Dallas Cowboys

May 10, 2014

Charean Williams’ NFL Draft grades: 4 teams get A’s

Vikings, Rams, Browns, Texans get A’s; Cowboys earn a B

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys


Trader Jerry stood pat at No. 16 — though he would have moved down had the Cowboys gotten a solid offer — but he made two trades in the next two days. The Cowboys were left without a third-rounder after finding two starters in the third round last year. They used seven of nine picks on defensive players to help the third-worst unit in NFL history. If they’re right on Lawrence, it was a good draft.

1 (16) Zack Martin, g, Notre Dame.

2 (34) Demarcus Lawrence, de, Boise State.

4 (119) Anthony Hitchens, lb, Iowa.

5 (146) Devin Street, wr, Pittsburgh.

7 (231) Ben Gardner, de, Stanford.

7 (238) Will Smith, lb, Texas Tech.

7 (248) Ahmad Dixon, db, Baylor.

7 (251) Ken Bishop, dt, Northern Illinois.

7 (254) Terrance Mitchell, db, Oregon.

New York Giants


The Giants got three players they targeted. Beckham’s stock was rising as the draft grew closer, and he will start with Rueben Randle on the other side and Victor Cruz in the slot. Richburg will compete with free-agent signee J.D. Walton at C. Bromley and Williams fill needs and will compete for starting jobs.

1 (12) Odell Beckham, wr, LSU

2 (43) Weston Richburg, c, Colorado State.

3 (74) Jay Bromley, dt, Syracuse.

4 (113) Andre Williams, rb, Boston College.

5 (152) Nat Berhe, db, San Diego State.

5 (174) Devon Kennard, lb, Southern Cal.

6 (187) Bennett Jackson, db, Notre Dame

Philadelphia Eagles


The Eagles needed to help a defense ranked 29th overall, including 32nd against the pass. They did use five of seven picks on defenders, including the top choice. Though Smith had 14.5 sacks last season, the Eagles might have been one of the few teams that thought that highly of him. But second- and third-round picks were spent on receivers.

1 (26) Marcus Smith, lb, Louisville.

2 (42) Jordan Matthews, wr, Vandrbilt.

3 (86) Josh Huff, wr, Oregon.

4 (101) Jaylen Watkins, db, Florida.

5 (141) Taylor Hart, de, Oregon.

5 (162) Ed Reynolds, db, Stanford.

7 (224) Beau Allen, dt, Wisconsin

Washington Redskins


The Redskins still are paying dearly for RG3. They bolstered their offensive line with two third-rounders, and helped their pass rush with the choice of Murphy, though it’s debatable whether they drafted him too early. They will have to find a way to get Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Murphy on the field. Seastrunk could be a steal as a complementary back to Alfred Morris.

2 (47) Trent Murphy, lb, Stanford

3 (66) Morgan Moses, ot, Virginia.

3 (78) Spencer Long, g, Nebraska.

4 (102) Bashaud Breeland, db, Clemson.

5 (142) Ryan Grant, wr, Tulane.

6 (186) Lache Seastrunk, rb, Baylor.

7 (217) Ted Bolser, te, Indiana.

7 (228) Zach Hocker, k, Arkansas

NFC North

Chicago Bears


The Bears have rebuilt a defense that allowed a franchise all-time worst 395 yards a game. Despite several defensive signings in free agency, they still spent four of their top five picks on that side of the ball. Fuller provides a shot of youth to Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. The Bears were thin at DT after losing Henry Melton in free agency, and they addressed that need with second- and third-round choices.

1 (14) Kyle Fuller, db, Virginia Tech.

2 (51) Ego Ferguson, dt, LSU.

3 (82) Will Sutton, dt, Arizona State.

4 (117) Ka’Deem Carey, rb, Arizona.

4 (131) Brock Vereen, db, Minnesota.

6 (183) David Fales, qb, San Jose State.

6 (191) Patrick O’Donnell, p, Miami.

7 (246) Charles Leno, ot, Boise State.

