this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Updated: May 1, 2006, 1:11 AM ET Team-by-team grades from 2006 NFL draftBy Mel Kiper Jr. Special to ESPN.com Archive After two days and 255 NFL draft picks, now's the time to evaluate what each team accomplished in New York. ...
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kiper's draft grades...........
Updated: May 1, 2006, 1:11 AM ET
Team-by-team grades from 2006 NFL draftBy Mel Kiper Jr.
Special to ESPN.com
After two days and 255 NFL draft picks, now's the time to evaluate what each team accomplished in New York. There's a clear group of teams that addressed needs and will be better because of it, led by Baltimore, Houston and San Francisco. How all this translates onto the field remains to be seen, but for now the guessing and second-guessing has already begun.
Arizona Cardinals: GRADE: B
I gave them an A for first day and a C on the second day. The Cardinals' QB of the future, Matt Leinart, fell in their lap. (I had Leinart as the third best player in the draft.) Guard Taitusi "Deuce" Latui was a great second-round pick, same with tight end Leonard Pope in the third round. Defensive tackle Gabe Watson underachieved at Michigan, and I wonder if coach Denny Green will be able to motivate him. OLB Brandon Johnson and DT Jon Lew could be good backups. Arizona didn't address the offensive line on the second day -- I thought they would come away with one or two more offensive linemen.
Atlanta Falcons: GRADE: C
You have to factor in the trade that brought them defensive end John Abraham. Cornerback Jimmy Williams will help the secondary and was a good second-round pick. RB Jerious Norwood has great speed and gives them some security and can take some of the load off Warrick Dunn. Adam Jennings will help with the return game and as a fifth wide receiver. D.J. Shockley is a developmental quarterback who may eventually be a serviceable backup.
Baltimore Ravens: GRADE: B+
The Ravens did a real good job of addressing needs effectively. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will help right away on the interior of the line and hopefully free up Ray Lewis. Chris Chester will help on the offensive line and David Pittman is an ideal nickel defensive back. On the second day they helped themselves with WR Demetrius Williams; RB P.J. Daniels; TE Quinn Sypniewski; and OLB Ryan LaCasse from Syracuse, who will be a good special teams player.
Buffalo Bills: GRADE: C
While it was a reach to take safety Donte Whitner with the eighth pick, he is a great prospect and I like him. Giving up a third-round pick to get DT John McCargo in the first round was a reach. He's a solid player but not an elite one. Cornerback Ashton Youboty lasted longer than I thought, but is a very good pick. Safety Ko Simpson and defensive tackle Kyle Williams are solid. Overall, the Bills reached on both of their first-round picks, but drafted players who will help the team.
Carolina Panthers: GRADE: C
Carolina didn't draft a wide receiver and didn't take a tight end until the fifth round. Running back DeAngelo Williams is good security behind DeShaun Foster to keep him fresh. Getting CB Richard Marshall makes up for the loss of Ricky Manning to the Bears. The Panthers made a couple of reaches on OLB James Anderson, OT Rashad Butler and FS Nate Salley, but Jeff King has a chance to be a serviceable tight end.
Chicago Bears: GRADE: B
The Bears traded out of the first round and were still able to get secondary help in Danieal Manning. Devin Hester is a great athlete, but is he a cornerback or wide receiver? Hester will help the Bears in the return game. Dusty Dvoracek will get worked into the rotation at defensive tackle, and I really like the pick of defensive end Mark Anderson in the fifth round. J.D. Runnels could start as a rookie at fullback and was a great find in the sixth round. I was surprised they didn't address needs at tight end and wide receiver.
Cincinnati Bengals: GRADE: C
Cincinnati needed a tight end but never took one. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph was a solid pick, Andrew Whitworth was good value in the second round, but DE Frostee Rucker was a reach in the third round. Linebacker A.J. Nicholson slid because he has had off-the-field issues, but is good with the pads on. Reggie McNeal isn't going to be a quarterback, so it will be interesting to see where he lands. The Bengals also had a couple of insignificant late picks.
Cleveland Browns: GRADE: B
Kamerion Wimbley will be a perfect OLB in the 3-4 defense, and D'Qwell Jackson reminds me of Jonathan Vilma. Wide receiver Travis Wilson has a chance to be a third or fourth option in the passing game. I like RB Jerome Harrison in the fifth round, and the Browns also got really good value in the sixth round with FB Lawrence Vickers and DT Babatunde Oshinowo of Stanford.
