Steuber: 2010 NFL Draft Grades

As we close the book on the 2010 NFL Draft,'s NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber grades all 32 NFL teams on their performance in the 75th spring spectacle.

Seattle Seahawks

With a new regime in place, led by former USC head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks made the biggest initial impact in the draft. Holding two picks in the opening frame, the Seahawks took advantage of the board and made two easy decisions. With the 6th pick, the Seahawks were fortunate to have the consensus No. 1 offensive tackle fall to them, Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung. And, at No. 14, Texas free safety Earl Thomas fell further than expected and was a tremendous value selection that also fills a huge need. In the second round, the Seahawks fortune continued when Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate dropped into their lap. The selections of Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond (4th round), USC tight end Anthony McCoy (6th round) and Kent State fullback Jameson Konz (7th round) are intriguing. If drafting impact players wasn’t good enough for the Seahawks, they also pulled off two outstanding trades to improve their rushing attack. They acquired LenDale White from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for fourth and sixth round picks and traded fifth and seventh round picks to the Jets for Leon Washington.

Draft Grade: A


New England Patriots

McCourty poses with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
AP/Robert E Klein

When it comes to the draft, no team in the National Football League understands the philosophy better than the Patriots. The Patriots are like surgeons on draft day, as they always get premier talent and are able to stock picks for the next year’s draft. After trading down in the first round, the Patriots got one of the top cornerbacks in the draft in RutgersDevin McCourty. In the second frame, they came away with three talented players on both sides of the ball, Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski and two Florida linebackers, Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes. In the third round, the Patriots got the big play wide receiver they needed on offense in Ohio’s Taylor Price. And, with their ensuing pick in the fourth round, they turned once again to the Gators and scored a tremendous pass catching tight end in Aaron Hernandez. Adding Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko in the fifth round gives New England the young punter they needed, and he should be the starter when the season starts.

Draft Grade: A


Baltimore Ravens

After trading out of the first round, the Ravens took advantage of the defensive depth that was available in the second round. With two picks in the second frame, the Ravens got two players, Texas OLB Sergio Kindle and Alabama DT Terrence Cody, who could have been first round selections and will make an immediate impact on defense this season. It was a priority for the Ravens to select a young tight end who could eventually replace veteran Todd Heap, and they were able to come away with two, Oregon’s Ed Dickson in the third round and BYU’s Dennis Pitta in the fourth round. In the fifth round, the Ravens got good value with Utah WR David Reed and Syracuse DT Arthur Jones, and in the sixth round they added a solid developmental lineman in Morehouse OT Ramon Harewood.

Draft Grade: A


San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers didn’t do anything flashy with their two first round picks, but what they did received rave reviews as they strengthened their offensive line by trading up for Rutgers OT Anthony Davis and selecting Idaho OG Mike Iupati. Davis and Iupati become two key building blocks to the 49ers offensive line, and will give Alex Smith the protection he needs to be successful. With their next two selections, the Niners got great value and two potential starters this season in USC safety Taylor Mays (second round) and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman (third round). Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon and Pittsburgh tight end Nate Byham, who was the best blocking tight end in the draft, were outstanding sixth round picks that will contribute immediately.

Draft Grade: A-


Philadelphia Eagles

Graham holds up his Eagles jersey in front of the media.
AP/Mark Stehle

The Eagles were loaded and ready to make a splash in this year’s draft, and when they traded up from No. 24 to No. 13, it appeared that they were angling to get Texas safety Earl Thomas. But instead, they improved their pass rush with Michigan DE Brandon Graham. Graham is undersized, but is an explosive pass rusher that will complement Trent Cole very well on the defensive line. In the second round, the Eagles got their safety in South Florida’s Nate Allen, who will compete for the starting free safety position in training camp. The biggest surprise of the Eagles draft was third round pick Daniel Te’o-Nesheim from Washington. A tweener on defense who can play inside or outside on the D-Line, Te’o-Nesheim was considered to be a late round prospect. One player that fans in Philadelphia should keep an eye on is Missouri State tight end Clay Harbor. He’s a solid all around tight end who possesses great speed and hands and is a very good blocker. At the end of the day, the Eagles made 13 selections and added some interesting names in the late rounds: Clemson DE/OLB Ricky Sapp (5th round), Florida WR Riley Cooper (5th round), LSU RB Charles Scott (6th round), Mississippi State MLB Jamar Chaney (7th round) and Georgia DT Jeff Owens (7th round).

