Standardized tests are good only for standardized kids. And standardized draft grades -- the A through F rankings based on your 1977 report card and assigned, after deep contemplation, hours after the draft's completion -- are good only for standardized teams.
Do the Raiders have the same needs as the Patriots? Of course not! Did the Browns have the same resources at their disposal as the Redskins? Not even close! So what good is assigning one team an A and one team a D?
Luckily, Sports on Earth employs one of the handful of people on the planet with expertise in both the NFL draft and pedagogy! So our draft grades reflect the latest advances in both draftnik and educationist gobbledygook! (Please don't stop reading).
Teams are rated according to three criteria: finding talent, meeting needs and using resources (the picks available, trades, their draft position). Each criteria contains a three-point scale: Excellent, Satisfactory and Needs Improvement. The Final Assessment then sorts the draft class into three bins: Advanced, Proficient and Needs Improvement. There's no direct one-to-one correspondence, so two Satisfactory scores and one Excellent could lead to an Advanced grade for one team and a Proficient for another (though it cannot lead to remediation). That's because there are wiggles within the wide categories, and there are ways the categories interact. If you don't like it, you are free to complain, but you should also shudder at the fact that this is how your children's futures and property values are also decided.
So, yeah, anyway … draft grades. If you have read a bunch already, ask yourself: Who provided you better information, the professor who took a week to mark your term paper with comments and advice, or the one who handed it back the next day with a letter on the top? Trust me: Good assessment is worth the wait.
Finds Talent: Excellent. Sammy Watkins will become the cornerstone of one of the deepest, most exciting young receiving corps in the league. Cyrus Kouandjio has first-round talent but may or may not have seventh-round knees; the Bills medical staff is confident that he is OK. Ross Cockrell and Cyril Richardson are nasty depth players to snag in middle rounds: Cockrell a bright and tough Cover-2 corner, Richardson 330 pounds of potential. Seantrel Henderson was worth a seventh-round spitball. Give him the Father Flanagan treatment to see if he finds that undiscovered country known as "effort;" cut him the first time you smell smoke.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. The Bills had no flashing need, just a mandate to get more talented overall and build some momentum. Pivoting from Steve Johnson to Watkins is wise (Bills midseason swoons always seemed to start with two or three dropped Johnson passes, plus a weird sound bite), and adding Bryce Brown via trade was an acknowledgement that Fred Jackson cannot be the bread-and-butter back forever. Ignoring defensive line depth was a risky decision.
Uses Resources: Needs Improvement. Even the biggest Watkins booster realizes that trading up for a wide receiver in this draft class was an odd choice. The Bills traded away a bunch of 2015 picks, including the first-rounder (though they got a conditional pick back for Johnson), ensuring that this year's groceries will appear on next year's credit card statement.
Final Assessment: Proficient. I have been writing glowing Bills draft roundups -- and depressing Bills season roundups -- for half my adult life. The Bills got an intriguing mix of talent, and the roster is now strong enough to allow guys like Kouandjio to season on the bench a bit. What could possibly go wrong? The Bills could find 6-10 yet again, then discover they don't have the draft picks to improve next year. At any rate, this does not look like a 6-10 roster or coaching staff.
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. Jarvis Landry is a midrange pass gobbler whose slow 40-time was an illusion: He can run, and he can play. Arthur Lynch is the best kind of No. 2 tight end: catches a little, blocks a lot, lines up everywhere. Jordan Tripp is a true outside linebacker with good coverage instincts and hustle.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. The Dolphins patched up their offensive line without making a fetish of it after also picking up reinforcements in free agency. Landry and Lynch show that the team was aware of room to grow at the skill positions.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. Ja'Wuan James was a solid Tennessee right tackle who projects to max out as a solid NFL right tackle. If you love him, you trade down and still get him. If you are settling for him, then trade up so you don't have to settle for him. The Dolphins got their legs under them in the second round, trading down twice before landing Landry.
Final Assessment: Proficient. James feels like a reach, but there is some wisdom to drafting an experienced right tackle to fill an immediate need at right tackle. Between the draft and free agency, the line looks solid enough to hold, and everything else is at least wild-card caliber. This draft was solid but unspectacular, but the Dolphins have a habit of pratfalling when they attempt spectacular.
