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NFC Draft Grades

By: Robert Davis

Click here for 2013 AFC Draft Grades

Arizona Cardinals: B

Best pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolia(Round 1). The offensive line has been an issue for a long time, and the team finally spent a premium pick to address it. Guards typically do no land in the top ten, but Cooper's athleticism and mobility is rare in an interior lineman.

Keep an eye on: Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU(Round 3). Everyone knows about Mathieu and his struggles off the field, as well as his big play ability on it. His relationship with Patrick Peterson makes the Cardinals a tremendous fit for him. He will also begin his career at safety, where his limitations in coverage may be masked.

Overall: B. In addition to Cooper and Mathieu, the Cards also landed LB Kevin Minter in the second, and he could emerge as the leader of the defense. 4th rounder Alex Okafor may have issues switching to a stand up role in a 3-4, but he can make some play. 6th round RB Andre Ellington could be a steal if he can stay healthy.

Atlanta Falcons: C

Best pick: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington(Round 1). Corner emerged as the Falcons top need and they moved up to nab Trufant. He has all around skills and should start immediately.

Keep an eye on: Levine Toililo, TE Stanford(Round 4). An heir apparent for Tony Gonzalez was a need. While Toililo is a different type of player than Gonzalez, he could still benefit from playing behind him. Toililo's size should make him a favorite target in the red zone, and he'll see the field a lot with Gonzalez because of his blocking ability.

Overall: C. By trading up the Falcons only had two picks on the drafts first two days, but both kids are talented and will be counted on for an immediate impact. Not a whole lot else to get excited about, but Toililo and 4th round DE Maliciah Goodman have potential.

Carolina Panthers: B+

Best pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah(Round 1). The steal of Round 1. Lotulelei is arguably the best player in the draft and filled a massive need for the Panthers. They could not have hoped for a better outcome.

Keep an eye on: AJ Klein, LB, Iowa St.(Round 5). Klein is the type of guy who can outplay his draft position because of his toughness and instincts. For a team needing depth at linebacker, he could see the field as a rookie.

Overall: B+. With limited picks, the Panthers definitely made a splash. Lotulelei was a great pick in the first, and Kawann Short was also excellent value in the second. Both will play a big role from day one. Klein could be a steal, as could 6th round RB Kenjon Barner.

Chicago Bears: C-

Best pick: Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers(Round 4). Greene was a second round talent that the Bears got in the fourth round. He could play right away with his speed and aggressiveness.

Keep an eye on: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.(Round 7). Greene is definitely one to watch, but Wilson could be an even bigger steal. Talent and production could have gotten him taken on day two, but there were a lot of questions about him leaving Wazzu. If his head is on straight and he works hard, this is an impact talent at the WR position.

Overall: C-. Kyle Long was a reach in the first round. The talent is there, but he lacks experience and is a project that has some baggage. Just a little too risky to take that high, especially considering his lack of experience. Second rounder Jon Bostic was another reach in the second. Day three gave the team four talented players that could all pay dividends, but they were day three picks for a reason.

Dallas Cowboys:C-

Best pick: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor(Round 3). Williams slid a bit because he didn't run as fast as expected in workouts but he is a big play threat. With durability a concern at the WR position for the Cowboys, Williams could make an impact sooner rather than later.

Keep an eye on: BW Webb, CB, William and Mary(Round 4). There is a question about his fit in a Cover 2 scheme because he isn't very physical, but he is a very good natural cover man. He has all the athletic gifts to make plays in coverage, but he doesn't help in the run game at all.

Overall: C-. Travis Frederick was a bit of a reach in the first round, although they did trade down before selecting him. Gavin Escobar has upside, but may need time to bulk up, and wasn't a top 50 selection. Rounds 3 and 4 were kind to the Cowboys, landing them some talent at both safety and corner.

Detroit Lions: C

Best pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU(Round 1). Ansah has as much potential as any player in this draft and filled a hole at DE. A defensive front that features Ansah along with tackles Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh could be one of the league's most dominant units if Ansah lives up to his potential.

Keep an eye on: Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech(Round 6). Fuller doesn't have a whole lot of football experience after beginning his college career as a track athlete at Kansas. He has the bloodlines, great height/speed combo, and has shown a lot of improvement in a short time so there should be more to come.

