NFL Draft Report Card — How’d Your Team Do?

Gregg Rosenthal and Evan Silva grade all 32 teams

By Gregg Rosenthal and Evan Silva
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 1:24 PM PDT
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NFL Draft Report Card

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Tim Tebow couldn't have picked a better spot than to have joined the Broncos.

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AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo has long-running problems in their scouting department, and this draft didn’t change that image. Let’s start with the good stuff. The selection of running back C.J. Spiller at No. 9 was the perfect antidote to an offense without playmakers. The draft went off the rails afterward.

Where’s the quarterback? Buffalo waited until the seventh round to take a developmental pick in Levi Brown from Troy. The Bills have to sell their fans on Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick for another year.

Where’s the offensive line help? With only a fifth-round pick added (Ed Wang), perhaps the worst group in football hasn’t improved all offseason. A lot of energy was spent on picks for the team’s transition to a 3-4 defense (DT Torrell Troup, DE Alex Carrington). We’re unconvinced this transition is worth the trouble for their group of players. This team had too many needs to fill them all, but it doesn’t look like a franchise with a plan.

Grade: D+

Miami Dolphins
A savvy trade down from No. 12 to 28 allowed the Dolphins to recoup assets given up in the Brandon Marshall trade. First-round defensive end Jared Odrick was one of our favorite players available. He’s a safe, smart pick. Miami can play more four man fronts with him in the mix. After that, the Dolphins took massive, lunch pail grinders that won’t make headlines. They believe in building strengths and that did that on the defensive line.

When you include Marshall in the mix, this was a rock solid draft.

Grade: B

New England Patriots
The team finally rebuilt their sagging linebacker group. Inside linebacker Brandon Spikes could be the next Tedy Bruschi. The Patriots will be happy if he’s the next Ted Johnson. Wideout Taylor Price was a sticky-fingered steal in the third round. New England got the two values at tight end in the draft in Rob Gronkowski (second round) and Aaron Hernandez (fourth round.) Bill Belichick hopes first-round cornerback Devin McCourty does better than their recent picks at cornerback.

Overall, the Patriots selected four players in the first two rounds and have an extra first- and second-round pick next year too. They also led the league in former Gator draft picks. That has to be worth something.

Grade: A-

New York Jets
The Jets have a history of targeting specific players and trading up. They’ve done well with it. They deserve the benefit of the doubt in this regard, which saves their grade. We hate the Leon Washington trade. They wasted resources to get a low-rent replacement for him (USC running back Joe McKnight) and took a fullback with the pick they got for Washington. First-round cornerback Kyle Wilson will fit right in, and offensive line coach Bill Callahan will make second-round pick Vlad Ducasse a keeper. Santonio Holmes was a steal for a fifth-round pick.

Still, the Jets didn’t address their defensive line, which is old. This was an uneven draft made by a team that thinks it is only a few pieces away from a title. That’s a dangerous approach.

Grade: B-

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens
G.M. Ozzie Newsome is always happy to take talent that drops because of perceived shortcomings. Sergio Kindle could be the next great Ravens linebacker and only cost a second-round pick. His slide reminds us of Todd Heap’s fall in 2001.

“Mount” Terrance Cody found the perfect home in the late second round. The Ravens will use the Alabama product as a rotational player to help their rush defense. The rest of the collegiate picks were sensible, and the team smartly used two mid-round picks to acquire Anquan Boldin earlier in the offseason. Baltimore got those picks back by extracting a bounty from Denver in the Tim Tebow trade. These pieces help make Baltimore a Super Bowl contender, though we’re still worried about their secondary.

Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are the guy at your fantasy draft that takes boom-or-bust players with every single pick. Most of the Bengals picks are swing for the fences picks. That approach sometimes results in a lot of strikeouts.

First-round tight end Jermaine Gresham fills a huge need, but has some injury concerns. We still like the pick. Second-round defensive end Carlos Dunlap’s talent isn’t worth his trouble. It’s telling that Urban Meyer’s buddy Bill Belichick wanted no part of him. Third-round wideout Jordan Shipley is a similar player to current Bengal Andre Caldwell. They needed an outside speed receiver. It’s not good when Antonio Bryant is their best option. Defenders Brandon Ghee (cornerback) and Geno Atkins (defensive tackle) were good middle-round picks, but the Bengals didn’t address a safety need.

