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2010 NFL Draft: Best + Worst Teams

NFL Draft Review: Team Grades

The dust has settled. Reaches were made. Big names took freefalls. The 2010 NFL Draft had some interesting surprises. But who made out like a bandit? Who failed miserably?

Here are my team report cards.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR PICK BY PICK ANALYSIS OF THE 2010 NFL DRAFT —–>

TEACHER’S PETS: The “A” Students

Carolina Panthers: Considering that they were trying to acquire a first-round pick to draft Jimmy Clausen, we have to consider the Panthers’ selection of him at 48th overall a resounding success. They also added potential future weapons in Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards. Drafting Tony Pike out of Cincinnati adds another competitor to the QB mix.

Cleveland Browns: Loved the Joe Haden selection at ninth overall and they were smart to add Colt McCoy. The former standout Texas pivot’s draft stock plummeted leading up to draft day but he’s hardly a risk at 85th overall.

Oakland Raiders: Did the Raiders give Al Davis a general anaesthetic before the draft? What else could explain the surprising competence of Oakland’s moves? Rolando McClain in the first round was its safest pick in years. Normally, freak athlete offensive tackle Bruce Campbell would be the type of guy the Raiders would splurge on in round one. Finally, they learned; they took McClain and were rewarded when Campbell was still available in the next round. And that doesn’t even include the Jason Campbell acquisition!

San Francisco 49ers: They’re probably more of an A-minus team, as they failed to address their quarterback situation, but Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati will join Joey Staley to make their offensive line a juggernaut in years to come. Well done.

Seattle Seahawks: Instead of using a pick on C.J. Spiller, they bolstered the running back spot by acquiring Leon Washington and LenDale White via trade. They used their picks to get elite-rated tackle Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, the best safety available not named Eric Berry. Toss in wideout Golden Tate out of Notre Dame and you have a fantastic draft.

SOLID BUT UNSPECTACULAR: The “B” Students

Baltimore Ravens: Good for Ozzie Newsome – despite the Ravens’ perpetual reputation of being a defensive juggernaut, their offense is more of a strength these days since the “D” is aging. He responded by opening with nose tackle Terrence Cody and linebacker Sergio Kindle. Those picks aren’t slam dunks – Kindle battles narcolepsy and Cody battles weight problems – but they have high potential.

Denver Broncos: Make fun of Tim Tebow all you want but the Broncos made up for that risky pick  with receiver Demaryius Thomas and, in the later rounds, O-lineman Zane Beadles and receiver Eric Decker. After boasting a strong defense in 2009, the Broncos were smart to work on their passing game.

Miami Dolphins: The epitome of a solid but unspectacular draft. The Dolphins didn’t make any “wow” picks but made solid defensive selections with Jared Odrick and Koa Misi, to name just a couple. Trading down in the first round also saved major money to pay for Brandon Marshall.

New England Patriots: Getting corner Devin McCourty out of Rutgers was a solid pick, as was pairing Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham with college teammate Brandon Spikes. The Pats also get bonus points for stocking up on 2011 picks; they now have two first rounders and two second rounders for next year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs got who they hope is the next Warren Sapp with Gerald McCoy at No. 3 overall but they didn’t stop there. Brian Price out of UCLA is another solid option at defensive tackle and they found some clever bargains at receiver with Arrelious Benn (ankle injury) and Mike Williams (suspension).

Other “B” students: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans

SEE ME AFTER CLASS: “C” Students…and worse

I see three particular teams as the draft’s biggest duds:

Buffalo Bills: My goodness. Fine – C.J. Spiller was the most talented offensive player available at No. 9 overall. But he now joins Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch in a crowed backfield that still lacks a strong O-line. And there’s still that quarterback position to worry about. Hello? Buffalo? You passed on Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy repeatedly and waited to grab Levi Brown from Troy? Unforgivable.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Tsk tsk. Tyson Alualu projected as a late first rounder or early second rounder according to most experts. So I have to give the Jags a failing grade for reaching on him at 10th overall.

San Diego Chargers: There’s nothing wrong with taking linebacker Donald Butler out of Butler and Cam Thomas to play nose tackle in the later rounds. But Ryan Matthews in the first round raised more than a few eyebrows. Sure, he was one of the two highest-rated runners in the draft, but it’s hard to justify the pick considering that he’s not a sure thing.

Other bad students: Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins

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