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2015 NFL DRAFT
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Re-grading the 2008 draft: Wrong about 'Skins, right about Chiefs

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Draft grades on the day a draft ends are about as meaningful as a Reggie Bush tweet.

Just kidding, Reggie -- like you were.

We are asked to grade NFL Drafts the day they end -- hey, it's an era of immediacy -- which opens us up to a lot of criticism and scrutiny.

The only real way to grade a draft is three years after it's over. So that's what I did with the 2008 draft. I looked back and studied each team's draft and re-graded how they did.

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Of the 32 teams, I was surprised how poorly a lot of them did. The A grades I handed out were to five teams. They were the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.

There were three "Fs" given. You'll have to read on to see which teams got that bad grade.

Arizona Cardinals

They did a really nice job with their draft. They landed a top cover corner in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the first round. Then they added starters in the second round (DE Calais Campbell) and seventh round (Brandon Keith) and a part-time starter in running back Tim Hightower in the sixth. Campbell looked to be on the verge of being a big-time player in 2009, but regressed in 2010. That will hold this grade down some. Third-round pick Early Doucet has flashed at times, but injuries have held him back. Fourth-round pick Kenny Iwebema has had some medical issues that have slowed his progress.

Grade now: B
Grade then: B

Atlanta Falcons

They landed their franchise passer in Matt Ryan, which proved to be the right move. I wasn't so sure about that at the time, which looks foolish now. I was wrong. He is the real thing. They traded back into the first round to get Sam Baker to play left tackle. He has been bothered some by injuries and isn't the player the Falcons expected. But he is solid. Second-round linebacker Curtis Lofton has been the starter in the middle for the Falcons since his rookie season. Third-round pick Thomas DeCoud is a quality starting safety, although his play slipped some last season. Fifth-round pick Kroy Biermann is the starting left end. Third-round pick Harry Douglass is the slot receiver. The only miss here was on third-round corner Chevis Jackson, who lacked the speed needed to play nickel corner. This was the building draft for this team.

Grade now: A
Grade then: B

Baltimore Ravens

They did the right thing by trading out of the No. 8 spot to No. 22 and then back up to No. 18 to get Joe Flacco. At the time, it was a questionable move, but one that proved to work out. Flacco isn't a top-tier quarterback yet, but he has the skills. Second-round pick Ray Rice has worked out well. Now the Ravens need to give this running back the ball more. The rest of the draft, which was eight picks, didn't produce another starter. There are some quality backups in linebacker Tavares Gooden and safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, but that's it.

Grade now: B
Grade then: C

Buffalo Bills

The best two picks of their draft both came in the seventh round. That's when they landed starting left tackle Demetrious Bell and top receiver Steve Johnson. That really elevates this draft. That offsets the top two picks, which haven't lived up to the hype. First-round pick Leodis McKelvin starts at corner, but he has been just OK as he has been limited to 23 starts in three seasons, 14 in 2010. Second-round pick James Hardy was released last summer. Fourth-round pick Reggie Corner got two starts at corner last season, but the rest of the class disappointed.

Grade now: C+
Grade then: B-

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers had eight picks, and seven of them are on the roster. The top pick was running back Jonathan Stewart, who has proven to be a dependable runner. Tackle Jeff Otah, the team's other first-round pick that year, missed the 2010 season with injuries. But he was a good player his first two seasons. Third-round picks Charles Godfrey (safety) and Dan Connor (linebacker) both were quality starters last season. Seventh-round pick Geoff Schwartz started 16 games last season on the offensive line, while fellow seventh-round pick Mackenzy Bernadeau got 12 at guard. Sixth-round pick Nick Hayden got 10 starts at defensive tackle. This was a nice draft, although injuries have helped get several of these players on the field.

Grade now: A
Grade then: B-

Chicago Bears

The Bears had 12 picks, but little to show for it. First-round pick Chris Williams was tabbed to be a tackle, but he struggled there and has been moved inside to guard. That's not a good thing. Second-round running back Matt Forte is a starter who had a good rookie season, struggled in 2009 and bounced back to play well in 2010. He's a good pick. None of the other 10 picks started for the Bears in their title-game loss to the Packers. Receiver Earl Bennett (third round) and tight end Kellen Davis (fifth) and corner Zack Bowman (fifth) did play. Two others from this draft, defensive tackle Marcus Harrison and safety Craig Steltz, were on the roster but did not play. They had too many picks not to land more than one quality starter.

