The course work won't be completed for three years, but that doesn't mean we can't still give a grade.
When it comes to truly grading the NFL Draft, it's usually a three-year process. But given immediate fan needs, and for the simple fun of it, it's time to give out the report cards for this year's draft.
There's a surprise team taking home valedictorian honors.
|First-rounders Kevin Jones and Roy Williams are part of a draft coup for Matt Millen (right).(AP)|
He got his top-rated player in the seventh spot in receiver Roy Williams, trading down a pick to do so and adding a second, then moved back up in the first round to get the best running back on the board in Kevin Jones.
Combine those two with receiver Charles Rogers and quarterback Joey Harrington and the Lions and coach Steve Mariucci have the makings of one heck of an offense.
The next three picks after that were used on defensive players, including linebacker Teddy Lehman, corner Keith Smith and linebacker Alex Lewis. The common denominator for the three is they all can run.
Even sixth-round pick Kelly Butler, a tackle from Purdue, is a heck of choice.
The Lions are definitely taking a step in the right direction, and there's no way they can get anything but an A+ for this draft, the only team to earn that mark from this teacher.
There were a handful of other As, mostly Bs and Cs and one D. There are no Fs in large part because these grades are given long before the course load is complete.
Check back in a couple of years.
Then you'll probably see a couple of Fs.
Best pick: They wanted a premier corner, and the guy they wanted fell to them at eight in DeAngelo Hall. He's an immediate starter.
Questionable move: We like the move to move up to get receiver Michael Jenkins at the end of the first round, but some will question it.
Steal: Running back Quincy Wilson, the seventh-round pick, is a tough, hard-nosed runner who runs over people. The Falcons will like this kid.
Overall grade: A. Getting Hall is what they wanted, and then trading up to get Jenkins is a key for the offense.
Best pick: Third-round pick Darnell Dockett has first-round ability, but character questions pushed him down. Watch how good he becomes.
Questionable move: Larry Fitzgerald is special and will be a productive receiver, but how did they pass on a quarterback? Risky move.
Steal: Sixth-round pick Nick Leckey is a quality center who will gain weight and could develop into a solid starter.
Overall grade: B. Is passing on a quarterback like Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger going to bite them in the butt?
Best pick: Trading their first-round pick this year to draft quarterback Kyle Boller last year. If they kept the pick, the quarterback left would have been J.P. Losman. Boller is better than Losman.
Questionable move: Not moving up to get LSU receiver Devery Henderson might be something they regret.
Steal: Sixth-round pick Clarence Moore is a big receiver who can run and has played against some top corners, even though he's from Northern Arizona.
Overall grade: C-. Not enough picks to give them anything but this grade, but Boller has to factor in some, too.
Best pick: Tim Anderson, a third-round tackle from Ohio State, is a power player who gives his all every play. He will fit in perfectly with the blue-collar Bills fans.
Questionable move: Trading so many picks to get J.P. Losman is a risky, risky move. Why not wait until next year to get a passer?
Steal: Fourth-round pick Tim Euhus is a pass-catching tight end who showed well in Oregon State's passing attack.
Overall grade: C-. The first two picks will be scrutinized closely, especially Lee Evans and his knee.
Best pick: Cornerback Chris Gamble is a raw player, but he will develop into a star corner. Just wait and see.
Questionable move: None.
Steal: Saying a second-round pick is a steal is unusual, but the Panthers should be thrilled getting Southern California receiver Keary Colbert late in the second round. That will pay off big.
Overall grade: A. Love their first two picks, and both will become quality starters.
Best pick: Fifth-round pick Claude Harriott was talked about as a potential first-round pick before this year. Getting him late could work out.
Questionable move: They liked first-round pick Tommie Harris more than Vince Wilfork, but down the road this is a decision that we think might backfire.
Steal: Cornerback Nathan Vasher, their first fourth-round pick, was once considered second-round talent. He's a little small, but he's a quality player.
