Imagine being in college, getting handed a test on your first day of a class, and the teacher says he will grade you as stringently as he would later in the semester when you've had time to prove yourself.
|First-round corner Antrel Rolle is part of a big score for the Arizona Cardinals. (AP)|
But we love it.
It takes three years to fully grade these things, but we live in a time of immediacy.
So here goes.
Just remember, there are three more years to make up for that first grade for all the personnel people and coaches who made these picks. That's when the real grades will come from Professor Prisco.
Best pick: Taking corner Antrel Rolle with the first pick was a great move for a team desperate for a corner. Rolle walks into the facility a starter.
Questionable move: We heard all along that Dennis Green loved J.J. Arrington, but at 5-feet-9, can he be a featured back?
Steal: Fourth-round pick Elton Brown, a guard from Virginia, can come in and be an immediate starter. He is a road grader who some thought would go much higher.
Overall grade: B Loved the pick of Rolle and they added some good players later in the draft. This team is headed in the right direction.
Best pick: Second-round pick Jonathan Babineux will give the Falcons a penetrating, quick tackle to add to their rotation. He was a late climber up many team's boards. He's perfect for Atlanta's defense.
Questionable move: They used a third-round pick on linebacker Jordan Beck from Cal-Poly. Beck is a former receiver who bulked up to play linebacker. He can run, and that's what the Falcons want from their linebackers. This does seem a little high.
Steal: Seventh-round pick Darrell Shropshire is a wide-body defensive tackle who could push for a roster spot, even at a deep position.
Overall grade: B- Getting receiver Roddy White in the first round was a good move, and Babineaux was a good pick.
Best pick: Love the choice of Dan Cody in the second round. Cody has first-round ability and will team with Terrell Suggs to provide a pass rush for a defense that should be one of the best in football.
Questionable move: Trading a third-round pick to move up to take OT Adam Terry is a move that will be scrutinized some.
Steal: Taking 6-6 quarterback Derek Anderson in the sixth round will provide a nice safety net if Kyle Boller doesn't develop.
Overall grade: B+ The best-drafting team in the league has another good weekend. Would we expect anything else?
Best pick: Like the pick of Kevin Everett in the third round. He has big-time athletic ability and should become a good weapon for J.P. Losman for years to come.
Questionable move: Roscoe Parrish, their second-round pick, has great speed, but he's 5-7 and weighs 150 pounds. Maybe. That's risky on this level.
Steal: Seventh-round pick Lionel Gates has a chance to make the team as a backup runner and return man.
Overall grade: C They traded their first-round pick to Dallas last year for J.P. Losman, so he has to count here. The rest of the draft was just OK.
Best pick: Taking Thomas Davis in the first round was a great move. Davis, whether at safety or linebacker, is a playmaker. He'll excel on the Panthers defense.
Questionable move: They loved Eric Shelton, and we like him too, but some will say he went too high in the second round.
Steal: Stefan Lefors, their fourth-round pick, has the savvy teams want from their quarterback. He will become a good backup right away, and then who knows?
Overall grade: B Getting Davis will really help the defense. He's a playmaker and they added good players later.
Best pick: Second-round pick Mark Bradley adds much-needed speed to a receiving group that craves it.
Questionable move: Taking Cedric Benson with Cadillac Williams on the board will be a pick that is scrutinized for years to come. Williams is the better player.
Steal: Getting Kyle Orton in the fourth round was a great move. Orton was having a great season in 2004 before he was hurt. He has a big arm, and his mechanics can be fixed.
Overall grade: B- If Benson works out, it's a great draft. If he doesn't, it won't be. It's that simple.
Best pick: Second-round pick Odell Thurman is the best linebacker in the draft. If not for off-field issues, he would have been a high first-round pick. Thurman will be a star.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Chris Henry has first-round ability. At 6-4, this receiver can fly. He does have some off-field issues, but if the Bengals can control him, he will be a big-time player.
Steal: Keep an eye on sixth-round pick Tab Perry, a receiver. He had some decent days for the Bruins at UCLA.
Overall grade: A Getting David Pollack, Thurman, and Henry with their first three picks makes this a heck of a draft.
