Draft 2013: NFC Draft Grades

Evan Silva
Evan Silva assigns a grade to every NFC Team's rookie class after the 2013 NFL Draft

Draft 2013: NFC Draft Grades

Evan Silva assigns a grade to every NFC Team's rookie class after the 2013 NFL Draft

The 2013 NFL draft concluded Saturday evening. Rotoworld blurbed every single selection, picks one (Eric Fisher) through 254 (Justice Cunningham).

After a grueling three days of “work,” we'll put the finishing touches on our intensive draft coverage with post-draft grades.

But let's be clear: We don't believe in assessing draft hauls immediately after the three-day event. This is for your pleasure. If you're reading this intro, you're interested. And we want to appeal to you. Don't take these grades too seriously. We'll know a lot more about this draft around 2016.

I'll break down the AFC on Sunday. Here are the NFC Draft Grades:

Arizona Cardinals

7. Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina.
45. Kevin Minter, inside linebacker, LSU.
69. Tyrann Mathieu, free safety, LSU.
103. Alex Okafor, outside linebacker, Texas.
116. Earl Watford, guard/center, James Madison.
140. Stepfan Taylor, running back, Stanford.
174. Ryan Swope, receiver, Texas A&M.
187. Andre Ellington, running back, Clemson.
219. D.C. Jefferson, tight end, Rutgers.

Overview: Rookie GM Steve Keim's first-ever draft looks solid on paper. In Cooper, Minter, Mathieu, and Okafor, Keim secured as many as four immediate starters for a roster that needed them. Sixth-rounder Ellington is a better back than fifth-rounder Taylor and will add juice to Bruce Arians' offense should injury-prone Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams break down again. I would like to have seen the Cardinals add a developmental quarterback like Tennessee's Tyler Bray, although Arians may believe he already has one in Ryan Lindley. A lingering concern in Arizona is offensive tackle play. The Cards attacked guard instead -- and in Cooper got an outstanding player -- but Levi Brown is still a worrisome proposition on Carson Palmer's blindside.

Grade: C+

Atlanta Falcons

22. Desmond Trufant, cornerback, Washington.
60. Robert Alford, cornerback, SE Louisiana.
127. Malliciah Goodman, defensive end, Clemson.
133. Levine Toilolo, tight end, Stanford.
153. Stansly Maponga, defensive end, TCU.
243. Kemal Ishmael, safety, Central Florida.
244. Zeke Motta, strong safety, Notre Dame.
249. Sean Renfree, quarterback, Duke.

Overview: The Falcons may receive universally mediocre draft "grades," but there is a method to GM Thomas Dimitroff's madness. Beyond day-one starter Trufant and 2014 hopeful Alford, Dimitroff targeted players for specific on-field roles. Goodman is a classic 4-3 strong-side end with vine-line arms and powerful performance on tape. He's an edge container. Toilolo isn't Tony Gonzalez's heir apparent; he's an in-line tight end who'll push for snaps as a rookie if he blocks well in practice. Maponga is an edge-rushing specialist. Ishmael and Motta should both be immediate core special teamers. Renfree could develop into Matt Ryan's long-term backup and a future trade chip if his arm gets stronger while riding the bench. Ultimately, Dimitroff wasn't trying to load up on stars in this draft. He added role players to upgrade the bottom third of his roster.

Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers

14. Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah.
44. Kawann Short, defensive tackle, Purdue.
108. Edmund Kugbila, guard, Valdosta State.
148. A.J. Klein, linebacker, Iowa State.
182. Kenjon Barner, running back, Oregon.

Overview: Rookie GM Dave Gettleman entered his first draft with five picks and emerged with five players. He clearly prioritized upgrading in the trenches and delivered by securing the draft's premier defensive tackle in Lotulelei. Short's motor ran alarmingly hot and cold in the Big Ten, but he can be an impact interior pass rusher working in waves with Lotulelei, Dwan Edwards, and Sione Fua. Klein is solid insurance should Jon Beason's numerous surgical recoveries experience a setback. I think it's fair to wonder if the Barner pick foreshadows a DeAngelo Williams transaction. At the very least, it's a confirmation 2013 will be Williams' final season in Carolina. While he continues to build one of the NFL's most underrated defensive front sevens, Gettleman displayed a surprising amount of faith in his shaky receiver and secondary corps.

