Report Cards are in, get a look at your Teams Grade

Published on April 30, 2009 by     

nfl

Drafts are almost immediately judged by what teams grabbed the star players or if they filled their needs. Yet, something else needs to be taken into account: Some teams don’t draft for either because they just won the Super Bowl or came close. Others have to take as many studs as possible, regardless of the position, because their team stunk the previous season.

So the variables in gauging a draft could determine why an unexpected pick — like San Diego taking Northern Illinois linebacker Larry English at No. 16 — could make more sense than we think.

We’ll take a team-by-team look at how each franchise might have fared in the draft — as we all know, you can’t project success of a draft class for years — as it relates to draft history, the team’s existing roster and the talent of the player selected.

Cleveland Browns: A

The biggest movers in the draft, having traded back to No. 21 from No. 5. The Browns made economical headway, though, saving millions going in reverse and grabbing the top center in a center-heavy draft, Alex Mack from Cal. That was followed by doubling up on steady WRs Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi, and a double dose of CBs Don Carey and Coye Francies (a sixth-round steal). This is a haul for the future that could pay quick dividends.


Green Bay Packers: A

Not only did NT B.J. Raji fall to them, OLB Clay Matthews was still available at a spot (No. 26) where they felt comfortable trading into the first round to get. The Packers addressed needs with two of the better players at their positions. The Packers also nabbed two talented offensive tackles to bolster their biggest areas of concern. They re-tooled for need and with talent.


New York Giants: A

With six picks in the first four rounds, the Giants appear to have hit it big. They went after their needs at wide receiver with Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, both big targets, and they added depth at outside linebacker with Clint Sintim, at tackle with William Beatty and running back with Andre Brown. Brown could turn out to be the best of this talented lot.


Philadelphia Eagles: A

All the panic about the Eagles not getting QB Donovan McNabb some offensive help was quelled with the acquisition of veteran tackles Stacey Andrews and Jason Peters and a draft that landed him the most multi-purpose player available, Jeremy Maclin. The addition of Pitt RB LeSean McCoy was icing on the cake — offensively — but there was more. Florida TE Cornelius Ingram is considered one of the best athletes in the draft, but he missed last season with a knee injury. If he’s healthy, the Eagles could be the team to beat.


Houston Texans: B+

The Texans might finally fulfill their promise after stacking up on edge defenders all offseason. The free-agent signing of DE Antonio Smith and the selection of OLB Brian Cushing and DE/OLB Connor Barwin could allow Houston to have an edge rotation like the Giants, especially when it comes to getting after the quarterback. They also got two solid tight ends in the middle rounds. The future looks very promising.


Jacksonville Jaguars: B+

Watch out. The Jags have made some excellent offseason moves and they nabbed two of the top offensive tackles in the draft a season after injuries decimated the offensive line. This after they acquired OT Tra Thomas in free agency. They are now deep up front and they got massive defensive tackle Terrence Knighton to step right in.


Seattle Seahawks: A+

Of course i give my team an A+, It is avery Biased Decision!

The selection of OLB Aaron Curry was huge because he helps secure the edges, which is important with the way coach Jim Mora designs his defense. Adding Max Unger was another solid pick because he can play any position on the line. That versatility is key in the zone-blocking scheme the team will utilize. Seattle’s existing roster was good and getting this type of talent will help right away and down the line.


Baltimore Ravens: B

Though tempted to pursue a wide receiver, the Ravens stick to their highly successful draft formula and move up to select OT Michael Oher, who was chosen for the long haul — like so many other draft picks before him. The Ravens don’t need much immediate help, which is why the selection of gonzo DE/OLB Paul Kruger from Utah was another deft pick.


Cincinnati Bengals: B

The Bengals are this draft’s boom-or-bust team. If they hit on OT Andre Smith and MLB Rey Maualuga and get anything from DE Michael Johnson and flex-TE Chase Coffman, they could be in the thick of things in the tough AFC North. These are players who can get on the field right away and establish themselves for the long haul. Each of these guys has blemishes, though, and if any warts arise, the Bengals will continue to be mocked drafters.


Pittsburgh Steelers: B

The Steelers really didn’t have a need, other than upgrading the offensive line, which they did with second pick Kraig Urbik. The selection of DL Ziggy Hood, with projections he’ll move to DE from DT, is consistent with the philosophy of developing talent to step in a year or two from now.


