Doug’s Draft Grades: NFC

Take a look at how Doug thinks the NFC did in the 2011 NFL Draft. Agree or Disagree?

Dallas Cowboys: C+

The Cowboys played it safe in round one taking the offensive lineman with the greatest upside with the 9th overall pick. They took a risk in round two with Bruce Carter when they possibly should have taken the safer route by taking the next best CB available. DeMarco Murray is a head scratcher, if he can stay healthy he’ll be an effective back in the NFL, but with an already crowded and talented backfield, where does he fit in? I liked the late picks of Josh Thomas and Dwayne Harris. The Cowboys obviously felt the same way the Patriots did about this year’s 3-4 DE prospects.

New York Giants: B

I was shocked that the Giants didn’t grab an offensive lineman in the first three rounds, but they did a great job of making value picks. I didn’t love Amukamara as a top ten pick, but I really like him as the 19th overall pick. I was a huge fan of Marvin Austin throughout the draft process. He may have been inconsistent in his time at North Carolina before being suspended, but no one showed up more impressive at the combine. Da’Rel Scott could be a steal in the 7th round if he can develop skills beyond his speed.

Philadelphia Eagles: B-

I didn’t love the Danny Watkins pick. The Eagles typically won’t typically hold onto a lineman more than 5 or 6 years anyway, but I’m not sure how long Watkins will be able to stay in the league. He doesn’t have the same longevity you’d like out of a first round pick. Jaiquawn Jarrett should be able to step in right away and start at strong safety and I’m sure the Eagles hope Curtis Marsh will be doing the same at cornerback. I hate teams using anything more than a late round flyer on a kicker, so I wasn’t a fan of the Henery pick, but I liked taking Jason Kelce, Brian Rolle and Greg Lloyd with consecutive picks.

Washington Redskins: B

The Redskins did a very good job of improving their team, but I have to take some points off for not selecting a QB. Kerrigan will help out Orakpo with the pass rush and Jarvis Jenkins is a great run stopper. Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Niles Paul, Evan Royster and Aldrick Robinson will be able to come in and help out Rex Grossman or whoever is starting at QB in 2011.

Chicago Bears: B

The Bears must have been thrilled to find Gabe Carimi available at 29. That filled their biggest need along the line. Paea will be a disrupting force against the run and Chris Conte was one of my favorite safeties in the draft.

Detroit Lions: B+

I loved the Nick Fairley pick, great value and the presence of the Lions defensive line should help out their secondary. The fact that they took Mikel Leshoure over a CB or S didn’t make any sense to me though. I never loved Leshoure as a prospect in the first place. Titus Young should be a great no. 2 receiver for Matthew Stafford, but I would have liked to have seen the Lions take an offensive lineman earlier than 209th.

Green Bay Packers: A-

The Packers got steals in rounds 1 and 2 and filled big needs in the process. Sherrod will be able to take over for Chad Clifton and WR was a need with Driver aging and James Jones being inconsistent. Alex Green is a nice sleeper pick who should see time in a backfield with James Starks and Ryan Grant. I loved the selection of D.J. Williams. The Packers now have two very solid pass catching tight ends.

Minnesota Vikings: B

Can I have a minute to gloat? Who mocked the Vikings taking Ponder no. 12 overall way back in February? As Jon Gruden would say, “THIS GUY.” That being said, I liked the pick. Ponder was the most NFL ready QB in the draft and that’s exactly what the Vikings needed. After possibly reaching for Ponder, the Vikings got great value out of almost every other pick. Rudolph should pair up nicely with Vicanthe Shiancoe, Ballard was a great value in the 4th round, Brandon Burton should be a solid nickel back and Ross Homan could help out right away in a rotation at outside linebacker.

Atlanta Falcons: B-

I love Julio Jones, but I don’t think a WR is worth giving up the house for, especially in a draft that’s relatively deep with WRs. The Falcons got got values with their later round picks, especially Rodgers and Cliff Matthews.

Carolina Panthers: C+

I have more faith in Newton that most seem to. I think with his athleticism and arm strength he could be a very solid NFL starter. He’ll need to work on his accuracy. I think Terrell McClain was a nice pickup in the third round, he’ll help shore up the defensive line. Brandon Hogan adds some depth to the Carolina defensive back core. Sione Fua was a bit of a reach, but I liked the Panthers 7th round selection in Lee Ziemba.

