NFC Draft Review

The true grade or evaluation of a draft cannot be accurately measured for at least three years; however we do have some initial impressions to share. For this exercise we will grade the drafts positive, neutral or negative based on our early evaluation. <BR><BR>

NYG – They made a bold move to snag the best player in the draft in QB Eli Manning. It was a costly move, but time should prove it to be a wise move. G Chris Snee should be an immediate help to the line. LB Reggie Torbor is a conversion project but it looks like his size and skills translate well to LB. They need S Gibril Wilson to unseat Omar Stoutmire and provide an upgrade to the secondary. WR Jamaar Taylor may be a contributor in the future when his knee injury is completely healed. OT Drew Strojny is a project. DE Isaac Hilton could be a seventh-round steal as a pass rusher. Grade: Positive. They got value for their picks and filled needs.

Dallas – They took a huge risk by passing on Steven Jackson in round one and taking RB Julius Jones in round two to fill their RB needs. They did pick up a first round pick next year for their efforts. Jones is a player we like, but they had a chance to take the best RB in the draft (Jackson). OT Jacob Rogers has already been installed as their starting right tackle. The rest of their draft was uninspiring. G Stephen Peterman is a decent talent and CB Bruce Thornton should help a weak area. Grade: Negative. Passing on Jackson was a mistake and there were several late round reaches.

Philadelphia – If Andy Reid's goal was to bring in a player who is fatter than he is, he succeeded. They traded up to get OT Shawn Andrews, a player who we believed was a huge risk. In two years they may look brilliant for drafting him. There is also a large chance they will look like fools too. Matt Ware is the tall CB they hope will replace Bobby Taylor. OT Trey Darilek and RB Thomas Tapeh were interesting later picks. Grade: Negative. We didn't like the Andrews pick and they had to trade up to get him. Several Philly buffet joints immediately folded with the specter of Reid and Andrews looming. The rest of their draft is uninspiring. Note: They fired their college scouting director after the draft.

Washington – They had their "draft" in the free agency period, signing several players and trading away most of their picks. This may turn out to be a one-player draft – S Sean Taylor – but what a player he is. He fills a tremendous need at safety for them and now two of the best young safeties in the game, Taylor and Dallas' Roy Williams, reside in the NFC East. We like TE Chris Cooley; he is an underrated player and should make their team. Grade: Neutral. Only four players, but Taylor will be outstanding and Cooley has a chance to contribute.

Chicago – DT Tommie Harris is exactly the type of player Lovie Smith is looking for. He's quick, fast and athletic. DT Tank Johnson was the best player at the East/West Shrine practices. He is also an explosive DT, but he needs to be motivated. WR Bernard Berrian is a smooth receiver who is coming back from a major knee injury. CB Nathan Vasher should be an effective nickel. LB Leon Joe is very athletic also. DE Claude Harriott has ability but is coming off a disappointing senior season. Grade: Positive: They attacked their DL needs with athletic players.

Detroit – Either Matt Millen found the "smart pills" or this is the work of Steve Mariucci, because this was an excellent job, which is out of character for the Lions. They got the guy they wanted – WR Roy Williams – as well as an extra second round pick. They parlayed that pick into RB Kevin Jones. LB Teddy Lehman is athletic and he plays hard. CB Keith Smith is a third round steal. LB Alex Lewis and OT Kelly Butler were also very good picks. Grade: Positive. This may be the best draft of any team.

Green Bay – The Pack addressed their secondary holes with CBs Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas. Carroll is very fast, but somewhat erratic. Thomas has good size but he is raw. DT Donnell Washington is a wide body inside run stuffer. B.J. Sander was our top rated punter. Grade: Neutral. This was a need-oriented draft, but they failed to get a QB to eventually replace Favre. Now they will most likely have to trade for Tim Couch.

Minnesota – They need to improve their defense and it looks like they did. DE Kenechi Udeze drifted to them because of concerns about his shoulder. He will be an excellent player if he is healthy. Dontarrious Thomas brings athleticism to the LB spot. DE Darrion Scott is an underrated player who had a strong postseason. OT Nat Dorsey is a raw talent. RB Mewelde Moore looks like he could be an effective change of pace back. Rod Davis is a productive MLB. Grade: Positive. They needed defensive help badly and they got it.

Atlanta – CB DeAngelo Hall was our top rated corner and he fills a need as well. Michael Jenkins is an unheralded receiver who will help take pressure off Peerless Price and provide another nice target for Michael Vick. Matt Schaub was the best of the QBs after the top four. LB Demorrio Williams is athletic and will supply an outside rush. DT Chad Lavalais is a hard-working tough guy. Etric Pruitt was one of our safety sleeper picks. Grade: Positive. They did a solid job from top to bottom and several of these players should play important roles.

Carolina – They suffered heavy loses in their secondary in free agency so CB Chris Gamble will help. WR Keary Colbert is an underappreciated player who played in the shadow of Mike Williams. He will be very good in his own right. OT Travelle Wharton was an excellent value pick. Grade: Positive. For picking as low as they did in the draft they did a very nice job.

New Orleans – DE was not a huge need but when Will Smith was sitting there they correctly took him. WR Devery Henderson brings speed to their WR corps. LB Courtney Watson should challenge quickly at MLB. FB Mike Karney is an old fashioned blocker. Grade: Neutral. Smith was a great choice but the rest were not overly exciting.

Tampa Bay – WR Michael Clayton was an excellent pick and he will help upgrade an area of need. LB Marquis Cooper is a very athletic player who fits the Bucs' LB profile. S Will Allen, G Jeb Terry and FB/TE Casey Cramer were all good value picks. Grade: Positive. Without a second round pick, they managed to hit need and also get value.

Arizona – The debate will rage as to whether the Cards should have taken a QB with their first pick. We believe they should have, but they did get an excellent prospect in WR Larry Fitzgerald. Dennis Green wants to recapture his days in Minnesota with Carter and Moss. The question is who will get them the ball? LB Karlos Dansby was a solid second round pick. DT Darnell Dockett can play but he is a risk due to off-field problems. The rest of their draft was solid with good value. Grade: Positive. Despite not getting a QB early, they did a very good job for a change.

St. Louis – The Rams have not had a great draft for some time now and it is beginning to show. They made a great pick selecting RB Steven Jackson. He will be perfect in their offense when they spread the field. He is a major talent as a receiver and runner and the transfer from Marshall Faulk to Jackson, whenever that takes place, should be seamless. The rest of their draft is questionable. They had no second round pick and DE Tony Hargrove appears to be a reach. His pick was forced when Leonard Little ran into trouble again with alcohol and driving. Jason Shivers should help eventually at free safety. QB Jeff Smoker is an interesting project pick. Grade: Negative. After Jackson they dropped the ball again.

San Francisco – This is a franchise that is in trouble, but they did manage to have a decent draft. Rashaun Woods brings much needed help at WR. G Justin Smiley is a solid prospect. DB Shawntae Spencer appears to be a slight reach in round two. Derrick Hamilton will also help the WR situation. DT Isaac Sopoaga is a strong man who should help the interior run defense. Grade: Neutral. They kept trading down, but still came away with Woods, who will be the prize of their draft.

Seattle – We thought DT Marcus Tubbs was a first round reach. We just didn't think he was that good. Michael Boulware is being converted to safety and that will be interesting to watch. He has tremendous coverage skills and the conversion from LB to safety should work. G Sean Locklear was a good value pick in round three. LB Niko Koutouvides should challenge at MLB. Grade: Neutral. The selection of Tubbs hurts their grade.


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