2010 Draft Grades: Eagles

With so many picks, its hard to earn a bad grade in the draft. The Eagles have so many young players on their roster, its hard to imagine them putting it all together right away. However, a few years down the road this offseason could be looked at as the start of a dynasty.

I love the selection of Brandon Graham in the 1st round. I think he’s better suited as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme than as a linebacker in the 3-4, so I was glad to see him land in Philly. He isn’t a complete player yet, but he’ll make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. A double-digit sack season as a rookie is well within reason.

Nate Allen was the ideal 2nd-round pick for the Eagles. He’ll compete with Marlin Jackson for the starting job at free safety and I expect him to win that competition. He’s a ball-hawking safety who should make an immediate impact.

They reached for Daniel Te’o-Nesheim in the 3rd round. He’s similar to Brandon Graham but not as explosive. He’s a hard worker and the type of player coaches love, but I don’t see him as a future starter. He’ll be buried on the depth chart early in his career.

The Eagles definitely needed a cornerback, but I don’t like the fact that Trevard Lindley was their only selection at the position. He’s undersized and is coming off a disappointing senior year at Kentucky. He’s probably nothing more than a nickel corner in the NFL.

They also reached for Keenan Clayton, but I can see why they like him. He’s a perfect fit at weak-side linebacker in their system. However, he has very limited upside and will be nothing more than a backup in the NFL. In fact, he may struggle to make their crowded roster out of camp.

I like Mike Kafka but I was surprised the Eagles selected a quarterback so early in the draft. He’ll be their third quarterback this season and eventually take over as the backup once they part ways with Vick, likely next season.

I think Clay Harbor is one of the best small-school sleepers in this year’s draft class, but I’m not sure he’s a great fit in Philly. He’s a prototypical half-back and should be used in a similar way the Redskins use Chris Cooley. His success in the NFL could depend on the Eagles willingness to carve out a niche for him in their offense.

Ricky Sapp is a potential steal in the 5th round, but he didn’t land in a great place in Philadelphia. He’s a defensive end/linebacker ‘tweener and is probably better suited as a linebacker in a 4-3 defense. I like his potential, but I don’t see how he’ll be able to get onto the field early in his career with the Eagles.

I can’t possibly say enough good things about their selection of Riley Cooper. I truly believe Cooper will be one of the gems of his draft class. Playing in Urban Meyer’s offense at Florida he never really had the opportunity to showcase his skills, but he can be a great possession receiver in the NFL. There are concerns about his speed, but he’s a smart player with great hands and I think he’ll emerge as a favorite target of Kevin Kolb early in his career.

Charles Scott can be an effective short-yardage running back and will be given the opportunity to compete with Dwayne Wright for the backup job.

I was shocked that Jamar Chaney fell to the 7th round, and I still don’t know why. He’s a good athlete with decent size and was productive on a bad defense at Mississippi State. The Eagles are stacked at linebacker though, which means he’ll have to fight for a spot on the roster.

Jeff Owens will provide some depth at defensive tackle, competing with Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws for playing time as a backup.

Kurt Coleman was one of the best 7th-round picks this year. He can play both safety positions and excels on special teams.

Overall, I really can’t complain about anything the Eagles did in this draft. The addressed nearly every position of need and landed a number of players, even in the late rounds, that will compete for playing time early in their careers. Three years from now we could look at the Eagles roster and see three or four starters from their 2010 draft class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Eagles Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Cowboys

The selection of Dez Bryant came as no surprise, we all know Jerry Jones loved him, but it is still a puzzling move. The Cowboys had nice trio of receivers last year with Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton. Despite Williams’ struggles the addition of Bryant seems unnecessary, especially with other holes to fill.

Bryant is an elite talent, but concerns about his maturity level are not blown out of proportion as some will have you believe. There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about his ability to handle life in the NFL. Obviously the Cowboys felt that the risk/reward was tilted in their favor with the 24th pick. Its hard to argue with that assessment considering that, talent-wise, he has the skills of an obvious top-10 pick.