Grade: C

Chicago Bears

20. Kyle Long, guard, Oregon.
50. Jon Bostic, inside linebacker, Florida.
117. Khaseem Greene, outside linebacker, Rutgers.
163. Jordan Mills, tackle/guard, Louisiana Tech.
188. Cornelius Washington, defensive end, Georgia.
236. Marquess Wilson, receiver, Washington State.

Overview: I expected GM Phil Emery to stay true to his board on the draft's first day. I'm not sure he did with the Long pick -- it seemed like need-based reach on an inexperienced, boom-or-bust lineman -- but Emery went value searching on days two and three. Bostic is an athletic thumper who'll give D.J. Williams a run for his money at inside 'backer, replacing Brian Urlacher. Greene's pre-draft measurables disappointed, but he is fast to the football and NFL-ready after earning back-to-back Big East Defensive POY awards in Rutgers' pro-style system. Washington is an explosive edge pass rusher with starting-caliber tools. He was robbery toward the back end of the third day. If Wilson's head is on straight, he's capable of earning an immediate spot in Chicago's three-receiver package with Brandon Marshall in the slot and Alshon Jeffery outside.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

31. Travis Frederick, guard/center, Wisconsin.
47. Gavin Escobar, tight end, San Diego State.
74. Terrance Williams, receiver, Baylor.
80. J.J. Wilcox, safety, Georgia Southern.
114. B.W. Webb, defensive back, William & Mary.
151. Joseph Randle, running back, Oklahoma State.
185. DeVonte Holloman, linebacker, South Carolina.

Overview: Owner/GM Jerry Jones' draft strategy seemed very needs- rather than value-based, spurning better players in favor of theoretical hole-fillers. The Cowboys were needy on the interior offensive line, but I'd be willing to wager they could've gotten Frederick with the 47th pick. Escobar can create passing-game mismatches, but offers zero as a blocker and isn't necessarily an upgrade on incumbent No. 2 tight end James Hanna. Williams and Holloman were probably the only two true value picks in this group. Randle is a stiff, straight-linish runner with an awfully long way to go in pass protection. I watched tape on him before the draft and found him to be a whiffer in blitz pickup and thoroughly lacking in elusiveness. It would be difficult to say with any confidence that Dallas' lineup improved with this draft. And they entered it with a mediocre roster.

Grade: D

Detroit Lions

5. Ezekiel Ansah, defensive end, BYU.
36. Darius Slay, cornerback, Mississippi State.
65. Larry Warford, guard, Kentucky.
132. Devin Taylor, defensive end, South Carolina.
165. Sam Martin, punter, Appalachian State.
171. Corey Fuller, receiver, Virginia Tech.
199. Theo Riddick, running back, Notre Dame.
211. Michael Williams, tight end, Alabama.
245. Brandon Hepburn, linebacker, Florida A&M.

Overview: Left tackle seemed to be GM Martin Mayhew's biggest need entering the draft, but his selections indicate he feels otherwise. Mayhew must have a lot of faith in 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff. He bypassed Menelik Watson for Slay. Rather than Terron Armstead, Mayhew selected Warford to add a mauling presence at right guard. I still found this to be a value-heavy draft. Ansah, Slay, and Warford are Week 1 starters. Taylor, Fuller, Williams, and even versatile Riddick could make year-one impacts. Ansah has been knocked as a possible bust by some observers, but the Lions' coaching staff has special insight after coaching him in Mobile. I thought Mayhew stayed true to his board and -- aside from perhaps the punter -- drafted the best available at each pick.

Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers

26. Datone Jones, defensive end, UCLA.
61. Eddie Lacy, running back, Alabama.
109. David Bakhtiari, guard/tackle, Colorado.
122. J.C. Tretter, guard/center, Cornell.
125. Johnathan Franklin, running back, UCLA.
159. Micah Hyde, defensive back, Iowa.
167. Josh Boyd, defensive lineman, Mississippi State.
193. Nate Palmer, outside linebacker, Illinois State.
216. Charles Johnson, receiver, Grand Valley State.
224. Kevin Dorsey, receiver, Maryland.
232. Sam Barrington, linebacker, South Florida.

Overview: GM Ted Thompson annually dominates on draft day; it's where he butters his bread. The Packers are not a free-agency team. Jones is a relentless, potentially special inside rusher who finally gives Green Bay a legitimate replacement for Cullen Jenkins. Lacy and Franklin can form a Thunder & Lightning backfield with the former as a light-footed wrecking ball and latter in the big-play, change-up role. Both rookies can pick up the blitz and play on all three downs. Bakhtiari is a heady, athletic mover and fit for the Packers' zone scheme. Hyde, Palmer, and Barrington are core special teams guys. Johnson abused his competition at small-school Grand Valley State and has Julio Jones-like measurables. The value on Lacy, Franklin, and Johnson was sensational. Chalk up another draft-weekend "win" for arguably the top GM in the sport.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

23. Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida.
25. Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State.
29. Cordarrelle Patterson, receiver, Tennessee.
120. Gerald Hodges, linebacker, Penn State.
155. Jeff Locke, punter, UCLA.
196. Jeff Baca, guard/center, UCLA.
213. Michael Mauti, linebacker, Penn State.
214. Travis Bond, guard, North Carolina.
229. Everett Dawkins, defensive tackle, Florida State.

Overview: Keep in mind GM Rick Spielman dumped game-changing slot receiver and return specialist Percy Harvin for the 25th and 214th picks, in addition to a 2014 third-rounder. That deal must be factored into Minnesota's grade. Spielman acknowledged the big loss and responded by targeting big-play ability from his hat trick of first-rounders. Floyd is a penetrating three-technique tackle ideally suited for Leslie Frazier's 4-3 scheme. The Vikings paired Rhodes (6-foot-2, 210) with Chris Cook (6-foot-2, 212) to form one of the NFL's biggest, longest corner duos as they attempt to slow Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery in the NFC North. The Patterson pick at the very least offsets Harvin's special teams value because Cordarrelle offers similar game-breaking return skills and arguably just as much receiving upside. Patterson is a freak. I liked athletic mover Baca as a late-round value.

Grade: B-

New Orleans Saints

15. Kenny Vaccaro, free safety, Texas.
75. Terron Armstead, left tackle, Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
82. John Jenkins, nose tackle, Georgia.
144. Kenny Stills, receiver, Oklahoma.
183. Rufus Johnson, defensive end, Tarleton State.

Overview: GM Mickey Loomis was working without a second-round pick due to Bountygate, but still landed two day-two values in Armstead and Jenkins and arguably a third on day three in speedster Stills. Vaccaro can team with Malcolm Jenkins to give Rob Ryan two safeties with range and one-on-one matchup skills, likely pushing overpriced box SS Roman Harper out the door. Jenkins is a mammoth athlete with a Haynesworthian ceiling. Johnson is a dominant small schooler with plus measurables, and Loomis has hit on that kind of player before (Akiem Hicks, Jermon Bushrod, Jahri Evans, Marques Colston). The Saints only added five players, but they were all quality picks. The Saints are going to be much better than they were last year.

Grade: C+

New York Giants

19. Justin Pugh, guard/tackle, Syracuse.
49. Johnathan Hankins, defensive tackle, Ohio State.
81. Damontre Moore, defensive end, Texas A&M.
110. Ryan Nassib, quarterback, Syracuse.
152. Cooper Taylor, safety, Richmond.
224. Eric Herman, guard, Ohio.
253. Michael Cox, running back, UMass.