Best pick: This is a team in need of playmaker, and the Browns wasted no time getting one with the third overall pick in Braylon Edwards. He will be a star.
Questionable move: With so many needs on the defensive front, taking a safety with the second pick in the second round might be questioned. But Brodney Pool is a heck of a player.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Antonio Perkins can play corner, but he's also a great return man.
Overall grade: B+ Getting Edwards with the third overall pick makes this draft. They also need for third-round pick Charlie Frye to develop into a quarterback of the future.
Best pick: Second-round pick Kevin Burnett has first-round ability. The linebacker will be an immediate starter.
Questionable move: Hard to find any. We really like this draft. But sixth-round pick Rob Petitti has some weight issues.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Chris Canty was considered a potential first-round pick entering 2004, but a knee injury dropped him down. Getting him here, adding more depth to the front, is a great pick.
Overall grade: A They loaded up on defensive linemen, which was the plan. They had a heck of a draft.
Best pick: Sixth-round pick Chris Myers is a typical Broncos lineman. He'll make their team.
Questionable move: Taking Maurice Clarett in the third round is a move that will be dissected a bunch. It might seem high, but Clarett can run the football.
Steal: Clarett. He will be a factor in their run game in a year or two.
Overall grade: C They traded out of the first round, so they lost out on a marquee player. The rest of the draft was so-so.
Best pick: A defense in need of help up front got some in the second round when Shaun Cody of Southern California went to the Lions. He will make an impact as a rookie.
Questionable move: Why in the heck they took Mike Williams 10th overall after taking receivers in the top 10 the past two drafts is a mystery. Defense should have been the priority here.
Steal: Bill Swancutt, the sixth-round pick, will push for a roster spot this year and then next year he'll be pushing for time at defensive end.
Overall grade: B- I didn't like the Williams pick, but they rallied some with the rest of their draft.
Green Bay Packers
Best pick: At some point, they had to get the replacement for Brett Favre. Getting Aaron Rodgers late in the first round is a big-time pick.
Questionable move: That said, this is a team that needs help on defense. Some might think the Packers should have used a first-round pick there.
Steal: Sixth-round pick Mike Montgomery was a college defensive end, but he might bulk up and move to tackle. He would need to add about 25 pounds.
Overall grade: C Getting Rodgers was the right move, but what will that do for maligned defense next year?
Best pick: Being a big fan of Travis Johnson, I like the move to trade down and still end up with a guy they wanted. He's a player.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Vernand Morency was a quality running back at Oklahoma State, but is he going to beat out Tony Hollings and Jonathan Wells for time behind Domanick Davis?
Steal: Third-round pick Jerome Mathis can fly. He will help the passing game, but he is also a great return man.
Overall grade: B- Johnson and Mathis help get this grade a bunch some.
Best pick: The Colts needed a rangy player in their secondary. First-round pick Marlin Jackson will provide that. He can play safety and corner, although the Colts plan to play him at corner.
Questionable move: Second-round pick Kelvin Hayden is a converted receiver with outstanding athletic ability, but it might have been a reach to take him as high as they did.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Jonathan Welsh is a perfect player for what the Colts want to do. He's a speed rusher who played defensive end at Wisconsin. He might convert to outside linebacker in the NFL.
Overall grade: B- I like Marlin Jackson, but the rest of their draft has some chancy players who must come through for this to be a good draft.
Best pick: Second-round pick Khalif Barnes will be an immediate starter at left tackle. He was considered a first-round pick on some boards.
Questionable move: There will be a lot of people wondering about their pick of Matt Jones in the first round. It could be a major steal or it could blow up in this regime's face.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Gerald Sensabaugh is a big-time player with range who will help on special teams right away.
Overall grade: B Taking Jones is a risk, but it's one this team believed it had to make. The rest of the draft was solid.
Kansas City Chiefs
Best pick: Hard to find one I like. I'll go with fourth-round pick Craphonso Thorpe. If he can revert to his pre-injury form of 2003, he can become a starting player.
Questionable move: With so many needs on defense, how in the heck can the Chiefs use their second pick on a punter? There's always risk there when taking a punter or kicker this high.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Alphonso Hodge is a quality corner who played some good football at Miami of Ohio.
