Let's be honest: Draft grades are dumb. Always have been, always will be. So, rather than grades, we will just go through and give our stellar opinions on who did well in the draft and who sucked hard moon rocks. We'll start with the teams that didn't have strong drafts, in my not-so-humble and often oh-so-full-of-myself opinion.
Taking RB Chris Johnson at pick #24 was a major reach, especially considering they drafting RB Chris Henry the year before, and Henry is in the same mold as Johnson. This means that either 1) Johnson was a reach this year, or 2) Henry was a mistake last year. either way, someone in Tennessee screwed up and wasted a first day pick. Here's New Era Scouting's take on picking Chris Johnson:
This was just a bad pick. Why pass on a wide receiver for the same player you drafted in the second round last year (Chris Henry)? I don’t see the value here, other than replacing the punt return abilities of Pacman, which they didn’t miss much last year.The Titans desperately needed to upgrade their DE position in this draft after losing Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom to free agency. Tennessee bypassed a player like DE Phillip Merling to take Johnson, which was likely a mistake. Tennessee did address their DE position with Jason Jones in round 2, but Merling projects better. Many did not think William Hayes would get drafted at all, and Tennessee took him in the 4th round. All in all, Tennessee addressed needs but did not seem to get good value where they picked. Jimmy, head writer at Music City Miracles, had this to say about the Chris Johnson pick:
After sleeping on it, I am not as disappointed with the Chris Johnson as I was yesterday. The worst thing about it is that the Titans are admitting that they are giving up on Chris Henry. That was a terrible pick if you are giving up on him after just 1 season.
I'm sure I will get the "biased" label because I blog for the Colts, who also happen to play in the AFC South, but Houston's draft was also unimpressive. The Texans traded down in the first round, and then, at pick #26, they reached big time for project OT Duane Brown. This seemed a "panic" pick, as other notable o-linemen were snatched up one by one in the picks just prior to Houston's. It seemed the Texans gambled that someone like Sam Baker or Jeff Otah might still be there at pick #26, and when they weren't the Texans took the highest o-lineman on their board. The one weakness the Texans team has always had since its creation in 2002 is a BAD o-line. This line knocked David Carr around for years, and was unable to keep his replacement (Matt Schaub) healthy in 2007. Here's New Era Scouting's take on the Duane Brown pick:
Analysis: An amazing reach here. Alex Gibbs loves no-name offensive lineman, but this is a guy who could be had at least a round and a half later. Brown’s also a suspect run blocker. With Anthony Collins on board, the PERFECT zone blocking left tackle available, why over-reach for Brown.
The Texans did make some nice picks with RB Steve Slaton in round 3, LB Xavier Adibi in round 4, and DT Frank Otam in round 5. All were excellent choices. However, this is yet another in a long line of drafts were the Texans failed to significantly upgrade their o-line. Here's Tim, head writer over at Battle Red Blog, on the Duane Brown pick:
Hmmmmm. I get that the guy is allegedly a good fit for the zone blocking system, but in the first round? With Brandon Flowers, Phillip Merling, and/or Kenny Phillips available? Unless you're hooked up to a Smithiak Kool-Aid IV drip, this raises eyebrows.
I don't get Chicago's draft. Yes, they did a fine job addressing key issues on their o-line by taking OT Chris Williams of Vanderbilt. Drafting WR Earl Bennett and DT Marcus Harrison in round 3 was excellent, adding good players to real need positions. Chester Adams and Kirk Barton will also help Chicago rebuild their horrid o-line.
You know how everyone loves to watch a car wreck? Bears games will be highly viewed this season. They have two capable running backs in Adrian Peterson and Cedric Benson. I like Forte’, but come on, they need a quarterback people! First coach fired in 2008: Lovie Smith. Idiot.I disagree on Lovie Smith. I personally think he's a great coach. I also disagree on Cedric Benson. Everyone who knows football knows Benson is garbage. He's one of the biggest bust picks in recent memory (#4 overall in 2005). Forte' is a significant upgrade over Benson both in ability and character. However, you win and lose in this league with your QB play, and Rex Grossman just cannot get it done. Bypassing Brohm and Henne sends a clear signal that the Bears are sticking with Grossman, and that is a major mistake. Here's WCG, head honcho over at Windy City Gridiron:
Forte is not as easy of a pick to justify. The Bears had many other options to consider. Texas wide receiver Limas Swee was mocked by most in the first round, to pick him up in the 2nd would have given whoever the Bears decide to start at QB a big target to go after. Also two QBs, Louisville's Brian Brohm and Michigan's Chad Henne were both on the board. Both almost fell to the Bears in the third, but a late mini run at the end of the 2nd took them both off the board.
The pick brings into question Cedric Benson's role with the Bears. Forte really isn't a complement player, he is more of a take over the job guy. Are the Bears prepared to set Benson adrift? Does this mean the Bears will carry 4 running backings going into the 08 season?
For most post-draft commentary, check out New Era Scouting and Mocking the Draft. Like with all draft evaluations, we won't really know who screwed up until about two years from now.