Team-by-Team NFL Draft Grades
by Robert Ferringo - 4/26/2010
The NFL Draft is in the books and there were, as always, plenty of successes and failures. As always, we won’t be able to accurately assess how each organization managed until about three or four years from now, but based on value, addressing need, and overall talent hauled in I have put together my 2010 NFL Draft grades.
And let me start with this: sports commentators, as always, get a D- for their evaluations of the quarterback class. The reality is that A) you shouldn’t take a quarterback with the No. 1 pick overall, B) you generally shouldn’t take a quarterback in Round 1, and C) this was as weak of a quarterback class as we’ve seen in some time. Yet all anyone wanted to talk about was Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen, and Colt McCoy. That any of those three went before the third round is a bit surprising to me. But the bobbleheads went ahead and made those mediocre arms that headline story for the weekend.
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In the meantime they overlooked an excellent weekend for Baltimore and Seattle, a surprisingly successful weekend for Oakland, Philadelphia and San Francisco, and weak showings by New England, Buffalo and the Rams. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Here are Doc’s Sports 2010 NFL Draft grades:
New England (C-) – Wow. I really have no idea what was going on here. And what is with the Patriots and tight ends? I don’t understand their obsession? I thought the Patriots had a brilliant draft in 2009. But if you go back to 2006, 2007 and 2008 they have had a lot of questionable picks over the last few years. I think this season fits right in with that. I like the Brandon Spikes pick and this crop can be better than its grade if he pans out. But I don’t feel like the Patriots had a good weekend at a time when they needed one.
New York Jets (C+) – I liked what the Jets did in the first (Kyle Wilson) and third (Joe McKnight) rounds. But I still don’t think they should have traded Leon Washington and I thought that Vlad Ducasse was a reach in Round 2. They only had four picks so there was only so much they could do. And yes, this grade considers Santonio Holmes and Lito Sheppard as part of the haul. I really like what the Jets have done this offseason.
Miami (C+) – Bill Parcells is the man. And, generally, I have found myself liking just about everything he has done to build this team. But I thought their draft was a steady slide. They just took a bunch of prospects but I wonder if they got any really good players. I thought they waited too long to address their secondary, but I do like the Reshad Jones pick in Round 5. All in all there is nothing to get excited about here and the onus is now on the coaching staff. Like the Jets, this grade takes Brandon Marshall into consideration.
Buffalo (D+) – The only thing the Bills did right was not taking Jimmy Clausen in the first round. Other than that it was a mess. Do you really think Torell Troup was a better pick at DT than Terrance Cody? I know Marshawn Lynch wants out of Buffalo, but the Bills still have Fred Jackson and, for now, Lynch. So was RB that big of a need? And let’s look at where the rest of the crop came from: Arkansas State, Connecticut, James Madison, South Dakota State, and Troy. I don’t understand why this team didn’t at least try to placate their desperate fan base with Colt McCoy in Round 3. This is just a brutal organization.
Cincinnati (B) – To put this in perspective, I gave the Bengals a ‘D’ for their first round selection of Jermaine Gresham. You just don’t take a TE in Round 1, especially one off knee surgery. But I like what they did after that. They took calculated risks and stuck to their current theme of getting talented but troubled players. Carlos Dunlap was a nice value in Round 2 and I think they made solid gambles on Geno Atkins and Brandon Ghee. Also, they got a Big 12 all-conference lineman in Round 7 and they grabbed a pair of solid receiving prospects in Jordan Shipley and Dezmon Briscoe. Their first round fopa kept them from an A.
Baltimore (A+) – I think the Ravens clearly had the best weekend in the NFL. And Ozzie Newsome reinforced that he is amongst the top minds in the league. I was high on Sergio Kindle and not only do I think he’s a tough, physical talent but he fits a need for the Ravens due to some offseason defections. I am a big Terrence Cody fan and, again, he fits their scheme perfectly. Arthur Jones, from my beloved Syracuse, is an animal and was a strong late pick. They also got two good TE prospects. Also, Anquan Boldin has to be considered part of this class. So all in all this was a brilliant draft for the Ravens.
Pittsburgh (A-) – I was definitely a fan of what the Steelers had going on this weekend. I really liked their top pick, Maurkice Pouncey, as much for what it symbolized as for what he can do. They also grabbed a pair of wide receivers – an area of need – with excellent physical tools that they think they can develop. Besides that they loaded up on front seven defensive players. And I think Jonathan Dwyer in Round 6 could be a steal. All around it was a good weekend for the Steelers.
Cleveland (B) – Everyone was “stunned” that the Browns passed up Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy in the second round. Guess what: the Browns picked up a safety that, along with top pick Joe Haden, will help them rebuild their secondary, and they still picked up McCoy late in the third round (after getting a running back). They get a lot of credit for that gamble paying off. Hopefully McCoy will develop. Also, they added Sheldon Brown to that secondary and Chris Gocong is a guy with some experience for the front seven. The only thing I don’t like is that they still don’t have any skill position players. That’s a problem.
