AFC South and AFC West 2011 NFL Draft Grades: Individual Selections and Overall Team Grades

When seton hall and steelers notified me that he'd be doing this series and if it could potentially be front-page material, I couldn't resist. God knows I wasn't going to do this kind of exercise. It is certainly super time consuming -- but you know me, that doesn't scare me. But it's also a dangerous exercise because it's just so subjective at this point. Still, the young'n has worked so hard on analyzing this year's draft, hard to say no, and after perusing, there's plenty of solid assessments. So, many thanks to him once again, and from the looks of it, you can expect us to get to the remaining divisions in the forthcoming days now that we've gotten the mammoth undertaking to a place that's aesthetically consumable for you all. -Michael B. -

The dust is beginning to settle on the 2011 NFL Draft, which for me only means time is ticking for me to go about giving initial grades to each and every pick, as well as all 32 teams. These grades will be revisited around this time next year. The AFC North and East was done here. First, a word on my subjective evaluation process once more. The basic grading rules are...

Individual Player Grades

A+: Designated for players that provide incredible value at a position of need, and have Pro Bowl potential

A: Designated for player that provide great value at a position of need, OR for players that provide  incredible value at a position that is not a huge need

B: Designated for players that provide good value at a position of need, OR for players that provide great value that is not a position of need

C: Designated for players player that provide good value at a minor need, OR for players that provide great value at no need, OR for players with clearly identifiable potential at a position of future need

D: Designated for players that provide decent value at a position of no need, OR for players that fall short in addressing positions of need, OR for solid players that were taken significantly earlier than their talent suggested they would be.

F: Designated for player that provide no value at positions where there's no immediate need, OR for players that most agree are a huge reach at a position of need, OR a player that has no means being in the draft.

Al Davis: A player with great speed that is over-drafted by 1 to 2 rounds (usually would grade out to a C)

Note: In the 6th round the lowest grade you can get is a D. In the 7th round regular picks, the lowest grade you can get is a D+. In the 7th round compensatory picks the lowest grade you can get is a C-

 

Team Grades:

A: A team filled all/most of their needs without reaching at any pick and got one or more steals

B: A team filled most/all of their needs but reached on some of their picks and failed to get a major steal

C: A team did not fill most of their needs or reached to fill those needs with less than two major steals

D: A team filled none or very few of their needs and reached to do those and failed to draft good players at non needs

F: A team filled no needs, reached for players, picked bad scheme fits, and traded away future picks.

Even though it goes without saying....As we all know, grading a draft immediately after it is mostly useless so this is just speculation on my part.

Without further ado, let's get to the individual and team grades for the AFC South and AFC West

AFC South

Tennessee Titans

2010 Record: 6-10

Round 1, Pick 8: Jake Locker

Grade: C+   This is a questionable pick but not as bad as some people are saying. There were rumors before the draft that the Titans liked Locker more than Gabbert so I was not that surprised. However, this pick could look really bad down the road.

Round 2, Pick 7: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

Grade: A-   Ayers was a 1st round player that fell because of a bad workout. I think this was really good value and filled a big need at OLB. Ayers has big potential.

Round 3, Pick 13: Jurrell Casey, DT, USC

Grade: A-    Casey was a 3rd round prospect so this is solid value and fills a big need. Casey should be able to contribute right away.

Round 4 Pick 12: Colin McCarthy, ILB/OLB, Miami

Grade: A-     Another solid pick to add to their defense. McCarthy has a lot of versatility and is good value in the 4th.

Round 4, Pick 33: Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson

Grade: D     I don't get this pick. There were much better RB's on the board and RB was not a big need at all. They needed a guard to help the interior running game.

Round 5, Pick 11: Karl Klug, DT/DE, Iowa

Grade: B-    This is a very solid pick. Klug could be a rotational DL for a long time. Will probably never start but can play multiple positions and adds a pass rush.

Round 6, Pick 10: Byron Stingly, OT, Louisville

Grade: C+    Stingly was not a bad pick but better OT's and OG's were available.

Round 7, Pick 9: Zach Clayton, DT, Auburn

Grade: B+     Clayton is a solid 7th round pickup who had two years of good production. Like Klug, he should be a rotational DL for the Titans.