Grade: C+

Cleveland Browns
Mike Holmgren is getting a lot of love because he’s nice to the media, but we’re not buying him as a genius team president just yet. He’s taken half measures at the quarterback position, and still doesn’t have a quality quarterback of the future after taking Colt McCoy in the third round. Cornerback Joe Haden isn’t the type of difference-maker you look for at No. 7.

Running back Montario Hardesty is a nice second-round complement to Jerome Harrison. Safety T.J. Ward looks like a reach early in the second round, and the team didn’t address their glaring lack of a pass rush. The front seven on Cleveland’s defense should have been a priority, but they continued to stock up in the secondary with Larry Asante, another safety in the fifth round. Carlton Mitchell could be a sleeper in the sixth around at receiver. This wasn’t a draft to restart a franchise.

Grade: C+

Pittsburgh Steelers
Center Maurkice Pouncey in the first round was perhaps the most predictable pick outside of the top four overall selections. He can help the team immediately by moving to guard. Pittsburgh is the best at identifying players to convert to outside linebackers, so we like the chances of second rounder Jason Worilds and fourth-round pick Thaddeus Gibson. Running back Jonathan Dwyer is a bruiser that was a great value in the sixth round.

This is an organization that doesn’t value cornerbacks that highly, but the Steelers still need secondary help. That said, the Steelers have a philosophy and stick to it. It’s hard to argue with what works.

Grade: B

 

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans
We think they wanted running back Ryan Mathews in the first round, but the Chargers made sure he didn’t reach them. Second-round running back Ben Tate has a lot of pressure to perform right away. He’s a one-cut power runner who fits Houston’s system. We’re not sure he’s that special.

In the first round, the Texans went with consistency over flash when they picked Kareem Jackson over Kyle Wilson. We were surprised they didn’t address the secondary again until fifth-round cornerback Sherrick McManis. This team will struggle in pass coverage.

Our favorite value pick was linebacker Darryl Sharpton in the fourth round. Houston has a knack for finding instinctive linebackers and he could develop into a nice starter. Fifth-round tight end Garrett Graham could be an Owen Daniels clone. Texans G.M. Rick Smith has done an underrated job in Houston. This draft continues that trend.

Grade: B

Indianapolis Colts
The Colts prove you can eschew trading altogether and nail the draft. Really, what’s there to say about Bill Polian’s picks? They always surprise, and usually turn out great. No G.M. is better at finding players to fit his system. TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes was one of our favorite values at No. 31 overall. He’ll pick up where Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney leave off in a few years. Second-round linebacker Pat Angerer has great instincts without being overly athletic. He’s a little bit of a departure from their usual profile.

Indianapolis continued to add bulk to their offensive line with fourth-round guard Jacques McClendon. Third-round cornerback Kevin Thomas is a perfect fit for the Colts’ zone schemes. This wasn’t a flashy draft, which is just how Polian likes it.

Grade: A-

Jacksonville Jaguars
Let’s all give G.M. Gene Smith a break. He had a very unique draft board and made some shocking moves and picks last year. He nailed the ’09 draft. That he thinks differently than the rest of the league may be an asset.

No. 10 overall pick Tyson Alualu was the stunner of the draft. The team should have been able to trade back, but we have a feeling Alualu will prove people wrong. The Jaguars were unable to trade defensive tackle John Henderson, which could lead to further issues. Grabbing Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison for a fifth-round pick was a smart way to bolster a shaky linebacker group. Jacksonville had only one pick between rounds two and four and took a defensive tackle — D’Anthony Smith. We would have liked to see better firepower added to a vanilla offense.

Grade: B-

Tennessee Titans
The first round didn’t go as Tennessee hoped. We heard they wanted Brandon Graham or Jason Pierre-Paul, but both pass rushers were taken just before they picked. Derrick Morgan was a solid consolation prize at No. 16 and the Titans know how to coach up defensive linemen. Tennessee gave away LenDale White, which may be addition by subtraction in the locker room. Myron Rolle adds mid-round competence for a sixth-round price at safety late in the draft.

We like third-round receiver Damian Williams’ value, but the position wasn’t a huge need for the team. They didn’t address their linebacker problem until late in the third round (Rennie Curran) and their second-round pick was used in last year’s Jared Cook trade. We don’t think this draft made the Titans much better.

Grade: C+

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos
Tim Tebow couldn’t have picked a better spot. He has a chance to be a quality starter with Josh McDaniels on his side, but we’re not convinced Tebow was worth the trouble. McDaniels can coach up quarterbacks (Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton), so why make such an investment for a project?

