No Thunder? No Problem; NFL First Round Grades


Sticking to the NBA, the Thunder specifically, is my job here at fansided, but my expertise does not stop there, oh no. Just think of me as Mel Kiper the Third but please, oh please don’t compare as anything remotely close to little Toddy McShay. I would literally kill for that guys job. Mel must look at him when they are arguing and think “Todd, you couldn’t son me if my father helped you.” Yes I realize most of the grades will be high because it’s hard to pick a complete bum that early, but I take into account who was available when the selection was made, which will drop many of these teams grades. Let’s proceed to the first round grades shall we.

#1 Carolina Panthers select QB Cam Newton
Grade- A

Killa Cam had to be selected here. There was simply no other option in my opinion. The fans might have boycotted had they selected Dareus. Carolina has to be huuuurting that Andrew Luck decided not to come out but Newton has the potential to be even better. They made the right choice as I don’t buy all the “huge risk” talk. He is the real deal and will be a beast eventually.

#2 Denver Broncos select OLB Von Miller
Grade- A

I give my favorite player of all time, Jon Elway, an A based on the fact that their defense was softer then a grape last season. Patrick Peterson would have been my other choice but Miller seems like a complete freak show and Denver was last in the NFL in sacks last season. Combined with the return of “The King,” Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos should have a fierce pass rush off the edge. Then again, the last linebacker to go this high was Aaron Curry, who the Seahawks selected at 4th overall. Let’s hope for the Bronco’s sake, he ends up better then A.C.

#3 Buffalo Bills select DT Marcel Dareus
Grade- B-

I get the fact that the Bills were last in the NFL in run defense and needed to change that, but when you are one of the worst teams in the league I believe you must take potential superstars. Taking 3-4 scheme defensive lineman in the top 10 is just something I refuse to accept. Tyson Jackson anyone. Dareus looks like a solid player though and wish him nothing but the best….or do I?

#4 Cincinnati Bengals select WR A.J. Green
Grade- A-

Based on the fact that the Bungals already have excellent corners, assuming they resign 1 or both of them, they did not have a need for Peterson here. The quarterback situation is gonna be a major problem, but it looks like “big red” AKA Andy Dalton is gonna fall into their laps in the second round. The young Bengals receivers looked good at the end of the season so maybe this wasn’t a huge need, but Green is a monsta. Can’t argue with it…much.

#5 Arizona Cardinals select CB Patrick Peterson
Grade- A+

Peterson may be the best player in this entire draft and the Cards did the right thing in not taking need over talent. Blaine Gabbert does not impress me on tape and Arizona now needs to draft either Dalton or Ryan Mallet with their second round pick, who could both easily end up being better then Gabbert. They also need to bring in a veteran for this season such as Marc Bulger or trade for Kevin Kolb. Peterson with Anotonio Rodgers-Cromartie might be the best db combo in the NFL in the next couple of seasons. Great pick.

#6 Atlanta Falcons(from Cleveland) select WR Julio Jones

I would have given Cleveland an A if they had made this pick but we all know they hate drafting high impact players so they traded down. You really can’t blame them this time, as they picked up a boatload of picks from the Falcons who were obviously desperate to get this guy. The Falcons gave up their first-round pick (No. 27) this year as well as their second- and fourth-round picks in this draft. They also gave up their first- and fourth-round picks in 2012 to move up to No. 6 to grab Jones. WOW! I felt the Falcons needed to address the defensive side of the ball in the draft and pick up a WR in free agency such as James Jones of the Packers. I am certainly a fan of Jones, but this might be to much to give up. Check out this ESPN article written by Patty Yasinskas. Very much like myself, the Falcons like to live dangerously.

#7 San Francisco 49ers select DE Aldon Smith
Grade- B+

Personally, I prefer Robert Quinn but I can’t deny that this guy looks looks like a mix of a gazelle and a black rhino. He’s exactly the kind of guy they need on defense and new head coach, Jim Harbaugh is obviously on my same mental wavelength about Gabbert, and he should know QB’s quite well after tutoring Andrew Luck. I just like Quinn better and think if he had played last season, he would have been in the conversation to go #1 overall.

#8 Tennessee Titans select QB Jake Locker
Grade- A-

Your telling me the the Titans are not happy with the development of last year’s rookie sensation, Rusty “Trombone” Smith? Man, that guy might honestly be the worst QB I’ve ever seen and contributed to Chris Johnson having a couple of horrendous fantasy performances, but that’s another story. Locker ended up going much higher then predicted, but Tennessee needed a QB more then Snoop Dogg needs Weight gainer. Freakishly skinny people creep me out by the way. To me, Locker is the white Cam Newton and I believe those 2 QB’s have by far the most upside of any in this draft. Could have taken Fairley or Quinn and I would have given an A grade as well but you can’t fault them for picking up “Lock Jaw” who is a much harder worker then Vince Young.

