Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, May 01, 2006

NFL Draft Recap 2006: Gavin's Grades

Time for one of the more meaningless exercises in the NFL draft process... grading each team. Of course none of us really know how this crap pans out. For example, the Arizona Cardinals supposedly had the best draft in the history of the world last year, and then Antrell Rolle had an unassuming year and JJ Arrington couldn't make a move before another defensive player knifed through the soft butter of an offensive line and took him out in the kidneys. The Hawks supposedly had an awful draft full of reaches which turned into our linebacking corps of the future. All in all, don't listen to Petey Prisco.

That's why I'm putting Prisco's grades by mine for each team, because hopefully I don't agree with him that much. You might have noticed by now that Colin and I are a little vindictive when it comes to Prisco. Well... yes. Deal with it. The guy knows as much about football as my stool and yet gets a dream job writing about it. I am bitter about it. On to the grades.

Arizona Cardinals
Petey Pick: A+
Gavin: A


A's are basically given out on two standards. One: Did it fill gaping holes for this coming season? Two: Did it fill gaping holes three years down the line? This "A" is based more on Two than One and is why I'm not going the A+ route. Obviously Matt Leinart is a great quarterback, and getting him at #10 is just terrific. Arizona followed it up by a decent pick in Deuce Lutui, but I'm not as big of a fan, since they needed an OT more and Eric Winston was still on the board. Colin and I have spent an offseason trying to explain how much more valuable good tackles are, so I shouldn't stop here. At the end of the first two rounds, I was probably at a B+ grade. That moved to "A" with the selection of TE Leonard Pope in the third round, who easily could have been a first rounder himself, and means that in a couple of years the Cardinals will have Edgerrin James, Matt Leinart, Leonard Pope, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald on offense. That is friggin' scary. Still would have done more with that offensive line, though, since Lutui was the only selection in the entire draft.

Atlanta Falcons
Petey Pick: C
Gavin: D


The Falcons didn't have a first round pick, although they sort of got a first round selection in Jimmy Williams. The more I've heard about Williams, the more glad I am that we didn't pick him. A Viginia Tech writer was on local sports radio this morning and was decidedly down on Williams, even as a talent. The rest of the draft was pretty ho-hum. RB Jerious Norwood should not have been taken before Jerome Harrison.

Baltimore Ravens
Petey Pick: A
Gavin: C+


I'm really not that high on Ngata. Ray Lewis is a whiner and the Ravens needed more help on offense, especially that aging offensive line. While they did get a center in round two, they picked one with "upside", which never goes over well with me. Kudos on selecting WR Demetrius Williams from Oregon, who is going to surprise a few people.

Buffalo Bills
Petey Pick: C+
Gavin: F-


I don't care if Donte Whitner was the best safety in this draft. You just don't pass on Matt Leinart to grab him. The Bills desperately need QB stability, after a decidedly poor start by JP Losman. Then they follow up by reaching for DT John McCargo, a huge "say what?" selection when many better comparable players were left. So by the end of the first round the F was secure. They did slightly better in the later rounds, especially with successive solid selections in CB Ashton Youboty, S Ko Simpson, and DT Kyle Williams, but nothing can make up for blowing TWO first round picks.

Carolina Panthers
Petey Pick: A
Gavin: B+


The Panthers got really lucky in this draft, with DeAngelo Williams falling to them at the bottom of the first round. CB Richard Marshall is a good talent and can step in to replace Ricky Manning Jr. Given the quality of those first two picks, I can understand how pundits can give them an "A". However, the hole the Panthers have at TE and the continued offensive line issues weren't adequately resolved. TE Jeff King is not the answer and OT Rashad Butler was, in my opinion, a reach. Basically, they weren't able to make the pick that would put them over the Seahawks and that takes them out of "A" range.

Chicago Bears
Petey Pick: C-
Gavin: F


Here's what I don't understand. The Chicago Bears were awful on offense last year. Awful. They basically depended on their defense getting turnovers inside the fifty to score. So one would think they would enter the draft hoping to upgrade that lackluster side of the ball. Instead, with seven picks, the Bears selected exactly one offensive player, and that was a fullback, unless you count them spending a second round pick on a return specialist (Devin Hester). So I don't care how awesome any of these defensive players are. The defense is young and fine as is. Not upgrading the offense is just a cardinal Gavin Creed sin.

Cincinnati Bengals
Petey Pick: B
Gavin: B+


Yes, I actually grade a team better than Prisco for once. The Bengals drafted one of my favorite CBs in Johnathan Joseph to help upgrade the beleagured pass defense, and grabbed an excellent OT in the second round (as per usual, if the line player is decent I will not mark down). They then spent the next three picks trying to upgrade the run defense in DE Frostee Rucker, DT Domata Peko, and OLB AJ Nicholson. While Rucker and Nicholson have serious character issues, they were selected far enough down that the risk is smaller and the possible reward can be nice. Nicholson especially had first round talent.