Green Bay Packers


Ted Thompson always has a lot of picks, improving the Packers’ chances of hitting on some late choices. Their biggest needs were S, TE and along the DL. The Packers addressed those needs in the first three rounds. They also got three WRs.

1 (21) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, db, Alabama.

2 (53) Davante Adams, wr, Fresno State.

3 (85) Khyri Thornton, de, Southern Mississippi.

3 (98) Richard Rodgers, te, California.

4 (121) Carl Bradford, lb, Arizona State.

5 (161) Corey Linsley, c, Ohio State.

5 (176) Jared Abbrederis, wr, Wisconsin.

6 (197) Demetri Goodson, db, Baylor.

7 (236) Jeff Janis, wr, Saginaw Valley State.

Minnesota Vikings


The Vikings picked 10 players, including two in the first round and two in the third. Barr and Bridgewater were solid choices, filling needs, but their three corners came in the sixth round or later, leaving Xavier Rhodes as the only sure bet at CB.

1 (9) Anthony Barr, lb, UCLA.

1 (32) Teddy Bridgewater, qb, Louisville.

3 (72) Scott Crichton, de, Oregon State.

3 (96) Jerick McKinnon, rb, Georgia Southern.

5 (145) David Yankey, ot, Stanford.

6 (182) Antone Exum, db, Virginia Tech.

6 (184) Kendall James, db, Maine.

7 (220) Shamar Stephen, nt, UConn.

7 (223) Brandon Watts, lb, Georgia Tech.

7 (225) Jabari Price, db, North Carolina.

Detroit Lions


Lions fans didn’t cheer the top pick. They wanted help for a pass defense that ranked 23rd, the worst part of their team last season. They have seen the Lions distracted by receiving weapons too often. Detroit didn’t draft a cornerback until the fourth round and added no DBs. Their CB starters likely are aging Rashean Mathis and injured Chris Houston.

1 (10) Eric Ebron, te, North Carolina

2 (40) Kyle Van Noym olb, BYU

3 (76) Travis Swanson, c, Arkansas

4 (133) Nevin Lawson, cb, Utah State

4 (136) Larry Webster, de, Bloomsburg

5 (158) Caraun Reid, dt, Princeton

6 (189) T.J. Jones, wr, Notre Dame

7 (229) Nate Freese, k, Boston College

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons


The Falcons assured that Matt Ryan won’t get hit as much as he did last season when he took 44 sacks and was hit another 42 times. They also needed a TE to replace Tony Gonzalez and a FS replacement for Thomas DeCoud. Southward fills one of those needs, but none of their nine picks are TEs.

1 (6) Jake Matthews, ot, Texas A&M.

2 (37) Ra’Shede Hageman, de, Minnesota.

3 (68) Dezmen Southward, db, Wisconsin.

4 (103) Devonta Freeman, rb, Florida State.

4 (139) Prince Shembo, lb, Notre Dame.

5 (147) Ricardo Allen, db, Purdue.

5 (168) Marquis Sprull, lb, Syracuse.

7 (253) Yawin Smallwood, lb, UConn.

7 (255) Tyler Starr, lb, South Dakota.

Carolina Panthers


The Panthers had to have a receiver to replace Steve Smith and could have used a top offensive tackle to replace Jordan Gross. They got Benjamin, who is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds with an 83-inch wing span but runs a 4.61. It marked the first time the Panthers have taken a WR in the first round since Rae Carruth in 1997.

1 (28) Kelvin Benjamin, wr, Florida State.

2 (60) Kony Ealy, de, Missouri.

3 (92) Trai Turner, g, LSU.

4 (128) Tre Boston, db, North Carolina.

5 (148) Bene’ Benwikere, db, San Jose State.

6 (204) Tyler Gaffney, rb, Stanford.

New Orleans Saints


Cooks is an early candidate for offensive rookie of the year, and Jean-Baptiste – with a name that fits New Orleans, adds much-needed depth at CB. But the Saints perhaps remain in the market for an offensive tackle after not drafting one until the sixth round. Drew Brees better watch his back.

