2011 NFL Draft Results: Full Report Card for All 32 Teams
The 2011 NFL draft is now in the books. All NFL teams will now stop and take a breather. They will review their draft boards to see what players went undrafted and prioritize which ones they want to sign to a deal as soon as the CBA is done and free agency is allowed to start back up again.
So for right now, we want to evaluate how each team did with their draft and give them a grade that is commensurate with how they addressed their team needs. We are more interested in quality over quantity unless you feel the need to give away most of your draft class for one player.
We fully recognize that it will be years until we know how effective each of these picks actually turn out to be. Some will go above expectations, some will get hurt, some will be cut and never return to the NFL. Others will be waiting patiently for their turn, while others will make more headlines off the field than they will on the field.
For those teams that drafted players with major character issues, we will have to deal with that issue as well. So, it looks like we are ready to go forward, so on to the draft grades.
Team Needs: Quarterback, outside linebacker, offensive line, tight end and inside linebacker.
How Did They Do: Cornerback may not have been their biggest need, but Patrick Peterson will make their defense better. Rob Housler addresses the need at tight end. Sam Acho helps the outside pass rush. Quan Sturdivant will address inside linebacker.
Cardinals decided to add another running back to their current mix rather than take a quarterback.
Team Needs: Wide receiver, pass rush and defensive end.
How Did They Do: With one of the boldest moves of the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons traded five draft picks away to the Cleveland Browns for the ability to jump up and draft Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. The move gives Atlanta another dynamic option for Matt Ryan, but at what cost?
Akeem Dent will help them at linebacker. Cliff Mathews was drafted late at defensive end, but it might be too little too late to make a major impact. The Falcons made a huge splash on day one, but hardly made any presence on day three. Mixed feelings because I like the aggressiveness, but think they sacrificed too much of their future.
Team Needs: Offensive line, wide receiver, pass rush and cornerback.
How Did They Do: Drafted the talented cover corner Jimmy Smith, the troubled player from Colorado. Smith is trying to right the ship after a troubled past, so the Ravens are hoping that their veteran locker room will be able to get a hold of Smith early on and set him on the path of the straight and narrow.
Local product Torrey Smith is a strong add to wide receivers. Jah Reid will provide depth for tackle and may challenge for a starting job.
Ozzie Newsome had a very solid day three, adding lots of quality players from WR Tandon Doss, RB Anthony Allen and QB Tyrod Taylor. Added DE Pernell McPhee and CB Chykie Brown. You have to tip your hat to Ozzie.
Needs: Tackle, tight end, quarterback, outside linebacker, defensive end, pass rush, safety and cornerback.
How Did They Do: Buddy Nix never had to make the challenging decision of drafting or passing on Cam Newton, because Carolina took that option away. Denver took away the Von Miller option, but that meant that the Bills were delighted to find the player they wanted all along sitting right there at the top of their draft board, Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus.
The Bills couldn't have been happier, as Dareus makes the entire defense better and stronger.
The Bills found a potential starting corner in Aaron Williams from Texas. Then they found LSU tackling machine Kelvin Sheppard, who could become a starter at inside linebacker.
With North Carolina Butch Davis sitting in as a guest analyst for NFL Networks for the fourth round, the Bills used their two picks on players Davis coached: safety Da'Norris Searcy and running back Johnny White. Naturally, Davis gushed about both players, but there appears to be good value with both.
The Bills had more holes than they had draft picks, which is why fans wanted Nix to trade down, but he was reluctant. Solid selections without any major reaches or stretches. At least Nix showed a little more flexibility by starting off with two underclassmen (last year he drafted none) and then went back to his comfort level with seniors.
Addressed the defense early and often, which is what he was supposed to do.
Team Needs: Quarterback, nose tackle and cornerback.
How Did They Do: The Carolina Panthers tried to keep everyone guessing for as long as they could, but it seemed inevitable that they would go with the Heisman Trophy winner, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
While he appears to be the poster boy in the new decade for high-risk/high-reward, the Panthers will have to figure out how soon they are ready to throw him into the fire. They also have to figure out what to do with the confidence level (and saving any value) of Jimmy Clausen.
The Panthers address nose tackle with Terrell McClain and Sione Fua. They picked up CB Brandon Hogan to address the need at corner. Their grade all depends on how Newton pans out, so for the potential of being a bust, we will keep it a B for now. Could go to A down the road or to a D if the worst happens.
Team Needs: Offensive line, defensive tackle and defensive end.
How Did They Do: The Chicago Bears wanted to address their offensive line and found a starting tackle in Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin. The Bears found their defensive tackle to replace Tommie Harris in Stephen Paea, but did not find a defensive end.
Had very few picks to work with in day three, so maybe they can find a defensive end in free agency. Grade suffers for allowing them to have so few picks to work with.
Grade: B +
Team Needs: Quarterback, wide receiver and defensive line.
How Did They Do: The Cincinnati Bengals have basically started to replace the Batman and Robin show, by drafting one of the most athletic wide receivers in A.J. Green from Georgia. No word yet if this was the final piece that was missing in the puzzle that ensures that Chad Ochocinco will be gone, but that remains to be seen.
