2014 NFL Draft grades: 49ers, Packers continue to maximize value

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It has only been three rounds, but some of the winners of the 2014 NFL Draft are starting to emerge.

SB Nation 2014 NFL Draft

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?

Arizona Cardinals

27. Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

52. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame

84. Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina

91. John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State

Grade: A-

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

Atlanta Falcons

6. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

37. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

68. Dez Southward, DB, Wisconsin

Grade: B

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.

Baltimore Ravens

17. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

48. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

79. Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State

99. Crockett Gilmore, TE, Colorado State

Grade: B+

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.

Buffalo Bills

4. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

44. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

73. Preston Brown, MLB, Louisville

Grade: C+

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.

Carolina Panthers

28. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

60. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

92. Trai Turner, G, LSU

Grade: B-

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?

Chicago Bears

14. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

51. Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU

82. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State

Grade: B-

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?

Cincinnati Bengals

24. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

55. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

88. Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia

Grade: B-

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.

Cleveland Browns

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

Grade: B-

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.

Dallas Cowboys

16. Zack Martin, OT/G, Notre Dame

34. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State

Grade: B

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.

Denver Broncos

31. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

56. Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana

95. Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan

Grade: B

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.

Detroit Lions

10. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

40. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

76. Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas

Grade: B

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

Grade: A

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.

Houston Texans

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.

Indianapolis Colts

59. Jack Mewhort, G/OT, Ohio State

90. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss

Grade: B-

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.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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.

Kansas City Chiefs

23. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

87. Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice

Grade: B

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.

Miami Dolphins

19. Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

63. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

67. Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State

Grade: A-

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.

Minnesota Vikings

9. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

32. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

72. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

96. Jerrick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern

Grade: A

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.

New England Patriots

29. Dom Easley, DT, Florida

62. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

Grade: C

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.

New Orleans Saints

20. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

58. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

Grade: C+

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.

New York Giants

12. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

43. Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

73. Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse

Grade: B-

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.

New York Jets

18. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

49. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

80. Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland

Grade: B-

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.

Philadelphia Eagles

26. Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville

42. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

86. Josh Huff, WR, Oregon

Grade: C+

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.

Oakland Raiders

5. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

36. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

81. Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State

Grade: A

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.

Pittsburgh Steelers

15. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

46. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

97. Dri Archer, RB, Kent State

Grade: B

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.

St. Louis Rams

2. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

13. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

41. Lamarcus Joyner, S/CB, Florida State

75. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

Grade: B+

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.

San Diego Chargers

25. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

50. Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech

89. Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame

Grade: B+

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

Grade: A-

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.

Seattle Seahawks

45. Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado

64. Justin Britt, OT, Missouri

Grade: C+

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.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

38. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

69. Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia

Grade: B

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.

Tennessee Titans

11. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

54. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Grade: C+

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.

Washington Redskins

47. Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford

66. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

78. Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska

Grade: C+

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.

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