Overall grade: B. Getting Harris is a good pick, as is Vasher, but second-round pick Terry Johnson is a risk.
Best pick: Fourth-round pick Matthias Askew, a tackle out of Michigan State, has first-round ability, but he's raw. He will become a quality starter early.
Questionable move: With Kevin Jones still on the board, the Bengals opted to take Chris Perry. He will be an effective back, but why not a corner in the first round?
Steal: Third-round pick Caleb Miller from Arkansas is a tough, physical player who will make his mark on special teams first and then become a starter.
Overall grade: B-. They had a lot of picks, which is good, but did they really use them the best they could? Perry is not better than Jones.
Best pick: Making the move up to get Kellen Winslow Jr. will pay off in a big way. He was the best player in this draft.
Questionable move: Giving up a second-round pick to get Winslow could be worth it, but that's a premium to move up just one spot.
Steal: Luke McCown, the fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, could be the quarterback of the future.
Overall grade: B. Getting Winslow, the best player, is a plus, but the rest of the draft is a little uninspiring.
Best pick: Trading down and still getting Notre Dame running back Julius Jones in the second round was a good move. Jones is a favorite here.
Questionable move: Passing on Virginia Tech runner Kevin Jones in the first round, since he was the guy they wanted. But when Buffalo offered a first-round pick next year to move, they had to make the deal.
Steal: Don't be shocked to see third-round pick Stephen Peterman on the field before second-round pick Jacob Rogers.
Overall grade: B. Getting a first-round pick in next year's draft was a big plus, but if Kevin Jones becomes a star, they might regret the move.
Best pick: Second-round running back Tatum Bell has the speed to become an effective force and compete to take over for Clinton Portis.
Questionable move: Passing on Steven Jackson and Kevin Jones in the first round to take linebacker D.J. Williams will be questioned, although getting Bell helps ease it.
Steal: Third-round pick Jeremy LeSueur, a corner from Michigan, is a quality player who could help as a nickel back early.
Overall grade: B+. This draft will hinge on whether Tatum Bell can become a quality starter.
Best pick: Getting Kevin Jones late in the first round is just what this team needs. He will be a star.
Questionable move: Surprisingly, there weren't any.
Steal: Second-round pick Teddy Lehman, a linebacker from Oklahoma, is going to be Pro Bowl player. Love the way he plays.
Overall grade: A+. Yes, Matt Millen deserves credit for this draft. They get a big-time receiver in Roy Williams, a star runner in Jones and fill some holes later on. This was a great draft.
Best pick: Their first pick was their best one. Corner Ahmad Carroll might be an immediate starter if Mike McKenzie gets traded.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Donnell Washington has a big body, which the Packers need on the defensive line, but a lot of teams think he's a major underachiever.
Steal: Third-round pick Joey Thomas, a corner from Montana State, is a guy many teams thought would go in the second round.
Overall grade: B-. Getting two corners in the first three rounds fills a pressing need.
Best pick: Staying at No. 10 and getting corner Dunta Robinson will allow them to move Marcus Coleman to free safety.
Questionable move: Trading away all those picks to move back into the first round to take outside linebacker Jason Babin is big-time questionable.
Steal: Sixth-round corner Vontez Duff has been a productive player for Notre Dame and could fill a role in the nickel.
Overall grade: C. Trading those picks to get Babin means he has to be a 14-sack player for that to be worth it.
Best pick: Fourth-round pick Kendyll Pope is a smallish linebacker who fits in perfectly with what the Colts and Tony Dungy want to do on defense.
Questionable move: Using a second-round pick on safety Bob Sanders is questionable because he is only 5-feet-8. If he starts next to Mike Doss, the Colts will have two short safeties.
Steal: Cornerback Von Hutchins is a real value in the sixth round. He can play safety and corner and should help on special teams.
Overall grade: C. Sanders is a good player, but the rest of the draft has a lot of proving to do, especially on a defense that needs help.