Indianapolis (B+) – Again, given their track record I just can’t criticize a Colts draft. They went defense with their first three picks and six of their eight picks overall. It’s tough to argue with that. I also like the Colts didn’t gamble on any small school guys. If you don’t look at the names but only the schools of their first six or seven picks you would think they have a strong chance of becoming a solid class.
Houston (C+) – I liked the Kareem Jackson pick in Round 1. But the rest of their draft was just so-so in my opinion. I thought they really, really reached for Ben Tate in Round 2. And Earl Mitchell and Darryl Sharpton are boom-or-bust picks in rounds three and four. After that there’s Garrett Graham, a decent pick, and a bunch of guys that will either be on practice squads or unemployment lines in the next year.
Tennessee (B) – If you look back over the past few years the Titans are another team that just “gets it” when it comes to the draft. And this year’s haul is more proof of that. They didn’t have a second round pick but still did solid work in Round 3, grabbing Damian Williams and Rennie Curran. Also, I liked the Myron Rolle pick in Round 6. They get docked a bit for trading LenDale White to draft Alterraun Verner.
Jacksonville (F) – The Jaguars’ best addition was getting Kirk Morrison in a trade from Oakland. Other than that this weekend was a mess. Their top pick of Ty Alualu was a huge reach. And they didn’t back it up with anything of substance. Louisiana Tech, Central Arkansas, Murray State, Southern Illinois and James Madison were the contributors to this draft class. What a debacle, especially from a PR standpoint.
San Diego (C) – I thought that grabbing Ryan Matthews at No. 12 – trading up to do so – was a reach by the Chargers. But they needed a big runner so we will see. My favorite pick that they made might be grabbing Cam Thomas in the fifth round. That was a good get. But beyond that I don’t see anything that will stick.
Denver (B-) – I actually don’t mind what the Broncos did in this draft. I think that their trade for Tim Tebow was a little ridiculous – they way overpaid for him – but we will see. This team had a mission and has conviction and went out and drafted based on that. How it works out is another story but they seemed to accomplish what they set out for. I like grabbing Zane Beadles in Round 2, the Perrish Cox pick in Round 5, and felt they got nice value on Syd’quan Thompson in Round 7. Also, they took a flier on Eric Decker and he could be a real steal if he pans out.
Oakland (B+) – I can’t believe it, but the Raiders had a brilliant weekend. They didn’t screw up in taking the best linebacker in the draft in Round 1. And then they went with three very large mammals along the offensive and defensive lines with their next three picks. Yes. That is how it’s done. And they scored Bruce Campbell, a guy on most first and second round boards during Mock Draft season, in the fourth round. Jacoby Ford and Walter McFadden in rounds four and five were also exceptional picks, and Ford could have an instant impact in the receiving game and special teams. They also added Jason Campbell, who could end up starting for this team. All around, an excellent weekend for the Raiders.
Kansas City (B) – Kansas City has to be happy about scoring Berry with their top pick. And I thought one of their better picks was in Round 3 with Jon Asamoah. But this team has been one of the softest in the league on the offensive and defensive lines and I don’t see how they upgraded either. I like Dexter McCluster but I thought he was a bit of a reach at the top of Round 2.
Dallas (C+) – It is tough to argue with snagging Dez Bryant at No. 24 overall. They could make a lot of teams look bad with that selection. And in Round 2 taking a shot with Sean Lee was a nice value play. After that was a whole lotta nothing, but they didn’t have many premium picks to work with.
Philadelphia (A-) – This team was all over the map with its draft. They had some picks that I thought were very weak in Rounds 1 and 2. I am not high on Brandon Graham. But they also had some excellent value picks in Round 3 (Dan Te’o-Nesheim) and Round 4 (Trevard Lindley). Then they took some “upside” guys like Keenan Clayton and Clay Harbor. But then they went on a run of picks that I though was brilliant. Ricky Sapp in Round 5 was one of the steals of the draft. Riley Cooper is a guy with upside, Charles Scott was excellent value in Round 6, and Jamar Chaney and Jeff Owens in Round 7 were outstanding value picks. They made up for a very slow start with a nice finish.
New York Giants (C+) – I didn’t have a good feel for what the Giants wanted to do coming into the draft so it is a bit harder to determine if they accomplished those goals. I was not high on Jason Pierre-Paul but we will see. I thought their best pick was Mitch Pietrus in Round 5. That one could pay big dividends.
Washington (C-) – I liked the Trent Williams pick, as he obviously projects better in a zone-blocking scheme than Okung. And after that the ‘Skins had just one other pre-Round 6 pick so it was tough for them to really do much.
