Tag:2009 draft
Posted on: May 4, 2009 11:37 pm

2009 Draft Grades

Here are my draft grades. There was so many different interpretations on various sports sites' and this one is probably no different. Some of my grades were consistent with others, some were not. It was no secret that this year happened to feature a weaker draft class. It was making the best of this draft class that challenges the team. There was a perception that the 20th through 32nd picks would've been second rounders in other draft classes. So the Patriots made good use of their knowledge by trading out of the first and piling up picks in the second round. Then you had the Broncos who also recognized the value of second round picks in this draft. However, they traded away there 2010 first round pick to get back in it. Not a good move on the Broncos part considering the 2010 draft should be deeper.

I believe the Patriots and the Giants had the best drafts. It's no surprise that these two franchises field competitive teams year after year. The Jaguars, Eagles, Falcons, 49ers, Rams and Seahawks deserve honorable mention. they didn't reach for players but opted to take the best players available the majority of the time.

The most disappointing teams had to be the Cowboys and Raiders. The Broncos deserve honorable mention here. All these teams either reached or made picks that didn't seem to help themselves. The Raiders are the most disturbing. I may be a 49ers fan, but it pains me to see what is happening to the other local team in my area. The talent mix just seems wrong every year. Al needs to walk away. Only then will the team get better.

On to the grades. Enjoy it, flame it, I don't care...just have fun with it...

NFC Draft Grades


NFC East

Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys giving up so many picks for WR Roy Williams hurts them badly here. Now it’s not fair to degrade Williams. Ultimately, I think he will be a fine receiver for the Cowboys now that Terrell Owens is gone. But Williams could’ve probably been had for far less than what Jerry Jones gave up for him. Shrewd trading helped get more picks in the later rounds but no picks in the first two rounds hurt. OLB Jason Williams may turn out to be a fine pick and may contribute immediately as a situational pass rusher. The Cowboys also got good value out of FS Michael Hamlin and CB Mike Mickens. Mickens may turn out to be a solid player in nickel and dime situations.

Good for them – Williams can be a playmaker down the road. McGee may turnout to be a solid QB if Romo goes down.

What were they thinking? – They didn’t need to acquire so many picks. The Cowboys are not in full rebuild mode. They have a playoff caliber team and needed players that could help right away. This class doesn’t help them this year.

Final Grade – D+

New York Giants – The Giants were fairly active in free agency so the draft could be used to restock their roster. WR Hakeem Nicks had a fair amount of buzz leading up to the draft. He draws comparisons to T.O. Lets hope he delivers. It was a good move to cut Plax and draft Nicks. OLB Clint Sintim, OT Warren Beatty, WR Ramses Barden and RB Andre Brown were all good picks where they were taken. The Giants didn’t reach on any of these players and they could end up playing significant roles this year.

Good for them – They filled all of their needs without reaching and grabbed quality players. Watch out for Barden, he could surprise.

What were they thinking? – There’s a logjam at WR now. But that’s a good problem to have.

Final Grade - A

Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles were another team that was active in free agency. Like the Giants, they managed to address major needs in free agency which allowed them greater flexibility on draft day. The Eagles also carried their success over to draft day. WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy are the type of explosive playmakers like DeSean Jackson and Brian Westbrook. TE Cornelius Ingram, CB Victor Harris and OT Fenuki Tupou were all had with good value.

Good for them – They added playmakers to an already explosive offense. If Ingram recovers, watch out.

What were they thinking? – Did they really need to trade up two spots for Maclin? They could’ve also had other quality receivers such as Harvin, Britt or Nicks without having to give up extra picks.

Final Grade – A-

Washington Redskins – The Redskins made the biggest splash in free agency by winning the Albert Haynesworth sweepstakes. They added to that by taking DE Brian Orakpo in the first round. Orakpo and CB Kevin Barnes were the best picks. There’s not much else. The Redskins have grown accustomed to sacrificing draft picks on a yearly basis. Outside of 2008, they’ve had 6 or less picks dating back to the 2003 draft.

