Friday, April 30, 2010

6 comments 2010 NFL Draft Grades Part 1

My favorite part about the NFL Draft is going through each team's draft and giving my thoughts on the picks by each team. It is very egotistical of me, I realize that, but I just enjoy giving out grades and using my poorly reasoned thoughts on why each team did poorly or well in the draft. I had to split this into two parts, not because I am lazy, but because I wrote so much I didn't want everyone to go blind from having to read it. The 2nd part will be out on Saturday.

I don't think I graded each team's draft last year officially. I don't enjoy giving out "A's" or "B's," so I am going with my own system. I will give each team a grade from 1-10, with "10" being the highest a team can get and "1" being the lowest a team can get. The equivalent to the letter grades is approximately a "5" would be a "C" and I guess an "8" would be a "B" or something like that. Feel free to argue or call me an idiot and I will try to not be like Mel Kiper and give each team grades that are all in the same range.

Arizona

I like the Cardinals draft. Dan Williams is a legitimate nose tackle and they got him later than I personally expected him to go. I liked the Andre Roberts pick, though I would have liked it more with Warner still on the team because he would have had a proven quarterback throwing the ball to him and John Skelton is an interesting prospect at quarterback. I have seen Roberts play and he really can play some football. I don't really like the trade up for Daryl Washington, I think he is a good linebacker, but not a guy that I would trade up for personally. This is offset by the drafting of O'Brien Schofield, who I think is going to make a nice conversion to the linebacker position in the NFL. It may take a year or two, but the guy always seemed to be around the football when I watched Wisconsin this year. Great pick.

Grade: 6

I don't like Washington as much as others do, but I do like Schofield and Dan Williams is a great pick. Skelton looks like a quarterback and he must have some brains given the fact of where he went to school, but there is going to be an adjustment period for him. He's not going to be able to help the Cardinals this year...if he even sticks on the roster.

Atlanta

I got to watch Sean Witherspoon a good amount this year and I am still torn on him. He is always around the football, but I feel similar to him like I felt about Micheal Barrow when he was a Carolina Panther...I feel like Witherspoon (whether it is right or not) is the guy who makes the tackle after a running back has gained 4-5 yards on a carry. I think he will be a good player, but I don't think he was a 1st round pick. I loved the Mike Johnson pick and I think he will be starting for the Falcons before long and I really liked the Dominique Franks choice. He is cocky and probably not a starter, but he is going to be a great #3 cornerback with being a #2 as his ceiling. This was another good draft for the Falcons.

Grade: 7

I want to give them a lower grade because I am not sure I see any potential impact players in this draft. That's not a bad thing either, because they filled some needs with these draft choices, but I don't know if they hit a home run on any of them or not. It doesn't matter because they had a good draft, even if it wasn't sexy. This is the kind of draft teams that are above average have in order to fill some holes they have on the team. The fans don't get excited about the picks, but they serve a purpose, which is to help the team get to the next level. The Falcons had a non-sexy, but productive draft.

Baltimore

I, like many other people love the Ravens draft. I love Sergio Kindle and I love how they got Terrence Cody to man the middle of the 3-4 defense. So what, he may never be in shape, but he's a huge guy and he wasn't in shape at Alabama and it didn't hurt him too much. Teams will know where he is on the field and have to dedicate two guys to him. The Ravens traded the #25 pick for Kindle, Ed Dickson, and Dennis Pitta. That's how you make draft trades. They got Kindle, a 1st round value, and two tight ends that are going to help out Flacco for a late-r 1st round pick. Flacco had no one reliable other than Derrick Mason to throw the ball to last year, but this year he has three new weapons (at a minimum) with Boldin, Stallworth, and Dickson. I loved Dickson at Oregon and was surprised he stayed on the board as long as he did.

Grade: 9

I would give it a 10 if I thought the Ravens landed on any of their late round picks. I do like Arthur Jones, but I don't know if he fits in well with a 3-4 defense in the NFL. If I thought he did then I would give them a 10. Great draft. The Ravens needed to improve their passing offense and they did, while also improving their defense.

