2011 Draft Grades: AFC North

2011 Draft Grades: AFC North


2011 Draft Grades: AFC North


Jabaal SheardNow that the draft is over, it’s time for some instant analyization. And while we won’t go too in depth with grading and exactly how these players will be impacted, it is important to get an idea on how the early round values and team needs were filled, as well as a total outline of all the positions that were picked.

Also, keep in mind that Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) as well as myself (@samskiNYC) will be tweeting each day that they are released, so feel free to start the debate there and in the comments section!

Cleveland Browns

21 Phil Taylor, nose tackle, Baylor
37 Jabaal Sheard, outside linebacker, Pittsburgh
59 Greg Little, wide receiver, North Carolina
102 Jordan Cameron, tight end, USC
124 Owen Marecic, fullback, Stanford
137 Buster Skrine, cornerback, Tennessee-Chattanooga
150 Jason Pinkston, offensive guard/tackle, Pittsbrugh
248 Eric Hagg, cornerback/safety, Nebraska

Summary: Cleveland’s performance this weekend was masterful. They acquired extra picks by trading down and then landed Taylor, who was the draft’s premier NT, and could help when the Browns switch to the three man that Mike Holmgren favors. They added another piece to their defense in Sheard, who can rush the passer with his hand in the dirt or standing as a 3-4 OLB. The Browns then switched to offense and snagged tremendous help for Colt McCoy in Little, a highly underrated WR and Cameron, who will be this years’ Jimmy Graham. To top it off, they got tremendous value on Pinkston and Hagg, who I think can be valuable playing almost anywhere in the secondary and also snagged Marecic, who could immediately be one of the better lead blockers in the league and should be a load opening holes for hard-running Peyton Hillis.

Grade: A

Baltimore Ravens
27 Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Colorado
58 Torrey Smith, wide receiver, Maryland
85 Jah Reid, offensive tackle, Central Florida
123 Tandon Doss, wide receiver, Indiana
164 Chykie Brown, cornerback, Texas
165 Pernell McPhee, defensive end, Mississippi State
180 Tyrod Taylor, quarterback, Virginia Tech
225 Anthony Allen, runningback, Georgia Tech

Summary: Baltimore did a solid job of not only addressing needs, but landing solid talent as well. CB was the biggest need for this team and Jimmy Smith could be a dynamic talent if he keeps his head on straight, something Ray Lewis and Co. will gladly help him with. Chykie Brown is additional value as a sub package defender. The Ravens also landed two very differenr, but very talented WRs in Doss and T.Smith, which should make Flacco very happy. McPhee has enough natural talent to be a factor in a rotation and Allen could be a solid back-up. However, the Reid pick is a surprise since Oher proved to be better suited for RT and Reid is a RT only. I also would have liked to have seen the Ravens take some OLB depth. 

 Grade: B+
Cameron Heyward

Pittsburgh Steelers
31 Cameron Heyward, defensive end, Ohio State
63 Marcus Gilbert, offensive tackle, Florida
95 Curtis Brown, cornerback, Texas
128 Cortez Allen, cornerback, The Citadel
162 Christopher Carter, outside linebacker, Fresno State
196 Keith Williams, offensive guard, Nebraska
232 Baron Batch, runningback, Texas Tech

Summary: I know, it’s never smart to question a Steelers draft, but I just don’t see a high ceiling with this year’s crop. Cameron Heyward was having an inconsistent senior year until his bowl game domination, but he should be a solid infusion of youth to an aging line. Gilbert could become a solid RT, Brown and Allen fill a serious need at CB, but Brown has only average instincts and Allen still has lots of developing to do. I also am not as high on Carter as many people are. I think that he is only an average athlete. I would have liked to have seen them add some depth at ILB with  James Farrior aging rapidly and if the Steelers were looking for a RB to compliment Mendenhall, I think Derrick Locke would have been a better bet than Batch.

Grade: B

Cincinnati Bengals
4 A.J. Green, wide receiver, Georgia
35 Andy Dalton, quarterback, TCU
66 Dontay Moch, defensive end/linebacker, Nevada
101 Clint Boling, offensive guard, Georgia
134 Robert Sands, safety, West Virginia
167 Ryan Whalen, wide receiver, Stanford
207 Korey Lindsey, cornerback, Southern Illinois
246 Jay Finley, running back, Baylor

Summary: I know a lot of people are talking about how great the Bengals draft was, but I don’t see it. AJ Green was a slam dunk pick; a great replacement for T.O and possibly Ochocino. But after that, it gets murky. Boling is a solid interior blocker, who will provide leadership and intelligence and Lindsey was tremendous value in the 7th for sub packages, but the rest of the picks don’t excite me. I didn’t see anything from Dalton in post-season workouts to suggest he could turn into a starting NFL QB, Moch is a 3-4 rush LB and not a good fit for their 4-3 defense and Sands is a tremendous athlete without a real position.

Grade: B-

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