TGI Dishes Out NFC Draft Grades

Want to know exactly how some of Big Blue's stiffest competition fared during the 2008 NFL Draft? Well then read on, as TGI draft expert Jim Sabo breaks it all down.

Arizona Cardinals – The Cards really helped their secondary by snagging the best corner in the draft – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (1). Calais Campbell (2) is a big, rangy two-way defensive end who will also help their defense. We really like the selection of Early Doucet (3). He projects as a possession receiver, but he will be perfect playing with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The rest of their draft was average. Grade: B+

Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons are starting over and what better way to start than by selecting the new face of their franchise, QB Matt Ryan (1). They can bring him along with no urgency. They reached badly by taking OT Sam Baker (1). They needed a tackle badly, but he was taken too high in the first round. The rest of their draft was very good with LB Curtis Lofton (2), a tough inside LB, CB Chevis Jackson (3), one of the draft's top corners, and safety Thomas DeCoud (3). Except for Baker, they got good value in each round. Grade: A-

Carolina Panthers – With two first-round picks the Panthers filled two glaring holes at RB and OT. RB Jonathan Stewart (1) is a big back who runs with power. He will complement DeAngelo Williams. OT Jeff Otah (1) should become a starting tackle very quickly. CB Charles Godfrey (3) is an underrated player. LB Dan Connor (3) and TE Gary Barnidge (5) were also very good value picks. The only negative was they gave up next year's first-round pick to the Eagles. Grade: B+

Chicago Bears – The Bears made 12 picks, but for the most part they got quantity over quality. OT Chris Williams (1) has a reputation of being soft. Taking RB Matt Forte (2) was an attempt to light a fire under Cedric Benson, who has been a bust so far. WR Earl Bennett (3) will help a very poor receiving corps, but he is more of a complementary type than a lead receiver. We like the pick of safety Craig Steltz (4). He is a hard-nosed player. Out biggest fault with this draft is they did not take a QB so it's going to be more of Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. Grade: D+

Dallas Cowboys – The Boys were relatively quite during the draft. They did not make a big splash by trading up to snag Darren McFadden, but they got Felix Jones (1), who should complement the hard-running Marion Barber. We like CB Mike Jenkins (1). He should eventually replace Anthony Henry, especially if they move Henry to safety. TE Martellus Bennett (2) is a very good receiving TE. CB Orlando Scandrick (5) is an underrated player with good value. Grade: B

Detroit Lions – Maybe one of these years GM Matt Millen will get it right. They have been one of the worst drafting teams. This year was slightly better. OT Gosder Cherilus (1) should start quickly at RT. LB Jordan Dizon (2) is a small LB they plan to play in the middle – and a good-sized reach. RB Kevin Smith (3) is a very productive RB, which they need badly. DE Cliff Avril (3) is a small pass-rush specialist. Grade: C

Green Bay Packers – The whole Brett Favre scenario hangs over this club. It continues to be ‘will he or won't he?' We give them credit for pretty much closing the door by taking QB Brian Brohm (2). He will back up Aaron Rodgers, who has played very little, but has shown he may be injury prone. We love the pick of WR Jordy Nelson (2). He has great hands and he can run after the catch. CB Patrick Lee (2) is an overrated corner. Jermichael Finley (4) is a very good receiving TE. Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings – Their big haul came from trading for Jared Allen, who is probably the number one defensive end in the game. The only negative is that he has struggled with alcohol problems. Safety Tyrell Johnson (2) was the second-best safety in a very poor safety class. He is big and can run. They needed to bring in strong competition for Tarvaris Jackson and they took QB John David Booty (5). We don't think he is the answer either; without a QB, this team will not reach its full potential. Grade: D

New Orleans Saints – They needed defensive line help badly and they traded up in front of Cincinnati to grab DT Sedrick Ellis (1). He will provide immediate help to their D-line. CB Tracy Porter (2) was a good value pick. He can also return kicks. DT DeMario Pressley (5) will also help their defensive line. They failed to offer enough to land Jeremy Shockey, who would have been a big help to their offense. Grade: C

New York Giants – We were tempted to give this class an A, but we did not want to be a total homer. They did, however, get four significant players. Kenny Phillips (1) is the best safety in the draft and he fills a big hole left by the departure of Gibril Wilson. CB Terrell Thomas (2) has size and should be effective covering the other team's biggest receiver. WR Mario Manningham (3) has the tools to become a very talented receiver. He needs to mature and the leaders on this team should help him. They didn't want to lose LB Bryan Kehl (4) so they wisely traded up to get him. He is a very good athlete and they should expect big things from him. Grade: B+

Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles, as usual, did a lot of moving. They traded out of the first round and got a first-round pick next year. Then they selected DT Trevor Laws (2). He is a short DT, but he is a very good inside pass-rusher. WR DeSean Jackson (2) is the flashy receiver that Donovan McNabb has been crying for. The problem is that he is tiny (169 pounds). We like the pick of DE/LB Bryan Smith (3). He is an unheralded pass-rusher who has very good edge rushing speed. Grade: B-

San Francisco 49ers – This team needed a lot of help from the draft and it remains to be seen if they got it. DT Kentwan Balmer (1) was strictly a need pick. There are doubts about his willingness to play hard. OG Chilo Rachal (2) is very overrated for a second-round pick. CB Reggie Smith (3) is also overrated. This draft did not improve the team. Grade: D

Seattle Seahawks – They reworked their backfield by signing Julius Jones and terminating former MVP Shaun Alexander. They also failed to add a much-needed WR. DE Lawrence Jackson (1) will help their pass rush. He looks like the type of player who will be more than a one-dimensional DE. We really like the pick of TE John Carlson (2). They were also in the Shockey sweepstakes, but Carlson will help upgrade a very weak position. DT Red Bryant (4) is a big run-stopper. Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams – The Rams needed help on both lines. There was talk they liked Glenn Dorsey as their pick. He would have been a great addition, but they needed a DE more than a DT and they took Chris Long (1) over Dorsey. We can't argue with this pick because we believe he will be a very good DE. We can argue with their next pick, WR Donnie Avery (2). He did not deserve to be the first WR taken. He is fast and they need speed, but he is small and inconsistent. We actually like the pick of WR Keenan Burton (4) much better. Grade: B-

Tampa Bay – The Bucs needed a strong draft and it appears they got it. CB Aqib Talib (1) is a playmaker, but he is also a high maintenance player. WR Dexter Jackson (2) is a very small, but very fast receiver. They needed to add his speed to the receiving corps. OG Jeremy Zuttah (3) will provide depth at both guard and tackle. DT Dre Moore (4) is a big, strong run-stopper in the middle. They continued to collect QBs by taking Josh Johnson (5), who is a major project. Grade: B-

Washington Redskins – This was not a typical offseason where Dan Snyder spent huge sums of money in free agency. It appears they are finally learning that it is better to build through the draft. They traded out of the first round and wound up with three second-round picks. They used them wisely by taking two WRs with very good upside. Devin Thomas (2) and Malcolm Kelly (2) should provide help to a weak receiver group. TE Fred Davis (2) will be another threat along with Chris Cooley. This was a solid effort. Grade: B+


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