3rdStone’s NFL Draft Grades
2009 AFC DRAFT GRADES|
NEW YORK JETS
Rob Ryan is a chip off the ol’ block. Buddy has to be proud. The Jets blitzed this draft, much like Buddy used to have his defenses. ALL OUT! Leaving nothing in reserve. They traded up to get Sanchez, and hope he can be the QB the Jets have sought since Ken O’Brien. I have a feeling Sanchez will hand the ball off for awhile, much like Joe Flacco did in Baltimore. The Jets have talent, but they need a QB who won’t turn the ball over. There is a chance, however, that Sanchez starts out on the the bench. Getting Greene was a very smart move. Jones and Washington might be on another team next season. The Jets then packed up for the day, and did not return until the sixth round. They grabbed a big guard in Slauson, a guy who run blocks well. Since the Jets have literally no depth at TE, they then grabbed a few after the draft. Rob Myers is often compared to Chris Cooley, and not just because they attended the same college. If Myers can stay healthy, he has a shot. They also grabbed some defensive line help, including Jamaal Westerman of Rutgers. The Jets obviously feel as if they are on the cusp of serious contention, as their draft strategy was super aggressive. It should be fun to see how close they are this year under their new coach. GRADE : B
Buffalo had a draft that was both easy to predict and hard to fathom at times. They went for upside, by grabbing Maybin. He might not be more than a pass rush specialist this year, because he is so raw and inexperienced, but he has the athleticism to be special. Wood was a good pick, because many felt the Steelers were poised to grab him. A surly and smart player, he might start day one. Many question the speed of Byrd, but not his intelligence and D.N.A. I imagine he will play FS, and this is a position worth watching. The Bills were recently shopping around Ko Simpson, the starter, and just resigned his backup, George Wilson, to a contract that more than doubles Simpson’s. Getting Levitre was a smart move, because they had no guard depth. Nelson gives them a weapon at TE they needed, a guy who can stretch the seam. He might end up being lined up all over the place as a second TE. Getting Nick Harris was confusing. He is too slow to be a SS, his college position, and too small to be an OLB. Maybe they think he will be a special teams star? Drafting Cory Harris was a very good move. He is a sound CB, and he might Youboty out. Lankster is another CB with potential, and he might supplant the other reserve, Corner, on the roster. Many were clamoring for OT reinforcements, especially after trading their All Pro Peters to Philadelphia. After the draft, they got an intriguing prospect in Joel Bell. He will need a few years, but he has the ability to start one day. Buffalo then went local, and grabbed QB Drew Willy. Willy needs a lot of work with Schonert, but he may replace Hamden as the third string QB. Buffalo has been drafting well the past few years, and this draft resembles that. It is certainly possible every kid, that they drafted, makes the team.
GRADE : A
The Tuna had a few extra draft picks to play with, so he took advantage of it. Grabbing Davis first was excellent, as was the choice of Smith. These two CB’s could be staples in the Miami secondary for years. White might do a “slash” type of role for the next few years, but he has the ability to be an NFL QB one day. Turner and Hartline are possession type of WR’s, and hopefully will help the offense. Nalbone is a small college TE, but Tuna must like his upside. It will be fun to see what happens to him through the years. Clemons is a very athletic safety who will need a few years to be groomed. Gardner is a smart player who will try to provide OL depth. Folsom is a hard nosed OLB whose best shot might be via special teams. Miami had a stellar first draft day, but a second day full of projects. Time will tell if those kids will add to the teams sudden improvement.
GRADE : B
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Watching the Patriots on draft day is like watching a superstar go to work. They had twelve draft picks this year, and used six to help their trenches. Chung might start at SS right away, and he could team with Merriweather to give the Patriots one of the better safety tandems for the next several years. Brace is very good in run support, and should bolster the DL rotation. Butler might be an absolute steal. He could provide them a starting CB and good kickoff returner for many years. Vollmer will be groomed slowly to be a future starter at RT. Tate was an impressive pick. He might not be ready until 2010, but the guy is a spectacular return specialist with good upside at WR. McKenzie is a swift OLB, and should add depth. Ohrnberger and Bussey will be slowly groomed to hopefully be the starting guards in the future. Ingram was the best LS in the draft, and fills an important need. Pryor and Richard are two undersized DT’s who are best at stopping the run. They may have a shot at providing depth. It will be interesting to see what the Patriots do with Edelman, a college QB. He is very athletic, so they may try him as a WR, or even run the “wildcat” offense once in awhile. After the draft, they grabbed a QB in Brian Hoyer. ESPN’s Todd McShay really likes Hoyer, so maybe the kid can be the future QB? Antonio Appelby is a smart ILB, so he may get to add depth. Though it is uncertain how many of these draft picks make the team, they are all quality players. New England has seemed to draft many of them over the last decade. Some, who don’t make the team after the draft, go on to help other teams. Justin Rogers of Dallas is just one example I can recall off the top of my head. The best part of the Patriot draft was how they traded down to get more future draft choices.
