Category: NFL Draft News


These prospects aren’t necessarily my top ranked guys or players that are going to go in the first round, but they are guys that I am 100% sold on and would fight for if I was in a NFL Draft War Room. Enjoy.

QBs:

Geno Smith, West Virginia
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

Honorable mentions: Ryan Nassib, Syracuse, Ryan Griffin, Tulane

Analysis: I have been fairly outspoken about not being a fan of this quarterback class. That’s not to say there won’t be solid starters that come out of this class, there will, but I’m not comfortable tying my reputation to many of these quarterbacks and even the guys that I like have flaws. Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson have been my top 2 guys for months and that’s not going to change. I think Wilson is going to be a very good value if he’s there on day 2 and whoever gets him is going to get a very good, tough leader who may not be a pro bowler but is a guy you can win with. Geno Smith has been completely overanalyzed by this point, but I don’t think he’s a “franchise” guy, but definitely has pro bowl upside. That’s worth a 1st round pick to me. He’s the #14 player on my overall big board. As for Nassib, he’s been my #3 QB for a long time as well and while his NFL success will be tied more to a good scheme fit than I think Smith and Wilson will I think that he’s going to be a quality starter as well. This is particularly true if he goes to a team with an entrenched veteran QB who can show him the ropes and give him time to develop. Like most of the QB’s in this class I don’t think he is ready to jump in and run the show from the start. And finally there is Ryan Griffin from Tulane who I wish I could have seen more of, but everything I saw of him was very intriguing. He’s going to be an early day 3 pick in my opinion and I really like his developmental upside. Should be a good #2 at least, potentially a solid starter. I’d roll the dice on him in round 4 or 5.

RBs:

Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
Dennis Johnson, Arkansas
Benny Cunningham, Middle Tennessee State

Honorable mention: Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Analysis: Franklin is my #2 running back in this class, Bernard is my #3, and Johnson is my #5. Franklin and Bernard have both been discussed an awful lot, I think they are both quality backs and will be effective NFL starters. Dennis Johnson is one player that I am far higher on than most, and I think he is going to shock a lot of people at the next level. When I watch him I see a young Michael Turner who can contribute on special teams as an effective kick returner. He’s a complete back and he is my early pick for the steal of the draft. Benny Cunningham is a late addition to this post, but I am extremely intrigued by him. He just ran a 4.51 at his pro day months after a season ending knee injury and if he comes back 100% I think he is going to be a steal on day 3. He absolutely has starter running back upside and if he gets his chance I think he will surprise people. Last but not least I couldn’t leave Montee Ball off this list. I’ve watched him live too many times at Camp Randall Stadium and despite his heavy college workload I think he is being underrated. He’s a quality back and he can likely be had in the 3rd or 4th round.

WRs

Keenan Allen, California
Robert Woods, USC
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Conner Vernon, Duke

Analysis: Allen has been my #1 WR since October and I haven’t wavered on that despite his knee injury, testing positive for marijuana at the combine or not being able to perform fully at Cal’s pro day. Maybe that makes me stubborn, but I’ve been watching him since he was a freshman and I’ve been convinced for three years that he has #1 WR upside at the next level, so why should I change my mind now? The tape screams NFL #1 to me, so that’s what I’m trusting. Robert Woods was initially my 1a to Keenan Allen but his injuries concerned me a bit and he dropped down on my rankings, but he is at worst a terrific #2 in the NFL and is back at #2 in my rankings. I wish I could hear more about his ankle to see if he was going to be 100% at the next level, but he’s a 1st round pick in my opinion and will be a very effective NFL receiver. Hopkins has been my #2 for a while but thanks to some possible character concerns I’ve dropped him down to #4, but I am still a big fan on tape. He should be a 1st round pick in my opinion, but if he drops to the 2nd round some team could get a nice value with him. And finally Conner Vernon is the last player I’ll “bang the table” for at the wide receiver position. In a class absolutely stacked with talent I wanted to add a late round guy who I think is worth fighting for. He may not be the biggest or the fastest, but Vernon just always seems to be open and he has very good hands. He’s not going to be a pro bowler, but he’s going to have a 10+ year NFL career in my opinion. Look for him on Day 3.

TEs

Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Justice Cunningham, South Carolina

Analysis: Eifert may feel like a cop out, but he’s been my #1 TE for months now and he’s in my top 10 on my big board (#9) so I’m very confident he is going to be an impact tight end at the next level. Cunningham may seem a bit out of left field, but from the first time I noticed him I just had a gut feeling that he was being completely slept on and I still feel that way. He may not be a stud at the next level, but I’m not sure I’ve even seen anyone project him to get drafted. In a deep, talented tight end class I really think he could surprise and make a roster.

OTs

Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
DJ Fluker (RT/OG), Alabama
Reid Fragel, Ohio State

Analysis: I’ve been a big fan of Fisher since before the Senior Bowl and he was awfully impressive there and I feel confident saying I was one of the first people to say he was on Joeckel’s level (if not better) back in January. Others have since come to a similar conclusion, and while I have Joeckel rated above Fisher on my big board (#2 and #3 respectively) I am convinced Fisher has pro bowl potential at tackle and is worth a high draft pick. Fluker is an interesting prospect and while I think he would underwhelm in pass protection at right tackle I think he is so effective in the run game that he is worth banging the table for if you are a power running team. Not only that, but if he doesn’t pan out at right tackle you can just slide him inside to guard and enjoy pro bowl caliber play for the next 10 years. Reid Fragel is the last tackle I am a really big fan of. He is a developmental guy who needs some technique work and could stand to get stronger, but I think he has the upside to play left tackle and getting a guy like that in rounds 3-5 is something I and many NFL teams will always be interested in. I think he’s going to have a better NFL career than many expect.

OGs

Chance Warmack, Alabama
Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Larry Warford, Kentucky
Hugh Thornton, Illinois

Analysis: Warmack and Cooper go without saying, they are studs and should be quality starters as rookies. Warford is a player some have cooled on, but I really like him as a quality starter at guard and I think he could start as a rookie. He’s short, squatty and not particularly mobile but he’s going to have a long, effective NFL career if you ask me. And finally there is Hugh Thornton, he’s had to overcome a lot of adversity in his life and some teams are reportedly concerned about the anger he has inside of him, but he screams effective NFL starter at guard and call me crazy, but I love the nastiness he plays with. There are some great stories in this NFL Draft, but it’s tough to think of a guy who’s had tougher luck than Thornton. I’m a fan of him on the field, but I’m honestly rooting for him more as a person than I am as a football player.

Cs

Barrett Jones, Alabama

Analysis: This is not my favorite crop of centers, and I’ve been pretty outspoken about Khaled Holmes being a mid-round pick (I gave him a 4th round grade in June) and while Barrett Jones may not be an elite center prospect I think he is too smart and too sound from a technique standpoint to not have a long NFL career as a starting center. He’s not going to dominate at the point of attack, but he’s as tough as they come and he’s going to be the leader of whatever offensive line he gets drafted to.

DEs

Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Tank Carradine, Florida State
Datone Jones, UCLA
Corey Lemonier, Auburn
William Gholston, Michigan State
David Bass, Missouri Western State
Stansly Maponga, TCU

Analysis: Werner, Carradine and Jones are pretty self explanatory. I think Werner has 10+ sack upside and he’s a top 10 player to me, as is Carradine. Jones may not have that same pass rush upside but I think he can be a very versatile player in the NFL, not to mention he is virtually unblockable 1 on 1 when he slides into DT in pass rush situations. Lemonier is a player some don’t like, but I think he has a ton of upside as a pass rusher. He needs some technique work but he’s a guy I think you roll the dice on, coach up and the dividend could be a stud right end if he commits and works hard. Gholston is a player that some don’t like, but I have a feeling that he could surprise some people. Part of that bad rep comes from simply having the same last name as Vernon Gholston, but he has all the size and athleticism you could want and I don’t think he was coached particularly hard at Michigan State because he was such a big time recruit for them. With some NFL coaching and guidance I think he could surprise a lot of people, so I’m definitely willing to bang the table for him. David Bass impressed me a lot at the East-West Shrine Game and I think he has starter upside at defensive end, so on Day 3 he is definitely worth a draft pick to me. And finally Stansly Maponga presents some upside on Day 3 as well. He doesn’t have the height you want, but I think he definitely presents value as a rotational pass rusher and could go earlier than some have him projected.

DTs

Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Jesse Williams, Alabama

Analysis: This is a deep crop of defensive tackles, but I am very high on both of these guys. Richardson has been my #1 DT for a long time and I think he’s going to be an absolute impact player whether he’s in a 4-3 or a 3-4 as a DE. As for Williams I think he is the rarely seen 3 down nose tackle that can be effective versus the run and the pass in a 4-3 scheme. He’s worth a 1st round pick and I think he’s going to have a long, effective NFL career.

OLBs

Sean Porter, Texas A&M
Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
Brandon Magee, Arizona State

Analysis: This may seem like a random group of outside linebackers, but I have been a fan of Porter for two years now and he is a poor-man’s Von Miller to me. He won’t be the dominant player Von is, but I think he can be effective if allowed to rush the passer in a similar capacity. I may be alone in that thinking though. Khaseem Greene is a guy that I think is going to be a good leader and an effective OLB in a 4-3, likely on the weak side. And Magee is a late round sleeper that I think is going to outperform everyone’s expectations for him.

ILBs

Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Kiko Alonso, Oregon

Analysis: Arthur Brown is my favorite 4-3 linebacker in this class and I personally think he is a definite first round draft pick and can play inside or outside in that scheme. Alonso may not be for everyone, but I love the way he plays and I think he is going to be good whether he’s inside in a 3-4 or outside in a 4-3.

CBs

Jamar Taylor, Boise State
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
Nickell Robey, USC
Nigel Malone, Kansas State

Analysis: Jamar Taylor and Johnthan Banks are traditionally ranked pretty high by most analysts, at least those that I interact with, and I really think Taylor is worth a 1st round pick. Banks may not have had the workouts that he needed to go in round 1, but he has good ball skills as well as the size and length that is becoming more and more popular to match up with bigger wide receivers. Poyer has been a favorite of mine for years, really since he housed an interception on Matt Barkley when Barkley was a sophomore. He’s a top 40 player on my board and I think he’s going to be a good corner in the NFL. Robey and Malone are two other players I think I am a lot higher on than most. Robey is a top 100 player in my book despite his obvious lack of size. He’s an absolute playmaker and I think you can never have too many of those at corner. Malone is undersized and doesn’t have elite athleticism, but he’s going to stick on a NFL roster, likely as a nickel or dime guy, and make plays on the ball when he’s on the field. I’ll take guys who can play the ball like Malone on my roster any day, especially late in the draft.

