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New Free Agency Winners and Losers

2008 AFC Draft Grades

By: Robert Davis

Click here for 2008 NFC Draft Grades

Baltimore Ravens

Best Pick: Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers, Round 2.
Rice is a quick runner that should give Willis McGahee some more rest over the course of the season.

Worst Pick: Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware, Round 1.
When Matt Ryan was taken third, the Ravensí dreams were shattered. They traded down to the bottom of the first, then back up to the middle of the first to take a second round talent to fill a need.

2nd Day Steal: Oniel Cousins, OT, UTEP, Round 3.
Cousins has a lot of ability and is just beginning to reach his potential. With a little more time he could be a very good starter.

Overall: D. Reaching for Joe Flacco really set the tone of the draft, and that was not a good thing. Flacco was a reach in the top 20, to say the least. They landed some talent in the draft, but the reach and neglecting the offensive line until the third round hurt their grade.

Buffalo Bills

Best Pick: James Hardy, WR, Indiana, Round 2.
Hardy has tremendous potential and his size is the perfect compliment to Lee Evans.

Worst Pick: None.
They may have shocked most who believed they would take Devin Thomas at 11, but taking the corner was a smart move because of the depth at receiver and the way the draft played out.

2nd Day Steal: Demetrius Bell, OT, Northwestern St. Round 5.
Bell has all the athletic gifts in the world, but will need some time to develop his football skills.

Overall: B-. Landing McKelvin and Hardy with their first two picks could not have made them happier. The rest of the draft left some thing to be desired though.

Cincinnati Bengals

Best Pick: Keith Rivers, LB, USC, Round 1.
The Saints beat them to Sedrick Ellis, and that hurt. Rivers will shore up a weak linebacking unit however.

Worst Pick: Jerome Simpson, WR, Coastal Carolina, Round 2.
Probably a little early for Simpson, and the whole Chad Johnson situation clearly had an impact on this selection.

2nd Day Steal: Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas, Round 4.
Collins may need some time, but he has the potential to develop into a starter down the road.

Overall: C-. In need of some serious help on the defensive line, the Bengals lost out on Sedrick Ellis and did not take a lineman until the third round. They took two receivers in the first three rounds, which obviously has to do with the Johnson situation. Those problems forced them to reload on offense and prepare without him, meaning they could not do what they needed to do to upgrade the defense.

Cleveland Browns

Best Pick: Beau Bell, LB, UNLV Round 4.
Trades left the Browns short on picks, but Bell is a very good selection in the fourth round.

Worst Pick: None.
With no picks in the first three rounds, you really cannot be too critical of whats on the board from the fourth round down.

2nd Day Steal: Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Iowa St. Round 6. --Bell was a great pick in the fourth, but since he was still considered their first pick, so weíll go with Rubin. He is a classic nose tackle and could fit very well for the Browns.

Overall: C. There isnít much to say about the draft at this point. They landed Brady Quinn last year for their #1 this year and traded for Shaun Rogers this year. Those were solid acquisitions. They drafted well with what they had, landing Bell, Martin Rucker, and Rubin, all of whom could make an impact.

Denver Broncos

Best Pick: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise St, Round 1.
Clady was a great fit for the Broncos offensive line.

Worst Pick: Eddie Royal, WR, Virginia Tech, Round 2.
Simply too high considering what else was on the board.

2nd Day Steal: Josh Barrett, S, Arizona St Round 7.
Barrett had the talent to go in the first three rounds but slid for some issues around his maturity level. If he shows he has his head on straight, this could be a huge steal for the Broncos.

Overall: C+. Clady made a lot of sense in the first, but was an easy pick. Eddie Royal was a bit of a reach but at least fills a need. Two Sun Devils could surprise, Ryan Torain and Barrett.

Houston Texans

Best Pick: Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia, Round 3.
Slaton is only a situation back, but he will add some explosion to the Texan offense.

Worst Pick: Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech, Round 1.
There was a huge drop after Brown, but taking him in the first round was clearly a panic move and a definite reach.

2nd Day Steal: Xavier Adibi, LB, Virginia Tech, Round 4.
Slaton is the obvious choice, so Adibi is the choice here. The Texans have put together a solid front seven, and Adibi could make it even stronger.

Overall: C-. Brown was a pretty big reach for a need position. They recovered well, drafting some potential impact players on day two of the draft.

Indianapolis Colts

Best Pick: Mike Pollak, OL, Arizona St. Round 2.
Since they traded their first rounder last year for Tony Ugoh, Pollak was their top selection.

Worst Pick: None.
Not having a first rounder hurt, but getting Tony Ugoh last year was worth it.

2nd Day Steal: Phillip Wheeler, LB, Georgia Tech, Round 3.
Wheeler has speed to burn and is versatile.

Overall: C. The Colts didnít have a first rounder so they had to wait awhile. Acquiring depth on the offensive line and at linebacker was good enough for a decent weekend.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best Pick: Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn Round 2.
Groves is a first round talent and was taken in the second. That is excellent value.

Worst Pick: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida Round 1.
Harvey is a big time talent but the Jags moved up and gave up a lot to select him.

