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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • Grading the 2010 Draft: Patriots and Bucs were Big Winners

    I never try to grade a draft after it happens. It is simply impossible to know which players will play best. But, a year later, it is relatively easy to grade the drafts of the respective NFL teams. Here is my top Five from 2010.

    1) New England Patriots: I know, they get more picks than other teams, but that is no accident. Most of the teams who draft well usually draft in the top 15, but the Patriots consistently have success drafting in the bottom half of the draft. Devin McCourty is a star CB with 7 interceptions in his rookie year. The tight end combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez was dynamic. Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes made big contributions on the defensive side. 14-2 while rebuilding the defense was very impressive.

    2) Tampa Bay Bucs: Almost made the Bucs my top choice, but LeGarrett Blount was not a draft choice so I put them at number 2. Forth rounder Mike Williams was the star, but Gerald McCoy, Arrellious Benn, and Safety Cody Grimm all were major factors on this 10 win team that started 10 rookies.

    3) Kansas City Chiefs: Major contributions from draft choices carried the Chiefs into the playoffs. Eric Berry was voted into the NFL's top 100 players in his first year. Tony Moeaki made big plays at TE. Dexter McCluster and CB Javier Arenas awakened the return game. Guard Jon Asamoah and FS Kendrick Lewis appear to be future starters. Only the final pick, Cameron Sheffield failed to contribute due to an injury.

    4) Oakland Raiders: Four starters came out of the draft,LB Rolondo McClain, DE Lamarr Houston, OT Jared Veldheer, and Jacoby Ford. The Raiders won 8 games and fired Tom Cable because Hue Jackson improved the offense by 213 points in his first season. If Bruce Cambell starts on the OL next year, that will be 5 starters out of the first 5 picks.

    5) St. Louis, Philadelphia, Seattle, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Detroit were under consideration for number 5. I took the Cleveland Browns. Joe Haden's 6 interceptions led the way. TJ Ward brought some thump to the secondary. Colt McCoy was a pleasant surprise. Only the injury to Montario Hardesty hurt this draft class. I loved the trade down in this year's draft as Mike Holmgren tries to rebuild the Browns.

    Plenty of room for debate on this one. Many players will emerge in year two, but for first year impressions, the Patriots and Bucs stole the show.

    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      Shouldn't this be the 2010 Draft class? Just saying. (I see you got the edit working before my post actually went up, good job)

      From teh immediate 1 year impact I would agree that it is hard to argue with the top 2. Packers draft is interesting as far as this goes as the potential of 5 starters were drafted (2 already starting) Bulaga (RT-will be LT) and Burnett (SS, and got hurt as well-imagine that), Jones (OLB), Neal (DE), Quarless (TE- not to replace Finley but to pair with in 2 TE sets), then added depth at Wilson (DE). Oh yeah, there was this unknown running abck name Starks as well.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      The Patriots Bill B. is truly the master, no one else is worthy. He sets the bar so high in terms of drafting players that fit his system and developing them it is amazing. Not a coincidence that his right hand man Scott Pioli is getting it done for the Chiefs is it? The teams you listed definitely got a lot of mileage out of many rookies for sure. My barometer for draft evaluating is 3 years. Most rookies don't know what they don't know in their first year. Most make their biggest strides form year 1 to year 2. They know what their coach's expectations are, and the coaches have a better feel for what players are capable of doing. By the 3rd year they are comfortable with their system and role in it provided the coaching staff is a constant.
    1. Sander's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lapham View Post
      The Patriots Bill B. is truly the master, no one else is worthy. He sets the bar so high in terms of drafting players that fit his system and developing them it is amazing. Not a coincidence that his right hand man Scott Pioli is getting it done for the Chiefs is it? The teams you listed definitely got a lot of mileage out of many rookies for sure. My barometer for draft evaluating is 3 years. Most rookies don't know what they don't know in their first year. Most make their biggest strides form year 1 to year 2. They know what their coach's expectations are, and the coaches have a better feel for what players are capable of doing. By the 3rd year they are comfortable with their system and role in it provided the coaching staff is a constant.
      I think Bill Belichick is somewhat overrated as a drafter. His last two drafts have been good again, but he had a stretch from '06
      Still on the Pats roster from the '06 draft: 0. '07: 1. '08: 3.

      A lot of his genius is simply accumulating picks, too. Increase volume, and you'll automatically get more hits.
    1. BlitzburghGator's Avatar
      Cris, you should wait more than one year before doing this. Bad teams have the most spots to fill, so they have more rookies playing than good teams which makes it impossible to fairly compare. Teams like the Steelers rarely need rookies to play, though Maurkice Pouncey was clearly an exception last year.


      As for the Patriots, hoarding picks worked out for them last year, but it has hurt them in past years. Its been 7 years since they won a title, and Brady's window of opportunity is closing. They should have been putting the best players around him during his prime rather than always trading for the future.

      Additionally, if the new CBA includes a cap on how much a team can spend on rookies, then New England will be hard pressed to sign some of those extra picks. Using the picks to trade up will cause the same cap problems. With all this talk of cutting rookie salaries, this may backfire on the Pats.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lapham View Post
      The Patriots Bill B. is truly the master, no one else is worthy.
      I think Ted Thompson severely disagrees with this statement. Actually, he wouldn't, he would just stare blankly and ignore teh hit and go about his business.
    1. BlitzburghGator's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lapham View Post
      The Patriots Bill B. is truly the master, no one else is worthy. He sets the bar so high in terms of drafting players that fit his system and developing them it is amazing. Not a coincidence that his right hand man Scott Pioli is getting it done for the Chiefs is it? The teams you listed definitely got a lot of mileage out of many rookies for sure. My barometer for draft evaluating is 3 years. Most rookies don't know what they don't know in their first year. Most make their biggest strides form year 1 to year 2. They know what their coach's expectations are, and the coaches have a better feel for what players are capable of doing. By the 3rd year they are comfortable with their system and role in it provided the coaching staff is a constant.
      Brady might well have 4-5 titles right now if they had drafted for the present instead of the future....
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Oh, I disagree with this big time.

      Bellichek personnel hasn't been optimal. His scheme has. He tends to trade brains for athleticism, and then place an extreme value on optimizing schemes for the opponent week to week.

      I think Bill can "Beat your'n with his'n and then trade teams and beat his'n with your'n." But that isn't the sign of great personnel, in fact it is just the opposite.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      And although the NFL isn't the NBA, I still think "talent density" is a strong contributor to a good club.

      I would rather have 1 GREAT than 2 VERY GOODs.

      I sorta like Suh from the 2010 draft. How many All-Pros did Bill draft in 2010?
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      I know this is a place to discuss and hypothesize all things football, but I think it's too early to grade draft classes. There's a reason some 2nd year players take a step back, and it's because your opponents now have a year of footage to find a players tendencies and weaknesses.

      I remember how DeAngelo Hall and Dunta Robinson and Terrance Newman were all the next "Deion Sanders" after their rookie years but have failed to live up to the high expectations.

      McCourty, Spikes and Cunningham may have contributed to the defense, but even Bart Scott said "they can't stop a nosebleed".
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      I will do another post on Bill's draft class but let's just say that I agree with Darvon on scheme thing and that his 2010 Class redeemed what had been a bunch if i rem correct sub par classes since 2005..

      On the Bucs draft class of 2010, they had Put a huge premium on it going in as the foundation of the club and 3 additional players they drafted in that class that have shown serious potential

      2nd round pick Brian Price was EASILY the most disruptive player on Defense during Training Camp but due to injury was forced on IR earlier.. look for him to showcase his talents this year

      3rd Pick Myron Lewis finished strong last year after being hampered by injury for the first 1/2 of the season and is one of the reasons why Bucs are prepared to move on post Aqib

      7th pick Erik Long after being converted from a DE to TE to FB is basically going into the season as the starting FB for this season.

      Basically from the early results, with the exception of their 6th pick of a punter and the undrafted FA's they picked up that year, they knocked the 2010 Class right out the park
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Sander View Post
      I think Bill Belichick is somewhat overrated as a drafter. His last two drafts have been good again, but he had a stretch from '06
      Still on the Pats roster from the '06 draft: 0. '07: 1. '08: 3.

      A lot of his genius is simply accumulating picks, too. Increase volume, and you'll automatically get more hits.
      Somehow missed this post but I think this sums up properly..Bill is excellent at schemes&getting picks but his ability as a drafter is slightly overrated.Heck, for the hype that 2000 Draft class got,just taking a look at all the picks BEFORE Tom Brady says it all. Bill is the best coach in the NFL right now but there is not need to over inflate what is already pretty darn good resume for him.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      If we count trades then we have to include the 49ers in the top 5.

      After all, they got The Key to the Season™ for a 5th round pick.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      I like the Bucs too. They had more Good Guys on the Field added so that they can complement the talents of Josh Freeman and what they are trying to do there. I respect their commitment to winning and I feel like they are all in the same boat with Raheem Morris and that Troop can Go Places. My Saints Better Look Out!!
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      My point about Bill B. that sets him apart is drafting players that fit HIS system not what the popular opinion about who the best players may be. Then he indoctrinates them and develops them better than anyone. His schemes and game plans are extrordinary for sure, but you need the trust between player and coach to execute it.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      Oh, I disagree with this big time.

      Bellichek personnel hasn't been optimal. His scheme has. He tends to trade brains for athleticism, and then place an extreme value on optimizing schemes for the opponent week to week.

      I think Bill can "Beat your'n with his'n and then trade teams and beat his'n with your'n." But that isn't the sign of great personnel, in fact it is just the opposite.
      I think Bill is missing what made his teams great. He always had great DLinemen and outside linebackers. The interior 3 could control the inside running game and still protect the inside backers. Now, with the exception of Vince Wilfork, they are average inside.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      If we count trades then we have to include the 49ers in the top 5.

      After all, they got The Key to the Season™ for a 5th round pick.
      Ha. He WAS the key. He did nothing and so did the Niners. I wish he played in the 80's, I would have two rings.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Sander View Post
      A lot of his genius is simply accumulating picks, too. Increase volume, and you'll automatically get more hits.
      This is what I love about Belichick's drafts. I agree that as far as drafting individual players, he's very average. He's had more than a few misses. But the way he manipulates the draft makes up for that. Like you said, he increases the volume, therefore he always seems to come out of the draft with players that help his team, even if he also gets some that don't. I don't care how you get impact players, just get them.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Cris is correct in that what Belichick is missing is a heady talented OLB to complement a heady talented NT in Big Vince. He's had to make do with aquiring smart players only. There are only so many Teddy Bruschis out there, and the Pats are very cap concious and don't like albatross contracts.

      Maybe Cunningham will prove to be as smart as athletic, but a BB defense takes time to adjust to. That's what makes McCourty such a great pick, since through the first 12 weeks he started every snap on defense, in a defense that changed schemes every week.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      FWIW: here's a great article on draft pick retention since '06 that was done right before this years draft.

      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...ys-build-team/
    1. Russell S Baxter's Avatar
      Kudos to the Patriots as well. And it was much needed after some recent drafts, especially in 2007 when they basically only got Pro Bowl S Brandon Meriweather from 9 selections. It didn't hurt them that year (when they went 16-0) but when they needed some young players to step up in 2009 (that class's third year), they weren't around...

      Also love the point on Browns' S T.J. Ward, who had one of my favorite statisical seasons, leading Cleveland in tackles AND special teams tackles as a rookie...