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Green Zone League Articles

2014 Draft Grades, 1-10
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

1.1 – QB Geno Smith, 49ers. How good is Geno Smith? Good enough for the 49ers to end the Brandon Weeden experiment after one season. Still, it’s easy to understand why the Niners went with the West Virginia star. Few QBs have come into the league with such polish and potential. Smith is smart for a rookie (76 AWR) and has a cannon for an arm (95 THP). Expect Smith to start right away and if anyone can turn around this franchise, it’s a player like Smith. GRADE: A+, KVW Player Rank: 1

1.2 – CB DeMarcus Milliner, Ravens. Milliner is arguably the best player in the draft, and if he’s not, he gives Smith a run for his money. Milliner is the complete package at CB. He’s got good size (6’1”) and amazing speed (96 SPD) and even has great hands for a CB (76 CTH). Though he doesn’t have elite jumping skills (88 JMP) that’s about as big as the negatives get for this Alabama product. GRADE: A+, KVW Player Rank: 2

1.3 – CB Xavier Rhodes, Rams. Though Rhodes was generally considered to be a Top 5 pick, Rhodes selection by the Rams was somewhat surprising. The Rams have a solid defensive backfield with Gilmore, Mitchell and Houston and some predicted that the Rams would target OLB Jarvis Jones. Still Rhodes is a nice acquisition. Few possess Rhodes combination of size (6’2”) and speed (94). Rhodes also comes into the league with decent hands. However, the Rams will have to work on his awareness (59 AWR) to get him to elite status. GRADE: A-, KVW Player Rank: 5.

1.4 – WR Justin Hunter, Chiefs. The Chiefs had targeted Hunter from the get go and were able to get their man. Though the team featured Malcolm Floyd and Josh Cribbs, GM Tim Miller wanted to upgrade at the position to provide targets for franchise QB Andrew Luck. Hunter was clearly the best WR on the board in a deep WR class and should fit in well in Kansas City. Hunter will tower over AFC West CBs as he stands 6’4”, but also has the speed (92 SPD) to run past many corners. Hunter doesn’t have elite agility (89) or acceleration (93), however, but should provide Luck with the security blanket he needs. GRADE: A-, KVW Player Rank: 11

1.5 – LOLB Jarvis Jones, Patriots. The Patriots have had their win total decrease each year in the league. Despite having some good talent, they needed an infusion of impact players. With three Top 10 picks, they made the most of their first pick, snagging Jones. Jones is a beast, coming in at 255 lbs, but possessing a receiver’s speed (87 SPD) and a defensive end’s strength (79). His physical attributes are off the charts and should cause havoc wherever he plays. GRADE: A+. KVW Player Rank: 3.

1.6 – LE Bjoern Werner, Panthers. There’s something a bit boring about Werner. Maybe it’s the name. But there’s no denying his incredible talent. Werner is very fast (85 SPD) and will shore up the Panthers defensive line. Placing him next to JJ Watt should create a lot of headaches on the offensive lines in the NFC South in the years to come. Werner will anchor the line in Carolina for the next decade. GRADE: A. KVW Player Rank: 4

1.7 – OT Leo Richards, Patriots. One of the biggest holes for the Patriots has been on the offensive line, where they have put together makeshift protection for their young QBs. Leo Richards is the best offensive lineman in the draft, and the kind of player that can keep your QB’s jersey clean. Richards is big (6’6”, 318) but also possesses some wheels (66 SPD). One area of work for the young lineman is working on his awareness (65), though expect Richards to start right away, and dominate in the years to come. GRADE: A, KVW Player Rank: 6

1.8 – QB Ryan Tannenhill, Bengals. The Bengals knew that Carson Palmer didn’t have much gas left and targeted Tannenhill from the outset. They got their man and the Texas A&M star has all the tools to grow into an elite QB. Interestingly, however, the Bengals also took Collin Klein in the second round. Klein, arguably, is more game-ready than Tannenhill, who comes in with 66 AWR. In a vacuum, this is a good pick-up at 1.8. But in context, if the Bengals end up going with Klein, they missed an opportunity to draft another stud at 1.8 to help the team. GRADE: A, KVW Player Rank: 9

1.9 – DT Star Lotulelei, Patriots. The Patriots hit another home run with their last Top 10 pick. Though DT isn’t the sexiest of positions, Lotulelei is lightning fast (69 SPD) but has the strength and size of a nose tackle. Lotulelei and Vince Wolfolk will make for an imposing pair of defensive tackles for other teams to deal with. GRADE: A, KVW Player Rank: 7

1.10 – HB Bull Griggs, Jaguars. After back-to-back seasons of 5 wins or less, the Jaguars need to turn things around and grab an impact player. They may have found such a player in Bull Griggs. While there are many holes, finding a replacement for the subpar DeAngelo Williams is amongst the highest priorities. Griggs is a brute of a running back, weighing in at 242 lbs and possessing 83 STR. Griggs may not have breakaway speed, but he will definitely help move the chains. GRADE: A, KVW Player Rank: 12.
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