Grade now: C-
Grade then: B+

Cincinnati Bengals

First-round pick Keith Rivers is a quality starter, even if he isn't the star the Bengals expected when they took him ninth overall. He is solid, not special. Second-round pick Jerome Simpson was considered a major bust until he showed well late last season. He might be ready for his breakout season. Third-round pick Pat Sims has developed into a nice player at defensive tackle, getting eight starts last season. Receiver Andre Caldwell, another third-round pick, is a decent backup, as is fourth-round pick Anthony Collins, a tackle from Kansas State. If Simpson comes up big in 2011, this draft grade will go higher. For now, it's just average.

Grade now: C
Grade then: C

Cleveland Browns

The Browns traded away their first three picks, so they didn't pick until the fourth round. Those picks were traded to get Brady Quinn the year before and to land defensive tackles Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers. None of those is left on the roster. The Quinn move really set the franchise back. Of the remaining five picks, the only player left on the roster is nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin. He is a good player, but that's it. Now we know why the Browns aren't good right now.

Grade now: F
Grade then: B+

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys had six picks in this draft and five are still with the team. They had two first-round picks in running back Felix Jones and corner Mike Jenkins. Both have had their moments, but not enough. Jenkins was a Pro Bowl player in 2009, but struggled last season. Jones is inconsistent. Tight end Martellus Bennett, a second-round pick, has tons of potential but hasn't used it yet. The best pick might be fifth-round corner Orlando Scandrick, who has started at times but is coming off a good season as a nickel corner.

Grade now: C
Grade then: A

Denver Broncos

The Broncos hit on first-round pick Ryan Clady, who proved to be a top tackle in his first two seasons before struggling some last season as he battled back from major knee surgery. He is still a good pick. Second-round receiver Eddie Royal is a good player who had 10 starts last season and has been productive since he came into the league. Sixth-round pick Spencer Larsen has seen time at both linebacker and fullback and also excels on special teams. Aside from Clady, the best two players from this draft are fifth-round pick Ryan Torain and seventh-round pick Peyton Hillis. Too bad they play for other teams. Torain is now with the Redskins and finished the 2010 season as the team's starting back. Hillis had a huge season for the Browns after being traded to get Quinn. Those were bad moves letting those two leave.

Grade now: C-
Grade then: B

Detroit Lions

The best pick from a weak draft was third-round defensive end Cliff Avril. He starts and is one of the better pass rushers on the roster. First-round pick Gosder Cherilus starts, but he hasn't been as good a tackle as expected. Aside from those two, this class didn't bring much. Third-round pick Kevin Smith produced as a rookie runner, but had just 125 yards last season. He has had knee and shoulder surgeries the past two seasons. Fullback Jerome Felton, drafted in the fifth round, is a steady player at a low-value position.

Grade now: D-
Grade then: B+

Green Bay Packers

The Packers landed their best offensive lineman in guard Josh Sitton in the fifth round of this draft. The third round brought tight end Jermichael Finley, who looked on the verge of being a star before going down early last season. The rest of the draft produced mixed results. The Packers didn't have a first-round pick, trading out to get more picks, and second-round quarterback Brian Brohm was released last year. Jordy Nelson, the other second-round pick, is a good fourth receiver, but little more than that. Second-round corner Patrick Lee is a backup. They did land backup quarterback Matt Flynn in the seventh round. This isn't the draft that put the Packers in the Super Bowl.

Grade now: C
Grade then: B-

Houston Texans

The Texans had seven picks and only one, first-rounder Duane Brown, was a starter last season. Brown is a decent player who improved last season. The Texans blew a pick on third-round corner Antwaun Molden, who hasn't started a game. Running back Steve Slaton, another third-round pick, had a great rookie season but has been a backup since. Fourth-round linebacker Xavier Adibi and seventh-round safety Dominique Barber have started games, but they are mostly backups.

Grade now: D
Grade then: C-

Indianapolis Colts

The best hit of this draft for Bill Polian was sixth-round receiver Pierre Garcon. Coming out of Mount Union College, he has proven to be a nice starter in their offense. The rest of the draft wasn't very good. The Colts traded their first-round pick the year before for the right to draft tackle Tony Ugoh, who is no longer on the roster. Ouch. Guard Mike Pollak, the team's first choice in the second round, has started but he hasn't lived up to expectations. The rest of the group has been primarily made up of backups. Tight end Jacob Tamme, taken in the fourth round, started much of last season for injured Dallas Clark and played well. There isn't much else for Polian to hang his hat on from this draft, although third-round linebacker Phillip Wheeler has started at times.

