NFL report card

Grading the Draft

 

Eagles: Swung two separate trades that got them a Pro Bowl left tackle (Jason Peters) and a 4-year starting cornerback (Ellis Hobbs). Got one of the draft's top two wide receivers (Jeremy Maclin) in the first round and some much-needed help for Brian Westbrook in the second (LeSean McCoy). All in all, a helluva draft.

Grade: A-plus

Arizona: With Edgerrin James being eased out, Beanie Wells, who slid to the bottom of the first round, gives Cardinals another power runner to go with Tim Hightower. Second-rounder Cody Brown will boost a pass-rush that notched just 31 sacks last year.

Grade: B-plus

Atlanta: Another solid draft for Thomas Dimitroff, the league's '08 executive of the year. First-rounder Peria Jerry gives the Falcons much-needed size at the 3-technique tackle spot.

Grade: B-plus

Baltimore: Ravens need a wideout, but GM Ozzie Newsome jumped on OT Michael Oher when he fell to them in the first round. Methinks either Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin soon will be heading their way.

Grade: B

Buffalo: Additions of C Eric Wood and G Andy Levitre will help with the retooling of their offensive line. But picking undersized DE Aaron Maybin, a 1-year wonder who may or may not be able to keep meat on his bones, with the 11th overall pick is a big gamble.

Grade: B-minus

Carolina: Trading away a future first-round pick worked out so well for the Panthers last year (Jeff Otah) that they decided to do it again, trading their 2010 No. 1 to the 49ers to get Everette Brown, a projected first-round pick, in the second. Considering the uncertainty of Julius Peppers' situation, it was a much-needed pickup.

Grade: B-plus

Chicago: The acquisition alone of Jay Cutler earlier this month for a package that included their first-round pick made this a terrific draft for the Bears. Third-round DE Jarron Gilbert is a boom-or-bust pick. They added a sub-4.4 pass-catcher in the fifth round (Johnny Knox, of Abilene Christian).

Grade: A-plus

Cincinnati: As long as he keeps his shirt on, Andre Smith will be a solid addition to Bengals' o-line. Rey Maualuga unexpectedly fell into the second round and Marvin Lewis swept him up. He and second-year man Keith Rivers will give Lewis two athletic, hard-hitting 'backers.

Grade: A

Cleveland: The rebuilding Browns traded of the No. 5 spot to add picks and had 4 of the first 52 selections. Grabbed their likely center for next 10 years (Alex Mack) later in the first round and a pair of much-needed wide receivers (Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi) in the second.

Grade: B

Dallas: Cowboys traded away their first-round pick in the Roy Williams deal, then traded out of the second round. Added yet another pass-rushing linebacker in the third-round (Jason Williams) to go with Demarcus Ware, aging Greg Ellis and Anthony Spencer.

Grade: C-plus

Denver: Got the draft's top RB (Knowshon Moreno), and perhaps its best defensive player (DE Robert Ayers) with its two first-round picks. But giving up next year's first-round pick to trade up and take a 5-9 corner (Alphonso Smith) in the second round? Don't like that move at all.

Grade: B-minus

Detroit: Should have taken one of the draft's can't-miss tackles. Instead, they were blinded by QB Matthew Stafford's cannon and gave him $41 million in guaranteed money. Got the draft's top tight end (Brandon Pettigrew) and top safety (Louis Delmas) with their next two picks, though, which helps.

Grade: B

Green Bay: Focused on defense as they make the move to a 3-4 under new defensive chief Dom Capers. B.J. Raji gives them a tough-to-move big-body anchor at NT. Traded up for another first-round pick and added versatile USC linebacker Clay Matthews.

Grade: B-plus

Houston: After finishing 27th in points allowed last year, the Texans went for defense with both of their top picks. First-round LB Brian Cushing can play either SAM or WILL. Second-rounder Connor Barwin is a great athlete, but very, very raw as a pass-rusher.

Grade: B

Indianapolis: Nobody mines talent at the back end of the first round better than Bill Polian, and he did it again with the selection of RB Donald Brown, who will be an excellent complement to Joseph Addai. Second-round DT Fili Moala gives Colts a much-needed space-eater in the middle of their d-line.

Grade: B-plus

Jacksonville: New GM Gene Smith needed to do more than sign 35-year-old Tra Thomas to fix his team's offensive line problems, and he did, selecting two of the draft's top five OTs (Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton) in the first two rounds.