GRADE : A +
The defending champs already have a excellent roster, obviously, but they had an excellent draft that made it better. Hood fell in their laps, and should help in the DE rotation. Urbik is a road grader, and has a shot at starting pretty soon. Wallace is a very fast WR who can help on the return game. Lewis and Burnett add needed depth at CB, and Burnett can help as a kick return specialist. Summers hopefully will help as shortage back. Harris is a project the Steelers hope can provide NT depth. Shipley could be a real steal. He is ultra smart and never gives up. He could be the starting center one day. Johnson will try to make it as an H-Back type. After the draft, Pittsburgh grabbed Mike Reilly, a QB, and might develop him on the taxi squad this year. Pittsburgh aggressively attacked all of their needs. But then again, the Steelers have generally been drafting gold since the 1970′s.
GRADE : A
In my opinion, the Browns had one of the best drafts this year in the NFL. Not only did they trade down, saving themselves millions of dollars, but they got extra draft picks from doing so. They then got the guy they targeted all along in Mack. He might start day one. They then grabbed Robiskie to give them a reliable WR. Massaquoi had a excellent senior year in college, and Cleveland thinks he can help a WR group in need of quality depth. Veikune is a relentless worker, and might get a look at DE or SLB. Maivia is excellent on special teams, and should add depth at WLB. Carey and Francies could be steals, and provide the Browns with two quality CB’s for years. Davis has the ability to take over for Lewis as the primary ball carrier. After the draft, Cleveland grabbed QB Graham Harrell, a smart player who might have a shot. They attacked most of their needs in the draft with gusto. I thought they got great value with each pick.
GRADE : A +
The Bengals 2009 draft mirrored the Marvin Lewis era, as far as being up and down. They drafted Smith when Monroe was still on the board. It is a huge gamble. Smith has struggled with his weight his entire career, as well as having well documented character issues. He also can be lazy. He reminds me of former Raider first round draft pick Robert Gallery, meaning he might be better suited to playing guard. The Bengals have been trying to trade veteran starter Levi Jones, but have found no takers for that talented and injury prone LT. Monroe grades better as both a run and pass blocker, and is more ready to be a LT. Hopefully Smith realizes his potential, or the oft-injured Carson Palmer might find himself being hurt again soon. Maualuga was a steal, and he solves the Bengals woes at MLB immediately. Johnson is a project, but Cincy hopes he can help their defensive line. Coffman has the chance to be the best pick of the draft for Cincy, and gives Palmer the pass catching TE he has been needing. Luigs was a great pick, and he has the ability to win the starting job at center soon. Huber was a strange pick, considering the more highly rated Morstead was still on the board. They hope Trent can help provide CB depth. Scott has the ability to win the starting RB job, but he needs to stay out of trouble off the field. Vakapuna will try to be a short yardage specialist. McDonald is a hard working player who hopes to add to the Bengals DT rotation. Brown will try to be the big WR the Bengals need after losing Houshmanzadeh to free agency. After the draft, they grabbed WR Quan Cosby to try to add depth to their WR group. Bengal fans have been aching for a winning team since the days of Boomer Esiason. The front office needs for the gambles they took in the draft to pay off.
GRADE : B –
Ozzie Newsome isn’t just one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, he is also one of the best GM’S in all sports. This year was just another demonstration. He moved up to grab Oher. The Ravens got saved by veteran RT Willie Anderson last year, now Oher is expected to take over. Kruger adds depth, and might push Jarrett Johnson for the starting job soon. Webb is a very good athlete, and will be groomed to be Ed Reed’s heir apparent. Phillips is an ultra smart ILB, and gets to learn from Ray Lewis. Drew is a raw TE prospect who might stick and be developed. Peerman was a good pick, because they need depth. After the draft, they grabbed the highest rated kicker in Graham Gano to push Matt Stover. Gano can also punt. Stover is the only player in the NFL who played with the original Cleveland Browns franchise. Dannell Ellerbe is an ILB who has the ability to provide quality depth, but needs to mature. Jared Cook was an excellent pick up, and could fill the needed role of blocking fullback.The Ravens still need WR help, but obviously Ozzie felt none were worth the reach. Plus, they smartly restocked their defense, the key to their success.
