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Grading the 2006 Draft

Monday, May 1, 2006

Arizona: A

QB Matt Leinart was the right pick when he slipped to 10th, and getting TE Leonard Pope in the third round and DT Gabe Watson in the fourth round was a coup. Second-round G Deuce Lutui went about where he should have gone.

Atlanta: C-

The Falcons were practically a draft non-participant, but getting CB Jimmy Williams in the second round could turn out well.

Baltimore: C-

First-round DT Haloti Ngata helps (Ray Lewis can't blame his performance on the play of those in front of him anymore), but there wasn't much overall sizzle.

Buffalo: D+

A team this bad at QB passed on Leinart to take S Donte Whitner? Whitner could have been picked later, and DT John McCargo was a questionable first-rounder. The best things the Bills did was getting CB Ashton Youboty in the third round and S Ko Simpson in the fourth.

Carolina: B

RB DeAngelo Williams should be an immediate contributor splitting carries with DeShaun Foster, and CB Richard Marshall could be a second-round gem.

Chicago: C-

The Bears had chances to address their possible future need at LB, with Lance Briggs eligible for free agency after next season, and didn't. But second-round S Danieal Manning was one of the most intriguing players in the draft.

Cincinnati: C-

The Bengals got a speed CB in the first round in Johnathan Joseph, but the ability of this draft class to contribute quickly seems limited.

Cleveland: C+

First-round DE-LB Kamerion Wimbley was a solid choice, but the Browns should have received ore in their trade of C Jeff Faine to New Orleans than moving up nine spots in the second round to get LB D'Qwell Jackson.

Dallas: C

First-round LB Bobby Carpenter and second-round TE Anthony Fasano were decent selections, though perhaps a bit early for each, but the Cowboys still needed immediate help at safety (even with the moves they made recently in free agency at the spot) and didn't get it.

Denver: A-

Coach Mike Shanahan rebounded from last year's draft-day gaffe of taking Maurice Clarett in the third round by trading up to get QB Jay Cutler, sending a second-rounder to Green Bay for WR Javon Walker and landing DE Elvis Dumervil in the fourth round.

Detroit: C-

LB Ernie Sims is a fine prospect but is undersized, and the ninth pick might have been a little high for him. The Lions left Leinart on the board, and the rest of their draft was ordinary at best.

Green Bay: C-

LB A.J. Hawk will be an excellent player, but will the Packers regret letting TE Vernon Davis slip by? Second-round pick T Daryn Colledge was a solid pickup. Still, they had five of the first 75 picks, and it doesn't seem like they got the most out of them.

Houston: D

This isn't to say DE Mario Williams won't be a superb player. He very well might be. But the Texans passed up the best player in the draft, RB Reggie Bush, to take a player first overall who would accept a contract Bush rejected, then tried to say it wasn't a pick made for financial reasons. Please. At least second-round LB DeMeco Ryans and third-round T Eric Winston were worthy of their draft slots.

Indianapolis: C+

The Colts needed a RB and got one in the first round in LSU's Joseph Addai, but didn't find any other difference-makers.

Jacksonville: C-

The Jaguars took first-round TE Marcedes Lewis a little bit too high, and some teams weren't big fans of second-round RB Maurice Drew.

Kansas City: B

First-round DE Tamba Hali is a high-character player who could provide immediate pass-rush help, and getting QB Brodie Croyle in the third round was a shrewd move.

Miami: C-

Taking S-CB Jason Allen 16th overall was just a little bit of a stretch, but third-round WR Derek Hagan could help.

Minnesota: C-

The team's new brain trust made a safe first-round choice in LB Chad Greenway but didn't get enough out of the club's three second-round selections.

New England: B-

Getting RB Laurence Maroney in the first round was a wise move, with Corey Dillon on the downside of his career, and WR Chad Jackson was a first-round talent grabbed in the second round. But the Patriots needed immediate help at LB and didn't get it in a draft deep at the position.