Safeties

Kenny Vacarro, Texas
Jonathan Cyprien, FIU
DJ Swearinger, South Carolina
Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
Duke Williams, Nevada

Analysis: Vacarro is at the top of plenty of safety rankings and I think he’s going to be a very good safety at the next level, and I feel the same about Cyprien. I was really impressed with what I saw from him when I watched him on tape and live. Swearinger was a popular name for a while but has cooled lately, but I’m still a big fan of his. If he’s there in the 3rd round I’d jump all over him. Rambo has some questions surrounding him but he strikes me as an absolute ballhawk and those aren’t as easy to find at the safety position as it may seem. I’d also jump all over him in round 3. And finally Duke Williams, a guy I’ve been rooting for since I saw him LAY someone out in a bowl game a couple years ago, should go sometime on Day 3 and I think he has legitimate starter upside.

I believed Josh Gordon had 1st round upside back in 2010, and still believe he has that upside now. Unfortunately, he comes with more questions than answers thanks to his dismissal from Baylor and his decision to leave Utah before playing a snap.

The Supplemental Draft always seems to generate a lot of buzz, mostly likely because of how little there is to talk about football-wise in July. Everyone is chomping at the bit waiting for football season to start, meaning they will talk about anything to make it get here sooner. As has been the case the past couple years, the Supplemental Draft is falling under that “anything” category.

This year we have eight eligible players for the Supplemental Draft. I believe there is one player that will be selected, Josh Gordon, the former Baylor and Utah wide receiver. The only other player with a chance is Ed Wesley, the former TCU running back.

Josh Gordon’s supplemental draft candidacy has become the stuff of legend the past couple of days. I have seen him compared to Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson and AJ Green. Truth be told, the Owens comparison holds the most water, but those would have been far more apt had he been playing football the past year, not sitting out due to transfer rules before playing for Utah this upcoming season.

Based on the comments I’ve heard, it’s fair to say that the Josh Gordon hype train has gone off the rails as so many things seem to these days. As the saying goes “Where facts are few, experts are many” and because Gordon hasn’t played a snap of football since his 2010 season in Baylor, there is certainly a shortage of facts when it comes to Josh Gordon. What we do know is that he’s listed at 6’3″, 220 pounds, has a projected 40 yard dash time in the 4.4 range and hasn’t played football for a year. Optimum Scouting’s Eric Galko did a great job trying to track down some facts regarding Gordon’s dismissal from Baylor. Here is what he found. According to Galko’s source in the Baylor football program Gordon is a good kid who made a mistake. From what Galko has reported, Gordon’s character concerns are less significant than originally believed. Not much has gotten out about his decision to leave Utah before playing a single down, but according to Galko and others it was due to financial issues, not another incident. We will see, perhaps in the coming days, if that holds true.

Given what we know about Gordon, which isn’t a whole lot, he seems to be a risk, but not a huge one. It will be interesting to see if he is in shape at his pro day on July 10th, which has been moved from Rice to the Texans facilities I just found out today. If he is, and if he runs in the 4.4′s, I fully expect him to go in the first three rounds of the supplemental draft. Back in 2010 I thought he had first round upside, and there are reports coming out that some scouts had similar grades on him. It’s not hard to imagine why. He has the size the NFL craves for a #1 WR at 6’3″, 220 pounds, he looks like a 4.5 guy on film, he can get behind defenders with his long strides but also shows the ability to change direction quickly. He catches the ball well with his hands outside of his frame and has shown he can track the ball deep. He has also shown a willingness to block and because of his size and strength he could be a very good blocking receiver once he receives more coaching. However he is obviously a raw route runner and doesn’t have a well developed route tree as far as we know from his time at Baylor. The reason Gordon’s name is heating up so much is that he has the size, the speed, the athleticism and the hands that NFL teams covet. Like many receivers, he needs to improve his route running. But I thought he had 1st round upside two years ago and there’s no reason to think he has forgotten how to catch or run despite a year out of football.

Overall, Gordon is going to be a risk. He hasn’t played in a year, he showed 1st round potential in 2010, but you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. However, getting a 1st round caliber receiver in round 2 or 3 of the draft will appeal to the teams that are able to do their homework and clear him from a character standpoint. The talent is there, it’s just a question of which teams check him out off the field and how much of a gamble they are willing to take.

**Update: Josh Gordon ran a 4.52 40 yard dash at his pro day, measured in at 6031 (6’3″, 1/8 inch), 224 pounds, had a 36″ vertical, 10’1″ broad jump as well as 13 reps on the bench press. According to Tony Pauline he hurt his quad during the 40 yard dash run, but he was going to attempt to run routes.**

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys, 3rd round. The Cowboys aren’t afraid to gamble and the team that gambles on this is going to need some stones, especially if they are surrendering a 3rd round pick or higher. The way I see it, he was a 1st round talent that gets docked for not playing last year and for his off field issues that helped lead him to the supplemental draft. That makes the 3rd round a realistic expectation for where he will be drafted on top of reports from Evan Silva of Rotoworld saying a NFC East team won’t let Gordon out of the 3rd round.

The less heralded player who has a chance to get drafted is Ed Wesley, the former TCU running back. Wesley never blew me away when I watched him, but he has some quickness to him and offers some versatility, but overall I think he is a complementary back in the NFL, not a starter. That limits his upside and doesn’t exactly make him a rare commodity when it comes to the NFL. Unfortunately for Wesley I don’t think he has a great chance at being selected. He certainly has a chance, but not a great one. There is always a gluttony of talent at running back and not a lot of teams have a dire need at #2 or #3 running back, and even if they did Wesley isn’t dynamic enough to warrant a pick to ensure they get him in my estimation. That makes me think he will go undrafted and probably get signed as a priority free agent so a team can see what he can do in training camp.

**Update** Wesley reportedly measured in at 5083 (5’8″ and 3/8), 196 and ran 4.68 and 4.72 in the 40 yard dash at his pro day July 9th, 2012.

Prediction: Undrafted.

My predictions for the rest of the supplemental draft entrants are for them to go undrafted. The others eligible are: LB Larry Lumpkin (formerly of Alabama A&M, Carson-Newman), CB Quaylon Ewing-Burton (formerly of Boise State), G/RT Adrian Haughton (formerly of Iowa State), DE/OLB Montez Robinson (formerly of Georgia), FB Adam Harris (formerly of Cornell, Syracuse), and WR Houston Tuminello (formerly of Lousiana Tech, Stephen F. Austin and McMurray). Here is what I know about each of them:

Larry Lumpkin- Listed at 6’0″, 234 pounds in 2009. Played in 11 games for A&M in 2010 finishing with 43 tackles, 4.5 TFL, two pass break-ups and two quarterback hurries. Returned to A&M in 2010, finishing with 39 tackles, 12 TFL, four sacks, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. However, according to this article Lumpkin had some off field issues. This included being “constantly late for meetings” and “missing practice at least once per week” and eventually led to him transferring to Carson-Newman, a Division II school. He led the team with 94 tackles, 62 solo, and 10 tackles for loss, but entered the Supplemental Draft after being ruled ineligble for the upcoming season.

Quaylon Ewing-Burton- Boise State released a statement saying Ewing “Did not live up to the standards of the program” when they announced he was no longer on the team. He was not a regular starter, and was not expected to be a starter for Boise State this upcoming season. Ewing-Burton is listed at 6’0″, 182 pounds and reportedly ran a  4.53 40, 7.46 L cone, 4.39 short shuttle, and registered 12 bench reps and a 10’2″ broad jump at his pro day on July 9th.

Adrian Haughton- Haughton was dismissed from Iowa State on May 19, 2012 for a violation of team rules. I have not been able to find any details about why he was dismissed. He most recently played for the Orlando Predators in the AFL. He is listed at 6’3″, 338 pounds.

Montez Robinson- Robinson seems to have the most significant off-field issues of this group, at least that we know of. He was arrested 3 times in a 6 month span at Georgia, all reportedly pertaining to domestic violence disputes with a female student at Georgia. From what I can gather, he was initially suspended in 2009 and was going to serve a 2 game suspension to start the 2010 season before his 3rd arrest violated the probationary period Georgia had put him on. That led to his dismissal and from what I can understand, jail time. I have not been able to find a record of him playing football since then.

Houston Tuminello- I don’t know much about Tuminello beyond the fact that he is listed at 6’0″ 190, originally played for Louisiana Tech for two seasons, quit the team in October 2009 for personal reasons, and then transferred to Stephen F. Austin and then subsequently to McMurray, a D-III school.

Adam Harris- Harris has the best chance of the remaining 6 entrants to make a team in my opinion. He’s listed at 6’2″, 232 pounds and has been medically cleared to return to football activities despite sustaining three concussions in his career. He is a tough fullback and seems to be dedicated to making a NFL roster, and hopefully he will get a chance to do so after the supplemental draft. But with his concussion history I don’t think any NFL team will surrender a pick for him. From what I have been able to find, he does not have any off field issues.
Thanks for reading, and I will update this post with more information as it becomes available as some of the prospects hold pro days. The most notable one left is Josh Gordon’s on July 10th, 2012.