Round 7, Pick 50: Tommie Campbell, CB, California (PA)

Grade: B-    Campbell has nickel potential and can stick because of his special teams play. Solid late round pickup.

Team Grade: B   

They failed to find any interior OL but they did not reach on any picks (except Locker) and filled up their front 7 with very talented players.

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Houston Texans

2010 Record: 6-10

Round 1, Pick 11: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Wisconsin

Grade: A-    Watt is a proto-typical 3-4 DE and should help the transition to a 3-4. He can be a starter immediately.

Round 2, Pick 10: Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

Grade: A-    Reed at the 10th pick of the 2nd round is good value. I don't think he was a 1st round prospect so this was a good spot for him. Will be a very good 3-4 OLB.

Round 2, Pick 27: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

Grade: A    Harris was considered a late 1st to early 2nd round pick so this is a big steal. He could play #2 or nickel corner and maybe be a #1 down the line.

Round 4, Pick 30: Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech

Grade: B    Should be a dime or nickel corner and a great special teamer. Solid value here.

Round 5, Pick 13: Shiloh Keo, SS, Idaho

Grade: B+     Strong value and a player that could be a backup SS and a very good special teamer.

Round 5, Pick 21: T.J. Yates, QB, UNC

Grade: B    A good developmental QB to backup Matt Schaub.

Round 7, Pick 11: Derek Newton, OT, Arkansas State

Grade: A-     A good developmental OT to backup both spots. Has potential to start down the line.

Round 7, Pick 53: Cheta Ozougwu, DE/OLB, Rice

Grade: A-     Another 3-4 piece. Will probably be a backup LB and special teams player.

Team Grade: A-    

The Texans did not add a WR but they still got a ton of great pieces for their defense. Very good job by the Texans and they just might make the playoffs this year.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

2010 Record: 8-8

Round 1, Pick 10: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

Grade: A-  The Jags decided to trade up and get their QB of the future. I liked the trade up and I liked the pick. While I think Gabbert is extremely over-rated (put up worse stats with better weapons than Chase Daniels did and Daniels went undrafted) he certainly fits the range.

Round 3, Pick 12: Will Rackley, OT/OG, Leigh

Grade: A    This was perhaps their best pick of the draft. Rackley was a 2nd round prospect by most so this is great value. Plus it fills a big need on the OL. Great pickup.

Round 4, Pick 17: Cecil Shorts, III, WR, Mount Union

Grade: A-     Shorts reminds people of Pierre Garcon, but I think he is more explosive than Garcon and more polished receiver. Will be a very good slot receiver.

Round 4, Pick 24: Chris Prosinski, S, Wyoming

Grade: F   The 1st of 2 straight picks that got me laughing. Prosinski was not even on my board and he was outside the top 500 on Scouts Inc. Safety was a need but why not take one of the people that actually were supposed to get drafted.

Round 5, Pick 16: Rod Isaac, DB, Middle Tennessee State

Grade: F   Another player not in the top 500 of the Scouts Inc board. Tons of talent at the corner position available and they take Isaac, who is small and not that fast.

Team Grade: B  

The Jags did a great job with their first three picks but failed epically with their last two selections. However, they did manage to find a QB of the future, a great OL, and a good WR. Getting three impact players in one draft makes this a solid draft.

 

Indianapolis Colts

2010 Record: 10-6

Round 1, Pick 22: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

Grade: A    I have mocked Castonzo to the Colts for 2 months now. He is a perfect fit and fills their biggest need at LT. Castonzo excels in pass blocking and has started over 40 straight games at Boston College.

Round 2, Pick 17: Ben Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova

Grade: A   Trading up 5 spots to ensure they got Ijalana was a great move. Ijalana was my highest rated non D-1 prospect and fills a big need at RT.

Round 3, Pick 23: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU

Grade: A-     I have mocked Nevis to the Colts multiple times over the past 3 months. He fills a need at DT and fits their scheme as an undersized, quicker tackle. Also fits the range in the 3rd round.

Round 4, Pick 22: Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse

Grade: B     Carter is a downhill runner that has decent hands. He is good in blitz protection so he can help the pass blocking of the Colts. Good value and this was a minor need.

