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2010 NFL Draft Grades

Now that the draft is over, its time to evaluate what each team did. Keep in mind that these grades don’t really include what they did for the future or in free agency.

Arizona Cardinals – B+ – The Cardinals did a good job taking defensive players in the first two rounds in Dan Williams and Daryl Washington. They’ll both contribute right away. I thought it would have been smart to take a quarterback to backup Matt Leinart especially seeing the way Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy dropped into the second round.

Atlanta Falcons – B – The Falcons had Sean Weatherspoon fall right into their laps and they drafted players that filled all their needs at defensive line, offensive line and linebacker. They didn’t have a sexy draft, but they had a very solid one.

Baltimore Ravens – A – The Ravens had one of the best drafts. Bringing in Terrence Cody to play alongside Haloti Ngata, and drafting Sergio Kindle, a top 15 talent, keeps them as one of the NFL’s best defenses. Todd Heap is probably on his way out of Baltimore after they took tight ends in two consecutive rounds. I would have given them an A+ if they had taken some players to help out the secondary.

Buffalo Bills – D – When you have a chance to take a franchise quarterback, you take one. The Bills passed on Clausen and they ended up taking Levi Brown from Troy in the 7th round. On top of that, they took CJ Spiller way too high. Unless they plan on trading or cutting Marshawn Lynch, I think it was a bad pick.

Carolina Panthers – B – The Panthers got a great value in the second and third rounds with Jimmy Clausen and Brandon Lafell and Greg Hardy is a solid pick in the sixth round if he can live up to his early expectations. There couldn’t be a better scenario for Clausen to do well.

Chicago Bears – C – Its hard to really gauge what the Bears did because they had no first or second round picks. Still, they filled some holes and got a good player in Major Wright.

Cincinnati Bengals – B+ – The Bengals are another team that I thought had a great draft. They took some spectacular talented guys all throughout the draft. Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley are reliable targets for Carson Palmer. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are very good defensive linemen with above average speed, and Brandon Ghee was one of the fastest corners coming out of college this past season.

Cleveland Browns – D+ – The Browns passed on a potential franchise quarterback not once, but twice. Luckily, Colt McCoy was still there in the third round. They also got a quality running back in Montario Hardesty, who fits very well in their system and TJ Ward is another piece to their revamped secondary.

Dallas Cowboys – A – Even though I’m a Giants fan, they had a good draft. They were able to get Dez Bryant pretty late in the first round and a very good linebacker in Sean Lee in the second round. Taking Sam Young in the sixth round is an excellent value pick. I would’ve liked it if they took a safety to help fill the gap that Ken Hamlin filled.

Denver Broncos – D – The only reason I didn’t give them an F is because they bolstered their offensive line and got some valuable picks in the later rounds. Taking Demaryius Thomas over Dez Bryant was foolish and taking Tim Tebow in the first round is just a waste, especially with Clausen and McCoy still on the board.

Detroit Lions – B+ – The Lions did a surprisingly good job in the draft. Taking Suh was a no-brainer but then trading back into the first round to take Jahvid Best was really savvy. They could have addressed their needs at safety and linebacker, especially after trading away Ernie Sims.

Green Bay Packers – B – The Packers had a very solid draft. They took guys that they needed. Brian Bulaga is a great fit for them, and they took some other guys that fill some needs. The Packers won’t really wow you in a draft but they do a good job nonetheless.

Houston Texans – C+ – The Texans shocked a few people by taking Kareem Jackson over Kyle Wilson, who many felt was the best cornerback in the draft. They filled some needs and one pick that I found interesting was LSU’s Trindon Holliday. He’s a really small (5’5″) but really fast guy that can play a number of different roles.

Indianapolis Colts – A – The Colts always draft well but this year I have to give them an A. They filled every need they had and got a lot of depth plus they got a guy in Jerry Hughes that can come in and learn a lot from Dwight Freeney.

Jacksonville Jaguars – D – The Jags didn’t help themselves at all. They definitely addressed their needs along the defensive line, I’ll give them that. But why on Earth would you take Tyson Alualu at number 10? And there were a few other needs they could have addressed, especially at quarterback.

Kansas City Chiefs – C+ – The Chiefs did a good job solidifying their lines and secondary. Javier Arenas doubles as a returner and will be reliable in a nickel or dime package right away.

Miami Dolphins – C – The Dolphins had to revamp that defense with Jason Taylor leaving and they did just that. I think the Koa Misi pick was a bit of a reach but Bill Parcells gets the benefit of the doubt. I really like the Reshad Jones pick in the 5th round. He’s better than people think.

Minnesota Vikings – B+ – The Vikings went out and did exactly what they had to do… fill every need they had. The only problem I had was that they didn’t pull the trigger and take a quarterback like Clausen or McCoy. If Favre doesn’t come back, Tarvaris Jackson is the likely starter, and they go from potential Super Bowl participant to borderline playoff contender. Maybe Toby Gerhart can carve out a little niche for himself the way Mike Alstott did.

