- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
The 2014 NFL draft is finished and free agency has pretty much run its course. Rosters aren't quite set for training camp, but they're close enough to hand out letter grades for front offices based on offseason work completed to this point.
Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Field Yates and Matt Williamson joined me in filling out report cards. We averaged the results, then solicited additional grades from a current general manager for the 10 teams that drew large disparities between high and low votes.
The Oakland Raiders -- who finished with the only F grade on the report card we handed out for work completed during the first week of free agency -- rallied to avoid detention. Six teams wound up with lower offseason grades than the Raiders. The two lowest grades went to 2013 playoff teams with young franchise quarterbacks.
Voters took into account all aspects of the offseason: coaching changes, ownership issues, contract dynamics, free agency, the draft, off-field incidents, etc.
Here are the 2014 NFL offseason grades:
Veteran subtractions: QB Kellen Clemens, G Harvey Dahl, CB Cortland Finnegan, FS Matt Giordano, TE Mike McNeill, CB Quinton Pointer, QB Brady Quinn, G Shelley Smith, SS Darian Stewart, G Chris Williams, LB Will Witherspoon
Draft picks: 1a-Greg Robinson (OT), 1b-Aaron Donald (DT), 2-Lamarcus Joyner (CB), 3-Tre Mason (RB), 4-Maurice Alexander (S), 6a-E.J. Gaines (CB), 6b-Garrett Gilbert (QB), 7a-Mitchell Van Dyk (OT), 7b-Christian Bryant (S), 7c-Michael Sam (DE), 7d-Demetrius Rhaney (C)
Analysis: The 2013 Rams ranked 24th in passer rating allowed (94.7) and 20th in Total QBR allowed (55.9) despite their obvious talent and production along the defensive line. Hiring Gregg Williams to replace Tim Walton as defensive coordinator seemed like a positive move, but the Rams were only getting started. Adding Aaron Donald with the 12th pick in the draft gave St. Louis the first defensive tackle off the board and a fourth defensive lineman selected among the top 15 overall picks.
"Their draft was excellent," Riddick said. "Aaron Donald should have been under consideration for best player in the draft. Greg Robinson could be one of the next great offensive tackles. Tre Mason is a stud competitor. Combine him with Zac Stacy and they have it going there. They did everything they could. The quarterback position will make it all go or not."
St. Louis chose Robinson second overall when Sammy Watkins was also available. Going with Robinson and then Donald showed the Rams were serious about upgrading where it matters in the physical NFC West: along the lines.
"Their big men are better and their little men are the same," Williamson said.
This was the second and final year in which St. Louis went into the draft with Washington's first-round pick, courtesy of the trade that delivered Robert Griffin III to the Redskins in 2012. The Rams wound up using those choices to select Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey and Robinson. They also used one of the picks to maneuver for Stacy. Mel Kiper Jr. gave them an A-minus grade for their work in the 2014 draft.
"Because of the nature of the RG III trade, the draft has to drive them, and we'll see," Polian said. "Their fans have every right to be optimistic, but as Suzy Kolber says, I'm 'Buzz Kill Bill.' I don't get excited about draft choices until they prove it."
Re-signed: head coach John Fox, GM John Elway
Veteran subtractions: FS Mike Adams, DE Robert Ayers, CB Champ Bailey, G Zane Beadles, LB Stewart Bradley, DB Marquice Cole, WR Eric Decker, WR Trindon Holliday, CB Michael Huff, CB Quentin Jammer, C Dan Koppen, LB Paris Lenon, DE Jeremy Mincey, RB Knowshon Moreno, LB Shaun Phillips, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, C Steve Vallos, LB Wesley Woodyard
Analysis: After the Broncos added Ware, Ward and Talib in free agency, it would have been easy to say they mortgaged the future to maximize their championship window with Peyton Manning.