Round 6, Pick 23: Chris L. Rucker, CB/FS, Michigan State

Grade: B+     Rucker has a lot of talent but has never put it all together at Michigan State. I had him as a 6th round prospect so it fits the range and fills a need. Good pickup and could be great if they get Rucker to work hard.

Team Grade: A-   

The Colts did a great job getting value with each of their picks and filled their biggest need at both tackle spots. They could have taken a WR but I don't think it was a big need. If Rucker max's out his potential, this becomes an A.

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AFC West

Denver Broncos

2010 Record: 4-12

Round 1, Pick 2: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

Grade: B+    Apparently the Broncos want to have the league's worst run defense again. Despite passing on Dareus, this is still a very good pick. Miller is versatile, and all though he is better fit for a 3-4, he can still play in a 4-3 adequately. I don't know how he will be used but if used properly it is a good pick.

Round 2, Pick 13: Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA

Grade: A    This is who I had them take at the 4th pick of the 2nd round so trading down and still getting him is great. Moore was the best safety in this draft and fills a big need.

Round 2, Pick 14: Orlando Franklin, OT/OG, Miami

Grade: B-    This pick I don't get as much. Paea and Austin were still on the board but they took a late 2nd to mid 3rd round prospect at a position that was not a need. Generous on the grading because Franklin has great potential.

Round 3, Pick 3: Nate Irving, ILB, N.C. State

Grade: B     Irving is a quality LB but I don't know how he will be used. They have now taken two LB's within their first 4 picks.

Round 4, Pick 11: Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma

Grade: B    Carter is another quality player but they already took a FS in the 2nd round. Broncos fans tell me he can play SS in Fox' scheme which keeps this as a B (despite my skepticism)

Round 4, Pick 32: Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State

Grade: B   Thomas has a lot of upside but needs to be developed. Is a big project that could turn into a steal.

Round 6, Pick 24: Mike Mohammed, ILB, California

Grade: C+    Their 3rd LB picked but still no DT's. They are going to need a lot of LB's because teams are going to be running through their DL like swiss cheese.

Round 7, Pick 1: Virgil Green, TE, Nevada

Grade: A   Green was a 5th round prospect so this is a great pick. He is a bit of a project but definitely fills a need.

Round 7, Pick 46: Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB, Oklahoma

Grade: A   Another great 7th round pick. Beal was a 4th to 5th round prospect so this is a big steal. He should play DE in a 4-3 system.

Team Grade: B  

None of the picks by themselves were that bad as they got a bunch of talented players but they failed to address their biggest need, DT. Despite having a chance at Dareus in the 1st, Paea and Austin in the 2nd, they bypassed any DT's and instead took 3 LB's and two FS's. Seems like overkill to me. I also don't get taking two TE's but you can't deny that they were both solid value picks.

***********

San Diego Chargers

2010 Record:9-7

Round 1, Pick 18: Corey Liuget, DE/DT, Illinois

Grade: B   This pick is decent value and fills a need but the big question is where Liuget fits into a 3-4. If he can play 3-4 DE this is a great pick. If he can't this is a really bad pick.

Round 2, Pick 18: Marchus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson

Grade: F  This was the first of two straight hilarious picks. Gilchrist was a 5th round prospect and did not fill a big need.

Round 2, Pick 29: Jonas Mouton, OLB, Michigan

Grade: F-   Let the laughing/head scratching continue. Mouton fills a need at OLB but he was a 6th to 7th round prospect. I thought about giving this a Z but decided to be generous. The Chargers made my day on Friday with these two picks.

Round 3, Pick 18: Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State

Grade: B-   Brown was a 4th round pick on my board and is not a bad pick. He had a bad combine but fills a minor need at WR.

Round 3, Pick 25: Shareece Wright, CB, USC

Grade: B-    They got a better corner in round 3 than they did in round 2. I don't think they needed 2 CB's but this is not a bad pick.

Round 6, Pick 18: Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut

Grade: A   This was their first great pick of the draft. Todman can replace Sproles and is potentially a #1 back. Was a 3rd round prospect in my board so great value.

Round 6, Pick 36: Steve Schilling, OG, Michigan

Grade: A-    This is another very good pick. Schilling was a 5th to 6th round prospect and fills a minor need at OG.

