2014 NFL DRAFT – AFC NORTH 1ST ROUND GRADES

First Round

Pick #8     –   Browns   –          Justin Gilbert                –       Cornerback   –      Oklahoma St.

Pick #15  –    Steelers  –          Ryan Shazier                 –       Linebacker    –      Ohio St.

Pick #17  –    Ravens    –          C.J. Mosley                   –         Linebacker     –     Alabama

Pick #22  –    Browns    –         Johnny Manziel           –       Quarterback  –      Texas A&M

Pick #24  –    Bengals   –         Darqueze Dennard      –       Cornerback    –     Michigan St.

 

Browns (A)

First year General Manager Ray Farmer was wheeling and dealing his way through the first round and filled two huge needs for this year’s team at cornerback and quarterback, while also picking up a first round pick and a fourth round pick from the Bills in 2015. Gilbert was the best cornerback in this draft, while Manziel may not be the best QB in this draft, but he’s one of the best, and is by far the most polarizing figure in the entire draft. Owner Jimmy Haslam knows “Johnny Cleveland” will sell tickets and merchandise even if he sits the entire year and will bring young fans back to the Browns, which is extremely important to a franchise that was losing some of its fan base. Can he play and can his body withstand the punishment it will take at the NFL level? Only time will tell. But for a night, and on paper, the moves and picks the Browns made look very good.

Johnny Manziel Money Sign On Stage at NFL Draft

Steelers (B)

Kevin Colbert needed help at cornerback and wide receiver and instead went for a linebacker in the first round for the second year in a row (Jarvis Jones last year).  Shazier racked up a lot of tackles at Ohio State, but did so for a below average defense in a weak conference. Cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Jason Varrett were staring the Steelers in the face and Colbert passed on both for the 4th best linebacker in the draft. Shazier does fit the mold of linebackers who can get after the quarterback in the Burgh, but needs work against the run. Pittsburgh fans better hope Shazier impacts the team more than previously drafted Buckeyes Cameron Heyward and Mike Adams.

Ravens (B+)

It’s tough to question the birds G.M. Ozzie Newsome, so I’m not going to. The Ravens get a solid linebacker against the run, who plays from sideline to sideline and did so in the toughest conference in America, the SEC. Mosley is not a get after the quarterback linebacker like Shazier in Pittsburgh, but he’s a more complete, fundamentally sound linebacker who can quarterback the defense.

Bengals (A-)

Talk about a solid player falling into your lap, that’s exactly what happened to the Bengals with Dennard. Cincy was looking for help for their aging secondary and they got it with a tough, physical defensive back from Michigan St. At pick 24 it really couldn’t have worked out any better for Cincinnati, as they got in most people’s eyes, the second best cornerback in the draft late in the first round.

So overall the AFC North did very well in day one of the NFL Draft. Now it’s back to work for all of the G.M.’s to try and continue their roll in the 2nd round. The Browns will be up first with the 3rd pick in the second round and look for Cleveland to target a wide receiver and an offensive lineman. WR’s Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson are there as well as a pair of OL guys in Xavier Su’aFilo and Cyrus Kouandjio. They could also look at Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. So plenty of options to pick from and impact the team even more. It must be fun to be Ray Farmer right now!

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5 Responses to 2014 NFL DRAFT – AFC NORTH 1ST ROUND GRADES

  1. Pete DelMonico says:

    Browns. A

  2. Sam says:

    Browns: A

  3. Brent Schneider says:

    I don’t like the pick of Gilbert at four. I see him used sparingly this season in nickel packages. The Browns will need development time to mold him into the CB position full time.

    Browns could have traded with a team later in the first round to pick up some talented CB’s like Darquez Denard and still been in a position to get Johnny Manziel. I think when you look back at all of this, the grade on this draft will be a C at best.

    • Pappa says:

      Gilbert was not taken at 4, he was taken at 8.
      They got the best DB in the draft and picked up a first round pick next year.
      Gilbert will absolutely start opposite Haden and Skrine will move to the nickel slot, where he is better in anyway.

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