Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu. It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the 2014 NFL Draft.
But waiting is no fun. So let's take a look at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future.
BUFFALO BILLS: Wideout Sammy Watkins may very well be the difference-maker Buffalo is looking for to help take the pressure off 2013 surprise first round quarterback EJ Manuel, but the Bills gave up two first round picks to get him, which I believe will prove too much. I do like the focus on blockers with second rounder Cyrus Kouandjio, fifth rounder Cyril Richardson and the late gamble on the talented but troubled Seantrel Henderson. Defensive back Ross Cockrell could surprise, and I like Preston Brown's physicality in the middle.
MIAMI DOLPHINS: The Dolphins checked off most of their areas of concern with a very logical draft but I don't know the club received great value at any of their selections, starting with Jawuan James at No. 19 overall. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Arthur Lynch are solid, pro-ready players but neither has the athleticism to ever likely more than complementary players in the NFL. Frankly, I'm more intrigued by the upside of the relative "small-schoolers" in Billy Turner, Walt Aikens and Jordan Tripp. James will start right away and Turner will develop into a starter relatively soon, filling huge gaps in Miami's offensive line. But are the Dolphins any closer to overtaking the Patriots with this draft?
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: The Patriots' draft will be panned by some but I like the mix of gambling and safety. Certainly if Dominique Easley is fully healthy - and his trainer Tony Villani told us on CBSSports.com's Draft Grades Live that he is - then he offers the type of disruptive ability in the middle the Patriots need with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly aging. I'm also a big fan of the Jimmy Garoppolo selection because his sharp mind and lightning release make him a nice fit in New England's offense. Center Bryan Stork is a technician who also fits well and Cameron Fleming and Jon Halapio add toughness to New England's front. Watch out for diminutive playmakers James White, Jemea Thomas and Jeremy Gallon to also carve out niches.
NEW YORK JETS: Calvin Pryor was my top-rated safety and I have no doubt that he's going to be Broadway hit for the Jets. He plays with the instincts and physicality to star in Rex Ryan's aggressive scheme. I am not as high on the physicality factor of the Jets' skill-position additions of tight end Jace Amaro and wide receivers Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans, but they each offer speed and are mismatches that Geno Smith (or Michael Vick) can exploit. I like the upside of Day Three picks cornerback Brandon Dixon and wide receiver Quincy Enunwa and feel that outside linebacker Trevor Reilly is going to prove a steal. Reilly is an older prospect (turns 26), which is why he dropped to the seventh round, but he'll make this squad.
BALTIMORE RAVENS: Ozzie Newsome rarely has flashy drafts but when your roster is stacked that's going to happen. His 2014 class is another example of solid additions that re-stock the shelves at important positions. CJ Mosley offers instincts, athleticism and physicality and instantly upgrades the defense. Defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan and Brent Urban are tough run-stuffers with upside and safety Terrence Brooks could be the centerfielder to complement last year's first round in-the-box hitter Matt Elam. I also like the upside of tight end Crockett Gillmore and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro. Don't be surprised if wide receiver Michael Campanaro makes this club as a slot receiver.
CINCINNTI BENGALS: So much for the "Bungles," as the franchise has evolved into one of the better drafting teams in the league, consistently filling gaps in the roster via cheaper college prospects rather than over-paying veterans. Darqueze Dennard may lack the flashy athleticism to get scouts excited but he's a pro-ready corner who plays with toughness and poise against the pass and run. Jeremy Hill is a tough, downhill runner who will complement last year's pickup of air-back Gio Bernard quite well and defensive end Will Clarke offers the length and blue-collar work ethic to do the same with last year's gamble on Margus Hunt. AJ McCarron will get the press, but interior lineman Russell Bodine is the one who could make an impact in Cincinnati as he has the grit and strength to push for time at center or guard.
CLEVELAND BROWNS: My buddy Will Brinson at CBSSports.com characterized general manager Ray Farmer's first draft as Cleveland's general manager well - in a vacuum, this was a nice class. Though I have some concerns about Johnny Manziel's ability to throw from the pocket consistently (especially on a gusty field), he will be protected by the same caliber of left tackle play in Pro Bowler Joe Thomas as he received with Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews while at Texas A&M. Unfortunately, Manziel won't have a dynamic pass-catcher in Cleveland like Mike Evans to bail him out as the reported suspension of wideout Josh Gordon was met with an inexplicable ignoring of the position throughout the draft by the Browns. The trade down from No. 4 to No. 9 netted Cleveland what could very well wind up being a high first round pick a year from now, and I do like the talent added in playmaking cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Pierre Desir, versatile and tough offensive lineman Joel Bitonio and underrated athletes Christian Kirksey and Terrance West. But five games into the 2014 season, long-suffering Browns fans may be wondering what if the Browns had just selected Sammy Watkins (or Evans) at No. 4 overall rather than trading back.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Given that head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert traveled the country touring Pro Day workouts during the offseason, it was clear that Pittsburgh realized that this was a critical draft for the rejuvenation of an aging franchise. I believe their dedication paid off with one of the year's better draft classes - at least on paper. Linebacker Ryan Shazier, versatile weapon Dri Archer and wideout Martavis Bryant offer pure explosiveness. Defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers have first round traits, as well. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was born to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, bringing a physical nature that will endear him to coaches and fans, alike. There is a lot to like about the Steelers' selections but with a few of these players struggling to play up to expectations throughout their career, there is some boom-or-bust factor here that must be acknowledged.
HOUSTON TEXANS: Bill O'Brien would have loved an Andrew Luck-caliber quarterback to be sitting on the board for him at No. 1 overall but potentially dominant pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney was the next best scenario. Clowney will quiet any critics when he earns the Defensive Rookie of the Year with at least 10 sacks. The combination of Clowney, J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and rookie nose tackle Louis Nix could help Houston enjoy quite the bounce-back campaign in 2014. But that's only if O'Brien can work his magic at the quarterback position, where the Texans added only Tom Savage to a position group currently headlined by journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. Versatile offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo was a first-round talent that the Texans were fortunate to have slip to No. 33 and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz will also be solid. Sixth-rounders Jeoffrey Pagan and Alfred Blue could also surprise.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: The Colts traded away the rights to their first-round pick for running back Trent Richardson in 2013. While he should be significantly improved with a full offseason to master their playbook, at this time the deals looks pretty one-sided in Cleveland's favor. Helping Richardson's chances at improving in 2014 was the selection of tough-guy offensive lineman Jack Mewhort in the second round and an exciting vertical threat in Donte Moncrief. Of their Day Three selections, former Western Kentucky run-stuffer Andrew Jackson looks like he could provide the most immediate impact.