–Tom

2012 1st Round Recap:

1st- Indianapolis: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford:
Analysis: We all knew this pick was coming. It was the right pick for the Colts to make and it will be a treat to compare Luck and Griffin as they embark on their NFL careers in very different settings. I still believe Luck is the safer pick, and he was the guy you had to pick #1 overall if you were the Colts.
2nd- Washington: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor:
Analysis: RGIII capped off a fantastic season with a meteoric rise up the draft boards to #2 overall. He has as much potential as Mike Vick did when he came into the NFL in my opinion, but he has a much better work ethic and football IQ than Vick did when he came into the NFL. He’s got the upside to be the best player to come out of this draft class, but I don’t think he’s ready to start Day One and needs some time to develop. He’s got amazing upside, but he’s riskier than Luck in my eyes.
3rd- Cleveland (F/ MIN): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama:
I didn’t see this coming, but props to Cleveland for getting their guy and sacrificing a few mid-late round picks to do it. They wanted Richardson all along and they made sure Tampa Bay didn’t move up to get him. Clearly Tampa Bay had their eyes set on upgrading the RB position as they moved back into round one for Doug Martin, so Cleveland wasn’t just imagining things. Richardson is a player that can help take the pressure off of Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden depending on who wins the starting job, and having a running back of that caliber definitely makes it easier to bring a young quarterback along.
4th- Minnesota (F/CLE): Matt Kalil, OT, Southern Cal:
Analysis: I’ll admit, I didn’t expect the Vikings to make this pick. I expected them to take Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne, but ultimately I think they made the right decision here (and picked up three mid-late round draft picks in the process). Kalil will immediately solidify their offensive line by protecting Christian Ponder’s blind side and allows the Vikings to shift Charlie Johnson inside to guard where he is a better fit. Great pick by the Vikings, even if I didn’t think they would end up making it when the day began.
5th- Jacksonville (F/ TB): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State:
Analysis: I don’t do this very often, but I have to toot my own horn on this one. I am probably one of the few people who filled out a mock draft that accurately predicted the Jaguars trading up from #7 overall to #5 overall with Tampa Bay to select Justin Blackmon, and I am very proud of that. Trades in mocks rarely, if ever, happen and I included one in my final mock draft (which I rarely do) and it actually panned out. So I have to pat myself on the back for that one. I’m not of the opinion that Blackmon is a true #1 receiver and I think he is better in a #2 role, which means I’m not wild about this pick. Don’t get me wrong, I like Blackmon and I think he can be a dynamic NFL receiver, I just don’t know if he can be “the guy” that makes life easier on the rest of the receivers on a team’s roster.
6th- Dallas (F/ STL): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU:
Analysis: This was a surprising trade (one that I did NOT predict) and I certainly did not expect the Cowboys to end up with Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys clearly wanted to upgrade the CB position and even though I think they overpaid for Brandon Carr in free agency this acquisition definitely improves their secondary. Claiborne shouldn’t be forced into the starting role too early, but he should be comfortable playing nickel right out of the gate. I’m a big fan of Claiborne, so I love this aggressive move to go get him.
7th- Tampa Bay (F/ JAX): Mark Barron, SS, Alabama:
Analysis: This was the first pick I really didn’t like in the 1st round. I believe Barron is the top safety in this draft class based on everything I have seen, but I had him graded as a late 1st round pick and he went #7 overall. I clearly missed the memo about Mark Barron developing from a possible 1st round safety with some flaws in coverage into a hybrid of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, but if Barron doesn’t develop into a Pro-Bowl safety that makes consistent plays in coverage then this will prove to be a huge reach. We know he’s a guy who can help versus the run, make big hits, and he has shown the ability to make plays on the ball, but you don’t pick a safety in the 1st round in this day and age unless he is a terrific coverage safety, and I don’t think Mark Barron fits that bill.
8th- Miami: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M:
Analysis: I’ve been a fan of Ryan Tannehill for a long time, so it was nice to see him get drafted in the top 10 despite having some flaws in his game. I love his intangibles, but I worry about his issues closing out games in the 4th quarter. I don’t think that potential flaw will prohibit him from being a quality starting quarterback, but I don’t think he is a “franchise” quarterback in the same sense as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are. So while I think the Dolphins got a quality quarterback prospect I also acknowledge that Tannehill has limited starting experience and traditionally quarterbacks with under 2.5-3 years of starting experience struggle when transitioning into the NFL. Cam Newton was an exception to that rule last year, but I don’t think Tannehill will have that same success. He needs to be developed and not forced into the line-up too early, and if he has half a year or one year to develop and get coached up I think he can and will be a quality starting quarterback for the Dolphins.
9th- Carolina: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College:
-I thought Kuechly might end up in the top 10, but while I do like him a lot and think he will be a quality starting middle linebacker in the NFL for a very long time I don’t think he is necessarily an impact player like Patrick Willis was out of college. Kuechly is more Keith Brooking than Patrick Willis to me, but Brooking was a quality linebacker for the Falcons for a very long time. Kuechly has plenty of ability and should be a quality starter at MLB for the Panthers (who have had a lot of trouble with injuries at the linebacker position for the last 5 years or so) and I think those issues with injuries had something to do with this pick.
10th- Buffalo: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina:
Analysis: This is the second pick I really did not like. I am not a Gilmore fan and I think his lack of ball skills and instincts has been overshadowed by his ideal size and speed combination for the cornerback position. I think he has a lot of upside, especially if he cleans up some of his technique and his back-pedal, but you can’t teach instincts and that concerns me.
11th- Kansas City: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis:
Analysis: I originally gave Poe a 3rd round grade when I scouted him, and even though he had an impressive showing at the combine I still worry about picking him in the 1st round. He’s got terrific upside thanks to his combination of size and athleticism, but he didn’t dominate at Memphis and was washed out too much against double teams (and sometimes even 1 on 1 blocks) to get a 1st round grade from me. He’s got as much upside as any defensive tackle in this draft class, but he’s a high risk/high reward player that I don’t think is a very good fit for the 3-4 NT position in the NFL.
12th- Philadelphia (F/ SEA): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State:
Analysis: Fletcher Cox is a player I really like and I had him as my #1 DT in this draft class. He slowly crept up draft boards but I was more impressed with his tape than I was of any other defensive tackle in this class. I really like his upside and I think he could really help upgrade their defensive front. Defensive tackle has been a position that the Eagles have struggled to fill with a quality player in recent years, and while Cox isn’t the flashiest, most athletically freakish player at his position I do think he is the best defensive tackle in this class. Great pick by the Eagles.
13th- Arizona: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame:
Analysis: I thought the Cardinals might go in this direction and it definitely makes some sense. The Cardinals desperately needed a #2 receiver to take some pressure off of Larry Fitzgerald and now they have a big, physical player who can high point passes downfield in Floyd. He’s a quality prospect but I do worry about him having issues creating separation at the next level, but Fitzgerald should help him improve his route running.
14th- St. Louis (F/ DAL): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU:
Analysis: The Rams very quietly a nice move down to #14 and continued to stock-pile picks. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone mention that Les Snead, the Rams new GM that came from Thomas Dimitroff’s staff in Atlanta, has handled his first NFL Draft much more like the Patriots than Thomas Dimitroff has despite working for them during their original Super Bowl runs. He has stockpiled three second round picks all between #33 and #49 and will have ample opportunity to upgrade his roster soon. Brockers isn’t my favorite pick because I think he has a lot of developing to do if he is going to provide an impact as a pass rusher. He should help the Rams against the run, but he is a ways away from helping them as a pass rusher. I love Brockers’ upside, but I thought he should have come back to LSU for another year, but I do love how Snead has handled the draft thus far.
15th- Seattle (F/ PHI): Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia:
Analysis: This was the most confusing pick of the draft for me, I absolutely didn’t see this coming. I thought that the talk of Irvin going in the 1st round was mostly smoke, but clearly I was wrong. Irvin has a lot of potential as a pass rusher and should offer some situational pass rushing early on in his career, but I don’t see an every down defensive end when I watch him. He’s got plenty of upside due to his great speed and burst, but this was a big roll of the dice this early in the draft.
16th- New York Jets: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina:
Analysis: This was a bit of a surprising pick for me. Obviously Rex Ryan was incredibly impressed with him when they put him through defensive lineman drills and linebacker drills and I think that played into this pick, but I don’t think he is a good 3-4 defensive end because I don’t think occupying blockers to let other defenders make plays is what Coples is all about. I thought his ideal fit would have been a 4-3 LE that could rush the passer from that spot and then slide inside to defensive tackle on 3rd down situations if necessary, but the 3-4 defense doesn’t seem like a good fit for Coples at all to me.
17th: Cincinnati: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama:
Analysis: Kirkpatrick has plenty of upside and the Bengals wanted/needed another cornerback. He’s not my favorite prospect, but he is a quality corner prospect and should help solidify their secondary. I’m not sure he’s going to be a great starter, but he should be a solid/pretty good starting corner.
18th- San Diego: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina:
Analysis: This was a nice value pick for the Chargers and they really needed a pass rusher to help bolster their defense. They’ve been trying to replace Shawne Merriman for a long time and I think with Ingram they finally found the guy to do it. He’s extremely versatile and at the end of the day he is at his best on tape, not necessarily in drills or in shorts. That is what caused him to slide, his lack of flash, but that is why I love this pick: He’s a very good football player and that will shine through during his career as a Charger.
19th- Chicago: Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
Analysis: I’m a big Shea McClellin fan and it made me happy to see him go in the 1st round. He went earlier than I expected but I don’t think he will disappoint. He’s a very hard worker with a terrific motor and will at the very worst get effort sacks rushing the passer opposite Julius Peppers on the Bears defensive front.
20th- Tennessee: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor:
Analysis: Kendall Wright really impressed me this year and made himself a lot of money over the course of the year as Robert Griffin III’s top target for the Baylor Bears. He didn’t wow many people in the offseason and unfortunately wasn’t at the Senior Bowl because of injury, but on film he is a 1st round caliber player without question. The Titans made a nice pick here to give Jake Locker (a mobile quarterback similar to RGIII) a player who is used to adjusting to a scrambling quarterback AND a player that can make guys miss and get plenty of yards after the catch. That is great news for Titans fans and Jake Locker.
21st- New England (F/ CIN): Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse:
Analysis: Chandler Jones was being hyped up a lot as the draft approached and was talked about as a possible top 10 pick, and Mike Mayock even stated that he thought Jones would be the top defensive player out of this draft in 3 years. I can’t say I agree with that, but the Patriots clearly liked him and made a move up to pick him. The jury is out on this one for now, but it’s hard to doubt the Patriots when it comes to the draft.
22nd- Cleveland: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State:
Analysis: This was another questionable pick. Everyone is rallying around it now, but it sounds like if Kendall Wright had made it to 22 he would have been the pick, and the Browns settled on Weeden after he went #20 to the Titans. That’s not what you want to hear about the scenario that led to you picking a quarterback in the first round, especially because Weeden already has enough question marks due to his age and the transition he will have to make from a pretty wide-open offense at Oklahoma State. He’s got a strong, accurate arm and he’s a smart guy, but if he doesn’t make an Andy Dalton-like impact as a rookie this pick will be criticized. I’m not sure he’s ready to start from Day One, and if he’s not then it limits the impact he will be able to make. At the end of the day he could have 6-8 more years to start as a quarterback even if he doesn’t start day one, but I would have picked him in round 2 if I wasn’t going to expect him to start Day One.
23rd- Detroit: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa:
Analysis: I like Reiff more than most, but I think that this is a good pick for the Lions. They’ve needed a left tackle for a long time, and with Jeff Backus returning he won’t be pressured into the starting role prematurely. He’s got plenty of upside, but just needs to get stronger. Unlike some, I believe he has all the potential to be a quality starter at left tackle. He may not have ideal arm length, but he’s more than athletic enough and he should be ready to start after a year on the bench.
24th- Pittsburgh: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford:
Analysis: This is the steal of the draft so far without a doubt in my opinion. DeCastro could have easily gone in the top 15 in my opinion, but he lasted past the Bengals (who I thought would pick him at 17 or 21 if he fell that far) and fell into the lap of the Steelers at 24 allowing them to fill a huge need and get fantastic value for the pick. DeCastro is the best offensive guard prospect I’ve ever scouted and this was a terrific pick.
25th- New England (F/ DEN): Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama:
Analysis: The Patriots made another trade-up, which isn’t usually their mantra, to make sure they got Dont’a Hightower before the Packers or the Ravens had a chance to get him. Hightower is a quality player with versatility that the Patriots surely appreciate and he adds another fearsome hitter to their front 7.
26th- Houston: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois:
Analysis: This isn’t a bad pick, but I personally disagree with the strategy they took here. They let Mario Williams walk, even though he would have demanded a huge contract, and then replaced him with Whitney Mercilus. I don’t think that’s a great strategy because Williams is a bonafide stud of a pass rusher and if healthy he is one of the best in the entire NFL, and I don’t think Mercilus has that same upside nor do I think he is going to be a 10+ sack guy that causes consistent pressure like he did at Illinois last year. He’s got a lot of upside but he could also have been a one year wonder and that presents a lot of risk. It would have cost a lot of money, but the Texans should have brought Super Mario back and addressed a different need with this pick in my opinion.
27th- Cincinnati (F/ NE): Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin:
Analysis: Great pick by the Bengals. They needed a quality offensive guard and Zeitler has been my #2 offensive guard behind only DeCastro for months. Plenty of people expected Cordy Glenn to go #2 but I expected Zeitler to go ahead of him as evidenced in my mock draft. Cincinnati gets an offensive guard with pro-bowl potential that is ready to step into the starting line-up right away with this pick.
28th- Green Bay: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, Southern Cal:
Analysis: Personally, I am not a huge fan of this pick. I am not the biggest Nick Perry fan, but he has undeniable upside. Something about his lack of bend and hip flexibility worries me though. He looks a little stiff coming off the edge and even though he has impressive speed, burst and strength I just don’t know if he will be able to overcome that lack of bend to become an impact pass rusher. However, he will be playing opposite Clay Matthews and he should be able to teach him a thing or two about creating pressure.
29th- Minnesota (F/ BAL): Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
Analysis: The Vikings made a savvy trade to start the draft but I don’t think this was a smart move. They didn’t give up very much, but I don’t think Harrison Smith warrants a first round pick. He was more of a 2nd-3rd round player to me, and I never really understood how he became a potential 1st round pick as the draft approached. I don’t think it had anything to do with his film, but it likely had something to do with this weak safety class and the Vikings huge need at safety. Trading up to reach for a player at a huge need position doesn’t often work well (See the Falcons trading up into round 1 to select Sam Baker) and I don’t envision this going very well either.
30th- San Francisco: AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois:
Analysis: I thought I liked AJ Jenkins more than most (I had him in my potential list of breakout players at the beginning of the year, I really liked what I saw from him as a junior) but clearly there were teams that were higher on him than I was, the 49ers being one of them. I don’t think he was worth a 1st round pick, but I had a 3rd round grade on him and thought he could be a productive NFL receiver. I’m not a huge fan of the pick, though I do like the player. Just seemed too early to me.
31st- Tampa Bay (F/ DEN, F/ NE): Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Analysis: The Bucs traded up a few slots to make sure they got their guy Doug Martin. Plenty of people thought the Bucs should have gotten David Wilson or Lamar Miller, but I prefer Doug Martin to both of them. Unlike Wilson or Miller, Martin can be an every down back in the NFL. He can be your feature back, but he is also a great pass blocker and a very reliable receiver out of the backfield. He’s a rare back in the NFL that can do everything you could ask for from a running back, so I love this pick.
32nd- New York Giants: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech:
Analysis: This pick surprised me a bit at first but it makes a lot of sense. David Wilson is a burner that will present the Giants with a lot of options as far as how to use him. He can spell Ahmad Bradshaw, he can catch passes out of the backfield and he can return kicks. That versatility as well as his game-breaking speed made him worthy of this pick.