New Orleans Saints: B-

The draft looks nice on paper with two first round draft choices, but they gave up a lot for Ingram. RB was a need, but they still have Chris Ivory and Reggie Bush. Cameron Jordan was a nice value at 24 and Martez Wilson was a very nice value at 72. I didn’t think Ingram was worth a first round pick this year, let alone a first and second round pick.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B-

The Bucs took a huge risk here taking Clayborn and Bowers first and second. Yes, it will be an A+ draft if both hold up, but what if neither do? This is a team that needs players now and they’re a team with needs at positions other than defensive line. If Bowers’ knee really is bone on bone, they’ll only wind up getting about five years out of him. That’s worth a second round pick, but it’s questionable when Clayborn was the first pick. I really liked the Foster pick, Stocker and Black were great values and Allen Bradford was one of my favorite sleeper RBs in this draft. The Bucs needed RB depth with Cadillac always being an injury concern and Blount still having character concerns.

Arizona Cardinals: B

I loved the Peterson pick. Lining him up across from Rodgers-Cromartie will further help stop the putrid passing games of the NFC West. I actually liked the Ryan Williams pick. When your starting running backs are Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, you’re not in good shape. I thought Housler was a reach, but Sam Acho, Anthony Sherman and Quan Sturdivant were all nice grabs.

San Francisco 49ers: B

I saw Aldon Smith as a bit of a reach. I preferred Robert Quinn. I really liked the Kaepernick pick. I don’t see how he’s a lower rated prospect than Andy Dalton. All draft season I’ve been saying whoever Harbaugh takes has the best chance to be a top tier QB. Kaepernick has all the skills to be that guy. I loved the value of getting Kendall Hunter in the 4th round. He’ll add to an already stout 49ers running game.

Seattle Seahawks: C+

I actually didn’t mind the James Carpenter pick. If that’s who the Seahawks valued highest at tackle available, I trust them. I liked taking Mark Legree at 156, but there wasn’t a ton of value in this draft. K.J. Wright might wind up being the best pick here.

St. Louis Rams: B-

I loved taking Quinn first, the Rams were very lucky to find him available there. I liked both Pettis and Salas coming into the draft, but they don’t seem significantly better than anyone they already had and they’re both very similar players. I’d expect the Rams to look for a running back among the undrafted rookie free agents.

Check out Doug’s AFC Draft Grades as well.

Tags: 2011 NFL Draft

23 Responses to “Doug’s Draft Grades: NFC”

  1. Jared says:

    hopefully with the drafting of Dowling, he will be the starting strong safety over James Sanders.

  2. Jared says:

    And for the record, Chung…drafted as a border-line 1st rounder, not a starting safety yet?? I’d say hes a role player, anyone who doesnt have a starting position, plays a “role”, therefore, hes a
    “roll” player.

    • Doug Kyed says:

      Chung started 13 of the 14 games he played last season. He’s a starter.

      • Jared says:

        ya, he started…at what? slot position??…and got burned..hes not a starting safety, he should be, but he hasn’t been yet.

        • Doug Kyed says:

          no, he was the starting strong safety 13 games out of 14 and he was really good at it. he started opposite meriweather (and sanders some games). he had the 5th most snaps on defense and he would have had more if he hadn’t missed most of three games. he’s probably our fourth or fifth best defensive player going into next year. he’s WAY more than a role player.

          when he was forced out of position he struggled covering the slot, but that was only in some situations and he was still best among the players who did it last year.

  3. Steve says:

    I would like to write something about our team’s strategy of moving back and trading for future picks, because it’s becoming cliché and borrowed, far too often and I’m a bit sick of it on all the mock sites…from all these unoriginal “mockers”.

    BB has learned that it’s best to take your 1 first-rounder and make it count…don’t miss…take a position or player that has a very high probability of helping out: LT, DT, CB, or a guy like Mayo or Mankins.

    More so, he’s learned to live in the 2nd round, especially under the current (soon to be old) rookie salary cap. So, he’ll trade back from one of the 1st rounders and gain more picks in the 2nd, 3rd or whatever. He’ll trade later round picks (the Oakland trade) to get into the 2nd round.

    Think about it, you have guys who probably thought they were going in the first; they are young and full of dreams, many probably sold on this by some slick agent, optimistic friends and family and blinded by their own youth and confidence. Well, they end up in the 2nd….out of the money! The team owns them for a solid 4 years (the average career) and they have to run through walls for a shot at the real money…they have to push, and be pushed; they have zero leverage and have to buy-in. Not to mention they are very good players more often than not…we’re talking top 64 players in the nation!

    So, its smart business…it makes for a better team, and a healthy salary cap, which allows for key free agents to be signed and the guys who do succeed.

    I’m just tired of the banality of so many of the mock drafts and expert critiques.

