It's that time again. Time for all general managers, scouts and fans to hate me.
It's grade time.
|JaMarcus Russell: The right position but the wrong guy for Oakland. (AP)|
So it's time to grade this weekend's draft, too-soon talk be damned.
Gripe. Moan. Complain. Tell me I should be doing something else for a living. But I stick to my convictions, stubbornly sometimes. If I like a player, I mean it. Nobody else's viewpoint will change it.
That impacts these grades.
Just remember one thing: Three years from now, when you can really judge a draft, you can rip me if Brady Quinn stinks. You can rip me if Jamaal Anderson isn't in the Pro Bowl or JaMarcus Russell is the next John Elway.
For now, these grades will have to do.
Bring on the hate.
Best pick: DT Alan Branch, second round. Branch is a player the Cardinals were going to consider at the top of the first round in March. He will play nose in their 3-4.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Buster Davis was a good college player, but he's a small linebacker who has to cover for some limitations.
Second-day gem: Getting tight end Ben Patrick in the seventh round was a good move. He was the third tight end on some lists.
Overall grade: B+. Their first two picks make the draft. I probably would have selected Adrian Peterson over Levi Brown in the first round, but it works for their team.
Best pick: They got the best defensive player in the first round when they took defensive end Jamaal Anderson. He will be a star.
Questionable move: They took receiver Laurent Robinson in the third round when there were better receivers on the board.
Second-day gem: Sixth-round pick David Irons, a corner from Auburn, is one of those feisty players who will find his way onto the roster.
Overall grade: A. They got three quality players in the first three rounds in Anderson, Justin Blalock and Chris Houston. They had a nice first day.
Best pick: It was their first one. Guard Ben Grubbs will be an opening-day starter.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Yamon Figurs can fly, but he's raw as a receiver. If this is for his return skill, taking him that high is a risk.
Second-day gem: Fullback Le'Ron McClain, the team's fourth-round pick, is a road grader as a blocker and should be a starter.
Overall grade: C
Best pick: Taking Marshawn Lynch with their first pick will prove to be a great move. He will be their franchise back for a long time.
Questionable move: I know a lot of people like Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, but I think he's a little stiff. Using a high second-round pick could backfire.
Second-day gem: Running back Dwayne Wright will be the perfect backup to Lynch. He's a real tough inside runner.
Overall grade: C. Lynch makes the grade decent, but the rest of the draft doesn't do a lot for me.
|Wideout Dwayne Jarrett will prove to be a steal. (Getty Images)|
Questionable move: Using a fourth-round pick on 5-8 receiver Ryan Robinson, who is really just a return man.
Second-day gem: Sixth-round pick Tim Shaw was a quality linebacker at Penn State. He's a little stiff, but in the sixth round he makes sense.
Overall grade: B+. Their first three picks --- Jon Beason, Jarrett and Ryan Kalil -- were outstanding. If fourth-round pick Charles Johnson can help the pass rush, this will really be a special draft.
Best pick: They need a weapon in the middle of the field, so taking tight end Greg Olsen with the first pick was a good move.
Questionable move: Using a third-round pick on Garrett Wolfe, a small running back, is risky. They don't need him as a return man.
Second-day gem: Guard Josh Beekman, the team's fourth-round pick, will work in as a starter in two years.
Overall grade: C
Best pick: It might seem like the Bengals don't need a back, but taking Kenny Irons in the second round was a good move. Rudi Johnson has no big-play ability and Chris Perry is always hurt.
Questionable move: They didn't get any help at linebacker, which is a problem on defense.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Marvin White was a big-hitting safety in college who could find his way as a special-teams player.
Overall grade: B-. I like the picks of Leon Hall and Irons, but they didn't get a lot of help in their front seven.
|Romeo Crennel and GM Phil Savage figure to enjoy jumbo left tackle Joe Thomas. (AP)|
Questionable move: Second-round pick Eric Wright has first-round ability, but there are character concerns. This team can't afford to have this pick blow up on them.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Brandon McDonald is a raw corner who made the move from receiver. With some seasoning, he can be a nice cover player.
Overall grade: A+. They get a franchise left tackle and a franchise quarterback. And if Wright can stay out of trouble they got a franchise corner. That's three key pieces.
Best pick: I love Anthony Spencer. Wade Phillips will turn him into another Shawne Merriman, especially teaming with DeMarcus Ware.
Questionable move: Using a third-round pick on converted quarterback Isaiah Stanback is something that will be watched closely. Is he another Antwaan Randle El?
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Doug Free is a quality tackle who will push Flozell Adams to play better.
Overall grade: B. I like Spencer and Free, but third-round pick James Marten probably went a round too high.
Best pick: Getting defensive tackle Marcus Thomas in the fourth round is a steal for this team. He will be a force -- if he stays out of trouble.
Questionable move: They gave up a third-round pick to move up four spots to take Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss. I like him, but they should have stayed put and taken Anthony Spencer.
Second-day gem: Thomas. Think Warren Sapp.
Overall grade: B. They need help on their defensive line and they added three good players, counting end Tim Crowder.
