1 – Denver Broncos (B+)
This draft had A+ potential but I don’t think McDaniels nabbed the right guys in the 1st Round of the draft. WR Demaryius Thomas and QB Tim Tebow are the two guys they wanted. They are great character guys but from non-pro systems. They might end up being good NFL players but I think WR Dez Bryant and QB Jimmy Clausen, both on the board for those picks, are more NFL ready. We will see how this plays out over time. I do like what Denver did, adding depth to their depleted offensive line with the selections of OT Beadles, C/G Walton and C/G Olsen. All three guys should make this team and contribute. Needing to add talent and depth to the receiving corps they add another WR in Eric Decker. The only concern with him is health. If healthy, he may end up being a better pro than Thomas. The other area of concern for Denver was the defensive backfield and they added CB Perrish Cox and CB Syd’quan Thompson. Cox is not one of the “character” guys Denver likes but he is a Day One talent that fell into the middle rounds. Thompson had a mid-round grade and slipped into the 7th Round because he had poor 40 dash times. He is very physical and smart so McDaniels will find a spot for him.
2 – San Diego Chargers (C)
The Chargers had a decent draft. They got some good players but I don’t necessarily like how they got them. RB Ryan Matthews should end up being a solid, between-the-tackles NFL back but not at #12 in the draft. In my opinion they could have taken him in the early to mid-20s. In the 3rd Round they nabbed LB Donald Butler. He should make the team and contribute but I don’t ever see him being more of a reserve linebacker and special teamer. I liked some of the later picks a bit more. I think S Darrell Stuckey is going to be a solid NFL player. He is a talented ball hawk who can also play up on the line. DT Cam Thomas was a great pick where they got him. He should garner some serious playing time and improve the run defense. QB Jonathan Crompton was a very solid pick. He is NFL ready and kept improving all season. He will back up Rivers for now but look for him to start for some team down the road.
3 – Oakland Raiders (B)
The Raiders had a good draft, amazing right? Although I think they could have got LB Ronaldo McClain in the mid-Teens instead of #8. They could have gone a lot of ways with the pick but it was a solid pick. They had to improve against the run and adding McClain was a good first step. DT Lamarr Houston was the next pick and it was a good one. Lamarr is one of the better DTs in the draft. He is very physical and NFL ready. He should start immediately and help against the run. The Raiders need to protect their new investment in QB Jason Campbell so they got OT Bruce Campbell and OT Jared Veldheer. Campbell is a physical freak who will develop into a solid starter. Jared is from a small school but is probably more polished and talented than Campbell. Both should contribute. WR Jacoby Ford is blazing fast but lacks size. He should be able to make the team and probably contribute on special teams.
4 – Kansas City Chiefs (B)
KC didn’t quite address all of their needs in this draft but they did get talent with the picks they had. S Eric Berry is a phenomenal player. He has all the tools to become a Pro-Bowl caliber safety. The next pick of Dexter McCluster was a head scratcher in how high he was picked. He has great tools but is a bit to small to be an every down contributor. He is too small for WR or RB in the NFL and not physical enough to be a CB. My guess is they’ll use him in the Wildcat and on special teams. He may see a few downs as a slot WR. CB Javier Arenas is an above average defensive back. He is very quick and has good instincts. He will play nickel back in KC and probably play some special teams as well. G Jon Asamoah was a great pick where they got him. I think he has the talent to start right away. Jon is the perfect player for the system.
1 – Indianapolis Colts (B)
The Colts don’t have too many weaknesses but they seemed to adequately address the ones they had. When DE Dwight Freeney was hurt it exposed Indy’s defensive line depth. They addressed this by taking TCU stand out Jerry Hughes. Hughes is in very much the same mold as a Dwight Freeney. He’ll do well in the rotation and should be the heir apparent. The Colts also had depth issues in the defensive backfield where they took CB Kevin Thomas from USC. He should fit into their scheme perfectly. They also added depth and attitude with the selection of Iowa LB Pat Angerer. He has a great attitude and good athleticism. He should fit in well.