Here are the top 10 players available at the start of the second round:
1- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
2- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
3- Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
4- Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
5- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
6- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
7- Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
8- Devon Still, DT, Penn State
9- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
10- Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Thanks for reading guys! Enjoy the draft!

–Tom

For weeks or months, the NFL Draft community has been speculating about what the St. Louis Rams will do with the #2 overall selection in the NFL Draft. Will they keep it and select Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon? Will they trade down with the Browns? Will they trade down with the Redskins or the Dolphins? I’ll be honest and say that I expected the Browns to get Robert Griffin III when all was said and done, but that does not appear to be likely anymore.

Jay Glazer is reporting that the St. Louis Rams have agreed to swap 2012 1st round selections (Rams own #2 overall, the Redskins own #6 overall) and the Rams will receiver two future 1st round selections as well as “additional” picks. I will update this with details later once they are finalized and confirmed. **UPDATE The additional pick is a 2012 2nd round pick from Washington** What we do know, at least for now, is that the Redskins have mortgaged a significant part of their future draft picks to move up to #2 overall. In all likelihood, they will be selecting Robert Griffin III with that selection, and they will have their quarterback of the future.

I’m not often in favor of these blockbuster trades, and I worried that the trade for Julio Jones may have been too much for one player and that it might have put too much pressure on Jones to perform well as a rookie. That was a trade for two 1st round selections as well as other valuable picks. This trade is for three 1st round selections and other picks, and because Griffin plays quarterback the pressure will be even more intense than it was for Jones. I personally don’t believe Griffin should play Day One, but I tend to be conservative with quarterback development (as I believe more NFL teams should be). Regardless, the Redskins made a very bold move to move up to #2 overall and will likely come away with their quarterback of the future with that selection.

I know I’ve been absent for a while, but I’m officially back in the saddle. Keep checking in for more NFL Draft news as the draft draws near!

Thanks for reading,

–Tom

Defensive Notes:

Series 1:
-Good run D, Babs beat a one on one block.
-Good heads-up play by Abe to get an INT on a tipped pass.

Series 2:
-Empty backfield, zone coverage. This is why we had to go get Ray Edwards. No pass rush with the front 4 and Henne completes it to Bess underneath in Lofton’s zone.
-Great play by Biermann vs the run, knifed inside and tackled the back for a short gain.
-Got a little heat on Henne, but not much. On the opposite side the WR turned Dunta around and had a step on him. Could have given up a big play if Henne had thrown that way.

Series 3:
-Easy INT by Grimes. He bit on the play action but quickly recovered and made a nice play on the ball, easy INT. Great recovery by Grimes. Henne thought he had a free completion, nice play by Grimes.

Series 4:
-Franks flew off the corner to pressure Henne, could have had a sack but didn’t back down. Henne got hit and the ball was dropped.
-Sidbury showed some speed, forced Henne to step up but he had room to run and got the 1st down on 3rd and 8.
-Jerry stayed blocked way too long. Needs to something happen vs a 1 on 1 block or he needs to be replaced/upgraded.
-Sidbury showed more speed off the edge, but he can’t get around the OT on the outside. If he doesn’t step up this year then RE is a huge need for us.
-Chris Owens got absolutely burned. Dime back at most.

Series 5:
-Matt Moore wisely didn’t force the ball downfield.
-Peters working well vs 1 on 1 blocks, Sidbury showed a good motor. On the surface his good motor and edge speed make him intriguing, but he just can’t manage to get the edge or get off blocks. Moore threw a wobbly ball on the run.

Series 6:
-#36 looked BAAD in coverage. #39 misplayed the ball as well. Cliff Matthews got upfield and applied some pressure though. Good to see.
-Moore threw a good ball in the face of pressure here.
-#39 has whiffed on two hits in a row.
-Matthews with a good burst, impressive swim move. He might make the team if he keeps showing ability. Peters showed a good motor to chase down and tackle the RB in the flat.

Series 7:
-Owens showed some ability as a blitzer coming off the edge here.
-Chris Matthews has flashed some speed off the edge.
-Good tackle in flat by Franks. Seems to be a good tackler and blitzer which I like.
-Sidbury and Matthews are flying off the edge but keep getting knocked down as they try to get the corner. Sidbury needs to get stronger. Jerry and Sidbury both had a slot to drag down Moore but he got away.

Series 8:
-Matt Moore got leveled and threw a ball up, but Dent LEVELED Moore.

Series 9:
-Matthews has shown some speed and shoulder dip, just gets knocked down too much.

Series 10:
-Owens is a good tackling corner.
-Matt Moore looks ok. Solid arm strength and accuracy, some toughness. Good patience in pocket, good feel to step up. Deals with pressure well. Good anticipation.
-Edmond Gates has looked good. Great speed, good hands as well.
-Jerry just doesn’t shed blocks well. Doesn’t look disruptive.
-Robert James has looked good. I think he’ll make the 53 man roster.
-TD Edmond Gates. Nice catch, nice throw by Moore too.
-I like Darrin Walls, I think he’ll be the 5th CB. I’d keep him over Owens at this point.