Overall: C. Ansah is a bit of a project and needs work. Darius Slay in the second round adds talent to a secondary in dire need of it, but neglecting the tackle position the rest of the draft may hurt the team. 3rd round guard Larry Warford and Fuller are talented players, but the rest of the draft doesn't excite.

Green Bay Packers: B+

Best pick: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama(Round 2). There are durability concerns, which played a role in him falling so far into the second round. He's a load and could start opening day for the Packers.

Keep an eye on: Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA(Round 4). Don't be surprised if Franklin has an even bigger impact than Lacy. He is an aggressive runner that attacks a defense and has the ability to make big plays. Lacy and Franklin should form a great duo for the Packers, but Franklin could have a bigger impact when all is said and done.

Overall: B+. The Packers did a good job upgrading the defensive line with the physical Datone Jones in the first. They also had concerns at the RB and OL positions, and added multiple bodies at each spot. The team got more physical, deeper at need positions, and drafted a couple late sleepers who could surprise. A very successful draft weekend.

Minnesota Vikings: A-

Best pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida(Round 1). Floyd was expected to go in the top ten and he fell to 23. Excellent value, and he adds youth to an aging DLine.

Keep an eye on: Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn St(Round 4). The Vikes first pick outside the first round, Hodges is a tackling machine who can really play in space. His ability to cover and chase plays could find him snaps early on in his career.

Overall: A-. After moving around, the Vikings ended up with three first rounders. And made the most of each of them. Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Cordarrelle Patterson each fill a need and have tremendous skills. All three could start on opening day. They didn't draft again until day three, so there is a lot of pressure on those players to perform.

New Orleans Saints: A-

Best pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas(Round 1). With passing yards in the league piling up at record rates, it increases the demand for safeties who can cover. Vaccaro is a playmaker and is a definite boost to the Saints deep coverage.

Keep an eye on: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma. Drew Brees can make a lot of wide receivers look good, especially talented ones. Stills is a playmaker and should have been drafted much earlier.

Overall: A-. The Saints did an excellent job of filling needs with talented players while still getting value for each pick. The Saints have had success with small school linemen, and Terron Armstead could be the next one. 3rd round DT John Jenkins was a steal and can clog running lanes by himself. Even on day three the Saints managed to grab talent and upside in Stills and 6th round DE Rufus Johnson.

New York Giants: C+

Best pick: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas AM(Round 3). The Giants have drafted very well at DE over the years, and Moore looks to continue that trend. Once considered a potential top five selection, Moore fell due to poor workouts. He is a stud on the field, and tremendous value in the third round.

Keep an eye on: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse(Round 4). Another guy talked about as a potential top ten pick this year, Nassib slid like every quarterback not named EJ Manuel. He is tremendous value in the fourth round, and gives the Giants a talented young player to develop. If ever forced to step on the field, he has the skills and leadership to play well in Eli Manning's place.

Overall: C+. 1st rounder Justin Pugh was a bit of a reach, but when three tackles went in the first four picks, you knew it bumped everyone else up a notch. He's talented enough to stick at tackle, but short arms may push him inside. 2nd round DT Jonathan Hankins was a solid pickup, as were Moore and Nassib.

Philadelphia Eagles: B+

Best pick: Matt Barkley, QB, USC(Round 4). Barkley was the steal of the draft, bar none. He's not an elite signal caller and maybe he wasn't a first rounder. But in the fourth round? Flat out steal.

Keep an eye on: Barkley. Hard to go anywhere else when your fourth rounder could legitimately start as a rookie.

Overall: B+. Lane Johnson is an athletic freak but also a bit raw. Even though he was the expected pick, it was still a bit high for him. Zach Ertz adds more talent to the offense in the second. 3rd round DT Bennie Logan has upside as well. This draft could be remembered for Barkley though. Chip Kelly is an offensive genius and he isn't tied to a running QB. The offense has enough talent and playmakers to run an uptempo passing attack, like the Patriots. Barkley may not fit Kelly's college mold, but he Kelly knows his game well, and wouldn't have selected him without a plan.

San Francisco 49ers: B+

Best pick: Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn(Round 3). Lemonier should thrive in the 9ers defense. He is aggressive and relentless, but also is a great athlete with the ability to close on the quarterback. He's a great fit off the edge.