#9 Dallas Cowboys select OT Tyron Smith
Grade- C+

Smith could end up being the best tackle taken in this round, or possibly the worst. He looks a little thin to me and played right tackle in college, making me wonder why if he is so great, he did not start at left tackle. I would have taken a CB or traded down and taken a OT later.

#10 Jacksonville(from Washington) select QB Blaine Gabbert
Grade- D

I’ve never liked anyone I’ve met with the name Blaine and Gabby isn’t making me feel any different. I wasn’t impressed whatsoever by the tape on this guy and he has a fragile look to him doesn’t he? David Garrard is not a bad QB and the Jags have many other more pressing needs. This team has needs across the board and they draft a position where they have a solid guy in place and give up a 2nd rounder to do so? The Jag’s G.M. continues to baffle me year after year. It’s embarrassing. He truly might be the worst in the NFL.

#11 Houston Texans select DE J.J. Watt

I love that when referring to all white d-ends the terms “try-hard player” and “all-effort guy” are used time and time again. My philosophy on this is the same as my American born, white, big man theory in the NBA. I just don’t go there. Take high motor guys with less talent in some of the later rounds. Robert Quinn should be the pick here and he would wreak havoc coming off the edge opposite “Super Mario” Williams. How many pro bowl white d-ends can you name? Even Jared Allen looked horrible last season. Watt doesn’t look like the exception to the rule in my opinion. Typical Texans.

#12 Minnesota Vikings select QB Christian Ponder
Grade- D

Wow, what a brick of a selection. The Vikings G.M. must have been on suicide watch after seeing Locker selected earlier. Why force the selection of a QB? Joe Webb didn’t look bad to me last season and they can always bring in a veteran. This team looked old, tired, and weak across the board last year and likely could have traded back if Ponder was truly their guy. I’ve been Ponder-ing who they should have selected and have come up with the same answer I have been for the last 5 picks. Quinny Quinn Quinn!

#13 Detroit Lions select DT Nick Fairley
Grade- A+

Suh and “little” Nicky in back to back drafts? You got to love what Detroit has done the past couple of years, and if Stafford is healthy, this team could be a problem. Getting the d-end Quinn to go with Suh might have been my choice but heh, at least it’s not Matt Millen making the picks. At this point in the draft Fairley and Quinn are both enormous steals and Eminem’s hometown got one of them.

#14 St Louis Rams select DE Robert Quinn
Grade- A+

Anytime you get a man that could be featured on the TV show “When Animals Attack,” you do so. This way they can make up for their selection of a white d-end #2 overall a couple years ago. Chris Long has turned into a solid player but “solid” is not what I want that early in the draft. This guy is a true animal and might decapitate someone on the field next year. I hope it’s Sage Rosenfels.

#15 Miami Dolphins select OC Mike Pouncey
Grade- B

I might have taken one of the O-tackles here to combine with stud Jake Long but Pounce will step in right away and start at either center or guard. Taking an interior lineman this early goes against my draft principles but the Dolphins are a mess and this was a safe pick.

#16 Washington Redskins(from Jacksonville) select DE Ryan Kerrigan
Grade- C

When you combine the fact they passed on the opportunity to match Robert Quinn with Brian Orakpo(the thought of this would make QB’s wet their beds) and picked a white d-end you get a D in my book. That grade was moved to a C since they picked up an extra 2nd rounder by trading down and they definitely need some youth.

#17 New England Patriots( from Oakland) select OT Nate Solder
Grade- A-

The Pat’s need help at the tackle position and this guy is a horse. It would have been hard for me to pass on the 2 db’s but it was the right call.

#18 San Diego Super Chargers select DT Corey Liuget
Grade- B

I would have preferred Wilkerson who the Jet’s stole later, but Liguet fits a need and can play 3-4 d-end or d tackle in nickle coverage. Not to exciting, but solid.

#19 New York Giants select DB Prince Amukamara
Grade- A+

The G-men lucked out here, getting a top 10 talent at #19 making their secondary stronger, allowing their blitz packages to fire on all cylinders. When your name is Prince you are bumped up at least a full grade in my notebook.

#20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers select DE Adrian Clayborn
Grade- B+

After taking 2 promising d tackles last year, Tampa did the right thing by adding a pass rusher to go with them. They have high hopes for DT Gerald McCoy, who Todd McShay foolishly ranked ahead of Suh last year. How could anyone say that? Suh might be the best d tackle I’ve ever seen. Anyway, something is obviously very wrong with Bowers as he would have been my pick here but his leg must be getting chopped off or something because nobody wants to touch him.