Good for them – The D-line with Orakpo, Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin & Andre Carter will be one of the best for 2009.

What were they thinking? Where’s the offensive line help? The tackles are aging and they cannot afford to have injuries there.

Final Grade – C+


NFC North

Chicago Bears – The Bears pulled off the deal of the year by acquiring a franchise QB in Jay Cutler. Then they signed Orlando Pace to protect him. Like Williams with the Cowboys, the Bears probably gave up too much. But Cutler is a much better player and will help make the offense go round. Also like the Cowboys, the Bears were active and acquired additional picks in the later rounds. WR Juaquin Iglesias and CB D.J. Moore are the best picks here. Moore is a little short but may be able to help right away. Jarron Gilbert was all the buzz with his Youtube swimming pool gimmick but the Bears got him with good value. Gilbert is unlikely to have an impact this year, but may develop nicely down the road.

Good for them – The Bears pulled off that ballsy trade. It’s Jay Cutler’s team now.

What were they thinking? – Not enough immediate help for Cutler. The Bears needed impact WR’s and didn’t get any. That’s hard to do without early picks.

Final Grade – B-

Detroit Lions – New GM Martin Mayhew has a lot of work cut out for him. He didn’t waste any time in free agency and immediately improved the roster. Many will disagree, but I didn’t think this was a great first draft by Mayhew. Mayhew made a statement by pre-signing and drafting QB Matthew Stafford #1 overall. But Culpepper is still in the picture and if you give your #1 pick $41 million guaranteed, he had better be starting. The Lions also grabbed the best TE in Brandon Pettigrew, but may have reached a little here. S Louis Delmas was also a good pick and may contribute right away. The Lions did get good value out of DT Sammie Lee Hill and OT Lydon Murtha who may turn out to be fine starters in 2 or 3 years.

Good for them – The Lions grabbed good developmental players in the later rounds which will help them in a couple of years when they are ready to compete for a playoff spot.

What were they thinking? The Lions didn’t do enough to immediately help a defense that finished #32 last year.

Final Grade – C+

Green Bay Packers – The Packers offense didn’t skip a beat after the whole Favre episode…at least in the passing game. The big news is that the Packers are converting to a 3-4 defense under with new defensive coordinator Dom Capers. As expected, the Packers grabbed DT B.J Raji to anchor the nose. They also moved up to grab OLB Clay Matthews. OT Jamon Meredith and CB Brandon Underwood were had with good value and could develop into very nice starters.

Good for them – They needed help on defense and they got it. Raji was the best NT in this year’s draft. Meredith has the tools to be a starting LT.

What were they thinking? They moved up to grab Matthews, which was unnecessary. CB’s Al Harris and Charles Woodson are aging. No help was added.

Final Grade – B-

Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings are playoff ready. They have the running game, the defense but where they are really lacking is QB. The Vikings only had 5 picks and they made the best of them. Harvin is a playmaker and is possibly the best RAC receiver in the draft. That’s good, because there isn’t anyone who can consistenly throw the ball downfield. Loadholt addresses a need at RT. Adrian Peterson will be happy. Asher Allen is another Antoine Winfield. Jasper Brinkley and Jamarca Sanford were drafted with good value.

Good for them – Allen and Brinkley are nice picks who add depth right away and will compete for playing time in a year or two.

What were they thinking? Loadholt is big. Let’s hope he can pass protect too. No developmental QB to push Tavaris Jackson.

Final Grade – B


NFC South

Atlanta Falcons – GM Thomas Dimitroff makes the draft look easy. His picks helped turn around one of the most dysfunctional franchises in 2007. The Falcons let a lot of players on defense walk after the season. Not only did Dimitroff restock the losses, but he should get some compensatory picks in 2010 as well. DT Peria Jerry, S William Moore were had with good value while CB Christopher Owens, DE Lawrence Sidbury Jr and OT Garrett Reynolds may develop into nice players.

Good for them – The Falcons used all but one pick to help their defense. Jerry, Moore, Owens and Sidbury Jr may all contribute immediately.