    • Jared says:

      Steve, I can say I agree with you for the most part.
      I also think that trading into the 2nd round, is good for business, for the most part….
      You get a lot of good players in the 2nd round, but you can get a lot of great players in the 1st round. 31 teams in the NFL aren’t crazy, and Bill is the only sane one, there is a reason that EVERY team trades up, and covets 1st round picks. There just tends to be more Darrelle Revis’ when you trade up in the first round, and more Darius Butlers’ 20 picks later in the 2nd round. Belichick took Seymour-Wilfork-&Warren in the 1st round…..Ron Brace in the 2nd.
      To me, there is a right way to do it. And it doesn’t intale ALWAYS trading UP, or ALWAYS trading DOWN. Its somewhere in the middle. Bill is as good as it gets at moving down the draft board, but it is fair criticism to say that Bill should look more in the first round for impact players.
      Bill has collected a billion 2nd round picks the last 4 or 5 years…..how many great players does he have to show for it?? I count 1, maybe 2- Rob Gronkowski and Vollmer, the last 2 drafts. The rest of the successful picks are role players like Spikes and Chung. But more than half of them are guys like….
      Marquise Hill
      Bethel Johnson
      Chad Jackson
      Terrence Wheatley
      Ron Brace
      Darius Butler
      These aren’t guys you want to be your top young talent coming in every season. Everybody says how much Bill loves the 2nd round like its always been like that. Patrick Chung, 2 drafts ago, was the first 2nd rounder chosen by Belichick….that was ANY good, since Branch in 2002! Thats seven years, a long time.
      Bill hasnt missed on an O-lineman, D-lineman, corner, OR linebacker in the 1st round, ever. That is my argument in itself, if you trust in your talent-evaluators, then picking in the first round, out of the top ten, is the best place for your franchise to pick. That is where the most talented, cant-miss players are. The first round kids are almost guaranteed to be players, 2nd rounders, are 50/50.

      • Jeff says:

        Actually of the Pats players on the roster right now there is far more there from the 2nd round than what you’ve listed. Of course the players are more likely to be impact guys but to list Chung as a “role player” is a diservice to him because he’s a playmaker, who played extensive time 1 year so far and showed excellent development until his injury last year.
        Chung
        Vollmer
        Spikes
        Cunningham
        Brace
        Light
        Gronkowski
        And others are not worse than the 1st round players like Graham, Watson and Maroney. And Chung is on the same level as Merriweather right now who was also a 1st rounder.
        2nd rounders are cheaper and less risk. Yeah we’ve had some crappy ones but we also have had crappy 1st rounders too, just like everyone.
        If getting a team riddled with 2nd round contributors and a few 1st rounders at key positions wins SB’s…I’m all for it.

        • Jared says:

          i missed who….Matt Light…..11 years ago?? Besides the last two drafts, Bills 2nd round picks suck, thats not even debatable…go do some homework Jeff.

        • Jared says:

          also, the ONLY time Belichick has missed in the first round, they were ALL offensive skill positions. And I don’t think you can say Daniel Graham was that big of a miss, he left for Denver for big-money. Bill doesn’t miss in the first round, in the 2nd round, he misses more than half the time.

  4. Steve says:

    Here’s one example on looking at one team’s draft:

    Most experts (I haven’t read this one, so I’m not refering to it) say the Saints really did a great job. Well, they got a “star” 3-4 left end in Cam Jorday, right? Maybe he’ll be great, maybe he’ll be good, but I don’t see many 285 lb left ends at 3-4, so I’m thinking he may be a reach…or a situational player, and you don’t take situational players in the first round. Maybe he’ll be a flexible everydown guy and do well? I do know we don’t employ smaller DT’s…we go large.
    Also, and more so, drafting a running back, Ingram, was a great move in the first round; especially in this draft where there were too many to count coming up in the following rounds. Not only did they take him in the first round, but they traded their #1 pick next year to do so. THAT’S A GREAT MOVE? It defies all known logic to what we know about drafting, not falling in love with a player, not putting too much value on RB’s (short careers, can be found all over…free agency, mid-late rounds etc…multiple back trend, and a pass-first league).
    He better go to a whole bunch of pro bowls and his knee better hold up for a solid 4-6 seasons to warrant that pick. And, it’s a kneee already injured to the point of surgery and possible long-term damage. Not to mention he isn’t an Adrian Peterson.

    So, is this an “A” draft or an “F”…or do you give it a “C” because it’s like every other draft: wait and see what happens…we just don’t know.

  5. Steve says:

    This would make for a great discussion, especially post-draft:

    HOW MANY EXAMPLES OF PLAYERS GOING TO THE RIGHT SYSTEM, BREAKS THEY GOT TO MAKE A CAREER. See, Steve Young, Joe Montana, I mentioned Steve Largent. The best intentioned player can find himself in the worst situation, the worst system, the worst owner, the worst coach, or coaching changes etc…I’d say QB’s going to teams and being thrown into the league, David Carr, is the greatest example…they are destroyed, who knows what they could have done if brought along the right way like Aaron Rogers, and even Brady.

    It’s an illusion that a player can will his own career and success. There are too many factors out of their control.

