Sorry for the delay between posts. I got busy with college visits and high school work and this slipped through the cracks. The final post should be out by the end of the weekend.
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 West and South was done here and 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-
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 NFC East and NFC North
2010 Record: 6-10Round 1 Pick 9: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Grade: B+ Smith was projected to go the the Cowboys by a lot of people. Smith is suited as a RT right now (played it in college) but could eventually transition to LT.
Round 2 Pick 8: Bruce Carter, LB, UNC
Grade: B- Carter is an extremely talented LB but is very injury prone. If he can stay healthy, this pick could become an A.
Round 3 Pick 7: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
Grade: C+ RB was not a huge need for the Cowboys and Murray was not the best RB available. He is also extremely injury prone.
Round 4 Pick 13: David Arkin, OG, Missouri State
Grade: C+ Arkin is a under the radar prospect who was probably over-drafted by one round. He should provide solid depth at guard.
Round 5 Pick 12: Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo
Grade: B- Thomas is a sleeper pick that could make this draft very good. He has good ball skills and decent size and speed.
Round 6 Pick 11: Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina
Grade: B+ Harris is good value in the 6th round and provides depth at WR. He could eventually become a #2 WR to complement Dez Bryant.
Round 7 Pick 17: Shaun Chapas, FB, Georgia
Grade: B- Chapas is decent value in round 7 but does not fill a need. The Cowboys have stockpiled backs and will likely need to cut one to two backs this off season.
Round 7 Pick 49: Bill Nagy, C, Wisconsin
Grade: B Nagy is a solid pick that should be a very solid backup center.
Team Grade: B-
The Cowboys had no really impressive picks but no really bad picks. They found a starting tackle in the 1st round. The health of their 2nd and 3rd round picks will make or break this drat. If Murray and Carter stay healthy, this draft could be an A. If not, this draft could be a D or F.
2010 record: 6-10
Round 1 Pick 16: Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Purdue
Grade: B I, unlike many others, think Kerrigan can play 3-4 OLB in the Redskins system. If it turns out that he can't than this grade plummets.
Round 2 Pick 9: Jarvis Jenkins, DT/DE, Clemson
Grade: B- Jenkins was a slight reach at this point in round 2 but he can play multiple positions and will provide a pretty good pass rush.
Round 3 Pick 15: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
Grade: A I had Hankerson going in the 2nd round and so did many others. He is a potential #1 wideout so this is a huge steal.
Round 4 Pick 8: Roy Helu, RB, Nebraska
Grade: B- Helu has a decent skill set that fits in the Skins offense but this is a reach.
Round 5 Pick 15: Dejon Gomes, SS, Nebraska
Grade: C Gomes is a good all around player but not great at anything. He was mocked by many in the 7th round so this is a reach.
Round 5 Pick 24: Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska
Grade: B- 3rd straight Nebraska player. Paul fits the range and will provide good depth and a possible slot receiver.
Round 6 Pick 12: Evan Royster, RB, Penn State
Grade: B- Royster fits the range and could team with Helu and Terrain to form a good trio of backs.
Round 6 Pick 13: Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU
Grade: C+ Robinson is an explosive receiver that could provide a good 4th WR.
Round 7 Pick 10: Brandyn Thompson, CB, Boise State
Grade: B Thompson fits the range and could become a good nickel corner.
Round 7 Pick 14: Maurice Hurt, OG/OT, Florida
Grade: B Hurt is a very good pick here and should provide great depth at both guard and RT spot.
Round 7 Pick 21: Markus White, DE, Florida State
Grade: B+ White is a very good pick here. He can play 3-4 DE and will provide a good backup on the DL.
Round 7 Pick 50: Chris Neild, NT, West Virginia
Grade: B Neild is another good pick that fits the range.
Team Grade: B-
The Redskins draft could be graded in many ways. It is tough to evaluate the 1st round pick because he might not be able to play in a 3-4 scheme. If their 3 DL picks pan out, they could have fond their 3 starting DL for the next decade. The best pick of this draft was 3rd round pick Leonard Hankerson.
New York Giants
2010 Record: 10-6
Round 1 Pick 19: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Grade: A+ Amukamara is a huge steal and was by far the BPA. He has pro-bowl potential and although it does not fill a huge need that is not a big deal because Prince will likely start this year.