Best pick: Second-round pick Daryl Smith, a linebacker from Georgia Tech, could be a rookie starter in the middle of the defense, allowing Mike Peterson to go to weak-side linebacker.
Questionable move: How does a team with Fred Taylor as a starter and LaBrandon Toefield move up to use a second-round pick on Greg Jones? That one makes no sense.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Anthony Maddox, a defensive tackle from Delta State, is a player the Jaguars are really excited about getting. He was supposed to go Florida State but didn't have the grades and wound up at Delta State. They think they have a steal.
Overall grade: B-. Don't like the move up to get Jones, but the first two picks were quality.
Best pick: Keyaron Fox, a third-round pick, will help on special teams for a year and then maybe push for time. He's fast and active.
Questionable move: Second-round pick Junior Siavii fills a need, but they would have been better off taking Dockett.
Steal: Love the pick of Oregon receiver Samie Parker in the fourth round. He can fly, and could see the field as a rookie. He's also a quality return man.
Overall grade: D. Trading out of the first round was not put to good use by this team.
Best pick: Will Poole had been considered a first-round talent, but some character issues and a poor 40 time dropped him down. That could motivate him to be a heck of a player.
Questionable move: Getting offensive lineman Vernon Carey is a good move, but trading away a fourth-round pick to move one spot might have been too high a price.
Steal: Remember the name Tony Bua. This fifth-round linebacker/safety will be a special-teams monster. We love this guy.
Overall grade: B. Carey is a need pick, while Poole had too much value, even for a team that is loaded at corner.
Best pick: Third-round pick Darrion Scott, a defensive end from Ohio State, was a productive player in the Big Ten for a good defense.
Questionable move: Taking Kenechi Udeze in the first round is a worry because of his shoulder concerns. If healthy, it's a heck of a pick.
Steal: Rod Davis, a fifth-round pick from Southern Miss, has the speed the Vikings want from their linebackers.
Overall grade: B-. If Udeze works out, then this grade could go higher. If not, it's way lower.
Best pick: They stayed at No. 21 in the first round and ended up with Vince Wilfork, the top-rated defensive tackle on our board. He will play, and play well, as a rookie.
Questionable move: Taking tight end Ben Watson from Georgia at the end of the first round is questionable because he's a little soft, and tight end isn't a need.
Steal: Third-round pick Marquise Hill has the ability to become an effective pass rusher. They hit on Jarvis Green from LSU a couple of years ago, so they go back to the well.
Overall grade: B+. Scott Pioli and his scouts know how to find good football players. Ben Watson went too high to give this an A.
Best pick: The Saints wanted to upgrade wide receiver, and getting Devery Henderson in the second round gives them a big-play threat. He's the guy they wanted, too.
Questionable move: They did not get a corner with their first three picks, and that's still a position of concern.
Steal: Getting first-round pick Will Smith, a player they had rated 11th, in the 18th spot is a good move.
Overall grade: B+. They got value in Smith and need in Henderson.
Questionable move: Giving up all those picks to get Eli Manning will be a move that is dissected for years to come.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Reggie Torbor is a smallish pass rusher who could develop into a situational player early in his career.
Overall grade: B. We like the picks, but they gave up too much for Manning.
Best pick: Their first pick was their best. Getting a quality middle linebacker like Jonathan Vilma was a terrific move.
Questionable move: They needed a corner, but getting Derrick Strait, who doesn't run that well, is not the way they should have gone.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Adrian Jones is a tackle on the rise after playing some tight end early in his career. When he puts on some bulk, he could be a replacement for Kareem McKenzie.
Overall grade: C. Picking Vilma was a good move, but there are still corner worries.
Best pick: Robert Gallery, second overall, is the cleanest pick in the entire draft. Will be a 10-year starter and Pro Bowl regular.
Questionable move: They didn't really make any, other than not getting a receiver earlier than the fourth round.
Steal: Stuart Schwiegert, a third-round safety from Purdue, has the range and speed needed to play the position. He has second-round talent.
