Grading the draft


AFC North

Ravens: The Ravens will be counting on NT Haloti Ngata to be an immediate difference-maker and everyone else chosen adds depth. While the Ravens kept saying they were OK with their offensive line, they made a wise choice in taking developmental OL Chris Chester. Grade: B+

Cincinnati: Coach Marvin Lewis shored up his pass defense with CB Johnathan Joseph and added a value pick in Round 2 with OT Andrew Whitworth. Round 6 pick Reggie McNeal is another college QB who projects as a slash. Grade: C

Cleveland: The Browns keep getting better. The addition of DE Kamerion Wimbley as a pass rusher and LB D'Qwell Jackson as a hard-nosed producer keeps Cleveland on the upswing. Grade: B+

Pittsburgh: The Steelers traded up in Round 1 and drafted for need, getting WR Santonio Holmes and then grabbed punt return specialist Willie Reid in the third round; both replacements for free-agent loss Antwaan Randle El. Grade: B+

AFC East

Buffalo: The Bills draft started out really weird and just got stranger. DB Donte Whitner was a reach at No. 8, DT John McCargo was a further reach at No. 26 and the next two picks were two more defensive backs. Grade: F

Miami: It was going to be tough for the Dolphins to have a great draft. Their only selection in the first 80 was DB Jason Allen, likely to have only modest impact. Grade: C-

New England: Coach Bill Belichick splurged on offense, taking a RB, WR and TE with his first three picks. The Pats grabbed maybe the best all-around every-down back in Laurence Maroney and the fastest receiver in Chad Jackson. Grade: A-

New York Jets: Choices that will pay off in the long run are OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold, who may wind up protecting quarterbacks who are still in high school. Round 2 QB Kellen Clemens had a great TD-interception ratio. Grade: A-

AFC South

Houston: Making a switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, the Texans took what they hope is a decade-long pass rusher with DE Mario Williams at No. 1 overall and LB DeMeco Ryans in Round 2. OT Eric Winston in Round 3 could be just as important. Grade: B

Indianapolis: The Colts needed to replace Pro Bowl RB Edgerrin James and tapped speedster Joseph Addai, who is an all-purpose back. Their success falls on that pick. Grade: C

Jacksonville: The Jaguars scored with TE Marcedes Lewis who, at 6 feet 6, has the potential to be an imposing presence at a position that's becoming more important. Running back Maurice Drew can be a third-down back and kick returner. Grade: C

Tennessee: This will be remembered in Tennessee either as a great draft or a terrible one. QB Vince Young, for all his skills, is a huge gamble. RB LenDale White might turn out to be the best pick. Grade: C-

AFC West

Denver: The Broncos may have landed the best QB in the draft, Jay Cutler. A bonus was small college TE Tony Scheffler in Round 2. Grade: B+

Kansas City: DE Tamba Hali brings intensity and passion, but may be the only immediate help. Round 3 QB Brodie Croyle threw 19 TD passes and just four interceptions in 374 attempts in two seasons. Grade: C

Oakland: The Raiders were in a tough spot because of a steep drop in talent from the top six. DB Michael Huff wasn't a bad choice, but the Raiders really needed to trade up for more impact or down for more quantity. Grade: C-

San Diego: There are tons of questions about the Chargers' picks. Round 1 choice DB Antonio Cromartie had just one college start. Round 3 QB Charlie Whitehurst was hot-and-cold at Clemson. Grade: D+

NFC North

Chicago: Lovie Smith did a great coaching job last year, but what were the Bears thinking this weekend? Of their first five choices, four were on defense and one was a return specialist. The Bears were No. 29 in total offense. Grade: D

Detroit: It was a solid if unspectacular draft for a team that's become a league laughingstock. LB Ernie Sims and DB Daniel Bullocks are sound choices. Grade: C

Green Bay: The Packers had 12 choices, including five in the first three rounds. LB A.J. Hawk is as sure a bet as there is in the draft. LB Abdul Hodge was a great pick in Round 3. The choice that raised eyebrows was OL Daryn Colledge in Round 2. Grade: A-

Minnesota: First-round choice LB Chad Greenway was a great match of need and availability, but it seems the Vikings could have done more with their three Round 2 picks, including leveraging them in a trade. Grade: C

NFC East

Dallas: If coach Bill Parcells could assemble players from a kit, they would resemble his first two choices, LB Bobby Carpenter and TE Anthony Fasano. They're tough, smart and coachable. Grade: B

New York Giants: Curious draft for the Giants. They traded down in Round 1 and took DE Mathias Kiwanuka, who didn't fit a need. But they also got extra picks to trade up for second-rounder WR Sinorice Moss, who could be a great addition. Grade: C

Philadelphia: The Eagles went with big bodies in DT Brodrick Bunkley and OT Winston Justice with their first two picks and both have character issues. The most interesting pick is fifth-rounder Jeremy Bloom, the Olympic skier, who will try to make it as a return specialist and WR. Grade: C+

Washington: You can't expect much when your first pick is in Round 2 and then you don't have another selection until Round 5. The Redskins' top choice, LB Rocky McIntosh, was solid. Grade: D+

NFC South

Atlanta: The Falcons didn't have a choice in the first round and they got either big value or a big headache in Round 2 by picking CB Jimmy Williams, who has a perceived bad attitude. Grade: C-

Carolina: Most observers figured the Panthers would take a running back in Round 1, but few figured it would be DeAngelo Williams, a speedy all-purpose producer. He's not the bruiser more typical of Carolina's style. Grade: C+

New Orleans: Reggie Bush was a perfect pick for a franchise that is trying to pull itself up. DB Roman Harper was a reach in the second round when there were better candidates at OL and TE. WR Mike Hass in the sixth round could be the steal of the draft. Grade: A-

Tampa Bay: The Bucs' draft got better as it went along. Starting with a questionable Round 1 pick in OG Davin Joseph, they got good value in rounds 3 and 4 with WR Maurice Stovall and DB Alan Zamaitis. Grade: C

NFC West

Arizona: Coach Dennis Green was absolutely euphoric after getting QB Matt Leinart with the 10th pick overall, and he landed a good TE in Leonard Pope in the third round. An odd choice was OG Deuce Lutui in Round 2. Grade: B+

St. Louis: The Rams needed a CB, and they got a good one in the first round with Tye Hill. In a nod to the emergence of tight ends, they took two, including Joe Klopfenstein. Grade: C

Seattle: Two defensive picks seemed to make sense. CB Kelly Jennings in Round 1 addressed a need and undersized DE Darryl Tapp, a solid college producer, late in the second round was good value. Grade: B-

San Francisco: The Niners got two difference-makers in the first round, TE Vernon Davis and edge defensive player Manny Lawson. Michael Robinson, a QB at Penn State, is a fourth-rounder with the potential to be a slash player. Grade: B+

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