2nd Day Steal: Trae Williams, CB, South Florida Round 6.
He may lack the measurables of Mike Jenkins, but he was the better corner in college. His quickness and ball skills will find him a role in the NFL.

Overall: C+. The Jags added some speed at receiver in free agency, so they focused their draft on upgrading their pass rush. Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves off the edge could be a nightmare on opponents.

Kansas City Chiefs

Best Pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU Round 1.
Some felt he was the top player in the draft but fell to number five.

Worst Pick: None.
The Chiefs added talent and need, along with excellent value early in the draft.

2nd Day Steal: Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas and DaJuan Morgan, S, North Carolina St, Round 3.
The two third rounders had the ability to go higher. Charles adds a big play element to the backfield and Morgan could start at safety.

Overall: A. The Chiefs lost Jared Allen, but he did not want to stick around. They got arguably the best player in the draft in Dorsey at five, then landed their offensive lineman at 15. Brandon Flowers, Charles, and Morgan should provide immediate impacts for the team as well.

Miami Dolphins

Best Pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan, Round 1.
Anytime you pick #1 overall, it better be the best pick in the draft.

Worst Pick: None.
The Dolphins had an excellent draft. They got their guy at #1, and signed him early. Phillip Merling and Chad Henne were solid value spots in the second round.

2nd Day Steal: Kendall Langford, DL, Hampton Round 3.
Langford is the ideal 3-4 and could surprise some people.

Overall: B+. The Dolphins did a great job overhauling the offensive and defensive lines in the draft.

New England Patriots

Best Pick: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee, Round 1.
The Pats traded down three spots and still got their man, at their #1 need position.

Worst Pick: Terrence Wheatley, CB, Colorado, Round 2.
This is not a bad pick, just seems a little high with his injury history. If healthy, he is a steal at this spot actually.

2nd Day Steal: Shawn Crable, LB, Michigan, Round 3.
Crable is great value in the third and could bring back memories of Chris Slade for Patriot fans.

Overall: B-. The Pats addressed their only two holes on the defense, at linebacker and corner. Mayo and Wheatley could provide instant playmaking ability. Crable gives them depth and potential at outside linebacker.

New York Jets

Best Pick: Vernon Gholston, OLB, Ohio St, Round 1.
He can only do one thing, but he does that very well.

Worst Pick: Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue, Round 1.
They traded up to land an Hback in the first round.

2nd Day Steal: Dwight Lowery, CB, San Jose St. Round 4.
Lowery has great size and ball skills, but lacks elite speed.

Overall: C. The Jets spent a lot of money in free agency upgrading the team. Gholston continues to upgrade the defense, but the team missed out on McFadden. They needed a playmaker on offense, and while Keller is a solid option, he is not the gamebreaker they needed.

Oakland Raiders

Best Pick: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas Round 1.
McFadden is the best player in the draft and will be a homerun threat right away for the Raiders.

Worst Pick: Tyvon Branch, CB, Connecticut, Round 3.
This is nitpicking, but Branch lacks the ball skills to go this high. There were other corners on the board more deserving of this pick, if CB is the spot they had to take.

2nd Day Steal: Arman Shields, WR, Richmond, Round 4.
Shields has the potential to develop if the team can be patient.

Overall: C+. McFadden was a coup, but the rest of the draft was not that impressive. They traded their second rounder for DeAngelo Hall which was another move, although it may lead to the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha next year.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best Pick: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois Round 1.
Fantastic value at the 23 spot.

Worst Pick: None.
Limas Sweed was a steal in the second round, as was Mendenhall in the first.

2nd Day Steal: Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon, Round 5.
Dixon will have plenty of time to rehab and develop his passing skills as a backup to Ben Roethlisberger.

Overall: B+. The Steelers got tremendous value and added a lot of talent to the offense. Day two provided them with three potential impact players in Bruce Davis, Tony Hills, and Dixon. The only real negative is not landing a lineman early on to help ease the loss of Al Faneca.

San Diego Chargers

Best Pick: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona round 1.
Cason is the best corner in the draft, and gives the Bolts a scary trio of corners.

Worst Pick: Trading their 2nd rounder next year to move up for Jacob Hester.
Landing Hester makes sense, but he was not worth trading a pick next year for.

2nd Day Steal: DeJuan Tribble, CB, Boston College Round 6.
Tribble should not have lasted that long, and helps give the Chargers the best set of corners in the league.

Overall: C. Cason was tremendous value, and Hester gives them a backup to LT. They still need depth on the offensive and defensive lines, and gave up a 2nd rounder next year.

Tennessee Titans

Best Pick: Jason Jones, DE, Eastern Michigan, Round 2.
Jones fills a need and has a lot of potential.

Worst Pick: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina Round 1.
This is three drafts in a row that the Titans have taken a back in the first two rounds, and a reach.

2nd Day Steal: Lavelle Hawkins, WR, Cal, Round 4.
WR was arguably their top need, and they wait until the fourth round to select one. Hawkins has the ability to make an impact out of the slot early on.

Overall: D-. Chris Johnson is exciting and is a good compliment to LenDale White, but this was too early for him, and they had bigger needs. Jones has potential in the second round but may need some time to provide an impact and they waited until the fourth round to address the receiver position.


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