Buffalo

I don't have anything against Buffalo, but I don't find this draft to be exciting at all. There are a bunch of players who look like special team players or projects that were drafted here. They need players to help them NOW. For a team like Buffalo that isn't great, I find it inexplicable they didn't come away with more players that could contribute right now. C.J. Spiller has been compared to the next Reggie Bush, and I like him a lot, but I somewhat think the Bills didn't have a huge need at running back. Maybe I am off-point, but I thought Jackson and Lynch could man the running back position for another year. What was wrong with that? It is not like Spiller is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. To me, this team's needs were QB and OT. They got Levi Brown and Ed Wang for those positions. That's not fixing a need. They did make a few moves in getting players to switch to the 3-4 defense, but I am not even sure if they chose the right player compared to other players available.

Grade: 3

They went into the draft with needs at OT and QB and didn't fix those needs at all. I don't call that a successful draft, even if they got a potentially great running back and filled some needs to switch to the 3-4. My point is that we still don't know who will play quarterback and block successfully. I laughed when the Bills owner said Denver "panicked" in choosing Tebow. Perhaps he should look at his team's draft closer and see that the Bills have improved (on paper) defensively, but haven't fixed their two biggest problems, which is the QB and OT position.

Carolina

This is another team that seemed to ignore some of their needs in the draft. Of course, the needs they ignored were not #1 and #2 on the priority list like it was with the Bills. Jimmy Clausen was a steal where he was taken, but I don't get the pick of Tony Pike in the 6th round, especially for a team who is in desperate need for some DT help. As someone who watched this team all year, I don't know if relying on Ed Johnson to be the big fix is a good answer to this DT problem. They passed over DT's time and time again for other players. I love Armanti Edwards, like any good Appalachian State graduate should, but to trade a 2nd round pick in 2011 for him? I don't know if I like him that much, especially since he is changing positions to wide receiver. He's going to basically have a redshirt year. Greg Hardy was also a great pick, but he compared his work ethic to Julius Peppers', which isn't a compliment in my book.

Grade: 7

They got a quarterback and a 2nd wide receiver. That's good enough to get a good grade, but they could have done better by taking a DT at some point in the draft. I watched Gettis play Nebraska this year and absolutely tore them up, which impressed me, so they get extra credit for hitting on late round picks with him and Greg Hardy.

Chicago

This is a hard draft to grade because they didn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick. How well could they have even met some of their needs when they don't pick before #75? Trading their 2nd round pick for Gaines Adams wasn't too smart (and no, not because he is dead. I am not Peter King. It wasn't smart because he wasn't worth that). I have to factor this in. Major Wright was a good pick, but the Bears weren't able to meet some of their needs in the draft due to their draft positioning unfortunately. I really like the LeFevour pick and Major Wright was a good choice. It was a merely good draft for me, but not completely because they didn't draft good players.

Grade: 5

Trading away their 2nd round pick for an underachiever (not because he is dead) didn't help and the Bears went in with their hands tied. They did a good job of meeting some needs with what they had. I have to say, I like the Wright pick and Corey Wootton was a great pick as well. I still wish they had a chance to address the offensive line more.

Cincinnati

I love this draft too. I feel like Jon Gruden right now, because I am loving everything. I need to start knocking teams down a few notches just to feel like a bad-ass. I am not quite as excited about Jermaine Gresham as some others may be, but he is the best tight end available and the Bengals needed a tight end. The goal was to get Carson Palmer weapons and I feel like they did that with Gresham, Shipley,and Dezmon Briscoe (6th round? Really that low?). They got Brandon Ghee who actually had as a "con" in a scouting report that I read which said he didn't have have enough interceptions because the ball wasn't thrown his way enough. God, I wish I could find it. Teams didn't throw the ball at him and that is a "con" for a cornerback? Now that the Bengals got Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson they have two defensive ends on the roster who would have been lottery picks if they gave a shit.