Draft Grade: A-


Carolina Panthers

The Panthers truly hit the jackpot in this draft. Not having a first round pick and still being able to secure a young quarterback as talented as Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen makes the Panthers’ draft one of the best. If adding Clausen wasn’t enough, the Panthers also drafted another talented signal caller, Cincinnati’s Tony Pike, in the sixth round. The Panthers continued to add offensive firepower throughout the draft and selected three promising wide receivers, LSU’s Brandon LaFell, Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards and Baylor’s David Gettis. Offense wasn’t the only area that the Panthers focused on, they selected two intriguing defensive players, South Carolina OLB Eric Norwood and talented, but inconsistent, Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy.

Draft Grade: A-


Dallas Cowboys

Leave it to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to make a huge splash on draft day and come away with a top ten talent deep in the first round. Selecting Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant only adds more firepower to an already dangerous offensive team that features Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Felix Jones. The Cowboys also improved their defense, as they moved up in the second round to select Penn State linebacker Sean Lee, who has first round talent. And, they stole IUP’s Akwasi Owusu-Ansah in the fourth round, a rising prospect who has the versatility to play cornerback or safety at the next level.

Draft Grade: B+


Kansas City Chiefs

Berry poses for pictures with his Chiefs jersey.
AP/Jason DeCrow

The Chiefs did a solid job in this year’s draft and drafted two impact players with their first two picks. They selected Tennessee safety Eric Berry in the first round, who has Canton ability, a player that will instantly become a fan favorite and is an All-Pro. And, in the second round, they drafted an explosive offensive threat in Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster, who will make their offense extremely difficult to game plan for with Jamaal Charles also being a major threat. Drafting Alabama CB Javier Arenas in the second round and Illinois OG Jon Asamoah and Iowa TE Tony Moeaki in the third round were outstanding selections.

Draft Grade: B+


Detroit Lions

It’s hard to ignore what the Lions did in the opening frame of the draft. The Lions selected two difference makers, one on offense and the other on defense, in Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh and California RB Jahvid Best. Suh has the ability to be a dominant force in the NFL and will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders to perform. Best will be counted on this season to help the running game, as Kevin Smith recovers from a torn ACL. Iowa CB Amari Spievey was a solid third round pick and adds depth to their secondary, while Miami OT Jason Fox was great value in the fourth round, and could have gone much earlier if he didn’t have knee surgery towards the end of the season.

Draft Grade: B+


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

When the Buccaneers were on the clock at No. 3, it was a no-brainer that they would select Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy with Suh off the board. McCoy is the perfect fit for the Bucs Tampa 2 defense and plays with a relentless motor. In addition to taking McCoy, the Bucs selected UCLA DT Brian Price with their first second round pick. McCoy and Price are similar players, but their pass rushing skills will be a welcomed addition. With their second pick in round two, the Bucs drafted Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn. Benn immediately becomes Josh Freeman’s go-to-guy on offense and is the big play threat they needed to stretch the field. Syracuse’s troubled, but talented WR Mike Williams was an intriguing fourth round pick, who has boom or bust potential. Virginia Tech safety Cody Grimm and Florida State linebacker Dekoda Watson are solid late round prospects.

Draft Grade: B


St. Louis Rams

From left to right: Steve Spagnuolo, Bradford and Billy Devaney.
AP/Jeff Roberson

The Rams did exactly what they needed to do when they made Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford the No. 1 pick in the draft. They can finally move forward as a franchise with a young signal caller that has Peyton Manning-like ability. It would be ideal for Bradford to start the season observing from the sidelines, rather than being placed under fire from the beginning. He has a chance to be special. Drafting Indiana OT Rodger Saffold with the first pick in the second round now gives the Rams two young bookends, with Jason Smith, to build their offensive line around. Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard was a solid fourth round pick, and South Florida DE George Selvie has a chance to make the team as a seventh round pick. Also, keep an eye on Houston TE Fendi Onobun, a former basketball player at Arizona, who transferred to Houston this past season to play football.

Draft Grade: B


Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals run a 3-4 defense, and any team that runs a 3-4 needs a massive interior force and linebackers that have speed and versatility. In the first round, the Cardinals took advantage of the board and were able to select the best nose tackle in the draft, Tennessee’s Dan Williams. Williams will command double teams inside, will allow others on the D-Line to have success and give the linebackers room to roam. Speaking of linebackers, Arizona drafted TCU’s Daryl Washington (second round) and Wisconsin’s O’Brien Schofield (fourth round), who will likely be placed on IR, as he recovers from ACL surgery. In the third round, the Cardinals selected speedy wide receiver Andre Roberts from the Citadel; a player that they hope can take over the punt return duties from Steve Breaston. Fordham QB John Skelton was selected in the fifth round to become the team’s developmental signal caller.

