This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
They almost won the Super Bowl.
They dominated the NFL Draft.
Yes, the San Francisco 49ers were the clear winners with a bevy of great selections over the weekend. Now that the draft is history, we can dissect it. You had great local ties with Ziggy Ansah and Star Lotulelei. You had a number of local prospects going in later rounds, people such as Will Davis and Joe Kruger. Of course, you had Mel Kiper's hair on consistent display via ESPN.
Through it all, there were good picks, great picks and curious picks. There were good suits worn by the first-rounders, and suits that served as head-scratchers. It was fun watching NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hugging each green room draftee like he was a long-lost family member. It was painful watching Geno Smith languish through the first round, head in hand.
Now, The Salt Lake Tribune attempts to make sense of it all. Who did well? Who tanked? What follows is a letter grade and explanation for each of pro football's 32 franchises.
Arizona Cardinals • B
If Tyrann Mathieu can put his marijuana issues to rest, he's a solid pickup in the third round. Love drafting Jonathan Cooper to help improve the worst offensive line in the NFL.
Atlanta Falcons • B
Cornerback Desmond Trufant will help a leaky secondary. To help with depth there, the Falcons took Robert Alford, also a smart move. Overall, a solid draft.
Baltimore Ravens • B+
Went defense with its first four picks, not surprising considering the losses on that side of the ball. Matt Elam will help at safety. The Ravens are still looking for Ray Lewis' replacement, though.
Buffalo Bills • C+
Love drafting USC receiver Robert Woods. This, however, is the EJ Manuel draft. If the QB out of Florida State does well, this grade bumps up. If not? Then the Bills will be looking for another coach in three years.
Carolina Panthers • B+
Getting Star Lotulelei at 14 was a steal, plain and simple. After that, there were some curious choices, like adding Oregon running back Kenjon Barner to an already stacked backfield.
Chicago Bears • B
Getting Kyle Long could be a steal on the offensive line. Jay Cutler spent most of 2012 running for his life and yelling at his pass-blockers.
Cincinnati Bengals • A minus
Andy Dalton gets a potential game-breaker with tight end Tyler Eifert. He may be the steal of the first round. Also like the selection of running back Gio Bernard.
Cleveland Browns • C
Barkevious Mingo is going to have to be awfully good to make this a worthwhile draft. Mingo is very talented at outside linebacker, though.
Detroit Lions • B
BYU's Ziggy Ansah was much-needed on the defensive line. Larry Warford is a potential steal on the offensive line. A good draft by the Lions.
Dallas Cowboys • D-
Picking center Travis Frederick in the first round was dumb. The Cowboys could've gotten him two rounds later. Then, Dallas went and picked up another center in the later rounds in Brian Schwenke. Say what?
Denver Broncos • C
Really nondescript draft for the Broncos. Nothing bad, just nothing to get excited about. Sylvester Williams will probably crack the rotation early.
Green Bay Packers • A
Love this draft. Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin fill huge gaps at running back. UCLA defensive end Datone Jones fits well. Addressed a lot of needs here.
Houston Texans • B
Wideout DeAndre Hopkins was a solid pickup. D.J. Swearinger will help at safety as well.
Indianapolis Colts • B
Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams can help instantly in the return game. Guard Hugh Thornton will help on the offensive line.
Jacksonville Jaguars • B
Couldn't go wrong with first-rounder Luke Joeckel. John Cyprien was a very good selection in the second round.
Kansas City Chiefs • C+
Eric Fisher has superstar written all over him at offensive tackle. But where's the depth of the draft? Only Travis Kelce at tight end looks impactful after Fisher.
Miami Dolphins • B+
Not a real fan of the Dion Jordan selection: He's a 3-4 linebacker going to a 4-3 team. Love the selections of cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and USU's Willie Davis. They look like future bookend starters.
Minnesota Vikings • A
Completely dominated the first round with Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson. So it doesn't matter that they barely showed up in the rest of the draft.
New England Patriots • B
The hoodie (Bill Belichick) was at it again. Traded down and stockpiled talent in the lower rounds. And traded for LaGarrette Blount, as well, who will provide immediate running back help.
New Orleans Saints • C
Kenny Vaccaro will be very good at defensive back. But they only had five total picks. Tough to give a better grade without more depth.
New York Giants • C+
Getting Ryan Nassib late was a good value pick, but when will he play? Damontre Moore is a potential steal at defensive end.
New York Jets • C
So, you replace Darrelle Revis with Dee Milliner? A guy with knee issues for another guy with five surgeries under his belt? Um, OK. Classic Jets.
Oakland Raiders • B
Finally did something smart: Trading down for more picks. D.J. Hayden is very good at cornerback if healthy. Tyler Wilson has a strong arm and the ability to challenge Matt Flynn at quarterback.
Pittsburgh Steelers • B-
Linebacker Jarvis Jones fills a big need. Can undrafted former Ute Reggie Dunn make an impact in the return game?
Philadelphia Eagles • B-
Lane Johnson has major upside. Time will tell whether Matt Barkley is a good fit for this offense.
San Diego Chargers • B+
Say what you want, Manti Te'o was tremendous value in the second round. Have the feeling he will start in the middle from day one. Keenan Allen was a great pick at receiver.
Seattle Seahawks • B+
Traded its first-round pick for Percy Harvin. If his health is good, he's a perfect fit for Russell Wilson. Former USU wideout Matt Austin landed here as well.
San Francisco 49ers • A+
Clearly won the draft, actually dominated it in days two and three. They stole Tank Carradine, they stole Marcus Lattimore, they stole Quinton Patton. That's a lot of steals.
St. Louis Rams • A
Gave Sam Bradford real wideout help with West Virginia bookends Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. The NFC West is going to be competitive.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers • C+
This entire draft depends on Darrelle Revis and his health.
Tennessee Titans • B+
Chance Warmack could be a star on the offensive line. The Titans added depth and talent after that as well. A very good draft here.
Washington Redskins • C
Safety Phillip Thomas could be a starter. But the 'Skins sacrificed this draft last year by trading for Robert Griffin III.
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