1 (20) Brandin Cooks, wr, Oregon State.

2 (58) Stanley Jean-Baptiste, db, Nebraska.

4 (126) Khairi Fortt, lb, California.

5 (167) Vinnie Sunseri, db, Alabama.

5 (169) Ronald Powell, lb, Florida.

6 (202) Tavon Rooks, ot, Kansas State.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Isn’t Lovie Smith a defensive coach? All six of the Bucs’ picks were on the offensive side of the ball. They have improved the 32nd-ranked unit, though they still lack a quarterback to groom if they aren’t sold on Mike Glennon.

1 (7) Mike Evans, wr, Texas A&M.

2 (38) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, te, Washington.

3 (69) Charles Sims, rb, West Virginia.

5 (143) Kadeem Edwards, g, Tennessee State.

5 (149) Kevin Pamphile, ot, Purdue.

6 (185) Robert Herron, wr, Wyoming.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals


Tight ends killed the Cardinals last season, and SS Yeremiah Bell has not been re-signed and could retire. FS Tyrann Mathieu tore two knee ligaments in December and remains questionable for the start of the season. So the Cardinals filled a huge need with their first choice, but was Bucannon a reach? They didn’t get their QB of the future until the fourth round with a project in Thomas.

1 (27) Deone Bucannon, db, Washington State.

2 (52) Troy Niklas, te, Notre Dame.

3 (84) Kareem Martin, de, North Carolina.

3 (91) John Brown, wr, Pittsburg State.

4 (120) Logan Thomas, qb, Virginia Tech.

5 (160) Ed Stinson, de, Alabama.

6 (196) Walter Powell, wr, Murray State.

St. Louis Rams


The most talked-about draftee will be Sam, but the first four picks will do more to help the Rams win this season. St. Louis had filled all its needs — S, OL, CB — by the fourth round, and it still had six picks after that.

1 (2) Greg Robinson, ot, Auburn.

1 (13) Aaron Donald, dt, Pittsburgh.

2 (41) Lamarcus Joyner, db, Florida State.

3 (75) Tre Mason, rb, Auburn.

4 (110) Maurice Alexander, db, Utah State.

6 (188) E.J. Gaines, db, Missouri.

6 (214) Garrett Gilbert, qb, SMU.

7 (226) Michell Van Dyk, ot, Portland State.

7 (241) Christian Bryant, db, Ohio State.

7 (249) Michael Sam, de, Missouri.

7 (250) Demetrius Rhaney, c, Tennessee State.

San Francisco 49ers


The 49ers had 12 picks, and Ward likely is a walk-in starter at SS with the departure of Donte Whitner. He and Eric Reid, last year’s first-rounder, will pair well together. The additions, combined with the trade for WR Stevie Johnson, perhaps have allowed the 49ers to make up ground on the Seahawks.

1 (30) Jimmie Ward, db, Northern Illinois.

2 (57) Carlos Hyde, rb, Ohio State.

3 (70) Marcus Martin, c, Southern Cal.

3 (77) Chris Borland, lb, Wisconsin.

3 (100) Brandon Thomas, g, Clemson.

4 (106) Bruce Ellington, wr, South Carolina.

4 (129) Dontae Johnson, db, N.C. State.

5 (150) Aaron Lynch, de, South Florida.

5 (170) Keith Reaser, db, FAU.

6 (180) Kenneth Acker, db, SMU.

7 (243) Kaleb Ramsey, de, Boston College.

7 (245) Trey Millard, rb, Oklahoma.

Seattle Seahawks


The Seahawks didn’t have many holes, which is a good thing since they ended up with no first-round pick and no third-rounder. Richardson, who can fly, gives Russell Wilson a weapon to replace Golden Tate. But Britt might have been a reach in the second.

2 (45) Paul Richardson, wr, Colorado.

2 (64) Justin Britt, ot, Missouri.

4 (108) Cassius Marsh, de, UCLA.

