The NFL Draft's Best and Worst Values
Two days after the NFL Draft, everyone and their mother is already analyzing every move by every team. I'm throwing my hat in the ring here, but instead of focusing on which picks I think are necessarily the best or worst, I'm going to focus on who got the best value for their position in the draft.
Best value: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State to the Cardinals, No. 31 overall
There are a couple candidates here. I thought Michael Oher would be a top-15 pick for sure, and I'm wishing he didn't go to a division rival of my favorite team. Michael Crabtree was a great pick at No. 10, especially for the 49ers.
I didn't expect Beanie Wells to be a top 10 pick. However, I never expected him to fall all the way to No. 31. This is a fantastic pick for the Cardinals, as they were set to head into next year with Tim Hightower as the feature back.
Worst value: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland to the Raiders, No. 7 overall
If the Raiders wanted a WR, Heyward-Bey wasn't close to the best one available. Crabtree was still on the board, as was Percy Harvin. Heyward-Bey had a problem with drops all through college, and there were plenty of sure-handed options available.
Not only that, the Raiders probably could have gotten this guy in subsequent rounds if they wanted him that bad.
Biggest chance of being a bust: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia to the Lions, No. 1 overall
The Lions made the right move in picking Stafford. He does have the talent, and he could be a franchise QB.
However, I'm not sure the Lions have the right system for Stafford, or anybody, really, to succeed. In this draft, most of their picks were upgrades to the defense. Again, that's the right move, but it doesn't put Stafford in a great position for his first year.
For all the WRs the Lions drafted under Matt Millen, after the trade of Roy Williams, the only weapon they have left is Calvin Johnson. He's a beast, sure, but other teams know this and triple-cover him every game.
With nobody else to spread the ball around to and a subpar offensive line, Stafford is going to have to work some real miracles to have a good first year.
Best value: Max Unger, OT, Oregon to the Seahawks, No. 49 overall
Unger is a quick-moving, athletic offensive lineman who can play just about every position on the line. He'll be an upgrade for Seattle's pass blocking for sure, though I'm not sure how well he'll do in the run game.
He was projected to be a late first-rounder and has the talent to produce like one. Good pick for Seattle.
Worst value: Mike Mitchell, SS, Ohio to the Raiders, No. 47 overall
Al Davis doesn't understand the draft. There's no other explanation as to why he would draft someone he could get in the seventh round—or possibly even as an undrafted free agent—in the second round.
Whether he surprises everyone and produces like a second round pick isn't the point. The point is that he would have been available much later in the draft, and the Raiders could have gotten a more sure thing here.
Biggest chance of being a bust: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State to the Browns, No. 36 overall
As an Ohio State fan, I hate to pick Robiskie as a bust. However, I'm just not convinced his skills will translate well to the NFL. He's physical enough to succeed in a system like Cleveland's, so maybe I'm wrong. I just have a feeling is all.
Best value: Kraig Urbik, OT, Wisconsin to the Steelers, No. 79 overall
Considered by some as high as the fourth best guard in the draft, Urbik is a good pick in the third round. He can play both guard and tackle, which increases his value, and he has the upside to be a solid producer in the NFL for years to come.
He's still raw, but the third round and later is all about upside, and Urbik has it.
Worst value: Bradley Fletcher, CB, Iowa to the Rams, No. 66 overall
This is a big reach for the Rams. Fletcher projects to be a package DB with no upside as a starter and is slower than a corner needs to be to cover the game's best receivers. In round three, the Rams could have done better.
From here on out, I won't be projecting busts. As I said in the beginning, the third round and later are all about upside rather than established, immediate talent additions. As such, it's hard to call anyone a bust.
Best value: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt to the Bears, No. 119 overall
Simply a fantastic value by the Bears here. Moore has potential to be a solid No. 2 or 3 corner in the NFL, and that's a good value for the fourth round.
Worst value: Stanley Arneux, LB, Wake Forest to the Saints
It's not that Arneux is a bad player—I just think he wasn't the best linebacker the Saints could have gotten here and was far from the best player they could have gotten overall. The Saints had a pretty good draft, but this isn't the symbol of that.
Best value: Nate Davis, QB, Ball State to the 49ers, No. 171 overall
This may be a homer pick on my part, as I'm a Ball State student, but I really feel like Davis can be a solid contributor in the NFL.
He's probably not a franchise QB, but at the very least, he'll make a fantastic backup QB and is a nice value in the fifth round. Davis should have a chance to start in San Francisco, and he may surprise a lot of people with his good arm.
Worst value: Duke Robinson, OT, Oklahoma to the Panthers, No. 163 overall
Robinson was a good lineman in college, but even then he was pretty inconsistent. This pick may pan out very well for the Panthers if they can straighten him out and get him to perform well on every play, but odds are he's slated for a backup role in the NFL.
Best value: Brandon Gibson, WR, Washington State to the Eagles, No. 194 overall
Pretty good upside pick here, as Gibson will give the Eagles immediate depth at WR. He'll probably spend his career in Philly as a No. 4 guy, maybe moving up to No. 3 eventually, but he should produce very well in those roles.
I'm not going to name a worst value for this round, as I feel like every team drafted pretty competently here.
Best value: A.Q. Shipley, C, Penn State to the Steelers, No. 226 overall
Shipley was a dominant college center but fell due to doubts about his skills being able to translate to the NFL. In the seventh round, however, a team as thin on the offensive line as Pittsburgh is wise to take the reigning Rimmington Award winner on the chance that he pans out.
And again, I'm not picking a worst value here, simply because in the seventh round, teams pretty much expect the players they draft not to turn out. Anybody that pans out this late is a pleasant surprise.
Best value: Chris Wells
Worst value: Mike Mitchell
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