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Old 04-24-2010, 06:54 PM   #1

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Default Draft Grades: Bucs give contenders some competition for honor roll

Draft Grades: Bucs give contenders some competition for honor roll
April 24, 2010
By Pete Prisco
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!

Good teams usually draft well. It's that simple.

Fans and many in the media get all caught up in free agency, but the good teams get built through the draft and usually avoid spending in free agency.

That's why it seems the same teams usually end up getting the good grades after the NFL Draft. It's the Eagles, Steelers, Patriots, Chargers and Ravens. It's their party.

UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price is a big part of the Bucs' A+ draft. (US Presswire)
But this year, there's a party crasher.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

They owned this draft. For all the ripping that general manager Mark Dominik has taken in some circles in his first year on the job, there's no denying he should be standing proud today.

The Bucs had four picks in the first three rounds and nailed each one. They landed defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price in the first two rounds to help the defense. Then they took receiver Arrelious Benn in the second round and corner/safety Myron Lewis in the third round.

That's a nice haul. But they didn't stop there. They added several more good players like receiver Mike Williams and linebacker Dekoda Watson.

Dominik had a good draft in 2009, his first running the show. And he followed up again.

The Bucs are doing things the right way, drafting well.

Arizona Cardinals

Best pick: Second-round pick Daryl Washington will be an immediate starter. He will add a speedy linebacker to a defense that needs it.

Questionable move: Drafting O'Brien Schofield in the fourth round. He is coming off an ACL injury that dropped him down, and you have no idea if he'll ever be the same.

Third-day gem: Fordham QB John Skelton has a big arm and the Cardinals were hoping to get him. He has a chance to be a backup in a year or two.

Analysis: This is a team that has really improved its drafting. They had another nice group, getting two important defensive players with their first two picks. Dan Williams will really help the inside defense.

Grade: B+

Atlanta Falcons

Best pick: Third-round guard Mike Johnson is a tough guy from Alabama who will fit right in with the Falcons' style of linemen. He is insurance for Justin Blalock, who has one year left on his deal.

Questionable move: I wasn't enamored with first-round pick Sean Weatherspoon as much as the Falcons were. I think he's a bit overrated.

Third-day gem: Cornerback Dominique Franks from Oklahoma is a talented player. He does have some character issues. But he could push for time as a nickel corner.

Analysis: They were hoping a defensive end fell to them in the first round, but when the top ends went they took Weatherspoon. The rest of the draft was mostly spent trying to improve the defense. They landed some solid players.

Grade: B-

Baltimore Ravens

Best pick: Landing huge defensive tackle Terrence Cody in the second round was a great move. The Ravens will keep his weight in check and he will be a force in the middle of their defense.

Questionable move: Sergio Kindle, their second-round pick, has some knee issues and some character issues. He's a good player, but that's two big flags.

Third-day gem: Tight end Dennis Pitta, taken in the fourth round, might end up being a better player than Ed Dickson, the team's third-round pick. Pitta is a nice pass-catching threat.

Analysis: The Ravens always seem to tear it up in the draft. They know how to find good players, and this year was no exception. They landed a heck of a group, without even using a first-round pick. Well done.

Grade: A

Buffalo Bills

Best pick: I love the pick of C.J. Spiller in the first round. He will add an explosive presence to the offense, helping to offset for some bad quarterback play.

Questionable move: Taking nose tackle Torrell Troup in the second round. There were better nose-tackle options left on the board when they made the pick.

Third-day gem: Quarterback Levi Brown, taken in the seventh round, is raw but he has a good arm, which you need in Buffalo weather.

Analysis: Getting Spiller was a nice move, but at some point they need to find their quarterback of the future. Why not Jimmy Clausen in the second round? Hoping Brown is it is a long shot.

Grade: C

Carolina Panthers

Best pick: Getting Jimmy Clausen in the second round will change this team. They finally have a franchise quarterback.

Questionable move: Trading this year's first-round pick last April to draft defensive end Everette Brown. He better become a 12-sack player.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick defensive end Greg Hardy was once considered a potential top-20 pick. He has that type of skill. He just needs to be more focused as a pass rusher.

Analysis: For not having a first-round pick, general manager Mary Hurney had a nice draft. Landing Clausen was the big move. They finally have a quarterback.

Grade: B+

Chicago Bears

Best pick: I love the choice of defensive end Corey Wootton in the fourth round. He suffered a major injury late in 2008 that hurt him in 2009. He could be a steal.

Questionable move: Trading their second-round pick for the late Gaines Adams. Even if he didn't tragically die, it wouldn't have been a good deal.

Third-day gem: Cornerback Josh Moore has a chance to be a nickel corner in their defense. He has nice cover skills.

Analysis: They didn't pick until the third round == the first-round pick went in the Jay Cutler trade == so it was tough to give them a high mark. But they did get some good players with their picks.

Grade: C

Cincinnati Bengals

Best pick: I love the pick of receiver Jordan Shipley in the third round. He will be a Carson Palmer favorite. He also will help the return game.

Questionable move: Taking Carlos Dunlap in the second round will be a feast-or-famine pick. He has ability, but he needs to be more productive.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Geno Atkins is an undersized defensive tackle from Georgia who was productive in a big-time conference.

Analysis: I really like the haul they had in this draft. Getting tight end Jermaine Gresham will really help the passing game. So will Shipley. The Bengals' drafting as of late has really paid off.

Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns

Best pick: There was talk they would take Boise State corner Kyle Wilson, but they stuck with Joe Haden, who was the better player, with the seventh overall pick.

Questionable move: Passing on Jimmy Clausen in the second round. They did get Colt McCoy later, but Clausen is a better player.

Third-day gem: Sixth-round pick Carlton Mitchell has good size and speed. He's a receiver who could challenge for time as a rookie.

Analysis: They landed good players in Haden and second-round pick T.J. Ward. But they waited too long to address the quarterback situation.

Grade: C

Dallas Cowboys

Best pick: I love the move to trade up to get Sean Lee in the second round. He has the talent to start in a year or two.

Questionable move: I like it, but some will say trading up to get Dez Bryant was questionable. That's because of character, not talent.

Third-day gem: Sixth-round pick Sam Young was a quality starter at Notre Dame. He doesn't have great feet, but neither does right tackle Marc Colombo.

Analysis: Their first two picks really make this draft. Bryant and Lee will be contributors right away. Did you see the way the Cowboys reacted when they landed Bryant?

Grade: B-

Denver Broncos

Best pick: Third-round pick J.D. Walton is a quality center who has a chance to start as a rookie.

Questionable move: Trading back into the first round to take Tim Tebow. Why? Why? Why?

Third-day gem: Fifth-round corner Perrish Cox has a lot of talent. He does have some character issues.

Analysis: They better hope Tebow becomes a star. If not, this draft will be known as a disaster. They did regroup after that to make some nice picks. Demaryius Thomas is a risk in the first round coming off a leg injury. But Tebow will define this draft.

Grade: C-

Detroit Lions

Best pick: It was their first one. They took defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick. He will be an immediate starter.

Questionable move: Trading back into the latter end of the first round to take Jahvid Best. Best is a good player, but he has concussion issues.

Third-day gem: Tackle Jason Fox, taken in the fourth round, is a tough guy whose draft status was hurt by a knee injury. But he is a good player when he's healthy.

Analysis: After Suh, the rest of the draft was very uninspiring. For a team with so many needs, you have to wonder how many they filled. Best was a reach in my mind.

Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

Best pick: Third-round pick Morgan Burnett is a playmaking safety who has the range you want in a modern-day player at that position.

Questionable move: Taking defensive tackle Mike Neal in the second round over some other tackles will be a move watched closely. Was he worth a second-round selection?

Third-day gem: Defensive end C.J. Wilson has a chance to stick as a seventh-round pick. He was a quality player at East Carolina.

Analysis: Getting tackle Bryan Bulaga to fall to them in the first round was a good thing. I think the second-round pick brings the grade down. They reached on that one.

Grade: C+

Houston Texans

Best pick: Second-round running back Ben Tate will push for a starting job as a rookie. I really like his toughness as a runner.

Questionable move: Taking Arizona defensive tackle Earl Mitchell in the third round. There were better options for the Texans at that time.

Third-day gem: Darryl Sharpton is a small linebacker from Miami, but he has speed and knows how to get to the football.

Analysis: I like the pick of cornerback Kareem Jackson in the first round. He excels in man coverage and will start right away. The rest of the draft after Tate was so-so.

Grade: C.

Indianapolis Colts

Best pick: First-round pick Jerry Hughes will be another explosive pass rusher on the Colts' roster. I really love his rush ability and he fits what they want to do.

Questionable move: Not taking a tackle in the first round. They have issues on the left side, but that's not Bill Polian's way.

Third-day gem: Guard Jacques McClendon is a powerful blocker who could help inside. He is a strong mauler in the run game, which the Colts need.

Analysis: Polian's track record is very good and I do like the pick of Hughes. But why not take a tackle early? I also like third-round pick Kevin Thomas.

Grade: B-

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best pick: Second-round pick D'Anthony Smith was a player I really liked coming into the draft. The only knock on this defensive tackle is he took some plays off.

Questionable move: Taking Tyson Alualu with the 10th pick in the first round is a move many questioned. But they had him that high on their board. It was a little high.

Third-day gem: Defensive end Austen Lane, a fifth-round pick, was a player the Jaguars eyed heading into this draft. He is a pass rusher whose coach in college at Murray State is on the team's staff.

Analysis: Their draft will be defined by what Alualu does. If he's a Pro Bowl player, it will be a good draft. If not, they will be questioned. I do like the trade to land linebacker Kirk Morrison from the Raiders. He will start.

Grade: B-

Kansas City Chiefs

Best pick: Third-round tight end Tony Moeaki has a ton of talent, but never lived up to it at Iowa. I say he does in the NFL.

Questionable move: Taking a safety fifth overall is always a risk. They did that with Eric Berry. He's good, but that position isn't a value position.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round safety Kendrick Lewis is an aggressive player who led Mississippi in tackles for two years.

Analysis: I wasn't as thrilled with their draft as some others. I think Berry will be good, but that's high. Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas are questionable moves as second-round picks.

Grade: C-

Miami Dolphins

Best pick: Second-round pick Koa Misi is perfect for the Miami defense. He is a pass-rusher who will move to outside linebacker.

Questionable move: Trading down in the first round and not taking Brandon Graham. That might be a move they regret. But that's nitpicking.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round safety Reshad Jones was a three-year starter at Georgia who has good range in the secondary. He is athletic, but some question his tackling.

Analysis: I like what they did in the first two rounds. They traded down and landed defensive end Jared Odrick. He and Misi will help the defense. They did a nice job.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

Best pick: Second-round pick Chris Cook was a player the Vikings would have considered in the first round if they didn't trade down.

Questionable move: Taking Toby Gerhart in the second round. I think there were better backs on the board when they took him.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Everson Griffen was considered a possible first-round pick. In the Vikings' aggressive defense, he will fit right in.

Analysis: Did they get a starter in this draft? Not right away. But they did add some quality players. But it's not all that exciting.

Grade: C+
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:56 PM   #2

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Default Re: Draft Grades: Bucs give contenders some competition for honor roll

New England Patriots

Best pick: I like second-round tight end Rob Gronkowski. He has first-round talent and I predict he starts as a rookie right away.

Questionable move: Taking linebacker Brandon Spikes with one of their other second-round picks. He is slow to the football.

Third-day gem: Tight end Aaron Hernandez caught a lot of footballs at Florida. He will take on their Dallas Clark role.

Analysis: They always seem to find good football players and always seem to have a ton of picks. They know how to work a draft. I like what they did, even if they did overdraft a few players. Twelve picks really helps.

Grade: B+

New Orleans Saints

Best pick: Second-round pick Charles Brown is a good player who will be even better in the NFL. He has great feet, which you need in this offense.

Questionable move: Taking Patrick Robinson in the first round. You can never have enough secondary players, but why not a defensive-front player?

Third-day gem: Center Matt Tennant has a chance to develop into a starter in two years. He was a good player at Boston College.

Analysis: They took some chances on players, which could pay off but they're risky. Robinson is a good cover player, but was he really needed?

Grade: C

New York Giants

Best pick: It was their first one. I love Jason Pierre-Paul. They need a pass rusher, and they got a good one.

Questionable move: Not taking a middle linebacker until Phillip Dillard in the fourth round. They need to replace Antonio Pierce.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Mitch Petrus is a strong, powerful player who excels in the run game. The Giants want to get tougher, and he will help.

Analysis: Their first three picks were all players I really liked. Pierre-Paul will be a beast. I also liked second-round pick Linval Joseph and third-round pick Chad Jones. Jerry Reese did a nice job.

Grade: A

New York Jets

Best pick: I love Kyle Wilson in the first round. He joins Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis at corner to give the Jets a heck of a tough group to throw against.

Questionable move: Taking Vladmir Ducasse in the second round. They will move him from tackle to guard, but he is raw.

Third-day gem: I like fourth-round running back Joe McKnight in the fourth round. He has big-time speed.

Analysis: Getting Wilson is a nice move, but the rest of the draft wasn't too exciting. I do like McKnight to take over the Leon Washington role.

Grade: B

Oakland Raiders

Best pick: I really like second-round pick Lamarr Houston. This former running back will be a dominant defensive tackle.

Questionable move: Taking raw tackle Jared Veldheer in the third round. He has ability, but he played at Hillsdale.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Walter McFadden was a quality corner who made a lot of plays in a good conference at Auburn.

Analysis: They got Rolando McClain in the first round and Houston in the second round. That's two quality players. They also traded for quarterback Jason Campbell, which I like. The Raiders did a nice job.

Grade: A

Philadelphia Eagles

Best pick: Trading up in the first round to get Brandon Graham. He will be a 13-sack player in two years. I love the kid.

Questionable move: Trading Donovan McNabb for a second-round pick. But that's nitpicking.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Ricky Sapp was a potential first-round selection until he tore up a knee two years ago. He moved to outside linebacker, but he is more of a down end.

Analysis: You look up and down their draft board and it's full of really good players. They had a lot of picks and the Eagles really did a nice job with them. That shouldn't be surprising.

Grade: A+

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best pick: I like fourth-round pick Thaddeus Gibson, a linebacker from Ohio State. He didn't always play to the level of his talent, so the Steelers have to hope they can get it out of them.

Questionable move: Third-round receiver Emanuel Sanders played in a wide-open offense at SMU, but there were better options when he was on the board.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Stevenson Sylvester was an active linebacker at Utah. He doesn't run well, but the Steelers can hide him inside in their defense.

Analysis: They addressed their offensive-line woes with Maurkice Pouncey in the first round. He will play guard. They also added some good players the rest of the way.

Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams

Best pick: Taking Sam Bradford first overall in the draft. They had to get a franchise passer, and they did.

Questionable move: Taking corner Jerome Murphy in the third round might have been a bit of a reach.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Mardy Gilyard is a perfect slot receiver for Bradford. He will be a 65-catch player.

Analysis: Landing Bradford was a great move. They then came back and got a protector for him in the second round in Rodger Saffold. I also liked the pick of Gilyard.

Grade: B

San Diego Chargers

Best pick: Third-round pick Donald Butler is a quality inside linebacker who could move one of the starters aside and take their job.

Questionable move: Trading so many picks to move up to draft running back Ryan Mathews in the first round. He better be LaDainian Tomlinson.

Third-day gem: Cam Thomas is a big nose tackle who the Chargers got in the fifth round. I think Thomas might push for time right away.

Analysis: I think to move up and trade so many picks to get Mathews was too pricey. They did make up for it later in the draft with some nice picks.

Grade: B-

San Francisco 49ers

Best pick: Guard Mike Iupati was a nice pick with the 17th choice in the first round. He is a tough guy who will help the run game.

Questionable move: Taking safety Taylor Mays in the second round. I think he lacks cover skills that will show up in the NFL.

Third-day gem: I like running back Anthony Dixon, who was taken in the sixth round. He was a productive runner at Mississippi State.

Analysis: They landed two good offensive linemen with their first two picks, with Anthony Davis going first. I like that, but they took Mays too high, which drops the grade down.

Grade: B

Seattle Seahawks

Best pick: I like the pick of Golden Tate in the second round. Seattle needs a receiver and Tate can provide the big play.

Questionable move: Taking safety Earl Thomas at No. 14 in the first round instead of a much-needed pass rusher. The value is better at defensive end.

Third-day gem: Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond, a fourth-round pick, was a good player in a tough conference. Pete Carroll knows him well. He will be a starter someday.

Analysis: It was hard not to have a good draft with two first-round picks. Landing Russell Okung in the first round was a must. They better hope Thomas ends up being an Ed Reed-type player. They also traded for Leon Washington and LenDale White.

Grade: B+

There's no need for fans to be ashamed about the Bucs' performance in this year's draft. (US Presswire)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best pick: I like the choice of receiver Arrelious Benn in the second round. He has loads of talent and will become Josh Freeman's go-to receiver.

Questionable move: Receiver Mike Williams quit the Syracuse football team, which dropped him down. But he is a big-time talent who might turn out to be a heck of a player.

Third-day gem: Dekoda Watson is an athletic linebacker who fits in perfectly with what Tampa Bay wants to do. Getting him in Round 7 is a steal.

Analysis: I absolutely love their draft. General manager Mark Dominik did a great job with a lot of picks. The Bucs have a great young group to build around.

Grade: A+

Tennessee Titans

Best pick: Third-round pick Rennie Curran is an undersized linebacker out of Georgia. But he always seems to be around the football.

Questionable move: I'm not as sold on first-round pick Derrick Morgan as others, but I know why they took him. He will be good, but I don't think he can be great.

Third-day gem: Cornerback Alterraun Verner, taken in the fourth round, was a productive player at UCLA, but he isn't a burner. They have an opening opposite Cortland Finnegan and he will be in that mix.

Analysis: The Titans had another solid draft. They went in with the idea of helping the defense, which they did. Morgan has a chance to start right away.

Grade: B

Washington Redskins

Best pick: They landed a franchise tackle in Trent Williams in the first round. He will protect the blind side for a long time.

Questionable move: Passing on taking a quarterback for the future at some point. Donovan McNabb can't play forever.

Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Perry Riley is a linebacker who could be in the mix inside in the new 3-4 scheme. Riley was an active player at LSU.

Analysis: I like the pick of Williams in the first round and getting McNabb for the second-round pick is stealing. If you factor in the McNabb trade, they had a nice draft.

Grade: B-

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