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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Pick-by-Pick Grades for Patrick Peterson and Picks 5-8

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Grades: Pick-by-Pick Grades for Patrick Peterson and Picks 5-8

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Patrick Peterson, #5 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, holds up his jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    2011 NFL Draft Grades Update Will Break Down Picks No. 5 to 8

    2011 NFL draft day gave us some early surprises. 

    Patrick Peterson fell to No. 5, the Atlanta Falcons pulled the trigger on acquiring big receiver Julio Jones, the Niners reached for Aldon Smith and the Tennessee Titans stunned the league by making Jake Locker the second quarterback taken in the draft.

    Which teams are getting good grades for their respective moves?

    Let's find out.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo on stage with Patrick Peterson, #5 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Tr
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Many believe the best athlete available in the draft is Patrick Peterson. In fact, some experts expected him to go No. 1 overall not too long ago.

    But teams drafting based on need allowed him to slip all the way to the Arizona Cardinals.

    For the Cardinals, there are holes all throughout their lineup, including the secondary. In Peterson they get a big cornerback that can shut down receivers on defense and a stud return man that can make an impact for the special teams unit right away.

    In other words, he can do it all.

    Grade: A

6. Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Ph
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The size and natural abilities are all there. What's still lacking, however, is an overall sense for playing football.

    Apparently the Falcons were so enamored with Jones' potential that they just had to trade up 20 spots to grab him. Although he impressed with incredible scores during the combine, Jones is not as NFL-ready as his contemporary A.J. Green.

    This is a bit of a puzzling trade considering the Falcons already have one of the best receivers in the game in Roddy White. Adding a young receiver instead of a top pass rusher to fortify their defense will lead to many questions.

    Grade: C-

7. San Francisco 49ers: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissoner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Aldon Smith, #7 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty I
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Smith is a guy that just has all the natural gifts at the stand-up position, and the Niners reportedly envision him as a weak-side linebacker.

    He has excellent athleticism, long arms and strong hands that make him a very prolific defender. At this point in the draft, Robert Quinn could have been an option, but Smith is actually a much safer choice even though he's not as explosive because he does not bring the extra baggage.

    There were just a lot of other moves the Niners could have made with this pick, such as drafting Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, adding Prince Amukamara at corner or even adding a workhorse like J.J. Watt.

    Only time will tell if the Niners made the right move. Right now it's looking suspicious.

    Grade: C+

8. Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker answers questions during a media session at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    No doubt about it—the Titans' decision to go with Jake Locker at No. 8 was a bit of a shocker. But there's just no way to dismiss it as an impulse move. This was premeditated.

    The fact that they passed on Blaine Gabbert proves Locker was the guy they wanted all along. 

    He's a very good athlete with a good head on his shoulders. However, Locker's production dropped during his senior season last year, and many believed he would even fall out of the first round.

    In other words, he's the anti-Vince Young.

    Locker is a true character guy that brings intangibles and leadership skills that Young hardly possessed.

    It was a very bold but pretty well thought-out pick.

    Grade: B-

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