Draft Grade: B


Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers offensive line has gone through a lot of changes over the last few years, and inconsistent play made it a priority to upgrade in the first round. Pittsburgh used its first pick on Florida’s talented center Maurkice Pouncey, who appears destined to play guard this season, but will be their center of the future. The Steelers also added some weapons on offense. In the third round, they got talented SMU WR Emmanuel Sanders, and in the sixth round they added another WR in Central Michigan’s Antonio Brown and a thumper at running back in Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer. It wouldn’t be a draft for the Steelers if they didn’t address their defense, and they made it a point to go after athletic linebackers - Virginia Tech’s Jason Worilds, Ohio State’s Thaddeus Gibson and Utah’s Stevenson Sylvester add depth and youth to an aging unit. Clemson cornerback Crezdon Butler, who was a fifth round pick, is a physical playmaker that has upside. The Steelers also made a trade with the Arizona Cardinals for a cornerback, bringing back Bryant McFadden and a sixth round pick in exchange for a fifth round selection.

Draft Grade: B


Miami Dolphins

This was a typical Bill Parcells defensive draft, adding speed and versatility to attack the opposition. The Dolphins decided to trade back in the first round, going from No. 12 to No. 28, and with their first pick, they selected Penn State tweener Jared Odrick. Odrick is a perfect fit at DE in the Dolphins 3-4 scheme. In the second round, Utah OLB Koa Misi is the type of speed rusher Parcells values, and if he’s able to stay healthy, he could be very effective. Ole Miss guard John Jerry offered great size and versatility in the third round and could eventually be moved to tackle if needed. Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds, Maryland cornerback Nolan Carroll, Georgia safety Reshad Jones and Middle Tennessee State linebacker Chris McCoy complete an impressive draft for Miami.

Draft Grade: B


New York Jets

Wilson is excited to be in New York.
AP/Bill Kostroun

The Jets were another team that didn’t have a lot of draft picks, but they made the most of what they had. When you have a late first round pick, in most cases you want to get the best player on the board, and hopefully he fills a need. Rex Ryan loves physical cover corners that have playmaking ability, and Boise State CB Kyle Wilson not only blankets receivers, but he plays with the swagger that Ryan appreciates. In the second round, the Jets selected raw, but talented Massachusetts OG/OT Vladimir Ducasse, who will be expected to compete for a starting job, now that the team released veteran guard Alan Faneca. The Jets also traded a veteran on draft day, running back Leon Washington, to Seattle and decided to replace him with a young dynamic runner in the fourth round, USC’s Joe McKnight. Fifth round fullback John “The Terminator” Connor becomes the team’s future lead blocker.

Draft Grade: B


Cleveland Browns

When you look down the Browns draft board and look over the players they were able to assemble this weekend, on paper it looks very good. Florida cornerback Joe Haden gives the Browns a terrific cover corner, who has great upside. But if I were making the selection, I would have leaned towards Texas safety Earl Thomas, who could line up at free safety or cornerback. The Browns reached for Oregon safety T.J. Ward in the second round, but overall he’s a good player and a hard hitter. He adds an attitude to the Browns defense. Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty, who was also drafted in the second round, is the complete runner the Browns needed on offense. And you can’t forget about Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy seemed like the logical selection for the Browns, and to get him late in the third round was a bonus. Nebraska safety Larry Asante and South Florida wide receiver Carlton Mitchell were solid late round picks.

Draft Grade: B


Chicago Bears

The Bears didn’t have a first or second round pick, but overall they had a very good draft and addressed some of their biggest needs. With their first pick in the third round, they got a playmaking safety in Florida’s Major Wright, who will compete for a starting job immediately. And in the fourth round, they got an outstanding defensive end in Northwestern’s Corey Wootton, who could have come off the board in the second round. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour was a steal in the sixth round and has the ability to develop into the next great sixth round quarterback.

Draft Grade: B-


San Diego Chargers

It was almost certain that the Chargers would draft Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews, but it was surprising to see them move up from No. 28 to No. 12 to select the talented Bulldogs runner. Now with Mathews in the fold, he and Darren Sproles make up a solid one-two punch in the AFC West. Overall, the Chargers didn’t have a lot of picks in this year’s draft, but they got value in every round. The best value pick by the Chargers was in the fifth round when they selected North Carolina DT Camaron Thomas. Thomas fills an immediate need at NT, after the team released Jamal Williams. Athletic Washington MLB Donald Butler (third round) and versatile Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey (fourth round) were also solid picks and players the team will count on this season. Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton, who was a fifth round pick, replaces Charlie Whitehurst on the depth chart and is a quality developmental prospect.