2 – Tennessee Titans (A)
Tennessee did an outstanding job with their 9 picks this season. They lost Vanden Bosch and Kearse and had to address their lack of pass rush. Tennessee certainly did that by taking possibly the best pass rusher in DE Derrick Morgan. They also had a void to fill at LB and did so by selecting Rennie Curran from Georgia. He slipped because of his lack of size but he is a quick playmaker who should make an impact immediately. Tennessee always seems to need WRs and got who I consider one of the most NFL ready products in Damien Williams. He has solid overall skills, has a knack for making the big catch and will contribute on special teams. One other pick I like was the selection of QB Rusty Smith. Rusty has great size and ability coming out of Florida Atlantic. Tennessee can take their time and develop him behind Collins and Young.
3 – Jacksonville Jaguars (D)
I am not sure the Jaguars have one starter from the 2010 class. Every NFL Draft there is always one team that leaves your head scratching and this is the one. In my opinion Derrick Morgan should have been the pick here. However they went with Tyson Alualu. Now I have nothing against this kid. I think he’ll eventually be a decent starter in the NFL, but they could have traded down 10 spots and got this kid at 20. Most had him as a late 1st Round grade. I had him as early to mid 2nd Round. Only time will tell if the Jags were right. The only other pick that was decent was DT D’Anthony Smith. He has great size and athleticism and should provide depth on the interior line. The rest of the draft was a waste. They had needs at QB and passed on some of the best in this class. They also had needs at LB and in the defensive backfield and also took a pass. Not sure what they were thinking.
4 – Houston Texans (C+)
The Texans did a pretty good job of filling in the holes on their team. I thought they passed on better players a few times but they did OK. CB Kareem Jackson of Alabama flew up the charts in the closing week before the draft and he was Houston’s guy. There may have been a couple CBs available who were better but Kareem should still be a good player. I really like the Ben Tate selection. He is a between the tackles runner that should compliment Slayton extremely well. You can’t go wrong with a LB out of Miami. I like Daryl Sharpton quite a bit. He should contribute on special teams immediately and develop into a solid starting LB in 2-3 years. Finally the Texans get possibly the steal of the draft in TE Dorrin Dickerson from Pittsburgh. He is a bit light and possibly a tweener (TE or physical possession WR). If he adds 10 pounds he could develop into a Dallas Clark type of TE.
1 – Baltimore Ravens (B)
Baltimore’s only mistake was not adding depth to their defensive backfield. The Ravens managed to address the rest of their needs and take quality players with almost every pick. They revamped their front seven by selecting DE Sergio Kindle, DT Terrance Cody and DT Art Jones. Sergio and Art scared some with their injury histories but if healthy will play at a high level. Terrance has a weight issue but if he can shed 10 to 15 pounds he can be that run stopper the Ravens are looking for. They also took two excellent TEs in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. Both are athletic pass catching TEs a la Todd Heap. Todd is getting long in the tooth so these guys are the heir apparent. WR David Reed should contribute on special teams.
2 – Cincinnati Bengals (A)
The Bengals draft was one of their best in years. They have lacked a stud TE for many years and adding one was crucial to the development of their passing game. They added the best on the board in Jermaine Gresham. He is quite a big target and has soft hands. Look for Palmer to go over the middle early and often to this big guy. They also needed to add depth on the defensive line and came away with DE Carlos Dunlap and DT Geno Atkins. Carlos has an issue with working in the off-season but when he is on he will chase the QB all day long. Geno was a solid value pick. He is an athletic DT and should compete for playing time. CB Brandon Ghee was a great pick at the end of the 3rd Round. He is a quick, athletic DB who should end up being the starting FS. They also upgraded the receiving corps selecting WR Jordan Shipley and WR Dezmon Briscoe. Shipley was another great pick. He should provide Carson Palmer with that possession receiver he’s been lacking. Dezmon had some personal issues but if those are resolved this big, physical kid should make the team and get some playing time in the red zone. Finally, LB Rodrick Muckelroy slid down the chart to Cincy in the late 4th Round. He won’t start on the LB rich team but he should contribute on special teams.
3 – Pittsburgh Steelers (B)
With all of the off-season issues the Steelers needed a solid draft and got one. C Maurkice Pouncey was the first pick and should have been after the beating Ben took last season. He should start immediately at either G or C. DE Jason Worilds was probably picked a little higher than he should have but he is a superb pass rush specialist. WR Emmanuel Sanders could replace the departed Holmes. At least that is what Pittsburgh is hoping for. He is very fast with big play ability but there may have been better WRs on the board at the time. DE Thaddeus Gibson will add depth to the Pittsburgh front seven. OT Chris Scott was a pretty good pick in the mid-rounds. He is a very solid pass protector and that is what Pittsburgh needed. A true steal for the Steelers was RB Jonathan Dwyer. Many had projected him in the 2nd or 3rd Round. He slipped into the 6th Round so he will come out and run with purpose. He could take carries away from Mendenhall.
