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Ira Kaufman's NFL Draft grades

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Published:   |   Updated: April 28, 2013 at 08:17 AM

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NFC South
 
BUCS: Tampa Bay stayed patient and filled some needs, moving up to draft Roy Miller's replacement in DT Akeem Spence. CB Johnthan Banks will have every chance to compete for a starting job while QB Mike Glennon is worth a look. Hulking DE William Gholston is raw, but his athleticism is intriguing. GRADE: B-minus
 
ATLANTA: The Falcons doubled up at corner, looking to replace departing free agents Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes. Desmond Trufant has impressive bloodlines and superior ball skills while Robert Alford must answer questions about durability and the level of competition he faced at SE Louisiana. GRADE: C
 
CAROLINA: This was a meat-and-potatoes draft for the Panthers, restocking the trenches. Star Lotulelei fell to them at No. 14 and they struck again at DT by selecting Kawann Short. With Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson returning at DE, this D-line could be a force. G Edmund Kugbila looks like a project. GRADE: C
 
NEW ORLEANS: The Saints landed the top safety in the draft and rangy Kenny Vaccaro should make an immediate impact in a secondary that was torched in 2012. T Terron Armstead may have been a reach with the 75th overall pick, but he's a heck of an athlete. DT John Jenkins, a 360-pound run stuffer, could start. GRADE: C-plus
 
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NFC East
 
DALLAS: Trading down in the first round, the Cowboys pounced on Travis Frederick, a smart, powerful center who has a tendency to put on weight. Lanky TE Gavin Escobar will be groomed behind Jason Witten, while WR Terrance Williams has size and speed but needs more polish. Safety JJ Wilcox impressed at the Senior Bowl. GRADE: D
 
N.Y. GIANTS: The Giants plodded along until Round 4, when they plucked athletic QB Ryan Nassib to groom behind Eli Manning. T Justin Pugh and defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore fortify areas of need. Moore is a versatile DE who ably replaced Von Miller as Texas A&M's "Joker." GRADE: B-minus
 
PHILADELPHIA: New head coach Chip Kelly added some valuable pieces to an erratic offense. If they plug in Lane Johnson, the fourth overall pick, as an immediate starter at LT … he could end up being better than Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel. Zach Ertz was rated as the No. 2 TE and QB Matt Barkley was worth a Round 4 pick. GRADE: B-plus
 
WASHINGTON: The Redskins were hamstrung by a lack of premium picks. David Amerson has outstanding size and aggressiveness at corner and DBs coach Raheem Morris can't wait to work on his technique. TE Jordan Reed won't be much of a factor as a blocker, but this former Gator standout can get downfield. GRADE: D
 
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NFC North
 
CHICAGO: The Bears bypassed ILB Manti Te'o at pick No. 20 and chose one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. Kyle Long, a 6-foot-6 superior athlete with academic and character issues, should bolster an embattled O-line. Ex-Gator Jon Bostic and fellow LB Khaseem Greene boast good ball skills. GRADE: C-minus
 
DETROIT: The defensively challenged Lions surprised many by taking DE Ezekiel Ansah at No. 5. He's strong and fast, but his technique is raw and Detroit could have selected CB Dee Milliner. In addressing their secondary woes, the Lions reached for CB Darius Slay, an indifferent tackler with marginal experience. GRADE: F
 
GREEN BAY: GM Ted Thompson always does his homework and he patiently let DE Datone Jones fall to him late in the opening round. Jones is a versatile defender who registered 17.5 tackles for losses last season. Alabama's Eddie Lacy, a power back who can make people miss, represents value at No. 61. GRADE: B
 
MINNESOTA: Armed with an extra first-round pick from the Percy Harvin deal, the Vikings strategically restocked their roster. Ex-Gator Sharrif Floyd could end up being the best DT in the draft and FSU CB Xavier Rhodes has the size and physicality coach Leslie Frazier craves. WR Cordarrelle Patterson has all the skills. GRADE: A
 
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NFC West
 
ARIZONA: The Cardinals did a nice job of landing talented players who can help them compete in a killer division. From versatile G Jonathan Cooper to sixth-round WR Ryan Swope, Arizona added depth all over the board. Don't be surprised if LB Kevin Minter and DB Tyrann Mathieu both earn starting jobs as rookies. GRADE: B
 
SAN FRANCISCO: The defending NFC champs cleaned up, using extra draft picks to add competition. S Eric Reid is expected to replace Dashon Goldson and DE Tank Carradine will be developed slowly. Only a team with as many selections as the 49ers would have used a fourth-round choice on RB Marcus Lattimore. GRADE: B-plus
 
SEATTLE: Idle until the 62nd pick, the Seahawks didn't make much news this weekend. RB Christine Michael, beset by injury issues, appears to be a bit of a reach in the second round. DT Jordan Hill lacks size and could be overpowered at the pro level. WR Chris Harper might make an immediate impact on special teams. GRADE: F
 
ST. LOUIS: The Rams continue to make strides under Jeff Fisher and this draft harvest will help. WR Tavon Austin is an undersized playmaker who thrives in space, while St. Louis was thrilled to see LB Alec Ogletree available late in Round 1. Alabama C Barrett Jones was a value pick midway through Round 4. GRADE: A
 