Grade: 9

This was a good draft and the Bengals met every need they had. They may need some offensive line help, but priority #1 was the offense and they improved it in a big way. They have given Palmer some weapons so they may actually have the offense to not embarrass themselves. I don't know why the Bengals keep investing in guys like Carlos Dunlap, but Michael Johnson showed something positive last year so it may end up working out for them. I would have taken Dunlap off my board because I didn't see anything while he was at Florida which made me impressed.

Cleveland

They needed a wide receiver or two and a quarterback. They came out of the draft with no quality wide receivers and the 4th best quarterback. I don't consider this a success. I love Colt McCoy, we all do, but he holds onto the ball too long and I question his future in the NFL. That being said, having Mike Holmgren as his boss and playing in the West Coast offense is going to give him a chance to succeed. I love Montario Hardesty and think he was one of the top 3 backs in this draft, possibly even top 2. T.J. Ward was a questionable 2nd round pick for me and they did nothing to address their wide receiver needs. Carlton Mitchell is not a difference maker.

Grade: 5

I like the Haden pick and at least they made an effort to get a quarterback (finally), but otherwise I don't love this draft. I look for impact players and I can't find any. I know Mike Holmgren has a plan, but I don't know if I 100% like his plan based on this draft. Colt McCoy went to the best offense for his talents. If he is going to succeed anywhere, it is in the West Coast offense.

Dallas

I don't like to question the Cowboys drafts because they are generally pretty good at finding talent. This year they got Dez Bryant, which was a huge steal because he is the best receiver in this draft. Tony Romo has to hope he behaves himself though, which I think he will. Sean Lee was a great pickup in the 2nd round and Owusu-Ansah has the potential to be a great corner. That being said, I am not enamored with the late round picks by the Cowboys. I can't be too picky because most of the needs they have are based on possibly losing some players to free agency after this year and are therefore not immediate, but I still didn't like their late round picks too much.

Grade: 6

I love the front half of the draft and don't like the last half of the draft. It's better than having it the other way around I guess. They improved their team and if I believed Sam Young could become a quality left tackle I would give this draft an "8," but I don't believe he can. He was part of the Notre Dame offensive line that couldn't protect Clausen too well wasn't he? This grade is a high "6" because Bryant is the real deal and they did have a good first half of the draft, but I just can't give them a "7."

Denver

Here we go. I think they missed on both of their 1st round picks. I think Josh McDaniels thinks he is smarter than everyone else. The Broncos picked a wide receiver in the 1st round who knows two routes and a quarterback who hasn't shown he can throw either of those routes. I am not saying either of these players CAN'T be good, but I feel like the Broncos drafted two projects in the 1st round. Tebow is a hard worker and a great leader, but why trade for Brady Quinn and then draft Tim Tebow? Maybe Demaryius Thomas can (in theory) run a bunch of routes well, that's fine, the bottom line is that he hasn't shown he can. Zane Beadles had a 4th-7th round grade depending on who you believe. I have gotten in trouble (with Jacksonville in my MMQB Review) for bashing a team that has a player valued higher than other teams do, so I will just say maybe they really like him. I think WalterFootball.com summed it up best:

Josh McDaniels has turned Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler into Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas and Dick Quinn. What a disaster.

You know what? I like the late round picks for the Broncos. It is like McDaniels and friends decided to stop showing everyone how smart they were and actually tried to draft good football players. Eric Decker was a great pick, though I want to scream everytime I hear someone compare him to Wes Welker. Yes, they are both white, but Decker is taller and slower than Welker. For me, he is a possession receiver on the outside, not a Wes Welker-type player. I think he could shine a lot more on the outside. I think the Broncos also nailed the Perrish Cox pick and they got two quality centers in the same draft. Why couldn't the Broncos do this with their first two (three, if you include Beadles) picks?

Grade: 3

I may really regret this grade at some point in the near future, but I don't care. If it weren't for the fact I like the late round picks, I would have given them a "1." For me, you don't take a franchise quarterback who needs to be developed when you just traded for a young quarterback that needs to be developed. I am not saying Quinn is great, but why even take him if you plan on trading up for Tebow? You don't take a wide receiver who is also a sort of project if you have a need NOW at wide receiver. There's nothing wrong with getting rid of talented players, but you have to replace those exiting players with talented players too. I am not sure I see that happening. Of course Denver will go 4-0 to start the year and I will look dumb until they end the season 3-9 in the weak AFC West.