Overall grade: C- I am not a big fan of Derrick Johnson's play, and I didn't like the rest of their draft. Pretty blah.
Best pick: Taking Ronnie Brown with the second overall pick was a good move. Brown will be a feature back for a long, long time.
Questionable move: The Dolphins lack a big-play receiver, yet they took defensive end Matt Roth in the second round, despite having Jason Taylor, Vonnie Holliday and others on board.
Steal: Third-round pick Channing Crowder is a heck of a football player. He has some injury concerns, but if he's on the field, the Dolphins will have a potential Pro Bowl player.
Overall grade: B- Nick Saban had a decent first draft, but it helped having the second pick overall.
Best pick: Not giving in to public perception and passing on Mike Williams to take the faster Troy Williamson was the right move for this team.
Questionable move: Hard to find one, but most will say it's picking Williamson over Williams.
Steal: The Vikings want to run the ball better, so taking Ciatrick Fason in the fourth round will prove to be a good thing. This kid is a player.
Overall grade: A The Vikings had two first-round picks and they made the most of them by taking Williamson and Erasmus James. They had a heck of a draft.
New England Patriots
Best pick: First-round pick Logan Mankins will push for time as a rookie at guard. He's a typical Patriots quality pick.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Ellis Hobbs is a smallish corner, but it's hard to question this team when it comes to picking defensive backs.
Steal: Fourth-round pick James Sanders is a ball-hawking safety who can be groomed for the future.
Overall grade: B They had a sound draft. Isn't that the New England way?
New Orleans Saints
|Drafting tackle Jammal Brown is a key for the Saints. (AP)|
Questionable move: Receiver Chase Lyman, a fourth-round pick, has had a long line of injury problems.
Steal: Taking a chance on quarterback Adrian McPherson will help give this team a developmental prospect in case Aaron Brooks doesn't continue to grow.
Overall grade: B+ Love the move up to get Brown, and second-round pick Josh Bullocks and third-round pick Alfred Fincher will push for time as rookies.
New York Giants
Best pick: Some scouts thought Notre Dame defensive end Justin Tuck might go in the first round, but the Giants got him in the third. Questionable move: Some will point back to last year's draft when the Giants traded away this year's first-round pick for Eli Manning. But guess what? It was the right thing to do.
Steal: Sixth-round pick Eric Moore has a chance to develop into a quality pass rusher. Moore has issues with attention-deficit disorder, but he has taken medication to handle it. He's worth a sixth-round pick.
Overall grade: B- Nothing real exciting, but adding corner Corey Webster and Tuck to the defense will help.
New York Jets
Best pick: Getting corner Justin Miller late in the second round is a good move. He can help in the return game, too.
Questionable move: Using a second-round pick on a kicker is always a risky proposition. Mike Nugent is a quality kicker, and the Jets need one, but it's still a risk.
Steal: They traded for Doug Jolley, which will allow sixth-round pick Joel Dreessen time to develop at tight end.
Overall grade: D Didn't like the trade for Jolley and didn't like using a second-round pick on a kicker. Not a good draft at all.
Best pick: Fourth-round pick Kirk Morrison doesn't test well, but the kid is a player. He'll make an impact as a rookie linebacker.
Questionable move: Second-round pick Stanford Routt may have gone higher than most had him, but he has some impressive skills. There were other higher-ranked corners on the board when they picked.
Steal: Getting quarterback Andrew Walter in the third round is a nice move. He can develop behind Kerry Collins and then maybe be the quarterback of the future.
Overall grade: A They made a good move trading Doug Jolley for a first-round pick that they turned into corner Fabian Washington. Don't forget Randy Moss is part of this draft, which makes this an A grade.
Best pick: Love the choice of defensive tackle Mike Patterson in the first round. He will make an immediate impact as a rookie.
Questionable move: Tough to find any, although taking linebacker Matt McCoy in the second round might be a tad high.
Steal: Like the choice of fourth-round pick Todd Herremans. He's a developmental player from Saginaw Valley State. In a year or two, he could take over for Jon Runyan.