Best pick: I like the choice of Ikaika Alama-Francis, a defensive end from Hawaii. He's a former basketball player, which says a lot about his athletic ability.
Questionable move: For some it's taking another receiver. But if you don't admit your mistakes, you're doomed by them. Taking Calvin Johnson was a good move.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round corner A.J. Davis is a smallish corner who has nice cover skills. He will be a perfect nickel corner.
Overall grade: B-. I like Johnson and second-round picks Alama-Francis and Drew Stanton. The Lions actually did some good things.
Green Bay Packers
Best pick: Justin Harrell. Yes, their first pick. He will be a force in the middle of their line.
Questionable move: Nebraska running back Brandon Jackson is a need pick, but he runs a little upright.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick David Clowney has blazing speed. If he can improve his route running, he could be a nice addition.
Overall grade: B
Best pick: They had to get a defensive tackle who could start, so using a first-round pick on Amobi Okoye was the right thing to do.
Questionable move: Using a third-round pick on receiver Jacoby Jones might have been a little high. He's a raw player with talent, but he's making a big step up from Lane College.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Fred Bennett comes from South Carolina, the same school that produced Texans corner Dunta Robinson. He has good size and could push for a nickel job as a rookie.
Overall grade: C+. I like Okoye, but after that there are a lot of questions.
Best pick: Third-round pick Daymeion Hughes was once considered a first-round talent. Slow times dropped him down, but in the Colts defense they can cover that up.
Questionable move: Trading up in the second round to take Arkansas tackle Tony Ugoh is a reach. He has tools, but he won't be playing for at least two years.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Michael Coe is a raw corner from Alabama State who showed well when he went to the Senior Bowl.
Overall grade: B+. I love the pick of receiver Anthony Gonzalez in the first round and they added a lot of quality players in the other rounds. They had a nice draft.
Best pick: They wanted safety Reggie Nelson and they got him -- plus added picks by trading down. Nelson can be a lot like Ed Reed.
Questionable move: Taking punter Adam Podlesh with the second pick of the fourth round. Chris Hanson struggled last year, but this is high for a punter.
Second-day gem: Safety Josh Gattis, who went in the fifth round, will be a special-teams star. He can hit and he can tackle.
Overall grade: B-. I like the pick of Nelson, and they added picks in doing so, but after that there are some question marks. Second-round pick Justin Durant went higher than expected.
Kansas City Chiefs
Best pick: Second-round pick Turk McBride will be a surprise player on the next level, maybe even a Pro Bowl player.
Questionable move: They didn't get a corner. Ty Law and Patrick Surtain are getting up in the years.
Second-day gem: Running back Kolby Smith, a fifth-round pick, should be able to make the team as a backup and special-teams player.
Overall grade: B-. I like Dwayne Bowe in the first round, and getting McBride will pay off, but not taking a corner hurts.
Best pick: Second-round center Samson Satele is a power player who will help upgrade an offensive line that needs it.
Questionable move: Passing on Brady Quinn in the first round to take Ted Ginn. It’s not that Ginn isn't a good player, but Quinn is the best quarterback in the draft. They made amends getting John Beck in the second round.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Paul Soliai is a wide-body nose tackle who will help stuff the run.
Overall grade: B. Beck will be a good player, so passing on Quinn might turn out OK. Is Ginn really worth the ninth pick?
Best pick: Third-round pick Marcus McCauley was once considered a first-round talent. He will push for the nickel job.
Questionable move: Passing on Brady Quinn in the first round. I love Adrian Peterson, but who will throw the football?
Second-day gem: Sixth-round pick Rufus Alexander was a tackling machine at Oklahoma. Getting him that late is a nice pick.
Overall grade: B. They drafted good players, but they didn't get a quarterback, which is why the grade isn't an A. Tarvaris Jackson better be a star.
New England Patriots
Best pick: Trading a fourth-round pick for Randy Moss. Can you believe it?
Questionable move: First-round pick Brandon Meriweather is a good player, but there are some character issues.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Kareem Brown is a power tackle who will help back up Vince Wilfork on the nose.
Overall grade: A. Why? They get Moss, get a good player in Meriweather and they traded their second first-round pick for San Francisco's No. 1 next year, which should be higher. They get it.
New Orleans Saints
Best pick: Third-round pick Andy Alleman, a guard from Akron, is a tough guy who will find a spot in the lineup in a year or two.
Questionable move: Not drafting a defensive tackle. They need help in the middle.
Second-day gem: Running back Antonio Pittman. He wasn't a need pick, but the value was too great in the fifth round.
Overall grade: B. I like Robert Meachem in the first round, but third-round pick Usama Young might have been a reach in the third round.
New York Giants
Best pick: Taking Steve Smith in the second round was a great move. Smith is an underrated receiver who will eventually be a 60-catch player.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Jay Alford was a bit of a reach. He's never been a dominant player.
Second-day gem: Tight end Kevin Boss, a fifth-round pick, has some nice size and speed. He doesn't need to be a starter, but as a backup he could help.
Overall grade: B-. I like the first two picks in Aaron Ross and Smith. The rest wasn't real exciting.
New York Jets
Best pick: Getting linebacker David Harris in the second round will prove to be a great move. They did give up picks to get him, though.