New England Patriots
Finds Talent: Excellent. Dominque Easley was the second or third most talented defensive player in this year's draft class, and a player only a team in the Patriots situation could afford to take a risk on. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is another talent with questions who may taste exquisite after being buried in a clay pot until 2017. Center Bryan Stork and running back James White represent the other side of the coin: dependable mid-tier prospects who can be no-nonsense depth/role players.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. The Patriots needed a "Chosen One" type to take them over the moat one last time. That's Easley. They also needed a life-goes-on plan for after the Fall of Brady. That's Garoppolo. The major sticking point is no tight end support or Gronk contingency plan, though they did grab a 6-foot-8 workout beast named Justin Jones and some others as rookie free agents.
Uses Resources: Excellent. This is what a great franchise in the autumn years of a success cycle must do: Wait for great talents other teams cannot use; take risks other teams cannot afford to take. They could have traded up for a Chosen One, but they stood pat and landed Easley instead.
Final Assessment: Advanced. No goofy trades! No lacrosse players from the Merchant Marine Academy! No Rutgers kids … though the Patriots did sign Jeremy Deering, a man of a million positions, as a free agent. The Patriots drafted as if the time for channeling their inner muse has past, and it has. Easley can join Darrelle Revis in the quest for the one last ring if his knees hold out; Easley and Garoppolo (and Stork and others) could form the cast of Patriots: The Next Generation. It does not require much projection or "Belichick Knows Better than Mere Mortals" theology to imagine these things happening, which makes this Patriots draft unique among recent efforts.
New York Jets
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. Jace Amaro and Jalen Saunders add speed and open-field capability to a notoriously sluggish offense. Calvin Pryor was the best all-around safety in the draft and the kind of player Rex Ryan knows how to use.
Meets Needs: Excellent. Saturation-drafting the receiving corps was a great idea: The Jets never seem to have much to offer in receiver slots three through five, and one and two are rarely All-Pros, either. Now, they have tiny-tough-blurry Saunders, possession receiver Shaq Evans and thick-thumpy leadership type Quincy Enunwa, who can excel on special teams. Tajh Boyd was the right tool for the right job in the sixth round. If the Geno Smith-Michael Vick experiment goes kabloom, he is a capable young fire extinguisher.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. Some think the Jets reached for cornerback Dexter McDougle, and perhaps Amato and Pryor as well. McDougle is coming off a shoulder injury (the kind that does not affect long-term projects, unlike an ACL or neck injury) but looked like a solid jack-of-all-trades defender in 2012. The others are fine system fits who were selected more or less on schedule. Sometimes, we fall into the habit of criticizing the Jets draft because it is the Jets draft.
Final Assessment: Proficient. After two by-the-books drafts, the Jets roster looks normal, if not excellent. Only quarterback remains a mad science experiment. The keys to the Jets 2014 season are in the hands of two 2013 draftees. Geno Smith is one of them, of course. Cornerback Dee Milliner is the other, and if he takes a big step up from baffled rookie to solid starter, the decisions behind the Jets' 2014 draft choices will come into sharper focus.
Finds Talent: Excellent. C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan and Terrence Brooks are all rock solid -- ready to play, yet with high upside. You have to admire Ozzie Newsome for leaving no stone unturned when searching for defenders in such unlikely locales as Alabama and Florida State. Later-round grabs make this class more fun. Crockett Gillmore is the lost Gronkowski brother, Brent Urban is a square peg with a power forward's frame who is worth developing and Michael Campanaro is a nifty-shifty slot guy for a team that has not really had a good one since Derrick Mason left.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. Giving John Harbaugh and staff the benefit of the doubt that Ricky Wagner is ready at right tackle, the Ravens could have used more reinforcements at running back than Lorenzo Taliaferro. Taliaferro is talented and a Gary Kubiak system fit, but the Ravens need more Ray Rice insurance than one small-school slasher. Also … Campanaro, Taliaferro … was Ozzie Newsome hungry for some linguini on Saturday, or were Steve Bisciotti and Joe Flacco making the picks?
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. The Ravens always have six billion compensatory picks. As usual, they used them to select helpful rank-and-file players. Guard John Urschel and quarterback Keith Wenning will slide quickly into the No. 2 slots on depth charts without causing any fuss.
Final Assessment: Proficient. The Official Draft of the Baltimore Ravens: one Crimson Tide defender, lots of other big-program performers, extra doses of mid-round talent, nothing to call your senator about.