Round 7, Pick 33: Andrew Gachakar, OLB/ST, Missouri

Grade: B-    Gachakar was supposed to go un-drafted but can make an impact on ST. Good pick.

Team Grade: C  

The Chargers draft was filled with reaches early, reaching on 3 of their 1st 4 picks. It gave me some great laughs as well. However, they did manage to finds some great late round picks and if Liuget pans out this could be a B.

***********

Kansas City Chiefs

2010 Record: 10-6

Round 1, Pick 26: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

Grade: B   Baldwin fills a huge need at WR2 and was decent value. They traded down from 21 and still got him. Good pick.

Round 2, Pick 23: Rodney Hudson, OG/OC, Florida State

Grade: A-   Hudson is a bit undersized as a guard but still has a lot of potential and could also play C. Good value as well.

Round 3, Pick 6: Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia

Grade: A  Houston was a late first round pick IMO and fell because of a failed drug test. However, at the top of the 3rd he is too good to pass up.

Round 3, Pick 22: Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami

Grade: A-     This is good value for Bailey and fills a minor need at DE.

Round 4, Pick 21: Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado

Grade: B   Brown is a good talent and fills a very minor need at CB. He was a 4th round prospect on my board so this is good value.

Round 5, Pick 4: Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa

Grade: A    Stanzi was a 3rd to 4th round prospect so this is great value. He is going to spend a year or two developing behind Cassel and should be able to replace him within 3 years.

Round 5, Pick 9: Gabe Miller, DE, Oregon State

Grade: D-    This was the only questionable pick of their draft. I did not have Miller being drafted so it is a reach and does not fill a need. Could have been an A+ draft without this.

Round 6, Pick 34: Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss

Grade: A    Another great selection by the Chiefs. Powe was a 3rd round prospect on my board so this is a big steal and fills their biggest need.

Round 7, Pick 22: Shane Bannon, FB, Yale

Grade: B-    Bannon can be a nice lead blocker for Charles/Jones.

 

Team Grade: A  

The Chiefs put together arguably the best draft in the league. They got good value with every pick (except Miller) and filled their biggest needs. Great job.

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Oakland Raiders

2010 Record: 8-8

Round 2, Pick 16: Stefen Wisniewski, OG/OC, Penn State

Grade: A-   Wisniewski was mocked by a lot of people to the Raiders. He fills a huge need at the interior OL and was good value. A great start to the draft for the Raiders.

Round 3, Pick 17: Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami

Grade: Al Davis/D+    Al Davis showed up late today but still got in before round 3 was over. Van Dyke was a 4th to 5th round pick on my board and not shockingly, he ran the fastest 40 time of any corner.

Round 3, Pick 28: Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU

Grade: B    Al Davis showed up late and left early which allowed the Raiders to find a nice developmental tackle in Barksdale. He could become a very good RT or maybe even a LT in the future.

Round 4, Pick 16: Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State

Grade: Al Davis/C+   Al made sure to show up on time for round 4. Chekwa has incredible speed (shocker) and has some decent skills. He needs to develop a lot of his coverage skills but could be very good down the line.

Round 4, Pick 28: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington

Grade: Al Davis/B     Jones is good value here and fills a small need at RB. However, he is not really a could complement to McFadden. Also, he ran the fastest 40 time of any RB in the draft.

Round 5, Pick 17: Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee

Grade: B+     Moore is a talented WR that fills a need and fits the range. Good pick that was made while Al was out to lunch.

Round 6, Pick 16: Richard Gordan, TE, Miami

Grade: C+    Gordan is a good blocking TE and is a good backup to Zach Miller.

Round 7, Pick 40: David Ausberry, WR/TE, USC

Grade: Al Davis/C     Al got back from lunch and took an incredibly athletic WR/TE combo that could play either in the NFL.

Team Grade: C  

Despite making many Al Davis type picks, they did not do a bad job in this draft. They took two very talented OL prospects, got two talented corners with lots of upside. got two tight end prospects that could help the offense and got a RB and WR to try and help the offense.

***********

That ends part 2 of our 2011 'NFL Draft Grades' series. Part 3 will be out tomorrow or Thrusday.

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