2007 NFL Draft Grades
by Robert Ferringo - 05/01/2007
What type of two-bit hack sportswriter would I be if I didn't have some 2007 NFL Draft grades for this year's draft? I think it's actually a law in 47 of the 50 states - if you have a column on a sports Web site you're legally bound to make knee-jerk reactions to what teams did during the weekend of the amateur meat market. If you don't, the terrorists have won.
I will admit that I didn't watch as much live coverage of the draft this year, meaning I missed out on nuggets of brilliance from Jesse Palmer and Mike Golic. I'm sure it's a tragedy, but I managed. Instead I made sure to do that much more homework on the second- and third-tier guys before the Big Day so I'd have a proper response after the festivities.
I'm not into winners and losers - I'm a firm believer of the Four Year Judgment Rule - and my grades are set more based on how teams addressed their needs and what type of value they procured. I did include trades and supplemental draft picks into the equation and, as well as considering the positive or negative vibes and karma that a roster, fan base and organization may or may not have secured.
This is a totally intuitive reaction, but here are my grades for the 2007 NFL Draft:
Arizona (A) - Who would have thought that Arizona might have been the premium drafting team over the past three years? I can already tell that Ken Whisenhunt is going to be good for the Cards. He picked up three first round talents, each at a position of authority. I love them getting Buster Davis late.
Atlanta (B+) - They made the best of a tough spot in Round 1 (Jamal Anderson) when all of the players they had targeted were gone. They didn't panic, didn't abuse any animals and followed through with two excellent value picks at the top of Round 2 (Justin Blalock and Chris Houston).
Baltimore (C+) - Ozzie just knows how to find large angry men, and he managed to grab a few more this season. I give them credit for gaining instant contributors but this draft may be made or broken on Troy Smith.
Buffalo (A) - The Bills may still end up between Sucky and Mediocre next season, but the good news is that Marv hasn't forgotten how to build a winner. They're getting younger and faster and they addressed two monster needs (LB and RB) with the No. 2 guys at their respective positions (Posluzny and Lynch).
Carolina (A+) - Fleets of U-Hauls and buzzards were circling John Fox and the front office prior to this weekend. Then they executed perfectly over the weekend. I would have liked if they had grabbed a safety, but wisely they didn't reach. They nabbed five potential starters and at least three players - Jon Beason, Tim Shaw and Charles Johnson - that should pay immediate dividends.
Chicago (B-) - I was sickened by what they did last year but that turned out to be genius, so I'm done trying to A) comprehend or B) question what the Bears front office pulls out on draft day. Hopefully Greg Olsen can become Jeremy Shockey - minus the big mouth, poor work ethic, dropped passes and injuries.
Cincinnati (C-) - I love how everyone applauded them getting character guys. Classic. Because Hall is going to have a positive influence on the rest of their career criminals. The only thing keeping them from a D is that I'm including Ahmed Plummer in their draft. Other than that I didn't think they addressed any pressing concerns.
Cleveland (A-) - Well, smarter men than I had Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn among the top six or seven guys in the whole draft. If you land two of them you must've done pretty well. Too bad Thomas will blow out his knee and never play again and Quinn will become a bust. It is Cleveland, after all.
Dallas (B) - The only thing keeping them from a C+ was picking up an extra No. 1 pick for next year. Other than that it was four strong picks followed by four questionable ones. I love that they finally addressed the offensive line, though.
Denver (C) - Ho hum. I didn't know Denver was even at the draft. But by picking up some D-linemen they took their first step in kicking that nasty addiction to ex-Browns defenders. I guess that's a positive.
Detroit (F) - How do you get the best player in the draft and still have a terrible draft? Ask Matt Millen. Not only wasn't he smart enough to swing a deal to help this team but he also made another classic Millen Mistake: Drew Stanton. Stanton is a poor man's Joey Harrington and even if he does have an NFL career his ceiling is somewhere between Kelly Holcomb and Aaron Brooks.
Green Bay (C-) - The Packers were all over the place and didn't seem like they had a very good vision. I suppose I don't mind who they got but they took everyone about 20 picks too early. They may salvage the weekend if Aaron Rouse, Mason Crosby or DeShawn Wynn pans out.
