Gregg Rosenthal

NFL Draft Grades

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AFC Draft Grades

Monday, May 02, 2011



Miami Dolphins

15. Mike Pouncey, guard/center, Florida.
62. Daniel Thomas, running back, Kansas St.
111. Edmond Gates, wide receiver, Abilene Christian.
174. Charles Clay, tight end, Tulsa.
231. Frank Kearse, defensive tackle, Alabama A&M.
235. Jimmy Wilson, cornerback, Montana.

Overview: Pouncey was a safe, solid pick at No. 15, but his last name may have bumped him up half a round. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano's backround is on the offensive line, so the team's shaky play there is a shortcoming of his Miami tenure.

The team gave up three picks to draft second-round running back Daniel Thomas, who will get every chance to replace Ronnie Brown. Fourth-round wideout Edmund Gates is an intriguing size/speed project. There is a risk this turns into a two-player draft for Miami and the two players may be good, not great.

Grade: C +

New England Patriots

17. Nate Solder, tackle, Colorado.
33. Ras-I Dowling, corerback, Virginia.
56. Shane Vereen, running back, California.
73. Stevan Ridley, running back, LSU.
74. Ryan Mallett, quarterback Arkansas.
138. Marcus Cannon, guard, TCU.
159. Lee Smith, tight end, Marshall.
194. Markell Carter, linebacker, Central Arkansas.
219. Malcolm Williams, cornerback, TCU.

Overview: Another predictably unpredictable Patriots draft. They took players other teams were afraid to: Mallett fell to round three because of "off-field" concerns, while Cannon fell to round five because of a non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosis. Both were arguably first-round talents.

A pair of mid-round running backs (Vereen and Ridley) should help right away, but passing on front seven help was curious. Solder was perhaps the most talented tackle in this class and could replace Matt Light immediately. Line coach Dante Scarnecchia will know what to do with Solder.

Oh, and by the way: The Patriots picked up an extra first and second round pick in next year's draft.

Grade: B+

New York Jets

30. Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive end, Temple.
94. Kenrick Ellis, defensive tackle, Hampton.
126. Bilal Powell, running back, Louisville.
153. Jeremy Kerley, wide receiver, TCU.
208. Greg McElroy, quarterback, Alabama.
227. Scotty McKnight, wide receiver, Colorado.

Overview: The Jets needed to address the age in their defensive front seven, and did so with Wilkerson and Ellis. The only problem: Ellis is currently facing a felony assault charge. The Hampton product was a risky pick to begin with, and the Jets reached because it was such a position of need.

The Jets drafted yet another running back (Powell) and a receiver (Scotty McKnight) as a favor to Mark Sanchez. This draft hinges on Ellis.

Grade: C

Pittsburgh Steelers

31. Cameron Heyward, defensive end, Ohio St.
63. Marcus Gilbert, tackle, Florida.
95. Curtis Brown, cornerback, Texas.
128. Cortez Allen, cornerback, Citadel.
162. Chris Carter, outside linebacker, Fresno St.
196. Keith Williams, guard, Nebraska.

Overview: The Steelers reliably stay in their draft slot, and somehow find contributors players that fit right in with what they do. Cameron Heyward could be a unheralded five-technique starter for years to come. He'll continue the team's tradition of late first round finds. Gilbert and cornerback Brown were solid picks where they were taken and fill needs for Pittsburgh. They didn't reach for secondary picks. Pittsburgh's drafts tend to look better after a few years, which is the whole idea.

Grade: B+

Oakland Raiders

48. Stefen Wisniewski, guard, Penn St.
81. Demarcus Van Dyke, cornerback, Miami.
92. Joseph Barksdale, tackle, LSU.
113. Chimdi Chekwa, cornerback, Ohio St.
125. Taiwan Jones, running back, Eastern Washington.
148. Denarius Moore, wide receiver, Tennessee.
181. Richard Gordon, tight end, Miami.
241. David Ausberry, wide receiver, USC.

Overview: They didn't have their first round pick, although the Richard Seymour has worked out well enough. (We'd argue Seymour has been overpaid, but that's another matter.) Wisniewski was a safe legacy pick, but lacks the high ceiling of his Pro Bowl uncle. Van Dyke was a backup in college, but at least the Raiders are now taking their track guys in the third round instead of earlier. Jones saves this somewhat generic draft because he could be a steal and gives an improving Raiders offense another dimension.

Grade: C

San Diego Chargers

18.Corey Liuget, defensive end, Illinois.
50. Marcus Gilchrist, cornerback, Clemson.
61. Jonas Mouton, linebacker, Michigan.
82. Vincent Brown, wide receiver, San Diego St.
89. Shareece Wright, corerback, USC.
183. Jordan Todman, running back, UConn.
201. Steve Schilling, guard, Michigan.
234. Andrew Gachkar, outside linebacker, Missouri.

Overview:Liuget is a terrific player and should be a day one starter, but we wonder if he would fit better in a 4-3 defense. We thought the Chargers would address their front seven even more, but we think Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith hit on a few early picks with Gilchrist and Brown. Mouton seems unlikely to be a three-down player considering how high he was taken. Smith needs to start hitting a few homeruns after some so-so drafts. Liuget, Gilchrist, and Brown give him a chance.

Grade: B-

Tennessee Titans

8. Jake Locker, quarterback, Washington.
39. Akeem Ayers, linebacker, UCLA.
77. Jurrell Casey, defensive tackle, USC.
109. Colin McCarthy, linebacker, Miami.
130. Jamie Harper, running back, Clemson.
142. Karl Klug, defensive end Iowa.
175. Byron Stingily, tackle, Louisville.
212. Zach Clayton, defensive tackle, Auburn.
251. Tommie Campbell, cornerback, California (PA).

Overview: Taking Locker at No. 8 could wind up getting coach Mike Munchak and G.M. Mike Reinfeldt fired in a few years. Locker will need time to develop, but the pressure to play him right away will be immense. We're just not sure you can solve accuracy issues at the pro level. Second round linebacker Akeem Ayers was just about the only player Jon Gruden didn't like in the draft; not a bad sign.

Grade: C-


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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for NBCSports.com and Profootballtalk.com. Catch him on Twitter.
Email :Gregg Rosenthal


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