What were they thinking? Let’s hope the offense picks up where it left off. There was no help here so the Falcons can’t afford a dropoff in performance on offense. Will an aging Tony Gonzales be enough?

Final Grade – A-

Carolina Panthers – The Julius Peppers issue is an unsettling one. It forced the Panthers hand in this draft and cost them their first round pick for 2010. In addition, the Panthers didn’t even have a first round pick in 2009. Everette Brown may not be able to play as an OLB in the 3-4, but he will be fine as a 4-3 DE. Sherrod Martin will contribute early. Corey Irvin may be a reach in the third round but has amazing potential. He could be this missing link on defense since Kris Jenkins was traded away. RB Mike Goodson and CB Captain Munnerlyn will be good role players.

Good for them – They have a potential replacement for Peppers in Brown.

What were they thinking? No first round pick in 2009. Now no first round pick for 2010.

Final Grade – C+

New Orleans Saints – There’s not much to add to the offense but the defense remains a work in progress. The Saints only had 4 picks, so they were handicapped from the beginning. CB Malcolm Jenkins was a great pick at #14. He was considered a top 10 pick so the Saints got good value there. S Chip Vaughn was also had with good value and has a shot to upgrade the safety position.

Good for them – Malcolm Jenkins and Chip Vaughn may have a chance of playing together as safeties. This combo would be an instant upgrade to the defensive backfield.

What were they thinking? Jenkins may not be happy playing safety. 4 picks doesn’t do much by way of helping depth or upgrading any positions. That’s a Redskins’ move.

Final Grade – C

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers got the QB they wanted. They moved past the Broncos to do so. So they sacrificed draft picks to move up two spots. The Bucs only had 6 picks and the highlight is QB Josh Freeman. They will need to be patient with him. But he has some inspiring tools to work with. DT Roy Miller and OT Xavier Fulton may develop into serviceable players down the road.

Good for them – Freeman may have just as much upside (if not more) than Stafford and Sanchez.

What were they thinking? The run defense needed to be addressed and Roy Miller may not be enough.

Overall Grade – C


NFC West

Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals are battling demons with Anquan Boldin and Karlos Dansby. This is not atypical with Super Bowl caliber teams. The team may have to prepare to move forward without either. The Cardinals may have nabbed the best RB in this year’s draft in Chris “Beanie” Wells. The Cardinals are another team attempting a transition to the 3-4. OLB Cody Brown will help with the outside pass rush. S Rashad Johnson may compete for playing time and G Herman Johnson is a project with good upside.

Good for them – Wells will help a run game that ranked #32 at seasons end. They also addressed depth on the O-line.

What were they thinking – There were no WR’s taken so they must be confident that a deal will be worked out with Boldin. Risky thought.

Final Grade – B+

San Francisco 49ers – This was GM Scot McCloughan’s first draft without former coach Mike Nolan hovering over his shoulder. All eyes were on McCloughan to see if he would repeat mistakes of the past. WR Michael Crabtree was a gift at #10. He will make the QB’s look better regardless who starts. Glen Coffee was a much needed sidekick for Frank Gore and is a tough runner inside. ILB Scott McKillop may turn out to be a nice replacement for Takeo Spikes. TE Bear Pascoe and DT Ricky Jean-Francois will turn into nice role players. The 49ers also traded away their second and fourth round picks for the Panthers first round pick next year.

Good for them – The 49ers stuck to their guns and drafted the best player available.

What were they thinking? The 49ers didn’t add any depth to the O-line. A project OT or G could’ve been useful.

Overall Grade – A-

Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks lucked out when the Chiefs reached for Tyson Jackson. The result was an easy pick for LB Aaron Curry who may be the best defensive player in the draft. Max Unger can anchor the C position for the next 10 years. SS Courtney Greene and DE Nick Reed were had with good value. The Seahawks did well to acquire the Broncos’ first round pick in 2010.

Good for them – Curry and Unger bring instant upgrades. Greene may develop into a nice player.

What were they thinking? LB didn’t need help. Walter Jones is not getting any younger so a developmental LT could’ve helped. CB’s need to be upgraded as well. No one was brought in to challenge Kelly Jennings or Josh Wilson.