#21 Cleveland( from Kansas City) selects DT Phil Taylor
Grade- D

Cleveland rocks!! Someone get Drew Carey on the phone as we have another exciting selection for the Browns. My freaking God, they make the most boring draft choices of any team I can ever remember. I realize they picked up quite a package of picks from Atlanta for their 6th pick, but like I always say, when you have a horrible team, which Cleveland does, you need to draft star players. Taking Julio Jones or Robert Quinn would have been a good choice and so would have drafting CB Jimmy Smith in this spot, or better yet taking him in the 26th spot that they had and not traded another pick to move up 5 spots to draft a 3-4 d tackle when your switching to a 4-3 defense. Jeeeez, do I have to think of everything. What is Holmgren doing? There is no way they compete for the division anytime soon.

#22 Indianapolis Colts select OT Anthony Castonzo
Grade- A

The Colts needed a tackle and they got one I have seen goes as high as 5th in some mock drafts. I like Castonzo and Solder better then Tyrone Smith who went #9 which is strange for me to say considering they are both white. Along with quarterback, the offensive line is the only place I still trust white football players. I guess you have to throw in slot receiver as well but I would try to avoid even going that far at all costs.

#23 Philadelphia Eagles select OG Danny Watkins
Grade- B-

A 26 year old rookie? So that means he has what, 6 years of his prime left? Never a fan of moves like that but he seems like a solid player and Vick needs all the protection he can get. They needed a corner and should have taken the best one available in Smith but I guess there is only room for one dog fighter on the team.

#24 New Orleans Saints select DE Cameron Jordan
Grade- B+<

The Saint’s biggest need was a pass rusher and Jordan should fill that hole admirably. Can someone please explain to me what is wrong with Bowers’s knee???? It must be the worst injury of all time. Good pick here.

#25 Seattle Sea Donkeys select OG James Carpenter
Grade- F

This could be the worst pick in the entire first round in my opinion. Mel said he had this guy ranked in the late second round. Yikes. The Sea bags are hurting at the cornerback position and had a chance to get a top 10 talent in Jimmy Smith or another potential steal in Bowers or Wilkerson but passed for a guy who could possibly play right tackle. I’m not impressed…… all. You’d think they could have traded down, picked up a third rounder and got this guy later on. Even Andy Dalton would have excited me more. It huuuuuuuuuurts.

#26 Kansas City Chiefs (from Atlanta through Cleveland) select WR Jonathan Baldwin
Grade- A

This might be a higher grade then most give out, but I feel like Baldwin is going to be a beast opposite Bowe and gives Matt Cassell(Who I hate with a passion) another target on an improving Chiefs team. They now have weapons at every spot possible on offense. I really like what they are doing in K.C. other then the fact I don’t believe Cassell can get it done.

#27 Baltimore Ravens select CB Jimmy Smith
Grade- A+

The Ravens and I think alike on every draft day it seems. Getting maybe the most pure cover corner in the draft at 27 is quite the come up. He goes to a Raven’s team with some great veterans to help guide him and I think the guy becomes a star. Major Steal.

#28 New Orleans Saints( from New England) select RB Mark Ingram
Grade- A-

Wow, everyone had the Pat’s taking Ingram here, instead they trade it to the Saints and pick up EVEN MORE picks. Ingram is a good fit for the Saints and gives them a different kind of runner then they have had the last couple seasons. A combination of Ingram and Bush could be deadly. I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.

#29 Chicago Bears select OT Gabe Carimi
Grade- B+

This mauler seems like a better fit for a running offense, but he is the best tackle available at this point in the draft. The Bear’s gave up the most sacks in the league last year and their run blocking has been atrocious as well. This pick fits a need.

#30 NY Jets select DE Muhammad Wilkerson
Grade- A+

How do these type of ballers continue to fall to the Jets every year that Rex Ryan has been there. Kiper said this might be the best pick of the draft and I can’t argue to much at all. Seattle or San Diego should have taken him earlier. Grrrrrreat pick.

#31 Pittsburgh Steelers select DE Cameron Heyward
Grade- B-

Decent pick, adding to an old offensive line. His stock dropped majorly this past season so maybe he gets it back together and becomes a steal. Pitt usually does a nice job drafting.

#32 Green Bay Packers select OT Derick Sherrod
Grade- A-

I like this pick and the pack need better protection for Aaron Rodgers. Sherrod now teams with Brian “Baby Baluga” Bulaga as the O-tackles and oooh baby I like it.

God I love the draft. I’m glad the Thunder have some time off so I cant truly enjoy it. Congrats to the Mav’s and Lakers for closing out their series’s tonight and they should play each other tough. We now await the outcome of the Grizz/Spurs series. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Peace.