Overview: Much like Ted Thompson in Green Bay and Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore, Giants GM Jerry Reese is a best-available drafter. If he'd have selected his first three players in January and you didn't know the rounds, you would've figured he traded up for three first-round picks. Each player has a flaw -- short arms for Pugh, motor for Hankins, and translatable production for Moore -- but they're all great football players. Moore dominated in the SEC; 8.0 of his 12.5 sacks last year came versus conference opponents. Pugh permitted a half-sack of Nassib and otherwise didn't allow a single hurry. Hankins offers elite potential as a 4-3 nose guard. Nassib was a sheer value pick, while Taylor, Herman, and to a lesser extent Cox offer versatile, "multiple" skill sets and plus measurables. This draft gives the G-Men a needed infusion of young talent, even if only Pugh and perhaps Hankins are surefire first-season contributors.

Grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles

4. Lane Johnson, right tackle, Oklahoma.
35. Zach Ertz, tight end, Stanford.
67. Bennie Logan, defensive tackle, LSU.
98. Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC.
136. Earl Wolff, free safety, North Carolina State.
212. Joe Kruger, defensive end, Utah.
218. Jordan Poyer, cornerback, Oregon State.
239. David King, defensive end, Oklahoma.

Overview: The draftnik community should love this group because aside from seventh-rounder King every member has a big name. They are all identifiable. The first two picks look like surefire hits; Johnson is an outstanding match for Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense as a well-oiled athlete with second- and even third-level blocking skills. Ertz can stretch the field vertically and creates downfield separation better than consensus top tight end Tyler Eifert. Logan and Barkley were odd picks because the former's fit is questionable in Philly's new three-man front and Barkley lacks athleticism in addition to starting-caliber arm strength. All of Philly's rookies look like good values -- particularly Kruger and Poyer -- but this haul included a lot of head scratchers. I still feel confident saying the Eagles' roster improved with this draft, and quite possibly significantly.

Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

18. Eric Reid, free safety, LSU.
40. Tank Carradine, outside linebacker, Florida State.
55. Vance McDonald, tight end, Rice.
88. Corey Lemonier, outside linebacker, Auburn.
128. Quinton Patton, receiver, Louisiana Tech.
131. Marcus Lattimore, running back, South Carolina.
157. Quinton Dial, defensive end, Alabama.
180. Nick Moody, linebacker, Florida State.
237. B.J. Daniels, quarterback, South Florida.
246. Carter Bykowski, tackle, Iowa State.
252. Marcus Cooper, cornerback, Rutgers.

Overview: The rich got richer. The 49ers entered Thursday with an NFL-most 13 picks. GM Trent Baalke turned them into very arguably the most impressive haul in the league, along the way picking up a 2014 third-rounder in Friday's trade with the Titans. Only Reid and McDonald may be definite first-year contributors, but that's far more a testament to Baalke's roster building than his individual selections. Carradine is a to-the-whistle edge rusher who along with Lattimore could be "redshirted" as a rookie due to knee woes, before emerging as plus 2014 starters. Patton is a silky smooth route runner with ball skills and insurance on contract-year No. 1 wideout Michael Crabtree. Lemonier might have been a first-rounder had he not played on such a bad Auburn team. San Francisco is filthy rich with pass rush. Baalke is constructing a dynasty.

Grade: A

Seattle Seahawks

62. Christine Michael, running back, Texas A&M.
87. Jordan Hill, defensive tackle, Penn State.
123. Chris Harper, receiver, Kansas State.
137. Jesse Williams, nose tackle, Alabama.
138. Tharold Simon, cornerback, LSU.
158. Luke Willson, tight end, Rice.
194. Spencer Ware, fullback, LSU.
220. Ryan Seymour, guard, Vanderbilt.
231. Ty Powell, defensive end, Harding.
241. Jared Smith, defensive tackle, New Hampshire.
242. Michael Bowie, tackle, NE Oklahoma State.