Overall Grade – A-

St Louis Rams – The Rams are busy rebuilding. Grabbing OT Jason Smith instead of Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez or Michael Crabtree was a solid move. LB James Laurenitis was a good pickup in the second round. Both Smith and Laurenitis should be starters from day one. DT Dorell Scott should see time in the defensive line rotation. RB Chris Ogbonnayah is not a pure runner but is versatile.

Good for them – Productive draft where 6 out of the 7 picks may see a fair amount of playing time.

What were they thinking? They could’ve used more picks. Rebuilding teams tend to need more.

Final Grade – A-

AFC Draft Grades


AFC East

Buffalo Bills – The Bills pulled off a trade a week before the draft which sent LT Jason Peters to the Eagles for a first round pick. DE Aaron Maybin will be a good pass rusher but the Bills passed on a more complete 4-3 DE in Orakpo. C Eric Wood may turn out to be a good player, but probably could’ve been had later with Unger still on the board. CB Jarius Byrd and G Andy Levitre were solid picks. TE Shawn Nelson came at good value as the Bills needed a receiving TE.

Good for them – Many of these picks will turn out to be fine players for the Bills. S Nic Harris may surprise.

What were they thinking? The lack of an OT to replace Peters overshadows everything the Bills did in this draft. This may come back to haunt them. Britton or Beatty could’ve been had without reaching.

Final Grade – C+

Miami Dolphins – Parcells has a well known penchant for turning teams around. He turned the Dolphins from basement team to playoff team in one year. All eyes are on Parcells to see how he goes about the draft this year. CB Vontae Davis is an outstanding athlete, fills a great need and has the potential to be the best CB in this year’s draft. But how will he react to Parcells’ regime? QB Pat White will be a solid weapon in the Wildcat. He should see significant duty there for 2009. DB Sean Smith is a good pick at #61 and will turn out to be a fine player.

Good for them – Most of the players drafted fit Parcells blue collar mentality. It’s not flashy, but solid.

What were they thinking? Will Davis behave? Where is the help for the defensive line?

Final Grade – B

New England Patriots – Belichick does it again. Rarely does anyone understand the value of the talent in front of them more than Belichick. There are little immediate needs so the Patriots can plan for the future. S Patrick Chung will push incumbent Brandon Meriweather. DT Ron Brace may be the future replacement for Richard Seymour. CB Darius Butler can contribute immediately in nickel and dime packages and also push Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden for a starting job. OT Sebastian Vollmer and WR Brandon Tate may turn out to be special players.

Good for them – Once again, Belichick proves masterful in the draft.

What were they thinking? Will Vollmer and Brace be ready to start next year?

Final Grade – A

New York Jets – The Jets were also fairly active in free agency and fulfilled most of their needs prior to the draft. New coach Rex Ryan is already shaping the Jets into the Ravens, part II. The Jets didn’t have many picks to begin with, yet traded up twice to acquire QB Mark Sanchez and RB Shonn Greene. Both are potential starters with Greene filling the LeRon McClain type role in Baltimore.

Good for them – The Jets needed a potential franchise QB in Sanchez and didn’t sacrifice much to move up and get him.

What were they thinking? The Jets sacrificed much needed depth trading up. Was trading for Greene absolutely necessary? There were other quality RB’s after Greene.

Final Grade – B-


AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens were another Cinderella story from last year. After the firing of Brian Billick, new coach John Harbaugh returned the team to the playoffs. The defense, which has carried this franchise for many years, is now in a state of flux. The team tried to patch some of these holes free agency, but it may not be enough. Drafting OT Michael Oher proved too difficult to pass up at #23. DE/OLB Paul Kruger brings another playmaker to the defense. RB Cedric Peerman was drafted with good value and may eventually replace Willis McGahee. CB Lardarius Webb and ILB Jason Phillips may eventually become starters.

Good for them – The Ravens drafted smart and didn’t reach for anyone. They took the best player available where possible.

