The best teams in the NFL tend to stay good for a reason. They draft well and take advantage when value falls to them in the draft.
The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers are both perfect examples of that. While players fell down the board, both teams picked up the talent that fell to them and added depth to positions of need.
We won't be able to really judge how well these teams drafted until a few years down the road. In fact, we probably shouldn't hand out grades until the 2014 NFL Draft plays out through seven rounds. But hey, there's nothing wrong with seeing how teams have done in the first two days. After all, a lot of star power came off the board in the first three rounds.
Here are our grades. Dan Kadar and I split the teams down the middle. How would you grade what your team has done through two days?
27. Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
52. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
84. Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
91. John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State
It's tough to argue with anything the Cardinals have done so far on draft weekend. They have addressed needs and gotten value in every round. Kareem Martin was a steal in the third round.
Reaction to Picks
6. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
37. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
68. Dez Southward, DB, Wisconsin
If the Falcons needed a pass rusher, Hageman will give them something of one from the inside. Not as much as a defensive end like Kony Ealy might, but Hageman’s upside is intriguing. Southward is a versatile player, but we don’t have him rated highly. Hipster Dimitroff strikes again.
17. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
48. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
79. Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
99. Crockett Gilmore, TE, Colorado State
The Ravens needed to get younger on defense, and they have done that with this draft. They could also use some help on the offensive line and at wide receiver, but you only have so many picks in the draft. The Ravens have done a nice job thus far.
4. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
44. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
73. Preston Brown, MLB, Louisville
The gamble on Kouandjio is with his knees. If he can play five or six good years, no one will care. But if he has health issues, it’s a wasted pick. Assuming he’ll be fine, Buffalo now has arguably the most powerful pair of tackles with Kouandjio and Cordy Glenn. Brown was a big reach at No. 73, but he does fit into what Buffalo is doing on defense. Still, he's likely just a two-down linebacker and there were some better players at the position available.
28. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
60. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
92. Trai Turner, G, LSU
From a best player available standpoint, the Panthers made a marvelous choice with Ealy. He’s a versatile defensive lineman who can get after the quarterback. Turner is a capable right guard who's ready to play in the NFL right now. But what is Carolina going to do at left tackle?
14. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
51. Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
82. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
The 51st pick was a reach for Ferguson, but don’t forget that general manager Phil Emery reached last year on Kyle Long and it sure worked out fine. Doubling up on defensive tackles was smart. If one works out really well, it won’t matter. If both pan out, excellent move. If neither do, though, yikes. And where is the safety?
24. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
55. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
88. Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia
There’s a terrible joke somewhere about the Bengals taking a character risk player like Hill in the second round. Regardless of character concern, the choice of Hill is odd considering that Carlos Hyde of Ohio State was available. Where is Hill better? Clarke in the third round didn't have much value and his fit in Cincinnati is questionable.
8. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
22. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
35. Joel Bitonio, OT/G, Nevada
71. Christian Kirksey, LB, Iowa
94. Terrance West, RB, Towson
Bitonio was a smart choice at the top of the second round. He should challenge Mitchell Schwartz for the starting right tackle job with the loser moving inside to guard. Chances are Kirksey will be playing inside for Cleveland’s 3-4 base defense. He’s a good athlete for the position. The puzzling thing was avoiding wide receivers when they had several chances to take one on Day 2.
16. Zack Martin, OT/G, Notre Dame
34. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
The Cowboys traded up for Lawrence, giving up a third-round pick. The move gave them their choice of pass rushers. Dallas went with Lawrence over Ealy, who we have rated much higher. That’s not the only risk with Lawrence, who was suspended three times at Boise State.
31. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
56. Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
95. Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan
The Broncos have clearly fallen in love with the Big Ten. No. 56 was the right spot for Latimer. He's a solid No. 2 receiver on the outside with good hands. Schofield should be able to play guard or right tackle for the Broncos and do well.
10. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
40. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
76. Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
One of the most productive and complete linebackers in the draft this year, Van Noy gets reunites with college teammate Ziggy Ansah in Detroit. Van Noy can do it all – coverage, blitzing, lined up at the middle linebacker position, special teams. Why wasn’t he graded or drafted higher? He’s not as dynamic as other athletes in the draft. Swanson is another power blocking lineman who should work nicely next to Larry Warford.
Green Bay Packers
21. Ha'sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
53. Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
85. Khyri Thornton, DT, Southern Miss
98. Richard Rodgers, TE, California
The Packers always seem to be getting excellent value. It started on the first night with Ha'sean Clinton-Dix and continued with Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers on day two.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
33. Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
65. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
83. Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
The grade: A
The Texans got outstanding value with Xavier Su'a-Filo at the top of round two. Through two days, they have not only addressed needs but took some of the top players on the board. Louis Nix was a steal in round three.
