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2015 NFL draft grades: Patriots, Seahawks, Jets ace Round 1

Though he may not have fit a top need, the Jets got great value landing DE Leonard Williams at No. 6. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Philip Rivers stayed put in San Diego. Adrian Peterson stayed put in Minnesota. There were only two trades. No one moved up to get Marcus Mariota.

So it was a relatively uneventful opening round of the NFL draft Thursday night. There were minor surprises, for sure. But there weren’t big, shocking moves that really shook things up.

Trying to grade draft picks right after they’re made borders on futility, of course. No one knows how these things will turn out. But there are valid assessments to be made on how teams did in maximizing the value of their selections, based on the strength of those picks and the prevailing current opinions of the players involved.

With that as the formula, here is one scorecard of how teams fared Thursday:

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Getting CB Byron Jones at 27th was a good value for the Cowboys. But they emerged from the draft’s opening night without a replacement for RB DeMarco Murray. Grade: B

[Complete Round 1 analysis, fantasy impact]

New York Giants: The Giants seemingly wanted to get Brandon Scherff but he went to the Redskins four picks earlier. No matter. They still helped their offensive line by taking Ereck Flowers ninth overall. He probably will begin his career at right tackle or guard but eventually could develop into a reliable left tackle. Grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles apparently did all they could to try to move up for Mariota. It didn’t work, so the night probably goes down as a major failure in Coach Chip Kelly’s view. The Eagles’ consolation prize was getting WR Nelson Agholor at 20th. They needed another play-maker at receiver after parting with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin the past two offseasons. But there is room to wonder if they should have taken Breshad Perriman instead. Grade: B-

Washington Redskins: Scherff will probably be a fine player. He was widely regarded as the draft’s top offensive lineman. But his best position might end up being guard, not tackle. This is about maximizing the value of the pick, and if Scherff ends up being a guard, that’s not worth the fifth overall selection. It’s a case of liking the player a lot but not necessarily loving the spot at which he was taken. The Redskins let Leonard Williams go by and didn’t manage to trade back for additional picks. Grade: B-

NFC North

Chicago Bears: Kevin White is a potential game-breaker at wide receiver and the Bears didn’t have to budge from seventh to get him. Grade: A-

Detroit Lions: The Lions fortified the interior of their offensive line by getting G Manny Ramirez in a trade to move down five spots, then using the 28th choice on G Laken Tomlinson. There is room to question whether Detroit should have taken DT Malcom Brown, especially after losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency. Brown ended up going 32nd to New England. Grade: B

[Top 50 draft prospects]

Green Bay Packers: Using the 30th choice on S Damarious Randall might have been just a slight reach. Talent evaluators have praised his pass coverage skills but some have questioned his tackling. It’s possible that Green Bay will use him at cornerback. Grade: B-

Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes was the draft’s top cornerback and probably worthy of a top-10 choice. The Vikings managed to get him just outside the top 10, at 11th. Grade: B+

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons were thought to be contemplating a trade up for Dante Fowler Jr. Instead, they stayed put at eighth and got another promising pass-rusher in Vic Beasley. Grade: B

Carolina Panthers: Is Shaq Thompson a safety or a linebacker in the NFL? If he’s a safety, why wouldn’t the Panthers have chosen Landon Collins instead? That is the sort of chance that a very good team can take with a first-round pick. The Panthers were a playoff team last season, but they’re a mediocre team that reached the playoffs by virtue of playing in a ridiculously weak division. This was too soon to take Thompson, under the circumstances. Grade: C-

New Orleans Saints: Getting Andrus Peat at No. 13 fortifies the offensive line. Taking LB Stephone Anthony 31st potentially adds some stability on defense. But that probably was a bit too soon to take Anthony. The Saints ended up giving up Jimmy Graham (and a fourth-round pick) for Anthony and Max Unger. Grade: C+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers did as expected and took QB Jameis Winston first overall. Clearly there is risk involved in the pick, given Winston’s off-field issues while at Florida State. But he is a talented and pro-ready quarterback. Grade: B+

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: The two first-round running backs and the best of the pass-rushers were gone by the time the Cardinals picked and they went with D.J. Humphries, who could vie for a starting job at right tackle as a rookie. It is interesting that the Cardinals, with a need for pass-rushing help, opted against choosing Randy Gregory, who fell out of the first round entirely. Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers: Questions were raised by some analysts about the consistency and reliability of DT Arik Armstead. But he is a gifted player. The 49ers have issues on defense because of some of their offseason losses. And they managed to get Armstead after trading down two spots. Grade: B-

