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AFC Draft Grades

By: Robert Davis

Click here for 2013 NFC Draft Grades

Baltimore Ravens: B+

Best pick: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas St.(Round 2). Brown’s speed and athleticism could have gotten him taken at the tail end of Round One, so he provides quality value. He will line up inside in the 3-4 and be counted on to play right away, which is a task he should be up to.

Keep an eye on: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State(Round 3). Williams is an absolute load at 6’1 335, but he is surprisingly agile on his feet. He could be a great nose tackle, controlling gaps and collapsing the pocket.

Overall: B+. 1st Round S Matt Elam and 2nd rounder Brown should provide immediate impacts for the defense, as could 3rd rounder Williams. All three were solid picks, and on day three they landed numerous talents that could stick and have an impact.

Buffalo Bills: C-

Best pick: Robert Woods, WR, USC(Round 2). Woods was arguably the 2nd best receiver in the draft. He can line up all over the field and make plays, but is also a team leader and hard worker. Excellent value pick for the Bills.

Keep an eye on: Duke Williams, S, Nevada(Round 4). Williams has the athleticism and speed to cover and is an aggressive hitter. He isn’t the most instinctive player, but he is active and athletic, two traits you can’t teach.

Overall: C-. Most view EJ Manuel as a reach, but many also thought teams could trade up for him. He has the skills and work ethic to lead, and his teammates like playing with him. He appears to be the guy the Bills targeted, so they must have a plan for him. Woods was a steal, but 2nd round LB Kiko Alonso was a bit of a reach. 3rd round WR Marquise Goodwin is more of a track star, not a developed football player.

Cincinnati: B+

Best pick: Tyler Eiffert, TE, Notre Dame(Round 1). Many teams are looking to replicate New England’s success with two tight ends, and adding Eiffert to 2010 1st rounder Jermaine Gresham is Cincy’s attempt. Another target was needed in the passing game, and Eiffert is a gifted athlete and receiver.

Keep an eye on: Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina(Round 2). He doesn’t possess ideal triangle numbers, but he is a versatile playmaker on the field. His quickness and elusiveness make him hard to tackle, and that makes him a great complement for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He may even get more touches than BJGE because of his receiving ability.

Overall: B+. The Bengals did an excellent job adding more talent to the offense. Adding Eiffert to Gresham and AJ Green could make them unstoppable in the red zone. Bernard is a big time playmaker, and the Bengals have done well with physical specimens at DE in the past, giving them a lot of hope for Margus Hunt as well. 7th rounder Reid Fragel from Ohio St is a former TE turned OT, and has the size(6’8 300), athleticism, and toughness to really surprise.

Cleveland Browns: C-

Best pick: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU(Round 1). This is the pick by default, because he’s the only one that can be expected to make an impact. He was a bit of a reach at six because he is unpolished, but his upside is tremendous and should help pressure the QB early on.

Keep an eye on: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego St(Round 3). The only selection on Day two for the Browns, McFadden brings quickness and athleticism to the CB position, so he may be able to make an impact as a nickel corner.

Overall: C-. The Browns gave up their 2nd rounder to select Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. That left them with only five selections. Mingo was the 6th overall pick but may be a boom or bust selection, and McFadden may be limited to nickel duties.

Denver Broncos: B

Best pick: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina(Round 1). Williams was expected to land somewhere in the teens, so he provided excellent value for a team at the end of the first looking to add youth to their defensive front.

Keep an eye on: Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky(Round 5). The definition of a project, but Smith has is a tremendous athlete with the burst to be a real force off the edge. He had 12 sacks in ten games last year before an ACL injury that he is currently rehabbing. He could start the year on the PuP, but he is an intriguing developmental prospect.

Overall: B. Williams was great value in the first. Montee Ball in the second was a decent pick, but there are questions about what he has left in the tank after more than 1,000 touches at Wisconsin. 3rd round CB Kayvon Webster, 5th round WR Tavarres King, and 7th round QB Zac Dysert offer a lot of talent to develop.

Houston Texans: B+

Best pick: Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU(Round 3). Montgomery is a borderline first rounder on ability. He is a force against the run and underrated as a pass rusher. There are rumors about him turning teams off in interviews, which result in his slide, but the Texans got tremendous value at this point of the draft.