59. Jack Mewhort, G/OT, Ohio State
90. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
If the Colts wanted to draft an offensive lineman with their first choice in the draft, why Mewhort? Gabe Jackson is a better, more powerful guard. Morgan Moses is a better offensive tackle. The Moncrief pick, however, makes up for it in a big way. Still, the Colts need to hit defense the rest of this draft.
3. Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
39. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
61. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
93. Brandon Linder, G, Miami
The grade: B+
When you take a quarterback high in the draft, you have to surround him with weapons. The Jaguars have done just that, adding Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson on the second night of the draft. Their offense is a lot more talented than it was just two days ago.
23. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
87. Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
The Chiefs have done a nice job of adding talent to their defense with a limited number of picks. This grade will improve if Kansas City can find a wide receiver on day three.
19. Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
63. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
67. Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
The No. 1 priority for Miami in this draft was upgrading the offensive line. Billy Turner and Ju'Wuan James will help keep Ryan Tannehill upright.
9. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
32. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
72. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
96. Jerrick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
The Vikings have aced the 2014 NFL Draft. After stealing Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the first round, Minnesota got another great value in Scott Crichton. The Vikings are drafting as well as anyone at this point.
29. Dom Easley, DT, Florida
62. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
The Easley pick was a good one at the end of the first round, but drafting Jimmy Garoppolo seems like a mistake. It was too early for a player with as many flaws as he has.
20. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
58. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Jean-Baptiste is a bad fit for any defense that doesn’t run press man. Fortunately for him, he’s a lock-step fit for Rob Ryan’s defense. If he can sure up his tackling, he’ll be a big-time contributor. For now, though, he's still a little bit of a project.
12. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
43. Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
73. Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse
The 43rd pick was probably a little early for the Giants to take Richburg, but he’s the draft’s best center. For the Giants he’ll be an instant starter at either guard or center. Bromley fills a need in the third round, but there were better defensive tackles available.
18. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
49. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
80. Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland
The choice of Amaro should go down as one of the better selections of this year’s draft. He’s an immediate impact type of receiver for Geno Smith, and an excellent safety valve. McDougle fills the cornerback need. He’s a hard evaluation after only playing three games as a senior. It just seems like he could have been had a couple rounds later.
26. Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville
42. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
86. Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
Matthews doesn’t get a lot of separation and won’t blow you away often with his athleticism. But he’s as steady of a receiver as there is in this draft and will outwork everyone. Huff is a good player, but he may not get a lot of opportunities behind Matthews, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles still need a corner who can play on the outside.
5. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
36. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
81. Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
What's going on? The Raiders are having an incredibly smart draft. It's unlike them. Everyone of their picks has been a highly rated player on our board and taken at the appropriate value.
15. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
46. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
97. Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
The Steelers have added some needed depth to their front seven and then added more juice to their offense by drafting Dri Archer. This is a nice start to the weekend for Pittsburgh.
2. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
13. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
41. Lamarcus Joyner, S/CB, Florida State
75. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
The NFC West is eating itself. Joyner will be a move-around defensive back for the Rams, much like Tyrann Mathieu of the Cardinals. Joyner can play anywhere in the secondary and do well. Good pick. Mason was as well. He may mean the Isaiah Pead’s days in St. Louis are over. He’ll push Zac Stacy as the Rams' lead running back.
25. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
50. Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech
89. Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame
The Chargers had my favorite pick in the first round and then were able to address needs throughout day two. If they keep this up, it will be two straight solid draft classes for San Diego.
San Francisco 49ers
30. Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
57. Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
70. Marcus Martin, C, USC
77. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
100. Brandon Thomas, OT, Clemson
The 49ers are once again collecting a ton of talented prospects much later than they should be going. It's just another year at the NFL Draft. Marcus Martin was a complete steal at 70, and if Brandon Thomas stays healthy San Francisco will have a deep offensive line for the future.
45. Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
64. Justin Britt, OT, Missouri
Hey look, it's a less-than-great initial draft grade for the Seahawks. Surely now these two will turn into superstars and this grade will be thrown in my face over and over and over. Anyway, the Seahawks moved down twice in the draft, going after a DeSean Jackson clone in Richardson. He’s a risky choice because of a past knee injury. He should be productive for the Seahawks out of the slot if he can stay healthy. The Seahawks needed to find an offensive lineman in this draft, and Britt fills the need. His versatility makes him an attractive blocker. His injury history, though, is cause for concern. He's also a player who may have been available later in the draft.
7. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
38. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
69. Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
The Buccaneers, at the very least, have added a lot of talent to their offense. Whoever is under center in 2014 won't have much of an excuse not to put points on the board. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson should be a solid trio of receivers.
11. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
54. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
The Taylor Lewan pick was a bit early for my taste, but Bishop Sankey was solid value in the second round. He's a good all-around running back who should be able to contribute right away.
47. Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford
66. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
78. Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska
The Redskins got good value with Morgan Moses in the third round, but they reached a bit for Trent Murphy and Spencer Long. How will Murphy fit in their defense? Can Long stay healthy? Those questions will help determine their final grade.