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AFC East
 
BUFFALO: The Bills have a lot of holes and new coach Doug Marrone focused on upgrading his offensive talent in the first three rounds, adding QB E.J. Manuel and new targets Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. Woods is a red-zone threat and Manuel has some intriguing upside if he's coached up. GRADE: C
 
MIAMI: The success of Miami's draft will be judged by the play of DE Dion Jordan, who is expected to complement pass-rushing demon Cameron Wake. The Dolphins moved up nine spots in the first round to select the former Oregon standout, who needs more upper-body strength. CB Jamar Taylor could start in Game 1. GRADE: C-minus
 
NEW ENGLAND: The Pats loaded up on defense, taking two DBs from Rutgers and LB Jamie Collins in the early rounds. Collins is a gifted athlete and it won't take coach Bill Belichick long to figure out a way to maximize his impact. WR Aaron Dobson will have a chance to contribute following Wes Welker's departure. GRADE: C
 
N.Y. JETS: CB Dee Milliner has the misfortune to follow Darrelle Revis, and those comparisons are obviously unfair to the Alabama standout. DT Sheldon Richardson wasn't a hit with some Jets fans, but he'll plug the middle responsibly. Second-round QB Geno Smith could be under center sooner rather than later. GRADE: B
 
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AFC North
 
BALTIMORE: GM Ozzie Newsome is on the short list of the league's most astute talent evaluators and this draft was no exception. S Matt Elam and LB Arthur Brown are smart, instinctive players who have a decent shot at starting as rookies. DT Brandon Williams is a wide-body who will be groomed behind Haloti Ngata. GRADE: B-plus
 
CINCINNATI: Another solid draft for the Bengals, who haven't posted a playoff win in 22 years. TE Tyler Eifert should draw some coverage away from dynamic WR A.J. Green, while RB Giovani Bernard runs with power and boasts soft hands. Marvin Lewis can't wait to coach up DE Margus Hunt, who has mad skills. GRADE: A-minus
 
CLEVELAND: Stuck with only one pick among the top 67 selections, the Browns had few opportunities to add an impact player for a drab attack. Instead, Cleveland chose LSU edge rusher Barkevious Mingo, who struggles against the run. CB Leon McFadden, a converted WR, is more of an athlete than a football player at this point. GRADE: D
 
PITTSBURGH: After an 8-8 season, the Steelers returned to their roots. LB Jarvis Jones should thrive as an edge rusher in Pittsburgh's 3-4 front and 10 sacks is not beyond his reach as a rookie. Second-round RB Le'Veon Bell was taken too early, but WR Markus Wheaton, a blur from Oregon State, was a nice pickup in Round 3. GRADE: B-minus
 
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AFC South


HOUSTON: The Texans aren't far away from reaching the Super Bowl and their first two picks have a chance to help them get there. Sure-handed WR DeAndre Hopkins could develop into a credible downfield threat opposite Andre Johnson, while safety D.J. Swearinger is a big hitter who closes in a hurry. GRADE: B-minus
 
INDIANAPOLIS: The departure of DE Dwight Freeney leaves a huge hole in the pass rush and the Colts are hoping former FSU standout Bjoern Werner plays up to his potential. Scouts were divided on Werner, who posted 35 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks in Tallahassee. Hugh Thornton can play either tackle or guard. GRADE: C-minus
 
JACKSONVILLE: New head coach Gus Bradley, a former Bucs assistant, has to be pleased with his haul. You can plug Luke Joeckel into the LT spot for the next decade, while Florida International S Johnathan Cyprien turned a standout Senior Bowl into a big payday. WR Ace Sanders, undersized but dangerous, was a Round 4 steal. GRADE: B
 
TENNESSEE: The overhaul of the Titans rolls on. Alabama G Chance Warmack has the look of a future Pro Bowler and this 322-pound road-grader fills a key need in Nashville. RB Chris Johnson loves the pick. There are durability concerns surrounding WR Justin Hunter, but his size and body control are tantalizing. GRADE: C
 
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AFC West
 
DENVER: Scouts were divided on first-round pick Sylvester Williams, a 313-pound DT whose focus tends to waver at times. Coach John Fox figures he will bring out the best in a powerful lineman who can move. RB Montee Ball has a knack for reaching the end zone and ex-USF CB Kayvon Webster boasts all the physical skills. GRADE: C-minus
 
KANSAS CITY: A 2-14 club needs help everywhere and this weekend was a good start for new coach Andy Reid. Eric Fisher could be a 10-year starter at LT and TE Travis Kelce has a chance to develop into a reliable target for QB Alex Smith. Fourth-round pick Nico Johnson is an intriguing ILB prospect from Alabama. GRADE: B
 
OAKLAND: If QB Tyler Wilson proves to be a Round 4 steal, this draft will be judged a success. Oakland traded back in the first round and selected CB D.J. Hayden, who scared off a lot of teams because of a sternum injury that threatened his career. Confident and tough, Wilson was well worth the risk at pick No. 112. GRADE: C-minus
 
SAN DIEGO: The Chargers cleaned house in the offseason and the new regime is off to a promising start. Massive T D.J. Fluker is difficult to budge and choosing LB Manti Te'o in Round 2 was a smart move. He has a chance to be special and fills a need. Productive WR Keenan Allen somehow lasted until the 76th pick. GRADE: A-minus

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