Keep an eye on: Trevardo Williams, OLB, UConn(Round 4). Williams has questionable size, but he has a lot of pass rush ability. His initial burst, closing speed, and motor make him an intriguing prospect in the fourth round.

Overall: B+. The Texans did an excellent job matching value and need. 1st round WR DeAndre Hopkins is the most talented player the Texans have ever drafted to start alongside Andre Johnson. 2nd round S DJ Swearinger, 3rd round OT Brennan Williams, Sam Montgomery, and Trevardo Williams could all make impacts as rookies.

Indianapolis Colts: C-

Best pick: Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida St(Round 1). He’s a questionable fit in the 3-4, but he is a player who can get upfield and top the run. His motor and toughness would be a nice addition to any front seven.

Keep an eye on: Hugh Thornton, OG, Illinois(Round 3). Thornton needs work, but he is a solid athlete with toughness, so he has the skills you can’t teach. Luck needs all the help he can get on the offensive line, so Thornton may play early.

Overall: C-. The Colts traded their second rounder for Vontae Davis last year, taking away a valuable pick this year. Their first pick was a bit of surprise, because Werner may be limited athletically standing up in a 3-4. Thornton has some skills, Holmes may lack the physical skills to play in the league, Day three only brought one player with intrigue, 5th round DT Montori Hughes.

Jacksonville Jagurs: B+

Best pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas AM(Round 1). Joeckel was the top player on the board and landing a stud left tackle is always a good thing. He could play RT, shift Eugene Monroe to RT, or give the Jags flexibility to let Monroe go next off season if he commands too much money.

Keep an eye on: Denard Robinson, WR/RB, Michigan(Round 5). Robinson is a project and a long shot, but there have been less talented players that have been successful with the college QB to WR move. His ability with the ball in his hands is special though, and he will likely be used all over the field. Robinson may get some snaps in the wildcat or as a running back while he develops his receiving skills, but the Jags will try to get him the ball in any way possible.

Overall: B+. Joeckel was an excellent pick in the first round, as was 2nd round S Jonathan Cyprien. 3rd round C B Dwayne Gratz was an over draft however, 4th round Wr Ace Sanders was a good pick, and Robinson has upside.

Kansas City Chiefs: C

Best pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan(Round 1). The front office and coaches appeared to be split, but the coaches got their man in Fisher. His natural athleticism gives him a slight edge over Joeckel in terms of upside. Fisher has the skills to become a pro bowl caliber tackle for a long time.

Keep an eye on: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas(Round 3). Davis is a boom or bust selection. He has a great size and speed combination, and was a stud in 2010. Since returning from a fractured ankle, Davis has been hesitant and had a lot of trouble holding on to the football. He was a bit of a reach in the third round because there is some risk, but he also possesses a ton of upside.

Overall: C. Fisher was a great pick, and 2nd round TE Travis Kelce gives the team an all around weapon. Davis was a reach in the third round though, despite his upside. 4th round LB Nico Johnson and 5th round CB Sanders Commings have some skills and could outperform their draft position.

Miami Dolphins: B+

Best pick: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise St(Round 2), The Phins wanted to add more aggressiveness in the secondary and did just that with Taylor, a guy who some had cracking the bottom of the first round.

Keep an eye on: Dallas Thomas, OL, Tennessee(Round 3). The Phins were looking for offensive line help at both tackle and guard. Thomas has the skills to play inside or out, and the athleticism to be very good at either spot.

Overall: B+. Adding Dion Jordan to Cameron Wake could give the Dolphins one of the more explosive pass rushes in the league, although trading up for him may be a question mark. Taylor and Thomas were quality picks in the second and third, respectively. Day three picks, LB Jelani Jenkins and TE Dion Sims. are both talented underclassmen that probably should have stayed in school, but offer a lot of potential.

New England Patriots: C+

Best pick: Jamie Collins, LB/DE, Southern Miss(Round 2). He’s a bit raw and needs work on his motor, but this is the type of explosive athlete New England’s defense has lacked for years.

Keep an eye on: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers(Round 3). The questions about his speed are over blown. He is a good cover man with his athleticism and quickness, but is also aggressive and physical. He gives the Pats some depth in the secondary, something they have lacked for years.

