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.