By Max Sass, Sports Editor
2010 NFL Draft Grades
Dallas Cowboys – B +
In the 1998 NFL draft 20 teams passed on a top-10 talent at wide receiver because of potential character issues. That player was Randy Moss. The Cowboys made sure not to make the mistake 12 years later by taking Dez Bryant as he free-fell. Sean Lee in the second round was a bit early for a player with injury history and Owusu-Ansab was a risk in the third round because of his lack of competition in college. IT could be a risk that pays off and he should pay immediate dividends as a returner.
New York Giants – A –
The Giants did a nice job of taking the best player available by selecting Jason Pierre- Paul at 15 overall. This selection could signal the end of Osi Umenyiora as a Giant. Linval Joseph in round two filled a need at defensive tackle and Chad Jones was a good value in the third round. The Giants did a nice job addressing defensive needs while not reaching for one specific need.
Philadelphia Eagles – C +
Brandon Graham is a good player and could help free up Trent Cole as a pass-rusher but was not the best player or even defensive end on the board at 13. The Eagles did not make a huge splash in rounds 2-4 but did a nice job getting value in Ricky Sapp and Riley Cooper in the fifth round.
Washington Redskins – B
The actual draft was poor, as Trent Williams is the only impact player the Redskins selected. The only reason the ‘Skins salvaged a decent grade here is because the trade for Donovan McNabb is counting here. They acquired a prime quarterback and were still able to hold onto their top five pick and get a desperately needed offensive tackle.
Chicago Bears – D
The Bears only had five selections in the draft and none in the first two rounds. Major Wright from Florida has a lot of holes in his game but could end up being decent value in the third round. The Bears best pick was Dan LeFevour, a dynamic quarterback, in the sixth round but did not draft any immediate difference makers.
Detroit Lions – A –
Ndamukong Suh was the easiest pick in the draft and the Lions have a legitimate defensive superstar to pair with stud quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Lions traded back into the first round to acquire running back Jahvid Best. Best is a dangerous runner but has an injury history. He should be a nice pairing with Kevin Smith and an explosive home run option for the Lions offense.
Green Bay Packers – B
Getting offensive tackle Brian Bulaga at 23 overall may be the best value in the draft but Purdue defensive tackle Dan Neal was not a good pick in the second round and safety Morgan Burnett in the third round was not a great fit either. Taking a more coverag- based safety in the second round would have made sense but the Packers seemed to have switched things up.
Minnesota Vikings – B –
Surprised the Vikings passed on Jimmy Clausen with their pick early in the first round because Brett Favre's status is so up in the air. They did a nice job addressing a defensive need with cornerback Chris Cook though his height and ability to change directions are worries. Toby Gerhart may have been taken a bit too early but the Vikings needed a second back to pair with Adrian Peterson after Chester Taylor left. Ryan D'Imperio, a linebacker from Rutgers taken in round seven, may end up surprising some people and getting early playing time.
Atlanta Falcons – C -
Sean Weatherspoon, a linebacker from Missouri, was the only impact player the Falcons got in this draft. It was surprising that the Falcons passed on a defensive end at 19 and instead took Weatherspoon. Kerry Meier, a fifth round pick from Kansas, is an interesting pick. The Falcons may see him as a Brian Finneran –like receiver in a few years.
Carolina Panthers – A
The Panthers had an incredible draft despite not having a first round pick. They were able to get a future starting quarterback in Jimmy Clausen after releasing Jake Delhomme earlier in the offseason. Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards both have incredible upside at receiver and could give Clausen targets to throw too. Eric Norwood and Greg Hardy are both terrific value picks int eh fourth and sixth rounds, respectively.
