on May 07, 2011 in Draft Grades
Cleveland Browns – The Browns made the big trade with the Cards to acquire additional picks. The big question on the big trade is whether they would have been better off having Julio Jones on their roster or the players they got in return. Only time will tell.
The Browns were in need of a big play wideout and I can only imagine how much happier Colt McCoy would have been throwing to the strong, electric, precise route runner that Jones is. They did address wideout in round 2 with Greg Little who looked like he was on his way to becoming an impact player prior to the suspension.
By far their biggest area of need was the defensive line and they have two players in Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard who should contribute form day 1. Sheard had an off the field incident and made our list for bad boys of this draft …you can read about it here: Top 5 Bad Boys of NFL Draft but his upside is terrific. Jordan Cameron is an intriguing player to watch because of his athleticism.
Going forward the Browns need to add some more weapons for McCoy. I am becoming a Browns fan and believe there is plenty of reason for the Dog Pound to start barking!
Cincinnati Bengals – Can this draft signal a turning point in the Bengals franchise? In some respects it will because it looks like Carson Palmer, Ocho-Stupido and TO won’t be back next season. That alone is a major overhaul. The difference this year is the Bengals didn’t do anything whacky in the draft. I was waiting to see if Newton would fall to them but that didn’t happen and they passed on Gabbert.
Neither TO nor Ocho-Stupido are the threats they once were and are long past their prime. Of course they could end up on a team like the Patriots and have resurgent years. A.J. Green is a stud and will immediately be the best player on their offense as soon as he steps on the field.
The success of this draft hinges on Andy Dalton. Dalton was a late, rapid draft riser who was rumored to be heading into Round 1. The Bengals did a solid job with some of their mid and later picks as well. We particularly like Dontay Moch who will be a pass rush specialist as a rookie. Robert Sands and Clint Boling provide immediate depth and could very well becoming contributing players down the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers drafts are always the most difficult to grade. They never seem to take the sexy names but year in and year out they always seem to add players to their roster who in a couple years down the road end up being quality starters.
Cameron Heyward is an ideal 3-4 end, particularly for the Steelers. He is a blue collar player who brings it on every play. He should be helped by the dynamic duo they have rushing from the edge.
We identified offensive line, secondary and defensive line as the Steelers major need areas. They added an offensive tackle in round 2 in Marcus Gilbert and depth in the secondary in rounds 3 and 4 with Curtis Brown, and Cortez Allen, respectively.
Grade: C+ (probably much higher when evaluated down the road)
Baltimore Ravens – Admittedly I am not a Jimmy Smith fan. It has nothing to do with his play on the field as some have graded him out as high as Patrick Peterson. However, his numerous off-season issues dropped him to the bottom of round 1. The Ravens are another one of these teams like the Jets (hmmm, coincidence and Cincy) that seems to like players with questionable character. I say if you play with fire too often you’re going to get burnt at some point.
We do like the pick of Torrey Smith. He is an immediate upgrade at wideout and will take some pressure off Boldin. He also represents great value at #58 since he was projected by some to go in round 1. Jah Reid provides depth. Aside from Smith the other negative is not adding a pass rusher, which is a major need.
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