4 (123) Kevin Norwood, wr, Alabama.

4 (132) Kevin Pierre-Louis, lb, Boston College.

5 (172) Jimmy Staten, dt, Middle Tennessee.

6 (199) Garrett Scott, ot, Marshall.

6 (208) Eric Pinkins, db, San Diego State.

7 (227) Kiero Small, rb, Arkansas.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills


There is no doubt the Bills helped a passing offense ranked 28th last season, but they paid a heavy price to get one of the top players in the draft. First- and fourth-round picks in 2015, traded to the Browns, could turn out to be valuable considering the Bills haven’t made the playoffs for 14 consecutive seasons. For his sake, GM Doug Whaley better be right.

1 (4) Sammy Watkins, wr, Clemson.

2 (44) Cyrus Kouandjio, ot, Alabama.

3 (73) Preston Brown, lb, Louisville.

4 (109) Ross Cockrell, db, Duke.

5 (153) Cyril Richardson, g, Baylor.

7 (221) Randell Johnson, lb, FAU.

7 (237) Seantrel Henderson, ot, Miami.

Miami Dolphins


The Dolphins had to rebuild their offensive line. Getting Branden Albert in free agency was a start, and James and Turner will help protect Ryan Tannehill. Miami drafted a lot of small-school players, and Hazel could turn out to be a hit.

1 (19) Ja’Wuan James, ot, Tennessee.

2 (63) Jarvis Landry, wr, LSU.

3 (67) Billy Turner, ot, North Dakota State.

4 (125) Walt Aikens, db, Liberty.

5 (155) Arthur Lynch, te, Georgia.

5 (171) Jordan Tripp, lb, Louisiana-Monroe.

6 (190) Matt Hazel, wr, Coastal Carolina.

7 (234) Terrence Fede, de, Marist.

New England Patriots


Tom Brady could have used a TE, and he probably would have preferred the Patriots draft a WR before the seventh round. Easley is a risk where he was drafted since he is coming off a torn ACL. Garoppolo becomes the future behind Brady.

1 (29) Dominique Easley, de, Florida.

2 (62) Jimmy Garoppolo, qb, Eastern Illinois.

4 (105) Bryan Stork, c, Florida State.

4 (130) James White, rb, Wisconsin.

4 (140) Cameron Fleming, ot, Stanford.

6 (179) Jon Halapio, g, Florida.

6 (198) Zach Moore, dt, Concordia, St. Paul.

6 (206) Jemea Thomas, db, Georgia Tech.

7 (244) Jeremy Gallon, wr, Michigan.

New York Jets


The Jets needed a CB with Antonio Cromartie gone as well as a S. They addressed those positions with two of their first three picks. They didn’t get a much-needed WR until the fourth round and ended up drafting three of them.

1 (18) Calvin Pryor, db, Louisville.

2 (49) Jace Amaro, te, Texas Tech.

3 (80) Dexter McDougle, db, Maryland.

4 (104) Jalen Saunders, wr, Oklahoma.

4 (115) Shaquelle Evans, wr, UCLA.

4 (137) Dakota Dozier, g, Furman.

5 (154) Jeremiah George, lb, Iowa State.

6 (195) Brandon Dixon, db, Northwest Missouri State.

6 (209) Quincy Enunwa, wr, Nebraska.

6 (210) IK Enemkpali, lb, Louisiana Tech.

6 (213) Tajh Boyd, qb, Clemson.

7 (233) Trevor Reilly, lb, Utah.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens


It’s awfully hard to question GM Ozzie Newsome, but the Ravens’ two biggest needs — an OL and a FS — didn’t get filled in the first two rounds. Baltimore would have drafted Notre Dame OL Zack Martin had the Cowboys not taken him at No. 16. Instead, the Ravens stood pat and took the best player left on their draft board.

1 (17) C.J. Mosley, lb, Alabama.

2 (48) Timmy Jernigan, dt, Florida State.

3 (79) Terrence Brooks, db, Florida State.

3 (99) Crockett Gillmore, te, Colorado State.

