Darren Page, DLD Lead Scout
Part 2: Rankings 32-22
Part 3: Rankings 21-11
Part 4: Rankings 10-1
Parts two, three, and four are the final puzzle piece in the asset analysis of the 2014 NFL Draft.
This analysis is centered on how each team improved themselves through their selections. Every team in the league got better through the draft, the difference is the varying degrees of improvement. The teams are ranked simply by how much better they got through trades involving picks and actual selections.
I’m focused on what the player is and what that means to the team. Criticisms like “reached for a player they could have had later” or “failed to fill their __ need” won’t be used.
For a relative draft grade, the +/- after the team’s name is the most relevant. That number subtracts their final ranking from the ranking of their available assets prior to any transaction. A positive number indicates that I feel they used their picks well. A negative number indicates the opposite.
32. Indianapolis Colts (-5)
Starting total: 964 points
2.27 – Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State (223 points, 23% of assend ts)
3.26 – Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss (122 points, 13% of assets)
5.26 – Jonathan Newsome, OLB, Ball State (46 points, 5% of assets)
6.27 – Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky (31 points, 3% of assets)
7.17 – John Ulrick, OT, Georgia State (22 points, 2% of assets)
Also acquired Trent Richardson, Josh Gordy, and Montori Hughes. Lost A.Q. Shipley. (net -54% of assets)
How they got better: Indianapolis has a new wide receiver and he’s the most athletic one they have. With the way they use the run to set up the pass, Moncrief will get plenty of single coverage and will win over the top. He hasn’t put it all together yet, but I think Donte Moncrief and Andrew Luck will feast on defenses with fly routes and deep posts.
How they didn’t get better: The Colts didn’t get better because they traded a first round pick for an average running back. They could have gotten a back of similar quality on the third day.
Jack Mewhort will also never be more than a solid tackle you put on the right side. I thought the best case scenario was as a 3rd offensive tackle or versatile depth player for Mewhort. He may be rushed into duty quicker than that by the Colts.
Neither Jonathan Newsome nor Andrew Jackson brings much to the table for me defensively. The Colts’ defense needed more help than that.
Overall: Ryan Grigson has put in another mediocre effort. The Richardson trade is the massive blow here, of course. Even after that, I don’t see any immediate impact and I see only one player who’s going to become a lot more than he is right now.
31. New Orleans Saints (-2)
Starting total: 954 points … net from draft day trading: -2% of assets
1.20 – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (545 points, 57% of assets)
2.26 – Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska (228 points, 24% of assets)
4.26 – Khairi Fortt, ILB, Cal (65 points, 7% of assets)
5.27 – Vinnie Sunseri, S, Alabama (45 points, 5% of assets)
5.29 – Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida (44 points, 5% of assets)
6.26 – Tavon Rooks, OT, Kansas State (32 points, 3% of assets)
Also acquired Parys Haralson. Lost Darren Sproles. (net +3% of assets)
How they got better: The Saints helped themselves by adding Brandin Cooks to their receiving corps. He will bring a different dynamic to the group and should make an immediate impact as a big-play pass catcher.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a worthwhile endeavor for New Orleans. His overall fluidity of movement, foot quickness, and ball skills make the leap worth it. Rex Ryan has it in him to develop Jean-Baptiste, whose biggest problem is that he hasn’t played the cornerback position enough.
How they didn’t get better: New Orleans could have gotten other receivers who aren’t that dissimilar to Cooks much later on, guys like Josh Huff or Bruce Ellington. Having a QB likes Drew Brees gives you a threshold for receivers. If you can get one who can run routes with precision and catch the football, he will produce. They overspent even if Cooks is a great fit.
I thought New Orleans dumped Darren Sproles too early and for too little compensation. They seem to be managing their “window” in an odd way. No pick after Cooks should be pegged for immediate contributions either.
Ronald Powell in the fifth round is a total waste based on what I’ve seen from the Gator linebacker. The game just moves way too fast for him to keep up, which will only get worse. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy either.
Overall: My biggest issue is the lack or early returns that New Orleans is going to get from this. I don’t think they drafted many worthwhile projects either, outside of Jean-Baptiste. I see a bunch of middling players.
