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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL draft: grades: Bucs earn a B-

Published:   |   Updated: May 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM

NFC SOUTH

BUCS: Unable to secure an equitable deal to move down, the Bucs stood pat at No. 7 and addressed a major need by landing massive WR Mike Evans, who was rarely caught from behind at Texas A&M. Third-round RB Charles Sims has the look of a Jeff Tedford pick. GRADE: B-minus

 

ATLANTA: The Falcons wouldn't meet Houston's demands for the right to draft Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1, but dependable LT Jake Matthews will offer solid protection for Matt Ryan's blind side. DT Ra'Shede Hageman may have been a reach with the 37th overall pick. GRADE: B-minus

 

CAROLINA: FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin will be an instant red-zone threat, but his hands are erratic and he's not a polished route runner. The Panthers rebounded nicely with athletic DE Kony Ealy and G Trai Turner, a 310-pound road-grader who is strong and nasty. GRADE: B

 

NEW ORLEANS: The Saints were limited to only two picks in the first three rounds, but they provided Drew Brees with a fleet target in WR Brandin Cooks, a 4.3 speedster who caught 16 TDs last year at Oregon State. Rangy CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste appears to be a project. GRADE: C

NFC EAST

DALLAS: Jerry Jones somehow resisted the urge to grab Johnny Manziel and the Cowboys ended up with the draft's most versatile offensive lineman in Zack Martin midway through Round 1. Dallas is hoping raw DE Demarcus Lawrence is the next DeMarcus Ware. GRADE: C

 

N.Y. GIANTS: LSU WR Odell Beckham is a game-breaker who will make defenses think twice about double-teaming Victor Cruz on third down. C Weston Richburg will have every chance to start, but Syracuse DT Jay Bromley wasn't worth a third-round pick. GRADE: C

 

PHILADELPHIA: After posting 15 sacks last season, Louisville OLB Marcus Smith boasts intriguing pass-rush skills and he fills a major need in Philly. The Eagles then turned to swift WRs Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff in an effort to make fans forget about DeSean Jackson. GRADE: B

 

WASHINGTON: The Redskins didn't turn in a card until pick No. 47, but OLB Trent Murphy led the nation with 15 sacks and he represents good value. Massive OT Morgan Moses isn't much of an athlete, but he plays with a mean streak that will go over well in the nation's capital. GRADE: C-minus

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller has some injury issues, but he arrives quickly to the ball in an angry mood and he'll be a big hitter from the start. The NFL's most porous run defense is hoping defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton can shore up a soft middle. GRADE: C-minus

 

DETROIT: Given all their issues on defense, the Lions surprised some draft analysts with the selection of North Carolina TE Eric Ebron, who should capitalize on all the attention Calvin Johnson generates. LB Kyle Van Noy brings heat and disruption off the edge. GRADE: B

 

GREEN BAY: GM Ted Thompson has a solid track record and Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should show off his closing speed and instincts from the start. WR Davante Adams won't run away from anyone, but he can jump and his hands will impress Aaron Rodgers. GRADE: B-minus

 

MINNESOTA: The departure of Jared Allen creates a huge void in the pass rush and the Vikes are hoping UCLA LB Anthony Barr can develop into a terror off the edge. Trading up to grab QB Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the opening round was a shrewd maneuver. GRADE: B

NFC WEST

ARIZONA: Safety wasn't a glaring need for the Cardinals, but they fixed their sights on Deone Bucannon, who has a chance to be special. Troy Niklas, a converted OLB, may have been the No. 2 tight end prospect in the draft and DE Kareem Martin was a third-round steal. GRADE: A-minus

 

ST. LOUIS: The Rams entered the draft with a plan — and they executed. OT Greg Robinson and DT Aaron Donald were arguably the premier players at their positions and don't forget about FSU ballhawking DB Lamarcus Joyner, who packs a wallop at 5-foot-8. GRADE: A

 

SAN FRANCISCO: The 49ers had five picks in the first three rounds and they addressed five different positions. S Jimmie Ward offers aggressive run support and Wisconsin LB Chris Borland forced 15 fumbles while posting 17 sacks and 50 tackles for loss. GRADE: B

 

SEATTLE: The Super Bowl champions dealt their first-round choice to Minnesota, then took a literal flyer on Colorado WR Paul Richardson midway through Round 2. Richardson may have a slender build, but Russell Wilson will find it difficult to overthrow this fluid 4.4 speedster. GRADE: C