4 (134) Brent Urban, de, Virginia.

4 (138) Lorenzo Taliaferro, rb, Coastal Carolina.

5 (175) John Urschel, c, Penn State.

6 (194) Keith Wenning, qb, Ball State.

7 (218) Michael Campanaro, wr, Wake Forest.

Cincinnati Bengals


The Bengals, despite drafting Dre Kirkpatrick 17th overall in 2012, needed youth at CB. Dennard provides that. Bodine could be a walk-in starter, and McCarron is insurance if Andy Dalton can’t get the Bengals over the hump with a playoff win soon.

1 (24) Darqueze Dennard, db, Michigan State.

2 (55) Jeremy Hill, rb, LSU.

3 (88) Will Clark, de, West Virginia.

4 (111) Russell Bodine, c, North Carolina.

5 (164) A.J. McCarron, qb, Alabama.

6 (212) Marquis Flowers, lb, Arizona.

7 (239) James Wright, wr, LSU.

7 (252) Lavelle Westbrooks, db, Georgia Southern.

Cleveland Browns


They got five of the top 94 picks, though it was a surprise they didn’t get a WR. They also got an extra first-rounder next year by fleecing the Bills. Manziel is the key to this draft. If he is the answer, the Browns, with all the talent they’ve stockpiled, should be good for a long time.

1 (8) Justin Gilbert, db, Oklahoma State.

1 (22) Johnny Manziel, qb, Texas A&M.

2 (35) Joel Bitonio, g, Nevada.

3 (71) Christian Kirksey, lb, Iowa.

3 (94) Terrance West, rb, Towson.

4 (127) Pierre Desir, db, Lindenwood.

Pittsburgh Steelers


Shazier and Tuitt instantly improve a defense that ranked 13th last season. The Steelers could have used a CB earlier than the fourth round, but Archer and Bryant provide much-needed weapons for Ben Roethlisberger.

1 (15) Ryan azier, olb, Ohio State.

2 (46) Stephon Tuitt, de, Notre Dame

3 (97) Dri Archer, rb, Kent State

4 (118) Martavis Bryant, wr, Clemson

5 (157) Shaquille Richardson, cb, Arizona

5 (173) Wesley Johnson, ot, Vanderbilt

6 (192) Jordan Johnson, ilb, ucla

6 (215) Daniel McCullers, dt, Tennessee

7 (230) Rob Blanch Flower, te, Massaachusetts

AFC South

Houston Texans


The Texans could have used one of the top QBs, but a lot of scouts really like Savage. Their defense, which ranked seventh last season, should be among the best this season with the Clowney and Nix added to the mix. A solid first draft for Bill O’Brien, which probably assures the Texans won’t own the No. 1 pick next season.

1 (1) Jadeveon Clowney, de, South Carolina.

2 (33) Xavier Su’a-Filo, g, UCLA.

3 (65) C.J. Fiedorowicz, te, Iowa.

3 (83) Louis Nix, dt, Notre Dame.

4 (135) Tom Savage, qb, Pittsburgh.

6 (177) Jeoffrey Pagan, de, Alabama.

6 (181) Alfred Blue, rb, LSU.

6 (211) Jay Prosch, rb, Auburn.

7 (216) Andre Hal, db, Vanderbilt.

7 (256) Lonnie Ballentine, db, Memphis.

Indianapolis Colts


The Colts had only five picks and none in the top 58, with the trade for Trent Richardson last season, so they did little to help themselves. And Indianapolis didn’t address its need at S with the loss of Antoine Bethea, leaving the Colts with not a lot of good in-house candidates to start.

2 (59) Jack Mewhort, g, Ohio State.

3 (90) Donte Moncrief, wr, Mississippi.

5 (166) Jonathan Newsome, lb, Ball State.

6 (203) Andrew Jackson, lb, Western Kentucky.

7 (232) Ulrick John, ot, Georgia State.