Draft Grade: B-


Tennessee Titans

Morgan fell into the lap of the Titans and fills an immediate need.
AP/Jason DeCrow

It was obvious that the Titans had to draft a defensive end with their first round pick, and to have Georgia Tech’s Derrick Morgan fall to them was a pleasant surprise. Morgan will be a starter from day one and brings toughness and versatility to their defensive front. As far as value goes, in the third round, the Titans selected a sure-handed receiver who runs crisp routes in USC’s Damian Williams. Williams and last year’s first round pick Kenny Britt give the Titans two weapons that will help progress Vince Young’s development. The Titans added solid defensive depth in the mid rounds with Georgia LB Rennie Curran, UCLA CB Alterraun Verner and Utah safety Robert Johnson. Florida State safety and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle was a solid late round pick.

Draft Grade: B-


New Orleans Saints

The Saints drafted a strong collection of prospects, but they didn’t fill their most pressing needs. Going into the draft, the Saints had to address their front seven on defense, but instead they drafted the best players available. That’s not a bad thing, but their front seven needs depth. In the first round, they got one of the best cover corners available in the draft in Florida State’s Patrick Robinson. In the second round, the Saints didn’t have to draft an offensive tackle, but with USC’s Charles Brown still available, he had first round value and was a steal. Miami tight end Jimmy Graham was too intriguing for the Saints to pass on, and with his size and skill set he could develop into a star. Boston College center Matt Tennant, who was drafted in the fifth round, was a top player in the draft at his position.

Draft Grade: B-


Oakland Raiders

When Maryland OT Bruce Campbell ran a 4.85 in the 40 at the Scouting Combine, almost every analyst pegged him as the Raiders selection with the 8th overall pick. But, it’s always a surprise when it comes to the Raiders, and they selected Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain was a solid pick for the Raiders, since he fills a need and will be the starting middle linebacker this season in Oakland. In the second round, the Raiders continued to improve their defense with the selection of Texas DT Lamarr Houston. Houston is a high motor defender who brings versatility to the defensive front. With their next two picks, the Raiders picked highly touted, small school OT Jared Veldheer from Hillsdale College and the aforementioned Campbell. Clemson WR Jacoby Ford was one of the fastest players in the draft and fits the Raiders profile. The Raiders also traded for Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell over the weekend. Campbell will compete with Bruce Gradkowski and JaMarcus Russell for the starting job.

Draft Grade: B-


Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals did a good job in the draft. They didn’t do anything flashy, but the value they received in the first few rounds was impressive. In the opening frame, they selected the best tight end in the draft, Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham, who will offer Carson Palmer a tremendous pass catching threat down the seam. In the second round, the Bengals selected Florida DE Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has great upside and many consider him to be a top ten talent, but his maturity and motor have been questioned in the past. Texas WR Jordan Shipley and Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee were outstanding third round picks and give the Bengals depth, while Georgia DT Geno Atkins and Texas LB Roddrick Muckelroy were steals in the fourth round.

Draft Grade: B-


Denver Broncos

It's a new era in Denver and Tebow will lead the way.
AP/Ed Andrieski

It may have been a surprise to many, but I knew that Tim Tebow was going to be a first round pick, but I didn’t think the Broncos would be the team that drafted him. In Denver, Tebow will have a chance to learn the quarterback position from a good quarterbacks coach in Head Coach Josh McDaniels. He will have time to learn the offense and be groomed as the future of the Broncos. In addition to drafting Tebow in the first round, the Broncos selected Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas with their first pick in the opening frame. Thomas will replace Brandon Marshall on the depth chart. In the second and third rounds, the Broncos bolstered the interior of their offensive line with Utah OG Zane Beadles and Baylor center J.D. Walton. Minnesota WR Eric Decker was also a quality third round selection by the team, and Oklahoma State CB Perrish Cox was a steal in the fifth round.

Draft Grade: C+


Buffalo Bills

It was surprising to see the Bills draft Clemson running back C.J. Spiller with the 9th overall selection, not because Spiller isn’t worth being a top ten pick, because he is, but there’s such a need for offensive tackle help. It will be interesting to see how the Bills use Spiller with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. Outside of Spiller, the Bills reached for a couple of prospects, Central Florida DT Torrell Troup (second round) and Connecticut WR Marcus Easley (fourth round). The most interesting selection the Bills had was Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington. Carrington was drafted in the third round, and with the Bills switching to a 3-4, he’s a perfect fit on the outside. Troy quarterback Levi Brown, who was drafted in the seventh round, has a chance to compete for a roster spot.

