Evan Silva

NFL Draft Grades

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NFC Draft Grades

Sunday, April 25, 2010




Saints: Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson was a luxury pick at No. 32 overall, particularly with the Saints needing outside linebacker assistance and Daryl Washington still on the board. USC offensive tackle Charles Brown was easily the best available player at No. 64 overall, and may allow the Saints to part with Jammal Brown via trade.

With Tony Gonzalez-like tools, we considered late third-round pick Jimmy Graham a second-round prospect. Though he's a poor bet to contribute in 2010, Graham possess the physical makeup to someday rank among the game's top pass-catching tight ends. Fourth-round nose tackle Al Woods is a big-time underachiever, but fifth-round center Matt Tennant is a technician with high football IQ. Seventh-round pick Sean Canfield gives coach Sean Payton a developmental passer to work with.

The Saints didn't get the help at linebacker or outside rusher they so desperately needed, instead opting to add depth at positions that are already strong. Still, GM Mickey Loomis stayed true to his board, keeping New Orleans' draft grade afloat.

Draft Grade: B-

Giants: Missing out on Rolando McClain and C.J. Spiller in the first round, Giants GM Jerry Reese elected to swing for the fences. Each of his first three picks -- Jason Pierre-Paul, Linval Joseph, Chad Jones -- are dominant physical specimens with limitless ceilings. None of the trio is likely to start in 2010, but that says more about the talent already on New York's roster than the rookies' abilities.

Fourth-round inside linebacker Phillip Dillard, fifth-round guard Mitch Petrus, and seventh-round punter Matt Dodge were all safe picks at positions of weakness. Sixth-round pass rusher Adrian Tracy was an unstoppable force at the D-IAA level and projects as situational help in the nickel defense down the road.

The Giants remain unsettled at middle linebacker, but their dynamite front four should make everyone playing behind it better. Reese remains one of the most skilled drafters in football.

Draft Grade: B+

Eagles: The Birds had a whopping 13 picks and emerged from the draft with just one likely Week 1 starter (South Florida free safety Nate Allen), but were executioners when it came to selecting scheme fits. No. 13 overall pick Brandon Graham, third-rounder Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, and fifth-round steal Ricky Sapp are relentless pass rushers and will fit right into aggressive defensive coordinator Sean McDermott's pressure-based system.

A skilled press corner, Trevard Lindley can cover man-to-man as all defensive backs must do for McDermott. Fellow fourth-rounder Keenan Clayton projects as a highly productive special teamer and cover linebacker on nickel downs. No. 122 overall pick Mike Kafka possesses the requisite tools for a West Coast quarterback, and No. 125 selection Clay Harbor is an intriguing H-back prospect. Riley Cooper and Charles Scott should make Hank Baskett and Eldra Buckley expendable. Jamar Chaney was a robbery in the seventh. It wouldn't be surprising if he developed into a starting-capable middle linebacker.

The Eagles wrapped up with hulking defensive tackle Jeff Owens and gunner candidate Kurt Coleman at Nos. 203 and 204. Shockingly, Andy Reid didn't pick a single offensive lineman. But the value was good at each selection, and Graham and Allen are certain to help in year one.

Draft Grade: B

49ers: The 49ers' decision to trade up for Anthony Davis has been questioned, but what's most important is that San Francisco got its man. Davis will likely take over as the Niners' starting left tackle by 2011, with Joe Staley moving to the right side. Fellow first-round pick Mike Iupati will make Frank Gore's life a lot easier going forward.

Taylor Mays at 49th overall and sixth-round tailback Anthony Dixon were perhaps GM Trent Baalke's best picks. Mays will make Michael Lewis expendable while Dixon vies with Glen Coffee to be Gore's backup. Dixon is a thumping inside runner with underrated receiving skills. Third-round pick Navorro Bowman isn't a great scheme fit, but Nate Byham gives the Niners the blocking tight end they've desperately wanted. Sixth-round return man Kyle Williams and seventh-round defensive back Phillip Adams probably won't make the team.

Davis, Iupati, and Mays will be first-year starters. Though some of the team's later-round picks were uninspiring, the Niners are among the most improved teams in the league.

Draft Grade: B+

Seahawks: The NFC West did work on draft weekend, and the Seahawks were a big reason why. Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, and Golden Tate will all be rookie starters and immediate impact players at positions of glaring need. Thomas and Tate, in particular, are game-changing talents and massive upgrades over Jamar Adams and Deion Branch.

Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond III is coming off a devastating knee injury, but is a first-day talent when healthy and was worth a fourth-round flier. Defensive end E.J. Wilson and in-the-box safety Kam Chancellor project as role players only, but sixth-rounder Anthony McCoy is a well-rounded talent and will have a smooth transition after playing in coordinator Jeremy Bates' offense at USC last year. Dexter Davis is undersized, but can get to the passer. Jameson Konz's crazy physical abilities make him worth a seventh-round selection.

Assuming Charlie Whitehurst pays dividends, the Seahawks have enjoyed a highly productive offseason under first-year GM John Schneider and new head coach Pete Carroll. Things are looking up in Seattle.

Draft Grade: B+

Rams: After making Sam Bradford the No. 1 overall pick, a decision which will cost St. Louis close to $50 million guaranteed, Rams GM Billy Devaney avoided the temptation of drafting Arrelious Benn with the 33rd overall pick. Benn was believed to be higher on St. Louis' board than athletic offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, but Devaney smartly opted to protect his first-round investment. The Rams would go on to steal Mardy Gilyard at the top of round four. A borderline first-round talent, Gilyard was the Special Teams Player of the Year in the Big East as both a junior and senior, on top of being a first-team all-conference wideout.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo loves physical cornerbacks, and third-round pick Jerome Murphy fits the mold. St. Louis also did well to secure three late-round pass rushers in Hall Davis, Eugene Sims, and George Selvie. It would be nicer if they could combine tight ends Fendi Onobun and Michael Hoomanawanuii into one player. Onobun, a basketball power forward, can run fast. Hoomanawanuii is slow and strictly a blocker. Alabama defensive back Marquis Johnson didn't even start in college. Fellow seventh-rounder Josh Hull is a linebacker from Penn State, making him a solid pick.

We liked the Rams' top four picks, but didn't love the way they rounded out the draft, continuously passing on Anthony Dixon and Jonathan Dwyer. At some point, they're going to need to get a running back to help Steven Jackson.

Draft Grade: B

Buccaneers: The Bucs used their first two picks on difference-making interior pass rushers after getting just one sack from incumbent "three-technique" defensive tackle Ryan Sims last season. Gerald McCoy and Brian Price give the team a foundation at the position for the next ten years. Price, the 2009 Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year, will probably end up at nose tackle, helping the team's pathetic run defense.

The attention then switched to offense. GM Mark Dominik ripped off two dynamic receiver talents in second-rounder Arrelious Benn and fourth-round pick Mike Williams, giving cannon-armed quarterback Josh Freeman a pair of chain-movers with dominant run-after-catch skills. With Sammie Stroughter in the slot, Benn at split end, and Williams on the flank, the Bucs can now field a potentially explosive attack. Dominik mixed in the selection of third-round size corner Myron Lewis, an underrated talent who will not struggle for year-one snaps. Late-round linebackers Cody Grimm and Dekoda Watson project as impact special teamers. Sixth-rounder Brent Bowden is the team's punter of the future. Stanford DE Erik Lorig probably won't make the roster.

Though we've never been fans of Dominik, he gave us reason for hope over the weekend. This was one of the better hauls in the league.

Draft Grade: A-

Redskins: Lacking picks in rounds two, three, and five, and unable to work an Albert Haynesworth trade, the Skins made just one selection on the first two days of the draft. No. 4 overall choice Trent Williams is an ideal fit at left tackle in Washington's zone-blocking scheme, and shores up a huge weak spot.

After "resting" Friday, the Redskins came back Saturday to draft Perry Riley, who wasn't even the best linebacker at LSU last season. H-back Dennis Morris was the next head scratcher, coming at a position of strength and as a product of Louisiana Tech's spread system. Terrence Austin isn't going to help on offense, while fellow seventh-rounders Selvish Capers and Erik Cook will push for roster spots at guard and center.

Naturally, the Skins are going to get a low grade because they were so short on picks. But big question marks remain across the roster, and Washington didn't draft a single quarterback. Mike Shanahan had better work some serious magic this offseason.

Draft Grade: C-


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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