Jake Matthews Texas A&M
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With both quality pass rushers gone, the Falcons solidified the trenches on the offensive side by selecting Jake Matthews. Matthews was the most NFL ready tackle in this year's class and will help protect Matt Ryan and revive a poor running game.

Grade: A-

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans Texas A&M
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7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Mike Evans Texas A&M
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With a need after wide receiver, the Buccaneers were in fact lucky that Evans slid all the way down to No. 7. Evans will tea with Vincent Jackson on the outside and gives the Bucs two viable targets for new quarterback Josh McCown, similar to when McCown had Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey last season in Chicago.

Grade: A-

8. Cleveland Browns: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert Oklahoma State
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8. Cleveland Browns: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert Oklahoma State
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Needing to find a complimentary corner across from Joe Haden, the Browns traded down and received a future first-round pick from Buffalo and selected the best corner available in Justin Gilbert. Not only will Gilbert get plenty of opportunities in Cleveland, but his return ability van help boost Cleveland's special teams.

Grade: B

9. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA

Anthony Barr UCLA
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9. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA

Anthony Barr UCLA
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In order to contend in the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings have to get pressure on elite quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers and the Vikings did that with their first pick in Anthony Barr. While raw, Barr has the potential to be the most successful player in this year's class down the road.

Grade: B+

10. Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron North Carolina
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10. Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron North Carolina
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While Eric Ebron doesn't fill a need at tight end as the Lions already have two capable players, another receiver for Matthew Stafford is never a bad thing. Ebron will line up in the slot and on the outside, creating matchup problems and could very well become a wide receiver in the future.

Grade: B+

11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan Michigan
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11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan Michigan
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Even after signing Michael Oher this offseason to replace David Stewart, the Titans solidified their offensive line even more by drafting Taylor Lewan. Perhaps the most talented all-around tackle, Lewan's mean streak and nastiness fits perfectly with the Titans. Lewan's arrival also signals the departure for Michael Roos sometime in the near future.

Grade: B+

12. New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU

Odell Beckham Jr. LSU
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12. New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU

Odell Beckham Jr. LSU
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New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was successful in Green Bay using multiple receiver sets and a versatile player like Randall Cobb. Here, the Giants get a similar player to not only help Eli Manning, but Beckham Jr.'s return ability will also help the Giants' special teams.

Grade: A-

13. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald Pittsburgh
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13. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald Pittsburgh
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After solidifying their offensive line at No. 2 with Robinson, the Rams solidified their defensive line by selecting Aaron Donald. The Rams now have four former first-round picks on their defensive line that will create havoc for the rest of the NFC West.

Grade: A-

14. Chicago Bears: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller Virginia Tech
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14. Chicago Bears: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller Virginia Tech
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The Chicago Bears desperately needed help in their secondary and with Charles Tillman starting to show his age, selecting Kyle Fuller was a great move for the Bears. Fuller will help the Bears stop the likes of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' receiving corps plus Calvin Johnson and the Lions within the NFC North.

Grade: B+

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Ryan Shazier Ohio State
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16. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Ryan Shazier Ohio State
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The Steelers got it right in the 2014 draft like they have done in most previous drafts by selecting Ryan Shazier. Shazier gives the Steelers much-needed speed at linebacker and teamed inside with Lawrence Timmons, the Pittsburgh defense get back to elite status.

Grade: B+

16. Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame

Zack Martin Notre Dame
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16. Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame

Zack Martin Notre Dame
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The Cowboys found another starter for their offensive line by selecting Zack Martin. Martin can start right away at either tackle or guard and will be the steal of this year's draft.

Grade: A-

17. Baltimore Ravens: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley Alabama
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17. Baltimore Ravens: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley Alabama
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The Ravens couldn't adequately replace Ray Lewis last year with Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown, but now with Mosley, the Ravens find their next stud inside linebacker. Mosley is a perfect fit for Baltimore's 3-4 defense and a leader the Ravens desperately need.

Grade: A-

18. New York Jets: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Calvin Pryor Louisville
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18. New York Jets: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Calvin Pryor Louisville
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With a need at safety, the Jets found their version of Kam Chancellor in Calvin Pryor. While cornerback is also a need, Pryor can help the Jets right away, both in the box as a run-stopper and Pryor is also a good cover safety as well.

Grade: B+

97. Miami Dolphins: Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

Ja'Wuan James Tennessee
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

97. Miami Dolphins: Ja'Wuan James: OT, Tennessee

Ja'Wuan James Tennessee
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With Miami's offensive line being completely decimated this offseason, the Dolphins found a bookend to Branden Albert in Ja'Wuan James. While James is considered a reach to some, he addressed a position of need and protecting QB Ryan Tannehill is the top priority for the Dolphins.