The Bengals sweated out the early going in day two to wait and see if anyone ahead of them would draft TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. When New England and Buffalo decided to go after a cornerback instead, that paved the way for the Bengals to get their man.
Now the ball is in Carson Palmer's court to come back or stay retired. The Bengals have someone now that they can coach to play going forward.
Dontay Moch is a fine defensive end project but he was the only defensive lineman that they drafted.
Team Needs: Wide receiver and defensive line help.
How Did They Do: The Cleveland Browns were able to swing the wildest trade of the draft when they decided to accept an offer to receive five draft picks from the Atlanta Falcons to zoom up the first round and take Julio Jones. The Browns then got creative again, so that they could move up and take Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
Greg Little is a solid wide receiver. Jabaal Sheard combined with Phil Taylor makes an impact on the defensive line. Browns had a solid day three with the additions of TE Jordan Cameron, FB Owen Marecic, CB Buster Skrine and G Jason Pinkston. Really like what they did on Saturday, as well as how they helped their future.
Team Needs: Tackle, corner, secondary depth and offensive line depth.
How Did They Do: Jerry Jones tried his best to trade down to pick up some additional picks but nothing came to fruition. So, they had no other option than to take the best player on their board, which turned out to be USC tackle Tyron Smith. Just before the pick was announced, Jones appeared to be downcast or upset at the lack of a deal.
Joshua Thomas from Univ. of Buffalo helps the secondary issues, but he was the only addition to the secondary. Bruce Carter is a nice linebacker and DeMarco Murray gives them an option out of the backfield. Some of these seemed more like luxury picks.
Team Needs: Upgrading the front seven on defense, defensive line, OLB, ILB, safety, tackle, TE and RB.
How Did They Do: John Elway kicked off his first draft war room by deciding to go with Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. The pick signaled that the Broncos were going to be addressing the worst NFL defense from 2010 and this would pave the way for many more picks going to the defensive side of the ball.
Rahim Moore, Nate Irving, Quinton Carter and Mike Mohamed all help address the holes on defense. Broncos pulled a little Patriots move with the "twins tight ends" drafting Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. Orlando Franklin gives them offensive line help. Broncos took major steps going forward with this draft.
Team Needs: Cornerback, OLB, defensive line, ILB, and WR.
How Did They Do: The Detroit Lions were probably anxious to see what would happen when Nick Fairley started to slide down towards the end of the top 10. When the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings passed on Fairley, Detroit hopped all over the chance to upgrade their defensive line. It is now one of the best in the NFL.
Cornerback need never got addressed. Strong adds to offense with Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure, but day three was weak. Lions had strong draft for two days, but day three was forgettable.
Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: OLB, tackle and wide receiver.
How Did They Do: Picked up a solid tackle with Derek Sherrod, very good wide receiver in Randall Cobb and an OLB in D.J. Smith. Addressed their needs and added depth with guys like Rick Elmore, Davon House and D.J. Williams.
Team Needs: Defensive end, safety, outside linebacker and corner.
How Did They Do: The Houston Texans added a strong defensive end in J.J. Watt. Addressed outside LB with Brooks Reed, who has nice upside. Good CB pick in Brandon Harris and a solid safety that will excel on special teams in Shiloh Keo, a favorite of Deion Sanders and Mike Mayock.
Solid draft by Houston.
Grade: A -
Team Needs: Offensive line (tackle), WR, CB and safety.
How Did They Do: Landing Anthony Castonzo was big and Ben Ijalana gives another good prospect for offensive line. Did find a corner in Chris L. Rucker. Drake Nevis will help on defensive line and running back Delone Carter will light a fire under Donald Brown.
However, they did not find a wide receiver of major import or a safety.
Team Needs: Safety, LB, DE and QB.
How Did They Do: Got their QB of future with Blaine Gabbert. Found a safety in Chris Prosinski. But did not address the defensive line in a strong defensive line draft class. Did not find any linebackers either.
Will Rackley will be a solid pick. Missed the mark with some of their holes.
Kansas City Chiefs
Team Needs: Pass rush, DT, WR, tackle and QB.
How Did They Do: Got a talented wide receiver in Jonathan Baldwin but he is a diva, so this might be a move that the Chiefs regret. Found some help for the line in Rodney Hudson. Addressed pass rush with Justin Houston and Allen Bailey, but will need to keep them motivated.
Also got a future QB in Ricky Stanzi from Iowa. Overall, Kansas City added some questionable character guys, and that impacts their grade.
Team Needs: RB, QB and offensive line.
How Did They Do: Did not find a quarterback. Did draft a good running back in Daniel Thomas and a H-back in Charles Clay. Found help for offensive line with Mike Pouncey but the lack of a quarterback makes this team suspect.
Team Needs: QB, DE, NT, CB and WR.
How Did They Do: Found their quarterback in Christian Ponder, but had to make a gigantic reach to do it. Kyle Rudolph gives Ponder a great intermediate target to throw to, provided he stays healthy.