Questionable move: Giving up all their picks to get two players is a risky move for a young team. Are they close to a Super Bowl? I don't think so.
Second-day gem: Sixth-round pick Jacob Bender had a good day against Rams first-round pick Adam Carriker when he faced him. He's a project, but he's worth a look.
Overall grade: C. They got two good football players in first-round pick Darrelle Revis and David Harris, but are they a team that is just two players away? They gave up a lot to move up to get them.
Best pick: I like fourth-round pick Mario Henderson out of Florida State. He is a tackle with good feet who will get better as he gets stronger.
Questionable move: They needed a quarterback, but they picked the wrong one. They fell in love with the big arm of JaMarcus Russell.
Second-day gem: Running back Michael Bush, the first player taken on the second day, will be a star. He will be a steal here.
Overall grade: B+. They drafted a lot of good football players. If Russell is who they think he is, this will be an outstanding draft.
Best pick: I love the pick of running back Tony Hunt in the third round. He is a pound-it runner who will help spell Brian Westbrook.
Questionable move: Taking Kevin Kolb in the second round. They have a slew of backups behind Donovan McNabb, and this was a bit early.
Second-day gem: Tight end Brent Celek, the fifth-round pick, has some skills. Just take a peek at his 83-yard catch for a score against Rutgers last year.
Overall grade: C. They traded out of the first round, so their first pick was a quarterback who will be fourth on the depth chart when camp opens. I did like Victor Abiamiri later in the second round.
Best pick: Second-round pick LaMarr Woodley is a guy who will help pressure the quarterback.
Questionable move: Trading up in the fourth round to take punter Daniel Sepulveda. He's a punter, guys.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Ryan McBean, a defensive tackle from Oklahoma State, is a perfect combo player for the Steelers since they will use a 3-4 and a 4-3.
Overall grade: B-. The key to their draft will be how Lawrence Timmons fills in for Joey Porter. He can be an explosive player.
St. Louis Rams
|Adam Carriker fills a major need for the Rams. (AP)|
Questionable move: I liked Brian Leonard as a player, but do the Rams really need a running back? They should have taken USC center Ryan Kalil with this pick.
Second-day gem: Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, a fifth-round pick, is a tough guy who will help the line rotation.
Overall grade: B-. They got help at key spots -- defensive line, corner and center -- but taking Leonard, who I like, is a luxury for a team with Steven Jackson.
San Diego Chargers
Best pick: Third-round pick Anthony Waters, a linebacker from Clemson, could be a huge steal. He missed almost all of 2006 with a torn ACL, but he's expected to be healthy when camp opens. He's a thumper.
Questionable move: Trading away so many picks to move up to take safety Eric Weddle in the second round. He's a good player, but they gave up a lot.
Second-day gem: Tight end Scott Chandler will be a good second tight end to Antonio Gates. There was nice value for the fourth round.
Overall grade: C. I didn't like the pick of Craig Davis in the first round and they gave up too much for Weddle. But they needed help at those spots.
San Francisco 49ers
Best pick: I love the pick of Jason Hill in the third round. He will be a starting receiver by mid-season.
Questionable move: Moving back up into the first round to get tackle Joe Staley. He's a good player, but was he worth the picks?
Second-day gem: Corner Tarell Brown from Texas is a good player who should have gone higher than the fifth round, but character issues drove him down.
Overall grade: A. They drafted a lot of really good football players. The scouting staff deserves big props.
Best pick: Third-round pick Brandon Mebane is a 305-pound defensive tackle who will help the run defense.
Questionable move: Trading this year's first-round pick to New England for receiver Deion Branch. He has to show more than he did last year for this to be worth it.
Second-day gem: Defensive end Baraka Atkins has a chance to develop into a quality player.
Overall grade: D. I don't think the trade for Branch was a good thing, and the draft didn't bring a lot of immediate help.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best pick: Getting safety Sabby Piscitelli in the second round is a great pick. He will be an impact safety for a long time.
Questionable move: Fourth-round pick Tanard Jackson from Syracuse has some character issues. If he can stay out of trouble, he's a good pick.
Second-day gem: The scouts that know say sixth-round pick Adam Hayward can be a starter.
Overall grade: A. They needed a lot of good players, and they got them. Nice job by Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden.
Best pick: Third-round pick Paul Williams has big-time speed. He could become Vince Young's go-to guy.
Questionable move: Chris Henry has the tools, but he was never that productive a runner in college. Using a second-round pick on him is speculative.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Antonio Johnson will be a force in the middle of their defense in a couple of years. They got a real steal there.
Overall grade: C. I didn't really like the first-round pick of Michael Griffin or the second-round pick of Henry, but they got some players in the rounds after that.
Best pick: Sixth-round pick H.B. Blades may be short, but he knows how to get to the football.
Questionable move: I think they over-drafted LaRon Landry. They needed defensive line help and would have been better off with Jamaal Anderson.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Dallas Sartz will be a good special-teams player and could eventually develop into a starting linebacker. I like the way he plays.
Overall grade: D. Landry will start, but that's about all they'll get in 2007 from this draft. They didn't have enough picks.