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. Darqueze Dennard is a smooth, capable cover corner who was a great value with the 24th pick. Thumping running back Jeremy Hill is the kind of luxury item the Bengals can afford at the skill positions. Linebacker Marquis Flowers is 90 percent of Ryan Shazier at a fraction of the costs and expectations.
Meets Needs: Needs Improvement. The Bengals were not particularly needy, and Dennard spackles a crack, as do some other picks. But the Bengals need to color outside the lines at this point to get past the other powerhouses, and this was a by-the-book draft. AJ McCarron's selection betrays a lack of imagination: Instead of gambling on a superior talent who could change the team's direction in 2015, they settled for Andy Dalton 2.0.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. The Bengals did not do much wiggling, reaching or surprising.
Final Assessment: Proficient. Admit it, Bengals fans: You wanted to see the team blow things up a little bit, whether it was a fastball pitching prospect or a Falcons-style cross-court alley-oop (two first-rounders and a third to move up for Khalil Mack!). Instead, the Bengals perpetrated an 11-5 maintenance draft that left me mixing my sports metaphors. There are worse fates than drafting for playoff sustenance, and the AFC North did not do much to gain on the Bengals, so this draft cannot be knocked too hard. But if you were seeking butter brickle, you got vanilla, and it may make it hard to compete with the more inventive ice cream parlors in town.
Finds Talent: Excellent. Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel form a formidable first-round one-two punch for a team that has made a habit of wasting its one-two punches. Joel Bitonio is versatile, with upside. Pierre Desir has a better chance of being Richard Sherman Inspiration than Richard Sherman Imitation, while Christian Kirksey is a square-peg "heavy nickel" safety-linebacker who could shine if the Browns elect to use a lot of unusual packages. (Kirksey is currently listed at inside linebacker, which does not sound right for a guy who covered a lot of slot receivers in college.)
Meets Needs: Needs Improvement. I wrote at length in Mandatory Monday about the rationale of not lurching after receivers in the wake of Josh Gordon's potential suspension. That said, a team with injured Nate Burleson as its No. 3 receiver should have targeted some wideouts in a deep class, anyway. All of the wheeling and dealing ended the Browns' draft after the fourth round, which will make it hard for the new staff to put its stamp on the depth chart.
Uses Resources: Excellent. The lack of late-round picks is worrisome, but it is hard to quibble with the acquisition of first-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in 2015. For a team with a novice general manager, the Browns glided around the first round smoothly, gathering the players they wanted at the precise slot where they wanted them.
Final Assessment: Proficient. The Browns were one receiver -- one measly fourth-round Jalen Saunders-caliber receiver -- away from getting an "Advanced" grade. The Browns signed five undrafted rookie receivers after the draft, but there was no good reason for the team to resort to dumpster diving in a class this deep. The defense and lines should be rock solid, and Manziel will be fun once he takes the reins from Brian Hoyer, but the skill-position talent (a strength this time last year) looks like the pressure point where the Browns will buckle in 2014.
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. If you define "talent" by guys who run fast or are built like the Hulk, the Steelers earned an A+++. But there is a reason NFL teams do not just draft sprinters and weight lifters. Ryan Shazier and Dri Archer are faster than same-day delivery, and Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers have their own beltways, but all have major flaws. Receiver Martavis Bryant is the best "football talent" of this group, a size/speed guy whose gifts almost always translate into achievements.
Meets Needs: Needs Improvement. The Steelers think they can solve their cornerback problems by adding linebackers. They think they can upgrade their offensive line by adding linebackers. They have not noticed how suddenly terrible they have become at identifying and developing linebackers.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. The Steelers did zero trading, but they used supplemental picks to make serviceable additions to needy units. Shazier and Archer left the board too soon, in my opinion, but late picks of Bryant and McCullers made up for it.
Final Assessment: Remediation. Shazier is a speedy guy who runs around getting blocked. His tackling technique involves grabbing ball carriers near the shoulder pads and trying to ballroom dance them to the turf. Archer was a mid-major Chris Johnson impersonator who, while listed at wide receiver, fits nothing the Steelers traditionally try to do on offense. (I envision him as the guy Todd Haley gives one carry per game.) Tuitt is a high-risk gamble on greatness. McCullers looked like a mammoth run-stopper one rep out of three during Senior Bowl practices and could have been replaced with a sack of sugar in the other two. Jordan Zumwalt is a taller, skinnier Shazier. The "Dick LeBeau will develop these guys" theory no longer holds water after three years of average-to-awful pass rushing. The Steelers need to do things differently, and they need immediate upgrades. They got sent to the store for salad veggies, and they come home with mostly seedlings.