Helped out the needs on defensive line with Christian Ballard and De'Aundre Reed. Found a corner in Brandon Burton. Drafted a wide receiver very late in Stephen Burton.
Draft class is impacted by the major stretch for Ponder.
New England Patriots
Team Needs: OLB, offensive line and RB.
How Did They Do: In 2010 it was the twin tight ends; this year, it is the twin running backs with Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Ryan Mallett will either behave and learn under Tom Brady or he will be a distraction and be gone. For a team without many needs, the Patriots couldn't load up some picks to move up and grab a better player.
Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon give the offensive line some projects to work with for depth. Did not find any outside linebackers. Ras-I Dowling is a nice pick at CB.
Did restore some extra picks for 2012, so that figures in as well.
New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: Pass rush, OLB, RB and tackle.
How Did They Do: Cameron Jordan and Martez Wilson will help front seven and should impact pass rush. Mark Ingram was a great move in the first round to give the Saints a stronger running game. Greg Romeus was a nice late-add to defensive line.
Based on great first day, the Saints are happy with this draft.
New York Giants
Team Needs: RB, offensive line, LB and CB.
How Did They Do: Prince Amukamara was a great find, as he literally fell in the Giants' lap. Also got a quality player in Marvin Austin. Helped the offensive line with James Brewer. Landed a linebacker in Greg Jones.
The Giants addressed all their team needs, which is all you can ask.
New York Jets
Team Needs: WR, CB, pass rush, OLB and safety.
How Did They Do: Drafted a couple wide receivers in Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight, but they are not at the quality of their free agents. For pass-rush needs, you have Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis. The defensive line was strengthened.
Did not find a cornerback or a safety.
Team Needs: Offensive line, CB, safety, TE and QB.
How Did They Do: Found solid blockers in Stefan Wisniewski and Joseph Barksdale. Addressed corner needs with DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa. As usual, if they are fast, they become Raiders.
Found some fast players for offense in Taiwan Jones and Denarious Moore.
Raiders addressed most of their needs except for the quarterback situation.
Team Needs: CB, LB, DE, safety and tackle.
How Did They Do: Addressed needs on defense with Jaiquawn Jarrett, Curtis Marsh, Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle and Greg Lloyd. Did not find any defensive linemen, which is odd for this draft class.
Lineman Danny Watkins will be solid on the offensive line and be a fan favorite.
Team Needs: CB and offensive line.
How Did They Do: Addressed offensive line concerns with Marcus Gilbert and Keith Williams. Found a strong corner in Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen.
Cam Heyward was a solid value pick. Steelers did not have that many needs, so addressed team depth.
San Diego Chargers
Team Needs: Pass rush, LB, defensive line, safety, RB and tackle.
How Did They Do: Addressed defensive line and pass rush with Corey Liuget, Jonas Mouton and Andrew Cachkar. Found a safety in Marcus Gilchrist and a running back in Jordan Todman.
Chargers did not find a tackle but did address most of their needs.
San Francisco 49ers
Team Needs: QB, CB, OLB, sacks and nose tackle.
How Did They Do: Found their future QB with Colin Kaepernick. Aldon Smith will help with pass rush and addresses the outside-LB need very well. Did not find a nose tackle, however.
Added weapons with Kendall Hunter and Ronald Johnson. Reached perhaps for Chris Culliver for their corner.
Team Needs: QB, offensive line, guard and CB.
How Did They Do: Coming into day three, they had the worst draft for the first two days. Made up for it somewhat with a big haul in day three. James Carpenter was a reach.
Did not find a quarterback. Did add a corner in Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell.
Not a very solid draft for Pete Carroll.
St. Louis Rams
Team Needs: WR, DT, OLB, DE, guard and safety.
How Did They Do: Found a solid defensive end in Robert Quinn. Landed some targets for Sam Bradford with Austin Pettis, Greg Salas and Lance Kendricks. Drafted a safety in Jermole Hines.
Did not find a guard or a defensive tackle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: DE, ILB, OLB, safety and RB.
How Did They Do: Addressed defensive end with Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers. Got a linebacker in Mason Foster. Addressed safety spot with Ahmad Black. Got a quality tight end in Luke Stocker and a running back in Allen Bradford.
Bucs addressed vast majority of their needs.
Team Needs: QB, defensive line, LB and safety.
How Did They Do: Found their future QB in Jake Locker. Addressed defensive line with Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug. Did not draft a safety. Did pick up linebacker Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers.
Titans did address most of their needs. If Locker can solve accuracy issues, this will be a good draft.
Team Needs: Across the board—most of offense, nose tackle and pass rush.
How Did They Do: Changed their draft strategy to constantly trade down to acquire more picks. Came in with a fairly bare cupboard and walked away with a number of players. Picked up help on defense with Ryan Kerrigan, Jarvis Jenkins, Dejon Gomes, Brandyn Thompson and Markus White.
Addressed issues on offense with Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Niles Paul and Evan Royster. Did a solid job in second half of draft.
Is this a case of more quantity over quality? Time will tell.