Series 11:
-Jerry seemed to flash a nice move inside as he got a nice hit on Devlin.
-Matthews with a nice get off, good bull rush and shed, plus a good motor to sack Devlin. Nice play, I hope he finds  away to make the 53 man.

Series 12:
-Jerry beat his man and would have had a sack if he hadn’t drawn a BAD holding call. The OL had his arm around Jerry’s neck.
-Matthews has a good motor. Would have loved to see him at the East-West Shrine Game.

Thanks for reading! I’m going to preview some college games that everyone should watch, and I’ll be watching the Wisconsin-UNLV game and posting a write-up once it’s over and I have time to type everything up.

–Tom

Albert Haynesworth to the Patriots for a 5th rounder- Clearly the Redskins are cutting their dead weight, and Haynesworth was just an overpaid problem for the Redskins at this point. This is such a typical Patriots move, and it’s just amazing the saavy that they have as an organization. As a fan of the NFL Draft and as someone who is very critical of free agency moves and trades, it’s rare that I ever disagree completely with something the Patriots do (I did not like the Nate Solder pick in round 1 however, but those instances are few and far between). This is just another case of me considering them to be brilliant. They got him for a 2013 5th, virtually nothing, and none of his salary for the next two years is guaranteed because the Redskins had to take the cap hit for him. The Pats can restructure his deal to give him some guaranteed money if they want, but they definitely don’t have to. Plus, the Pats have the clubhouse leadership and stable locker room to absorb someone like Haynesworth and keep him in line, which a lot of teams don’t have. The Patriots know how it’s done, and they continue to impress me as an organization. It doesn’t get any better than that Pats and the Packers when it comes to the draft and offseason manueverings.

Reggie Bush to Miami, agrees to a 2 year contract with the team after trade- Not sure what the trade is for, but I heard it might be a 6th rounder… Can’t confirm any of that though. It will be interesting to see what the ultimate compensation is for him. Either way, Miami gets him on the cheap and they get a very explosive back who should complement Daniel Thomas well, even though I still maintain that he is more of a finesse back in a power-back’s body. Regardless, still a pretty low risk/high reward pick-up.

James Jones still available, Minnesota in pursuit- This would not surprise me in the least, this is a typical Vikings move. Picking up McNabb for a 6th in 2012 and a 6th in 2013 was a Patriots-esque move, but now they are back to the Vikings moves of old by panicking after losing Sidney Rice and pursuing a WR who is overrated because of his performance on a very good team. They’ll sign him for a lot of money, more than he’s worth, and act like he is ready to be a #1 (similar to what they did with Berrian…) and he won’t end up working. The Vikings are still the Vikings I guess. No way does this end well for them. Let me know when I can take over the Vikings and start fixing this team.

Jason Babin signs a 5 year, $28 million contract with Philadelphia- This is a great get for Philly and if you read my article on Babin you might understand the potential upside of this move. I was right in that he didn’t ask for ridiculous money, he took a reasonable deal of just under $6 million which is a steal for a DE coming off a career year with over 10 sacks, and he is reunited with his former DL coach who helped him blow up last year, and now that same coach is working with a lot of DL talent on the Eagles. On paper at least, they should have a very scary pass rush, and Washburn should help make sure that talent on paper translates to the field. Great pick-up by the Eagles, another well-run team.

Sidney Rice signs a 5 year, $41 million contract with $18.5 million guaranteed- Rice is following T-Jack to Seattle, which makes little sense to me, though Seattle has had an underrated offseason. He doesn’t have a QB to throw him the ball yet, though in future seasons they could have a quality player. But this year, his value is not very high in my opinion. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, but if I was Sidney I would much rather have stayed in Minnesota with McNabb on the way, Ponder in the wings and AP on that same side of the ball. That’s just me though.

Kevin Kolb still rumored to be going to AZ- Will update this when the deal goes through, I would be surprised if this didn’t happen today or tomorrow. Hearing they might get DRC and a 2nd or something similar for him. Would be a fantastic deal.

Will keep updating this as more stuff happens. There was a flurry of activity that I had to update you guys on, I’ll try to keep up today.

–Tom

I’ll do my best to keep up with all the free agency moves. Here is what I’ve heard so far:

Tarvaris Jackson to Seattle- Not loving this move, because with Jackson and Whitehurst the Seahawks don’t have much at QB, especially since they are now letting Hasselbeck walk. Hasselbeck may have had some problems with injuries recently, but Tarvaris has had injury issues at times as well. Exchanging Hasselbeck for Tarvaris is a definite downgrade in my opinion, not a good move for Seattle in my opinion.

Charles Johnson re-signs with Carolina: Carolina gave Charles Johnson a big contract: 6 years, $72 million with $32 million guaranteed. Interesting that they felt they needed to lock Johnson up, but let Peppers walk. Peppers is obviously older and got more money, but the way he played for Chicago this year you have to wonder if the Panthers made a mistake letting him go (though Peppers may have decided to leave even if Carolina offered him that much money) and if giving Johnson a “perennial pro-bowl level deal” when he has had one year of impressive production as a starter. He looked good in a rotational role before that as well, but that’s a lot of money to give a guy who had his best season by far in a contract year. But they probably couldn’t afford to let him walk right after they lost Peppers the year before.

St. Louis Rams agree to 4 year deal with former Eagles Safety Quentin Mikell: Clearly the Eagles are comfortable letting Kurt Coleman step up into a consistent starting role if they let Mikell go so easily, but Mikell was one of the best safeties in the NFL last year, and he is a great pick-up for the Rams on paper. Mikell will be playing on a defense with significantly less talent, which is something you have to consider when predicting whether or not this is a great signing. It’s a definite upgrade for the Rams at that position, but it will be interesting to see how much money he got.

Santana Moss re-signs with Redskins- Not a game-changer by any means, but clearly the Redskins wanted him back and he wanted to be back, hopefully the quarterback throwing him the ball doesn’t change as frequently as it did last year. Sounds like it is a 3 year deal, $15 million with a $5 million signing bonus, $6 million guaranteed.

Seahawks may sign Leinart- Leinart could be reunited with Pete Carroll in Seattle. Will be interesting to see if he rounds out the depth chart. **Update** It sounds like Leinart has agreed to a deal with Seattle. This will easily be the most interesting/ridiculous quarterback competition of any of the 32 training camps…

Baltimore locks up Marshal Yanda- Yanda is a quality guard, haven’t heard the terms yet. Will update when I hear what the contract is worth. **Update** The deal is believed to be worth something in the 5 year to $32 million range.

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Kansas City:
1 – Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh 7.5

2 – Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State 8.0
3 – Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia 7.0
3 – Allen Bailey, DE, Miami 7.0
4 – Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado 7.5
5 – Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa 8.5
5 – Gabe Miller, OLB, Oregon 7.0
6 – Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss 8.0
7 – Shane Bannon, FB, Yale 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: I am not a big Baldwin supporter and I was a little surprised to see him go in the first round, even if it was late in the round. He has as much potential as any receiver in this class due to his rare combination of size, athletic ability and hands but I have questions about his attitude and effort level and I think he coasted a lot on his athletic ability and natural talent at Pittsburgh. He has a lot of upside and if he gets coached up and improves his route running he could be extremely dangerous and emerge as a beast opposite Dwayne Bowe in a couple of years, but that’s a risky proposition in my opinion. I like Rodney Hudson and he’s a solid guard, but probably not a great fit in a man scheme. He might need to move inside to center for KC. Justin Houston has a lot of pass rushing potential but he is much better with his hand on the ground as a DE than he is standing up and rushing the passer, and he struggles mightily in pass coverage so that hurts him in this scheme. I am not an Allen Bailey fan at all and he is one or two years away from being able to start because of his terrible hand usage. Brown is a solid pick but he is only good in man coverage and even then his upside is limited. Stanzi was a great pick this late as I thought he had the ability to get picked as high as the 3rd round. Powe was a nice pick-up in the 6th because while he is a boom/bust pick the Chiefs have little invested in him with such a late pick and he has definite upside.

Indianapolis:
1 – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College 9.0
2 – Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova 8.5
3 – Drake Nevis, DT, LSU 8.5
4 – Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse 8.5
6 – Chris Rucker, CB, Michigan State 7.0

Overall Grade: A-

Analysis: The Colts had only a few picks but they made the most of them. Castonzo is my #1 ranked OT in this class and I do not understand why some are saying he will have to start at RT in the NFL. He is ready to play LT right now, and I expect him to as a rookie before the year is up. Ijalana is a nice pick-up and will either be a RT or an OG on the Colts OL. With their first two picks they immediately upgraded their offensive line to protect Peyton immediately. Then they fill their need for a DT with a very disruptive DT in Drake Nevis to improve their defensive line. And finally Delone Carter is a nice value in round 4 and should have an immediate impact on their RB rotation. Great draft.

Philadelphia:
1 – Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor 8.5
2 – Jaiquawn Jarrett, S, Temple 8.5
3 – Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah 7.5
4 – Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon 7.5
4 – Alex Henery, K, Nebraska 7.5
5 – Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh 7.5
5 – Julian Vandervelde, OG, Iowa 7.5
6 – Jason Kelce, C, Cincinnati 7.0
6 – Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State 7.5
7 – Greg Lloyd, ILB, Connecticut 7.5
7 – Stanley Havili, FB, Hawaii 7.5

Overall Grade: C+
Analysis: The Eagles had a lot of draft picks but I didn’t think they made the most of them. Watkins was a good pick in round one to upgrade their OL, and I like Jarrett a lot in round two also. However, the rest of their picks seemed like depth guys that don’t have a ton of upside as starters, and picking a kicker in round four is tough to get behind even if Henery is a great kicking prospect.

