Bob LeGere grades the NFL draft

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
 
Published4/27/2009 12:06 AM

AFC EAST

Bills: DE Aaron Maybin (11) should instantly provide the pass rush they've been missing. The Bills then used the No. 28 pick they got for Jason Peters on C Eric Wood, a late riser on many draft boards. They grabbed CB Jairus Byrd (42), the son of Bears assistant DB coach and former Chargers Pro Bowl CB Gill Byrd. Needing OL help, traded up to No. 51 for OG Andy Levitre. Grade: B.

 

Dolphins: Illini CB Vontae Davis (25) could be a Pro Bowl player if he shows better character, work ethic and attention to detail because he's a physical specimen. Then, some projects. West Virginia QB Pat White (44) will probably convert to WR but could be valuable in the Wildcat. Big CB Sean Smith (61) might have a better future at WR or S. Took another project in 6-5, 223-pound WR Patrick Turner. Grade: C.

Patriots: Took Patrick Chung, arguably the best S at 34, massive NT Ron Brace at 40, CB Darius Butler at 41 and OT Sebastian Vollmer at 58, which was a ridiculous reach. Brace is big enough to anchor their 3-4. Butler is a cover corner who was considered a first-rounder by some. WR Brandon Tate (83) is rehabbing a knee injury. Needing LBs more than anything, waited until No. 97 to take Tyrone McKenzie. Grade: C-minus.

Jets: They're in great shape defensively, so the focus was on offense. Reached at No. 5 for inexperienced QB Mark Sanchez and had to trade up 12 spots to do it, but they didn't give up much to make the jump, and they needed a QB. Powerful, productive RB Shonn Green (65) is a complement to Thomas Jones or a replacement if he holds out. Really could have used a WR to replace Laveranues Coles. Grade: C-minus.

AFC NORTH

Ravens: Got a starting-caliber OT at 23 in Michael Oher, who could be special. With an aging D-line, they brought in DE Paul Kruger with the 57th pick, who could also project to OLB in their 3-4 scheme, although he has room to grow. CB Ladarius Webb (88) is seriously undersized , but he has big-time speed and brings added value as a return specialist despite some character concerns. Grade: B-minus.

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Bengals: Needed an OT and took Andre Smith (6) when Eugene Moore was still on the board and was a safer pick, but Smith has great upside. Got a potentially huge steal at 38 with MLB Rey Maualuga. Rolled the dice at No. 70 on DE Michael Johnson who has great-pass rush potential but could also be a bust. Possible steal at 98 with TE Chase Coffman, an impact pass catcher. Grade: B.

Browns: Traded down twice and still came away with C Alex Mack (21), who should be an immediate starter and could also play OG. Figuring they could be without WRs Donte Stallworth and Braylon Edwards, they took WRs back-to-back with Brian Robiskie at 36 and Mohamed Massaquoi at 50. Added David Veikune at 52 who was a DE at Hawaii but projects to OLB in the NFL because of his agility. Grade: B.

Steelers: Looking to get younger along the D-line, went for DT Evander "Ziggy" Hood, a slashing type who can beat blockers with his quickness, at No. 32. Didn't have another pick until 79, when they addressed a problematic O-line by taking OG Kraig Urbik, who might have the agility to play OT. At 84 they grabbed WR Mike Wallace, who has good size and rare speed and could be special on returns. Reached for DB Lewis Keenan at 96. Grade: C-plus.

AFC SOUTH

Colts: They wanted a complement or replacement for RB Joseph Addai, and they selected Donald Brown over Chris "Beanie" Wells at 27, choosing the player with better versatility. DT Fili Moala (56) brings some needed bulk to the interior line as a 3 technique. CB Jerraud Powers (92) lacks size and speed but is instinctive and could be effective in their Cover-2 scheme. Grade: C-plus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Jaguars: OLT Eugene Monroe, who was rated No. 2 overall by some, fell into their laps at No. 8 and should be a starter from Day One at an area in need of upgrading. Went back to OT at No. 39 to get Eben Britton, a borderline first-round talent. Could have their bookends for the next decade. Added massive NT-DE Terrance Knighton at 71 and reached for DB Derek Cox at 72. Grade: B.

