The Armchair Quarterback's Guide To The NFL: Judging The Draft Classes

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The Armchair Quarterback’s Take Of The Week

It Way Too Early To Judge A Draft Class, But Here Goes……..

The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books and now it’s that time where we turn to so called “experts” to tell us how our favorite team made out for themselves. Fans all over flock to every possible outlet in hopes that they’ll see that “A” grade next to their team’s draft class. I always thought it was ironic to much weight in the “grade” assigned to your team’s draft by a so called “expert” that the week before mocked a bunch of players in the first round that didn’t actually go until the third round. So this guy was completely off on his evaluation of where players should go, but I should care that he gave my team a “C+” on their picks?

So naturally, what am I going to do this week?

I’m going to pass judgement on all 32 teams drafts, of course.

I’m going to boycott assigning grades, which I think are silly. I’m going to actually go one step farther, I’m going to rank all 32 draft classes in order of how much I liked them. I’ve broken them into four categories: Loved What They Did, Really Liked What They Did, Was Fine With What They Did, and Have Some Questions About What They Did.

This is a first impression, gut reaction to each team’s draft. I recognize the fact that my #1 favorite draft group could bust spectacularly and my least favorite draft class could yield multiple Pro Bowlers. That having been said, you read sports blogs like this to get someone’s opinion. If the opinion matches your own you go “see, I knew I was right” and if it’s different you take to the comments and tell the author what an idiot he is and how he has no idea what he’s talking about (I’m 100% prepared for some of those this week). So let’s cut to it and see where I ranked each team so you can either feel great about your team’s draft or let me know what a moron I am for ranking your team so low.

I Loved What These Teams Did:

I feel like the teams in this section had the best overall drafts. I’m a huge fan of what they did.

1. Minnesota Vikings

This is my hands down, unquestioned, favorite draft class. They got a top talent and defensive play maker in Anthony Barr and then jumped back in at the very end of the first round and took the QB that I believe will be the best from this draft class, Teddy Bridgewater. That right there would have put them near the top of this list, but I also like several of their other picks. I think Scott Crichton was good value in the third and will contribute right away. While I didn’t like David Yankey in the 2nd round where he was being mocked, getting him in the 5th round is excellent value. Finally, if 6th round pick Antone Exum can overcome some injury concerns I think he can start in the NFL at either CB or FS. I thought the Vikings won the 2014 NFL Draft.

2. St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams had the advantage of having two picks in the top thirteen and four picks in the top 75. That gave them a chance to really inject their roster with some big time talent that can make an impact right away. That’s exactly what they did. The Rams added an amazing offensive lineman (Greg Robinson), the best defensive tackle in this draft (Aaron Donald), a guy that can walk in and play the nickel CB spot (Lamarcus Joyner), and one of the best RBs in this draft (Tre Mason). After that their draft was alright, but those four picks are really what make this a great draft class. If you get four key contributors out of a draft class, regardless of how many picks you had, you had yourself a great draft.

3. Houston Texans

The Texans had a chance to be the clear winner of this draft. After taking the best player in the draft in Jadeveon Clowney, they could have made this an absolute home run if they had moved into the late first and beat the Vikings to Teddy Bridgewater. Instead they stayed put, took an interior offensive lineman, and waited to take their QB (Tom Savage) until the 4th round. Now, don’t get me wrong, they still are my third favorite draft class, I just think they missed an opportunity to make it even better. I think the Su’a-Filo and Fiedorowicz picks will help right away and getting their NT (Louis Nix) in the 3rd round was an absolute steal. If Savage turns out to be their long term answer at QB this will be a phenomenal draft class, but even without him I think it is still one of the year’s best.

4. Oakland Raiders

As a Chiefs fan, it hurts to write this…….I love what Oakland did in this draft. They got one of the elite prospects in the entire draft in Kalil Mack, a strong armed QB prospect with great upside in Derek Carr, and the guy I think will be the best OG in this draft in Gabe Jackson. I also really like CB Keith McGill who they got in the fourth round. I think they got two instant starters in Mack and Jackson, which would be good by itself, but if Carr earns the starting job eventually it will put this class over the top. Curse you Reggie McKenzie!!!

5. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens did a fantastic job of revitalizing their defense with this draft. A year after parting ways with legends like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed it appears that Baltimore has reloaded. They added playmakers that should contribute right away at every level of their defense. Linebacker CJ Mosley is arguably a top ten talent that slid a little due to some durability concerns and the position he plays but he’ll really solidify the middle of the field. DT Timmy Jernigan was great value in the second round and with fourth round pick 6’7″ Brent Urban they will really help sure up the front of the Ravens D. Finally, third round pick Terrence Brooks has a chance to play right away as a coverage safety on the back end. The Ravens had a great draft on the defensive side of the ball.

6. San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers seem to win the draft almost every year. In a league where most teams tell you its hard to find trades on draft day, the 49ers seem to move up and down the draft board with ease. Moving down, picking up picks, moving back up but paying less than they received to move back, picking up Stevie Johnson in the process. They just always seem to come out ahead and they already have one of the deepest rosters in the league. They had seven picks in the first four rounds and I like every single one of them. The rich just keep getting richer.

7. Green Bay Packers

I really liked the Packers first pick of HaHa Clinton-Dix. They desperately needed someone to quarterback the back end of their secondary and Clinton-Dix is a perfect fit for the job. I really liked the value of getting Carl Bradford in the fourth round, but most of all I loved how they replenished their wide receiving corps. Devonte Adams, Jared Abbrederis, and Jeff Janis were all great picks where they were taken. Adams and Abbrederis should both contribute right away. When your QB is the heart and soul of your team, keeping them stocked with quality weapons is vital. The Patriots could learn something from what GB did in this draft (more on them later).

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I don’t know who will end up starting the majority of games at quarterback for the Bucs, but whomever it is will be in a MUCH better situation thanks to this draft class. The Bucs made four picks that I think could have a significant impact on offense right away. The most obvious is first round pick Mike Evans who will pair with Vincent Jackson to make one of the most imposing set of physical wideouts in the entire league. They also added one of the best TEs in the entire draft (Seferian-Jenkins) and a great pass catching RB (Sims). The sleeper of the group is 6th round pick WR Robert Herron who’s explosive speed out of the slot will make a nice contrast to the larger WRs on the outside. The Bucs did a great job of stocking their offense for whomever is at the helm next season.

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