Round 2 Pick 20: Marvin Austin, DT, UNC
Grade: A Austin is a late first round talent so picking him up in the middle of the 2nd round is a good value. He did not fill a big need at DT but could provide a good pass rush.
Round 3 Pick 19: Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
Grade: A- Jernigan will provide an explosive slot receiver and kick returner and fits the range in the 3rd round.
Round 4 Pick 20: James Brewer, OT, Indiana
Grade: A- Brewer will provide a backup to both tackle spots and could be the eventual starting RT. Also, he is good value in the 4th.
Round 6 Pick 20: Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State
Grade: A Jones is an absolute steal in round 6. Mocked by many in rounds 3 and 4, getting him in the middle of round 6 is incredible. Should provide a very good backup to Goff at ILB.
Round 6 Pick 33: Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa
Grade: A Sash, like Jones, was mocked in the 3rd and 4th round of many mock drafts. He should provide a very good backup SS.
Round 6 Pick 37: Jacquian Williams, OLB, South Florida
Grade: C+ This was the only pick I did not love. Williams could contribute on ST but is unlikely to provide any depth at the OLB spot.
Round 7 Pick 18: Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland
Grade: A- Scott is a great pick in round 7 and gives the Giants a 3rd back to pair with Bradshaw and Jacobs.
Team Grade: A
The Giants had one of the best drafts of any team. Every pick was great value and they filled some needs at LB, S, and OT. Also got some luxury picks at CB, DT, RB, and WR.
2010 Record: 10-6
Round 1 Pick 23: Danny Watkins, OT/OG, Baylor
Grade: B Watkins is a very talented player so that is not the problem. The problem is that he is already 26 years old.
Round 2 Pick 22: Jaiquawn Jarret, S, Temple
Grade: B+ Jarret is a huge hitter who has great instincts. He fits the range in the 2nd round and could start at safety next to Nate Allen.
Round 3 Pick 26: Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State
Grade: B Marsh is a slight reach but fills a huge need at corner. Could compete for the #2 corner spot.
Round 4 Pick 19: Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon
Grade: B Matthews fills a minor need at backup ILB and is a good value in round 4.
Round 5 Pick 18: Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh
Grade: B Lewis and McCoy makeup the Pittsburgh backfield. Lewis is a good value and should make an impact in his rookie year.
Round 5 Pick 30: Julian Vandervelde, OG, Iowa
Grade: B Vandervelde is a good pickup in the 5th round and could become a starting RG one day.
Round 6 Pick 26: Jason Kelce, OT, Cincinnati
Grade: B- Kelce could become a LT if he gains 20 pounds. He is a project but could end up being a great pick.
Round 6 Pick 28: Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State
Grade: A- Rolle is great value and fills a huge need at OLB. He should be able to compete for a starting spot at OLB.
Round 7 Pick 34: Greg Lloyd, LB, Connecticut
Grade: B+ Lloyd projects as an OLB in the Eagles scheme and can provide depth at all 3 LB spots of the Eagles 4-3.
Round 7 Pick 37: Stanley Havili, FB, USC
Grade: B- Havili is a good lead blocker that can also run the ball and catch passes.
Team Grade: B+
The Eagles did a good job filling their needs at OT, OG, OLB, CB, and S. They got a bunch of talented players and took no major risks. Very solid draft for the Eagles.
2010 Record: 6-10
Round 1 Pick 12: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
Grade: C+ Ponder is a reach at #12 but you can't fault the Vikings for trying. They tried to trade back but could not find a partner. Once that happened, they decided to take their potential franchise QB. Smart move but still a reach.
Round 2 Pick 11: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Grade: A- Rudolph missed the 2010 season but is a great receiver none-the-less. He has to improve his blocking to become an every down TE.
Round 4 Pick 9: Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa
Grade: A- Ballard was over-shadowed by Clayborn but Ballard had an equal season this year. He is an adequate pass rush that excels stopping the run.
Round 5 Pick 8: Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
Grade: A Burton was mocked in the 3rd round by most mock drafts. He is a steal here and fills a need at corner.
Round 6 Pick 3: DeMarcus Love, OG, Arkansas
Grade: A- Love will provide great depth at guard for an aging Vikings OL.
Round 6 Pick 5: Raymond Mistral, CB, South Florida
Grade: C Mistral was not projected to be drafted and with Burton already drafted, does not fill a need. Bad pick.
Round 6 Pick 7: Brandon Fusco, OC, Slippery Rock
Grade: B+ Fusco has good potential and will provide depth at center and could eventually start.
