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Domo's Annual NFL Draft Report Card

One of the more ridiculous annual practices by pro football writers is issuing a report card immediately after the NFL draft. Let’s be honest. How the hell can you grade a draft before any of these guys have even stepped on an NFL field?

Domo's Annual NFL Draft Report Card

Lane Johnson speaks during a news conference after being selected fourth overall by the Eagles during the first round. (Craig Ruttle/AP)
Lane Johnson speaks during a news conference after being selected fourth overall by the Eagles during the first round. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

One of the more ridiculous annual practices by pro football writers is issuing a report card immediately after the NFL draft. Let’s be honest. How the hell can you grade a draft before any of these guys have even stepped on an NFL field?

But nobody wants to hear that. We love to rush to judgment, and it makes for fun reading and debating. So here you go. Hot off the, uh, Mac Air, my 2013 draft report card:

Eagles: The Eagles stayed true to their board in this draft, ignoring need and selecting the best available player. Lane Johnson is an athletic OT who appears to be a good fit for Chip Kelly’s offense and second-round TE Zach Ertz is going to be a fun weapon to watch Chip Kelly use to create mismatches. The one and only trade GM Howie Roseman made – giving a seventh-round pick to Jacksonville to move up three spots in the fourth round and select QB Matt Barkley – could turn out to be a franchise-changer if Barkley ends up becoming the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the next 10 years. If he doesn’t, well, it was only a fourth-round pick.

Grade: B-plus

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What grade do the Eagles deserve for the draft?
A.
B.
C.
D.
F.
I. It's way too soon to tell.

Cowboys: The Cowboys made a curious move in the first round, passing on S Eric Reid and G/T Justin Pugh at 18 and trading down to 31, where they took G Travis Frederick. With coach Jason Garrett wanting to use more two-tight end sets, they took Gavin Escobar in the second round.

Grade: C

Redskins: The Redskins gave away their first-round pick in last year’s trade-up to get Robert Griffin III. Went right after their biggest need in the second round, selecting CB David Amerson. Also added a pair of safeties – Phillip Thomas (4th round) and Bacarri Rambo (6th round) to a secondary that gave up 31 touchdown passes last year. Have to factor in RGIII into the grade.

Grade: B-plus

Giants: Justin Pugh is a versatile offensive lineman who can play inside or outside. DE Damontre Moore (3rd round), once considered a first-round prospect, slid because of a poor pre-draft workout and questions about his work ethic. Ryan Nassib was a value pick in the fourth round, but will be the third QB behind Eli Manning and David Carr.

Grade: B

Chiefs: Athletic OT Eric Fisher will be a good fit for the Chiefs’ zone-blocking scheme. They used their second-round pick in the Alex Smith trade. RB Knile Davis (3rd round) is a big back with 4.3 speed who gives the Chiefs another rushing weapon.

Grade: A

Jaguars: Jags avoided the temptation to get a much-needed pass-rusher with their first pick and solidified their offensive line with the selection of OT Luke Joeckel. S Jon Cyprien (2nd round) and CB Dwayne Gratz (3rd round) should provide immediate help to the secondary.

Grade: A

Dolphins: If the Dolphins don’t pry LT Brandon Albert away from the Chiefs, they may regret their decision to take DE Dion Jordan over OT Lane Johnson after trading up from 12 to 3. Jordan needs to put on weight, but has premier pass-rush potential.

Grade: B-plus

Lions: DE Ziggy Ansah has a big-time upside, but is very raw. After missing out on Lane Johnson, Lions weren’t able to address o-line need until the third round when they grabbed G Larry Warford.

Grade: B-minus

Browns: After using their second-round pick in last year’s supplemental draft on WR Josh Gordon, Browns only had two picks in the first five rounds. Pass-rushing LB Barvkevious Mingo has a lot of potential, but it didn’t always translate into production at LSU.

Grade: C-minus

Cardinals: G Jonathan Cooper will provide needed interior help to Cardinals’ o-line. LB Kevin Minter was good value in the middle of the second round, but with Daryl Washington and Jasper Brinkley there, I don’t know where he’s going to play.

Grade: B

Rams: The Rams got QB Sam Bradford much-needed receiving help, trading up from 16 to 8 with the first of their two first-round picks and grabbing explosive WR Tavon Austin, then adding Steadman Bailey in the third. LB Alec Ogletree is a freakish athlete with off-the-field baggage who should be able to step right in and start at WILL.

Grade: A

Jets: With Darrelle Revis gone, CB Dee Milliner was a no-brainer when he was on the board at 9. Selection of DT Sheldon Richardson raised eyebrows only because he was a 3-technique tackle in college and doesn’t seem an ideal fit for Jets’ 3-4 scheme QB Geno Smith was good value in the second round, but may be a little too thin-skinned for the fish bowl that is New York.

Grade: B-minus

Titans: First-round pick Chance Warmack and free agent signee Andy Levitre give the Titans a potent guard tandem. WR Justin Hunter (2nd round) needs to add some weight, but at 6-4, is a big target. LB Zaviar Gooden (3rd round) was one of the fastest LBs in the draft (4.4). We’ll find out if speed translates into production at the next level.

Grade: B

Chargers: Chargers’ o-line was a mess last year and D.J. Fluker will step right in and start at right tackle. With Takeo Spikes gone, Manti Te’o will be given every opportunity to win a starting ILB job. WR Keenan Allen was excellent value in the third round.

Grade: A-minus

Raiders: The Raiders didn’t drive a hard enough bargain on their Round 1 tradedown, but still walked away with D.J. Hayden, who many considered the draft’s top corner. OT Menelik Watson (2nd round) and LB Sio Moore (3rd round) both were excellent value picks, and QB Tyler Wilson (4th round) could turn out to be a fourth-round steal.