30. Denver Broncos (+1)
Starting total: 877 points … net from draft day trading: -3% of assets
1.31 – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (402 points, 46% of assets)
2.24 – Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana (239 points, 27% of assets)
3.31 – Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan (110 points, 13% of assets)
5.16 – Lamin Barrow, OLB, LSU (50 points, 6% of assets)
6.31 – Matt Paradis, C, Boise State (30 points, 3% of assets)
7.27 – Corey Nelson, OLB, Oklahoma (18 points, 2% of assets)
Also acquired a 2015 5th round pick. Also lost a 2015 4th round pick.
How they got better: Roby should prove that his final season at Ohio State was an aberration with some time. He just looked disinterested after realizing where he could have been drafted if he declared in 2013. Few corners have the sharp footwork, overall athleticism, and overt physicality of Roby.
Cody Latimer will improve the Broncos simply by sustaining production from wide receivers. He’s not a spectacular receiver, but he won’t asked be asked to be. Latimer can win underneath and bull his way for tough yardage. He will drop few balls as well.
How they didn’t get better: Trading up for Latimer was questionable at best to me. They didn’t maximize their returns by doing it. Peyton Manning only needs so much at receiver and the machine will go.
The rest of their draft did little for me. Michael Schofield is a swing tackle who could rush into spot duty if need be. Lamin Barrow could be a decent value where they got him. He has questionable instincts and disappears a lot though. Neither late pick intrigues me. The Broncos only got six picks to the podium in a deep draft.
Overall: Denver improved themselves quite simply by filling holes. Latimer fills the Decker void and Roby fills the Champ Bailey void. Sustaining what they had makes sense while they have Peyton Manning under center.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
Starting total: 1070 points … net from draft day trading: -2% of assets
1.24 – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (482 points, 45% of assets)
2.23 – Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU (245 points, 23% of assets)
3.24 – Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia (128 points, 12% of assets)
4.11 – Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina (85 points, 8% of assets)
5.24 – A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama (47 points, 4% of assets)
6.36 – Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona (29 points, 3% of assets)
7.24 – James Wright, WR, LSU (20 points, 2% of assets)
7.37 – Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern (17 points, 2% of assets)
How they got better: Darqueze Dennard will stop the bleeding (aging) of the Bengals secondary. He’s going to be a solid enough cornerback for a long time. If they let him press with regularity, the returns will be there right away.
Marquis Flowers is very intriguing to me as a late pick. He has the athleticism to blossom into a starting linebacker with coverage potential.
How they didn’t get better: Cincinnati drafted a lot of players who project as average starters at best to me. Jeremy Hill produced at LSU by running through monstrous holes. I question his vision and ability to get yards after contact. He gets tripped up and goes down on first contact quite regularly.
Will Clarke is a depth defensive end and nothing more. I’m not sure he brings anything to the table that Margus Hunt doesn’t.
A.J. McCarron adds little unless Andy Dalton gets hurt. He’ll never be a better QB than Dalton. If they want to bring in competition for Dalton to save money, they should have invested more. They have the type of roster that can afford that.
Overall: Cincinnati failed to acquire players with significant upside while also picking a lot of guys who just aren’t that great right now. I don’t understand their philosophy here.
28. Seattle Seahawks (+4)
Starting total: 851 points … net from draft day trading: +8% of assets
2.13 – Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado (302 points, 35% of assets)
2.32 – Justin Britt, OT, Missouri (200 points, 23% of assets)
4.08 – Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA (89 points, 10% of assets)
4.23 – Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama (69 points, 8% of assets)
4.32 – Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College (60 points, 7% of assets)
5.32 – Jimmy Staten, DT, Middle Tennessee State (43 points, 5% of assets)
6.23 – Garrett Scott, OT, Marshall (33 points, 4% of assets)
6.32 – Eric Pinkins, S, San Diego State (29 points, 3% of assets)
7.12 – Kiero Small, FB, Arkansas (24 points, 3% of assets)
Also acquired Percy Harvin (partial) and Terrelle Pryor. Lost Matt Flynn. (Net -8% of assets)
How they got better: Paul Richardson brings the pure speed to win over the top. He’s also a very competitive receiver. Having Richardson and Harvin on the field puts stress on all levels of coverage. Justin Britt is a better player than people think. He’s going to challenge for the starting RT job at the very least.