Grade now: D
Grade then: B-

Jacksonville Jaguars

Their draft has proven to be a disaster. They traded up in the first round to get Derrick Harvey, thinking he would be an elite pass rusher. He has six sacks in three seasons and is considered a bust. Ouch. Second-round pick Quentin Groves, another outside rusher, was traded to the Oakland Raiders and never lived up to expectations. There are no other players on the roster from this draft.

Grade now: F
Grade then: B-

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs cashed in big with this draft. They landed six starters in this draft. That's success. Those picks include star running back Jamaal Charles (third round) and both starting corners in Brandon Flowers (second round) and Brandon Carr (fifth). They took defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with the fifth overall pick and tackle Branden Albert with the 15th pick. Both are starters, even if they are not as dominant as expected. Starting right tackle Barry Richardson came in the sixth round. This was a heck of a draft.

Grade now: A
Grade then: A+

Miami Dolphins

You can give the Dolphins demerits for taking Jake Long with the first pick rather than Matt Ryan. But Long is a good player and they did have a solid draft the rest of the way. They got starting quarterback Chad Henne in the second round and two defensive linemen -- Philip Merling and Kendall Langford -- came in the second and third. The best of the late-round picks is running back Lex Hilliard, who came in the sixth.

Grade now: B-
Grade then: A

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings didn't have a first-round pick, trading it and two third-round picks to land Jared Allen. That move has worked out well. Of their five picks, the only two starters are center John Sullivan (fifth round) and safety Tyrell Johnson (second). Sullivan is a quality starter, while Johnson has been just OK. Fifth-round pick Letroy Guion is a backup defensive tackle.

Grade now: C (counting Allen)
Grade then: B

New England Patriots

The Patriots had seven picks. How many starters did great football mind Bill Belichick land? One. That's not good enough. They did hit on first-round pick Jerod Mayo, who has been a force as an inside linebacker. The rest of the draft produced backups and little else. Fourth-round corner Jonathan Willhite started one game last season. Fifth-round pick Matt Slater is also on the roster. There just aren't enough hits in this draft.

Grade now: C-
Grade then:B+

New Orleans Saints

The Saints had six picks and landed three top-tier starters. That's a good draft. First-round pick Sedrick Ellis has developed into the defensive tackle the Saints thought he would become. He is coming off his best season. Corner Tracy Porter, the team's second-round pick, is a solid starter who had his magical Super Bowl moment two years ago. The best player from this draft is fifth-round pick Carl Nicks. He was a tackle coming out of Nebraska but now might be the best guard in the NFL. The Saints did well in this draft.

Grade now: A
Grade then: B-

New York Giants

The Giants hit on their first three picks. Safety Kenny Phillips, the team's first-round pick, came back from a bad knee injury in 2009 to play well in 2010. Second-round pick Terrell Thomas is a starting corner and third-round pick Mario Manningham is a big part of the passing game as a receiver. Fifth-round pick Jonathan Goff is coming off his best season as a starting linebacker. The Giants had a really nice draft.

Grade now: A
Grade then: A

New York Jets

This is the Vernon Gholston draft. Ugh. He has been one of the biggest draft busts ever. The Jets picked him sixth overall and he hasn't done a thing. He's a big reason why the outside pass rush isn't very good. The rest of this draft didn't produce much either. Dustin Keller, the team's other first-round pick, is a big part of the offense at tight end, but the other five picks have had little impact. Fourth-round corner Dwight Lowery does see time in the nickel package and has started.

Grade now: D-
Grade then: C+

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders had five picks and landed three starters. That's pretty good. The first pick was running back Darren McFadden, who has developed into one of the best backs in the league. The Raiders traded their second- and fifth-round picks to Atlanta for corner DeAngelo Hall, who lasted one season. Oops. They did land starting safety Tyvon Branch in the fourth round and starting defensive end Trevor Scott in the sixth. Backup receiver Chaz Schillens, who has been productive when he has been healthy, came in the seventh. The Raiders got a decent haul from this class. Too bad they made the deal for Hall or the grade could be higher.

Grade now: B
Grade then: B-

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles didn't have a first-round pick, trading it to Carolina for a 2009 first-round pick and some other picks. That pick was traded in 2009 to the Bills for other picks. The Eagles did hit big in the second round of this draft by taking receiver DeSean Jackson. He is one of the game's best big-play receivers. The rest of the draft landed mostly backups. Second-round pick Trevor Laws, a defensive tackle from Notre Dame, has been a disappointment. Fourth-round pick Mike McGlynn started at center last year when Jamaal Jackson went down. Seventh-round pick King Dunlap also started at right tackle because of injuries.