Grade: B-plus

Kansas City: Chiefs' second-round pick went to New England in the Matt Cassel deal. They reached a bit with the third overall pick to get DE Tyson Jackson, who was the best 3-4 end on the board. Third-round DL Alex Magee can play inside or outside.

Grade: C-plus

Miami: The Dolphins added another dimension to their Wildcat formation with the addition of QB Pat White. Vontae Davis was a top 10 talent who slid because of off-the-field issues .. The 6-4 Sean Smith can play either corner or safety.

Grade: A-minus

Minnesota: Vikes ignored Percy Harvin's character issues and positive drug test at the combine and took him with the 22nd pick. The controversial selection either will propel this team into Super Bowl contention or cost Brad Childress his job. For now, I'll give them credit for a gutsy move.

Grade: B-plus

New England: Watching Bill Belichick maneuver around the first two rounds of the draft was like watching Jascha Heifetz play the violin. Traded out of the first round, traded up twice in the second round and landed three guys (Patrick Chung, Ron Brace, Darius Butler) with the potential to help his defense right away as well as a developmental offensive tackle (Sebastian Vollmer).

Grade: A-minus

New Orleans: Saints had just one of the first 115 picks, but got a keeper in Malcolm Jenkins, who can play either corner or safety. Took 221-pound wide receiver-turned-safety Chip Vaughn in the fourth round. He'll help them right away on special teams while he learns how to play NFL safety.

Grade: B

NY Giants: Hakeem Nicks is an Anquan Boldin-like wideout with huge hands and good-but-not-great speed, who potentially will help offset the departure of Plaxico Burress. Clint Sintim and Will Beatty are nice second-round pickups, even if they don't address great needs.

Grade: B-plus

NY Jets: Trading three players and your second-round pick to move up and take a quarterback (Mark Sanchez) with a total of 16 college starts? I don't know. GM Mike Tannenbaum had better hope Brett Ratliff doesn't become the next Kurt Warner.

Grade: B-minus

Oakland: Somebody stop Al Davis before he destroys this franchise. Oh, that's right. He already has. Took a first-round wideout (Darrius Heyward-Bey) based strictly on his 40 time, and took a second-round safety (Michael Mitchell) that most teams had as a late-round selection. Atta boy, Al.

Grade: F

Pittsburgh: Ziggy Hood will be a 3-4 end for the Steelers who will have the luxury of learning behind Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel. They added blazing speed (wide receiver Mike Wallace) and a needed lunch-pail OT with their next two picks.

Grade: B-plus

St. Louis: Got Orlando Pace's left-tackle replacement for the next 10-plus years (Jason Smith) and picked up a guy who will step right in and be the quarterback of Steve Spagnuolo's defense (MLB James Laurinaitis).

Grade: A

San Diego: Chargers got pass-rush insurance in the first round (LB Larry English) in the event Shawne Merriman doesn't come all the way back from his knee injury. Vaughn Martin, a DL out of Canada, was a 330-pound workout warrior who ran a 4.96 40 and benched 225 pounds 44 times.

Grade: B

San Francisco: With help from Al Davis, WR Michael Crabtree slid to the 49ers and they wisely pounced on him. Third-round RB Glen Coffee is a hard-nosed runner who will get some carries right away behind Frank Gore.

Grade: B

Seattle: Jim Mora can plug Aaron Curry in at SAM immediately, and versatile second-rounder Max Unger can play anywhere. They also picked up Denver's 2010 first-round pick that, from the look of things, could end up being a top-10 pick.

Grade: A-minus

Tampa Bay: Bucs traded up in the first to take boom-or-bust QB Josh Freeman. My money's on bust. Neither of the d-linemen they took in the third (Roy Miller, of Texas) or fourth (Kyle Moore, of USC) rounds are immediate-impact players.

Grade: C-minus

Tennessee: Picked up a big pass-catching target for Kerry Collins in the first round (Kenny Britt). Added another pass-catching TE (Jared Cook) in the third round to go with Bo Scaife. Reached in the second for inconsistent Auburn DT Sen'Derrick Marks.

Grade: B-plus

Washington: First-round DE Brian Orakpo is more suited to be a 3-4 LB than a 4-3 end. Their third-round pick would have been better spent on an offensive lineman rather than a zone corner (Kevin Barnes, of Maryland).

Grade: C-minus