Grade: B-

20. New Orleans Saints: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Brandin Cooks Oregon State
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20. New Orleans Saints: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Brandin Cooks Oregon State
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After losing Darren Sproles this offseason and a lack of a true speed threat, the Saints traded up to select one of the fastest players in this year's draft in Brandin Cooks. Cooks will not only help the Saints' passing game, but his versatility on offense as well as special teams will make the Saints even more explosive.

Grade: A-

21. Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Alabama
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21. Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Alabama
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Green Bay's safeties last year had zero interceptions last year and safety was the top need for the Packers in the draft. Fortunately for them, one of the top safeties in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix dropped al the way to 21. Clinton-Dix will help Green Bay's defense get back to form.

Grade: A-

22. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel Texas A&M
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22. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel Texas A&M
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Instead of reaching for Manziel at 4, the Browns were able to wait until the 20's to get a great value pick that also addressed a need. The Browns needed a jolt at quarterback and Manziel provides just that.

Grade: B+

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

Dee Ford Auburn
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23. Kansas City Chiefs: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

Dee Ford Auburn
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The Kansas City Chiefs were able to find another pass rusher that can help stop Peyton Manning with Dee Ford. Even with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali already on the roster, the Chiefs struggled when one or both were hurt last year and gives the Chiefs a great backup option.

Grade: B-

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard Michigan State
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24. Cincinnati Bengals: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard Michigan State
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With three defensive backs in their 30's and a former first-round pick starting to become a bust, the Bengals selected arguably the best cover corner in the draft in Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard. Dennard's physicality and willingness to tackle will help Cincinnati's defense, especially in the physical AFC North.

Grade: A-

25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett TCU
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25. San Diego Chargers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett TCU
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With a major need at cornerback, the Chargers selected the safest pick at corner in Jason Verrett. While Verrett doesn't have the ideal size for today's prototypical corner, Verrett's toughness and playmaking ability will make the Chargers better on defense.

Grade: B+

26. Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville

Marcus Smith Louisville
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26. Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville

Marcus Smith Louisville
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With a need at edge rusher, the Eagles selected Marcus Smith, one of the more underrated defensive players in this year's class. Smith will be the eventual replacement for Trent Cole and teamed with Connor Barwin, the Eagles' defense will get instantly better at rushing the pasers of the NFC East like RG III, Eli Manning and Tony Romo.

Grade: B

27. Arizona Cardinals: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

Deone Bucannon Washington State
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27. Arizona Cardinals:Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

Deone Bucannon Washington State
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With a need at safety to help Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals selected Deone Bucannon, one of the top safeties in this year's class. The pairing of Bucannon and Mathieu will make the Cardinals' defense even more formidable in 2014 than they were in 2013.

Grade: B+

28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin Florida State
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28. Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin Florida State
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After losing their top three receivers from a year ago, the Panthers found one replacement for Steve Smith in Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin's big frame will give Cam Newton an excellent target to throw to and Benjamin will be an excellent threat, especially in the red zone.

Grade: B

29. New England Patriots: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

Dominique Easley Florida
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29. New England Patriots: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

Dominique Easley Florida
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Defensive tackle was a major need for the Patriots, especially after both Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly were lost last season to injuries. The Patriots got a great value pick in Florida's Dominique Easley. Easley can play both on the interior as well as some on the edge opposite Chandler Jones.

Grade: B-

30. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

Jimmie Ward Northern Illinois
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30. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, S, Northen Illinois

Jimmie Ward Northern Illinois
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The 49ers drafted the best player available, like they normally did under Jim Harbaugh, with Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. Ward will be an excellent long-term replacement for the recently signed Antoine Bethea.

Grade: B+

31. Denver Broncos: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Bradley Roby Ohio State
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31. Denver Broncos: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Bradley Roby Ohio State
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Even after signing Aqib Talib and with Chris Harris Jr. returning from injury, Denver's secondary needed an upgrade and they got it in Ohio State's Bradley Roby. Roby is one of the more talented defensive backs in this year's class and will mature in Denver under veterans like DeMarcus Ware and Talib.

Grade: B+

32. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater Louisville
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32. Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater Louisville
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After finding a pass rusher in the top of the first-round, Minnesota traded back into the first-round and found their franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater needs at least a year to develop, Bridgewater will help bring balance to Minnesota's offense.

Grade: B+