Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson has taken a lot of heat recently, much of it justified considering the team's rapid fall from being a playoff contender.
The flame under his seat could cook a steak medium well.
|After an awful 2007 season, Carl Peterson might have redeemed himself with this draft. (US Presswire)|
To say Peterson needed a big draft over the weekend would be an understatement.
He got it.
The Chiefs, thanks to several big trades, including sending defensive end Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings, had a stockpile of picks and they used them well. Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said he wanted six starters from this draft, and his wish might have come true.
Kansas City gets the only A+ grade in my post-draft report card. Up and down the Chiefs draft board, you will find players who will not only start as rookies, but also become dominant players down the road.
Washington is another team that needed and got a big draft. The Redskins have botched their personnel moves in recent years, spending too much money on free agency and too little attention on the draft. They butchered their coaching search and owner Dan Snyder keeps his nose way too deep into the personnel side.
But in his first draft calling the shots, GM Vinny Cerrato nailed it. Like Peterson, he had a good weekend drafting players.
I've been critical of Cerrato in the past, but he deserves to take a bow for what he did Saturday, trading out of the first round and landing three players in the second round that will help the passing game.
The Redskins drafted Michigan State receiver Devin Thomas, USC tight end Fred Davis and Oklahoma receiver Malcolm Kelly in that second round. They said they had first-round grades on all of them. If they did, wow.
It wasn't as good as Kansas City, but they get an A.
The Chiefs' draft started with defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and offensive tackle Branden Albert in the first round and they continued right through the draft. Even sixth-round pick Kevin Robinson, a return man from Utah State, could be an immediate contributor.
From start to finish, the Chiefs cashed in big. That's why they get the only premium grade in this report card.
Maybe the fire will cool under Peterson's behind. Maybe Snyder is actually smiling.
Best pick: They wanted Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and landed him with the 16th pick in the first round. He has the skills to start as a rookie.
Questionable move: Taking Miami defensive end Calais Campbell in the second round. What is he, an end or a tackle? If he's an end, he has to lose weight to become quicker. If he's a tackle, he needs to gain weight.
Second-day gem: Iowa defensive end Kenny Iwebema has injury issues that hurt his production, but when he is on the field he can be a solid defensive end. He could end up being better than Campbell.
Overall grade: B. They addressed the defensive side with three of their first four picks and then got receiver Early Doucet in the third round. Solid.
Best pick: Some questioned their decision to trade back into the first round and get USC tackle Sam Baker, but it was the right move. He was a four-year starter for the Trojans and will be a 10-year starter for the Falcons, beginning as a rookie.
Questionable move: Taking Matt Ryan third overall. If Dorsey goes on to be a star and Ryan isn't the franchise passer they expect, look out.
Second-day gem: LSU corner Chevis Jackson, taken in the third round, doesn't run as well as scouts like, but he has everything else needed to be a successful corner on the next level.
Overall grade: B. I wouldn't have selected Ryan third overall, but they needed a passer. I get it. The rest of the draft was very good. Trading up to get Baker will pay off in a big way. Second-round pick Curtis Lofton is a run-stuffing linebacker and Jackson capped it off.
Best pick: Third-round pick Tavares Gooden was the best defender on a Miami defense that included two players picked higher than him. Ray Lewis has a fellow from The U. he can take under his wing.
Questionable move: Trading up to get quarterback Joe Flacco. They probably could have stayed at 26 and still landed him. Plus, Brian Brohm and Chad Henne were better options.
Second-day gem: Safety Tom Zbikowski, a third-round pick, is one of those players who will find his way onto the field. He will be a special-teams star -- bare minimum.
Overall grade: C. They reached for Flacco and I didn't really like the pick of Ray Rice in the second round.
Best pick: They considered receiver, but opted for corner Leodis McKelvin in the first round. The value of a corner is much greater than a receiver, and they snagged the best cover player in the draft.
Questionable move: They took receiver James Hardy in the second round when Malcolm Kelly was still on the board. Kelly should have been the choice.
Second-day gem: Tight end Derek Fine, taken in the fourth round, can block, which is rare for a tight end these days.
Overall grade: B-.
|To move up to grab Jeff Otah, Carolina dealt a No. 2 and No. 4 this year, and a No. 1 in 2009. (AP)|
Questionable move: A lot of people will question trading their 2009 first-round pick and other choices to move back into the first round to take tackle Jeff Otah. I like it, but it will be questioned.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Gary Barnidge, a tight end from Louisville, is a nice receiving tight end who will help the Panthers passing game.
Overall grade: B-. As much as I like top pick Jonathan Stewart, don't the Panthers have far greater needs than a running back?
Best pick: Third-round pick Marcus Harrison will become a force in the middle of their defense. Some off-field issues prevented him from being a higher selection.
Questionable move: Taking tackle Chris Williams with the 14th pick in the first round came after several teams took him off their boards for medical reasons (back). Chicago better hope that doesn't become a problem.
Second-day gem: I love tight end Kellen Davis, whom the Bears selected in the fifth round. He's a strong, athletic player.
Overall grade: B+. Aside from the questions about Williams, they did a nice job. Harrison will make this draft.
Best pick: First-round pick Keith Rivers will add much-needed speed to a linebacker group that was decimated by injuries last season.
Questionable move: They took three players with character issues in third-round pick Pat Sims, fourth-round pick Anthony Collins and fifth-round pick Jason Shirley. After all they've dealt with in terms of character problems, how could they do that?
Second-day gem: Shirley, a defensive tackle from Fresno State, was dismissed from the Bulldogs last year for disciplinary reasons. When he's on the field, he's a 330-pound power player.
Overall grade: C. After Rivers, their draft has a lot of questions. Taking Coastal Carolina receiver Jerome Simpson in the second round is a risky pick.
Best pick: Fourth-round pick Beau Bell has some character questions, but he's a physical linebacker who has been compared to Jeremiah Trotter.
Questionable move: Trading away their top three picks before the draft started. I like the moves, but some will question them. If Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams don't work out at defensive tackle, they will be ripped for trading the picks.
Second-day gem: Sixth-round defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin was a dominant nose tackle for Iowa State. He can learn behind Rogers.
Overall grade: B+. That counts trading for Brady Quinn, Rogers, Williams and adding the late-day gems.
Best pick: I'm a big fan of Arkansas running back Felix Jones, who went 22nd in the first round. He is a home-run threat every time he touches it.
Questionable move: Hard to find one. They had a good two days, but taking tight end Martellus Bennett in the second round might be it. With Jason Witten on the roster, that was a luxury pick.
Second-day gem: Corner Orlando Scandrick has nice cover skills. Were it not for some attitude questions, he might have been taken higher than the fifth round.
Overall grade: A. With two first-round picks, it was hard to mess things up. Getting corner Mike Jenkins after Jones fills a need.
Best pick: Running back Ryan Torain, taken in the fifth round, has second-round ability but a foot injury dropped his stock. The Broncos will love this kid.
Questionable move: Second-round pick Eddie Royal will give the passing game a speedy receiver who can help Jay Cutler, but did he go too high at No. 42 overall?
Second-day gem: Sixth-round pick Spencer Larsen was a tackling machine at Arizona.
Overall grade: B. They needed a left tackle and got one in the first round in Ryan Clady. The rest of the draft included some nice choices.
Best pick: They have issues at running back, so trading up in the third round to take Central Florida's Kevin Smith was a nice move.
Questionable move: They took Boston College tackle Gosder Cherlius in the first round instead of Jeff Otah, who was still on the board.
Second-day gem: Third-round pick Cliff Avril, a pass rusher from Purdue, is the kind of edge player Rod Marinelli likes.
Overall grade: B+. Give credit to Matt Millen. He added a lot of good football players in this draft. He had a lot of picks and did a nice job with them.
Green Bay Packers
Best pick: Taking quarterback Brian Brohm in the second round will turn out to be a great pick. He will be the starter in a few years.
Questionable move: They drafted Kansas State receiver Jordy Nelson in the second round, higher than most expected. There were also some bigger-name receivers still on the board.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Jeremy Thompson, a defensive end out of Wake Forest, can help liven up the pass rush.
Overall grade: B-. The pick of Brohm brings their grade up. They did add some depth and competition at positions (OL, TE, CB) that needed it.
Best pick: They needed corner help and Antwaun Molden is a small-school player who has man-coverage skills.
Questionable move: Trading down in the first round to take tackle Duane Brown was a shocker, but it does fill a need. He is raw, but he has plenty of athletic ability.
Second-day gem: At one time, fifth-round pick Frank Okam was considered a possible first-day choice. If he can turn up the intensity, he could be a factor at defensive tackle.
Overall grade: C-. Why didn't they just stay put and take tackle Jeff Otah in the first round? They did do better in the middle rounds.
Best pick: Taking Georgia linebacker/defensive end Marcus Howard in the fifth round is a steal. He's perfect for the Colts, who like undersized ends with speed.
Questionable move: Nothing really. They added interior line depth, which they had to have, and selected two tight ends, which they needed.
Second-day gem: Tight end Jacob Tamme, a fourth-round pick, is a converted receiver. The Colts lost Ben Utecht, so they try and replace him with Tamme.
Overall grade: B-. Third-round pick Phillip Wheeler is a typical Colts pick, a linebacker who can run.
Best pick: Trading up to get defensive end Derrick Harvey in the first round was a good move. Based on the value chart, they got the better of the deal with the Ravens. Harvey will be a 10-sack-a-year player soon.
Questionable move: Trading up to get defensive end Quentin Groves in the second round. Groves has some character issues and a lot of scouts think he's more flash than substance.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Thomas Williams didn't start at USC, but he played behind three first-round picks.
Overall grade: B-. Getting Harvey, one of the elite pass rushers, was a bold, aggressive move that fills a huge hole. There wasn't much else.
Kansas City Chiefs
Best pick: They saw Dorsey fall to them with the fifth pick. He was the top player on half the boards in the league.
Questionable move: I like Texas running back Jamaal Charles, but do the Chiefs really need to be using a third-round pick on a back with Larry Johnson on the roster?
Second-day gem: Sixth-round pick Barry Richardson, a tackle out of Clemson, is massive (6-7, 338) and was once considered a first-day possibility.
Overall grade: A+. They had a lot of picks and used them well. Good thing, too. They need a lot of help.
|Meet John Beck, the 2007 version of Miami's quarterback of the future. (US Presswire)|
Questionable move: Not a lot to pick apart. They had a good weekend.
Second-day gem: Sixth-round guard Donald Thomas, a converted defensive tackle, could be a project who can be developed.
Overall grade: A. Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells did a really nice job. Jake Long was the right choice at the top spot. Getting Henne in the second round was the cherry on the sundae.
Best pick: I love the selection of Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson in the second round. He is that speedy safety all teams want.
Questionable move: Trading their first-round pick to get Jared Allen, who has off-the-field issues. What happens if there is a misstep?
Second-day gem: If defensive tackle Letroy Guion can get his weight in check, he could be a steal in the fifth round.
Overall grade: B. Johnson helps the defense and fifth-round pick John David Booty might end up pushing Tarvaris Jackson for the starting quarterback job.
New England Patriots
Best pick: Third-round pick Shawn Crable will be a perfect fit in their 3-4 defense at outside linebacker. He was one of my favorite players entering the draft.
Questionable move: Using a third-round pick on quarterback Kevin O'Connell was a bit strange. Does this mean they don't like Matt Cassel?
Second-day gem: Bo Ruud, a seventh-round linebacker taken out of Nebraska, has a good football pedigree. His father played in the NFL and brother, Barrett, starts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at middle linebacker.
Overall grade: B+. I love the move to take Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo in the first round. He brings speed to a linebacker group that needed it.
New Orleans Saints
Best pick: Their aggression to go up and draft USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis should be lauded. He will be an immediate starter.
Questionable move: I thought they took Indiana corner Tracy Porter too high in the second round. There were better options.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Carl Nicks has some character concerns, but if he stays out of trouble he could develop into a starting-quality player.
Overall grade: B-. Landing Ellis is big, but there are questions about the other picks.
New York Giants
Best pick: Getting Michigan receiver Mario Manningham in the third round will pay off. He has some character issues, but that shouldn't be a problem playing for Tom Coughlin.
Questionable move: Taking Miami safety Kenny Phillips in the first round over Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson. OK, that's nitpicking; both are good players.
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Bryan Kehl, a linebacker from BYU, was rated higher on some boards. The Giants need help at linebacker and Kehl should provide it.
Overall grade: A. This team gets it. Jerry Reese knows how to find quality football players. First-round pick Phillips will start as a rookie.
New York Jets
Best pick: Fifth-round pick Erik Ainge just might push for time in his second year with the team. The Jets aren't exactly loaded at quarterback.
Questionable move: Trading back into the first round to take tight end Dustin Keller will be scrutinized. They need help there, but couldn't they have waited to get one later?
Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Dwight Lowery will probably move to safety on the next level and could be a good one.
Overall grade: C+. I think Vernon Gholston, their top pick, is overrated. Keller will be a nice player, but he was taken too high.
Best pick: Fourth-round pick Tyvon Branch played corner in college at Connecticut but is projected as a safety on the next level.
Questionable move: Taking Darren McFadden with the fourth pick when Dorsey was staring them in the face. They need a lot of help for their run defense.
Second-day gem: Arman Shields, a fourth-round receiver from Richmond, has the speed to possibly work his way into the third-receiver role.
Overall grade: B-. McFadden better be Adrian Peterson or they will take a ton of heat for this draft. Then again, does Al Davis care?
Best pick: Second-round pick DeSean Jackson will become a big-play return man immediately. He could also be a factor in the passing game as a rookie.
Questionable move: Trading out of the first round and not picking until No. 47 in the second round. But they did add Carolina's first-round pick in the 2009 draft to do so.
Second-day gem: Safety Quintin Demps has great speed and coverage skills. Some teams had him ranked third at the safety spot, so he's a bargain in the fourth round.
Overall grade: B. They added a lot of really good football players, including their top pick, defensive tackle Trevor Laws.
Best pick: Landing Texas receiver Limas Sweed in the second round is a bargain. Sweed is the big receiver Ben Roethlisberger wanted.
Questionable move: Taking running back Rashard Mendenhall was good value, and I like the pick, but was it really needed? That's a pick many questioned.
Second-day gem: Third-round pick Bruce Davis is a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker. He played end at UCLA, but watch how good he becomes as an outside linebacker in this system.
Overall grade: B. The first three picks were big producers at big-time programs. That means something.
St. Louis Rams
Best pick: Defensive end Chris Long, the second player taken in the draft, will be a star. He was my top-rated player in the draft.
Questionable move: Passing on Dorsey to take Long. Their careers are now tied together for as long as they play.
Second-day gem: Cornerback Justin King is an athletic corner who didn't always play up to his ability. Maybe defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can get it out of him.
Overall grade: B. I love Long and second-round receiver Donnie Avery is a perfect slot receiver for their offense.
San Diego Chargers
|Antoine Cason will replace Drayton Florence, who bolted the Chargers for the Jaguars. (US Presswire)|
Questionable move: Is third-round pick Jacob Hester a fullback or a running back? If he's the former, he was taken too high. If it's the latter, the question is his speed.
Second-day gem: Fifth-round pick Marcus Thomas is a big back who can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
Overall grade: C. Cason is a good pick, but they got little with their other picks. They also don't need a lot.
San Francisco 49ers
Best pick: Third-round pick Reggie Smith, a corner-safety from Oklahoma, was considered a second-round pick in some mocks leading up to the draft.
Questionable move: They took defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer in the first round and some scouts think he was a one-year wonder.
Second-day gem: Seventh-round pick Larry Grant, a linebacker from Ohio State, will prove to be a steal. He is short; otherwise he would have gone higher.
Overall grade: C. I like second-round pick Chilo Rachal, a guard from USC, better than their first-round pick.
Best pick: Fourth-round pick Red Bryant (6-5, 328), a defensive tackle from Texas A&M, was once considered a possible first-round pick.
Questionable move: Picking Notre Dame tight end John Carlson with Fred Davis on the board is a debatable move.
Second-day gem: Using a fifth-round pick on West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt is one that will pay off. He's a bruising lead blocker.
Overall grade: B-. Taking Lawrence Jackson in the first round might have been a little high, but he can rush the passer. Carlson went too high.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best pick: I like first-round pick Aqib Talib as a player, but can he overcome the character issues? If he does, he's a steal.
Questionable move: They used their second-round pick on speedy receiver Dexter Jackson from Appalachian State when there were more prominent receivers on the board.
Second-day gem: Seventh-round running back Corey Boyd has the tools to make the Tampa Bay roster. He has good size and he's faster than scouts expected.
Overall grade: C+. If Talib turns out to be a star, it will be higher. If he has off-the-field issues, it will go even lower.
|Chris Johnson fills ... what need for Tennessee, exactly? (AP)|
Questionable move: Using their first-round pick on running back Chris Johnson, one year after using a second-round pick on running back Chris Henry. They had more pressing needs.
Second-day gem: Purdue linebacker Stanford Keglar had a great combine workout to help his stock, but he's better than merely a workout warrior.
Overall grade: B-. Johnson is a good player, but he better be a big-play runner. Second-round pick Jason Jones should help the pass rush.
Best pick: Taking Malcolm Kelly in the second round will pay off big. Kelly played much faster than his slower 40 time would indicate.
Questionable move: Trading out of the first round is always questionable, but the Redskins did the right thing. They ended up with more picks and added players they wanted anyway.
Second-day gem: Cornerback Justin Tryon, a fourth-round pick, is small at 5-9, 190 pounds, but he has the speed to play man coverage.
Overall grade: A. I've been critical of a lot of things the Redskins have done, but Vinny Cerrato had an outstanding draft. He should hold his head high.