Texans: LB wasn't their greatest need, but Brian Cushing (15) is still a solid pick because of his production and versatility. DE Connor Barwin (47) is an athletic freak with huge upside, and he has flashed elite pass-rush ability. Took C Antoine Caldwell at 77 when a DB would have made more sense. Finally addressed secondary, reaching for Quinn Glover at 112. Grade: C.

Titans: They need firepower at WR and they got it at 30 with WR Kenny Britt, who put up huge numbers at Rutgers. Might have overdrafted DT Sen'Derrick Marks (62), who struggled last season because of injuries, but he has good upside. TE Jared Cook (89) was a great pick. He may have had the best Combine of any player, and he could become a prolific pass catcher. CB Ryan Mouton (94) plays bigger than his size and adds return ability. Grade: B.

AFC WEST

Broncos: No team needed more defensive help, yet they used the 12th overall pick on RB Knowshon Moreno. At 18, they reached for Robert Ayers, an OLB in their 3-4 scheme. CB Alphonso Smith (37) can't help but improve a porous secondary, along with FS Darcel McBath at 48, a former CB with good size and cover skills. TE Richard Quinn (58) is a big body who wasn't used much as a receiver. Grade: C-plus.

Chargers: They felt strongly that NIU's Larry English (16) would be able to convert his relentless pass-rush ability from DE to OLB in their 3-4 scheme, although most teams had him rated several spots lower. At 78, they took OG Louis Vasquez, which was an area of need for a team that doesn't have any glaring weaknesses, but the pick seems like a major reach for a player who might have been there a round later. Grade: C-minus

Chiefs: Needing all kinds of help for a lousy defense, they reached a bit for DE Tyson Jackson, but he's the best 5 technique available and a perfect fit for their 3-4 scheme. Went back for more DE help at 67 for Alex Magee, who could be a DE-DT "tweener" and seems better-suited to playing a 3 technique in a 4-3. Got good value at 102 with CB Donald Washington. Grade: B-minus.

Raiders: Dumb and dumber. Reached at No. 7 for WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who might have been there 10 picks later, and then pulled a Stretch Armstrong with S Michael Mitchell (47), who might have been there 100 picks later. DE Matt Shaughnessy was also way overdrafted at 71 and is a project at best. Once again, a team without a clue. Grade: F.

NFC EAST

Cowboys: Traded out at 51 and didn't pick until 69th, when they reached for WIU LB Jason Williams, a workout warrior. Reached again when they took Ball State's Robert Brewster at 75. He's a 50-game starter who needs to get stronger. Took QB Stephen McGee (101), who has upside because of tools and intangibles. Took LBs Victor Butler at 110, and Brandon Williams at 120. Grade: D.

Eagles: This team needed offensive firepower, and they got it despite limited early picks. There's a good chance they'll wind up with the steal of the draft in prolific WR Jeremy Maclin at No. 19. No one would have been surprised if Maclin went in the top 10. RB LeSean McCoy at 53 will take some of the burden off overworked RB Brian Westbrook. Grade: B.

Giants: WR Hakeem Nicks (29) can pick up the slack left by Plaxico Burress. Great value at 45 with versatile LB Clint Sintim, a borderline first-rounder with pass-rush ability. OT Will Beatty was a solid pick at 60 but needs to get stronger. Huge WR Ramses Braden (85) put up big numbers vs. weak competition at Cal-Poly. TE Travis Beckum (100) is an excellent receiver who was hurt last season. Grade: B.

Redskins: Got a break when DE-OLB Brian Orakpo dropped out of the top 10 to them at 13. He will be an immediate starter and do for them what Jason Taylor didn't do last year. Had to wait until No. 80 to grab CB Kevin Barnes, who worked out well at the Combine and has very good size but isn't a very physical player. Grade: C-plus.

NFC NORTH

Bears: DT Jarron Gilbert (68) was a late bloomer who has a lot of upside as a 3 technique because of his quickness and athleticism. Finally got a much-needed WR at 99 with Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias, who could excel underneath. Gambled a bit at 105 by taking Henry Melton, an athletic DE who is a project with upside. Vanderbilt CB D.J. Moore (119) lacks great size and speed but is a fine ball athlete with good instincts. Grade: C. (A-minus if you include Cutler).

Lions: Gambled almost $42 million in guaranteed money on QB Matthew Stafford, who has all the physical tools. Got a huge target who can also make the run game go in TE Brandon Pettigrew (20). Got help for the defense at 33 with Western Michigan's Louis Delmas, arguably the best safety in the draft. LB DeAndre Levy might be a reach at 76, but WR Derrick Williams at 82 made sense. Grade: B-plus.

Packers: Massive NT B.J. Raji (9) should be the centerpiece of their new 3-4 scheme. Traded back into the first round (26) to get versatile LB Clay Matthews, an ideal fit for the new scheme and another player who should start soon. Didn't pick again until 109, when they took OG T.J. Lang, a tough guy with ideal temperament who played OT at Eastern Michigan.

Grade: B-plus.

Vikings: Wanted a complement for Bernard Berrian, and at 22 they gambled that Percy Harvin's immense play-making ability will be worth some high maintenance. They also wanted a starting ORT and they got a king-sized road grader in 6-foot-8, 332-pound Phil Loadholt. Undersized CB Asher Allen (86) could contend for the nickel spot as a rookie. Grade: B-minus.

NFC SOUTH

Bucs: The team that collects QBs like spare change traded up two spots to get their QB of the future in Josh Freeman at 17. He's got great tools but will require some time to develop. Waited until No. 81 to pick again and shored up D-line with DT Roy Miller, who doesn't look like much but has the toughness to help plug the middle. DE Kyle Moore is a project with potential. Grade: C-minus.

Falcons: They had a lot of work to do on defense and started with DT Peria Jerry at 24, an overaged but disruptive 3 technique. Got a bargain at 55 with big, physical S William Moore who can replace departed Lawyer Milloy. CB Chris Owens (90) is too small to handle big receivers, but he's too good not to challenge for a starting job. Grade: B.

Panthers: Didn't have a pick until Round 2 after giving up their No. 1 to get OT Jeff Otah last year. Might have pulled off a major heist at No. 43 with DE Everette Brown, who could be an elite pass rusher. At 59, took S Sherrod Martin, who has all the physical tools to be tried at CB. DT Corey Irvin might have been a reach, but they might be preparing for life after Julius Peppers. Grade: B-minus.

Saints: How badly do they need defensive backs? Malcolm Jenkins (14) will be a Day One starter, if not at CB then at S, and they need a lot of help at both spots. Didn't pick again until Round 4, when they went back to the secondary at No. 116 with FS Chip Vaughn, a big, physical athletic freak who could be a special-teams standout immediately. Grade: B.

NFC WEST

Cardinals: Wanted a RB so they could cut Edgerrin James and create some cap space, and they got Chris "Beanie" Wells at No. 31. He could be a star if motivated but has some bust potential because of character concerns. LB Cody Brown (63) is athletic and brings some pass-rush ability, an area where they're looking for new blood. S Rashad Johnson, a center-fielder type with excellent ball skills was a solid value at 95. Grade: B.

49ers: Gladly took productive, multi-talented Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree when he fell to them at 10, resisting the urge to reach for QB Josh Freeman. Crabtree will make whoever plays QB look better. Didn't choose again until No. 74, adding RB Glenn Coffee, who may run too tough for his marginal size and might work best in a complementary role. Grade: C-plus.

Rams: Got their replacement for seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace in Baylor OLT Jason Smith with second overall pick, then addressed weak defense with ILB James Laurinaitis (35) who targets a specific need and was a borderline first-rounder. DB Bradley Fletcher may have been a reach at 66, but could play CB or S with size-speed combo. DT Scott Dorrell (103) was a huge reach. Failed to get a needed WR. Grade: C.

Seahawks: With Pro Bowl LB Julian Peterson gone, they went for his replacement in LB Aaron Curry (4), considered by many the safest pick in the draft. Gave up an early third and early fourth to get the Bears' pick at 49 and grabbed solid C Max Unger. WR Deon Butler (91) is undersized but can fly, and he put up nice numbers in a conservative Penn State offense. Grade: B.

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