Giants, Eagles get players they need; Raiders flunk outby USA Today on Apr. 27, 2009, under Sports
Grading the 32 NFL teams on how they did in the draft this past weekend:
New York Giants: They got what they needed and the guys that they wanted. Had targeted WR Hakeem Nicks, a big-body WR with great production who impressed at a workout at Giants Stadium. LB Clint Sintim led ACC in sacks, can move up and rush from line.
Philadelphia Eagles: Traded a No. 1 previously to Buffalo for Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters. Traded up to get WR Jeremy Maclin, who may become the weapon so often deemed lacking from this offense.
Buffalo Bills: May have found four eventual starters in first two rounds. Had only 24 sacks last year so DE Aaron Maybin becomes an immediate savior.
New England Patriots: They’ll get help from this draft because they maneuvered themselves into 12 picks. Got talented people in numerous positions. S Patrick Chung is strong, has decent size, can pair with Brandon Meriweather.
Green Bay Packers: Shift to 3-4 dictated first two picks and they should be good ones. DT B.J. Raji will be the interior space-eater. Acquired another No. 1 pick to get OLB Clay Matthews.
Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals needed RB to complement Tim Hightower and found Chris Wells still on the board at 31.
Atlanta Falcons: Count TE Tony Gonzalez, acquired in trade for next year’s second-rounder, in this evaluation. Filled biggest need. DT Peria Jerry takes over for the departed Grady Jackson as the run-stopper in a defense that lost five starters.
Cincinnati Bengals: OT Andre Smith carries some question marks, but he is a superior blocker and got great references from Alabama coach Nick Saban. Conditioning and weight will always be questions.
Cleveland Browns: C Alex Mack was the best at his position, solidifies problem area, but may have gone a tad early at 21. Both receivers, Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi, will contribute quickly.
Seattle Seahawks: LB Aaron Curry can step in on weak side where Julian Peterson roamed. Traded back into second round for C Max Unger, who can play anywhere on the line.
Tennessee Titans: Got an athletic big-play WR in Kenny Britt and in the right spot in the first round for value.
Baltimore Ravens: Traded up to grab OT Michael Oher, who can play either side. DE Paul Kruger is a high-motor pass-rusher who seems made for the “organized chaos” of the Ravens’ scheme.
Chicago Bears: Count QB Jay Cutler in this equation, cost Bears their No. 1 and more. Grade goes up if he performs.
Denver Broncos: Solved the problem of an armada of RBs by reaching a bit for Knowshon Moreno. That said, he ought to plug into their shotgun scheme very well.
New York Jets: Bold move to go up for QB Mark Sanchez. This after ditching Chad Pennington and the dalliance with Brett Favre. Give them points for courage of their convictions in trading up and taking him.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Steelers let the draft unfold and took the best player on their board, DT Evander “Ziggy” Hood.
Detroit Lions: Never can tell with the franchise QB. What will the Lions put around Matthew Stafford to enable him to have success? And when will they risk putting him on the field?
Houston Texans: Three of first four picks dedicated to defense, and rightfully so. LB Brian Cushing has sound fundamentals. Texans seem to see Connor Barwin more as a DE than LB.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Got bookend OTs in first two rounds with Eugene Monroe and former Arizona Wildcat Eben Britton.
Minnesota Vikings: Went for a boom-or-bust type in WR Percy Harvin. A little undersized, has history of injuries and other issues and tested positive for marijuana at scouting combine.
Carolina Panthers: Everette Brown has that tweener look and slipped out of first round, where Panthers had no pick anyway.
Kansas City Chiefs: Bypassed sureshot LB Aaron Curry for DE Tyson Jackson. He’ll fit well in Chiefs’ 3-4 but he’s not much of a pass-rusher and the Chiefs lacked painfully in that department last year.
Miami Dolphins: CBs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith have good size and good speed and provide immediate upgrades at an area of need for the Dolphins.
St. Louis Rams: OT Jason Smith has that “can’t miss” aspect to him but there’s not much going on on that O-line between him on the left side and Alex Barron on the right.
Washington Redskins: Got a little lucky that DE/LB Brian Orakpo slid to them at 13. They can play him up front on pass-rushing downs and at LB on first and second down.
Indianapolis Colts: Drafted Joseph Addai No. 1 in 2006 and now they’re back again with Donald Brown? Brown lacks breakaway speed but fits the Colts’ approach.
New Orleans Saints: CB/S Malcolm Jenkins will bring a toughness to a weak back end. He and Tracy Porter could make an interesting CB tandem.
San Diego Chargers: Extreme reach in first round for DE/LB Larry English. Not a team with a lot of needs, so that’s probably OK.
San Francisco 49ers: WR Michael Crabtree fell to them and they grabbed him at No. 10. RB Glen Coffee shows few measurable NFL skills, does not approach what they have in Frank Gore.
Dallas Cowboys: LB Jason Williams does everything at top speed, including making mistakes. But he brings athleticism and hustle on every snap.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Depends on how much QB Josh Freeman gives them. Traded up to get him and he’s raw, though he owns a high-powered arm and can throw with zip moving in either direction.
Oakland Raiders: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey seventh? He disappeared for games at a time, is not a well-rounded receiver but boasts the key Raider attribute – straight-line speed.