Arizona Cardinals: B-

Tailback Beanie Wells gives the Cardinals another pair of young, hard-churning legs to pair with second-year TB Tim Hightower. DE Cody Brown addresses a need. Where Arizona might have done its best work, though, is in the middle rounds, where developmental players S Rashad Johnson, OG Herman Johnson and CB Greg Toler could emerge as sound fixtures in the future.


Carolina Panthers: B-

With no first-round pick, the Panthers finagled their way to DE Everette Brown in the second round, then plucked a possible sleeper in safety Sherrod Martin from Troy, who could be moved to CB. It was another solid draft in the middle rounds for the Panthers, especially when considering the selection of Oklahoma’s massive guard Duke Robinson in the fifth round.


Detroit Lions: B-

The selection of a franchise quarterback is a crapshoot, but Matthew Stafford could be worth the gamble. Adding a safety (Louis Delmas) and a tight end (Brandon Pettigrew) doesn’t seem like the best segue to bring a young quarterback along, but the plan could be to solidify other spots on the talent-depraved roster before Stafford takes a meaningful snap. The third-round pick of KR/WR Derrick Williams could prove huge as a sound defense and solid special teams are a young quarterback’s good friends.


Indianapolis Colts: B-

The first-round selection of RB Donald Brown was another sign that GM Bill Polian knows a lot more than most of us. Depth at the position and the long-term future of Joseph Addai are question marks, so Polian nabs the next versatile, smart tailback in a line of very good ones. The selection of massive USC DT Fili Moala in the second round filled a gaping need. Anything the Colts get from there is a bonus and a sleeper is always in the group each year.

» Colts’ draft picks | What are your thoughts?


Miami Dolphins: B-

The Dolphins corralled one of the most athletic draft classes, in large part because of the abundance of skilled position choices. CB Vontae Davis is a big cover corner who could benefit from the pressure applied by OLB Joey Porter. QB/WR Pat White gives the creative offense the ultimate versatile — and competitive — weapon. FS Chris Clemons from Clemson, a late-round pick, could emerge as a solid player.


New England Patriots: B-

The Patriots didn’t need any Day 1 starters, so they traded back and may have landed three potential starters or rotational players in Round 2: SS Patrick Chung, CB Darius Butler and DT Ron Brace. And, what do you know? They took a quarterback in the seventh round, except Julian Edelman out of Kent is a slash type who could develop into the latest late-round QB to make a name for himself with the Patriots.


New Orleans Saints: B-

With only four picks, the Saints stayed on course and used three on defense and one on punter Thomas Morsted. CB Malcolm Jenkins was a solid first-round pick, even if he has to eventually be moved to safety. Linebacker Stanley Arnoux and safety Chip Vaughn, both from Wake Forest, can develop into starters and be special teams aces in the meantime. The team drafted a solid nucleus of defenders for the future.


New York Jets: B-

The splash team of the draft. Trading up 12 spots to get to QB Mark Sanchez showed how bold this team is. Odds are they want to get Sanchez on the field right away; otherwise, they wouldn’t have made such a move to get him — including dealing Brett Ratliff, who was expected to contend for the starting job. With only two other picks, the selection of Iowa running back Shonn Greene was another solid get. This draft was about immediate production, although Sanchez is expected to be more than a Brett Favre quick fix.


San Diego Chargers: B-

The Chargers’ first four picks were interior players, evenly split on both sides of the ball. English seemed to have come off the board earlier than expected, but of the hybrid DE/OLBs he’s probably the most stout against the run and has the most upside. DT Vaughn Martin, although a solid value, is the draft’s biggest mystery. He has all the measurables, but he played in Canada and didn’t dominate. If Martin lives up to his physical promise, GM A.J. Smith looks like a genius again. RB Gartrell Johnson is the pile mover the Chargers lacked.


Atlanta Falcons: C+

High draft picks in each round presented the Falcons the ability to hit on nearly every round in 2008. Selecting late in each round in this year’s draft allowed them to land need players DT Peria Jerry and S William Moore in the first two rounds, but there are still holes on defense. The mid-round selection of Richmond OLB Lawrence Sidbury gives the Falcons a situational pass rusher, but there might not be an abundance of players in this draft who will develop into long-time contributors.