New Orleans:
1 – Cameron Jordan, DE, California 8.5
1 – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama 9.5
3 – Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois 7.5
3 – Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville 8.5
7 – Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh 8.5
7 – Nate Bussey, LB, Illinois 7.0

Overall Grade: A
Analysis: The Saints made the most of their limited selections as well. Cameron Jordan is a nice pick-up at #24 and should immediately improve their defensive line, and Mark Ingram at #28 is one of the best values in the entire draft. If he stays healthy he is going to be one of the best backs in the league starting this year. Martez Wilson is a freak athlete but his instincts are poor, so while he has upside I wonder how much of that upside the Saints will actually see. Patrick gives the Saints more depth at corner and I really like him, and I like the Romeus pick in round 7. I thought he might go as high as round four or five despite his injury. He has top 50 pick potential when he is healthy, and if he can get healthy and come back slow without being forced in early I think he could be one of the steals of this draft. All reward and no risk, very good pick.

Seattle:
1 – James Carpenter, OT, Alabama 8.0
3 – John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin 8.0
4 – K.J. Wright, ILB, Mississippi State 8.0
4 – Kris Durham, WR, Georgia 7.5
5 – Richard Sherman, CB, Stanford 7.5
5 – Mark LeGree, S, Appalachian State 7.0
6 – Byron Maxwell, CB, Clemson 7.0
7 – Lazarius Levingston, DT, LSU 7.0
7 – Malcolm Smith, LB, USC 7.0

Overall Grade: B-
Analysis: The Seahawks got pretty good players with their first five picks, I like them all, but they didn’t great value with any of them. Carpenter will be a very nice RT for them starting from day one and I envision him having a long NFL career. Moffitt is actually a solid value in round three and I like that the Seahawks paid attention to the OL early. With Okung, Carpenter and Moffitt they have a really nice, young core of offensive linemen to work with. K.J. Wright is a linebacker that I like a lot and Durham was a guy that I was high on as a late round pick but I was pretty surprised he went as high as he did. Sherman is solid CB or Safety depth, and the rest of the guys strike me as depth and special teams contributors. So they did an alright job, but they could have done better I think.

Baltimore:
1 – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado 8.5
2 – Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland 8.0
3 – Jah Reid, OT, Central Florida 6.5
4 – Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana 7.5
5 – Chykie Brown, CB, Texas 7.5
5 – Pernell McPhee, DE, Mississippi State 8.0
6 – Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech 7.5
7 – Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech 6.0

Overall Grade: B-
Analysis: The Ravens are typically a very good drafting team but I was not very taken with their draft. I like Jimmy Smith for them at #26, and Torrey Smith provides them with a lot of speed and playmaking ability that they have been sorely lacking recently. I wonder about his body catching though so I wonder how good he is going to be, and I don’t think he will contribute much early on as a rookie. I am not a Jah Reid fan and I haven’t been since the East-West Shrine Game. He looked like a waist bender to me and he is a RT at best, so while he is big I am not a fan of that pick. Doss and Brown are solid pick-ups in rounds four and five, but I like McPhee a lot in a 3-4. I think that is his best scheme, so he will have to bulk up and get stronger to fit in their scheme. I like the Tyrod pick too, he will be a developmental guy behind Flacco like Troy Smith was back in the day.

Atlanta:
1 – Julio Jones , WR, Alabama 8.5
3 – Akeem Dent, LB, Georgia 8.0
5 – Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State 9.5
6 – Matt Bosher, K/P, Miami 7.0
7 – Andrew Jackson, OG, Fresno State 7.5
7  - Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina 7.5

Overall Grade: B+
Analysis: This was a tough one for me to grade because I’m a Falcons fan, but overall I liked our draft. It was definitely not what I was expecting so it took some time for me to think it over and decide what I thought of it but overall I like it. Julio was a very nice pick-up for us and with his ceiling and Roddy mentoring him hopefully he will live up to his massive potential, plus he should take a lot of pressure off of Roddy once he gets on the field. Plus, once Roddy starts to decline Julio will be ready to step up as the #1 guy, which is another reason I love this move. Akeem Dent was a pick I was skeptical of early, and it seemed high for him, but he should be a reliable run stopper for us even if he doesn’t have a lot of ability in coverage. Jacquizz Rodgers in round 5 was definitely my favorite pick in the draft for us, and maybe in the entire NFL draft. He is so underrated because of his size that he fell much farther than he should have and I can’t wait to see him in a Falcons uniform. He is EXACTLY what we needed behind Turner at RB. Bosher is a pick I was not a big fan of because I didn’t think he was anything incredibly special as a kicker or as a punter, but I liked the depth additions of Jackson and Matthews because while they won’t contribute immediately they have upside. We gave up far too much for Julio to get an A, but a B+ definitely fits I think.

Chicago:
1 – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin 9.0
2 – Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State 8.5
3 – Chris Conte, S, California 7.5
5 – Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho 8.0
6  - J.T. Thomas, LB, West Virginia 7.0

Overall Grade: B+
Analysis: I really liked a few of the Bears picks. I’m a big Carimi fan and I think he is going to be a great addition to their offensive line. Hell, he may be their best offensive lineman the second he walks into their training camp facility, that’s how bad their offensive line is. Paea is a nice pick-up in round two also because DT is a serious need for the Bears too, so they got two players who can upgrade two of their serious needs in their first two picks. That’s a good start. Conte is solid safety depth with some upside, and I am a big Enderle fan so I was happy to see him get picked in round 5.

New York Jets:
1 – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple 8.5
3 – Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton 8.5
4 – Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville 9.0
5 – Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU 8.0
7 – Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama 8.0
7 – Scotty McKnight, WR, Colorado 7.5

Overall Grade: A-
Analysis: I like Wilkerson a lot and grabbing him at 30 is a pretty nice value. Ellis has definite upside as a NT so I like that pick and value in round three, and Bilal Powell is a nice power back that should fit their scheme perfectly. Kerley is a very versatile pick-up in round 5, and I really liked their late round picks with McElroy and McKnight. They are both underrated and I was surprised they were both there, but I like both pick-ups for the Jets and I think they will be nice depth for them.

Pittsburgh:
1 – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State 9.5
2 – Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida 8.0
3 – Curtis Brown, CB, Texas 8.0
4 – Cortez Allen, CB, The Citadel 8.0
5 – Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State 8.0
6 – Keith Williams, OG, Nebraska 7.5
7 – Baron Batch, RB, Texas Tech 7.5

Overall Grade: A
Analysis: The Steelers had a very nice draft. Heyward was one of the best values in the draft at #31 overall and I think he will be viewed as one of the steals of the draft in a few years once he is anchoring the Steelers 3-4 defense at DE. Gilbert is a big, powerful RT prospect that will fit their scheme well, and Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen add much needed depth at cornerback and they have definite upside. I don’t think Chris Carter is a perfect fit as a 3-4 OLB but as a situational pass rusher and I think he will be valuable in nickel packages when he can rush with his hand down, which is when I think he is at his best. Baron Batch is a nice pick-up also who has the potential to be a 3rd down back in the NFL.

Green Bay:
1 – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State 9.0
2 – Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky 10.0
3 – Alex Green, RB, Hawaii 8.5
4 – Davon House, CB, New Mexico State 9.0
5 – D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas 8.0
6 – Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah 7.0
6 – D.J. Smith, OLB, Appalachian State 7.0
6 – Ricky Elmore, OLB, Arizona 7.5
7 – Ryan Taylor, TE, North Carolina 7.0
7 – Lawrence Guy, DE, Arizona State 8.0

Overall Grade: A+
Analysis: The Packers are one of the best teams in the league at drafting and this year was no exception. Getting Sherrod to play LT in their zone blocking scheme was a great pick-up and a good value, and getting Cobb, a guy I graded as a 1st rounder, at #64 overall was a fantastic pick-up and value. Alex Green adds much needed talent to the RB position, and Davon House was a great value at the end of the fourth round when I thought he could have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick. DJ Williams is a pretty good value in round 5 as well and should be a solid #2 TE for them, and the rest of the guys provide nice depth. Lawrence Guy has a lot of upside too so he might end up being a pretty nice pick in the 7th round depending on how he develops. Overall, the Packers had the best draft of anyone in my opinion.

That concludes my NFL Draft grades! Look out for my upcoming previews in the coming days! Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Houston:
1st- J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin 9.0
2nd- Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona 8.5
2nd- Brandon Harris, CB, Miami 9.0
4th- Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech 8.5
5th- Shiloh Keo, SS, Idaho 7.0
5th- T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina 7.0
7th- Derek Newton, OT, Arkansas State 7.0
7th- Cheta Ozougwu, OLB, Rice 7.5

Overall Grade: A

Analysis: I thought Houston had a great draft. I am a big fan of J.J. Watt and honestly I am high on the first four selections they bagged in this draft. I think J.J. Watt is a perfect fit for a 3-4 scheme as a DE and the Houston really needed a 3-4 DE, so getting a great player that fills a huge need is about as good as it gets. Brooks Reed gives them a pass rusher off the edge and he is a very good fit for the 3-4 scheme as an OLB. I thought Brandon Harris was a top 25 lock but getting him and then Carmichael in the 4th improves their entire defense. They got better on the defensive line, at the linebacker level and they drastically improved their group of cornerbacks. Between Kareem Jackson, Brandon Harris and Rashad Carmichael they have a lot of young talent at that position now. Keo is more of a back-up/special teams type, and Yates is a career back-up in my opinion, but I think Ozougwu has the potential to be a solid back-up in a 3-4 scheme.

Minnesota:
1st- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State 8.0
2nd- Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame 8.0
4th- Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa 8.0
5th- Brandon Burton, CB, Utah 7.5
6th- DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas 7.5
6th- Mistral Raymond, S, South Florida 7.0
6th- Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock 7.0
6th- Ross Homan, OLB, Ohio State 7.0
7th- D’Aundre Reed, DE, Arizona 8.0
7th- Stephen Burton, WR, West Texas A&M 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: Ponder was a significant reach at #12 but if he is their quarterback and he pans out as a solid starter then it might be worth the pick, though it may never end up being a good value pick. Ponder has potential and I liked him as a late 1st round pick, but I was surprised by this selection. Rudolph was largely considered the #1 TE in the class but he had first round potential before his injury. It may not have been a huge need but it was still a good value pick. I personally would have picked Rahim Moore here considering their huge need for a safety, but that’s just me. Ballard is a pretty good value in round four. I’m not a big fan of Brandon Burton or DeMarcus Love, but in the 5th and 6th rounds they are merely depth additions with some upside. I like D’Aundre Reed though and he has upside, so grabbing him in the 7th round has the potential to be a steal.