I love the selection of Sean Lee in the 2nd round. Keith Brooking turns 35 in October, and his starting job will likely be handed to Lee in 2011. That said, I don’t see how they could justify taking a wide receiver and a linebacker with their first two picks. The Cowboys have every reason to believe they can contend for a Super Bowl title in 2010, but how do they plan on doing that without a left tackle? Charles Brown was on the board and looked like an obvious choice. An argument could have been made for Vlad Ducasse or Jared Veldheer as well.

In terms of upside, it doesn’t get much better than Akwasi Owusu-Ansah in the 4th round. I think he has the size and speed to be an elite player in the NFL at either free safety or cornerback. However, small school defensive backs rarely make a smooth transition to the NFL which is a big reason why he fell on draft day. He’s in a great position in Dallas to sit and learn if he needs to, but he’s definitely in the mix for the starting free safety job.

Sam Young will be given the chance to win the starting left tackle job, but only because no one else is an obvious candidate. Unless they bring someone in between now and the start of the season, the competition will likely be between Young and Doug Free.

Jamar Wall was a nice 6th round pick. He can provide depth at cornerback or free safety. He’s nothing special, but should be able to make the Cowboys roster.

Sean Lissemore will be given a chance to compete for a backup job at defensive end, transitioning from playing tackle in college. He’s fairly athletic for his size and has some upside, but he’ll have to fight for a roster spot.

Overall the Cowboys did a nice job in the draft but failed to add a guaranteed solution to their problems at either left tackle or free safety. For a team in contention for a championship, that’s a major oversight. On the bright side, they did get two players in the first two rounds that project as future starters for years to come. They both come with risks though (character and injury) raising some concerns that this draft could wind up being a major flop.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cowboys, Draft Grades - 2010 Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Chiefs

I was fairly surprised that Scott Pioli selected Eric Berry in the 1st round. He strongly believes that football games are won in the trenches and that safeties aren’t nearly as valuable as the big boys. Yet he went against his beliefs and took the guy many believed to be the best available player.

As much as I like Berry, I question his decision to pass on Russell Okung. The Chiefs defense is so bad right now, that I don’t see how Berry can make an immediate impact. Defensive backs are at the mercy of the pass rush. If you can’t pressure the quarterback, then the best defensive backs in the world will eventually get beat. An offensive tackle, however, can make an instant impact. Okung and Branden Albert would have been an excellent duo.

I really like Dexter McCluster, but it was a reach to take him 36th overall. He’s a nice complementary piece to have, but he’s too small to be a starter at either receiver or running back. The Chiefs have too many other holes to fill to be getting cute and taking players like McCluster in the early 2nd round.

I feel the same way about Javier Arenas. He can make an immediate impact on special teams, but I don’t view him as a starting cornerback. He’s too small and too slow. He’ll play immediately as a nickel cornerback, but he may be stuck at that position for his career.

Jon Asamoah was a great 3rd-round selection. He’ll likely play a backup role in 2010, but could eventually replace 33-year-old Brian Waters in the starting lineup.

I have mixed feeling about the selection of Tony Moeaki. He has the talent to be a future star, but he simply can’t stay healthy. He’s arguably the most injury-prone player in this year’s draft and there’s just no reason to believe he’ll have a long, healthy NFL career. If he does, he’ll be a steal, but a team like the Chiefs shouldn’t be taking risks like that in the 3rd round.

Even with a 5th-round pick I dislike the selection of Kendrick Lewis. There were other positions on the roster that needed depth more than safety (linebacker, receiver) and he may have even been a reach. He’ll have to fight to make the roster and won’t be more than a special teams contributor.

The finally added a linebacker with their last selection, Cameron Sheffield. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a project and probably won’t make an immediate impact. They really could have used someone early in the draft to take some of the workload off the aging Mike Vrable.

Overall, I think the Chiefs simply took too many chances and didn’t do enough to fix a miserable defense. Eric Berry is one heck of a safety, but it was their run defense that was the real problem in 2009. With five picks in the top 100, the Chiefs had the opportunity to make a real splash this year. They took a number of players with upside, but just not enough guys who can help immediately. I don’t see how this draft helped them get any better in the immediate future.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Chiefs, Draft Grades - 2010 1 Comment

2010 Draft Grades: Broncos

Well, I can say this much about Josh McDaniels: he’s not afraid to take some risks.

