Gregg Rosenthal

NFL Draft Grades

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AFC Draft Grades

Monday, May 2, 2011

Silva did the NFC Grades. I have the American Football Conference. Let's do it:

Baltimore Ravens

27. Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Colorado.
58. Torrey Smith, wide receiver, Maryland.
85. Jah Reid, tackle, Central Florida.
123. Tandon Doss, wide receiver, Indiana.
164. Chykie Brown, cornerback, Texas.
165. Pernell McPhee, defensive end, Mississippi State.
180. Tyrod Taylor, quarterback, Virginia Tech.
225. Anthony Allen, running back, Georgia Tech.

Overview: The Ravens always seem to draft for talent and value over need. It just so happened that the draft set up perfectly to fill their needs with cornerback Jimmy Smith, burner wideout Torrey Smith, and tackle Reid in the first three rounds. Reid could be one of the draft's best sleepers. Jimmy Smith needs to keep his nose clean, but he could be the best press corner in the draft. This draft came together perfectly for G.M. Ozzie Newsome.

Grade: A-

Buffalo Bills

3. Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle, Alabama.
34. Aaron Williams, cornerback, Texas.
68. Kelvin Sheppard, linebacker, LSU.
100. Da'Norris Searcy, safety, UNC.
122. Chris Hairston, tackle, Clemson.
133. Johnny White, running back, UNC.
169. Chris White, linebacker, Mississippi St.
206. Justin Rogers, cornerback, Richmond.
245. Michael Jasper, defensive tackle, Bethel (TN.)

Overview: The Bills lucked out that Dareus fell to them at No. 3, and they smartly snapped him up. They passed on grooming a quarterback of the future at No. 34 with good options on the board to take a possible tweener in Aaron Williams from Texas.

Sheppard is typical of this solid, unspectacular draft. He'll help the Bills, but his ceiling is limited. The first four picks were on defense as the Bills try to play catch-up after an ill advised move to a 3-4 defense. They need to hit on more picks after a weak overall draft last year.

Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

4. A.J. Green, wide receiver, Georgia.
35. Andy Dalton, quarterback, TCU.
66. Dontay Moch, defensive end, Nevada.
101. Clint Boling, guard/tackle, Georgia.
134. Robert Sands, safety, West Virginia.
167. Ryan Whalen, wide receiver, Stanford.
207. Korey Lindsey, cornerback, S. Illinois.
246. Jay Finley, running back, Baylor.

Overview: The Bengals were transparent in their desire to get Dalton in the second round, and he fell right to them. It was risky, but this is a results business and things couldn't have worked out better than to pair Dalton and Green, who was the top offensive player on most boards. They should be the foundation of the changing offense for years to come. The Bengals have quietly done a nice job with Raiders-like size/speed guys, and Moch fits right into that mold.

Grade: A-

Cleveland Browns

21. Phil Taylor, nose tackle, Baylor.
37. Jabaal Sheard, defensive end, Pittsburgh.
59. Greg Little, wide receiver, UNC.
102. Jordan Cameron, tight end, USC.
124. Owen Marecic, fullback/linebacker, Stanford.
137. Buster Skrine, cornerback, UT-Chattanooga.
150. Jason Pinkston, guard, Pittsburgh.
248. Eric Hagg, safety, Nebraska.

Overview: This team needed depth, and they know better than anyone that a top-10 pick doesn't automatically land a star. That's why their move out of the No. 6 slot for two firsts and five picks overall could ultimately set up the Holmgren/Schumer era for years.

Taylor was the best nose tackle in the draft, Sheard was a good pass rushing value in the second round, and UNC wideout Little could be a star. They still need more defensive help, but this draft should continue to build the team's foundation after a strong '10 draft.

Grade: A-

Denver Broncos

2. Von Miller, linebacker, Texas A & M.
45. Rahim Moore, safety, UCLA.
46. Orlando Franklin, tackle, Miami.
67. Nate Irving, linebacker, N.C. State.
108. Quinton Carter, safety, Oklahoma.
129. Julius Thomas, tight end, Portland St.
189. Mike Mohamed, linebacker, California.
204. Virgil Green, tight end, Nevada.
247. Jeremy Beal, defensive end, Oklahoma.

Overview: The Broncos didn't address their most glaring need on the defensive line, but this team is more than one draft away so taking the best player available makes more sense. We just aren't sure the Broncos did that.

We seem to be the only ones a little concerned that Miller is a better fit in a 3-4 defense. Moore seemed like a bit of a reach in the second round when so many good defensive tackles were available. Irving was one of our favorite sleepers in the draft and will upgrade the rush defense.

Grade: C

Houston Texans

11. J.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin.
42. Brooks Reed, defensive end, Arizona.
60. Brandon Harris, cornerback, Miami.
127. Rashad Carmichael, cornerback, Virginia Tech.
144. Shiloh Keo, safety, Idaho.
152. Taylor Yates, quarterback, UNC.
214. Derek Newton, tackle/guard, Arkansas St.
254. Cheta Ozougwu, outside linebacker, Rice.

Overview: The Texans took a risk going with front seven players (Watt, Reed) with their first two picks when the secondary needed so much help, but we can't kill either pick because this team needs defenders period. (We are worried Reed's draft stock was inflated.)

This team has not drafted defense consistently well enough, which is why they spent their first five picks on helping new coordinator Wade Phillips. It's an uneven approach that speaks to this organization's desperation.

Grade: C+

Indianapolis Colts

Overview: After talking about the team's offensive lineman problem for a while, G.M. Bill Polian finally did something about it. We love that he took the draft's safest, most game-ready left tackle in Castonzo. Ijalana was a terrific sleeper pick in the second round and Carter adds needed size to the backfield. They need Nevis to produce for a weak run defense. It was a different-looking Colts draft, but an approach that should pay dividends as Peyton Manning ages.

Grade: B+

Jacksonville Jaguars

10. Blaine Gabbert, quarterback, Missouri.
76. Will Rackley, guard, Lehigh.
114. Cecil Shorts, wide receiver, Mt. Union.
121. Chris Prosinski, safety, Wyoming.
147. Rod Issac, cornerback, Middle Tennessee St.

Overview: G.M. Gene Smith has a signature to his drafts: He makes bold moves, and takes a few mid-round players most teams have never heard of. He kept up the trend.

The Jaguars finally drafted a quarterback for the first time since Byron Leftwich, moving up six picks to select Blaine Gabbert at No. 10. We're not huge Gabbert fans, but at least they didn't give up that much to acquire him.

Jacksonville's next four picks were off-the-radar options from Lehigh, Mt. Union, Wyoming, and Middle Tennessee St. They addressed a shoddy secondary late. Watch out for Shorts. It all looks a little wacky, but we give Smith the benefit of the doubt after two good drafts. Give him credit for originality.

Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

26. Jonathan Baldwin, wide receiver, Pittsburgh.
55. Rodney Hudson, guard, Florida St.
70. Justin Houston, linebacker, Georgia.
86. Allen Bailey, defensive end, Miami.
118. Jalil Brown, cornerback, Colorado.
135. Ricky Stanzi, quarterback, Iowa.
140. Gabe Miller, outside linebacker, Oregon St.
199. Jerrell Powe, defensive tackle, Mississippi.
223. Shane Bannon, running back, Yale.

Overview: A surprising draft, but we like it. One year after taking a bunch of team captains, the Chiefs drafted a few players that lacked consistent effort in college (Baldwin and Houston.) Ultimately, this is a talented group. Hudson should start on day one on the interior and third-rounder Allen Bailey is a very talented athlete with versatility. He may be a steal.

Stanzi was another fine value and can replace Brodie Croyle as a backup quarterback. Scott Pioli had a miserable '09 draft and a great '10 draft. We think he'll keep up the hot streak.

Grade: A-

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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 and Catch him on Twitter.
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