Dallas Cowboys: GRADE: B-
They picked a great OLB in Bobby Carpenter. Anthony Fasano is a good tight end, but the Cowboys already have Jason Witten, and more importantly, they didn't get the free safety and offensive line help I thought they needed. Skyler Green brings speed to the return game, and I do like getting DT Montavious Stanley in the sixth round.
Denver Broncos: GRADE: B
You have to factor in the acquisition of WR Javon Walker when grading the Broncos. I wasn't as high on QB Jay Cutler as much as some people were, but he is going to a well-coached team. Tony Scheffler is a very good pass-catching tight end, but getting him in the second round was too high. Guard Chris Kuper and center Greg Eslinger are both ideally suited for Denver's blocking scheme.
Detroit Lions: GRADE: C+
I thought I'd be higher on the Lions, but what concerned me was that they passed on Leinart. Ernie Sims is a good linebacker and Daniel Bullocks is a good prospect at safety. I also like the pick of RB Brian Calhoun in the third round if they can work him into the rotation with Kevin Jones. Guard Fred Matua was a very good pick, especially in the seventh round.
Green Bay Packers: GRADE: B
The Packers had a lot of picks (12) and definitely some reaches. Linebacker A.J. Hawk will give the Packers a much-needed face on defense. Offensive tackle Daryn Colledge needs to get stronger and become a better run blocker. I really like wide receiver Greg Jennings, linebacker Abdul Hodge and and Jason Spitz. I gave Green Bay an A after the first day.
Houston Texans: GRADE: B+
I would have taken Reggie Bush with the first overall pick. But I have to respect the pick of Mario Williams, especially if he's consistent from game to game. DeMeco Ryans at linebacker was a solid second-round pick, while Charles Spencer and Eric Winston will help out the offensive line. With tight end Owen Daniels and RB Wali Lundy, Houston did a very good job of sizing up the board.
Indianapolis Colts: GRADE: C
Joseph Addai is a good blocking running back, but is not all that dynamic running the ball. Tim Jennings will be a solid nickel cornerback and I like the pick of LB Freddie Keiaho in the third round.
Jacksonville Jaguars: GRADE: C+
Marcedes Lewis will get a great opportunity to be the pass-catching tight end the Jaguars need. His UCLA teammate Maurice Drew is a good runner and has good hands. He should also help Jacksonville out in the return game. Defensive end Brent Hawkins was one of the best defensive ends at the Division I-AA level, and DE James Wyche had great numbers but a disappointing senior season at Syracuse. Cornerback Dee Webb went in the seventh round and would have been better served staying at Florida for his senior season.
Kansas City Chiefs: GRADE: C
I thought the Chiefs would go with a cornerback, but you can't argue the pick of DE Tamba Hali. Safety Bernard Pollard is a hitter but questionable in coverage. Brodie Croyle may be the future at quarterback and will be able to learn a lot from Trent Green. I thought the Chiefs would take a cornerback higher than they did (Marcus Maxey in the fifth round). The Chiefs also needed a receiver, but didn't take one until the sixth round (Jeff Webb from San Diego State).
Miami Dolphins: GRADE: C
Cornerback Jason Allen, who was recruited by Nick Saban when he was the coach at LSU, has made a great comeback from a hip injury. I was never totally enamored with WR Derek Hagan, but getting him in the third round isn't a bad pick. Offensive tackle Joe Toledo has a lot of potential but needs some coaching. Defensive tackle Rodrique Wright's stock just seemed to constantly be dropping.
Minnesota Vikings: GRADE: C+
Linebacker Chad Greenway was a very good pick, while Cedric Griffin is a solid defensive back who needs to play the ball better. Ryan Cook is a versatile center who could be moved elsewhere on the offensive line. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson went a bit high, but has a chance to be the Vikings future quarterback. Defensive end Ray Edwards struggled as a junior and I thought he needed another season at Purdue.
New England Patriots: GRADE: B
Laurence Maroney gives the Patriots a security blanket at running back. Wide receiver Chad Jackson was a nice pick in the second round and could have gone in the middle of the first. Tight end Dave Thomas has excellent hands and Garret Mills might be more of a fullback. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was a reach in the fourth round (I didn't think any kickers would get drafted). New England had a great first day and a good second second day.