Draft Grade: C


Houston Texans

There are some analysts that like what the Texans did in the draft, and while I think they addressed their needs, I think they took the wrong players. The Texans had to upgrade their secondary with their first pick, and they added Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson at No. 20, but with Rutgers’ Devin McCourty and Boise State’s Kyle Wilson still on the board, either one of them was a better option than Jackson. In the second round, with the cornerback position addressed, adding a running back was their next priority. Auburn’s Ben Tate was the pick in round two, but taking Tate over Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty was a reach. Arizona DT Earl Mitchell was another reach for the Texans in the third round; Mitchell is a good player, but he’s undersized and was considered to be a mid-round draft pick. Colorado State OG Shelley Smith and Pittsburgh TE Dorin Dickerson were great value in the late rounds.

Draft Grade: C


New York Giants

Over the last two years, the Giants have had very impressive draft day performances. General Manager Jerry Reese has a good eye for talent, and while he selected two projects with his early round picks, South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul and East Carolina DT Linval Joseph, they have the talent to become great players. LSU safety Chad Jones was a solid third round pick and adds depth to the Giants secondary.

Draft Grade: C


Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings added a few solid prospects like Virginia CB Chris Cook, Stanford RB Toby Gerhart and USC DE Everson Griffen. But overall, it was a confusing draft. I understand the selection of Cook, since they moved out of the first round, but to take Gerhart instead of drafting a versatile runner who can catch the ball out of the backfield and be elusive in the open field surprised me. Griffen was a great value pick in the fourth round, but his attitude and work ethic were a major reason why he fell in the draft, and that’s something to keep an eye on. Wake Forest OG Chris DeGeare could prove to be a valuable mid-round selection.

Draft Grade: C


Green Bay Packers

Bulaga looks like a perfect fit for the Packers, as he holds up his jersey in New York.
AP/Jason DeCrow

The Packers did a good job of waiting for the board to reveal itself before making a move, as nobody projected Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga to fall to No. 23. But when he did, it was an easy choice for the Packers to make, as Bulaga becomes the team’s future LT. The Packers reached for Purdue DT Mike Neal in the second round, but got good value in the third round with Morgan Burnett. An interesting late round selection was Buffalo RB James Starks, who missed the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury. If Starks was healthy this past year, it’s likely he would have been a third round pick.

Draft Grade: C


Indianapolis Colts

After the Colts selected TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes in the first round, their draft was boring and filled with projects and reaches. The Colts usually draft well and have an eye for talent, but it seemed like they outsmarted themselves. Drafting Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer in the second round was a major reach, and he is someone they could have targeted in the third round. Angerer is a solid, hardnosed player, but there were players that had more value on the board. USC cornerback Kevin Thomas was also a reach in the third round. He’s had injury problems throughout his career, and while being talented, he should be considered a high-risk prospect.

Draft Grade: C-


Washington Redskins

It was a quiet draft for the Redskins after they selected Oklahoma OT Trent Williams in the first round. After trading their second round pick for Donovan McNabb, the Redskins already didn’t have a third round pick and would have to wait until Day Three to start selecting players again. However, on Day Three, it was the trade of Jason Campbell that received the biggest headlines, not the players they selected. Campbell was traded to the Raiders for a 2012 fourth round pick.

Draft Grade: C-


Atlanta Falcons

Weatherspoon poses with Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith .
Jimmy Cribb/

The Falcons started the draft off well with the selection of Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, but just like a few other teams they started to reach for prospects rather than drafting for value. Kentucky DT Corey Peters was rising on some draft boards, but as a third round pick he was a reach. The Falcons other third round pick, Alabama OG Mike Johnson, was a solid pick, but in the fourth round they selected UNLV center Joe Hawley, who was considered a late round prospect. Outside of Weatherspoon, the Falcons best selection occurred in the fifth round when they drafted Oklahoma CB Dominique Franks. Franks had third round value.

Draft Grade: D+


Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars draft was the most baffling draft that I’ve witnessed since I started covering the spring spectacle. Drafting California DT Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick rivals the Philadelphia Eagles decision to draft Mike Mamula with the 7th overall pick in the 1995 draft. Alualu is a good player, but he was a top 50 – 60 talent, not a top ten prospect. It’s possible that the Jaguars thought more of him than the other teams in the league, but it just seemed like a panic move. The one player they selected that intrigues me is Southern Illinois RB Deji Karim. Karim has Brian Westbrook ability and could emerge as a dynamic threat in the Jaguars offense.

Draft Grade: D

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the network and on If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.

Scout NFL Network Top Stories