Detroit

I can't give Detroit too much credit for not screwing up the 2nd pick in the draft. Some insist the Lions should have taken an offensive tackle, which does make sense in some ways, but they have to take the best available player for them and that is Suh. It's not like they don't have a need along the defensive line. I also didn't completely get the trade up for Jahvid Best. They traded away the #34, #100, and #214 and got back the #30 and #128 in return to move up and take Best. I feel like I am being nitpicky, but I don't know if Minnesota, Indianapolis, New Orleans, or St. Louis were going to take Best at that point with the injury issues he has had. It's better to be safe than sorry, but I am not sure Detroit would have reasonably lost Best if they had stayed at #34. Possibly they were afraid a team would jump in front of them for Best before the start of the draft the next day. They did trade some of their picks for guys like Scheffler, Houston, and Corey Williams so give them credit for that as well. Jake Fox has a ceiling as a right tackle, not a left tackle, but it is still a good pick.

Grade: 8

I am throwing in the picks that were traded for Williams, Scheffler, and Houston in here as well, which caused the grade to go up. The Lions met their needs in this draft. They needed a defensive lineman, a running back, and some help in the secondary and they got that. They did miss out on an offensive tackle, but Backus isn't a horrible left tackle, he just has to deal with a division full of great pass rushers. Stafford will just learn to run to this right a lot with pass rushers chasing him (I know Stafford is a good quarterback, but if they had drafted a left tackle last year and then a quarterback this year in the 2nd round they wouldn't have to worry about this problem AND they still could have gotten Suh in the 1st round). Choosing Suh over a left tackle was the right call. Maybe they gave up a bit much to guarantee themselves Best, but they got their guy.

Green Bay

For me personally, I see the cornerback position as the biggest position of need for the Packers coming into this draft. They did not address it. They got cut up by the Cardinals in the playoff game in the secondary and at the linebacker position in coverage. It was brutal to watch. A close #2 need was left tackle and they did take care of that with the drafting of Bulaga. I thought they reached for Neal when they could have gotten another tackle or a cornerback at that point in the draft and I don't even know why they wasted a pick on a tight end. They don't even have a need there and it is not a position where I think a team needs a lot of depth. Other than Bulaga, I like the James Starks and C.J. Wilson picks in the 6th and 7th round. Wilson is going to be a valuable rotation guy and Starks was considered a Top 5 running back before the year began and he got injured. Other than that, they did get Burnett who will compete for a safety job. I just wish they had been a little more focused on finding a cornerback to get out of this draft and even possibly another tackle.

Grade: 6

This is a lower grade than most people are giving the Packers and I give it because I don't think they fixed the problems that plagued them last year. The offensive line stunk for half the season and the secondary needs to get younger. I hate to lower the grade because of this, but I feel like these problems could have been addressed better. Maybe my grade here is a little unfair because I am grading them on meeting their needs rather than the players they chose. It is not a bad draft of players but when I don't like the 2nd round pick and think another pick (on a tight end) was wasted then I can't give a higher grade.

Houston

I think they should have taken Kyle Wilson over Kareem Jackson, but the Texans obviously know more than I do so I have to trust them on that. The Texans needed a corner, another running back, and some defensive line help. They met these needs in the first 3 rounds with their first 3 picks. I am not a huge fan of Ben Tate, but I am also aware that he was a great pick in the 2nd round and for the Texans offense. It is a situation where I think a player ended up in a good situation. My biggest question currently is what the Texans fascination with tight ends is all about? They drafted James Casey last year (and they already had Owen Daniels) and they drafted two more this year. I actually like the two tight ends they drafted this year, but I have to question the need to draft two in the overall scheme of things. I really like the Trindon Holliday pick in the 6th round and it is a luxury pick, but they now have a kick returner and there aren't that many players who can provide his definite value in the 6th round. Very good draft, but I wish they had stayed away from all the tight ends this year.