Keep an eye on: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech(Round 4). Another steal for the 9ers. He may not be the most physical wideout in the draft, but he is one of the smoothest athletes in the draft.

Overall: B+. The 9ers started off shaky, by trading up and reaching for Eric Reid. 2nd round DE Tank Carradine is a bit of a risk because of his knee injury, but is a worthwhile gamble. Lemonier and Patton were great picks in the third and fourth, and the 9ers gambled on Marcus Lattimore's recovery, which could pay off huge. There is more bust potential with this class because of a reach and some potential injury issues, but the upside is huge. For a team that made it to the Super Bowl with a 2nd year QB, things are looking very good.

Seattle Seahawks: D

Best pick: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama(Round 5). A knee injury caused him to slide, but Williams was a potential day two pick with his on field ability. He's a very good run stopper, and could play right away for a team in need of help against the run.

Keep an eye on: Christine Michael, RB, Texas AM(Round 2). Michael was Seattle's first pick, but he was a reach in the second because of durability and character concerns. He has a ton of talent though, and could be the heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch, even if he doesn't see the field much this year.

Overall: D. The Seahawks did a great job in free agency loading up on talent. That gave them some flexibility during the draft to not be forced into drafting for a need. Michael is very talented but a gamble, and the Seahawks already have two talented running backs. 3rd round DT Jordan Hill is a situational player at best. Their best pick didn't come until the 5th round in DT Jesse Williams. 7th round LB Ty Powell is a talented player that could surprise in Seattle's aggressive defense. A lot of the picks were boom or bust picks, and other picks just didn't seem too great. Pete Carroll has done very well so far with Seattle but this draft doesn't appear to be his best work.

St. Louis Rams: A

Best pick: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia(Round 1). They traded up to get their man, and it should pay off. Austin is exactly what the team needed: a gamebreaker. There was some talent on the offense but nobody a defense feared. Austin is a threat to score every time he touches it.

Keep an eye on: TJ McDonald, S, USC(Round 3). Big, physical, and athletic, McDonald has the skills to be a difference maker at safety. He needs a little work because USC doesn't scheme to take advantage of talent at safety. He was used more in deep coverage, when he's at his best moving forward and hitting people. His dad played in the NFL, and McDonald could have a long career at SS as well.

Overall: A. The draft's big winners. Austin was their man and they got him. LB Alec Ogletree fills a big need and was a great value pick at 30th overall. McDonald and 3rd round WR Stedmon Bailey also could make an impact as rookies, and 4th round OL Barrett Jones adds a lot of versatility.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C

Best pick: Jonthan Banks, CB, Mississippi St(Round 2). After trading for Darrelle Revis and adding Banks, the Bucs may have one of the better corner tandems in the league. Eric Wright in the group only makes it stronger. Banks may be a bit lean and lack great speed, but he's tough, aggressive and can make plays on the ball.

Keep an eye on: William Gholston, DE, Michigan St.(Round 4). Gholston has the size, strength, and athleticism to be a productive NFL player. He just doesn't always play up to that ability. If he puts it together, he's a steal in the fourth round.

Overall: C. After trading for Revis, the Bucs were a bit limited on draft day. Banks was a very good selection, but taking Glennon as the third QB in the draft was a reach. 4th round DT Akeem Spence and Gholston have skills on day three but can't be expected to make an immediate impact.

Washington Redskins: B-

Best pick: David Amerson, DB, NC St(Round 2). Amerson was a top ten pick as a sophomore but got a little too caught up going for the big play as a junior and lost confidence in himself. He has all the skills to be a standout corner in the NFL, just needs to be more disciplined and let the game come to him.

Keep an eye on: Philip Thomas, S, Fresno St(Round 4). Thomas has a nose for the football from the safety spot, making plays all over the field. He can find the ball in coverage, stop the run, and even blitz. He may not have blazing speed but he gets to the ball and makes plays.

Overall: B-. Amerson and Thomas were good picks, and although a reach, TE Jordan Reed gives RGIII another receiving weapon. 5th round OLB Brandon Jenkins could be a steal. A foot injury ended his senior year, but he was a projected day two pick before the injury. If healthy, he adds more depth to the edge .


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