2011 NFL Draft Report Cards: 2011 NFL Draft Grades
Here at Bang the Book, we’re analyzing all of the best and worst teams from the 2011 NFL Draft, and we’re starting by issuing our top grades and bottom grades for our NFL Draft Report Cards!
It’s fairly clear that the teams that are sitting at the top of the charts this draft are the two teams from Ohio, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals really did the very predictable thing in the first round of the draft, taking AJ Green out of Georgia, but after that, they really hedged their bets on the whole Carson Palmer situation by drafting Andy Dalton, who will either become the new leader of the team, or the quarterback in waiting depending on how things pan out. Cleveland moved down quite a bit in the draft and stockpiled a ton of picks both down the line in this draft, and in the 2012 draft. When push came to shove, a haul that included Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Greg Little, and Jordan Cameron reall could prove to be a rock solid draft in spite of the fact that the team moved down a slew of spots in a deal with the Falcons.
Don’t forget about the amazing draft that the Detroit Lions had. This is really the third straight great draft that this team has had. The offense now includes youngsters like Brandon Pettigrew, Matt Stafford, Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson, and now Titus Young and Mikel LeShoure. However, it is the defense that has really had the best work. Sure, the secondary still needs some work, but we’re trying to figure out how anyone is running the ball against the inside combination of Ndamukong Suh and this year’s first round pick, Nick Fairley. The Lions are clearly going to be roaring in the near future in the NFC North.
The team that might have gotten the most value out of this draft though, was the New York Giants. The G-Men might have gotten the second best defensive player on the board in the form of Prince Amukamara all the way down at No. 19, and there were two more players with first round talent that were snared by Head Coach Tom Coughlin and company later down the line in Marvin Austin and Jerrel Jernigan. Don’t rest on the play of Greg Jones either, as the sixth rounder could have an immediate impact on the Giants’ linebacking corps.
There are a bunch of teams that had drafts that really could have worked out in a number of ways, depending on how the future really pans out. There is a big question as to whether the Atlanta Falcons are going to end up being happy with their draft or not. The only man that is coming to town from this draft of any note is Julio Jones, and if he ends up bombing, the Falcons will essentially be set two NFL Drafts behind the rest of the bunch due to the fact that they traded their first round draft choice next year as well to move up to snare the former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
There’s no doubt that the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills made prudent choices with their first round selections with Patrick Peterson and Marcell Dareus respectively, but there is a big question whether either team really addressed the biggest issue that they have: Neither has a quarterback. There were plenty of chances to take QBs, particularly Ryan Mallett, who was passed over three times by both teams.
Speaking of incomplete assessments, what about the team that ended up grabbing Mallett in Round 3, the New England Patriots. Sure, the Pats have an extra first and an extra second round pick for next year, but when push comes to shove, they really didn’t address their needs at defensive end and linebacker in this draft. We tend to trust Head Coach Bill Belichick with his decisions like this, but this time, we’re just not all that sure that these were the right moves.
NFL Draft Dropouts
We’re looking right at you, Minnesota Vikings. Christian Ponder has the ability to be a great quarterback eventually, but you don’t spend the No. 12 pick in the draft on a guy that you might have been able to get in Round 3, and you certainly would have been able to get a dozen picks later. Aside from Ponder and Kyle Rudolph, name us a player in this draft that is going to make a difference on this team at any point in the near future. Don’t think too hard.
What would a list of dumb NFL Draft teams be without including the Oakland Raiders. Oakland didn’t have a first round pick to screw up this year, but it did already trade next year’s second round pick to the Pats. Stefan Wisniewski is nothing to write home about at No. 48 overall, and we know that these draft picks that were spent on Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa were wasted.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks both made very, very questionable first round draft choices in Danny Watkins and James Carpenter respectively, and both probably could have had these players later on down the line in the draft. However, it wasn’t even the iffy first rounders, but the whole body of work that doesn’t excite us that lands these two birds on this list.
Finally, we have to mention the Tennessee Titans for making arguably the most questionable move of the draft by picking Jake Locker in front of Blaine Gabbert at No. 8 overall. The only thing that salvaged this from being the worst draft of the year was the stupidity of the Vikings and the fact that Akeem Ayers and Jurrell Casey were great picks on Day 2 of the draft.
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