Grade: 7

This draft lost me a little bit in the middle with Earl Mitchell who I didn't see being taken in that spot and I don't know why they drafted Sharpton or another tight end. They ended the draft well and I would rather have Dickerson than Graham at tight end. Not a bad draft, I just wish they had prioritized the cornerback position a little bit more in the middle rounds and I didn't like their 3rd round pick compared to other DTs available at the time.

Indianapolis

I am a little afraid to be too critical of Bill Polian. First off, he knows what he is doing as he has proven time-and-time again in building the Bills, Panthers, and Colts. Second, he is an asshole and anyone who criticizes him gets stomped like the dirt they are. I don't want to be stomped. I have a feeling Polian was the guy who told Peter King the Combine was overrated, so let's look at the results. I love the Jerry Hughes pick and I think he will fit in with the Colts very well. I expected the Colts to go looking for some offensive line help and they didn't draft a single offensive lineman, except a tight end who looks to be converted to an offensive lineman. I think that is a mistake. Peyton Manning is brilliant at getting rid of the ball, but he needs better protection. Otherwise the Colts drafted hardworking, Colts-type players for the defense in Angerer, Conner, and Matthews. Obviously the Colts were very focused on getting more players for their defense and trying to develop guys for the offensive line.

Grade: 7

Honestly, this grade is giving a little bit of leeway to the Colts simply because they seem to know what they are doing. The later round picks by the Colts seem to lack size and the ability to play in the NFL, so I have to dock them a few points for that. They did a good job meeting their needs with Hughes and Angerer, and Kevin Thomas from all I have read on him seems to be able to contribute in the secondary immediately. This was a solid draft by the Colts.

Jacksonville

CNNSI.com listed the Jaguars needs as WR, QB, and safety. They didn't draft a single player for any of those positions. They did the same thing they have done over the past two years, which is draft two players from the same position back-to-back to begin the draft. First it was Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, then Eben Britton and Eugene Monroe. This year it is Tyson Alualu and D'Anthony Smith. I haven't ever heard of D'Anthony Smith so I did some research on him and some people hated the pick and others loved it. That helps me absolutely zero in figuring out how good he is. As I have said several times before, they could have gotten Alualu later in the draft than they did...at least I think so. I won't dock them points for taking him too early if they really think he is worth the #10 pick. Nowhere have I read that Alualu wasn't a reach. As far as the Jags late round picks went, they drafted guys from every middle-sized school across the United States, including Murray State, Central Arkansas, Southern Illinois and James Madison. Maybe they found diamonds in the rough. Unfortunately, none of those players seem to be able to meet the needs the Jags had or will make a difference in this year's team.

Grade: 2

Alualu saves this draft from being worse than it is. At least he has talent to make it in the NFL no matter where he was picked and D'Anthony Smith was a reach as well. Gene Smith doesn't care what anyone thinks when he is making picks, including the fans who pay to see the Jags play...a number that is dwindling every day. Of the late round picks, Austen Lane seems to have the most talent and at least they upgraded the return game with Scotty McGee. Unfortunately they had other pressing needs they completely ignored, which I can't ignore when giving them a terrible grade.

Kansas City

I thought the Chiefs had to come out of this draft with a right or left tackle of significance and they didn't do this. They have to protect Matt Cassel and they don't seem to care to. The reason I didn't have Eric Berry going to the Chiefs isn't because he lacks talent as a safety, but because as great of a safety as he may be, they don't NEED him at #5. They need a left tackle or a linebacker more. It is too early for a linebacker, so left tackle it should have been. I can't believe I am going to criticize the Chiefs for taking a great safety, but I think they needed to take care of their offensive line first. Dexter McCluster was a complete reach in the 2nd round, as was Javier Arenas in the 3rd round. It's great to see a shitty team looking to upgrade their kicking game and drafting one dimensional weapons on offense when they don't have the necessary basics to make their NFL team good and able to win games. The Chiefs tried to fill their needs in the later rounds with Asamoah and Sheffield, both of which were good picks, but I felt like this should have been done higher in the draft.