New Orleans Saints – C +
Patrick Robinson was an average pick to close out the first round especially because all of the top cornerbacks were already selected. Charles Brown in the second round, the offensive tackle from USC, was good value and will immediately step in and offer depth on the offensive line for the Saints. The Saints should have gone with a linebacker in round three, and there were a few available, instead of selecting Jimmy Graham, the slightly overrated tight end from Miami.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – A –
The Bucs selected defensive tackles in rounds one and two to try to fill the hole that has been gaping since Warren Sapp left years ago. McCoy and Price could evolve into franchise tackles to help reestablish Tampa Bay's dominant defense. Arrelious Benn, a receiver from Illinois, was a good risk in round two and could be a favorite target of Josh Freeman for years. Mike Williams, the third round receiver from Syracuse, is a big risk because of his character history but could eveolve into a superstar. Dekoda Watson, the linebacker from Florida, was a nice pick in round seven.
Arizona Cardinals – B +
Dan Williams, the defensive tackle from Tennessee, was a nice selction in the first round and could be the Cardinals' nose tackle for the foreseeable future. Andre Roberts, a receiver from the Citadel, was a small school risk that the Cardinals could afford in the third round. John Skelton, a big quarterback from Fordham, is a solid developmental project taken in the fifth round.
St. Louis Rams- B -
The entire draft hinges on Sam Bradford, the first overall pick. The Rams should have traded away the highly sought first pick of the second round but instead took an offensive tackle instead of potentially getting multiple players. Mardy Gilyard was a good fourth round selection but more immediate impact players would have been nice. George Selvie, the prolific defensive end from South Florida, was a nice seventh round pick.
Seattle Seahawks – A –
The Seahawks got a number of immediate impact players in this draft. Russell Okung will start immediately and Earl Thomas was a terrific pick at 14 overall. Golden Tate in the second round and Kam Chancellor in the fifth were under the radar selections that should pay off nicely out in Seattle.
San Francisco 49ers – B +
Offensive linemen Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati were excellent selctions in the first round, but the ‘Niners should not have passed on Jimmy Clausen failed to secure themselves a future franchise quarterback. Taylor Mays in round two was an excellent pick, especially because he has a chip on his shoulder after calling out former college coach and current division rival Pete Carroll. Nate Byham, a late round tight end from Pittsburgh, will be a nice blocking compliment to Vernon Davis. Navarro Bowman is a talented, but erratic linebacker who could thrive under coach and legendary former linebacker Mike Singletary.
Buffalo Bills – C
C.J. Spiller was a surprise pick at nine overall when the Bills already have Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch but Spiller will certainly make an immediate impact. Alex Carrington, a third round defensive end who stand at 6' 5" could be an impact pass-rusher right away. It was a bit surprising that the Bills passed on both an offensive lineman and Jimmy Clausen in both the first round and the top of the second round.
Miami Dolphins – C +
The Dolphins did a nice job trading down from the top of the first round and still getting an impact player in Jared Odrick, a defensive end/defensive tackle from Penn State. The Dolphins selected four outside linebackers in the draft but none will have an immediate impact replacing Jason Taylor. John Jerry was a bit of a project to be taken in the third round.
New England Patriots – A
Devin McCourty was an awesome pick late in the first round and will contribute immediately on defense and special teams. Rob Gronkowski will be an immediate offensive contributor at tight end and was a terrific second round selection. Brandon Spikes, Taylor Price and Aaron Hernandez are all great picks in the second, third and fourth rounds and could pay immediate dividends for the Pats. The Pats replenished a fading team with difference makers and their rookies could help the team return to the top of the league.
New York Jets – C +
Kyle Wilson was a terrific first round pick who will have time to develop behind superstars Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie as the Jets nickel-back. Vladamir Ducasse is a road-grader offensive guard form UMass who will take a bit of coaching and Joe McKnight is a dynamic back who will return kicks and get carries immediately for the Jets. John Connor could spell the end of veteran fullback Tony Richardson. The Jets lose major points for releasing Alan Faneca without a solid replacement already on the roster and trading away Leon Washington for just a sixth round pick.
Baltimore Ravens – A
Despite not having a first round pick, the Raven did a nice job of selecting impact players and iproving their team. Sergio Kindle and Terrance Cody were potential late first round picks that fell into the second and the Ravens capitalized by selecting both. Tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta could both pair nicely with Todd Heap and eventually supplant him, as he gets more expensive.
