2011 NFL Draft Grades- AFC

The 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone with many teams landing an impressive haul of players.  After the draft, everyone likes to look down at the selected players and form an opinion.  NFL Draft grades are very popular because it lets you see how your team stacked up against the rest of the league.

This is just a quick impression of each team's draft and we will be taking a more extensive look as the summer progresses.  So check out the grades and feel free to leave some feedback.

AFC East

New England Patriots- Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Ryan Mallett, Marcus Cannon, Lee Smith, Markell Carter, Malcolm Williams

C There are some nice players in this draft class but I think that they miss an opportunity to get real impact players.  Solder has a ton of potential but he needs to work on improving his technique.  Dowling has been injury prone which needs to play into your evaluation.  Both Vereen and Ridley are nice running backs but are similar to the current combo of Woodhead and Green-Ellis.  The Mallett and Cannon may take a little to pay off but were smart selections.

Miami Dolphins- Mike Pouncey, Daniel Thomas, Edmund Gates, Charles Clay, Frank Kearse, Jimmy Wilson

C+Pouncey is going to be starting along the Dolphin offensive line for many years.  Gates brings a ton of speed and may develop into the receiver the team thought Ted Ginn would.  I felt that the Thomas pick was a bit of a reach but he does have wildcat experience.

New York Jets- Muhammad Wilkerson, Kendrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Greg McElroy, Scotty McKnight

C+Both Wilkerson and Ellis fill needs along the defensive front.  Powell is going struggle to find carries in a crowded backfield.  Kerley will return kicks and provide some receiver depth.

Buffalo Bills- Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, Kelvin Sheppard, Da'Norris Searcy, Chris Hairston, Johnny White, Chris White, Justin Rodgers, Michael Jasper

A-The biggest need for the Bills was a lack of talent.  They needed to bring in better players at several different positions and they did that with this draft.  Dareus and Williams will bring toughness and versitility to the defense.  I feel Hairston is a potential starting right tackle that can open up running lanes.  Johnny White could eventually take over for Fred Jackson when he runs out of gas.  Overall this team got better this weekend and that is the goal of the draft

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens- Jimmy Smith, Torrey Smith, Jah Reid, Tandon Doss, Chykie Brown, Pernell McPhee, Tyrod Taylor, Anthony Allen

A-The Ravens got good value and filled a need with each of their selections.  Smith will immediately start at corner and really improve that unit.  I think that Jah Reid has very good right tackle written all over him as he plays with good balance and strength.  The Ravens needed speed and that is what Torrey Smith brings to the table.

Pittsburgh Steelers- Cameron Heyward, Marcus Gilbert, Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen, Chris Carter, Keith Williams, Baron Batch 

B-The Heyward pick was what the the Steelers needed to bring in along the defensive line. I thought that the Gilbert selection was a bit of a reach but not enough to beat them up over the selection.  I think that the Curtis Brown pick is a steal.

Cleveland Browns-Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Greg Little, Jordan Cameron, Owen Marecic, Buster Skrine, Jason Pinkston, Eric Hagg

B-I really like Phil Taylor but thought he was a better fit in the 3-4 defense.  However, he has the quickness to penetrate and could be moved around the defensive line.  Sheard is undersized but can bring pressure off the edge and he plays with a good motor.  Cameron needs some time to develop but can be a good pass catching tight end down the road.  Jason Pinkston will be a good backup offensive lineman in the NFL and was a good value pick.

Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Dontay Moch, Clint Boling, Robert Sands, Ryan Whalen, Korey Lindsay, Jay Finley

A I absolutely love the Green, Dalton, and Boling selections as all three could have a quick impact.  I am not sure many remember that there was talk about the Bengals releasing Carson Palmer before he asked for a trade.  So I think the Dalton pick makes sense even if Palmer was 100% returning to the team.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Castonzo, Ben Ijalana, Drake Nevis, Delone Carter, Chris Rucker

A-The Colts hit the nail on the head with this draft.  They needed to rebuild their offensive line and they got a big steal with Castonzo.  Look for Castonzo to start at left tackle with Ijalana working to develop and eventually ending up on the right side.  I love the Nevis pick as he will bring nastiness to the defensive line.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Blaine Gabbert, William Rackley, Cecil Shorts, Chris Proniski, Rod Issac

C+The Jaguars are a team that needed to fill a few needs but instead took a risk on Gabbert.  This was a hard draft to grade and I may end up adjusting it to a higher grade.  Gabbert was my top rated quarterback and the Jags needed a qb of the future so you cannot kill that pick.  I think Rackley can be a very good starting guard in the NFL and Shorts can contribute right away.  Again a good draft but I gave them a lower grade because they failed to address some key needs.

Houtson Texas- J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed, Brandon Harris, Rashad Carmichael, Shiloh Keo, TJ Yates, Derek Newton, Cheta Ozougwu

A I love this draft for Houston as they set out to improve their defense and that is exactly what they did.  What makes the draft so good is that they filled position of need without reaching for players.  Watt, Reed, and Harris all could have went higher but feel into the Texans lap.

Tennessee Titans- Jake Locker, Akeem Ayers, Jurrell Casey, Colin McCarthy, Jamie Harper, Karl Klug, Byron Stingily, Zach Clayton, Tommie Campbell

C+Locker will make or break this draft class but there are some other solid selections.  Ayers, Casey, and McCarthy could all be an immediate help to the Titans defense.  Ayers plays like a 1st rounder but fell because of a poor workout.

AFC West

Oakland Raiders- Stefen Wisienswki, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Joe Barksdale, Chimdi Chewka, Tiawan Jones, Denarius Moore, Richard Gordon, David Ausberry

C-I feel the Raiders reached for everyone of these players.  They continue to put a ton of stock into speed and that is why Van Dyke, Jones, and Chewka were selected.  Wisinenwski and Barksdale are a decent offensive lineman that have a shot to help out early.

Denver Broncos- Von Miller, Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Quinton Carter, Julius Thomas, Mike Mohamad, Virgil Green, Jermey Beal

A-While I dont think Miller is a great fit in a 4-3 defense he is still a tremendous player.  This draft needed to be heavy on defense and that is exactly what happened.  Franklin will help the offensive line and could play either tackle or guard.  Watch out for Virgil Green as he has tons of speed and could stretch the defense in passing situations.

Kansas City Chiefs- Jon Baldwin, Rodney Hudson, Justin Houston, Allen Bailey, Jalil Brown, Ricky Stanzi, Gabe Miller, Jerrell Powe, Shane Bannon

B+I see a draft with a ton of talent filling positions of need.  Baldwin might be a reach but there were several other teams looking hard at him in the 2nd round.  The Chiefs have the right coaches in place to get the most out of Houston, Bailey, and Powe.  Stanzi is a nice developmental quarterback that gives them a good backup option.

San Diego Chargers- Corey Liuget, Marcus Gilchrist, James Mouton, Vincent Brown, Sharcee Wright, Jordon Todman, Stephen Schilling, Andrew Gachkar

B The Mouton pick is a head scratcher but the rest of the draft helped overcome that reach.  Liuget is a terrific player and will make an immediate impact.  Gilchirst is versatile player that can play both corner and safety.  Vincent Brown is a good wide reciever that can make the tough catch.  Look out for Jordon Todman as Norv Turner will find ways to use his quickness.

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