Thumbs up, thumbs down for each NFL team's draft class

Our NFL Nation reporters assess each team's 2015 NFL draft class.


Dallas Cowboys

Thumbs up. The Cowboys needed secondary and pass-rush help, and they covered both areas with Byron Jones and Randy Gregory. These players have a chance to be special. There are some ifs involved with both players, however. Does Jones have a true position? Can Gregory stay on the straight and narrow? Based on what we think we know now, the Cowboys came away with immediate defensive help. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Thumbs up. I think you have to grade this draft with the idea in mind that it wasn't going to be a transcendent one for anybody. The Giants targeted guys they liked and filled some needs, and they approached it without panic and without any false belief about their ability to find saviors. Ereck Flowers, Landon Collins and third-round pick Owamagbe Odighizuwa all have a chance to contribute right away. And given the rest of the depth chart at safety, it sounds like Mykkele Thompson will get that same kind of chance. Sixth-round receiver Geremy Davis and seventh-round offensive lineman Bobby Hart look like helpful special-teamers with potential. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles

Thumbs up. This will always be the draft that did not bring Marcus Mariota to Philadelphia. That’s just how things work in this city. Unless, of course, the defensive makeover becomes part of the story of how Chip Kelly built a Super Bowl contender here. Mariota would have been transformative, but this draft was fine on its own merits. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins

Thumbs up. This wasn’t a spectacular class. But as ESPN analyst and former NFL general manager Bill Polian said earlier this month: Scot McCloughan will have a “meat-and-potatoes” draft. The Redskins found some players who can help from scrimmage early and others who should help special teams late. Any draft takes time to accurately assess, but it was a solid start for McCloughan. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Thumbs up. Only time will tell if the Bears properly evaluated the 2015 draft class. However, the front office seemed intent on correcting past mistakes. In 2014, the Bears drafted a defensive tackle (second round), running back (fourth round) and safety (fourth round). This year, Chicago took a defensive tackle (second round), running back (fourth round) and safety (fifth round). Look familiar? The best part of the Bears' draft is they resisted the urge to reach on players in the top three rounds. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Thumbs up. Pretty impressed overall with what the Lions did in this draft. They came in with a clear goal to revamp the run game and all of their offensive picks slanted toward making sure that happened. Defensively they filled needs at defensive tackle, cornerback and maybe, with Alex Carter, down the road at safety. Overall this has been a safe, smart draft for Detroit. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Thumbs up. The Packers were a few minutes and a couple of plays away from the Super Bowl last season, so it's not like this team needs instant help to contend. But if the Packers can get one of their two defensive backs -- Damarious Randall or Quinten Rollins -- to make some splash plays, and if third-round receiver Ty Montgomery can give a jolt to the return game, that might be enough. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Thumbs up. This draft could be tough to judge for several years thanks to the number of talented, yet unrefined, players the Vikings took. But they addressed two of their biggest needs on defense by picking Trae Waynes and UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks, and tackle T.J. Clemmings could be a steal in the fourth round (though it’s worth keeping in mind that he fell as far as he did because of a foot injury). It might not be the kind of draft that delivers a major jolt to the roster in 2015, and there are a fair number of risks among the Vikings’ 10 picks. But the group, as a whole, has promise, and the Vikings touched on many of their needs. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons

Thumbs up. The Falcons were able to secure players with values higher than they were drafted, including projected second-rounders in running back Tevin Coleman (third) and Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (fifth). Vic Beasley will be an immediate-impact pass-rusher, and the defense should be faster and more physical with Beasley, cornerback Jalen Collins and Jarrett, not to mention the addition of productive wide receiver Justin Hardy. Do these draft picks make the Falcons a playoff team in 2015? That's unknown. But no one can deny this was a good start for head coach Dan Quinn, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and the revamped Falcons. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Thumbs up. This draft was more about quality than quantity for Carolina. Thus, the trades made to go from nine to five picks. The Panthers created competition where competition was needed and found players who can help on special teams. Their first two picks will create mismatches to make them better on both sides of the ball. Not getting a tackle who can play immediately on the left side is a risk unless Michael Oher is the answer. But did Carolina improve? Yes. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Thumbs up. It was more solid than spectacular, but it’s hard not to like a draft that included a total of nine picks, two first-rounders and three in the top 78. I’d be even more excited if the Saints addressed more of their glaring short-term needs early instead of going with an OT and QB in the first four picks. But they did restock the defense with six of their top eight picks. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Thumbs up. The Bucs were very methodical in filling their biggest needs at the top of the draft. They got a quarterback and two offensive linemen with their first three picks. That should provide a big boost for an offense that ranked 30th in the league last year. -- Pat Yasinskas