Cincinnati Bengals – B
Jermaine Gresham was a nice late first round selection and could start immediately as long as he stays healthy. The Bengals fell back into their old trap of selecting troubled players with Carlos Dunlap in round two, but he is a dominant pass rusher who could excel if he stays out of trouble. Jordan Shipley is a solid receiver in round three and will be a reliable slot option for Carson Palmer right away. Geno Atkins, a defensive tackle from Georiga and Dezmon Briscoe, a receiver from Kansas, were good values in rounds four and six.
Cleveland Browns – B –
Joe Haden was a decent selection at number seven and will start right away for the Browns. The Browns needed an impact offensive player and did not get one until Colt McCoy was selected in round three. McCoy could be a star one-day but needs more weapons around him to succeed at the next level.
Pittsburgh Steelers – B –
Maurkice Pouncey was the best center available and the Steelers took him because they want to return to a ground style offensive game. Trading Santonio Holmes for a fifth round pick will hurt offensively but a more run-oriented offense could fix that. Utah linebacker Stevenson Sylvester was a good value in round five.
Houston Texans – D +
Kareem Jackson, the cornerback from Alabama, was a reach at 20 overall. The Texans had a number of needs and did not fill any particularly well. Their best pick may have been seventh round tight end Dorin Dickerson. Second round running back Ben Tate of Auburn fell off in production during his final college year and is still overcoming a neck injury.
Indianapolis Colts – B –
Jerry Hughes, the undersized defensive end who could play outside linebacker from TCU, was a good selection late in the first round. Linebacker Pat Angerer from Iowa was an okay selection in round two. He is missing NFL skills but has the type of blue-collar attitude the Colts love. The only offensive lineman the Colts selected was Jacques McClendon of Tennessee in the fourth round and they could have used a second round lineman to add depth immediately.
Jacksonville Jaguars – D
Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu was a major reach at pick number 10. The Jaguars were rumored to be trying to trade down and acquire Tim Tebow late in the first round but they did not do that either. The Jags needed a playmaker to help David Garrard but passed on Dez Bryant. The Jaguars got poor value early and no value late adding no immediate impact players later in the draft.
Tennessee Titans – A –
Derrick Morgan at 16 was one of the best picks of the first round. He was the best player on the board and fills a major need for the Titans. The Titans added playmakers in the third round in Damian Williams, a receiver from USC, and Rennie Curren, a linebacker from Georgia.
Denver Broncos – D
Tim Tebow is not a first round pick and does not have the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback. The Broncos reached for Tebow and also reached to get Demaryius Thomas, a wide receiver from Georgia Tech. The Broncos salvaged something by taking Eric Decker, a decent receiver from Minnesota and Perrish Cox, a cornerback from Oklahoma State who could provide depth.
Kansas City Chiefs – B +
Eric Berry may have been the safest pick in the draft. He is a sure-thing safety who will immediately help the Chiefs' weak defense. Dexter McCluster was a bad value in round two as he is not enough of a physical back to survive in the NFL. Javier Arenas, a cornerback from Alabama, Jon Asamoah, an offensive guard from Illinois and Tony Meoki, a tight end from Iowa were all excellent, under the radar selections after round two.
Oakland Raiders – C +
While it would be easy to just pass this draft off as another Al Davis messup, the Raiders managed to get at least a few decent players. Trading a fourth round pick for Jason Campbell was a nice move so they can finally move past the JaMarcus Russell error. Rolando Mclain was a nice pick at eight even though the Raiders had to move Kirk Morrison to make room for him. Bruce Campbell, a workout warrior, was a great value in the fourth round. Jacoby Ford was the traditional AL Davis track star but may help in the return game.
San Diego Chargers – D +
The Chargers moved up to pick 12 in order to select Ryan Matthews, the running back from Fresno State. Matthews is a big bruising back but the Chargers gave up too much to get too little. The Chargers would have been better suited sitting late in the first round and selecting a big nose tackle like Terrance Cody of Alabama. The lack of defensive help may suggest that the Chargers are happy to rely on Phillip Rivers outscoring other teams.