After taking a breath from the excellent yet constant NFL draft coverage, I have looked at what all 32 teams did in this past draft. I’ve ranked my top three teams and my bottom three teams. Rankings are based on the following: player talent, player value (talent vs. where the player was selected), team need for that player/position and the top two picks of each team were all given a lot of attention. If a team didn’t have a lot of picks because of previous trades, that was held against them, because they should be accountable for a choice they consensually made. Also, trades made for players by each team during the three-day draft were taken into account.
So, without further delay, here are my best and worst team rankings of the 2010 NFL draft.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers, D+
I like the Maurkice Pouncey pick a lot. He has a championship pedigree, is very versatile and fits their #1 need. However, after that, they didn’t do much at all. Especially considering the AFC North probably having the best division-wide draft (except for themselves), the Steelers could’ve done more. Three of their first six picks were outside linebackers. Hello? Have you ever heard of Lawrence Timmons or Lamar Woodley? See what I mean.
2. St. Louis Rams, D+
Obviously, they had to take Sam Bradford #1. That was a great pick. He might take a while to get up to speed, but he should be a very good player for them. The picks after Bradford have me worried. Their second pick was OT Roger Saffold out of Indiana. This was confusing because last year, they selected OT Jason Smith out of Baylor with the #2 overall pick. I understand adding offensive line depth is the second task (after acquiring a franchise QB) for a team in major need of rebuilding, but maybe the 33rd overall pick could’ve been put to better use. According to the ESPN Insider website, CB Jerome Murphy (selected in the third round) needs to work on his route defense discipline (seeing the route, knowing where to go, resisting play action fakes). Mardy Gilyard is a good pick at the first spot in the fourth round. He’s not an elite talent, but he will give you everything he has.
1. Chicago Bears, F
Well, I hope the Bears are happy with Jay Cutler, because this year’s draft cost them dearly. They only had five picks, none before the 11th selection in the third round. With that pick, though, they did well by taking Major Wright, S, Florida. Wright can help solidify a Bear secondary that has been filled with injuries and inconsistent talent. He has been known to show what many call “tight hips” (being stiff in coverage instead of being fluid in coverage). However, he has the athleticism to make up for any missteps. Since footwork and angles can be taught, he should soon be able to use all of his athleticism for gain in the Chicago secondary.
The Bears mortgaged this draft in order to sign Cutler last year. So why did they use one of their five picks on another QB (Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan)? Who knows. All I know is they had a poor draft, plain and simple.
Now, for the good news. Here are my top three teams who did very well in the 2010 NFL draft.
3. Kansas City, A-
They took a chance by taking Eric Berry #5 overall, but they needed to take him. Watch this video, and you’ll see how atrocious the Kansas City secondary was last year. Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas are really good picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, respectively. McCluster reminds me of Darren Sproles. Arenas may not be a starting corner (although in KC he could be), but is a savvy, durable DB who can fit into any scheme. Both McCluster and Arenas can excel in the return game as well. With their fourth pick, the Chiefs selected G Jon Asamoah from Illinois. Asamoah is a good pick because of what the Chiefs needed. They wanted to take an offensive lineman at #5, but Berry was too good to pass up. But early in the third round (#68 overall), they find Asamoah, who could be one of the steals of this draft. He has all you want from an interior lineman: he’s a sound run blocker, likes to initiate contact and has very good fundamentals, good core strength and little wasted movement. Excellent draft.
(Note: the Lions were very close to competing for this third spot. They too drafted very well.)
2. Baltimore Ravens, A
It’s no surprise that Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens are near the top of the list regarding top draft performances. Phil Savage, former Ravens GM, says Baltimore wanted either CB Kareem Jackson (Alabama) or WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech) at #25. Since those players weren’t there, they traded down to acquire more picks. They traded their #1 pick (25) to Denver. In exchange, they received 2nd (43), 3rd (70) and 4th (114) round picks. With those picks, the Ravens selected pass-rushing specialist OLB Sergio Kindle (Texas), DT Terrence Cody (Alabama) and TE Ed Dickson (Oregon), respectively. Kindle and Cody played against each other in the 2010 National Championship game, and Dickson played in the 2010 Rose Bowl. The Ravens’ top needs were as follows: shut-down corner, pass rusher, versatile TE and run-stuffing DT. They met all but one of those needs.
Not only did the Ravens meet most of their needs, but because of that trade to Denver, they were able to recoup the lost picks from the Anquan Boldin deal. So essentially, they got Anquan Boldin for free. No, they didn’t draft a single cornerback. But if that’s the team’s #1 need and they didn’t draft someone at that position, you have to think Newsome has something in the works that we don’t know about. In other words, he’s not stupid.
1. Seattle Seahawks, A+
What a first draft for Pete Carrol and the Seahawks. They hit a home run with their first two picks. At #6, they select Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State (who many analysts, including myself, thought would be gone by then). At #14, they take Earl Thomas, S, Texas. Thomas was ever so slightly behind Eric Berry as the #1 defensive back on my board. But make no mistake, he will make an impact in the NFL for many years to come.
So, the Seahawks nab their franchise LT, playmaker and potential captain on defense. Now they’re looking for a dynamic wideout and a durable, productive running back. Guess what? They got both. With the 28th pick in the 2nd round, Seattle selected Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame. If you read my mock draft, I had Tate going #26 to the Cardinals, so Seattle was fortunate Tate was still on the board at that point. Furthermore, Seattle acquired RB LenDale White from the Tennessee Titans, as well as RB Leon Washington from the New York Jets. White gives them an immediate presence at RB. He won’t set the world on fire, but he should make defenses respect the Seattle running game. And if you back him up with speedy Leon Washington, now you’re looking at a multi-purpose backfield.
Seattle solved their pass-rushing woes by selecting DE E.J. Wilson (North Carolina) and OLB Dexter Davis (Arizona State). Wilson has great physical tools, but needs some coaching on his technique. Davis was my sleeper of the draft. He started every single game during the four years he played at Arizona State. In addition, Davis was the fastest DL prospect at the combine. I’m telling you: Dexter Davis. He may not be Dwight Freeney, but given a chance, he will perform.
There you have it. My top and bottom three team performances during the 2010 NFL draft.
Before I go, I promised to leave you with my offensive and defensive rookie of the year candidates.
The 2010 NFL Offensive R.O.Y.: C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills. He’s has olympic-level speed and is quite strong as well. He’s also their best playmaker, which means he will (or at least should) get the majority of touches in that offense.
The 2010 NFL Defensive R.O.Y.: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Atlanta Falcons. He presents incredible strength and versatility to a Falcons defense that sorely needs it.
Thanks for reading.