Still, Denver didn’t give up that much to get Tebow. They played the draft board well and got guys they wanted in Tebow and wideout Demaryius Thomas. We think they’ll regret ignoring the defensive front seven, which remains old and lacks difference-makers.

Grade: C+

Kansas City Chiefs
This is starting to look like a Scott Pioli team. Kansas City drafted a collection of versatile, tough, smart players who love football. The defense now has an identity, with one of the league's best groups of young defensive backs led by No. 5 overall pick Eric Berry, emerging star Brandon Flowers, and second-round cornerback Javier Arenas.

The offense has an identity with a strong backfield, and now a playmaking hybrid wideout/running back in second round pick Dexter McCluster. No. 36 overall was early for such a small player, but Charlie Weis will know how to use him. This team still needs a pass rush, but their offensive tackle spot wasn’t as desperate a need as people thought. The Chiefs are on the rise.

Grade: A-

Oakland Raiders
The beauty of low expectations. The Raiders impressed by filling needs with safe, smart players in the first two rounds. Linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive tackle will help the Raiders defense show more multiple looks and stop the run. Tackle Bruce Campbell and wideout Jacoby Ford were typical Underwear Olympic champions, but they were taken in the fourth round, not the first. That’s the place to gamble.

Still, the Raiders draft will be defined by a trade. They found a competing starting quarterback in Jason Campbell for cheap and gave up on JaMarcus Russell. That alone is worth an A.

Grade: A

San Diego Chargers
San Diego is still paying for the mistake of bringing back LaDainian Tomlinson last year. They had to overpay to move up for Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews to fill a starting job. You never want to go into a draft with a glaring need like that.

Still, Mathews should be a great fit for Norv Turner’s offense. Tomlinson was the problem last year, not the offensive line or play calling. The Chargers also traded up to get defensive tackle Cam Thomas and linebacker Donald Thomas. All these moves remind us of San Diego’s trade up of safety Eric Weddle a few years back. When you make such moves, you better be right. G.M. A.J. Smith needs a big draft after some so-so years. The rest of the AFC West may be catching up.

Grade: B-

 

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys made an aggressive, high-upside move to trade up for Dez Bryant, securing a top-10 talent who will upgrade the team's punt return unit and probably beat out Roy Williams to start at split end. Second-round pick Sean Lee is Keith Brooking's eventual successor at inside linebacker.

Fourth-round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah certainly does not lack the potential or talent to cure Dallas' woes at free safety. He runs a 4.33 40 and was a dominant small-school defensive back with plus value as a return specialist. Sixth-rounder Sam Young is a right tackle only, which won't help his bid to make the final roster. Jamar Wall, a cornerback from Texas Tech, was a poor cover man in the Big 12. Seventh-round DE Sean Lissemore from William & Mary is a developmental project.

The Cowboys’ draft was highly impressive at the top, if unspectacular at the bottom. Still, there's no doubt that they landed elite talents and are a much better team now.

Grade: B+

New York Giants
Missing out on Rolando McClain and C.J. Spiller in the first round, Giants GM Jerry Reese elected to swing for the fences. Each of his first three picks -- Jason Pierre-Paul, Linval Joseph, Chad Jones -- are dominant physical specimens with high ceilings. None of the trio is likely to start in 2010, but that says more about the talent already on New York's roster than the rookies' abilities.

Fourth-round inside linebacker Phillip Dillard, fifth-round guard Mitch Petrus, and seventh-round punter Matt Dodge were all safe picks at positions of weakness. Sixth-round pass rusher Adrian Tracy was an unstoppable force at the D-IAA level and projects as situational help in the nickel defense down the road.

The Giants remain unsettled at middle linebacker, but their dynamite front four should make everyone playing behind it better. Reese remains one of the most skilled drafters around.

Grade: B+

Philadelphia Eagles
The Birds had a whopping 13 picks and emerged from the draft with just one likely Week 1 starter (South Florida free safety Nate Allen), but were executioners when it came to selecting scheme fits. No. 13 overall pick Brandon Graham, third-rounder Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, and fifth-round steal Ricky Sapp are relentless pass rushers and will fit right into aggressive defensive coordinator Sean McDermott's pressure-based system.