New England Patriots – B+ – The Pats did a good job picking up some quality players. They could get an A+ for all the picks they got for next season, but I don’t care about next season. I care about right now. Brandon Spikes is a good linebacker, and they also picked up two very good tight ends. Also, Zac Robinson is a solid quarterback when he’s accurate.

New Orleans Saints – B- – Its hard to really judge a team that just won the Super Bowl but the Saints still did a decent job in the draft. They got value in the middle rounds along the offensive and defensive lines. They could have gone with a linebacker and they took Jimmy Graham from Miami, who’ll get to play behind and learn from fellow Miami alum Jeremy Shockey. He won’t be a very good blocker but he’s really athletic and he’ll make an impact.

New York Giants – B – The Giants didn’t have much luck with some of the guys they wanted with Rolando McClain going 8th to the Raiders and CJ Spiller going 9th to Buffalo, but they still got some good players. They like the upside they see in Jason Pierre-Paul and they’re confident because he won’t have any pressure to produce right away. Nebraska‘s Phillip Dillard will have to learn quickly so that the void that Antonio Pierce left wide open can be filled.

New York Jets – C+ – The Jets took a lot of chances in this draft after the first round. Kyle Wilson is a solid pick, but can Vladimir Ducasse really come in right away and replace Alan Faneca? Joe McKnight is good but I don’t think he has the breakaway speed that Leon Washington had. The Jets didn’t do too bad considering they had four picks.

Oakland Raiders – A – Call me crazy, but I think the Raiders had one of the best drafts. They got younger at a position of need (middle linebacker), they took one of the more athletic offensive lineman in the draft, they got the fastest guy at the Combine, and they got a quarterback for basically nothing. Not to mention they have a very deep secondary now. The Raiders did well. Let’s see if it translates into wins.

Philadelphia Eagles – B+ – The Eagles were clearly out to emphasize their pass rush, or lack thereof. The took Brandon Graham early and lucked out with Ricky Sapp later on. I thought taking Riley Cooper was a smart pick and I have a good feeling about Charles Scott becoming the new Correll Buckhalter. Nate Allen better become an All-Pro safety or else they’ll be haunted with the fact that he was the pick they got from the Redskins for Donovan McNabb.

Pittsburgh Steelers – C – The Steelers didn’t wow anyone at the draft but unlike the Packers, I don’t feel like they got much value. Pouncey is versatile and can play virtually any position on the offensive line and maybe the vaunted Steeler system can turn Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson into stars. I don’t know that Emmanuel Sanders works in their offense because they don’t run very many screens (which from watching him at SMU, is one of the best things about his game). Also, Jonathan Dwyer isn’t that great outside of that Georgia Tech triple option offense.

San Diego Chargers – C – The Chargers reached for Ryan Matthews and didn’t have to trade up that high to take him and they didn’t address their needs along the offensive line and in the secondary.

San Francisco 49ers – A – The Niners did a great job taking linemen with their first two picks. That offensive line is going to do wonders for Frank Gore. Mike Singletary is going to light a fire under Taylor Mays, who might already be fired up after his old coach Pete Carroll passed on him… twice. They could have taken a quarterback, but with that line, they’ve made it clear that they plan on running on everyone.

Seattle Seahawks – B+ – The Seahawks did an excellent job bringing in Russell Okung to replace Walter Jones, and Earl Thomas, who some thought was better than Eric Berry. They could have taken a running back, which was a position of need but they traded for Leon Washington and LenDale White, the former USC standout that already has a rapport with Carroll.

St. Louis Rams – B – The Rams did a decent job. They got their franchise quarterback and a tackle to protect him. They didn’t take a runningback, which tells you they’re sold on Steven Jackson, and I really like the Marty Gilyard pick. He’s a very underrated talent at wide receiver that runs really precise routes with good speed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – B – The Bucs did a good job of maintaining the status quo while getting a little better. Gerald McCoy was the no-brainer pick but what stood out to me was them taking Arrelius Benn, who had been compared in some reports to Jerry Rice, and Mike Williams, who might have been a first or second round pick if not for a few off the field incidents.

Tennessee Titans – B+ – I like the Derrick Morgan pick. Very vanilla. Damian Williams can be the real deal with a good quarterback. Notice the difference in his college stats from before and after he transferred from Arkansas to USC. Also, any team that took Myron Rolle had my respect. The Titans are getting a good football player and an even better human being… at a bargain price. He was projected to be in the third round, but fell to the sixth.

Washington Redskins – C- – The Skins dropped the ball. Okung is a better player than Trent Williams, they didn’t address their needs at wide receiver, their secondary isn’t very deep (especially at safety), and their defensive line is average.

Those are my draft grades. If you have any questions or comments you can email me at s_talouis@yahoo.com.

The Queens native handles all things football on KeepingItRealSports.com. Stan attended Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens and SUNY Old Westbury. He's spent his post graduate career in different parts of the media, as an editorial assistant, a production assistant and a board operator. He can be followed on twitter @FunnyManStan and routinely performs standup comedy all over New York City.

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