GRADE : A
Bill Polian is another of the most respected GM’s in the NFL. He grabbed Brown to give the Colts more weapons on offense. Addai now doesn’t have to try to carry the load alone. Moala was a big need pick, because the Colts are so thin at DT. Powers will try to provide CB depth. Collie is a steady possession WR, and should help add depth. Taylor is another DT, and should see action right away. Painter broke many of Purdue’s passing records, and now he gets to learn from Peyton Manning. McAfee was drafted to be the punter. Thomas was an interesting pick, and he has the ability to start one day. After the draft, they grabbed Cornelius Lewis to add guard depth. If Lewis stays out of trouble and realizes his potential, he can help. Pat Kuntz has a chance to add DL depth. The Colts had a solid draft, and filled the areas they needed help at most.
GRADE : A -
Jacksonville started out their draft day by dancing for joy. They got Monroe somehow, the most polished LT in the draft. He may start day one. They followed that up by grabbing Britton, a RT they might kick inside to guard. Then they grabbed Knighton, a huge kid, to fill a very necessary need. He should play right away. After that, they gambled on a kid who was not on a lot of draft boards in Cox. They gave up a second round pick next year for him, but expect him to contribute immediately. They then smartly added to their WR corps, by drafting Thomas and Dillard. Both have a very good chance in helping the team right away. Jack Del Rio seems to like taking college QB’s, then switching their position. Miller will learn the TE spot, and will be taught by Jags coach Mike Tice. Tice is a former college QB who had a very long NFL career at TE. Jennings was a need pick at RB, and he has a good chance to help take some of the workload off of Jones – Drew. Underwood has skills, but needs a lot of work. After the draft, the Jags signed two QB’s in Nathan Brown and Tyler Lorenzen. Lorenzen, whose huge big brother Jared is also an NFL QB, has the better size and arm than the more polished Brown. Jaime Navarre is another guy to watch. A relentless motor, the undersized DT hopes to add to the rotation. Jacksonville smartly bolstered their leaky OL, got quality WR’s, and a kid to help Henderson at DT. A good draft day.
GRADE : A
I had the Texans taking Maclin, thinking it could put the offense amongst the very best in the NFL, but I cannot fault them for grabbing Cushing. He fills a bigger need, but he has been very, very injury prone in college. A hard worker who never gives up, he has not shown much ability to defend the pass. Playing against teams like Indianapolis, twice a year, will expose this. He is basically a pass rusher, who is pretty good at defending the run. Time will tell if the Texans made the right decision. Barwin can play tight end and linebacker and defensive end. He also is a special teams star as well, with an innate ability to block kicks. He will help Houston wherever they line him up, but he seems destined to bookend Mario Williams at DE. Caldwell is a center who is best at run blocking. He is very smart, and is a team leader. I have a feeling Alex Gibbs will coach him up to be a long time NFL player, and the future starter. Quin is very physical CB, and is a big hitter. He is strong, and likes to support the run. He has been injured several times in college, and is not very quick. Quin could make an impact on special teams, and as a reserve, as he learns. Many felt Hill was the best blocking tight end in the draft, and he will basically serve as a third offensive tackle when he is on the field. Casey is versatile and mature. Expect seeing him line up all over the field as an H-Back, fullback, and slot receiver. McCain is a speed merchant. He is not a big man, is very raw, and needs a lot of work on his CB technique. Nolan is a hard hitting SS with good speed. He is very raw, and needs work on his pass coverage technique. A possible sleeper pick who could start one day down the road. After the draft, they grabbed Arian Foster and Jeremiah Johnson to see if they can help add needed RB depth. They then signed Jason Watkins, a very athletic tackle from Florida. At one time, he was considered a first day draft choice until his stock fell in his senior year. If he takes to Gibb’s coaching, the Texans could have a future starter.
GRADE : B +
I always like watching Jeff Fisher work a draft. He got the WR they sought in Britt, and hope he can be the go to guy. Marks was a need pick, after Haynesworth’s departure, and the Titans will hope he realizes his potential. Cook is a very athletic TE, and he gives Tennessee a weapon they lacked. Mouton shot up draft boards in the last month, and he has the ability to help right away. A good need pick. McRath will be groomed to replace the aging Bullock one day. Kropog could be a steal. He is a smart and nasty OT. Ringer hopes to add depth at RB. McCourty is a CB who will need time to develop. Edison is blazing fast and tall WR. He will need some time to develop, but he can offer the Titans a weapon they lack. Durand will hope to add depth at guard, and Schommer hopes to stick via special teams. After the draft, the Titans grabbed a possible sleeper in WR Dudley Guice. A big and fast kid, he has a shot at helping a team needing pass catchers. Tennessee hit all of their primary areas of need. They grabbed a few projects to mold, and should have a good opportunity to keep winning often.
