NFL Draft Day 1 (05/09/14)

By John Ewing
After Day 1 in the NFL Draft, we simulated the rest of the picks to give you projected class rankings as well as updated Power Rankings for each team.



Day 1 Recap

Player Rankings

Here are the pre-draft rankings of the 32 players drafted in the first round based on the Predictalator's objective analysis (PM's ranking in parentheses):
  1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Houston Texans (#5 overall, #1 DE)
  2. Greg Robinson, OT, St. Louis Rams (#9 overall, #2 OT)
  3. Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (#55 overall, #4 QB)
  4. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills (#6 overall, #1 WR)
  5. Khalil Mack, OLB, Oakland Raiders (#2 overall, #1 OLB)
  6. Jake Matthews, OT, Atlanta Falcons (#7 overall, #1 OT)
  7. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Baccaneers (#10 overall, #2 WR)
  8. Justin Gilbert, CB, Cleveland Browns (#56 overall, #6 CB)
  9. Anthony Barr, OLB, Minnesota Vikings (#4 overall, #3 OLB)
  10. Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions (#39 overall, #3 TE)
  11. Taylor Lewan, OT, Tennessee Titans (#119 overall, #10 OT)
  12. Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants (#40 overall, #4 WR)
  13. Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams (#1 overall, #1 DT)
  14. Kyle Fuller, CB, Chicago Bears (#128 overall, #18 CB)
  15. Ryan Shazier, ILB/OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers (#3 overall, #2 OLB)
  16. Zack Martin, OT, Dallas Cowboys (#35 overall, #4 OT)
  17. C.J. Mosley, ILB, Baltimore Ravens (#21 overall, #1 ILB)
  18. Calvin Pryor, S, New York Jets (#58 overall, #6 S)
  19. Ja'Wuan James, OT, Miami Dolphins (#113 overall, #7 OT)
  20. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints (#19 overall, #3 WR)
  21. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Green Bay Packers (#16 overall, #3 S)
  22. Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns (#33 overall, #2 QB)
  23. Dee Ford, DE, Kansas City Chiefs (#228 overall, #17 DE)
  24. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Cincinnati Bengals (#42 overall, #4 CB)
  25. Jason Verrett, CB, San Diego Chargers, (#25 overall, #2 CB)
  26. Marcus Smith, DE, Philadelphia Eagles (#140 overall, #8 DE)
  27. Deone Bucannon, S, Arizona Cardinals (#12 overall, #1 S)
  28. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers (#45 overall, #5 WR)
  29. Dominique Easley, DT, New England Patriots (#124 overall, #13 DT)
  30. Jimmie Ward, S, San Francisco 49ers (#13 overall, #2 S)
  31. Bradley Roby, CB, Denver Broncos (#8 overall, #1 CB)
  32. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings (#26 overall, #1 QB)
Best Remaining Prospects

The best remaining prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft heading into Day 2 are: Jackson Jeffcoat (DE/OLB, #11 overall), Demarcus Lawrence (DE/OLB, #14 overall), Trent Murphy (DE, #15 overall), Jace Amaro (TE, #17 overall), Tre Boston (S, #18 overall), Chris Young (OLB/ILB, #20 overall), James Morris (ILB, #22 overall), Troy Niklas (TE, #23 overall), Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, #24 overall) and Gabe Jackson (OG, #25 overall)

After an exciting Day 1 in the NFL Draft, we used the Draft Machine to simulate rounds two through seven, accounting for Day 1 trades, to project class rankings and give updated Power Rankings for each team. Without further preamble, the winners and losers of the NFL Draft, thus far.

The Winners

Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (DE)

While Clowney was not the No. 1 player in PredictionMachine.com's Top 250, the defensive end from South Carolina was a top five player overall. In our simulation, Houston finishes with the top rated draft class.

The Draft Machine projects the Texans to select Jackson Jeffcoat (DE/OLB), a smaller version of Clowney who could play opposite Clowney at OLB or stacked next to Clowney or J.J. Watt when both are on the defensive line, and Ty Zimmerman (S) in the second and third round respectively.