Seattle drafted three players in the fourth round who can all contribute. Cassius Marsh was an unsung hero on the UCLA defensive line, a more impactful player than Anthony Barr often. Kevin Norwood will be a reliable target for Russell Wilson, a true possession underneath. Kevin Pierre-Louis is a tremendous athlete with coverage, run-stopping, and rushing merits. He was a steal at that point.
The Seahawks aren’t as deep as they used to be as their roster gets raided due to their success. Getting in nine rookie and Terrelle Pryor is smart team building.
How they didn’t get better: Richardson has some bust factor to me. Even if he’s productive, he will always be a receiver who is prone to drops. The big plays will have to outweigh that. Britt is still more developmental than anything. He needs to build functional strength. The footwork and movement is there, but his anchor can be compromised by power rushers.
None of Seattle’s late round picks intrigue me.
Net: There aren’t overarching negatives to what Seattle did. The good comes with caveats though. I don’t see any players who will be highly impactful and become pillar players.
27. New England Patriots (+1)
Starting total: 961 points … net from draft day trades: +2% of assets
1.29 – Dominique Easley, DT, Florida (424 points, 44% of assets)
2.30 – Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois (208 points, 22% of assets)
4.05 – Bryan Stork, C, Florida State (95 points, 10% of assets)
4.30 – James White, RB, Wisconsin (62 points, 6% of assets)
4.40 – Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford (60 points, 6% of assets)
6.03 – Jon Halapio, OG, Florida (42 points, 4% of assets)
6.22 – Zach Moore, DE, Concordia (MN) (33 points, 3% of assets)
6.30 – Jemea Thomas, S, Georgia Tech (30 points, 3% of assets)
7.29 – Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan (18 points, 2% of assets)
Also acquired Isaac Sopoaga. (Net -1% of assets)
How they got better: New England added a defensive tackle the likes of which they don’t have. If Easley passes the medical tests (still risky) then he’s going to be a productive player. He has versatility to play anywhere from the nose to the end if need be.
Jon Halapio is going to be a starter for the Patriots in a few years. He’s a physical, mean run blocker with tremendous functional strength. Halapio is a much better player than he showed when fighting through a pectoral injury in 2013.
There’s promise in both Jemea Thomas and Jeremy Gallon as 7th round picks. I think Gallon can make the team and contribute as a rookie.
How they didn’t get better: The one pick I whole-heartedly approve of is a big injury concern. New England stocked their offensive line but didn’t draft any promising players, aside from Halapio. Halapio is also no stranger to injuries.
Jimmy Garoppolo likely won’t add anything to New England for two seasons. Even as a developmental understudy, the second round seems rich for him. Garoppolo has an average arm at best. He showed little ability to work through a progression, even to a second receiver. He’s entirely reliant on his timing which limits what he can do.
Overall: I have high hopes for Easley. I don’t see impact performers outside of him. New England does a fantastic job integrating players into their program, so this class will probably look better in a few years.
26. New York Jets (-10)
Starting total: 1341 points
1.18 – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville (575 points, 43% of assets)
2.17 – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (279 points, 21% of assets)
3.16 – Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland (151 points, 11% of assets)
4.04 – Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma (98 points, 7% of assets)
4.15 – Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA (80 points, 6% of assets)
4.37 – Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman (60 points, 4% of assets)
5.14 – Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State (52 points, 4% of assets)
6.19 – Brandon Dixon, CB, Northwest Missouri State (35 points, 3% of assets)
6.33 – Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska (29 points, 2% of assets)
6.34 – IK Enemkpali, OLB, Louisiana Tech (29 points, 2% of assets)
6.37 – Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (29 points, 2% of assets)
7.18 – Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah (22 points, 2% of assets)
Also lost Darrelle Revis (partial). (Net +7% of assets)
How they got better: The first thing I like is that New York brought in 11 players. They aren’t the deepest team around, so more competition is important.
Getting Jace Amaro where they did was a coup. He’s going to be a go-to receiver for Geno Smith down the road, a type of tight end who moves the sticks on third downs. Amaro has physicality, nimble feet, and natural ball skills. He will thrive.