What were they thinking? Drafting for defense now may too late. The Ravens should’ve planned for this last year.

Final Grade – B

Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals sought to get good value out of their picks. For the most part, they were able to accomplish that. OT Andre Smith could be the best NFL ready tackle this year. Rey Maualuga was quite a surprise in the second round. DE Michael Johnson and TE Chase Coffman were had with good value. But it will be interesting to see if Johnson is the real deal.

Good for them – They got some pretty good players that slipped.

What were they thinking? There was not enough help for an O-line battered by injuries and unable to protect franchise QB Carson Palmer. Some players raised red flags.

Final Grade – B

Cleveland Browns – Out with one former Patriots defensive coordinator, in with another. Mangini will place his stamp on this team and only time will tell if he succeeds. The Browns pulled off several shrewd trades. The movement simulates Mangini’s teacher, Belichick. But the quality of the picks aren’t quite there yet. C Alex Mack was a superb pick and will anchor the offense for the next decade. The Browns are preparing life without Braylon Edwards by drafting WR’s Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi. OLB David Veikune may provide solid pass rush. CB Coye Francies may be better than his counterpart Owens, who was drafted three rounds earlier.

Good for them – They needed receiving help and got it with Robiskie.

What were they thinking? RB Jamal Lewis isn’t getting any younger. There were quality backs available through the fourth round. RB James Davis may not be ready to contribute at all this year.

Final Grade – B-

Pittsburgh Steelers – A Super Bowl team does not have many needs to begin with unless they suffer massive free agent defections. The Steelers have proved time and time again that a franchise can be built through the draft. The Steelers will use the draft to restock and reload. The key to the 3-4 starts with the defensive line. The Steelers may have the future core of their line in DT’s Evander Hood and Ra’Shon Harris. Both are space eaters that can occupy double teams. WR Mike Wallace will contribute in multiple receiver sets. Keenan Lewis may surprise. C A.Q. Shipley was had with good value.

Good for them – They are building for the future with Hood, Harris, and Urbik.

What were they thinking? The O-line could use more depth and competition. Not enough early picks were used in this area.

Final Grade - B


AFC South

Houston Texans – The Texans continued to build their defense through the draft. Each year, they add significant pieces. It’s a smart move considering they share the division with the Titans, Jaguars and Colts. This year LB Brian Cushing and DE Connor Barwin are added to the mix. Both will be expected to compete for starting spots right away. C Antoine Caldwell is a solid addition to the O-line. He may push for the starting spot right away. TE James Casey was drafted with good value and should give QB Matt Schaub a versatile weapon.

Good for them – They continued to fortify the defense. CB Glover Quin may surprise. He will have to if Dunta Robinson is allowed to leave.

What were they thinking? A more long-term solution is needed to pair with RB Steve Slaton. Chris Brown and Ryan Moats are stopgaps at best. The team had better hope Quin is the answer at CB.

Final Grade – B

Indianapolis Colts – Bill Polian is regarded as a genius when it comes to finding talented players throughout the draft. The question this year is “where does he start?” The Colts have various pressing needs. Leave it to Polian to continue his unorthodox way of drafting. Surprisingly, the Colts decided to take RB Donald Brown with their first pick. Brown will be a fine NFL RB but there were more important needs. DT Fili Moala is a solid pick in the second round and DT Terrence Taylor was drafted with good value. WR Austin Collie has a chance to become another Brandon Stokely for the team.

Good for them – Moala and Taylor will help a porous run defense.

What were they thinking? They could’ve used a MLB and move Gary Brackett back outside. Was RB the #1 priority when defense needs all the help they can get?

Final Grade – B

Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars selected a pair of bookend OT’s in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Smart move since the offensive line caused most of their woes for the majority of the season. DT Terrence Knighton gives the defense another strong inside presence to team up with John Henderson. This is key since Marcus Stroud was traded last year and the defense didn’t seem as stout. Rashad Jennings may have been a steal in the seventh round and could have a instant impact taking over where Fred Taylor left off.