Round 6 Pick 35: Ross Homan, OLB, Ohio State
Grade: A- Homan is a steal here. He could start at OLB this year opposite Chad Greenway.
Round 7 Pick 12: D'Aundre Reed, DE, Arizona
Grade: B- Reed is a good situational pass rusher that provides good value in the 7th round.
Round 7 Pick 33: Stephon Burton, WR, West Texas A&M
Grade: B Burton dominated his lower level of competition and could be a solid contributor for whoever the new QB is.
Team Grade: B
The Vikings made good use of their many draft picks. They found a QB, TE, multiple DL, multiple OL, and some other very good selections.
2010 Record: 6-10
Round 1 Pick 13: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Grade: A No denying Fairley is a great player but his work ethic leaves a lot to be desired. He does not fill a need though.
Round 2 Pick 12: Titus Young, WR, Boise State
Grade: A Young has great speed and is an explosive player. Fills a need and should start opposite Calvin Johnson.
Round 2 Pick 25: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
Grade: A Leshoure is great value here and will be a great complement to Jhavid Best.
Round 5 Pick 26: Doug Hogue, OLB, Syracuse
Grade: B Hougue has good potential and could be a solid backup at OLB.
Round 7 Pick 6: Johnny Culbreath, OT, South Carolina State
Grade: B- Culbreath has to do a lot of work to become anything more than a backup tackle but is worth the 7th round pick.
Team Grade: B+
Everyone is saying how great the Lions draft was. Yes they got great players but they failed to fill their biggest needs until the 5th and 7th rounds and ignored their other big need. Everyone knew the Lions needed multiple OLB's, a OT, and CB in the draft and they failed to get any good players at those positions.
2010 Record: 11-5
Round 1 Pick 29: Gabe Carimi, OT/OG, Wisconsin
Grade: A Carimi should have gone much higher than 29 and is great value here. He can probably play 4 positions on the line and will help this terrible OL.
Round 2 Pick 21: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Grade: A Paea was mocked in the late 1st or early 2nd and fills a need at the 3-tech/1-tech DT for the Bears.
Round 3 Pick 29: Chris Conte, CB/FS, California
Grade: B- Conte is a reach in the 3rd round and does not fill a big need. Shaky pick.
Round 5 Pick 29: Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
Grade: B- Enderle is a good project QB and if they trade Hanie he will probably be the backup.
Round 6 Pick 30: James Thomas, LB, West Virginia
Grade: B Thomas is a good late round pickup that can play ST and backup at LB for the Bears.
Team Grade: B+
The Bears had two great selections in the 1st 2 rounds. Their last 3 selections were all solid but could have been used better.
Green Bay Packers
2010 Record: 10-6
Round 1 Pick 32: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Grade: A- This fits Sherrod's range. I had him as the 5th best OT and he was the 6th one picked so it is a slight steal and fills a big need at tackle.
Round 2 Pick 32: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
Grade: A- Cobb is an explosive, multi-faceted play-maker that provides another weapon for Rodgers and fits the range at the end of the 2nd round.
Round 3 Pick 32: Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
Grade: C+ Green is a very shaky pick. He fills a need at 3rd down RB but might have still been available in round 5 or 6.
Round 5 Pick 10: D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas
Grade: A Williams is an excellent selection in the 5th round. He has the versatility and athleticism to be another great weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
Round 6 Pick 14: Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah
Grade: B+ Schlauderaff fits the range and fills a need at backup OG.
Round 6 Pick 21: D.J. Smith, LB, Appalachian State
Grade: B Smith is a decent pick and could be solid depth at ILB.
Round 6 Pick 32: Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
Grade: A- Elmore is a very good late round selection. He is a fierce pass rusher that can probably rotate in the Packers DE group.
Round 7 Pick 15: Ryan Taylor, TE, UNC
Grade: C+ Taylor is one of two shaky picks in this draft. He is a good blocker but they did not need another TE.
Round 7 Pick 30: Lawrence Guy, DE, Arizona State
Grade: A Guy is a big steal in round 7. He has great skills and could rotate in on passing situations.
Team Grade: A-
The Packers did a good job with their 1st two draft picks. All of their picks were ok but their 3rd and 1st 7th round picks could have been better.
That ends the 3rd part of this series. Sorry for the wait and look for the 4th part on Sunday or Monday.