Grade: B

Panthers: Carolina attacked its biggest defensive shortcoming head-on, using both its first- and second-round picks on tackles. Fourth-rounder Edmund Kugbila is an athletic, long-armed Div II guard. LB A. J. Klein (5th round) played inside at Iowa State, but probably will be bumped outside where Panthers have lot of injury problems.

Grade: B

Saints: Saints had just 3 picks in the first four rounds, but made the most of them. Kenny Vaccaro will step right in and improve a secondary that gave up 31 TD passes. Terron Armstead (3rd round) is a small-school guy who knocked everybody’s socks off at the combine and will copete for a starting job as a rookie. Kenny Stills (5th round) will compete for No. 3 or 4 wide receiver job.

Grade: B

Bills: Some people might think the 16th pick was way too high to take EJ Manuel. But his skills and upside were worth the risk there for a team that badly needs to find a QB. WR Robert Woods was a great pickup. The only consistent wideout the Bills have is Steve Johnson. Kiko Alonso is an athletic, always-around-the-ball inside ‘backer who will challenge immediately for a starting job.

Grade: B-plus

Steelers: With the departure of OLB James Harrison, Jarvis Jones fills the Steelers’ No. 1 need. RB Le’veon Bell (2nd round) will get a chance to start immediately. QB Landry Jones (4th round) should beat out veteran Bruce Gradkowski for the backup job to Big Ben.

Grade: B

49ers: After starting the draft with 13 picks, the Niners finished with a league-high 11. They traded up in the first round to get Dashon Goldson’s safety replacement, Eric Reid. With RB Frank Gore turning 30 next month, Marcus Lattimore was a nice fourth-round pickup.

Grade: B-plus

Bears: After signing o-linemen Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson in free agency, Bears GM Phil Emery continued to strengthen what was a weakness last year, selecting Kyle Long. Long has a sky-high upside, but he’s raw , and 20 seemed a bit too high for him. Bears addressed their ILB need in the second round with Jonathan Bostic. With the signing of D.J. Williams, Bostic will be given time to develop.

Grade: C-plus

Bengals: Tight end wasn’t a position of need for the Bengals. But Tyler Eifert was too good to pass up at 21. Eifert and incumbent TE Jermaine Gresham both create matchup problems for defenses. Expect the Bengals to pair the two of them together a lot.

Grade: B-plus

Falcons: The free agent losses of Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson left the Falcons depleted at corner. Not surprisingly, they used both of their first two picks on corners, trading up in the first round to take Desmond Trufant and selecting Robert Alford late in the second. Trufant likely will start opposite Asante Samuel, while Alford is expected to be the third corner in a defense that plays nickel about 50 percent of the time.

Grade: B-minus

Vikings: Vikes ended up with 3 first-round picks. GM Rick Spielman was more lucky than good with the first of those when DT Sharrif Floyd fell into his lap at 23. Xavier Rhodes is a 6-1 corner with 4.4 speed. WR Cordarrelle Patterson is lethal with the ball in his hands, but has some major diva issues.

Grade: A-plus

Colts: Colts had just two of the top 120 selections. Bjoern Werner was a good first-round pickup given that their only quality edge-rusher is 32-year-old Robert Mathis. Colts are trying to build a bigger, more physical offensive line in front of Andrew Luck. Hugh Thornton, a 320-pound third-rounder, brings guard-or-tackle versatility, as well as off-the-field baggage.

Grade: B-minus

Seahawks: Seahawks used their first-round pick in the Percy Harvin trade, which was money well spent. RB Christine Michael hardly was a need pick, given that the Seahawks already have Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. But Michael was considered one of the top two or three backs in the draft.

Grade: A-minus

Packers: Packers needed to beef up their running game and did so in a big way, getting sliding Eddie Lacy in the second round and Jonathan Franklin in the fourth. First-rounder Datone Jones gives Dom Capers a much-needed physical d-end for his 3-4 scheme.

Grade: B-plus

Texans: The Texans needed to find a wideout to compliment Andre Johnson, and got a good one in DeAndre Hopkins, a 6-1, 214-pounder with 10-inch hands and terrific ball skills. After losing OLB Connor Barwin in free agency, Texans added a pair of potential replacements in Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams.

Grade: B-plus

Broncos: Broncos needed to get an inside linebacker in this draft and failed to do so. RB Montee Ball is a talented back, but was ridden hard and put away wet at Wisconsin. After lugging the ball 663 times the last two years, there are concerns about just how much gas is left in his tank.

Grade: C-minus

Patriots: The Patriots traded out of the first round to gain an extra third-round pick. They spent the first of two second-round picks on OLB Jamie Collins even though linebacker is the strongest and deepest unit on their defense. Their other second-round pick, WR Aaron Dobson, is a 6-3, 210-pounder who should give the Patriots the vertical aspect to their passing game that was missing last year.

Grade: B-minus

Ravens: Because of the offseason losses at both safety and linebacker, the Ravens need both first-rounder Matt Elam and second-rounder Arthur Brown to step right in and start as rookies. Brown played inside and outside at Kansas State. He’ll be moved inside in the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme, where both Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbee are gone. DT Brandon Williams (3rd round) gives the Ravens some scheme versatility inside.

Grade: B-plus

Bucs: The Bucs used its top two picks to improve its secondary, trading away its first-round pick for CB Darrell Revis, and selecting CB Johnthan Banks with their second-round selection. Their decision to take QB Mike Glennon in the third round would seem to indicate that they’re not sold on Josh Freeman.

Grade: B

Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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