Minnesota (C) – Granted, this team didn’t have a ton of needs. But I thought they were a little too lax in the draft. And that’s how teams on top manage to not stay on top. I thought they could have done more at the top of the second round. Chris Cook doesn’t “wow” me. Toby Gerhart was a nice pickup, but in the middle of Round 2? They got a Top 25 talent in the fourth round with Everson Griffen. And that pick really saved their draft. Also, Joe Webb is an intriguing prospect at the end of Round 6.
Green Bay (C) – The Packers had a brilliant start as Bryan Bulaga fell into their lap. But Green Bay really didn’t build any momentum after that. I like Morgan Burnett in Round 3 and he both fit a need and was nice value. Also, James Starts could be a low-risk, high-reward guy in Round 6. But not much to get excited about here.
Chicago (D) – The Bears didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds so there was only so much they could do. Did they make the most of the picks they had? Probably. They took Major Wright at safety in Round 3. That was decent value at a position of desperate need. But Chicago has struck out with so many secondary picks recently its tough to get excited. I really liked the Corey Wootton pick in Round 4 and Dan LeFevour was excellent value in Round 6. But this team didn’t have much to work with.
Detroit (B-) – The Lions also acquired a potential starting safety in Ko Simpson and a potential starting guard in Rob Sims, so that helps their grade. Hey, they got the best player in the draft (Ndamukon Suh) and Jahvid Best could be exceptional in the NFL. But other than that it was one whiff after another for the Lions.
New Orleans (B-) – I thought that New Orleans was really strong with its first three picks. I thought their best move was picking Charles Brown at the end of Round 2. He is a guy that could have gone 30 slots earlier. And Jimmy Graham is a project that could really pay off for this offense. Nothing spectacular, but this was a solid draft for a team with just six picks.
Atlanta (C+) – What you have to remember is that the Falcons upgraded their biggest need – secondary help – in the offseason with Dunta Robinson and Tye Hill. So they went a different way with their draft. Sean Weatherspoon is a guy that should step in and start. Now we’ll see if he’s any good. After that they took three big bodies that fit their system. This wasn’t an inspiring draft but could be effective.
Carolina (B-) – So, you think this team is desperate for a quarterback? They actually took three – THREE – quarterbacks, starting with Jim Clausen. Clausen wasn’t a bad pick in the middle of Round 2, but I think that third sixth round pick, Tony Pike, could end up being even better. But the reason I like what the Panthers did is because they got Eric Norwood, who was an awesome college player, in Round 4 and then Greg Hardy in Round 6. Also, Jordan Pugh is a guy that could develop into a solid NFL starter in the secondary. Brandon LaFell was a reach, but they went for upside at a position of need. Overall I thought Carolina did very well.
Tampa Bay (B-) – The guy to watch out of this class is Mike Williams. If he can stay out of jail long enough, Williams is a first round talent. Couple him with potential breakout receiver Arrelious Benn and Tampa has given quarterback Josh Freeman some more weapons. You know I like teams that draft talent on the offensive and defensive line and the Bucs used their top two picks on strong DTs. Good stuff.
Arizona (C) – I’m uninspired. Arizona got an absolute steal when Dan Williams slid to them in the first round. And they took a guy with a high ceiling in Round 2 in Daryl Washington. The rest of the players scream “journeymen”. Kerry Rhodes will be excellent for them and I included him in their grade.
San Francisco (A+) – I absolutely love what the 49ers did. A lot of people may have thought they had other needs but I really liked that they took a pair of offensive linemen in Round 1. In my mind that is the best strategy for that round and the Niners are setting a physical tone on their team with everything they do. And it got better from there. I thought Taylor Mays was an exceptional pick in the middle of Round 2. Navorro Bowman has a shot to be a quality NFL starter, whom they got in Round 3, and then they took a running back in Round 6 (Anthony Dixon) that could end up being better than players taken three or four rounds earlier. And don’t sleep on the Nate Byham pick in Round 6. The blocking TE is a beast.
Seattle (A+) – I’d say that just about everything went right for the Seahawks and they took advantage. They hit back-to-back home runs in Round 1, addressing needs with top talents, and their top five picks were probably the best of any team in the league. They went down hill in the later rounds but most teams do. Also, they managed to bring in Leon Washington, Charlie Whitehurst and LenDale White with draft picks. This team needed to rebuild. They did so. And then some.
St. Louis (D) – Picking up Mardy Gilyard in Round 4 was their best pick and snagging George Selvie in Round 7 was a move I loved. Other than that I don’t know what this team is doing. They ignored chances to acquire more picks, instead opting for questionable tight ends. I don’t like them taking Sam Bradford No. 1 overall and if you look at the players they traded away this offseason I think this team could be considerably worse – WORSE – next season after being the worst team in the league in 2009. Good luck.
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