New Orleans: A-

The best player available, Reggie Bush , fell into the Saints' laps on the second pick, but they deserve credit for not trading the choice and being willing to deal with the contract headaches that will come later. The trade for Faine also helps, but they maybe should have done better later.

N.Y. Giants: B

Taking DE Mathias Kiwanuka with the final choice of the first round wasn't a problem, even with Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan on the roster; Strahan isn't getting any younger. Second-rounder Sinorice Moss helps the WR corps, but perhaps they should have gotten an outside LB ready for playing time -- in case LaVar Arrington's knee doesn't hold up -- sooner than third-rounder Gerris Wilkinson.

N.Y. Jets: B

You're supposed to get better when you have two of the first 29 picks, and the Jets greatly bolstered their offensive line with LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold. But they were unable to pry Bush from the Saints, and if Leinart or Cutler becomes a Pro Bowl QB, the new decision-making tandem of GM Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Eric Mangini won't look so brilliant.

Oakland: B-

Maybe the Raiders should have taken a QB at No. 7 -- Aaron Brooks surely isn't the answer -- but S Michael Huff is a playmaker. Second- round LB Thomas Howard and fourth- round S Darnell Bing also should help.

Philadelphia: B+

Coach Andy Reid loves to draft linemen, and he did spectacularly well with first-round DT Brodrick Bunkley, second-round T Winston Justice and fourth-round G Max Jean-Gilles. The only drawback was the Eagles didn't land much help at WR, either by trading for Walker or drafting a top prospect, although they did take a fifth-round chance on former Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom as a receiving and kick returning hopeful.

Pittsburgh: B+

The Super Bowl champions aren't supposed to get the first WR drafted, but the Steelers managed it by trading up to get Santonio Holmes as a replacement for Antwaan Randle El. The rest of their draft was predictably ordinary.

St. Louis: B-

The Rams traded down four first-round spots and still got the player (CB Tye Hill) they might have taken 11th. But they passed up Cutler in the process. Second-round TE Joe Klopfenstein should be a solid pro, and third-round DT Claude Wroten is an interesting pick because he has first-round talent but was arrested on drug-related charges in January and reportedly failed a drug test at the scouting combine.

San Diego: C+

First-round CB Antonio Cromartie is risky because of his injury history, but he's a big-time talent. He and second-round T Marcus McNeill went about where they should have gone. But why did the Chargers use another first-day pick on a QB (third-rounder Charlie Whitehurst) when they have a virtual rookie (Philip Rivers) as their new starter?

San Francisco: B+

TE Vernon Davis, the No. 6 pick, should be a big help to developing QB Alex Smith, and DE-LB Manny Lawson was worth the No. 22 choice. WR Michael Robinson , a QB at Penn State, could end up being a fourth-round steal.

Seattle: C

The defending NFC champs made relatively safe picks with first-round CB Kelly Jennings and second-round DE Darryl Tapp, and got the guard they needed with fourth-rounder Rob Sims.

Tampa Bay: C-

The Buccaneers didn't need to use the 23rd pick to get G Davin Joseph. Their best move was getting WR Maurice Stovall in the third round.

Tennessee: C+

A tremendously interesting mixed bag of a draft that could be great or terrible. GM Floyd Reese overruled his coaching staff to go with QB Vince Young instead of Leinart with the third pick, and his bravado in eschewing the safe route should be applauded. But maybe he took it too far by making another risky selection, RB LenDale White, in the second round.

Washington: C
The Redskins are more interested in free agency and keep trading future high-round picks like they perpetually believe there might not be a draft next year. Maybe it will never catch up to them, but maybe it will. They needed an outside LB capable of playing immediately, and they got one by trading up in the second round to land Rocky McIntosh.

The Falcons were practically a draft non-participant, but getting CB Jimmy Williams in the second round could turn out well.

The Falcons were practically a draft non-participant, but getting CB Jimmy Williams in the second round could turn out well.

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