Sunday, April 26, 2009

NFL Draft winners and losers

By Rick Morris

Anybody spinning for their team by telling you that "it takes three years to evaluate a draft class" is an absolutely ridiculous human being. Here are the teams that distinguished themselves the most, positively and negatively, this weekend:

[Oh, and if you need an additional point of reference, here's our PRO FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2009 guide with complete player rankings among many other features. And here are all the picks for Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. And here is our link to videos of the most intriguing prospects in the draft.]


1 Jacksonville: Has anyone in recent memory acquired bookend OTs with their first two picks?

2 St. Louis: The new regime got off to a great start by acquiring legitimate OL and front seven anchors with their first two picks.

3 New England: This organization is always on the winner’s list. While they certainly could have benefited from staying put and picking OT Oher in the last first, the trio of early second-round picks will bring great help – especially local boy CB Butler.

4 Philadelphia: By taking another crack at a #1 WR and some much-needed RB help for Westbrook, this offense may take even another step forward.

5 Carolina: This grade is primarily associated with one pick: DE Brown in the second round. He could have gone as high as the early 20s, so the team got great value thanks in part to the preponderance of reaches by the draft losers. Also, don’t sleep on OG Robinson in the fifth round, one of the best overall values of the draft.

6 Arizona: Beanie Wells at 31? For a team that reached the Super Bowl last year with a sub-par running game? Look out NFC once again.

7 New York Jets: The Jets had a big hole at QB and they filled it in style. The players surrendered in the deal were negligible anyway.

8 Miami: Any other team would have made a ginormous reach to take Pat White in the second round. But not the ‘Fins. Our Senior Editor Jason Jones wrote prophetically before the draft about the damage that Miami could do with a QB such as White at the helm of the Wildcat offense. Game-planning Sparano’s boys just got that much more brutal.

9 Baltimore: A legitimate franchise LT in Michael Oher at 23? Who could blame Ozzie Newsome for giving off a good loud, “THAT … JUST … HAPPENED!” after the pick was announced?

10 Cincinnati: This is a qualified note of approval, inasmuch as OT Smith and LB Rey Rey are quite capable of becoming typical Bengals on the police blotter when exposed to that atmosphere. But they are potential cornerstone players, so even this sickly organization deserves some credit in that regard.


1 Oakland: Ah, good old Al Davis, reaching for a speedy wideout a good 15-20 spots ahead of where anyone else would have taken him. Value? Trading down? Al Davis knows not these things, which is why the team will never sufficiently augment their pathetic talent base while he’s still in charge.

2 Tampa Bay: The new crew really looks like they’re in over their heads. Project QB Josh Freeman and TE KW2 account for most of the impact draft picks of this draft. The brutal NFC South just acquired a new whipping boy for at least the next five years.

3 Cleveland: After a hiatus from the loser’s list during the Phil Savage days, Eric Mangini has brought back the suckage. Any time that a power-hungry head coach in charge asks you to believe that he’s right and the rest of the world is wrong about the value of the players selected where they were selected, he’s universally wrong.

4 Buffalo: What would the draft loser’s list be without the Bills? The only thing worse than reaching for the draft’s best center in the first round, as the Browns did, is reaching for the second-best center.

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