Overall grade: B+. They did a great job of adding quality football players, led by Gallery.
Best pick: Cornerback Matt Ware, their third-round choice, fills a need and is a bigger corner, which the Eagles do not have.
Questionable move: Trading up to take Shawn Andrews, a player who has struggled with his weight, is a weird move for a team this close. They needed help elsewhere, not a pick for the future.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Thomas Tapeh will become an effective part of the running game at some point in the next two years. He can play fullback or halfback.
Overall grade: C. The move to get Andrews is the reason this grade is lower. Didn't like it.
Best pick: They had to get a quarterback for the future, and staying put at No. 11 and getting Ben Roethlisberger was a great move. He will be a quality starter in a year.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Max Starks was a bit of a reach when the Steelers took him with the 75th pick.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Nathaniel Adibi is a pure pass rusher who will be perfect as a 3-4 linebacker in this defense.
Overall grade: B. Getting their franchise passer and not having to move up to do it helps this grade in a big way.
Best pick: Making a small move up to get Marshall Faulk's eventual replacement in Steven Jackson was a good move for the long term.
Questionable move: Not taking a defensive end in the first round might bite them now that Leonard Little is facing legal woes.
Steal: Sixth-round pick Jeff Smoker, provided he keeps his life in check, will be a steal for the Rams. He can play.
Overall grade: C+. We like Jackson, but will he help now?
Best pick: Trading for quarterback Philip Rivers will be a move the Chargers will look back on and be glad they made.
Questionable move: Using a third-round pick on a kicker, even one as good as Iowa's Nate Kaeding, is always risky.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Shaun Phillips, a defensive end from Purdue, will be an edge rusher who improves as he gets bigger.
Overall grade: A. The move to get Rivers and get extra picks made this draft for the Chargers.
Best pick: Third-round pick Derrick Hamilton will push first-round pick Rashaun Woods for playing time. He's big and fast.
Questionable move: Using a second-round pick on raw corner Shawntae Spencer, whose stock rose because of 40 times, is a bit risky.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Richard Seigler was a productive tackler in a tough conference in the Pac-10.
Overall grade: B. They moved down and got extra picks, which is what they needed to do. This team has a way to go.
Best pick: They had to get bigger inside on defense and Marcus Tubbs does just that. He is a solid first-round pick.
Questionable move: Using a second-round pick on Florida State linebacker Michael Boulware is a little iffy. His size is a concern.
Steal: Purdue linebacker Niko Koutouvides, the fourth-round pick, will be a special-teams star and potential starter in a year.
Overall grade: C. Tubbs is a good pick, the rest of the draft so-so.
Best pick: We love Michael Clayton, the team's first-round pick. Clayton will be a star.
Questionable move: Not getting a running back for the future with 32-year-old Charlie Garner as the starter is questionable.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Will Allen was a productive safety for a good defense at Ohio State and should push for a job as a rookie.
Overall grade: B-. Getting Clayton is a big plus, and they also drafted for speed on defense.
Best pick: The selection of Hawaii defensive end Travis LaBoy fills a major need with the loss of Jevon Kearse. He is a solid pass rusher to get in the second round.
Questionable move: Ben Troupe, the first of their second-round picks, is a good player, but with Erron Kinney and Shad Meier on board, was he really needed?
Steal: Getting defensive end Antwan Odom in the third round will prove to be another typically good Titans pick.
Overall grade: B+. The Titans moved out of the first round and still had a heck of a draft. They know how to draft.
Best pick: Although it might have been better to get Kellen Winslow, they opted for defense and Sean Taylor. He is a Pro Bowl player in a year.
Questionable move: Never having enough draft picks. They had four, but that's never enough.
Steal: Mark Wilson, a fifth-round pick from California, should benefit from playing for offensive line coach Joe Bugel and could develop into a quality player.
Overall grade: C. Based on getting a player of Taylor's quality, even if Winslow was the better choice.