on May 07, 2011 in Draft Grades
Buffalo Bills – The Bills came into this draft needing playmakers, especially on defense. They started out with a “bang” by landing an instant impact player in Marcell Dareus. Plainly put, Dareus is stud and should be able to do for Buffalo’s D what Suh did for the Lions D last year. In round 2 they were able to land a very good player and immediate starting cornerback in Aaron Williams. In round 3 they got versatile linebacker Kelvin Sheppard who will be in the rotation as a rookie and a starter shortly down the road.
The rest of their picks were depth picks for the time being. We really like Johnny White from North Carolina and feel he could develop down the road and will provide depth and versatility to a fairly decent backfield.
The Bills passed on a QB which is a good sign for Fitzpatrick, who needs to continue to improve if the Bills plan on competing with the Pats and Jets at the top of the division. They also need to add some playmakers to the passing game and some more quality in the offensive line.
New England Patriots – With all those picks this is the best they could do? Belichick is great at acquiring extra picks but not always so great at picking players that stick around. Go back and check the status of their draft picks and check for yourself.
The Pats had pressing needs at pass rush and has questions marks all throughout their front 7. Maybe they feel Markell Carter taken in the 6th round from Central Arkansas is the answer? I think not.
They did address potential free agents departures at offensive tackle by adding Nate Solder. Hopefully Solder won’t have to be thrown into the fire as a rookie because he needs a full NFL offseason of strength and conditioning plus some NFL coaching for him to realize his full potential, but he should be a good player. Ras-I Dowling played well as a junior but due to injuries wasn’t much of a factor as a senior. They also loaded up at running back but didn’t add a wideout which was a major problem in their playoff loss to the Jets. Is Randy Moss coming back?
The strange pick was the enigma that is Ryan Mallett. Mallett was once viewed as a top 5 pick but questions about leadership, attitude and desire caused him to slip. Tom Brady is still at the top of his game so perhaps they are just banking talent as a backup or as future trade-bait. This will be an interesting pick and draft to monitor down the road.
New York Jets – By far the Jets biggest weakness was their front 7, particularly the pass rush. They play a variety of fronts but never generate any pressure from their outside backers and rely on the blitz to get pressure. They do have a great secondary which bails them out a lot.
They were able to add two quality big-bodies to the defensive line in Muhammad Wilkerson and Kendrick Ellis. However, neither of these guys are bonifide pass rushers and Ellis has a checkered past. Ellis faces felony assault charges and was kicked out of South Carolina. What the heck, he fits right in with the Rex Ryan circus! The Jets did add some depth at wideout in round 5 with Jeremy Kerley since they have a couple valuable veterans who are free agents, but they are likely to return. They failed to address offensive line which also could have used some depth.
Grade: C+ (drops to a D if Ellis goes to the pokey!)
Miami Dolphins – Pouncey will provide some toughness and leadership to the Dolphins line which will go a long way on this team. But after that they got some contributing players but not one you can point to that you would expect to step right in and make an immediate impact. Perhaps Daniel Thomas will see more time if the Dolphins part ways with Ricky Williams and/or Ronnie Brown. Daniel, like Pouncey, is a tough player, but we don’t feel he is a difference maker.
Where was the QB pick? It would have been interesting to see what the Dolphins would have done in Round 3 had they had a pick and Mallett was on the board. Would they have taken the chance? Don’t despair Dolphins fans, I think you’ll be picking very high next year so for your sake, let’s hope the QB class of 2012 is a strong one.
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