NFL: Team Draft Grades

By Tom Waterman, WSOE Sports

After an exciting weekend full of some big trades and excitement the 2009 NFL Draft is complete, but not without some surprising picks that left many of us puzzled and scratching our heads. Here is my breakdown of how each team fared.

AFC
—–Buffalo Bills: They took Defensive End Aaron Maybin with the eleventh pick, who is definitely a promising young pass rusher. However, they completely neglected their vacancy at Left Tackle due to the departure of Jason Peters. I think the Bills will eventually regret not choosing tackle Michael Oher. I really liked the pick of Shawn Nelson in the fourth round, and also liked how they solidified their interior offensive line with the selections of Eric Wood and Andrew Levitre.
My Grade: C+
—–Miami Dolphins: I personally really liked a few of the selections the Dolphins made this weekend. Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are two very physical corners that should make an immediate impact for them. I think the Dolphins made a mistake however in drafting Pat White where they did. He does not have a future at Quarterback with the Dolphins with Chad Henne already lined up as the Quarterback of the future. I also feel that the second round is way to early to draft a “gimmick” player such as White. The choices of Patrick Turner and Brian Hartline add both depth and talent to the Wide Receiver position.
My Grade: B
—–New England Patriots: The Patriots used their four second round picks and twelve picks overall to develop depth at some key positions. I thought the selections of Rod Brace and Darius Butler were great value picks and the selection of Brandon Tate in the third round could turn out to be a steal. The combination of this draft class and the additional two second round picks the Patriots acquired gives them a high grade for the weekend.
My Grade: A-
—–New York Jets: The Jets found the player they wanted and jumped at him, with the trade and then the selection of USC Quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez, a future Pro Bowler, now gets to learn the ropes under the bright lights of New York. The downside with trading up twice in a draft is that you end up with less picks. The Jets, who ended up with only three draft picks, also picked up Sharon Greene and an offensive lineman Matt Slauson.
My Grade: B+
—–Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens jumped all over Michael Oher as he fell to the 23rd spot. He will fulfill the spot that at Left Tackle that has been vacant since the retirement of Jonathan Ogden. They also were able to pickup a player I am very high on in Davon Drew in the fifth round. Overall very solid draft; and I love the Oher pick in the first round.
My Grade: B+
——Cincinnati Bengals: This might be a first, but I am actually going to praise the Bengals. How many teams can come out of draft weekend and say that they probably drafted immediate starters with their first four picks. The Bengals did just that with the selections of Andre Smith, Rey Maugaluga, Michael Johnson, and Chase Coffman.
My Grade: A-
——Cleveland Browns: It will remain to be seen if the combination of Brian Robiske and Mohammad Massaaquoi will equal the production of Michael Crabtree, but I have to think it won’t. For the very reason they passed up Crabtree and then traded down and still didn’t come up with Maclin, Heyward-Bey, Harvin, Nicks, or even Britt is why I am grading the Browns poorly.
My Grade: D
—–Pittsburgh Steelers: The Super Bowl champs drafted for depth as they have no glaring needs at the moment. It will be best to judge this draft in a few years.
My Grade: C
—–Houston Texans: The additions of Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin bring a ton of versatility to a steadily improving defense. Watch out for the Texans next year.
My Grade: B+
—–Indianapolis Colts: Donald Brown is a good pick at the tail end of the first round, but they didn’t address the defensive line enough in this draft. Curtis Painter is an interesting pick late in the draft.
My Grade: C
—–Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have now solidified the bookends of their offensive line for years with selections of Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Rashad Jennings from Liberty will form a great tandem with Maurice Jones-Drew.
My Grade: A-
——Tennessee Titans: Kenny Britt will be a solid addition at Wide Receiver, and the Tight End Jared Cook has plenty of upside.
My Grade: B
—–Denver Broncos: A team that hasn’t done much right this off-season was able to get the most talented running back and select a good pass rusher in Robert Ayers. However, trading next year’s first round pick for the opportunity to draft Alphonso Smith was incredibly short sighted.
My Grade: D
—–Kansas City Chiefs: This draft looked much like a Bill Belichick draft, as every picked was on players that will fit. Pick three might have been a little early for Tyson Jackson.
My Grade: B+
—–Oakland Raiders: This was a terrible draft for the Raiders. Almost every pick was a reach starting at pick seven and all the way down the list.
My Grade: F
——San Diego Chargers: I believe Larry English was a little bit of a reach at 16, and the Chargers also failed to grab a future replacement for L.T.
My Grade: C

NFC
—–Dallas Cowboys: I actually was very disappointed with the Cowboys draft, because with twelve picks they were not able to acquire any players that I feel will have an immediate impact.
My Grade: D
—–New York Giants: The Giants got great value at every spot, and I feel that Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden have the potential to be a great duo. William Beatty is also a future starter along with Linebacker Clint Sintim. Also, Rhett Bomar has a ton of potential.
My Grade: A-
—–Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremy Maclin was a great pick in the first, and LeSean McCoy will eventually replace Brian Westbrook.
My Grade: B+
—–Washington Redskins: I love the Brian Orakpo pick, and I feel he may end up being one of the best players from this draft. However, the Redskins were unable to add anyone else significant in the draft.
My Grade: C
—–Chicago Bears: The Bears had no picks in the first two rounds because of the Jay Cutler trade, but they now have a franchise quarterback.
My Grade: B+
—–Detroit Lions: The Lions did great in the first round, but there were bigger needs then safety in the second. Especially when players like Laurinitius were still on the board.
My Grade: B
—–Green Bay Packers: The Packers found the perfect man to play the nose in their new 3-4 defense in B.J. Raji. Clay Matthews also will start immediately.
My Grade: A-
—–Minnesota Vikings: Drafting Percy Harvin after all his recent incident poses its problems, but his talent is undeniable.
My Grade: B-
—–Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons focused exclusively on defense and came away will much needed depth along with run stopper Peria Jerry, who will be certainly be needed in that division.
My Grade: B-
—–Carolina Panthers: Everette Brown is a good player, but you don’t trade future first round picks for second round players. Especially on a team that had others needs including Tight End, Offensive Line and Corner. Duke Robinson and Michael Goodson were two very good value picks later in the draft.
My Grade: C-
—–New Orleans Saints: With only four picks in the draft, the Saints were able to still fill needs at both corner and safety.
My Grade: C
—–Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I feel the Bucs reached a lot with the selection of Freeman, especially with no other team in the first round needing a quarterback. They should have traded down into the twenties to get more picks.
My Grade: D+
—–Arizona Cardinals: We all better get used to it, the Cardinals might be here for good. The selection of Beanie Wells gives the Cardinals a running game to go with that potent passing game.
My Grade: B+
—–St. Louis Rams: The Rams filled needs at left tackle and linebacker with players that will start right away. They probably needed to address wide receiver earlier then the fifth round.
My Grade: B
—–San Francisco 49ers: There is one name that describes this draft…Michael Crabtree. He is still the most talented player in this draft, because you can’t argue with production. The rest of their draft was mostly lacking.
My Grade: C
—–Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks turned my draft board on its head by passing on Mark Sanchez, but the Seahawks went with the solid linebacker and subsequently released veteran Leroy Hill. Max Unger will also come in and start right away.
My Grade: B

Contact Information:
Tom Waterman
WSOE Sports
swaterman@elon.edu

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