A skilled press corner, Trevard Lindley can cover man-to-man as all defensive backs must do for McDermott. Fellow fourth-rounder Keenan Clayton projects as a highly productive special teamer and cover linebacker on nickel downs. No. 122 overall pick Mike Kafka possesses the requisite tools for a West Coast quarterback, and No. 125 selection Clay Harbor is an intriguing H-back prospect. Riley Cooper and Charles Scott should make Hank Baskett and Eldra Buckley expendable. Jamar Chaney was a robbery in the seventh. It wouldn't be surprising if he developed into a starting-capable middle linebacker.

The Eagles wrapped up with hulking defensive tackle Jeff Owens and gunner candidate Kurt Coleman at Nos. 203 and 204. Shockingly, Andy Reid didn't pick a single offensive lineman. But the value was good at each selection, and Graham and Allen are certain to help in year one.

Grade: B

Washington Redskins
Lacking picks in rounds two, three, and five, and unable to work an Albert Haynesworth trade, the 'Skins made just one selection on the first two days of the draft. No. 4 overall choice Trent Williams is an ideal fit at left tackle in Washington's zone-blocking scheme, and shores up a huge weak spot.

After "resting" Friday, the Redskins came back Saturday to draft Perry Riley, who wasn't even the best linebacker at LSU last season. H-back Dennis Morris was the next head scratcher, coming at a position of strength and as a product of Louisiana Tech's spread system. Terrence Austin isn't going to help on offense, while fellow seventh-rounders Selvish Capers and Erik Cook will push for roster spots at guard and center.

Naturally, the Skins are going to get a low grade because they were so short on picks. But big question marks remain across the roster, and Washington didn't draft a single quarterback. Mike Shanahan had better work some serious magic this offseason.

Grade: C-

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears
The Bears patiently waited two and a half rounds to make their first selection, and used it on an immediate impact player in Florida's Major Wright. He can play both safety positions and, at worst, help on special teams. Local favorite Corey Wootton of Northwestern was an incredible value in the fourth round.

Kansas State cornerback Joshua Moore, Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour, and West Texas A&M offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb, however, lack NFL-caliber talent. The Bears were handicapped from the get-go in the draft, but they could've used their later-round picks more wisely.

LeFevour just doesn't have arm strength for deep throws, which is a huge detriment to his chances in a vertical scheme like Mike Martz's. The Wright and Wootton picks were very good, but there isn't a single surefire starter in this haul.

Grade: C

Detroit Lions
GM Martin Mayhew delivered the draft's consensus top overall player in No. 2 pick Ndamukong Suh to Detroit, and stayed hot throughout the weekend. No. 30 overall pick Jahvid Best did require a trade up, but adds dynamite play-making ability to a Lions offense that is suddenly dangerous.

Amari Spievey was a steal at the top of round three, and probably will start day one across from Chris Houston. Spievey was one of the nation's most physical cornerbacks at Iowa. Fourth-rounder Jason Fox projects as an immediate upgrade at swing tackle, and may begin pushing for Gosder Cherilus' starting job on the right side sooner than later. Productive North Carolina State defensive end Willie Young lacks ideal quick-twitch burst, which is why he was available in round seven. Mr. Irrelevant Tim Toone is a burner from Weber State.

The Lions didn't have a single pick in rounds five or six, but came away with at least three instant impact players. They're no longer the heavy favorites to repeat as the NFC North's bottom dwellers.

Grade: A

Green Bay Packers
Sitting tight at the No. 23 overall pick, GM Ted Thompson intercepted surprise first-day faller Bryan Bulaga in round one. Though Bulaga's short arms and lack of elite upside ultimately hurt his stock, he was an incredible value and is ready-made for Green Bay's zone-blocking scheme after playing in a similar system under Kirk Ferentz at Iowa.

Second-round pick Mike Neal, a defensive tackle at Purdue, will have to learn to two-gap in Green Bay's 3-4 defense. He was a bit of a reach at No. 56 overall. Third-round safety Morgan Burnett is a ballhawk in the back end and was worth trading up for, particularly with division rival Chicago up one pick later and ready to pounce on the gifted free safety. Andrew Quarless is a rock-solid tight end, fellow fifth-rounder Marshall Newhouse is highly athletic, sixth-round pick James Starks was an explosive all-purpose tailback in Buffalo's spread offense, and seventh-rounder C.J. Wilson has five-technique size.

Thompson never fails to impress on draft day. If not for the relative reach on Neal, this class would flirt with an A grade.

Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings
We usually love GM Rick Spielman's drafts, but this one left a lot to be desired. The Vikings got burned by gambling that Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson would still be available at No. 34 when they traded out of the 30th spot. Robinson went 32nd overall to New Orleans, forcing Spielman to reach for injury-prone Virginia defensive back Chris Cook at No. 34. 51st overall pick Toby Gerhart is valuable insurance behind Adrian Peterson, but doesn't fill Minnesota's need at third-down back.

In terms of value, surprise fourth-rounder Everson Griffen was the gem of Spielman's class. Wake Forest guard Chris DeGeare does fit the Vikings' power-blocking system, but fellow fifth-rounder Nate Triplett and seventh-round linebacker Ryan D'Imperio will be special teamers at best. In between those two picks, Spielman drafted a quarterback-turned-wideout in UAB's Joe Webb and blocking tight end Mickey Shuler.

This draft class didn't deliver many play-makers. Brett Favre had better come back.

Grade: D+

 

Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons reached for Sean Weatherspoon and pedestrian defensive tackle Corey Peters with their first two selections. Weatherspoon is a safe bet to be a long-term starter, but non-rush linebackers are rarely worth top-20 overall picks. Peters lacks difference-making ability.

Late third-rounder Mike Johnson is probably a future starter at offensive guard, while versatile guard/center Joe Hawley should be a valuable swing-type reserve. Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks was a value pick in round five. Converted quarterback Kerry Meier lacks ideal speed. Sixth-round pick Shann Schillinger of Montana wore an undrafted free agent grade and will only contribute on special teams.

GM Thomas Dimitroff deserves the benefit of the doubt because he's been quite successful in building up Atlanta's roster to this point, but there isn't much to get excited about here. We're not sure the team significantly improved during the draft.

Grade: C-

Carolina Panthers
The Panthers made up for lacking a first-round pick by ending Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen's free fall at No. 48 overall. Clausen is likely the team's quarterback of the future. Third-round receiver Brandon LaFell projects as a high-scoring, chain-moving pro and will help immediately opposite Steve Smith.

Carolina took something of a nose dive from there. Trading a 2011 second-round pick to move up for Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards was a completely ill-advised move by GM Marty Hurney. Edwards was a projected seventh-round pick to undrafted free agent. Eric Norwood and Greg Hardy were effective college pass rushers, but Norwood is an odd fit in Carolina's 4-3 defense and Hardy is a boom-or-bust prospect. Sixth-round wideout David Gettis is practice squad material, while fellow late-rounders Jordan Pugh, R.J. Stanford, and Robert McClain are project-type defensive backs. Tony Pike was a good value at No. 204 overall.

The Clausen, LaFell, and Hardy picks addressed needs and upgraded the Panthers' overall talent, but the trade up and future sacrifice for Edwards crushes the team's grade.

Grade: C-

 

New Orleans Saints
Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson was a luxury pick at No. 32 overall, particularly with the Saints needing outside linebacker assistance and Daryl Washington still on the board. USC offensive tackle Charles Brown was easily the best available player at No. 64 overall, and may allow the Saints to part with Jammal Brown.

With Tony Gonzalez-like tools, we considered late third-round pick Jimmy Graham a second-round prospect. Though he's a poor bet to contribute in 2010, Graham possess the physical makeup to someday rank among the game's top pass-catching tight ends. Fourth-round nose tackle Al Woods is a big-time underachiever, but fifth-round center Matt Tennant is a technician with high football IQ. Seventh-round pick Sean Canfield gives coach Sean Payton a developmental passer with which to work.

The Saints didn't get the help at linebacker or outside rusher they so desperately needed, instead opting to add depth at positions that are already strong. Still, GM Mickey Loomis stayed true to his board, keeping New Orleans' draft grade afloat.

Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs used their first two picks on difference-making interior pass rushers after getting just one sack from incumbent "three-technique" defensive tackle Ryan Sims last season. Gerald McCoy and Brian Price give the team a foundation at the position for the next 10 years. Price, the 2009 Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year, will probably end up at nose tackle, helping the team's pathetic run defense.

The attention then switched to offense. GM Mark Dominik ripped off two dynamic receiver talents in second-rounder Arrelious Benn and fourth-round pick Mike Williams, giving cannon-armed quarterback Josh Freeman a pair of chain-movers with dominant run-after-catch skills. With Sammie Stroughter in the slot, Benn at split end, and Williams on the flank, the Bucs can now field a potentially explosive attack. Dominik mixed in the selection of third-round size corner Myron Lewis, an underrated talent who will not struggle for year-one snaps. Late-round linebackers Cody Grimm and Dekoda Watson project as impact special teamers. Sixth-rounder Brent Bowden is the team's punter of the future. Stanford DE Erik Lorig probably won't make the roster.

Though we've never been fans of Dominik, he gave us reason for hope over the weekend. This was one of the league's better hauls.

Grade: A-

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals picked up a pair of immediate starters in the first two rounds, selecting projected top-15 pick Dan Williams at No. 26 overall and athletic inside linebacker Daryl Washington with the 47th selection. Both were value picks. Third-rounder Andre Roberts will remove some burden from new starting wideout Steve Breaston on punt returns.

Fourth- and fifth-round picks O'Brien Schofield (torn ACL, meniscus) and John Skelton won't contribute this season, but both offer high upside and starting-caliber ability down the road. Jorrick Calvin, a small-school corner with return value, and injury-prone Stanford TE Jim Dray will compete for roster spots.

The Cardinals improved over draft weekend, though trading Bryant McFadden to the Steelers only enhances the team's weakness at cornerback and they are still needy at offensive tackle. GM Rod Graves will need to get creative to fill the holes.

Grade: B

St. Louis Rams
After making Sam Bradford the No. 1 overall pick, a decision which will cost St. Louis close to $50 million guaranteed, Rams GM Billy Devaney avoided the temptation of drafting Arrelious Benn with the 33rd overall pick. Benn was believed to be higher on St. Louis' board than athletic offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, but Devaney smartly opted to protect his first-round investment. The Rams would go on to steal Mardy Gilyard at the top of round four. A borderline first-round talent, Gilyard was the Special Teams Player of the Year in the Big East as both a junior and senior, on top of being a first-team all-conference wideout.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo loves physical cornerbacks, and third-round pick Jerome Murphy fits the mold. St. Louis also did well to secure three late-round pass rushers in Hall Davis, Eugene Sims, and George Selvie. It would be better if they could combine tight ends Fendi Onobun and Michael Hoomanawanuii into one player. Onobun, a basketball power forward, can run fast. Hoomanawanuii is slow and strictly a blocker. Alabama defensive back Marquis Johnson didn't even start in college. Fellow seventh-rounder Josh Hull is a linebacker from Penn State, making him a solid pick.

We liked the Rams' top four picks, but didn't love the way they rounded out the draft, continuously passing on Anthony Dixon and Jonathan Dwyer. At some point, they're going to need to get a running back to help Steven Jackson.

Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers' decision to trade up for Anthony Davis has been questioned, but what's most important is that San Francisco got its man. Davis will likely take over as the Niners' starting left tackle by 2011, with Joe Staley moving to the right side. Fellow first-round pick Mike Iupati will make Frank Gore's life a lot easier going forward.

Taylor Mays at 49th overall and sixth-round tailback Anthony Dixon were perhaps GM Trent Baalke's best picks. Mays will make Michael Lewis expendable while Dixon vies with Glen Coffee to be Gore's backup. Dixon is a thumping inside runner with underrated receiving skills. Third-round pick Navorro Bowman isn't a great scheme fit, but Nate Byham gives the Niners the blocking tight end they've desperately wanted. Sixth-round return man Kyle Williams and seventh-round defensive back Phillip Adams probably won't make the team.

Davis, Iupati, and Mays will be first-year starters. Though some of the team's later-round picks were uninspiring, the Niners are among the most improved teams in the league.

Grade: B+

Seattle Seahawks
The NFC West did work on draft weekend, and the Seahawks were a big reason why. Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, and Golden Tate will all be rookie starters and immediate impact players at positions of glaring need. Thomas and Tate, in particular, are game-changing talents and massive upgrades over Jamar Adams and Deion Branch.

Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond III is coming off a devastating knee injury, but is a first-day talent when healthy and was worth a fourth-round flier. Defensive end E.J. Wilson and in-the-box safety Kam Chancellor project as role players only, but sixth-rounder Anthony McCoy is a well-rounded talent and will have a smooth transition after playing in coordinator Jeremy Bates' offense at USC last year. Dexter Davis is undersized, but can get to the passer. Jameson Konz's crazy physical abilities make him worth a seventh-round selection.

Assuming Charlie Whitehurst pays dividends, the Seahawks have enjoyed a highly productive offseason under first-year GM John Schneider and new head coach Pete Carroll. Things are looking up in Seattle.

Grade: B+

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