17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia – A-
- The Steelers are a great drafting team and they stuck to their board in taking the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Simple, easy, and good for Pittsburgh.
18) San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU – B
- I don’t like this pick. The Niners traded up to get a safety I felt they could have had at 31 overall. Even if they didn’t get Reid, they would have had the opportunity to draft good substitutes like Matt Elam or Jonathan Cyprien. The only reason this isn’t graded lower is because the Niners seem to know something we don’t in the personnel department, so you have to trust them.
19) New York Giants: Justin Pugh, OT Syracuse – C+
- Tom Coughlin really likes offensive linemen. Therefore, Pugh makes sense to the Giants…except that he’s a second round caliber player. The Giants could have picked much better players at many different positions here and they went with a reach instead.
20) Chicago Bears: Kyle Long, OT/G, Oregon – D+
- I really like Kyle Long and think he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl guard or offensive tackle…in two or three years if he’s coached correctly. The Bears reached all the way to the third round with this pick and it’s not pretty. They could have had a lot of other offensive linemen who could help immediately and help better than Long.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame – B
- The Cincinnati Bengals already have a quality tight end in Jermaine Gresham. I understand the dual tight end threat is popular but the Bengals really could have used players at other positions. If Eifert wasn’t head and shoulders better than the other tight ends in this draft, this would have been a reach. There’s no doubt he’ll help quarterback Andy Dalton, but it’s still something I see as questionable.
22) Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington – B
- This is about where I expected Trufant to go, but I’m not certain he’s worth trading up for. GM Thomas Dimitroff must really like him. He fills a major need for the Falcons and may have been the best player left at corner, though I like Xavier Rhodes here too.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida – A
- Did everyone else forget that Floyd was still available? The steal of the draft, the Vikings made off with arguably the best defensive tackle in the draft and secured interior defensive line dominance for years to come. I couldn’t be happier with this pick for Minnesota.
24) Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – B+
- Werner’s draft stock really didn’t deserve to take the hit that it did. He’s an effort player that fits the Colts really well. I think he’ll play his heart out for Chuck Pagano and he’ll provide a consistent pass rushing presence that the team needs.
25) Minnesota Vikings: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State – B+
- I really like Rhodes and I think the Vikes were fortunate he was available at number 25. He’s a quality player and an instant starter for Minnesota. Like the Floyd pick, this selection was a good combination of need and value. Minnesota looks wise for waiting.
26) Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA – B-
- I think the Packers could have done much better with this pick. Namely, they could have fixed the major hole at center on their roster. Jones is a first round talent, but the Packers could have had the top center prospect rather than the 9th best defensive end.
27) Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – A-
- The Texans patiently waited for the best wide receiver at number 27 and it paid off. With both Cordarrelle Patterson and Hopkins available they went with the player who best complements Andre Johnson. Hopkins will alleviate a lot of pressure Johnson faces on any given down, thereby helping quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Arian Foster as well.
28) Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – B
- Denver’s defense is loaded and Williams is a good talent but I don’t think he “slid” as much as Mel Kiper and John Gruden thought. Williams is a step lower than the other defensive tackles in this draft but he’ll do well in John Fox’s defense.
29) Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee – B+
- The Vikings did the most dangerous thing in NFL football: giving Bill Belichick more picks. I don’t blame them. With Patterson lasting this long in the draft, the Vikings ensured they secured their third top-tier player rather than waiting to see what they could do with more mediocre stock in later rounds. I like the bold move, I like the selection, and I think the Vikings did some good cost/benefit analysis in making the decision.
30) St. Louis Rams: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia – B
- Someone was going to take Ogletree so why not the Rams? They leveraged a good trade with the Falcons and felt comfortable selecting the man they viewed as the best inside linebacker in the draft. You can’t slight them for seeing a guy after patiently trading back and then taking him. There was a lot of huff about Manti Te’o sliding out of the first round but I think Ogletree is just as good if not better.
31) Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin – B+
- The Cowboys get the player the Packers should have selected and it will be a lot better than some think. Frederick is the best pure center in the draft (Barrett Jones may be best all-around interior offensive lineman, though) and Wisconsin breeds offensive linemen. They need to protect their new $100 million investment in Tony Romo and Frederick helps them with that. Seriously, has anybody regretted drafting a Wisconsin O-lineman in the past five years? This is quality, a lot of people just don’t know it yet. Interestingly, he was the first Big 10 player in the draft.
32) Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, S, Florida – B+
- The Ravens were wise to stand their ground and wait for Elam to fall to them. I feel they would have been equally satisfied with either Elam and or Cyprien so they played the waiting game. Elam will be a quality starter and gives the Ravens their first step building block as they rebuild a defense ravaged by free agency.
What do you guys think? Hate the grades? Like the grades? Leave it in the comments!
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims