2011 NFL Draft: Draft Grades
In the past on http://www.900FootballLInks.NET I have done some very in-depth draft report cards. I went through the draft pick-by-pick to match my board with team needs and picks that were made. That process took almost two months. So when I write that this is my quick and dirty top level analysis, believe me that truly is what this is; a first impression that may change some as I delve deeper into the three-day edge of my seat event. My comments will be grouped as follows for each team:
What I liked best
Undrafted college street free agent to target (To get the maximum analysis on undrafted players, I will list a different player for each team; however, many of these players are fits for multiple teams).
What I liked best – Stayed true to their board selecting Peterson in round one; did not draft a quarterback so they become the top destination of choice for a free agent QB.
Missed opportunity– Ryan Williams is a nice player, but versatile offensive lineman Ben Ijalana and Orlando Franklin were available at this spot, good value at this spot, and filled a bigger need. Then in round five instead of drafting fullback Anthony Sherman (who may have been available in round six), Arizona could have drafted Jordan Todman, Dion Lewis or Anthony Allen.
Bold prediction – Rob Housler will be this year’s Jimmy Graham.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – OG Justin Boren (Ohio State); Faneca is getting older and Lutui will be a free agent soon (when depends on new agreement) and I had a fifth round grade on Boren who got a bad rap for bolting Michigan after Rich Rodriguez took over. He is a tough kid who plays with a nasty demeanor.
Overall Grade – B+
What I liked best – Added a top playmaker in Julio Jones who will help open up their offense.
Missed opportunity – Jacquizz Rodgers is awfully small and doesn’t possess the speed (4.64 forty) or quickness (4.26 short shuttle) of Darren Sproles; in my opinion Jordan Todman (4.40 forty, 4.18 short shuttle) would have been a better change-of-pace back to pair with Michael Turner.
Bold prediction – Jones and punter Matt Bosher be the only players from this draft class to have an impact in the upcoming season; although Dent will be very good on special teams.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – CB/FS Kendric Burney (North Carolina); This is the perfect example to use when someone argues that workout numbers are only a small part of the evaluation process. Burney was the best cornerback at the Senior Bowl both in terms of coverage and ball skills. However, short corners who run a 4.7 forty fall out of the draft even if they look like a top player on tape. I see Burney, who has good strength and will tackle, growing into at worst a great nickel safety, and at best a ball-hawking starting free safety who can also cover when needed. He fits in well with the Falcons; if they like game tape (as witnessed with their Rodgers selection), then they should love Burney.
Overall Grade – C
What I liked best – Getting Torrey Smith in round two, a player who may have been under consideration in round one if the Eagles drafted Jimmy Smith.
Missed opportunity – OLB Chris Cater drafted by the Steelers in round five would have been more tempting to me than Doss in round four. Doss has great hands and had value where drafted, but there were a number of good-hands receivers in this draft including Jeff Maelh (Oregon) who went undrafted. Carter could have given them a pass rush opposite Suggs and a potential replacement down the line.
Bold prediction – Anthony Allen, will grow into Ray Rice’s change-of-pace back and as good a job spelling him as Willis McGahee has done. Allen was a seventh round steal.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – DE/OLB Justin Trattou (Florida) – Trattou plays all out. He is an undersized defensive end who is a good pass rusher. His measureables put him just sort of a conversion to 3-4 outside linebacker, but I wouldn’t bet against this kid and he is worth a shot as an undrafted free agent.
Overall Grade – A-
Agree with the selection.
What I liked best – Searcy is a strong, tough kid with excellent quickness. He will allow the Bills to let Whitner walk in free agency and become an intimidator in the box.
Missed opportunity – Running backs Anthony Allen (pick 225) and Allen Bradford (pick 187) where available late and would have been as good if not better pieces of the Bills running game. I especially like Allen. I know they drafted Hairston, but Marcus Cannon, if healthy, has more upside and the Bills could have grabbed him in White’s spot and grabbed Allen in Chris White’s spot.
Bold prediction – Aaron Williams will just be okay at cornerback and in a couple of years the team will have a tough decision whether to use him or Byrd at free safety.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – ILB Nick Bellore (Central Michigan) – Bellore has good instincts, is a sure tackler and posses tremendous quickness (4.00 short shuttle, 6.98 three-cone). While I like Sheppard, I like Bellore more and if brought into camp could stick and in the long run beat him out for a starting job.
Overall Grade – C+
What I liked best – Pulling the trigger with conviction on Cam Newton. He will be a good NFL quarterback.
Missed opportunity – While the Panthers needed a corner, Hogan is raw. I would have gone TE Luke Stocker to give the young quarterback a reliable safety blanket. Stocker is also a good blocker.
Bold prediction – Fifth round pick Kealoha Pilares will become a solid contributor in his rookie year and long term could make last year’s trade up for Armanti Edwards look even worse.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – WR Ricardo Lockett (Fort Valley State) – With Newton’s big arm it would be great to get a tall receiver who can fly. Lockette is 6’2 1/8″ and ran a 4.35 forty. He also showed good hands at the Combine. He is raw, straight- linish and will need time on the development squad, but could pay dividends down-the-line as a 4th receiver with deep speed for Cam Newton.
Overall Grade – B-
What I liked best – Their first three picks will be long-term starters in the league.
Missed opportunity – With only five picks Chicago could have been a destination of choice for the top undrafted free agents. Now players will have more time to analyze rosters.
Bold prediction – Quarterback Nathan Enderle will prove to be a solid backup quarterback who could garner some interest down-the-road as a potential starter for a quarterback-needy team.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – WR Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State) – While Cutler has receivers who can get down the field and can run after the catch, he is missing that reliable receiver who catches everything and can move the chains. Sanzenbacher has sticky hands and has the quickness needed for a Mike Martz offense as evidenced by his 3.97 short shuttle and amazing 6.46 three-cone.
Overall Grade – B+
What I liked best – Added good football players.
Missed opportunity – While good football players are acceptable at most positions, it may not be enough at quarterback. I had a third round grade on Dalton. The Bengals will be one of the teams kicking themselves for not drafting Ryan Mallett. Unfortunately (for me, fortunately for the Bengals), with Mallett on the Patriots it will be awhile before this mistake is realized.
Bold prediction – There is a lot of failure with quarterbacks drafted early. Dalton may be an average starter, but that will be his ceiling. At least he was drafted in round two so the Bengals won’t have to commit so much money to Dalton that changing directions if a better option becomes available isn’t a financial impossibility. If that were to happen, Dalton would be one of the better back-ups in the league.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – CB Devon Torrence (Ohio State) – I have a higher grade on Torrence than their seventh round pick Kevin Lindsay. Torrence lacks great speed (4.53 in the forty), but so does Lindsay (4.56 in the forty). However, Torrence has the quickness of some of the top corners while Lindsay does not.
Overall Grade – C+
What I liked best – Getting a first round pick and a fourth round pick in next year’s draft.
Missed opportunity – Moving to a 4-3 defense, the Browns selected a defensive tackle best served as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. While he has off-the-field concerns, Marvin Austin was one of the best 4-3 defensive tackles in the draft.
Bold prediction – Cameron Jordan will develop into a playmaking tight end, causing opposing defenses matchup problems.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – DE Demarcus Dobbs (Georgia) – Moving to a 4-3 defense, the Browns need bodies for their defensive line. Dobbs is not a pass rusher, but he could be an early down player. He is a hard worker and a heady player who could stick and make a contribution on the field in the base defense as a rotational player.
Overall Grade – C+
What I liked best – Getting Romo some much needed pass protection by selecting Tyron Smith in round one.
Missed opportunity – While Dwyane Harris was good value, there were a couple of receivers I liked better than him here. Jeff Maehl and Dane Sanzenbacher are quick receivers with sticky hands. Both went undrafted.
Bold prediction – CB Josh Thomas will work himself into a key role in the Cowboys’ secondary this year, will acquit himself well, and will grow into a long-term reliable starter.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – FS Deunta Williams (North Carolina) – Coming off a broken leg, Williams went undrafted. When healthy he was a solid mid-round prospect with good field awareness and ball skills for a free safety. He is worth signing for the Cowboys where he could start if he returns to 100% health.
Overall Grade – A
What I liked best – Drafting Rahim Moore in round two. I mocked him here because he was a great fit and filled a need. The Broncos obviously agreed.
Missed opportunity – Von Miller is a great talent and had value as a second pick in the draft for a team playing a 3-4 defense. However, drafting a SAM linebacker in a 4-3 defense over an equally talented disruptive defensive tackle (Marcell Darius) is not the way I would have gone.
Bold prediction – Seventh round pickTE Virgil Green will ascend higher than fourth round pick TE Julius Thomas. In time, Green will be considered one of the steals of the draft.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – RB Derrick Locke (Kentucky) – The Broncos can use a change-of-pace speed back. Locke has 4.4 speed and catches the ball very well.
Overall Grade – B+
What I liked best – Drafting Fairley to pair with Suh.
Missed opportunity – I had numerous receivers rated more highly than Titus Young including Leonard Hankerson and Torrey Smith on the outside and Jerrel Jernigan as a slot receiver. Time will tell.
Bold prediction – Mikel Leshoure will become the Lions’ primary ball carrier by midseason with Jahvid Best settling in where he belongs as the change-of-pace back and this will be another step in helping the Lions overtake the Bears to finish second in the NFC North next year.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – LB Mark Herzlich (Boston College) – A top player before successfully battling cancer. He hasn’t returned to full form but he is a hard worker, a respected leader and quality kid who, at his present level of play, is quality reserve and special team player who will be great for the locker room. However, if he gets back to even close to where he was, the Lions have an opening for him as a starter and will add another excellent chip to an improving defense.
Overall Grade – B+
Green Bay Packers
What I liked best – Drafting the underrated Derek Sherrod to help protect Rodgers.
Missed opportunity – While Cobb is a multi-talented threat, when Driver loses a step and the Packers need a starter play across from Jennings, they may regret not taking a just as talented, more traditional receiver such as Leonard Hankerson, Torrey Smith or even Edmund Gates (later in the draft).
Bold prediction – Alex Green will not supplant either Ryan Grant or James Stark as the Packers primary running back, this year, or in the future.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – OT Jarriel King (South Carolina) – When you have one of the best quarterbacks in football it isn’t a bad idea to bring in a big offensive tackle. King does need developing and does need to get stronger, but has the good feet and athleticism. He could be an ideal player for the Packers’ development squad.
Overall Grade – B
What I liked best – All draft picks, except two, were for defense, and they added some very good players. Watt was my top rated defensive end in the draft.
Missed opportunity – With potential of four new defensive starters in this draft, the Texans may be the team that will miss the start of offseason activities more than any other team, even the teams that drafted quarterbacks (since a delayed start for rookie quarterbacks could lead to them not being thrown into action too early).
Bold prediction – If there is sufficient camp time, fifth round pick Shilo Keo will win their starting strong safety job and become a more controlled enforcer on the field than Bernard Pollard was.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – WR Tori Gurley (South Carolina) – The Texans could use depth at wide receiver. Gurley is a tall kid (6’4 1/8″) with good hands who could take advantage of smaller corners to convert third downs. He would certainly be worth a look in camp.
Overall Grade – A
What I liked best – The Colts were another team with a great quarterback who helped him out by drafting offensive line talent. I like both Costanzo and Ijalana.
Missed opportunity – With Sanders cut and Bullitt a potential free agent and a potential injury waiting to happen with his hard hitting approach, a strong safety in round six would have made more sense than a corner. I love the potential of Joe Lefeged.
Bold prediction – Running backDelone Carter will play a lot more than many people may think.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – SS Joe Lefeged (Rutgers) – I have a second round grade on this kid. He hits, is a good tackler, and is far more athletic than advertised. Lefeged had a 4.42 forty, 4.13 short shuttle, a 6.82 three-cone, a 36.5″ vertical, a 10’2″ broad jump and lifted the bar 18 times. And he is a good football player. The Colts and I have a history at safety. On my list of players who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than them in the past were Bob Sanders, Melvin Bullitt, Brannon Condren, and Jamie Silva, all of whom ended up with the Colts. Sanders and Bullitt were hits; Silva was looking okay before getting injured; and Condren let me down. Let’s see if we connect again with Lefeged.
Overall Grade – A-
What I liked best – If a team believes in quarterback, I like the commitment to go up and get him.
Missed opportunity – Jacksonville took a step back in the short run in this draft. With a quarterback who will sit in round one and trading away their second round pick the Jaguars lost out on a pass rusher (Quinn) or a cornerback (Amukamara) in round one, and middle linebacker (Wilson), cornerback (Harris), or pass rusher (Bowers) in round two. Time will tell which the better way to go was.
Bold prediction –The Jaguars will get no significant contributions from their 2011 draft next year.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – WR Jeff Maehl (Oregon) – This kid has great hands and tremendous quickness. If brought to camp he could wind up challenging Dillard to be the Jaguars number three receiver. I like him more than Cecil Shorts who they drafted in round four.
Overall Grade – C-
Kansas City Chiefs
What I liked best – Got good value throughout the draft and loved Baldwin, who is a great fit to play opposite Bowe. He has size and speed.
Missed opportunity – I’m not overly familiar with Gabe Miller, but outside of that there isn’t much I could point to without it being considered nitpicking.
Bold prediction –The Chiefs are slowly becoming a top organization and will replace the Chargers as the team consistently at the top of the AFC West. Oh, and look for Ricky Stanzi to either replace Cassel down the line or bring the Chiefs good value in a trade and for Houston to be one of the steals of the draft.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – SS Deandre McDaniel (Oregon) – As one of the better players not drafted, the Chiefs should continue hording good players by bringing him in as a backup safety and special teams player.
Overall Grade – A
What I liked best – Gates brings a very badly needed playmaker to Miami’s offense. He has great speed, good hands, but is raw. Long term he is an excellent starter opposite Marshall. That assumes one can use long term and Marshall in the same sentence.
Missed opportunity – The Dolphins made a great move to get back into round two. I was sure it was to draft QB Ryan Mallett. But I was wrong and in time, it will be proven that the Dolphins were also wrong not using that pick on Mallett.
Bold prediction –This draft assures that Sparano won’t make it past this year.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – RB Mario Fannin (Auburn) – Fannin has game-breaking speed (4.37 forty), something missing from the Dolphins’ running backs including number two pick Thomas. He would be a good change-of-pace back for the Dolphins.
Overall Grade – C-
What I liked best – The best value pick for the Vikings was Brandon Fusco in round six.
Missed opportunity – Too many to list. First, Ponder at 12, and Ponder over Mallett are mistakes. Second, Rudolph was a luxury for a team with many needs. Instead, why not draft Paea or Austin in round two for a team with a crumbling and aging “Williams Wall.”
Bold prediction –Ponder will be a solid starter, but he will never live up to his lofty draft slot and will have to leave Minnesota down the line to be fully appreciated for what he is, a good, but not top tier and not great quarterback.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – S Jarrad Tarrant (Georgia Tech) – If it weren’t for some off the field concerns Tarrant could have gone in the middle of the draft. He is a versatile safety who could push for a meaningful job in camp.
Overall Grade – C-
New England Patriots
What I liked best – The Patriots continued to play the draft to add quality players now and to make add value to future drafts. They did so this year by adding a blocker and cornerback who have Pro Bowl potential while quality picks for next year’s draft and a future highly sought after commodity (Ryan Mallett) who can be used by New England or turned into more future draft pick gold.
Missed opportunity – There were a number of good OLB pass rushing prospects in this draft and the Patriots, who could use one, didn’t get one. I would have drafted Dontay Moch (Nevada) in round two (instead of Vereen) and gambled that Vereen would last to their first third round pick, where they grabbed Ridley. I then would have grabbed Anthony Allen, who I had a higher grade on than Ridley, in round six.
Bold prediction –Mallett will replace Brady as New England’s starting quarterback sooner than many believe. I give Brady three more years and then the cold-hearted Patriots will move to the quarterback who was the best quarterback in this draft.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – WR Terrence Toliver (LSU) – With size (6’3 1/2″) and good speed, Toliver is a good developmental prospect. I could see the Patriots bringing him to camp and stashing him on their development squad while determining if they can improve his consistency catching passes.
Overall Grade -B+
New Orleans Saints
What I liked best – There was a lot to like but grabbing Martez Wilson in round three was one of the best values in the draft. He will start off outside, but is their middle linebacker of the future. At 6’3 3/4″ , 250 pounds, the kid can fly and is an explosive athlete.
Missed opportunity – The Saints had Johnny Patrick rated more highly than me. I believe Curtis Brown will be a very good starting cornerback and he went 7 picks later to the Steelers.
Bold prediction –Greg Romeus will get healthy and contribute more long term than the average fifth round draft pick.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – DT Ian Williams (Notre Dame) – Williams is recovering from an MCL, but is a very good against the run. He is a very strong 319 pounds. He could be a rotation player this year if healthy.
Overall Grade -A-
New York Giants
What I liked best – Everything! But Greg Jones in round six could prove to be the unexpected surprise of their draft.
Missed opportunity – I’m nitpicking here, but I would have drafted a player with more potential for use on defense than Jacquian Williams who may never be anything more than a special teams player. However, the linebacker I like here went undrafted and is the undrafted free agent detailed below.
Bold prediction –Jerrel Jerenigan is going to produce big plays for this team both on offense and in the return game. He will be one of the better performing rookies in the league.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – LB Scott Lutrus (Connecticut) – Lutrus had some injury concerns which resulted in him going undrafted. However, he has the skill set of a SAM in a 4-3 defense. He is a very good athlete with the quickness to stay with tight ends. With the Giants need at linebacker, he would be a good player from them to bring into camp.
Overall Grade -A+
New York Jets
What I liked best – Wilkerson falling to them in round one was the perfect meeting of need and value.
Missed opportunity – The Jets could have used a 3-4 OLB, however the only spot they could have grabbed one who would represent a potential upgrade was in round one. Outside of that, strong safety Joe Lefeged may have been a better pick in round seven than wide receiver Scotty McKnight. Based on their roster, I believe Lefeged could start. The good news is that Lefeged is available as an undrafted free agent (used earlier so he won’t be the player listed here).
Bold prediction –The Jets will let Brad Smith go in free agency and turn his role over to Jeremy Kerley who is an excellent return man.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – LB Ore Lemon (Oklahoma State) – Lemon is the type of smart, strong, instinctive hard-nosed player that head coach Ryan will love. He lacks speed, but has enough to be a backup inside in a 3-4 defense. He will also be a core special teams player.
Overall Grade -B+ (assumes Ellis avoids legal problems)
What I liked best –Chimdi Chekwa is an underrated prospect and could carve out a role in the Raiders secondary if Asomugha leaves in free agency as expected.
Missed opportunity – The Raiders drafted more on potential than on production and that could be a risky strategy.
Bold prediction – Running back Taiwan Jones will end up seeing more time than Michael Bush.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – WR Joe Morgan (Walsh) – With good size (6’1 1/2″) and speed (4.39 forty), this is the type of small school prospect who Al Davis will invite to camp.
Overall Grade -C
What I liked best –Drafting Danny Watkins in round one, earlier than where many had him graded. Not me, however, he will be plug and play (at a high level) from day one.
Missed opportunity – Cornerback Brandon Harris was available for them in round two and I would have drafted him over Jarrett. Corners are harder to get than strong safeties. In addition, Kurt Coleman did an acceptable job if one could not be secured later in the draft.
Bold prediction – Brain Rolle, their sixth round pick will eventually become their starting WILL and will hold that job down for years. He is short, but a great player.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – TE Greg Smith (Texas) – Smith is an underrated tight end prospect. He is a good receiver who can make plays down the field. If the Eagles decide to go with a third tight end behind Celek and Harbor, Smith could be that guy. Worst case he could land on their development squad to be used in case of injury.
Overall Grade -B
What I liked best –Solid value and solid players up and down their draft board. I loved the Chris Carter selection in round five.
Missed opportunity – I know I’m a broken record, but with Polamalu’s injury history, having a more athletic and dynamic backup would have been interesting and Joe Lefeged could be that guy. He has the combination of speed and hitting (but not ball skills) that could at least help partially make up for a Polamalu injury. The good news is that Polamalu is available as an undrafted free agent.
Bold prediction – Cornerback Curtis Brown will become a top tier starter.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – TE Charlie Gantt (Michigan State) – Gantt is an ideal third tight end. To be a tight end for the Steelers you have to be able to block. Gantt is a solid blocker, and can improve in that area, and has good hands. He could be either their third tight end or a player who they can keep on their development squad in case of injury.
Overall Grade -B+
St Louis Rams
What I liked best –The Rams stole Robert Quinn in round one. Another sacker for Spagnuolo.
Missed opportunity – The Rams knew their mistake mid-draft and corrected it. Pettis was a bit of reach, especially when similar, but better players were on the board. Salas was one of those players and they drafted him the following round. Also, Rob Housler will prove to be a better NFL player than Kendricks.
Bold prediction – The Rams have large numbers at receiver and it is anyone’s guess who will carve out meaningful roles. I say Salas is one of the players who gets significant playing time and makes significant contributions.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – RB Darren Evans (Virginia Tech) – The Rams have been looking for an upgrade at backup running back for awhile. Evans is a big, strong runner who just may be able to beat out the competition on the Rams’ roster.
Overall Grade -B-
San Diego Chargers
What I liked best –That they drafted the talented wide receiver Vincent Brown who will be a very good player despite his relatively poor forty time.
Missed opportunity – Why draft conversion projection (Liguet to 3-4 DE), when there is a very talent 3-4 DE (Cameron Jordan) available. Jordan has more quickness than Liguet.
Bold prediction – Gilchrist will become San Diego’s starting strong safety. He is a bit undersized (5’10”, 195 pounds) for that role but is very strong (26 reps), very fast (4.46 in the forty) and very athletic 38.5″ vertical, 10’6″ broad jump).
Undrafted college street free agent to target – QB Jeff Van Camp (Florida Atlantic) – Van Camp can come in as a camp arm and has enough raw materials (size, good arm) to be worth working with on the development squad. In time, he could be a solid backup quarterback.
Overall Grade -B+
San Francisco 49ers
What I liked best – The 49ers will have much better luck with this first round Smith than they did the last time they grabbed a Smith in round one. Aldon Smith has the look of a future Pro Bowl player.
Missed opportunity – Kilgore is a worthwhile project, but I liked Steve Schilling at that spot better. Schilling is very strong with quick feet.
Bold prediction –Their trade up in round two to secure Kaepernick is going to pay big dividends. Long term, he will be the second best quarterback to come out of this draft.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – DT/DE Martin Parker (Richmond) – Parker has the body and the quickness to convert from defensive tackle to a 3-4 defensive end. He will need work, but it would be worthwhile keeping him the development squad.
Overall Grade -A-
What I liked best – They fortified their offensive line.
Missed opportunity – Based on their picks, the Seahawks draft board was further from mine than any other team in the league. Their biggest missed opportunity was not drafting quarterback Ryan Mallett in round one.
Bold prediction –In five years there will be little to show from this draft left on the Seahawks roster.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – OG Zach Hurd (Connecticut) – Hurd was a tackle in college whose best position in the NFL will be guard. He could be a versatile backup.
Overall Grade -C-
Tampa Bay Bucs
What I liked best – Rolling the dice on Da’Quan Bowers health in the second round. If healthy he has top ten talent.
Missed opportunity – The Bucs are another team who I feel missed the boat on strong safety Joe Lefeged. He is an undrafted free agent so they can still sign him. Also I like running back Anthony Allen more than Allen Bradford and he was available when the Bucs took Bradford.
Bold prediction –Although they got some good players and improved, this draft won’t result in the Bucs finishing higher than Atlanta or New Orleans.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – RB Graig Cooper (Miami) – In case Cadillac Williams looks to leave in free agency, Cooper is a back who is quick and be a good third down back. If Caddy comes back, Cooper can spend a year on the development squad.
Overall Grade -B-
What I liked best – I like when teams show strong convictions when they draft quarterbacks in the first round. Taking Locker at #8 shows strong belief in that player.
Missed opportunity – I’m not as convinced about Locker as the Titans are. Remember, there is a high failure rate with round one quarterbacks; so some of the top six won’t make it. I would of drafted Fairley in round one and, drum roll please, Ryan Mallett in round two.
Bold prediction –The Titans will allow highly productive middle linebacker to walk in free agency and turn the position over to Colin McCarthy. McCarthy will be fine, but not the player tackling machine Tulloch turned out to be. The Titans will miss Tulloch.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – SS Jeron Johnson (Boise State) – Last year’s Johnson (fifth round pick Robert) wasn’t able to get off the development squad. Jeron Johnson has the strength Robert Johnson lacks and could give him a run for his money as a backup safety.
Overall Grade -C+
What I liked best – The Redskins maneuvered to get lots of picks. While I don’t like all their picks they got enough quality and interesting players to make their draft a success even without selecting a quarterback.
Missed opportunity – The only thing Washington could have done different was stay at 10 and draft a quarterback. In my opinion the only one worth that spot that fit Shanahan’s system was Colin Kaepernick and that would have been a bold move since he is a year or two away from starting.
Bold prediction –Roy Helu will be the next later round Shanahan running back star. He is very fast, very quick and will thrive in Washington’s system.
Undrafted college street free agent to target – QB Josh Portis (Cal U-Penn) – Portis possesses the athletic ability to thrive in a Shanahan offense. During the Combine, while I was scouting the other quarterbacks, Portis caught my eye big-time. He threw the ball very, very well. He is an ideal candidate for Shanahan to mold, and with Washington not drafting a quarterback, it is a good spot for Portis. This should happen and, if it does, is worth monitoring.
Overall Grade -B+
Jay Goldberg is lead draft analyst for http://www.900footballlinks.net.