Overall: C+. New England only had five picks at the start of the draft, but ended up with 8(but traded one for LaGarrette Blount) picks before drafting 7 guys. Collins and 2nd round WR Aaron Dobson are the type of raw athletes New England typically stays away from. That brings considerable upside, but some bust potential as well. 3rd round S Duron Harmon was a rather large reach, the second straight year the Pats have done so for a safety. 7th round DE Michael Buchanon has the skills of a third rounder, and could surprise as a late draftee.

New York Jets: C-

Best pick: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia(Round 2). Smith was the top QB on most peoples boards, and once considered a top ten pick. Mark Sanchez’s future is in question so landing a talented signal caller to push him or replace him was a wise move.

Keep an eye on: Brian Waters, OG, Kent St.(Round 3). The Jets needed help on the interior line, and landed a good one here. Waters could earn a starting job on opening day.

Overall: C-. The Jets needed a lot of help on offense. The team is devoid of talent at the skill positions, tight end, and on the offensive line. With two first round picks, the Jets added to an already quality defensive line up, but drafting CB Dee Milliner and DT Sheldon Richardson, neglecting many glaring needs on offense. Richardson is also a questionable fit in a 3-4 alignment, as he lacks skills at the point of attack, and excels at getting up the field. Smith was a good pick, but the lack of talent on offense is at least in part to blame for Sanchez’s struggles, so Smith may be in a similar boat.

Oakland Raiders: B

Best pick: DJ Hayden, CB, Houston(Round 1). Give the Raiders credit here. They wanted Hayden bad, and were willing to select him at three, but they were able to trade down and still nab him. As long as he’s healthy, he brings great cover ability to the Raider secondary.

Keep an eye on: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida St.(Round 2). This pick has an Al Davis feel to it, as Watson is a fantastic athlete but a bit lacking in the fundamental and experience department. Landing him in the second though was a coup, as the early tackle run pushed the second and third tier guys up a notch. He is as gifted as any tackle in this draft athletically, though he does need refinement.

Overall: B. As much as they wanted Hayden, he was a bit of a reach. He’s coming off a serious injury that almost cost him his life and his play was not top 12 caliber to begin with. Watson was a solid pickup in the second, and 3rd round LB Sio Moore and 4th round QB Tyler Wilson could push for playing time before the season is over.

Pittsburgh Steelers: A

Best pick: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia(Round 1). Forget how he tested out. The kid is one of the draft’s difference makers, and he will be a force off the edge for Pittsburgh.

Keep an eye on: Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse(Round 4). The Steelers have had issues at the safety position over the years because of durability issues. Thomas’ aggressiveness fits the Steeler mold at safety, and he can provide depth at both spots.

Overall: A. The Steelers do a great job of letting the draft come to then, and this is another example. They didn’t reach for a wideout at 17 because Mike Wallace left. They took the best available player, and added a difference maker at OLB. The offense got a boost with 2nd round RB Le’Veon Bell and 3rd round WR Markus Wheaton. The fourth round also gave the team two players with upside in Shamarko Thomas and QB Landry Jones.

San Diego Chargers: B

Best pick: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame(Round 2). The kid has issues but lets focus on his on field ability. The kid is aggressive and plays with a passion that is contagious. For a team looking for more aggressiveness at ILB, this was a very good pick in the second round.

Keep an eye on: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal(Round 3). One of the bigger steals of the draft. He was a late first rounder that slipped because of a lingering knee injury. He will make an early impact for the Chargers with his ability to make the plays all over the field.

Overall: B. They needed help on the offensive line, and got a standout RT in DJ Fluker in the 1st. Te’o was a good pickup in the 2nd, as was Allen in the 3rd.

Tennessee Titans: B

Best pick: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn(Round 3). The Titans wanted to get more physical in the secondary, and Wreh-Wilson definitely helps that. He is an aggressive corner that has the size and speed to make a lot of plays. He would’ve been a good pick a round earlier as well.

Keep an eye on: Brian Schwenke, C, Cal(Round 4). Schwenke is one of the better centers in the draft and could push for immediate playing time. He has some athleticism and nastiness to him.

Overall: B. The Titans may have added two interior line starters in 1st round OG Chance Warmack and Schwenke. They definitely got tougher inside. 2nd round WR Justin Hunter was good value, although there may not have been a huge need at this point of the draft. If Kenny Britt continues to have issues, Hunter can definitely step in his role if need be. Wreh-Wilson was great value, and 3rd round LB Zaviar Gooden adds a lot of speed and range at linebacker.

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