Cleveland Browns
Petey Pick: B+
Gavin: A


I have to admit, I really like this draft from top to bottom. DE Kamerion Wimbley (of course, my pick in the mock draft) fits Crennel's defense perfectly, and ILB D'Qwell Jackson is a Tim Ruskell type player. I like the 3rd round pick of WR Travis Wilson to get another offensive playmaker in the mix, and the 5th round pick of RB Jerome Harrison could be a steal. Finally, one of the better sixth round picks of the whole draft was DT Babatunde Oshinowo from Stanford. If his games against UW were any indication, the man has some skill. The Browns continue to build up some nice young talent.

Dallas Cowboys
Petey Pick: B-
Gavin: D


Gavin Creed alert here. We start with a player that I like in Bobby Carpenter, but at the expense of an aging offense. Dallas followed it up with the really odd selection of TE Anthony Fasano. Ummm... didn't the Cowboys already have Jason Witten? Didn't they just sign Ryan Hannam to be the blocking TE? A WR would have been a much better selection. Now, some props on WR Skyler Green in the 4th round, but all in all an unimpressive draft that did little stop the leaking of offensive talent in Dallas.

Denver Broncos
Petey Pick: B-
Gavin: B


Really not sure what to make of this draft for Denver. I liked QB Jay Cutler, as did many, but Jake Plummer only had the best year of his career in 2005. The Broncos essentially used their third round pick on Javon Walker, which was a nice move. DE Elvis Dumervil was pretty darn good fourth round selection as well. I'm just not sold enough on Cutler and TE Tony Scheffler comparatively to Denver's needs to move them higher than a B.

Detroit Lions
Petey Pick: C
Gavin: B


I actually understand where Prisco is coming from, penalizing the Lions for not drafting Matt Leinart. I feel the same way. However, the top to bottom strength of this draft pushes it up from a C to me, and OLB Ernie Sims is a much better first round selection than S Donte Whitner. Sims and 2nd rounder S Daniel Bullocks are both terrific defensive selections who should be able to contribute immediately. 3rd rounder RB Brian Calhoun was rated as a 2nd round prospect on many draft boards and could actually press RB Kevin Jones for time if Jones continues to struggle. OT Jonathan Scott is a good talent from Texas, same with 7th rounder OG Fred Matua. Basically, the Lions got a lot of nice stock, and made up quite a bit for passing on Leinart.

Green Bay Packers
Petey Pick: B
Gavin: B


I have to admit, I like this draft quite a bit. I was almost tempted to give it an A when I remembered that Daryn Colledge, while a decent OT prospect, was more than a little of a reach in the second round, especially when players like OT Eric Winston were still available. AJ Hawk will definitely add value for the Packers immediately and add a presence to their defense which has been noticeably missing for years. When paired with 3rd round pick LB Abdul Hodge, the Packers could pull a Seattle with their linebacking corps in 2006.

Houston Texans
Petey Pick: A
Gavin: F


I don't care what else the Texans did. Passing up Reggie Bush was a collosal mistake. Now, Mario Williams is a decent talent and should help bring an actual pass rush to the Texan defense. DeMeco Ryans is also a nice linebacker prospect and should start immediately. The Texans also did a really nice job in the third round, grabbing both OG Charles Spencer and OT Eric Winston (whose name you've seen quite a bit today). If not for the Bush miss, I probably would give them an A. Still, an insanely dumb move for the lackluster franchise.

Indianapolis Colts
Petey Pick: B
Gavin: B


Look, I agree with Petey! The Colts got the best RB available in Joseph Addai in the first round, and Addai should adapt well to their gap edge rushing style. The second and third rounds were typically solid, in CB Tim Jennings and LB Freddie Keiaho and the Colts used the late round picks to get some offensive line depth. While there was nothing especially flashy about it, the Colts did most of what they needed to do. My only real beef is not working to upgrade the defensive line, especially with the defection of DT Larry Triplett.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Petey Pick: B
Gavin: A-


I looked at my "A" criteria I listed above and have to add it to what Jacksonville did. Mercedes Lewis might have been the best TE in America last year, and adds one final dimension to Jacksonville's offense. I also love RB Maurice Drew, and he will give them one more option if oft-injured back Fred Taylor goes down, as well as add some zest to their kick return game. The Jags didn't have many picks, but they used them wisely.

Kansas City Chiefs
Petey Pick: C
Gavin: C+


The Chiefs essentially drafted a third round talent in DE Tamba Hali in round one. Hali was outbenched by punters, not a great sign for a defensive end. Bernard Pollard is a nice safety prospect, and QB Brodie Croyle is the centerpiece of the entire draft. The Chiefs finally have a possible future replacement for Trent Green, and if it pans out, this whole draft flips to an A, and is basically why I graded it even slightly higher than Prisco. The rest of the haul is pretty mediocre.

That's the first half of the teams, campers, and I'll finish up the grading tomorrow!

posted by Gavin @ 4:16 PM  0 comments

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