Grade: 4

They get points for having drafted talented players, albeit talented players that I am not sure are actual needs for the Chiefs at this point. Berry is a stud, but not a stud they needed, Arenas is a nickel corner and return man and McCluster is a change of pace weapon on offense. The Chiefs had other needs though and they ignored them. The purpose of the draft is for a team to actually become a better team with the players they picked. Are the Chiefs better? Yes, they are, but they still have many of the problems they faced coming into the draft. I see that as a failure to draft properly. Eric Berry should be a great player, but the need at safety isn't as big as the need at left tackle in my opinion. I like the value they got in the later rounds, but I can't ignore the early round talent is talent that doesn't fix their biggest problems.

I will do the second half of the draft grades tomorrow. I hate to split them up, because there is a ton of bad journalism out there, but I had to do it to save everyone's eyes.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grade: 3

I may really regret this grade at some point in the near future, but I don't care.


I've been a Denver fan since I was zero, and I think a 3 represents an optimistic take. I don't think the team has any plan at this point - sometimes, they trade veterans for draft picks, sometimes they sign aging free agents. Sometimes they draft projects, sometimes they sign for the near term. If you had to articulate McDaniel's plan, what would it be?

The Casey said...

I think part of the reson the Falcons drafted the way they did is because their 1st two picks from last year (P. Jerry, W. Moore) each played only two games last season, so some of the holes you saw on the field last year may have already been addressed.

I kind of liked Pike to the Panthers. I think he's going to be a solid pro. I also like Norwood and Hardy. My only question about Hardy is that his numbers seem to have declined the past two seasons, but I still think he's a playmaker.

rich said...

Buffalo: The thing that gets me about Spiller is that not only do they have no need at RB, but can Spiller be nearly the player he's expected to be with that O-Line being as bad as it is and absolute garbage at QB?

Denver: Like I said the other day, it's possible the Broncos thought that Tebow was going to be taken in the first round and had to move up.

However, that doesn't justify that picking Tebow in the first round, let alone trading up for him, was stupid.

Jacksonville: They picked two guys at the same position... and reached on both. I find it hard to believe they couldn't have traded down and still gotten at least one of them.

KBilly said...

No NY Giants???

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, you have had some good times as a Broncos fan. I don't exactly know what the plan is honestly. It seems like McDaniels is trying to get rid of veterans who won't buy into what he is doing, sign veterans who can help the team win now and draft players who can help the team win in the future. He is getting rid of the problems, but the talent may be leaving with them. I personally believe he is trying to win now and build for the future. The problem with this is I am not sure about his building blocks for the future. I do like the late round picks. What do you think the plan is?

Casey, yeah I figured that and I think the Falcons are due for an 11 win season. They had bad luck with injuries last year and they had a good draft to fill what holes they had. I like them for the upcoming year.

Pike is so thin, but otherwise I like him. I don't get how a criticism of him is that he played in a QB friendly system...what did Bradford, Tebow, McCoy play in? I don't know if he will make it, but that's an unjust criticism of him. I don't know how Norwood fits in yet, but I like him in theory.

Rich, great point. Spiller may encounter some of those O-line problems. I like Spiller but not the pick. It didn't make sense to me with their other needs.

I have no problem with Denver moving up to pick Tebow, that's fine. I actually hate the Demaryius Thomas pick more. I have seen a few GT games and he doesn't seem like an NFL WR to me. I could be wrong. I do agree with you a/b drafting Tebow that high, but they like him more than I do.

I think Jacksonville's plan is to pick two of each position every year. That is pretty much it. Reaches aren't a big thing if it pays off for them. I can't believe they didn't go receiver at some point.

KBilly, that is tomorrow. I did two parts and the cut off was right near the Giants.

Bengoodfella said...

What really annoys me about Buffalo's pick of Spiller is they chose him and he is a luxury for them. They didn't have to take a QB, offensive lineman or any other position, but pick a position of need. Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch can hold the position down perfectly for another year.

Buddy Nix defended not choosing a quarterback, which is fine, but why did you choose a running back? Sure, he is a great player but the team has needs and running back didn't seem too high among them in my mind.