Finds Talent: Exceptional. Jadeveon Clowney and Louis Nix will be superlative on their best days; Bill O'Brien and Romeo Crennel are aware that they must decrease their number of worst days. Laugh at Tom Savage's plummet from darling sleeper to fourth-rounder, but the kid can throw, hard. Xavier Su'a-Filo was the best true guard in the draft, while C.J. Fiedorowicz and Jay Prosch give O'Brien the opportunity to run two-back or two-tight end sets with versatile blocker-receivers for each.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. Hmmm, great defensive personnel and an interception-prone veteran quarterback backed up by projects. Where have I seen this before? OPEN THE HATCH THERE IS A GREMLIN ON THE WING.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. This is really an "incomplete" because there is chatter about a Ryan Mallet deal, and the chatter is among real insiders, not Boston sports-talk hosts on slow afternoons. Mallett for a fifth -round 2015 pick would be exceptional; Mallet for a second-rounder, or an asset like Garrett Graham, would be insane. And of course, it's easy to enjoy a talent boost when selecting first in every round.
Final Assessment: Advanced. All kidding aside in the "meets needs" department, the Texans are not really playing to go 10-6 in 2014. They are building a true post-Peyton-Brady contender, or at least they should be, so grabbing a high-upside slow-cooker quarterback in the fourth round makes more sense than, say, trying to plug 'n' play baby bro Derek Carr (or trading for Mallett, frankly). Until the quarterback situation settles, the Texans have the defense and skill-position resources to battle past .500 in their weak division. After that, they have three or four players (Clowney, Nix, Savage, maybe XSF) with superstar potential, which is all you can ask for after a 2-14 season.
Finds Talent: Needs Improvement. Jack Mewhort projects as a mid-tier NFL guard at best. At right tackle, he would get your quarterback killed, and at left tackle, he's already buried. Donte Moncrief is a fine all-purpose receiver; finding those in this draft was like fishing a pickle from a barrel. The Colts rounded out their draft with lots of "just a guy" guys.
Meets Needs: Needs Improvement. It's fun to watch the Colts double-and-triple down on the Trent Richardson fiasco by drafting no running backs. At some point, they will just cut all their other running backs and banish them from Indiana just to prove how confident they are in Richardson. They even went so far as to sign only one undrafted rookie running back: someone named Zurlon Tipton, who rushed for 398 yards at Central Michigan last year. Hey: Burn all your fat-guy clothes and you just have to lose weight, right? Or maybe you walk around looking ridiculous for a few months, then rush to the store to overspend on more fat-guy clothes.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. We're not going to double-penalize the Colts for squandering a pick for Richardson. They suffered enough.
Final Assessment: Remediation. After one charmed offseason, Ryan Grigson has the Colts in "prove the naysayers wrong" mode, when perhaps he should be working on generating a few less naysayers. This is the kind of draft Bill Polian foisted on the team in later years. Peyton Manning could drag the Colts through those Polian misfires, but Andrew Luck is not there yet, and the roster is not at the point where the team can draft developmental guards and get stubborn about past mistakes. Maybe Richardson rebounds, Moncrief fills a need and this draft becomes a footnote. Maybe the Texans (and perhaps the Jaguars) kick the Colts down the standings hard in 2015. Based on the last few weeks of transactions, which scenario seems more likely to you?
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. I am a Blake Bortles skeptic, and I am sticking to my guns. Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson are great second-round values. Chris Smith is a fave: a high-intensity contact-lover Gus Bradley can use in some "Leo" type of role. Storm Johnson is a little jackhammer of a running back with a few moves and good hands. He could end up with a major role.
Meets Needs: Exceptional. The Jaguars absolutely had to saturation draft their offense, particularly after selecting a developmental quarterback. Lee, Robinson and Johnson, combined with incumbents Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders, Marcedes Lewis, Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson, give the Jaguars fully-stocked skill-position shelves for the first time since the days of Taylor-Smith-McCardell. It's a welcome change after years of trying to get psyched about Matt Jones or Mike Sims-Walker. The Jaguars added two potential centers for good measure: Brandon Linder (more of a multi-position lineman) and Luke Bowanko.
Uses Resources: Exceptional. The Jaguars traded up to get Robinson and Linder, but still had enough picks to select values like Smith and Johnson.