Buffalo Bills: C+

With four picks in the first two rounds, the Bills drafted for high-motor, nasty players, starting with OLB Aaron Maybin. However, they failed to draft a tackle after trading Jason Peters to Philadelphia. C Eric Wood is a bulldog and Andy Levitre could move to tackle, although he was projected to play guard. TE Shawn Nelson could be a very solid player for years to come, but coach Dick Jauron needs to win this season and some of these players have to be contributors right away.


Chicago Bears: C+

With no pick before the third round because of the Jay Cutler trade, the Bears made out well, nabbing a talented player at a position of need, DE Jarron Gilbert. They may not have drafted the standout wide receiver they need, but they may have landed a very good one for years to come in Oklahoma’s Juaquin Iglesias.


Kansas City Chiefs: C+

Like the Rams, this roster is being overhauled, so the draft picks will be asked to contribute early and learn on the job. The Chiefs properly addressed the defense with DE Tyson Jackson, DT Alex Magee and CB Donald Washington with the first three picks. Look for defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast to turn last season’s first-rounder, DT Glenn Dorsey, into a Darnell Dockett-like hellion. The offense could be an issue, but coach Todd Haley is about as creative a play designer and caller as there is.


Minnesota Vikings: C+

The Vikings don’t have a lot of holes on their roster outside of quarterback, so the first-round selection of WR/RB/KR Percy Harvin was a bold pick, which could give Minnesota two of the most explosive offensive players in the NFL (RB Adrian Peterson being the other). Coach Brad Childress needs to get the Vikes to the next level, and adding a second game-changer who can play right away could make a difference. Massive OT Phil Loadholt could step in at RT, where help also is needed.


St. Louis Rams: C+

There is no quick fix, so building the team from the guts out is a formula most successful teams have taken. OT Jason Smith was an almost slam-dunk pick, as was MLB James Laurinaitis. The Rams went for size at every position they tabbed. WR Brooks Foster, a fifth-rounder, could be asked to play a lot. St. Louis must add another receiver for the short and long term.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C+

The rebuilding Buccaneers drafted for the future, moving up two spots to select Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. He is a developmental player who might not take the field this year. DT Roy Miller, a third-round pick from Texas, is likely the only draft pick who will get significant playing time this season. If Freeman pans out, this could prove to be a solid draft.


Tennessee Titans: C+

With few holes to plug, the Titans went after one it had when they took Rutgers WR Kenny Britt in the first round. Auburn DT Sen’Derrick Marks will provide rotational help. The fifth-round choice of Michigan State running back Javon Ringer provides the run-heavy team depth and a productive player with a different style than speedster Chris Johnson and bull LenDale White.


Denver Broncos: C

The Broncos came out of the early rounds with some of the best talent in the draft. It just might not have been at positions they needed to address. TB Knowshon Moreno will bring people to the stadium, but he better score a lot of touchdowns because the defense could still be suspect. DE/OLB Robert Ayers is a big-time pass rusher, but the troubled D-line wasn’t addressed with any of the remaining eight picks.


San Francisco 49ers: C

The 49ers couldn’t have been more surprised to have WR Michael Crabtree for the taking at No. 10 overall. He was too good to pass up. Hard-running RB Glen Coffee was another solid choice to rotate with Frank Gore. Most of this draft was about depth, not impact, which means San Francisco feels it has some pieces in place.


Washington Redskins: C

After failing to trade up to get Sanchez, the Redskins addressed a major need and nabbed DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, who could be a standout from Day 1 playing next to Albert Haynesworth. The team’s next three picks were on defense too, but all players who likely won’t start. The talent and depth on defense is fine but offensively, players better stay healthy because that side of the ball didn’t get a lot of help for the short or long terms this offseason.


Dallas Cowboys: C-

With no pick until the third round, the Cowboys probably are hoping that none of their rookies has to play right away. OLB Jason Williams and OT Robert Brewster fall in line with the type of player the Cowboys traditionally like to use at those positions. The interesting pick is QB Stephen McGee from Texas A&M. He might be the unusual suspect from this quarterback class who emerges from the shadows.


Oakland Raiders: D

The selection of Darrius Heyward-Bey was the head-scratcher of the draft. You just hope Hayward-Bey realizes it’s not about him, but the franchise that throws everything about scouting — other than the 40-yard-dash-time — into the wind. Thing is, the Raiders needed a wide receiver. Maybe they know something we don’t. Or, maybe they’ll be back drafting in the top 10 next season, and the season after that, etc.

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