4 – Cleveland Browns (C+)
The Browns could have received a much higher grade and overall the draft was still pretty good. Sometimes luck is better than talent and I think they got awfully lucky in this draft. With a bunch of talented QBs on the board they take CB Joe Haden. I like Joe but I had him going in the teens. They could have traded down and still got him. Joe is solid and will start for Cleveland. With the 2nd Round pick I thought they would go for Clausen for sure but they opted for S T.J. Ward, another guy with a lower grade than where he was picked. They needed a safety with his skill set but not at that pick. Now I’ll give them props for moving up to nab RB Montarrio Hardesty. They needed a runner and they got a good one. He should compliment Harrison very well. Finally at pick #85 they take QB Colt McCoy. Lucky, lucky, lucky. They played the odds that many teams weren’t in need an that one of the QBs they liked would be there. Colt was and they got their QB of the future. Colt should be a nice fit with that offense. Finally, one pick I thought was excellent was WR Carlton Mitchell in the 6th Round. I’m not sure why he slipped. I had a 4th Round grade on him. He has great size and ability. He should get a chance to play in this offense.
1 – Miami Dolphins (B)
If you include the acquisition of WR Brandon Marshall it is probably an A. But, going strictly on the picks I’ll still give them a B. Getting DT Jared Odrick and DE Koa Misi give the Dolphins some much needed youth and quickness on that defensive front. OT John Jerry might have been a bit of a reach at pick 73 but in a few years should develop into a solid RT. They added LB A.J. Edds who should be an immediate contributor on the special teams. Finally SS Reshad Jones was a steal in the late 5th Round. He has 3rd Round talent. He needs to work on technique but could develop into a solid NFL Safety.
2 – Buffalo Bills (C-)
No matter who seems to be running the team they always find a way to botch up the draft. Don’t get me wrong; I think C.J. Spiller is going to be a fine RB in the NFL. But, when you have major needs at QB, WR and DL and you go RB, something is wrong. They took DT Torell Troup with the next pick to fill their void at Nose Tackler. He should do fine but I felt their were better guys on the board at that position. In the 3rd Round they take small school stud DE Alex Carrington. He appears to be strictly a pass rusher at this level but he should contribute. In Round 4 with talent like DE Corey Wooten, DE Ricky Sapp, LB Eric Norwood and some great QBs still on the board, they take WR Marcus Easley. Easley has great size but talent wise he is 3rd or 4th on the depth chart at best. They finally take QB Levi Brown late in the draft. This kid has ‘career back up’ written all over him. I did like the final pick of OT Kyle Calloway. I think he will develop into a starting OL in the next 2-3 years.
3 – NY Jets (C)
Some thought the Jets had a very good draft when you figure in the acquisition of L.T. and Jason Taylor. The Jets only had 4 picks and didn’t address all of their areas of need. CB Kyle Wilson was a nice but odd addition. Perhaps they are going to move him to S because they already have two very solid CBs. With needs at WR and on the OL I thought it was an odd pick. OT Vlad Ducasse will probably play G and replace G Alan Faneca. They added two RBs at the end in Joe McKnight and John Connor. Joe will be a back up to L.T. and John will eventually supplant Richardson at FB.
4 – New England Patriots (A)
The Pats acquired 12 picks and by maneuvering down they picked up more for next season. I thought their entire draft was solid. CB Devin McCourty should play right away. TE Rob Gronkowski is a lunch pail kind of guy. He’s tough and has soft hands. DE Jermaine Cunningham and LB Brandon Spikes will add depth on the aging and depleted New England front 7. WR Taylor Price could be the steal of the draft. He will give Brady yet another target and provide much needed depth if Welker goes down again. They take another TE in Aaron Hernandez. Great pick. Drafting the top punter in Zoltan Mesko was also very important. They needed to add a young leg there. They added some depth to the offensive and defensive side of the ball late in the draft and also added QB Zac Robinson from Oklahoma State. I am very high on this kid and I look for him to replace Brady like Brady did to Bledsoe in the next 3 to 5 years.