It won’t be until June before our 67 page NFL Draft Report is completed. Meanwhile, here are the preliminary thoughts for each team.
This is Part three of a four part series. The AFC teams can be found in a pair of earlier blogs.
What they did right: Dallas recognized their weakness was in the secondary and once Tampa bolted from taking Claiborne the Cowboys stepped right in. Watch out for WR Coale as well. He has Wes Welker type skill and has hands of glue.
What they did wrong: Why did Dallas ignore the offensive line? It’s questionable if the Cowboys’ DE and LB choices will be any help to the Demarcus Ware in rushing the passer.
Best Pick: CB Claiborne
Worst Pick: DB Matt Johnson, a free agent type going at #135.
One Sentence Summary: While not a perfect draft, Dallas improved in the area it needed to the most and now hopes to make a playoff push.
Bonus Dallas Summary: Readers know that we wrote about the television show “24” every year as part of the Dallas report. We miss Keifer Sutherland and the whole show. “Touch” is decent, but there’s no substitute for Jack Bauer!
New York Giants:
What they did right: Not as much as usual. Picking up WR Randle at 63 was a steal.
What they did wrong: David Wilson can break open a game, but he’ll frustrate Coughlin with the way he carries the ball. The Giants wisely resisted the temptation to take a TE early but took a project too early at 127 when more back seven help was needed. They took 3 straight OL, but left better talent on the table. This was not like your typical well thought out NYG draft.
Best Pick: WR Randle. Didn’t other teams realize that LSU QB’s were throwing to him?
Worst Pick: TE Robinson. By the time he makes the position change the NYG will have all their TE’s back from injury. Needs were greater at other positions.
One Sentence Summary: We have always been fans of HC Coughlin but after being outscored during the regular season in 2011 this draft won’t necessarily make them any better.
What they did right: We’re not as high on Coxs as other are, but at least Philly only moved up a bit to get him. What the Eagles consistently do better than others is draft players that don’t get cut! With the exception of safety, most positions of need were covered.
What they did wrong: Did they really need slow-footed Nick Foles in the 3rd round? Bryce Bown could be called a reasonable risk in the 7th round but he’s barely played and Philly had other needs. Is something missing in this draft?
Best Pick: Philly got value late (OG Washington) and a CB (Boykin) who can double as a returner, but Vinny Curry is our choice. He may thrive as a pass rusher in this scheme.
Worst Pick: QB Foles
One Sentence Summary: Assuming WR Jackson becomes more of a team player, the Eagles look like the team to beat in the NFC East.
What they did right: They beat Cleveland to the punch, earning the right to take the electrifying RG III. No one is all that excited about their trio of OL selections, but late round OT Compton has sleeper value.
What they did wrong: They didn’t fire the “ruler of all things”, Mike Shanahan. OL and the secondary are a mess, and not one ready to go player was selected in either spot. An essay can be written on why you DON’T draft Kirk Cousins. This team will have few quality picks the next two seasons. For the record, Cousins has to be disappointed as he may be sitting for years.
Best Pick: RG III, assuming Shanahan doesn’t ruin him.
Worst Pick: Just about everything else, but taking a raw OG (LeRibebus) three rounds too early wins out.
One Sentence Summary: Don’t be surprised if Andrew Luck actually has a better season than RG III, although both QB’s could be elite over time in the NFL.
What they did right: New GM Emery wants to get after opposing QB’s so McClellin hopefully reverses the trend of awful Chicago 1st round picks. The Bears went risky in rounds 2 and 3 and hope things work out. WR Jeffrey has red zone talent and CB Hardin has ability but has yet to stay healthy.
What they did wrong: Why does this team need to take so many risks? It’s entirely possible no one emerges from this draft. I hear people lauding what they did but I listed their top needs as LT and DB. In our full report will have some of GM Emery’s quotes, Suffice to say this was not a draft we liked.
Best Pick: None? WR Jeffrey perhaps, but they gave up a pick to take him and had other needs.
Worst Pick: Maybe most of them, but certainly CB Frey would qualify. Here’s one Emery quote: Frey was “the most skilled corner in the back half of the draft”. We looked at 450+ prospects. Frey was not included.
One Sentence Summary: Contrary to what others are saying, the Bears may be ready to take a step back in the NFC Central.
What they did right: The Lions must have camped out in Oklahoma. They selected three players from the Sooners, and two of them are named Lewis. WR Broyles may not be a need and may not even be ready to play in September (ACL), but he has the best hands in this draft class! Reiff fit a need.
What they did wrong: The love affair between myself and the Lion CB position continues! The Lions are aware of the need but can’t seem to understand how to fix it.
Best Pick: Probably OT Reiff, but we would have traded up for a CB.
Worst Pick: We can’t say Broyles because he is just a great talent. Let’s just say that it is hard to draft 3 CB’s with any less talent than this group. Bentley actually can play, and maybe he’s already better than what they have, but taking two complete projects along with Bentley won’t fix the pass D%.
One Sentence Summary: The Lions have the 3rd best WR EVER in Calvin Johnson, so writing them off as a playoff contender is just not possible.
What they did right: It looks like the Packers got our memo. They turned 12 picks into 8 by trading UP 3 times. In each case they took a RATED player. In each case they addressed a position of need. Only their final pick, QB Coleman was not a defensive one. Other than RB and perhaps safety, Green Bay did a nice job in the draft.
What they did wrong: We’re not sold on all of the players chosen. CB Hayward was chosen too high at 62 with Josh Robinson and Trumaine Johnson still on the board. DT Daniels seems rotational at best.
Best Pick: It might be easy to say DT Worthy, but let’s take a flier on a long shot, with OT Datko undervalued due to an injury that will heal. He went at pick 241!
Worst Pick: I might change my mind before I put the final full report together, but for now it’s Maine DB McMillian chosen early at #133.
One Sentence Summary: Green Bay remains the team to beat in the NFC Central and could be even better if some of the defensive picks play to their capacity.
What they did right: Minny started the draft by stealing three extra picks from Cleveland. That made it easy to move back into the 1st round, understanding supply and demand at the thin position of Safety. Arkansas WR’s run in a pro style system and Minny drafted a pair of them. They also doubled up early on in the secondary, another need area.
What they did wrong: There were some wasted picks (Ellison, Walsh, Blanton). They needed a guard and did not get one.
Best Pick: OT Kahil, but CB Robinson is one that could help as well.
Worst Pick: RB Ellison at 128 was not necessary and OG should have been the call.
One Sentence Summary: Minny certainly improved in this draft, but how much will it show in their record with QB Ponder still having much to prove and Adrian Peterson not yet 100% healthy.