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: The Bills paid a steep price to move from No. 9 to No. 4, but the prize was substantial. Sammy Watkins, one of the most dynamic WR prospects in the past decade, instantly makes Buffalo's attack intriguing. Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio should also be an instant starter. GRADE: A-minus

 

MIAMI: With Zack Martin off the board, the Dolphins settled for aggressive OT Billy Turner and Tennessee OT Ja'Wuan James, who relies on his 6-foot-6, 311-pound frame to compensate for average athleticism. WR Jarvis Landry is far from a burner, but he knows how to get open. GRADE: C-minus

 

NEW ENGLAND: Florida's Dominique Easley is a bit undersized and has some injury issues, but he's versatile enough to play anywhere along the D-line. Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw 53 TD passes as a senior, can be groomed slowly behind Tom Brady. GRADE: B-minus

 

N.Y. JETS: Hard-hitting S Calvin Pryor has a chance to emerge as a big hitter under the tutelage of Rex Ryan, who has overhauled his secondary in the last few years. With his size and speed, TE Jace Amaro will prove a difficult matchup, while CB Dexter McDougle is intriguing. GRADE: A-minus

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: The Ravens focused on rebuilding a defense that struggled last fall. ILB C.J. Mosley has outstanding instincts and FSU DT Timmy Jernigan was a steal midway through Round 2. Teammate Terrence Brooks is a small safety who plays big. GRADE: B

 

CINCINNATI: The Bengals were delighted to find CB Darqueze Dennard still on the board at No. 24 and he could excel in press coverage. LSU's Jeremy Hill is a 233-pound power back who may remind Cincy fans of Cedric Benson. In Round 5, QB A.J. McCarron made sense. GRADE: B-plus

 

CLEVELAND: A listless franchise has been energized by the addition of QB Johnny Manziel, a classic boom/bust prospect. Justin Gilbert could form quite a CB tandem with Joe Haden while Nevada's Joel Bitonio should make a smooth transition from LT to G. GRADE: A-minus

 

PITTSBURGH: Coach Mike Tomlin is seeking defensive players who can make a difference and Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier fits the bill as a speedy tackle machine. With some deft coaching, Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt could emerge as a playmaker along the defensive line. GRADE: B-minus

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: After attempting to trade out of the No. 1 spot, the Texans did the right thing and chose DE Jadeveon Clowney, a potential superstar. Houston followed up with an impressive harvest, adding G Xavier Su'a-Filo, TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and DT Louis Nix. GRADE: A

 

INDIANAPOLIS: The Colts owned only one of the first 89 picks and they settled for Ohio State's Jack Mewhort, a physical 6-foot-6 specimen who can play either guard or tackle. Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief boasts size and speed, but he'll have difficulty getting open at the next level. GRADE: D

 

JACKSONVILLE: If Blake Bortles develops into a franchise QB, the Jags will feel very good about their haul. WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson will help Jacksonville stretch the field, but only if a struggling franchise can find someone under center to build around. GRADE: B-minus

 

TENNESSEE: Most draft analysts believe Michigan OT Taylor Lewan will quickly emerge as a dominant lineman. Shifty Bishop Sankey rushed for 36 TDs in his final two seasons at Washington and LSU QB Zach Mettenberger was a smart pick in the sixth round. GRADE: B

AFC WEST

DENVER: The AFC champions gave Aqib Talib some help at the corner with the addition of Bradley Roby, one of the fastest players in the draft. Indiana WR Cody Latimer has average speed, but he boasts the size and hands that can make him an effective target for Peyton Manning. GRADE: D

 

KANSAS CITY: Before the Chiefs grabbed QB Aaron Murray in the fifth round, K.C. struggled to make a splash with its early picks. Auburn's Dee Ford has some skills as an edge rusher, but he may not fit the scheme at Arrowhead. Speedy CB Phillip Gaines needs better ball skills. GRADE: C-minus

 

OAKLAND: This woeful franchise made some significant strides this weekend. More than a few scouts believe LB Khalil Mack will turn out to be a better pro than Jadeveon Clowney. Early in the second round, the Raiders wisely selected record-breaking Fresno State QB Derek Carr. GRADE: A-minus

 

SAN DIEGO: The Chargers had a major need for secondary help and CB Jason Verrett should contribute immediately after leading the nation with 38 passes defended over the past two seasons. Notre Dame G Chris Watt is a powerful lineman who always plays with an edge. GRADE: C

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