Sunday, April 25, 2010
Mel Kiper's AFC North draft grades
By James Walker
I'm not big on grading an NFL draft 24 hours after it's complete. But I know a lot of people are.
So we bring in ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper to do the heavy lifting and provide his evaluations for the AFC North:
Kiper's draft grade: A
Analysis: Only two teams received the highest grade possible from Kiper, and the Ravens were one of them. To fully appreciate what Baltimore did in the draft, you have to consider the team began the week with just five draft picks. Then the Ravens shrewdly traded out of the first round with the Denver Broncos for three picks later in the draft, and that's when the Ravens went to work. Kiper loves the second-round selections of linebacker Sergio Kindle and defensive tackle Terrence "Mount" Cody. Kiper also believes the team grabbed a pair of quality tight end prospects in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. Baltimore acquired as much talent as anyone without having a single selection in the first 42 picks.
Kiper's draft grade: B
Analysis: Kiper doesn't believe the Steelers drafted any huge impact players. But he liked the solid acquisitions, which resulted in a solid grade. I haven't seen anyone so far who doesn't like the choice of first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey. The former Florida center seems like a perfect fit in Pittsburgh's interior offensive line and should bring toughness to that unit. Linebackers Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson were risky in terms of need, but Kiper believes they can help for now on special teams. Kiper highlighted running back Jonathan Dwyer as a possible sleeper.
Kiper's draft grade: C
Analysis: Outside of the opening pick of tight end Jermaine Gresham, Kiper wasn't all that impressed with the Bengals' draft. Kiper, like most draft experts, believes defensive end Carlos Dunlap is a boom-or-bust player who underachieved despite great physical tools. Third-round cornerback Brandon Ghee potentially could help in sub packages against multiple-receiver sets, where Cincinnati struggled last season. No mention of receiver Jordan Shipley from Kiper. But he does think former Kansas receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who was taken in the sixth round, might surprise.
Kiper's draft grade: C
Analysis: The first draft of the Mike Holmgren era in Cleveland also received an average grade from Kiper. He praised the pick of cornerback Joe Haden at No. 7 overall. But otherwise Kiper felt safety T.J. Ward and tailback Montario Hardesty were drafted too high and considered them reaches. Cleveland traded up in the second round to get Hardesty, who Kiper likes but didn't think the move up was necessary. Kiper also questioned why the Browns drafted Ward and Larry Asante, who are both considered "in-the-box" safeties. Kiper feels quarterback Colt McCoy at the end of the third round was a good value pick.