Houston (D+) - This was an uninspired draft and the Texans took a lot of guys who seem more like projects and less like immediate contributors. For a team that's never had a winning season I don't know if that's the wisest course.
Indianapolis (C+) - This is the perfect example of why you can't judge a draft until four years down the road. The Colts took a lot of solid but unspectacular guys and now we'll see how they fit the system.
Jacksonville (C) - I suppose if you make enough picks you have to end up with one or two good players, right? They were so happy that they landed Reggie Nelson that they just started picking out of a hat the rest of the way. They didn't get a speedy receiver or enough linebacker help.
Kansas City (C) - With three of the five offensive line starters from opening day 2005 gone, that was a glaring area of need. That alone dropped them from a B to a C. Other than that they did very well, getting a solid sleeper in Tank Tyler and addressing their other big need with Dwayne Bowe.
Miami (D) - I'm not going to kill them for not taking Brady Quinn. Maybe the Fins think like me and believe Quinn is a poor man's Rick Mirer. What I do fault them for is selecting just one defender in their first seven choices.
Minnesota (B-) - At first I didn't understand their strategy at all. But upon further review they now have a devastating one-two running back punch to help take pressure off their defense. Also, as long as either Sidney Rice or Aundrae Allison turns out to be a pretty good receiver they filled a huge need.
New England (B) - The Patriots are another one of those teams where even if they chose four punters, three centers and a long snapper you can't argue with their draft. However, I do wonder how many guys of questionable character (Moss, Meriweather) you can bring into a locker room before the balance gets tipped to the Dark Side.
New Orleans (D+) - Since points weren't a problem last year I was scratching my head at using four of their first five picks on offense. And taking guys from Kent State, Akron, Towson AND Wingate in the same draft has to be against the rules or something.
New York Giants (C+) - Their draft will be decided by how the guys in the middle - picks 3-6 -- develop. They scored decent value but you can say that they didn't address all of their needs (LB and O-line come to mind). Trouble is there were more holes to fill in the Giants roster than in the walls at Walter Reed.
New York Jets (C+) - They gave up a bit too much to get Darrelle Revis, but they got the guy they wanted and addressed a weakness. I thought all four of their picks were excellent. But there were only four.
Oakland (A-) - It's harder than it seems not to completely screw up having the top pick in each round. And the Raiders didn't. Baby steps. I like JaMarcus Russell, Zach Miller has exceptional potential and they scored impressive value picks with Quentin Moses, Mario Henderson and Mike Bush. They also ditched Randy Moss. Good vibes all around.
Philadelphia (D+) - Let me preface this by saying I like what the Eagles have done this offseason. However, I thought their draft was a little thin. They seemed to take a lot of luxury selections as opposed to players that addressed areas of weakness.
Pittsburgh (B+) - I think their first five selections range from solid to spectacular. They just missed out an A- because of the limited ceiling of a lot of their guys.
St. Louis (C) - Brian Leonard grew up about 25 minutes away from my town so I gotta show some love to the team that snagged him. Unfortunately for the Rams, Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't outlawed defense yet so they are still in trouble.
San Diego (C-) - Hopefully this draft was just a result from an overhaul in the front office and staff not an indicator of the new regime. Craig Davis was a reach and they gave up a bit much for a 5-foot-11 Mormon.
San Francisco (A-) - Patrick Willis was one of my favorite players in the draft and Joe Staley fills a tremendous need for the 49ers. This rating takes into consideration the Darrell Jackson pickup. Not only did they raid a division rival, but also upgraded the offense. This was the ribbon on a fantastic offseason.
Seattle (D+) - Simply put: Arizona and San Fran are getting better and the Seahawks are not. Deion Branch wasn't worth a first round pick and now they get to be rocked by Jackson twice each season.
Tampa Bay (B+) - They didn't get their man (Calvin Johnson) but they soldiered on and took home three notable upgrades with Gaines Adams, Arron Sears and Sabby Piscitelli. Now they just need to figure out that whole QB thing.
Tennessee (D-) - I like Michael Griffin but after that the Titans seemed to just be guessing. Between reaches (Chris Henry) and outright misses (Paul Williams), Tennessee's draft is par for the course on what has been a disappointing offseason.
Washington (F) - That's what happens when you only get one pick and T.J. Duckett out of the draft.
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