Grade now: C
Grade then: B

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers had seven picks, and landed just one starter. That was top pick Rashard Mendenhall, the team's starting running back. The rest of the draft produced a lot of misses. Second-round receiver Limas Sweed was the biggest of the busts so far. He has seven catches in three seasons and didn't play in 2010 because of a torn Achilles' tendon. Third-round linebacker Bruce Davis, who looked perfect for the Pittsburgh scheme, also flopped and isn't with the team anymore. Fourth-round pick Tony Hills (tackle), fifth-round pick Dennis Dixon (quarterback) and sixth-round pick Ryan Mundy (safety) are all backups still on the roster.

Grade now: C-
Grade then: B

St. Louis Rams

When the Rams picked Chris Long with the second overall pick, a lot of people questioned the move. But Long has developed into one of the team's best defensive players. He might never be a 15-sack player, but he is a good football player. Second-round pick Donnie Avery was a good player his first two seasons, but suffered a major knee injury last year that forced him to miss the season. The rest of the draft produced backups in guard John Greco (third), corner Justin King (fourth) and linebacker David Vobora (seventh). Vobora has started games in his three-year career.

Grade now: C+
Grade then: B

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers had five picks, and only two are left with the team. Corner Antoine Cason, the team's first-round pick, started 15 games last season and is a quality corner. They hit on that one. Third-rounder Jacob Hester has started at fullback and can also fill in as a running back. The Chargers traded a second-round pick to Miami to get receiver Chris Chambers, a move that didn't produce much. Chambers was released last year. The Chargers didn't get much from this draft.

Grade now: C-
Grade then: C

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers blew their first-round pick on defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, who is now with Seattle. He didn't work out in his two years with the 49ers. Second-round pick Chilo Rachal starts at guard, so he's a decent pick. Third-round pick Reggie Smith has started at safety and fifth-round pick Josh Morgan is a starting receiver, making him the best pick of this draft. Seventh-round pick Larry Grant didn't make the 49ers as a rookie, but he has been with the Rams the past three seasons, starting eight games in 2010 at outside linebacker. Ouch.

Grade now: C
Grade then: C

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have very little to show for this draft. They traded first-round pick Lawrence Jackson to the Lions last summer. The best pick was tight end John Carlson, who was a second-round pick. Fourth-round pick Red Bryant opened 2010 as a starter at defensive end, but was lost for the year midway through with a knee injury. Sixth-round running back Justin Forsett has been a contributor as a third-down back.

Grade now: D
Grade then: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This was the last draft before new general manager Mark Dominik took over and it looks like it. First-round pick Aqib Talib is a talent, but he has off-the-field issues that could lead to his being released. That was the book on him coming out, so the Bucs had to know the risk. Second-round pick Dexter Jackson, a receiver, was a big flop and he's no longer on the team. Third-round pick Jeremy Zuttah has started at guard and center in his three seasons, but is more of a guard. He's a decent player. The best pick was sixth-round choice Geno Hayes, a speedy linebacker who has started 16 games the past two seasons. If Talib is set free, the Bucs will have little from the top of this draft, and blowing that Jackson pick really drops the grade.

Grade now: C
Grade then: C+

Tennessee Titans

The Titans surprised a lot of people when they drafted running back Chris Johnson in the first round, but that move has paid off in a big way. He is a star runner, a true big-play back. Second-round pick Jason Jones has been a solid starter, flashing at times, but not quite living up to expectations. Third-round pick Craig Stevens is the team's blocking tight end. The Titans also got backup defensive end William Hayes in the fourth round and backup receiver Lavelle Hawkins in the fifth. Both are still on the roster, but didn't do much last season. Hayes had 1½ sacks and Hawkins had five catches.

Grade now: B-
Grade then: B-

Washington Redskins

This was a horrible draft for the Redskins. They thought they fixed their pass-catching problems with three second-round picks. They took receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly and tight end Fred Davis. The only one to catch a pass for the Redskins last season was Davis, who had 21. Thomas was cut and Kelly missed the season with a hamstring injury. The rest of the draft produced little help. Seventh-round pick Chris Horton started 10 games as a rookie, but five since. Fourth-round corner Justin Tryon impressed last season for the Colts after being traded last summer by the Redskins.

Grade now: F
Grade then: A


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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