Good for them – The Jaguars filled their most identifiable needs on both lines. This is key for a team that emphasizes physicality.

What were they thinking? A QB prospect to push David Garrard could help. The Jaguars could’ve also added a LB to push the current starters.

Final Grade A-

Tennessee Titans – The Titans are looking to build on last year’s success. It may be difficult to reproduce on defense with the loss of Albert Haynesworth. The Titans took a slightly different approach by adding more weapons on offense. WR Kenny Britt could be just as special as Nicks or Harvin. TE Jared Cook gives QB Kerry Collins another good pass catching option. Sen’Derrick Marks has the talent but coach Jeff Fisher will need to stay on top of him. LB Gerald McGrath, OT Troy Kropog and RB Javon Ringer were all had with good value.

Good for them – The Titans added help to the passing game which should take pressure off the run game.

What were they thinking? Marks cannot replace what they lost in Haynesworth.

Final Grade – B


AFC West

Denver Broncos – The new Broncos regime did the unthinkable and traded away their franchise QB in Jay Cutler. It was surprising that the Broncos did not draft a QB early. If not draft QB, it was even more surprising that the Broncos first Pick was used on RB Knowshon Moreno. Moreno may become a successful NFL RB, but he joins a crowded backfield. Also, a lot of emphasis was placed on the secondary early where the D-line was neglected. Not a good way to transition to a 3-4 defense. The Broncos also reached on a couple of players such as S Darcel McBath and TE Richard Quinn. On a bright note, Robert Ayers is a versatile player that may help in the long run.

Good for them – They have a potential franchise RB in Moreno. Secondary looks better.

What were they thinking? No QB, D-line overlooked. This team may actually be worse than last years. And they lost their 2010 first round pick in the process.

Final Grade – D+

Kansas City Chiefs – It’s something about those Belichick disciples (with the exception of Thomas Dimitroff) where once they leave New England, they just aren’t as successful anymore. Tyson Jackson was a bit of a reach at #3 overall. Maybe he is the next Richard Seymour, maybe not. OL Colin Brown and RB Javarris Williams were nice additions. Outside of the acquisition of Matt Cassell, this draft was barely average for a Belichick disciple.

Good for them – The focal point was defense where the first three picks were used. That was the Chiefs biggest problem last year. They also got the QB they wanted…and it only cost them a second round pick.

What were they thinking? Tyson Jackson was a reach at #3.

Overall Grade – C

Oakland Raiders – You knew Al Davis was going to do some funny things but “Wow”! Al Davis said that he “would rather be right then consistent.” Here’s a concept Al. How about “consistently right?” I’m not going to say that WR Darius Heyward-Bey will not be successful, but he was a reach at #7. If Al wants to pass on Crabtree because of no timed 40 yard dash, why not take Maclin who ran a respectable 4.4? There’s just too much emphasis on 40 time here. Second round pick S Mike Mitchell was a bigger head-scratcher. Maybe he turns out to be a stud, but the Raiders could’ve had him in the fifth or sixth round. The best picks here are WR Louis Murphy and DE Stryker Sulak. Both may have productive careers, so this draft wasn’t a complete waste.

Good for them – They will have one of the fastest teams in the NFL. Murphy may be the best WR on the roster in week 1.

What were they thinking? I’m surprised the Raiders didn’t try to draft Usain Bolt.

Final Grade – D-

San Diego Chargers – GM A.J. Smith has put together some solid drafts over the years. They have been fortunate to have L.T. carry the team on his back for the last 3-4 years while the team continued to build its defense. That defense took a big blow when Shawn Merriman went down last year. Merriman is back, but the team went and drafted OLB Larry English anyways. English will turn out to be a superb pass rusher but was probably taken several picks early. G Louis Vasquez and RB Gartrell Johnson are good picks. Johnson should help lighten L.T.’s load. It’s unfortunate what happened to WR Demetrius Byrd, he had some potential too.

Good for them – They didn’t have very many needs, but filled the remaining holes.

What were they thinking? English could’ve been had a little later.

Final Grade – B-

Category: NFL
Tags: 2009 draft
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