Arizona Cardinals

Thumbs up. It may not have been with the players who got all the attention, but the Cardinals addressed every need except cornerback that plagued them in 2014. Shaq Riddick and Rodney Gunter were projects, D.J. Humphries and Markus Golden were head-scratchers, and David Johnson and J.J. Nelson were the right picks, but each will have a role. If they’re upgrades from their predecessors, the Cardinals hit a home run. -- Josh Weinfuss

San Francisco 49ers

Thumbs down. The Niners overcompensated on defense and at tight end while not addressing cornerback after losing both starters to free agency. It must mean GM Trent Baalke, who spent four picks on defensive backs last year, likes his current roster so much that he did not care to draft for need. Rather, he went with his board. Need, you would think, would come into play in the later rounds. It did not. The issue last season, then, if you’re extrapolating, was with coaching, not talent on the roster. Therefore the problem is gone, and coaching now in Michigan, the thinking goes. Draftwise, though, it wasn't exactly a success. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks

Thumbs down. Hard to doubt their draft success, but this one started badly when they made Michigan DE Frank Clark their top pick. Clark was kicked off the team last season after being charged with domestic violence (he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct). WR Tyler Lockett fills a huge need as a returner, but Seattle gave up three picks to get him. Twenty-five offensive linemen were selected before Seattle addressed its top need by taking two OLs in Round 4. The later picks have talent, but are projects who will need time to develop. -- Terry Blount

St. Louis Rams

Thumbs up. This was mostly a meat-and-potatoes draft in which the Rams devoted all of their most valuable resources to an offense that needed it. The offensive line received much-needed reinforcements and a potential star running back could help the running game finally take off. Aside from Todd Gurley, there's not much sizzle here, but the Rams at least did the right thing by picking a path and sticking with it for the entire draft. -- Nick Wagoner


Buffalo Bills

Thumbs down. Without first- and fourth-round picks, this draft class is tough to grade since the Bills weren't investing heavily in this crop of rookies. Selecting cornerback Ronald Darby in the second round was a forward-thinking move that isn't going to help the Bills make the playoffs this season. Overall, the Bills' haul just wasn't overly inspiring, partly because it was so small. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Thumbs up. The Dolphins got a dynamic playmaker in the first round with DeVante Parker and did a good job addressing needs in the second half of the draft. The only pick that was confusing was Jordan Phillips in the second round. Otherwise, Miami's early reviews are solid. It will be up to the coaching staff to quickly develop these young players and get an immediate impact in 2015. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

Thumbs up. Outside of a high-end cornerback -- and I'm not sure there were really any there for the taking -- this looks like a strong draft for the Patriots. I went in with the thought that if they could address the heart of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and come away with the draft's top-rated long-snapper, it would address some primary areas of need. I felt like the tone of the draft was set in the first round with beefy defensive tackle Malcom Brown and then the back-to-back picks of guards Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason, two powerful players who have nasty intentions. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Thumbs up. Leonard Williams, Devin Smith and Lorenzo Mauldin will contribute immediately in various packages, and they should be full-time players by 2016. That alone is worth a thumbs up. If Bryce Petty develops into a good starting quarterback, it’ll go down as a franchise-altering draft. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Thumbs up. Coach John Harbaugh summed it up best Sunday when he said this was a draft in which need and best player available intersected for the Ravens. Baltimore lost wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels in free agency, and the Ravens replaced them with vertical threats in Breshad Perriman (first round) and Maxx Williams (second round). The Ravens traded Haloti Ngata, and they addressed the void with Carl Davis (third round). This theme extended into the fourth round, where the Ravens drafted Za'Darius Smith, who is a Pernell McPhee clone. There was a lot of pressure on the Ravens in this draft because they didn't have the salary cap room to address their needs this offseason. Outside of not getting a cornerback earlier, this was a near perfect draft for the Ravens. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Thumbs up. This was, in many ways, an unorthodox draft for the Bengals. Two offensive tackles. Two tight ends. A receiver with 4.27-second 40-yard speed. One defensive back with a story about feigned glory. Unorthodox or not, this still was a very strong group. With virtually their entire starting roster returning, the Bengals didn’t need to go through Rounds 1-7 looking for immediate help. Their focus instead could be upon bolstering depth and packing in big men on the offensive line who could move a few defensive linemen around. Cincinnati made itself better with this draft. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns

Thumbs up. This was a solid three days that ended with the Browns taking 12 players. That’s quantity, but in the quantity it seems the Browns also got quality. And while it’s easy to pick at what the Browns did not do, what they did do was add talent at positions of need, and add new skills at other positions. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Thumbs up. The Steelers got two corners who are undersized but have serious playmaking ability, took the pass-rusher with the highest upside in the draft in Bud Dupree, and snagged explosive receiver Sammie Coates when he fell to them in the third round. The Steelers spent Day 3 making picks that make you say, “Oh, that’s so Steelers,” taking blue-collar guys who play with instincts. This isn’t a home run draft yet but could become one in a year. For now, it’s a stand-up double and an emphatic thumb pointed upward. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

Thumbs up. Every general manager insists he doesn't draft for need, but sometimes doing so in the right places is worth it. The Texans filled needs more clearly this year than they did in last year's draft, and traded up to grab players they saw falling. Without having seen them play a single down, it's impossible to know if those were the right moves. But based on the prospects' histories, they are good players. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts

Thumbs up. Was it a pretty draft for the Colts? Not even close outside of Phillip Dorsett’s exceptional speed. But it wasn't about being pretty for the Colts. They added solid pieces, some that will contribute next season, some that are more for the future. They selected a cornerback, safety, two defensive linemen and a running back. All positions they wanted to address heading into the draft. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Thumbs up. The Jaguars addressed some of their most pressing needs in the first three rounds -- pass-rusher, running back and offensive line -- and did it by landing players for whom they had high ratings. Running back and offensive line have underperformed the past several seasons and T.J. Yeldon and possibly A.J. Cann will be opening-day starters. The Jaguars faced a bit of a dilemma in the fourth round with safety James Sample and receiver Rashad Greene both on the board but ended up getting both. GM David Caldwell was surprised defensive tackle Michael Bennett was still available in the sixth round and quickly snatched him up. The Jaguars have competition at most position groups and that's something they haven't yet had in Caldwell's tenure. -- Michael DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Thumbs up. Titans GM Ruston Webster said it suited their humble personalities. But it always feels somewhat disconcerting when picks like fourth-round defensive lineman Angelo Blackson and Jalston Fowler say they were selected higher than they expected. At the same time, confident personnel people choosing solid fits and trusting their grades is what a team should strive to have. The Titans needed an additional cornerback, so that's one place they failed to enhance options as needed. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos

Thumbs up. This draft class will always be linked to the move to get Shane Ray. If Ray is the guy the Broncos believe he is -- a high-character player who made one very high-profile mistake at the worst time -- the Broncos secured one of the best edge rushers (the No. 10 player overall on the Broncos’ board) in the draft with the 23rd pick. Tackle Ty Sambrailo (second round) has the look of a potential starter as well. Tight end Jeff Heuerman (third round) and center/guard Max Garcia (fourth round) have the potential to contribute early. The Broncos went for speed and athleticism for the most part on the draft’s last day, but some others may see some of their picks as slight reaches. But overall it’s a thumbs-up effort because of what Ray brings to the table. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Thumbs down. The Chiefs drafted mainly for need. Two cornerbacks, two inside linebackers and two wide receivers were among their nine picks and those positions were their greatest needs. Those types of drafts rarely work out. Plus, Marcus Peters in the first round is a very risky pick because of his behavioral issues. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders

Thumbs up. I like this draft for the Raiders. I think Amari Cooper and Miami tight end Clive Walford (third round) could be core skill-position players soon. The Raiders’ offense can become much more explosive. It wasn’t a perfect draft. I think there are still questions among the team's pass-rushers, guards and safeties that could have been addressed, but you can’t have everything. The Raiders needed more players and they got better in this draft. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers

Thumbs up. Melvin Gordon and Denzel Perryman are legitimate impact players who should contribute as rookies. Other than that, with a league-low five selections, San Diego just didn't have enough bites at the apple. And with several areas that needed attention in this year's draft, the Chargers will have to rely on the improvement and continued health of players already on the roster for a return to the playoffs in 2015. -- Eric D. Williams