Detroit:
1st- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn 9.0

2nd- Titus Young, WR, Boise State 8.0
2nd- Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois 8.0
5th- Doug Hogue,LB, Syracuse 7.0
7th- Johnny Culbreath, OT, South Carolina State 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: Detroit may not have had a lot of picks, but they made the most of them. Fairley was a terrific value at #13 overall and should help team with Ndamukong Suh to create a dynamic duo at defensive tackle for the Lions. Titus Young has a lot of speed to threaten down the seam for the Lions and might help draw some attention away from Calvin Johnson eventually. Mikel LeShoure has ability and in the late 2nd round area he was a solid value and should help provide more consistent production than Jahvid Best, allowing him to be a complementary 3rd down back.

St. Louis:
1 – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina 8.5
2 – Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin 8.5
3 – Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State 6.0
4 – Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii 7.5
5 – Jermale Hines, S, Ohio State 7.5
7 – Mikail Baker, CB, Baylor 7.0
7 – Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin 7.0
7 – Jonathon Nelson, S, Oklahoma 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Quinn has a lot of potential as a RE, and Kendricks was my favorite TE in the draft. He was a great pick in the 2nd round, and should help give Bradford another reliable target to throw to. I don’t think Pettis has much upside at all but that’s just me. He also will struggle to separate in the NFL, so I question that pick. Salas strikes me as a reliable slot receiver, and the rest of their picks should be solid depth and special teamers at worst.

Miami:
1 – Mike Pouncey, OG,  Florida 6.5

2 – Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State 6.5
4 – Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene-Christian 7.5
6 – Charles Clay, FB, Tulsa 7.5
7 – Frank Kearse, NT, Alabama A&M 7.5
7 – Jimmy Wilson, CB, Montana 7.0

Overall Grade: C

Analysis: I thought the Dolphins had a pretty bad draft. Selecting Mike Pouncey #15 overall, even higher than Maurkice was selected last year (#17 overall) is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion, especially considering the fact that he is a poor drive blocker and his intangibles aren’t as impressive as Maurkice’s. I also don’t like Thomas much, he runs upright and is not nearly as physical as you might think considering his size. He is a finesse runner in a power back’s body. Gates has a lot of explosiveness because of his elite speed and might be able to provide them with some of what they were looking for from Ted Ginn years ago. Clay should be a pretty good FB for them, and Kearse is a big body that might pan out as a 3-4 NT.

Jacksonville:

1 – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri 8.5
3 – Will Rackley, OG, Lehigh 8.5
4 – Cecil Shorts III, WR, Mount Union 8.0
4 – Chris Prosinski, S, Wyoming 7.0
5 – Rod Issac, S, Middle Tennessee State 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Gabbert has a lot of upside and he landed in a very good situation in Jacksonville. With David Garrard still entrenched at quarterback he has time to get comfortable in the NFL, and he will need a year or two before he is ready to start. So landing on a team with a quarterback ready to start for another year or two is an ideal situation for him. I am very high on Will Rackley as well, and I think he will be a good addition to their offensive line. Cecil Shorts III has some potential as a slot receiver also.

Oakland:
2 – Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State 8.0
3 – DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami 5.0
3 – Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU 7.0
4 – Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State 7.5
4 – Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington 7.0
5 – Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee 7.5
6 – Richard Godron, TE, Miami 7.0
7 – David Ausberry, RB, USC 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: Oakland again had a sub-par draft in my opinion. Wisniewski has good potential as a C, but Van Dyke was severely overdrafted just because of his speed. I could not believe he went in the 3rd round. I would have had a hard time justifying selecting him in the 7th. Barksdale is a solid OT but he will have to play RT. Chekwa is another speed demon, same with Taiwan Jones and Denarius Moore, but I wonder how significant their impact will be.

New England:
1 – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado 7.0

2 – Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia 8.0
2 – Shane Vereen, RB, California 8.5
3 – Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU 8.5
3 – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas 8.0
5 – Marcus Cannon, OG, TCU 8.5
5 – Lee Smith, TE, Marshall 7.5
6 – Markell Carter, OLB, Central Arkansas 7.0
7 – Malcolm Williams, S, TCU 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: I thought Solder was overdrafted at #17 overall so it will be interesting to see if that pick pans out for the Patriots. I thought Dowling at #33 might be a bit high, but I really like Vereen and Ridley and they are bringing a lot of talent to the Patriots backfield. Mallett in round 3 was a very interesting pick in round 3 but he obviously has a ton of upside with limited risk. Cannon in round 5 is a great pick-up despite some of his health concerns as well.

San Diego:
1 – Corey Liuget, DE, Illinois 8.
2 – Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson 7.5
2 – Jonas Mouton, LB, Michigan 8.0
3 – Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State 8.5
3 – Shareece Wright, CB, USC 7.5
6 – Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut 7.5
6 – Steve Schilling, OG, Michigan 7.5
7 – Andrew Gachkar, OLB, Missouri 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Liuget should be a good pick at 3-4 DE and he definitely has upside. I’m not a big Gilchrist fan but he definitely has a nice combination of size and speed. Vincent Brown is one of my favorite picks in the 3rd round and I think he will have a more significant impact than people expect. He’s a very good route runner with great hands, so I really liked that pick. I was surprised Todman fell to the 6th, but with his speed and potential that could be a nice upside pick in the future.

New York Giants:
1 – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska 8.5

2 – Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina 8.0
3 – Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy 8.5
4 – James Brewer, OT, Indiana 8.0
6 – Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State 8.0
6 – Tyler Sash, S, Iowa 7.5
6 – Jacquian Williams, LB, South Florida 7.0
7 – Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: The Giants stayed patient and ended up with a significant upgrade to the cornerback position with Amukamara, and they got a very talented defensive tackle in Marvin Austin in round two. He has a ton of potential but I am not sure he will ever reach it because of his attitude and work ethic. Jernigan is going to be a very dynamic slot receiver for the Giants in my opinion. Brewer has potential as a RT, Jones was a great value in round six. The rest are solid depth, though Sash has some upside.

Tampa Bay:
1 – Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa 8.0
2 – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson 8.0
3 – Mason Foster, LB, Washington 8.5
4 – Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee 8.5
5 – Ahmad Black, S, Florida 8.5
6 – Allen Bradford, RB, USC 7.5
7 – Anthony Gaitor, CB, Florida International 7.0
7 – Daniel Hardy, TE, Idaho 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Clayborn and Bowers were two interesting additions to a defensive line with a couple of very talented defensive tackles. Foster has a lot of potential as well and getting him in round three was a great value in my opinion. Stocker has good potential too and he is a well-rounded TE. Black has great intangibles and while he doesn’t have elite size and athleticism he could very well plug the hole the Bucs have had at safety.

Thanks for reading! One more round of draft grades will be up in the next day or two and then I’ll have some names to look out for next year in two posts!

–Tom

Overall Team Grades:

Carolina:

1st- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: 7.0

3rd- Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida 7.0

3rd- Sione Fua, DT, Stanford 7.5

4th- Brandon Hogan, CB, West Virginia 7.0

5th- Kealoha Pilares, WR, Hawaii 7.0

6th- Lawrence Wilson, OLB, Connecticut 8.0

6th- Zachary Williams, C, Washington State 7.0

7th- Lee Ziemba, OT, Panthers 7.5

Overall Grade: C

Analysis: This is probably going to be the lowest grade that I give anyone in the top ten, and potentially in the entire draft, and a lot of that has to do with Cam Newton going #1 overall. Obviously I don’t agree with the pick, and I didn’t even have a first round grade on him. Obviously he has a ton of upside, but upside is worthless unless you have a realistic chance of living up to that upside, and I don’t think Newton will do that in the NFL. The Panthers did a solid job addressing their glaring need at defensive tackle, but I am not that high on McClain or Fua even though they got solid value with the pick. My favorite pick of theirs was actually Lawrence Wilson in round 6. I was very surprised he fell that far. Overall the Panthers had an ok draft, but it wasn’t anything special. They could have improved their team much more significantly if they picked Marcell Dareus #1 overall.

Denver:

1st- Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M 8.0

2nd- Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA 9.0

2nd- Orlando Franklin, OG, Miami 8.0

3rd- Nate Irving, ILB, NC State 8.0

4th- Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma 8.0

4th- Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State 8.0

6th- Mike Mohamed, ILB, California 7.5

7th- Virgil Green, TE, Nevada 8.0

7th- Jeremy Beal, OLB, Oklahoma 6.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: I really liked the Broncos draft. I don’t think Von Miller is the best fit in a 4-3 scheme, but as Brian Orakpo and the Redskins showed you can make it work. I think he will be an effective player in a 4-3, but I think his ideal fit is in a 3-4, hence my lower grade for him. I am very high on Rahim Moore and this was a great pick because they really needed safety help and he is far and away the best safety in this draft in my opinion and they got good value for him. Franklin will give them depth at either OG or RT, and Irving and Carter added more talent to need positions as well. I thought Carter might be a 2nd or 3rd rounder, so getting him in round 4 was a nice pick-up. Julius Thomas also has a ton of potential as another former basketball player turned tight end, and they picked up another versatile guy in Virgil Green in the 7th round. I don’t think Mike Mohamed has a lot of upside but he is a nice depth/special teams addition. Jeremy Beal will be out of the NFL in a couple years in my opinion, but until then I imagine he could provide value on special teams.

Buffalo:

1st- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama 9.5

2nd- Aaron Williams, CB/FS, Texas 8.0

3rd- Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU 8.5

4th- Da’Norris Searcy, S, North Carolina 7.5

4th- Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson 8.0

5th- Johnny White, RB, North Carolina 8.5

6th- Chris White, ILB, Mississippi State 7.0

7th- Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond 7.0

7th- Michael Jasper, DT, Bethel 6.5

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: The Dareus pick was one of the best in the draft because they so badly needed defensive help, especially up front, and they were able to address it with a great player at #3 overall. I’m not a huge Aaron Williams fan but he has the versatility to play corner and safety which gives him value and the Bills could use help at both CB and FS, so that helps. I like Kelvin Sheppard a lot and while he may not be an ideal ILB I think he will be alright in a 3-4 ILB alignment provided he has a couple defensive linemen who can eat up blocks at the point of attack. I’m not very high on Searcy and I don’t know how much upside he has, but Hairston has the potential to be a solid RT in the NFL. I love the Johnny White pick and I think he has the potential to be a quality RB in the NFL. I’m glad he didn’t go undrafted because of his injury. Justin Rogers showed me ability at the East-West Shrine Game so I think he might be able to stick on the Bills roster after camp.