St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson (OT) and Aaron Donald (DT)

The Rams capitalized on their two first round picks by snagging two top ten players. According to our analysis, St. Louis had greater needs at other positions but solidifying the offensive and defensive line will go a long way to being competitive in the NFC West.

Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr (OLB) and Teddy Bridgewater (QB)

Last year, the Vikings made a splash in the first round, moving up to take three early selections. That was not a draft that we ultimately liked much. In our analysis, all three picks were reaches and we gradied the Vikings 2013 draft class as just 24th overall.

This year, Minnesota moved back into the last spot of the draft to make its second selection of the day by selecting Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Bridgewater was the 26th overall player on our board and the best QB. Add to that relative steal at a position of need, a selection of #4 overall player Anthony Barr at #9 and the Vikings pulled off what even the Rams could not by getting value with both picks in the first round.

Reaching for Players

It is one of the most time-honored traditions of the NFL Draft – reaching for players. The 2014 NFL Draft was no exception, there were six players drafted in the top fifteen that could be considered a reach. The most fraudulent mistakes, according to our rankings, were Justin Gilbert (Browns), Taylor Lewan (Titans), and Kyle Fuller (Bears). All of these players were ranked outside our top 50.

The Losers

Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles (QB)

The Jaguars used the third overall pick to select the Central Florida product. Bortles earned a 7.8 out of 10 in our impact rankings. Bortles ranking indicates a player that can generally be expected to outperform a replacement level player in the NFL his rookie season but cannot be expected to start adequately. Bortles was just the fourth best quarterback according to our QB Rankings and Projections.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs entered the draft with the fewest picks among teams with a first round selection and solidified their likelihood of having the league's weakest draft class for 2014 with a baffling first pick. Despite only three offensive starters currently grading as average or better for the league, Kansas City took a defensive end in a safety's body who will likely play outside linebacker. That DE, Dee Ford, played more games than any other player at his position in this year's draft, yet did not even rank in the top 15 among prospects in sacks, tackles, tackles for loss or forced fumbles. Plus, the Chiefs have the best 3-4 OLB tandem in the NFL with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Ford is just the 228th ranked overall prospect in our rankings and went in the seventh round of our objective mock draft. In a simulation of the rest of the draft, Kansas City falls from #20 to #26 in our Power Rankings after the draft.

Hope

The NFL Draft gives fans hope that their favorite franchise is just one pick away from relevance or the playoffs. The truth, the good teams (Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco) are the good teams and the bad teams (Minnesota, Jacksonville, and Oakland) are still terrible. The top and bottom three teams in our updated Power Rankings did not change after Day 1 of the NFL Draft.

Draft EvaluationClass Rankings and updated Power Rankings utilizing the Draft Machine.

Class Ranking Team New PR Previous PR Proj. Wins Added
1 Houston Texans 9 13 0.61
2 Cleveland Browns 23 21 0.33
3 Minnesota Vikings 30 30 0.99
4 Buffalo Bills 25 28 0.85
5 Pittsburgh Steelers 22 24 0.79
6 Baltimore Ravens 10 12 0.34
7 St. Louis Rams 18 22 0.84
8 Arizona Cardinals 8 8 0.66
9 San Francisco 49ers 3 3 0.24
10 Detroit Lions 11 9 0.29
11 Green Bay Packers 5 6 0.46
12 Jacksonville Jaguars 31 31 0.66
13 New York Giants 27 26 0.25
14 Oakland Raiders 32 32 0.47
15 Atlanta Falcons 7 7 0.89
16 New York Jets 24 23 0.41
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 27 1.25
18 Denver Broncos 1 1 0.29
19 Washington Redskins 13 11 0.22
20 Philadelphia Eagles 14 16 0.38
21 Dallas Cowboys 28 25 0.22
22 Cincinnati Bengals 15 10 0.01
23 San Diego Chargers 12 15 0.57
24 New Orleans Saints 4 5 0.26
25 Seattle Seahawks 2 2 0.00
26 Chicago Bears 17 14 0.00
27 New England Patriots 6 4 0.04
28 Carolina Panthers 16 17 0.37
29 Miami Dolphins 20 19 0.37
30 Tennessee Titans 29 29 0.20
31 Indianapolis Colts 21 18 0.00
32 Kansas City Chiefs 26 20 0.00