And he didn’t waste any time shaking things up in this year’s draft. The selection of Demaryius Thomas is a questionable one, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise. While Dez Bryant was clearly the most talented receiver in this year’s draft, I don’t blame McDaniels for staying away. He just dumped one diva receiver and the last thing he wants is to replace him with another. Thomas doesn’t come with the same baggage, but he also won’t have as much of an immediate impact.

Receivers typically take two full seasons to develop before blossoming in their third year. However, it could take Thomas longer considering he played in an option offense in college. The number of routes he ran at Georgia Tech wasn’t anything compared to what he’ll be asked to do in Denver. Only time will tell how quickly he can pick up the new playbook and techniques at the NFL level.

If Thomas of Bryant wasn’t enough of a shocker, McDaniels trumped it by taking Tim Tebow over Jimmy Clausen. I, and plenty of others, have said it a thousand times this offseason: Tim Tebow does not have the talents of a 1st-round quarterback. If his name weren’t Tebow and he didn’t have a cult following no one would even consider him in the 1st round. He has so much to learn about the NFL game and simply doesn’t have the raw talent to make a smooth transition. Just look how long its taken Alex Smith to adjust to the NFL after playing in Urban Meyer’s offense. And Smith is significantly more talented than Tebow. This move will either make or break McDaniels’ career as a head coach in the NFL.

They also reached for Zane Beadles in the 2nd round. I like Beadles because he can play all five positions on the offensive line, but I’m not sure he’s capable of being a starter at any of them. He’ll likely wind up playing guard or right tackle in Denver.

J.D. Walton was a great 3rd-round pick. He’ll certainly be given the chance to win the starting job at center, and may even enter camp as the favorite.

I love the selection of Eric Decker. There’s no denying that Demaryius Thomas has more talent, but Decker is more NFL ready. He remind me of Anquan Boldin. He’s not the faster player on the field, but he runs crisp routes and has reliable hands. He’ll be a steal for the Broncos.

Perrish Cox was also a steal in the 5th round. They needed to add some depth to their secondary and were lucky that a player like Cox fell that far. He’ll be the 3rd or 4th option at cornerback as a rookie, but could work his way into a starting role down the road.

Eric Olsen was a confusing pick. They had already spent two early picks on players projected to be interior offensive linemen. Depth was an issue, but adding three new players is excessive. One of the three – likely Olsen – will struggle to break camp on the roster.

I like the selection of Syd’Quan Thompson in the 7th round. His stock fell when he ran slower than expected this offseason. He’s undersized and isn’t the fastest player on the field, but he plays physical for his size and should be able to contribute on special teams.

Jammie Kirlew will likely move to outside linebacker where he’ll struggle to make the roster. He has some upside, but the Broncos just have too many outside linebackers. He’ll have to make a strong impression in training camp to make the squad, much less earn any playing time.

No matter what happens to Tebow, this was poor draft for the Broncos. They hitched their wagon to a developmental quarterback prospect and did so with a 1st-round pick. No matter what happens, that’s a poor decision. He won’t make a significant impact in the NFL until, at the earliest, three years down the road. You simply can’t invest a 1st-round pick in that type of player. They landed a few other decent prospects, but simply took too many risks.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Broncos, Draft Grades - 2010 Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Chargers

Considering they only had five picks, its hard to imagine the draft going any better for the Chargers.

I definitely think they reached for Ryan Mathews, but I wholeheartedly support the decision to move up and draft him. They have every reason to believe they can be a Super Bowl contender in 2010, and they need a running back like Mathews to make it happen. He was the only running back in this year’s draft class that projected as an immediate starter in their offense. Even C.J. Spiller wouldn’t have been a good fit because he’s too similar to backup Darren Sproles. They overpaid for him, but it was a move they simply had to make.

In the 3rd round they got great value for Donald Butler. Linebacker wasn’t a glaring hole, but Stephen Cooper is nothing special. In fact, he probably should have already lost his job to Kevin Burnett. Butler has an excellent chance to see significant playing time this season.