Jacksonville Jaguars


Four picks in the top 93 were spent helping an offense that ranked 31st last season. The Jaguars drafted in the top five — again — because Blaine Gabbert (10th overall in ’11) and Justin Blackmon (fifth in ’12) were wasted picks. They hope Bortles, Lee and Robinson are the start of bigger and better things.

1 (3) Blake Bortles, qb, UCF.

2 (39) Marqise Lee, wr, Southern Cal.

2 (61) Allen Robinson, wr, Penn State.

3 (93) Brandon Linder, g, Miami.

4 (114) Aaron Colvin, db, Oklahoma.

5 (144) Telvin Smith, lb, Florida State.

5 (159) Chris Smith de, Arkansas.

6 (205) Luke Bowanko, c, Virginia.

7 (222) Storm Johnson, rb, UCF.

Tennessee Titans


The top choice was something of a surprise with the Titans having other, bigger needs, but LT Michael Roos, 32 in October, is in a contract year. With Chris Johnson gone, it’ll be Sankey, Dexter McCluster and Shonn Greene by committee. Tennessee, though, didn’t add an OLB or a DE to help a defense that had only 36 sacks.

1 (11) Taylor Lewan, ot, Michigan.

2 (54) Bishop Sankey, rb, Washington.

4 (112) DaQuan Jones, dt, Penn State.

4 (122) Marqueston Huff, db, Wyoming.

5 (151) Avery Williamson, lb, Kentucky.

6 (178) Zach Mettenberger, qb, LSU.

AFC West

Dencer Broncos


The Broncos paid a heavy price to move up seven spots and get Latimer, but he could shine with Peyton Manning as his QB. (Of course, what WR doesn’t?) Roby has some immaturity questions, and the Broncos passed on drafting a RB.

1 (31) Bradley Roby, db. Ohio State.

2 (56) Cody Latimer, wr, Indiana.

3 (95) Michael Schofield, ot, Michigan.

5 (156) Lamin Barrow, lb, LSU.

6 (207) Matt Paradis, c, Boise State.

7 (242) Corey Nelson, lb, Oklahoma.

Kansas City Chiefs


The Chiefs had only six picks. Ford will begin his career as a backup, but the Chiefs are preparing for the future with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston set to be paid big money the next couple of years. The Chiefs nearly had a shot at getting Manziel — they wouldn’t address whether they were interested — but ended up with Murray as a developmental prospect.

1 (23) Dee Ford, de, Auburn.

3 (87) Phillip Gaines, db, Rice.

4 (124) De’Anthony Thomas, rb, Oregon.

5 (163) Aaron Murray, qb, Georgia.

6 (193) Zach Fulton, g, Tennessee.

6 (200) Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, ot, McGill.

Oakland Raiders


Some scouts had Mack as the top player available, and the Raiders are thrilled with the choice. Carr becomes their franchise QB of the future, learning from Matt Schaub this season. The Raiders took a flier on Harris, who is talented but did not play last season after being dismissed for conduct detrimental to the team. McGill also has some red flags.

1 (5) Khalil Mack, lb, Buffalo.

2 (36) Derek Carr, qb. Fresno State.

3 (81) Gabe Jackson, g, Mississippi St.

4 (107) Justin Ellis, dt, Louisiana Tech.

4 (116) Keith McGill, db, Utah.

7 (219) T.J. Carrie, db, Ohio.

7 (235) Shelby Harris, de, Illinois.

7 (247) Jonathan Dowling, db, Western Kentucky.

San Diego Chargers


Verrett plays bigger than he is, instantly improving a pass defense that ranked 29th last season. Carrethers will compete with Sean Lissemore for the starting NT spot after the Chargers passed on bigger-name DL such as Louis Nix III.

1 (25) Jason Verrett, db, TCU.

2 (50) Jeremiah Attaochu, te, Georgia Tech.

3 (89) Chris Watt, g, Notre Dame.

5 (165) Ryan Carrethers, dt, Arkansas State.

6 (201) Marlon Grice, rb, Arizona State.

7 (240) Tevin Reese, wr, Baylor.

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