Craig: Trying to sort out the NFL draft winners and losers

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2014 - 12:02 AM

It’s way too soon to figure out the NFL draft winners and losers, but let’s try.


Cleveland had one of the best drafts, including making a wise move by gambling on Texas A&M phenomenon Johnny Manziel.

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“You have to create the angle when you rush the quarterback. Most big ends can’t do that. They don’t have the speed to create an angle. That’s why Reggie White was so unique. He had the power and strength to create an angle. This kid can create an angle.”

These are the kind of draft-day words that have been said every year for decades, or at least since the process of NFL teams selecting unproven players became a national obsession followed by immediate proclamations of success or failure.

This particular quote came on April 17, 1999. The man who said it was then-Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson. The player who created this much springtime optimism?

Dimitrius Underwood.

So, yeah, we strongly suggest mixing multiple grains of salt with three years of patience before believing or disbelieving anything that anyone has said the past three months or so. Including the Star Tribune’s 2014 NFL Draft “Likes” and “Don’t Likes.”

Patriots (Like): Bill Belichick is one of the best defensive minds in NFL history. But even he knows where his career would be without a quarterback. So don’t suggest that a second-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo was too high. Or that it came too soon after Ryan Mallett was taken in the third round.

“With the situation we have at quarterback... I think you’re better off being early than late at that position,” Belichick said.

When Garoppolo’s contract is up, Tom Brady will be 40. As for Mallett, at worst, he’s high-grade New England trade bait. Remember, the Chiefs gave Belichick a second-rounder for Matt Cassel once upon a time.

Colts (Don’t Like): This draft was blown last year when the Colts traded their first pick for running back Trent Richardson. Not only is Richardson of little use, the Colts also didn’t make a pick until taking a guard 57th overall.

Browns (Like): Hindsight is the only way to view anything the Browns do, but, what the heck, they had a great first day. They got a 2015 first-round pick from the Bills, the best cornerback in the draft (Justin Gilbert) and Johnny Manziel.

Yes, Manziel is a giant risk. But if I’m Cleveland and I’ve stumbled down all those wrong quarterback paths, I’d rather be wrong again in taking Manziel than wrong in not taking Manziel.

Bengals (Don’t Like): A.J. McCarron in the fifth round would have been great value for a team with a stopgap quarterback. For the Bengals, all it does is disrupt Andy Dalton’s progress with a player who won’t be good enough to beat him out anytime soon.

49ers (Like): The Kneejerk MVP of the 2014 draft has to be 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. The most active trading team of the draft took 10 of the top 180 players, 12 overall and acquired Bills receiver Stevie Johnson and a 2015 fourth-round pick. Baalke also had the ammo to trade away two picks to move up to No. 57 and take the best running back in the draft in Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde when the run on running backs started.

Jaguars (Don’t like): With 11 picks entering the draft, the Jaguars should have taken receiver Sammy Watkins No. 3 and then used that arsenal of picks to trade back into the first round and take Blake Bortles at a spot that came closer to matching his value.

Vikings (Like): The overall grade is closer to “who the heck knows” than anything else. But, in theory, the first round was handled very well for a third consecutive year. The Vikings addressed the most immediate need — athletically elite linebacker for a league-worst scoring defense — and their No. 1 long-term concern — someone better than Christian Ponder to groom as a future franchise quarterback. In three years as GM, Rick Spielman has seven first-round picks. Seven.

Around the NFC North: Packers (Like): Filled their biggest need with the best safety (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix). Lions (Don’t Like): Took only one defender in top three rounds. Bears (Like): Used top three picks and four of top five to rebuild the league’s worst run defense.


Mark Craig •

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Tennessee 7:25 PM
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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