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks didn’t have a first-round pick Thursday. But they do have Jimmy Graham after their trade with the Saints, and there was no comparable player to be found at 31st overall. Grade: A

St. Louis Rams: Taking RB Todd Gurley 10th is an interesting move. He should be a very productive runner once he recovers fully from his torn ACL. But the recent history of the NFL draft says very clearly that you don’t need to use the 10th overall pick in the draft to get a productive runner. You don’t even need to use a first-round pick. Grade: B-

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: The Bills were without a pick Thursday night after trading it last year to move up for Sammy Watkins. No one is complaining about Watkins’s productivity. He has become a standout receiver. The only down side is that, as it turned out, the Bills didn’t need to trade up in last year’s draft to get a standout receiver. They were abundant. Grade: B

Miami Dolphins: Getting WR DeVante Parker at No. 14 was a sensible move that makes the offense clearly better. Grade: B+

New England Patriots: It’s nice to be good. It’s even better to be both good and lucky. Few would have expected the Patriots to stay put, given Coach Bill Belichick’s propensity to trade up, trade down — do something, do anything — but they stayed right where they started. And Brown dropped to them for the final choice of the opening round, giving them a seemingly capable replacement for veteran DT Vince Wilfork after parting ways with him this offseason. Grade: A

New York Jets: Leonard Williams probably will be a difference-maker on defense and the Jets didn’t even have to trade up from sixth to get him. Grade: A

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Getting Perriman at No. 26 was a good move for the Ravens, with Torrey Smith gone and Steve Smith not getting any younger. Grade: B

Cincinnati Bengals: The selection of T Cedric Ogbuehi at No. 21 might mean little during the upcoming season. He is coming off a torn ACL and Cincinnati has Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith in place as its starting tackles. But each is entering the final season of his contract. Ogbuehi was considered a top tackle prospect before his injury. This is a move that could pay off down the line. But did the Bengals, still winless in the playoffs under Coach Marvin Lewis and QB Andy Dalton, need to do something to provide more immediate help? Grade: B-

Cleveland Browns: The Browns got help for their defensive line with Danny Shelton 12th and help for their offensive line with Cameron Erving 19th. But their quarterback situation is just as unsettled as it was when Thursday began. Grade: B-

Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Bud Dupree was a good value as the 22nd pick. He could develop into a very useful pass rusher. Grade: B+

AFC South

Houston Texans: CB Kevin Johnson was well worth the 16th choice. Grade: B

Indianapolis Colts: Taking speedy WR Phillip Dorsett provides QB Andrew Luck with yet another receiving option. The Colts strengthened a strength, and that’s not always a bad thing. But they added aging players in free agency this offseason, upping the stakes for a Super Bowl run sooner rather than later. And the offensive line and defensive front needed attention. Grade: C-

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars passed up perhaps the top defender available, in Williams, to get perhaps the top pass-rusher available, in Fowler. Grade: B+

Tennessee Titans: The Titans fielded offers for the No. 2 selection but held on to it and went with Mariota. That was the right move, if indeed they were lacking an overwhelming trade offer. There is no reason to believe that Zach Mettenberger is a franchise QB. So the Titans could not afford to pass up Mariota, unless they were going to receive a franchise QB — such as Rivers — instead. Grade: B+

AFC West

Denver Broncos: The Broncos traded up to 23rd and got a pass-rusher with top-10 talent in Shane Ray, who dropped through the first-round order after his citation earlier this week for marijuana possession. Was it a gamble worth taking at that point? That is debatable. This week’s suspension of the Dolphins’ Dion Jordan reminded NFL decision-makers about what can go wrong in such situations. But if things work out, the Broncos have another major pass-rushing threat to go with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs: Marcus Peters is a talented cornerback and the Chiefs apparently were convinced by meeting with him that he won’t be a problem after being dismissed from the team at Washington for clashing with his coaches. They’d better be right. Grade: B-

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders clearly were going to take a wide receiver. They probably did the right thing by taking Amari Cooper, the most polished receiver available, over White. Grade: A-

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers traded up two spots to take RB Melvin Gordon. Again, recent draft history says there’s no need to use a first-round choice on a running back. But in this case, it’s more forgivable because Gurley was already off the board and the drop-off to the next tier of runners is significant. Grade: B

More on the NFL draft

Best available players in Round 2

Winston brings talent, questions to Tampa

ESPN Shelley Smith provides draft’s feel-good story

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