New Orleans Saints: GRADE: C
The Saints got the top player on the board in running back Reggie Bush, but I don't understand the pick of safety Roman Harper in the second round when they needed help at cornerback and linebacker. They didn't take a linebacker and waited until the sixth round to get a corner (Josh Lay from Pittsburgh). I do like guard Zach Strief in the seventh round, especially since he could have gone as high as the third round.
New York Giants: GRADE: C+
Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka was a reach late in the first round, but he is going to get a chance to learn from Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Wide receiver Sinorice Moss was one of the best picks in the draft, getting him in the second round. He could be the deep threat the Giants offense needs. Guy Whimper is a versatile offensive lineman and could have gone higher than the fourth round.
New York Jets: GRADE: B-
I thought the Jets reached late on the first day with linebacker Anthony Schlegel and safety Eric Smith. They did do a good job of building an offensive line with tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold. Running back Leon Washington was a nice second-day pick. Former Missouri QB Brad Smith went on the second day, but I'm not sure where he will fit in. Defensive tackle Titus Adams was a really good pick in the seventh round and I thought he could have gone a bit higher.
Oakland Raiders: GRADE C:
Safety Michael Huff and linebacker Thomas Howard will help the defense and safety Darnell Bing made sense in the fourth round. Weber State's Paul McQuistan will help the offensive line next season and Cornell guard Kevin Boothe was a solid pick. I didn't grade them high because they didn't address needs along the defensive line and at running back.
Philadelphia Eagles: GRADE: B
I really like defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley playing next to Mike Patterson on the defensive line. Tackle Winston Justice and Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles will solidify the left side of the offensive line for years to come. Chris Gocong was a solid pick, whether they play him at defensive end or linebacker, and Jeremy Bloom will be a great pick once he shakes off the rust from being away from the game. Still, Bloom can help the Eagles in the return game this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers: GRADE: C+
The Steelers have replaced Antwaan Randle El with wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Willie Reid. On defense, Anthony Smith makes up for the loss of Chris Hoke in free agency. Defensive tackle Orien Harris could turn out to be one of the better Day 2 picks.
San Diego Chargers: GRADE: C
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie could be great player and has tremendous upside. The Chargers needed a cornerback and Cromartie is worth the roll of the dice. Tackle Marcus McNeill is good, but he plays tall and could have trouble with quick, smaller defensive ends. I have no idea what San Diego is getting in QB Charlie Whitehurst -- he's great one week and average the next. I am surprised the Chargers didn't go after a wide receiver, which was one of their bigger need areas.
San Francisco 49ers: GRADE: B+
I gave them an A on the first day with tight end Vernon Davis and OLB Manny Lawson. DE/OLB Parys Haralson was a good second-day pick and can rush the passer. Penn State QB Michael Robinson landed here, but it will be interesting to see what position he ends up playing next season. Lawson's teammate at NC State, Marcus Hudson, could be a versatile safety in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks: GRADE: B
They only had six picks, but I like what the Seahawks did with each of them. You can't argue with cornerback Kelly Jennings in the first round and defensive end Darryl Tapp with the 63rd pick. Seattle did a good job of addressing needs early and followed that up with Ohio State guard Rob Sims and USC fullback David Kirtman.
St. Louis Rams: GRADE: C+
I like some things the Rams did -- like taking CB Tye Hill -- but they gambled on defensive tackle Claude Wroten in the third round. They got two very good tight ends in Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd, although Byrd dropped because of concerns about his knees. Jon Alston is a fast outside linebacker while ILB Tim McGarigle will help out on special teams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: GRADE: C+
Tampa Bay went offensive line with its first two picks: guard Davin Joseph and tackle Jeremy Trueblood. Joseph might have been high for the first round, while Trueblood is tall and sometimes plays upright. Wide receiver Maurice Stovall really improved under coach Charlie Weis and was a very good third-round pick. Alan Zemaitis is a solid cornerback who has a knack for the ball.
Tennessee Titans: GRADE: B
I would have taken Leinart, but Vince Young will be a very good quarterback. LenDale White will be highly motivated coming in as a second-round pick. Don't forget he's reunited with Norm Chow, the former offensive coordinator at USC. Calvin Lowry was a very underrated safety at Penn State.
Washington Redskins: GRADE: C
The Redskins had only one pick on the first day and that was used on Rocky McIntosh, who will come in and start at weakside linebacker. (Last year, Washington traded picks in this draft to take QB Jason Campbell last year and they traded their third-round pick this year to get WR Brandon Lloyd from the 49ers.)
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