The Jets keep building their corps of receivers, at least with depth. Jalen Saunders has more value as a slot receiver than perceived. He can overcome size limitations with lateral quickness and spatial awareness. He’s also a tremendous punt returner. Shaq Evans should provide a presence as a receiver who can win over the top.
Dakota Dozier is a solid developmental offensive lineman. He should grow into a starter sooner rather than later.
How they didn’t get better: The Jets took the bait on a prospect who I feel will not live up to his billing. Calvin Pryor is too much of a hit-or-miss safety. The misses are plenty, especially in run support. I worry about his coverage instincts, angles, and overall discipline level. They burned a valuable piece on a safety they won’t be able to trust.
I appreciate the effort with their drafting of receivers, but they could have improved themselves more by selecting one who’s more of a winner of contested balls. Looking at New York’s current corps of receivers, I see little redzone value or ability to win the ball out of the air.
No picks from the fifth round on stand out to me in any way. Jeremiah George is a massively undersized linebacker who has no business in the fifth round. If any late round pick becomes something, it will be Quincy Enunwa.
Net: Jace Amaro will become a solid NFL pass-catcher. Dakota Dozier should become a viable starter at some point. I don’t see enough outside of that. I think Calvin Pryor will turn out to be a bust.
25. Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Starting total: 1283 points … net from draft day trading: -7% of assets
1.16 – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame (630 points, 49% of assets)
2.02 – Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State (367 points, 29% of assets)
4.19 – Anthony Hitchens, OLB, Iowa (74 points, 6% of assets)
5.06 – Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh (56 points, 4% of assets)
7.16 – Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford (23 points, 2% of assets)
7.23 – Will Smith, OLB, Texas Tech (20 points, 2% of assets)
7.33 – Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor (17 points, 1% of assets)
7.36 – Ken Bishop, DT, Northern Illinois (17 points, 1% of assets)
7.39 – Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon (17 points, 1% of assets)
Also acquired Edgar Jones. Lost Dante Rosario. (Net +1% of assets)
How they got better: Zack Martin should round out the Cowboys’ offensive line, which should be one of the better groups in the league. With Martin at guard initially, they should move defensive lines off the ball and open big holes in the running game.
Adding Demarcus Lawrence gives them a new best rusher. Lawrence has a quick first step off the ball, flexibility to bend, and heavy hands to incorporate effective moves. He’ll factor into run defense as well as the type of end who can quickly elude a blocker and make plays in the backfield.
I expect Terrance Mitchell to make the team and have an impact long-run. His skills should translate for nickel or dime work, with quick feet, route recognition skills, and aggressiveness to make plays.
How they didn’t get better: Anthony Hitchens will add very little to the Cowboys defense. Of the three Iowa linebackers, he was the least impactful. Hitchens is an average athlete, is on the small side, and struggles to read his keys.
It’s hard to see Devin Street breaking into the Dallas lineup at receiver. Street will provide value as a redzone target, but I don’t see a lot else. He’s a stiff route runner who struggles to separate from man coverage. A lack of physicality compounds it.
Net: The first two selections the Cowboys made get a thumbs up from me. Martin and Lawrence will help to solidify Dallas in the trenches. After that, few selections are promising. Giving up a third round pick to move up for Lawrence was a questionable move as well.
24. Carolina Panthers (+6)
Starting total: 927 points … net from draft day trading: -2% of assets
1.28 – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State (436 points, 47% of assets)
2.28 – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri (217 points, 23% of assets)
3.28 – Trai Turner, OG, LSU (117 points, 13% of assets)
4.28 – Tre Boston, S, North Carolina (63 points, 7% of assets)
5.08 – Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State (55 points, 6% of assets)
6.28 – Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford (31 points, 3% of assets)
Also acquired Colin Jones. Lost Jon Beason. (Net +1% of assets)
How they got better: Ealy will add depth and versatility to one of the league’s best defensive lines. His presence as an interior rusher will make Carolina’s subpackages even more effective.
Trai Turner has the quality to see the field quickly. Turner is a bruising run blocker who’s built like a bulldog. When he pulls and leads up a hole, the effect is usually devastating to defenses. I have some concerns with his lateral quickness for pass protection, but it won’t be a fatal flaw.