  6. Steve says:

    I will add to this discussion on the grading with this: It doesn’t mean anything, or it means far, far less than anyone can imagine…anyone’s grades. I know this was prefaced, but if an argument is going to insue then I feel it requires repeating.
    We are carrying over our ASSUMED projections of these unknown talents…that’s it; grading is a continuation of mocking…borderline useless, yet fun to see the strategies and the talent assessment, but don’t lose site that we don’t know what the medicals are, how the interviews went, what the teams plan on free agencies (if and when?)

    So, the discussion is most important…the grade means ZERO!!!

    There will be busts, there will be huge hits, but the biggest factor in all this process (one that is rarely talked about, if at all) is that players going to certain systems will either kill their careers or make them. Best example is Mallet going to the Pats in the 3rd…he can now grow up…take the slip for what it is about his “character issues”, learn a system, learn to be a pro, get solid support etc…Say he went to Cincy with their top pick, or in the 2nd, and was thrown out there to start and had bad coaching, bad team mates, bad protection, and was killed in the press etc…

    Were a player goes is more of a factor than anyone wants to admit. There are hundreds of stories of guys who had big careers that just got one good break. How about Brady making the team, or Mo Lewis knocking out Bledsoe, or Steve Largent having a coach bring him to Seattle after begging…he was out of the league or on to the Hall of Fame.

    We’ll see….some guys we assume are slam dunks will be busts, and soon, some guys will just be hurt, some coaches will make terrible decisions, some guys will make bad decisions, stop working out or stop taking peds now that their paid (Gholston), and others will soak it all up, catch a break and run with it.

    That’s why you draft good guys (like our Pats did, more so this year), take a bit more risk out of this. It’s 50/50 across the board…across the league, now matter how much we grade or write about it…we simply don’t know. We guess…

    • Steve says:

      sorry for the spelling errors…I was typing too fast and didn’t glance it over.

  7. Billy C. says:

    Your arguement still doesn’t change the fact that you couldn’t identify one team of 16 (other than Green Bay) that only drafted with mediocrity. You’re the only analyst of about seventeen that I’ve read that couldn’t identify and grade outside of the mediocity range. I’m not saying you’re wrong with your evaluations (everyone has an opinion and I’ve often found yours to be insightful and upfront), however, on this occasion I’m saying that your final evaluations of the NFC neglected to grade the other 15 teams with any real fortitude.

    • NEPD says:

      Do you want Doug to just throw some A’s and F’s in there for fun or do you want his honest analysis?

    • Doug Kyed says:

      From (briefly) reading over other draft grades right now, it seems like the consensus is that I could have graded Detroit higher and that some people had Seattle, Carolina, New Orleans and St. Louis graded a half point or so lower than I.

      I just don’t agree with those notions. I don’t like Leshoure as much as most people and I feel like they really needed to address their issues at secondary and offensive line.

      As far as Seattle, I guess a C+ might be fairly generous, but I did actually like the Carpenter pick. I grade from top to bottom, so if I like your first round pick (the most important one) you’re not going to get that low of a grade. The same goes for St. Louis.

      I’m also not nearly as low on Cam Newton as most people are, I think he can be a dominant player if he gets his head on straight.

      The Saints got two of my favorite players in the draft at good value with Jordan and Wilson.

      I guess it might a more entertaining or controversial article if I was throwing out A’s and F’s, but I went solely off what I actually thought of each team’s draft.

  8. JR says:

    Jerry Jones another future Al Davis. Let football people make football decisions Jerry, shut your mouth and pay the (fines) bills.

  9. Billy C. says:

    Wow! Talking about a mediocre draft report. Every single team in this report had a grade of C+ to a B+. I know the players haven’t taken the field and usually the rule of thumb is to give the draft classes three years to prove themselves, but if you’re going to take the time to write it up then challenge yourself to actually go on a wire and make some predictions. This is a “fence sitter analyzation”.

    • Doug Kyed says:

      I guess you missed my grades for the Bengals, Packers, Steelers, Jaguars, Chiefs and Raiders.

      • Billy C. says:

        You’re right I overlooked the Packers in this report (my fault), however you’re fault is the other teams are in the AFC report and that’s not the strand I made a comment on.

        • Billy C. says:

          BTW I congratulate you on the Ponder pick. As a matter of fact I made a comment on that strand which indicated that I thought he was underrated and was going to be a good quarterback in the NFL, however, I did believe then as I do know that the pick was to soon. In addition, although I didn’t access that report my guess is that that was the only pick you got right in the entire first round (just guessing).

        • Doug Kyed says:

          Yes, but there are 32 teams in NFL, not 16. I’m not going to give teams more A’s or D’s just because they’re in the NFC. I feel like the NFC had a more balanced draft and that teams in the AFC had more “best and worst” drafts.

          Also, I know I had Newton going to Carolina, Peterson going to AZ and Carimi going to Chicago. I’d have to find my original document do see if I had any more correct.



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