GRADE : A
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
San Diego went into the draft needing few holes to fill. Getting English was a brilliant move. If Merriman isn’t fully recovered, he can step in. If the lights are primed to go out again, English can bookend him. After losing Goff, the Bolts needed guards. They grabbed two in Vasquez and Green. Green is a project, but Vasquez has the ability to earn a starting job soon. They then went to Canada and grabbed Martin for NT depth. The kid is huge and strong, having done 44 reps of 225 at his pro day. He also gets to learn the trade from one of the very best in Williams. Johnson was another great pick. He adds needed depth at RB, and could be the guy who starts in the future. Hughes adds CB depth, and works best in a zone scheme. Ellison hopes to add solid SS depth. Byrd is a very fast WR, but probably wont play this year after a recent automobile accident. After the draft, the Chargers signed a lot of kids. A few that stand out to me as having a real shot are Kory Sperry, a versatile H-Back/ TE type, Darry Beckwith, a MLB who has starters potential one day, and Wopamo Osaisai, a special teams demon with blazing speed. San Diego had an excellent draft, bolstering their reserves and giving hopes to a bright future.
GRADE : A +
Al Davis has always been known for being aggressive in drafts, as well as taking chances of players others thought less of. Heyward – Bey was easily the fastest WR in the draft, and Al loves speed. Heyward – Bey made tremendous strides between his junior and senior year in college, is a hard worker, and team oriented. He needs some work still, but should provide Oakland the ability to stretch the field. Draft pundits, on both networks covering the draft, jumped all over Al for drafting Mitchell. They later found out that Chicago, two draft spots behind Oakland, had just told Mitchell they were getting ready to draft him. Big score for Oakland, and they get a guy who patterns his game after his hero Jack Tatum. Shaughnessy is a tall DE who needs some seasoning. Murphy has the ability to be a really good WR, but there are rumors he will need his surgically repaired knee worked on again. Norris and Sulak hope to provide depth to a thin LB unit. Myers was drafted to provide TE depth. After the draft, Oakland signed QB Chase Daniel, who has a shot as a reserve, and LB Franz Joseph, a tackling machine who needs to get stronger. Oakland needed safety and linebacker depth, and got it. Getting a WR who can get deep should help their strong armed quarterback too. Time will tell if the second day reaches will help.
GRADE : B
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs decided to attack their defensive line needs right away in the draft. Jackson should start right away, and Magee should add depth this year. Washington is a solid CB, and adds needed depth. Brown is a project, but Kansas City hopes he can bolster their OL. Lawrence is a tough WR, willing to go over the middle. He has starting ability down the road. Williams was a good pick at their uncertain RB slot. O’Connell was a reach, and they hope he adds TE depth. Succop was another reach, considering there were several higher rated placekickers still on the board. After the draft, they picked up CB London Fryar, the son of ex NFL star Irving. The Chiefs got off the a very good start, but had a questionable ending. Time will tell on that.
GRADE : B
Word is that Denver only had twenty five players on their draft board, but they did end up getting five. Moreno will be the guy who will carry the ball twenty times a game, a big need for Denver. Ayers was a guy they wanted all along. He might play DE or SLB in their 3-4 scheme. They traded next years first round pick for Smith, an excellent player who could supplant Goodman at CB. McBath gets to learn the safety position from Brian Dawkins this year, as well as help on special teams. Quinn is an excellent blocking TE, but his receiving skills are unknown because of the scheme his college ran. Bruton will help on special teams, and he can learn how to be a safety behind their veteran starters. Olsen is a mauler with good speed. He hopes to provide depth. McKinley is very fast, and hopes to make a team pretty set at the WR spot. Brandstater is a big QB coming off a down senior year, so it remains to be seen if he can help the team. Schlueter is a smart center who has the ability to start one day. After the draft, the Broncos grabbed some interesting prospects. Domonique Johnson is an athletic CB who needs some grooming, but could help on special teams. Marquez Branson is an H-Back type who has a shot at making it. Lee Robinson is an ILB who has the ability to start one day. Britton Colquitt is a punter who has several family members punt in college and the pros. He has the ability, but has character issues. They grabbed Rulon Davis, a DE built for the 3-4 system. He has a very good chance at helping. They then made a curious move signing Chris Baker. Baker, whose character issues are well documented, is not built for the 3-4 scheme which Denver employs. He is a DT made for a 4-3 system, but is not a NT type. It will be interesting to see what happens to him in camp. Everyone knew Denver needed to get better along the defensive line, but the team elected to just go after one guy in the draft. Getting depth at the OL was a good move, but it seems Denver went for the best athlete available over need. Considering their division rivals made good strides in the draft, it will fun to watch if Denver’s gamble pays off.
GRADE : C +