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Zach Parnes

NFL Draft: First Round Report Card

  • Posted by: Zach Parnes
  • April 25, 2009, 9:50 PM


Who made the grade in the first round of the NFL Draft? Check out who got my highest marks as I grade all 32 first-round picks... 

 
1 Detroit Lions
Lions
MATTHEW STAFFORD, QB, Georgia

The Lions were wise to choose a quarterback. Stafford is a perfect fit and could possibly rebuild Detroit’s future with Calvin Johnson at the wideout, giving him a good target to throw to.
GRADE: A

 
2 St. Louis Rams
Rams
JASON SMITH, OT, Baylor
Smith is a reliable offensive tackle and he surely will be starting on Day 1 in St. Louis. After losing Orlando Pace, Smith will fill his spot as a pass protector for Marc Bulger. He also will be able to clear room for Steven Jackson.
GRADE: A-
 
3 Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs
TYSON JACKSON, DE, LSU
I don’t really understand this pick. I still think that Brian Orapko is the best defensive end in this draft class. Though Kansas City is likely to switch to a 3-4 defense, I think Orakpo would have been a much better fit as a pass rusher. I also think that passing on Aaron Curry was the wrong move.
GRADE: C-
 
4 Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks
AARON CURRY, LB, Wake Forest
Grabbing Curry was a great move. With Kansas City passing on the best linebacker in the draft, Seahawks took advantage. Curry will help Lofa Tatupu and the struggling Seattle defense this season.
GRADE: A+
 
5 New York Jets
Jets
MARK SANCHEZ, QB, USC
The Jets were seriously interested in their new franchise quarterback, trading up 12 spots to get him. This means Brett Favre will definitely stay retired. The Jets should start Sanchez from Day 1.
GRADE: B+
 
6 Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals
ANDRE SMITH, OT, Alabama
I am surprised that the Bengals passed on Eugene Monroe. But Smith probably is the better offensive tackle. His off-the-field problems will hopefully die down by the start of the 2009 season. He will be a great offensive tackle the Bengals can trust, and Carson Palmer should be very happy about this pick.
GRADE: B
 
7 Oakland Raiders
Raiders
DARRIUS HEYWARD-BEY, WR, Maryland
I know Raiders owner Al Davis loves speed, but I don’t see where this pick comes from. DHB has great speed, but Michael Crabtree is the better overall prospect. This is a very poor choice by the Raiders.
GRADE: D+
 
8 Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars
EUGENE MONROE, OT, Virginia
They have a tough defense, and it was important for them to improve their offense. Monroe will open up holes for MJD (Maurice Jones-Drew), and give David Garrard a couple of extra seconds in the pocket. With free agent receiver Torry Holt also coming to Jacksonville, the Jaguars could be one of the most improved teams in the NFL.
GRADE: A
 
9 Green Bay Packers
Packers
B.J. RAJI, DT, Boston College
Good pick-up by the Packers. Their defense was not very talented last year (unless you count defensive touchdown returns). Raji will fit perfectly in a defense led by linebacker A.J. Hawk and cornerback Al Harris.
GRADE: A-
 
10 San Francisco 49ers
49ers
MICHAEL CRABTREE, WR, Texas Tech
An excellent choice by the Niners. They really took the best available player and will benefit from it this season. This will give Shaun Hill another target to fire to.
GRADE: A
 
11 Buffalo Bills
Bills
AARON MAYBIN, DE, Penn State
This was a confusing pick by the Bills. They could have gone with Brian Orakpo, or gone with another offensive tackle such as Michael Oher. But the Bills will look better on defense with Maybin, and on offense with Terrell Owens.
GRADE: C
 
12 Denver Broncos
Broncos
KNOWSHON MORENO, RB, Georgia
I knew this would be the smart pick for Denver after losing about seven running backs to injury last season. Moreno will give a jolt of confidence to this Broncos offense.
GRADE: A
 
13 Washington Redskins
Redskins
BRIAN ORAKPO, DE, Texas
He was the best available player and Washington should be extremely happy with this pick. He will fill the spot of Jason Taylor, and the Redskins will have an even better defense this year.
GRADE: B+
 
14 New Orleans Saints
Saints
MALCOLM JENKINS, CB/S, Ohio State
This is an interesting move by New Orleans, grabbing a college cornerback. I originally had them taking a wide receiver, which I still think they should have done. Jenkins will assist Jabari Greer and Randall Gay in the Saints’ secondary.
GRADE: B
 
15 Houston Texans
Texans
BRIAN CUSHING, LB, USC
I’m surprised they took Cushing over Rey Maualuga. Still, Cushing will play a very important role in a Texans defense that ranked 21st in total defense last year. They allowed nearly 2,000 rushing yards on the season.
GRADE: B-
 