Overview: Per GM John Schneider, the Seahawks spent Thursday night watching Percy Harvin's YouTube highlight reel after sacrificing the Nos. 25 and 214 picks, and next year's third-rounder in exchange for the NFL's premier slot receiver. Understandable. The Harvin acquisition is factored into Seattle's grade. Schneider finally went on the clock Friday night and simply made picks straight off his board. Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin? Who cares. Michael is the best player. He's ours. Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin? We'll take Harper and his Boldinian skill set. Williams is an immovable beast who makes us better in the trenches. Pick him. Simon is a press-man corner. Perfect scheme fit. Draft him. Late picks were primarily reserved for small schoolers and test freaks. Upside players who don't hurt you if they bust. The Seahawks have drafted just like this every year under Schneider and Pete Carroll. Seems like it's working.

Grade: A-

St. Louis Rams

8. Tavon Austin, receiver, West Virginia.
30. Alec Ogletree, linebacker, Georgia.
71. T.J. McDonald, safety, USC.
92. Stedman Bailey, receiver, West Virginia.
113. Barrett Jones, center/guard, Alabama.
149. Brandon McGee, cornerback, Miami.
160. Zac Stacy, running back, Vanderbilt.

Overview: A year after unearthing small-schoolers Brian Quick, Greg Zuerlein, Trumaine Johnson, and Daryl Richardson, GM Les Snead took an all-big-school approach. This draft was dedicated to playmakers, and St. Louis accomplished its goal even if some members (McDonald, Jones, to a lesser extent Stacy) may struggle with the college-to-pro transition due to major flaws. Austin was the premier offensive-skill player in the 2013 draft, and Snead offset his losses in the trade up to No. 8 by trading down from the 22nd spot. He still came away with a day-one starter in Ogletree, whose character issues are concerning but not as much under coach Jeff Fisher. Bailey was a great value late in round three and fortifies St. Louis' receiver depth behind Austin, Quick, and Chris Givens. The McDonald pick lowers the Rams' grade because he is a tight-hipped, straight-line safety with inconsistent physicality. Jones projects as no more than an NFL reserve.

Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

43. Johnthan Banks, cornerback, Mississippi State.
73. Mike Glennon, quarterback, North Carolina State.
100. Akeem Spence, defensive tackle, Illinois.
126. William Gholston, defensive end, Michigan State.
147. Steven Means, defensive end, Buffalo.
189. Mike James, running back, Miami.

Overview: Not forgotten in the Bucs' grade is the acquisition of Darrelle Revis for the 13th pick, plus a 2014 third-rounder. He is a Hall of Fame talent capable of masking multiple defensive weaknesses and every bit worth the cost. GM Mark Dominik otherwise came away with a slightly questionable draft, noticeably failing to add a pass-catching tight end. Banks is a cornerback/safety 'tweener who was beaten deep too frequently as a senior. Three-technique prospect Spence has ability, but was not a finisher in the Big Ten and is ultimately an underachiever. Same goes for Gholston, who is Vernon's cousin. Means is probably a special teamer at best. James is a plodder on tape, and I wouldn't expect him to make the 53. Glennon is a schematic fit in Tampa's vertical offense. His selection puts Josh Freeman on notice.

Grade: B

Washington Redskins

51. David Amerson, cornerback, North Carolina State.
85. Jordan Reed, tight end, Florida.
119. Phillip Thomas, free safety, Fresno State.
154. Chris Thompson, running back, Florida State.
162. Brandon Jenkins, outside linebacker, Florida State.
191. Bacarri Rambo, free safety, Georgia.
228. Jawan Jamison, running back, Rutgers.

Overview: GM Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan's draft focus was on ballhawks, and they came away with three in 2011 NCAA interceptions leader Amerson, 2012 NCAA picks leader Thomas, and Rambo -- who ranked second to Amerson in INTs two years ago. But Rambo and Thomas can't tackle and Amerson got beat deep more than any cornerback in college football last season. Both running back picks are potential throwaways; Thompson broke his back in 2011 and tore his ACL in 2012, and Jamison doesn't do anything well. Jenkins was a big-time sack specialist in 2010, but is coming off a Lisfranc fracture. Reed is a potential "Joker" tight end who could contribute on passing downs. Washington drafted a slew of big names and added productive collegiates, but I'm not sure they got more than one or two productive NFL starters.

Grade: C

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