Cincinnati:

1st- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia 9.5

2nd- Andy Dalton, QB, TCU 7.5

3rd- Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada 7.5

4th- Clint Boling, OG, Georgia 8.0

5th- Robert Sands, S, West Virginia 6.0

6th- Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford 8.0

7th- Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois 7.0

7th- Jay Finley, RB, Baylor 7.0

Overall Grade: B-

Analysis: This was a surprisingly solid draft for the Bengals. You obviously can’t go wrong with A.J. Green at #4 overall, and while I thought the 2nd round was too high for Andy Dalton the Bengals stayed patient and got a guy they liked without moving up for him like a lot of people thought they might. Dontay Moch has a ton of potential but at this point he is a great athlete, not a great football player. It will be interesting to see how he pans out in Cincy in their 3-4 alignment, because he could be a fierce 3-4 OLB if he gets coached up well. Boling in round 4 is a pretty good value and he should help add some depth to the OL and can eventually be a solid starter at guard. I’m not high on Robert Sands and I don’t think he will ever be a NFL starter, but I love the Ryan Whalen pick. This kid doesn’t drop anything, so while the Bengals have some talent at WR already Whalen could end up being a go-to guy on 3rd down because while he isn’t the biggest or the fastest he has some of the most reliable hands in this entire draft.

Arizona:

1st- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU 9.5

2nd- Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech 9.0

3rd- Robert Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic 8.0

4th- Sam Acho, DE, Texas 8.0

5th- Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut 8.0

6th- Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina 7.5

6th- David Carter, DT, UCLA 7.5

7th- Demarco Sampson, WR, San Diego State 7.0

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: Again, tough to go wrong with Patrick Peterson at #5, and following that up with Ryan Williams, a guy who has top 20 ability, is a great start to your draft. Especially when Beanie Wells has done almost nothing in the NFL and Hightower is more of a rotational power back than an every down starter. Housler has a lot of potential so getting him to potentially open up your offense with an athletic tight end is a nice pick, and Acho in round 4 is a good value. I also like the Anthony Sherman pick, he impressed me in Orlando and he is a good pass catcher out of the backfield for a fullback. I also like both Quan Sturdivant and David Carter, and I think they will provide solid depth with some upside for the Cardinals in the future.

Cleveland:

1st- Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor 8.0

2nd- Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh 7.5

2nd- Greg Little, WR, North Carolina 8.5

4th- Jordan Cameron, TE, Southern Cal 8.5

4th- Owen Marecic, FB, Stanford 9.0

5th- Buster Skrine, CB, Chattanooga 7.0

5th- Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh 8.0

7th- Eric Hagg, S, Nebraska 7.5

Overall Grade: B+

Analysis: Phil Taylor was a pretty good pick at 21, but I thought he was an ideal 3-4 NT. I don’t think he will live up to the hype at a 4-3 DT because he just won’t provide enough of a pass rush to be considered a good/great all around player in that scheme. I was not a big Jabaal Sheard fan as a 3-4 OLB but he could be a pretty effective 4-3 LE, especially if they can get a talented RE across from him. I am a big Greg Little fan and I think the Browns got a very nice value for him. He has first round ability and while he is raw I think he could absolutely burst onto the scene in a couple of years once he has some time to develop. His combination of size, leaping ability and his time spent running hard after getting the ball as a running back makes him a very intriguing player. Jordan Cameron has a ton of potential as a former basketball player and he could end up being an intriguing option at TE because of his ability to threaten defenses down the seam. Marecic is one of everyone’s favorite players in the draft because of his ability to play fullback but also be a special teams ace because of his experience at linebacker. I thought Jason Pinkston had the potential to be drafted in the 3rd round, maybe even higher, so grabbing him in round 5 is a pretty solid value. You also have to love all the draft picks they got out of Atlanta as a result of the trade down. Those picks should be very valuable as they work on rebuilding and transitioning to a 4-3 defense.

San Francisco:

1st- Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri 8.0

2nd- Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada 7.0

3rd- Chris Culliver, S, South Carolina 7.0

4th- Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State 9.0

5th- Daniel Kilgore, OG, Appalachian State 7.5

6th- Ronald Johnson, WR, Southern Cal 7.5

6th- Colin Jones, S, TCU 7.5

7th- Bruce Miller, DE/LB, Central Florida 7.5

7th- Michael Person, OT, Montana State 7.0

7th- Curtis Holcomb, CB, Florida A&M 7.0

Overall Grade: B-

Analysis: Again, I don’t like the fit for Aldon Smith in a 3-4 scheme because I thought he was a perfect fit as a 4-3 DE, but that is just my opinion. I was very surprised to see the 49ers draft Colin Kaepernick in the 2nd round, and I wonder if they have a bad season again and end up with a top three pick, or maybe the #1 pick, if drafting him will keep Harbaugh and company from drafting Andrew Luck. I don’t think it would, but you never know. Kaepernick is very much a long term developmental project who is probably two years away from being a starter, so drafting him here when you could have made your team better and gotten a QB next year was a very strange move in my opinion. Culliver has a lot of athletic ability but I don’t like his lack of instincts, but I loved the Kendall Hunter pick. He could be one of the best values in the draft at that spot. The rest of the 49ers draft added some solid depth and special teams help, and it’s hard to hate that.

Tennessee:

1st- Jake Locker, QB, Washington 8.0

2nd- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA 7.0

3rd- Jurell Casey, DT, Southern Cal 8.5

4th- Colin McCarthy, ILB, Miami 8.0

4th- Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson 6.0

5th- Karl Klug, DE, Iowa 7.5

6th- Byron Stingily, OT, Louisville 8.0

7th- Zach Clayton, DT, Auburn 7.0

7th- Tommie Campbell, S, California (PA) 7.0

Overall Grade: C+

Analysis: I thought #8 overall was too high for Locker, but it’s not hard to see why the Titans went in that direction. They wanted a guy with great intangibles, great leadership ability and a great work ethic. Essentially, they wanted the opposite of Vince Young. They got that guy with Locker so it’s hard to totally hate the pick, especially since everyone was convinced he would have gone #1 overall ahead of Sam Bradford a year ago at this time. I am very much not an Akeem Ayers fan and I wouldn’t have picked him until round 3, but Jurell Casey and Colin McCarthy are both solid players and I like the value they got for them. They improved their DT rotation and added depth at LB. If Ayers pans out they will have really improved their front seven with this draft. I am not a Jamie Harper guy at all and I think that was their worst pick by far, but I like the depth additions of Karl Klug and Byron Stingily. Klug will be a versatile DL for them and Stingily, while very raw, has the upside to be a solid starter at LT at some point.

Dallas:

1st- Tyron Smith, OT, Southern Cal 8.5

2nd- Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina 8.0

3rd- DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma 8.5

4th- David Arkin, OG, Missouri State 8.0

5th- Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo 7.5

6th- Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina 8.5

7th- Shaun Chapas, FB, Georgia 7.5

7th- Bill Nagy, C, Wisconsin 7.0

Overall Grade: B

Analysis: Tyron Smith has the most potential of any LT in this draft class, so it’s hard to dislike that pick, but the Cowboys will have to wait a year at least before he is ready to start, so he won’t have an immediate impact on the team. If they are patient and coach him up it could be worth the wait though. The Cowboys definitely got an athletic specimen in Bruce Carter but I don’t know how well he will fit at 3-4 ILB, especially in the Cowboys scheme. They love athletes and they got one, but Carter doesn’t have great instincts and I don’t know how well he will do against the run when he has to shed blocks from big, powerful interior linemen. I love DeMarco Murray in round three even though they have Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, and David Arkin in round 4 should add more depth and an eventual starter to their offensive line. Josh Thomas is a solid depth addition at corner though I don’t think he will ever be a starter, and Dwayne Harris was one of the best values in the draft in round six. He has potential as a KR, PR and slot receiver, so it will be interesting to see if he sticks and plays well there.

Washington:

1st- Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue 7.5

2nd- Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson 8.0

3rd- Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami 8.5

4th- Roy Helu, RB, Nebraska 8.0

5th- Dejon Gomes, S, Nebraska 8.0

5th- Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska 8.0

6th- Evan Royster, RB, Penn State 5.0

6th- Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU 7.5

7th- Brandyn Thompson, CB, Boise State 7.0

7th- Maurice Hurt, OG, Florida 7.0

7th- Markus White, DE, Florida State 7.0

7th- Christopher Neild, DT, West Virginia 7.0

Overall Grade: B-

Analysis: Again, Kerrigan doesn’t fit well in a 3-4 in my opinion. The Redskins seem to be a team that is in the wrong defensive scheme. If they used the same personnel but in a 4-3 scheme I think their defensive line would be extremely fierce. Orakpo at RE, Jenkins at NT, Haynesworth as the disrupting UT, and Kerrigan at LE? That would be as good of a defensive front as there is in the NFL if Haynesworth would get his act together. There would be zero room to run up the middle with Jenkins and Haynesworth plugging up the interior gaps, and Orakpo, Haynesworth and Kerrigan would be more than enough to get pressure on quarterbacks without having to blitz to consistently create pressure. But obviously that isn’t going to happen, I just thought I’d point that out because that occurred to me as the draft was going on even before they picked up Jenkins in round 2. Hankerson in round three is a nice value and I think he will prove to be a valuable pick-up. I wouldn’t have wanted him in the top 50 picks, but getting him there is a nice pick-up especially for a team desperate for WR help. Helu, Gomes and Paul are all solid depth additions, as is Aldrick Robinson, but I don’t think Royster will be in the NFL in 3-4 years. I was shocked that he was drafted at all.

Thanks for reading! Look out for the rest of my team grades in the next couple days as well as a preview for players that I expect to break out during the next college football season!

–Tom

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,896 other followers