01) St. Louis – QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: B
Adding one of the top two DTs in this draft would’ve complemented Chris Long well for the Rams, but after releasing Marc Bulger, the Rams addressed a big need though no one should expect Bradford to have an immediate impact.
02) Detroit – DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: A-
There was a lot of argument about whether the Lions should take Gerald McCoy, whom some believe would fit better in Detroit’s defensive schemes, or Suh who is the better athlete. In the end the Lions took the better athlete, hopefully that decision won’t haunt them like many others in the past.
03) Tampa Bay – DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma: A-
With Suh off the board Tampa had a pretty easy pick here, McCoy should help revive a fallen defense.
04) Washington – OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma: B
Many expected Russell Okung to be taken here, but instead the Redskins went with Williams, whom some believe will work better with Mike Shanahan’s blocking schemes than Okung.
05) Kansas City – S Eric Berry, Tennessee: A-
A lot of people were high on Berry, and even though Safety wasn’t a top draft priority, the Chiefs really couldn’t pass this guy up at #5.
06) Seattle – OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State: A
With OT a need and the Redskins letting Okung fall to them, the choice became pretty simple for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.
07) Cleveland – CB Joe Haden, Florida: B
The Browns could’ve got a lot of different ways here, but CB was a draft need and Haden should do a solid job filling in that gap.
08) Oakland – LB Rolando McClain, Alabama: B-
The Raiders could’ve done worse, a lot worse considering their picks in the past, but they’ve basically selected a player in one of the few positions they didn’t need help in.
09) Buffalo – RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson: C
I didn’t know the Bills thought that little of Marshawn Lynch to draft another running back with their first pick instead of filling a need. I’m sure Spiller will be a fine running back, but Buffalo already had one, or so I thought.
10) Jacksonville – DT Tyson Alualu, California: D
This was one of the bigger “huh?” picks in the first round. Some out there think Alualu was a bit underrated and that this was a good pick for the Jaguars, but Jacksonville probably could’ve waited until much later to draft Alualu and will be a tough sell to its fanbase.
11) San Francisco – OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers: A-
The 49ers are going out of their way to establish a strong offensive line to protect Alex Smith and add another layer to their run game. Davis should do a good job in those regards.
12) San Diego – RB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State: C
Indeed, the Chargers needed a new RB following the departure of LaDainian Tomlinson, and Mathews should complement Darren Sproles well. That said, the Chargers really didn’t need to jump 16 spots to nab Mathews, he would’ve been available later on.
13) Philadelphia – DE Brandon Graham, Michigan: B
A solid pick for the Eagles, Graham is one of the best DEs in this draft and it fills one of many needs for the suddenly reconstructing Eagles.
14) Seattle – S Earl Thomas, Texas: A-
Another great pick by Carroll, Thomas should help solidify their secondary.
15) NY Giants – DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida: A-
It was a toss-up between Pierre-Paul and Morgan, with whichever one the Giants didn’t take probably snagged by Tennessee with the next pick. The Giants believe Pierre-Paul will help restore some strength to the defensive line which has been New York’s key to their defense for several years now.
16) Tennessee – DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech: A-
Tennessee was another team that saw its defensive line fall apart, and Morgan will help stop the bleeding in that respect. He’s a more consistent pick than Pierre-Paul but doesn’t have as much upside. Still, I think both the Giants and Titans are happy with their defensive ends.
17) San Francisco – OG Mike Iupati, Idaho: B+
The Niners came into this draft with a plan and ran it very well, in hopes that they can run it very well in the fall. With Davis and now Iupati, San Francisco looks to build upon an already solid run game led by Frank Gore.
18) Pittsburgh – C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida: C+
Well, Pouncey should be a solid center for the Steelers, but at the same time center wasn’t really a concern for the Steelers, who could’ve gone in several other directions.
19) Atlanta – LB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri: C
The Falcons needed help up front on defense. So, they take a linebacker, and one they could’ve gotten away with drafting later on. Not to be harsh on Weatherspoon himself, he will be a strong linebackers for the Falcons for years to come.
20) Houston – CB Kareem Jackson, Alabama: B
Filling a hole created by the loss of Dunta Robinson is a fine move for the Texans. If he can adequately fill in that hole, the Texans should still be able to compete for their first ever playoff berth.
21) Cincinnati – TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma: A-
Tight end was just about a sure bet for the Bengals as it was its biggest hole. Gresham is the best TE in the draft and should do wonders for the improving Cincinnati offense.
22) Denver – WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech: B+
The Broncos took the more character-stable Thomas instead of the possibly more talented Bryant, which is no surprise given what they just went through with the Brandon Marshall situation.
23) Green Bay – OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa: A
The Packers’ biggest problem last year early on was their offensive line, though it did stablize a bit at season’s end. Bulaga’s abilities and attitude should be an excellent fit for the Packers.
24) Dallas – WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State: C
Dallas traded up to get Bryant, who was already in a freefall from character issues. It seems that Dallas does not trust Roy Williams to get back on track, or on a more positive spin hope a triple threat of Williams, Bryant and Austin Miles, with Jason Witten always dependable at TE, will give Dallas one of the best passing offenses in the league.
25) Denver – QB Tim Tebow, Florida: C-
Denver traded down on several occassions and stocked up on draft picks, then gave several of them to Baltimore to move up and picked the only other QB to be picked in this first round. Many scouts are not sold on Tebow even after reworking his mechanics, but Denver is hoping Tebow’s talent and ability match his work effort and character. Even so, Denver could’ve waited several picks and didn’t need to pay Baltimore as much as they did to get Tebow. The most surprising pick of this first round and, aside from possibly Jacksonville’s pick of Alualu, the biggest reach of the first round as well.
26) Arizona – DT Dan Williams, Tennessee: B
Williams should be a solid starter for the Cardinals, who fell into Arizona’s laps. There wasn’t a specific need for a defensive tackle, but the Cardinals are still happy to have Williams.
27) New England – CB Devin McCourty, Rutgers: B+
McCourty looks to rejuvenate this New England defense which has not been able to recover from the old guard of Patriots all retiring or being traded elsewhere.
28) Miami – DT Jared Odrick, Penn State: B+
Odrick should bring an immediate impact to the Dolphins, especially since they just lost Jason Taylor to the Jets.
29) NY Jets – CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State: A-
What do you do when a top-rated cornerback falls into your lap and drafting him could help turn what was already the league’s best defense into something even greater? Just ask the Jets.
30) Detroit – RB Jahvid Best, California: B+
The Lions traded up to get Best, who couldn’t trust the Colts, Saints or Rams in not drafting him had they stayed at 34. The Lions are also unwilling to wait and see if Kevin Smith can recover from his busted knee and instead will trust that Best has recovered from his busted shoulder. That all said, Best dropped as far as he did because of that shoulder injury and is perhaps the best running back in this draft class.
31) Indianapolis – DE Jerry Hughes, TCU: B
Hughes was a situational pick. As in, he could excel in certain defensive schemes and he could flounder in others. The Colts should be the former for Hughes.
32) New Orleans – CB Patrick Robinson, Florida State: B-
The Saints could’ve taken USC’s Taylor Mays here, but the Saints instead take Robinson who they believe has better upside following Mays’ disappointing last season with the Trojans. What’s more, they have confirmed losses in other places in their defense while cornerback is a position that could still be handled if they resign Darren Sharper.