Final Assessment: Advanced. Past Jaguars administrations would have selected Bortles, then scattered buckshot around the draft board addressing other needs, including punter. The current administration drafted Bortles and then integrated him into an overall offensive plan that includes a caretaker starter in front of him (Chad Henne, quietly re-signed early in free agency) and plenty of weaponry. Gus Bradley's staff got the most from their Senior Bowl coaching experience -- Smith, in particular, looked like he would happily run one-on-one drills for a month -- and made the most of their Bortles scouting by getting backfield-mate Johnson in the package. Sometimes, drafting the best quarterback is not about drafting the best quarterback, it's about doing the best things for the quarterback you drafted. The Jaguars made a nightmare of the Blaine Gabbert era. They appear to be avoiding those mistakes with Bortles.
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. Taylor Lewan was the best tackle on the board when the Titans selected, and he can quickly supplant Michael Oher. Bishop Sankey is a tough little workhorse runner. DaQuan Jones is a great player half the time, which is better than being half a great player all the time. Zach Mettenberger could be Ken Whisenhunt's Ben Roethlisberger, or his John Skelton.
Meets Needs: Needs Improvement. This is a stone cold F and one of the most inscrutable drafts of the year. Lewan gives the Titans three pass protectors in search of someone to protect. Sankey is solid but unspectacular, the kind of back you draft when suffering from Post-Chris Johnson Stress Disorder. They needed a 25-carry guy with Shonn Greene missing much of the offseason, but that does not need they needed another Greene. The defensive line was yet another position of moderate-at-best need. Giving Mettenberger the benefit of the doubt for 2015, the Titans must like their cornerbacks and tight ends much better than anyone else does.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. Trading down before selecting Sankey was wise, and it allowed the Titans to select Marqueston Huff, a try-hard safety who fills a need for warm bodies in the secondary. Mettenberger was much higher than a sixth-round talent on my board, and most others.
Final Assessment: Needs Improvement. The Titans appear to have lost the organizational sense of what a good roster looks like. They grab duplicate resources, let young stars go without replacing them and seem disinterested in building any unit into a true strength except the offensive line, which they want to turn into some mega-strength. It's as if they learned that great teams are built in the trenches but took the maxim to illogical extremes; now they think that if they block hard enough, Jake Locker throwing to Nate Washington is a viable strategy for winning a Super Bowl. The Titans are not bad so much as custom-build for ordinariness, a late-model Nissan Altima trying to win a custom car show by adding more factory-spec parts.
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. Bradley Roby was the best on-field value on the board when the Broncos selected. Cody Latimer has the combination of speed and smarts the Broncos need to contribute right away. The rest of the class is filled with "just a guy" and "other Michigan tackle" types.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. Like the Patriots, the Broncos are searching for "chosen one" types. Unlike the Patriots, they did not gamble quite so heavily on greatness or pave any new paths to a post-Peyton horizon. They got fine players with upside early, then added Michael Schofield and Matt Paradis to firm up the line in the event of another Super Bowl battle against the NFC West.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. Trading up for Latimer in this receiver-saturated draft seems loopy, but the Broncos had a specific role in mind. They then traded out of the fourth round to get back the 2015 pick they lost in the Latimer deal, but whatever: There are not many roster spots up for grabs in Denver.
Final Assessment: Proficient. Did the Broncos draft yet? They did? Oh. Didn't notice. But seriously, the Broncos came away with a raw big-hitter at cornerback and a fourth receiver, which in Peyton Manning's offense is a 50-catch, eight-touchdown role at this point. Is that enough to stay ahead of the Patriots? Maybe. Is that enough to get past the 49ers and Seahawks? No way, but that may be asking too much of one draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
Finds Talent: Excellent. Dee Ford is fun to watch, loves to attack and is a perfect system fit in a defense that will let him rush the quarterback from the edge to his heart's desire. De'Anthony Thomas is more like Dexter McCluster than Dexter McCluster. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is destined to be an Andy Reid special: a late-round lineman who develops into an outstanding performer.
Meets Needs: Needs improvement. Welp, it looks like Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins are the starting wide receivers for another year, so keep those safeties nice and close to the box. Ford and cornerback Phillip Gaines add depth to the deepest positions on the roster. Bob Sutton may have a one-lineman, five-linebacker, Eric Berry, four-cornerback package up his sleeve, but he will never get a chance to use it if the Chiefs never complete a forward pass on the other side of the ball.