Tre Boston projects as a third safety, quality depth on the back end. He has an aggressive mentality and sufficient athleticism, but lack of coverage instincts get him into trouble.
How they didn’t get better: Carolina only drafted one receiver. They used their biggest chip on a niche receiver who’s raw and unreliable. Kelvin Benjamin doesn’t have much long speed or short-area quickness to get open. He may need to play in the slot to be effective. Benjamin will also drop balls at a high rate. There are other things about him as well that point to a player who will struggle as a rookie. I don’t think he ever becomes what Carolina and Cam Newton need him to.
Net: The Benjamin selection makes me scratch my head. I don’t think they helped out their passing game enough, especially for the 2014 season. The rest of their picks look like impact players who can fill out the depth chart.
23. Washington Redskins (-21)
Starting total: 2310 points … net from trading: +4% of assets)
2.15 – Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford (291 points, 13% of assets)
3.02 – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia (193 points, 8% of assets)
3.14 – Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska (157 points, 7% of assets)
4.02 – Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson (103 points, 4% of assets)
5.02 – Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane (59 points, 3% of assets)
6.10 – Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (39 points, 2% of assets)
7.02 – Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana (28 points, 1% of assets)
7.13 – Zach Hocker, K, Arkansas (24 points, 1% of assets)
Also acquired Robert Griffin III (partial). (Net -66% of assets)
How they got better: Morgan Moses will be entrenched as a dependable starter on their offensive line for years. He’s a tremendous pass blocker who uses his rare length to dispel rushers. His feet are far more nimble than outward appearances will tell you. He won’t revolutionize the tackle position and he may never live up to his potential, but he’ll be reliable.
Adding Bashaud Breeland furthers Washington’s efforts to strengthen the secondary. Breeland is still raw in terms of technique, but there’s a lot to like. He’s fluid, instinctive, physical, and can make plays on the ball.
Lache Seastrunk lasting until the sixth round makes little sense. In Seastrunk they’re getting an explosive playmaker at the running back position. Few backs can match the juice in his legs. He will contribute.
How they didn’t get better: Washington gambled on an injury-prone quarterback and lost the second pick in the draft because of it. They missed out on an elite player.
Trent Murphy will prove to be a wasted selection, even if Washington comes to need a rusher beyond Orakpo and Kerrigan. Murphy has no go-to traits that will win against NFL pass protectors. He’s an average athlete with a lack of physicality and struggles against the run.
Net: Washington’s usage of their first two picks drags down their returns. The cost of the RG3 trade turned out to be even higher than they anticipated and it really drags down their offseason.
22. Kansas City Chiefs (+2)
Starting total: 1032 points
1.23 – Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn (494 points, 48% of assets)
3.23 – Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice (131 points, 13% of assets)
4.24 – De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (68 points, 7% of assets)
5.23 – Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (47 points, 5% of assets)
6.17 – Zach Fulton, OG, Tennessee (36 points, 3% of assets)
6.24 – Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill (Canada) (33 points, 3% of assets)
Also acquired Alex Smith (partial). Lost Edgar Jones. (Net -22% of assets)
How they got better: Dee Ford will be quality depth for the Chiefs and will have immediate value for subpackages on defense. He’s a speed rusher who has flashed heavy hands when he incorporates power into his game. Ford should become an even more disruptive rusher playing from a wider alignment than he did at Auburn.
If he’s healthy and can stay that way, Phillip Gaines will be a big get for Kansas City. Gaines has the traits for man coverage work. He’s a tremendous athlete with recovery speed and length. He’s very fluid in transition as well. Some technical work is needed with his feet, but Gaines has the potential to be a highly effective corner.
How they didn’t get better: The Chiefs had no second round pick as compensation for Alex Smith. Their 2013 successes would not have been possible without Smith at the helm, but acquiring him was costly for the future.
Aaron Murray projects as a career backup even when it remains to be seen how he responds to ACL surgery. He won’t test Alex Smith or be the QB to take over in the future. With Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray in the fold, Murray is surplus to their requirements at the QB position.
Net: Solid is the best way to describe Kansas City’s class. They’ll find multiple starters from this crop. Not having a second round pick for a quarterback who they may already have an exit strategy from is the blot on the record.
Tags: Analytics, Carolina Panthers, CIncinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL Analytics, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins