You all seem to send more nasty e-mails than usual after my post-draft grades.
NFL personnel men hate the grades more than you.
|Landing Darrelle Revis helps gives the Jets an ace '07 draft. (US Presswire)|
So we do them quickly after the draft.
But the real draft grades come three years later. That's the time it takes for things to play out.
So now it's time to re-grade the 2007 draft.
These grades are ones that count.
The best pick came in the fifth round when they landed receiver Steve Breaston. He will be a starter this year and has been a good No. 3 the past couple of years. That's a steal. Seventh-round tight end Ben Patrick is a solid player when healthy. First-round pick Levi Brown has been a starter at right tackle and will move to the left side this season. He hasn't been as good as his high draft status, but he's solid. Alan Branch, the second-round pick, also hasn't lived up to the hype as a defensive tackle.
The Falcons drafted Jamal Anderson with the eighth overall pick, and he has flopped big time. Like the Falcons, I thought he had a chance to be a pass-rush star. He's now playing inside and has had little impact. Second-round pick Justin Blalock is a starter at left guard and fourth-round pick Stephen Nicholas started last year. The best pick might have been seventh-round running back Jason Snelling. He starts at fullback but showed he can carry the ball last year when injuries hit.
They landed both starting guards Ben Grubbs (first round) and Marshall Yanda (third). That's a good draft there, but they didn't stop. They got fullback Le'Ron McClain in the fourth round and backup linebackers Antwan Barnes and Prescott Burgess in the fourth and sixth rounds. The only disappointment was third-round return man Yamon Figurs. They also got tackle Jared Gaither in the supplemental draft. That means three of their five starting linemen came in 2007.
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At the start of 2009, this looked like it might be a really good draft. But first-round pick Marshawn Lynch had a disappointing 2009 season and will be replaced this year by C.J. Spiller. Second-round pick Paul Posluszny is the best player from this draft. He is a quality starter who keys the Buffalo defense. The third-round pick was quarterback Trent Edwards. He has been a starter at times, but he will be in a fight for the job this summer. It's apparent he isn't the long-term answer. The falloffs by Lynch and Edwards hurt this draft. Seventh-round pick Derek Schouman, a tight end, has starting experience with 17 starts in three seasons.
The Panthers had three picks in the first two rounds and hit on two of them. First-round pick Jon Beason is a Pro Bowl-quality linebacker who is a vital part of the Carolina defense. He has been well worth the pick. Receiver Dwayne Jarrett, the first of two second-round picks, has not. He has three starts and 33 catches in three seasons. Center Ryan Kalil, the other second-round pick, is starting and on the verge of being a Pro Bowl player. Third-round defensive end Charles Johnson will be in the mix to start this year and has a total of 10 sacks the past two seasons. Tight end Dante Rosario, a fifth-round pick, sees action.
The Bears had four picks in the first three rounds and the only one to start a game last season was tight end Greg Olsen. He was taken with the 31st pick in the first round, but even he hasn't lived up to expectations. There was talk of him being traded this offseason. Second-round pick Dan Bazuin hasn't played a game in his career because of two knee surgeries. Nor has third-round pick Michael Okwo. Running back Garrett Wolfe, another third-round pick, has been mostly a special-teams player. The best value pick of this draft might have been fifth-round safety Kevin Payne, who started 21 games the past two seasons. But he will be in a battle to start this year. Now we know why the Bears are where they are now.
The Bengals hit big on first-round pick Leon Hall. He is a top-tier corner they landed with the 18th pick in the first round. He could have been a Pro Bowl player in 2009 and might be this season. He's that good. The rest of the draft produced little. Second-round pick Kenny Irons, a running back, was a bust. The only player of note from the rest of the draft is safety Chinedum Ndukwe, who has started off and on for three years after being a seventh-round pick. The Bengals had seven picks and hit just two.
|Standout Joe Thomas keeps the Browns from a wasted draft. (US Presswire)|
It took a while to get first-round pick Anthony Spencer going, but he looked like a potential Pro Bowl player late last season. He became a factor as a pass rusher at outside linebacker. Doug Free, the projected starting left tackle, came in the fourth round. He didn't start until last season. Fullback Deon Anderson, the team's starter, came in the fifth round of this draft. Safety Alan Ball, a seventh-round pick, had three starts last season and has the inside track at free safety heading into this season. They missed on third-round tackle James Marten, who is now with Chicago. But four starters came from the draft.
The Broncos had four picks in this draft, including the 17th in the first round. That pick was defensive end Jarvis Moss, who has one start and 3½ sacks in his three years. Not good. Second-round pick Tim Crowder is now starting with Tampa Bay. They did hit on fourth-round tackle Ryan Harris, who is their starter on the right side. Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, another fourth-round pick, is a backup. This was a draft expected to fix the Denver defensive line. It didn't come close to that.
The Lions hit big on receiver Calvin Johnson, their first-round pick who went second overall. He is a Pro Bowl-type receiver, whose best football is in front of him. After that, this draft provided little. The best value came from fifth-round pick Manny Ramirez, who started 12 games last year at guard. The Lions had three second-round picks, but only quarterback Drew Stanton is left on the roster. Defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis (Miami) and safety Gerald Alexander (Jacksonville) are no longer with the team. This was another of Matt Millen's wonderful drafts.
The Packers took defensive tackle Justin Harrell in the first round. He has started two games in three seasons and missed last season with a back injury. He has been a major flop. Second-round pick Brandon Jackson has been mainly a backup running back. The best picks are third-rounder James Jones, a receiver, fullback Korey Hall, who came in the sixth round, and kicker Mason Crosby, who also came in the sixth. The last two are starters. Fifth-round pick Allen Barbre did start seven games on the offensive line last season. The miss on Harrell is what really sets this grade back. He was taken with the 16th overall pick. Jackson hasn't done enough either.
The Texans used the 10th pick on defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. He has been a decent starter but nowhere near as good as expected. Second-round pick Jacoby Jones has been more of a return man than a receiver, getting just four starts as a wideout. Third-round pick Fred Bennett has started 17 games in three seasons. The best value came at the bottom of the draft. Sixth-round pick Kasey Studdard started 13 games at left guard in 2009, and seventh-round pick Zac Diles started 12 games at linebacker last season. Studdard took over the guard spot when Chester Pitts went down with an injury. He will be challenged for his job by a handful of players this summer. Okoye has to play better to help their grade.
|Clint Session was a big find for the Colts. (US Presswire)|
The Jaguars had a major miss with their first-round pick. Reggie Nelson, a safety from Florida, was the 25th overall pick. He has been a big-time flop, so much so that there is talk the team could release him this summer. They did land four starters in Rounds 2-5. Linebacker Justin Durant came in the second round, receiver Mike Sims-Walker in the third, punter Adam Podlesh in the fourth and Uche Nwaneri in the fifth. That's good value in those rounds, with Sims-Walker having a chance to be an 85-catch player. The Nelson pick really hurts.
They had seven picks and all they have to show for their draft is one starter (receiver Dwayne Bowe) and backup running back Kolby Smith. That's not a good haul. Bowe, the first-round pick, has been a good player. But the Chiefs blew picks on defensive linemen in the second and third rounds; Turk McBride and Tank Tyler are now with other teams. Smith is a solid backup who has started, so he has some value as a fifth-round pick. But that's it.
The Dolphins had three picks in the first 60, and not one of them is still on the roster. They drafted Ted Ginn Jr. with the ninth overall pick, and he did little before being traded to the 49ers this month. The second-round pick was quarterback John Beck, who is now with Baltimore. He didn't do much for Miami. Third-round pick Samson Satele started the first two seasons with Miami, but was traded to Oakland last year where he started at center. That's 0-for-3. Ouch. The best pick of the draft was seventh-round punter Brandon Fields, who had a great season in 2009. When a punter is your best pick, and you blow a top 10 pick, there's only one grade to give.
|Sidney Rice helps make the Vikes' draft strong. (US Presswire)|
With Bill Belichick's reputation, you would think all of his drafts are great. This one wasn't. They hit on first-round pick Brandon Meriweather, who starts at safety and went to the Pro Bowl last season. But the other picks, all in Rounds 4 or lower, have done almost nothing. Two trades raise the grade here. Belichick traded a second-round pick to Miami for Wes Welker and a fourth-round pick to Oakland for Randy Moss. Talk about stealing. With those trades, the grade goes up to an A, but based on the picks, it's a C.
The Saints had seven picks in the draft and none of them opened 2009 as a starter. Fourth-round pick Jermon Bushrod did start most of the season at left tackle when Jammal Brown went down. First-round pick Robert Meachem started seven games and had a career-high 45 catches in 2009. He looks like he's ready for a bigger role. Third-round pick Usama Young is mostly a backup at corner and guard Andy Alleman, another third-round pick, is now with Indianapolis. The rest of the draft produced little.
This was the draft that helped the Giants win the Super Bowl in 2007. All the draft picks made the team and all eight are still with the team. It was a big hit for general manager Jerry Reese. Top pick Aaron Ross, a corner from Texas, missed most of last season with injuries, but he's a good corner when healthy. Second-round receiver Steve Smith went to the Pro Bowl last season when he led the league in catches. Fifth-round tight end Kevin Boss is a starter and a real steal of this group. Seventh-round safety Michael Johnson has started 30 games the past two seasons, but he will be challenged for his job this season. The Giants also got defensive tackle Jay Alford and running back Ahmad Bradshaw, two quality backups, in this draft. Bradshaw was another seventh-round pick.
The Jets made two bold moves in this draft, trading up to get corner Darrelle Revis and linebacker David Harris. They hit big on both. Revis is the game's best corner right now and has proven to be worth taking in the first round. Harris is one of the league's underrated players, a tackling machine in the inside of the Jets' 3-4 scheme. He makes a lot of big plays. The other two picks are no longer with the Jets, although seventh-round receiver Chansi Stuckey is with the Browns after being traded last year. They landed only two players from this draft, but that's a heck of a duo.
This is the JaMarcus Russell draft. Therefore, it is a disaster. The Raiders had the first overall pick and took Russell. He has been a big flop and they will release him shortly. He never gave himself to the game, and it showed. Second-round pick Zack Miller, a tight end, has been a good starter. With a better quarterback, he'd show more. Third-round pick, tackle Mario Henderson, started 16 games last season, but the Raiders would love to replace him. Johnnie Lee Higgins, another third-round pick, has been a backup receiver and a decent return man. Fourth-round running back Michael Bush has flashed at times as a backup. Fifth-round pick Jay Richardson is a nice backup defensive end. But blowing the Russell pick makes this a really bad draft.
|Kevin Kolb can now make Philly's draft a big score. (US Presswire)|
The Steelers hit big with their first two picks in this draft. They took starting inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the first round and came back to take outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley in the second. Woodley has been the better of the two, going to the Pro Bowl last season. But Timmons was good in his first season as a starter in 2009. The Steelers also got backup tight end Matt Spaeth in the third round, punter Daniel Sepulveda in the fourth round and corner William Gay, who started 14 games in 2009, in the fifth round. Woodley is the player who makes this draft.
You want to know why the Rams picked first this year? Look at the 2007 draft. First-round pick Adam Carriker, the 13th player taken, never lived up to expectations and was traded last week to the Redskins. Second-round pick Brian Leonard was traded to Cincinnati last summer. The only starter the team has from this draft is fourth-round pick Clifton Ryan. He has started 26 games the past two seasons. In fact, he's the only player left from this draft. One player left is why the Rams picked first this year.
The Chargers had six picks in the draft, but only one -- second-round pick Eric Weddle -- is a quality starter. He starts at free safety. The big miss in this draft was first-round pick Craig Davis. As a receiver, he has done little -- in three seasons, he has 30 catches. Fifth-round receiver Legedu Naanee had 24 catches last season as he moved to third on the depth chart. The only other starter from this draft is linebacker Brandon Siler, and he was mostly a backup until taking over in the middle of last season.
|Patrick Willis has produced big-time results in S.F. (US Presswire)|
The Seahawks didn't have a first-round pick, trading it away to the Patriots for Deion Branch. They did get good value for their second-round pick in corner Josh Wilson, who started 13 games last season. He's a solid player. Third-round pick Brandon Mebane was the best pick. He's been a starter since his rookie season at defensive tackle. The rest of the draft produced very little, although seventh-round pick Steve Vallos has eight starts on the offensive line.
The Bucs made a major mistake by taking the late Gaines Adams with the fourth overall pick. He never lived up to expectations and was traded to Chicago for a second-round pick last year before he tragically passed away. Second-round pick Arron Sears was a starting guard before off-field problems forced him to walk away last season. The team cut him this week after he returned in November. Starting safeties Sabby Piscitelli (second round) and Tanard Jackson (fourth round) did come in this draft, as did starting linebacker Quincy Black (third). Backup linebacker Adam Hayward came in the sixth round. They did get some players, but the misses with the first two picks, especially Adams, knocks the grade down.
The Titans took safety Michael Griffin with the 19th pick in the first round. He has been a good player, going to the Pro Bowl in 2008. Second-round pick Chris Henry, a running back who is no longer on the team, and third-round pick Paul Williams, a wideout who has one catch in three seasons, were misses. Fourth-round pick Leroy Harris is expected to start at left guard this season. Fifth-round pick Antonio Johnson starts at defensive tackle for the Colts. The best value pick was sixth-round defensive end Jacob Ford, who had 5½ sacks as a reserve last season.
The Redskins used the sixth pick in the first round on LSU safety LaRon Landry. He has been somewhat of a disappointment. He certainly isn't worth that lofty pick. The rest of the draft produced no starters and only backup linebacker H.B. Blades has done anything of note. He has six starts in his career as a sixth-round pick. The Redskins traded away their second-, third- and fourth-round picks in that draft. Quite frankly, this draft wasn't very good.