Midwest's First Round Grades

I know everyone is doing this, but I don't care I had already planned on doing this. My grades are based on value, need and whether or not I laughed after thier pick(cough Seahawks cough). This draft class is actually a lot deeper than people give it credit for, but it is not top heavy. Probably only about 15 first round caliber players which lead to most teams trying to trade out of the first round. The next two rounds should be really interesting with most of the player left could go anywhere from 2nd to the 4th round. A lot of reaches and a lot of aggressive trades to move up to get players team's absolutley love like a Taiwon Jones and Andy Dalton.


1. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton QB Auburn-

Most people think this is either a great pick or a horrible pick. I completley disagree. He wil be decent. I don't think he ever wins or even gets to a Superbowl but I think he last longer than a Ryan Leaf or a Vince Young. If he sells a lot of jerseys and maybe helps sellout Bank of America Stadium, the pick is a success.


2. Denver Broncos- Von Miller OLB Texas A&M- A-/C+

This pick gets two grades simply because I am hearing mixed reports on what defense John Fox will be using. If they stick to the 4-3, this isn't a good pick. Von Miller is not a top 20 pick at a 4-3 LB and is too small to be a every down 4-3 DE. As an edge rusher in the 3-4, he is worth a number one pick. Great ability as a pass rusher, will be a mismatch when blocked one on one in the 3-4.


3. Buffalo Bills- Macell Darues DT Alabama- B

Very good DL who already has great experience in the 3-4 under Nick Saban. Good run stuff who can get after the QB as well. Good safe pick.


4. Cincinnati Bengals- AJ Green WR Georgia- A

Anytime you draft the next Calvin Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald type wideout, you get an A. Jumpball type reciever with very good speed, defense will have to put a safety over the top within the first half of the first game. Will make Jordan Palmer or whoever their QB may be(Kevin Kolb?) look better than they really are(kind of like what Randy Moss did for a lot of Vikings QB's).


5. Arizona Cardinals- Patrick Peterson CB LSU- B+

They probably wanted either Von Miller or Marcell Dareus more than any other players, but we all knew they weren't going to be here. Peterson is the best corner and maybe the best player in the draft. He can play safety if need be or later in his career like Rod Woodson did. Great size for a corner, give Arizona a strength at a position that is becoming more and more important every year.


6. Atlanta Falcons- Julio Jones WR Alabama- A

The easy thing to say here is this is awful because they lost 2 first rounds, 2 seconds and 2 fourth's for this pick but...As an Eagles fan I let out a few curse words because I know how scary their offense will become with Jones teaming up with Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Turner the Burner. Every NFC team now has a need at CB because of this pick. Remember, Roddy White is still relativley young himself. If Jones is a bust, obviously this pick is the worst of the draft by far, but I don't think that will be the case.


7. San Francisco 49ers- Aldon Smith DE Missouri- F

Read my lips, Aldon Smith will be a bust. Very raw, horrible technique, a little undersized and lacks the physicality you would like a 3-4 edge rusher to have. Robert Quinn was still on the board and so was Prince Amukamara. They also need a franchise QB. Aldon is the Darius Miles of this draft, very gifted but very very raw. Probably went into the league a year early.


8. Tennessee Titans- Jake Locker QB Washington- B

They need a franchise QB more than anything, but is this too early. I don't think so. You can't trade down 10 spots just to get an extra mid round pick and then hope your guys is still their, you never know where these kids will fall at.  After the failures of VY/Jeff Fisher, I thought owner Bud Adams would go after a QB who can run as well as he can pass. Could be the next Donovan McNabb in more ways then the Titans probably thing. Good arm strength, poor footwork, good running ability, inconsistent passer.


9. dallas cowboys- Tyron Smith OT USC- B+

Looking forward to hating Smith for years to come. Actually, this was a good pick. They needed an upgrade in their pass protection after passing on Roger Safford last season.


10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri- C-

This pick might be good for the future of this team, but it's awful for the present. The players and especially the head coach seem to really believe in David Garrard, and this pick suggest the front office thinks otherwise. Jack Del Rio is probably already updating his resume. Bad for team morale, fans will be spilt on QB's. This reeks of rebuilding.


11. Houston Texans- JJ Watt DE Wisconsin- B-

They need to get 3-4 type lineman to help make their transition easier, but I thought Cameron Jordan was the better pick. More athletic, and played in the 3-4 in college. Still a good pick.


12. Minnesota Vikings- Christan Ponder QB FSU- D

Going into the 2010 College Football Season, I thought Ponder was the 3rd best QB behind Locker and Mallet. Several months later Ponder had a an okay 2010 season and he is the 12th overall pick. Good TD-INT ratio in his career(49-30), but never threw over 2700 yards in a season and never played a full season. Pretty good arm in terms of both strength and accuaracy, but will have to make the tough throws and not just the safe throws at the next level. I think this was the Vikings #1 guy, probably not much better than Andy Dalton and not better in my mind than Ryan Mallet so this isn't a good value. Worst thing about this pick is they have a dire need at DT that they passed on and willhave to suffer the consequences twice a season.

13. Detroit Lions- Nick Fairley DT Auburn- A friggin +

The combo of Suh and Fairley will has the potential to be dominant. The Lions need a safety and a OT to replace Jeff Backus, but this pick is too good to pass up on. Every NFC North team has a serious need at OG/OC now. The Lions can still get a good OT later in the draft, he won't have to start or even play in 2011. THey can draft Rahim Moore in the 2nd as well.


14. St. Louis Rams- Robert Quinn DE UNC- A

I would of bet the house that Quinn doesn't get out of the top 7, so this is a great value here. Quinn and Long pass rushing opposite of each other will be lethal for the rest of the NFC West.


15. Miami Dolphins- Mike Pouncey OG/C Florida- B-

The Dolphins are in rebuilding mode and have a ton of needs so this grade is lower because they really should of traded it for more picks. Having said that, this is a good pick. They will have a new Runningback, so getting a good interior blocker will open holes for that new player to run through. If they plan on playing him at center, this pick gets an F.


16. Washington Redskins- Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue- B

So much for Lolskins, I was waiting to have a good laugh for this pick and was disapointed. Kerrigan looks like a soild pass rusher int he 4-3, but it will be interesting to see how he does in the 3-4. Too hard of a worker and too good not to work out, but he there will be a learning curve.


17. New England Patriots- Nate Solder OT Colorado- B+

This was a need so I can't fault them on this pick even though I thought for sure they would take Cameron Jordan. Solder was once looked at the best lineman in the draft so the value is good here plus Bellicheck never drafts OL busts.


18. San Diego Chargers- Corey Liuget DT Illinois- C+

Good player who should start right away as a 3-4 DE. Okay pick here, not really a good value, right where he should be taken at. I don't know if he will be a difference maker for their defense but he should be decent.


19. New York Giants- Prince Amukamra CB Nebraska- A+

Who did he fall this far, seriously? I thought he was a steal at the 11th pick, so at 19 he is an absolute steal. Very physical corner, can't remember the last time the Giants had an outstanding cornerback. Good pick in a division with Dez pants on the ground Bryant, DeSean and Mac, and...sorry Redskins.


20. Tampa Bay Bucs- Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa- D+

Great in 2009, mediorce in 2010. Medical issues to boot. High quality person, will come ready to work everyday. Bucs don't really have a pressing outisde of CB with the pending relase of Aquib Talib. They could of taken Da'Quan Bowers and have a lot more upside, I think Clayborn is a conservative pick.


21. Cleveland Browns- Phil Taylor DT Baylor- F?

There were 3 picks in the 1st round where a team that has said they will be running the 4-3 drafted a 3-4 player(Broncos and Saints as well). Phil Taylor is a great value at a 3-4 NT but I don't know how he will fit in as a 4-3 DT. The Browns needed speed WR and a 4-3 DE badly and instead got a 3-4 NT. Maybe there is a trade with the Jets int the works involving Santanio Holmes.


22. Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College- A-

The Colts O-line was awful last season and cost them a shot at the Superbowl. Castonzo was projected in the top 15 so this was a great pick. They didn't even have to trade up to get the guy I believe they wanted all along.


23. Philadelphia Eagles- Danny Watkins OG Baylor- A-

I imagine a lot of our fans were pissed off at this pick. It happens every year, the guy everyone wanted and thought we were going to take doesn't happen and people go off. But let's take a deep breath and really dissect this pick. Right Guard was the worst postion for us last season, we had some good games out of Dmitri Patterson but none out of either MJG and Nick Cole. RG has always been the position we run away from and I think that will change right away. Watkins is going to be 27, I know but he has less wear and tear on his knees then most players his age and he has only played football for 4 years so he stlll has room to grow. Scouts compare him to Logan Mankins, but he will be less of a diva, actually not a diva at all. Blue collar guy that has a work ethic that is contagious. Played hockey in high school and was a fire fighter for 4 years before college so you know he is tough. Actually tougher than most of the league already. If Jamal Jackson can get back to form and Winston Justice takes to Coach Mudd's coaching, we could have one of the best lines in the league for years to come. Bottom line, if we draft Jimmy Smith we don't get Nnamdi. I think passing on Smith is a sign that we will sign him. WIth teams addressing their needs at CB like the Giants and Ravens, the demand for Nnamdi goes down along with his price.


24. New Orleans Saints- Cameron Jordan DE California- B+

Good pick if used correctly. Can play both DT and DE in the 4-3. Hopefully the Saints are smart and will move him around a lot on their line. Could be X-factor on their line.


25. Seattle Seahawks- James Carpenter OT Alabama- D-

Good player but horrible value. I heard he was a 2nd to 3rd round propsect but who really knows. He will team up with Russell Okung to protect a Quarterback who either is past his prime, has no prime, or won't be on the team until 2012. Or, maybe the Seahawks will spend a 1st rounder to get Kevin Kolb.


26. Kansas City Chiefs- Jon Baldwin WR Pittsburgh- F

Hated this pick, hate this player. Horrible attitude, will really struggle in his first year. I think the Chiefs could have gotten a solid wideout in the 2nd whether it was Titus Young, Torrey Smith, Lance Hankerson or probably even Jon Baldwin. They could of taken Akeem Ayer as Mike Vrabel's replacement or a 3-4 DL player.


27. Baltimore Ravens- Jimmy Smith CB Colorado- A

A+ talent, F- issues. His issues may be really overblown but why did so many people pass on him? You would think that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will keep him in line but I think that notion is overrated. People will do what they want to do. If Smith becomes a high quality individual, this is a steal but you have to question if that will happen with all these teams passing on him.


28. New Orleans Saints- Mark Ingram RB Alabama- D

Great value but how does he fit in? They have Cory Ivory and Reggie Bush on a pass happy team. Maybe they want to run the ball more or maybe they were just impressed with Ingram. They really have to committ to smashmouth football with Ingram because this cost them next year's first round pick.


29. Chicago Bears- Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin- A-

The Bears need to upgrade their line and this a solid pick. I don't see how Carimi doesn't become a 10-year starter.


30. New York Jets- Muhammed Wilkerson DT Temple- B+

Good 3-4 DE prospect. Not their first choice, but after the Browns took Phil Taylor, this is still a soild pick. Surprised they didn't get an edge rusher but that tells me they don't think very highly of Brooks Reed and Akeem Ayers.


31. Pittsburgh Steelers- Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State- B

Steelers fans will love Iron Mike's kid. Tough DE built for the 4-3.


32. Green Bay Packers- Derrick Sherrod OT MIssissippi State- C+

Hard to get excited about a OT for the future, but when you win the SB, you don't really have a pressing need. Another 3-4 team that could use a 3-4 edge rusher but passed on Ayers and Reed.

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