Overall grade: B+ Look up and down their draft board. They drafted productive players, regardless of their vitals. That's why the Eagles are as good as they are. This team knows personnel.
Best pick: Second-round pick Bryant McFadden will be a starter at some point this year. He is a talented cover player who will be perfect for the Steelers defense.
Questionable move: Once again, it's tough to find a questionable move by a good-drafting team. Some may think taking Heath Miller in the first is risky with him coming off a hernia injury, but he's a player.
Steal: Fred Gibson was considered a potential first-round pick a couple of years ago. Getting him in the fourth round is a nice move for the Steelers.
Overall grade: B They had a solid, uneventful draft. That's what the Steelers do. They know how to find players.
St. Louis Rams
Best pick: The Rams offensive line has to get better and Alex Barron will help that happen. He could move to the right side as a young player until Orlando Pace walks.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Richie Incognito has first-round ability, but he has some off-field issues. He will play a long time for a Rams line that needs an upgrade.
Steal: Incognito. If they keep him out of trouble, he's a big-time player.
Overall grade: B They needed help in the worst way on the offensive line, and they got two in the first three rounds and three altogether. That's smart drafting from a team that hasn't done that much in recent years.
San Diego Chargers
Best pick: Watch out for second-round pick Vincent Jackson. He is a guy who will really boost the Chargers receiving group.
Questionable move: Some will question the move to take Luis Castillo in the first round, based on his positive steroid test, but he's a good player.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Wesley Britt was a quality player at starter for Alabama. He will make the team and eventually push for time.
Overall grade: A They picked a slew of good football players. Really like the selections of Castillo and Jackson.
San Francisco 49ers
Best pick: Taking Frank Gore in the third round will do two things. It will light a fire under Kevan Barlow and it will give them more quickness in the backfield. Gore will be a 1,000-yard rusher early in his career.
Questionable move: Rasheed Marshall was a college quarterback, and they project him to receiver. Can the 49ers afford that type of risk?
Steal: Fifth-round pick Ronald Fields will be a space eater in the middle of their new 3-4 defense.
Overall grade: A The new 49ers brass did a heck of a job for their first draft. Getting Alex Smith was the right move, but they followed that up with some good football players.
Best pick: Second-round pick Lofa Tatupu is a feisty linebacker who plays bigger than he looks.
Questionable move: The Seahawks have issues on the defensive line and linebacker, yet used a first-round pick on center Chris Spencer.
Steal: Fourth-round pick Ray Willis will eventually be the team's right tackle. He plays with a nasty streak.
Overall grade: C A so-so draft, although we like the pick of Willis. Using only one of the first three picks on defense wasn't the right thing to do.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best pick: We've made no secret of the fact that Carnell Williams is a favorite of ours. Getting him will really jump-start the Bucs offense.
Questionable move: With so many issues on offense, it's hard to justify using a second-round pick on linebacker Barrett Ruud, even tough he's a good player.
Steal: Using a fifth-round pick on Larry Brackins, who comes to the league right from junior college, might seem like a big risk, but he has the tools to be special.
Overall grade: B They had a good draft, highlighted by getting Williams.
Best pick: This team had to get a corner who will start right away. Adam Jones will be that guy. He will also be a heck of a return man.
Questionable move: The Titans used three picks on defensive ends last year, but it wouldn't have hurt to take a chance on one more in the first four rounds this year.
Steal: The Titans used three picks on receivers, but fifth-round pick Roydell Williams might be the one who is most ready to play on this level coming from a pro offense at Tulane.
Overall grade: B+ As usual, the Titans had a good draft. And they needed it. Jones will be a big-time player, and they made some other good picks.
Best pick: There was some pressure on the Redskins to take a receiver with their first-round pick, but they did the right thing and took corner Carlos Rogers.
Questionable move: They better hope Jason Campbell is the next Donovan McNabb for what they traded away to get him. The only thing is it will take time for him to develop, and that won't be something this coaching regime will benefit from.
Steal: Fifth-round pick Robert McCune could be an impact linebacker in a year or two. He's a tough, hard-nosed player.
Overall grade: C Getting Rogers was a good pick, but I don't like the trade to get Campbell. And that's how this draft will be judged.