I was surprised by the selection of Darrell Stuckey because safety isn’t much of  a need. Eric Weddle has the starting free safety job locked up. Stuckey could probably play strong safety, but I don’t see him as a potential starter at that position. He’ll likely be nothing more than a backup and special teams contributor.

I was shocked that the Chargers didn’t address their need for a nose tackle within the first four rounds, but they got an absolute steal in Cam Thomas. He was never terribly productive at North Carolina, but I believe he just wasn’t a good fit for their defensive scheme. He’s a prototypical nose tackle, however, and has a shot to earn the starting job this season.

I don’t have a problem with the Chargers taking a developmental prospect at quarterback, but I’m not sure Jonathan Crompton would have been my first choice. Yes, he was great down the stretch this year. But he was absolutely terrible for his first year and a half as a starter. Essentially if Tennessee had any other option to replace him at quarterback, he wouldn’t have gotten a sniff from the NFL. That said, he has NFL size and a NFL arm and he’s in a position in San Diego where he won’t have to see the field anytime soon. Its a good place to sit and learn.

Dedrick Epps will add to their depth at tight end and probably play some special teams. He’s nothing special, but he’ll be given an opportunity to compete with Kris Wilson for the backup tight end job.

Overall, I love what the Chargers did in this draft. They filled their biggest hole with the one player in the draft capable of making an immediate impact in their offense. They then followed that up by landing Butler and Thomas, who at the very least will provide quality competition in training camp for the incumbent starters at their positions. This is what a draft should look like for a team that is already in contention for a championship.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Chargers, Draft Grades - 2010 Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Raiders

The only explanation I have for the Raiders draft is that no one told Al Davis it started on Thursday this year.

Rolando McClain doesn’t fill a glaring need, but he was arguably the best available player on the draft board. He’s a significant upgrade over Kirk Morrison, who was traded to Jacksonville before the draft was over. Given the other options available – most likely an offensive tackle – was clearly the right choice in my mind. McClain will have an instant impact and be an anchor on their defense for years to come.

Lamarr Houston was another uncharacteristically smart 2nd-round selection. He’ll likely be plugged into a starting role from day one. Another reason why I love the selection of Houston is because he’s a versatile lineman. Should the Raiders switch to a 3-4 in the near future, which many have speculated they will, Houston can easily shift outside to defensive end.

I have very mixed feeling about the selection of Jared Veldheer. Purely based on value I think it was a good selection. However, they’re desperate for a new left tackle and there will certainly be pressure to play Veldheer if he outperforms Mario Henderson in training camp (which won’t be hard to do).

And now we’re on the Al Davis portion of the draft…

After presumably showing up in the Raiders war room two days late, Al promptly selects the most athletic offensive lineman (Bruce Campbell) and the fast wide receiver from the combine (Jacoby Ford).

While it is a typical Al Davis pick, I really can’t criticize the selection of Campbell too much. He does have a ton of upside and he definitely had value in the 4th round. There will be no pressure to play him early on (unless Davis insists) and he can sit and learn and take the time to reach his full potential.

The Jacoby Ford selection, however, makes no sense. With the exception of Chaz Schilens, all the Raiders have are receivers who can stretch the field. Ford will just blend into the pack. Fortunately Davis didn’t force them to reach for him in the 2nd round.

Walter McFadden was a solid 5th-round pick. They really should have tried to land a cornerback earlier in the draft though, because McFadden will be forced to play early and often in the Raiders thin secondary. He’ll definitely be in the mix to win a starting job opposite Nnamdi Asomugha. Not because he deserves to though, just by default.

Travis Goethel doesn’t appear to fit in Oakland. They’re fairly deep at linebacker and he’ll struggle to make the squad unless he really stands out on special teams in training camp.

Jeremy Ware will be added to the rest of the dreck at cornerback in Oakland. Aside from Asomugha they don’t have a NFL-caliber cornerback, so if he impresses early on he could earn some playing time.

Stevie Brown was a nice 7th-round pick, but he’ll struggle to make the roster. The Raiders 2008 4th-round pick Tyvon Branch and 2009 2nd-round pick Mike Mitchell and strong safety. Both played reasonably well in 2009, making it unlikely that Brown will steal away any playing time.

Overall this was the best draft the Raiders have had in a few years. I’d love to know explanation behind their first few picks and why the typical Al Davis selections started popping up again in the 4th round. But whatever the reason, it worked. They landed a number of players who can make an immediate impact and a few other nice developmental prospects. The only major strike against them is their inability to find a left tackle or cornerback who can play immediately. McClain and Houston were safe picks – especially by the standard set by recent Raiders draft – but neither filled a significant area of need.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Raiders 3 Comments

2010 Draft Grades: Titans

Aside for the Seahawks, the Titans may have done more than any other team to help themselves immediately.

Derrick Morgan was the top defensive end on our draft board, and quite possibly on the Titans. He’s probably the most complete defensive end in the draft, making him a perfect fit in Tennessee. They lucked out having him fall to No. 16.

I wasn’t nearly as high on Damian Williams as most, but he had value in the 3rd round. He’s a little soft, the Titans have a great coaching that can toughen him up if he’s willing to put in the effort. There’s no denying his talent, so he was well worth the risk at No. 77.

Rennie Curran is one of the players that needed to land in the right system to be effective, and Tennessee is the perfect place for him. He’s vastly undersized, but that’s exactly how the Titans like their linebackers. Their probably isn’t room for him to play immediately, but he’ll be groomed for a starting job in a year or two.

I was surprised they didn’t address their need for a cornerback before the 4th round, but Alterraun Verner is still a good pick. They didn’t need to add a star, just more depth, and Verner can get the job done. He’ll be given the opportunity to compete with Jason McCourty for the starting job opposite Courtland Finnegan.

I think they reached for Robert Johnson in the 5th round. He doesn’t fill a need and he probably don’t see the field expect on special teams early in his career.

Rusty Smith is a developmental quarterback who was worth the risk in the late rounds of the draft. He has NFL size and arm strength. They’d probably like to place him on the practice squad, but if they like him enough they’ll dump Kerry Collins or Chris Simms and keep Smith as the 3rd string quarterback.

I love the pick of Myron Rolle in the 6th round. I don’t see how he fits into their crowded secondary, but he had too much value to pass up that late in the draft. I sincerely hope he didn’t fall because teams are worried that he’s “too smart” for an NFL locker room.

Marc Mariani is a nice developmental prospect but he likely won’t make the roster. They simply have too many receivers who deserve a permanent spot on the roster to waste a spot on Mariani.

David Howard fits the mold of the slightly undersized tackle that the Titans have been using in recent years. They’re very deep at the position though, so I don’t see how he fits into their immediate plans. He’s another developmental prospect who will likely be placed on the practice squad.

Overall the Titans did a great job in the draft. They lucked out having Morgan and Williams fall into the laps, despite both players receiving much higher grades from many teams than where they were selected. They also did a great job adding to their depth on the third day of the draft. The only criticism I have is that they may have taken too many chances on players who will struggle to make the roster in 2010. They’ll have a hard time keeping all nine draftees around past the end of training camp.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Titans Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Jaguars

Wow, where do I even start with this…

I can honestly say that no 1st-round pick has ever shocked me as much as seeing Tyson Alualu go 10th overall. I’ve heard some people defend Gene Smith by saying only time will tell whether it was a bad pick. I disagree 100%. Only time will tell if Bradford was a bad pick for the Rams or Suh a bad pick for the Lions, etc. But Alualu was a bad for the Jaguars no matter what happens.

There’s simply no way that any other team had him graded as a top-20 pick. Some likely didn’t even have him graded as a 2nd-round pick. After the Jaguars selected Alualu 10th overall, both the 11th and 12th picks were promptly traded – further making the Jags look foolish. They easily could have traded with San Diego (who eventually traded up to No. 12) and taken Alualu in the late 1st round. Or at the very least, traded back to No. 13 with the 49ers (who traded up to No. 11) and at least gotten something in return.

Despite my criticisms of the pick, I do need to say this: I really like Tyson Alualu. I was fully prepared to praise someone for grabbing him in the early 2nd round, or even the late 1st (maybe the Colts or Saints). However, he does have his flaws. He’s a pass-rushing interior lineman, but may not have the size and strength to excel at the next level. As much as  like him, he just wasn’t worth a top-10 pick.

If the selection of Alualu wasn’t bad enough, they spent their next pick on another defensive tackle, D’Anthony Smith. I can understand adding one tackle, as it allowed them to release John Henderson, but two? Terrence Knighton was impressive as a rookie last year and I don’t see how Smith fits into their plans as anything more than a backup.

They finally added some pass rushers in the 5th round with Larry Hart and Austen Lane. Although I wonder if Hart will eventually be switched to strong-side linebacker. He’s slightly undersized and may not be a great fit for playing with his hand on the ground in the NFL. I love the selection of Lane, however. I think he can be groomed as the eventual replacement for Aaron Kampman.

Deji Karim could be a steal in the 6th round. I like him a lot, but the only problem is, he may be too similar to Maurice Jones-Drew. Both are small bowling ball-type running backs. For that reason, I think he’ll struggle to beat out Rashad Jennings as the backup job. They need someone who’s a change of pace from Jones-Drew, not a clone.

Scotty McGee was a questionable 6th-round pick. There were better return specialists on the board. I’m rarely surprised to see a name come off the board by the 6th round, but I was genuinely surprised to hear his name called at all on draft day. They did need a return specialist, however, so I can’t argue too much with taking a chance on one in that late in the draft.

This was a terrible draft from start to finish. Gene Smith, who put together a fairly impressive 2009 draft class, embarrassed himself with the selection of Tyson Alualu. If Alualu fails to pan out, he’ll be out of a job sooner rather than later. For a franchise that desperately needed to make a splash to excite the fan base, they failed miserably.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Jaguars Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Texans

The Texans did a great job filling needs in this draft, but I think they reached a little too often to do so. They’re feeling the pressure to win now, which can sometimes lead to poor draft-day decisions.

I like Kareem Jackson, but he wasn’t worth a top-20 pick. They obviously looked at their starting cornerbacks (Brice McCain and Quin Glover) and panicked. With Ryan Mathews off the board, probably their only non-cornerback option in the 1st-round, they were dead-set on taking a corner. Unfortunately there just wasn’t anyone other than Haden worth a top-20 pick.

Their 2nd-round selection of Ben Tate also reeks of them locking in on one positions and insisting on filling it with that pick. They simply couldn’t enter 2010 with Steve Slaton as their starting running back. After missing out on Mathews in the 1st round, they had to address the need in the 2nd. Tate can be a nice compliment to Slaton but he wasn’t worth the 58th overall pick in the draft. They should have rolled the dice that Tate or a comparable running back would be available in the 3rd round.

Once again in the 3rd round they reached to fill a need. Their defensive tackles have all been career underacheivers, especially starters Amobi Okoye and Shaun Cody. I don’t disagree with addressing the need, but Earl Mitchell is too raw to have an instant impact. He has upside, but it will take some time to develop him into a starter. This just wasn’t a good fit for Mitchell. He’s the type of player that would have benefited from playing behind a proven veteran for a year or two.

In the 4th round they reached again, this time to add depth at linebacker. Darryl Sharpton is a versatile linebacker who can backup DeMeco Ryans on the inside or compete for playing time at the weak-side position. By the 4th round reaches don’t look as bad, but it doesn’t change the fact that there were better players on the board.

I love the selection if Garrett Graham in the 5th round. He is a very similar player to fellow Badger Owen Daniels. No one will be expecting Graham to see much playing time as a rookie, but he’ll provide insurance behind Daniels who missed nearly the entire 2009 season with an ACL injury.

Sherrick McManis has limited upside, but they needed to add more depth at cornerback. He’ll play special teams and be a 4th or 5th option at cornerback if the makes the roster.

I was surprised that the Texans waited until the 6th round to address their interior offensive line. Shelley Smith doesn’t have much upside, but he could see playing time as a rookie if for no other reason than the Texans don’t have many other options.

Trindon Holliday will be an interesting player to watch in 2010. Given his size (5’5″, 159 pounds), its hard to imagine him doing anything other than returning kicks and punts. But can he even win that job over Andre’ Davis and Jacoby Jones? I hope he does just for the entertainment factor of seeing the NFL’s version of Earl Boykins returning kicks.

I was absolutely shocked that Dorin Dickerson fell to the 7th round. The issue is obvious that he doesn’t have a true position. He’s too small to play tight end or wide receiver. He’s built like a running back, but has no experience there. But despite all that, he’s too athletic not to give a shot to play somewhere. Even if he plays a very limited role, plays can be designed for him to create mismatches. I think the Texans got themselves a steal, so long as they’re willing to work him into the game plan.

This was a make-or-break draft for the Texans. Either Jackson and Tate make an immediate impact and push the Texans over the top and into the playoffs, or Gary Kubiak will be pushed out the door. The Texans have been just on the outside of legitimately competing for a few years now and they’re starting to grow impatient with Kubiak’s inability to get them into the playoffs. You have to give them credit for takings risks, but if they don’t work out, the next regime will look at this draft as the reason why they’ve been set back 2-3 years.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Texans Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Colts

Simply put, I expect more from the Colts. They’ve been an elite franchise for a full decade now, and while Peyton Manning deserves a lot of credit for that, Bill Polian has been a key piece of that puzzle as well. But if this draft is any indication, the Colts are quickly headed in the wrong direction.

Jerry Hughes definitely had value in the late 1st round, so I can’t argue with the pick too much, but the Colts had other needs. Hughes will only be a backup to Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis early in his career. In time, he could certainly prove to be worth a late-1st-round pick, but I don’t see him playing a significant role in helping them win another Super Bowl in the next 2-3 years. At least not as long as Freeney and Mathis are around.

In the 2nd round the Colts reached way off the board for Pat Angerer. I love the way he plays the game, but he’s simply not a 2nd-round pick. To make matters worse, he doesn’t fill a need. He’ll likely begin his career on special teams and as a backup to Gary Brackett.

Kevin Thomas finally filled a need, but the Colts didn’t need another a mid-round cornerback on the roster. He’ll add to their depth, but ultimately he’ll just blend in with the mediocre play of Jacob Lacey, Jerraud Powers and Kelvin Hayden.

If Thomas and Angerer were reaches, I’m not sure what to call the selection of Jacques McClendon. They really didn’t need to add depth on the offensive line. What they needed was an upgrade at one or more of the positions on the line. McClendon won’t provide that; at least not immediately.

Brody Eldridge was yet another terrible reach. I wasn’t surprised to see them select a tight end, but there were plenty of others that would have been a better fit. They have a solid one-two punch with Clark (the pass-catcher) and Santi (the blocker). Eldrige will have a hard time making the roster. Even Gijon Robinson and Jacob Tamme have a leg up on him right now.

The Colts needed a defensive tackle, but they needed an upgrade, not more depth. Ricardo Mathews will struggle to earn playing time behind backups Fili Moala and Eric Foster, let alone starters Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir.

Kavell Conner is vastly undersized, but he was productive in college. He’ll likely be given a chance to compete for playing time at strong-side linebacker. Its one of the weakest positions on the Colts defense, so he just may earn a roster spot. That said, this was a position that needed to be addressed earlier in the draft.

I think Ray Fisher was a great 7th-round pick. He’ll be buried on the cornerback depth chart, but he’s an explosive return specialist. He may turn out to be the only Colts rookie to make a significant impact as a rookie.

Overall, this was a very disappointing draft for the Colts. Even if some of their picks turn into quality players down the road, they needed to add some immediate help. The window of opportunity to win another Super Bowl with Peyton Manning is closing fast. He’s 34 years old and Colts should have done more to surround him with players that can help them win immediately. The offensive line struggled in the Super Bowl and was a weakness all season long. They should have added more than Jacques McClendon to help fix that issue. Additionally, they could have used an early-round cornerback or strong-side linebacker. If i didn’t like Jerry Hughes as much as I do, this draft would deserve a failing grade.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Colts, Draft Grades - 2010 4 Comments