2011 NFL Draft Results: AFC East Draft Reviews and Grades
This division produced a lot of solid, yet unspectacular drafts. The Bills did a good job addressing their defensive needs, but they failed to get a quarterback of the future. The Dolphins didn’t get a quarterback either, but their best pick was Daniel Thomas, who filled their biggest need. The Patriots had some very nice picks as usual, but they also had a few head-scratchers.
I think that the New York Jets had the best draft class in this division, as they did a good job of beefing up their defensive front. I’m also a big fan of the Jeremy Kerley selection in Round 5.
I hope you all enjoy my draft grades and reviews of each and every pick in this division, as well as overall draft grades for each of those teams.
1. (3) DE Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Dareus isn’t necessarily a sexy pick, but he is exactly what the Bills need on defense. He gives them a big presence along the defensive line, and he should be an instant impact player for them next season.
2. (34) CB Aaron Williams, Texas
Williams is a nice player, but I can’t believe that they passed on a quarterback here. It’s also puzzling because cornerback isn’t that big of a need.
3. (68) ILB Kelvin Sheppard, LSU
Excellent pick in my opinion. Sheppard is extremely underrated, and he’ll make an instant impact on that Buffalo defense next year.
4. (100) S Da’Norris Searcy, North Carolina
I think that this is a reach here. I also don’t think that they need another defensive back this early.
4. (122) OT Chris Hairston, Clemson
This is a solid pick, as Hairston will challenge for the starting spot at the right tackle position.
5. (133) RB Johnny White, North Carolina
This was a reach for White. They already have Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller at running back, so it doesn’t fill a need either.
6. (169) ILB Chris White, Mississippi State
Another reach in my opinion. White was a seventh-rounder at best.
7. (206) CB Justin Rogers, Richmond
I really don’t get why they took another defensive back at this point, but Rogers is a solid pickup here.
7. (245) DT Michael Jasper, Bethel
I have no idea who this is, but I do know that there were a lot of better players available at this point.
Final Grade: B-
Overall, I liked what the Buffalo Bills did in the draft this past weekend. I still think that they should’ve taken a quarterback at one point, but there is nothing that can change that now. Dareus is an excellent Round 1 pick who will make a huge impact on their defense. Aaron Williams is a solid corner, but this position wasn’t the biggest need at this point.
The other two picks that I thought filled needs were the selections of Kelvin Sheppard and Chris Hairston. I didn’t much care for much of the late-round picks, but Buddy Nix did a solid job overall.
1. (15) C Mike Pouncey, Florida
This fills a huge need for the Dolphins, as they badly needed to improve the interior of their line. It’s a little early for Pouncey though, and I thought they would’ve traded back for a quarterback here.
2. (62) RB Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
This is arguably the team’s biggest need, and I think that Thomas will be a solid replacement for Ricky Williams next season.
4. (111) WR Edmond Gates, Abilene Christian
I like this pick for the Dolphins, as this is not only good value, but it fills a need for a No. 2 receiver opposite Brandon Marshall.
6. (174) TE Charles Clay, Tulsa
Clay is a nice pickup here, as he can play both the tight end and the fullback positions.
7. (231) NT Frank Kearse, Alabama A&M
I didn’t have Kearse ranked, but he’ll fill the need for a backup defensive lineman.
7. (235) CB Jimmy Wilson, Montana
Will provide depth, but I don’t see how they could take him over Kendric Burney at this point.
Final Grade: C+
I think that the selection of Mike Pouncey was solid because it filled a big need, but I also think that No. 15 overall was too high for him. Daniel Thomas was a solid pick in my eyes, and he should make an impact at running back in 2011. The rest of the draft class was pretty uneventful, but both Edmond Gates and Charles Clay will provide depth at their respective positions.
New England Patriots
1. (17) OT Nate Solder, Colorado
I think that Solder is a bit overrated, and I think that Anthony Castonzo would have been a better pick at this point. He does fill a big need for the Patriots though, and Tom Brady has to like this pick.
2. (33) CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
A nice pick at this point, although I still had Aaron Williams more highly rated. He could contend for a starting spot next year and make a big impact for them.
2. (56) RB Shane Vereen, California
I’m a little shocked that they took a running back this early. Vereen is also a bit of a reach here, and I don’t see him as an every-down back.
3. (73) RB Stevan Ridley, LSU
Wow, this is a terrible pick. Not only is Ridley a huge reach here, but they just took Vereen and they didn’t need another running back.
3. (74) QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
The fall ends here for Mallett, and he couldn’t have ended up in a better situation. He will be well served to learn from Tom Brady for the next few seasons, and I think he’ll be a very good starter in a few seasons.
5. (138) OG Marcus Cannon, TCU
I love Cannon, and I don’t understand how he lasted this long. This is an excellent pick for the Pats, and he will contend for a starting spot right away next season.
5. (159) TE Lee Smith, Marshall
I don’t see the need for a tight end in New England. They had much bigger needs that they could’ve filled here.
6. (194) OLB Markell Carter, Central Arkansas
Carter is nothing but a project at this point, and I can’t believe it took them this long to draft a linebacker.
7. (219) CB Malcolm Williams, TCU
I have no idea who Williams is. They could’ve done much better at this spot.
Final Grade: C+
I know that Bill Belichick normally knows what he’s doing, but I question some of the picks he made. Solder has a ton of potential, but I don’t think that he was worth the 17th overall pick. Ras-I Dowling is a nice pick who could challenge for a starting spot this year. I didn’t really care for either of the running back picks, specifically the selection of Stevan Ridley, which was a huge reach. Ryan Mallett and Marcus Cannon were excellent value picks, but the Patriots failed to address the biggest need, which was at outside linebacker.
New York Jets
1. (30) DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
This is an excellent pick for the Jets here, and it fills a very big need for them. I thought that Wilkerson could’ve been gone by this point, so this is a very good pick.
3. (94) DT Kenrick Ellis, Hampton
Another excellent pick to help upgrade the defensive line, as Ellis will make a big impact on the run defense next season.
4. (126) RB Bilal Powell, Louisville
I think Powell is a very underrated player who is a nice value here. However, I don’t see a need for a running back, so he won’t make much of an impact.
5. (153) WR Jeremy Kerley, TCU
This fills a pretty big need for the Jets, especially with all of the free-agent wide receivers they currently have.
7. (208) QB Greg McElroy, Alabama
McElroy should develop into a very solid backup. He is a very high-character guy who is a good pickup here.
7. (227) WR Scotty McKnight, Colorado
I think this was a good value, but it helps out with the depth at wide receiver.
Final Grade: B
I loved what the Jets did with their first two picks in this draft, as they addressed two of their biggest needs. Wilkerson will make a big impact in his rookie season, and Ellis will also be a big contributor. I don’t really get the selection of Powell, but it was solid value for him in Round 4. Kerley is also a solid selection, and he provides insurance in case the Jets lose Brad Smith in free agency. Greg McElroy is a nice pick, and he’ll develop into a good backup for Mark Sanchez.