16 San Diego Chargers
Chargers
LARRY ENGLISH, DE/LB, Northern Illinois
Once again, I’m not really sure where this pick came from. Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews both would have had a larger impact in San Diego. I also would have liked to see the Chargers try something unexpected, like take a wide receiver.
GRADE: C+
 
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs
JOSH FREEMAN, QB, Kansas State
Josh Freeman? They just signed Byron Leftwich! I’m wondering if both these quarterbacks will share snaps, or if Leftwich will teach Freeman for a few years while the youngster stays on the bench.
GRADE: C
 
18 Denver Broncos
Broncos
ROBERT AYERS, DE, Tennessee
Smart pick by the Broncos, who ranked 28th in the NFL last season. Ayers is the type of pass rusher this team needs. He has great footwork, which will allow him to get past offensive tackles.
GRADE: B+
 
19 Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles
JEREMY MACLIN, WR, Missouri
Great choice by the Eagles. They grabbed the one of the best wide receivers in the Draft, a position that they needed.
GRADE: A
 
20 Detroit Lions
Lions
BRANDON PETTIGREW, TE, Oklahoma State
This was an interesting pick. They could have gone with an offensive tackle like Michael Oher, but Pettigrew may have been too good to pass up.
GRADE: B
 
21 Cleveland Browns
Browns
ALEX MACK, C, California
They traded down in the first round three times, then basically wasted the pick on the offensive side of the ball! Mack is a very physical player, and he’s a good center. But I surely thought they would work on the defensive side of the ball.
GRADE: D-
 
22 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings
PERCY HARVIN, WR, Florida
Excellent pick. In my opinion, he’s probably the fastest wide receiver in this Draft class. He’ll fit in great in Minnesota alongside Bernard Berrian with Tarvaris Jackson throwing to him.
GRADE: A
 
23 Baltimore Ravens
Ravens
MICHAEL OHER, OT, Mississippi
As a Steelers fan, I’m extremely happy they didn’t select Rey Maualuga! But this is still an excellent pick by the Ravens. They need someone to protect Joe Flacco. He will also open up running holes for La’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice.
GRADE: B
 
24 Atlanta Falcons
Falcons
PERIA JERRY, DT, Mississippi
I expected a wide receiver, but Jerry is still a great pick. He’ll help a Falcons defense that ranked 26th in the NFL last year. He also will help increase their sack total.
GRADE: B+
 
25 Miami Dolphins
Dolphins
VONTAE DAVIS, CB, Illinois
Smart pick by the Dolphins, who needed a cornerback. With the addition of Davis and free agent Gibril Wilson, the Miami secondary will be stronger than it has been in years.
GRADE: B
 
26 Green Bay Packers
Packers
CLAY MATTHEWS, LB/DE, USC
I still can’t believe everyone passed on Rey Maualuga! I’m beginning to wonder if his lack of speed is a concern for NFL teams. But this was a great choice by Green Bay. Matthews will assist A.J. Hawk, Al Harris, and fellow first-round draft pick B.J. Raji in helping the struggling Packers defense.
GRADE: B-
 
27 Indianapolis Colts
Colts
DONALD BROWN, RB, Connecticut
This was somewhat logical for the Colts. Brown will assist Joseph Addai and could split carries with him this year. If Brown turns out to be great, Indy could have a tandem like Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
GRADE: B+
 
28 Buffalo Bills
Bills
ERIC WOOD, C, Louisville
I didn’t expect this at all from Buffalo. I thought they’d go with an offensive tackle instead of a center. They also could have taken a running back, such as Chris Wells, as a back-up for Marshawn Lynch, who will be suspended for part of next season.
GRADE: C+
 
29 New York Giants
Giants
HAKEEM NICKS, WR, North Carolina
A very nice pick-up by the Giants. He will replace Plaxico Burress. Nicks is a talented wide receiver, something the Giants need after losing Burress, Amani Toomer, and, last season, Jeremy Shockey.
GRADE: A
 
30 Tennessee Titans
Titans
KENNY BRITT, WR, Rutgers
The Titans made a good choice, taking another one of the great wide receivers in this Draft class. Britt will no doubt start along with newly added receiver Nate Washington. This improves Tennessee’s offense dramatically, giving them a threat in the passing game to go along with Chris Johnson, LenDale White, and the running game.
GRADE: A-
 
31 Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals
CHRIS WELLS, RB, Ohio State
This could be a large gamble for the Cardinals after losing J.J. Arrington. They have to hope that Wells doesn’t get injured this season. LeSean McCoy might have been the safer choice, but Wells is bigger and faster, giving him the advantage.
GRADE: A-
 
32 Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers
EVANDER "ZIGGY" HOOD, DE/DT, Missouri
I’m in shock that they did not take an offensive tackle. But Pittsburgh selected one of the best defensive linemen on the board. Hood will aid an aging defensive line and help Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton.
GRADE: B

 

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