Uses Resources: Needs Improvement. The Chiefs, like the Eagles, got snookered when the Saints leapt in front of them to select Brandin Cooks, the last of the instant-impact speed receivers on the board. Both teams shrugged and took an edge rusher, though the Eagles a) traded down a smidge first and b) needed an edge rusher. The Chiefs should have tried to move down to replenish their board (they lost their second-rounder, remember, in the Alex Smith trade). Instead, they grabbed a luxury item and spent the rest of the draft getting in their own way.
Final Assessment: Proficient. This year's Chiefs will look a lot like last year's Chiefs, in the best and worse senses of the word. I would grade them more harshly if Ford and Thomas were not such wonderfully athletic gamers, if Reid were not so sharp with developmental linemen and if there was not a tiny bit of wisdom in perking up a defense that faces Peyton Manning twice and got its reputation inflated by lots of backup quarterbacks last year.
Finds Talent: Excellent. Khalil Mack's downside is a decade-long starter who goes to the Pro Bowl now and then. His upside is the kind of 4-3 outside linebacker we just don't see anymore. Stop worrying and accept Derek Carr for what he is: a safe, mid-tier starter prospect acquired for the right price. The middle rounds take the Raiders over the top: Gabe Jackson is a tough soon-to-be starter at guard, Justin Ellis is a geological formation and Keith McGill was one of the biggest and best of the Richard Sherman wannabes.
Meets Needs: Needs Improvement. Mack gives them a defensive standout, though it is hard to make a 4-3 outside linebacker a focal point. Carr gives them a viable starter, though an unlikely superstar. The Raiders did nothing to upgrade their skill positions, at all, which is great news for David Ausberry fans.
Uses Resources: Satisfactory. I am tempted to be harsher here: The Raiders are so needy at so many roster positions that they should have traded out of No. 5 for a sack of picks (some closer-to-contention team just had to be willing to offer a Mack package). But parlaying a third-round pick into Jackson and McGill was good use of the mid-round trading circuit.
Final Assessment: Proficient. This passing grade is buoyed by Mack's can't-miss attributes and my optimism about Carr, McGill and Ellis. The Raiders did themselves no harm, but compare this draft to the Jaguars draft to understand the issues. Both teams were talent-poor, coming off an offseason of grabbing defensive veterans for the front seven. The Jaguars got a developmental quarterback and reshaped their offense. The Raiders got a lower-upside developmental quarterback, a versatile linebacker and some change. Both teams may be bad for another year, but one has a clear sense of direction.
San Diego Chargers
Finds Talent: Satisfactory. Jason Verrett will be fine as a starting outside cornerback as long as he does not have to cover lots of 6-foot-4 receivers. Since the Broncos have only one super-tall wide receiver, and the Chiefs and Raiders have no receivers at all, he will get the job done. Jeremiah Attaochu is a big pass rusher who does the little things well: Jarret Johnson Junior, in other words. I watched some Ryan Carrethers tape after the draft -- I fell behind on my Arkansas State work in mid-April -- and was charmed. Carrethers is built like a Hershey's Kiss, falls down a lot when asked to run more than five steps and belly-flops on the tops of piles like he is product testing a waterbed. But he is pretty quick in short areas, hustles, has a little swim move and has a butt that can be zoned light-industrial. I am not sure I love him as a player, but I like him as a thought experiment, and anyone that unique is worth a fifth-round flier.
Meets Needs: Satisfactory. Verrett fills a critical need, Attaochu is minor one and Chris Watt adds competition to an interior line full of journeymen. But the Chargers needed running back Marion Grice like they need snow shovels. They also lack pass-rush sizzle, and beyond the not-so-sizzzling Attaochu, they didn't get any.
Uses Resources: Needs Improvement. The Chargers aren't deep enough at most positions for a six-player draft, and the number drops to five when you factor in Grice, their 12th-string running back. Trading up for Attaochu seems overindulgent, and it took the Chargers out of a fertile fourth round.
Final Assessment: Proficient. Adding two pieces to a needy defense was productive, and the Chargers were hamstrung to a degree by a draft position out of line with their overall roster quality. It just feels like they should have come out of this draft with more than a tiny cornerback, tall pass rusher, blobby nose tackle and some trinkets.
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Look for Mike Tanier's NFC draft grades on Thursday.